Monday, October 31, 2016

7 Facts That Show the American Dream Is Dead


7 Facts That Show the American Dream Is Dead

The key elements of the American dream are unreachable
for all but the wealthiest.
October 22, 2014

A recent poll showed that more than half of all people in this country don’t believe that the American dream is real. Fifty-nine percent of those polled in June agreed that “the American dream has become impossible for most people to achieve." More and more Americans believe there is “not much opportunity” to get ahead.
The public has reached this conclusion for a very simple reason: It’s true. The key elements of the American dream—a living wage, retirement security, the opportunity for one's children to get ahead in life—are now unreachable for all but the wealthiest among us. And it’s getting worse. As inequality increases, the fundamental elements of the American dream are becoming increasingly unaffordable
for the majority. Here are seven ways the American dream is dying.

1. Most people can’t get ahead financially.

If the American dream means a reasonable rate of income growth for working people, most people can’t expect to achieve it.
As Ben Casselman observes at, the middle class hasn’t seen its wage rise in 15 years. In fact,
the percentage of middle-class households in this nation is actually falling. Median household income has fallen since the financial crisis of 2008, while income for the wealthiest of Americans has actually risen.
Thomas Edsall wrote in the New York Timesthat “Not only has the wealth of the very rich doubled since 2000, but corporate revenues are at record levels.” Edsall also observed that, “In 2013, according to Goldman Sachs, corporate profits rose five times faster than wages.”
2. The stay-at-home parent is a thing of the past.
There was a time when middle-class families could lead a comfortable lifestyle on one person’s earnings. One parent could work while the other stayed home with the kids.
Those days are gone. As Elizabeth Warren and co-author Amelia Warren Tyagi documented in their 2003 book, The Two-Income Trap, the increasing number of two-earner families was matched by rising costs in a number of areas such as education, home costs and transportation.
These cost increases, combined with wage stagnation, mean that families are struggling to make ends meet—and that neither parent has the luxury of staying home any longer.
In fact, parenthood has become a financial risk. Warren
and Tyagi write that “Having a child is now the single best predictor that a woman will end up in financial collapse.” This book was written over a decade ago; things are even worse today.

3. The rich are more debt-free. Others have no choice.

Most Americans are falling behind anyway, as their salary fails to keep up with their expenses. No wonder debt is on the rise. As Joshua Freedman and Sherle R. Schwenninger observe in a paper for the New America Foundation, “American households… have become dependent on debt to maintain their standard of living in the face of stagnant wages.”

This “debt-dependent economy,” as Freedman and Schwenninger call it, has negative implications for the nation as a whole. But individual families are suffering too.
Rani Molla of the Wall Street Journal notes that “Over the past 20 years the average increase in spending on some items has exceeded the growth of incomes. The gap is especially poignant for those under 25 years old.”
There are increasingly two classes of Americans: Those
who are taking on additional debt, and the rich.

4. Student debt is crushing a generation of non-wealthy Americans.

Education for every American who wants to get ahead? Forget about it. Nowadays you have to be rich to get a college education; that is, unless you want to begin your career with a mountain of debt. Once you get out of college, you’ll quickly discover that the gap between spending and income is greatest for people under 25 years of age.
Education, as Forbescolumnist Steve Odland put it in 2012, is “the great equalizer… the facilitator of the American dream.” But at that point college costs had risen 500 percent since 1985, while the overall consumer price index rose by 115 percent. As of 2013, tuition at a private university was projected to cost nearly $130,000 on average over four years, and that’s not counting food, lodging, books, or other expenses.
Public colleges and universities have long been viewed as the get-ahead option for all Americans, including the poorest among us. Not anymore. The University of California was once considered a national model for free, high-quality public education, but today tuition at UC Berkeley is $12,972 per year. (It was tuition-free until Ronald Reagan became governor.) Room and board is $14,414. The total cost of on-campus attendance at Berkeley, including books and other items, is estimated to be $32,168.
The California story has been repeated across the country, as state cutbacks in the wake of the financial crisis caused the cost of public higher education to soar by 15 percent in a two-year period. With a median national household income
of $51,000, even public colleges are quickly becoming unaffordable. Sure, there are still some scholarships and grants available. But even as college costs rise, the availability of those programs is falling, leaving middle-class and lower-income students further in debt as out-of-pocket costs rise.

5. Vacations aren’t for the likes of you anymore.

Think you’d like to have a nice vacation? Think again. According to a 2012 American Express survey, Americans who were planning vacations expected to spend an average of $1,180 per person. That’s $4,720 for a family of four. But then, why worry about paying for that vacation? If you’re unemployed, you can’t afford it. And even if you have a job, there’s a good chance you won’t get the time off anyway.
As the Center for Economic and Policy Research found in 2013, the United States is the only advanced economy in the world that does not require employers to offer paid vacations to their workers. The number of paid holidays and vacation days received by the average worker in this country (16) would not meet the statutory minimum requirements in 19 other developed countries, according to the CEPR. Thirty-one percent of workers in smaller businesses had no paid vacation days at all.

