By Bill Van Auken in the USA:
Washington prepares to send up to 5,000 more troops into Afghanistan
10 May 2017
The cabal of recently retired and active duty US generals who control virtually all of the national security posts within the Trump administration has given its approval to a plan that would deploy as many as 5,000 additional US troops to Afghanistan.
According to the Washington Post, which first reported the plan, it would “effectively put the United States back on a war footing with the Taliban.” The report added that the proposal followed an extensive review of US policy in Afghanistan driven by President Donald Trump’s “desire to reverse worsening security in Afghanistan and ‘start winning’ again.”
Whatever Trump’s illusions, the reality is that the nearly 16-year-old war, the longest in US history, has failed to achieve Washington’s aims of stabilizing a puppet regime in Kabul and securing for US imperialism a stable base of operations in a geo-strategically critical region, bounded by the energy-rich former Soviet Central Asian republics, Iran, China and Pakistan.
Just as in 2001, when the US invaded Afghanistan barely a month after the September 11 attacks on New York City and Washington, the pretext given for the planned escalation is the phony “war on terrorism.” In reality, after pouring an estimated $1 trillion into the war, Washington has proven unable to quell the Taliban and other insurgent groups that now control an estimated 50 percent of the Afghan countryside, more territory than at any time since the US invasion more than 15 years ago.
By Patrick Martin in the USA:
Trump firing of FBI director touches off political storm
10 May 2017
The surprise firing of FBI Director James Comey, announced late Tuesday afternoon, is a sign of a deep and intensifying crisis of the Trump administration. Trump’s firing of Comey smacks of desperation on the part of a White House under siege.
The firing sparked widespread condemnation by Democrats and some Republicans, along with demands for the appointment of a special prosecutor or independent commission to investigate charges of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government during the 2016 election campaign.
Powerful sections of the US ruling elite are moving against the Trump White House, which is so steeped in corruption that any one of a series of scandals, not just the investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 elections, could leave it politically crippled.
There were numerous media comparisons to the “Saturday Night Massacre” during the Watergate scandal of 1973–74, when the attorney general and deputy attorney general resigned rather than carry out orders from President Richard Nixon to dismiss special Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox. That effort to torpedo an investigation failed: ten months later, Nixon was forced to resign as president.
Unlike Watergate, however, there is no democratic principle being asserted, even in a limited fashion, by the Democratic Party opponents of the Trump administration. This is a conflict within the US ruling elite and its military-intelligence apparatus, driven largely by differences over foreign policy.
No significant evidence has been produced in support of the allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 US elections. The real purpose of the campaign of Russia-baiting is to push the Trump administration into a more confrontational foreign policy in Syria, Central Asia, North Africa and Eastern Europe, where US imperialism regards Moscow as its principal obstacle.
Trump has attempted to satisfy these concerns with last month’s missile strikes against Syria and a harsher rhetorical line towards Iran and Russia, but the divisions persist, as shown in the hearing Monday before a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee.
After White House dismissal of FBI director, Republicans reject Democratic demands for special prosecutor: here.
President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey marks a new stage in the protracted crisis of the US political system. Comey’s dismissal on Tuesday has been followed by escalating political warfare centered on conflicts within the ruling class over foreign policy, particularly in relation to Russia: here.
The Trump White House plunged deeper into political crisis Thursday, as President Trump and top aides gave conflicting accounts of how and why Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, and FBI and Justice Department officials flatly contradicted the White House version of events: here.
The political crisis gripping Washington has far-reaching consequences and implications for both the United States and the entire world. The state apparatus in the center of world capitalism, the main imperialist power, is visibly breaking apart, torn by conflicts and mutual recriminations: here.
This video from the USA says about itself:
Jared Kushner Caught Selling Golden Tickets To America
8 May 2017
Is there anything “The Kush” can’t (or won’t) do? Cenk Uygur, host of The Young Turks, breaks it down.
“The real estate development firm partly managed by the sister of White House senior adviser Jared Kushner has issued an apology over a weekend event in Beijing in which Kushner’s name was used to attract wealthy Chinese to a cash-for-visa scheme commonly used by investment-hungry U.S. real estate developers.
Kushner Companies “apologizes if that mention of [Kushner] was in any way interpreted as an attempt to lure investors,” the company said in a statement emailed to NPR and other news outlets. The apology stops short of admitting that the company was leveraging Kushner’s role in the White House and his relationship to the president, his father-in-law.
Nicole Kushner Meyer, Jared’s sister and a principal in the family-run business, was in a ballroom at Beijing’s Ritz-Carlton hotel on Saturday asking a roomful of wealthy Chinese investors to consider investing $500,000 apiece in a New Jersey luxury apartment complex overlooking the Hudson River across from lower Manhattan.”
Read more here.
By Joseph Kishore in the USA:
Sister of Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner pitches investment-for-visa scheme in China
10 May 2017
The latest example of corruption, nepotism and bribery by the Trump administration is the revelation this week that the sister of top Trump advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner pitched a real estate scheme to wealthy investors in China in exchange for favorable consideration of visa applications.
According to reporters for the Washington Post and the New York Times, Nicole Meyer told investors at an event in the Beijing Ritz-Carlton Hotel on Saturday that they could qualify for an EB-5 visa if they committed at least $500,000 to the billion-dollar One Journal Square project in Jersey City, New Jersey. The development is an upscale housing and office complex led by Kushner Companies. The meeting was hosted by Qiaowai, a Chinese immigration agency.
The EB-5 visa program was set up in 1990 to facilitate the granting of permanent residence permits to individuals who invest in projects supposedly leading to jobs for at least 10 US workers.
Meyer directly cited her family connections as an incentive for backing the project. The real estate deal “means a lot to me and my entire family,” she said, according to the newspaper reporters, who were removed from the public event before it concluded. Meyer’s pitch included an overview of her family relations, including with Jared Kushner.
Meyer’s offer of an open door to wealthy investors in her family’s business concerns comes as the Trump administration sets up even greater barriers to other forms of immigration, blocking refugees from entering the US and pledging to build a wall on the US-Mexico border. Preferential treatment is, of course, not available for the masses of Chinese workers who produce immense profits for American corporations.
The class basis of the Trump administration’s savage anti-immigration policy, a component of its assault on the working class, is underscored by the open door offered to the rich.