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Obama Tries to Ram His TTIP Down Europeans’ Throats

In trade and economic as in political matters, Europe’s leaders do Washington’s bidding regardless of the interests or opinions of their people.

Eric Zuesse

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Like the foie gras producer ramming food down ducks’ throats in order to create diseased super-fatty livers that some humans find acceptable to eat, Barack Obama (via his friend and trade-negotiator Michael Froman) is trying to ram dictatorship down Europeans’ throats, for the benefit of billionaires. And, like the sweet words of the foie-grass lobbyists who say it’s all just the ‘free market’ at work, Obama’s commercial-treaties salesman is saying it’s all being done in order to support ‘free trade’.

Thus, on May 31st, a big promoter of ‘free trade’, Britain’s Economist, headlined “Europe and US in race to keep TTIP on track”, and ‘reported’ (i.e., stenographically transmitted) the U.S. President’s propaganda; they provided to Mr. Froman their (unjustifiably respected) platform, as an unpaid ad (‘news’ story) for the Obama Administration’s work-product, this treaty: “Speaking in Stockholm on a European tour to push TTIP, Michael Froman, US President Barack Obama’s trade tsar, warned that there was no ‘Plan B’ if talks were not concluded this year.

‘We either work together to help set the rules of the world or we leave that role to others.’” In other words: Obama, via Froman, via this freebie publicity provided by the Economist, is telling the Economist’s readers, that the way to advance free trade is by imposing the rules that govern it, so as to supply advantage to the people who impose the rules and sign Obama’s document, and so as thereby to disadvantage everybody else — all people who are outside the blessed self-selected closed circle of power-holders.

Naturally, being good propagandists, the Economist provides no real counter-argument to that (such as by pointing out that Obama is actually trying to replace “the rules of the world” that have already become established during decades by the far less partial World Trade Organization or WTO — replace those global rules by the discriminatory treaty-based trading-blocs rules that he wants in order for international corporations to be placed directly into the driver’s seat), but instead the Economist continues immediately with this caricature of such:

“TTIP’s supporters have also been blindsided by increasing opposition to trade deals in the US, where Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump has built his campaign around an antitrade message and Democrat Hillary Clinton, facing a challenge from the left, has abandoned her support for a similar Pacific trade pact.”

In other words, according to the Economist: the domestic opposition to Obama’s trade-deals is comprised of two categories: of ‘antitrade’ populists, and of leftist yahoos who don’t know that Marxism is dead and ended ever since the Soviet Union collapsed in 1990 — both categories of yahoos are simply behind-the-times, according to the Economist. Pity those non-subscribers to mega-corporate propaganda such as this.

Then, this Economist ‘news’ ‘report’ (a.k.a.: propaganda) continues:

With the clock running out on Mr Obama’s presidency, officials on both sides now believe that the window is closing for a deal to be reached and approved in legislatures in Europe and the US before the end of the year. EU officials stress that they want to agree a working text by July.

A failure to complete the agreement before a change in US administration could condemn the pact to years of drift.
Get it done now, is the propaganda message. But, the intelligent reader will still be asking: should it be done at all? Viewed in narrowly economic terms alone, the three independently done (as opposed to mega-corporate funded) studies indicate that the major stockholders in international corporations (especially ones that are based in the U.S.) would benefit from these deals, at the expense of everyone else and especially at the expense of consumers, and of employees. However, that’s only the economics of it. More broadly, what Obama’s treaties will do if they become passed into law is to achieve internationally the dream of fascists ever since the time of Mussolini: to transfer sovereignty away from the public in a democracy, to, instead, as Mussolini himself sometimes called his fascist ideology, “corporationism,” which he defined as:

“The corporation plays on the economic terrain just as the Grand Council and the militia play on the political terrain. Corporationism is disciplined economy, and from that comes control, because one cannot imagine a discipline without a director. Corporationism is above socialism and above liberalism. A new synthesis is created.” 

Earlier, he had said (and even legislated), tellingly:

“Labor in all forms, intellectual, technical and manual, is a social duty. In this sense, and in this sense only, is it protected by the State. From the national point of view all production is a unit; its objects are unitary and can be defined as the wellbeing of the producers and the development of national strength.”

He didn’t mention there “the wellbeing of the workers,” nor “the wellbeing of consumers,” because his ideology wasn’t concerned about those matters. He even asserted that labor “is a social duty. In this sense, and in this sense only, is it protected by the State,” so that workers’ rights have no protection in fascism. Only workers’ duties do. “National strength” was his goal, just as it is Barack Obama’s, and they don’t believe that workers’ rights are part of this. That’s why it’s ignored in Obama’s proposed treaties.