The CEPR also found that 14 percent of employees at larger corporations also received no paid vacation days. Overall, roughly one in four working Americans gets no vacation time at all.
Rep. Alan Grayson, who has introduced the Paid Vacation Act, correctly notes that the average working American now spends 176 hours more per year on the job than was the case in 1976.
Between the pressure to work more hours and the cost of vacation, even people who do get vacation time—at least on paper—are hard-pressed to take any time off. That’s why 175 million vacation days go unclaimed each year.

6. Even with health insurance, medical care is increasingly unaffordable for most people.

Medical care when you need it? That’s for the wealthy.
The Affordable Care Act was designed to increase the number of Americans who are covered by health insurance. But health coverage in this country is the worst of any highly developed nation—and that’s for people who have health insurance.

Every year the Milliman actuarial firm analyzes the average costs of medical care, including the household’s share of insurance premiums and out-of-pocket costs, for a family of four with the kind of insurance that is considered higher quality coverage in this country: a PPO plan which allows them to use a wider range of healthcare providers.
Even as overall wealth in this country has shifted upward, away from middle-class families, the cost of medical care is increasingly being borne by the families themselves. As the Milliman study shows, the employer-funded portion of healthcare costs has risen 52 percent since 2007, the first year of the recession. But household costs have risen by a staggering 73 percent, or 8 percent per year, and now average $9,144. In the same time period, Census Bureau figures show that median household income has fallen 8 percent.

That means that household healthcare costs are skyrocketing even as income falls dramatically.
The recent claims of “lowered healthcare costs” are misleading. While the rate of increase is slowing down, healthcare costs are continuing to increase. And the actual cost to working Americans is increasing even faster, as corporations continue to maximize their record profits by shifting healthcare costs onto consumers. This shift is expected to accelerate as the result of a misguided provision in the Affordable Care Act which will tax higher-cost plans.
According to an OECD survey, the number of Americans who report going without needed healthcare in the past year because of cost was higher than in 10 comparable countries. This was true for both lower-income and higher-income Americans, suggesting that insured Americans are also feeling the pinch when it comes to getting medical treatment.
As inequality worsens, wages continue to stagnate, and more healthcare costs are placed on the backs of working families, more and more Americans will find medical care unaffordable.

7. Americans can no longer look forward to a secure retirement.

Want to retire when you get older, as earlier generations did, and enjoy a secure life after a lifetime of hard work? You’ll get to… if you’re rich.
There was a time when most middle-class Americans could work until they were 65 and then look forward to a financially secure retirement. Corporate pensions guaranteed a minimum income for the remainder of their life. Those pensions, coupled with Social Security income and a lifetime’s savings, assured that these ordinary Americans could spend their senior years in modest comfort.
No longer. As we have already seen, rising expenses means most Americans are buried in debt rather than able to accumulate modest savings. That’s the main reason why 20 percent of Americans who are nearing retirement age haven’t saved for their post-working years.
Meanwhile, corporations are gutting these pension plans in favor of far less general programs. The financial crisis of 2008, driven by the greed of Wall Street one percenters, robbed most American household of their primary assets. And right-wing “centrists” of both parties, not satisfied with the rising retirement age which has already cut the program’s benefits, continue to press for even deeper cuts to the program.
One group, Natixis Global Asset Management, ranks the United States 19th among developed countries when it comes to retirement security. The principal reasons the US ranks so poorly are 1) the weakness of our pension programs; and 2) the stinginess of our healthcare system, which even with Medicare for the elderly, is far weaker than that of nations such as Austria.
Economists used to speak of retirement security as a three-legged stool. Pensions were one leg of the stool, savings were another and Social Security was the third. Today two legs of the stool have been shattered, and anti-Social Security advocates are sawing away at the third.
Vacations; an education; staying home to raise your kids; a life without crushing debt; seeing the doctor when you don’t feel well; a chance to retire: one by one, these mainstays of middle-class life are disappearing for most Americans. Until we demand political leadership that will do something about it, they’re not coming back.
Can the American dream be restored? Yes, but it will take concerted effort to address two underlying problems. First, we must end the domination of our electoral process by wealthy and powerful elites. At the same time, we must begin to address the problem of growing economic inequality. Without a national movement to call for change, change simply isn’t going to happen.
Richard (RJ) Eskow is a blogger and writer, a former Wall Street executive, a consultant, and a former musician.

Duterte wants ‘out,’ wants Charter change hurried Duterte wants ‘out,’ wants Charter change hurried

By Raynan F. Javil

Duterte wants ‘out,’ wants Charter change hurried

Posted on October 31, 2016

THE Speaker of the House of Representatives said his chamber will meet its original target date of 2019 to come up with a draft Constitution, in time for its submission to a plebiscite along with the midterm elections that year.

President Rodrigo R. Duterte himself had urged Congress to “hurry up the process” in his expressed wish to step down early ahead of his six-year term.

“Yes. We’ll do it,” Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez said in a text message. Asked if the House was on track to meet its target date, Mr. Alvarez said: “Yes.”

To be sure, an executive order (EO), as also recommended by Mr. Alvarez, has yet to be issued seeking to establish a 25-man constitutional commission tasked with writing a draft Charter for subsequent deliberation in Congress.

