Archive | November 10th, 2016

US Political Establishment Rallies Behind Trump

Trump-Pence

Only hours after Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called Republican candidate Donald Trump to concede the November 8 election, the political establishment of both corporate-controlled parties has embraced Trump as president-elect and buried any criticism of his fascistic appeals.

Clinton spelled out her capitulation in a speech Wednesday morning in which she said nothing about the deep economic distress that was the foundation of Trump’s victory. Although acknowledging “our nation is more deeply divided than we thought,” she was silent on the most fundamental division, the yawning economic gulf between the super-rich and the vast majority of working people.

“Donald Trump is going to be our president,” she said. “We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead.” She made no reference to where Trump threatens to “lead” America, with his incessant attacks on Muslims, immigrants and other minorities, his bullying towards other countries, and his manifest authoritarianism and contempt for democratic rights.

Clinton also said nothing about the fact that Trump actually lost the popular vote, where he continued to trail by about a quarter million votes, with most uncounted ballots in states like California, Colorado and Maryland, which voted for the Democrat.

President Obama appeared before the press an hour after Clinton, noting his planned meeting with his successor on Thursday, and declaring, “We are now all rooting for his success in uniting, and leading, this country.”

“Everybody is sad when their side loses an election,” Obama said. “But the day after, we have to remember that we’re actually all on one team. This is an intramural scrimmage. We’re not Democrats first, we’re not Republicans first. We are Americans first. We’re patriots first.”

This is more than just political boilerplate. It amounts to an admission that for all the vitriolic exchanges and mutual mudslinging of the bourgeois election campaign, the two parties of big business are “actually all on one team.” They both defend the property, profits and strategic world position of corporate America, at the expense of the working class at home and abroad.

Two days before Obama appeared on the steps of the White House to salute the president-elect, he was denouncing Trump as a menace to the republic, a threat to democratic rights, someone who was “temperamentally unfit to be commander in chief” and would be a danger to mankind if put in charge of the US nuclear arsenal.

Now he declares, “We all want what’s best for this country. That’s what I heard in Mr. Trump’s remarks last night. That’s what I heard when I spoke to him directly. And I was heartened by that.”

Obama likewise made no mention of Clinton’s victory in the popular vote, or suggested that Trump should be cautious about wielding his alleged “mandate” because a majority of those who went to the polls voted against him.

For his part, Trump showed that his own denunciations of “crooked Hillary” were just as cynical as Obama’s attacks on him. Announcing Clinton’s concession phone call to his supporters at 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, he declared, “Hillary has worked very long and very hard over a long period of time and we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country.” Only a few hours before, his supporters were chanting “lock her up” as they watched the election returns on a giant screen at the closing rally of the campaign.

House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, who had distanced himself from Trump during much of the campaign, praised the victorious candidate at a news conference Wednesday morning. “Donald Trump will lead a unified Republican government,” Ryan said.

The corporate-controlled media obediently plays its assigned role in the transition from the Obama to Trump, painting the president-elect in bright colors and covering up his racist and authoritarian tirades and threats against democratic rights.

The actual tally of the vote and available data from exit surveys demonstrates the widespread hostility to both presidential candidates.

Remarkably, 60 percent of voters had an unfavorable opinion of Trump, including 20 percent of those who voted for him, while 23 percent of Trump voters described him as unqualified and 29 percent said he was not honest and trustworthy. Clinton was seen as both more qualified and more dishonest, and viewed unfavorably by 54 percent of voters.

These figures demonstrate the dead end of the corporate-controlled two-party system, which gave voters the “choice” of the two most unpopular figures ever to run as candidates of the two major parties.

Trump will come to Washington in partnership with a Congress that is near-universally reviled, with only 9 percent of those voting having a favorable opinion of the institution. Nonetheless, within the confines of the two-party system, nearly every incumbent senator and representative won reelection on November 8.

While Democrats had expected to regain control of the Senate, where 24 Republican-held seats and only 10 Democratic seats were at stake, they fell far short. The Democrats gained only two seats in the Senate, leaving the Republican Party with a narrow 51-48 edge, pending a December runoff in Louisiana where the Republican candidate is heavily favored. Clinton proved a drag on “down-ballot” Democratic candidates, as not a single Democratic Senate hopeful won in a state carried by Trump.

Democratic challengers Tammy Duckworth in Illinois and Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire defeated incumbent Republicans, although Hassan’s margin of victory was barely 700 votes and is likely to be subject to recount. Two prominent former senators, Russ Feingold in Wisconsin and Evan Bayh in Indiana, lost their bids to return to office, and other Democratic challengers lost close races in Pennsylvania, Missouri and North Carolina.

Democrat Catherine Cortez Masto won the Nevada seat vacated by retiring Democratic leader Harry Reid. Clinton narrowly defeated Trump in Nevada, and the Democrats took two Republican-held House seats, their only significant statewide sweep.

In the House of Representatives, Democrats gained seven seats, barely denting the massive Republican majority. Besides the two in Nevada, they gained House seats in New Hampshire, New Jersey, Illinois, Virginia, and three seats in Florida, but they lost two open seats in Florida. Several contests remain undecided in California, where ballots postmarked Election Day are still to be counted, but Democrats already control most of the 53 seats in the most populous US state.

In one high-profile race, liberal Democrat Zephyr Teachout, the most prominent Bernie Sanders supporter seeking an open House seat, lost her race in a Hudson Valley district in New York.

