Julian Assange is a hero

By Christopher R Rice

Julian Assange is a hero. Who cares what the intelligence community thinks. They are obviously not that intelligent if they keep getting hacked.

If the intelligence community has a problem with Assange than the American people have a problem with our intelligence community. It means the Democrats are using the US intelligence community against the American people.

Americans trust Assange. The US Intelligence Agencies have been compromised and are corrupt agencies.

The information Assange leaked was of illegal operations of the government and their agencies, they call Assange a traitor for sharing the truth with the public and yet the people who’s crimes he exposed are all still walking free.

The UK lost, appealed, and – lost again. The UN instructed the UK and Sweden to take immediate steps to ensure Mr. Assange’s liberty, protection, and enjoyment of fundamental human rights. No steps have been taken, jeopardizing Mr. Assange’s life, health and physical integrity, and undermining the UN system of human rights protection.

Now, the United Nations has found that the United Kingdom’s request for review of this decision (filed on March 24) was inadmissible; the United Kingdom has now reached the end of the road in its attempt to overturn the ruling. As a member of the Security Council and the United Nations Human
Rights Council, the United Kingdom must respect its commitment to the United Nations, and release Mr. Assange immediately. Now, more than ever, moral leadership is required; maintaining Mr. Assange’s effective detention (which stands at six years as of 7 December, 2016) will only serve to green light future abuses against defenders of free speech and human rights.

Mr. Assange stated “Now that all appeals are exhausted I expect that the UK and Sweden will comply with their international obligations and set me free. It is an obvious and grotesque injustice to detain someone for six years who hasn’t even been charged with an offense.”

Regardless of how you feel about Assange, Wikileaks, or what they choose to release, everyone should be frightened by what appears to be an aggressive government action attempting to silence free speech and suppress important work for transparency and accountability.

The public deserves to know what is happening to Julian Assange. Right now. This affects all of us, and the future of our democracy.

Wikileaks is reporting that their founder Julian Assange’s internet connection “has been intentionally severed by a state party. We have activated the appropriate contingency plans.”

Assange has spent years in the embassy of Ecuador. Read Timeline to learn the key developments in the case. Journalist John Pilger’s article ’Julian Assange: The Untold Story Of An Epic Struggle For Justice’ is to date one of the best accounts of the miscarriages against Assange in this case. More.

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions appointed by President Donald Trump has issued arrest warrants for Julian Assange and WikiLeaks reporters

The former British ambassador to Cuba, Paul Webster Hare, wants the British police to invade the Ecuadorian embassy and ferret out Julian Assange – in the name of preserving diplomacy:

“The Ecuadorians have partially cut Assange’s access to the Internet – perhaps until after the election. But that will not solve the problem.

“Now the U.K. legal authorities have to decide whether the precedents Assange has set in handling “stolen” property while residing in a diplomatic mission is sufficient reason to rescind temporarily the inviolable status of Ecuador’s mission.”

In the Bizarro World we live in today, invading the inviolable territory of an embassy is “diplomacy pushing back,” as Ambassador Hare puts it. He goes on to burble: “It’s time for diplomacy to reassert itself in a world that seems increasingly willing to reject consensus-building in favor of stoking nationalist fervor.”

Whatever that means.

So what, exactly, is the rationale for invading what is legally Ecuadorian territory? According to Hare, WikiLeaks has been picking on the United States exclusively, and so it doesn’t really qualify as an advocate of transparency:

“To have an impact, transparency must be applied to every state – not used to bludgeon just one. If it wants to be valued as a window into duplicitous diplomacy, then WikiLeaks should probe the communications of all states.”

Where has the Ambassador been since 2008? As The New Yorker pointed out:

“In December, 2006, WikiLeaks posted its first document: a ‘secret decision,’ signed by Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, a Somali rebel leader for the Islamic Courts Union, that had been culled from traffic passing through the Tor network to China. The document called for the execution of government officials by hiring ‘criminals’ as hit men.”

Assange followed that up by exposing how Kenyan leader Daniel arap Moi had looted his own country. That year, everything from illegal activities engaged in by Cayman Islands banks to the membership lists of the far-right British National Party found their way to the pages of WikiLeaks. The next year it released intercepted phone conversations that exposed the role played by Peruvian politicians who enriched themselves in the “Petrogate” scandal. The first news of a major nuclear accident at the Iranian nuclear facility at Natanz was revealed by WikiLeaks. That year also featured a number of other revelations involving governments other than that of the United States, but let’s move on to some of the major ones in subsequent years: in 2012, WikiLeaks published the Syria files, a compendium of millions of emails sent and received by Syrian government officials and state-owned companies: in 2015, WikiLeaks published the Saudi cables, consisting of thousands of emails, cables, and memoranda by Saudi government officials.

There’s plenty more, but you get the idea. The Ambassador has his head so far up his ass that he can’t think straight. That’s why he’s able to write the following:

“Assange’s actions, if not challenged, threaten core elements of diplomatic practice – like the right of diplomats to secure and unfettered communications – and could negatively impact how diplomacy is practiced around the world.”

What could “negatively impact how diplomacy is practiced around the world” more than the invasion of a country’s embassy by the host nation? Not even the Soviet Union and its Eastern European satellites undertook such an action: when Cardinal Josef Mindszenty was given asylum in the US embassy in Budapest after the crushing of the Hungarian Revolution in 1956, he stayed there for fifteen years, and the Communists didn’t dare touch him. That’s because even they recognized that to violate the sanctity of an embassy would have catastrophic consequences – but not Ambassador Hare. And he has the nerve to invoke the virtues of “diplomacy”!

Hare goes on to speculate that the Ecuadorian government, whose president, Rafael Correa, supports Hillary Clinton and despises Donald Trump, may soon tire of its troublesome guest: like the slimeball he is, Hare says this is “a delicious irony.” One can imagine him licking his lips as he wrote this.

On 3 July 2018, a judge in Ecuador ordered the arrest of Correa after he failed to appear in court during a trial surrounding the kidnapping of a political opponent. Correa, who lived in Belgium at the time, denied the allegations regarding the kidnapping.

And it’s true: Ecuador’s new president has lashed out at WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange even as he contends his government is working behind the scenes to help him out of the Ecuadorean embassy in London.

Lenin Moreno said in a televised interview that Assange had become “more than a nuisance” after he violated terms of his asylum by interfering in other countries’ political affairs.

Ecuador may very well kick Assange out into the street, where the British police have been waiting for years to grab him. The heroic founder of WikiLeaks has never been in greater danger. It’s been reported that Hillary said: “Can’t we just drone this guy?”

