Mike Pompeo to Announce “Operation Ajax Redux” Today at Neoliberal Globalization Think-Tank

by Scott Creighton

Today, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will layout what they call their “Plan B” for Iran, an effort to further destabilize the country in preparation for regime change in Trump’s post Obama nuclear deal-era.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will unveil the administration’s “Plan B” for countering Iran on Monday, an idea that some critics call a “pipe dream,” while others question whether the administration is coming clean on its goals for the country.

The plan, administration officials say, is to assemble a global coalition to pressure Iran into negotiations on “a new security architecture” that goes beyond its nuclear program.” CNN

They are slightly abandoning the propaganda line which centers on Iran’s supposed efforts to build a nuclear weapon they can launch it at Israel and be wiped in the aftermath.

Instead they are now focusing on Iran’s “influence in the region” which they claim is holding up various “national interests” of our, including but not limited to our Greater Kurdistan project in the Middle East, the ultimate decimation of the Houthi revolution in Yemen and of course… the ultimate surrender of all things Palestine to their Israeli masters.

“We need a new framework that’s going to address the totality of Iran’s threats,” Brian Hook, the State Department’s director of policy planning told reporters Friday. “This involves a range of things around its nuclear program – missiles, proliferating missiles and missile technology, its support for terrorists, and its aggressive and violent activities that fuel civil wars in Syria and Yemen.” CNN

There was a time during the Obama/Clinton regime when they wanted to install one of the old Shah’s family members to lead the nation as our designated puppet but now it appears they wish to install that woman who runs the terrorist organization the MEK. That’s how they are going to bring “freedom and democracy” to Iran… which, by the way… already has freedom and democracy.

Just not our “brand’ of it.

This should not come as a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention over the past few years as Pompeo is a Koch-industries creation who is a PURE neoliberal globalist who has on many occasions voiced his opinion that Iran MUST be regime changed, by force if necessary.  The force of a “coalition” he said not that long ago, by the way.

Hmmm.

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Congress Weighs Indefinite Detention of Americans

(Well how about that? The other day I wrote about Trump carrying on with Clinton’s “Green Revolution” regime change op in Iran and now we have Hillary’s VP candidate helping him with a new, open-ended AUFM and tossing in provisions allowing him to lock up dissidents who oppose his endless wars.)

by Marjorie Cohn, Consortium News

Under the guise of exercising supervisory power over the president’s ability to use military force, Congress is considering writing Donald Trump a blank check to indefinitely detain U.S. citizens with no criminal charges. Alarmingly, this legislation could permit the president to lock up Americans who dissent against U.S. military policy.

The bill that risks conveying this power to the president is the broad new Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), S.J.Res.59, that is pending in Congress. Senate Foreign Relations Committee chair Bob Corker (R-TN) and Democratic committee member Tim Kaine (VA) introduced the bipartisan bill on April 16, and it has four additional co-sponsors.

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US housing secretary proposes tripling of rent for the poor

from WSWS

US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson’s “Making Affordable Housing Work Act of 2018,” unveiled last week, would spell destitution for the poorest households receiving federal rental assistance, virtually all of which have annual incomes of less than $7,000. Roughly 1.7 million people, including 1 million children, would face eviction and homelessness.

The typical household affected would be a single mother with two children, with an annual income of $2,400—or just $200 a month. After paying rent, under this proposal, the family would have only $48 left to pay for necessities like clothing, diapers, school supplies and food or medical needs not covered by other assistance.

The housing proposal would impose a mandatory tripling of the minimum rent for households with an adult younger than 65, to at least $152; raise rents from the current 30 percent to 35 percent of gross income; and allow local public housing authorities to impose work requirements on those receiving benefits.

Carson’s sadistic plan is only the latest in a series of attacks on the most vulnerable and impoverished Americans that are being proposed or carried out at the federal and state level. It follows an executive order by President Trump instructing the secretaries of six federal departments to seek out new ways to gut existing programs and impose work requirements for Medicaid, food stamps, home heating assistance, housing assistance and welfare benefits…

These punitive cuts come as corporate boardrooms across the country toast the “booming” economy and rising stockpiles of cash, now at an estimated record of some $2 trillion. Recent reports have shown median CEO pay at the nation’s 100 largest corporations rising to an 11-year high of $15.7 million, 235 times the pay of workers. Earlier this month the major Wall Street banks reported record profits for the first quarter of 2018…

[read more here]

Make-Believe America

by Paul Craig Roberts from his website

Americans live a never-never-land existence. The politicians and presstitutes make sure of that.

