Bernie Sanders is teaming up with reactionary Ted Cruz and other GOP reactionaries to destroy the US Export-Import Bank, a product of FDR’s New Deal. The Tax Wall Street Party is fighting to save ExIm.
During the recent days following the conclusion of the Iranian nuclear accord in Vienna, President Obama has jettisoned the sterile rhetoric of confrontation with Russia, and has repeatedly stressed the indispensable contribution made by President Putin to concluding this arms-control agreement. Taken together, Obama’s statements constitute a much needed shift in the language of US diplomacy in the direction of Moscow. This now must be followed up with the total scrapping of the anti-Iran economic sanctions and a rapid neutralization of the various points of Russo-American conflict. Once comprehensive cooperation has been reestablished, new vistas will open for joint efforts by the two powers to solve some of the world’s most intractable problems, quite possibly starting from the Israeli-Palestinian dispute.
The UN economic sanctions against Iran are in many ways already a dead letter. A German delegation has arrived in Tehran top-heavy with the biggest international companies seeking to resume the close economic ties between these two countries, which go back to the time of the Shah. As much of the world rushes to Tehran to take advantage of the economic opportunities, the earth will gape under the feet of the neocons, Republicans, and assorted warmongers who are seeking any demagogic argument to maintain the sanctions. It will be increasingly clear that that train has already left the station, and that no amount of neocon hysteria will be sufficient to bring it back.
Obama’s first conciliatory statement in regard to Russia and Putin came in an interview with the ignoramus and blowhard Thomas Friedman of the New York Times published on July 14. Here we read:
‘Asked if President Vladimir Putin of Russia was a help or a hindrance in concluding this deal, Mr. Obama said: “Russia was a help on this. I’ll be honest with you. I was not sure given the strong differences we are having with Russia right now around Ukraine, whether this would sustain itself. Putin and the Russian government compartmentalized on this in a way that surprised me, and we would have not achieved this agreement had it not been for Russia’s willingness to stick with us and the other P5-Plus members in insisting on a strong deal. “I was encouraged by the fact that Mr. Putin called me a couple of weeks ago and initiated the call to talk about Syria. I think they get a sense that the Assad regime is losing a grip over greater and greater swaths of territory inside of Syria [to Sunni jihadist militias] and that the prospects for a [Sunni jihadist] takeover or rout of the Syrian regime is not imminent but becomes a greater and greater threat by the day. That offers us an opportunity to have a serious conversation with them.”’ (New York Times, July 14, 2015, at http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/15/opinion/thomas-friedman-obama-makes-his-case-on-iran-nuclear-deal.html)
As the well-informed German business publication Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten points out, there is not much reason to believe Obama when he hints that Putin might be ready to sell out the Assad government in Syria. It is much more likely that Obama has realized that no US initiatives whatsoever in regard to Syria will be effective without full Russian support. His remark is an attempt to reflect that truth and to camouflage it at the same time. (See “Deutliche Zeichen der Entspannung zwischen Obama und Putin,“http://deutsche-wirtschafts-nachrichten.de/2015/07/20/deutliche-zeichen-der-entspannung-zwischen-obama-und-putin/)
On the day after the Friedman interview was published, Josh Earnest of the White House Press Office announced that Obama had placed a call to Russian President Putin to thank him for the extraordinarily constructive role played by Russia in the Iranian nuclear negotiations just concluded in Vienna. Earnest offered the following readout, or summary, of the main points covered in the conversation:
“The President spoke by phone today with President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation to discuss the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) reached among the P5+1, the European Union, and Iran regarding Iran’s nuclear program. The President thanked President Putin for Russia’s important role in achieving this milestone, the culmination of nearly 20 months of intense negotiations. They affirmed that the JCPOA represents an historic solution that will verifiably prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon by cutting off all of the pathways to a bomb while ensuring the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program going forward. The leaders committed to remain in close coordination as the JCPOA is operationalized and also expressed a desire to work together on reducing regional tensions, particularly in Syria.” (https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/07/15/readout-president%E2%80%99s-call-president-vladimir-putin-russia)
These important signals coming from the White House has been largely suppressed by the U.S. mass media.