Of the 11 gubernatorial contests, Democrats won six, a net loss of one statehouse, ousting incumbent North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory, but losing governorships in both Vermont and New Hampshire. Republicans control 33 statehouses compared to only 17 for the Democrats.

Posted in USAComments Off on US Political Establishment Rallies Behind Trump

The Working Class Won the Election? What Kind of Trump Administration?

trump

The US presidential election is historic, because the American people were able to defeat the oligarchs.  Hillary Clinton, an agent for the Oligarchy, was defeated despite the vicious media campaign against Donald Trump.  This shows that the media and the political establishments of the political parties no longer have credibility with the American people.

It remains to be seen whether Trump can select and appoint a government that will serve him and his goals to restore American jobs and to establish friendly and respectful relations with Russia, China, Syria, and Iran.

It also remains to be seen how the Oligarchy will respond to Trump’s victory.  Wall Street and the Federal Reserve can cause an economic crisis in order to put Trump on the defensive, and they can use the crisis to force Trump to appoint one of their own as Secretary of the Treasury. Rogue agents in the CIA and Pentagon can cause a false flag attack that would disrupt friendly relations with Russia.  Trump could make a mistake and retain neoconservatives in his government.

With Trump there is at least hope.  Unless Trump is obstructed by bad judgment in his appointments and by obstacles put in his way, we should expect an end to Washington’s orchestrated conflict with Russia, the removal of the US missiles on Russia’s border with Poland and Romania, the end of the conflict in Ukraine, and the end of Washington’s effort to overthrow the Syrian government.  However, achievements such as these imply the defeat of the US Oligarchy.  Although Trump defeated Hillary, the Oligarchy still exists and is still powerful.

Trump said that he no longer sees the point of NATO 25 years after the Soviet collapse.  If he sticks to his view, it means a big political change in Washington’s EU vassals.  The hostility toward Russia of the current EU and NATO officials would have to cease. German Chancellor Merkel would have to change her spots or be replaced. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg would have to be dismissed.

We do not know who Trump will select to serve in his government.  It is likely that Trump is unfamiliar with the various possibilities and their positions on issues.  It really depends on who is advising Trump and what advice they give him.  Once we see his government, we will know whether we can be hopeful for the changes that now have a chance.

If the oligarchy is unable to control Trump and he is actually successful in curbing the power and budget of the military/security complex and in holding the financial sector politically accountable, Trump could be assassinated.

Trump said that he will put Hillary in prison. He should first put her on trial for treason and war crimes along with all of the neoconservatives. That would clear the decks for peace with the other two major nuclear powers over whom the neoconservatives seek hegemony. Although the neoconservatives would still have contacts in the hidden deep state, it would make it difficult for the vermin to organize false flag operations or an assassination. Rogue elements in the military/security complex could still bring off an assassination, but without neocons in the government a coverup would be more difficult.

Trump has more understanding and insight than his opponents realize. For a man such as Trump to risk acquiring so many powerful enemies and to risk his wealth and reputation, he had to have known that the people’s dissatisfaction with the ruling establishment meant he could be elected president.

We won’t know what to expect until we see who are the Secretaries and Assistant Secretaries. If it is the usual crowd, we will know Trump has been captured.

A happy lasting result of the election is the complete discrediting of the US media. The media predicted an easy Hillary victory and even Democratic Party control of the US Senate. Even more important to the media’s loss of influence and credibility, despite the vicious media attack on Trump throughout the presidential primaries and presidential campaign, the media had no effect outside the Northeast and West coasts, the stomping grounds of the One Percent. The rest of the country ignored the media.

I did not think the Oligarchy would allow Trump to win. However, it seems that the oligarchs were deceived by their own media propaganda. Assured that Hillary was the sure winner, they were unprepared to put into effect plans to steal the election.

Hillary is down, but not the Oligarchs. If Trump is advised to be conciliatory, to hold out his hand, and to take the establishment into his government, the American people will again be disappointed. In a country whose institutions have been so completely corrupted by the Oligarchy, it is difficult to achieve real change without bloodshed.

Posted in USAComments Off on The Working Class Won the Election? What Kind of Trump Administration?

What Does Trump Victory Mean for Asia? An “Isolationist America” or More “Soft Power”?

MW-EZ719_trump__20161108105829_ZH

With the victory of Donald Trump during the 2016 US presidential elections, many commentators, analysts and academics have “predicted” a more isolationist America. For Asia specifically, particularly those in need of US intervention to prop up their unpopular, impotent political causes, they fear an ebbing of US support.

However, as history has shown, the whims of US voters rarely has an impact on US foreign policy, particularly amidst the more subtle use of US “soft power.”

US policy toward Asia has been a historical, socioeconomic and military continuum marked by a consistent desire for geopolitical and socioeconomic primacy in the region stretching back for over a century. Since World War 2, the US has attempted to contain a rising China, temper and exploit emerging developing nations across Southeast Asia and prevent nations subjugated to US domination (Japan, South Korea and the Philippines) from achieving anything resembling an independent foreign and domestic policy.

This is a continuum that has transcended presidential administrations and congressional shifts of power for decades.

To believe that the recent victory by Donald Trump amid America’s 2016 presidential election will suddenly change this decades-long continuum is naive and folly.

The networks that primarily seek to establish, protect and expand US primacy in Asia are driven by corporate and financial special interests including banks, the energy industry, defence contractors, agricultural and pharmaceutical giants, the US entertainment industry and media as well as tech giants.

