“We have to make sure America writes the rules of the global economy and we should do it today while our economy is in a position of global strength. If we don’t write the rules for trade around the world, guess what, China will. And they’ll write those rules in a way that gives Chinese workers and Chinese businesses the upper hand.”

~ Barack Obama on the Trans-Pacific Partnership in a Speech at Nike Factory in Oregon, May 8, 2015

Those very few words of Obama’s, his most widely circulated PR effort to garner support for the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) and thoroughly representative of the thinking of our imperial elite, are so revealing, so wrong and so dangerous on so many levels that one scarcely knows where to begin. In fact they carry the seeds of our destruction. And they are focused on China.

First, the arrogance and hegemonic intent of the statement is astonishing even though it has become routine for the U.S. elite. What gives the United States, a country of 300 million on the opposite side of the vast Pacific, the right to determine the rules of trade for East Asia, which includes China, a country of 1.3 billion people? The U.S. can no longer assert that privilege based on its economic power since its gross GDP, measured in Purchasing Power Parity is now, according to the IMF, second to China’s.

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Presidential aspirant Jeb Bush this week may have damaged his chances by flubbing the answer to an entirely predictable question about his big brother’s decision to attack Iraq.

On Monday, Fox’s Megyn Kelly asked the former Florida governor: “Knowing what we know now, would you have authorized the invasion?” Jeb Bush answered, “I would’ve. And so would’ve Hillary Clinton, just to remind everybody, and so would’ve almost everybody who was confronted with the intelligence they got.”

Kelly: “You don’t think it was a mistake.”

Bush: “In retrospect, the intelligence that everyone saw — that the world saw, not just the United States — was faulty.”

After some backfilling and additional foundering on Tuesday and Wednesday, Bush apparently memorized the “correct” answer. So on Thursday, he proceeded to ask the question himself: “If we’re all supposed to answer hypothetical questions: Knowing what we now know, what would you have done? I would not have engaged. I would not have gone into Iraq.”

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By Murray Rothbard:

If you want to read a whole book, then:

Tomorrow is Nakba Day, which commemorates the mass dispossession of Palestinians that accompanied the foundation of the State of Israel. Read “The more Israel represses the Nakba, the stronger the memories” by Gideon Levy in Haaretz. Use the printer-friendly or Google cache version to bypass the paywall.

“But the truth is that there is no greater proof of Israel’s insecurity about the justness of its cause than the battle waged to forbid marking the Nakba. A people confident in its path would respect the feelings of the minority, and not try to trample on its heritage and memories. A people that knows something terrible is burning under its feet sees every reference to what happened as an existential threat.”

For more details on Israeli repression of Nakba commemoration, see “Chilling effect of the Nakba Law on Israel’s human rights

For more on Nakba Day itself, see “What is Nakba Day? A brief history” by Elon Gilad (printer-friendly, Google cache).

UPDATE: Also see Essential Reading for Nakba Day.

On Monday, Judge Leonie Brinkema sentenced Jeffrey Sterling to 42 months in prison for leaking information about a dubious CIA plot to deal nuclear blueprints to Iran to New York Times journalist James Risen.

Given how circumstantial the case against Sterling was – consisting largely of metadata – not to mention the hand slap David Petraeus got weeks ago for leaking far more sensitive information and then lying about it to the FBI, that’s a tough sentence.

But given the government’s call, in sentencing memoranda, that Sterling spend up to 24 years in prison, it was, as Government Accountability Project lawyer Jesselyn Raddack said, the least worst outcome.

The sentence should also be seen as a rebuke to the government and its frenzied claims about secrecy, most notably the claim they made in this case that leaking information to a journalist is worse than leaking it directly to our adversaries.

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Washington DC is presently the converging point for some of the world’s most oppressive regimes. On May 13th and 14th, President Obama is hosting a billionaire conglomerate known as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which consists of the Middle Eastern countries of Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE and Oman. The cozy US-GCC relationship exemplifies the twisted nature of US foreign policy, especially in regards to one particular monarchy: Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia has been accused of human rights violations against its own citizens, including political activists, journalists, and women. The Saudi king has decided to skip the GCC summit, leaving the ministers of the interior and defense to take his place, because he opposes the US efforts to reach a diplomatic solution to the nuclear program of its rival, Iran.  

The Saudi monarchy has been using its military and financial might to impose its will throughout the Middle East. It is financially bolstering the repressive regime of Egyptian dictator Abdel Fattah el-Sisi in Egypt, who came to power in a coup. Saudi tanks brutally crushed Shiite protests in Bahrain. Years after the first invasion, Saudi forces continue to dominate Bahrain. The Saudi devotion to Wahhabism, a radical sect of Islam, has been responsible in exporting extremism around the globe, including 15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers.

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