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America needs revolution in political thinking – not another bogeyman scenario

Donald Trump has been cast in the role of the bogeyman in the US Presidential election in order to make an otherwise deeply flawed and unpopular Hillary Clinton electable.

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Republican nominee for the US Presidency, Donald Trump, who slammed the US political system as ‘rigged’, seems to be himself an unwitting pawn in Washington’s high stakes game of thrones, which looks determined to crown Hillary Clinton in November.

It’s the dirtiest trick in the despot’s playbook: Introduce a foreign bogeyman as an existential threat – an individual that is (allegedly) so repugnant he distracts the masses from coming to grips with the real monsters lurking at home. Since 2001, America has propped up a long roster of such so-called villains, including Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein, Muammar Gaddafi and Bashar Assad.

I would like to add another name to the empire’s growing rogue gallery: Donald Trump.

In the race between the Democrats and Republicans to seize the heights of Power Mountain, we are witnessing the bogeyman scenario playing out once again. The new stage for this political chicanery, however, is not some Middle Eastern country bubbling over in fossil fuel and fundamentalism.

The new stage set is Main Street, USA where roams the new and improved scoundrel of the moment: Homegrown racist, misogynist, Islamophobic, total nut job Donald Trump, the real estate tycoon who ranks on par with Adolf Hitler on the likeability charts, and that’s just considering his friends inside the Republican Party.

There is a good reason why such a shady character has been allowed anywhere near the heavily guarded gated community known as the Beltway. Sit down, Democrats, this may come as a shock. Because in order for legally challenged Clinton to pull off this election with any semblance of legitimacy she needs to be matched up against a super egoist who is not afraid to speak his mind in an age that has been intimidated by PC thought police, tamed by Tweets and Likes and systematically infantilised by one socio-cultural experiment gone awry after another.

Trump hails from a less anxious era when executives banged out business deals in smoke-choked boardrooms somewhere between an afternoon power-lunch and evening cocktails, and the concept of ‘political correctness’ meant handing a colleague a glass of whiskey and a cigar when he entered the office.

Many find Trump’s unabashed in-your-face poker style refreshing compared to the mental straitjacket designed for us by the Internet inquisitionists, where one misguided Tweet can destroy an otherwise squeaky clean career. However, this daunting openness makes Trump easy bait for humorless, corporate-muzzled media that places catchphrases above ideas, style above substance, and personal intrigue above political theory.

In other words, Trump is the ultimate bogeyman. A political maverick who won’t think twice about shooting off his foot with a shotgun remark just to hammer home a point. This approach may have worked about half-a-century ago, when voters relished raw, off-the-cuff discourse and political punditry was not yet a high-paying cottage industry. These days such brazenness is just political suicide.

Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton, the sweetheart of Wall Street, can do absolutely no wrong. And when she does take a tumble from the horse, the mud somehow always lands on Trump.

Oh, and the Russians too. Yes, Trump has even been accused of cooperating with Russia’s Vladimir Putin – another global leader who has fallen afoul of the mainstream spleen machine – in releasing hacked emails that showed the Democratic National Committee (DNC) had worked behind the scenes to sabotage the campaign of Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s Democratic challenger.

“We know that Russian intelligence services hacked into the DNC,” Clinton let loose in an interview with Fox. “And we know that they arranged for a lot of those emails to be released and we know that Donald Trump has shown a very troubling willingness to back up Putin, to support Putin.”

Really?

In reality (a disturbing three-dimensional place for some people), there is no evidence whatsoever linking the Russians to the leaked can of beans across the Atlantic, and there probably never will be. That’s because, despite the US media’s fantastic story about Trump and Putin’s budding bromance, it’s just that. Fantasy.

In fact, both Clinton and Trump are giving the Kremlin many sleepless nights, pondering the question as to who would be the more desirable American to negotiate with: an ego-maniacal magnate who probably flips the Monopoly board when he’s blocked from building hotels on Park Place, or a wily Washington insider who gets giddy at the thought of taking out foreign leaders?

