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The Great Oz

The Great Oz - Jeff Thomas - 18/05/2018

For eight years (2008-2016), the US liberal media touted the brilliant accomplishments of the liberal president, whilst the conservative media groused that nothing he did was of value.

Today, the conservative US media are touting the brilliant accomplishments of the conservative president, whilst the liberal media grouse that nothing he does is of value.

So, which is it? Who is correct here? Well, actually, neither is correct.

Neither president is the great Oz. Neither one is in fact, “running the country.” Behind the scenes, the great machine of government churns along, often in complete disregard to the president or his stated policies.

However, the media credits or lambastes the president of the day as though he and he alone is in charge of the country. Whatever happens is treated as his accomplishment or failure.

And, typically, presidents play into this – taking personal credit for perceived accomplishments within the country and disavowing blame for perceived failures.

At present, the conservative media are emphasising low unemployment as an achievement, just as the liberal media did during the Obama Administration,

And yet, since the Clinton Administration, the unemployment figures have been consistently fudged. Those who work only part time are defined as “employed.” Those who have given up pursuing employment are removed from the unemployment equation. If those numbers were plugged back in, US unemployment would be in the double-digits during both the Obama and Trump presidencies.

The conservative media also tout Mister Trump for the increase in the stock market. Of course, the liberal media did the same in Mister Obama’s time. Stocks have been on the rise in both administrations.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Let’s (Not) Make a Deal

James McNeill Whistler Nocturne in Black and Gold, the Falling Rocket 1875

Dr. D again. And wait, that deal was never even -legally- signed?

Dr. D: I know the U.S. hasn’t followed the law in 100 years, but let’s review the Iran Deal. A “Deal” with a foreign nation is supposed to be, for 200 years has been, and legally must be, a “Treaty”. Treaties under U.S. law are unique, as they are NOT to be brokered by the Congress and are a point of contention if Congressmen get involved, as you can imagine special deals and/or information leaks could damage the negotiating position.

This is one of the few things Congress doesn’t do. However, the deal, brokered by the President, is presented to the Senate and only the Senate, which is supposed to be the older, more stable house, and once upon a time when Americans were adults and the Senate was chosen by the State governments, this was true. Even with a Democratic election of Senators representing the people and not the States, (which is what the House is supposed to be) it’s the best we have.

So when Obama arranged the Iran “Deal”, he knew and did so against 220 years of history exclusively BECAUSE he knew the Senate would never approve an honest-to-God, legal “Treaty.” Worse, it was part of the reason the “Deal” was effectively secret, not overseen by anyone, and even John Kerry when asked what was in it said, “I don’t know.” You don’t know??? You’re the Secretary of State presumably brokering the deal. Who’s above you in the food chain that you’re not allowed to know? That was an interesting disclosure that the media – of course – never followed up on.

He also said, as the deal was never signed, it was “not legally binding.”

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

A Guide to American Political Ironies


Gutzon Borglum Mount Rushmore, Repairing Lincoln’s nose 1962

Dr. D figured his last missive was a bit heavy handed. So he went for something lighter this time. A penance, a doctor’s guide: “It’s hard enough to find a candidate that will even promise to do something right so it doesn’t help that they do the opposite 90% of the time.”

Dr. D:

Who wrote “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal”? Jefferson, a slave owner.

Who was one of the most ardent Abolitionists? Alexander Hamilton.

Was he a slave owner? Yes.

Who won the election of 1824? No one, it was decided by the House of Representatives.

So which party lost? None: all four candidates were Democratic-Republicans.

In response, Andrew Jackson, a slave owner, created the Democratic Party.

Jackson created the Democratic Party as an anti-bank, anti-oligarch, states-rights platform the Tea Party would recognize.

Martin Van Buren, a Democrat, created the first concentration camp for Cherokee Indians in 1838.

Those 17,000 Cherokees owned 2,000 slaves.

Did Lincoln create the Republican Party? No, it was an amalgamation of failed parties: Lincoln was their 1st candidate.

What was the Lincoln campaign of 1860? Non-interference in state slavery.

Why? The decision of Dred Scott in 1857, a slave owned by abolitionists in a state he did not reside. Overturning 250 years of history, the case determined that no slave could ever become a citizen, i.e. freed.

Who was the best known Confederate General? Stonewall Jackson.

What did he do when he sided with the Southern cause? Freed his slaves.

Who else was a top Confederate General? William Mahone.

What did he do? He was the creator of the most successful interracial alliance in the post-war South. His name was purged first by Southern Democrats (for integration), then by modern Democrats (for being a Confederate).