They achieve primacy through a variety of activities ranging from market domination through incremental advances in “free trade,” the funding of academic and activist groups through organisations like the US National Endowment for Democracy (NED), Open Society, Freedom House and USAID as well as direct pressure on the governments of respective Asian states through both overt and covert political, economic and military means.

This is a process that takes place independent of both the White House and the US Congress.

Regardless of how elections turn out, this process will continue so long as the source of these collective special interests’ power remains intact and unopposed.

For Asian states, in the wake of Trump’s victory, keeping track of and dealing with the actual networks used to project American primacy into Asia Pacific is more important than weighing the isolationist rhetoric of president-elect Donald Trump.

Until networks like NED and USAID are either entirely reformed or dismantled, and Asian alternatives are able to permanently displace US economic and institutional domination in the region, the threat of American primacy asserting itself over the interests of Asia itself will persist.

Posted in USAComments Off on What Does Trump Victory Mean for Asia? An “Isolationist America” or More “Soft Power”?

Politics Over Principles: US Denies Philippines Weapons, Continues Arming Saudis

phillipines rifles guns

Perhaps the biggest challenge the US faces regarding its credibility globally is the self-inflicted damage it does to its alleged principles and values as a center of global power.

A perfect example of this is unfolding in the dramatic unraveling of US-Philippine relations where any and every means of finding leverage over Washington’s wayward ally is being brought to bear on Manila.

The most recent manifestation of this occurred when the US blocked the shipment of US rifles destined for the Philippines’ police forces. PhilStar Global’s article, Duterte cancels rifle sale blocked by US over rights concerns,” would report that:

The US State Department had earlier halted the sale of about 26,000 rifles to the Philippines when US Sen. Ben Cardin said that he will oppose it due to concerns over human right violations attributed to the government’s war on drugs.

At face value, and ignoring any wider context, it would appear that the United States took a moral stand on what would have otherwise been a lucrative arms deal and would have helped draw Washington and Manila closer together politically. However, zooming out slightly from Manila, the situation in Asia Pacific finds the US being incrementally pushed out of the region as a geopolitical power broker. As nations, including the Philippines rebuff the United States and its attempts to reassert itself vis-à-vis China, Washington has resorted to leveraging human rights issues, economic pressure and even covert political and military pressure to maintain its grip on each respective nation in the region.

Putting pressure on Manila through a humiliating political stunt, not adhering to moral convictions, is the primary factor driving Washington’s decision to block its own delivery of weapons to the Philippines’ police forces.

And beyond simply identifying the true motive of America’s recent stunt, there is the matter of overt hypocrisy to account for.

Philippines Denied Rifles, Saudis Given Tanks, Warplanes and Bombs 

While the US poses as morally bound to block its weapons deal with the Philippines, it continues to supply the nation of Saudi Arabia with billions of dollars of advanced weaponry, including air-delivered munitions, warplanes and main battle tanks.

In fact, according to the Guardian, in 2010 the US approved of a record weapons deal amounting to $60 billion, the largest such deal in US history. It included the delivery of additional F-15 fighters, Apache gunships and Black Hawk transport helicopters, many of the weapons now being used in armed aggression against neighboring Yemen.

The war in Yemen prosecuted by Riyadh with US and European weaponry, has become a growing humanitarian disaster with even the US and Europe’s own human rights advocacy groups forced to acknowledge the growing abuses being carried out by America and Europe’s close Arab ally.

And just this year, Reuters would report that the US Senate approved of an additional $1.15 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia for the delivery of over 130 M1 Abram main battle tanks as well as 20 armored recovery vehicles and addition equipment to support the newly acquired systems.

Absent amid these immense weapon deals with Saudi Arabia, noted globally as a dictatorship, guilty of brutalizing its own people including through the use of public beheadings and torture, was any semblance of hesitation based on moral convictions.

Indeed, the torrent of weapons the United States supplies the Saudis, in the face of a recent block on rifle sales to the Philippines, proves the United States places politics over principles. Special interests in Washington use such principles merely as a politically-convenient prop when the opportunity presents itself, and otherwise views such principles as a surmountable obstacle to be effortlessly skipped over.

A United States guided by true convictions would be arming neither nation. A United States that sees convictions as politically convenient gimmicks, easily denies the Philippines rifles based on selective moral outrage while propping up a regime on the Arabian Peninsula that is brutalizing its people at home, prosecuting a devastating war in a neighboring nation and sponsoring terrorism worldwide. It is this lack of genuine, consistent moral principles that undermines the United States’ own self-declared status as a global leader, undermining its credibility along with the faith both Americans and foreigners alike have in the waning superpower.

Posted in USA, Far East, Saudi ArabiaComments Off on Politics Over Principles: US Denies Philippines Weapons, Continues Arming Saudis

Waking up in Trumpland: The New USA?

NOVANEWS
Trump-Pence

San Francisco,  Jake was at the polling station at A La Turca restaurant on Geary Street answering questions and shepherding voters to their respective booths.  “I need to speak to you a hundred feet from the polling station.”  Expressing overt political opinions, be it by insignia, shirts or speech within a certain proximity of the voting station is frowned upon, an odd state of affairs given this country’s free speech protections. The point here is impartiality.

Gravely, Jake claimed to be ashamed.  Blushingly ashamed at the choices on the electoral platter for president, but still hopeful that the less wicked option would get by.  “Hillary Clinton should still get across the line. She is trained, experienced.”  In some countries, having a politician without such pedigree is revered, a sign of not being tainted. Such a resume shows public service outside the machinery of politics.

