Monday, February 27, 2017
thesaker | In the meantime, Trump has been busy doing speeches. Which sounds pretty bad until you realize that these are good speeches, very good ones even. For one thing, he still is holding very firmly to the line that the “fake news” (which in “Trumpese” means CNN & Co. + BBC) are the enemies of the people. The other good thing that twice in a row now he has addressed himself directly to the people. Sounds like nothing, but I think that this is huge because the Neocons have now nicely boxed Trump in with advisors and aides which span from mediocre, to bad to outright evil. The firing of Flynn was a self-defeating disaster for Trump who now is more or less alone, with only one loyal ally left, Bannon. I am not sure how much Bannon can do or, for that matter, how long until the Neocons get to him too, but besides Bannon I see nobody loyal to Trump and his campaign promises. Nobody except those who put him in power of course, the millions of Americans who voted for him. And that is why Trump is doing the right thing speaking directly to them: they might well turn out to be his biggest weapon against the “DC swamp”.
Furthermore, by beating on the media, especially CNN and the rest of the main US TV channels, Trump is pushing the US public to turn to other information sources, including those sympathetic to him, primarily on the Internet. Good move – that is how he won the first time around and that is how he might win again.
The Neocons and the US ‘deep state’ have to carefully weigh the risks of continuing their vendetta against Trump. Right now, they appear to be preparing to go after Bannon. But what will they do if Trump, instead of ditching Bannon like he ditched Flynn, decides to dig in and fight with everything he has got? Then what? If there is one thing the Neocons and the deep state hate is to have a powerful light pointed directly at them. They like to play in the dark, away from an always potentially hostile public eye. If Trump decides to fight back, really fight back, and if he appeals directly to the people for support, there is no saying what could happen next.
I strongly believe that the American general public is deeply frustrated and angry. Obama’s betrayal of all his campaign promises only made these feelings worse. But when Obama had just made it to the White House I remember thinking that if he really tried to take on the War Machine and if he came to the conclusion that the ‘deep state’ was not going to let him take action or threaten him he could simply make a public appeal for help and that millions of Americans would flood the streets of Washington DC in support of “their guy” against the “bastards in DC”. Obama was a fake. But Trump might not be. What if the Three Letter Agencies or Congress suddenly tried to, say, impeach Trump and what if he decided ask for the support of the people – would millions not flood the streets of DC? I bet you that Florida alone would send more than a million. Ditto for Texas. And I don’t exactly imagine the cops going out of their way to stop them. The bottom line is this: in any confrontation between Congress and Trump most of the people will back Trump. And, if it ever came to that, and for whatever it is worth, in any confrontation between Trump-haters and Trump-supporters the latter will easily defeat the former. The “basket of deplorables” are still, thank God, the majority in this country and they have a lot more power than the various minorities who backed the Clinton gang.
There are other, less dramatic but even more likely scenarios to consider. Say Congress tries to impeach Trump and he appeals to the people and declares that the “DC swamp” is trying to sabotage the outcome of the elections and impose its will upon the American people. Governors in states like Florida or Texas, pushed by their public opinion, might simply decide not to recognize the legitimacy of what would be an attempted coup by Congress against the Executive branch of government. Now you tell me – does Congress really have the means to impose it’s will against states like Florida or Texas? I don’t mean legally, I mean practically. Let me put it this way: if the states revolt against the federal government does the latter have the means to impose its authority? Are the creation of USNORTHCOM and the statutory exceptions from the Posse Comitatus Act (which makes it possible to use the National Guard to suppress insurrections, unlawful obstructions, assemblages, or rebellions) sufficient to guarantee that the “DC swamp” can impose its will on the rest of the country? I would remind any “DC swamp” members reading these lines that the KGB special forces refused not once, but twice, to open fire against the demonstrators in Moscow (in 1991 and 1993) even though they had received a direct order by the President to do just that. Is there any reason to believe that US cops and soldiers would be more willing than the KGB special forces to massacre their own people?
Donald Trump has probably lost most of his power in Washington DC, but that does not entail that this is the case in the rest of the USA. The Neocons can feel like the big guy on the block inside the Beltway, but beyond that they are mostly in “enemy territory” controlled by the “deplorables”, something to keep in mind before triggering a major crisis.
This week I got the feeling that Trump was reaching out and directly seeking for the support to the American people. I think he get it if needed. If this is so, then the focus of his Presidency will be less on foreign affairs, were the USA will be mostly paralyzed, than on internal US politics were he still might make a difference. On Russia the Neocons have basically beat Trump – he won’t have the means to engage in any big negotiating with Vladimir Putin. But, at least, neither will he constantly be trying to make things worse. The more the US elites fight each other, the less venom they will have left for the rest of mankind. Thank God for small favors…
I can only hope that Trump will continue to appeal directly the people and try to bypass the immense machine which is currently trying to isolate him. Of course, I would much prefer that Trump take some strong and meaningful action against the deep state, but I am not holding my breath.
Tonight I spoke with a friend who knows a great deal more about Trump than I do and he told me that I have been too quick in judging Trump and that while the Flynn episode was definitely a setback, the struggle is far from over and that we are in for a very long war. I hope that my friend is right, but I will only breathe a sigh of relief if and when I see Trump hitting back and hitting hard. Only time will tell.