The great irony is Donald Trump was elected President but Assange is still not free. It’s hard to imagine Trump putting pressure on the Brits to make him leave the embassy after all, didn’t Trump declare “I love WikiLeaks!”?

We’re living in a Bizarro World, where up is down, right is left, a diplomat argues against the inviolability of embassies, and now after handing the white house to the Republicans they now seek Assange’s arrest.  Yes, it’s weird, but you know what? I kind of like it this way.

From CBS: Assange confirmed late last year that WikiLeaks was approached by a data firm working for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign during the 2016 election.

Assange said on Twitter that Cambridge Analytica had reached out to his group prior to November 2016.

He issued the tweet after news website The Daily Beast reported that Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix reached out to Assange during the presidential campaign about the possible release of 33,000 of Hillary Clinton’s missing emails. Those emails have never been publicly released.

Cambridge Analytica, which uses data mining to microtarget ads based on personality, claimed after the election that it had played a key role in Mr. Trump’s victory. The company was hired by Mr. Trump’s digital director Brad Parscale, although he told “60 Minutes” last month that he doesn’t believe their methods were so essential. According to Open Secrets, the Trump campaign paid Cambridge Analytica $5.9 million during the campaign.

The Trump campaign has long denied any connection with WikiLeaks, although Mr. Trump praised the entity during the campaign and even said he “loved” WikiLeaks.

U.S. Preps Arrest Warrant for Assange
One man has risked his own life for millions to be enlightened.

Whistleblowers are always needed to fend against corruption, what is needed now is a safe secure place for a whistleblower to go with their information without fear for their job, or worse fear for their (and/or their loved one’s) life.

Wikileaks record is reliable 100% of the time, why do we blame those who publish/expose the lies.

JFK was murdered in cold blood before our very eyes and the intelligent community who is responsible still has not released all of the information over 50 years later. The intelligence community failed to protect the president, failed to protect Americans on 9/11, failed to protect us during the Boston Marathon bombing, failed to protect anyone during the Las Vegas massacre, etc. So we owe them nothing.

FREE JULIAN:
WIKILEAKS:
The Top 100 Most Damaging Wikileaks (so far)
Search WikiLeaks
WikiLeaks: State Department cable “Detainees were raped”

Former CIA chief Hayden warns against impeaching Trump

– The Washington Times

Michael V. Hayden, the former director of both the CIA and National Security Agency, cautioned against removing President Trump from office in an interview that aired Friday.

“I think impeachment would be a bad idea,” Mr. Hayden told Hill.TV.

“If President Trump is somehow forced to leave office before the end of his first term […] one-third of America will believe it was a soft coup,” added Mr. Hayden, a career intelligence official who retired in 2009 after leading the CIA under former President Barack Obama and George W. Bush.

An outspoken critic of the president, Mr. Hayden warned against impeachment in light of prosecutors securing convictions this week against Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s former personal attorney and election campaign chairman, respectively.

“I think the only way we move beyond this in any way that’s healthy for our democracy is we vote,” he added.

Other critics of the president have been less reserved that Mr. Hayden, however, citing Tuesday’s convictions as reason to expect Mr. Trump’s removal.

“It does cause the countdown to impeachment to accelerate,” Rep. Al Green, Texas Democrat, told The Hill this week.

“These are real charges of criminal behavior,” Rep. Maxine Waters, California Democrat, said in a statement. “These are based on real facts, real evidence and real testimony, and in the final analysis all of this will lead to real articles of impeachment.”

Mr. Hayden, 73, signed a letter last week denouncing Mr. Trump after the president revoked the security clearance of fellow critic and former CIA boss John Brennan over alleged “erratic conduct and behavior.”

“The president’s action regarding John Brennan and the threats of similar action against other former officials has nothing to do with who should and should not hold security clearances — and everything to do with an attempt to stifle free speech,” Mr. Hayden and several other former intelligence officials wrote in the letter.

Mr. Trump is weighing whether to similarly revoke the security clearances of Mr. Hayden and several other former government officials, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said last week.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

What is Hayden really trying to say?

In the rush and fervor to impeach President Donald Trump, Democrats should look over their collective shoulder. One might reconcile with the devil they know instead of the devil they do not.

What happens if Trump is impeached and removed from office? An even more aggressive conservative is waiting in the wings who will make President Trump seem like a panty-waisted beginner. Vice-President Pence will assume office for the remaining term and then be elected for a subsequent term. Untold conservatives voted for Trump hoping Mike Pence would eventually take the reins.

Mike Pence is mistakenly assumed to be a pussy cat because of his soft-spoken manner. But Mr. Pence has a wealth of knowledge, experience and drive Trump could only wish for. He is motivated, hard-nosed and unflinching. He doesn’t lose eye-contact, doesn’t twitter, keeps his eye on the ball and has proven himself in Congress to be a stunning foe. Get him in the Oval Office and Democrats will wish they had never uttered the words impeachment. -Dave Fihn

What can you do since the democrats refuse to impeach?

OCT. 22ND A NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER AND CALM

This is a call for a day of prayer and calm.

This is a non violent civil disobedience direct action. This strike is not meant to hurt the country in any way but to remove those who have. You do not need to be violent to not go to work, to not go to school or not shop. Protest peacefully and lawfully. Find out the laws in your city/state and protest lawfully and legally.

General Strikes – a brief history (with video)

1.) To participate we call on everyone everywhere to wear black.

2.) Do not go to work, or to school or to church.

3.) No shopping. Do not spend one dime on October 22nd. No buses, no trains and no planes for one day.

4.) We must organize and become our own media. There will be zero discussion of this strike by the national media so we must become our own media and get the word out. Use this link:  http://ronsspot.org/call-to-general-strike-to-remove-trump-pence-from-office-and-arrest-hillary-clinton/

PROMOTE IT!!

Continue reading:  Call to General Strike to Remove Trump/Pence from Office and arrest Hillary Clinton

You can help keep this information online and up-to-date by supporting a free press. If you don’t who will? Ron’s Spot is ad free and reader supported. Thank you for your support.

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The People’s Party

Donald Trump told ‘the countdown to impeachment has already started’

Tom Embury-Dennis, The Independent

Donald Trump has been warned the “countdown” to impeachment is underway, after his former lawyer implicated the president in crimes committed during the 2016 election.

On Thursday, Mr Trump publicly addressed the prospect of impeachment for the first time, claiming the market would “crash” if his presidency was threatened.