A fight breaks out just in front of the polling station.  Tempers are frayed, and here, the seething Chihuahua of a homeless lady, strapped to her wheelchair, attacks another being held by a scruffy man having his glass of noon day wine. They promise vengeance on each other.  Jake urges calm.  The sidewalk had to be kept clear.

For all of that, there is faith on the part of this volunteer.  (Can there be anything else?)  The system will work. The ballots will be counted properly and care was being taken.  The United States was fortunate to be the country it was.

Even gathering opinions from watering holes during the day – a proudly transgendered Rochelle, several sheets to the wind with vodka and ice at Emperor Norton’s Boozeland – claimed that Clinton would romp in.  “There are no hidden Trump supporters; there are many hidden Hillary supporters.”  All that unnecessary fuss and lunacy might have made waves in some way, but surely it would not translate into electability?

As the poll began closing to the east of the country, and the counting began, the numbers squeaked towards Trump gains. The Democratic temper of the city seemed a bit troubled, but not as yet flustered. The celebration parties across the San Francisco and Bay Area were going to be overwhelmingly, and fatally, optimistic for Clinton.  As with so much in her campaign, the sense of entitlement prevailed. The election, for them, was already in the bag before the first ballot had been cast.

One particular party, held at Brigade at its open plan office far more reminiscent of a warehouse, promised to be typical.  It proudly claimed to be responsible for the “world’s first voter network”, an effort to take back a thinning democracy.  Ironically, it was the very thing that Trump, the target of their ire, was touting: political reclamation.  The event featured garish badges mocking Trump, his hair, his spray tanned face.  It was also ground zero for Clinton supporters, filled with the new breed of technology wizards who had found a home in the city. Not a single voter from the rust belt in sight here.

These wizards had formulated various tactical approaches to those attending the event. Pizza would be brought out at stages, and microwaves could be used.  Plentiful, though atrocious beer, a vinegary slush, was available, and there was one bar man worked off his feet in the cocktail section.  The audience gradually settled down, and the smell of pizza crust and booze gradually mingled as several stations broadcast the results.

With each projected win for Clinton came a bellow and yelp.  But the Trump Train, having started fairly smoothly with the first counting, kept going. The gains in time became an avalanche where it mattered.  The mountain was being climbed and The Donald was winning the very states where he should have perished in.

The blue collar voters, those courted by Ronald Reagan in 1980, were speaking in droves.  Rusted, worn America, a world barely understood by the Clintons except in an abstraction of figures, were reacting. Florida fell to Trump.  As did Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan. Wisconsin, considered so Democratically blue as to be irrelevant to Clinton’s campaign, went red.  “The forgotten men and women of our country,” observed Trump, “will be forgotten no longer.”

As with Al Gore in 2000, Clinton was winning more popular votes, but not in the areas that mattered.  The Donald had been on message in places where the Clinton campaign was disregarding and disingenuous.  The perversion that is the Electoral College did the rest, netting him 279 votes with 47 percent. Clinton received 48 percent of the overall popular vote.

The Democrats also received a beating in both the Senate and House of Representatives, meaning that Trump’s only obstacles, though formidable ones, will be coming from a party he has never had much time for. The GOP for him was never an ideological badge, but a form of necessary camouflage. This victory is certainly not a Republican one so much as one for Trump.

Clinton duly fled into the night.  She would not be giving any concession speeches till the morning. The balloons floated listlessly in the open plan area of this company, and the bottles of champagne remained unopened, chilling away in communion in the fridge. No one even noticed the fridge being opened, or the cork being prized open. Glued to the television in Trumpland, the remaining watchers gazed in bruised disbelief, some looking through a curtain of tears, eyes swollen with grief.Then, the Trump victory speech, a painful, heart wrenching exercise for those who remained at the gathering. Masochism knows few boundaries.  The now paltry audience, slumped in the set up couches, woke up briefly from their dejection, wondering what Trump would do.  Prejudices would surely be confirmed by a ridiculous remark or a moronic reflection.Instead, Trump braved himself to some generosity, thanking his opponent for a sterling campaign, claiming that Clintonwas “owed a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country.”  Having thrived on the polarising and stoking, Trump promised to be healer-in-chief.  “Now it’s time for America to bind the wounds of division.”

The speech concluded, the trash men converged, swooping on the detritus of what had been a desperately sad party.  Be they the forgotten, or the invisible, the voters who haunted this gathering were the ones who never featured before the vast, dynastic Clinton machine.  They were America’s Brexiteers, yearning for nostalgia.

Trumpland may well be a vicious one prone to the free expression liberated instincts, but the tearing of the United States to its core was a long time in the making.  May the creative chaos that ensues ultimately be a constructive one. It certainly cannot be much worse.  Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge.  He lectures at RMIT Un

Posted in USAComments Off on Waking up in Trumpland: The New USA?

Why Trump Won; Why Clinton Lost

NOVANEWS
 
Trump Clinton

In the end, Hillary Clinton became the face of a corrupt, arrogant and out-of-touch Establishment, while Donald Trump emerged as an almost perfectly imperfect vessel for a populist fury that had bubbled beneath the surface of America.

There is clearly much to fear from a Trump presidency, especially coupled with continued Republican control of  Congress. Trump and many Republicans have denied the reality of climate change; they favor more tax cuts for the rich; they want to deregulate Wall Street and other powerful industries – all policies that helped create the current mess that the United States and much of the world are now in.