Her article nicely states what she said to a dumbfounded interviewer on air, this morning. Establishment democrats appear to genuinely despise Ms. Wimes truth bombs and her willingness to detonating them.
sunshinestatenews | Make no mistake about it, Keith Ellison is not the chair of the Democratic National Committee because of a combination of things.
First is the racist bigotry of a group of people who couldn't stand the thought that a Black Muslim would be leading the Democratic Party.
The Alan Dershowitzes of the Democratic Party, you know, the ones who threaten to leave, should let the doorknob hit them where the good Lord split them.
Get out. Go. Leave.
They are just as racist and bigoted as they claim Donald Trump is, yet establishment Democrats will condone their despicable behavior, and the despicable behavior of those who waged that smear campaign against Keith Ellison, all for money.
Speaking of money.
That's what drove the Clinton/Obama wing to insert into the race Tom Perez, who is nothing more than Debbie Wasserman Schultz with XY chromosomes.
Nothing will change with the DNC.
Ellison had the momentum, and the guys giving the Democrats the big bucks who also suffer from Islamophobia, had to, again, stop that at all costs.
So, like they did in Florida with Dwight Bullard and Stephen Bittel, they had to find a viable candidate to run against Ellison.
They used President Obama this time, since Podesta-stamped candidate Jaime Harrison turned out to be a big fat dud.
Let's be clear, folks.
President Obama didn't care about the DNC.
He did not give a rat's crack about the DNC.
He didn't use them in his first election, nor did he use them in his second.
He let the DNC wither on the vine. Furthermore, he left a clearly toxic Debbie Wasserman Schultz in place, after she showed she not only was losing seats across the country, but she ran a losing strategy that kept candidates away from HIM.
So this newfound love of President Obama's for the DNC isn't passing the smell test with me.
He was helping someone out all right, but it wasn't the DNC.
When 2018 rolls around and Democrats get crushed, the establishment will blame everyone and everything except its own blind greed.
Establishment Democrats have clearly gotten comfortable with losing, as long as they maintain their position and power within the rotting party.
And make no mistake, it is rotting from the head, just like a fish!
Sunday, February 26, 2017
The situation is this: PhDs in the Philippines flip hamburgers, and they are very lucky to get even that job. Ten elite families basically control 90% of the country's wealth, and the entire economy is based on sending workers(probably 20% of the population), to foreign countries, to wire money back home. (like Mexico?)
How long before economic conditions in the U.S. mirror this state of affairs?
Instead of fueling our own street violence and funding the drug cartels in Mexico and the Opium farmers in Afghanistan and the Golden Triangle (Intelligence Community Drug Dealing). Executing high-level drug dealers, manufacturers and traffickers is the only way to wage a "war on drugs". No nation has ever successfully fought drug manufacturing and importation without a death sentence for the perpetrators. (This would literally entail specifically targeted extrajudicial war against the Intelligence and Banking Communities)
Drug pushing and manufacture, like any other business, is a network. A loosely hierarchical network. If you are going to carry out what essentially amount to extra-judicial killings, then there needs to be targeted executions.
This is the major problem in developing countries, and in a place like the Philippines.
The system is so utterly disorganized, that there is a large amount of [ultimately unacceptable] collateral damage.
The number of executions in this case is extremely high, and is focused primarily on the deterrent effect of slaughtering lowest level peasant drug-addicts and pushers. If such a policy is carried out over an extended period of time, and the underlying (Manufacture/Import/Money Laundering) supply chains remain intact, then public malaise can set in - without ever damaging the root cause network underlying the problem.
This is dangerous, as the policy can in the future be rolled back, with re-distribution beginning rather quickly [the growth in demand will more than pay back for any lost earnings for the real drug-supplier networks].
So the policy must be short, sharp, and to-the-point. Head shots, and head shots only - taking out the thought and profit leadership of the supply networks.
This requires a lot of research and planning.
This latter aspect is totally missing from the Philippines scenario.
This latter aspect is totally missing from the Philippines scenario.
Hence the exorbitant body count.
Better to cut off the specific, high-level nodes on the supply and profit-chains of the network, than to blindly shoot at anything in sight, totally missing the key networks and causing a LOT of collateral damage.
Anything else is merely window dressing for low information political followers.
The low-level drug-war in the U.S. is a perfect long-term example of the exact failure to wage real war against the top-level nodes on the drug supply and profit chain.
I used to say to our audiences: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"
I, Candidate for Governor: And How I Got Licked (1935), ISBN 0-520-08198-6; repr. University of California Press, 1994, p. 109.
Low-information "Just say no" Drug Warriors refuse to process these facts.
The American Drug War has been the most intractable, anti-science exercise in all-pervading State Oppression in American history. At best, an entirely inappropriate over-reaction targeting the low-hanging fruit users and dealers; at worst, a fear-driven witch-hunt driven by superstition, corruption, and cynically partisan fascist political advantage.
Fascism is capitalism plus murder.
Presidential Agent II (1944), ISBN 1-93131-318-0
I can't help but wonder if it wouldn't be more effective and responsive for the Philippine universal health care system (yes, they have one) to simply provide the methamphetamine users with prescriptions for Dexedrine or Desoxyn, to pull them out of the street life of chasing shabu on the black market and replace it with a stable daily regimen under medical supervision.
