PRI Regains Mexican Presidency

Stephen Lendman

Photo: Enrique Peña Nieto, presidential candidate for the Revolutionary Institutional Party (PRI), flashes his election ink-stained thumbs after he cast his vote in the general election, accompanied by his wife Angelica Rivera and four of their six children: Paulina, left, Alejandro, second left, Regina, center, and Sofia, right, in Atlacomulco, Mexico, Sunday, July 1, 2012. Mexico's more than 79 million voters went to the polls Sunday to elect a president, who serves one six-year term, as well as 500 congressional deputies and 128 senators.

Like its northern neighbor, wealth and power dominate Mexican politics. Elections are notoriously tainted. Populist candidates are excluded. The late John Ross said Mexico perfected the art of electoral theft.

Longstanding problems fester. For millions, they're unbearable. They include extreme poverty, unemployment, underemployment, deep-seated private and public corruption, drug-related crime and violence, and political repression.

Beyond lip service, none of the candidates addressed them. Conditions are worse now than years earlier. Sunday's election changed nothing. Privately, Nieto assured Washington that business as usual will continue.

US escalates military threat against Iran

Bill Van Auken

The aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (R), and the guided-
missile cruiser USS Cape St. George in the Strait of Hormuz.

The real message is that Washington is treating the Persian Gulf like an American lake under conditions in which the US and its European allies are ratcheting up economic sanctions that more and more resemble a blockade, an act of war.

The Obama administration has ordered a major buildup of American military forces in the Persian Gulf, as punishing economic sanctions imposed by both the US and the European Union within the last week have sharply escalated tensions with Iran. The Pentagon has deployed both a large number of warships in the Gulf itself, as well as advanced warplanes in neighboring countries.

The purpose of this buildup, according to a report published Tuesday in the New York Times, is to send various “signals”—to warn Iran against any attempt to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz, to convince Israel not to carry out its own strike on Iranian nuclear facilities and to deflect Republican criticisms of Obama as “weak” on Iran.

Whether or not these are the real intentions of the US military buildup, the effect is to put a hair trigger on the threat of an armed confrontation that could provoke a devastating and potentially nuclear war with untold consequences in terms of human life, physical destruction and economic disruption throughout the region and internationally.

Is the PA an Israeli protectorate?

Khalid Amayreh

Abu Mazen (left) kissing his lord & master.

As nearly always, the Palestinian Authority (PA) behavior is visibly pathetic. Unfortunately, there is no other way to relate to this behavior.

According to recent reports, Israel sought to obtain a loan a $1 b. from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on behalf of the PA. However, the global body turns down the Israeli request, arguing that it doesn't want to set a precedent of a state taking loans for non-state body.

Predictably, embarrassed PA officials refused to confirm reports to this effect, insisting they had no knowledge of the matter. The Palestinian economy minister Jawas Naji was quoted by the pro-authority news agency Maan as saying that he only heard about it from the media. Similarly, the PA finance minister Nabil Qissis refused to return phone calls enquiring about the issue.

It is really hard to believe PA denials in this regard. In the final analysis, we can only invoke the Arab proverb: "If they knew, it would be a calamity, and if they didn't, it would be even a greater calamity." This is because in case they knew, which is the most likely scenario, and still wouldn't let the Palestinian masses know what was going on, they would be breaching their trust and hiding vital information from the people. And in case they didn't, it means they failed to honestly shoulder their responsibility by allowing "anonymous operatives" to call the shots.

Trans Pacific Partnership: Corporate Escape From Accountability

Paul Craig Roberts

Information has been leaked about the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), which is being negotiated in secret by US Trade Representative Ron Kirk. Six hundred corporate “advisors” are in on the know, but not Congress or the media. Ron Wyden, chairman of the Senate trade subcommittee that has jurisdiction over the TPP, has not been permitted to see the text or to know the content.

The TPP has been called a “one-percenter” power tool. The agreement essentially abolishes the accountability of foreign corporations to governments of countries with which they trade. Indeed, the agreement makes governments accountable to corporations for costs imposed by regulations, including health, safety and environmental regulations. The agreement gives corporations the right to make governments pay them for the cost of complying with the regulations of government. One wonders how long environmental, labor, and financial regulation can survive when the costs of compliance are imposed on the taxpayers of countries and not on the economic activity that results in spillover effects such as pollution.

Many will interpret the TPP as another big step toward the establishment of global government in the New World Order. However, what the TPP actually does is to remove corporations or the spillover effects of their activities from the reach of government. As the TPP does not transfer to corporations the power to govern countries, it is difficult to see how it leads to global government. The real result is global privilege of the corporate class as a class immune to government regulation.

One of the provisions allows corporations to avoid the courts and laws of countries by creating a private tribunal that corporations can use to sue governments for the costs of complying with regulation. Essentially, the laws of countries that apply to corporations are supplanted by decisions of a private tribunal of corporate lawyers.

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