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Macron and Le Pen: Two faces of the same con

The illusion of choice.

Gilbert Mercier

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It is sad that a nation defined by a great revolution has come to this: the docile copycat of a pseudo-ideological struggle at play elsewhere between globalism and nationalism.

It is sad that in the country of Danton, Mirabeau, Montesquieu and de Gaulle millions have become resigned to their fate and submissive like farm animals.

It is sad when lions behave like sheep, but it doesn’t have to be that way in France. The French electoral system and its two-round presidential election gave citizens a lot of options for their big-ticket item.

Yet, after the first round, from either impulses dictated by anger and fear, or some convoluted Byzantine calculus, the French people have once again shot themselves in the foot and embraced their own collective submission in the old adage: plus ce la change, plus c’est la même chose.

It seems that, regardless of the country, the handful of kingmakers of the global corporate elite finds ways to con the citizenry into dead-end choices, ways to breed an eternal status quo that serves their interests and places their servile politicians in apparent positions of power.

In a global economic system where eight men own as much as one half the world population, income and wealth have been siphoned upward at an alarming rate. Banker Nathan de Rothschild once bluntly said, “I care not what puppet is placed on the throne of England to rule the British Empire on which the sun never sets. The man that controls Britain’s money supply controls the British Empire, and I control the British money supply.”

Anti-establishment Rothschild man

One of Emmanuel Macron’s keys to success in the first round of the French presidential election was to pose as a political outsider. Let us keep in mind that he was a member of the Socialist Party and also Minister of Economy and Finance for two years in the unpopular Hollande administration. As a matter of fact, he was groomed at the exclusive École Normale d’Administration (ENA), which is the hallmark of almost all the so-called French top public servants.

Pretending to be an outsider is his best campaign trick. In 2016, Macron shrewdly did a bait-and-switch and started his own En Marche! Party, to distance himself from Hollande. One cannot help but notice the Orwellian irony of a former Rothschild banker’s party name echoing a verse and the mood of the revolutionary song “La Marseillaise.”

As expressed by last year’s movement Nuit Debout, France, like most countries worldwide, is fed up with its conventional political class. The French term raz le bol captures this notion best and also implies that, at any given point, spillovers will occur in the form of social unrest.

Many in the international press, for the sake of analogy and simplification, compare Emmanuel Macron to Hillary Clinton and Marine Le Pen to Donald Trump but, as a matter of fact, Macron’s trajectory is similar to that of Trump in the sense of pretending to be anti-establishment and not to belong to the conventional political class.

Like Trump, Macron’s recipe for success is the made-up charm of the fake political outsider. Of course Macron is purely an establishment tool, a company man just like Trump, and he will be France’s next president, handpicked by the Rothschild family. The country’s political system has become moribund and democracy not much more than a con game. Case in point: regardless of the French people’s fate, the global financial market was already salivating after the first round at the prospect of a Macron victory.

Vichy patriot

After five years of the corporate technocrat fake-socialist François Hollande’s presidency, many in France were hoping that Jean-Luc Mélenchon would be in the second round against Marine Le Pen to give the country a real-left political option. But Mélenchon came in fourth, behind Fillon, Le Pen, and Macron respectively third, second, and first.

What was remarkable about the French presidential first round is that the top four candidates came within less than a four-percent margin bracket in the polls, in a range of 19 to 23 percent of the votes.

The third-placed François Fillon has already urged his supporters to vote Macron. The leader of La France Insoumise, Mélenchon, who has denounced the elections as a charade and said that France was on its way to become a banana republic, came up short of endorsing Macron but said that he would vote in the second round and that it will be under no circumstance for Le Pen.

It happened before in France: a sort of union sacrée is shaping up to prevent the Front National’s candidate from getting elected.

Many French people feel that they now have a moribund democracy, at least as far as the executive branch of government, which has been reduced to a lesser of two evils scenario all too familiar to American voters.

It is incredibly ironic that Marine Le Pen has lately styled herself after General de Gaulle, and even called her supporters patriots, after shamelessly seeking some form of foreign endorsement from both Moscow and Washington.

Le Pen’s fans in Russia and the United States, as well as her sometimes gullible French supporters, should remember that the Front National ancestor, called Action Française, was the ideological force behind the rise of fascism in Germany and Italy in the 1930s. Older generations of French people will not forget that her father and former Front National leader, Jean-Marie Le Pen, was on the side of the military junta that wanted to topple the French Republic in a coup during the war in Algeria.