“National strength” is, of course, largely a military phenomenon. Here is Obama speaking on 28 May 2014 to graduating cadets at America’s academy for its future military leaders, West Point:

“Russia’s aggression toward former Soviet states unnerves capitals in Europe, while China’s economic rise and military reach worries its neighbors. From Brazil to India, rising middle classes compete with us, and governments seek a greater say in global forums. And even as developing nations embrace democracy and market economies, 24-hour news and social media makes it impossible to ignore the continuation of sectarian conflicts and failing states and popular uprisings that might have received only passing notice a generation ago. It will be your generation’s task to respond to this new world. …
America must always lead on the world stage. If we don’t, no one else will. The military that you have joined is and always will be the backbone of that leadership.”

This was a statement that America’s economic competitors are to be addressed not only by economic means (such as his economic sanctions against Russia) but also by military means, and that these cadets are therefore to think of their nation’s economic competitors as additionally being also America’s enemies. He even said there that all nations except the U.S. are dispensable; and his precise words to assert this type of American exceptionalism were that “the United States is and remains the one indispensable nation.” Consequently, for example, Russia and China (like any other enemy) are ‘dispensable’ (because only one is not: America).

Of course, some fascist leaders, such as Francisco Franco, haven’t similarly held their nation to be the only ‘indispensable’ nation. Not all fascist leaders do, but Adolf Hitler certainly did believe that his was, and he too was a fascist, though not a member of Mussolini’s party, the Fascist Party, because Hitler had his own fascist party, the Nazis. Obama is a member of the Democratic Party, which has existed ever since the beginning of the American republic. Fascism didn’t even exist back then. Furthermore, U.S. President FDR was passionately anti-fascist, and he led the Democratic Party during the time of Mussolini and Hitler, and went to war against them. However, there is evidence that Obama is a fascist in the sense that Mussolini initiated as not merely the Fascist Party, but more germane here, in the more basic sense, as the fascist ideology.

For example, Michael Froman has insisted that a country which systematically and regularly ignores whenever a labor union organizer gets murdered, isn’t therefore disqualified from being included in trade agreements such as the U.S. is now proposing. Obama, quite evidently (from his proposed trade treaties) feels that it’s quite okay for American workers to be competing against workers in foreign countries where labor union organizers are like free-fire-zone targets for corporations that want them to be (mysteriously) eliminated.

Of course, Obama’s rhetoric doesn’t say any such thing; he’s far more genteel than was Mussolini. But Obama’s actions, and the people whom he appoints to run the federal offices for him and who carry out his policies (such as Froman), show the real person, not merely the verbal front, and his agents make quite clear that, where the ideological rubber actually hits the policy highway, Barack Obama is, in fact, a classic fascist, in the sense that the first fascist leader, Mussolini, was. Obama’s concept of ‘free trade’ is the fascist version, not the democratic one.

previously noted that,

“Mussolini … had learned his fascism from the economist Vilfredo Pareto, whose teachings had inspired the young Mussolini
As Pareto himself said, 1 September 1897, in his essay “The New Theories of Economics”: “Were I of the opinion that a certain book would contribute more than any other to establish free trade in the world at large I would not hesitate an instant to give myself up heart and soul to the study of this particular work, putting aside for the time all study of pure science.” But what the international corporations call “free trade” isn’t quite the same thing that supporters of democracy would mean by that phrase.”

The same article also documented extensively that Pareto specifically condemned “the empty words of meaning of the famous Declaration of the Rights of Man,” and that he rejected equality of rights. He set forth the ideology upon the basis of which (for example) Michael Froman might ‘justify’ American workers competing against ones in countries where labor union organizers can be murdered with impunity: only the corporation’s owners should have the right to collective bargaining (via their management, lobbyists, etc.). Pareto was very big on the rights of owners, but that’s all.

Barack Obama’s ‘free trade’ is entirely in keeping with fascism. It’s simply extending that, globally, and excluding from the mega-trading-blocs that he is creating, the BRICS nations (now just the RICS nations, because of the successful coup in Brazil). This is in accord with his having told West Point cadets that they might be called upon by their nation to treat those nations where “rising middle classes compete with us, and governments seek a greater say in global forums,” as being America’s enemies, to be killed or captured — conquered. Perhaps this is to be the new gunboat diplomacy.

