The peace loveing USA Senate????

Last week, the US Senate overwhelmingly approved an USD 80 billion increase in military spending. That’s $26 billion more than Donald Trump asked for earlier in the year. If this spending bonanza becomes a reality, our annual military budget will stand at around $700 billion — higher than military spending under Ronald Reagan.

Members of both parties have claimed that there’s just not enough money in the federal budget for needs like universal health care, debt-free higher education, or modernizing our infrastructure. 

But that’s a lie. We’re causing countless deaths, destroying whole cities abroad, letting our own cities and towns go to ruin, and wasting billions a year on endless wars in the Middle East and conflicts all over the world.

We’ve had enough of the lies. That’s why we’re so excited that the National Priority Project (NPP), run by the leading experts on the U.S. federal budget, has joined the IPS family.

The National Priorities Project at the Institute for Policy Studies will open new opportunities for us to go deeper to find solutions for peace and foreign policy, economic and racial justice, climate justice, and more.

The addition of NPP to our other projects is already helping IPS expand our work on:

  • Linking job cuts by tax-dodging corporations to devastating cuts to services that could be triggered by an immoral tax reform plan
  • Exposing the interplay between poverty, racism, militarism, and the climate crisis in the U.S. in a landmark report for the new Poor People’s campaign
  • Employing facts to clear the fog of fear around rising tensions with North Korea to spread the message of diplomacy over war
  • Outlining policy proposals to transfer funds from the military budget to a climate security budget to address one of the most pressing dangers of our time

Budgets are moral documents. With NPP at IPS, we’re gearing up to fight this latest trumped up military spending bill and will continue to fight to use our tax dollars to lift people and peace, at home and abroad.

byalfons

 

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US airstrikes on civilians & other ‘chronic mistakes’ led to humanitarian disaster in Raqqa – according to Russia.

Repeated targeting mistakes by the US-led coalition have caused deaths as well as widespread destruction to Syrian civilian infrastructure, while a lack of aid and evacuation corridors has led to a humanitarian disaster in Raqqa, a senior Russian diplomat has said.

“We are witnessing a humanitarian catastrophe in Raqqa (as we previously saw in Iraqi Mosul),” said Oleg Syromolotov, who supervises counterterrorism cooperation with other nations for the Russian Foreign Ministry.

“It was caused by the lack of effective effort to deliver humanitarian aid and to create corridors for the evacuation of civilian population, not to mention the multiple ‘chronic’ mistakes of the US Air Force, including airstrikes hitting civilian sites,” Syromolotov told RIA Novosti.

Raqqa, which has been de facto capital of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) terrorists, has been under siege by the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces, backed by US-led coalition airstrikes, since summer. The city sustained severe damage during the operation, with hundreds of civilians being killed in the fighting and repeated misplaced airstrikes. Human Rights Watch said last week that the US-led coalition “failed to take necessary precautions to avoid and minimize civilian casualties,” blaming it for killing at least 84 civilians, including 30 children, in just two lethal airstrikes near Raqqa in March.

Eliminating IS and other terrorist groups, including Jabhat al-Nusra, is currently “the most imminent task for the international community,” according to Syromolotov. However, he pointed out that US actions leaves an impression that it’s not eager to see IS vanquished.

“We tell our American colleagues: we are offering you to coordinate of our efforts in fighting terrorists in Syria, but you reject it. Who benefits? Islamic State,” he said.

The diplomat said Russia and the US only communicate to avoid potential conflicts over their respective military operations in Syria. American attempts to hamper the anti-terrorist efforts of Syrian government forces is another indication of Washington’s unwillingness to put an end to IS, Syromolotov noted.

“This is an absurd situation, in which a foreign force, present on Syrian territory illegally and without consent from the government of Syria, starts imposing some geographic boundaries for the Syrian Army, which is fighting to free its own country from terrorists,” he underlined.