It's entirely possible that most of the shabu users have undiagnosed ADD; it's a rarely discussed fact that the vast majority of "normal people" don't like the effects of psychostimulants, particularly when taken over a protracted period of time (except for Nazis)
Although the way it plays out in the USA, once someone has a meth conviction or rehab on their record, their physicians are strongly discouraged from prescribing amphetamines to them- because that would mean they're "using" again. So while they might have been effectively self-medicating undiagnosed ADD with an illegal stimulant (albeit without medical supervision, in a criminal environment, and very often overusing the substance while concommitantly abusing alcohol)- once they get pulled into the criminal justice system or mandated rehab, thereafter, as a rule, they're practically forbidden from ever receiving a similar substance from a physician as an ADD treatment.
Posted by CNu at 2/26/2017 08:33:00 AM
Saturday, February 25, 2017
anthraxvaccine | Vitaly Churkin, Russia's UN ambassador since 2006, died unexpectedly at age 64 in the consulate, two days ago. And while it was said initially that Churkin died of a heart attack, that is not the case, according to his autopsy.
He is the fifth Russian diplomat to die unexpectedly in 3 months. Turkish ambassador Karlov was shot at an art exhibition in December, Soviet Foreign Ministry officer Polshikov was shot in his Moscow apartment in December, Indian ambassador Kadakin died "from illness" in January, and Greek consul Malanin's death in January is unexplained.
Putin's chauffeur is the sixth politically important Russian to die recently and suspiciously.
Don't forget that on Christmas day, a Russian military jet went down over the Black Sea, killing 60 members of the Red Army choir and 33 others.
Sergei Krivov, said to be a security officer, died in the Russian consulate in NY on election day 2016 from an undisclosed cause, possibly head trauma.
The video of Putin's chauffeur crashing and dying (passenger less) looked like no ordinary wreck.
And here is another odd coincidence: none of the western mainstream media have reported this spate of Russian diplomat deaths, at least not with my Google search.
theintercept | THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE announced the first FBI terror arrest of the Trump administration on Tuesday: an elaborate sting operation that snared a 25-year-old Missouri man who had no terrorism contacts besides the two undercover FBI agents who paid him to buy hardware supplies they said was for a bomb — and who at one point pulled a knife on him and threatened his family.
Robert Lorenzo Hester of Columbia, Missouri, didn’t have the $20 he needed to buy the 9-volt batteries, duct tape, and roofing nails his new FBI friends wanted him to get, so they gave him the money. The agents noted in a criminal complaint that Hester, who at one point brought his two small children to a meeting because he didn’t have child care, continued smoking marijuana despite professing to be a devout Muslim.
One of the social media posts that initially caught the FBI’s attention referred to a group called “The Lion Guard.” Hester told one of the undercover agents the name came from “a cartoon my children watch.”
But according to the DOJ press release, Hester had plans to conduct an “ISIS-sponsored terrorist attack” on President’s Day that would have resulted in mass casualties had it succeeded.
News reports breathlessly echoed the government’s depiction of Hester as a foiled would-be terrorist. But the only contact Hester had with ISIS was with the two undercover agents who suggested to him that they had connections with the group. The agents, who were in contact with him for five months, provided him with money and rides home from work as he dealt with the personal fallout of an unrelated arrest stemming from an altercation at a local grocery store.
Hester, who had briefly enlisted in the U.S. Army before being discharged in 2013, had posted images of weapons and a flag sometimes associated with terrorist groups on a social media platform. He had also written “Burn in hell FBI” and “Brothers in AmurdiKKKa we need to get something going here all those rednecks have their little militias why shouldn’t we do the same.” In another post, he asserted that ISIS was created as part of a conspiracy by the United States and Israel.
Friday, February 24, 2017
WaPo | Stephen K. Bannon, President Trump’s reclusive chief strategist and the intellectual force behind his nationalist agenda, said Thursday that the new administration is locked in an unending battle against the media and other globalist forces to “deconstruct” an outdated system of governance.
In his first public speaking appearance since Trump took office, Bannon made his comments alongside White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus at a gathering of conservative activists. They sought to prove that they are not rivals but partners in fighting on Trump’s behalf to transform Washington and the world order.
“They’re going to continue to fight,” Bannon said of the media, which he repeatedly described as “the opposition party,” and other forces he sees as standing in the president’s way. “If you think they are giving you your country back without a fight, you are sadly mistaken.”
Atop Trump’s agenda, Bannon said, was the “deconstruction of the administrative state” — meaning a system of taxes, regulations and trade pacts that the president and his advisers believe stymie economic growth and infringe upon one’s sovereignty.
“If you look at these Cabinet nominees, they were selected for a reason, and that is deconstruction,” Bannon said. He posited that Trump’s announcement withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership was “one of the most pivotal moments in modern American history.”
NPR | A charismatic populist president in Argentina wanted to boost manufacturing and create jobs. So she told companies that if they wanted to sell their products in Argentina, they had to build them there, too.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
Ten years ago, Argentina was in a situation that may sound a bit familiar. The country had just elected a populist president, Cristina Kirchner, with big plans for their economy. Kirchner wanted to control imports and exports and bring manufacturing to Argentina, so she placed huge tariffs on items made overseas. For some products, she said, if you want to sell this in Argentina, you'll have to make it in Argentina. One of those items was the cell phone. Stacey Vanek Smith from our Planet Money podcast has the story.