Mr. Alvarez said he “will check” on the status of the EO, which has been forwarded to the Palace in late August and is pending with the Office of the Executive Secretary.

In a speech in Cotabato City on Oct. 29, Mr. Duterte said: “Kapag natapos iyan ng tatlong taon (When this is completed in three years), asahan ninyo, I give you my word: Kapag nandiyan na ’yang framework (When the framework is there), I will resign to give way to a new President. Wala na kayong isipin pa (You have nothing more to think of).”

Ako na sana mismo ang magsabi alis na ako. Hindi ako maghintay ng six years (Let me be the one to say that I want out. I won’t wait for six years),” he also said.

“Just hurry up the process. Kapag nandiyan na ’yang federal, tapos paghati-hatiin na ’yung region, federal region ganun, at more power iyan sa baba less power doon sa itaas at kayo na ang bahala kung ano ang nakita ninyo dito (Once the federal [system] is in place, the regions will be carved up into federal regions, and there will be more power below and less power in high [office], it’s up to you what you’ll see here),” he added.

The drive toward federalism is in keeping with Mr. Duterte’s election-campaign platform early this year to have the country decentralized.

Mr. Alvarez had earlier said he hoped the EO would be signed by September, after which the constitutional commission would have been formed in October.

The House targets the last three years of Mr. Duterte’s administration as a transition period toward federalism. The general election scheduled in 2022 will be held under the new Charter, if approved in a plebiscite.

Meanwhile, the House Committee on Constitutional Amendments has already passed a resolution calling for Congress to convene itself into a constituent assembly and has formed a technical working group to consolidate related resolutions in the House.

Besides constituent assembly and people’s initiative, the other mode provided by the 1987 Constitution for revising the charter is the holding of a constitutional convention. But Mr. Duterte had set aside that plan because of its estimated cost of P7 to P8 billion.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Failure of Democracy How The Oligarchs Plan To Steal The Election

The Failure of Democracy
How The Oligarchs Plan To Steal The Election
By Paul Craig Roberts
October 28, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - I am now convinced that the Oligarchy that rules America intends to steal the presidential election. In the past, the oligarchs have not cared which candidate won as the oligarchs owned both. But they do not own Trump.
Most likely you are unaware of what Trump is telling people as the media does not report it. A person who speaks like this:
 is not endeared to the oligarchs.
 Who are the oligarchs? 
—Wall Street and the mega-banks too big to fail and their agent the Federal Reserve, a federal agency that put 5 banks ahead of millions of troubled American homeowners who the federal reserve allowed to be flushed down the toilet. In order to save the mega-banks’ balance sheets from their irresponsible behavior, the Fed has denied retirees any interest income on their savings for eight years, forcing the elderly to draw down their savings, leaving their heirs, who have been displaced from employment by corporate jobs offshoring, penniless.
—The military/security complex which has spent trillions of our taxpayer dollars on 15 years of gratuitous wars based entirely on lies in order to enrich themselves and their power.
—The neoconservartives whose crazed ideology of US world hegemony thrusts the American people into military conflict with Russia and China.
—The US global corporations that sent American jobs to China and India and elsewhere in order to enrich the One Percent with higher profits from lower labor costs.
—Agribusiness (Monsanto, corporations that poison the soil, the water, the oceans, and our food with their GMOs, hebicides, pesticides, and chemical fertilizers, while killing the bees that pollinate the crops.
—The extractive industries—energy, mining, fracking, and timber—that maximize their profits by destroying the environment and the water supply.
—The Israel Lobby that controls US Middle East policy and is committing genocide against the Palestinians just as the US committed genocide against native Americans. Israel is using the US to eliminate sovereign countries that stand in Israell’s way.
What convinces me that the Oligarchy intends to steal the election is the vast difference between the presstitutes’ reporting and the facts on the ground. 
According to the presstitutes, Hillary is so far ahead that there is no point in Trump supporters bothering to vote. Hillary has won the election before the vote. Hillary has been declared a 93% sure winner.
I am yet to see one Hillary yard sign, but Trump signs are everywhere. Reports I receive are that Hillary’s public appearances are unattended but Trumps are so heavily attended that people have to be turned away. This is a report from a woman in Florida: 
“Trump has pulled huge numbers all over FL while campaigning here this week. I only see Trump signs and stickers in my wide travels. I dined at a Mexican restaurant last night. Two women my age sitting behind me were talking about how they had tried to see Trump when he came to Tallahassee. They left work early, arriving at the venue at 4:00 for a 6:00 rally. The place was already over capacity so they were turned away. It turned out that there were so many people there by 2:00 that the doors had to be opened to them. The women said that the crowds present were a mix of races and ages.”
I know the person who gave me this report and have no doubt whatsoever as to its veracity.
I also receive from readers similiar reports from around the country. 
This is how the theft of the election is supposed to work: The media concentrated in a few corporate hands has gone all out to convince not only Americans but also the world, that Donald Trump is such an unacceptable candidate that he has lost the election before the vote. 
By controllng the explanation, when the election is stolen those who challenge the stolen election are without a foundartion in the media. All media reports will say that it was a run away victory for Hillary over the misogynist immigrant-hating Trump.
And liberal, progressive opinion will be relieved and off guard as Hillary takes us into nuclear war.
That the Oligarchy intends to steal the election from the American people is verified by the officially reported behavior of the voting machines in early voting in Texas. The NPR presstitutes have declared that Hillary is such a favorite that even Republican Texas is up for grabs in the election. 
If this is the case, why was it necessary for the voting machines to be programmed to change Trump votes to Hillary votes? Those voters who noted that they voted Trump but were recorded Hillary complained. The election officials, claiming a glitch (which only went one way), changed to paper ballots. But who will count them? No “glitches” caused Hillary votes to go to Trump, only Trump votes to go to Hillary.
The most brilliant movie of our time was The Matrix. This movie captured the life of Americans manipulated by a false reality, only in the real America there is insufficient awareness and no Neo, except possibly Donald Trump, to challenge the system. Americans of all stripes—academics, scholars, journalists, Republicans, Democrats, right-wing, left-wing, US Representatives, US Senators, Presidents, corporate moguls and brainwashed Americans and foreigners—live in a false reality. 
In the United States today a critical presidential election is in process in which not a single important issue is addressed by Hillary and the presstitutes. This is total failure. Democracy, once the hope of the world, has totally failed in the United States of America. Trump is correct. The American people must restore the accountability of government to the people.
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. Roberts' latest books are The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the WestHow America Was Lost, and The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.