“I don’t know how you can impeach somebody who has done a great job,” Mr Trump told Fox News. “I will tell you what, if I ever got impeached, I think the market would crash. I think everybody would be very poor because, without this thinking, you would see – you would see numbers that you wouldn’t believe, in reverse.”

Mr Trump’s comments came after Michael Cohen, his long-time legal “fixer”, pleaded guilty to eight criminal charges, including two counts of campaign finance violations, which he said he committed at the direction of the president.

Cohen admitted paying hush money to adult film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, both alleged to have had extramarital affairs with Mr Trump.

Tom Cole, a Republican member of the House of Representatives, warned it was “too soon” to begin impeachment proceedings, but said: “If something comes out that is clear and convincing and impeachable, I think members will act.”

Al Green, a Democratic congressman who has previously filed articles of impeachment against Mr Trump, suggested he may do so again following Cohen’s guilty plea.

“I think the president has to realise that the countdown to impeachment has already started,” he said. “He, at some point, will have to choose if he will face impeachment or if he will resign. It will be his choice. The congress will have no choice but to act.”

“At some point, we have to act.”

Most Democrats, however, are keeping quiet about the prospect of removing Mr Trump from office, amid fears pushing the issue will fire up the Republican base ahead of the midterm elections in November.

“I don’t think that we should be talking about impeachment,” Democratic senator Tammy Duckworth said.

Nancy Pelosi, the house Democratic leader, has consistently urged her party not to push the issue, and instead work to uphold special counsel Robert Mueller’s ability to investigate potential crimes committed by the Trump campaign.

“The special counsel’s team and the prosecutors in New York are conducting thorough and professional investigations, and they must be allowed to continue free from interference,” Ms Pelosi told fellow Democrats on Wednesday. “As November rapidly approaches, we must also stay focused on delivering our strong economic message to hard-working families across America.”

Trump allies, however, have been discussing impeachment – raising the prospect in an attempt to convince Republican voters to turn out in November.

Rudy Giuliani, the former New York mayor hired by Mr Trump last month to join his legal team, warned there would be a “revolt” in the US if the president was impeached.

“You could only impeach [Trump] for political reasons and the American people would revolt against that,” he said.

“The idea of an impeachment is frankly a sad attempt by Democrats, it’s the only message they seem to have going into the midterms,” Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, told reporters. “It is another great reminder why Americans should support other like-minded candidates like the president.”

Former chief strategist for Mr Trump, Steve Bannon, told Bloomberg: “November is a referendum on impeachment – an up or down vote. Every Trump supporter needs to get with the programme.”

In other news:

Mr Trump is accused of treason for encouraging the Russians to hack Ms Clinton’s emails to search for the 30,000 “missing” documents that were not handed over to the FBI.

Court documents released last October indicate that George Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy adviser to Trump’s campaign, was told by a Russia-linked professor that Moscow had “thousands” of emails containing dirt on Hillary Clinton in April 2016 — before WikiLeaks released hacked emails publicly.

Roger Stone, a longtime adviser to Trump who briefly worked on the campaign, has attracted scrutiny for his links to WikiLeaks. Stone has claimed publicly that he communicated with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange during the 2016 campaign, though he maintains that it was done through an intermediary.

Stone also sent a series of tweets during the campaign that appeared to hint at forthcoming releases of emails from WikiLeaks before they occurred.

THE NRA, RUSSIA and DONALD TRUMP

The NRA reported spending a record $55 million on the 2016 elections, including $30 million to support Trump. Most of that money was spent by an arm of the NRA that is not required to disclose its donors. A top Russian banker, Alexander Torshin, with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency.

Torshin, a leading figure in Putin’s party, has been implicated in money laundering by judicial authorities in Spain, as Bloomberg News first revealed in 2016. Spanish investigators alleged in an almost 500-page internal report that Torshin, who was then a senator, capitalized on his government role to assist mobsters laundering funds through Spanish properties and banks, Bloomberg reported.

Torshin was a senior member of the Russian Senate and in recent years helped set up a Moscow gun rights group called Right to Bear Arms.

Prince, Stone, Russia and Wikileaks

Former Blackwater CEO Erik Prince, who was a major donor to Trump, sat down for an interview with Breitbart News Daily and dropped a bombshell. Prince openly claimed on national radio that he knew about Hillary’s hacked emails well before Comey did.

You have a former U. S. Attorney and former head of the DOJ’s criminal division (Giuliani), a former FBI chief in New York City (Kallstrom), and a former major government contractor (Prince) on record as knowing about the emails three weeks before Comey knew about them. If this isn’t strong evidence that this election was tainted by a criminal act, I don’t know what is.

Giuliani leaked the information on direct orders from Trump, while Prince did so on orders from either Trump himself or Trump campaign CEO Steve Bannon.

Prince got richly rewarded for his role. Not only was his younger sister, Betsy DeVos, tapped as Education Secretary, but Prince himself has been tapped as a shadow adviser to Trump on intelligence and defense.

In a sane world, this would all but demand that Trump and Pence stand down.

What can we the people do?

OCT. 22ND A NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER AND CALM

This is a call for a day of prayer and calm.

This is a non violent civil disobedience direct action. This strike is not meant to hurt the country in any way but to remove those who have. You do not need to be violent to not go to work, to not go to school or not shop. Protest peacefully and lawfully. Find out the laws in your city/state and protest lawfully and legally.

General Strikes – a brief history (with video)

1.) To participate we call on everyone everywhere to wear black.

2.) Do not go to work, or to school or to church.

3.) No shopping. Do not spend one dime on October 22nd. No buses, no trains and no planes for one day.

4.) We must organize and become our own media. There will be zero discussion of this strike by the national media so we must become our own media and get the word out. Use this link:  http://ronsspot.org/call-to-general-strike-to-remove-trump-pence-from-office-and-arrest-hillary-clinton/

PROMOTE IT!!

Continue reading:  Call to General Strike to Remove Trump/Pence from Office and arrest Hillary Clinton

Pastor praises Trump as ‘pro-black’ at prison reform event

By Associated Press

President Donald Trump was lauded by inner-city pastors, including one who said he may go down as the “most pro-black president” in recent history, during a White House roundtable on Wednesday that was focused on efforts to reform the prison system.

Trump told the group, which included pastors and bishops from across the country, that his administration has been making progress on efforts to make it easier for prisoners to re-enter society and find work.

“When we say hire American, we mean all Americans,” Trump said.