Irrespective of Obama’s rhetoric, which is often in accord with the tradition of America’s Founders, his proposed trade treaties are in blatant violation even of the U.S. Constitution itself, as well as of the very clearly expressed intentions of the chief individuals who drafted it and who led this nation during its earliest years.

All knowledgeable people are aware that Obama is pushing not only for a locked-in American domination of the world, but for U.S. corporate dictatorship. As I previously headlined, “UN Lawyer Calls TTP & TTIP ‘a dystopian future in which corporations and not democratically elected governments call the shots’.” But, what the UN’s legal expert on these matters has to say about them, doesn’t receive nearly as much freebie promotion as is provided to even just one of the U.S. White House’s fascist puff-pieces; so, the UN’s expert gets drowned out by the fascist cacophony.

Consequently, though the publics both in the U.S. and EU are opposed to these ‘free trade’ treaties (notwithstanding all the PR for them), the governments can just go ahead and sign them. This is Western ‘democracy’. The publics are the ducks, and the people who control things need to fatten up our livers a bit more, regardless of what we think. Obama and his allies are preparing this meal, and the people who paid them to do it are hungry, and are demanding to be served this feast, ASAP. The ducks (despite all the pretty sounds about how nutritious this food will be) might squawk about it, but, after all, the ducks don’t own the farm, and the people who do are the actual decision-makers — in accord with what Mussolini and his teacher Pareto said should be the case.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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Understanding the Holodomor and why Russia says nothing

A descendant of Holodomor victims takes the rest of us to school as to whether or not Russia needs to shoulder the blame.

Seraphim Hanisch

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One of the charges that nationalist Ukrainians often lodge against their Russian neighbors is that the Russian government has never acknowledged or formally apologized to Ukraine for the “Holodomor” that took place in Ukraine in 1932-1933. This was a man-made famine that killed an estimated seven to 10 million Ukrainians , though higher estimates claim 12.5 million and lower ones now claim 3.3 million.

No matter what the total was, it amounts to a lot of people that starved to death. The charge that modern-day Russia ought to apologize for this event is usually met with silence, which further enrages those Ukrainians that believe that this issue must be resolved by the Russian acknowledgement of responsibility for it. Indeed, the prime charge of these Ukrainians is that the Russians committed a genocide against the Ukrainian people. This is a claim Russia denies.

To the outside observer who does not know this history of Russia and Ukraine’s relationship, and who does not know or understand the characteristics of the Soviet Union, this charge seems as simple and laid out as that of the Native Americans or the blacks demanding some sort of recompense or restitution for the damages inflicted on these societies through conquest and / or slavery. But we discovered someone who had family connections involved in the Holodomor, and who offers her own perspective, which is instructive in why perhaps the Russian Federation does not say anything about this situation.

Scene in Kharkiv with dead from the famine 1932-33 lying along the street.

The speaker is Anna Vinogradova, a Russian Israeli-American, who answered the question through Quora of “Why doesn’t Russia recognize the Holodomor as a genocide?” She openly admits that she speaks only for herself, but her answer is still instructive. We offer it here, with some corrections for the sake of smooth and understandable English:

I can’t speak for Russia and what it does and doesn’t recognize. I can speak for myself.

I am a great-granddaughter of a “Kulak” (кулак), or well-to-do peasant, who lived close to the Russia/Ukraine border.

The word “кулак” means “fist” in Russian, and it wasn’t a good thing for a person to be called by this label. A кулак was an exploiter of peasants and a class enemy of the new state of workers and poor peasants. In other words, while under Communism, to be called a кулак was to bring a death sentence upon yourself.

At some point, every rural class enemy, every peasant who wasn’t a member of a collective farm was eliminated one way or another.

Because Ukraine has very fertile land and the Ukrainian style of agriculture often favors individual farms as opposed to villages, there is no question that many, many Ukrainian peasants were considered class enemies like my great grandfather, and eliminated in class warfare.

I have no doubt that class warfare included starvation, among other things.

The catch? My great grandfather was an ethnic Russian living in Russia. What nationality were the communists who persecuted and eventually shot him? They were of every nationality there was (in the Soviet Union), and they were led by a Ukrainian, who was taking orders from a Georgian.

Now, tell me, why I, a descendant of an unjustly killed Russian peasant, need to apologize to the descendants of the Ukrainians who killed him on the orders of a Georgian?

What about the Russian, Kazakh golodomor (Russian rendering of the same famine)? What about the butchers, who came from all ethnicities? Can someone explain why it’s only okay to talk about Ukrainian victims and Russian persecutors? Why do we need to rewrite history decades later to convert that brutal class war into an ethnic war that it wasn’t?

