The influential Pakistani military is heavily dependent on the US for its equipment and arms, while Pakistan’s wobbly economy may soon need a loan from the US-led International Monetary Fund (IMF).
However Pakistan also owes China a lot of money, and in truth America and it have been drifting apart at least since the Obama administration. Therefore the growing quarrel between its two patrons puts Islamabad in a tricky geopolitical position. For all the advantages of being able to play each off against the other in the short term, Islamabad will be hoping it can avoid having to choose between them.
Remaining 46 countries on UN Human Rights Council:
Africa: Angola, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Togo, Tunisia
Asia/Pacific: Australia, China, Japan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, South Korea
Europe: Belgium, Croatia, Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom
Latin America/Caribbean: Brazil, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Venezuela
Middle East: Afghanistan, Iraq, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates
“Americans might want to learn how to take Chomsky’s challenge—imagine ourselves in others’ situation—before it’s too late to imagine anything at all.”
An early challenge to Uncle Sam’s purported right to manage postwar world affairs from the banks of the Potomac came in 1950. Korean forces, joined by Chinese troops, pushed back against the United States’ invasion of North Korea. Washington responded with a merciless bombing campaign that flattened all of North Korea’s cities and towns. U.S. Air Force Gen. Curtis LeMay boasted that “we burned down every town in North Korea” and proudly guessed that Uncle Sam’s gruesome air campaign, replete with napalm and chemical weapons, murdered 20 percent of North Korea’s population. This and more was recounted without a hint of shame—with pride, in fact—in the leading public U.S. military journals of the time. As Noam Chomsky, the world’s leading intellectual, explained five years ago, the U.S. was not content just to demolish the country’s urban zones:
Mr. Fish / Truthdig
NEW YORK—Seventeen years of war in the Middle East and what do we have to show for it? Iraq after our 2003 invasion and occupation is no longer a unified country. Its once modern infrastructure is largely destroyed, and the nation has fractured into warring enclaves. We have lost the war in Afghanistan. The Taliban is resurgent and has a presence in over 70 percent of the country. Libya is a failed state. Yemen after three years of relentless airstrikes and a blockade is enduring one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters. The 500 “moderate” rebels we funded and armed in Syria at a cost of $500 million are in retreat after instigating a lawless reign of terror. The military adventurism has cost a staggering $5.6 trillion as our infrastructure crumbles, austerity guts basic services and half the population of the United States lives at or near poverty levels. The endless wars in the Middle East are the biggest strategic blunder in American history and herald the death of the empire.
What does all this mean? Over two years have passed without any further comment about the WGAD’s findings by the Turnbull Government. Now the Government is paying lip service to the existence and role of the WGAD – as it must as a conscientious member of the United Nations – but refusing publicly to accept or even acknowledge its findings in relation to Mr Assange’s detention, let alone in any way trying to address them.
Given our Government’s demonstrated capacity, when it puts its mind to it, to effect the early release of Australian citizens from curial processes and prisons in other countries – and given that the foundational proceedings against Assange by Sweden have now evaporated – it surely has an obligation to act on the findings of the WGAD and negotiate the safe repatriation of Mr Assange from England back to Australia.
One only needs to remember how the USA invaded Iraq, Vietnam, and assisted ib secret actions in the Central and Latin America and has a military presance in some 153 countries to realize to realize their business is war and maintaining a presence and the control of oil in Saudi Arabia, (ODT)
Islamic State still keeps its presence in Syria, but only in US-controlled areas while those liberated by Syrian government forces areas are slowly recovering after terrorists’ defeat, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.
“All the remaining pockets of resistance of ISIS terrorists in Syria are only in areas controlled by the United States,” Major-General Igor Konashenkov, a defense ministry spokesman, said on Saturday.
Earlier, US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said in a bold statement that pulling out of the Arab Republic “must avoid leaving a vacuum in Syria that can be exploited by the Assad regime or its supporters,” in apparent reference to Iran and Russia.
Russia has been fighting terrorists in the country on the invitation of the Syrian government, while the US presence there has been deemed aggressive by Damascus.
Konashenkov pulled no punches on the US military official, reminding him that the Washington-led invasion in Iraq under a false pretext in fact led to the rise of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) and eventually its expansion into war-ravaged Syria.
