Bulletin N° 815
“Gangs of New York”
Subject : THE TIME-TESTED TACTICS OF ‘DIVIDE AND RULE’ ARE STILL WITH US.
13 September 2018
Dear Colleagues and Friends of CEIMSA,
In his book, The Interpretation of Dreams (1899), Freud told the story of a Swiss village, where there had occurred a terrible murder. The prime suspect of this crime was the blacksmith, but there was only one blacksmith in this village, while there were seven tailors living in the community. One of the tailors was arrested, tried and found guilty of the crime; then duly executed. This, Freud argued, is the working of the Unconscious: we don’t allow our ideas to inconvenience us too much. Marx called such thinking “false consciousness,” and he originally believed that ideologies were mostly composed of such distortions in order to conceal certain inconvenient realities.
Over the past 38 years, we have lived under a Kissingeresque reconstruction of “Age of Metternich” (1815-1848), a prolonged counter-revolutionary period of imposed “Law and Order,” enforced by authoritarian economic and political policies dictated from above by the entrenched powers of the status quo; it was a system similar to the one constructed at the Congress of Vienna, when in the autumn of 1814, the heads of the five reigning dynasties and representatives from 216 noble families began gathering in Vienna along with the ministers from the “Big Four” (the Coalition allies of Britain, Austria, Prussia and Russia) to discuss the international coordination of repressive measures to be institutionalized and implemented across Europe in the wake of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars.
Congress of Vienna
Metternich alongside Wellington, Talleyrand
and other European diplomats at the Congress of Vienna
Towards the end of the 19th Century, in England the early Socialist movement was marked by turbulence, and the constabulary was frequently called to test the will of socialist leaders by attempting to suppress the freedom of socialist speech. Throughout the year of 1886, police riots were common in London and elsewhere in the United Kingdom and William Morris’s Socialist League was at the center, alongside their factional advisories, the Socialists of the S.D.F. (the Socialist Democratic Federation), led by Henry Mayers Hyndman. On February 11, 1886, the S.D.F. called for a large demonstration in Hyde Park, where the police attacked the crowd, causing many casualties. Members of the League were eager to criticize the Federation for their opportunistic adventurism, but in a letter to Reverend John Glasse of Edinburgh written on the previous day, Morris took a different view, despite his disagreements with the Federation’s opportunist and reformist orientation, he used his energies and his genius to defend their right to protest the wretched conditions they were forced to live under.
As to Monday’s riot, of course I look at it as a mistake to go in for a policy of riot, all the more as I feel pretty certain that the Socialists will one day have to fight seriously because though it is quite true that if labour could organize itself properly the enemy could not even dream of resisting, yet that organization could not possibly keep pace with the spread of discontent which will accompany the break-up of the old system . . . . Yet I do not agree with you that Monday’s affaire will hurt the movement. I think it will be of service: any opposition to law and order in the streets is of use to us, if the price of it is not too high. . . . For the rest an English mob is always brutal at any rate until it rises to heroism. Altogether taken I think we must look upon this affair as an incident of the Revolution, and so far encouraging: the shop wrecking was partly a grotesque practical joke (quite in the English manner) at the expense of the upper classes.(p.483).
For Morris, the riots represented a new stage of protest, beyond the “docility” that London workers had exhibited during the Reform demonstrations of 1866. In March, his article appeared in the SL’s periodical, the Commonwealth, where he elaborated on the ideas he had expressed in his February letter to Glasse.
What was the meaning of it? At bottom misery, illuminated by a faint glimmer of hope, raised by the magic word SOCIALISM, the only hope of these days of confusion. That was what the crowd represented, whatever other elements were mingled with it. . . .
We may be suppressed; practically at least, if not formally. . . . Of course, opinion cannot be suppressed; we shall find means of disseminating our opinions; but repressive interference with us will make those opinions a kind of mystery, a thing to conjure with. . . . Repression will attract the working-class to us. Opinion which must be suppressed is Revolutionary . . . the Socialist Party will become a political force when all these things happen.
Now I should like to say a few words with the utmost seriousness to our comrades and supporters, on the policy of the Socialist League. I have said that we have been overtaken unprepared, by a revolutionary incident, but that incident was practically aimless. This kind of thing is what many of us have dreaded from the first, and we may be sure that it will happen again and again while the industrial outlook is what it is. . . . It is above all things our business to guard against the possible consequences of these surprises. At the risk of being misunderstood by hot-heads, I say that our business is more than ever Education.
The Gospel of Discontent is in a fair way towards forcing itself on the whole of the workers; how can that discontent be used so as to bring about the New Birth of Society? That is the question we must always have before us. It is too much to hope that the whole working class can be educated in the aims of Socialism in due time, before other surprises take place. But we must hope that a strong party can be so educated. Educated in economics, in organization, and in administration. To such a body of men all the aspirations and vague opinion of the oppressed multitudes would drift, and little by little they would be educated by them, if the march of events would give us time; or if not, even half-educated they would follow them in any action which I was necessary to take.
To forge this head of the spear which is to pierce the armour of Capitalism in our business, in which we must not fail.(p.484)
E. P. Thompson goes on to summarize Morris’s thinking on this question: “In the absence of such a party, a spontaneous revolt . . . would – even if it carried a small Socialist group to power – soon succumb to the counter-revolution” :
But, indeed, it would not even come to that. History teaches us that no revolts that are without aim are successful even for a time. . . .
The educational process, therefore, the forming a rallying point for definite aims is necessary to our success; but I must guard against misunderstanding. We must be no mere debating club, or philosophical society; we must take part in all really popular movement s when we can make our own views on them unmistakably clear; that is a most important part of the education in organization.
