This starts as
German Vice Chancellor
Sigmar Gabriel (...) said this week in Homburg that the U.S. government
threatened to cease sharing intelligence with Germany if Berlin offered
asylum to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden or otherwise arranged
for him to travel to that country. “They told us they would stop
notifying us of plots and other intelligence matters,” Gabriel said.
The vice chancellor delivered
a speech in which he praised the journalists who worked on the
Snowden archive, and then lamented the fact that Snowden was forced to
seek refuge in “Vladimir Putin’s autocratic Russia” because no other
nation was willing and able to protect him from threats of imprisonment
by the U.S. government (I was present at the event to receive an
award). That prompted an audience member to interrupt his speech and
yell out: “Why don’t you bring him to Germany, then?”
After which the audience
member got the quoted answer. But note that the Vice Chancellor is Sigmar Gabriel
(<- Wikipedia) and not Merkel, and he also is an social
democrat, and not a Christian democrat (both parties govern in
Germany). Also, if you read the Wikipedia article, then you will find
Gabriel has some more opinions that might count as "radical" in the U.S.
But the Vice Chancellor's
answer is interesting, and Glenn Greenwald has more:
Afterward, however, when
I pressed the vice chancellor (who is also head of the Social
Democratic Party, as well as the country’s economy and energy minister)
as to why the German government could not and would not offer Snowden
asylum — which, under international law, negates
the asylee’s status as a fugitive — he told me that the U.S.
government had aggressively threatened the Germans that if they did so,
they would be “cut off” from all intelligence sharing. That would mean,
if the threat were carried out, that the Americans would literally
allow the German population to remain vulnerable to a brewing attack
discovered by the Americans by withholding that information
from their government.
This means - I would
infer - that the Americans were willing to let tens of millions
of Germans be "vulnerable
to a brewing attack discovered
by the Americans", simply
for offering Edward Snowden asylum. That seems quite crazy
to me, morally speaking. 
There is more in the
article, about Great Britain, and how its High Court was denied
documents by the CIA, but this I leave to your interests.
But I do have two
First, here is Glenn
Greenwald's conclusion (who does not know whether Sigmar
Gabriel told the truth, and neither do I nor most people):
Nonetheless, one of two
things is true: 1) the U.S. actually threatened Germany that it would
refrain from notifying them of terrorist plots against
German citizens and thus deliberately leave them
vulnerable to violent attacks, or 2) some combination of high
officials from the U.S. and/or German governments are invoking such
fictitious threats in order to manipulate and scare the German public
into believing that asylum for Snowden will endanger their lives.
Yes, indeed. I also
do not know which alternative is true, and I agree neither alternative
is moral or good.
Second, speaking for
myself, I think Edward Snowden is safer in Russia than he would
be in Germany. Of course, I do not know what Snowden really
it seems to me that the probability that he will get snatched in
Germany by the CIA is considerably greater than that he will
get snatched in Russia, and the same holds for other European countries
(and South-American ones). 
2. The New American Order
item is an article by Tom Engelhardt, that I found on Truthdig, but
that originally appeared on TomDispatch:
This starts as
The article takes 4
pages. I will not even attempt to summarize them here, except by
repeating the above "five areas" in which Tom Engelhardt sees "at least the faint outlines of that new
system seem to be emerging":
Have you ever undertaken
some task you felt less than qualified for, but knew that someone
needed to do? Consider this piece my version of that, and let me put
what I do understand about it in a nutshell: based on developments in
our post-9/11 world, we could be watching the birth of a new American
political system and way of governing for which, as yet, we have no
And here’s what I find
strange: the evidence of this, however inchoate, is all around us and
yet it’s as if we can’t bear to take it in or make sense of it or even
say that it might be so.
Let me make my case,
however minimally, based on five areas in which at least the faint
outlines of that new system seem to be emerging: political campaigns
and elections; the privatization of Washington through the marriage of
the corporation and the state; the de-legitimization of our traditional
system of governance; the empowerment of the national security state as
an untouchable fourth branch of government; and the demobilization of
“we the people.”
