Keeping it Real…

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Russia’s Man in the White House

January 19th, 2017 · 36 Comments

It seems more like a Hollywood script: Russia succeeds in getting THEIR man elected to the Presidency of the arch rival United States of America.

But this is no entertainment production: it’s REAL!  And the only outcome still to be determined is whether the plot will turn out to be a gripping dramatic spy story … or a comedy.

So far, no one is laughing.

Not since the end of the Second World War has the solidarity of the NATO Western Alliance against Communism and Fascism been so threatened by a US President; never has the integrity and credibility of the US’s own extensive Intelligence apparatus … 17 different agencies … ALL  been not only dismissed but actually maligned by a US President; and, no President leading the world’s supposed beacon of democracy and freedom has ever wondered aloud why can’t the US align itself with a corrupt thug like Vladimir Putin, on whose watch Opposition leaders have been murdered; outspoken critics have been assassinated … even outside Russia; journalists have been silenced or killed; political opponents, protestors, writers and bloggers have been arrested, harassed and beaten up; and thousands of  totally innocent civilians overseas have been carpet bombed and killed in support of a barbaric, fascistic dictator who routinely tortured and executed his opponents.

This is to be the US President’s comrade in arms”?

We must never forget ….. or legitimize … Russia’s aggressive military permanent  seizure and annexation of parts Moldova, Georgia and Crimea; its invasion of Eastern Ukraine; and, the shooting down with a Russian missile of the Malaysian Airlines flight from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur, with the loss of 283 passengers and 15 crew.

But under Donald Trump … the 45th President of the United States …. these appear to just trivial matters that should be set aside.

Republican supporters …. ALL of whom were such hardliners against Putin/Russia during Obama’s terms …  are now really hoping THEIR new President won’t actually do what he said he will do throughout the campaign.

Some recommendation for a President!

History has shown MANY times that MANY unstable leaders ELECTED into office do indeed do what they said they would do … destroying their own nation and costing millions of lives.

The one saving mechanism in the case of the US is its system where its other “leaders” … in the Cabinet and in the Senate and House of Representatives and the Supreme Court can hinder, mitigate and even stop their new President’s most outrageous plans, propositions and prattle.

But not all.

Foreign affairs in the US are largely the purvue of the President … and Trump’s ignorance of history, seeming willingness to ignore brutality if it suits his agenda and even sell out America’s ideals …. and allies … will play right into Putin’s hands.

There is absolutely NO DOUBT in my mind that Russia/Putin DID affect the outcome of the US election.

RUSSIA’S FSB (successor to the KGB) was behind the hacking and release of massive amounts of additional e-mails embarrassing Hillary Clinton and the Democrats ONLY DAYS before election.  And I am convinced that material (and FBI James Comey’s subsequent announcement/interference) DID affect enough votes in critical states to elect Trump.

Trump knows that … and that he owes his accession to the US Presidency to Putin.

And Trump’s own history shows many times over that when individuals help him …. he repays the gesture.

So watch for him to:

Hold an early meeting with Putin;

Push another RESET button with Russia … forgetting…and thus accepting… Russia’s violent land seizures;

Lift diplomatic expulsions imposed by Obama to punish for interfering in the US election;

Lift at least some of the sanctions imposed on Putin’s officials and cronies over the seizure of Crimea etc.;

Weaken US participation in NATO …. pulling troops out of Eastern bloc countries and thus exposing them to new Russian “ethnic” land demands;

Start agreeing  more and more with Putin’s statements/Russian aggressive anti-democratic actions/positions on world issues; and,

Initiate new “co-operation” deals, agreements, even increased military co-ordination with Russia overseas, especially Syria.

All the while borrowing another page or two or even more from Putin’s media playbook: openly lying;  denigrating any opponents (individuals, organizations, official reports he disagrees with),  distancing himself from media availability; curbing access to information and officials; and increasing his attacks on media credibility.

The signs are all there.

Make no mistake about it: giving in to Putin’s aggression in some sort of new version of Peace in our time will only encourage the dictator thug to continue his bullying ways.  And create great guffaws in the Kremlin,  where they no doubt theorized years ago that the West would huff and puff … but in the end cave in to any Russian land grabs and war crimes.