“Education toward Revolution” seems to me to express in three words what our policy should be. . . .(pp.484-485)
The two estranged British Socialist organizations (S.D.F. and S.L.) combined never had more than 2,000 paying members and their periodicals (Justice and Commonweal, respectively) did not have 5,000 readers. (In the summer of 1886, the Socialist League claimed a membership of 600 or 700, a significant increase over the 230 figure they advertised in July 1885.) Reflecting on their minority position, Morris wrote his comrade J. Bruce Glasier of Glasgow at the end of 1886:
As a party of principle, we are not likely to number as many members as an opportunist body; but we have several solid and increasing branches here. . . . . Of course we ought to do much more, but we are suffering from the lack of energetic initiative men, who are not overburdened with work and responsibilities.(p.489)
The small body of British Socialists inside the Imperialist Juggernaut, fighting among themselves produced a self-conscious critique in some Branch affiliates to the Socialist League. One comrade from the small town of Farnham wrote to Commonweal in early 1887:
We Socialists in small towns or villages . . . feel especially the need of unity and good-feeling, [and] cannot but deplore and feel ashamed of this bad-blooded rivalry, which makes the Cause look ridiculous, and gives occasion to the common enemy to laugh in his sleeve at us. . . . It must be comic . . . to witness the complacent swagger of Justice, and the occasional mutter of the Commonweal, as of some sulky boy who has been teased by his fellows.(p.488)
Morris had no illusions about his fledgling political Party, “if I can dignify a little knot of men with such a word.”
You see we are such a few, and hard as we work we don’t seem to pick up people to take our places when we demit. All this you understand is only said about the petty skirmish of outposts, the fight of a corporal’s guard, in which I am immediately concerned: I have [no] more faith than a grain of mustard seed in the future history of ‘civilization’, which I know now is doomed to destruction, and probably before very long: what a joy it is to think of! and how often it consoles me to think of barbarism once more flooding the world, and real feelings and passions, however rudimentary, taking the place of our wretched hypocrisies. With this thought in my mind all the history of the past is lighted up and lives again to me. I used really to despair once because I thought what the idiots of our day call progress would go on perfecting itself: happily I know now that all that will have a sudden check. . . .(p.501)
of John Ball and a King's Lesson
(1888), William Morris used a medieval setting to show how a "Moderate" is not a traitor nor an evil person, but rather "a self-deceiver, a man who flatters his own conscience to hide his own cowardice. In it the whole moral degeneration of reformism is foreseen - its conplacency, its 'good intentions', its pious phrases, its blind eye to imperialism, exploitation and war." His overall disgust with such a system is palpable.(p.502)
In his book, A Dream
of John Ball and a King's Lesson
(1888), William Morris used a medieval setting to show how a "Moderate" is not a traitor nor an evil person, but rather "a self-deceiver, a man who flatters his own conscience to hide his own cowardice. In it the whole moral degeneration of reformism is foreseen - its conplacency, its 'good intentions', its pious phrases, its blind eye to imperialism, exploitation and war." His overall disgust with such a system is palpable.(p.502)
Here Morris depicts the revolutionary John Ball sitting in prison, musing upon the trajectory his life has taken:
Hadst thou kept tyy tongue between thy teeth thou mightiest have been something, if it had been but a parson of a town,
and comfortable to many a poor man; and then mightiest thou have clad here and there the naked back, and filled the empty
belly, and holpen many, and men would have spoken well of thee, and of thyself thou hadst thought well; and all this hast thou
lost for lack of a word here and there to some great man, and a little winking of the eyes amidst murder and wrong and untruth.(Ibid.)
final analysis, William Morris’s eye always returned to the
contradictions within capitalist "civilization," and his utmost concern was how
to successfully bring these contradictions to the conscious perception of the
working classe, the only group, in his estimation, that was capable of making
a Socialist Revolution, “turning the world downside-up” by withdrawing its
The 25 items below will serve to remind readers where past events have brought us in this Odyssey of capitalist development. By looking at what our ancestors have tried to do to protect themselves from the crushing effects of the private profit motive, we can only draw lessons about our own lives and determine more clearly What has to be done if an alternative system is to be constructed successfully out of the debris of the failed system that threatens our very existence. Where, we might ask, is today’s William Morris or Jean Jaurès? They both represented the triumph of socialist principles over cynical opportunism, for as long as they lived.
Professor emeritus of American Studies
Director of Research
University of Paris-Nanterre
Center for the Advanced Study of American Institutions and Social Movements
The University of California-San Diego
The U.S. Military is Winning. No, Really, It Is!
by Nick Turse
A Simple Equation Proves That the U.S. Armed Forces Have Triumphed in the War on Terror
In 2010, H.R. McMaster wasn’t the former national security advisor to you-know-who but a brigadier general and senior adviser to General David Petraeus, then commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. At that time, he came up with a striking name for America’s twenty-first-century wars in the Greater Middle East, then a mere nine years old. In a report titled, “Operating Concept, 2016-2028,” looking into the Army’s future, he dubbed them our “wars of exhaustion.” No general has been quite so grimly honest again, though three years later, in May 2013, Charlie Savage and Peter Baker of the New York Times reported that, when it came to the war on terror, “a Pentagon official suggested last week that the current conflict could continue for 10 to 20 years,” which at least sounded exhausting.
Three years later, in June 2016, Army General Joseph Votel, then head of the U.S. military’s Central Command overseeing those conflicts, spoke of Washington’s war on terror as a “protracted, protracted fight,” adding, in response to a question, “I don't know if it's a 'forever war'; define forever.” The next year, the general whom McMaster had been advising back in 2010, now retired (having also pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge for mishandling classified material), offered his own version of that phrase in reference to Afghanistan. He told the PBS NewsHour’s Judy Woodruff:
“This is a generational struggle. This is not something that is going to be won in a few years. We’re not going to take a hill, plant a flag, go home to a victory parade. And we need to be there for the long haul, but in a way that is, again, sustainable.”
Exhausting, protracted, generational, maybe even forever-ish, and without a victory parade in sight. As it happened, in 2018, the Washington Post’s Greg Jaffe reported that another descriptive phrase had come into use at the Pentagon. “These days,” he wrote, “senior officers talk about ‘infinite war.’” As Air Force General Mike Holmes explained it, “It’s not losing. It’s staying in the game... and pursuing your objectives.”
Trump Does 180 Shift On Syria: Regime Change Back On The Table
by Tyler Durden
Will the war in Syria never end? Will the international proxy war and stand-off between Russia, the United States, Iran, and Israel simply continue to drift on, fueling Syria's fires for yet more years to come? It appears so according to an exclusive Washington Post report which says that President Trump has expressed a desire for complete 180 policy shift on Syria.
Only months ago the president expressed a desire "to get out" and pull the over 2,000 publicly acknowledged American military personnel from the country; but now, the new report finds, Trump has approved "an indefinite military and diplomatic effort in Syria".