Marine Le Pen has said that “Macron is the candidate of the oligarchy and I am the candidate of the people.”

She is right about Macron, but wrong in her case, as she still represents La France aux Français, a notion with a clearly noxious Vichy aftertaste.

Le Pen’s fundamental xenophobia makes her a candidate of exclusion in a country that has become a racial and, to some extent, a cultural melting pot brought in the form of the poetic justice of colonialism in reverse.

One look at the French national football team, largely composed of players with African or North-African ethnic roots, is a testimony of France’s multi-racial reality. Le Pen might drape herself under the patriotic tricolor, but she still exudes the stench of the World War II pro-German Vichy government.

Ideological con: globalism versus nationalism

The French presidential election is getting worldwide attention like no other French election ever before. This is because it superficially opposes the Rothschild-certified globalist Macron to the nationalist Le Pen. In what seems to be the universal political debate of our times, the nationalist alternative right, which supported Trump and now supports Le Pen, fails to understand that you can only be anti-globalist if you are also anti-capitalist, or at least anti-corporate imperialist.

In the US the remaining Trump supporters cheer for Le Pen and attack Macron. This is a conveniently exotic distraction from the fact that Trump has fully embraced the neocon globalist ideology of his predecessors and is therefore getting high marks from the likes of John McCain and Paul Wolfowitz. It’s amazing what a few bombs dropped randomly on Syria and Afghanistan can do for a president’s popularity!

The victim of the global con game is democracy itself, an electoral chance to the real left. Far-right nationalists are on the rise worldwide because they have adopted an anti-globalist discourse partially stolen from the left, and also because the global domination of finance has become so extreme that it is now a form of dictatorship. Macron, who will be elected president of France, is a servant of this global corporate imperialism, but so is Trump despite his original nationalistic and non-interventionist rhetoric of a supposed outsider. Plus cela change, plus c’est la même chose, until la France Insoumise decides to forget the ballot box and take its revolt into the streets.

Gilbert Mercer’s piece was originally published at newsjunkiepost.com

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US Sanctions Foster Emergence of Multipolar World

US sanctions negatively affect the economies of the targeted countries, but they also push the nations hit by them to move closer to each other.

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Authored by Arkady Savitsky via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Russia, Iran, China, and now Turkey are in the same boat, as all have become the target of US sanctions. But none of those nations has bowed under the pressure. Russia had foreseen the developments in advance and took timely measures to protect itself. The Turkish national currency, the lira, is plummeting now that Washington has introduced sanctions as well as tariffs on steel and aluminum, in an attempt to compel Ankara to turn over a detained American pastor. Turkish President Erdogan said it was time for Turkey to seek “new friends,” and Turkey is planning to issue yuan-denominated bonds to diversify its foreign borrowing instruments. On Aug. 11, President Erdogan said Turkey was ready to begin using local currencies in its trade with Russia, China, Iran, Ukraine, and the EU nations of the eurozone.

The recent BRICS summit reaffirmed Ankara’s commitment to the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) that is geared toward de-dollarizing its member states’ economies, and the agreement to quickly launch a Local Currency Bond Fund gives that policy teeth. Turkey has also expressed its desire to join BRICS.

Ankara is gradually moving toward membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). It has been accepted as a dialog partner of that organization. Last year Turkey became a dialog partner with ASEAN. On Aug. 1, the first ASEAN-Turkey Trilateral Ministerial Meeting was held in Singapore, bringing together Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt ÇavuşoğluASEAN Secretary General Dato Lim Jock Hoi, and Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, who is serving as the 2018 ASEAN term chairman. The event took place under the auspices of the 51st ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting that attracted foreign ministers and top diplomats from 30 countries.

Ankara is mulling over a free-trade area (FTA) agreement with the Eurasian Union. This cooperation between Ankara and the EAEU has a promising future.

Meanwhile, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) has provided a $3.6-billion loan package for the Turkish energy and transportation sector. Turkey and China have recently announced an expansion of their military ties. As one can see, Turkey is inexorably pivoting from the West to the East.

Russia has a special role to play in this process. The US Congress has prohibited the sale of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey because of the risk associated with Ankara’s purchase of the S-400 air-defense system. In response, Turkey is contemplating a purchase of Russian warplanes. Ankara prefers Russian weapons over the ones offered by NATO states. As President Erdogan put it, “Before it is too late, Washington must give up the misguided notion that our relationship can be asymmetrical and come to terms with the fact that Turkey has alternatives.”