Among those gathered was Darrell Scott, a black Ohio pastor who was an early supporter of Trump’s campaign and has been working with the administration on urban and prison issues.

“This is probably the most pro-active administration regarding urban America and the faith-based community in my lifetime,” Scott told the group, adding, “This is probably going be … the most pro-black president that we’ve had in our lifetime.”

He compared Trump to his predecessor, Barack Obama, the nation’s first African-American president, and said: “This president actually wants to prove something to our community, our faith-based community and our ethnic community.”

“The last president didn’t feel like he had to,” he added, saying of Obama: “He got a pass.”

During his campaign, Trump accused Democrats of doing too little to help urban communities and often asked African-Americans what they had to lose by voting for him.

The White House has been focusing its criminal justice reform efforts on improving re-entry, rehabilitation and workforce training programs, instead of sentencing reform, which many advocates argue would make a bigger difference.

Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, has been leading the effort, which has included lobbying Congress to pass a bill called the First Step Act.

The House passed the bill in May.

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China’s invasion of Taiwan has already begun

By ANI

China’s invasion of the “renegade province” of has already begun. Of course, not a physical assault by military forces – not yet, at least – but rather a campaign of psychological and diplomatic pressure against that has seriously intensified in recent months.

Take, for example, the issue of airline reservations, with issuing a directive in April to 44 that they change the name “Taiwan” to “Taiwan, China” on their global websites.

Numerous carriers such as Qantas, Air India, Lufthansa, and caved in, even though the White Housecriticized Chinese demands as “Orwellian nonsense” and “part of a growing trend by the [CPC] to impose its political views on American citizens and private companies”.

In like fashion, the chain, clothing and Mercedes-Benz have all at some point felt China’s wrath for offending its sensibilities about descriptions of or Each apologized for not complying with China’s standards.

The Chinese government urged the U.S. not to allow Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen to stop over in the U.S. on her way to Belize and Paraguay this month as she has on previous trips to Latin America. It’s Beijing’s latest gambit in an ongoing campaign to wipe Taiwan off the map as an independent political entity. This campaign is forcing everyone from national governments and NGOs to airlines and clothing companies to take a stance on the contentious issue of Taiwan’s status.

Related: China lodges complaint over Trump-Taiwan call

This Chinese pressure has been ramping up since Tsai Ing-wen of the took office in in January 2016. There was an immediate cooling of relations with Beijing, and has attempted to marginalize Taiwan at every opportunity. Tsai insists she wants to maintain the status quo in terms of bilateral relations, but the CPC fears she will push for formal independence.

Tsai is facing extreme pressure from China, as well as internal political and civil pressure to modify her stance. Nevertheless, it appears that Taiwan is the only party intent on observing the status quo in cross-straits relations. certainly is not.

In March at the National People’s Congress, said, “It is a shared aspiration of all Chinese people and in their basic interests to safeguard China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and realize China’s complete reunification.”

Xi received rapturous applause when he threatened, “Any actions and tricks to split China are doomed to failure and will meet with the people’s condemnation and the punishment of history.The Chinese people share a common belief that it is never allowed and it is absolutely impossible to separate any inch of our great country’s territory from China.”

Related: China Is Trying to Wipe Taiwan Off the Map

Later, in June, Ma Xiaoguang, for the Taiwan Affairs Office in China, warned, “We have the stern will, full confidence and sufficient capability to defeat any form of Taiwan independence separatist plots.” He added that China “absolutely will not permit Taiwan independence forces to…interfere with the course of China’s great rejuvenation.Taiwan independence is a dead-end street.We warn Taiwan independence forces not to play with fire.”

Ian Easton, a research fellow at the Project 2049 Institute, a Virginia-based think tank, told ANI, “In the past ten years, most people took peace for granted. Most thought Taiwan’s going to be absorbed.by China. They thought this is a flashpoint not worth considering anymore. The US didn’t talk much about it and nor did its allies.”

However, Easton said the threat to Taiwan has grown greatly under Xi. “There’s no question about it.Clearly his approach is different to that of Hu Jintao – his personality is different, he’s much more ambitious, much more aggressive, he’s much more interested in Taiwan than Hu Jintao was.” Easton pointed out, “has been much more focused on preparing to one day occupy the island. It’s always been the party’s and the People’s Liberation Army’s [PLA] main strategic direction ever since the collapse of the

For now, China is prosecuting a short-of-war campaign tobludgeon Taiwan. Russell Hsiao, writing for The Jamestown Foundation, delineated ten elements to this pressure campaign: poaching Taiwan’s diplomatic allies; military coercion; economic coercion; excluding Taiwan from international organizations; pressuring foreign corporations; pressuring Taiwan’s non-diplomatic allies; economic incentives; political warfare; cyber espionage; and traditional espionage.

Related: Donald Trump Angers China With Historic Phone Call to Taiwan’s President

Taiwan now has diplomatic relations with only 18 countries worldwide. It lost formal ties with and Príncipe in December 2016, in June 2017, and the and in May 2018, after China lured them away.

Beijing, like it did with over the topic of a US Army missile defense battery stationed on its territory, is unafraid to use its considerable economic clout against Taiwan. Thus, it limited the number of tourists travelling to the islandsince Tsai assumed office, with the number falling 700,000 in 2017 alone.

In international organizations, China has gleefully pressured others to ostracize Taiwan. Thus, Taiwan was denied observed observer status at the Health Assembly in May. Another example is the (ICAO), with China pressuring the group to exclude Taiwan. The ICAO has remained silent on China backtracking on its 2015 agreement with Taiwan over using the commercial M503 flightpath near the centerline of the

Authoritarian China, thanks to its growing technological and digital knowhow, is increasingly taking advantage of the liberties and openness of Western and Taiwanese democracies. Indeed, Easton warned that China is subverting Taiwan’s democracy, “everything from espionage to cooperating with pro-unification and organized crime syndicates in Taiwan, gunrunning, drugs and smuggling people into Taiwan. They’re going to do things that will destabilize Taiwan’s society.” Easton even spoke of operatives being mixed in with pro-unification groups and their protests, some of which have turned violent.

Related: Forget trade — the Trump administration just crossed a far more dangerous ‘red line’ with China

Work Department (UFWD) is actively engaged against Taiwan. Hsiao commented, “In Taiwan, the UFWD targets a broad range of constituencies, including aborigines, local villages and townships, youths and students, pro-China political parties and groups, and Taiwan military veterans. has previously estimated that China spends at least $337.8 million per year on UFWD recruiting efforts in Taiwan, but has also said it believes there might be more ‘invisible funding’.”