A sign supporting Donald Trump at a rally at Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix, Arizona. June 18, 2016 (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

A sign supporting Donald Trump at a rally at Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix, Arizona. June 18, 2016 (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

Further, Trump’s personality is problematic to say the least. He lacks the knowledge and the temperament that one would like to see in a President – or even in a much less powerful public official. He appealed to racism, misogyny, white supremacy, bigotry toward immigrants and prejudice toward Muslims. He favors torture and wants a giant wall built across America’s southern border.

But American voters chose him in part because they felt they needed a blunt instrument to smash the Establishment that has ruled and mis-ruled America for at least the past several decades. It is an Establishment that not only has grabbed for itself almost all the new wealth that the country has produced but has casually sent the U.S. military into wars of choice, as if the lives of working-class soldiers are of little value.

On foreign policy, the Establishment had turned decision-making over to the neoconservatives and their liberal-interventionist sidekicks, a collection of haughty elitists who often subordinated American interests to those of Israel and Saudi Arabia, for political or financial advantage.

The war choices of the neocon/liberal-hawk coalition have been disastrous – from Iraq to Afghanistan to Libya to Syria to Ukraine – yet this collection of know-it-alls never experiences accountability. The same people, including the media’s armchair warriors and the think-tank “scholars,” bounce from one catastrophe to the next with no consequences for their fallacious “group thinks.” Most recently, they have ginned up a new costly and dangerous Cold War with Russia.

For all his faults, Trump was one of the few major public figures who dared challenge the “group thinks” on the current hot spots of Syria and Russia. In response, Clinton and many Democrats chose to engage in a crude McCarthyism with Clinton even baiting Trump as Vladimir Putin’s “puppet” during the final presidential debate.

It is somewhat remarkable that those tactics failed; that Trump talked about cooperation with Russia, rather than confrontation, and won. Trump’s victory could mean that rather than escalating the New Cold War with Russia, there is the possibility of a ratcheting down of tensions.

Repudiating the Neocons

Thus, Trump’s victory marks a repudiation of the neocon/liberal-hawk orthodoxy because the New Cold War was largely incubated in neocon/liberal-hawk think tanks, brought to life by likeminded officials in the U.S. State Department, and nourished by propaganda across the mainstream Western media.

Donald Trump speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix, Arizona. June 18, 2016. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

Donald Trump speaking with supporters at a campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona. June 18, 2016. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

It was the West, not Russia, that provoked the confrontation over Ukraine by helping to install a fiercely anti-Russian regime on Russia’s borders. I know the mainstream Western media framed the story as “Russian aggression” but that was always a gross distortion.

There were peaceful ways for settling the internal differences inside Ukraine without violating the democratic process, but U.S. neocons, such as Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, and wealthy neoliberals, such as financial speculator George Soros, pushed for a putsch that overthrew the elected President Viktor Yanukovych in February 2014.

Putin’s response, including his acceptance of Crimea’s overwhelming referendum to return to Russia and his support for ethnic Russian rebels in eastern Ukraine opposing the coup regime in Kiev, was a reaction to the West’s destabilizing and violent actions. Putin was not the instigator of the troubles.

Similarly, in Syria, the West’s “regime change” strategy, which dates back to neocon planning in the mid-1990s, involved collaboration with Al Qaeda and other Islamic jihadists to remove the secular government of Bashar al-Assad. Again, Official Washington and the mainstream media portrayed the conflict as all Assad’s fault, but that wasn’t the full picture.

From the start of the Syrian conflict in 2011, U.S. “allies,” including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and Israel, have been aiding the rebellion, with Turkey and the Gulf states funneling money and weapons to Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front and even to the Al Qaeda spinoff, Islamic State.

Though President Barack Obama dragged his heels on the direct intervention advocated by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Obama eventually went in halfway, bending to political pressure by agreeing to train and arm so-called “moderates” who ended up fighting next to Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front and other jihadists in Ahrar al-Sham.

Trump has been inarticulate and imprecise in describing what policies he would follow in Syria, besides suggesting that he would cooperate with the Russians in destroying Islamic State. But Trump didn’t seem to understand the role of Al Qaeda in controlling east Aleppo and other Syrian territory.

Uncharted Territory

So, the American voters have plunged the United States and the world into uncharted territory behind a President-elect who lacks a depth of knowledge on a wide variety of issues. Who will guide a President Trump becomes the most pressing issue today.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaking with supporters at a campaign rally at Carl Hayden High School in Phoenix, Arizona. March 21, 2016. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaking with supporters at a campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona. March 21, 2016. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

Will he rely on traditional Republicans who have done so much to mess up the country and the world or will he find some fresh-thinking realists who will realign policy with core American interests and values.

For this dangerous and uncertain moment, the Democratic Party establishment deserves a large share of the blame. Despite signs that 2016 would be a year for an anti-Establishment candidate – possibly someone like Sen. Elizabeth Warren or Sen. Bernie Sanders – the Democratic leadership decided that it was “Hillary’s turn.”

Alternatives like Warren were discouraged from running so there could be a Clinton “coronation.” That left the 74-year-old socialist from Vermont as the only obstacle to Clinton’s nomination and it turned out that Sanders was a formidable challenger. But his candidacy was ultimately blocked by Democratic insiders, including the unelected “super-delegates” who gave Clinton an early and seemingly insurmountable lead.

With blinders firmly in place, the Democrats yoked themselves to Clinton’s gilded carriage and tried to pull it all the way to the White House. But they ignored the fact that many Americans came to see Clinton as the personification of all that is wrong about the insular and corrupt world of Official Washington. And that has given us President-elect Trump.