Ethnic warfare did not start in Russia until after WWII, when some ethnicities were accused of collaboration with the Nazis and brutal group punishments were implemented. It was all based on class up to that time.

The communists of those years were fanatically internationalist. “Working people of all countries, unite!” was their slogan and they were fanatical about it.

As for the crimes of Communism, Russia has been healing this wound for decades, and Russia’s government has made its anticommunist position very clear.

This testimony is most instructive. First, it points out information that the charge of the Holodomor as “genocide!” neatly leaves out. In identifying the internationalist aspects of the Soviet Union, Ukraine further was not a country identified as somehow worthy of genocidal actions. Such a thought makes no sense, especially given the great importance of Ukraine as the “breadbasket” of the Soviet Union, which it was.

Secondly, it shows a very western-style of “divide to conquer” with a conveniently incendiary single-word propaganda tool that is no doubt able to excite any Ukrainian who may be neutral to slightly disaffected about Russia, and then after that, all Ukrainians are now victims of the mighty evil overlords in Moscow.

How convenient is this when the evil overlords in Kyiv don’t want their citizens to know what they are doing?

We saw this on Saturday – taken to a very high peak when President Petro Poroshenko announced the new leading “Hierarch” of the “Ukrainian National Church” and said not one single word about Christ, but only:

“This day will go down in history as the day of the creation of an autocephalous Orthodox church in Ukraine… This is the day of the creation of the church as an independent structure… What is this church? It is a church without Putin. It is a church without Kirill, without prayer for the Russian authorities and the Russian army.”

But as long as Russia is made the “problem”, millions of scandalized Ukrainians will not care what this new Church actually does or teaches, which means it is likely to teach just about anything.

Russia had its own Holodomor. The history of the event shows that this was a result of several factors – imposed socialist economics on a deeply individualized form of agrarian capitalism (bad for morale and worse for food production), really inane centralized planning of cropland use, and a governmental structure that really did not exist to serve the governed, but to impose an ideology on people who really were not all that interested in it.

Personal blame might well lay with Stalin, a Georgian, but the biggest source of the famine lay in the structures imposed under communism as a way of economic strategy. This is not Russia’s fault. It is the economic model that failed.

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Mueller Finally Releases Heavily Redacted Key Flynn Memo On Eve Of Sentencing

Alex Christoforou

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Via Zerohedge


Having initially snubbed Judge Emmet Sullivan’s order to release the original 302 report from the Michael Flynn interrogation in January 2017, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has finally produced the heavily redacted document, just hours before sentencing is due to be handed down.

The memo  – in full below – details then-national security adviser Michael Flynn’s interview with FBI agents Peter Strzok and Joe Pientka, and shows Flynn was repeatedly asked about his contacts with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and in each instance, Flynn denied (or did not recall) any such conversations.

The agents had transcripts of Flynn’s phone calls to Russian Ambassador Kislyak, thus showing Flynn to be lying.

Flynn pleaded guilty guilty last December to lying to the FBI agents about those conversations with Kislyak.

The redactions in the document seem oddly placed but otherwise, there is nothing remarkable about the content…

Aside from perhaps Flynn’s incredulity at the media attention…

Flynn is set to be sentenced in that federal court on Tuesday.

Of course, as Christina Laila notes, the real crime is that Flynn was unmasked during his phone calls to Kislyak and his calls were illegally leaked by a senior Obama official to the Washington Post.

*  *  *

Full document below…

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Don’t Laugh : It’s Giving Putin What He Wants

The fact of the matter is that humorous lampooning of western establishment Russia narratives writes itself.

Caitlin Johnstone

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Authored by Caitlin Johnstone:


The BBC has published an article titled “How Putin’s Russia turned humour into a weapon” about the Kremlin’s latest addition to its horrifying deadly hybrid warfare arsenal: comedy.

The article is authored by Olga Robinson, whom the BBC, unhindered by any trace of self-awareness, has titled “Senior Journalist (Disinformation)”. Robinson demonstrates the qualifications and acumen which earned her that title by warning the BBC’s audience that the Kremlin has been using humor to dismiss and ridicule accusations that have been leveled against it by western governments, a “form of trolling” that she reports is designed to “deliberately lower the level of discussion”.

