Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Inconvenient Everything

Say What?

The furor unleashed by the remarks of President Donald Trump in response to Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly’s calling Russian President Vladimir Putin “a killer” during an interview broadcast Sunday has continued to reverberate.
In response to O’Reilly’s denunciation of Putin, Trump stated: “There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers. What, do you think our country’s so innocent?”
Trump went on to cite Iraq in support of his statement. O’Reilly’s face went slack. He clearly did not know what to say. The new leader of the “Free World” had wandered seriously off message.
As far as the capitalist politicians of both parties and the media are concerned, Trump committed an unpardonable offense: he—in this one instance, and for purely pragmatic reasons related to his immediate political needs—had said something true about US imperialism’s role in the world.  Thanks, Tom.

California Representative Maxine Waters shows group loyalty and denounces Trump and Putin roundly.  
"How can a president, who is acting in the manner that he's acting, whether he's talking about the travel ban, the way that he's talking to Muslims, or whether he's talking about his relationship to Putin, and the Kremlin -- and knowing that they have hacked our D-triple-C  -- DNC, and knowing that he is responsible for supplying the bombs that killed innocent children and families in, um – in, um– yeah, in Aleppo," “And the fact that he is wrapping his arms around Putin while Putin is continuing to advance into Korea"

Eric Zeusse believes that, "Things will continue to get worse until the US stops lying about Crimea". Crimea has been part of Russia longer than the USA has been a country. Drunken Nikita Khruschev transferred it to Soviet Ukraine, which didn't matter much at the time. The people of Crimea voted overwhelmingly in 2014 to rejoin Russia, which is less important than Khroschev's impulsive diktat in 1954. 

President Trump says he doesn't know what is going on in Ukraine, and needs more information. That means that he's not supposed to speak the obvious truth again this time and mess things up again. Ukrainazis grossly broke the Minsk agreement by mounting an offensive into civilian cities with tanks and artillery, before they got driven out again.

Germany's Angela Merkel and Russia's Vladimir Putin call for an immediate return to the cease-fire in east Ukraine (not Crimea, by the way).

The US Army, supposedly commanded by Donald Trump now, continues to mass tanks, artillery and troops on every Russian border it can reach, and conducts live fire exercises, explaining thusly:  "Atlantic Resolve is a demonstration of continued US commitment to collective security through a series of actions designed to reassure NATO allies and partners of America's dedication to enduring peace and stability in the region in light of the Russian intervention in Ukraine.”

The White House considers designating Iran's Revolutionary guard, military unit, a "terrorist group", which would retroactively validate the administration claim that Iran is the #1 supporter of terrorism, despite the fact that these guys are very effectively fighting ISIS and other real terrorists in Syria. (The CIA "Dirty Tricks" department might qualify...)

"IMF, Please Put Greece Out of Its Misery", Mish Shedlock discusses the austerity imposed on Greeks, for some shady deals between their former leaders and Goldman Sachs, which hid Greek borrowing at a great cost, to get Greece into the EU. Greeks have been totally betrayed by their former government, and Goldman Sachs was doing what Goldman Sachs always does. Greeks have to keep living like the Great Depression (see graph) while generating a 3.5% government surplus in taxes forever. Greek government debt ideal projections show it being 275% of GDP in 2060. Financing it will take 62% of GDP by then. "Inconceivable", right?  

Yves Smith looks at the same issue, the utter impossibility of Greece being able to keep digging this hole to China. The IMF really wants out of this futile role, and has clearly stated it's futility. Will Trump let them out of the next charade? German banks have to be paid. That's the bottom line. Banks and taxpayers cannot write off bad loans. (Goldman Sachs is ok, of course. Goldman took fees and left a decade ago.)

Israeli MPs vote to retroactively legalize 4000 Jewish houses built illegally (even under Israeli law) on Palestinian land.

Israelis attack Palestinians in Gaza with rockets and aircraft. Gaza has been under siege/blockade, an open air prison, since 2007. 
"The attacks came after the Israeli army claimed that a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip had hit open terrain in Ashkelon, without causing any injuries or damage."

On the same day that Betsy DeVos is (barely) approved as Secretary of Education, Kentucky Representative Thomas Massie introduces a bill to eliminate the Department of Education completely on December 31, 2018. Here's the whole bill:  "The Department of Education shall terminate on December 31, 2018"

The Army Corps of Engineers, under orders from Commander-in-Chief Trump, approves the Dakota Access pipeline along the same route and cancels environmental impact studies.

Ed Dolan presents a Libertarian argument for a Universal Basic Income (less wasteful, less complicated, eliminates perverse incentives)

Check in the Mail

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