The radical departure from Trump's prior outspokenness against militarily pursuing Syrian regime change, both on the campaign trail and during his first year in the White House, reportedly involves "a new strategy for an indefinitely extended military, diplomatic and economic effort there, according to senior State Department officials".
by Moon Of Alabama
Today the United States officially announced a new policy in its war on Syria. It is an equivalent to the three step business plan (vid) of the underpants gnomes:
The new U.S. plan is to: 1. keep north-east Syria indefinitely occupied, 2. ???, 3. Iran leaves Syria and the 'regime' in Damascus falls:
President Trump, who just five months ago said he wanted “to get out” of Syria and bring U.S. troops home soon, has agreed to a new strategy that indefinitely extends the military effort there and launches a major diplomatic push to achieve American objectives, according to senior State Department officials.
Although the military campaign against the Islamic State has been nearly completed, the administration has redefined its goals to include the exit of all Iranian military and proxy forces from Syria, and establishment of a stable, nonthreatening government acceptable to all Syrians and the international community.
The first major step of the "diplomatic push" is to prevent the imminent Syrian army operation against al-Qaeda aligned groups in Idleb province:
While the United States agrees that those forces must be wiped out, it rejects “the idea that we have to go in there . . . to clean out the terrorists, most of the people fighting . . . they’re not terrorists, but people fighting a civil war against a brutal dictator,” as well as millions of civilians, [U.S. special representative for Syria James] Jeffrey said. Instead, the United States has called for a cooperative approach with other outside actors.
“We’ve started using new language,” Jeffrey said, referring to previous warnings against the use of chemical weapons. Now, he said, the United States will not tolerate “an attack. Period.”
Inside Israel’s Secret Program to Back Syrian Rebels
by Elizabeth Tsurkov
Israel secretly armed and funded at least 12 rebel groups in southern Syria that helped prevent Iran-backed fighters and militants of the Islamic State from taking up positions near the Israeli border in recent years, according to more than two dozen commanders and rank-and-file members of these groups.
The military transfers, which ended in July of this year, included assault rifles, machine guns, mortar launchers and transport vehicles. Israeli security agencies delivered the weapons through three gates connecting the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights to Syria—the same crossings Israel used to deliver humanitarian aid to residents of southern Syria suffering from years of civil war.
Israel also provided salaries to rebel fighters, paying each one about $75 a month, and supplied additional money the groups used to buy arms on the Syrian black market, according to the rebels and local journalists.
The payments, along with the service Israel was getting in return, created an expectation among the rebels that Israel would intercede if troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad tried to advance on southern Syria.
regime forces backed by Russian air power did precisely that this past summer,
Israel did not intervene, leaving the rebel groups feeling betrayed.
Report on IDF funding Syrian rebels pulled
on request of ‘army’s censor’ – Jerusalem Post to RT
Staged Gas Attacks & US Shortcomings:
US Senator Tells Sputnik About Syria Trip
US Senator Richard Black in an exclusive interview with Sputnik, revealed how the Syrian people see their president, what went wrong with the US policy in the Mideast and also expressed his admiration for the state of human rights in the country, as "Syria has the greatest women’s rights and the greatest religious freedoms of any Arab country."
Black, a Republican member of the Virginia State Senate, has recently returned from Syria, where he met with Syrian President Bashar Assad and discussed recent developments in the country.
September 11, 2018
Netherlands provides logistic support
for terrorist organization in Syria: Report
File photo of militants in Syria's Aleppo, 22 May 2013. (Photo by AFP)
The Dutch government has come under fire after a report revealed it has been providing logistic support for a Syrian “opposition” group labeled as a terrorist organization by Dutch prosecutors.
The news report, aired by the national public broadcaster, said Amsterdam had given “non-lethal assistance” (NLA) to 22 armed opposition groups, including the Jabhat al-Shamiya terrorist organization, fighting against the Syrian army.
The Dutch government has reportedly provided pick-up trucks, uniforms and other equipment for the terrorist group last year, the report added. This caused a storm of protest from Dutch parliamentarians, who strongly protested against the country’s government on Monday and asked for its explanation.
The cabinet is bound to a deadline on Tuesday, in which it has to answer the questions, including whether any aid to Syria may have ended up with extremist groups, Christian Democrat party MP Pieter Omtzigt told AFP. Dutch lawmaker Sjoerd Sjoerdsma also described the news report as “shocking”, and asked, "How did this happen, despite all the warnings by lawmakers?"
The revelations on Monday come days after Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok announced the government was cutting all support to what it called "moderate" opposition groups in Syria.
September 10, 2018
What Will Follow the Battle of Idlib?
by Robert Fisk
Wars are dodgy things to predict. And the vast plain below the battlefield of Idlib – not to mention the Syrian artillery battery of four 130mm guns on the heights of Mount Akrad pointing at the hot fields and deserted villages held by the Islamists to the east – bake under the white sun in silence. In the dank tributary canals of the river below, herds of black-and-white cows stand beneath the trees. A little towards the main road, Syrian soldiers rest under the bushes. A clutch of T-72 tanks are parked, hull down in the earth, beneath the branches.
Is that it, I ask myself, as I drive north towards the much-signposted town of Jisr al-Chougour? It’s still in the hands of Nusrah, but only 10 miles away – you grow used to wars in which the road signs constantly point you to locations on the wrong side of front lines – and the idea that this ancient countryside with its old stone houses and the green drift of the Orontes is about to become the site of the last and final battle of the Syrian war seems strangely out of place.
Are the Syrians going to pour forth from the basin of the Orontes – Strabo and Dionysus’s Orontes, the Asi river in Arabic – and lay waste to the province of Idlib which has long been the dumping ground for Syria’s enemies, the Nusrah fighters and Isis and the other jihadis who refused to give up when they evacuated the big Syrian cities?
The Islamists sent a silver-painted drone over the Syrian lines a few hours before I arrived, brought down by rifle fire. Painted on the wing by Nusrah were the words: “If you receive this message, there is worse to come” and it was signed “Tariq bin Ziad from Andalusia”. It had three tiny rockets strapped to the wings. Tariq bin Ziad was the 8th century Umayyad conqueror of Spanish Andalusia. Yes, history lies heavily on you in these parts.