Syromolotov was apparently referring to repeated incidents in which the US-led coalition targeted Syrian troops and allied militias either by “mistake” or for allegedly ‘threatening’“partner forces” inside what the US presumptuously claims to be its zone of control in Syria. The government in Damascus on Thursday called on the UN Security Council to pressure the US, so that American troops would stop “systematic” airstrikes targeting civilian infrastructure in Syria. The Syrian government reiterated that the US presence on its territory was illegal.

byalfons

 

 

Whitewashing George W. Bush

 

by:WALTER CLEMENS

The New York Times editorial “Mr. Trump Squanders the World’s Trust” (Sept. 24, 2017) rightly underscores the reckless approach of President Donald Trump to world order.  However, the editorial errs in stating that President George W.  Bush did not act capriciously in abrogating the 1972 antiballistic missile (ABM) treaty with the Kremlin. Bush, the editorial asserts, “relied upon the treaties agreed-upon withdrawal clause and had a strategy for improving relations with Russia going forward.” Neither of these claims is accurate. Article XV of the treaty permitted either party to withdraw “if it decides that extraordinary events related to the subject matter of this Treaty have jeopardized its supreme interests. It shall give notice of its decision…six months prior to withdrawal….Such notice shall include a statement of the extraordinary events the notifying Party regards as having jeopardized its supreme interests.” The Bush administration never stated what extraordinary events related to the treaty jeopardized U.S. supreme interests.

Not only did the Bush administration violate the ABM treaty’s withdrawal clause, but the president’s unilateral action probably violated U.S. law.  Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) and thirty-two other members of the House of Representatives filed suit against Bush, saying his action was unconstitutional. Citing Thomas Jefferson and over fifty precedents, the plaintiffs argued that since a treaty is part of the “supreme law of the land,” and must be made with the approval of Congress, the president alone cannot unmake a treaty. A U.S. District Court upheld the executive branch and the six-month withdrawal period closed before Kucinich et al could take the matter to a higher court.

Though Bush perceived something positive in President Vladimir Putin’s eyes, U.S. policy tended to treat Russia like a weak and cornered bear, helping to bring on today’s animus. Subsequent U.S. efforts to erect antimissile defenses in Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean, and South Korea have aggravated U.S. relations with Beijing as well as Moscow. Republicans in Congress, still dreaming of Ronald Reagan’s astrodome ABM defense, have usually supported not just research and development but also deployment of ABM defenses, regardless their cost, their unreliable performance, and the near impossibility of differentiating incoming warheads from decoys.

Bush, like Trump, seemed to relish withdrawing from international agreements (International Criminal Court, Kyoto Protocol, the Agreed Framework with North Korea). In most of these cases, “America First” harmed vital U.S. interests as well as international cooperation.

The effect of the Times editorial is to whitewash an important feature of the George W. Bush approach to world affairs and to miss an opportunity to place the Trump presidency in historical perspective.  The reality is that Bush and Trump belong to a Republican leadership tradition of amoral and myopic politics that extends from Richard Nixon (sabotaging peace negotiations and extending the Indochina War) and Ronald Reagan (the Iran-Contra affair) to the present day. George H. W. Bush stood apart from this tradition, but his support for M. S. Gorbachev’s Soviet Union over the drive of Ukrainians, Estonians, and other Soviet minorities for national self-determination also belonged to a spirit of coldblooded Realpolitik.  The tradition was rationalized, as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has put it, as a priority for U.S. “interests” over “values.”

Walter Clemens is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Boston University and Associate, Harvard University Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies. He wrote Complexity Science and World Affairs (SUNY Press, 2013).

Regarding the German election 2017

What can happen in four years. After the last election, there was a majority left of the center and a courageous Social Democratic party leadership could have seized the agenda of action and formed a government with the Greens and the Left, which would come to a standstill and give fresh impetus, especially in Europe,

Angela Merkel would have been forced into a minority government (discussed here [1] four years ago) and could change politics from the opposition. Hare-footed as one was, but rather chose the path of least resistance, went into a great coalition, and let infinitely much happen that contradicted fundamental social-democratic values ​​and goals.