Ease a Stiff Neck in 90 Seconds

“Confronting China”

“Confronting China” By John Pilger
October 28, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - TJC: Please tell us about your new film, The Coming War on China.
JP: The Coming War on China is my 60th film and perhaps one of the most urgent. It continues the theme of illuminating the imposition of great power behind a facade of propaganda as news.  In 2011, President Obama announced a ‘pivot to Asia’ of US forces: almost two-thirds of American naval power would be transferred to Asia and the Pacific by 2020.
The undeclared rationale for this was the ‘threat’ from China, by some measure now the greatest economic power. The Secretary of Defense, Ash Carter, says US policy is to confront those ‘who see America’s dominance and want to take that away from us’.
The film examines power in both countries and how nuclear weapons, in American eyes, are the bedrock of its dominance. In its first ‘chapter’, the film reveals how most of the population of the Marshall Islands in the Pacific were unwittingly made into nuclear guinea pigs in a programme whose secrets – and astonishing archive – are related to the presence of a missile base now targeting China. The Coming War on China will be released in cinemas in the UK on December 1st and broadcast on ITV (in the UK) on December 6th.
TJC: How do you assess Australia’s role in America’s ‘Pivot to Asia’?
JP: Australia is virtually the 51st state of the US.  Although China is Australia’s biggest trader, on which much of the national economy relies, ‘confronting China’ is the diktat from Washington. The Australian political establishment, especially the military and intelligence agencies, are fully integrated into what is known as the ‘alliance’, along with the dominant Murdoch media. I often feel a certain sadness about the way my own country – with all its resources and opportunities – seems locked into such an unnecessary, dangerous obsequious role in the world. If the ‘pivot’ proceeds, Australia could find itself fighting, yet again, a great power’s war.
TJC: With regards to the British and American media, how can the US get away with selling China as a threat when it is encircling China?
JP: That’s a question that goes to the heart of modern-day propaganda. China is encircled by a ‘noose’ of some 400 US bases, yet the news has ignored this while concentrating on the ‘threat’ of China building airstrips on disputed islets in the South China Sea, clearly as a defence to a US Navy blockade.
TJC: Obama’s visit to Japan, and particularly to Hiroshima, was a really cynical act. What was your impression of Japan and the political situation there?
JP: Japan is an American colony in all but name – certainly in terms of its relationship with the rest of the world and especially China. The historian Bruce Cumings explores this in an interview in the film.  Within the constraints of American dominance, indeed undeterred by Washington, Japan’s current prime minister Shinzo Abe has developed an extreme nationalist position, in which contrition for Japanese actions in the Second World War is anathema and the post-war ‘peace constitution’ is likely to be changed.
Abe has gone as far as boasting that Japan will use nuclear weapons if it wants. In any US conflict with China, Japan – which last year announced its biggest ever ‘defence’ budget – would play a critical role. There are 32 US military installations on the Japanese island of Okinawa, facing China. However, there is a sense in modern Asia that power in the world has indeed moved east and peaceful ‘Asian solutions’ to regional animosities are possible.
TJC: Do you think the new trade and investment deals like the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and especially the Transpacific Partnership (TPP) will affect China’s business operations?
JP: It’s difficult to say, but I doubt it. What is remarkable about the rise of China is the way it has built, almost in the blink of an eye, a trade, investment and banking structure that rivals that of the Bretton Woods institutions. Unknown to many of us, China is developing its ‘New Silk Road’ to Europe at an astonishing pace. China’s response to threats from Washington is a diplomacy that’s tied to this development, and which includes a burgeoning alliance with Russia.
T.J. Coles is the author of Britain’s Secret Wars (2016, Clairview Books).
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Friday, October 28, 2016