But back to the present. Is this really about to be the “Berlin ’45” of this vast tragedy? The scene of “unprecedented” human loss, as the UN fears? The “massacre” of which Erdogan warns? The “wreckless” advance into Idlib of which Trump roars? The final “lancing of the abscess of terrorism” of which Sergei Lavrov talks – in full Israel-speak, I might add, for that is the language Israel uses about Hamas in Gaza? Lavrov has become quite a “terrorist” expert as we head towards this particular armageddon – always supposing armageddon actually happens.
I guess you have to be a bit of a detective when you drive around these roads and laneways and up into the foothills where General Jihad Sultan’s guns are dug in behind their earth revetments. The Islamists must have drone-photographed these mountainsides many times (and so must US satellites) and the Russians know them perfectly well because they are Syria’s allies. These guns are not for show. They fired this very morning after rockets were reportedly aimed at the Syrians. But where were the legions of ground troops, the massed armour for the great advance? Plenty of villagers close behind the Syrian lines, sitting in coffee shops, driving cattle into the fields, hanging out washing on fences.
Hours after I left Jourine, a spray of rockets and missiles were fired by Islamist rebels onto the Syrian front lines, exploding across the town. The attack was short – the second in a week – and clearly intended to provoke the Syrian army. Since the usual suspects – the armed opposition in Jisr al-Chougour – can’t be arrested, they can, I suppose, expect the usual shellfire.
One of the first things I notice in General Sultan’s office – he holds the title of commander of the Idlib security committee, although we are still (just) in the province of Hama rather than in the province of Idlib – are two large photographs above his desk of Presidents Bashar al-Assad and Vladimir Putin. Two equally large Syrian and Russian flags flank the coloured portraits. This may not be a joint Russian-Syrian operation on the ground – I saw one Russian military police vehicle on my whole drive up from Hama – but in the air it surely will be, if it happens. General Sultan, who was a tank lieutenant at the Lebanese battle of Sultan Yakoub during the 1982 Israeli invasion, talks of “our Russian friends”, and insists to me that “from zero hour, it will take me seven days to be inside Jisr al-Shugour”.
The Israel Lobby’s Non-stop Attacks on Corbyn Will Backfire
by Jonathan Cook
Not only is the role of pro-Israel partisans in the UK now visible, but their ugly assumptions are under closer scrutiny than ever before.
Back in the 1950s, the US intelligence community coined a term: "blowback". It referred to the unintended consequences of a covert operation that ended up damaging one’s own cause.
There are mounting indications that the intensifying campaign by the Israel lobby in the UK against Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the parliamentary opposition, is starting to have precisely such self-harming repercussions.
A campaign of smears
In the three years since he was elected to lead the Labour party, Corbyn has faced non-stop accusations that his party has an endemic "anti-Semitism problem", despite all evidence to the contrary. Of late, Corbyn himself has become the chief target of such allegations.
Last week the Daily Mail led a media mauling of Corbyn over disparaging comments he made in 2013 about a small group of pro-Israel zealots who had come to disrupt a Palestinian solidarity meeting. His reference to them as "Zionists", it was claimed, served as code for "Jews" and was therefore anti-Semitic.
Mounting evidence in both the UK and the US, where there has been a similar escalation of attacks on pro-Palestinian activists, often related to the international boycott movement (BDS), suggests that the Israeli government is taking a significant, if covert, role in coordinating and directing such efforts to sully the reputation of prominent critics.
Corbyn's supporters have argued instead that he is being subjected to a campaign of smears to oust him from the leadership because of his very public championing over many decades of the Palestinian cause.
Al-Jazeera has produced two separate undercover documentary series on Israel lobbyists' efforts in the UK and US to interfere in each country’s politics – probably in violation of local laws. Only the UK series has been aired so far.
It showed an Israeli embassy official, Shai Masot, both plotting to "take down" a Conservative government minister seen as too sympathetic to the Palestinian cause and helping to create an anti-Corbyn front organisation in the Labour party.
Respect Party leader George Galloway and former political adviser to Tony Blair, John McTernan discuss the anti-semitism crisis engulfing the Labour Party.
Britain: No-confidence Motions Passed Against Leading Blairite MPs
by Paul Mitchell
Cheers greeted the passing of a no-confidence motion, by 94 votes to 92, on Thursday night at a meeting of Enfield North Labour Party against Blairite Labour MP, Joan Ryan. Ryan, who chairs the Zionist Labour Friends of Israel (LFI), has been at the forefront of the campaign to oust Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The same evening, Labour MP Gavin Shuker also lost a no-confidence vote after 33 members of his Luton South local party voted against him, with five abstaining and only three supporting him.
Ever since the failed 2016 leadership putsch against Corbyn, Ryan has been at the centre of the destabilisation campaign involving MI5, Mossad and the Central Intelligence Agency against the Labour leader. Her speciality is fabricating accusations of anti-Semitism against Corbyn and his supporters. The goal is to discredit socialism in the hope of preventing any challenge by the working class to austerity and the escalating pursuit of militarism and war in the Middle East and globally.
The no-confidence motion against Ryan took place despite an email dispatched earlier this week by the chair of the Enfield North Constituency Labour Party branch, Siddo Dwyer, claiming that the motion had been excluded from the agenda.
The motion declared, “Our MP has on numerous occasions contributed to and written articles that have been seized upon by a press unjustly hostile to Jeremy Corbyn.” It called on local party members to express “no confidence in our MP Joan Ryan” and “the removal of the party whip and an open selection process for our next parliamentary candidate.”
and the Twilight of the Social
by Henry Giroux
Donald Trump’s increasingly dangerous, incendiary attacks on the media, his willingness to separate children from their parents at the southern border, his efforts to strip citizenship from naturalized citizens and deport U.S. citizens on the groundless claim that they have fraudulent birth certificates, and his relentless attempts to pressure Attorney General Jeff Sessions and others to obstruct the rule of law all amount to a lawless grab for power that is pushing the U.S. further into the abyss of fascism.
