Friday, September 4, 2015

China holds military parade to mark anniversary of victory over Japan



By Ben McGrath 
4 September 2015

The Chinese government held a large military parade yesterday in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square to mark the 70th anniversary of Japan’s defeat in World War II. The United States and its allies effectively boycotted the event, declining to send their national leaders, amid rising frictions in the Asia-Pacific region, fomented by Washington.

With social tensions also mounting internally, fuelled by a sharp economic downturn, the authorities locked down Beijing, with much of the downtown off-limits. They declared a three-day holiday and kept ordinary people well away from the commemoration.

In his speech, Chinese President Xi Jinping sought to counter US and Japanese accusations of Chinese expansionism and militarism. “The experience of war makes people value peace even more,” Xi said, declaring: “No matter how much stronger it may become, China will never seek hegemony or expansion. It will never inflict its past suffering on any other nation.”

While making no direct mention of Beijing’s territorial dispute with Tokyo over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea, Xi made several references to “Japanese aggression.” Xi stated: “War is the sword of Damocles that still hangs over mankind. We must learn the lessons of history and dedicate ourselves to peace.” There is little doubt that this was a reference to Japan and the United States, warning them against further stoking tensions in the Asia-Pacific region.

Despite Xi’s appeals for peace, the military parade amounted to a display of might, both in an attempt to counter the US pressure and to channel popular discontent in a reactionary nationalist direction. Along with 12,000 troops, the event featured 500 pieces of military hardware and 200 aircraft, most being shown to the public for the first time.

The display included China’s DF-26 intermediate range ballistic missile (IRBM), which the Western media has dubbed the “Guam killer.” The DF-26, with a range of 4,000 km, is capable of striking the US territory of Guam, which hosts critical US war bases. During the parade, an announcement was made that the missile had been deployed already.

Other missiles included the DF-21D, dubbed a “carrier killer” because it has been designed to strike US aircraft carriers, which are a linchpin of American military forces across the Pacific. Battle tanks, anti-armor missiles and bombers were also shown.

Xi announced that 300,000 troops would be cut from the military’s total of 2.3 million soldiers, in what he claimed was a measure to assure other countries of China’s peaceful rise. Previous presidents made similar gestures—this is the fourth time since the 1970s that troop numbers have been reduced—but the move is a further step to modernize the armed forces.

The Defense Ministry later stated: “Cutting troop numbers is beneficial for concentrating resources, speeding up informatisation and raising quality. We have the confidence and ability to deal with all kinds of security threats and risks.”

Rory Medcalf from the National Security College at the Australian National University commented: “Thinning the ranks of low-skilled soldiers will free up resources for high-tech capabilities like cyber and hypersonic missiles, and of course naval modernization.”

Neither US President Barack Obama nor Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe attended yesterday’s event. Many European leaders were also absent, despite invitations. Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga criticized China yesterday, saying: “We have conveyed to China our position that we would like it to adopt a future-oriented stance instead of placing a spotlight on the past.” The Obama administration made similar remarks, while sending its ambassador to China, Max Baucus, to observe the parade.

Notably, other foreign dignitaries attended, such as Russian President Vladimir Putin, South Korean President Park Geun-hye and United Nations General Secretary Ban Ki-moon. In total, 30 heads of state, largely from Africa and Asia, took part. Tokyo criticized Ban’s involvement, claiming that the UN should show neutrality.

Shortly before the parade, the United States reported that five Chinese naval vessels had been spotted in the Bering Sea off the coast of Alaska, seemingly coinciding with a trip to Alaska by Obama. The Western media immediately painted this as evidence of Chinese aggression.

Such complaints reek of hypocrisy. Washington, with various allies in the region, regularly carries out military exercises on China’s doorstep. These include the recently concluded “Ulchi Freedom Guardian” exercises with South Korea, which featured the largest ever joint live-fire drill conducted by South Korea.

In November 2013, the United States dangerously and provocatively sent nuclear-capable B-52 bombers into Beijing’s newly-declared Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea. Earlier this year, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter called for plans to be drawn up to send US planes and ships into the 12-nautical mile zone surrounding Chinese occupied territory in the South China Sea.

China’s military parade is another indication that in response to growing US aggression in the Asia-Pacific region, the Beijing regime is resorting to nationalism and militarism. At one point in his speech, Xi asserted that “Marxism-Leninism” was one of China’s “guides to action.” In reality, the Chinese Stalinist regime restored capitalism in China, turning the country into a brutal cheap labour platform for global conglomerates.

There is nothing progressive about the Beijing elite’s opposition to United States imperialism and the Obama administration’s “pivot to Asia,” which is designed to militarily surround China to undercut its interests in the region. Thursday’s military display can only further escalate tensions, while seeking to stir nationalist sentiment.

For the Chinese regime, the parade served as a diversion from escalating economic, social and political problems. Plunging share prices have dealt a blow to its efforts to build a social base among middle-class layers. Economic growth has fallen well below the 8 percent long considered necessary to stave off rising unemployment and social unrest. Last month’s explosions at a chemical warehouse in Tianjin, killing at least 160 people, heightened popular discontent.



For its survival, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) regime will increasingly rely on police-military repression at home. Since coming to power in 2012, Xi has rested on the military as his administration moved to “reform” the country’s state-owned enterprises, opening them up to the interests of international capital. After becoming the leader of the CCP, he quickly moved to consolidate his power by taking over as chairman of the Central Military Commission, which supervises the military, then swiftly purged senior generals.

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/09/04/chin-s04.html

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Maritime Union of Australia thanks pseudo-lefts for “unity” as it foreshadows acceptance of port sackings




By Oscar Grenfell 
4 September 2015

At a “community rally” in Sydney last night, officials of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) announced that they were engaged in discussions with Hutchison management over the sacking of workers, including forced redundancies, and the possible “mothballing,” or closure, of the company’s port operation altogether.

The rally was called after the NSW Port Authority issued a notice for the eviction of the small “community assembly” the union has maintained outside Hutchison since the company sacked 97 workers in Sydney and Brisbane on August 6. The Authority rescinded the eviction notice shortly after, and informed the MUA it could continue its assembly, which has had no impact on port operations, indefinitely.

Around 150 people attended the rally, including a small number of port workers from Hutchison and the other major stevedoring companies, Asciano (formerly Patrick) and DP World. Over the past month, the MUA has worked hand in hand with the company to prevent the development of an independent struggle by Hutchison and other port workers against the sackings. On August 14, the union ended strike action after the federal court handed down an injunction. The MUA responded by ordering a return to work despite the company refusing to roster the sacked workers and leaving them outside the gates.

Since then, the MUA has been holding talks with Hutchison over the company’s demands for cost-cutting and job destruction. Last Friday, the union signed a “memorandum of understanding” with the company and agreed to drop its “unfair dismissal” case in the federal courts. The union then entered into ongoing closed-door negotiations with Hutchison in the Fair Work Commission, which began on Monday. Mark Jack, acting CEO of Hutchison Ports Australia (HPA), described the talks as “useful and constructive.”