It won’t take long before our US neighbours …. and the world …  will learn if America,  knowingly or unwittingly, has a Russian agent in the White House.

Harv Oberfeld

(Reminder: You can get First Alerts of new postings on this Blog by following @harveyoberfeld on  No fees, no spam. )

→ 36 CommentsTags: International

Justin’s Silver Spoon Starting to Tarnish

January 15th, 2017 · 44 Comments

It’s time for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to put aside the photo ops, public performances and not-so-private partying and get down to business …. the people’s business.

Mounting studies and statistics show we could use that … because Canada is starting to slide.

Canada’s gross domestic product in October …the last month for which figures are available … SHRANK as the country’s factories reported the WEAKEST output since 2013.

Manufacturing in fact was DOWN a full 2 per cent … the biggest monthly decline in almost 3 years … and the second worst showing since the recession;   production of durable goods dropped 2.1 per cent; and, output of non-durable products fell 2 per cent.

Making it worse, from middle class families’ point of view,  costs of services rose at the same time: real estate sales and rentals went up (again).

Statistics Canada also reported Canadian household debt as a share of income hit another record in the third quarter of 2016. The ratio of debt to household income ROSE to 166.9 per cent … meaning we each owed on average $1.67 for every dollar of our disposable income.

“The Bank of Canada has flagged the high level of debt as a potential vulnerability for the financial system,” reported Reuters.

No wonder Canada’s loonie paid the price … dropping down to a embarrassing level compared to the US dollar.

While Trudeau posed for pictures,  pandered to political oppressors … and embarrassed not only himself but the country.

The Prime Minister’s inexperience, shallowness and either complete  lack of historical knowledge or a willingness to initially ignore it was front and center for the world to see when Cuba’s Fidel Castro died …  a repressive dictator responsible for the imprisonment, torture and even execution of thousands of Cuban CIVILIANS, including writers, journalists and brave human rights and democracy activists.

Trudeau fawned over him!

And then there was the Aga Khan debacle.

It boggles the mind that anyone …even the most partisan diehard Liberals … could attempt to defend the INAPPROPRIATENESS … and yes, the  STUPIDITY …. of a Prime Minister accepting luxurious vacation accommodation on the private island  of any billionaire … let alone a worldwide religious leader whose community service organization was RECENTLY given more than $55 million in Canadian PUBLIC funds by the LIBERAL government to spend in Afghanistan. (Just part of the $300 million in “assistance” Canada has provided the Aga Khan Development Foundation since 2000.)

If the Aga Khan is a multi-billionaire and can live in such luxury … does he really need …or qualify … for MILLIONS in AID from financially-strapped, debt-burdened Canadians?   And the Prime Minister cannot see …or does not care …about the impropriety of lapping up the luxuries on the Aga Khan’s private island in the Bahamas … including use of a private helicopter!

He has time for that … but no time to attend this year’s World Economic Forum, which he himself has said provides important connections with wealthy investors and a platform to help Canada attract major  economic development projects.

When world LEADERS meet … including the HEADS of countries in Asia that are Canada ‘s best prospects for expanding exports … then OUR Prime Minister should be there!  Trudeau’s staying away relegates him …and Canada … to the “B” team among leaders and nations.

Trudeau also has time to tour the country in another public relations photo-op performance which will yield him NOTHING he doesn’t already know …or should know…  about how so many Canadians are struggling.

All he had to do is read the many, many studies, reports and statistics already collected by both government and non-governmental agencies and organizations detailing exactly that: how the gap between rich and poor is still widening; how Canada’s top CEOs are earning 193 times the average worker’s salary; and, how BC’s job numbers are shrinking everywhere outside its major cities.

To measure the pulse of the nation, the Prime Minister need only spend more time Googling than Grandstanding.

It’s time for Trudeau to put away his penchant for photo ops and glad-handing  …  and take care of the economy, jobs and the wage gap.

Harv Oberfeld

→ 44 CommentsTags: National