STACEY VANEK SMITH, BYLINE: Cristina Kirchner's made-in-Argentina rule drove some companies away. Apple stopped selling iPhones in Argentina, but other companies played ball, including the company that made Blackberry phones.
HUGO BONOFACCINI: In Argentina, everybody was crazy for BlackBerry.
spokesman | Thomas Gibbons-Neff, a fourth-generation military man, deployed twice to Afghanistan. The second time, as a 22-year-old Marine corporal in 2010, he led an eight-man infantry team into combat. Two of his men were wounded by enemy sniper fire, and one of his best buddies later died in combat.
Now President Trump says Thomas is an enemy of the American people.
Thomas, a Pentagon correspondent for the Washington Post, was so labeled, along with everybody else in the media, by the commander in chief on Friday. “The FAKE NEWS media,” Trump tweeted, “is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!”
I asked my colleague, who went to Georgetown University on the G.I. Bill before joining the Post two years ago, how it felt to be called an enemy of the country he volunteered to serve in combat.
“It’s alarming, like a bunch of other things these days,” Thomas said. “It also feels like bait.”
And Thomas isn’t taking the bait. Like the rest of us, he’s keeping his head down and doing his job.
Trump’s Stalinist labeling of the media is his latest attempt to delegitimize the structures of civil society, following similar attacks on the courts and the intelligence community. We in the press are an easy mark because we’re already held in low esteem. In this case, the charge, using the universal language of autocrats, probably shouldn’t be dignified with a refutation: To be forced to make the case that a free press isn’t the enemy of a free people is to fight on Trump’s terms.
Thursday, February 23, 2017
theatlantic | Ben Rhodes, one of Barack Obama’s top advisers, once dismissed the American foreign-policy establishment—those ex-government officials and think-tank scholars and journalists in Washington, D.C. who advocate for a particular vision of assertive U.S. leadership in the world—as the “Blob.” Donald Trump had harsher words. As a presidential candidate, he vowed never to take advice on international affairs from “those who have perfect resumes but very little to brag about except responsibility for a long history of failed policies and continued losses at war.” Both men pointed to one of the Beltway establishment’s more glaring errors: support for the war in Iraq.
Now the Blob is fighting back. The “establishment” has been unfairly “kicked around,” said Robert Kagan, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and former official in the Reagan administration. As World War II gave way to the Cold War, President Harry Truman and his secretary of state, Dean Acheson, “invented a foreign policy and sold it successfully to the American people. That’s what containment was and that’s what the Truman Doctrine was. … That was the foreign-policy establishment.” During that period, the U.S. government also helped create a system for restoring order to a world riven by war and economic crisis. That system, which evolved over the course of the Cold War and post-Cold War period, includes an open international economy; U.S. military and diplomatic alliances in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East; and liberal rules and institutions (human rights, the United Nations, and so on).
WaPo | Security Minister Ben Wallace said in support of the bill: “We need to make the UK a hostile environment for those seeking to move, hide and use the proceeds of crime and corruption. In an increasingly competitive international marketplace, the UK simply cannot afford to be seen as a haven for dirty money.” He added, “They all have expensive properties in London and think they are untouchable.”
Not only cutting off but also exposing the flow of money outside Russia, the result of widespread graft, should be part and parcel of our countermeasures to check Russian assault (physical and otherwise) on democracies.
Beyond that, Congress should consider a financial-crimes bill that would provide tools to seize assets of Russian and other foreign plutocrats who abscond with millions upon millions of dollars, thereby contributing to the misery of the Russian people. Vladimir Putin’s friendly oligarchs do not support Putin for ideological reasons. It’s about the money — and the more effective the West can be in depriving them of the fruits of their ill-gotten gains, the better.
strategic-culture | The «deep state» is the aristocracy and its agents. Wikispooks defines it as follows:
The deep state (loosely synonymous with the shadow government or permanent government) is in contrast to the public structures which appear to be directing individual nation states. The deep state is an intensely secretive, informal, fluid network of deep politicians who conspire to amplify their influence over national governments through a variety of deep state milieux. The term «deep state» derives from the Turkish »derin devlet», which emerged after the 1996 Susurluk incident so dramatically unmasked the Turkish deep state.
Nothing that’s alleged here is denying that there are divisions within the aristocracy (or «deep state»). Nothing is alleging that the aristocracy are «monolithic.» It’s instead asserting that, to the extent the aristocracy are united around a particular objective, that given objective will likely become instituted, both legally and otherwise, by the government — and that, otherwise, it simply won’t be instituted at all. This is what the only scientific analysis that has ever been done of whether or not the U.S. is controlled by an aristocracy found definitely to be the case in the U.S.