At the rally last night, Paul McAleer, the MUA’s Sydney branch secretary, admitted that Hutchison’s parent company was considering “mothballing,” or closing down its Australian operations for 18 months to two years.

In an expression of the extent to which the union functions as an open agent of the company, McAleer reported that the MUA was also in talks with ship-owners, appealing for them to continue using Hutchison’s port.

McAleer outlined the union’s acceptance of sackings, if the “ships don’t return” to Hutchison, declaring: “If there are going to be redundancies they should be voluntary, if there are forced redundancies... they should only be done on the basis of a fair selection criteria and at the end of the day, the right of return... That at the end of the day, and the ships go, and there are redundancies, that we want those jobs back when they return...”

In other words, the union will work with the company to enforce job cuts, and an “orderly closure” while Hutchison shuts down some or all of its port operations. Such a move would be aimed at slashing the workforce, and proceeding with further “efficiencies” on the basis of automation, or the closure of Hutchison’s Australian operations altogether.

McAleer’s comments dovetailed with an article by the MUA’s national secretary, Paddy Crumlin, in Murdoch’s Australian newspaper today. Crumlin declared that the “company’s predicament is not all of its own making,” and that they were “victims of the dysfunction of Australia’s maritime sector.” He claimed that Hutchison’s “predicament” was because the port market is not large enough to sustain three Australian operators, and the major shipping lines engage in “anti-competitive” practices.

Significantly, Crumlin touted the doubling of productivity, and halving of costs in the industry, between 1998 and 2013. These measures were carried out by the major stevedoring companies, on the basis of the MUA’s betrayal of the 1998 Patrick’s dispute, when the union struck a deal with the company to end industrial action. Some 700 jobs were eliminated as a result. Crumlin concluded by calling on state and federal governments to invest in infrastructure programs which would further boost the productivity of the ports.

His comments are a signal that the MUA is preparing to justify working with the company to shut-down its operations entirely.

McAleer, well aware that this agenda is provoking growing opposition among Hutchison and other port workers, declared that “true strength lies in unity.” A member of the Stalinist Communist Party of Australia, he acknowledged the entire political line-up that has come together to smother the port workers, and prevent them from taking up a political struggle against the sackings, and all those responsible, including the union, the Abbott government, and the Labor Party opposition.

McAleer declared: “It is so encouraging not only to see the major political parties being here, the ALP and the Greens, but also the Socialist Alliance, Solidarity, Socialist Alternative, the Communist Party of Australia.” He stated that this line-up demonstrated that “the left movement has come together recognising there is more that unites us than divides us and that we are only going to beat the ruling class by standing side by side and fighting.”

The pseudo-left organisations named by McAleer have functioned as the key political adjuncts of the union throughout the dispute. They have hailed each stage in the MUA’s preparations for yet another betrayal, as a “victory,” including the ending of strike action on August 14, and the union’s entrance into negotiations with the company.

These organisations have also manned the “community assemblies” in Sydney and Brisbane, which have been attended by numerous Labor and Green politicians, who are directly responsible for the elimination of jobs, and the gutting of social spending. Above all, the pseudo-lefts have insisted that workers must remain within the framework of the courts, negotiations, and the existing political set-up—the mechanisms the unions have used, over the past three decades, to collaborate in the slashing of tens of thousands of jobs, and the destruction of wages and conditions.

McAleer’s comments were specifically directed against the Socialist Equality Party (SEP), the only organisation that has warned Hutchison workers of the betrayal being prepared by the union, and fought for the independent political mobilisation of dock workers against the union and the sackings, on the basis of a socialist and international perspective.

On August 14, when the union was ending strike action, McAleer led an attackagainst SEP members, carried out by officials and delegates of the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CMFEU). The SEP members had their leaflets snatched, were jostled, and subjected to death threats by the group for warning that the union was preparing to betray the port workers, and negotiate away their jobs.

Last night, after the rally, SEP members were again menaced and told to “f--k off” by two CFMEU members. Significantly, it was when the SEP members began a discussion with two Hutchison workers, one of whom has already been sacked, that the CFMEU representatives made their move. Their role at the “community assembly” was to intimidate those workers who are becoming increasingly hostile to the MUA’s manoeuvres, and receptive to a genuine alternative.

The MUA’s explicit support for sackings underscores the necessity for Hutchison workers to take up a new political perspective. This means a break with the unions, and the formation of independent rank-and-file committees aimed at uniting workers from Hutchison’s, Asciano, and DP World, along with other sections of workers, in a common struggle against the assault on jobs, wages, and conditions being overseen by the Abbott Coalition government, the Labor opposition and the entire political establishment.



Such organisations must be grounded on the fight for a workers government and socialist policies, which would place the ports and other major industries under public ownership and the democratic control of the working class, and guarantee the right to a decent, well-paid job for all.

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/09/04/hutc-s04.html

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Germany’s middle class shrinks




By Dietmar Henning 
4 September 2015

In spite of higher employment numbers, the German middle class is shrinking rapidly. It sank from 56 to 48 percent of the population between 1992 and 2013. This information comes from a study by the Institute for Work and Qualification (IAQ) at Duisburg-Essen University. It confirms earlier investigations into increasing social polarization in Germany.

The authors of the study have a broad conception of the middle class. It begins at a gross monthly income of €2,100 for a four-person family (slightly higher than the level at which Hartz IV benefits begin) and ends at €7,000, a relatively comfortable income. The median household income served as a measuring standard for separating the higher and lower income earners. The researchers counted as middle class those whose income was between 60 and 200 percent of the median.

The median itself rose from €15,000 to barely €17,000 in the first half of the period under investigation. After 2003, it sank once again, most recently to slightly more than €16,000. One can gather from this that poverty is on the increase and affects broad layers of the population.

An investigation carried out by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), which takes net income as its standard and uses its own definitions, reached similar results to the IAQ study. According to the DIW, the middle class sank between 1997 and 2013 from 64 to 58 percent.

Both the growth of the “lower class” and the “upper class” go along with the shrinking of the middle class. The lower class, which the IAQ defines as those “in danger of poverty”, increased from 30 to 35 percent. Over a third of the population has become poor, as measured by gross income. The rich or well-off upper class grew from 14 to 17 percent.

The households of the lower class, as defined by IAQ, and the lower middle class (who earn up to 80 percent of the median) are less and less able to live off their earnings. The reasons include falling wages and the lack of full-time employment.

The risk of low wages in the lower class grew between 1995 and 2013 from about 44 percent to 69 percent. Two out of every three employees in the lower class work in the low-wage sector. In the lower middle class, the risk of low wages rose from 35 percent to 46 percent.

In the mid-1990s, the proportion of full-time workers among dependent employees was still 78 percent in the entire economy and 62 percent in the lower class. Fifteen years later, full-time employees still amounted to only 42 percent. In the lower middle class, the proportion of full-time employees sank from 77 to 60 percent in the same time period.