Incidentally, claims that Trump was somehow cooperating with Putin to dash Clinton’s presidential dreams were hatched following a sarcastic remark by Trump, who wise-cracked at a rally:

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing… I think you will be probably rewarded by our press.”

That is what Hillary Clinton and the obsequious media has offered up as proof to the gods of investigative journalism that Trump is cooperating with Russia.

Meanwhile, the really dirty part of this story is being quietly swept under the rug. WikiLeaks last week announced a $20,000 reward for “information leading to conviction for the murder of DNC staffer Seth Rich”, a 27-year-old who was mysteriously gunned down in Washington. Although police say Rich was the victim of an attempted robbery, none of his personal belongings were taken.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange seemed to suggest that the murdered Seth Rich was an informant for his whistleblowing site.

“Whistleblowers often take very significant efforts to bring us material and often at very significant risks,” Assange told the Dutch television program Nieuwsuur. “There’s a 27-year-old who works for the DNC and who was shot in the back, murdered, just a few weeks ago, for unknown reasons as he was walking down the streets in Washington.”

Meanwhile, the FBI – which failed to indict Clinton for sending government-related correspondence over a private server in the first place – is now investigating the preposterous claim that Russia is somehow behind the release of the emails.

But ultimately none of this really matters. Why? Because the American elite, like a school of piranha, has found their bait: his name is Donald Trump, and they aren’t letting go. Nothing Hillary Clinton does – even if it involves compromising national security – will change the narrative. According to the media, Trump is on par with the vilest Islamic radical.

Method to the madness

At this point, I must provide some full disclosure: I have never really understood American politics. I voted for Ronald Reagan even though I was a member of a worker’s union at the time; I swallowed Obama’s ‘hope and change’ hype with all the gusto of a kid eating cotton candy at a carnival fairground.

So as the battle between Clinton and Trump began to heat up and rational thought took a backseat to raw emotions, I was tempted, once again, to place some faith in this ridiculous “one party, two faction” sham that is passed off as democracy once every four to eight years. But then something inexplicable happened: Bernie Sanders came out in support of Clinton after failing to clinch the Democratic nomination.

Although I am no Sanders fan, it was that illuminating slap in the face moment when I finally saw the light and concluded – admittedly, a bit late in life – that the US electoral system is one big massive fraud.

Yes, there were some not-so-subtle hints before – like George W. Bush being selected, not elected, to the Oval Office by a 5-4 vote by a right-leaning Supreme Court. But for Sanders the Socialist to broadside his base by declaring fidelity to the Wall Street Queen of Mean, Hillary Clinton, well, that’s just a step too far into the realm of the implausible.

Sanders, who built his electoral base on fighting the 1 percent, had these words to say about Clinton at a rally:

“I don’t believe that she is qualified if she is, through her super-PAC, taking tens of millions of dollars in special interest funds. I don’t think you are qualified if you get $15 million dollars from Wall Street… I don’t think you are qualified if you have voted for the disastrous war in Iraq.”

Sanders’ stance on divisive issues essentially built a very large wall between the Sanders’ camp and Clinton’s, but Sanders coldly sold out his supporters down the river when his campaign ran out of steam. To assume his fiercely loyal constituents would simply stroll into the Clinton camp was an insult to the intelligence of these astute voters, who must be seriously jaded at this moment.

And what was Sanders’ reasoning for throwing his support behind Clinton? To beat the big bad bogeyman named Donald Trump, of course:

“We have got to defeat Donald Trump and we have got to elect Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine”

Sanders told his stunned delegates at the Democratic National Convention, who responded with boos and heckles. He continued over the howling voice of collective pain:

“Brothers and sisters… this is the real world that we live in. Trump is a bully and a demagogue. Trump has made bigotry and hatred the cornerstone of his campaign…”

So how did Bernie the Socialist comfort himself from being forced out of presidential contention? Well, he went out and bought himself a house, his third. For a cool $600,000 dollars. Lenin must be turning in his grave.