Perhaps reflecting a Russian-inspired gesture of confidence building, the Russian news agency TASS reported that the Defense Minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic has ordered the withdrawal of DPR light artillery (weapons of a caliber less than 100 mm) to positions at least 3 km from the front lines. Heavier artillery had already been pulled back by the Donetsk government in conformity with the Minsk accord of earlier this year. (http://tass.ru/en/developments-in-eastern-ukraine)
The United States should now immediately reciprocate this conciliatory gesture by announcing the immediate permanent withdrawal of all US military advisers, instructors, and drill sergeants from Ukraine. The dangerous and damaging calls to give the Kiev regime heavy armaments should now cease. It is also imperative that all military drills and exercises planned for Ukrainian territory be canceled. The cancellations should include three Ukrainian-American command post exercises, Fearless Guardian 2015, Sea Breeze 2015 and Saber Guardian/Rapid Trident 2015, and two Ukrainian-Polish exercises, Secure Skies 2015, and Law and Order 2015. (See Russia Insider at http://russia-insider.com/en/2015/03/16/4547) Most of these exercises are currently in progress, and should be terminated forthwith.
These exercises and drills have now become clear and present threats to international peace and security. World peace is now threatened by disgruntled warmongers who are dismayed by the Iran nuclear accord and by the irrevocable collapse of their sanctions and economic warfare machinery against Iran. Now that Obama has launched his charm offensive in regard to Moscow, the number of malcontent warmongers will surely increase exponentially. One of the classic reactions by these circles to international moves to pacify dangerous conflicts has often been recourse to false flag provocations. Much vigilance will be required to make sure this does not happen again.
US, France, Italy Seek to Avoid Berlin-Induced Chaos; Need Obama Ultimatum Demanding 50% Debt Haircut for Athens Now as Preferable to Chinese Takeover; Greek Ultra-Lefts Sabotage Unity, Ignore Lessons of Brest-Litovsk; S&P 500 Closes Ominously Below Head and Shoulders Top After Over $5 Trillion in Worldwide Greece and China Losses, with Ukraine about to Blow; Putin Says Iran Sanctions Must End; Michigan Appeals Court in Grand Rapids Must Free Political Prisoner Rev. Pinkney Pending Appeal
With Reports from Michael Chiotinis in Athens, Tax Wall Street Party Legal Advisor Jeffrey Jackson in Texas, and Rev. Edward Pinkney in Coldwater State Prison, Michigan
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble this week seriously proposed to US Treasury Secretary Lew that US and EU should swap Greece for Puerto Rico, and was disappointed when Lew treated this offer as a sick joke. Schäuble has long been infamous for his cynical nihilism, but over the last several weeks he has been exhibiting the symptoms of a debilitating mental disorder. Schäuble needs to be removed from office and placed in a psychiatric clinic. Ms. Merkel should also be removed from office, if only for retaining an obvious madman as finance minister. The Tax Wall Street Party urges the German Bundestag to hold a constructive vote of no confidence for Merkel immediately. Merkel and Schäuble must be made to understand that their failed austerity policies are barbaric and intolerable. The EU Treaties of Rome, Maastricht, and Lisbon, whatever their obvious faults, are not a suicide pact. These treaties must be construed according to the dictates of epikeia, the classical Greek term for equity, fairness, and reasonableness. Austerity is cruel, stupid, and unreasonable.
Rev. Edward Pinkney needs to be freed on bail pending his appeal. Take some time on Sunday, July 12 to start a buzz on social media on his behalf.
As of 10pm EDT on Sunday, July 5th, 2015, the Greek Interior Ministry Was Reporting the Following Results of the Referendum:
REGISTERED 9,858,508; VOTED 62.5%; NO 61.31%; YES 38.69%
In today’s historic referendum, the Greek people have delivered a sweeping historical verdict against the neoliberal conception of Europe as expressed in the programs of genocidal austerity and killer cuts purveyed by the politically bankrupt eurogarchs of the European Commission in Brussels, the European Central Bank in Frankfurt and their partners in crime at the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C.. The Greek vote is a vote for civilization against its enemies. The Tax Wall Street Party congratulates the SYRIZA Party, Premier Alexis Tsipras, Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and their associates for this victory.
