Archive | January 25th, 2018

Trump and the Federal Reserve: US Shadow Bankers About to Deepen Control of US Economy

NOVANEWS
 

What’s sometime referred to as ‘shadow bankers’ have been running the economy and drafting US domestic economic policy since Trump took office. ‘Shadow’ banks include such financial institutions as investment banks, private equity firms, hedge funds, insurance companies, finance companies, asset management companies, etc. They are outside the traditional commercial banking system (e.g. Chase, Bank of America, Wells, etc.) and virtually unregulated. Shadow banks globally now also control more investible liquid assets than do the world’s commercial banks.

It was the shadow banks–investment banks like Lehman, Bear Stearns, insurance giant AIG, GE credit and others that precipitated the 2008 financial crisis that then froze up the entire credit system and led to the 2008-09 collapse of the real, non-financial economy. None of the CEOs of the shadow bank system went to jail for their roles in the collapse. And now they are back–not only reaping record profits and asserting even greater influence over the US and global economy; but have penetrated the political institutions of control in the US and other advanced economies even more than they did pre-2008.

Shadow Bankers On the Inside

In the US, shadow bankers from Goldman Sachs, the giant investment bank, took over the drafting of US economic policy when Trump took office. (Trump himself, a commercial property speculator, is part of this shadow banker segment of the US capitalist elite). Running the US Treasury is ex-Goldman Sacher, Steve Mnuchin. On the ‘inside’ of the Trump administration is Gary Cohn, chair of Trump’s key advisory, ‘Economic Council’. Together the two are the original drafters (which was done in secret) of the recent Trump Tax cuts that will yield a $5 trillion windfall for US businesses, especially multinationals. (More on this in my forthcoming article, to be posted here subsequently).

Mnuchin is leading the charge for the Trump deregulation offensive, especially financial deregulation. Mnuchin recently took the offensive as well with public statements indicating it was US policy that US dollar exchange rates remain at record low levels. Why? To ensure US multinational corporations’ offshore profits are maximized when they convert their profits in local currencies back to the dollar, before they repatriate those profits back to the US at the new lower Trump tax rates (12% instead of 35% repatriation tax rate) and, even more lucratively, when they pay no taxes on offshore profits virtually at all starting 2019.

Goldman Sachs and the shadow banker crowd’s economic influence extends beyond the US Treasury and Economic Council. The New York Federal Reserve’s district president, Dudley, is also a former Goldman Sach employee. He announced he’ll be resigning this year. The New York Fed is the key district of the Fed responsible for US Treasury securities buying and selling. Watch for another Goldman Sacher to replace him, or some other former high level senior exec from private equity or hedge fund industry.(For my analysis of the rising global shadow banking sector and its destabilizing role, check out my 2016 book, ‘Systemic Fragility in the Global Economy‘, Clarity Press, and specifically chapter 12, ‘Structural Change in Global Financial Markets’).

Shadow Bankers Will Run the Fed

Trump and fellow shadow bankers are about to further solidify their control of US economic policy at the Fed as well. The Fed’s chair will soon be Jerome Powell. But several Fed governor positions have been vacant for some time, as is the vice-chair of the Fed. Watch for appointees from the shadow banks here as well.

Fed governors are officially supposed to serve 14 year terms. (They, along with Fed district presidents constitute the important FOMC, Federal Open Market Committee, that make day to day decisions at the Fed on matters of short term interest rate changes and such). But the Fed governors in recent decades never remain the 14 years. In fact, recently they remain around 3-4 years, if that. They leave early to take senior positions in the banking and shadow banking world. It’s a ‘revolving door’ problem.

Bankers get appointed to Fed governor and Fed district president positions, make decisions beneficial to their former banker buddies, and then leave early to return to their banker roots, with highly remunerative positions once again (often ‘do-nothing’ sinecures). As former governors they also go on the speech circuit, speaking at banker and business conferences, for which they’re paid handsomely, in the tens of thousands of dollars for a 20 minute speech. (Former Fed chairpersons, like Ben Bernanke and soon Janet Yellen get even more generous handouts, paid in the several hundreds of thousands of dollars a speech. They also get nice book contracts as they leave, with prepayments in the millions of dollars upfront, with guaranteed book purchases by corporations, and the best promotional efforts by publishers).

Trump’s appointment, and recent approval by the US House and Senate, of Jerome Powell to head the Fed is only the beginning. The vice-chair and several open Fed governor positions will enable Trump and Mnuchin to stack the deck at the Fed with their appointees. That will solidify Trump’s, and the shadow banker community’s, control of the Fed and ensure its policy direction will reflect Trump’s economic objectives of boosting business incomes, especially multinational corporations.

Central Bank Independence–But from Whom?

Mainstream economists write incessantly about the need to ensure ‘central bank independence’ (Fed) from elected government representatives. But they miss the more fundamental fact that it is the bankers themselves (especially now shadow bankers) that ultimately control the Fed. While mainstream economists talk about independence from government representatives, they ignore the deeper control (often through those representatives) of the Fed, and all central banks, by the bankers themselves.

Are Mnuchin, Cohn, Dudley and others really government ‘representatives’? Or are they shadow bankers first and foremos, who have managed to capture key positions in the government apparatus? Do the ‘revolving door’ former Fed governors act independently? Or do they decide with a keen eye on a lucrative offer from the private banks after a few years in office during which they ‘prove’ their value to the bankers? Do the Fed chairs and vice-chairs make decisions solely in the public interest at all times? Or are they perhaps too aware of the opportunity to become quick multimillionaires themselves once they leave office, recompensed nicely in various ways once they leave? And why is it that at the 12 Fed districts, the district president selection committee of 9 district board directors are almost always ‘stacked’ by 5-6 former regional bankers or banker business friendly former CEOs?

In my just published book, ‘Central Bankers at the End of Their Ropes’, Clarity Press, August 2017, I examine this ‘myth of central bank independence’ in detail, and show how central banks, including the Fed, from their very origins have always been dependent (not independent) on the private banks rather than from elected government representatives. Central banks emerged from the private banks and have always been an appendage of sorts of that private banking system. This fact is supported today more than ever by the fact that Fed and central banks’ policy since 2000, and especially since 2008, has been to ensure the subsidization of financial institutions’ profitability. It’s no longer just serving as ‘lender of last resort’ to bail out the private banks periodically when they get in trouble (which chronically occurs). Now it is permanent subsidization of the private banking system.

A Constitutional Amendment to Democratize the Fed

In the book I also propose in the addendum a constitutional amendment and enabling legislation that will sever the relationship of the central bank, the Fed, from the banking industry (and its government representatives) for good. (see the reviews and information re. the book,’Central Bankers at the End of Their Ropes‘ on this blog, my website, kyklosproductions.com, and at Amazon books. See the book’s addendum for the amendment and enabling legislation).

The trend in banker control of the Fed–and thus US economic policy–is about to deepen as Trump fills the open governor, chair, and vice-chair positions at the Fed in coming months. This will begin immediately after Jerome Powell assumes the chair position from Janet Yellen in early February 2018.

Economic Consequences of a Trump Fed

The shadow bankers, who gave us the last financial crash in 2007-09, will then be in total control–at the Treasury, in the White House, at the New York Fed, and in a majority of the Fed governorships. They will support Treasury Secretary Mnuchin’s policies–keep US rates at levels to ensure that the US dollar’s exchange rate is low versus other key world currencies. That will ensure that US multinational corporations’ profits offshore are not threatened, as they bring back those profits in 2018 at lower tax rates, and then can bring back profits thereafter without paying taxes on offshore profits at all for the next nine years.