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Media Stopped Reporting The Russia Collusion Story Because They Helped Create It

The Media Stopped Reporting The Russia Collusion Story Because They Helped Create It

The press has played an active role in the Trump-Russia collusion story since its inception. It helped birth it.
Half the country wants to know why the press won’t cover the growing scandal now implicating the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice, and threatening to reach the State Department, Central Intelligence Agency, and perhaps even the Obama White House.

After all, the release last week of a less-redacted version of Sens. Charles Grassley and Lindsey Graham’s January 4 letter showed that the FBI secured a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant to search the communications of a Trump campaign adviser based on a piece of opposition research paid for by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. The Fourth Amendment rights of an American citizen were violated to allow one political party to spy on another.

If the press did its job and reported the facts, the argument goes, then it wouldn’t just be Republicans and Trump supporters demanding accountability and justice. Americans across the political spectrum would understand the nature and extent of the abuses and crimes touching not just on one political party and its presidential candidate but the rights of every American.

That’s all true, but irrelevant. The reasons the press won’t cover the story are suggested in the Graham-Grassley letter itself.

Steele Was a Media Informant

The letter details how Christopher Steele, the former British spy who allegedly authored the documents claiming ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, told the FBI he wasn’t talking to the press about his investigation. In a British court, however, Steele acknowledged briefing several media organizations on the material in his dossier.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Will Washington’s Chess Game in Syria Lead to War With NATO Ally Turkey?

Will Washington’s Chess Game in Syria Lead to War With NATO Ally Turkey?

(MPN) — It’s not clear if the United States knows what it is doing in Syria anymore. Having successfully toppled the Libyan government in 2011, former President Barack Obama subsequently spent a good three years attempting to bring about the fall of the Syrian government, under the guise of humanitarianism, that embroiled the region in chaos and civil strife.

Incessant calls for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to formally step down, combined with the billions of dollars in arms and funding for radical Sunni jihadists who sowed the seeds of sectarianism and a bloody civil war in order to divide and conquer Syria, plagued Obama’s foreign policy for years. And let’s not forget the extensive strike plan Obama drew up in 2013, which would have almost certainly extinguished Assad’s presidency.

Unfortunately for the establishment, Obama’s strike plan didn’t have the approval of America’s warmongering partner in crime, the United Kingdom; and was strongly opposed by Russia. Most importantly, there was significant disapproval among the general public and military, and the U.S. knew it would never garner the support needed to carry out such an intervention.

Then in 2014, the U.S. military found backdoor access by riding the international outrage and horror provoked by the radical group ISIS, which had attained huge swaths of territory in both Iraq and Syria. Anyone who had been paying attention knew deep-down that the focus on ISIS was essentially just a façade to pave the way for the U.S. military to take on Assad directly — though this scenario proved much harder than expected, after Russia’s formal intervention in 2015. With Russia backing the Syrian government directly, there was little the U.S. could do but direct most of its energy towards ISIS, with some minor, albeit noticeable, exceptions.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Art Berman: Like It Or Not, The Future Remains All About Oil

Vladimir Yudin | Dreamstime.com

Art Berman: Like It Or Not, The Future Remains All About Oil

And competition for it is heating up 

Art Berman, 40-year veteran in the petroleum production industry and respected geological consultant, returns to the podcast this week to talk about oil.

After the price of oil fell from its previous $100+/bbl highs to under $30/bbl in 2015, many declared dead the concerns raised by peak oil theorists. Headlines selling the “shale miracle” have sought to convince us that the US will one day eclipse Saudi Arabia in oil production. In short: cheap, plentiful oil is here to stay.

How likely is this?

Not at all, warns Berman. World demand for oil shows no signs of abating while the outlook for future production looks increasingly scant. And the competition among nations for this “master resource” will be much more intense in future decades than we’ve been used to:

Since the 1980s, we simply have not been replacing reserves with new discoveries. So how does that work? Well, obviously, we’ve got a lot of oil on production and in reserves, so we’re essentially drawing down our savings account if you want to think about it that way. You can do that for a long time if you’ve got a whole lot of money in your savings account, and we as a planet do. But you can’t do it forever.

Eventually, you either have to stop spending as much so you don’t draw down your savings, or you need to put some money back in the account. And it doesn’t seem like we’re doing much of either, and haven’t been doing much of either for a long time. So the concern is tremendous, at least, in my estimation(…)

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

America First is a Joke. Wall Street Wins Again

America First is a Joke. Wall Street Wins Again

I know I must sound like a broken record by now, but Wall Street owns the U.S. economy and until that’s dealt with, the American public will continue to be preyed upon voraciously and lawlessly by some of the most unethical parasites the world has ever seen. Obama was a historical disaster on this issue, coddling and protecting banker oligarchs every step of the way. Trump’s no different.