“Further expansion of ISIS in Syria became possible due to criminal inaction of the US and the so-called ‘international coalition,’ which resulted in quickly gaining control by ISIS militants over the main oil-bearing areas of Eastern Syria and constant flow of funds from the illegal sale of oil products,” Konashenkov said.
Washington supplied arms worth hundreds of millions to the “fictitious” Syrian opposition, while the vast majority of it ended up in hands of Al-Qaeda offshoot Al-Nusra Front, and Islamic State, he claimed. That, in Konashenkov’s view, shows that the terrorists groups’ goals in Syria coincide with Washington’s policies.
. Along the Southwestern Pacific Coast, flood frequencies are predicted to be about 70% higher in 2018 than in 2000 due to the predicted mild El Niño . . .
For centuries the U.S. has preached that it believes in democracy, freedom and self-determination, but its actions towards other countries speak louder than words. Internationally the U.S. is a predator and a bully. It subjugates small countries, corrupts them by backing right-wing dictators, and enables death squads to commit mass murder of all suspected dissidents. During the First Cold War leftists, anti-colonialists, nationalists and intellectuals were called “communists” and imprisoned, tortured and executed. Now they are called “terrorists”.
China’s middle-income earners had reached 400 million and is still growing.
Charlene Barshefsky, former US chief trade negotiator and China “Because it’s always important to be reminded that the ultimate aspirations most people in the world have are pretty much the same,” she said.:
“Then he took my arm and he waited till someone passed who spoke English, and as translated by this lovely fellow who stopped, he said, ‘I wanted to thank you. My son will have a better life’,” Barshefsky said, appreciating his politeness and how an average Chinese would anticipate the opportunities arising from the country’s entry into the WTO.
“I’ll never forget this,” Barshefsky said. It was the moment she realized the Chinese, too, have common aspirations, including a better life for their children. “He knew what WTO meant…This was completely astonishing to me, he equated economic improvements with personal improvements,” she said.
That equation is what’s missing in the United States, where economic improvement of the country is no longer viewed as personal improvement, she said. It is partly because of the absence of domestic policy measures to distribute US national wealth in a more equitable way, whether through better education, retraining or other measures, which would equate the rest of the country with national growth, she said.
“But this gentleman simply equated economic improvement with personal improvement…,” she said. And in China, “this is the case－there’s been extraordinary degrees of improvement in the lives of the people”.
As a foreign correspondent I covered collapsed societies, including the former Yugoslavia. It is impossible for any doomed population to grasp how fragile the decayed financial, social and political system is on the eve of implosion. All the harbingers of collapse are visible: crumbling infrastructure; chronic underemployment and unemployment; the indiscriminate use of lethal force by police; political paralysis and stagnation; an economy built on the scaffolding of debt; nihilistic mass shootings in schools, universities, workplaces, malls, concert venues and movie theaters; opioid overdoses that kill some 64,000 people a year; an epidemic of suicides; unsustainable military expansion; gambling as a desperate tool of economic development and government revenue; the capture of power by a tiny, corrupt clique; censorship; the physical diminishing of public institutions ranging from schools and libraries to courts and medical facilities; the incessant bombardment by electronic hallucinations to divert us from the depressing sight that has become America and keep us trapped in illusions. We suffer the usual pathologies of impending death. I would be happy to be wrong. But I have seen this before. I know the warning signs. All I can say is get ready.
If you are living in Israel, these days, you get the impression that the huge State of Israel is dictating to its American vassal what to do about Iran.
President Donald Trump listens and complies. Bibi the Great tells him to tear up the Iranian deal for no obvious reason, and he obeys. He has no choice, poor man
Budapest: European leaders have hinted at financial incentives or compensation for Iran to persuade it to stay it in the nuclear deal that the US has rejected.
And they are likely to act to protect European companies trading with Iran despite the US re-imposing sanctions.