The next financial crisis and crash is coming. It is not more than two years away, and could come sooner. The Fed will be totally unprepared and unable to lower interest rates much in response. It will then re-introduce its massive free money injections into the banking system, as it did with ‘QE’ for seven years starting with 2009. The Fed and other central banks provided ‘free money’ in the amount of at least $25 trillion to bail out the private banks over the last 9 years. How much more will they give them next time? And will it be enough to stabilize the US and world financial system? And will the Fed and US government then legitimize and legalize the private banks’ taking the savings of average depositors and converting those savings to worthless bank stocks? UK and US government preparations are already underway for that last draconian measure. For even today, when one deposits one’s money in a bank, that money legally becomes ‘owned’ by the bank.

Trump’s imminent appointments of Fed chairs, vice-chairs, and governors may prove historically to be the first step in the total capture of the US central bank by the shadow banker element in the US economy–by the Goldman Sachers, the private equity firms, the hedge fund vultures, and the commercial real estate speculator that is Trump itself.

We now have government by the bankers unlike ever before in the US. And their policies will inevitably lead to another financial crisis. Only this next time, the rest of US will be even less prepared and able to endure–given the decade of stagnant wages, new record in household debt, collapsing savings rates, greater reliance on part time/temp/gig employment, decline of pensions, loss of social benefits and safety net, higher cost of healthcare, and all the rest of the economic decline that is afflicting more than 100 million households in the US today.

Meanwhile, Trump will soon go to Davos, Switzerland, to party with the rest of the World Economic Forum’s multimillionaire-billionaire class. They will celebrate and pat themselves on the back about how well they’ve done for themselves in 2017: record profits, record stock markets’ price appreciation, record dividend payouts to wealthy shareholders, new tax laws that mean they can keep more of those profits and capital gains, continuing austerity for the rest, further destruction of unions (called ‘labor market reform’), decline and co-optation of remaining social democratic parties, etc. At Davos Trump will bask his ego and give an ‘American First’ speech, largely for public consumption to his base in the US. ‘America First’ means Trump, and his more aggressive wing of US capital, are signalling they plan to squeeze the rest of the world’s capitalists for a US larger share. So they’ll have to take even more out of their workers with austerity, wage compression, social benefits reduction, and even more ‘labor market reform’.

The Davos crowd may think they are sitting on their mountain in Switzerland, but they are really partying on the Titanic, as they steam on oblivious to what’s coming, unable to foresee the approaching economic icebergs below the surface. And as their mainstream economists, asleep on the bridge, almost in unison declare ‘steam on’, all is well and getting better.

Posted in USAComments Off on Trump and the Federal Reserve: US Shadow Bankers About to Deepen Control of US Economy

Memo Detailing Russiagate Abuses Names High-Level US Officials

NOVANEWS
 

 

A week-ago four-page memo described as explosive and shocking was released to House members – reportedly showing extensive FISA abuses.

A previous article explained it contains information about the Justice Department, the FBI and fake Trump dossier – prepared for Hillary Clinton and the DNC by former UK MI6 intelligence operativeChristopher Steele.

It makes spurious accusations without evidence, alleging misconduct and collusion between Trump, his campaign team and Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign – including phony accusations of Russian US election interference.

It reveals alleged abusive tactics by high-level US officials. According to the Daily Beast, it names “FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, along with former FBI Director James Comey.”

Many GOP lawmakers are calling for the memo’s release, spearheaded by House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes.

Undemocratic Dems want its contents suppressed. The Daily Beast said it

“learned that Hill Republicans are gearing up to use an obscure parliamentary rule to release it.”

So-called Rule X, subsection 11(g) explains a process for releasing classified material even if the president objects.

It’s rarely invoked. Now’s the time to expose Russiagate wrongdoing and hold responsible parties accountable.

According to the Daily Beast,

“(u)nder the rule, if a clash occurs between the House intelligence committee and the executive branch over keeping something secret, the president gets five days to deliver objections that cite a danger to national security posed by disclosure.”

“Should the dispute persist, the committee can vote to take the matter to the full House of Representatives to consider. The full House’s debate is to occur in secret, with a public vote determining the outcome.”

“The president, however, can simply decide on his own to declassify anything. And in Trump’s case, his spokesperson is on the record supporting declassification.”

On Tuesday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said

“(w)e certainly support full transparency. We believe that’s at the House intel committee to make that decision at this point.”

“It sounds like there are some members in the House that have some real concern about what’s in that memo and feel very strongly that the American public should be privy to see it.”

The Trump Justice Department opposes release, its top congressional liaison Stephen Boyd saying:

“(I)t would be extraordinarily reckless for the Committee to disclose such information publicly without giving the Department and the FBI the opportunity to review the memorandum and to advise the (House intelligence committee) of the risk of harm to national security and to ongoing investigations that could come from public release,” adding:

The DOJ is “unaware of any wrongdoing,” a comment smacking of coverup. It’s unclear how many GOP House members read the memo, maybe all of them by now, several expressing outrage about its contents, calling for its release.

Under the hashtag #releasethememo, GOP House member Mark Meadows tweeted:

“I read the classified memo from House Intel, outlining stunning info on the last administration’s FISA and surveillance abuses that should NEVER happen in America. The public should be able to view the same memo I did.”

Another referred to Obamagate. On Facebook, actor Clint Eastwood remarked that

“(o)ne day we will realize that the Barack Obama presidency was the biggest fraud ever perpetrated on the American people.”

He’s partly right. They’re all dirty rotten scoundrels, with attribution to the film by the same name.

Russiagate is a colossal scam. There’s plenty about Trump to criticize. Nothing suggests illegal or improper behavior between him, his campaign team and Russia. No Russian election hacking occurred.

Most #Releasethememo tweets are from ordinary Americans wanting it released, calling for accountability if evidence proves wrongdoing by government officials.

Discrediting it by undemocratic Dems and other Trump opponents by claiming Russian trolls are behind it is part of the coverup effort.

The memo is a potential bombshell.

“Hill Democrats and former FBI officials say it’s a ploy to damage public confidence in the FBI and undermine Mueller’s investigation,” the Daily Beast reported, adding:

“Republicans, meanwhile, say the memo contains massively disturbing evidence of FBI wrongdoing.”

Given public disclosure about the memo’s existence and alleged wrongdoing it details, release isn’t certain but seems likely – either in full or redacted form.

Posted in USA, RussiaComments Off on Memo Detailing Russiagate Abuses Names High-Level US Officials

Democrats Demand Facebook and Twitter Release Information on Campaign over Spying on Trump

In a letter Tuesday addressed to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, Democrats Dianne Feinstein, the vice chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, demanded that the companies hand over information on accounts spreading the hashtag #ReleaseTheMemo.

Coming just days after Twitter emailed hundreds of thousands of users warning them that they had liked, shared, or followed “Russian propaganda,” the letter is another step in the efforts by the Democratic Party, working with the major social media companies, to paint all social and political conflict in the United States as a product of Russian interference.

Schiff and Feinstein write that they are seeking the companies’ assistance “in our efforts to counter Russia’s continuing efforts to manipulate public opinion and undermine American democracy and the rule of law.”

The Democrats’ demands center around a letter authored by Republican Representative Devin Nunes, which alleges that the FBI carried out a FISA warrantless wiretap of the Trump campaign, possibly including Trump himself. While Trump has claimed that “Obama had my ‘wires tapped’ in Trump Tower,” Democrats have insisted that no such wiretap occurred.

In recent days, right-wing media figures, including the pundit Sean Hannity, and Republican members of congress have initiated a campaign to release the memo as part of the deepening factional conflict within the ruling elite over the allegation that Trump “colluded” with Russia.

“The House must immediately make public the memo prepared by the Intelligence Committee regarding the FBI and the Department of Justice,” Representative Matt Gaetz, Republican from Florida, said. “The facts contained in this memo are jaw-dropping and demand full transparency.”

Whatever the source of the #ReleaseTheMemo campaign, Twitter and Facebook users have the right to read social media messages and express their opinion without fear that their information will be turned over to the government on the absurd charge that the campaign is being orchestrated from Moscow.