Social Democrats: Profiling becomes difficult

And today, the Social Democrats are standing in front of a shard and that even though the CDU/CSU, its main opponent, has achieved the weakest result of recent history. One wonders just how much of the “Frei bier” has had to flow at the Willi-Brandt-Haus last Sunday before 6 pm, to induce the comrades, present to cheer at the chairman’s speech.

The SPD has now lost all reasonable political options, and at least the party leadership has recognized this. Apart from that, they will continue as far as ever, because to put opposition without having really an alternative political concept will make the profile of the mixture store of a Jamaican coalition still more difficult than before.

The most nonsensical saying of the election evening was the formula repeatedly repeated by every Social Democrat: “We win together and we lose together.” Imagine this in the relegation battle of a football team, because that means that no one is willing to take responsibility for the debacle.

That implies implicitly that we are not changing anything because at the outset, there was only one figure at the top, but not a personality who would ever have taken on a material responsibility for a well-designed program. Jeremy Corbyn would have had to resign if he had lost the election because he was the one who gave the British Social Democrats a new program. Martin Schulz has not given anything, so he cannot and will not take it.

The new coalition: an act of violence that nobody can wish for.

Angela Merkel was infinitely tired and frustrated in the round of top candidates on Sunday evening. She, too, should have had to retire yesterday because – and she did it herself in the round – everything that now comes is no longer properly described with the famous “troubles of the plain”.

It should form a coalition with the second and the very last one, as it stands, in the sense of the elective test stones of Macroscopy (here again the last state). This is not only materially difficult, but especially in the face of the chairman of the Liberals, who is inflated with an immeasurably hot air, an act of violence that cannot be desired.

Refugees’ question about Germany’s destiny

And this in a society that has shown particularly in this election campaign that it has completely lost the measure of the importance of things. Not only in the discussion of Merkel and Schulz, but in almost all medially staged campaign contributions, the refugee question was highly stylized as a question of Germany’s fate, which offered the AfD a wonderful breeding ground for its national vulture.

I do not know how often the Chancellor has already answered the question of her refugee decision in 2015, but when she heard yesterday that the newly elected parliament has little else in mind than a legal review of many decisions of the past years, she certainly asked herself if there was not a price that is too high for her.

It was no wonder, then, that Angela Merkel had in fact the greatest deal with Katja Kipping from the left who lamented exactly this wrong weight of the election campaign and urged the discussion of urgent questions.

Social issues, inequality and society, poverty and annuity, a weakening of infrastructure, a lack of public investment, the deplorable state of Europe, had to abandon all because German journalism, and the public media, had to deal with the issue of refugees in an unprecedented way everything else.

I do not even believe that there is an explicit right-wing attitude in most of them (people like Strunz from Sat 1, of course, are excluded), but the issue is easy to grasp by any journalist, the questions are obvious and the opposites between the parties are easy to reveal. Why should you consider complicated topics such as European economic and financial policy?

Translated from german

Alfons

 

In the race of the Syrian troops and the US-backed SDF associations to the strategically important city of Deir-ez-Zor, the conflict between Russia and the US is exacerbating