Posted in USAComments Off on Why Trump Won; Why Clinton Lost

Trump’s Election: ‘We May Have Just Dodged the Bullet on WWIII’

NOVANEWS
Sputnik 

monteiro-2On Tuesday, voters in the US went to the polls to choose their next president, electing Republican Donald Trump. Speaking to Sputnik, Professor Tony Monteiro, peace activist and scholar at the department of African American Studies at Temple University, suggested that Trump’s election may have just saved the world from World War Three.

Calling Tuesday’s vote a “political insurrection,” Monteiro said that he was frankly surprised by “the depth and magnitude” of the popular revolt.

“I felt it was possible, [but] didn’t believe it was probable, given that the Clinton campaign had all of the resources…”

“It’s a situation where the pundits and the political experts had predicted based upon an old paradigm of viewing elections. And what we had is a new paradigm – a paradigm grounded in rage, anger and class resentment against an elite which never repaired the profound damage done to the American working people and the middle classes as a consequence of the Great Recession of 2007 and 2009.”

The academic explained that he frankly “just had no idea at how deep this was. And we saw it – it was a sweep. In fact, Donald Trump did to Hillary Clinton what the experts were saying she would do to him. It’s quite unbelievable – it’s a historic outcome. I think finally, that temporarily, the world has dodged the bullet of World War.”

“If Clinton had won, we would be on a fast track to war with Russia, either in the Baltics, Ukraine or in Syria. She made that perfectly clear.”

Trump, meanwhile, “had over the course of this election cycle said the very opposite. Many people thought that by coming out against war with Russia, he had disqualified himself. In fact he went so far as to attack the generals and those who are running foreign policy.”

Ultimately, the expert stressed that more than anything, this election was “a serious rebuke to the corporate media, who were all against Trump and for Hillary Clinton. Now in saying all of this… I don’t think Trump is a pure vessel… However, what is significant, and what we have to pay close attention to, is not Trump the individual, but that movement that made it possible for him to win the election.”

Monteiro suggested that consciously or not, this movement was animated by their class interest – based on popular anger over stagnant wages, and at the same time, trillions of dollars in offshore banks held by oligarchs, the transnational corporations and hedge funds.

“You’ve got all of these young people who are graduating from university, with tremendous debt, with no jobs that pay them enough to pay off their debt. And then of course Trump made a kind of heavy-handed and awkward appeal to the Black community – but there was some truth to it! When he said that the political forces that the Black community has aligned with has done very, very little for them. And he said to Black people ‘you have nothing to lose’. I think that in the Rust Belt, the former industrial mid-west, more Black people voted for Trump than we are aware of at this time.”

Taking office, Trump faces political, class and racial divisions of an almost unprecedented scale. “The nation is divided; it has not been this divided since the civil war in the 1860s.”

The difference this time, according to the analyst, “is that the divisions are not so much sectional, but are more economic and social class-[based].”

“Can he unite the country around a program of rebuilding the nation economically, and a policy of peace abroad? I’m not yet certain,” Monteiro stressed. But he was encouraged by Trump’s acceptance speech, where “he said that he was for cooperation with nations and finding common ground. I felt that the paramount issue in this election was the question of war and peace, even though it was not the major issue discussed in the corporate media. It was the paramount issue, because I am of the opinion that had Hillary Clinton won, she was going to fast-track belligerency and even war with Russia, and that could have spun out of control into a thermonuclear war.”

Posted in USAComments Off on Trump’s Election: ‘We May Have Just Dodged the Bullet on WWIII’

Donald Trump’s Victory: Prospects for Russia-US Relations

NOVANEWS
Image result for Donald Trump’s Victory CARTOON
By Alex GORKA 

Opportunities should not be squandered. It is especially important at a time when the overall political relationship between Washington and Moscow has tumbled to a nadir. Donald Trump’s victory and the expected drastic changes in US foreign policy open up new prospects for the improvement of bilateral relations.

It is useless to make predictions without the new president announcing who his foreign policy advisers will be. But it is possible to define in general terms what could and should be done to change the tide.

With arms control and non-proliferation in doldrums, the tensions over Ukraine, the standoff between Russia and NATO and the failure to cooperate efficiently in Syria, the mission seems to be more of a tall order, but it would be a great mistake to waste time.

The next president needs to accept that Moscow cannot simply be defeated or contained but it can be engaged through a comprehensive balance of cooperation and competition. Mr. Trump is savvy when it comes to the economy but in order to tackle the relationship with Russia he’ll have to go outside of his comfort zone as the divisions are mainly related to security issues. However, his business experience resulting in a pragmatic and business-like approach to foreign policy issues may be just exactly what is required to mark a new page in the Russia-US relationship.

Steps to prevent backsliding on nuclear disarmament must be taken during the Donald Trump’s tenure. This is a key issue to shape the global nuclear security landscape. Setting aside the existing differences over other issues to take the bull by the horn and achieve progress on strategic nuclear arms control regime is the only way to go about it.

The problem is aggravated by the fact that Russia and the US have not had meaningful negotiations on this issue for almost three years, much like it was in the days of the Cold War when there were no contacts to discuss it in the period from 1983 to 1985.

Currently, the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) is in force. The treaty expires in February 2021, just three years after the parties are required to complete reductions in 2018. It can be prolonged for 5 years more if the parties agree. It remains unclear whether the United States and Russia can establish a new arms control regime.

If the two leading nuclear powers slide into a nuclear arms race, it will also adversely affect China’s interests and make it adjust its own nuclear policies – quite a headache for the new US commander-in-chief.