In their letter, Feinstein and Schiff argue that “public reports” indicate that the #ReleaseTheMemo campaign is being promoted by “social media accounts linked to Russian influence operations.” This claim is based entirely on one source: a supposed social media monitoring service called “Hamilton 68” operated by the German Marshall Fund’s Alliance for Securing Democracy.

To call this outfit dubious is an understatement. Its public spokesman is Clint Watts, a former FBI official and Army officer who has repeatedly argued for mass censorship in violation of the First Amendment. In a Senate hearing in late October, Watts declared that media outlets, which he called sources of “rebellion,” must be “silenced” on the grounds that America is in a state of “civil war.”

In arguing that calls for the release of the memo are being put forward by Russian agents, Feinstein and Schiff state that WikiLeaks has offered a reward for anyone who leaks the memo to them. This is in keeping with their argument that the organization, which has exposed more criminal wrongdoing by the US government than all the major US newspapers combined, is a “hostile non-state intelligence service.”

The Democratic lawmakers argue that “this latest example of Russian interference is in keeping with Moscow’s concerted, covert, and continuing campaign to manipulate American public opinion and erode trust in our law enforcement and intelligence institutions,” and demand that Facebook and Twitter take action.

They demand that these companies, within a span of days, submit a report detailing “whether and how many accounts linked to Russian influence operations are involved in this campaign,” the “frequency and volume of their postings on this topic,” and “how many legitimate Twitter and Facebook account holders have been exposed to this campaign.”

If the social media companies were to comply with this request, it would entail the compilation of a list of names based on users’ private reading habits, and their statements, both public and private, entirely without a court warrant, by companies acting as agents of the US government, in violation of the US constitution’s prohibition of “general warrants” and “unreasonable searches and seizures.”

The letter by Feinstein and Schiff is the latest move in an effort by Congressional Democrats, working with the US intelligence agencies, to criminalize the freedom of expression in the name of suppressing “extremist content” aimed at “polarizing” American politics. The major social media companies have been fully complicit in this drive, turning over lists of accounts to the congressional witch-hunters and working to block the propagation of dissenting opinion on social media.

The World Socialist Web Site is working to fight this drive toward dictatorship. We urge readers to watch our webinar, Organizing Resistance to Internet Censorship,” read the open letter from the WSWS International Editorial Board, “For an international coalition to fight Internet censorship,” and contact us to take up this fight.

Posted in MediaComments Off on Democrats Demand Facebook and Twitter Release Information on Campaign over Spying on Trump

Who is Behind “Fake News”? Mainstream Media Use Fake Videos and Images

NOVANEWS
 

First published on November 24, 2016

The mainstream corporate media is desperate.

They want to suppress independent and alternative online media, which it categorizes as “fake news”.

Readers on social media are warned not to go onto certain sites. 

The intent of this initiative is to smear honest reporting and Truth in Media.

Our analysis confirms that the mainstream media are routinely involved in distorting the facts and turning realities upside down. 

They are the unspoken architects of “Fake News”.  

One area of routine distortion is the use of fake videos and images by the mainstream media. 

Four Notorious Cases of  Media Distortion

These are four examples and there are many more. The manipulation of videos and images is routine. In some cases, these manipulations are revealed by readers, independent media and social media. In most cases they go undetected. And when they are revealed, the media will say “sorry” we apologize: they will then point to technical errors. “we got the wrong video”.

What is important to emphasize is that these media distortions are invariably deliberate.

1. Coverage of CNN 2008 Riots in Tibet

Chinese Cops with khaki uniforms and Indian Style Moustaches

The video footage, which accompanied CNN’s John Vause’s report, had nothing to do with China. The police were not Chinese, but Indian cops in khaki uniforms from the Northeastern State of Himachal Pradesh, India.

Viewers were led to believe that demonstrations inside China were peaceful and that people were being arrested by Chinese cops.

Chinese Cops in Khaki Uniforms?

1′.27-1′.44″ video footage of “Chinese cops” and demonstrators including Buddhist monks. Chinese cops are shown next to Tibetan monks

Are these Chinese Cops from Gansu Province or Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, as suggested by CNN’s John Vause’s Report?

REPORT ON CHINA, MARCH 14, 2008



Alleged Chinese cops in khaki uniforms repressing Tibet demonstrators in China, CNN, March 14, 2008  1’38”, 1’40″ (images above)

Their khaki uniforms with berets seem to bear the imprint of the British colonial period.

Khaki colored uniforms were first introduced in the British cavalry in India in 1846.

Khaki means “dust” in Hindi and Persian.

Moreover, the cops with khaki uniforms and mustache do not look Chinese.

Look carefully.

They are Indian cops.

The videotape shown on March 14, 2008 by CNN is not from China (Gansu Province or Lhasa, Tibet’s Capital). The video was taken in the State of Himachal Pradesh, India. The videotape of the Tibet protest movement in India was used in the CNN report on the Tibet protest movement within China. CNN got its countries screwed up.

For the full report on Global Research click Here

2. BBC Coverage of the War on Libya, 2011

Green Square Tripoli. Libyans Celebrating “Liberation” and the Victory of Rebel forces over Gadaffi waving Indian Flags

Examine the footage: It’s not Green Square and it’s not the King Idris Flag (red, black green) of the Rebels.  

Its the Indian flag (orange, white and green) and the people at the rally are Indians.

Perhaps you did not even notice it.

And if you did notice, ”it was probably a mistake”.

Sloppy journalism at the BBC or outright Lies and Fabrications? Recognize the flags?

Indian Flag  (see right)

Libya’s Rebel Flag (King Idris)

 

Terrorists “celebrating” in Green Square

There is no celebration. It is a NATO sponsored massacre which has resulted in several thousand deaths.

But the truth cannot be shown on network television. The impacts of NATO bombings have been obfuscated.

The rebels are heralded as ”liberators”.

NATO bombing is intended to save civilian lives under The Alliance’s R2P mandate.  But the realities are otherwise: the civilian population is being terrorized by the NATO sponsored Rebels.

The images must be switched to conform to the “NATO consensus”.

Death and destruction is replaced by fabricated images of celebration and liberation.

See the full report on Global Research

3. CNN and BBC on 9/11.

The Report on the Collapse of WTC Building Seven Occurred Prior to the Collapse

Fake News regarding the Collapse of WTC Building Seven

The most grotesque lie pertains to the BBC and CNN announcement in the afternoon of September 11, that WTC Building Seven (The Solomon Building) had collapsed.

The BBC report went live at 5.00pm, 21 minutes before the actual occurrence of the collapse, indelibly pointing to foreknowledge of the collapse of WTC 7.

CNN anchor Aaron Brown announced that the building “has either collapsed or is collapsing” about an hour before the event.

See the images below: WTC Building Seven is still standing.

(See WTC7.net the hidden story of Building 7: Foreknowledge of WTC 7′s Collapse)

The Collapse of WTC Building Seven.

“CNN anchor Aaron Brown seems to struggle to make sense of what he is seeing one minute after announcing that WTC Building 7, whose erect facade is clearly visible in his view towards the Trade Center, has or is collapsing.” (see below)

4. The March 2016 Brussels Terrorist Attacks.

Belgian Media Used Video of a 2011 Moscow Airport Terrorist Attack

Brussels News media Dernière Heure at dhnet.be as well as La Libre reported on the terror attacks by providing a CC Camera Airport Surveillance Video of the terror attacks. 

The published video footage was fake as documented by a blog posting on Media Part

The video pertains to a terror attack at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport on 24 January 2011 (posted on youtube in November 2013).

The  report of DHnet.be on the Brussels airport attack used the video of the Moscow 2011 attack with the date of the Brussels attack: (22/03/2016) pasted onto the Russian video.

Below is the screenshot of DH’s report.