On Aug. 10, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Erdogan discussed the prospects for boosting economic cooperation. Both nations are parties to the ambitious Turkish Stream natural-gas pipeline project. Ideas for ways to join forces in response to the US offensive were also on the agenda during the visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to Turkey, Aug. 13-14, although Syria was in the spotlight of the talks. One mustn’t forget that Russia was the first country to be visited by the Turkish president after the failed 2016 coup.

As a result of some tough times resulting from US sanctions, Iran is redoubling its efforts at building foreign relationships. Under US pressure, European companies are leaving Iran, with China gradually filling the void. Now that US and European airspace companies are moving their business ventures out of Iran, this presents a good opportunity for Russian aircraft, such as the MS-21 or IL-96-400M. The Russian automaker GAZ Group is ready to supply Iran with commercial vehicles and light trucks powered by 5th generation engines.

Tehran is an observer state in the SCO, and it is to become an essential hub for the Chinese Belt Road Initiative (BRI). On June 25, a freight train arrived in the Iranian city of Bandar-e Anzali, a port on the Caspian Sea, having passed through the China-Kazakhstan-Iran transportation corridor and entering the Anzali Free Zone that connects China to both the Kazakh port of Aktau and to Iran, thus creating a new trade link to the outside world. This gives a boost to the BRI. On Aug. 12, the five littoral states (the Caspian Five) signed the Caspian Sea Convention — the fruit of 22 years of difficult negotiations. This opens up new opportunities for Iran and other countries of the region as well as the BRI. The idea to form a new economic forum was floated at the Caspian Five summit.

China and Russia back the idea of Iran’s full-fledged SCO membership. In May Tehran signed an interim FTA agreement with the EAEU. Greater EAEU-BRI integration under the stewardship of the SCO is also on the horizon.

According to the Daily Express, Iran could band together with Russia and China in an anti-US alliance. Iran may also get an observer status in the CSTO. Iran-Turkey trade has recently revived, and that bilateral relationship includes burgeoning military cooperation.

Nothing can be viewed in just black and white, and every coin has two sides. The US sanctions do negatively affect the economies and finances of the targeted countries, but in the long run, they will also push the nations hit by them to move closer to each other, thus encouraging the emergence of the multipolar world the US is trying so hard to resist.

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It’s Official: ‘Britain’s Democracy Now At Risk’

It’s not just campaigners saying it any more: democracy is officially at risk, according to parliament’s own digital, culture, media and sport committee.

The Duran

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Via True Publica, authored by Jessica Garland – Electoral Reform Society:


Britain’s main campaign rules were drawn up in the late 1990s, before social media and online campaigning really existed. This has left the door wide open to disinformation, dodgy donations and foreign interference in elections.

There is a real need to close the loopholes when it comes to the online Wild West.

Yet in this year’s elections, it was legitimate voters who were asked to identify themselves, not those funnelling millions into political campaigns through trusts, or those spreading fake news.

The government trialled mandatory voter ID in five council areas in May. In these five pilot areas alone about 350 people were turned away from polling stations for not having their papers with them — and they didn’t return. In other words, they were denied their vote.

Yet last year, out of more than 45 million votes cast across the country, there were just 28 allegations of personation (pretending to be someone else at the polling station), the type of fraud voter ID is meant to tackle.

Despite the loss of 350 votes, the pilots were branded a success by the government. Yet the 28 allegations of fraud (and just one conviction) are considered such a dire threat that the government is willing to risk disenfranchising many more legitimate voters to try to address it. The numbers simply don’t add up.

Indeed, the fact-checking website FullFact noted that in the Gosport pilot, 0.4 per cent of voters did not vote because of ID issues. That’s a greater percentage than the winning margin in at least 14 constituencies in the last election. Putting up barriers to democratic engagement can have a big impact. In fact, it can swing an election.

In the run-up to the pilots, the Electoral Reform Society and other campaigners warned that the policy risked disenfranchising the most marginalised groups in society.

The Windrush scandal highlights exactly the sort of problems that introducing stricter forms of identity could cause: millions of people lack the required documentation. It’s one of the reasons why organisations such as the Runnymede Trust are concerned about these plans.

The Electoral Commission has now published a report on the ID trials, which concludes that “there is not yet enough evidence to fully address concerns” on this front.

The small number of pilots, and a lack of diversity, meant that sample sizes were too small to conclude anything about how the scheme would affect various demographic groups. Nor can the pilots tell us about the likely impact of voter ID in a general election, where the strain on polling staff would be far greater and a much broader cross-section of electors turns out to vote.