China is routinely using disinformation, propaganda, “content farms” and bots to fan the flames of social instability via UWFD proxies. Taiwan has an extremely of 82.3% and penetration rate of 73.4%, and China can relatively easily spread fake news on messaging sites such as Line, as well as imagery. One example of the latter is a picture of a Chinese H-6K bomber flying near in Taiwan. Such an event did not occur, yet the image still went viral. China is also good at misquoting officials or ex-officials in either Chinese or Taiwanese forums to show purported approval of the CPC.

Hsiao, of the Global Taiwan Institute, concluded, “The CPC has a long history of using propaganda and disinformation against Taiwan. In it has found a fertile information environment to amplify its time-honed tactics of political and psychological warfare. Flooding Taiwan’s society with propaganda and disinformation can weaken its people’s trust in democratic institutions and lead to political instability.”

He continued, “The CPC’s ultimate goal is the subjugation of Taiwan under the PRC, and propaganda and disinformation are means to weakening morale and people’s resistance towards that political end.”

Likewise, China is manipulating the cyber sphere to its advantage. Taiwan is the number one target of Chinese hacking, with a reported 20-40 million attempted hacks against its public sector each month throughout 2017.

Hsaio explained that Taiwan has suffered a number of embarrassing high-profile espionage incidents too, often involving the military. From 2006-16, some 40 Taiwanese – including military officers, businesspeople and government officials – were prosecuted for spying on behalf of China.

With such intense bullying of Taiwan and of anyone else that does not submit to Beijing’s narratives, and with mounting concerns over China’s hard-nosed One Belt, One Road initiative, China is beginning to face adverse reaction on the international stage. Ironically, Beijing’s squeezing of does permit more countries to see the ugly nature of this authoritarian regime and its leader.

While China is happy to bully those weaker than itself, it also shows a remarkably thin skin for a nation that regards itself as a global power. China was incensed by Trump accepting Tsai’s in December 2016. also feels antagonized by ongoing American military equipment sales to Taiwan, with the USA the only country willing to stand up to Chinese bluster.

China continues to ramp up pressure against Taiwan militarily. It has hundreds of short- and medium-range ballistic missiles aimed at the island. It has also boosted the number of military exercises near the island. For example, from August 2016 to December 2017, counted at least 26 PLA aerial exercises, of which 15 circumnavigated the island. There were just eight in 2015 and 2016 combined. The Chinese has passed Taiwan four times already.

ANI asked whether a military confrontation between China and Taiwan becomes more likely the longer Xi stays in power. Easton replied, “Yes, it does,” and he outlined two reasons. One is that Xi will inevitably get older, weaker and face more health issues. ‘There are going to be potential power struggles, and there are going to be all the problems associated with a dictatorship – especially a communist-style dictatorship – and we’ve seen this with Mao and

Easton described the potential for leaders to develop megalomania because they become godlike. “There’s already this incredible cult of personality in China, and being godlike makes people go crazy. It corrupts their sense of reality, so there’s a rea risk of that.” A related danger is that Xi will not receive accurate information from his underlings. After having done so much to eradicate opponents within the party and military, Xi could end up being surrounded by “yes men” who simply tell Xi what he wants to hear. This may lead to huge miscalculations, with Xi making decisions based on wrong assumptions.

The second reason given by Easton regarding the rising possibility of war is that the PLA will grow increasingly stronger over the coming 10-20 years. China has made huge investments in the PLA, but these may not bring a payback straight away. Indeed, it may take years to get a return on that investment.

“So a lot of the heavy military spending, research and development and training that we’re seeing right now, they’re going to come to fruition in the next one to two decades. When they do, China’s going to have so much more military power than it currently has and that it has had over its entire modern history. When that happens, I should think there’s going to be even greater temptation to do something that could be disastrous,” Easton warned.

UPDATE:

Earlier this month, a scathing editorial in Chinese state media warned the US Senate not to pass the Taiwan Travel Act, legislation to permit high-level talks between US and Taiwanese officials.

Unless US President Donald Trump “is ready to see the by and large stable and so-far profitable relationship derailed, unless he is determined to plunge his country into a pointless, mutually damaging altercation, or worse, he should resist the seducement,” the editorial said.

It added: “Unlike trade, though, Taiwan is a matter of sovereignty. For Beijing, it is a clearly defined core interest that is not negotiable.”

Anyway, on Friday, Trump signed the bipartisan bill into law.

And so here we are, with the market gearing up to watch us haggle over soybeans and Boeing aircraft (the US’s biggest exports to China, according to the Institute of International Finance ) like a farmer at the Iowa State Fair — when in reality the danger is much graver.

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Prepare for the biggest stock-market selloff in months, Morgan Stanley warns

By Ryan Vlastelica, MarketWatch

The U.S. stock market has been partying all throughout July, and a hangover is coming.

That is according to analysts at Morgan Stanley, who said that Wall Street’s rally is showing signs of “exhaustion,” and that with major positive catalysts for trading now in the rearview mirror, there’s little that could continue to propel equities higher.

“With Amazon’s strong quarter out of the way, and a very strong 2Q GDP number on the tape, investors were finally faced with the proverbial question of ’what do I have to look forward to now?’ The selling started slowly, built steadily, and left the biggest winners of the year down the most. The bottom line for us is that we think the selling has just begun and this correction will be biggest since the one we experienced in February,” the investment bank wrote to clients.

The decline “could very well have a greater negative impact on the average portfolio if it’s centered on tech, consumer discretionary and small-caps, as we expect.”

A correction is technically defined as a decline of at least 10% from a recent peak. Both the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.57%  and the S&P 500 SPX, -0.58%  corrected in early February, on concerns that inflation was returning to markets. While the Dow remains in correction territory—meaning it hasn’t yet risen 10% from its low of the pullback—the S&P exited just last week, following its longest stint in correction territory since 1984. The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -1.39%  never fell into correction.

Equities have done well of late, with the Dow up 4.3% in July. The S&P 500 has gained 3.1% in the month while the Nasdaq has advanced 1.6%, hitting multiple records along the way, though it has stumbled badly in the past three sessions.

Much of the rally has come on the second-quarter earnings season, which has both shown strong growth and featured a high number of companies topping analyst expectations. While there were some high-profile disappointments, including from Netflix Inc. NFLX, -5.70%  and Facebook Inc. FB, -2.19% —which suffered its biggest one-day drop ever after its results—market participants have generally looked past them.