The latest evidence that things are getting even worse came last evening when the U.S. Senate voted to deliver Wall Street another gift on a silver platter.

Rather than summarize what happened, let’s turn to two of the best resources on such topics, journalist David Dayen and finance focused website Wall Street on Parade.

First, here are a few excerpts from David’s latest article published at The InterceptAfter Day of Feuding, Jeff Flake and Bob Corker Join Trump to Upend a Major Consumer Protection:

With national attention focused Tuesday morning on a mushrooming feud between President Trump and Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., followed by a feud in the afternoon between Trump and Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., the Senate gift-wrapped the biggest present Congress has so far bestowed upon Wall Street in the Trump era.

With a razor-thin margin, the Senate passed a resolution to nullify a signature regulation from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which banned forced arbitration provisions. Such clauses, tucked into the fine print of contracts that nobody reads, deny consumers the ability to contest claims through a class-action lawsuit, and can allow banks and other financial institutions to rip off their customers with virtual impunity.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Why Presidents Campaign on Peace but Rule by War

Why Presidents Campaign on Peace but Rule by War

(ANTIMEDIA Op-ed)  If the United States government continues as it does today, bestriding the narrow world like a colossus, it will be stabbed through the heart by daggers inscribed with the nation’s founding principles — the words “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” shedding salty tears of blood from sullied steel.

But I hope this day will not arrive.

I hope we will soon stop simply damning war presidents as hypocrites and killers so we may take the time to see the complex reasons why presidential peace candidates continue to become warmongers.

As a candidate, George W. Bush promised a humble foreign policy.

But as president — especially in reaction to the violent and tragic imperial blowback of 9/11 — humility gave way to hubris. War was not only waged against Bin Laden’s terror network and the Taliban in Afghanistan but also globally against all Terror, a campaign that somehow led U.S. forces to topple a tyrant in Baghdad only to ignite and invite more terror to a fight amongst the rubble.

As a candidate, Barack Obama railed against Bush’s wars of “choice,” promising peace in Baghdad, Kabul, and beyond.

But as president, Obama’s peace prize and campaign promises gave way to more wars of choice.Though Obama “ended” the war in Afghanistan, leaving thousands of troops stationed there, he escalated the Afghan war first. Obama pulled out of Iraq only to topple Gaddafi in Libya. He attempted to topple Assad in Syria only to jump back into Iraq once again to take on ISIS — no doubt an enemy of the United States but an enemy also interested in toppling Assad in Syria. He fought both sides of the same war, inflaming the conflict further. His expanded use of drones is also well documented.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Former White House Sr Advisor: “The Cult of Credibility” Will Take Us “Further Up The Escalation Ladder in Syria”

Former White House Sr Advisor: “The Cult of Credibility” Will Take Us “Further Up The Escalation Ladder in Syria”

Colin Kahl: he was Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor to the Vice President from October 2014 to January 2017; image via Flickr

Russia will not back down, and neither will its Syrian and Iranian allies on the ground, says a former White House insider.

After the dramatic downing of a Syrian Air Force jet over Raqqa province by a US Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet on Monday, a former senior national security advisor to the Obama administration, Colin Kahl, warns that the Washington “cult of credibility” will lead the United States into “quagmire” and “further up the escalation ladder in Syria.”

Kahl’s statement on the incident, issued via Twitter, gives rare confirmation of a hawkish Washington national security culture which dangerously places credibility and political careerism over genuine US interests and defense.

As former Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor to the Vice President specializing in the Levant and Persian Gulf region, Kahl was directly involved in formulating Syria and regional policy in the Obama White House.