“An explanation for the fact that fewer and fewer households in the lower class and lower middle class can live from their earnings may be the expansion of mini-jobs and part-time work in these layers,” the IAQ study noted.

The much praised “German employment miracle”—sinking unemployment and a historic peak of 43 million employed this year—has proven to be an illusion. Especially among low earners, the work is distributed among a larger number of workers who, as a result, earn less and less total income.

In the upper class, the volume of work has not increased, but decreased by 3 percent . With increasing income, the number of paid working hours of all household members increases as well. The growing stress on the job and the increase in independent workers or seemingly independent workers—whose extremely long working time does not find its way into any statistics—are not taken into account. “The differences in the paid work time between the layers have increased over the past 20 years and have increased inequality,” the researchers stated.

The results of the IAQ study and many earlier investigations into growing inequality reflect social dynamite in the making. The dwindling of the middle class will be followed by intense class struggles.

“In the years after the war, Germany developed a large middle class in international comparison,” the IAQ study states in its conclusion, adding: “The economic basis of this development was good wages and a relatively small difference between incomes, secured by a comprehensive tariff system. In addition there was a well built social security system that protected the population from risks.”

This “middle class” constituted the foundation for the stability of capitalist power in Germany after the war. The so-called people’s parties—the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the Christian Social Union (CSU) and the Social Democratic Party (SPD)—based themselves on this. It served as a justification of the illusion that capitalism had been dissolved into a “social market economy,” while class society had been dissolved into a “leveled-out middle class society.” It made it possible for the unions to bring the militant class struggles of the 1960s and 1970s under control.

But these times are long gone, as the numbers in the new study show. The SPD of all parties, which has long been identified with the “social market economy,” has contributed to this substantially. The Hartz IV reforms of the Schröder government created a huge low-wage sector, which is now undermining the living standards of broad layers of the population.



“What is remarkable in the new Duisburg study,” the Süddeutsche Zeitungwrote, is “that the significance of the middle class is not growing again, although the conditions in the German economy have completely turned around since 10 years ago,” and the number of unemployed has halved. A commentary in the same newspaper says: “Almost nothing else stands for the German economic model like this concept (the middle class).” Now the “core of the German model” is threatened.

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/09/04/midd-s04.html

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UK government to override local consultation in drive for fracking



By Trevor Johnson 
4 September 2015

The UK’s Conservative government has announced its intention to override the usual local consultation exercises, after recent local council decisions went against the fracking companies.

Councils have been told that if they do not rule on applications for fracking within the 16-week timeframe set out by government, it will be taken out of their hands and decided by ministers. The government said the decision would unlock the “huge potential” for shale gas by accelerating the planning process.

This decision was followed by the granting of 27 licences for exploration of fracking potential in 100 square kilometre blocks of land in the north of England and Midlands. The blocks of land include areas around Lincoln, Nottingham, Sheffield and Preston. This means that large portions of the north of England and Midlands have been divided up between a handful of global oil and gas companies, such as INEOS (the Switzerland-based chemicals giant that owns the Grangemouth refinery in Scotland), Centrica-backed Cuadrilla and the France-based energy giant GDF Suez.

The proviso that planning permission is still required for fracking to commence is no longer seen as an impediment, since the government is clearly behind the frackers and will step in if councils do not fall into line. To ram the point home, the energy minister, Lord Bourne, told the Daily Telegraph, “It's important we press on and get shale moving ... Investment in shale could reach £33bn and support 64,000 jobs…”

The government changes on fracking came shortly after an opposite decision on wind farms, in which more control was given to local areas in a bid to reduce the number of wind farms being built. This was in spite of the fact that opinion polls show that more than three times as many people would prefer to have wind farms in their council area than those who would prefer fracking.

The government has made it clear it is not willing to spend money on reaching targets for renewable energy, which it sees as a drain on resources that could be used more directly to assert their interests.

From the beginning of fracking in the UK, the Tories made it clear they are determined to do whatever it takes to make it a success by going “all out for shale.” The fall in the price of oil and gas has made them even more determined to remove what few restrictions are left. They have already introduced tax exemptions and allowed unprecedented access to areas of outstanding natural beauty and areas of special scientific interest.

A recent decision to allow exploration and drilling for gas in the North Yorkshire Moors shows how the situation has been transformed to favour the frackers. The concession has been given to Third Energy (formerly Viking), which is backed by Barclays Bank. Third Energy will begin working Ebberston Moor in the North York Moors. Part of the agreement is for the company to dispose of huge amounts of wastewater by pumping it back into the ground. This is in spite of the wastewater being potentially radioactive and the fact that there are two protected zones for water collection within 10 kilometres of the planned re-injection well.

The area of Scarborough, in North Yorkshire is supplied with drinking and household water from the local aquifer. A submission to the Environment Agency by the water company involved stated that the planned re-injection may “directly affect their asset”—in other words, the water supply needed by thousands of people. The submission was made public only by means of a Freedom of Information (FOI) request.

In the past, decisions on issues affecting local areas were left in the hands of locally elected councils, to whom objections could be registered. While none of this prevented the domination of society by the interests of big business, it did provide a certain brake on the process.

The ruling elite are being driven to the conclusion that such democratic niceties are incompatible with their race against their imperialist rivals, both within Europe and more widely. The stepping up of tensions with Russia has made them more determined than ever to lessen their dependence on imported energy supplies, falling oil prices notwithstanding.

Energy Secretary Amber Rudd said, “We need more secure, home grown energy supplies—and shale gas [obtained through fracking] must play a part in that.” A CBI spokesperson said, “Shoring up our energy supply for the future is critical for businesses …”

In the case of fracking, fierce opposition by local communities played a part in councils turning down applications for fracking in their areas, including in Lancashire and Sussex.

A document commissioned by the government, Shale Gas: Rural Economy Impacts, was heavily redacted when originally published in 2014 by the Environment Department (Defra). The Information Commissioner later ordered Defra to publish the document in full, after a complaint was made by the environmental group Greenpeace. The unredacted version contained information that undermined the government's claims that fracking would have a negligible effect on the local population.

The report predicted:

* House prices would go down by 7 percent in the area around a site being tested for large-scale fracking.

* Nearby properties could face additional insurance costs.

* Traffic congestion could be worsened by up to 51 journeys per day during the exploration phase alone.

* Wastewater from fracking would place an additional burden on the existing treatment facilities.



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http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/09/04/frac-s04.html

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Top aides to Hillary Clinton testify before Benghazi committee



By Patrick Martin 
4 September 2015

The former chief of staff to Hillary Clinton during her four years as secretary of state, Cheryl Mills, testified behind closed doors Thursday before the House special committee investigating the 2012 attack on US facilities in Benghazi, Libya, in which four Americans were killed.

Mills answered questions for several hours, in a session whose topics were said to have included the controversy over Clinton’s use of a private email server as well as the events in Benghazi.

Mills is to be followed Friday by Jake Sullivan, who was deputy chief of staff at the State Department and is now the top foreign policy adviser to the Clinton presidential campaign. Sullivan will also be questioned on both Benghazi and the use of the private email server.

