Trump tears off mask of deceit

first_imgTrump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel puts an end to the decades-long deceit that Washington has cultivated of being a so-called “honest broker” between the Palestinians and the Israelis.This decision tramples on the sovereignty of the Palestinian people and their right to self-determination as an occupied people under the boot of the Zionist apartheid regime in Tel Aviv.Trump has openly and squarely put Washington on the side of the butchers of Gaza. Instead of endlessly stalling the Palestinians with U.S.-brokered negotiations, Trump has unabashedly sided with the oppressors in Tel Aviv.‘A bullet of mercy’ The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a Marxist organization with a long record of struggle against Tel Aviv and its U.S. sponsors, had this to say:“The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine described the declaration of U.S. President Donald Trump as a declaration of war against the Palestinian people and their rights that makes the U.S. position clear as a hostile entity toward our people and a partner of the Zionist state in its crimes against the Palestinian people and land, and it must be addressed on this basis.“Further, the Front considered that Trump also launched a ‘bullet of mercy’ on the so-called two-state solution, the settlement project and the delusions of the peace process. It called upon the Palestinian leadership to learn the necessary lessons from the devastating experience of reliance on negotiations and U.S. domination.” (pflp.ps, Dec. 6)The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine had a similar reaction: “The American aggressive step … saves the capital of the State of Palestine from the Israeli-American robbery by returning to the Palestinian national program and abandoning the illusion of a political solution sponsored by the United States.” (dflp-palestine.net, Dec. 7)Trump rips mask off U.S. phony ‘peace process’The decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and its aftermath also illustrates the agony of the U.S. ruling class and its delicate dance with Donald Trump.On the one hand, the bosses and bankers are in love with Trump’s tax giveaways to the corporations and the rich. They thrive on his deregulation of business rules and environmental degradation. They wholeheartedly support his appointment of right-wing judges and heads of agencies who want to destroy what limited protections these agencies were charged with enforcing.On the other hand, the mainstream capitalist class, and especially their braintrust in the universities, think tanks, media and the political establishment, are virtually apoplectic over his reckless, mindless destruction of their cunning and deceitful diplomatic and political methods carefully built up over many years.Almost the entire U.S. establishment, as well as the European Union and NATO, are in an uproar. The British and French imperialists, the Russians and others actually called for a United Nations Security Council meeting to condemn Washington’s recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.The imperialists are upset because for decades they have been dangling the prospect of East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital as a carrot to continue the “peace process.” The status of East Jerusalem was supposed to be settled in a “final status” agreement some time in the future.The Trump move on Jerusalem has sparked imperialist moaning about the danger to the so-called two-state solution and fueled speculation about a one-state solution whereby the Palestinians would be absorbed into the racist Israeli state. For the imperialists to speculate on restructuring  Palestinian statehood is a gross violation of self-determination. This is a matter strictly for the Palestinians to decide through their popular organizations.False ‘opposition’ to TrumpOf course the “opposition” to the Trump proposal by the rulers of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, etc., is not in the least serious. While they cannot publicly collaborate with Trump on this matter, they will deal with the State Department and the Pentagon freely under the table and continue to collect military and CIA aid.The anger and disapproval of the imperialists have nothing to do with sympathy for the cause of the Palestinian people. First, it comes from their fear of rebellion in Palestine and the Middle East. But equally important, it comes from what they fear will be the end of Washington’s role as a so-called “honest broker” in the region.It is this role that has allowed diplomatic deception for over four decades. This “honest broker” reputation, carefully cultivated, has given cover to  U.S. clients and puppets in the region, from Cairo to Riyadh, to Amman and Beirut, as well as to the other imperialist jackals, to participate in continued support for Tel Aviv’s oppression of the Palestinians. This has been done under cover of the so-called “peace process.” Now, Trump has ripped the mask off the phony impartiality of Washington, and all the imperialists and their stooges are horrified.To show the total lack of strategic thinking by Trump — which is what bothers the ruling-class establishment — he is in the midst of trying to cement an anti-Iran coalition, centered around Saudi Arabia, Cairo and the Gulf States. But his recognition of Jerusalem as the Israeli capital is going to make it more difficult for Trump’s allies to openly embrace him in this maneuver.Oppression under U.S.-sponsored ‘peace process’Under cover of this so-called “peace process,” the Pentagon has given $3 billion a year in lethal military supplies to the Israeli Defense Forces. Washington has supplied well over $100 billion in jet fighters, killer helicopters, missiles, missile defense batteries, tanks, armored personnel carriers, bulldozers, tear gas, stun grenades, anti-personnel weapons, etc., to use against the masses. Under the U.S.-supported occupation, the Palestinians have had to fight mainly with stones and slingshots against the occupiers.During the decades of the U.S.