And the screenshot of  La Libre at http://lalibre.be,

And here is a screenshot of the January 2011 terror attack at Moscow’s Domodedova International Airport published on youtube in November 2013 followed by the full youtube video of the Moscow attack:

According to the BBC (January 24, 2011) report (which includes the video), the Moscow 2011 airport attack  resulted in 35 dead.

Screenshot of BBC Report January 2011 report

Read Complete article on Brussels Fake Videos

Concluding Remarks

The lies and fabrications of the MSM are not the result of “sloppy journalism”.

They are deliberate and are intended to mislead the public.

The mainstream media routinely uses fake images and videos in its coverage of the war on Syria.

The campaign against alternative and independent media seeks to limit freedom of expression.

Posted in MediaComments Off on Who is Behind “Fake News”? Mainstream Media Use Fake Videos and Images

US Supports Kurds in Northern Syria: Turks React. Is America at War with Turkey?

NOVANEWS

The Operation Olive Branch in northern Syria started five days ago. Five days ago the Afrin region became a possible hotbed of a full-scale conflict between the Turkish troops aided by the armed fighters of the Free Syrian Army and the US-backed Kurdish units which had been dominating the area. The operation started with shellings and airstrikes of the Turkish artillery and AF and later grew into a full-blown invasion.

According to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, one of the incentives for Ankara to invade Syria was a possible threat of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), characterized as a “terror army”, which could initiate an offensive on the territory of Turkey. Quite peculiar is that this army is armed with equipment supplied by Washington, and trained by American military instructors who still may be in the ranks of the SDF.

Recently, there emerged footages showing a downed Turkish helicopter and a damaged tank both hit with shots of US-made weapons.

Obviously, this brought to the agenda a possible direct confrontation between Ankara and Washington and urged the presidents of the two countries to exchange rather harsh statements regarding the crisis (12).

But what do Turks think about the conflict and the US involvement in Kurdish support? As there have been no large polls conducted yet on this topic, a short analysis of online activity may shed the light upon the current trends in the Turkish society.

One of the best examples are comment sections to news or articles about the operation. They contain an outstanding amount of aggressive comments addressed to the United States. For instance, these ones were written under the same news piece on the US warning to stop supplies to Kurdish units:

“Americans should do the right thing after all the mistakes they have done”

“If they want to stay alive they should stop the supplies”

“No matter how many of you there are, come, what’s needed will be done. USA, come too”

Hurriyet readers express the same point of view:


“Not Turkey nor Syria matter to the US. They only want to secure their profit in the Middle East. Fight against terrorists must continue till none of them lives”

Posts on Twitter mostly represent the same negative attitude towards Washington’s policy.

“US statements on Afrin come one after the other. As I understood, they said they would stop supporting PYD but they never will! They dress PYD militants as civilians and make it look like Turkey kills civilian population”

“Here is the two-faced US. Yesterday: – We are against the Afrin operation. Today: If PYD enters Afrin we’ll cut the support. Hey, who are you trying to fool?”

And as for Facebook, one may come across such polls like this one:


What do you think about US aiding Kurdish terrorists?

  • Washington supports terrorists all over the world!
  • Our “ally” USA is not our friend. All ties with Washington must be disrupted.
  • Such support must be stopped immediately!
  • I support [it]. PYD/PKK are not terrorists

And they are followed by angry comments:

“A terrorist state supports terrorists”

As we can see, many Turks took quite an aggressive stance towards the US because of its Kurdish project. Nonetheless, there many who criticize Erdogan for kicking off the Olive Branch military operation and threatening the lives of quite a number of young Turks.

Posted in USA, SyriaComments Off on US Supports Kurds in Northern Syria: Turks React. Is America at War with Turkey?

GOP Tax Cut Scam is A Jobs Killer. Transfers Wealth to the Super-Rich

NOVANEWS
 

The great GOP tax cut heist was never about boosting economic growth and jobs creation – entirely about transferring America’s wealth from ordinary people to corporate predators and super-rich households.

The huge windfall given corporate America is earmarked for higher executive pay and bonuses, along with greater investments in jobs killing robots and shifting work offshore to low-wage countries.

The Tax Policy Center explained corporate predators will get at least $2 trillion over the next decade – a bonanza handed them by Trump and GOP lawmakers.

Incentives in the GOP measure encourage companies to automate and eliminate jobs, not create them.

According to Professor of Economics Daron Acemoglu,

“(w)e are creating huge subsidies in our tax code for capital and encouraging employers to use machines instead of labor.”

“This is not the free market at work. We do not have a level playing field. The government clearly favors capital over labor.”

The measure’s “Full and Immediate Expensing” provision lets companies write off the cost of new assets right away, instead of depreciating them over time – an incentive to automate.

Machines are cheaper than people. They’re cost effective, don’t demand good wages and benefits, never strike, or otherwise complain about unfair treatment.

They boost productivity at the expense of jobs creation and labor rights. According to Tax Policy Center co-director William Gale,

“(t)he last 30 years of anemic wage growth (show) workers…left behind” to benefit management and bottom line performance.

Ball State University study showed nearly 87% manufacturing job losses came from an increase in automation and better technology.

PricewaterhouseCoopers estimates 38% of US jobs will be lost to automation in the next 15 years. The great GOP tax cut heist may accelerate the time frame.

AFL-CIO policy director Damon Silver said

“(w)e’ve already seen that this bill is a job killer in terms of outsourcing, and these issues of timing around tax deductions for human capital versus physical capital seem likely to make it even more of a job killer.”

Comcast, AT&T, Walmart and now Kimberly-Clark announced large job cuts, KC intending to eliminate 13% of its workforce, around 5,500 workers to be let go.

According to its chief financial officer Maria Henry, the

GOP tax cut “provides us flexibility to continue to allocate significant capital to shareholders while we also fund increased capital spending and our restructuring program over the next few years.”

Expect other companies to adopt similar policies. Verizon and ExxonMobil said the tax cut windfall is earmarked for shareholders and (jobs killing) capital investments.

JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo announced wage hikes for workers – planned well before enactment of the GOP tax cut, the lion’s share of the windfall going to shareholders, corporate executives and capital investments.

JPMorgan will allocate roughly 1.8% of the tax cut benefit to workers, similar to pay increases for the last few years. Wells Fargo’s increase is about the same, a spokesman saying the increase is unrelated to the tax cut.

Other corporations are acting much the same way. Modest worker gains are offset by much greater losses – mainly through job cuts, machines replacing people.

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A Conspiracy of Silence Assaults Privacy. “New Powers for the NSA-FBI to Spy on Americans”

NOVANEWS

Assessment and Analysis by Judge Andrew P. Napolitano

During the past three weeks, Congress passed and President Donald Trump signed into law vast new powers for the NSA and the FBI to spy on innocent Americans and selectively to pass on to law enforcement the fruits of that spying. 

Those fruits can now lawfully include all fiber-optic data transmitted to or in the United States, such as digital recordings of all landline and mobile telephone calls and copies in real time of all text messages and emails and banking, medical and legal records electronically stored or transmitted.

All this bulk surveillance had come about because the National Security Agency convinced federal judges meeting in secret that they should authorize it. Now Congress and the president have made it the law of the land.

This enactment came about notwithstanding the guarantee of the right to privacy — the right to be left alone — articulated in the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution and elsewhere. Though the surveillance expansion passed the Senate by just one vote, it apparently marks a public policy determination that the Constitution can be ignored or evaded by majority consent whenever it poses an obstacle to the government’s purposes.

The language of the Fourth Amendment is an intentional obstacle to the government in deference to human dignity and personal liberty. It reads:

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

This specific language was expressly written to prevent the bulk suspicionless surveillance that the British government had used against the colonists. British courts in London issued general warrants to British soldiers in America, authorizing them to search wherever they wished and seize whatever they found. These warrants were not based on probable cause, and they did not describe the place to be searched or the people or things to be seized.

The Colonial reaction to the British use of general warrants was to take up arms and fight the American Revolution.