But here is where the ‘Trump as bogeyman’ ploy gets really interesting. It seems The Donald has caught wind of the game he’s been unwittingly brought into. A bit like being dragged into a cheap knock-off of The Apprentice without ever being informed.

If I am correct, Trump is starting to sense exactly what role he is expected to play in this game of thrones, and that is to help Clinton make a seamless transition to the White House, and despite several 18-wheelers full of extra baggage (emails and Benghazi, for starters). But Trump ain’t playing.

At a weekend rally in Fairfield, Connecticut, Trump said his main fight is not against the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, but against journalists.

“I’m not running against Crooked Hillary,” he told his raucous supporters. “I’m running against the crooked media.”

And as everybody knows, few candidates will be able to reach the Oval office without first breaching the media firewall.

On Sunday, Trump made a plea on behalf of the First Amendment:

“It is not ‘freedom of the press’ when newspapers and others are allowed to say and write whatever they want even if it is completely false.”

Such talk is beginning to make some people nervous. After all, all these ‘conspiracy theories’ about a “rigged political system” could have some unintended consequences in the (highly likely) event of a Clinton victory.

Trump’s charges and counter charges are more than just campaign rhetoric, argued Timothy Frye, Professor of Political Science at Columbia University. 

“(They) raise a central issue for democracy: the willingness of losers to comply with a decision reached via free and fair elections.  Political scientists have long identified this willingness as a critical component of American democracy,” Frye continued. “The most prominent example in recent memory is Al Gore’s refusal to contest the decision of the Supreme Court awarding Florida’s electoral votes to George W. Bush, effectively handing him victory in 2000. Gore could have easily provoked a constitutional crisis by challenging the results.”

The problem with that analysis is quite simple: Trump is no Al Gore. Gore politely faded away when things turned ugly. Trump cannot be expected to do that. Trump would rather burn out than fade away. Whether that was taken into consideration when the straight-talking real estate developer was elected bogeyman is anybody’s guess. But it’s looking like some people seriously underestimated Trump’s ability to play spoiler.

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French opposition rejects Macron’s concessions to Yellow Vests, some demand ‘citizen revolution’

Mélenchon: “I believe that Act 5 of the citizen revolution in our country will be a moment of great mobilization.”

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Macron’s concessions to the Yellow Vests has failed to appease protesters and opposition politicians, such as Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who called for “citizen’s revolution” to continue until a fair distribution of wealth is achieved.

Immediately after French President Macron declared a “social and economic state of emergency” in response to large-scale protests by members of the Yellow Vest movement, promising a range of concessions to address their grievances, left-wing opposition politician Mélenchon called on the grassroots campaign to continue their revolution next Saturday.

I believe that Act 5 of the citizen revolution in our country will be a moment of great mobilization.

Macron’s promise of a €100 minimum wage increase, tax-free overtime pay and end-of-year bonuses, Mélenchon argued, will not affect any “considerable part” of the French population. Yet the leader of La France Insoumise stressed that the “decision” to rise up rests with “those who are in action.”

“We expect a real redistribution of wealth,” Benoît Hamon, a former presidential candidate and the founder of the Mouvement Génération, told BFM TV, accusing Macron’s package of measures that benefit the rich.

The Socialist Party’s first secretary, Olivier Faure, also slammed Macron’s financial concessions to struggling workers, noting that his general “course has not changed.”

Although welcoming certain tax measures, Marine Le Pen, president of the National Rally (previously National Front), accused the president’s “model” of governance based on “wild globalization, financialization of the economy, unfair competition,” of failing to address the social and cultural consequences of the Yellow Vest movement.

Macron’s speech was a “great comedy,”according to Debout la France chairman, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, who accused the French President of “hypocrisy.”

Yet many found Melanchon’s calls to rise up against the government unreasonable, accusing the 67-year-old opposition politician of being an “opportunist” and “populist,” who is trying to hijack the social protest movement for his own gain.