(And, of course, that’s also the reason why this momentous study was ignored by America’s ‘news’ media, except for the first news-report on it, mine at the obscure site Common Dreams, which had 414 reader-comments within just its first four months, and then the UPI’s report on it, which, like mine, was widely distributed to the major ‘news’ media and rejected by them all — UPI’s report was published only by UPI itself, and elicited only two reader-comments there. Then came the New Yorker’s pooh-poohing the study, by alleging «the politicians all know this, and we know it, too. The only debate is about how far this process has gone, and whether we should refer to it as oligarchy or as something else.» Their propagandist ignored the researchers’ having noted, in their paper, that though their findings were extremely inconsistent with America’s being a democracy, the problem was almost certainly being understated in their findings: «The failure of theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy is all the more striking because it goes against the likely effects of the limitations of our data,» and, especially, «our ‘affluent’ proxy is admittedly imperfect,» and so, «interest groups and economic elites actually wield more policy influence than our estimates indicate.»
In fact, their «elite» had consisted not of the top 0.1% as compared to the bottom 50%, but instead of the top 10% as compared to the bottom 50%, and all empirical evidence shows that the more narrowly one defines «the aristocracy,» the more lopsidedly dominant is the ‘elite’s relative impact upon public policies. Then, a month after the press-release on their study was issued, the co-authors were so disappointed with the paltry coverage of it that had occurred in America’s ‘news’ media, so that they submitted, to the Washington Post, a reply to their study’s academic critics, «Critics argued with our analysis of U.S. political inequality. Here are 5 ways they’re wrong.» It was promptly published online-only, as obscurely as possible, so that there are also — as of the present date — only two reader-comments to that public exposure. This is typical news-suppression in America: essentially total suppression of samizdat information — not merely suppression of the officially top-secret information, such as propagandists like Ambinder focus upon. It’s deeper than the state: it is the deep state, including far more than just the official government.)
theatlantic | The recent unrest in Baltimore, Ferguson, and other cities is puzzling in one important respect. Unlike in earlier eras, when African Americans’ political exclusion drove them to protest, blacks today are as likely to vote as whites and are well represented at all levels of government. The mayor of Baltimore and a majority of its city council are black. So are forty-five members of Congress—an all-time high. And, at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue, so is the current occupant of the White House. Why all the turmoil, then, at a time when blacks—finally—seem to be enjoying the fruits of American democracy?
One answer is that the appearance of black political clout is deceiving. Despite their gains in participation and representation, blacks continue to fare worse than whites in converting their policy preferences into law. This poor performance is more revealing than statistics on turnout or black electoral success. And even though its causes remain mysterious, it is very much a rationale for frustration with the status quo.
In a recent study, I analyzed group political power at the federal and state levels. At the federal level, I relied on a remarkable database compiled by Princeton political scientist Martin Gilens. It includes responses to thousands of survey questions from the last few decades. Crucially, it also tracks whether each policy referred to by a question was adopted by the federal government over the next four years. At the state level, I measured people’s ideologies using exit polls that asked whether they are liberal, moderate, or conservative. And I assessed state laws using an index of overall policy liberalism created by another pair of scholars.
At both levels, I found that blacks hold much less sway than whites. For example, a federal policy with no white support has only a 10 percent chance of being enacted, while one with universal white support has a 60 percent shot of adoption. But while a proposal with no black support has a 40 percent chance of becoming law, one enjoying unanimous approval has only a 30 percent probability of enactment. In other words, as support for a policy rises within the black community, the odds of it being achieved actually decline.
Likewise, whether most black voters are conservative or liberal, state legislative outcomes barely budge. But vary the views of white voters to an equivalent degree, and a state’s policies go from looking like Alabama’s to resembling Michigan’s, even controlling for black and white population size.
The story is similar for several other groups. The more that women, the poor, or Hispanics support a federal policy, the less likely the policy is to be enacted. Strikingly, as women move from universal opposition to a proposal to universal support, its odds of adoption plummet from 75 percent to 10 percent. Changes in the ideology of female or poor voters also have no effect on state legislative outcomes (although shifts in the views of Hispanic voters do). In contrast, both federal and state laws are acutely sensitive to the preferences of whites, men, and the rich.
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
norberthaering | Microsoft’s Bill Gates is one of the richest and most influential people on earth. He announced in 2015 that his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was aiming at achieving full digitalization of the payment systems of India and other populous developing countries by 2018. This “financial inclusion” program for India dates back to well before Narendra Modi came to power. It was elevated to official US policy by Executive Order in 2012, because the President saw vital US security interests are at stake.
Speaking for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation at the “Financial Inclusion Forum” in Washington, organized by the Treasury Department and USAID on December 1, 2015, Bill Gates said (min 17):
“Full digitalization of the economy may happen in developing countries faster than anywhere else. It is certainly our goal to make it happen in the next three years in the large developing countries. We have very significant efforts in Nigeria, Pakistan and India, (and) a dozen other countries, where we work with the central banks to make sure that the right kind of transaction switch is available…(min 20)…We worked directly with the central bank there (India) over the last three years and they created a new type of authorization called the payments bank, and those customers will be able to use their mobile phones to perform basic financial transactions. And 11 entities applied, including all the mobile phone providers, and were granted that payment bank status.”
"Financial Inclusion" was defined by PayPal-CEO Dan Schulman in an interview during the forum as:
“Financial Inclusion is a buzz word for bringing people into the system.”
The cooperation of the Gates foundation and the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is and has been a very tight one. Nachiket Mor, a “Yale World Fellow”, is head of the Gates Foundation India. He is also a board member of the RBI, with responsibility for financial supervision. He chaired the RBI Committee on the Licensing of Payment Banks and a financial inclusion committee that the RBI convened in 2013.
