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AP’s Today in History for June 2nd
Timothy McVeigh convicted in the Oklahoma City bombing; Coronation day for Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II; Pope John Paul II visits Poland; Baseball’s Lou Gehrig dies.
Breakfast Tune Pete Seeger – Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream
Something to think about, Breakfast News & Blogs below
Freedom Rider: No Chemical Attacks in Syria
Margaret Kimberley, BAR editor and senior columnist 29 May 2019
The corporate media is concealing a leaked UN agency report that shows Syrian government innocence in an alleged chemical attack.
The corporate media march in lock step with the United States and its allies around the world. They have a tacit agreement to exclude any information which might inconvenience pro-war, pro-interventionist narratives.
Claims of chemical weapons use by the Syrian government are but one example of this tactic. These improbable stories have been repeated with regularity ever since the United States and its allies began using jihadist proxies to overthrow the Syrian government in 2011. In 2013 we were told that president Assad waged a chemical weapons attack on the same day that United Nations weapons inspectors arrived in the country. It is an understatement to say that this scenario is unlikely to be true.
In 2018 the U.S. and its European allies repeated that they would take military action against Syria if there were any reports of chemical weapons use. Like clockwork, such an event was reported and a bombing campaign took place in April of that year.
Anyone with common sense should doubt these reports. Assad had no reason to do anything which guaranteed military attacks on his country. Furthermore, persons with credibility and expertise had already provided evidence that these claims are nothing but false flags meant to get public buy-in for aggression.
The claims and counter claims always merited serious scrutiny. But a leaked document from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) makes the case that even supposedly disinterested parties take the side of the U.S. and its allies if enough pressure is applied.
The leaked report makes clear that there were serious questions about the 2018 reports, even among OPCW staff. The New York Times and the rest of their partners in propaganda wanted to make the case for the once and future war and accused the Syrian government of dropping chlorine gas devices onto an apartment building. But the leaked document shows that there were serious doubts expressed by the some of the expert investigators. “…there is a higher probability that both cylinders were manually placed at both locations rather than being delivered by aircraft.”
There are many dots to connect here and they point away from the “Assad is gassing his own people” tale. The OPCW was pressured into taking on the role of judge and jury and assigning blame, rather than merely reporting on its technical findings. The politicization of its work dove tailed nicely with charges of Syrian gas and Russian poisonings against former KGB operatives. As the old saying goes, there is no such thing as coincidence.
The recently leaked documents ought to make for headlines around the world. Instead the story has been ignored by corporate media. Only those who are already interested in the topic or who are familiar with organizations such as the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media know anything about this news. It has been deliberately kept hidden so that the next call for an armed response will receive little or no opposition.
The U.S. Congress came very close to calling for a Syrian war in a May 20, 2019 letter signed by 70% of its members. The AIPAC inspired massive calls for president Trump to “stabilize” Syria, protect Israel and stop Russian and Iranian influence. The call was bipartisan and bicameral with 79 senators and 303 members of the house signing on to the call for imperialism. Presidential candidates Kamala Harris and Cory Booker are among those calling for the dangerous slippery slope. Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) chairwoman Karen Bass signed too as did Hakeem Jeffries, James Clyburn, and Elijah Cummings among others.
Americans have been fed a steady diet of “Assad the butcher” and any counter narrative is disappeared, just like the OPCW leak. It is a useful ploy to have around. Let us not forget that last year’s bombing resulted in praise from the so-called resistance crowd who think they are supporting a humanitarian action. When he next decides to protect the U.S. jihadist proxies the gas attack story will suddenly reappear. Revealing any doubts about its veracity will undermine the U.S. hegemonic project.
There is plenty of collusion in the United States and it isn’t between Trump and Russia. The love triangle involves the corporate media, both sides of the war party, and foreign ally puppet states. They all play nicely together in the sandbox when there is an evil deed to carry out. The public are mostly hapless dupes who give approval for destruction and carnage just like the state want them to.
We have been through this often enough to know when lies are being told. It wasn’t that long ago that Colin Powell went to the United Nations with a vial and a tall tale about WMD. The cast of characters changes but the story is the same. It is time to grow up and end useful idiocy.
Margaret Kimberley’s Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well at http://freedomrider.blogspot.com . Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.
- Donald Trump pardons two war criminals and the country shrugs but the world is watching
LUCIAN K. TRUSCOTT IV
- Julian Assange Must Never Be Extradited
Something to think about over coffee prozac
Three decades of neoliberal policies have decimated the middle class, our economy, and our democracy
Joseph E. Stiglitz, Market Watch
Three years ago, President Donald Trump’s election and the United Kingdom’s Brexit referendum confirmed what those of us who have long studied income statistics already knew: in most advanced countries, the market economy has been failing large swaths of society.
Nowhere is this truer than in the United States. Long regarded as a poster child for the promise of free-market individualism, America today has higher inequality and less upward social mobility than most other developed countries.
After rising for a century, average life expectancy in the U.S. is now declining. And for those in the bottom 90% of the income distribution, real (inflation-adjusted) wages have stagnated: the income of a typical male worker today is around where it was 40 years ago.
Meanwhile, many European countries have sought to emulate America, and those that succeeded, particularly the U.K., are now suffering similar political and social consequences.
The U.S. may have been the first country to create a middle-class society, but Europe was never far behind. After World War II, in many ways it outperformed the U.S. in creating opportunities for its citizens. Through a variety of policies, European countries created the modern welfare state to provide social protection and pursue important investments in areas where the market on its own would underspend.
The European social model, as it came to be known, served these countries well for decades. European governments were able to keep inequality in check and maintain economic stability in the face of globalization, technological change, and other disruptive forces. When the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent euro crisis erupted, the European countries with the strongest welfare states, particularly the Scandinavian countries, fared the best.
Contrary to what many in the financial sector would like to think, the problem was not too much state involvement in the economy, but too little. Both crises were the direct result of an under-regulated financial sector.
After the fall
Now, the middle class is being hollowed out on both sides of the Atlantic.
Reversing this malaise requires that we figure out what went wrong and chart a new course forward, by embracing progressive capitalism, which, while acknowledging the virtues of the market, also recognizes its limitations and ensures that the economy works for the benefit of everyone.
We cannot simply return to the golden age of Western capitalism in the decades after World War II, when a middle-class lifestyle seemed within reach of a majority of citizens. Nor would we necessarily want to. After all, the “American dream” during this period was mostly reserved for a privileged minority: white males.
We can thank former President Ronald Reagan and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher for our current state of affairs. The neoliberal reforms of the 1980s were based on the idea that unfettered markets would bring shared prosperity through a mystical trickle-down process.
We were told that lowering tax rates on the rich, financialization, and globalization would result in higher standards of living for everybody. Instead, the U.S. growth rate fell to around two-thirds of its level in the post-war era — a period of tight financial regulations and a top marginal tax rate consistently above 70% — and a greater share of the wealth and income from this limited growth was funneled to the top 1%.
Instead of the promised prosperity, we got deindustrialization, polarization, and a shrinking middle class. Unless we change the script, these patterns will continue — or worsen.
Fortunately, there is an alternative to market fundamentalism.
Through a pragmatic rebalancing of power between government, markets, and civil society, we can move toward a freer, fairer, and more productive system. Progressive capitalism means forging a new social contract between voters and elected officials, workers and corporations, rich and poor.
To make a middle-class standard of living a realistic goal once again for most Americans and Europeans, markets must serve society, rather than vice versa.