Last week, Congress and the president chose to ignore our history and the human values underlying the right to privacy. Those values recognize that the individual pursuit of happiness is best actualized in an atmosphere free from the government’s prying eyes. Stated differently, the authors and ratifiers of the Fourth Amendment recognized that a person is not fully happy when being watched all the time by the government.

Yet the constitutional values and timeless lessons of history were not only rejected by Congress but also rejected in ignorance, and the ignorance was knowingly facilitated by the members of the House Intelligence Committee.

Here is the back story.

The recent behavior of the leadership of the House Intelligence Committee constitutes incompetence at best and misconduct in office at worst. The leadership sat on knowledge of NSA and FBI surveillance abuses that some committee members have characterized as “career-ending,” “jaw-dropping” and “KGB-like,” while both houses of Congress — ignorant of what their 22 House Intelligence Committee colleagues knew — voted to expand NSA and FBI surveillance authorities.

Stated differently, the 22 members of the committee knowingly kept from their 500 or so congressional colleagues incendiary information that, had it been revealed in a timely manner, would certainly have affected the outcome of the vote — particularly in the Senate, where a switch of just one vote would have prevented passage of this expansion of bulk surveillance authorization.

Why were all members of Congress but the 22 on this committee kept in the dark about NSA and FBI lawlessness? Why didn’t the committee reveal to Congress what it claims is too shocking to discuss publicly before Congress voted on surveillance expansion? Where is the outrage that this information was known to a few in the House and kept from the remainder of Congress while it ignorantly voted to assault the right to privacy?

The new law places too much power in the hands of folks who even the drafters of it have now acknowledged are inherently unworthy of this trust. I argued last week that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes was up to something when he publicly attacked the trustworthiness of the NSA and FBI folks whose secret powers he later inexplicably voted to expand. Now we know what he was talking about.

What can be done about this?

The House Intelligence Committee should publicly reveal the contents of its four-page report that summarizes the NSA and FBI abuses. If that fails, a courageous member of the committee should go to the floor of the House — as Sen. Dianne Feinstein once took the CIA torture report to the floor of the Senate — and reveal not just the four-page report but also the underlying data upon which the report is based. Members of Congress enjoy full immunity for anything said on the House or Senate floor, yet personal courage is often in short supply.

But there is a bigger picture here than House Intelligence Committee members sitting on valuable intelligence and keeping it from their colleagues. The American people are entitled to know how the government in whose hands we have reposed the Constitution for safekeeping has used and abused the powers we have given to it. The American people are also entitled to know who abused power and who knew about it and remained silent.

Does the government work for us, or do we work for the government? In theory, of course, the government works for us. In practice, it treats us as children. Why do we accept this from a government to which we have consented? Democracy dies in darkness. So does personal freedom.

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The Opioid Epidemic in America – Killing One Million Workers

NOVANEWS

The Opioid Epidemic in America – Killing One Million Workers: The Triumph of Capital

Creating a Domestic ‘Shithole’
 

Introduction

The link between capitalism and drugs reaches back to the middle of the 19th century, when the British Empire forced their surplus opium crop from their South Asian colonies into the Chinese market creating massive demand from millions of addicts. The Chinese government, which had banned the use and sale of opium, was alarmed at the growing social chaos created by mass addiction and went to war with the Western powers to halt the flood of drugs. Their defeat at the hands of the British and their Chinese drug lord allies opened China to massive exploitation and pillage for the next century. Chinese opium addicts were a tremendous obstacle to organizing national resistance. In essence, the British East India Company and its imperial protectors transformed China into the history’s largest ‘shithole’ – until an earth-shattering revolution broke the chains of addiction and degradation.

In the 21st century, a similar process of deterioration has been occurring internally in the United States. The ‘prescription opioid epidemic’ is ravaging American families, neighborhoods, communities, cities and states – shredding the entire fabric of US society, especially in rural, mining and former manufacturing ‘rust belt’ regions. Hundreds of thousands of mostly working class victims have died and millions of addicts, unable to resist the destruction of their futures, have replaced a once powerful labor force.

Official government studies estimate almost 700,000 deaths since 1999, based on the scattered and incomplete coroner reports and death certificates that characterize the state of vital statistics in the US. There is no uniformity in data collection and no interest in developing a uniform national system on which to formulate social policies. Most likely additional hundreds of thousands of drug deaths have gone un-recorded or attributed to ‘pre-existing’ medical conditions, suicides and accidents – despite clear evidence of over-prescription of narcotics and sedatives in the victims.

The US opioid epidemic accounts in large part for the ‘declining numbers of workforce participants among prime age workers’ according to Senate testimony by Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen, an Obama appointee. An estimated 15% of US construction workers suffer from substance abuse. The escalating costs of ‘Suboxone’ and other forms of narcotic addiction treatment threaten to bankrupt the health plans of several building unions. Shortages of qualified American skilled building trade workers further allow employers to push for more immigrant labor to fill the gap.

For over 2 decades the escalating numbers of opioid overdose deaths were ignored by both political parties, as well as by writers and academics of the left and right. Doctors and hospital administrators were either actively complicit or in denial. But more important the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) continued to approve manufacture, marketing and prescribing of highly addictive narcotics and sedatives to tens of millions of American patients earning the pharmaceutical industry scores of billions in profits despite the devastation. Between 1999-2014 pharmaceutical manufacturers were earning $10 billion dollars each year in profits from the sale and distribution of opiates.

In the following section, we will discuss the larger picture, including the powerful socio-economic and political forces that have profited from the addiction and killing of millions of Americans – past and present. This deliberate policy, with strong neo-Malthusian overtones, has decimated a sector of the US working class, rendered ‘surplus’ or redundant by political-economic decisions of the American ruling elite. In its wake, the prescription addiction crisis has turned large swathes of the former manufacturing and mining sectors of the US into what the current President Donald Trump would characterize as domestic ‘shitholes’ and populated by what his rival, Hillary Clinton, callously derided as ‘deplorables’. In terms of rapid loss of life and social stability, this population devastation mirrors the patterns seen in countries subjected to US/EU neo-liberal economic dictates or to US/EU imperial invasions.

The Addiction Power Elite

Today there is a public frenzy among government officials clamoring for hearings and legislation to address the opioid addiction crisis – with the usual solutions of more imprisonment, expensive private addiction treatment centers, volunteer ‘support groups’, self-help courses and educational ‘Just Say No’ campaigns. No policy maker has dared suggest educating the victims about the socio-economic trends and elite decisions that devastated their lives and communities and sent them onto the death spiral of addiction.

DavidAaronKesslerApr2009.jpg

Former FDA Administrator David Kessler

Recently a few leftist journalists have attacked the pharmaceutical industry, while others have cited the lack of oversight from the US-Federal Drug Administration, asking for a few tepid reforms. The former FDA Administrator David Kessler, who served under the Clinton Regime from 1990 to 1997, belatedly condemned his agency’s negligence over the mass destruction caused by unregulated prescription of powerful narcotics, which he admitted after 10 years of silence was ‘one of the biggest mistakes in the history of modern medicine’, (editorial NYT May 6, 2016).

While hundreds of thousands of Americans have been killed by opioids and hundreds more are dying every day (at least 65,000 in 2016), the US Left and the Democratic Party focus on narrow gender identity issues and cartoonish hearings over ‘Russiagate’ – Moscow ’s alleged plot to seize control of the US Presidential election. While touting her experience in health care reform, Candidate Hillary Clinton deliberately ignored the opioid addiction crisis during her campaign except to characterize its largely white lower class victims as ‘deplorables’ – ignorant racists and buffoons – whom she implied deserved their misery and shortened lives.