“We must admit, the market sent some misleading signals over the last few weeks by limiting the damage to the broad indices when Netflix and Facebook missed. We believe this simply led to an even greater false sense of security in the market,” wrote the team of Morgan Stanley analysts, led by Michael Wilson, the firm’s chief U.S. equity strategist. Both Facebook and Netflix’s shares fell into bear-market territory on Monday, defined as a drop of at least 20% from a recent peak.

The firm forecast “a rolling bear market,” during which “every sector in the S&P 500 has gone through a significant derating” with the exception of tech and consumer discretionary. Those two sectors have contributed the bulk of the market’s advance in 2018; tech has risen 12.5% while the discretionary sector—boosted by Amazon and Netflix, both of which are up more than 50% year-to-date—is up 12.8%.

That these two industry groups haven’t fallen much doesn’t mean they won’t, Morgan Stanley warned.

“While it is possible tech and consumer discretionary stocks won’t experience the derating witnessed in other cyclical sectors, we think it is unlikely and are only emboldened by the misses from Facebook and Netflix and the price action last week,” they said.

“We recognize that money can also move from these sectors to others thereby leaving the S&P 500

around current levels rather than falling 10% as we expect,” they said.

Wall Street is sending huge warning signs for stocks

Count Marko Kolanovic, JPMorgan’s global head of quantitative and derivatives strategy, as one of those stressing caution. In a client note, he said that record-low volatility should “give pause to equity managers.” Kolanovic even went as far as to compare the strategies that are suppressing price swings to the conditions leading up to the 1987 stock market crash.

“The fact that we had many volatility cycles since 1983, and are now at all-time lows in volatility, indicates that we may be very close to the turning point,” he said.

Baupost Group, a $30 billion fund, recently highlighted the lack of price swings as a harbinger of pain to come, calling it a possible “accelerant for the next financial crisis.” Meanwhile, Highfields Capital Management, which oversees $13 billion, said that low volatility is giving people the false impression that the market is risk-free

Going beyond the much-maligned low-volatility environment, Bank of America Merrill Lynch has its own reasons for expecting an upcoming rough patch in stocks — one it sees coming sometime soon.

Michael Hartnett, the chief investment strategist of BAML Global Research, points to how the S&P 500 has continued climbing to new highs, even as the size of the Federal Reserve’s balance sheet has stayed relatively unchanged. He says this divergence is a “classic euphoria signal.” Such overexuberance has historically been a sign that investment sentiment is overextended.

Crash that may send Dow down…17,000 points
By Stephanie Landsman

Harry Dent is arguing that the Trump rally is setting investors up for an inevitable stock market crash.

Investors have embraced Donald Trump’s victory by sending stocks on a tear to new record highs. Dent, however, thinks there’s trouble brewing.

“I think this is going to be a stock market peak of a lifetime followed by a crash very similar to the early 1930s. This happens once in a lifetime,” Dent Research Founder Harry Dent recently told CNBC’s “ Futures Now .”

He added: “I think this is the last rally in this bull market.”

Dent may be calling for the rally’s last hurrah, but he’s also forecasting another ten to 20-percent jump for the Dow over the next few months.

“The markets are assuming that he is going to create three to four percent growth on a sustainable basis,” said Dent. “It is demographically impossible…. When the markets figure this out, they are going to crash.”

Dent makes the case that the U.S. workforce will see negative growth, estimating that the population will grow just over a quarter percent over the next 50 years. He also points to rock bottom productivity that not even tax cuts can solve in the immediate term.

“You can’t have stocks keep going up at this rate when earnings are going nowhere,” said Dent. “”I think it [Dow] is going to end up between 3000 and 5000 a couple years from now.”

Debt Bubble

What we have is a debt bubble. The rising debt is the stimulus funding the rally on Wall Street. QE1, QE2, QE3, Operation Twist, bailouts, handouts, and now $85 billion injected into the system every month. Hmm, I wonder if there is a coincidence between enormous debt creation and 43 new highs in the Dow this year?

No, the stock market is not in a bubble. It is reacting normally to new injections of cash and buyers. The debt bubble, however, is a different matter. These things end badly, historically. Eventually, somebody has to pay the Piper.

The stock market is up, while the economy isn’t. Since the stock market is supposed to reflect the economy, it looks a bit overvalued.

There is also a good reason for over-valuation: the cheap money policy by the Fed means that there is no money in bonds, so many investors have loaded up on stocks, which drives their price up.

The NASDAQ and Russell 2000 are in bubbles right now. Once the fed starts increasing its interest rate, the stock market will drop like a rock. Continue reading: Debt Bubble

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War is extending: Bibi-Trump plot against Iran

President Donald Trump has put the United States on the course for war with Iran. That was clearly his objective when he refused to certify the international nuclear accord with Iran and proclaimed heavy sanctions against Tehran’s powerful paramilitary Revolutionary Guards Corps.

All of Trump’s senior national security officials and those from the treaty partners and UN reported that Iran had kept its end of the deal.

Bob Corker, Tom Cotton, and Marco Rubio, are all firmly in the pocket of pro-Israel lobbies. The U.S. vociferous ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, is almost a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Las Vegas gambling mogul and uber Zionist billionaire, Sheldon Adelson – who is also a key financial backer of Trump and Netanyahu.

Having pushed the U.S. to destroy its old foes, Iraq and Syria, Israel now has its big guns trained on Iran, the last regional power that can challenge Israel’s domination of the Mideast. Iran, we should remember, is also the only important Mideast power backing the Palestinians and calling for a Palestinian state.

The Israeli lobby and so-called Christian Zionists that make up Trump’s electoral base are beating the war drums against Iran.

President Trump’s administration has put Iran on “final notice”, and with Republicans in control of all branches of government, GOP may finally get what it has been wanting for decades… another country to invade. Trump and the Republicans are furiously beating the war drums against Iran, and have attempted to mislead the American people so they’re able to justify military action in Iran. Legislation was passed on the first day of the 115th session of Congress that would give President Trump the authority to use military force against Iran unilaterally.

“This is the only time in modern presidential history when we’ve had a small number of people from the uniformed world hold this much influence over the chief executive,” said John E. McLaughlin, a former acting director of the CIA who served in seven administrations. “They are right now playing an extraordinary role.”

Commentator and Trump ally Ann Coulter tweeted, “The military-industrial complex wins.”