The terrors of 20th century fascism have risen once again in the United States but less as a warning about repeating past mistakes than as a measure of the degree to which the lessons of history become irrelevant. Politics now moves between what philosopher Susan Sontag once labeled as “unremitting banality and inconceivable terror.” The “unremitting banality” is evident in Trump’s daily barrage of reckless tweets in which language becomes a weapon to vilify, humiliate and demonize government officials, journalists and critical media outlets. An evil banality is also present in his branding of undocumented immigrants as “murderers and thieves,” “rapists” and criminals who want to “infest our country.”
by Alain Gresh
The Truths that Won’t Be Heard
A never-shown Al Jazeera documentary on the pro-Israel lobby in the US reveals possibly illegal Israeli spying on US citizens, and the lobby’s fear of a changing political mood. (This article has been published in French in Le Monde diplomatique, and translated by Le Monde diplomatique, English edition, click here to subscribe.)
Anti-AIPAC Demonstration at the White House
and March through Washington DC
Washington, 26 mars 2017. Manifestation anti-Aipac le premier jour de sa conférence annuelle.
Noam Chomsky: Donald Trump is a Distraction
It’s Time to Get Billionaires Off of Welfare
by Bernie Sanders and Ro Khanna
Year after year, decade after decade, Republicans in Washington have lectured the American people about the need for “welfare reform.” In the 1980s, Ronald Reagan railed against a fictitious “welfare queen” driving a Cadillac. Just a few years ago, Republicans turned their attention to a young surfer who used the food stamp program to purchase lobster. But if you listen closely, you will never hear much talk from our Republican colleagues about some of the biggest welfare recipients in America: The billionaire owners of some of the most profitable corporations in our country.
Here are just a few examples.
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, is the wealthiest person on Earth, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He is now worth $168 billion. In fact, since the beginning of this year, his wealth has increased by about $277 million — every single day.
Meanwhile, Mr. Bezos continues to pay many thousands of his Amazon employees wages that are so low that they must rely on food stamps, Medicaid or public housing in order to survive. In effect, the middle-class taxpayers of this country are subsidizing the low wages paid by the richest person on Earth. That’s nuts.
But Jeff Bezos and Amazon are not alone. . . . .
THE NEW YORKER
September 17, 2018 Issue
The uplifting story of economic recovery overlooks the political consequences of financial collapse, both here and abroad.
Illustration by Woody Harrington
by John Cassidy
The aftermath produced a lost decade for European economies and helped lead to the rise of anti-establishment political movements here and abroad.
September 15th marks the tenth anniversary of the demise of the investment bank Lehman Brothers, which presaged the biggest financial crisis and deepest economic recession since the nineteen-thirties. After Lehman filed for bankruptcy, and great swaths of the markets froze, it looked as if many other major financial institutions would also collapse. On September 18, 2008, Hank Paulson, the Secretary of the Treasury, and Ben Bernanke, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, went to Capitol Hill and told congressional leaders that if they didn’t authorize a seven-hundred-billion-dollar bank bailout the financial system would implode. Some Republicans reluctantly set aside their reservations. The bailout bill passed. The panic on Wall Street abated. And then what?
The standard narrative is that the rescue operation succeeded in stabilizing the financial system. The U.S. economy rebounded, spurred by a fiscal stimulus that the Obama Administration pushed through Congress in February, 2009. When the stimulus started to run down, the Fed gave the economy another boost by buying vast quantities of bonds, a policy known as quantitative easing. Eventually, the big banks, prodded by the regulators and by Congress, reformed themselves to prevent a recurrence of what happened in 2008, notably by increasing the amount of capital they hold in reserve to deal with unexpected contingencies. This is the basic story that Paulson, Bernanke, and Tim Geithner, who was the Treasury Secretary during the Obama Administration, told in their respective memoirs. It was given an academic imprimatur by books like Daniel Drezner’s “The System Worked: How the World Stopped Another Great Depression,” which came out in 2014.
This history is, on its own terms, perfectly accurate. In the early nineteen-thirties, when the authorities allowed thousands of banks to collapse, the unemployment rate soared to almost twenty-five per cent, and soup kitchens and shantytowns sprang up across the country. The aftermath of the 2008 crisis saw plenty of hardship—millions of Americans lost their homes to mortgage foreclosures, and by the summer of 2010 the jobless rate had risen to almost ten per cent—but nothing of comparable scale. Today, the unemployment rate has fallen all the way to 3.9 per cent.
There is much more to the story, though, than this uplifting Washington-based narrative. In “Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World,” the Columbia economic historian Adam Tooze points out that we are still living with the consequences of 2008, including the political ones. Using taxpayers’ money to bail out greedy and incompetent bankers was intrinsically political. So was quantitative easing, a tactic that other central banks also adopted, following the Fed’s lead. It worked primarily by boosting the price of financial assets that were mostly owned by rich people.
As wages and incomes continued to languish, the rescue effort generated a populist backlash on both sides of the Atlantic. Austerity policies, especially in Europe, added another dark twist to the process of political polarization. As a result, Tooze writes, the “financial and economic crisis of 2007-2012 morphed between 2013 and 2017 into a comprehensive political and geopolitical crisis of the post–cold war order”—one that helped put Donald Trump in the White House and brought right-wing nationalist parties to positions of power in many parts of Europe. “Things could be worse, of course,” Tooze notes. “A ten-year anniversary of 1929 would have been published in 1939. We are not there, at least not yet. But this is undoubtedly a moment more uncomfortable and disconcerting than could have been imagined before the crisis began.”
In the years leading up to September, 2008, Tooze reminds us, many U.S. policymakers and pundits were focussed on the wrong global danger: the possibility that China, by reducing its huge holdings of U.S. Treasury bills, would crash the value of the dollar. Meanwhile, American authorities all but ignored the madness developing in the housing market, and on Wall Street, where bankers were slicing and dicing millions of garbage-quality housing loans and selling them on to investors in the form of mortgage-backed securities. By 2006, this was the case for seven out of every ten new mortgages.
Tooze does a competent job of guiding readers through the toxic alphabet soup of mortgage-based products that Wall Street cooked up: M.B.S.s, C.D.O.s, C.D.S.s, and so on. He looks askance at the transformation of commercial banks like Citigroup from long-term lenders into financial supermarkets—“service providers for a fee”—in the decades before 2008, and he rightly emphasizes the enabling role that successive Administrations played in this process, not least Bill Clinton’s.
To Stop the Next Financial Crisis, We Need Public Ownership of Banks—Now
by Thomas Hanna
The financial crisis has made it difficult to argue that privately owned banks are more efficient when their activities nearly brought down the entire capitalist global economy.