Furthermore, some 54 percent of French believe the Yellow Vests achieved their goals and want rallies to stop, OpinionWay survey showed. While half of the survey respondents considered Macron’s anti-crisis measures unconvincing, another 49 percent found the president to be successful in addressing the demands of the protesters. Some 68 percent of those polled following Macron’s speech on Monday especially welcomed the increase in the minimum wage, while 78 percent favored tax cuts.

The Yellow Vest protests against pension cuts and fuel tax hikes last month were organized and kept strong via social media, without help from France’s powerful labor unions or official political parties. Some noted that such a mass mobilization of all levels of society managed to achieve unprecedented concessions from the government, which the unions failed to negotiate over the last three decades.

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Soros Mimics Hitler’s Bankers: Will Burden Europeans With Debt To ‘Save’ Them

George Soros is dissatisfied with the current EU refugee policy because it is still based on quotas.

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Via GEFIRA:


After the Second World War, many economists racked their brains to answer the question of how Hitler managed to finance his armament, boost the economy and reduce unemployment.

Today his trick is well known. The economic miracle of Führer’s time became possible thanks to the so-called Mefo promissory notes.

The notes were the idea of the then President of the Reichsbank, Hjalmar Schacht, and served not only to finance the armament of the Wehrmacht for the Second World War, but also to create state jobs, which would otherwise not have been possible through the normal use of the money and capital markets, i.e. the annual increase in savings in Germany.

The Reich thus financed the armaments industry by accepting notes issued by the dummy company Metallurgische Forschungsgesellschaft GmbH (hence the name Mefo) rather than paying them in cash. The creation of money was in full swing from 1934 to 1938 – the total amount of notes issued at that time was 12 billion marks. The Reichsbank declared to the German banks that it was prepared to rediscount the Mefo notes, thus enabling the banks to discount them.

Because of their five-year term, the redemption of notes had to begin in 1939 at the latest. This threatened with enormous inflation. Since Schacht saw this as a threat to the Reichsmark, he expressed his doubts about the Reich Minister of Finance. But it did not help, and Schacht was quickly replaced by Economics Minister Walther Funk, who declared that the Reich would not redeem the Mefo notes, but would give Reich bonds to the Reichsbank in exchange. At the time of Funk, the autonomous Reichsbank statute was abolished, the Reichsbank was nationalized, and inflation exploded in such a way that Mefo notes with a circulation of 60 billion Reichsmark burdened the budget in post-war Germany.

George Soros also proposes such a money flurry in the style of Schacht and Funk.

Soros is dissatisfied with the current EU refugee policy because it is still based on quotas. He calls on the EU heads of state and governments to effectively deal with the migrant crisis through money flooding, which he calls “surge funding”.

“This would help to keep the influx of refugees at a level that Europe can absorb.”

Can absorb? Soros would be satisfied with the reception of 300,000 to 500,000 migrants per year. However, he is aware that the costs of his ethnic exchange plan are not financially feasible. In addition to the already enormous costs caused by migrants already in Europe, such a large number of new arrivals would add billions each year.

Soros calculates it at 30 billion euros a year, but argues that it would be worth it because “there is a real threat that the refugee crisis could cause the collapse of Europe’s Schengen system of open internal borders among twenty-six European states,” which would cost the EU between 47 and 100 billion euros in GDP losses.

Soros thus sees the financing of migrants and also of non-European countries that primarily receive migrants (which he also advocates) as a win-win relationship. He calls for the introduction of a new tax for the refugee crisis in the member states, including a financial transaction tax, an increase in VAT and the establishment of refugee funds. Soros knows, however, that such measures would not be accepted in the EU countries, so he proposes a different solution, which does not require a vote in the sovereign countries.

The new EU debt should be made by the EU taking advantage of its largely unused AAA credit status and issuing long-term bonds, which would boost the European economy. The funds could come from the European Stability Mechanism and the EU balance of payments support institution.