The ‘drug epidemic’ in the US is all about the current structure of power and social relations in an increasingly oligarchic state amidst growing class inequalities and immiseration. At its roots, American capitalism in the 21st Century has degraded, impoverished and exploited US workers and employees with increasing intensity over the past two decades. Workers have lost almost all collective influence in the workplace and in politics. Working conditions and safety have deteriorated – while capitalists hire and fire at will. Salaries, pensions, health care and death benefits have been slashed or disappeared.

The deterioration of working conditions is accompanied by a marked decline in social conditions: family, neighborhood and community life has been torn asunder. Anxiety and insecurity are rampant among workers and employees. In real terms, life expectancy in the affected areas has dropped. Youth and worker suicides are skyrocketing. Maternal and child mortality are up. American youth are 70% more likely to die before adulthood than their counterparts in other rich countries. In 2016, death rates for millennials (ages 25-34) rose to 129/100,000, with 35/100,000 deaths due to narcotic overdose. The carnage surpasses the height of the US AIDS epidemic in the 1980’s. Rural and small town child protective services are well beyond the breaking point with the neglected and orphaned children of addicts. Neonatal intensive care units are overwhelmed by the number of infants born into life threatening acute opiate withdrawal crises due to their mothers’ addiction. Despite this grim picture, taxes for the rich are being slashed and public services decimated.

Meanwhile, the income gap between the working class and the oligarchs has widened and a sharp class-defined health care and educational apartheid has emerged. Children of the upper 20% have exclusive, privileged access to elite universities based on family and ethnic ties. Elite families, who have no need for ‘health insurance’ have access to the most thorough and advanced medical services in the world. No physician would dream of irresponsibly prescribing narcotics to a family member of an oligarch.

These inequalities are deeply entrenched: Working people in the areas affected by the opioid epidemic receive only cursory and inadequate, if not incompetent, care from physician assistants and over-burdened nurses. They are subjected to long waits in deteriorating emergency rooms and rarely see a physician. Virtually none have regular family physicians. If they are injured or suffer from pain, they are prescribed long courses and large amounts of narcotic pain killers – opioids, instead of the safer, but more expensive physical therapy and non-addictive medications. This has occurred with the approval of the FDA. Even rural high school students with sports injuries would receive narcotics, despite the well-known increased susceptibility to addiction among youth. Politically powerful ‘pain lobbies’, funded by the giant pharmaceutical corporation, have pushed this trend for over two decades creating huge profits for the billionaire pharmaceutical executives.

The opioid killing fields of America have their origins and logic in the convergence of several inter-related features of US capitalism. This was due to the relentless pursuit of profits for the corporations and elite, while turning the deindustrialized and agricultural parts of the country into domestic ‘Third Worlds’.

First, the capitalist class cut the production costs by limiting access to quality health care for labor to increase their profits. In the US this has led to millions of workers depending on cheap and available prescription narcotics. Employer-provided insurance companies routinely deny more costly non-narcotic treatment for injured workers and insist on prescribing cheap opioids to get the workers back on the job. Cheap opioids were tolerated by union health plans in the beginning to save money, while union bosses looked the other way as thousands of workers became addicts.

Secondly, capitalists freely fire workers who are injured at work and seek treatment, forcing workers to avoid sick leave and to rely even more on opioids, like Oxy-Contin, which ‘Big Pharma’ falsely marketed as non-addictive.

Thirdly, capitalists profit immensely from the premature deaths by overdose and related preventable causes among older workers because this lowers pension costs and health insurance payments. Wall Street has brazenly celebrated the billions of dollars of pension and health care liabilities saved by the shortened life expectancy among US workers. The drop in life expectancy and rise in premature death in the US resembles the pattern seen in Russia during the first decades after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the rampant pillage by the US-backed mafia oligarchs under Boris Yeltsin.

Fourthly, capitalists are free to hire young replacement workers (eighteen to thirty years old) as temporary labor at lower wages and without any benefits. They are subject to the insecurities of contingent employment, as part of the ‘gig economy’ (outsourcing to ‘self-employed’ workers and employees). These overstressed workers, with no future, turn to opioids to overcome physical pain and emotional stress – until they drop out as slaves to addiction. This is the main reason for the declining numbers of young workers available in the US – despite relatively high employment levels.

Fifthly, and to add a morbid insult to injury, the opioid death epidemic has been a bonanza for the tissue and organ transplant industry, where ‘materials’ harvested from young overdose victims, including bones, skin, cornea, tendons, heart valves, teeth and blood vessels are worth tens of thousands of dollars per corpse. Organs harvested from brain-dead overdose victims are valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. And harvest companies and tissue brokers hover around hospital emergency rooms like carrion birds waiting for news of new victims – often contacting next of kin before the authorities. This bizarre profiting from the completely preventable domestic deaths of US capitalism recalls Jonathan Swift’s satiric ‘Modest Proposal’ for British entrepreneurs to harvest the skin of the Irish Potato Famine victims to make commercial items, like ladies’ purses!

In sum, the structure and relations of contemporary US capitalism is the general cause and beneficiary of the opioid epidemic. The inevitable result is a rapid destruction of communities marginalized by capitalist decisions. This has benefited capital by culling the surplus, and potentially restive, population in a manner reminiscent of the British Empire during the famines in India in the previous two centuries. Social Darwinism and Neo-Malthusian rationales proliferate among the oligarchs, politicians, medical professionals and even seep into the language used by the public (‘survival of the fittest’) providing the ideological justification for the carnage.

Specific Operative Power Elites Driving the Epidemic

Multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical corporations manufacture and market narcotics and highly addictive sedatives. Their agents manipulate the medical community and lobby among the politicians for a ‘pain-free’ America.

Image result for Sacklers

The producer of the leading commercial ‘gateway’ into addiction, Oxy-Contin, is Purdue Pharmaceuticals. The company was founded and run entirely by the Sackler family under the leadership of the recently deceased Raymond Sackler and his brothers.  They started by manufacturing laxatives and ear wax, then introducing the highly addictive tranquilizer, Valium, to finally producing and pushing the most profitable prescription drug in history, Oxy-Contin in the 1990’s, during President Bill Clinton’s ‘health care reform’ administration.

The Sacklers set up an aggressive large-scale sales force to convince physicians that their product was not addictive. They paid physician-researchers to publish fraudulent data on the safety of Oxy-Contin. These experts-for- hire in the burgeoning pain industry received huge fees to peddle Sackler’s products. They peddled the notion of American patients enjoying a completely ‘pain free’ existence – touting the value of the highly subjective ‘pain scale’ as the fifth vital sign in the assessment of all patients. The ‘pain scale’ never caught on in other wealthy countries, where objective assessment remained the primary basis for diagnosis and therapy. Interestingly, the ‘pain scale’ has been less frequently used with African American and Hispanic patients, due largely to an inherent racism in US medicine that views minorities as potential addicts and unreliable with prescribed narcotics. As a result, African American and Hispanic patients were largely spared the prescription narcotic addiction epidemic – where over 95% of overdose deaths were white, mostly working class. It was also evident that African American patients presenting to emergency rooms in severe pain receive far less care than their white compatriots – even when their pain is a symptom of a serious life-threatening medical or surgical emergency.

The Sackler family’s net worth rose to over $14 billion dollars, according the Forbes billionaires listing, while Purdue Pharmaceuticals reaped over $35 billion dollars in profit from Oxy-Contin.

Meanwhile scores of thousands of prescription addicts died each year and millions sunk into addiction, ill health and degradation, dragging their communities with them.

Following Sackler’s example, other pharma billionaires joined in. Opioid pain medication was so cheap to produce and had created its own ever-expanding demand as teenagers raided grandmother’s medicine cabinet in search of narcotics and poor workers lined up at ‘pill mills’. Oxy-Contin and its siblings produced the highest profit margin in pharmaceutical history – far exceeding the so-called block-buster drugs.