Kelly, Mattis and McMaster are not the only military figures serving at high levels in the Trump administration. C.I.A. Director Mike Pompeo, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Energy Secretary Rick Perry and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke each served in various branches of the military, and Trump recently tapped former Army general Mark S. Inch to lead the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

“The only chance we have of trying to keep this thing from blowing apart is some military discipline,” said Peter Wehner, who served in the three Republican administrations prior to this one and who opposes Trump. “It’s like military rule or a military coup.”

Many retired senior military officers are now working as war consultants (while drawing a fat pension) at $200-$300 per hour. Bleeding our coffers while 40 million Americans are living on food stamps. And now this fake war is extending even after Saddam’s and Bin Laden’s deaths.

A well equipped, well trained, well funded, well supported U.S. troops did not win in Iraq or in Afghanistan. Now, the generals say this is a bigger threat than Saddam and Bin Laden, let us roll the dice once again, to fight the enemy of America! While in 2018 – Saudi troops, Egyptian flight sorties are bombing in Yemen using U.S. supplied war inventory.

Iran, which won its independence in the 1979 Islamic revolution, should be a natural ally of the United States. The most scientifically advanced Middle Eastern nation, Iran has an educated population, a growing and highly-diversified economy, and a crucial geostrategic position in the center of the Eurasian chess board. Its successful experiment in political Islam is pluralistic and at least as democratic as anything in the West.

But the U.S. is owned by international bankers and influenced by ultra-Zionist neoconservatives. These folks are out to conquer the world. So they don’t want allies, they want vassals. Iran will never settle for vassal status, nor will it acquiesce to the Zionist genocide of Palestine. Hence the “Iran problem.”

Now that Bibi Netanyahu has helped install his man Donald Trump in the White House, will the Likkudniks accelerate their plots against the Islamic Republic? Of course they will.

There is no compass in Trump’s negotiations and his need for free-flying improvisation may have worked during his real estate days, but applying the same principle to geopolitics is rife with risk. Within hours of scrapping the nuclear agreement with Iran, missiles were fired between Israel and Syria. The European Union is banning European companies from complying with U.S. sanctions as well as planning to switch to euros instead of dollars for Iranian Oil. When Trump slapped punitive tariffs on steel and aluminum from abroad and then followed with a new round of U.S. sanctions on fourteen Russian companies, the Russian stock exchange plunged, causing chaos in global commodity markets and inadvertently hurt European aluminum manufacturing.

Fortunately, most of the extremists around Donald Trump don’t know what they’re doing. Any major attempt to destabilize or (God forbid) attack Iran will almost certainly turn into a fiasco for the aggressors. Even back in 2004, when Iran’s defenses were far less formidable, the neocons at Atlantic Magazine couldn’t buy a war-game-against-Iran scenario that didn’t implode into mega-disaster for the US.

Since top military people are usually not that stupid, we may assume that they will settle for some kind of regime change effort: Color revolution (that already failed in 2009, but who cares?), coup attempt, Saudi-money-fueled effort to stir up ethnic and religious minorities…you know the drill.

I am already hearing rumors of a supposed “coup attempt” shaping up.

Will this scam work? It may very well succeed in enriching a few Iranian-exile scumbags. But it won’t overthrow the government of Iran. The Iranian people, even those who lack religious enthusiasm for the current government, remember 1953 and are not about to let it happen again.

There is only one solution for this problem – Just get all U.S. troops out of the Middle East. We all know this won’t happen because there is too much money to be made! So far the U.S. government has spent over 3 trillion on this war of terror. 9,000 dead US troops!!

This trade clash with Beijing is not even over steel and aluminum but the dominance of core information technology into the 21st Century. China has its own “Made in China 2025” strategy which aims to establish a world leading role in technology with giants like Alibaba and Tencent whose market values are already over half a trillion. China has the world’s fastest supercomputer and is building its own Hadron supercollider. While the U.S. has taken a laissez-faire approach, heading in a different direction in technology, China is funding centers in India and Japan. China has supercomputers faster than the U.S., chips that are Chinese made and fifth generation wireless networks (5G) will be first in China, not America.

Semiconductor chips have replaced oil as the lifeblood of the global economy. The arms race over the future and technological dominance will shake American hegemony to its very foundations. In an attempt to stall China’s technological advancement and catch up, America introduced tariffs. Tariffs won’t work. S&P Global warned that American companies would be the biggest losers in a trade war with China.

Professor Allison and his colleagues studied the conflicts between a rising power and an established ruling power over a 500 year period showed that when one power threatens to displace the other, that in 12 of 16 cases, they ended badly in bloodshed.

In America businesses are at war on a daily basis against a rogue US Government.

The soft tyranny we endure now on a daily basis has turned scores of Americans into reluctant activists, no longer satisfied with participation in mundane “demonstrations” that prove and accomplish nothing.

Nearly everywhere you turn, crowds of angry Americans are gathering, no longer content to merely sit idly by and remain spectators to the cavalcade of injustices being perpetuated ad nauseum against We the People by criminal governments that have long since lost their legitimacy.

As the Fed’s quantitative tightening intensifies, the financial system will contract further raising alarms over the $164 trillion of debt held by the U.S., Japan and China. Inflation long feared to be dormant has picked up as the sanctions have affected everything from aluminum to oil. And, ominously the benchmark 10 year Treasury yield continues to breach levels not seen in seven years, indicating rising inflation expectations and stormy times ahead.

Trump’s tax cut will cost $5.5 trillion in lost revenues and add over $1 trillion to the deficit over the next decade, deepening the hole in America’s debt to GDP currently over 100 percent.

A decade after the global financial crisis, the world led by the United States has loaded up on debt again. Once the biggest buyer, China has started dumping US government debt.

After years of easy money, Trump’s trillion dollar spending plans risks America becoming the next global crisis as its debt spirals out of control.

The truth is that Iran is simply not behind most of the turmoil in the Middle East, and until Washington’s policymakers change their all-Iran-all-the-time mental model, they are doomed to failure. One thing is guaranteed: they are going to misdiagnose the patient and attack the wrong disease.

The Iran Exaggeration

Close your eyes for a moment and imagine a Middle Eastern country — no, not Israel — but one with a sizeable, protected Jewish community, a place where Islam is the state religion but its president regularly tweets Rosh Hashanah greetings for the Jewish New Year.

Sounds like somebody’s wild fantasy, but it’s actually Iran. In fact, the Islamic Republic sets aside one mandatory seat in its parliament for a Jew, three for Christians, and another for a Zoroastrian. It would be a mistake to conclude from such token gestures that Iran is a paragon of tolerance. But they do speak to the complexity of a diverse society full of paradox and contradiction.