Another former Clinton aide, IT specialist Brian Pagliano, who originally set up the private email server for Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, then adapted it for use in handling her State Department correspondence, informed the committee Monday that he would refuse to testify before it, citing his Fifth Amendment rights.

Pagliano’s attorney cited an ongoing FBI investigation into whether national security information was compromised in emails that passed through the private server, which was located at the Clinton residence and later at a commercial provider. He indicated that the political atmosphere surrounding the committee investigation made his client a potential target of unwarranted prosecution.

The committee chairman, Representative Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, said in response to a press inquiry, “You’re free to claim whatever inference you want from the fact that” Pagliano did not want to testify. As an experienced prosecutor before election to Congress, Gowdy is aware that the jury in a criminal case is prohibited from drawing any inference from such a refusal to testify.

Of course the “inferences” that the House Republicans want to promote are directed at Clinton herself. That is why they have insisted on interviewing the aides behind closed doors, rejecting requests that the hearings be open. The aim is to use the subsequent appearance by Clinton, now set for October 22, as the occasion for carefully prepared “revelations” that would be leaked to the media to discredit her presidential campaign.

The Republican-controlled House established the special committee after seven previous investigations in Benghazi conducted by other House committees and subcommittees failed to provide any material that could be used to damage Clinton’s presidential prospects.

The latest panel, chaired by Gowdy, discovered Clinton’s use of a private email server last summer, and leaked the information to the New York Times for publication in March.

What is most remarkable about the Benghazi and email affairs is the incessant focus on process—whether Clinton mishandled secret information or jeopardized its security by using a private email server—while both the Republicans and the corporate-controlled media have been largely indifferent to the content of the emails released so far.

The emails document criminal actions on the part of Clinton, not in “dereliction” of duty, but as an essential part of her service to American imperialism.

A just-released email from Jake Sullivan, for example, emphasizes Clinton’s personal responsibility in engineering the US-NATO war on Libya in 2011 that led to the overthrow and murder of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and plunged the country into a bloody civil war that still continues. (It was in the context of that civil war, and CIA efforts to recruit Islamist gunmen in Benghazi for service in another regime-change operation in Syria that the 2012 attack on the US consulate and CIA annex in Benghazi took place).

“Secretary Clinton’s leadership on Libya[.] HRC has been a critical voice on Libya in administration deliberations, at NATO, and in contact group meetings—as well as the public face of the U.S. effort in Libya,” the Sullivan memo says. “She was instrumental in securing the authorization, building the coalition, and tightening the noose around Quaddafi [sic] and his regime.”

That memo would be a significant piece of evidence in a war crimes trial against Clinton.

Another set of emails documents criminal activity of a more personal character. Clinton intervened as secretary of state on behalf of a for-profit education company that later paid her husband Bill Clinton, the former US president, $16 million over the course of six years for acting as its honorary chancellor.

Laureate International Universities is the largest for-profit college network in the world, operating primarily in Latin America, with a current valuation of as much as $4 billion. Clinton insisted, in an August 2, 2009 email, that the company should be invited to a State Department function because “It’s a for-profit model that should be represented.” Former President Clinton became honorary chancellor of Laureate in 2010 and held the position until his wife announced her presidential campaign earlier this year.

Laureate also collected several State Department grants during this period, although the amounts of grants were smaller than the $3 million annual honorarium going to Bill Clinton. Laureate also donated money to the Clinton Foundation and worked with the Clinton Global Initiative.

The company gained from Bill Clinton’s advocacy, expanding from 250,000 students in 2007 to more than 800,000 in 2013, with 50,000 employees in dozens of countries.


Needless to say, this kind of profiteering is engaged in by countless companies, and both Democratic and Republican politicians regard it as their mission to facilitate it.

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/09/04/clin-s04.html

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Anti-gay Kentucky county clerk jailed for contempt of court



By Ed Hightower 
4 September 2015

On Thursday, Federal District Judge David Bunning jailed Kim Davis, the county clerk for Rowan County, Kentucky, for contempt of court. Bunning found that Davis was in willful defiance of his order of August 12, which required the anti-gay activist Davis to resume the issuance of marriage licenses in accordance with Kentucky and US law.

Bunning, an appointee of George W. Bush and a staunch conservative, said in his order last month that Davis was “openly adopting a policy that promotes her own religious convictions at the expenses of others.” Her right to free speech was not violated because issuing marriage licenses “does not require the county clerk to condone or endorse same-sex marriage on religious or moral grounds.” (See: “Kentucky county official defies court order on gay marriage”)

Davis, elected as a Democrat in 2014, has become a darling in right-wing political circles for her refusal to issue any marriage certificates since the Supreme Court’s June 26 decision in Obergefell v. Hodges which struck down various state laws which blocked same-sex marriages.

With the help of lawyers provided by the conservative Liberty Counsel, Davis appealed the order. Last week, the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit rejected her request for a stay pending appeal. On Monday, the US Supreme Court also denied her request for an emergency stay.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, which represents same-sex couples, filed a motion on Tuesday asking Bunning to hold Davis in contempt of court, asking that she incur fines but not face jail time.

Judge Bunning stated Thursday that he did not believe fines alone would deter Davis’ unlawful conduct. Davis will be released from custody when she agrees to comply with the court’s August 12 order, he said.

Davis’ attorneys made the spurious claim that she ought not be held in contempt, citing legal precedent that a person cannot be held in contempt for failure to do something that is impossible, and, since it was impossible for Davis to believe that marriage was anything other than a union between a man and woman, it was thus impossible for her to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The court rejected this argument.

“It’s not physically impossible for her to issue the licenses; she’s choosing not to” said Bunning.

Underscoring the role of religious bigotry in American politics, Republican presidential candidate and evangelical Christian Mike Huckabee said Wednesday that he had spoken recently with Davis by phone.

“I let her know how proud I am of her for not abandoning her religious convictions and standing strong for religious liberty,” Huckabee said.

Given Davis’ position as an elected official, paid $80,000 annually, it is entirely possible that she consulted with major figures in the Republican establishment before she used her public office as a political soap box.

For Huckabee, the Republican right, and the ruling class as a whole, stunts like Davis’ serve to whip up the most medieval, anti-Enlightenment sentiments of their evangelical protestant base.

Davis’s ostensible role as the victim of an unrelenting, overreaching, anti-religious federal judiciary fits a definite right-wing narrative that paints Christian fundamentalists as perpetually under siege by a secular, liberal state.

The Davis case is just one of the most recent political provocations by the religious right. It dovetails the move to defund the critical women’s health care provider Planned Parenthood, the attacks on contraception relating to the ACA, and legal challenges by businesses who argue that “religious liberty” should permit them to discriminate against homosexuals, atheists and others.

While the US Supreme Court has upheld gay marriage, other recent decisions, most notably Hobby Lobby and Town of Greece v. Galloway, lay the legal groundwork for sustained attacks on the constitutionally enshrined democratic principle of the separation of church and state.