Image result for Oxy-Contin

The totally preventable and predictable devastation eventually led to Purdue Pharmaceuticals being fined $634.5 million dollars in 2007 for fraudulently covering up the addiction and overdose potential of Oxy-Contin. The political influence of the Sackler family protected their members from any accusation of misconduct or criminal conspiracy. Their influence in elite political and judicial circles was unparalleled.

Oxy-Contin and other addictive drugs are still being mass produced, massively prescribed and are contributing to the death of over 65,000 workers each year. In response to the recent crack-down on prescriptions of narcotics, millions of addicts have transitioned to cheap street heroin and the dangerously potent illegal fentanyl to feed their craving. Physicians provided the gateway to a life of street addiction, violence and eventually death – while authorities throughout the United States deliberately looked away.

The second operative power elite are the medical professionals who prescribed the drugs in an irresponsible and callous manner to millions of American over the past 2-3 decades. They too have been largely spared by the political and judicial system and even remain the ‘pillars’ of local communities ravaged by drug addiction.

For two thousand years, a guiding moral and professional principle in medicine had been to ‘first do no harm’ in the course of treating a patient. There has been a huge difference in the way working class and elite patients are treated in the US . Thousands of physicians and other medical professionals ignored the obvious addiction and deaths among their lower and middle class patients and succumbed to bribes and greed to promote opioids. Millions of patients and their family members have been betrayed by this grotesque failure to address the addiction crisis. The economic changes in medicine pressured many doctors in corporate medicine to rush patients in and out of their offices with only cursory examinations and prescriptions for multiple narcotics and sedatives. Physicians allowed the for-profit goals of their corporate employers to dictate how they served their patients – thereby betraying the sacred trust. Many physicians relied on poorly supervised and over-worked physician assistants and nurse practitioners to diagnose and treat patients – already addicted to narcotics. It is easier and cheaper to write a prescription than to thoroughly examine and properly treat a low income patient. All accepted the corporate and capitalist ideology that the addicts were the regrettable victims of their own inherent moral or genetic degeneracy.

The chain of causation went from systemic capitalist profiteering to billionaire pharmaceutical corporations to hospital enterprises to doctors and their poorly supervised staff.

The principal political accomplice of death by addiction is the federal government and elected representatives who accepted scores of millions of dollars in ‘donations’ from the pharmaceutical lobby.

The President and Congress, Democrats and Republicans ignored the epidemic because they were bought off by their campaign donor-owners at ‘Big Pharma’, the term used to describe the powerful pharmaceutical industry and its lobby. Over the past twenty years, the political elite received many millions of dollars in campaign funds from Big Pharma lobbies – including politicians from states ravaged by prescription narcotics.

The Federal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) allowed the overuse and distribution of narcotics and then ignored the terrible consequences for over 20 years. One cannot imagine US veterinarians and their regulators noting the drug deaths of 3,000 family pets without quickly identifying and correcting the situation, while the FDA, DEA and US elite ‘ignored’ the deaths of hundreds of thousands of poor and working class Americans.

Finally, after two decades, local politicians and state attorneys general saw a new potential source of revenue with lawsuits against the offending drug companies and major distributors. Some senators have sponsored hearings but no decisive action has been taken over the carnage among the poor civilian population. In 2010, the Pentagon and Senate Armed Services committee held hearings on the huge increase in prescription drug abuse overdose deaths among US military personnel and have taken some effective measures to address the issue. At that time, US senators in the hearings warned jokingly about the perils of upsetting ‘Big Pharma’. Clearly, unlike the generals who need healthy soldiers, US capitalist and politicians have had no interest in protecting working class citizens – given the overall profits their addiction and deaths bring to the elite.

Conclusion: What is to be Done?

The prescription narcotic and subsequent illegal narcotic addiction epidemic has become a million-person killing field – sowing havoc in the poor and marginalized, de-industrialized working class communities of the US. However the victims and their executioners, all have a name and location within the capitalist system. The logic and the consequences are clear.

Most victims are working class, poor and lower middle class, and overwhelmingly white: the low paid, young and old, the insecure and under employed, and especially those without adequate or competent health care.

Over 5 million are afflicted by prescription drug abuse or at least started on the road to addiction via prescription narcotics. This is a truly American Holocaust leaving multi-million family survivors. Scores of thousands of children are living with elderly relatives or swept up into foster homes and the over-burdened child welfare system.

The executioners and their accomplices have become rich, elite college-educated patrons of the most sophisticated arts and sciences. They receive the best health care services in the world; rely on docile but highly educated servants, nannies and cooks – many of whom are immigrant. Most of all, they enjoy immunity from public censor and prosecution. They are the politically well connected, perfectly dressed, manicured, be-knighted dealers of death and despair.

The addiction crisis is a part of the class war waged by the upper class against the middle and lower classes of this country. The real, if not stated, consequence of their trade has been to cull the population rendered superfluous by elite economic and political decisions and to destroy the capacity of millions of their victims, family members, neighbors and friends to understand, organize, unify and fight back against the onslaught for their own class interests. Here is where we find a basis to approach a solution.

There are historical precedents for the successful elimination of drug lords, both elite and criminal and for bringing addicts back to productive social life.

We begin with the case of China : After a century of British-imposed opium addiction, the Chinese revolution of 1949 took charge in arresting, prosecuting and executing the war-lord opium “entrepreneurs”. Millions of addicts were rehabilitated and returned to their communities, joining the workforce to build a new society.

Likewise, the 1959 Cuban revolution smashed the drug dens and brothels run by brutal Cuban gangster oligarchs and death squad-leaders, together with American mafia bosses, like Meyer Lansky. These thugs and parasites were forced to flee to Miami, Palermo and Tel Aviv.

The first step in an effective class-conscious drug war in the US would require the organization of mass movements, dedicated anti-drug lawyers, physicians, medical personnel and community organizers, as well as brave well-integrated educators and community leaders. A truly involved national Center for Disease Control, not a mouthpiece for the corporate elite, would be re-organized to collect quality national data on the scope and nature of the problem and provide further bases for reversing the trends of decreased life expectancy, increase child and maternal mortality and epidemic preventable-premature deaths among workers.

The second step would involve taking control of the prescription of narcotics limited to the narrow indications recognized in other industrialized countries (intractable cancer pain or short term post-operative pain management) and developing a national data base to track the prescription practice of physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants and others. Those unwilling to reform their practice would face arrest and severe prosecution. Heath care would be patient centered, not profit oriented and the dictum ‘Primum non nocere’ would replace callous Social-Darwinism and greed in medical practice.

The manufacturers and distributors, as well as the lobbyists and merchants of deadly opioids, would be forced to pay for the devastation and face prosecution.

The process of restoring viability to drug-ravaged domestic ‘shit-holes’ created by the US capitalist elite finally would require attacking and transforming the economic roots of the addiction crisis. It would require replacing a system that sows pain and suffering among the workers with one where the workers and their communities finally take control of their lives. Professionals and intellectuals, rather than viewing the victims from the point of view of the elite decision-makers, will have to fully integrate their interests with those of the masses.

Successful local struggles can build the political power base that transforms ‘studies’ and ‘critiques’ to direct action and electoral changes.

Outlawing this revolting source of profit and scourge of thousands of communities can weaken the power of the billionaire drug dealers and their political allies.

Millions of lives are at stake, they have their survival to win. Understanding the root of this class centered affliction and mobilizing to reverse this trend can have major consequences benefiting the widely dispersed imperial and capital induced shit-holes of the world!