As is clear for a long time, the suppression and expulsion of the Islamic state in Syria does not lead to a solution to the conflict. The geopolitical interests of the USA and Russia, as well as the regional powers allied to them, which are in turn linked to the Syrian parties (power pokers in Syria), diverge too much. Currently, the conflict overcomes Iran’s interest in the construction of a land bridge to Lebanon through Iraq and Syria, which is met with a strong resistance from the US. In addition, the city is also strategically important in Syria, and there are oil sources in the vicinity.
The expulsion of the Islamic state around the city of Deir ez-Zor led to a raid by the Syrian troops and the Shiite militia from Iran, Iraq and Lebanon, and the Kurdish SDF, which functioned as American troops and American special forces and US combat aircraft get supported.
A week ago the Pentagon accused the Russians of attacking “coalition partners”, ie SDF units, to the east of Deir-ez-Zor, and injured some fighters. “Multinational troops”, which advised and supported the SDF, had also been present, but there was no sacrifice among them.
Shortly thereafter, the Russian Ministry of Defense has complained that the SDF units can cross the territories held by IS without being involved in combat. It has been known several times that the SDF and the IS have made appointments, for example, in the conquest of Tabqa (The Deal with the Islamic State). In addition, SDF units would attack Syrian troops. Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konasenkov said: “The nearer the end of the Islamic state, the more obvious is who is actually fighting the IS, and who has instead merely feigned it for three years, and if the US-led international coalition, Terrorism in Syria, it should at least not disturb those who do it continuously and effectively. ”
Now the Russian Ministry of Defense has published aerial photographs of places north of Deir-ez-Zor, where there are still IS fighters. They were made between 8 and 12 September. The US special forces are now being prompted to ensure a safe passage through the IS controlled territories to the SDF associations. “Without opposition from the IS fighters, SDF units are moving to the city of Deir ez-Zor on the left side of the Euphrates.”
The bases of the Americans were where IS-fighters had just stopped. Do not notice on the recordings that the US special forces have secured the bases. There are no signs of safety. That could mean, the Russian Ministry of Defense says the Americans feel “absolutely safe” on the territory, which is still held by the IS. There are also no signs of attack, fighting between the IS and the Americans or craters, which would show that the former IS bases had been bombed. See also: armored Humvee vehicles, which were also captured by the IS.

By  TPP

Alfons

Kim Jong-un is not mad

by Gary Leupp

Kim Jong-un is not mad. Quite the contrary. He has pulled off a wholly rational feat. By producing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles capable of delivering them to U.S. territory, Pyongyang has obtained near-assurance that the U.S. will not attack it, in (yet another) attempt at regime change.

Wait, you’ll say. He already had that insurance. Every talking head on cable news says a U.S. strike would inevitably mean an attack on Seoul, which would kill tens of thousands immediately. South Koreans would blame the invasion on the U.S. So it’s just not tenable. Even if limited to conventional forces, the threat of invasion already constituted adequate deterrence. There’s no way the U.S. would trigger an attack on a city of 10 million people who are supposed to view the U.S. as their benevolent protector. So the North Koreans didn’t need to upset the world by acquiring nukes.

But think about it from Jong-un’s point of view.

Born in 1984, Jong-un was 7 when the U.S. first bombed Iraq, supposedly to force its troops out of Kuwait (although Saddam Hussein had already agreed to withdraw). Then the U.S. imposed sanctions on the country that killed half a million children. He was 11 when the U.S. intervened in Yugoslavia, bombing Serbs to create the dysfunctional client state of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

He was 15 (probably in school in Switzerland) when the U.S. bombed Serbia and created the dysfunctional client state of Kosovo.

He was 17 when the U.S. bombed and brought regime change to Afghanistan. Seventeen years later, Afghanistan remains in a state of civil war, still hosting U.S. troops to quell opposition.

He was 19 when the U.S. brought down Saddam and destroyed Iraq, producing all the subsequent misery and chaos.

He was 27 when the U.S. brought down Gaddafi, destroyed Libya, forced the Yemeni president from power causing chaos, and began supporting armed opposition forces in Syria. He was 30 when the U.S. State Department spent $5 billion to topple the Ukrainian government through a violent coup.

He knows his country’s history, and how the U.S. invasion from September 1950 leveled it and killed one-third of its people, while Douglas MacArthur considered using nuclear weapons on the peninsula. He knows how U.S. puppet Synghman Rhee, president of the U.S.-proclaimed “Republic of Korea,” having repeatedly threatened to invade the North, executed 100,000 South Koreans after the outbreak of war on the grounds that they were communist sympathizers who would aid the enemy. He loves Elizabeth Taylor movies but hates U.S. imperialism. There’s nothing crazy about that.