The story didn’t say whether any of the reporters listening to General Dunford asked why it had taken more than 16 years for the world’s leading military power to come up with the “fundamentally different approach” that the general believes has put U.S. and Afghan forces on the path to success. (None of the changes he mentioned really sounded fundamental, either.) Still, it’s a question worth asking: If Americans are right in ceaselessly telling themselves that theirs is the most powerful country the world has ever seen and that their military is the “greatest fighting force ever,” as President Trump calls it, should it have been this hard and taken this long to find a way — if they really have — to defeat enemies whose war-making resources are a tiny fraction of ours?
ratings that castigate Afghanistan and some other poor countries as hopelessly “corrupt” always imply that the United States is not corrupt. This year’s report from Transparency International puts the US on a par with Austria, which is ridiculous. All kinds of people from politicians to businessmen would go to jail in Austria today if they engaged in practices that are quite common in the US.
Gunman kills 4 at Waffle House near Nashville
(CNN)A massive manhunt is underway for the gunman accused of killing four people early Sunday at a Waffle House near Nashville, Tennessee.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation has added 29-year-old Travis Reinking to its “Top 10 Most Wanted” list after he allegedly opened fire at the restaurant in Antioch, southeast of Nashville at 3:19 a.m.
Reinking’s alleged motive is unknown and authorities warn that he may still be armed with a rifle and a hand gun.
What seems to be the priority that preoccupies this President and world leader today
US President Donald Trump has attacked former FBI Director James Comey as a “weak and untruthful slime ball”, reacting to news accounts that cite Mr Comey as hugely critical of the President in a memoir due to be published next week.
It was a promise of trickle down Bullshit and Trump delivered
“President Trump and Republicans gave huge tax cuts to big drug companies, big oil, and other corporations, but corporations are giving back little—if anything—to working families.”
ask yourself a simple question: What sort of war requires no sacrifice? What sort of war requires that almost no one in the country waging it take the slightest notice of it?
Austin, Texas: Deadly poisonings and attacks on Kremlin-linked figures are likely to meet little resistance from the White House, an American defence expert says.
As Cold War-era understandings on permissible spy behaviour unravel, there has been little US pressure to counter Russia’s suspected activities, Georgetown University national security professor Mark Jacobson told Fairfax Media.
“During the Cold War the Soviets were constrained by the threat of a US reaction,” Jacobson said. “Today there is no threat of action by this White House.”
Why is the US (and Australia) ideologically clinging to last century’s energy sources and technology? How dumb are we?
USA & Australia = Dumb and Dumber a History of Energy transformation live (OD)
Most of the steel the US imports comes from Canada, South Korea, Mexico, Brazil, Germany and Japan. China accounts for less than four per cent of total imports, Australia even less. And as an attempt to make the US great, it’ll backfire.
The Koch Brothers alone will spend $20 million on ads selling the tax bill. This is a drop in the bucket compared to the $1.4 billion they stand to gain every year in tax breaks. It’s also a tiny fraction of their overall campaign spending on the 2018 midterms elections, which is projected to reach $400 million.
The Kochs have their work cut out for them. A new poll from Politico shows most workers report seeing no increase in their take home pay after the new tax laws took effect.
This is important.
The whole premise behind adding $1.5 trillion to the debt, giving massive handouts to the ultra-wealthy, and giving a tax break to the nation’s most profitable corporations was that working folks would also get a bit of cash.
Turns out, they’re not seeing that money. But the PR push is having an impact.
Gun ownership in the United States, largely criminalized for poor people of color, is a potent tool of oppression. It does not protect us from tyranny. It is an instrument of tyranny.
via Guns and Liberty
Some of the biggest names in corporate America are coming under mounting pressure to cut ties with the National Rifle Association as gun safety activists on Friday intensified calls for a boycott in the wake of last week’s Florida high school massacre.
You’ll note you don’t hear about mass shootings in Australia, Japan or for the most part the United Kingdom, or other civilized countries whose politicians have not been bought by 10 major gun manufacturers.
Despite living her whole adult life in Texas, she was deported to Mexico after a traffic stop. She warned a U.S. Border Patrol agent, “When I am found dead, it will be on your conscience.” Within a week of her deportation, she was murdered by her ex-husband.
Now, with Bannon out, we enter the uncharted waters of having a president whose chief strategist is the television. No staff member has replaced Bannon; the new power behind the throne is Fox & Friends.
