Monday, October 16, 2017

Washington seethes with rumors of an anti-Trump “palace coup” – SEP Newsletter

From WSWS:

Washington seethes with rumors of an anti-Trump “palace coup”

By Joseph Kishore
Washington is engulfed in a political crisis that is without precedent in modern American history. Amidst increasingly bitter factional conflicts at the highest level of the state, there is growing speculation that there have been secret discussions among cabinet members and high-level staff about forcing Trump out of office.
The political warfare within the Trump administration and Republican Party intensified this week after Senator Bob Corker, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, declared that Trump’s threats against North Korea were leading the United States “on the path of World War III.” In a Twitter post, Corker called the White House “an adult day care center,” with the president requiring constant supervision.
NBC reported that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s statement describing Trump as a “moron” came after a June meeting between the president and top military officials, during which the president advocated increasing the US nuclear arsenal ten-fold. Trump responded to this report by threatening that NBC should be shut down. He stated that it is “disgusting the way the press is able to write whatever they want to write.” Read more »
The US on the brink of war with North Korea
By Peter Symonds
Amid accelerating US preparations for conflict with North Korea, yesterday’s night-time flight by two B-1B bombers over the Korean Peninsula was designed to provoke a North Korean response that could be used as the casus belli for all-out war.
The supersonic bombers were joined by Japanese and South Korean fighter jets for the first joint night-time training exercise that involved practicing air-to-ground missile drills in waters off the east coast of South Korea, then off the west coast. This rehearsal for war with North Korea followed another first when two B-1B bombers late last month flew the furthest north along the North Korean coast since the start of this century.
At the same time, the Pentagon is assembling a naval armada off the Korean Peninsula. The nuclear attack submarine USS Tucson arrived off South Korea on Saturday. The aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan and its strike group of cruisers and destroyers is due to arrive later this month for joint exercises with the South Korean navy. Two Australian frigates are also en route to Korean waters. Read more »
The politics of the Harvey Weinstein scandal
By David Walsh
The scandal surrounding American film producer Harvey Weinstein continues to hold the film industry and a considerable portion of the media-political establishment in the US firmly in its grip.
What is involved here? Setting aside the superficiality and frenzy of the media, what is the politics of the Weinstein scandal?
Unquestionably, something more is involved than simply Weinstein’s behavior. We hold no brief for the Hollywood producer, a renowned bully and abuser of his employees, if nothing else, nor vouch for his morality. If only a fraction of the sexual harassment allegations are true, his conduct has been repugnant and perhaps criminal.
However, when a lynch mob begins to gather, it is always wise not to jump in and participate. Everyone deserves a trial in which he or she can mount a self-defense. Read more »
The New York Times and the criminalization of dissent
By Joseph Kishore
The campaign within the American media and political establishment over allegations of Russian “hacking” and manipulation of the US elections is being transformed into an increasingly frenzied demand for the criminalization of dissent.
During the first months of the Trump administration, the charges of Russian interference in US politics were primarily used to prosecute a struggle within the American ruling class centered on issues of foreign policy. The anti-Russian campaign has now developed into an effort to ascribe all opposition within the United States to the actions of a “foreign enemy.”
A series of increasingly ludicrous articles have appeared in the US press, channeling information supposedly gathered by the Senate Intelligence Committee from social media companies. The latest appeared on Tuesday in the New York Times, which has played the central role in the media campaign. The front-page article (“Russians Spun American Rage Into a Weapon: Facebook Posts in US Fueled Propaganda”) is a piece of pure political propaganda, filled with unsubstantiated statements, wild speculation and unsupported conclusions. Read more »
President Trump threatens to pull the plug on Puerto Rico
By Rafael Azul
In 1975, in the midst of the New York City financial crash, the Daily Newspublished the famous headline “Ford to New York: Drop Dead!” Its front-page article went on to denounce then-President Gerald Ford’s decision not to bail out New York City.
A similar headline would be appropriate today—“Trump to Puerto Rico: Drop Dead!”—following president Trump’s most recent threats and tweets about the financial and environmental crisis that have mired this island since the twin impacts of Hurricane Irma and particularly Hurricane Maria.
“Puerto Rico survived the Hurricanes, now a financial crisis looms largely of their own making,” he claimed, quoting right-wing television journalist Sharyl Attkisson. He added Thursday morning, in three separate tweets: “A total lack of accountability say the Governor [sic]. Electric and all infrastructures was disaster before hurricanes. Congress to decide how much to spend. ... We cannot keep FEMA, the Military & the First Responders, who have been amazing (under the most difficult circumstances) in P.R. forever!” Read more »
Spain moves toward military rule in Catalonia
By Alex Lantier
In a menacing speech to the Spanish Congress on Wednesday, Popular Party (PP) Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy stated that, in response to Catalan regional Premier Carles Puigdemont’s speech affirming the October 1 independence referendum, he was preparing to invoke Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution. This provision allows Madrid to suspend the authority of the Catalan regional government and seize control of the region’s finances and administration.
With the Spanish media discussing the invocation of Article 116 to impose a state of emergency or state of siege, it is clear that Rajoy is moving rapidly to establish military rule not only in Catalonia, but across all of Spain. Read more »
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