Jong-un was 10 years old when the U.S. and North Korea signed the Agreed Framework, by which Pyongyang agreed to freeze its nuclear power plants, replacing them with (more nuclear proliferation resistant) light water reactors financed by the U.S. and South Korea, and the gradual normalization of U.S.-Pyongyang relations. He was 16 when U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright visited Pyongyang and met with his father Kim Jong Il. (In that same year, South Korean President Kim Dae-Jung met with Kim Jong-il in Pyongyang during the period of “Sunshine Diplomacy” eventually sabotaged by the Bush/Cheney administration.) He was 20 when the agreement broke down (undermined by Dick Cheney and his neocons in 2004).

He was 17 when his older half-brother Jong-nam was busted at Narita Airport, for stupidly trying to enter Japan with his family on forged Dominican passports, to visit Tokyo’s Disneyland. That stunt ruled Jong-nam (murdered as you know in Malaysia in February 2017) out for the succession, whereas the next son, Jong-chul, was deemed “effeminate.” (At a Clapton concert in Singapore in 2006 he was seen with pierced ears.) Jong-un probably didn’t expect to be the next monarch until he was in his mid-20s.

He was 24 when the New York Philharmonic Orchestra visited Pyongyang to a warm welcome. (Washington refused a North Korean offer for a reciprocal visit.) Selected as successor, he became the new absolute leader of North Korea at age 27, a young, vigorous, well-educated man (Physics degree from Kim Il-song University) groomed for the post and with a strong sense of dynastic responsibility. That means returning the DPRK to the relative economic prosperity of the 1970s and 80s, when average per capita energy consumption in the north exceeded that of the south.

Analysts suggest that Kim has made economic development primary, and the long-standing “military first” (Songun) policy is giving way to a policy more empowering civilian Korean Workers Party leaders. The DPRK economy, according to The Economist, “is probably growing at between 1% and 5% a year.” A new class of traders and businessmen (donju) has emerged. The complex social status system (Songbun) that divides society into 51 sub-categories of “loyal,” “wavering,” and “hostile” (and distributing privileges accordingly) has been falling apart with the rise of market forces.

Fourteen months into his tenure, Jong-un invited Dennis Rodman, a member of the U.S. Basketball Hall of Fame, to Pyongyang for the first of what have now been five visits. He is a huge basketball fan, an aficionado of U.S. popular culture, a child of rock ‘n roll. He is also rationally aware of the threat the U.S. poses to his country (among many countries). So his strategy has been to sprint towards nukes while he can. Perhaps he thought that since the Trump administration was (and is) in such disarray, no violent response (such as an attack on the Yongbyon nuclear complex) was likely. But it was risky; the U.S. president is, after all, unstable and ignorant. He has asked his advisors repeatedly, why can’t we use nukes since we have them?

The fact is, Mattis, Tillerson and McMaster have been presented with a nuclear fait accompli to which they must respond, in a period of diminishing U.S. influence and relative economic decline.  They cannot do it by dropping a MOAB bomb (like they did in Afghanistan in April) or a missile strike on a base (like they did in Syria the same month, to display their manhood). Jong-un has insured that.

If Jong-un plays his cards right, he will get international recognition for the DPRK as a nuclear power—the same degree of recognition afforded other non-NPT signatories like India, Pakistan and Israel. The U.S. will have to defer to Chinese and Russian sobriety and abandon hollow threatening rhetoric. It will have to back down, as it did in the Korean War, when it realized it could not conquer the North and reunify Korea on Washington’s terms and had to accept the continued existence of the DPRK.

In return for tension-reducing measures by the U.S. and the South, and the establishment of diplomatic and trade ties, Pyongyang will suspend its nuclear weapons program, content with and proud of what it has accomplished. It is the only way.