—————————–

“Genocide by Prescription”: Drug Induced Death in America
Pharmaceutical Firm Makes Billions by Fueling Opioid Crisis
Drug Deaths Drive Down US Life Expectancy for Second Year
America’s Drug Industry Has Fueled the Opioid Crisis
A Conspiracy Theory that became a “Conspiracy Fact”: The CIA, Afghanistan’s Poppy Fields and America’s Growing Heroin Epidemic
Trump’s Abolition Of ObamaCare Will Kill An Estimated 43,000 Americans Over 2 Trump Terms

 

 

 

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The Dangerous Erosion of the US’ Global Leadership

NOVANEWS

Only one year after Trump was inaugurated, the US has already suffered an alarming setback to its global leadership role and badly damaged its image. In short order, Trump managed to bewilder our friends and allies, intensify the enmity between us and our foes, and evoke fear, concerns, and unpredictability to the dismay of the international community. I cannot imagine how much further America’s reputation will decline as an increasing number of countries, including our allies, have resigned themselves to the lack of American leadership under Trump’s watch, which will have major adverse repercussions on our national interest and influence the world over.

Trump’s ‘America First’ notion, abandonment of our soft power, and reckless utterances have deeply troubled countries with strong ties to the US, enraged those who have been maligned by his reprehensible rhetoric, and delighted our adversaries, while leaving America increasingly isolated.

On the issue of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and anti-ballistic missiles, instead of engaging Pyongyang in quiet diplomacy to resolve the conflict, he resorted to bellicose rhetoric and threats that only heightened tensions and brought the US and North Korea ever closer to the unthinkable—nuclear war.

On the Iran deal, rather than trying to peacefully negotiate any changes, especially to the sunset provisions, Trump decertified the deal and threatened to resume old and impose new sanctions, which would torpedo it completely. He demanded that Congress modify the deal, even though the other five signatories to the accord vehemently reject any tampering of the deal because of Iran’s continued full adherence. Tehran rejects any changes, and threatened to withdraw from the deal and resume its nuclear program, which could lead to the proliferation of nuclear weapons and subject the region’s inhabitants to living in the shadows of nuclear conflagration.

On immigration, Trump’s racist attitude toward Muslims and people of color has severely undermined America’s unique image as a country of immigrants, which made America great in the first place. His reference to Africa, Haiti, and El Salvador as “shithole” countries provoked unprecedented international outrage.

Scores of American Ambassadors around the world were summoned to explain the inexplicable, which the Ambassadors themselves could not fathom. Why would a sitting US president utter such filth, in the White House no less? Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney put it succinctly when he said:

“What he [Trump] communicated caused racists to rejoice, minorities to weep, and the vast heart of America to mourn.”

As to international treaties and accords, Trump has completely disregarded our commitment to live up to such agreements. He insists on renegotiating the terms of NAFTA, and effectively withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (connecting the Americas with Asia and Australia). He pulled the US out of the Paris Climate Accord and withdrew from the United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), accusing it of having anti-Israel biases.

As a result, he acutely damaged America’s credibility, making many countries wary of entering into bilateral agreements with the US, as they can no longer trust his administration to live up to its commitments. This leaves a wide opening for our adversaries to fill the vacuum he created.

Trump has further shocked all democracies around the world with his incessant assault on the press. Though a few of his predecessors have occasionally ostracized the press, none has mounted such vile criticism. He accuses all media outlets (except for FOX News) of being the enemy of the people, claiming they are biased and spreading ‘Fake News’ to purposefully malign him and deride his policy initiatives.

Sadly, whereas America was seen as the beacon of freedom and democracy to be emulated, Trump is consciously undermining one of our central constitutional pillars—the free press—to the utter consternation of democracies around the world.

On the question of the US’ reliability, many countries who depend on America for their national security are worried about Trump’s real commitment to safeguarding their security. His criticism of NATO, which is the core of West European security, and his appeasement of Russia, which is viewed as the West’s staunchest enemy, raises questions as to where he would stand if they were threatened.

This concern is being expressed by our allies in the Middle East and Europe, which is further diminishing America’s role. Germany’s Chancellor Merkel expressed her misgivings, stating that:

“The times when we could fully rely on others have passed us by a bit… we Europeans must really take our destiny into our own hands… We have to know that we must fight for our future on our own, for our destiny as Europeans.”

The fact that Trump lies as often as he breathes deeply troubles countries around the world because they can no longer take his word for granted on issues of major importance to them.

Trump seems to be totally oblivious to the reality that without American global leadership, which spans over seven decades, the world will be even more chaotic than today. Trump has no end-strategy for Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan, nor the focus or interest in stemming the widespread, destabilizing violent conflicts and human rights abuses around the world.

It is sad that in the most recent Gallup poll ‘Rating World Leaders’, the US is ranked third, behind Germany and China (and just ahead of Russia). The damage that Trump has caused to American credibility and moral global leadership will not be readily repaired after electing a new president. It will take time and a president who is stable, politically skilled, and intellectually competent with vision and understanding of America’s pivotal role in the international arena before America’s global leadership can be restored.

The Republican party has become complicit in Trump’s mischiefs and misguided policies. It is now up to the Democrats to get their act together, regain control of the House and Senate, and shackle Trump before he causes irreparable damage to America’s global role and responsibility.

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Turkish-Kurdish War or ISIS-Daesh Civil War?

A superficial reading of “Operation Olive Branch” indicates that it’s a Turkish-Kurdish war, but the details of who’s fighting make it look a lot more like a Daesh civil war in its opening stages, and that’s exactly what both Ankara and the YPG originally intended.

The commencement of Turkey’s “Operation Olive Branch” has led to a flurry of commentary about its true motives, with critics dismissing its official “anti-terrorist” premise on the grounds that Ankara is allegedly fielding Daesh fighters under the guise of being “Free Syrian Army” (FSA) militants. There’s no doubt that some of Turkey’s proxies are abominable figures, and this has already been established years ago through investigative reporting by some prominent Alt-Media journalists, but there’s more to President Erdogan exploiting them in the present moment than the rhetorical explanation that he’s “evil”.

People have warned for some time now that the scourge of terrorism will inevitably boomerang back against its patrons, and President Assad famously quipped that “terrorism is like a scorpion, if you put it in your pocket, it will sting you”, but for as much as some observers convinced themselves that President Erdogan was arrogantly ignoring this sound advice, he was actually taking it quite seriously. Instead of letting jihadists “retire” in Turkey and expectedly stir up trouble there with time, he prudently realized that he must always keep them busy fighting against other foes before they get “too comfortable”, and thus wisely came to the conclusion that he could conveniently “kill two birds with one stone” by pitting them against his hated PKK enemies and their Syrian YPG offshoot.

Operation Olive Branch map

The same Machiavellian logic interestingly comes into play from the perspective of “Operation Olive Branch’s” Kurdish targets. Reports have come in that the YPG is releasing all Daesh prisoners in Afrin so long as they fight against their former Turkish patrons, which is believable when considering the accusations that the Syrian Kurds occasionally cut deals with Daesh in the “Race for Raqqa” and subsequent “Dash For Deir ez-Zor”. Not only that, but other sources claim that the YPG is directing its foreign (mostly Western-originating) fighters to wage war against the Turks in Afrin, which could simultaneously serve the purpose of killing some of them off and “thinning the heard” of unreliable non-state actors. This would in turn save their governments the hassle of having to monitor them when they return back home out of the fear that these majority-leftist-sympathizing “mercenaries” could turn into dangerous “Secular Wahhabi” terrorists.

The end result of this is that the Turks and Kurds are trying to rid themselves of the devilish long-term consequences of their Faustian deals with Daesh, essentially sending their one-time allies to their doom in the mountainous meat grinder of northwestern Syria in order to avoid being “stung” by their own “scorpions” first. From the cynical perspective of both primary participants in the Turkish-Kurdish war, it’s better for each of them that the opening stages of this conflict resemble a Daesh civil war than anything else at this point, but once this “bashi-bazouk” fighting force is depleted and the “real war” between the two sides begins, then the US has an interest in perpetuating it as long as possible and turning it into a 21st-century iteration of the Iran-Iraq War so as to indefinitely manipulate the Mideast balance of power to its grand strategic favor.

Posted in Syria, TurkeyComments Off on Turkish-Kurdish War or ISIS-Daesh Civil War?


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