The logic of these cases, and of the attacks on the separation of church and state, turns reality on its head. Far from advocating a government that protects the religious freedom of private citizens, it is asserted that businesses and even public employees have the “freedom” to deprive other citizens of their own constitutional rights, including the right to marry. A more odious and Orwellian perversion of the word “freedom” is hard to conceive.

To be sure, the cultivation of and prostration before the religious right is a bipartisan effort carried out by Democrats and Republicans alike. Not only was Davis was elected to office in 2014 as a Democrat, but none other than the anti-gay bigot pastor Rick Warren gave the invocation at President Barack Obama’s first inauguration in January 2009.



Significantly a May 2014 survey found that 80 percent of Americans reject the notion that a small business owner should be able to refuse service to homosexuals on religious grounds.

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/09/04/kent-s04.html

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Disaffection with Syriza mounts in Greece ahead of election



By Robert Stevens 
4 September 2015

The crisis within the Greece’s ruling Syriza party is mounting ahead of this month’s general election. The election, to be held on September 20, was triggered by the resignation of Syriza Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras on August 20. He stood down after Syriza, along with the other pro-austerities parties, pushed through a bill outlining the most devastating attacks yet against the working class.

In July, Syriza signed the third austerity memorandum, after months of negotiations with the European Union (EU), European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund. This came just days after the population voted in a landslide to reject the framework of that agreement.

Since then, with the vast portion of austerity still to be imposed, Syriza’s poll ratings have collapsed. Polls this week found that Syriza and the conservative New Democracy (ND) were now virtually neck and neck.

On Thursday, a poll for the first time showed ND had a slight lead over Syriza at 25.3 percent to 25 percent.

Prior to Tsipras agreeing to impose more EU austerity, thus repudiating pledges to repeal all EU austerity measures that he made prior to the January’s election that brought him to power, Syriza had a commanding lead in the polls. As late as the middle of June, support for Syriza stood at almost 50 percent—more than double the support recorded for ND.

Opinion polls are subject to many vagaries, of course, and surveys published so far show no party would get enough votes for an outright parliamentary majority.

What is clear, however, is that disaffection with Syriza is escalating. Regardless of the result of the election, further political instability and social unrest is certain.

The right-wing Kathemerini cited the comments of a “senior EU diplomat” who said a further election beyond September would be “absolutely disastrous”. He added, “The government budget is already out of control. The EU made a decision to keep Greece in the euro zone in July but its future remains precarious. Its economy is slowly dying. Political stability, at the very least, is vital.”

Discontent with Syriza is rising within layers of Greek society who previously supported and had illusions in it. Guardian journalist Helena Smith spoke to two students in Athens. One was 20 years old and in her final year. She told Smith, “We really thought that as our youngest prime minister, Alexis Tsipras would have done something positive for our country. He did not.”

Her friend, 21, also in her final year said, “Overnight, it seemed, Greece was grappling with bankruptcy and then there was Tsipras offering real hope. I voted for him. I was happy to”. She added, “He made so many promises. He should have said less. He did everything he pledged he wouldn’t do. Of course I’m disappointed.”

Reuters reported the comments of a 72-year-old pensioner who said, “He [Tsipras] promised us that he wouldn't touch pensions and that he would tear up the bailout agreements. He didn’t tear up anything and now he’s put us in a worse position, and the Greek people are going to suffer.”

As Tsipras announced the election, the Left Platform, an amalgam of various pseudo-left forces working inside the Syriza government until last month, exited the party that had kept in power up until that point.

Anticipating an enormous popular backlash against Syriza’s perfidy, they set up Popular Unity. Its main function is to prevent any lessons from being drawn by working people on the role of Syriza as a prop of bourgeois rule and to prevent a politically independent movement of the working class from developing against Syriza’s various factions.

The Left Platform, which represents a substantial section of Syriza, played a central role in its betrayal. Stathis Kouvelakis, a leading figure within Popular Unity, stated this week on Facebook that most of the Central Committee members elected at Syriza’s Congress in 2013 have now resigned. He added, “The vast majority of them has left the party altogether … and the biggest chunk has joined or supports Popular Unity.”

This week, a number of other former high-ranking figures in Syriza came out in support of Popular Unity, including Zoe Konstantopoulou, the former Speaker of the Greek parliament, and Nadia Valavani, former deputy finance minister. Valavani, as with many of Syriza’s leading cadre, was once a member of the Stalinist Communist Party of Greece (KKE).

Konstantopoulou said she will stand as in Independent in the election and, if elected, will back Popular Unity in parliament. Polls suggest that Popular Unity will win support above the three percent threshold allowing parliamentary representation, with one survey showing support for them as high as 8 percent.

Also among those defecting from Syriza this week was Tsipras’ own speechwriter, Theodoros Kollias, who had previously also been an aide.

Syriza’s crisis worsened Tuesday when its youth wing effectively split and announced it would not support its parent organisation in the election.

In the weeks leading to the election, Syriza and Greece’s other bourgeois parties are seeking to cement alliances. In some cases, these are desperate attempts to avert the eradication of whatever remaining support they can muster.

Up to nine parties could be represented in parliament following the election. Several polls show that the fascist Golden Dawn, who have long postured as an anti-austerity party, have been able to take advantage of Syriza’s betrayal, placing third with around six percent of the vote. They are followed by the KKE on around 5 percent. The pro-austerity social democratic PASOK and River (Potami) parties both poll at around 4 percent.

Most polls show that the xenophobic, right-wing Independent Greeks (Anel), Syriza’s former coalition allies, may not win enough votes to enter parliament. Syriza and Anel have stated that they would work with each other again in a future coalition.

While Tsipras cynically declared that Syriza would refuse to govern with ND and Pasok, which he called “old establishment parties,” other Syriza officials have not ruled out such a coalition.

In an interview last Sunday with Proto Thema, New Democracy leader Evangelos Meimarakis refused to rule out a future coalition with Syriza as a part of a “national unity” government. While stating that “Our ambition is to be the first party,” he added, “from the moment we come first, there can be a broader cooperation of political forces of the European front for a four-year government based on a national plan for economic and social restoration.”

Other pro-austerity parties, including Pasok and the Democratic Left (a right-wing splinter from Syriza), who recently announced a joint electoral alliance, could also join such a formation. After its 2010 split with Syriza, the Democratic Left participated, just two years later, in a ND-PASOK government that imposed vicious EU austerity measures.


These elections are an attempt by the ruling class to impose a parliamentary dictatorship dedicated to pursuing austerity on the masses. Kathemerinieditorialised Wednesday, “[W]hichever government emerges, in whatever form, will have a duty to implement the third bailout deal that was ratified in Parliament by the majority of SYRIZA, New Democracy, To Potami and PASOK.”

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/09/04/gree-s04.html

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Who is responsible for the refugee crisis in Europe?



4 September 2015

The gut-wrenching images of a three-year-old Syrian boy washed up on a Turkish beach, lying face-down in the sand, his lifeless body then cradled by a rescue worker, have brought home to people all over the world the desperate crisis that is unfolding on Europe’s borders.