Here is Kahl’s statement as published through a Twitter thread [emphasis mine]:

The cult of credibility is as popular in DC as it is dangerous. Watch Syria. The risk of sliding into a big war is rising. For years, hawks have argued that Assad & Iran (& Russia after 2015) were essentially paper tigers in Syria. The Axis of Assad could be backed down & easily deterred if the US just showed some muscle. A few threats, strikes, no-fly zones. Voila! Obama was often criticized for being too cautious & concerned about escalation & quagmire risks in Syria. But consider Team Trump has now: Retaliated vs Assad for CW, Bombed Iranian-backed militia 3 times, Shot down an Iranian-made drone, Downed Syria jet. Yet the regime/Iran/Russia haven’t backed down. 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Prosecution of Assange is Persecution of Free Speech

Prosecution of Assange is Persecution of Free Speech

US authorities are reported to have prepared charges to seek the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. This overreach of US government toward a publisher, whose principle is aligned with the U.S. Constitution, is another sign of a crumbling façade of democracy. The Justice Department in the Obama administration could not prosecute WikiLeaks for publishing documents pertaining to the US government, because they struggled to determine whether the First Amendment protection applied in this case. Now, the torch of Obama’s war on whistleblowers seems to have been passed on to Trump, who had shown disdain toward free speech and even calledthe U.S. media as “enemies of the people”.

Earlier this month, CIA Director Mike Pompeo vowed to end WikiLeaks, accusing the whistleblowing site as being a “non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia”. He also once called Edward Snowden a traitor and claimed that he should be executed. This declaration of war against WikiLeaks may bring a reminiscence of George W. Bush’s speech in the aftermath of 9-11, where he said, ‘either you are with us or against us’, and urged the nation to side with the government in his call to fight global ‘war on terror’.

In a recent interview on DemocracyNow!, journalist at The Intercept, Glenn Greenwald put this persecution of WikiLeaks in the context of a government assault on basic freedom. He spelled out their tactics, noting how the government first chooses a target group that is hated and lacks popular support, for they know attacking an idea or a group that is popular would meet resistance. He explained:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Obama/Trump: Contrasting Deceivers

Obama/Trump: Contrasting Deceivers

On the surface, Donald Trump and Barack Obama may seem like polar opposites but they are alike in one fundamental way: both promised to challenge a corrupt and brutal establishment but promptly caved in, writes Sam Husseini.


Donald Trump won the 2016 Republican nomination and the general election largely because he was able to pose as a populist and an anti-interventionist, an “America Firster.” Similarly, Barack Obama won the 2008 election in good part because he promised “hope and change” and because he had given a speech years earlier against the then-impending invasion of Iraq.

President Barack Obama reaffirming his oath of office on Jan. 21, 2013, with his hand on Bibles belonging to Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. (White House photo)

Short of disclosure of diaries or other documents from these politicians, we can’t know for certain if they planned on reversing much of what they promised or if the political establishment compelled them to change, but they both reversed themselves on their core messages, committing what you might call a massive political fraud. Yet, what is perhaps most striking is how quickly each of them backtracked on their winning messages, particularly since they were both proclaimed as representing “movements” seeking to shake up the system.

Even before taking office, Obama stacked his administration with pro-war people: He kept George W. Bush’s head of the Pentagon, Robert Gates; for Secretary of State he nominated Hillary Clinton, whom he beat largely because she voted for giving Bush authorization to invade Iraq; he surrounded himself with other prominent Iraq War backers including Vice President Joe Biden and senior foreign policy advisers Susan Rice and Richard Holbrooke. Even before he was sworn in, Obama had supported the 2008 Israeli slaughter of Palestinians in Gaza. [See from 2008: “Anti-War Candidate, Pro-War Cabinet?“]

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

If You’re Wondering Why Trump Can Just Bomb Countries, Ask Obama, Bush, and Clinton

If You’re Wondering Why Trump Can Just Bomb Countries, Ask Obama, Bush, and Clinton

(ANTIMEDIA) If you read closely between the warped headlines of the establishment media, you will eventually find the truth about Trump’s decision to strike the Syrian government: it was illegal.

Yet most mainstream media outlets clearly supported the strike. Many U.S. allies also supported the strike, including so-called peaceful countries such as New Zealand, which stated the strikes were a “proportional response to a specific incident – the chemical weapons atrocity.” New Zealand also said they would consider sending troops to Syria if the American government requested them.

Why isn’t the legality of Trump’s reckless move even on the table for discussion?

Is it because this is, yet again, no exception to the rule that — as history has shown us — the United States president has the ultimate right and authority to lead his country into war without congressional approval or approval from the United Nations?

How did this happen?

Following the wars in Vietnam and Korea, the War Powers Resolution was passed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate in 1973 as a means of curbing the ways by which the U.S. government could enter a war. Under the act, congressional approval must be obtained before the American president can commit the country to war. However, the fact that the president still has the power to launch a war for a 60-day period, following notification to Congress of the decision to commit U.S. armed forces to military action, still raises some questions regarding its effective application.