+++Note: Since this text puts forward a conspiracy theory, I want to let the actors and their documents speak for themselves as much as possible. Where my own judgement and additional information figure in significantly, as in the following lines, it will be in italics and clearly marked. If you are skeptical, you may want to jump over those sections in italics in a first round, to not be unduly influenced in your interpretation of the quotes from the main actors and their documents.
If the cooperation of Gates Foundation and RBI had been ongoing already for three years in early December 2015, this implies a start in late 2012 or early 2013. This would be more than a year before Narendra Modi became Prime Minister of India. It would also have been almost two years, before Modi visited Barack Obama, told him about his plans to do something for financial inclusion and receive the happy message that the US was willing to help. It would have started three years before the partnership of USAID and the Indian Finance Ministry on financial inclusion was officially announced at that same forum and five years before the RBI and Narendra Modi performed the great and brutal experiment of starving the whole of India of cash for months. All this time, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was quietly working closely and directly with the RBI towards Gates’ declared goal of making the Indian payment system totally cashless by the end of 2018. He did so with backing and involvement of the US-government and with help of allies such as the World Economic Forum.+++
Gates' quotes stood in a context where he stressed that a government’s assistance to the poor and needy should not be delivered by the “incredibly inefficient” method of providing cash or grain to the recipient. “Digitalization helps targeting”, he said, if payments are done via mobile banking. He praised Mexico (min 18), whose Finance Minister, Luis Videgaray Caso, was present, announcing:
“We are going to use government income support programs as financial inclusion tools”,
as tools to bring everybody into the system. The idea endorsed by Gates and the financial inclusion “community” at the forum was to steer poor people into participating in the digital payment system by making it a condition for receiving any or certain forms of support.
rutherford | Here’s a truth few Americans want to acknowledge: nothing has changed (at least, not for the better) since Barack Obama passed the reins of the police state to Donald Trump.
The police state is still winning. We the people are still losing.
In fact, the American police state has continued to advance at the same costly, intrusive, privacy-sapping, Constitution-defying, relentless pace under President Trump as it did under President Obama.
Police haven’t stopped disregarding the rights of citizens. Having been given the green light to probe, poke, pinch, taser, search, seize, strip, shoot and generally manhandle anyone they see fit in almost any circumstance, all with the general blessing of the courts, America’s law enforcement officials are no longer mere servants of the people entrusted with keeping the peace. Indeed, they continue to keep the masses corralled, under control, and treated like suspects and enemies rather than citizens.
SWAT teams haven’t stopped crashing through doors and terrorizing families. Nationwide, SWAT teams continue to be employed to address an astonishingly trivial array of criminal activities or mere community nuisances including angry dogs, domestic disputes, improper paperwork filed by an orchid farmer, and misdemeanor marijuana possession. With more than 80,000 SWAT team raids carried out every year on unsuspecting Americans for relatively routine police matters and federal agencies laying claim to their own law enforcement divisions, the incidence of botched raids and related casualties continue to rise.
The Pentagon and the Department of Homeland Security haven’t stopped militarizing and federalizing local police. Police forces continue to be transformed into heavily armed extensions of the military, complete with jackboots, helmets, shields, batons, pepper-spray, stun guns, assault rifles, body armor, miniature tanks and weaponized drones. In training police to look and act like the military and use the weapons and tactics of war against American citizens, the government continues to turn the United States into a battlefield.
Schools haven’t stopped treating young people like hard-core prisoners. School districts continue to team up with law enforcement to create a “schoolhouse to jailhouse track” by imposing a “double dose” of punishment for childish infractions: suspension or expulsion from school, accompanied by an arrest by the police and a trip to juvenile court. In this way, the paradigm of abject compliance to the state continues to be taught by example in the schools, through school lockdowns where police and drug-sniffing dogs enter the classroom, and zero tolerance policies that punish all offenses equally and result in young people being expelled for childish behavior.
For-profit private prisons haven’t stopped locking up Americans and immigrants alike at taxpayer expense. States continue to outsource prison management to private corporations out to make a profit at taxpayer expense. And how do you make a profit in the prison industry? Have the legislatures pass laws that impose harsh penalties for the slightest noncompliance in order keep the prison cells full and corporate investors happy.
Censorship hasn’t stopped. First Amendment activities continue to be pummeled, punched, kicked, choked, chained and generally gagged all across the country. The reasons for such censorship vary widely from political correctness, safety concerns and bullying to national security and hate crimes but the end result remained the same: the complete eradication of what Benjamin Franklin referred to as the “principal pillar of a free government.”
The courts haven’t stopped marching in lockstep with the police state. The courts continue to be dominated by technicians and statists who are deferential to authority, whether government or business. Indeed, the Supreme Court’s decisions in recent years have most often been characterized by an abject deference to government authority, military and corporate interests. They have run the gamut from suppressing free speech activities and justifying suspicionless strip searches to warrantless home invasions and conferring constitutional rights on corporations, while denying them to citizens.
Government bureaucrats haven’t stopped turning American citizens into criminals. The average American now unknowingly commits three felonies a day, thanks to an overabundance of vague laws that render otherwise innocent activity illegal, while reinforcing the power of the police state and its corporate allies.