Anonymous: World War 3 is on the Horizon (2016)

Anonymous: World War 3 is on the Horizon (2016)

For the last two months, Anonymous has been reporting on a possible global conflict involving World War III between the United States and its allies in West, and Russia and its allies in the East.
Continue reading below:
Greetings World, We are Anonymous.
For the last two months, we have been consistently reporting on a possible global conflict, World War 3 between the United States and its allies in the West, and Russia and its allies in the East.
The dispute on the South China Sea has severely damaged the United States relations with the Peoples Republic of China. After the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled that China’s nine-dash-line claim in the South China Sea, and its land reclamation activities on islets are invalid and unlawful, the United States has been preparing to sail in the area under a so-called Freedom of Navigation principle.
This has angered the Chinese. In August, the Chinese Defense Minister, Chang Wanquan told his country’s citizens to prepare for, what he described as the peoples war at sea. Mr Wanquan was referring directly to the United States planned provocation under the pretext of Freedom of Navigation. China has since vowed to take all necessary measures available to protect its sovereignty over the South China Sea, revealing that it had the right to set up an air defense zone on the sea.
China has also since been positioning and testing its nuclear weapons, and planning military drills on its waters with Russia. Even the United States has confirmed that China has tested an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile, which is capable of striking everywhere in the world within half an hour.
Moving away from the South China Sea, we arrive in Syria. It is an open secret that the civil war in Syria is a proxy war between the United States and Russia. Russia has even intervened physically on the request of the Syrian government. The United States, unable to get any invitation, has been openly and secretly arming many rebel groups in the country, with open plans to overthrow the Syrian government.
Of course, since Russia honored the invitation of the Syrian government last year, the war has been turning in favor of the Syrian government, which was falling before Russia’s intervention.
As we speak now, tension is mounting between the United States and Russia. Nerves are at their highest since the Cold War era. The United States, at the moment, is sitting on tenterhooks. Many officials in the president Obama administration are frustrated and confused regarding the situation in Syria.
The United States has announced that it has ended all contacts with Russia in Syria. This announcement by the United States comes as Russia, beginning on September. 22nd, intensified its military operations in Syria, with the intentions to capture the city of Aleppo for the Syrian government. Diplomatic efforts to put an end to the fighting in Syria, have collapsed.
As the Aleppo operation continues, Russia has given the United States a stern warning not to take any action against the Syrian government forces. In fact, there are many Russian jet fighters stationed in Syria, ready to shoot down any United States jet fighter that attempts to strike on the Syrian government forces.
These developments from Moscow are not going down easily with the United States. The United States Secretary of State, John Kerry, is said to have urged president Obama to intervene and face the consequences from Russia. He is said to have even favored a nuclear deterrent against Russia.
However, it appears that before Kerry could even make this suggestion to president Obama, the Russians had already gathered intelligence on the happenings within the White House. According to Zvezda, a Russian defense ministry Television channel, the country has started preparing its citizens for a possible nuclear war with the United States – because of the mounting tensions in Syria. Russia has since moved to deploy nuclear-capable Iskander missiles in its western-most region, Kaliningrad, which borders on NATO members of Poland and Lithuania.
Due to how the situation has become, some top officials at the United States defense headquarters have finally spoken. These Pentagon officials have admitted that World War 3 is imminent, and that its going to be deadly and fast. The military generals were speaking on a future-of-the-army panel in Washington.
“A conventional conflict in the near future will be extremely lethal and fast, and we will not own the stopwatch,” Major General William Hix said.
General Hix also stated that China and Russia’s armies are becoming increasingly technological, and that the Pentagon was getting ready for violence on the scale that the United States Army has not seen since Korea.
His comments were also echoed by lieutenant Gen Joseph Anderson and Chief of Staff, Gen Mark A. Milley, who described war between nation states as almost guaranteed.
The generals also said apart from the conventional battle, cyber battle, too, has become a reality against the United States, revealing that even smaller nations are launching it against the country.
We are Anonymous.
We are Legion.
We do not forgive.
We do not forget.
Expect us.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Russia Tests Nuclear Warhead That Can Outsmart US Anti-Missile Systems

Russia Tests Nuclear Warhead That Can Outsmart US Anti-Missile Systems

News Image By The Daily Sheeple October 27, 2016
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Russian strategic missile troops reportedly launched an RS-18 ballistic missile on Tuesday. The launch may have been a test of the advanced hypersonic glider warhead, which would be able to defeat US anti-missile systems.

Popular defense blog says the launch was meant to test Russia's hypersonic glider warhead, currently known by its developer designation, 'object 4202', or Aeroballistic Hypersonic Warhead.
A select few countries are currently developing the technology. The US has the HTV-2, a device developed by DARPA that has two partially successful tests under its belt. 

The Chinese warhead using the same technology is called DF-ZF, with Beijing first confirming a test in 2014. 

India is also studying hypersonic flight technology, but unlike Russia, the US and China, it is reportedly not developing a strategic missile warhead.