Also, I do mostly agree
(though I miss - for one thing - the radical deterioration
of the mass media: this is quite important, for if people mostly do
not know something they will also do nothing
about it - and see item 5).
- political campaigns and
- the privatization of
Washington through the marriage of the corporation and the state;
- the de-legitimization of
our traditional system of governance;
- the empowerment of the
national security state as an untouchable fourth branch of government;
- the demobilization of
“we the people."
Having left this effectively to your interests (I think it is
interesting) I will quote one bit from the end, after the five areas
have been treated by Tom Engelhardt, and split that up in two parts:
In the meantime,
let me be as clear as I can be about something that seems murky indeed:
this period doesn’t represent a version, no matter how perverse or
extreme, of politics as usual; nor is the 2016 campaign an election as
usual; nor are we experiencing Washington as usual. Put together
our 1% elections, the privatization of our government, the
de-legitimization of Congress and the presidency, as well as the
empowerment of the national security state and the U.S. military, and
add in the demobilization of the American public (in the name of
protecting us from terrorism), and you have something like a new
Yes, I agree - and as I
said there are other areas (such as the mass media) that also are quite
different from what they were 15 or more years ago. Next there is this:
significant planning has been involved in all of this, there may be no
ruling pattern or design. Much of it may be happening in a purely
seat-of-the-pants fashion. In response, there has been no urge to
officially declare that something new is afoot, let alone convene a new
constitutional convention. Still, don’t for a second think that
the American political system isn’t being rewritten on the run by
interested parties in Congress, our present crop of billionaires,
corporate interests, lobbyists, the Pentagon, and the officials of the
national security state.
Out of the chaos of
this prolonged moment and inside the shell of the old system, a new
culture, a new kind of politics, a new kind of governance is being born
right before our eyes. Call it what you want. But call it something.
Stop pretending it’s not happening.
Actually, while I
agree some is "happening
in a purely seat-of-the-pants fashion", I do not know whether
this has "no ruling pattern or
some of it also seems pretty well orchestrated. 
Also, I do have a name for the "new kind of governance"
that "is being born right before
our eyes". I quote:
"A system of government that exercises a
dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of
state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism."
-- American Heritage Dictionary
I agree we are not quite
there yet, but I do see "the merging of
state and business leadership",
expressed by the facts that (1) there is a revolving door (since
15 years at the very least!) between the government and - especially
but not only - Goldman Sachs, and (2) the fact that the Minister of
Justice, Eric Holder, refuses to prosecute the bank managers
because their banks "are too big to fail" (which is complete baloney,
and especially from a minister of justice).
And I also clearly do see belligerent nationalism in the U.S.
As to there being "a
dictatorship of the extreme right": no, not quite or not yet - but see the series that
Chris Hedges did with Sheldon Wolin, on inverted totalitarianism,
that starts here.
Republican Budget Plan Will Devastate
item is an article by Sen. Bernie Sanders on Truthdig (and originally
on Sanders' website):
This is from briefly after
As I examine the budget
brought forth by the Republicans in the House and here in the Senate,
this is how I see their analysis of the problems facing our country.
At a time of massive
wealth and income inequality, the Republicans apparently believe that
the richest people in America need to be made even richer. It is
apparently not good enough that 99 percent of all new income today is
going to the top 1 percent. That’s apparently not enough. It is not
good enough that the top one-tenth of one percent today own almost as
much wealth as the bottom 90 percent. Clearly, in Republican
eyes, the wealthy and the powerful need more help. Not only should they
not be asked to pay more in taxes, the Republicans believe that we
should cut tax rates for millionaires and billionaires.
It is not good enough
that corporate America is enjoying record breaking profits, and that
the CEOs of large corporations earn some 290 times more than what their
average employees make.