 “Both also have very similar institutional structures, and they are both backed entirely by the EU budget—and therefore do not require national guarantees or national parliamentary approval.“

In this way, the ESM and the BoPA (Balance of Payments Assistance Facility) would become the new Mefo’s that could issue bills of exchange, perhaps even cheques for Turks, Soros NGOs. Soros calculates that both institutions have a credit capacity of 60 billion, which should only increase as Portugal, Ireland and Greece repay each year the loans they received during the euro crisis. According to Soros, the old debts should be used to finance the new ones in such a way that it officially does not burden the budget in any of the EU Member States. The financial institutions that are to carry out this debt fraud must extend (indeed – cancel) their status, as the leader of the refugees expressed such a wish in his speech.

That Soros is striving to replace the indigenous European population with new arrivals from Africa and Asia is clear to anyone who observes its activities in Europe. The question is: what does he want to do this for and who is the real ruler, behind him, the real leader?

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The French People Feel Screwed

For the first time in his presidency, Macron is in trouble and Europe and America are looking on.

The Duran

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Authored by David Brown via The Gatestone Institute:


On December 4, French Prime Minister Édouard Phillipe told deputies of the ruling party, “La République en Marche”, that a proposed fuel tax rise, which had led to the largest protests France has seen in decades, would be suspended.

The protesters, called Gilets-Jaunes — “Yellow Vests,” because of the vests drivers are obliged by the government to carry in their vehicles in the event of a roadside breakdown — say that the fuel tax was the last straw from a president who took office with a promise to help the economically left-behind but instead has favoured the rich.

Even by French standards, the protests of the “Yellow Vests” during the weekend of December 1 were startling. Burning cars and vast plumes of grey smoke seemed to engulf the Arc De Triomphe as if Paris were at war. Comparisons were drawn with the Bread Wars of the 17th Century and the spirit of the Revolution of the 18th Century.

For more than two weeks, the “Yellow Vests” disrupted France. They paralyzed highways and forced roads to close — causing shortages across the country – and blocked fuel stations from Lille in the North to Marseilles in the South.

During protests in France’s capital, Paris, the “Yellow Vests” were soon joined by a more violent element, who began torching cars, smashing windows and looting stores. 133 were injured, 412 were arrested and more than 10,000 tear gas and stun grenades were fired.

One elderly lady was killed when she was struck by a stray grenade as she tried to shutter her windows against the melee.

There was talk of imposing a State of Emergency.

The “Yellow Vests” present the most significant opposition French President Emmanuel Macron has faced since coming to office in May 2017. Unlike previous protests in France, which have divided public opinion, these have widespread support – 72% according to a Harris Interactive Poll published December 1st.

Fuel tax rises — announced in November before being retracted on December — were intended to help bring down France’s carbon emissions by curbing the use of cars. Macron makes no secret of his wish to be seen as a global leader for environmental reform.

He forgets that back at home, among the people who elected him, fuel prices really matter to those outside big cities, where four-fifths of commuters drive to work and a third of them cover more than 30km each week.

The increases have incensed people in smaller communities, where they have already seen speed limits reduced to please the Greens and cuts to the local transport services.

These additional costs-of-living increases come at an extremely bad time for ordinary French people working outside of Paris. Lower-middle class families are not poor enough to receive welfare benefits but have seen their income flat-line whilst cost-of-living and taxes have risen.

An analysis by the Institut des Politiques Publiques think-tank shows that benefits cuts and tax changes in 2018 and 2019 will leave pensioners and the bottom fifth of households worse off, while the abolition of the wealth tax means that by far the biggest gains will go to the top 1%

This is tough to swallow. Macron is seen as being out of touch with ordinary people and is unlikely to escape his new title, “the President of the Rich.”

“People have this feeling that the Paris technocrats are doing complicated things to screw them,” said Charles Wyplosz, an economics professor at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva.

It is probably not as complex as that. The French people feel screwed.

As employment and growth are slowing, Macron, for the first time in his presidency, is under serious pressure. Unemployment is at 9%; his efforts to reform Europe are stalling, and his approval rating has plummeted to just 23% according to a recent opinion poll by IFOP.