The other way is suggested by John McCain, crazy warmonger to the end. The Senate Armed Services chairman told CNN’s “State of the Union” that if the North Korean leader “acts in an aggressive fashion”—whatever that means to McCain who will never realize that his bombing of Vietnam constituted aggression—“the price will be extinction.” Shades of Gen. Curtis LeMay and his casual comments about killing every man, woman and child in Tokyo during the terror bombing of that city in 1945.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, McCain’s good buddy, has said that Trump told him: “If there’s going to be a war to stop [Kim Jong-un], it will be over there. If thousands die, they’re going to die over there. They’re not going to die here… And that may be provocative, but not really. When you’re president of the United States, where does your allegiance lie? To the people of the United States.”

Just knowing that the enemy is capable of contemplating one’s people’s extinction surely motivates some leaders to seek the ultimate weapon. The dear young Marshall pulled it off. He replicated what Mao did in China between 1964 and 1967. He got the bomb, which had been introduced to the world over Hiroshima on August. 6, 1945, and used again three days later over Nagasaki. And never used anywhere since in the years since, in which the U.S. has been joined by the USSR, UK, France, China, Israel, India, and Pakistan as members of the nuclear club. He has no reason to use it, unless the U.S. gives him one.

Negotiations on the basis of mutual respect and historical consciousness are the only solution.

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More articles by: GARY LEUPP

Gary Leupp is Professor of History at Tufts University, and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Religion. He is the author of Servants, Shophands, and Laborers in the Cities of Tokugawa JapanMale Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan; and Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama

 

Ukraine revolution turning incredibly sour’

The fact Mikhail Saakashvili played a prominent role in Ukrainian politics shows the disarray in Ukraine, explains journalist Martin Summers. The economy is in free fall, and the potential of joining NATO might spark further war in the country, he added. The former Georgian President and Governor of Odessa Mikhail Saakashvili has illegally crossed the Ukrainian border with the help of supporters. Saakashvili recently became stateless, after having his Ukrainian citizenship revoked by President Petro Poroshenko.

The Ukrainian police say he will now face criminal charges.

 Question:  What do you think happened between the current Ukrainian leadership and Saakashvili? Has he fallen out of Poroshenko’s favor, and why?

 Martin Summers: …They don’t get on at all, and [Saakashvili] lost his citizenship. It is hard to see why he fell out. He claimed it was corruption going on. He was being blocked by the government in Kiev. It is hard to know who is right and who is wrong about that. It is probably the worst corruption going on. Saakashvili himself is wanted for corruption in Georgia, as we know. Of course, the danger of him coming back like this is that the Ukrainian authorities, who’ve fallen out with him, might extradite him back to Georgia to face trial there. So, he is taking a bit of a risk by trying to come back into the country. They are obviously not on the same page now.

The politics in current Ukraine are very opaque. You’ve got a lot of oligarchs of various kinds jostling for position. The economy itself is in a terrible state. They don’t know what to do about it. The population has not had much joy from this revolution – let’s put it that way.

Question:  How did it happen that both Poroshenko and Saakashvili, being two US darlings, are now at loggerheads? In 2014 Saakashvili supported the Maidan revolution that brought Poroshenko to power.

 MS: US darlings can fall out with each other. It is may be that the US has decided that Poroshenko is going to be thrown under the bus and Saakashvili is being used as a pawn to try and bring that about. Saakashvili has got a track record for being a loose cannon in his own right anyway. People may remember him eating his tie on television in Georgia when he started the war in Ossetia. He is a bit off a dangerous clown.

Question:  What do you make of Saakashvili’s personality, given that after being a resident of one country, he gave up his native citizenship in favor of another? Yet now he’s left without any?

 MS: He lost his Georgian citizenship, he lost his Ukrainian citizenship. If he comes back in Ukraine, he might be extradited to Georgia. Or he may just have to go back Poland and hang around there in a stateless way. I don’t know how this is going to play out. It’s all a game of cat and mouse, isn’t it?