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble depicted as a vampire in Greek election posters
However, in the hours after the vote it has become clear through statements by Federica Mogherini, the Foreign Policy director of the EU Commission, Sigmar Gabriel, the SPD Party deputy chancellor of Germany, and Martin Schultz of the SPD, the President of the European Parliament, that powerful factions among the eurogarchs will oppose a rational solution tooth and nail. This is the moment when a rational politician would realize that since the Greek people have spoken, it is incumbent on all European leaders to either turn away from the failed austerity policies of the post 2008 era or else resign. Just as French President Jacques Chirac responded to a French vote against an oligarchical plan to reorganize Europe in a 2005 referendum – Chirac said, “ I have heard you” and he deemphasized these policies. It looks like the European leaders of today are not intelligent enough to do this.
Therefore, it is time to prepare for another round of attacks on Greece. As is widely known there is no mechanism to expel any country from the European Union or from the European Monetary Union aka the Eurozone. However, this goal could be reached in practice if the European Central Bank under Mario Draghi were to simply cut off all liquidity to Athens. Now the ECB is providing emergency liquidity assistance (ELA) on a very limited basis, after having shut it off almost completely last week. If the ECB fails to provide Euros, the Greek government might fall back on scrip. This is the point of view of the Finance Minister Varoufakis, who says, that Greece can issue IOUs in the same way that the American State of California did in 2008 during the Lehman Brother world derivatives panic.
However, there is a much better and more effective way than to have than to have recourse to such funny money. According to the coverage of Ambrose Evans Pritchard of the London Daily Telegraph cited below, a significant part of the SYRIZA bloc is considering the necessity of declaring a state of emergency, ruling by decree, and seizing control of the national banking system including the Greek Central Bank. (For those of you who are keeping score, this would bring the total number of recommendations by Dr. Webster G. Tarpley implemented by SYRIZA up from one – capital controls already instituted – to four.) The way this could be done would be to invoke emergency provisions of the Lisbon Treaty (the most recent treaty governing the operations of the European Union) and to sue Draghi of the European Central Bank for malfeasance and nonfeasance for failing to provide an adequate Greek money supply for stability as he is required to do under the Treaty of Lisbon).
This proposal, called requisitioning, could also be seen as a commandeering of the Greek Central Bank for the needs of national survival. It amounts to the seizure and deprivatization of the Greek Central Bank, as demanded by the Tax Wall Street Party for the past several years. It would also constitute a partial seizure of the European Central Bank, since the Greek Central Bank operates today as a defacto tentacle of the ECB in Frankfurt. The practical outcome would be that the Greek government could seize plates and printing presses currently used by the Greek Central Bank to print €20 notes under the authority of the ECB. In the future this would be done without regard to the ECB, and could be a step towards overcoming rigid centralization in the current Eurocratic system.
The relevant quotes from Ambrose Evans Pritchard are as follows:
“Syriza sources say the Greek ministry of finance is examining options to take direct control of the banking system if need be rather than accept a draconian seizure of depositor savings – reportedly a ‘bail-in’ above a threshold of €8,000 – and to prevent any banks being shut down on the orders of the ECB. Government officials recognize that this would lead to an unprecedented rift with the EU authorities. But Syriza’s attitude at this stage is that their only defence against a hegemonic power is to fight guerrilla warfare.”
“Hardliners within the party – though not Mr Varoufakis – are demanding the head of governor Stournaras, a holdover appointee from the past conservative government. They want a new team installed, one that is willing to draw on the central bank’s secret reserves, and to take the provocative step in extremis of creating euros.”
“’The first thing we must do is take away the keys to his office. We have to restore stability to the system, with or without the help of the ECB. We have the capacity to print €20 notes,’ said one.”
“Such action would require invoking national emergency powers – by decree – and ‘requisitioning’ the Bank of Greece for several months. Officials say these steps would have to be accompanied by an appeal to the European Court: both to assert legality under crisis provisions of the Lisbon Treaty, and to sue the ECB for alleged ‘dereliction’ of its treaty duty to maintain financial stability.”
No sooner had it become evident that the anti-austerity NO vote had prevailed in Greece, the fanatical neo-liberal Martin Schulz, the SPD President of the European Parliament, began to rave, Time for Greece to get out of the Eurozone and procure a new currency, since no more Euros would be available in the wake of the defiance shown by the victory of the NO vote. Martin Schulz joins the wretched tradition of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) going back to their many many crimes during and after WWI. Other eurogarchs joined in the raving.