In mid-September, a secret party is scheduled to take place in London. The participants will be hundreds of alumni from the defunct global investment bank Lehman Brothers. The occasion? The 10-year anniversary of the bank’s collapse in the midst of the Great Financial Crisis.
For many Americans, the sight of those very same bankers walking out into the streets of New York City in 2008, with cardboard boxes containing their belongings and shocked looks on their faces, was the first sign that something was truly wrong.
But the subsequent publicly funded rescue of America’s giant financial corporations and the “1 percent” demonstrated how unable and unwilling the nation’s political leadership was to address that wrong by fundamentally reshaping the industry responsible for the crisis in the first place. A decade later, we are still experiencing the political, economic and social ramifications of that failure.
There will be another financial crisis. That much is certain. Only when and how destructive it will be is up for serious debate. The financial industry is more consolidated that it was in 2007—dominated by banks still too big to fail. Bank lobbyists and their congressional allies have systematically undermined the weak regulatory reforms put in place after the crisis, demonstrating again that the tremendous political and economic power these financial institutions wield makes strong regulatory and institutional reforms (such as “breaking up the banks”) improbable, if not impossible.
Conjuring Up the Next Depression
by Chris Hedges
During the financial crisis of 2008, the world’s central banks, including the Federal Reserve, injected trillions of dollars of fabricated money into the global financial system. This fabricated money has created a worldwide debt of $325 trillion, more than three times global GDP. The fabricated money was hoarded by banks and corporations, loaned by banks at predatory interest rates, used to service interest on unpayable debt or spent buying back stock, providing millions in compensation for elites. The fabricated money was not invested in the real economy. Products were not manufactured and sold. Workers were not reinstated into the middle class with sustainable incomes, benefits and pensions. Infrastructure projects were not undertaken. The fabricated money reinflated massive financial bubbles built on debt and papered over a fatally diseased financial system destined for collapse.
What will trigger the next crash? The $13.2 trillion in unsustainable U.S. household debt? The $1.5 trillion in unsustainable student debt? The billions Wall Street has invested in a fracking industry that has spent $280 billion more than it generated from its operations? Who knows. What is certain is that a global financial crash, one that will dwarf the meltdown of 2008, is inevitable. And this time, with interest rates near zero, the elites have no escape plan. The financial structure will disintegrate. The global economy will go into a death spiral. The rage of a betrayed and impoverished population will, I fear, further empower right-wing demagogues who promise vengeance on the global elites, moral renewal, a nativist revival heralding a return to a mythical golden age when immigrants, women and people of color knew their place, and a Christianized fascism.
The 2008 financial crisis, as the economist Nomi Prins points out, “converted central banks into a new class of power brokers.” They looted national treasuries and amassed trillions in wealth to become politically and economically omnipotent. In her book “Collusion: How Central Bankers Rigged the World,” she writes that central bankers and the world’s largest financial institutions fraudulently manipulate global markets and use fabricated, or as she writes, “fake money,” to inflate asset bubbles for short-term profit as they drive us toward “a dangerous financial precipice.”
“Before the crisis, they were just asleep at the wheel, in particular, the Federal Reserve of the United States, which is supposed to be the main regulator of the major banks in the United States,” Prins said when we met in New York. “It did a horrible job of doing that, which is why we had the financial crisis. It became a deregulator instead of a regulator. In the wake of the financial crisis, the solution to fixing the crisis and saving the economy from a great depression or recession, whatever the terminology that was used at any given time, was to fabricate trillions and trillions of dollars out of an electronic ether.”
The Federal Reserve handed over an estimated $29 trillion of this fabricated money to American banks, according to researchers at the University of Missouri. Twenty-nine trillion dollars! We could have provided free college tuition to every student or universal health care, repaired our crumbling infrastructure, transitioned to clean energy, forgiven student debt, raised wages, bailed out underwater homeowners, formed public banks to invest at low interest rates in our communities, provided a guaranteed minimum income for everyone and organized a massive jobs program for the unemployed and underemployed. Sixteen million children would not go to bed hungry. The mentally ill and the homeless—an estimated 553,742 Americans are homeless every night—would not be left on the streets or locked away in our prisons. The economy would revive. Instead, $29 trillion in fabricated money was handed to financial gangsters who are about to make most of it evaporate and plunge us into a depression that will rival that of the global crash of 1929.
Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers write on the website Popular Resistance, “One-sixth of this could provide a $12,000 annual basic income, which would cost $3.8 trillion annually, doubling Social Security payments to $22,000 annually, which would cost $662 billion, a $10,000 bonus for all U.S. public school teachers, which would cost $11 billion, free college for all high school graduates, which would cost $318 billion, and universal preschool, which would cost $38 billion. National improved Medicare for all would actually save the nation trillions of dollars over a decade.”
An emergency clause in the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 allows the Fed to provide liquidity to a distressed banking system. But the Federal Reserve did not stop with the creation of a few hundred billion dollars. It flooded the financial markets with absurd levels of fabricated money. This had the effect of making the economy appear as if it had revived. And for the oligarchs, who had access to this fabricated money while we did not, it did.
The Fed cut interest rates to near zero. Some central banks in Europe instituted negative interest rates, meaning they would pay borrowers to take loans. The Fed, in a clever bit of accounting, even permitted distressed banks to use these no-interest loans to buy U.S. Treasury bonds. The banks gave the bonds back to the Fed and received a quarter of a percent of interest from the Fed. In short, the banks were loaned money at virtually no interest by the Fed and then were paid interest by the Fed on the money they borrowed. The Fed also bought up worthless mortgage assets and other toxic assets from the banks. Since Fed authorities could fabricate as much money as they wanted, it did not matter how they spent it.
“It’s like going to someone’s old garage sale and saying, ‘I want that bicycle with no wheels. I’ll pay you 100 grand for it. Why? Because it’s not my money,’ ” Prins said.
“These people have rigged the system,” she said of the bankers. “There is money fabricated at the top. It is used to pump up financial assets, including stock. It has to come from somewhere. Because money is cheap there’s more borrowing at the corporate level. There’s more money borrowed at the government level.”
“Where do you go to repay it?” she asked. “You go into the nation. You go into the economy. You extract money from the foundational economy, from social programs. You impose austerity.”
