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Forum Post: The Betrayal of America's Middle Class Was a Choice, Not an Accident: An Interview With Authors Donald Barlett and James Steele

Posted 5 years ago on Oct. 3, 2012, 4:40 p.m. EST by LeoYo (5909)
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The Betrayal of America's Middle Class Was a Choice, Not an Accident: An Interview With Authors Donald Barlett and James Steele

Wednesday, 03 October 2012 00:00 By Amy B Dean, Truthout | Interview



Living Alone: The Rise of Capitalism and the Decline of Families

Wednesday, 03 October 2012 00:00 By Harriet Fraad, Truthout | Book Review



National Republican Voter Registration Strategy Includes Lying to Potential Voters About "Taking a Poll" in Order to Screen Out Obama Supporters

Wednesday, 03 October 2012 10:45 By Brad Friedman, The Brad Blog | News Analysis



Western Powers Double Down on Syria's Destruction

Wednesday, 03 October 2012 12:47 By Shamus Cooke, Countercurrents | Op-Ed


"The hottest places in Hell are reserved for those, who in time of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality." - Dante

The world watches as a nation is torn, slow motion, at the seams. Money and geopolitics has caused a feeding frenzy of western nations biting and tearing at Syria, all hoping to profit from the regime's destruction.

Toward this effort, England, France, and the United States announced increased support to the "rebels" of Syria. The Obama administration promised $45 million more in funding for aid that has now totaled $175 million (is it any wonder there are budget problems inside the U.S.?).

And although much of the U.S. aid is designated as "humanitarian," this money will directly help the military mission by bolstering the prestige of opposition groups, who will use the U.S. aid to gain adherents by being able to feed and house refugees fleeing the destruction (assuming that not all of this money will simply be used to buy guns).

Of course there is no accounting of the amount of money and arms the CIA is funneling into the country. But even The New York Times has admitted the CIA's involvement; in June it wrote:

"A small number of C.I.A. officers are operating secretly in southern Turkey, helping allies decide which Syrian opposition fighters across the border will receive arms to fight the Syrian government, according to American officials and Arab intelligence officers...the weapons, including automatic rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, ammunition and some antitank weapons, are being funneled mostly across the Turkish border by way of a shadowy network of intermediaries including Syria's Muslim Brotherhood and paid for by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the officials said."

There you have the Syrian opposition in a nutshell: groups of mercenaries funded by Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United States and France, and the Muslim Brotherhood inside Syria. All of these groups have their own self-interest in toppling the Syrian government, while destroying the country and its people in the process.

Saudi Arabia has used the Muslim Brotherhood as a key tool in its foreign policy for decades, funding the organization in countries all over the Middle East and North Africa. When Saudi Arabia beckons, the Muslim Brotherhood and associated groups can be used to destabilize "unfriendly" regimes in the name of "jihad" — officially declared by clerics who work in tandem with the Saudi Arabian government to recruit fighters for the effort. This is why there are "terrorist" groups now fighting to overthrow the Syrian government, including Al Qaeda — itself born from the purse strings of Saudi Arabia, like the Taliban (there is an excellent chapter about this dynamic in Vijay Prashad's book, the Darker Nations).

It is very revealing that, after the U.S. has spent hundreds of millions of dollars and large amounts of weaponry has been trafficked into the country, the Syrian government still controls the vast majority of the country. This is because the majority of people inside Syria do not support the so-called Syrian Opposition. If this were the case, the Syrian government would have long since been overthrown. The revolutionaries of Egypt and Tunisia did not need any outside help in toppling their government, nor large amounts of money or weaponry. Therefore, the steady destruction of Syria will continue until it reaches a Libya-like crescendo: a "no fly zone" will be the goal of the western powers, with the motive of toppling the regime.

But like in Libya, a no fly zone equals total war. Syria has advanced Russian-made surface-to-air missiles, which must be destroyed to enforce such a no fly zone. Syria also has fighter jets that must be destroyed. Additional ground support must be destroyed. And like Libya, once the bombs start dropping, the mission quickly changes from a "no fly zone" to "regime change," i.e., war.

But Syria has a much more powerful army than Libya, requiring that the U.S. military become directly involved in the war, as opposed to outsourcing the conflict to England and France as they did in Libya. Only the U.S. military and its subordinate allies have the required weapons to deal with Syria's Russian-made weaponry.

But the American people hate war, and thus the U.S. government must introduce the Syrian war slowly, through non-stop anti-Syria media coverage, in the hopes that opinion polls shift enough to allow direct military intervention, as opposed to the current indirect type. What do the people of Syria really want? The New York Times revealed that, inside Syria, a group of twenty opposition groups recently met in Syria's capital to demand that Syria's democratic transition happen peacefully, in effect denouncing the armed rebels who are being funded by foreign nations.

The international implications of this war have already begun to manifest. Neighboring countries are experiencing stress and destabilization by the flood of refugees from Syria. The Kurds in Syria may soon call for independence, which will incite further violence from Turkey. Hezbollah, based in Lebanon, and Iran will work doubly hard to re-enforce the Syrian government as western powers do the opposite.

Ethnic and religious tensions are being stoked in all neighboring countries, which has already led to violence and will be used by politicians in those countries for political aims, leading to more violence. It's also possible if an official war is declared against Syria, other powers will use the chaos as a shield to pursue their own interests —Israel for example, may opportunistically bomb Iran. Whatever the course of events, the emerging war in Syria has the potential not only to turn the Middle East into dust, but to drag larger powers like Russia — an ally of Syria — into conflict with the United States.

All working people in the United States have a duty to denounce this U.S.-made humanitarian tragedy and the future threat of war.

This piece was reprinted by Truthout with permission or license.



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[-] -1 points by yobstreet (-575) 5 years ago

"There is no comparison between the big international companies and the domestic businesses that are based in the US and cater to the US market. These people are being absolutely hammered by the tax code, by regulatory policies that are really not necessary, and they have no one speaking for them."

"Well, a lot of them do have associations," Steele said. "The problem is, you've got this mindset in Washington, in Congress and basically with almost every administration, that trade should be unrestricted."

"To get the kind of representation you need in Washington costs a ton of money. The domestic corporations just don't have access to the kind of money that the multinationals do. Many domestic companies pay corporate taxes at a rate five, six, seven, eight times higher than the international companies. Some of the internationals don't pay any taxes at all. The domestic companies get no comparable break whatsoever."

"We're the only country that runs these massive trade deficits, which impact jobs domestically. None of our other major trading partners do. The Japanese have a surplus, the Germans have a surplus, the French have only a small deficit. Nobody has this trade imbalance like we do, and that alone tells you there is something wrong with our trade policy."

This is exactly what American workers have been saying for over 35 years - that's right, over 35 years - our grandfathers, our fathers, our uncles, complained of exactly the same things at every family gathering - this was their take on all things "political" - it was an economic concern, not merely an ideological concern, and it still is.

We can't have equal opportunity in this country if there is NO opportunity This loss of our producers combined with Washington's spend at will mentality has produced an annul deficit; it grows our debt, on the backs of the middle class, while "worker" slowly fades into obsolescence.