A hypersonic glider vehicle (HGV) is different from a conventional ballistic missile warhead in that it travels most of the time in the stratosphere rather than in space. 

It gives an HGV-tipped missile greater range and may give anti-missile systems a shorter window to respond to an attack.
More importantly, an HGV can maneuver during the approach to a target at high speed, making interception significantly harder, because it makes guiding an interceptor missile towards the attacking vehicle challenging and potentially impossible with current rocket technology.

Object 4202 is reportedly meant to be used with Russia's next-gen heavy strategic missile the RS-28 Sarmat. 

Military experts estimate that the new ICBM, an image of which was first made public this week, may carry up to three HGVs as payload.

Originally published by The Daily Sheeple - reposted with permission.

FDA Found Manipulating The Media In Favor Of Big Pharma

FDA Found Manipulating The Media In Favor Of Big Pharma

The FDA favors the medical industry over consumers' health.
Credit: Huffington Post
Credit: Huffington Post
Although the Federal Drug Administration is thought to serve American consumers by keeping them safe and well-informed, they are doing just the opposite by controlling the media and science press in order to create misleading and one-sided articles.
An investigation into documents released through the Freedom of Information Act by Scientific American revealed that the FDA uses a variety of tactics to prevent the full truth from being revealed about a certain product. The biggest tactic is the “close-hold embargo,” where they invite a select few news sites to a briefing about the to-be released information with conditions. They stipulate that the journalists have to surrender their reportorial independence by agreeing to only speak with sources approved by their agency.
When NPR reporter Rob Stein was extended one of these loaded invitations, he responded by saying, “My editors are uncomfortable with the condition that we cannot seek reaction,” and asked that they be given a bit more wiggle room to speak with others. When Stein was met with a resounding no, he decided to agree to the terms and attend the briefing.
Stein wasn’t the only reporter to attend this particular briefing, as other sites such as The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and The New York Times were all present. Despite agreeing to the terms, not everyone is actually comfortable with these conditions. The New York Times former Public Editor, Margaret Sullivan, said:
“I think embargoes that attempt to control sourcing are dangerous because they limit the role of the reporter whose job is to do a full look at a subject. It’s really inappropriate for a source to be telling a journalist whom he or she can and can’t talk to.”
Other tactics used by the FDA include denying major media outlets any access to the briefing prior to the public release of information, and the deliverance of half-truths when asked questions directly to hinder an investigation. Those who intend to speak with unapproved sources or announce these embargoes are met with threats.
These embargoes are often used within the science community, but none as strict as the FDA’s rules on whom reporters can confer with. The usual restrictions only focus on the date and time that a news story can be published about a particular study, which is why the stories tend to break at the same time across media outlets.
The Association of Health Care Journalists said that the close-hold embargo is “a serious obstacle to good journalism. Reporters who want to be competitive on a story will essentially have to agree to write only what the FDA wants to tell the world, without analysis or outside commentary.”
If the FDA was truly concerned about the well-being of American citizens, it wouldn’t be so shrouded in secrecy and insistent on the way news stories are covered. Instead, they put up their list of demands in an effort to protect the medical industry and pharmaceutical companies whose interests and profits matter more than having a well-informed public.
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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The U.S. Doesn’t Need the Philippines

The U.S. Doesn’t Need the Philippines

America is a curious great power. It cowers before international lightweights, begging the least significant nations to let it defend them. Such as the Philippines.
President Duterte is not a reliable ally. The U.S. should not allow such an unpredictable regime to be a trigger for war.
President Rodrigo Duterte has gained notoriety for the official murder of thousands of drug users and dealers. He then publicly insulted President Obama for criticizing this murderous policy.
United States credibility suffers when a nation long subsidized and defended by America shows such ostentatious disrespect. The Philippine president shouldn’t be treated like a co-equal and ally if he doesn’t behave like one.
Moreover, the Philippines needs America far more than America needs the Philippines. Manila spends less than 1 percent of its gross domestic product on its military and its best ships are U.S. cast-offs. It doesn’t help defend the United States from anyone.
Rather, Manila expects Washington’s protection even though the archipelago matters little for the United States. America retains the Pacific as a barrier and faces no serious threats to its homeland.
Of course, Washington sees domination of East Asia as an American birthright. Base access obviously helps the U.S. attempt to enforce its will. However, convenience does not translate into interests substantial enough to risk war.
The region matters far more to nearby China, which understandably does not want to be contained. It also costs Beijing far less to deter U.S. intervention than it does for America to project power: missiles and subs are less costly than aircraft carrier groups. With no one threatening free navigation, Washington must decide what kind of risk it is willing to take on behalf of what remain primarily other nations’ territorial interests.
Insisting on defending the Philippines irrespective of its actions is particularly dangerous. Manila relies on American support rather than its own military in confronting China and could drag the United States into a conflict easily.
Washington should drop the “mutual” defense treaty and joint patrols. Maintaining base access is good insurance but does not require a security guarantee, especially over contested territory, such as Scarborough Shoal. Moreover, such access is not worth paying any price: America lost no influence when Subic Bay and Clark Airfield closed decades ago.
President Duterte is not a reliable ally. The United States should not allow such an unpredictable regime to be a trigger for war.