Given the staggering amount of fabricated money that has to be repaid, the banks need to build greater and greater pools of debt. This is why when you are late in paying your credit card the interest rate jumps to 28 percent. This is why if you declare bankruptcy you are still responsible for paying off your student loan, even as 1 million people a year default on student loans, with 40 percent of all borrowers expected to default on student loans by 2023. This is why wages are stagnant or have declined while costs, from health care and pharmaceutical products to bank fees and basic utilities, are skyrocketing. The enforced debt peonage grows to feed the beast until, as with the subprime mortgage crisis, the predatory system fails because of massive defaults. There will come a day, for example, as with all financial bubbles, when the wildly optimistic projected profits of industries such as fracking will no longer be an effective excuse to keep pumping money into failing businesses burdened by debt they cannot repay.
“The 60 biggest exploration and production firms are not generating enough cash from their operations to cover their operating and capital expenses,” Bethany McLean writes of the fracking industry in an article titled “The Next Financial Crisis Lurks Underground” that appeared in The New York Times. “In aggregate, from mid-2012 to mid-2017, they had negative free cash flow of $9 billion per quarter.”
The global financial system is a ticking time bomb. The question is not if it will explode but when it will explode. And once it does, the inability of the global speculators to use fabricated money with zero interest to paper over the debacle will trigger massive unemployment, high prices for imports and basic services, and a devaluation in which the dollar will become nearly worthless as it is abandoned as the world’s reserve currency. This manufactured financial tsunami will transform the United States, already a failed democracy, into an authoritarian police state. Life will become very cheap, especially for the vulnerable—undocumented workers, Muslims, poor people of color, girls and women, anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist critics branded as agents of foreign powers—who will be demonized and persecuted for the collapse. The elites, in a desperate bid to cling to their unchecked power and obscene wealth, will disembowel what is left of the United States.
Wall Street Is the Definition of a Ponzi Scheme (Literally)
by Lee Camp
Maybe it makes me unsophisticated, but I don’t think about the stock market that much. I know that many say it’s the central nervous system of our economy. I know its estimated worth is around $30 trillion. And I know that when it tanks, the lives of millions of Americans are wrecked, ruined and upended. I know that when that happens, the powerful millionaires (and billionaires) who caused said destruction generally grab their money and their well-coiffed dogs and run for it. (Sometimes our government has to step in to make sure the elites get all of their money and don’t have to share in the devastation they’ve dispensed to the lower classes.)
But in my day-to-day life, I don’t think much about the stock market. So maybe I shouldn’t care that the entire thing is a gigantic fraud. But I do. I do care. And you should too.
In a few minutes’ time you will see that our stock market is a Ponzi scheme. (And unfortunately, it doesn’t matter whether you’re happy or sad or ambivalent about that fact. It will be true nonetheless.)
When you picture buying stock in a company, what do you picture? You probably imagine a company like PepsiCo, and you are an investor in that company. You own a tiny piece of it, and because of that, you get a tiny proportion of the profits, which are called “dividends.” Well, that’s not what a stock is. That’s what stocks used to be, but that was back when top hats were worn by non-magicians, and if a lady showed her knees in public, she was considered a floozy who should die alone.
More Jobs Fictions
by Paul Craig Roberts
According to today’s payroll jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy created 200,000 new jobs in August. These jobs, assuming that they exist, are reported to be in low paid domestic service jobs such as transporting and selling goods, ambulatory health care services, and waiting tables and mixing drinks. There are none in manufacturing or in the “high tech clean fingernail” jobs that neoliberal economists promised the American work force in exchange for letting the industrial and manufacturing jobs go to Asia.
The great mystery is how these jobs can possibly have been created when the Bureau of Labor Statistics Household Data (Table A) https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.a.htm reports that the civilian labor force declined by 469,000 in August from the level in the previous month (July); that employment declined by 423,000 in August from the previous month; and that 692,000 Americans dropped out of the labor force in August. Year over year (August 2017-August 2018) 1,531,000 Americans have left the labor force. This is inconsistent with a booming economy at full employment.
It is not explained how during August the Household Survey found unemployment to rise by 423,000 and the work force to shrink by 692,000 for a total of 1,115,000 missing working people, but the economy created 200,000 new payroll jobs.
According to the financial presstitutes, we have a booming economy and labor shortages stemming from a 3.9% unemployment rate, which if it were real would probably be the lowest in my lifetime. Economists are puzzled why there is no upward pressure on wages when there are not enough workers to go around. All of this mystery is due to the fact that the unemployment rate does not count workers who cannot find jobs and have dropped out of the work force. If an unemployed person has not looked for a job in the past four weeks, the unemployed person is not counted as unemployed.
The Employment Situation Summary https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm states that there are 4.4 million workers who are involuntary part-time workers because they cannot find full time jobs. So we have a booming economy in which there are more workers than full time jobs!
The Employment Situation Summary also says that there are 1.4 million workers who are not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.”
Explosive Skripal Allegations
May Blow Up In Syria
by George Galloway
Explosive Skripal allegations will probably blow up in Syria's Idlib where the US/UK axis is cocked, ready to fire.
The UK media lost their collective mind over Russia but their masters have not. There is method in their madness. Today's latest offering is that the 'Russians' in the 'mugshots' released last week are 'already dead' having been 'executed by Putin' to stop them talking, forever. Which neatly avoids the British state asking Russia for help in identifying them. London's failure to do so was already arousing suspicion amongst a cynical public. There is now no point, the would-be assassins are now six-feet below the permafrost of Anglo-Russian relations. The media here have completely ignored the statement of the head of the anti-terrorist squad of Scotland Yard that he had "No" evidence of Russian state involvement in the crime in Salisbury, preferring instead the cheap barroom brawling of the British prime minister on the floor of the House of Commons cheered on by the vulgar popular press and their more refined elder sisters in the upmarket papers and on the BBC.
"Mark Crispin Miller"
Sent: Monday, 10 September, 2018
Subject: [MCM] Round-up on the lethal risks of all that electricity
2018 EMF, TECH AND UTILITY NEWS OVERVIEW
ANTENNAS: Antenna Sickness Is Everywhere Now
Mobile communications and mobile entertainment require a human environment overflowing with disease- inducingradiation, both indoors and out. Above is a photo of the Stockholm Central Railway Station in Sweden. A 2016 study ofthe man-made wave pollution within this facility was conducted by the Hardell Cancer Research Group in Sweden.  This study is a reality check on the astronomical number of RF/microwave frequencies and modulations which simultaneously bombard our bodies everywhere we go.