Consider something as simple as the unemployment rate. The US is said to have full employment with a January 2018 unemployment rate of 4.1 percent, down from 9.8 percent in January 2010. https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS14000000

However, the low rate of unemployment is contradicted by the long-term decline in the labor force participation rate. After a long rise during the Reagan 1980s, the labor force participation rate peaked in January 1990 at 66.8 percent, more or less holding to that rate for another decade until 2001 when decline set in accelerating in September 2008. https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/CIVPART/

Today the labor force participation rate is the lowest since February 1978, reversing all of the gains of the Reagan years.

Allegedly, the current unemployment rate of 4.1 percent is the result of the long recovery that allegedly began in June 2009. However, normally, employment opportunities created by economic recovery cause an increase in the labor force participation rate as people join the work force to take advantage of employment opportunities. A fall in the participation rate is associated with recession or stagnation, not with economic recovery.

How can this contradiction be reconciled? The answer lies in the measurement of unemployment. If you have not looked for a job in the last four weeks, you are not counted as being unemployed, because you are not counted as being part of the work force. When there are no jobs to be found, job seekers become discouraged and cease looking for jobs. In other words, the 4.1 percent unemployment rate does not count discouraged workers who cannot find jobs.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics has a second measure of unemployment that includes workers who have been discouraged and out of the labor force for less than one year. This rate of unemployment is 8.2 percent, double the 4.1 percent reported rate. https://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS13327709

The US government no longer tracks unemployment among discouraged workers who have been out of the work force for more than one year. However, John Williams of shadowstats.com continues to estimate this rate and places it at 22 or 23 percent, a far cry from 4.1 percent.

In other words, the 4.1 percent unemployment rate does not count the unemployed who do show up in the declining labor force participation rate.

If the US had a print and TV media instead of the propaganda ministry that it has, the financial press would not tolerate the deception of the public about employment in America…

[read more here]

Three Protesters Arrested At UCLA for Speaking Out Against Goldman Sach’s Steve Mnuchin (arrest video)

by Scott Creighton

Here is a video of three young people who spoke out at Treasury Sec. Steve Mnuchin’s UCLA visit the other day. This video was taken outside in the hallway after they were removed by force from the auditorium. The officers calmly and routinely arrested them for doing nothing more than speaking out during the event. One can understand them taking them out of the venue since they seemed dedicated to shouting during the event rather than waiting until a Q&A session. Free speech does also apply to neoliberal fascists like Mnuchin by the way. However, when you look at the damage being done by these ghouls to our society, especially to the poor and working classes, you can kinda understand why young people feel so deeply about trying to be heard and keep these greedy, corrupt fucks from feeling comfortable in settings involving the general public.

To remove these kids is one thing. To place them in hand cuffs, man-handle them and ultimately arrest them is another entirely. I suppose in this day and age we should be glad they didn’t pull a Rodney King on em. Little blessings here in the Shining City on the Hill and I make that reference on purpose because it seems the “Reagan Revolution” is upon us in full swing again.

After Being Told He’s ‘Full of Sh*t’ at School Event, Mnuchin Demands UCLA Suppress Video

from Common Dreams

Trump Treasury Secretary and former Goldman Sachs banker Steve Mnuchin isn’t accustomed to facing direct challenges to his wild economic claims or protests over the GOP tax plan he helped craft, and after experiencing both during an event at UCLA’s Burkle Center on Monday, Mnuchin demanded that video of his appearance be suppressed.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Mnuchin complained to the audience that he usually only talks to “people who wanna listen to me speak” after students and others attending the event yelled out “I think you’re full of shit” and denounced the Republican tax bill as an attack on “people who are in poverty.”

After noting that it was his first time speaking at a university, an increasingly “agitated” Mnuchin “stopped the conversation several times, asking the hecklers either to identify themselves or explain what they were protesting,” the Journal reported on Wednesday.

UCLA initially planned to post a full video of the event to its website later this week, but a university spokeswoman told the Journal that Mnuchin “retracted his permission for the Burkle Center to post its video and podcast of yesterday’s event on its website.”

But thanks to students and reporters who were in attendance, a few short videos of the event ultimately emerged on social media…

[read more here]

Trump says he would re-enter TPP trade deal if it’s made ‘substantially better’

from The Hill

President Trump said Thursday he would consider re-entering the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement if the terms were more favorable to the U.S.

“I would do TPP if we were able to make a substantially better deal,” Trump told CNBC during an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Trump called the Pacific Rim trade pact a “horrible deal” as written.

The comments mark the first time Trump has raised the possibility of rejoining the sweeping trade agreement, which was championed by former President Obama.

It’s a surprising stance for Trump, who won the 2016 election on a promise to take a more protectionist stance on trade.

Trump railed against the TPP as a candidate and announced the U.S. would pull out of the agreement in one of his first acts as president. At the time, Trump said leaving the TPP is a “great thing for the American worker.”

But it’s unclear what, exactly, could entice Trump to re-enter the agreement. The president did not say what specific changes he wants to see made…

[read more here]