Images of Macron at the Arc De Triomphe daubed in graffiti calling for him to step down, or worse, have done little to bolster his image abroad.

So far, Macron had said he would not bow to street protests. To underline his point, in September 2017, he called protestors against French labour-market reform “slackers”.

The political U-Turn on the fuel tax is a turning point for the Macron presidency. The question is : What next, both for Macron and the “Yellow Vests”?

Macron most likely needs to plough ahead with his reform agenda, and doubtless knows he has the support of a solid majority in the National Assembly to do so. France is crippled by debt (nearly 100% of GDP) and its grossly bloated public sector. There are 5.2 million civil servants in France, and their number has increased by 36% since 1983. These represent 22% of the workforce compared to an OCDE average of 15%.

Tax-expert Jean-Philippe Delsol says France has 1.5 million too many “fonctionnaires [officials]. When you consider that public spending in France now accounts for 57 per cent of gross domestic product. Soon the system will no longer function as there will be less and less people working to support more and more people working less”.

Macron’s mistake, in addition to a seeming inclination for arrogance, is not to have made national economic reform his absolute priority right from his initial grace period after his election. Lower public expenses would have made it possible to lower taxes, hence creating what economists call a virtuous circle. Instead, he waited.

Now, at a time when he is deeply unpopular and social unrest is in full sway he is looking to make further reforms in unemployment benefits, scaling them back by reducing the payments and the length of time beneficiaries can receive the money. The “President of the Rich” strikes again.

There is talk that he may also re-introduce the wealth tax to try to placate the protestors.

Macron’s presidential term lasts until May 13, 2022. Understandably, Macron will be focused on the elections to the European Parliament expected to be held May 23-26, 2019. Headlines have signalled that Marine Le Pen and the National Rally (formally National Front) are ahead in the polls at 20%, compared to Macron’s En Marche at 19%.

The shift is understandable, given the divide between the countryside, where Le Pen has solid support, and the cities, where Macron’s centre-left prevail.

In contrast, the “Yellow Vests” have galvanised support after standing up for the “impotent ordinary”, and seem much buoyed by the solidarity they have been shown by both fire fighters and the police. There are images online of police removing their helmets and firefighters turning their backs on political authority to show their support for the protestors.

Whilst Macron’s political opposition may be fragmented, this new breed of coherent public opposition is something new. Leaderless, unstructured and organised online, the “Yellow Vests” have gained support from the left and right, yet resisted subjugation by either.

Being leaderless makes them difficult to negotiate withor to reason with in private. The “Yellow Vests” seem acutely aware of this strength, given their firm rebuttal of overtures for peace talks from the Macron government.

Enjoying huge support from the public and with reforms to the social welfare system on the horizon, the “Yellow Vests” are not going away.

For the first time in his Presidency, Macron is in trouble and Europe and America are looking on.

After Macron rebuked nationalism during his speech at the armistice ceremony, Trump was quick to remind the French President of his low approval rating and unemployment rate near 10%. A stinging broadside from Trump on twitter suggests that Macron may well be relegated to Trump’s list of global “Losers“:

“Emmanuel Macron suggests building its own army to protect Europe against the U.S., China and Russia. But it was Germany in World Wars One & Two – How did that work out for France? They were starting to learn German in Paris before the U.S. came along. Pay for NATO or not!”

The “impotent ordinary” in the United Kingdom, who might feel betrayed over Brexit, and the nationalists in Germany, who have suffered under Merkel , are no doubt staring in wonder at the “Yellow Vests”, wishing for the same moxie.

The historian Thomas Carlyle, chronicler of the French Revolution, said the French were unrivaled practitioners in the “art of insurrection”, and characterised the French mob as the “liveliest phenomena of our world”.

Mobs in other countries, by comparison, he argued were “dull masses” lacking audacity and inventiveness. The blazing yellow vests of the French protest movement , however, have made Macron appear increasingly dull and weak too.

David Brown is based in the United Kingdom.

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