The family of the toddler, Alan Kurdi, had come from Kobani, fleeing along with hundreds of thousands of others. A protracted siege by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and an intense US bombing campaign has left the northern Syrian city in ruins, its houses as well as water, electrical, sanitation and medical infrastructure destroyed. The boy was one of 12 who drowned in an attempt to reach Greece, including his mother and five-year-old brother. His distraught father, the family’s sole survivor, said he would return to Syria with their bodies, telling relatives that he hoped only to die and be buried alongside them.

There is plenty of blame to go around for these deaths, which are representative of many thousands more who have lost their lives trying to cross the Mediterranean or suffocated after being stuffed like sardines into overheated vans.

Canada’s Conservative Party government ignored a request made in June by the boy’s aunt, who lives in British Columbia, to grant Alan’s family asylum.

The countries of the European Union have treated the surge in refugees as a matter of repression and deterrence, throwing up new fences, setting up concentration camps and deploying riot police in an effort to create a Fortress Europe that keeps desperate families like Alan’s at bay and condemns thousands upon thousands to death.

But what of the US? American politicians and the US media are deliberately silent on Washington’s central role in creating this unfolding tragedy on Europe’s borders.

The Washington Post, for example, published an editorial earlier this week stating that Europe “can’t be expected to solve on its own a problem that is originating in Afghanistan, Sudan, Libya and—above all—Syria.” The New York Times sounded a similar note, writing: “The roots of this catastrophe lie in crises the European Union cannot solve alone: war in Syria and Iraq, chaos in Libya…”

What, in turn, are the “roots” of the crises in these countries which have given rise to this “catastrophe”? The response to this question is only guilty silence.

Any serious consideration of what lies behind the surge of refugees into Europe leads to the inescapable conclusion that it constitutes not only a tragedy but a crime. More precisely, it is the tragic byproduct of a criminal policy of aggressive wars and regime change interventions pursued uninterruptedly by US imperialism, with the aid and complicity of its Western European allies, over the course of nearly a quarter century.

With the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the US ruling elite concluded that it was free to exploit America’s unrivaled military might as a means of offsetting US capitalism’s long-term economic decline. By means of military aggression, Washington embarked on a strategy of establishing its hegemony over key markets and sources of raw materials, beginning first and foremost with the energy-rich regions of the Middle East and Central Asia.

This strategy was summed up crudely in the slogan advanced by the Wall Street Journal in the aftermath of the first war against Iraq in 1991: “Force works.”

What the world is witnessing in today’s wave of desperate refugees attempting to reach Europe are the effects of this policy as it has been pursued over the whole past period.

Decade-long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, waged under the pretext of a “war on terrorism” and justified with the infamous lies about Iraqi “weapons of mass destruction,” succeeded only in devastating entire societies and killing hundreds of thousands of men, women and children.

They were followed by the US-NATO war for regime change that toppled the government of Muammar Gaddafi and turned Libya into a so-called failed state, wracked by continuous fighting between rival militias. Then came the Syrian civil war—stoked, armed and funded by US imperialism and its allies, with the aim of toppling Bashar al-Assad and imposing a more pliant Western puppet in Damascus.

The predatory interventions in Libya and Syria were justified in the name of “human rights” and “democracy,” receiving on this basis the support of a whole range of pseudo-left organizations representing privileged layers of the middle class—the Left Party in Germany, the New Anti-Capitalist Party in France, the International Socialist Organization in the US and others. Some of them went so far as to hail the actions of Islamist militias armed and funded by the CIA as “revolutions.”

The present situation and the unbearable pressure of death and destruction that is sending hundreds of thousands of people into desperate and deadly flight represent the confluence of all of these crimes of imperialism. The rise of ISIS and the ongoing bloody sectarian civil wars in both Iraq and Syria are the product of the US devastation of Iraq, followed by the backing given by the CIA and US imperialism’s regional allies to ISIS and similar Islamist militias inside Syria.

No one has been held accountable for these crimes. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Rice, Powell and others in the previous administration who waged a war of aggression in Iraq based upon lies have enjoyed complete impunity. Those in the current administration, from Obama on down, have yet to be called to account for the catastrophes they have unleashed upon Libya and Syria. Their accomplices are many, from a US Congress that has acted as a rubber stamp for war policies to an embedded media that has helped foist wars based upon lies upon the American public, and the pseudo-lefts who have attributed a progressive role to US imperialism and its “humanitarian interventions.”

Together they are responsible for what is unfolding on Europe’s borders, which, more than a tragedy, is part of a protracted and continuing war crime.

Bill Van Auken

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2015/09/04/pers-s04.html

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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Bizarre Suicide of the American Empire




The Howling Wilderness of the Mind

By Adam


September 01, 2015 "Information Clearing House" - "ExtraSensory.News" - I grew up in a tiny town of less than 1500 people in western Montana. It is a land of breathtaking natural beauty, and for 18 years I lived in the same house in a form of bucolic perfection. We prided ourselves on living 100 miles from the nearest stoplight. I smile to imagine that many young villagers from all over the planet share a form of kinship enforced by the laws of small communities and big mountains.

It was my home and they were my people, but after traveling, education and 13 years of living elsewhere, I can see what a strange accident of history small town America actually is, a residue left by a frontier that has moved on and twisted inward. This is a report from a correspondent embedded for 18 years and a hundred miles behind the front lines of the American frontier.

I was enabled to see it clearly by the fact that almost half of the buildings on the one main street are the originals from when the town was slapped together in the 1890s. One century later the layout and social structure were unchanged. I remember vividly the moment it struck: my parents and I were crossing the main street to dine at a Chinese restaurant. (Of course!) A glance to the right revealed where the street lamps petered out, a look over the left shoulder saw the other end of town. The mountains brooded over us, dark except for the scattered isolated houses here and there like embers from a dying fire. I stopped in the middle of the empty road and gasped: “This is still a frontier town!” That epiphany shattered the insular perfection of my home, and I have been struggling with it ever since.

It is painful to see the frontier scrawled across the personalities and culture of individuals and a town I love dearly, but now that I am an outsider it is obvious. Their little fenced estates in the woods are their half of the quid pro quo their ancestors fulfilled: tame the wilderness and your private claims will be protected. Their desires are clear and simple: they want taxes to be low, infrastructure to be mediocre (certainly not good enough to help the poorest) and fuel to be cheap. They love their trucks and jet skis and four­-wheelers and cars and dirt­ bikes and speed­boats and snowmobiles and motorcycles and SUVs and brush cutters and chainsaws and log splitters and lawn mowers and backhoes and shotguns and semi­trailers and rifles and pistols and guns. They hate the government and complain that it doesn’t do enough for them.