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The Iran Nuclear Deal – Debunking A Myth. A Short List of “Negative” US Foreign Policy Decisions

The Iran Nuclear Deal – Debunking A Myth. A Short List of “Negative” US Foreign Policy Decisions
By Don L. Durivan
Global Research, October 24, 2016

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With the first anniversary of the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA,  recently having passed, and the Obama Administration near its end, this seems to be a good time to consider one (there are a number) of the myths about the deal, and put it soundly to bed. Within the Obama Administration and in fact among those within the Beltway that support the JCPOA is the notion that “Iran needs the agreement, but we want it”. 
The truth is that Iran needs the agreement as does the current Administration of the United States. It is embarrassing for a superpower to acknowledge such a need. It suggests vulnerability, a state of mind anathema to the American political psyche, too difficult to tolerate, and so better to flip the truth with a distortion.
Turning to key statements from the Obama Administration is one means to uncover this need. Take, for example, national security advisor Susan Rice, stating in 2013:
“The Iranian nuclear issue remains one of the gravest threats to international security”. (1)
Take her word at face value for a moment – no such statement could more indicate dire need. Obama himself touts the agreement as a prevention of war with Iran.
Obama, as well as Rice, are politicians. It is difficult to know whether they truly believe their own words, but they have provided them. Putting their words aside and looking at track record in foreign policy is far more compelling, revealing and closer to the truth of how need has propelled the Administration.  Also, exposure of selective negotiated elements within the 165 page JCPOA helps to show in a practical way how need has been played out.
Someone needs only to imagine that they are President Obama and the following short list of foreign policy negative decision-making and pronouncements leaps out. With your Administration, you have:
•    Entrenched yourself as history’s greatest arms merchant, including exceptional promotion  of arms to the most unstable part of the world, the Middle East
•    Planned a $1 trillion dollar modernization of the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal, after being awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace with no real accomplishment to show for it but for speaking and advocating for a nuclear weapons    free world.
•    Announced in the 2008/2009 period broadly that Al Qaeda was so decimated as to be essentially buried. Reasonably informed private citizens recognized the remarkable ignorance of the comments. Events throughout Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, Syria and other locations have proven the statement to be hollow.
•    Stated more currently, in early January ’16 and two days before the horrific ISIS attack on Paris that “We had contained ISIS” in Syria and Iraq. Assuredly the same reasonably informed portion of the public recognized that the assertion would prove to be empty.
•    With special influence from Hillary Clinton, decided that a policy of unprovoked war against the country of Libya in 2011 was both sensible thinking and a reflection of “Smart Power”.  Refusals to accept two different cease fire/peace accords, one in fact worked out between the American military and Libya’s army, with endorsement by Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi, led to mayhem, evident today. After launching 67 cruise missiles on the country in the first day of “operations” decidedly refused to call this a war, but a “kinetic military action”. Most of mankind surely recognized the offensiveness of such language.  By virtue of the war, Libya went from being one of the most advanced countries in Africa (though not without problems, assuredly) to state disintegration, to the point of it being officially declared a failed state.
•    Officially supported the development of ISIS in Syria, from 2012 until 2015, as official Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) declassified documents revealed. In 2015, claiming to be fighting ferociously against ISIS, mysteriously failed to bomb the ISIS stolen-oil truck convoys running from Syria into Turkey, until Russia shamed your Administration by bombarding these itself.   And at least indirectly, supported the Al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, the Al-Nusra Front, working hand in glove with countries such as Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar to provide financing and weapons, and to push a military agenda in the already horrendous civil war in Syria.
•    Deliberately provoked Russia in Ukraine by supporting a coup d’etat, and thereby created tensions that never should have been and which could well have been either avoided altogether, or greatly lessened. In an effort  apparently unparalleled since the Cold War, have launched a deliberate policy of blame, this against Vladimir Putin  for virtually every ill, and have been so intent to poison the atmosphere of relations with Russia that your press secretary was allowed to criticize the way Mr. Putin sat when speaking with another head of state.
•   Were exposed by Edward Snowden for promoting the massive National Security Administration surveillance program, so widespread as to even be tapping the phone of Angel Merkel, head of state of Germany, one of America’s most reliable allies. Even the sleepy American public was alarmed.
•    Failed to offer any real support to the plight of the Palestinians, never mind justice, in either seriously trying to prevent excessive, disproportionate violence by Israel against them, or stand up to Prime Minister Netanyahu when Israel continued to build West Bank settlements.
•    Announced in 2008 the coming “most transparent Presidency”. In a remarkably secretive manner, proceeded to design the TPP trade agreement. The content and details of the Agreement have been shrouded, except for those multi-national corporations which would be the expected biggest beneficiaries.
Could a President with such a record ever not need some self-defined signature foreign policy achievement? The answer is easy. American Presidents, Obama among them, are obsessed with their “legacy”, or what they leave in their wake. The media’s promotion of legacy adds to the obsession. The Iran nuclear agreement was to be an essential part of Obama’s legacy, given his track record in so many places around the world. While there are other reasons assuredly for having the agreement, it is debatable that they might reflect need more than want. Among them would be prospects for multi-nationals to work deals with Iran. The foreign policy track record suggests no debate, however.