The Electoral Reform Society, alongside 22 organisations, campaigners and academics, has now called on the constitution minister to halt moves to impose this policy. The signatories span a huge cross-section of society, including representatives of groups that could be disproportionately impacted by voter ID, from Age UK to Liberty and from the British Youth Council to the Salvation Army and the LGBT Foundation.

Voters know what our democratic priorities should be: ensuring that elections are free from the influence of big donors. Having a secure electoral register. Providing balanced media coverage. Transparency online.

We may be little wiser as a result of the government’s voter ID trials. Yet we do know where the real dangers lie in our politics.

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Corrupt Robert Mueller’s despicable Paul Manafort trial nears end (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 79.

Alex Christoforou

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Paul Manafort’s legal team rested its case on Tuesday without calling a single witness. This sets the stage for closing arguments before the judge hands the case to jurors for a verdict.

Manafort’s defense opted to call no witnesses, choosing instead to rely on the team’s cross-examination of government witnesses including a very devious Rick Gates, Manafort’s longtime deputy, and several accountants, bookkeepers and bankers who had financial dealings with Manafort.

Closing arguments are expected on Wednesday. Jurors may begin deliberating shortly after receiving their final instructions from judge Ellis.

Manafort case has nothing to do with Mueller’s ‘Trump-Russia collusion witch-hunt’ as the former DC lobbyist is accused of defrauding banks to secure loans and hiding overseas bank accounts and income from U.S. tax authorities.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III denied a defense motion to acquit Manafort on the charges because prosecutors hadn’t proved their case.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the circus trial of Trump’s former Campaign Manager Paul Manafort, and how crooked cop Robert Mueller is using all his power to lean on Manafort, so as to conjure up something illegal against US President Donald Trump.

Remember to Please Subscribe to The Duran’s YouTube Channel.

Via Zerohedge

Prosecutors allege he dodged taxes on millions of dollars made from his work for a Ukrainian political party, then lied to obtain bank loans when cash stopped flowing from the project.

The courtroom was sealed for around two hours Tuesday morning for an unknown reason, reopening around 11:30 a.m. with Manafort arriving around 10 minutes later.

The decision to rest their case without calling any witnesses follows a denial by Judge T.S. Ellis III to acquit Manafort after his lawyers tried to argue that the special counsel had failed to prove its case at the federal trial.

The court session began at approximately 11:45 a.m.:

“Good afternoon,” began defense attorney Richard Westling, who corrected himself and said, “Good morning.”

“I’m as surprised as you are,” Judge Ellis responded.

Ellis then heard brief argument from both sides on the defense’s motion for acquittal, focusing primarily on four counts related to Federal Savings Bank.

Federal Savings Bank was aware of the status of Paul Manafort’s finances,” Westling argued. “They came to the loans with an intent of doing business with Mr. Manafort.”

Prosecutor Uzo Asonye fired back, saying that that even if bank chairman Steve Calk overlooked Manafort’s financial woes, it would still be a crime to submit fraudulent documents to obtain the loans.

“Steve Calk is not the bank,” Asonye argued, adding that while Caulk may have “had a different motive” — a job with the Trump administration — “I’m not really sure there’s evidence he knew the documents were false.”

Ellis sided with prosecutors.

The defense makes a significant argument about materiality, but in the end, I think materiality is an issue for the jury,” he said, adding. “That is true for all the other counts… those are all jury issues.”

Once that exchange was over, Manafort’s team was afforded the opportunity to present their case, to which lead attorney Kevin Downing replied “The defense rests.

Ellis then began to question Manafort to ensure he was aware of the ramifications of that decision, to which the former Trump aide confirmed that he did not wish to take the witness stand.

Manafort, in a dark suit and white shirt, stood at the lectern from which his attorneys have questioned witnesses, staring up at the judge. Ellis told Manafort he had a right to testify, though if he chose not to, the judge would tell jurors to draw no inference from that. – WaPo

Ellis asked Manafort four questions – his amplified voice booming through the courtroom:

Had Manafort discussed the decision with his attorney?

“I have, your honor,” Manafort responded, his voice clear.

Was he satisfied with their advice?

“I am, your honor,” Manafort replied.

Had he decided whether he would testify?

“I have decided,” Manafort said.

“Do you wish to testify?” Ellis finally asked.

“No, sir,” Manafort responded.

And with that, Manafort returned to his seat.

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