The future of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty – a landmark Cold War-era agreement – has become a very contentious issue. Time is running out. The INF is a pillar of European security, if it is weakened or discarded, the whole system will collapse. Russia says the Mk 41 vertical launching system for SM-3 missile interceptors based in Romania (and slated for deployment in Poland in 2018) is similar to those on US Navy ships and can launch cruise missiles. This is a flagrant violation of the treaty which bans the use of such launchers. There are other problems related to the compliance with the treaty as both sides blame each other for failure to abide by its provisions. Donald Trump will have to deal with this problem on his watch. For instance, the new administration could offer transparency measures regarding the vertical launch boxes allowing to verify if they really hold interceptors, not cruise missiles.

The agenda of the president-elect includes NATO deployments in Eastern Europe to make Russia consider stationing short-range missiles near its borders that could be used in both nuclear and conventional scenarios. This development would increase Russia’s emphasis on tactical nuclear weapons (TNW), sending the Russia-NATO security relationship into a downward cycle.

The ballistic missile defense (BMD) is a threat to global stability. No progress in other areas is achievable without coming to agreements on the BMD.

To begin with, the new administration could make some steps to make sure that BMD systems do not undermine Russia’s assured second-strike capability. The interceptors could be located in geographic areas to make the interception of Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) impossible. Radars could be redeployed not to provide substantial coverage of Russia. Anyway, the problem is too acute to be shelved. Donald Trump’s administration will have to deal with it one way or another.

The parties could launch regular discussions of the overall direction of ballistic missile programs, exchange intelligence and review developments assessing the missile threats and ways to counter them. Transparency is the best confidence building measure. US forward-deployed conventional strike assets with standoff range – boost-glide systems in particular – add to the problem.

It might be sensible to discuss the implications of conventionally armed cruise missiles for the strategic nuclear balance. Hypersonic missiles are very destabilizing weapons that should be covered by appropriate agreements. Some formal limitations would enhance security and mitigate the concerns of Russia, which feels threatened and has to respond.

If the problem of US conventional first strike superiority is not addressed – no agreement of tactical nuclear weapons is possible. Introducing limits is appropriate. The final goal in each and every case should be a formal binding agreement.

Military activities and conventional forces is another burning issue the Trump administration has to grapple with. Germany has recently come up with a proposal to start talks on a new Russia-NATO arms control agreement to comprise regional caps on armaments, transparency measures, rules covering new military technology such as drones, and the ability to control arms even in disputed territories.

Russia and the US could join together to convene a conference, presumably under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe with the full involvement of all relevant states.

With all the problems in existence and the proposed ways to tackle them, Russia and the US could scope out the issues and agree on how formal negotiations should be conducted.

Exploratory arms control discussions would help establish a useful venue for dialogue on other pressing problems. The agenda could be broadened to regional conflicts, with Ukraine and Syria discussed as separate issues. Enhancing the forums, like the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the NATO-Russia Council would be a step in the right direction. Achieving tangible progress on one issue could lead to positive results in other areas.

Donald Trump has said he is ready to ally with Russia in the fight against Islamic State. It could be a good start. The post-war crisis management is a key area where both countries could be allies as they are fighting the same enemy. International cooperation is crucial for success in Syria, Iraq and Libya. Russia and the United States leading the process would become a historic milestone to benefit all.

Cooperation in the Middle East and North Africa would change the Russia-West relationship for the better.

Lifting the anti-Russian sanctions so unpopular among US allies would greatly enhance the prospects for success. «Clearly the chances of sanctions being lifted on Russia have risen substantially», Charles Robertson, Renaissance Capital’s global chief economist, said. «That would improve the investment climate for Russia».

With the sanctions lifted, the parties could apply efforts to improve economic cooperation – the weak point of bilateral relationship. Actually, economy has never been high on the Russia-US agenda. Donald Trump is an experienced businessman, he could spur the process.

The president-elect is the right person to turn the tide in the Russia-US relations because he is independently minded and not tied to Washington’s establishment. He can avoid specific bureaucratic pitfalls and keep neocons and liberal hawks from positions of power something his predecessor has failed to do. As the presidential race has showed, he can see a problem from the other side’s perspective. What if Russia deployed forces and BMD installations near the US borders? He has imagination to understand such things. Donald Trump seems to possess the needed leadership traits to stand up to pressure and do things his way. His election victory is an opportunity not to miss. Normalizing relations with Russia will be a great foreign policy success – a historic legacy to make him go down in history as a great president.

Posted in USAComments Off on Donald Trump’s Victory: Prospects for Russia-US Relations

US sends largest ammo shipment in 20yrs to Germany amid ongoing European buildup

NOVANEWS
Image result for US WAR IN EU CARTOON
RT 

The US military sent over 600 containers of ammunition to Europe, the largest single shipment in more than 20 years. The move comes just a week after the Pentagon announced the deployment of a 6,000-strong tank brigade to Eastern Europe next year.

Some 620 shipping containers packed with ammunition arrived at the northern German port of Nordenham at the end of October. There they were loaded onto trains and transported to the Miesau Army Depot for storage and distribution to other locations across Europe, the US Army said in a statement.

“This is about deterrence. We could have 1,000 tanks over here, but if we didn’t have the ammunition for them they would not have any deterrent effect,” said Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, commander of US Army Europe.

He added that German military and civilian staff have been helpful in moving the ammunition supplies to the Miesau depot, which was “only possible because our ally, Germany, allows it to happen.”