In 1999, under the presidency of Bill Clinton, the United States participated in NATO’s air war, which we were told was necessary in order to stop the Serbian ethnic cleansing campaign in Kosovo.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How to Drain the Deep Swamp


Pablo Picasso Girl Before A Mirror 1932 
Obviously, like hopefully many people, I’ve been following the WikiLeaks CIA revelations, and closely. It’s too early for too many conclusions, if only because WikiLeaks has announced much more will flow from that same pipeline. But one thing is already clear: the CIA is -still- a club that sees enemies behind every tree, and behind every TV set too. Which is not as obvious a world view as it may seem; it’s just something we’ve become used to.

Moreover, as we see time and again, organizations like the CIA and NATO have no qualms about ‘creating’ enemies if they are in short supply. The flavor du jour has now been, for years, Russia, but don’t be surprised if another one is cultivated alongside it. ISIS, China, North Korea, plenty of options, and plenty of media more than willing to aid the cultivation process. It’s a well-oiled machine geared towards making something out of nothing, a machine very adept at making you believe anything it wants you to.

In this way, our friends can become our enemies, and our enemies our friends. What gets lost in translation is that this way in reality we become our own worst enemies. While the upper and most secretive layers of society, filled with folk of questionable psychological constitution -sociopaths and psychopaths-, get to chase their dreams of wealth and power, those who try to live normal decent lives are, for that very purpose, increasingly subjected to poverty, misery and fear. As our economies decline further, this will only get worse.

Who needs your -conscious- vote or voice if these can be easily manipulated? Or do you not think you’re being manipulated? How many of you, American or European, think Russia is an actual threat to you?

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Big Myth

Don Watkins of the Ayn Rand Institute wrote an article, The Myth of Banking Deregulation, to debunk a lie. The lie is that bank regulation is good. That it helped stabilize the economy in the 1930’s. And that deregulation at the end of the century destabilized the economy and caused the crisis of 2008.
As of early 2015, Dodd-Frank had imposed altogether 27,670 new restrictions, more than all other laws passed under Obama combined (that is really saying something, considering the regulatory frenzy let loose by his administration. Note: the law may have “only” 2,300 pages, but more than 10 different regulatory agencies have been producing administrative laws for six years in a row to put it into practice – and they are not finished yet. Don’t you feel safer already?

If deregulation is the problem, then re-regulation is the solution. So, in the wake of the crisis, Congress enacted a 2,300-page monstrosity of regulation known as Dodd-Frank.

 

Watkins does a good job describing government regulation of finance, in particular addressing the savings and loan industry. He gives an example where people commonly assume that Congress reduced regulation, the Graham-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999.

The headline is that this law reduced regulation, and allowed banks to be in the securities business. However, the truth is that it mixed in a dollop of increased regulation.

 

The economic cost of Dodd-Frank (one guess as to who is going to end up paying for this…). Note: this is not cumulative – the cumulative tally so far is a cost of $36 billion (about $310 per household!); it has so far taken 74.8 million paperwork man hours to create this monster. You will be happy to learn that the law not only makes us perfectly safe, but introduces racial and gender quotas as well. The number of final rules exceeds those generated by Sarbanes-Oxley by a factor of 30 – so far.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

In A Battle Between Trump And The Federal Reserve, Who Really Wins?

In A Battle Between Trump And The Federal Reserve, Who Really Wins?

As a part of the increasingly obvious set-up of conservative movements by international banking interests and globalist think-tanks, I have noticed an expanding disinformation campaign which appears to be designed to wash the Federal Reserve of culpability for the crash of 2008 that has continued to fester to this day despite the many claims of economic “recovery.”  I believe this program is meant to set the stage for a coming conflict between the Trump Administration and the Fed, but what would be the ultimate consequences of such an event?

In my article ‘The False Economic Recovery Narrative Will Die In 2017’, I outlined the propaganda trap being established by globalist owned and operated media outlets like Bloomberg, in which they consistently claim that Donald Trump has “inherited” an economy in recovery and ascendancy from the Obama administration.  I thoroughly debunked their positions and “evidence” by showing how each of their fundamental indicators has actually been in steady decline since 2008, even in the face of massive monetary intervention and fiat printing by the Fed.

My greatest concern leading up to the 2016 election was that Trump would be allowed to win because he represents the perfect scapegoat for an economic crisis that central banks have been brewing for years. Whether or not Trump is aware of this plan cannot yet be proven, but as I have mentioned in the past, his cabinet of Goldman Sachs alumni and neo-con veterans hardly gives me confidence.  In the best case scenario, Trump is surrounded by enemies; in the worst case scenario, he is surrounded by friends.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai II: Exodus
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