The fact that there even has been an agreement with Iran is proof that the Administration line of want, not need is empty rhetoric. Successive American Administrations, Clinton-Bush-Obama, maintained consistent stances in “negotiations” or behavior toward Iran that reflected what Mohamed El-Baradei, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from 1997-2009 described as at times bullying, prodding, dominating and refusing to show respect to Iran as a nation.
Consider his quote:
“The Western notion of how to approach Iran was like going into a souk and offering the proprietor a fair sum for the desired merchandise but also threatening to burn down the shop if he didn’t accept. While the tactic might play well in a Clint Eastwood movie, it was doomed from the start in Tehran.” (2)
He was also very critical of Iran, but the point here is that bullies do not enter into agreements simply when they want to – they enter when they need to enter. The power posturing reared its head even during the opening of negotiations, with Wendy Sherman, Obama’s chief negotiator for the Iran negotiations, offering the accusatory line that “lying is in the DNA of Iran”.
Elements of the JCPOA with Iran
Enter the elements of the JCPOA. The Agreement was negotiated between Iran and collectively the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China, defined as the E3/EU+3. There are negotiation outcomes that would not likely have been secured by Iran if the E3/EU+3 merely wanted the agreement. A tortuous and even pathological distrust has existed for decades between the United States (especially) and Iran, working in both directions. This type of distrust does not tend to promote concessions unless an opposing party, in this case Iran, insists upon them, and the other driving party (United States) feels a strong need for the agreement.
•    An Administration that really needed an agreement might well relent on an “anytime, anywhere” provision regarding inspecting Iran’s nuclear facilities, and this is exactly what the Obama Administration did. Anytime anywhere refers to unannounced inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the international watchdog agency for nuclear proliferation. Iran would not allow this. In other words, just don’t show up. Requests are required. The Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant, long a facility of concern by western powers, is   one such example. It is to be converted into a nuclear and physics research center. (3)
•    Additionally, consistent with its policy of refusing to recognize Iran’s right to safeguarded enrichment, the Administration and its predecessor worked hard to thwart negotiations with Iran unless Iran first suspended its nuclear program, including enrichment. Iran repeatedly refused. The Obama Administration never got the precondition of suspension, including in the interim agreement to the JCPOA, whose terms were published by the European Union in its “Factsheet” of 17 January, 2014. (4) This was another striking example of need over want.
•    While the west would never have preferred the following protective language for Iran, it conceded, out of need. When requesting access per the JCPOA, “good faith, with due observance of the sovereign rights of Iran” must be honored, and  “such requests will not be aimed at interfering with Iranian military or other national security activities”.(5) The latter refers in part to the Parchin military complex, which America and its European allies have long had suspicions about as to use and research but which Iran has maintained has no nuclear application.
•    To prevent feared United States double-standards, Iran achieved language whereby once the IAEA is satisfied that all nuclear material in Iran is for peaceful purposes, the US will seek legislative action to end or encourage the end of nuclear-related sanctions on the acquisition of nuclear commodities or services, “to be consistent with the US approach to other non-nuclear-weapon states under the NPT” (the nuclear non-proliferation treaty). (6) A superpower never wishes to have language in an agreement restricting its ability to use double standards unless it in fact needs the agreement.
•    The agreement also contains language that requires the United States and its allies to “take all measures required to lift sanctions and will refrain from imposing exceptional or   discriminatory regulatory and procedural requirements in lieu of the sanctions and restrictive measures covered by the JCPOA”. (7)
As well the U.S. specifically will “take appropriate steps” and “will actively encourage officials at the state or local level to take into account the changes in the U.S. policy reflected in the lifting of sanctions”. (8) These possible preventive measures by Iran signal its understanding of the long political reach of sanctions in the U.S. Concessions to this understanding reflect something other than a mere we want.
Unfortunately, the evidence of need does not assure the JCPOA’s success, and the pattern of implementation leaves a sense of skepticism, not due to Iran, which has met its requirements on schedule and well, but for the EU/EU+3 (primarily the U.S., France and Britain) who are stumbling along dealing with the effects of the needless atmospheric poison they worked so hard to create about Iran, but now need to detoxify, if the parties to the Agreement are to reap the benefits they anticipated.
1. Peter Jenkins, Asia Times, March 15, 2013, “A strange way to build trust with Iran”.
2. Mohamed El Baradei, The Age of Deception (Macmillan, 2011), page 196
3. The JCPOA, page 17
4. European Union FACTSHEET, Terms of the agreement on a Joint Plan of Action, 17 January, 2014:
5. The JCPOA, page 22
6. The JCPOA, page 7
7. The JCPOA, page 8
8. The JCPOA, page 7
Don L. Durivan is a Boston area long-time student of foreign policy, and writes occasionally on either the processes that lead to war making, or uncovering aspects of war or conflict resolution that go largely unaddressed. He works professionally on both domestic and developing-world health care projects.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). The Centre for Research on Globalization will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article.