Question:  How was it even possible that Saakashvili was given such an important role in Ukraine? What does it say about the Ukrainian state of affairs in the recent years?

 MS: It is very odd that he played such a big role in Ukrainian politics since he isn’t Ukrainian and had been given the governorship of the Odessa, which is a key region, especially since it has got a large Russian population. He was parachuted in by the Western powers. I think what is going on – it just shows in what disarray Ukrainian politics are. The revolution is turning incredibly sour – nobody really knows what to do next. The economy is in free fall, they are not going to be joining the EU anytime soon. They are talking about joining NATO – but all that will do is potentially spark further war…The government in Kiev is very weak. The population is very unhappy. The war has been a failure in every possible way you can imagine. I don’t see a very good future for Ukraine unless there is a change in the geopolitical situation, which allows the situations to stabilize so their Russian neighbors and their Western neighbors can cooperate better, so they can cooperate better. But I am not holding my breath.

From the news Alfo

 

A World without Nuclear Weapons

As one of the few European countries, Sweden has supported the draft agreement. US Defense Minister Mattis threatens the country from a possible ratification

In summer 2016, only 120 states signed a treaty prohibiting nuclear weapons. The states with nuclear weapons have not participated, the five members of the Security Council, who are permanent because of their nuclear weapons, have also renounced this, and thus made it clear that they do not wish to comply with their obligations which they have entered into with the nuclear arms treaty. Not rhetorical, as Barack Obama did. On the other hand, an atomic contest has long been used.

In addition to France and Great Britain, most European states and all NATO countries did not support the prohibition treaty, including Germany, which holds a “Nuclear Participation” agreement with the United States. In Germany, US nuclear weapons are stored in Büchel and German tornado bombers are held ready for the war to use them under American control. There is also “nuclear participation” with Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey (where between 50 and 90 atomic bombs are to be stored at the Incirlik Air Base).

In addition to Austria, Cyprus, Ireland, Malta and Switzerland, Sweden has also voted in favor of the Nuclear Ban Treaty, which can be ratified from 20 September. Making the 50 states, he enters into force. This would not change a lot, but the nuclear states might come a little more under legitimation. In addition, military alliances between nuclear and signatory states could become difficult. Thus, not only the storage but also the stationing of nuclear weapons for signatory states would be prohibited as well as the support or the search for the help of states that are developing, storing or deploying nuclear weapons.

It seems that Sweden, not yet a member of the NATO, was now the target of the United States. The US government is putting pressure on the country not to ratify the agreement. Defense Minister Jim Mattis has written a letter to his Swedish counterpart Peter Hultqvist, threatening that ratification could endanger military cooperation, as reported last week by the newspaper Dagens Nyheterin. Moreover, NATO’s Gold Card program, which grants privileged rights to Sweden, and the possibility of joining NATO in the future. This means being a member of NATO also means accepting nuclear weapons as military means or not wanting to prevent them.

USA could no longer support Sweden militarily in a conflict

A deeper warning is that the US, Mattis said, could no longer help Sweden in a crisis. Mattis probably responded to a statement by Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström on 25 August that Sweden was likely to sign the agreement. Nuclear weapons are the greatest threat to humanity, and all other weapons of mass destruction are already prohibited.

The nuclear arms treaty would have hindered the spread of nuclear weapons and would bring about a reduction of nuclear weapons. According to Wallström, the nuclear states would “modernize” their nuclear weapons, which had strengthened support for a ban. Sweden’s agreement to the prohibition agreement fully agrees “with our disarmament policy as part of a larger security policy”. “Under our interpretation of ‘support’, our nuclear cooperation agreement is not affected by the agreement because it does not include nuclear weapons. … Our commitment to disarmament can go hand in hand with a responsible one security cooperation. ”

Mattis is also threatened by the dismissal, and the Swedish position can no longer be called hypocritical. One would like to embrace a moral cloak, because one advocates a nuclear-weapon-free world, but this is not supposed to change in real-policy terms. This is not seen in the Pentagon. Spokesman Johnny Michael said the US had a big problem with the nuclear bans agreement. States would be urged not to sign the agreement. This would ultimately also undermine the nuclear arms treaty. A claim that is, of course, absurd.