The surveillance state hasn’t stopped spying on Americans’ communications, transactions or movements. On any given day, whether you’re walking through a store, driving your car, checking email, or talking to friends and family on the phone, you can be sure that some government agency, whether it’s your local police, a fusion center, the National Security Agency or one of the government’s many corporate partners, is still monitoring and tracking you.
The TSA hasn’t stopped groping or ogling travelers. Under the pretext of protecting the nation’s infrastructure (roads, mass transit systems, water and power supplies, telecommunications systems and so on) against criminal or terrorist attacks, TSA task forces (comprised of federal air marshals, surface transportation security inspectors, transportation security officers, behavior detection officers and explosive detection canine teams) continue to do random security sweeps of nexuses of transportation, including ports, railway and bus stations, airports, ferries and subways, as well as political conventions, baseball games and music concerts. Sweep tactics include the use of x-ray technology, pat-downs and drug-sniffing dogs, among other things.
Congress hasn’t stopped enacting draconian laws such as the USA Patriot Act and the NDAA. These laws—which completely circumvent the rule of law and the constitutional rights of American citizens, continue to re-orient our legal landscape in such a way as to ensure that martial law, rather than the rule of law, our U.S. Constitution, becomes the map by which we navigate life in the United States.
The Department of Homeland Security hasn’t stopped being a “wasteful, growing, fear-mongering beast.” Is the DHS capable of plotting and planning to turn the national guard into a federalized, immigration police force? No doubt about it. Remember, this is the agency that is notorious for militarizing the police and SWAT teams; spying on activists, dissidents and veterans; stockpiling ammunition; distributing license plate readers; contracting to build detention camps; tracking cell-phones with Stingray devices; carrying out military drills and lockdowns in American cities; using the TSA as an advance guard; conducting virtual strip searches with full-body scanners; carrying out soft target checkpoints; directing government workers to spy on Americans; conducting widespread spying networks using fusion centers; carrying out Constitution-free border control searches; funding city-wide surveillance cameras; and utilizing drones and other spybots.
The military industrial complex hasn’t stopped profiting from endless wars abroad. America’s expanding military empire continues to bleed the country dry at a rate of more than $15 billion a month (or $20 million an hour). The Pentagon spends more on war than all 50 states combined spend on health, education, welfare, and safety. Yet what most Americans fail to recognize is that these ongoing wars have little to do with keeping the country safe and everything to do with enriching the military industrial complex at taxpayer expense.
The Deep State’s shadow government hasn’t stopped calling the shots behind the scenes. Comprised of unelected government bureaucrats, corporations, contractors, paper-pushers, and button-pushers who are actually calling the shots behind the scenes, this government within a government continues to be the real reason “we the people” have no real control over our so-called representatives. It’s every facet of a government that is no longer friendly to freedom and is working overtime to trample the Constitution underfoot and render the citizenry powerless in the face of the government’s power grabs, corruption and abusive tactics.
And the American people haven’t stopped acting like gullible sheep. In fact, many Americans have been so carried away by their blind rank-and-file partisan devotion to their respective political gods that they have lost sight of the one thing that has remained constant in recent years: our freedoms are steadily declining.
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
strategic-culture | Ironically, the connection to Watergate is more than it might appear to be. That scandal is commonly thought of as a «high point» of American journalism, in which intrepid reporters from the Washington Post dared to help bring down a Republican president for involvement in «dirty tricks» against Democrats hatched in 1972. A more nuanced account is given by author Russ Baker, in his book Family of Secrets about the Bush dynasty and the CIA. Baker provides evidence that the Washington Post was actually led by intelligence agencies to stitch up Richard Nixon whom they had come to oppose over his shady self-serving politics. Watergate and the demise of Nixon was thus less a triumph of democracy and media righteousness and more a coup by the Deep State against Nixon in which the Washington Post served as the conduit.
The nature of today’s shenanigans with Trump may be different in the precise details. But the modus operandi appears to be the same. A sitting president is out of favor with the Deep State and the latter is orchestrating a media campaign of leaks to dislodge him. Appropriately, the Washington Post is again at the forefront of the Deep State operation to thwart the president, this time Trump, as with Nixon before.
The story of Trump being a potentially treasonous pawn being manipulated by Russia is impossibly far-fetched to be credible. Trump denies it, and Moscow denies it. Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn appears indeed to have had contact with the Russian ambassador during Trump’s transition to the White House. But the content of the conversation has been blown out of all proportion by US intelligence and media to contrive the narrative that Trump is in cahoots with Moscow.
The upshot is that Trump’s avowed policy of restoring friendlier relations with Russia is being hampered at every turn. The president is being goaded into having to deny he is a Russian stooge and to prove that he is not soft on Moscow – by, for example, stating this week through his White House spokesman Sean Spicer that «Russian must hand back Crimea to Ukraine».
Evidently, the big purpose here is to direct Trump to adopt a harder line on Russia and to abandon any notion of developing cordial relations. Either he must tow the line, or he will be hounded by leaks, media speculation and Congressional probes until he is impeached. This is because the Deep State – primarily the military-industrial complex that is the permanent government of the US – is predicated on a strategic policy of adversity towards Russia and any other designated geopolitical rival.
Meanwhile, amid the raging war between the Trump White House and the US intelligence network, which includes sections of the media, Russia said this week that relations between the two countries were suffering.
Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, lamented that the turmoil in Washington was turning into a lost opportunity for the US and Russia to normalize relations and get on with bigger, far more urgent tasks of cooperation in world affairs.
And that impasse between the US and Russia, it would seem, is the whole object lesson from Trump’s war with powerful elements within his own state. Trump may have been elected president. But other darker forces in America’s power structure are intent on over-ruling him when it comes to policy on Russia. Trump’s Watergate is all about drowning out a genuine reset with Russia.
mondoweiss | Israel tried to interfere in that 2012 election, as Chris Matthews sensibly reminded his audience recently: Benjamin Netanyahu tried to help Mitt Romney beat Obama. Sheldon Adelson held a fundraiser in Jerusalem for Romney.
Netanyahu didn’t stop there. After Romney lost, Netanyahu came to Congress to tell the Congress to reject President Obama’s nuclear deal. That was an unprecedented interference of a foreign leader in our policy-making, enabled by the Israel lobby; but there were never any investigations about that. Subsequently Chuck Schumer said he was torn between a Jewish interest and the American interest, before voting against the president, and he paid no political/reputational price for it; while President Obama said that it would be an “abrogation” of his constitutional duty if he considered Israel’s interest ahead of the U.S.; for which Obama was called an anti-semite.
Throughout those negotiations, Obama could never address the fact that Israel has nukes. This lie is honored by the press, in a way that it would never honor Trump’s lies. And the manner in which Israel got nukes, including thefts from an American company with the complicity of the White House, is only investigated by peripheral figures.
The Israeli interference in our politics is the conspiracy in plain sight that no one in the media talks about because they’re too implicated themselves. The two top executives at the largest media company, Comcast, are pro-Israel; one of them, David Cohen, raised money for the Israeli army. Netanyahu’s speeches to Congress were written by Gary Ginsberg, an executive at another media company, Time Warner, but hey, that’s not an issue. Four New York Times reporters have had children serve in the Israeli army. One of them is columnist David Brooks, who says that he gets gooey-eyed when he visits Israel. He is one of several Zionists with columns at the Times. Tom Friedman justified the Iraq War because suicide bombers were going into Tel Aviv pizza parlors. (Huh?) Yesterday Martin Indyk said on National Public Radio that Jared Kushner’s strong Jewish background was an asset for his being a Middle East mediator, a job that Aaron David Miller, who also has a strong Jewish background, defined as being Israel’s lawyer. Indyk, himself a mediator, started a pro-Israel thinktank with Haim Saban, an Israeli-American who was Clinton’s biggest funder and who lately smeared Keith Ellison at a giant gathering at Brookings, which he also helps fund, as “clearly an anti-semite” and “anti-Israel;” and Jake Tapper of CNN moved on to the next question, presumably because smearing a public official in that manner is not news.
jonrappoport | —In 1947, the president of the United States, Harry Truman, decided: I’m going to create a snake and call it the CIA. Its watchword will be secrecy. It will collect secrets of our enemies and hold them secret and report the secrets to the president, who will decide what to do. Of course, the snake will remain under the president’s control. Its entire personality will be based on deception, but it will remain loyal to the president. No problem. Sure.
I’m thankful for Charles Hollander’s challenging piece on Thomas Pynchon’s novel, The Crying of Lot 49: “Pynchon, JFK and the CIA: Magic Eye Views of The Crying of Lot 49.”
Hollander offers vital reminders of the war between two parts of the Executive Branch: the presidency and the CIA.
“Implicit in Pynchon’s fiction is the view that events in recent American history have led to a virtual constitutional crisis, a challenge to the supremacy of the presidency by the intelligence community.”
“In a very short time, two presidents, a Republican and a Democrat, ran afoul of the CIA. The result amounted to a constitutional crisis, a change in our actual form of government without benefit of a duly ratified constitutional amendment. The crisis is reminiscent of that period in Roman history when the Praetorian Guard could sell the office of Emperor to the highest bidder and then, after a time, assassinate him and have a new auction. To this day, the president has never again challenged the CIA, though the agency has made its share of egregious errors. With the selection of former CIA director George H.W. Bush, the presidency and the CIA effectively merged…”
WaPo | The public outcry led the administration to reverse course and name the CIA director an NSC principal, but the White House’s inclination was clear. It has little need for intelligence professionals who, in speaking truth to power, might challenge the so-called “America First” orthodoxy that sees Russia as an ally and Australia as a punching bag. That’s why the president’s trusted White House advisers, not career professionals, reportedly have final say over what intelligence reaches his desk.
To be clear, my decision had nothing to do with politics, and I would have been proud to again work under a Republican administration open to intelligence analysis. I served with conviction under President George W. Bush, some of whose policies I also found troubling, and I took part in programs that the Obama administration criticized and ended. As intelligence professionals, we’re taught to tune out politics. The river separating CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., from Washington might as well be a political moat. But this administration has flipped that dynamic on its head: The politicians are the ones tuning out the intelligence professionals.
The CIA will continue to serve important functions — including undertaking covert action and sharing information with close allies and partners around the globe. If this administration is serious about building trust with the intelligence community, however, it will require more than rallies at CIA headquarters or press statements. What intelligence professionals want most is to know that the fruits of their labor — sometimes at the risk of life or limb — are accorded due deference in the policymaking process.