85% of domestic terrorists turned out to be American citizens or permanent residents.  Most were American-born.  Of the 13 U.S. citizens involved in such fatal terror attacks, none were Iranian-American.

It always struck me as odd that Iran made the cut for the very exclusive membership in George W. Bush’s “axis of evil.”  After all, unlike those 15 Saudi hijackers and perhaps even the Saudi government, it had no connection to 9/11 and was “comprehensively helpful” in the initial take down of the Afghan Taliban and the arrest of fleeing al-Qaeda fighters.

By contrast, consider just a few of Washington’s “partners” in the region:

* Saudi Arabia: this monarchy enforces a strict brand of conservative Wahhabi Islam not so terribly different from the basic theology of ISIS.  The Saudi government publicly executes an average of 73 people per year, including juveniles and the mentally ill.  Beheading is the favored technique. (Sound familiar?)  Nor are all the victims convicted murderers.  According to a 2015 Amnesty International report, “Non-lethal crimes including adultery, robbery, apostasy, drug-related offenses, rape, ‘witchcraft,’ and ‘sorcery’ are punishable by death.”  In addition to its citizens carrying out the 9/11 attacks, Saudi Arabia supported a branch of al-Qaeda (Jabhat al-Nusra) in the Syrian conflict.  Furthermore, its ongoing U.S.-backed air strikes against Yemen’s Houthi rebels have been killing numerous civilians and may have helped to cause and further intensify a disastrous famine. The U.S. response: a record-breaking $110 billion arms deal for the Saudis.

* Egypt: In the wake of a 2013 coup d’état led by General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi against an elected government, that country’s military gunned down hundreds of demonstrators.  Since then, its strongman has used “mass, arbitrary arrests,” tortured detainees, and conducted “extrajudicial executions” — all in the interest of retaining power.  The U.S. response: $1.4 billion in (mostly military) foreign assistance in fiscal 2017.  To top it off, President Trump recently invited Sisi to the White House, lauded the dictator’s “fantastic job in a very difficult situation,” and is planning a future visit to Egypt.

There’s an uncomfortable truth that Washington needs to face: U.S. policy toward Iran hasn’t achieved its goals despite almost four decades of effort since an American-installed autocrat was overthrown there in 1979.  Foreign policy hawks — Democrats and Republicans alike — will undoubtedly fight that reality tooth-and-nail, but as with the Cuban embargo, Iranian isolation has long outworn any imagined usefulness.  That ostracizing Iran remains fashionable reflects domestic political calculus or phobic thinking, not cogent strategy, and yet our new president just traveled to Saudi Arabia, a truly autocratic country, and in the wake of an Iranian election that was by all accounts resoundingly democratic, denounced that land as despotic and all but called for regime change.

U.S. policy in the Middle East is confused, contradictory, counterproductive, and dangerous. It could leave Washington involved in a war with Iran. (And given our recent wars in the region, imagine where that’s likely to land us.)

Major Danny Sjursen is a U.S. Army strategist and former history instructor at West Point. He served tours with reconnaissance units in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has written a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge.  He lives with his wife and four sons near Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Sources:

Gold Eagle: The war drums

Common Dreams: Beating the war drums…again

Toms Dispatch

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Business tax payments plunge, while workers pay more

By Rick Newman

Workers are shouldering a rising share of federal revenue, while tax payments by businesses are plunging toward record lows.

Treasury Department data for the first half of 2018 show individual income tax receipts rose 8.1%, to $915 billion. Corporate income tax receipts fell 32.4%, to $100 billion. The sharp decline in corporate tax revenue is largely a result of the tax cuts President Trump signed into law at the end of 2017, which cut the top corporate rate from 35% to 21%. Here are the numbers:

The drop in corporate tax payments isn’t surprising, since that’s exactly what the Trump tax cuts were designed to do: leave more after-tax income in corporate coffers to spur more investment. Workers got tax cuts too, but they were relatively modest. About two thirds of households got a tax cut averaging about $2,200, according to the Tax Policy Center. Taxes will rise for 6% of households, by an average of $2,800. The rest should see no change.

Demonstrators against the Republican tax reform bill hold a “Peoples Filibuster to Stop Tax Cuts for Billionaires,” protest rally outside the US Capitol on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 30, 2017. (Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images)

Corporate tax receipts have steadily declined as a portion of all federal revenue, from 17% in 1970 to 9% last year. So far in 2018, corporate tax receipts represent just 5.6% of federal revenue, which is the smallest portion ever on an annualized basis. (Statistical note: The government’s fiscal year starts in October, so FY 2018 tax revenue will include three months without the Trump tax cuts and nine months with them. The 5.6% figure above is just for the first six months of calendar year 2018, when the Trump tax cuts were fully in effect.)

Here’s how the makeup of federal tax revenue has changed over time. Not shown are social-welfare taxes, excise taxes and other sources of revenue:

It’s not surprising that tax payments from individual workers would rise this year, even with a tax cut in effect. Inflation, wage growth and other factors normally push tax payments from workers higher when the economy is growing.

Last summer, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) forecast that, without any tax cuts, individual tax receipts would rise 9.5% in 2018. The smaller rise of 8.1% could reflect the impact of the Trump tax cuts. And most workers didn’t see lower tax withholdings in their paychecks until March, at the earliest, which means the full effect of the tax cuts aren’t showing up yet in government revenue numbers.

The CBO expected corporate tax revenue to rise 4.5% this year, without any tax cuts. The huge drop in corporate tax revenue, following the tax cuts, highlights why the tax law has become a political problem for Trump and his fellow Republicans. The tax law is unpopular, with 43% of Americans disapproving and just 36% approving, in the Real Clear Politics average of polls. Americans in general feel the tax cuts too heavily favor businesses and the wealthy — and the federal revenue numbers bear that out. The unpopularity of the tax cuts could lead voters away from Republicans in the upcoming midterm elections, and perhaps tip one or both houses of Congress to Democrats.

The Trump tax cuts are also ballooning Washington’s annual deficits, along with the national debt. The CBO expects the gap between revenue and spending to soar by 21% this year, to $804 billion. The deficit will exceed $1 trillion by 2020 and grow for the foreseeable future.

Trump and a few sympathetic economists say the tax cuts will stimulate so much growth that federal tax revenue will eventually be higher than it would be without any tax cuts. Most budget experts disagree. “The federal government will certainly collect less revenue than it would have without the tax cut,” says economist Kyle Pomerlau of the nonprofit Tax Foundation. “Eventually, the government does need to pay its bills. We’re not on a sustainable path.”

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