Sweden plans to increase armament spending by 11 percent by 2020. Because in the transition to a purely professional army no longer sufficiently young people can be recruited, from January 1, compulsory military service will be introduced – equally for men and women.

by alfons

The rich are getting richer

The societies are becoming more marginalized. In democracies the proportionately growing elderly will increasingly determine politics. The trend is therefore conservative. It should remain as it was. And when the super rich, who can influence politics, are getting older, the younger people have a bad chance of setting the course for their benefit and for the future.

According to Bloomberg [1], 6 of the richest 25 Americans are over 80 years old, including Carl Icahn, Charles Koch, George Soros and Warren Buffett. Although the US over-80s represent only 3.7 per cent of the total population, according to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), they control more than all US citizens under the age of 50. Really rich are the ancients. This has always been the case, and now young people can become rich. One example is Mark Zuckerberg, the fifth-largest man in the world, who is only 33 years old.

The wealth of the super rich can only be appreciated by the tax authority. The richer one is, the better he can afford to be a consultant to cover up his assets and thus reduce his tax burden. The estimation is based on inheritance taxes, which had to be paid by the descendants of the deceased rich. Also there can be a lot of screwing. Real wealth can therefore be much greater than that which the government has grasped, especially if donations are already made before death, in order to circumvent taxation.

The latest IRS data comes from 2013. Thereafter, 584,000 US citizens have assets of 6.9 trillion US dollars. These super rich are just 0.2 percent of the population. People over the age of 80 alone have 1.2 trillion US dollars, all people under the age of 50, including Zuckerberg, have only 1 trillion, but represent 43 percent of the population. And the eighty-year-old rich also have only half the debt that people under 60 have.

This is a remarkable gap, as the demographic changes, ie the political overweight of the elderly, are once again drastically strengthened. The super rich have not only economic influence, but also political. They are well networked with the powerful in society. They do not pursue the same interests as can be seen, for example, in George Soros, the Koch brothers or Warren Buffet, but with their financial and economic power, they are negligible for no decision makers.

The IRS data do not show that the proportion of the super rich in the total range has grown. This suggests that, despite increasing wealth, there are many loophole for inheritance tax. However, many studies show that the share of the richest 1 per cent has risen in the last decades – not only in the USA (the richest 1 per cent in the US, the remaining 99 per cent is still falling in Germany one third of total assets [3]).

In a study published last year [4] on equilibrium in the US, Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman of the University of California at Berkeley stated that the share of the wealth of the wealthiest 0.1 percent of the total assets from 7 percent in 1978 to 22 percent in 2012 has risen, similar to 1929. But according to this investigation, the richest are younger than 1960 and have a higher share of income. The assets of the “lower” 90 percent have risen to the middle of the 1980s and have been steadily declining since then. The increase in inequality over the past decades, according to the two researchers, is due to the rise in top income in combination with an increase in the inequality of reserves. If you earn less, you will also be able to save less money and save money for old age.

Saez and Zucman suggest that an additional trend will result in the inheritance tax remaining the same. With the growing gap between rich and poor, the distance between the life expectancy between the rich and the poor grew. Because the rich live significantly longer than the poor, the increase in the wealth of the rich could possibly have not yet been covered by the inheritance tax. In addition, the Superreichen become older.

In the 1980s the stereotypes between the poor and the rich were not so far apart. People from the richest between 65 and 79 years also had a 12 per cent lower risk of dying in one of the years than the average of Americans. Now the risk is already 40 percent lower. In addition, the rich live longer, but the average life expectancy stagnates. The richest 0.1 percent lives longer than the richest 1 percent, which in turn lives longer than the richest tenth, etc.

The bottom line, drawn in the Bloomberg article

by alfons