Trump in black and white? No, Mussolini
In my view Mussolini’s fascism in Italy is a fair exemplar of the phenomenon. One characteristic fascist societies have in common is social hierarchy. Men are better than women, they hold. Men are entitled. Some ethnicity is better than all the other ethnicities. White people are entitled (even if some white supremacists in Anglo-Saxon societies wouldn’t consider Mussolini’s Italians or Franco’s Spanish to be “white.” Hitler put off an alliance with Italy because he was still hoping he could get the white British to join him and they seemed to him a superior race). A corollary is that some ethnicities are sick or polluting to society and need to be eliminated, made to emigrate or diminished in some more sinister way.
It is worth considering the broader context of gun violence in the US. Large-scale mass shootings make up a small fraction of that violence. Of the approximately 33,000 gun violence deaths each year, only about 1.5% come from mass shootings. Two-thirds of gun violence deaths are from suicide. This chart does not show the people who are injured by guns each year in the US – more than 70,000 of them.
Free speech hypocrisyAmid a national furor of the claimed right of Nazis and white supremacists like Richard Spencer to speak on college campuses, establishment media and politicians seldom criticize the growing censorship around Israel.But journalist Glenn Greenwald commented that the move by Dickinson again demonstrates that “the greatest and most frequent threat to free speech in the West is the attempt to criminalize and outlaw activism against Israel.”
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit last week on behalf of a Kansas public school teacher who, as a condition for taking her job, was required under a new state law to declare that she would not engage in boycotts of Israel. The law is just one in a growing list of measures in recent years aiming to counter the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement in the United States.
Las Vegas is being described as the worst mass shooting in US history but so what? It is a news headline. Nobody, not for a second, imagines it will be the last.
— Cost per day for inpatient hospital stay: $5.49 in Cuba; $1,994 in the U.S.
— Inpatient hernia surgery: $14.59 in Cuba; $12,489 in the U.S.
— Hip-fracture repair: $72.15 in Cuba; $14,263 in the U.S.
— Kidney transplant: $4,902 in Cuba; $48,758 in the U.S.
How so? The vast bulk of corporate executive pay today comes in the form of stock awards. The higher a company’s share price, the heftier the CEO’s compensation. This stock connection encourages CEOs to single-mindedly focus on raising their company share prices by any means necessary.Among those any means: Pharmaceutical CEOs will jack up prices on prescription drugs and do whatever they can to get doctors to prescribe more pills. Health providers will push unnecessary tests and procedures. Hospital chiefs will downsize support staffs for patients. All these decisions fatten corporate bottom lines, pump up corporate share prices, and leave our health care downgraded.How could health care get better? Blue-ribbon commissions have all sorts of suggestions. They urge us to eliminate unnecessary procedures, tests, and devices. We need to better coordinate care, they add, and lower prices.
Los Angeles has voted to rename the holiday named after Christopher Columbus to commemorate Native Americans. The measure was passed as statues of the 15th-century explorer have been destroyed in recent weeks.
Trump promised to drain the swamp. . . now he is surrounding himself with starving alligators expecting welfare
Source: Dear Trump voter – Salon.com
Already, 22% of California’s electricity comes from renewable sources, and lawmakers are considering legislation requiring the state to be 100% green in its power by 2045.It isn’t just California that is swinging into action as the president retreats from our responsibility to avoid climate disaster. Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont will jointly cut power plant emissions by 30% between 2020 and 2030.
Most of the millions of Americans who watched the total solar eclipse did so wearing safety glasses. US President Donald Trump did the opposite.
Incidentally, a press release sent out to journalists shortly before the eclipse took place explained that the Commander-in-Chief would be “watching the total eclipse from the Truman Balcony [of the White House] with the First Lady.” BuzzFeed’s Zahra Hirji noted that from Washington DC, only a partial eclipse would be seen – and shortly afterward, the White House press statement was updated
The Trump administration and its figurehead already have the ignominious reputation of being the most anti-scientific federal government in living memory, but this may be a new record. Honestly: how can anyone get a solar eclipse wrong – on multiple occasions?
Well, there’s a first time for everything, we suppose.
Hint: It’s not North Korea, Russia, or Iran.