It is apparently not good
enough that since 1985 the top one-tenth of 1 percent has seen a more
then $8 trillion increase in its wealth than what they would have had
if wealth inequality had stayed at the same level that it was in
1985. An $8 trillion increase in the wealth of the top one-tenth
of 1 percent! Apparently, that is not enough.
At a time when we have over 45 million Americans living in poverty –
more than almost any time in the modern history of this country, my
Republican colleagues think we should increase that number by cutting
the Earned Income Tax Credit, affordable housing, and Medicaid.
At a time when almost 20 percent of our children live in poverty, by
far the highest childhood poverty rate of any major country on earth,
my Republican colleagues think that maybe we should raise the childhood
poverty rate a bit higher by cutting childcare, Head Start, the Child
Tax Credit and nutrition assistance for hungry kids.
Yes, indeed. There is
considerably more under the last dotted link.
We’re Drifting Towards World War 3
item is an article by Washington's Blog on his site:
This is a fairly long
article that contains many warnings, from politically quite
different persons also, that the West is drifting towards World War 3.
Here are a few big investors:
There is a lot
more under the last dotted link.
Former Goldman Sachs
technical analyst Charles Nenner – who has made some big accurate
calls, and counts major hedge
funds, banks, brokerage houses, and high net worth individuals as
clients – says there will be “a major war”, which will drive
the Dow to 5,000.
Veteran investor adviser
James Dines forecast
a war as epochal as World Wars I and II, starting in the Middle East.
Armstrong wrote pieces
recently entitled, “Why
We will Go to War with Russia“, and another one saying, “Prepare
for World War III“.
Stiglitz on the Trans-Pacific Partnership: "This Is
A Big Deal"
The last item
today is an article by Alexandros Orpphanides that
I found on truth-out:
This starts as follows:
are about more than business—they’re about who has final say in the way
people around the world live, what they eat, how much they are paid,
what medicines they can buy and whether they have jobs. Such agreements
shape economic policies that impact billions of people. The discussions
surrounding these agreements are far too important to done in secret.
But that’s precisely how the Obama administration is trying to pass the
Pacific Partnership (TPP).
Yes, precisely. And here
is an outline of proponents and critics (with one correction by me):
Well... it is a
bit of an aside but the mainstream media do not bring the news
anymore but rather present propaganda
with bits of selected news, and also - as was said quite correctly in
the beginning - the TPP is basically a secret, about which nobody,
not even members of Congress (!!), is allowed to say anything
informative based on knowledge of the TPP.
Proponents of the TPP
argue that the agreement will encourage global economic integration,
increase US competitiveness in a “dynamic
Asia region” and stimulate political reform leading to more
“open” markets. All this, they claim, will result in better jobs, wages
Critics of the agreement
say it amounts to the promulgation of corporate globalization and
neoliberalization and have likened it to “NAFTA
on steroids.” In a recent interview in Salon,
Noam Chomsky described the
TPP’s aims as to “maximize profit and domination and to set the working
people of the world in competition with one another, to lower wages and
increase insecurity, ... [and] to protect at the same time ... the top
In spite of its
significance, the mainstream media has provided little coverage of the
TPP. “It’s one of those issues that is deliberately obscured by its
proponents," Dan Cantor, National Director of the Working Families
Party, says. "When people get a clear explanation, it's like a
lightbulb goes off in their head.”
Indeed, there is this:
component surrounding the TPP debate is the process by which the Obama
administration is trying to have it approved called fast tracking, a
procedure for Congressional approval of international trade treaties.
Unlike the standard procedure to pass a bill, by which members of
Congress debate and deliberate on specific provisions, fast tracking
allows Congress to vote “up” or “down” on the trade agreement without
making any amendments or opening any of the specific provisions.
There is considerably
more in the article.
“It’s much worse than a
blank check about trade," Stiglitz said, "because the trade agreement
has provisions that would affect a whole set of regulations that would
affect the environment, worker safety, consumer safety and even the
economy." TPP "would not only become the law of the land, but every
other law would have to adapt to it ... and our Congress would have
given up all authority in those areas.