• All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out.

  • I.F. Stone

woensdag 25 januari 2017

Distracted Media Fails To Catch Trump Policy Decisions

Distracted Media Fails To Catch Trump Policy Decisions

For two days the media have been busy counting people gathering in Washington DC. 90.3% of the voters in Washington DC had chosen Clinton.
A recent DC gathering of a Republican aligned crowd on a rainy work-day attracted many people. A following gathering of a Democratic aligned crowd on a work-free day without rain attracted more people.
The media watched, counted and was "astonished". Thousands of lines of "political analyses" were written to explain the difference of the crowd size without mentioning the significance of where it happened, what day of the week it happened and the environmental circumstances. The result of such analysis was a lot of bullshit.
The new Trump administration was quite happy about this diversion of attention. It additionally lampooned the media when its new spokesperson condemned the press for not being able to count at all. More lines of bullshit analysis were written about that insult.
Just like during the election campaign the media fell for the cheap stunt and thereby missed the serious processes and the decisions that were taking place behind the curtains.
Today the Trump administration announced the end of the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement:
The president’s withdrawal from the Asian-Pacific trade pact amounted to a drastic reversal of decades of economic policy in which presidents of both parties have lowered trade barriers and expanded ties around the world. Although candidates have often criticized trade deals on the campaign trail, those who made it to the White House, including President Barack Obama, ended up extending their reach.
The NYT seems astonished that, unlike Obama, Trump stood by his words. The media had expected different and was distracted. It failed to report the issue until the decision was taken.
The TPP would have imposed "free trade" on more countries and products. The "free" in those trades would have meant that private companies would have been "free" to overrule national governments and their jurisdiction. They could have sued for "compensation" if a country, for public health or environmental reasons, rejected or hindered one of their businesses. Everyone should be happy that this monster died.
In another policy surprise a new coordination between Russian and U.S. intelligence circles in Syria is bearing fruits:
Russia has received coordinates of Daesh targets in Al-Bab, Aleppo Province, from the US via the 'direct line,' the Russian Defense Ministry said Monday.The United States has provided coordinates of the terrorists' targets in the city of Al-Bab in Aleppo province for Russian airstrikes. After the reconnaissance check, Russia and two coalition jets have conducted joint airstrikes on the Daesh targets in the region.
The U.S. military seems to deny:
Any involvement or participation of American assets on the ground in country, in support of a series of Russian airstrikes against the northern Syrian town of al-Bab was “100 percent false,” said Pentagon spokesman Maj. Adrian Rankine-Galloway.
The U.S. coalition spokesperson also said it is:
"not coordinating airstrikes with the Russian military in Syria"
Before jumping up and down and claiming that the Russians are lying the media should take a fine comb and reread the statements.
The DoD only denied it coordinated airstrikes or helped with "assets on the ground". It does not deny the transfer of coordinates. The Russians do not claim U.S. airplanes took part in the mission - only "coalition jets". Turkey is part of the U.S. coalition and coordinates airstrikes with the Russian forces in Syria:
Earlier, Russian and Turkish combat planes have carried out a new series of joint airstrikes against Daesh targets in war-torn Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Monday."The Russian and Turkish planes carried out joint airstrikes against Islamic State terrorists in the outskirts of the town of al-Bab in Aleppo province on January 21," the ministry said in a statement.
The Russian statement is likely as correct as the DoD statement.
The political significance here is the transfer of ISIS targeting coordinates from some U.S. agency directly to the Russian forces in Syria. That is something Russia has asked for for over a year and it now suddenly seems to happen.
This is next to the TTP decision a second significant change under Trump the media missed to report on as it developed.
While the blustering against Trump in U.S. media as well as in some countries abroad goes on and on, serious decisions are taken and implemented by the new administration. The media fail in some systematic way. Minor diversions from "political correctness" are blown up into big headlines while big policy decisions pass unnoticed. It is simple: The task with reporting on the Trump administration is the same as with any politician. Do not listen to what they say, watch what they do. It is high time for the media to get back to that basic rule.
Digression:
As a German I am embarrassed on how much my government failed to anticipate Trump and, since he is elected, fails to prepare for the coming onslaught on its export orientated economic model. Wages in Germany were held down by all means (including by importing additional workforce from Syria and elsewhere) and a huge export surplus was created that benefited only a few moneyed pockets. The scheme created a huge imbalance in Europe and the credit crisis in Spain, Greece and elsewhere. Trump's policies will finally blow this model apart.

But neither of the ruling parties in Germany has yet developed an alternative or prepared a way towards one. Germany needs to re-orientate its industry from export to local consumption. That requires higher buying power for the general public via higher wages and lower taxes. A lower degressive VAT compensated by higher progressive taxes on non-work income would be a way to go. If such steps are delayed the economic damage will be serious and further open the way for a demagogic right.

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