They are profoundly ignorant of the vast human diversity and history around them and serenely contemptuous of the few snippets of knowledge they have collected. Put 500 of them in a room together and there probably won’t be a single classic poem or plotline of a work of world literature memorized between them, and if there is it will be in the head of a lone weirdo. There are only about three dates anybody appears to be aware of: 1492, 1776, 1945, and, by the time I was a senior in high school, 9/11, 2001. Most of them at some point complete the pilgrimage to the great holy city in the south, the place in the desert that god itself has touched, made sacred, made itself physically manifest in the world. They return from Las Vegas renewed, uplifted, their faith in financial manipulation restored, and full of hope that if they are pure enough, the god Mammon just might bless their own lives, someday.

So even though they are poor, in debt, and only able to move in a tiny world, mentally they are all little aristocrats. Therein lays the genius and opportunity of a frontier. If in the early 1800s you were a plantation owner in Virginia or a financial tycoon in New York, how do you simultaneously gain access to all those resources west of Appalachia, reduce pressure for social reform and of course not do any of the work yourself? The social architecture of the frontier answers all three questions elegantly, but it concomitantly makes a hollow society, a government without a nation underneath.

I took my epiphany and outsider status with me when I attended university on the outskirts of Tacoma, Washington. There was no physical relic of the frontier to observe, but after wandering around the local suburbs at night and especially after visiting the homelands of ancient nations in Peru and Guatemala on study­-abroad trips it gradually dawned on me that the frontier was everywhere in the United States. Its peculiar dynamics have been so deeply ingrained that they define Americans better than any other interpretive framework, long after the physical circumstances of the frontier have ceased to exist.

What took me years to see in the suburbs of Tacoma is that the frontier has been turned on its s​ide. Not inverted; an inverted frontier would resemble Brazilian farmers retreating hundreds of kilometers back from the edge of the Amazon rainforest and coming together to build beautiful sustainable cities. No, what I see is an internalization of that terrible frontier interface.

Fast food makes the most vivid case: how does one create money from otherwise worthless agricultural products, reduce social pressure for reform by fattening and stupefying the commoners, and of course not do any of the work oneself? Economically fast food joints are not restaurants at all—they are commodity dumps. They are a means to inflate massive profits out of otherwise inaccessible resources. If the dreck they served in place of food were sustainably farmed, if the workers were paid living wages and if the American people would defend their health, fast food chains would vanish. The exact same dynamic applies to the suburbs: overpriced cardboard boxes filled with cheesy appliances that would not be worth constructing if the Earth were taken into account. Whatever field of endeavor you care to examine, be it medicine or education, science or art, the frontier interface prevents it from serving human needs and demands that it serve one purpose only: that of converting resources into profits.

The American people are not building society. They are still doing the work of conversion for those same financial interests that opened the frontier in the first place. The same impulse that carried their ancestors across the Atlantic and maintained them through the crushing labor of deforestation and sod busting is now directed into mowing lawns, cleaning gutters, washing the car and, of course, shopping. Stand on any busy street and watch the frontier at work. Single out the delivery truck drivers, the look on their faces. They will hunt down and liquidate (financialize) every last pocket of natural resources left on the planet if they can.

I believe the lens of the frontier clarifies the otherwise bizarre suicide of the American empire. We must remember that settling the American west was swift and easy. Technological superiority, diseases and overwhelming numbers allowed civilians to do most of the ethnic cleansing while there was an actual boundary between the natives and European colonists.

The United States never had to demand sacrifices of its citizens or seriously negotiate with the natives. After all the territory in North America was settled, a series of historical accidents bumped the U.S. into a brief period of hegemony. Industrialization exploded just as the frontier ended. The same settlers who walked from St. Louis to Oregon Territory took trains back east a few decades later. Then the old imperial powers of Eurasia destroyed themselves in two world wars and voilà, the U.S. found itself the one intact industrial power! This is not the stuff of long-lasting empires. The upper classes have never stared defeat in the eye or had to restrain themselves and ask the common people for massive collective effort.

This explains why the government cannot repair national infrastructure or implement sound industrial policy. The internalized frontier is why the military cannot administer conquered territory and the ethnic minorities in the homeland cannot receive equal treatment under the law. The regime in Washington D.C. is not there to create a vast polyglot imperial structure (like the Achaemenid empire) nor to represent the collective will of a single nation (like Switzerland, or many others.) It exists to divvy up resources and then defend those aristocratic interests at all costs. It was set up in that form from the very beginning.

This explains why September 11 was used as another date that granted legitimacy to aristocratic claims, right in line with 1776 and 1945. Instead of leading a worldwide effort to bring criminals to justice and rooting out actual causes, the regime set about trying to create new frontier zones in places like Iraq and many others, hunting grounds for certain corporations and government agencies. Those efforts roused the ire of two of the oldest, most puissant imperial systems in the world, and were subsequently checked.

Nobody in D.C. seems to have read the memo that they are no longer allowed to set up frontiers for their cronies (or masters, depending on what side of the revolving door between corporations and government they are on.) They do not realize that China and Russia will never ever grant favorable terms to Western interests, and that the absurd commitment to “free markets” is actually a back door into the heart of what is left of the American economy.

Of course, such knowledge cannot exist inside such a regime, and anyway, it would make no difference. The U.S. government cannot ask the common people to make the kind of colossal sacrifice necessary to take on China and Russia at the same time. It cannot even shut down or control the mechanism of the frontier. It must keep talking about “free markets” because that is the main linguistic shield for aristocratic freedom of action from democratic controls. It certainly cannot tax the rich at progressive levels or shut down offshore havens.

So if its mercenary armies keep getting defeated overseas and efforts to control resources and markets in places like the Middle East keep getting thwarted, those same incompetent people still have to make ridiculous sums of money from nothing without doing the work, and the frontier takes another turn in upon itself. The government begins shedding excess population and militarizing civilian governance and privatizing the national patrimony and binding the poor with debt and austerity and meaninglessly spying on everything and on and on. After all, if they can’t run roughshod all over Central Asia and the Middle East, there’s no place like home!

There will be no coherent national uprising against this final suicide. There cannot be, because there is no American nation. Real nations have wrenching, defining events like the Dreyfus Affair, the Tupac Amaru rebellion, Tahrir Square, the taking of the Winter Palace, the storming of the Bastille, the trial of the Gang of Four, the Polish Deluge. The agony and ecstasy of being a nation, of being a people, evolving through time regardless of the specifics of where the capital city is or what dynasty sits on the throne has not yet happened to the mess of immigrants and descendants of immigrants in North America.

The process is beginning. Alaskan or Southern Californian or Cascadian or Texan are embryonic nationalities. If Washington D.C. actually tried to win the fight against Russia (let alone China) and keep its tottering financial empire intact, the effort itself would exacerbate the nascent breakup along those already visible lines. Why would an Alaskan fisherman obey a bureaucrat in D.C. when his livelihood depends on selling seafood to China? What possible situation or political figure could align the interests of a Texan and a Cascadian? The inevitable breakup of North American economic and political unity is clear to anyone with a sense of how and why nations evolve on this planet. It will be messy, lubricated by rivers of blood, and in most areas accompanied by a long dark age, but the rest of the world will breathe a sigh of relief.