This is the point where a reasonable politician would recognize the choice between a rational debt relief on the one hand and more insane deflation and austerity on the other. We can only hope that the French/German meeting of July 6th will clarify this issue, but so far the situation does not look auspicious. Interestingly enough, it is from London that certain voices of financial rationality have been heard, not surprisingly since the British interest always consists in creating problems for the Euro as they see it.
The London Daily Telegraph today publishes articles supporting the International Monetary Fund’s study which argued that Greece requires a 50 billion dollar cash infusion over the coming months, along with massive debt relief. This debt relief is also what US Secretary of the Treasury Lew has recommended, but, as the London Financial Times wrote, the US appears as, the helpless bystander in the Greek crisis. It would certainly be time for the US to remind Berlin of the needs of economic rationality. Inside the IMF, there is now a virtual civil war between staff members who are correctly arguing that a haircut for the creditors plus a significant cash infusion represents the only road. This contrasts with the insane ravings of Madame Lagarde who has been insisting that not one penny of mercy be shown to the stricken Greeks. Speculation is now surfacing that Lagarde’s bungling incompetence has become so extreme that she will either be ousted immediately or at the latest next year, when her current post Strauss-Kahn term in office will expire. In terms of resignations, Antonis Samaras of the reactionary and anti-worker NEW DEMOCRACY PARTY has resigned after the lost referendum – an example which Merkel, Draghi and Lagarde should imitate without delay.
The victorious Prime Minister Tsipras conferred tonight with Greek financial officials. On Monday morning he will participate in wide-ranging talks with Greek political leaders, with the goal of restoring the operation of the Greek banking system to normal. Tsipras also said that the issue of Greece’s debt will now be permanently on the table, implying a writedown. He also cited the IMF report which validates the SYRIZA argument that a debt restructuring and debt relief are required.
In the midst of these world historical events, Libertarians might well wonder whatever happened to their pseudo-populist hero Ron Paul aka “Stansberry” Paul. According to published reports, Paul has compared the Greek people to American “Welfare Queens”.
IMF Analysis Admits that Greece Needs Substantial Debt Relief, Validating Tsipras’ Contention; Creditor Governments Tried to Suppress Report Until After July 5 Referendum; Top Eurogarch Tusk Confesses that Grexit Is Not an Issue in Vote, Undermining Hysterical Fearmongering by Reactionary Financiers; IMF Director Paulo Batista Says 90% of Bailout Funds Went Directly to German and French Banks, Not to Athens
“I call on all people of good will worldwide to support Greek Premier Alexis Tsipras in the struggle against genocidal austerity, the great scourge of our time.” — Webster G. Tarpley
Alexis Tsipras (photo FrangiscoDer)
Don’t Believe the Neo-Confederates: Lee Demanded All-Out War to Protect Slavery from Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in 1863
Robert Edward Lee
In the course of the Confederate flag controversy, some apologists for the southern Confederacy have asserted that the leading rebel general Robert E. Lee was an opponent of the institution of slavery. This erroneous view is largely based on Lee’s letter to his wife of December 20, 1856, where he writes: “In this enlightened age, there are few I believe, but what will acknowledge, that slavery as an institution, is a moral & political evil in any Country.” This is a highly abstract and theoretical statement, and Lee never did anything to hasten the end of slavery. In modern terms it is a throw-away line of self-consoling rhetoric. Lee was a slave owner who ordered escaped slaves energetically whipped when they were recaptured.
But for Lee, the real test came when Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863. Lee’s response was to write nine days later, on January 10, 1863, to Confederate Secretary of War James Seddon that he needed more troops to defend the Confederacy against the “savage and brutal policy [Lincoln] has proclaimed” – wording which makes clear that Lee wanted to defend the southern oligarchic social order based on slavery (“our social system”) against the implementation of the Emancipation Proclamation by the Union army. Lee wrote:
“In view of the vast increase of the forces of the enemy, of the savage and brutal policy he has proclaimed, which leaves us no alternative but success or degradation worse than death, if we would save the honor of our families from pollution, our social system from destruction, let every effort be made, every means be employed, to fill and maintain the ranks of our armies, until God, in his mercy, shall bless us with the establishment of our independence. I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant, R. E. Lee, General.” 1
Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia was in any case the mainstay of the institution of chattel slavery in North America, and Lee’s surrender at Appomattox spelled the doom of the odious Peculiar Institution.