Twenty different pulsed frequency sets were found within this cavernous facility. Investigators used professional RF analyzers to identify FM radio at 87 megahertz and three different police radio bands (TETRA) propagating at 380 to 470 megahertz. The 4G/LTE signals range from 791 megahertz to 2.7 gigahertz. GSM signals span 880 megahertz to 1.8 gigahertz. Wi-Fi signals range from 2.45 gigahertz to 5.9 gigahertz. UMTS/3G frequencies span 1.9 gigahertz to 2.2 gigahertz. There is also WiMAX at 3.3-3.9 gigahertz. This pollution is measured as high-frequency electromagneticvoltage, which literally charges the air with powerful electron activity. Ions and molecules are greatly affected. This pollution oscillates the polarity of human cells (negative-positive) millions to billions of times per second, a situation that does not occur in nature. This pollution is the VOLTAGE OF CANCER.
CHILDREN SCHOOLS: Electronic devices in schools hurt learning — and health
5G IOT: For Safety’s Sake, We Must Slow Innovation in Internet-Connected Things
That’s the view of security expert Bruce Schneier, who fears lives will be lost in a cyber disaster unless governments act swiftly
In a new book called Click Here to Kill Everybody, Bruce Schneier argues that governments must step in now to force companies developing connected gadgets to make security a priority rather than an afterthought.
There’s been lots of discussion in the US this year about cyber threats to critical infrastructure like power grids and dams. How serious are these?
We know that at least twice, Russian hackers have turned off power to bits of Ukraine’s grid as part of a broader military campaign. We know that nation-state hackers have penetrated systems at some US power companies. These hacks have been exploratory ones and haven’t caused damage, but we know it’s possible to do so. If there are military hostilities against the US, we should expect these attacks will be used. And the US will use them against our adversaries, just as we used cyberattacks to delay the nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea.
5G; Study: 52% Use IoT Devices, 64% Have Problems with Them
· 73% of consumers fear being locked in or out of the smart home due to bugs in smart home technology
· 81% of consumers are concerned that technology or software problems with smart meters will lead to them being overcharged for gas, electricity, and water.
HEALTH EMF: The Use of EMF Filters forElectromagnetic Hypersensitivity
STORY AT-A-GLANCE (Mr. Mercola interviews Magda havas)
· If you’re Type 1 or Type 2 diabetic and are electrically hypersensitive, your blood sugar may increase when you’re exposed to dirty electricity
· Risk factors for electromagnetic hypersensitivity include spinal cord damage, whiplash, brain damage, concussion, chemical and heavy metal toxicity, impaired immune function and bacterial or parasitic infections such as Lyme
· Dirty electricity may also worsen asthma, heart problems, anxiety, infertility, tinnitus and other health problems
· Test reveal microwave radiation causes red blood cells to aggregate and clump together, which can raise your risk of stroke, heart attack and other health problems
HEALTH: Article | OPEN | Published: 07 September 2017
The effect of a high frequency electromagnetic field in the microwave range on red blood cells
The effect of red blood cells (RBC) exposed to an 18 GHz electromagnetic field (EMF) was studied. The results of this study demonstrated for the first time that exposure of RBCs to 18 GHz EMF has the capacity to induce nanospheres uptake in RBCs. The uptake of nanospheres (loading efficiency 96% and 46% for 23.5 and 46.3 nm nanospheres respectively), their presence and locality were confirmed using three independent techniques, namely scanning electron microscopy, confocal laser scanning microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. It appeared that 23.5 nm nanospheres were translocated through the membrane into the cytosol, while the 46.3 nm-nanospheres were mostly translocated through the phospholipid-cholesterol bilayer, with only some of these nanospheres passing the 2D cytoskeleton network. The nanospheres uptake increased by up to 12% with increasing temperature from 33 to 37 °C. The TEM analysis revealed that the nanospheres were engulfed by the cell membrane itself, and then translocated into the cytosol. It is believed that EMF-induced rotating water dipoles caused disturbance of the membrane, initiating its deformation and result in an enhanced degree of membrane trafficking via a quasi-exocytosis process.
PRIVACY: Is smart technology invading your privacy?
SECURITY: Millions of in home Wi-Fi connections at risks for hacking
7 ½ minutes
SMART METERS: EMF Radiation Testing: ‘Smart’ Meter vs. Cell Phone (VIDEO)
A possible step in the right direction:
UTILITIES: Why “Mini” Matters To Achieve Power For All
By Vivian Vendeirinho, Alliance for Rural Electrification AFRICA
Mini-grids don’t just provide access to electricity, they are a catalyst to economic growth and improved livelihoods.
underway to provide energy access to 1 billion, mostly rural, people living without electricity. That access will be delivered in many ways; through the traditional grid, via rooftop solar for homes, and increasingly by scaling an innovative, community-based approach called “mini-grids.”
By some estimates, at least 100,000 mini-grids — small, localized power plants and transmission that not only provide electricity for homes, but local business and industry — are needed to bring power to 140 million Africans. Thousands more will be needed in Asia and island states.
But instead of requiring US$15,000 per kilometer to extend often over-stressed and unreliable grids, or limiting people to lighting and phone charging as some rooftop solar systems do, mini-grid technology allows small power plants to be built where they are needed, and if well designed, to reliably power whatever loads and appliances are needed. The International Energy Agency (IEA) has said mini-grids and other non-centralized solutions are the least-cost option for connecting three-quarters of those still living without basic electricity.
All that’s required is US$15 billion a year between now and 2030, the IEA says, to fund the needed mini-grids. That might seem like a lot, but to put it in perspective, it’s just one-third of what American consumers spend each year on pet care.
Are We on the Brink of Another Financial Crisis?
“We Love the CIA!”—or How the “Left” Lost Its Mind
by Ann Garrison
by Paul Creagh Roberts
For some time I have pointed out the paradox of the American liberal/progressive/left being allied with the CIA, FBI, military/security complex and deep state. Now leftist Ann Garrison has noticed the paradox of this alliance. She concludes that the left has lost its mind. https://www.globalresearch.ca/we-love-the-cia-or-how-the-left-lost-its-mind/5653450