For individuals like myself, born inside the frontier and soaked in its propaganda, the U.S. seems like A Very Important Thing. For minds still trapped, the breakup of the U.S. feels like The End Of The World, which is a way of simplifying events to the point of not thinking about them at all. I would like to end this report by exploring a perspective about the next few decades not often seen, which does not involve Nuclear War or Utter Collapse or The End of the US Dollar.

North America was almost inevitably going to be treated as a single huge frontier the moment any old world explorer, with all his weapons, diseases, domesticated animals and crops stepped ashore. Present-day old world nations and empires understand this and no longer envy or fear what amounts to a historical blip. They also observe that the deep social foundations necessary for a government to play with the big boys in the arena of culture are missing. But a vast, distant frontier is just as useful at converting worthless commodities into money for them as it has proven for our own aristocrats.

Keeping this in mind, I suspect that far from decisive military engagements or outright economic warfare, we might eventually observe China and Russia (among others) carefully managing the U.S. decline, expending small efforts to keep the regime in D.C. afloat as long as they keep getting a positive return on investment. After all, powerhouses like them will from time to time need to dump commodities like pork snouts or almost worthless forestry byproducts. As long as the frontier exists in the hearts and minds of Americans, they won’t lack for people willing to do the work of conversion for them.

Adam




http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article42774.htm

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The Rise Of The Inhumanes




By Paul Craig Roberts

September 02, 2015 "Information Clearing House" - America’s descent into totalitarian violence is accelerating. Like the Bush regime, the Obama regime has a penchant for rewarding Justice (sic) Department officials who trample all over the US Constitution. Last year America’s First Black President nominated David Barron to be a judge on the First US Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston.

Barron is responsible for the Justice (sic) Department memo that gave the legal OK for Obama to murder a US citizen with a missile fired from a drone. The execution took place without charges presented to a court, trial, and conviction. The target was a religious man whose sermons were believed by the paranoid Obama regime to encourage jihadism. Apparently, it never occurred to Obama or the Justice (sic) Department that Washington’s mass murder and displacement of millions of Muslims in seven countries was all that was needed to encourage jihadism. Sermons would be redundant and would comprise little else but moral outrage after years of mass murder by Washington in pursuit of hegemony in the Middle East.

Barron’s confirmation ran into opposition from some Republicans, some Democrats, and the American Civil Liberties Union, but the US Senate confirmed Barron by a vote of 53-45 in May 2014. Just think, you could be judged in “freedom and democracy America” by a fiend who legalized extra-judicial murder.

While awaiting his reward, Barron had a post on the faculty of the Harvard Law School, which tells you all you need to know about law schools. His wife ran for governor of Massachusetts. Elites are busy at work replacing law with power.

America now has as an appeals court judge, no doubt being groomed for the Supreme Court, who established the precedent in US law that, the Constitution not withstanding, American citizens can be executed without a trial.

Did law school faculties object? Not Georgetown law professor David Cole, who enthusiastically endorsed the new legal principle of execution without trial. Professor Cole put himself on the DOJ’s list of possible federal judicial appointees by declaring his support for Barron, whom he described as “thoughtful, considerate, open-minded, and brilliant.”

Once a country descends into evil, it doesn’t emerge. The precedent for Obama’s appointment of Barron was George W. Bush’s appointment of Jay Scott Bybee to the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Bybee was John Yoo’s Justice (sic) Department colleague who co-authored the “legal” memos justifying torture despite US federal statutory law and international law prohibiting torture. Everyone knew that torture was illegal, including those practicing it, but these two fiends provided a legal pass for the practitioners of torture. Not even Pinochet in Chile went this far.

Bybee and Yoo got rid of torture by calling it “enhanced interrogation techniques.” As Wikipedia reports, these techniques are considered to be torture by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, medical experts who treat torture victims, intelligence officials, America’s allies, and even by the Justice (sic) Department. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jay_Bybee

Others who objected to the pass given to torture by Bybee and Yoo were Secretary of State Colin Powell, US Navy General Counsel Alberto Mora, and even Philip Zelikow, who orchestrated the 9/11 Commission coverup for the Bush regime.

After five years of foot-dragging, the Justice (sic) Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility concluded that Bybee and his deputy John Yoo committed “professional misconduct” by providing legal advice that was in violation of international and federal laws. The DOJ’s office of Professional Responsibility recommended that Bybee and Yoo be referred to the bar associations of the states where they were licensed for further disciplinary action and possible disbarment.

But Bybee and Yoo were saved by a regime-compliant Justice (sic) Department official, David Margolis, who concluded that Bybee and Yoo had used “poor judgement” but had not provided wrong legal advice.

So, today, instead of being disbarred, Bybee sits on a federal court just below the Supreme Court. John Yoo teaches constitutional law at the University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, Boalt Hall.

Try to imagine what has happened to America when Harvard and Berkeley law professors create legal justifications for torture and extra-judicial murder, and when US presidents engage in these heinous crimes. Clearly America is exceptional in its immorality, lack of human compassion, and disrespect for law and its founding document.

Hitler and Stalin would be astonished at the ease with which totalitarianism has marched through American institutions. Now we have a West Point professor of law teaching the US military justifications for murdering American critics of war and the police state. http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/aug/29/west-point-professor-target-legal-critics-war-on-terror Also here: http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article42758.htm The professor’s article is here: http://warisacrime.org/sites/afterdowningstreet.org/files/westpointfascism.pdf

William C. Bradford, the professor teaching our future military officers to regard moral Americans as threats to national security, blames Walter Cronkite for loosing the Tet Offensive in the Vietnam War by reporting the offensive as an American defeat. Tet was an American defeat in the sense that the offensive proved that the “defeated” enemy was capable of a massive offensive against US forces. The offensive succeeded in the sense that it demonstrated to Americans that the war was far from over. The implication of Bradford’s argument is that Cronkite should have been killed for his broadcasts that added to the doubts about American success.

The professor claims to have a list of 40 people who tell the truth who must be exterminated, or our country is lost. Here we have the full confession that Washington’s agenda cannot survive truth.

I am unaware of any report that the professor has been censored or fired for his disrespect for the constitutionally protected right of freedom of expression. However, I have seen reports of professors destroyed because they criticized Israel’s war crimes, or used a word or term prohibited by political correctness, or were insufficiently appreciative of the privileges of “preferred minorities.” What this tells us is that morality is sidetracked into self-serving agendas while evil overwhelms the morality of society.

Welcome to America today. It is a land in which facts have been redefined as enemy propaganda, a land in which legally protected whistleblowers are redefined as “fifth columns” or foreign agents subject to extermination, a land in which America is immune from criticism and all crimes are blamed on those whom Washington intends to rule.

Barron, Bybee, Yoo, and Bradford are members of a new species—the Inhumanes—that has risen from the poisonous American environment of arrogance, hubris, and paranoia.



Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts' latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West and How America Was Lost.




http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article42778.htm

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