By enabling the movement of US Army ammunition and equipment through its territory, Germany is contributing to “deterrence,” Gen. Hodges said.

“We’re bringing ammunition into the theater to resupply and set the stage for the European theater for any type of exercises or potential future missions that may come about,” said Lt. Col. Brad Culligan, commander of the US Army’s 838th Transportation Battalion.

The shipment is yet another part of the massive military buildup taking place in Eastern Europe, where the US and NATO are developing military infrastructure and headquarters as well as building weapons and ammunition stockpiles to defend the region against what they describe as “Russian aggression.”

Earlier in November, the Pentagon announced deployment of two heavily-armed army units, the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team (3rd ABCT) of the Colorado-based 4th Infantry Division as well as the New York-based 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, to Europe in January 2017.

Meanwhile, Gen. Hodges said in early October that he also wants to see anti-drone weapons systems in future arms deliveries to counter Russia, according to Military.com.

Those weapons systems would include the Avenger, a Humvee equipped with eight FIM-92 Stinger missiles, as well as the German-made Gepard, a twin-33mm cannon mounted on a Leopard tank chassis.

The US Army also plans to equip the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Europe with the new version of the M1126 Stryker infantry fighting vehicle armed with a more powerful 30mm cannon in May of 2018, according to the website.

Armaments aside, the buildup is also coupled with numerous exercises taking place in the Baltic states, Poland and in the Black Sea, with the stated goal of assuring Eastern European allies of NATO’s commitment to defending them.

Russia has consistently referred to the buildup as a provocative measure which undermines European security, promising to take reciprocal steps.

Posted in USAComments Off on US sends largest ammo shipment in 20yrs to Germany amid ongoing European buildup

First Thoughts On The “Not-Hillary” Election Results. World War IIII Was Called Off…

NOVANEWS
trump

So I just woke up and found that the world has changed. World War III was called off. Trump won, Clinton conceded. His victory speech is fair and integrating.

My “not Hillary” hunch for the election was right. That is, I believe, how Trump won. No so much by gaining genuine votes but by taking them from the crappiest candidate the Democrats could send into the race. This was not a “white vote”. Trump did better with black (+5) and latino (+2) voters than Romney. Racism does not explain that. Clinton promised more wars. Those who would have to fight them on the ground rejected that position.

The people voted against corruption, against international warmongering, against attacks of the culture of their life and against Zionist and Arab potentate manipulation. In short – they voted against Hillary.

The media with their outright and widespread manipulation and one sided reporting against Trump and for Clinton lost too. People did not believe the partisan crap that fact-checked Trump on every minor issue but hardly reported on the huge, huge scandals and corruption Wikileaks revealed about the Clintons. Fact-checkers ain’t a good weapon in a culture war. The people want authenticity – lying is not seen as bad – if it is fairy open and authentic. Clinton is not authentic even when she tells the truth. The polls, but the one of the LA Times, turned out to be systematic manipulation.

The leading politicians in Europe will crap their pants. Nearly all but Putin bet heavily on Clinton. The European media were also strongly pro Clinton, even more so than in the U.S. There was zero reporting about Trump’s real political positions and support. Only tiny bits about Clinton’s corruption were revealed on the back pages. They always believe what the NYT writes is the essence of U.S. thinking. It is far from it. No one but a few east-coast party goers and the NYT cares about some 16 year old girl, who thinks she is “transsexual” and wants to use a men’s public toilet. The average people think that such craziness deserves zero attention if not a hefty kick in the ass. Pro-migration and other political correctness movements in Europe will have a difficult stand now. They can no longer work against the instincts of the people by pointing to the soothing, fake words of an Obama or Clinton.

The Democratic party failed. The outright corruption of the party heads, who pushed Sanders out to move Clinton in by manipulating the primaries, blocked the natural development that went on at the base. They even wanted Trump as a candidate because they though Clinton could easily beat him. They were totally detached from real life. I am sure that post-mortem analysis will show that many, many potential pro-democratic voters were just disgusted and stayed at home or voted for a third party. The establishment of the Republican party were no better. They failed their voters just as much by shunning Trump and working for Clinton. All the neo-cons that flocked to Clinton will now scramble to get back to Trump. They will have little chance.

But the election also created huge new dangers. People around Trump, including his vice-president, are not sane realist but fairly extreme ideologues. Trump himself isn’t. He is, in my estimate, fairly pragmatic. The Republicans also won the Senate and House. There is a danger that extreme policies will be implemented with huge and terrible long-term consequences. But remember that Obama had the same chance in his first two years of his Presidency. He never used it. From a progressive view he blew it.

Winning back the House and Senate in two years is a must for anyone with some middle-of-the-road thinking.

I believe that this result is good for Syria and the non-Jihadi and non-Zonist Middle East. Al-Qaeda in Syria will have a sad. Their main supporters leave the stage. The result is likely good for Europe including for Russia. It is bad for economic equality and other important issues in the United States and elsewhere. But would Clinton have been really better on these?

I for one feel mightily eased (with a not-so-small dose of Schadenfreude).  The U.S. voters knocked over a chessboard that brought war and misery to many people. We do not know how the new game will look, but I think there is a fair chance now that it, in total, will be somewhat less devastating for the global good.

Posted in USAComments Off on First Thoughts On The “Not-Hillary” Election Results. World War IIII Was Called Off…

Shoah’s pages

www.shoah.org.uk

KEEP SHOAH UP AND RUNNING

November 2016
M T W T F S S
« Oct   Dec »
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
282930