“Russia’s move towards using humour to influence its campaigns is a relatively recent phenomenon,” Robinson explains, without speculating as to why Russians might have suddenly begun laughing at their western accusers. She gives no consideration to the possibility that the tightly knit alliance of western nations who suddenly began hysterically shrieking about Russia two years ago have simply gotten much more ridiculous and easier to make fun of during that time.

Couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the emergence of a demented media environment wherein everything around the world from French protests to American culture wars to British discontent with the European Union gets blamed on Russia without any facts or evidence. Wherein BBC reporters now correct guests and caution them against voicing skepticism of anti-Russia narratives because the UK is in “an information war” with that nation. Wherein the same cable news Russiagate pundit can claim that both Rex Tillerson’s hiring and his later firing were the result of a Russian conspiracy to benefit the Kremlin. Wherein mainstream outlets can circulate blatantly false information about Julian Assange and unnamed “Russians” and then blame the falseness of that reporting on Russian disinformation. Wherein Pokemon Go, cutesy Facebook memes and $4,700 in Google ads are sincerely cited as methods by which Hillary Clinton’s $1.2 billion presidential campaign was outdone. Wherein conspiracy theories that Putin has infiltrated the highest levels of the US government have been blaring on mainstream headline news for two years with absolutely nothing to show for it to this day.

Nope, the only possibility is that the Kremlin suddenly figured out that humor is a thing.

The fact of the matter is that humorous lampooning of western establishment Russia narratives writes itself. The hypocrisy is so cartoonish, the emotions are so breathlessly over-the-top, the stories so riddled with plot holes and the agendas underlying them so glaringly obvious that they translate very easily into laughs. I myself recently authored a satire piece that a lot of people loved and which got picked up by numerous alternative media outlets, and all I did was write down all the various escalations this administration has made against Russia as though they were commands being given to Trump by Putin. It was extremely easy to write, and it was pretty damn funny if I do say so myself. And it didn’t take any Kremlin rubles or dezinformatsiya from St Petersburg to figure out how to write it.

“Ben Nimmo, an Atlantic Council researcher on Russian disinformation, told the BBC that attempts to create funny memes were part of the strategy as ‘disinformation for the information age’,” the article warns. Nimmo, ironically, is himself intimately involved with the British domestic disinformation firm Integrity Initiative, whose shady government-sponsored psyops against the Labour Party have sparked a national scandal that is likely far from reaching peak intensity.

“Most comedy programmes on Russian state television these days are anodyne affairs which either do not touch on political topics, or direct humour at the Kremlin’s perceived enemies abroad,” Robinson writes, which I found funny since I’d just recently read an excellent essay by Michael Tracey titled “Why has late night swapped laughs for lusting after Mueller?”

“If the late night ‘comedy’ of the Trump era has something resembling a ‘message,’ it’s that large segments of the nation’s liberal TV viewership are nervously tracking every Russia development with a passion that cannot be conducive to mental health – or for that matter, political efficacy,” Tracey writes, documenting numerous examples of the ways late night comedy now has audiences cheering for a US intelligence insider and Bush appointee instead of challenging power-serving media orthodoxies as programs like The Daily Show once did.

If you wanted the opposite of “anodyne affairs”, it would be comedians ridiculing the way all the establishment talking heads are manipulating their audiences into supporting the US intelligence community and FBI insiders. It would be excoriating the media environment in which unfathomably powerful world-dominating government agencies are subject to less scrutiny and criticism than a man trapped in an embassy who published inconvenient facts about those agencies. It certainly wouldn’t be the cast of Saturday Night Live singing “All I Want for Christmas Is You” to a framed portrait if Robert Mueller wearing a Santa hat. It doesn’t get much more anodyne than that.

Russia makes fun of western establishment narratives about it because those narratives are so incredibly easy to make fun of that they are essentially asking for it, and the nerdy way empire loyalists are suddenly crying victim about it is itself more comedy. When Guardian writer Carole Cadwalladr began insinuating that RT covering standard newsworthy people like Julian Assange and Nigel Farage was a conspiracy to “boost” those people for the advancement of Russian agendas instead of a news outlet doing the thing that news reporting is, RT rightly made fun of her for it. Cadwalladr reacted to RT’s mockery with a claim that she was a victim of “attacks”, instead of the recipient of perfectly justified ridicule for circulating an intensely moronic conspiracy theory.

Ah well. People are nuts and we’re hurtling toward a direct confrontation with a nuclear superpower. Sometimes there’s nothing else to do but laugh. As Wavy Gravy said, “Keep your sense of humor, my friend; if you don’t have a sense of humor it just isn’t funny anymore.”

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