-sponsored “peace process,” Tel Aviv has continued to expand settlements in the West Bank. There are now 200,000 settlers in East Jerusalem, compared to 350,000 Palestinians. Thousands of Palestinian homes throughout the West Bank have been destroyed over the decades. Olive groves have been ripped out. Checkpoints have been established where Palestinians have to wait hours to go to work or visit relatives while being scrutinized by racist Israeli soldiers.Some settlements are virtual cities, often on hilltops. They are built on expropriated Palestinian land where Palestinians are not allowed, allegedly for security reasons. Israeli-only superhighways have been established across the West Bank, while Palestinians must travel poorly maintained roads. The settlements are scattered across the West Bank and East Jerusalem. They are located in such a way as to make travel by Palestinians from place to place extremely difficult.This is an example of what the “peace process” has brought to Palestine: “When the Israelis and Palestinians first began peace talks after a 1993 interim agreement, the West Bank settlers numbered a little over 100,000. Today they total around 400,000 and live in about 130 separate settlements.” (National Public Radio, Dec. 29, 2016)Trump, billionaires and evangelicalsTrump took this unilateral imperialist measure in response to the call of some of his Zionist billionaire backers, such as Sheldon Adelson, a fellow casino mogul who was a major donor to his campaign.Trump also timed the recognition of Jerusalem to coincide with the Roy Moore senatorial campaign in Alabama. Moore is backed by Christian Zionists in evangelical churches, which have a large constituency in Alabama.The recognition of Jerusalem has also served to draw attention away from the numerous charges of sexual harassment of teenagers lodged against Moore. And it also helped Trump fire up his reactionary base among the bosses, the petty bourgeoisie and sections of the workers.By embracing Roy Moore, Trump and his former chief aide Steve Bannon have aligned with an open fascist in the mold of former Gov. George Wallace of Alabama. Moore has praised the era of slavery “when families were together.” He says that the U.S. is the center of evil because it recognizes same-sex marriage. He is a theocrat who was twice removed as a judge in Alabama — once for refusing to remove a monument to the Ten Commandments he had installed in the lobby of the state judicial building in Montgomery and once for refusing to recognize same-sex marriage.Trump has gone so far to the right that even reactionaries are worried about his discrediting the capitalist system, especially among the younger generation. The Mueller investigation, carried out under the diversionary premise about Trump-Russian connections, is closing in on him. The ruling class has begun a whispering campaign about his mental health and fitness for office. The New York Times ran a major piece looking into Trump’s daily behavior, including his egoism, self-centeredness, disregard of reality, reliance on television, etc.Their reaction to Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem must be put in the context of the inner struggle within the ruling class over their own chief executive.Palestine and right to self-determinationThe Jerusalem question has unleashed a torrent of speculation about the dimming prospect for a “two-state solution.” When the bosses call for a two-state solution, they are calling for something that will preserve both the security of their Israeli clients and the subjection of the Palestinian people.In addition, the Zionists under Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and a whole series of his predecessors have never given any serious consideration to a sovereign Palestinian state. The constitution of Netanyahu’s party, the Likud party, calls for a single state under Zionist rule, including all of the West Bank.Be that as it may, the Leninist position on the right of self-determination calls for the Palestinian people to determine how they want to structure their own sovereign state in their homeland, including the right to return to lands stolen from them, beginning in 1948 through 1967 and up to today.The structure of the Palestinian state must be decided by the Palestinians themselves, not by false leaders manipulated by imperialism, but by the popular masses through their genuine grass-roots organizations and leaders.Because of the ironclad support for Tel Aviv by the Pentagon and U.S. imperialism in general, plus the retreat of the bourgeois Arab leaders, the relationship of forces at the moment is not favorable to the Palestinian struggle. Under these conditions, if the Palestinians themselves — not false leaders — feel the need to compromise, revolutionaries must recognize their right to make tactical concessions as they see fit.But under no circumstances can there be any compromise by revolutionary supporters of the Palestinians on their right to self-determination, including the absolute right of return and the right to set up a genuinely sovereign state as they see fit.FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thisFacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmailPrintMoreShare thislast_img read more

FTK faces yet another delay as Dutch Senate postpones reading

first_imgThe Netherlands’ new financial assessment framework (FTK) is facing yet another a setback as the Dutch Senate has postponed the reading of the bill, initially scheduled for next Monday.The Upper House said it was unconvinced of the need of stricter rules within the FTK proposals and “demanded answers” from the Dutch government on a number of pension issues. As a result of the expected delay, the scheduled introduction of the FTK on 1 January could be in jeopardy.The Senate’s criticism of the FTK has caught many in the industry by surprise, as the Lower House has to date widely supported the bill, meant to protect the pensions system against market shocks. But Joris Backer, a senator for the Liberal Democrats (D66), pointed out that, during a recent hearing on the subject, the Senate had been “taken aback” by the new FTK proposals. Reflecting broad concern among pension funds and unions, Helma Kneppers-Heijnert, a senator for the Liberal Party (VVD), asked: “Are the proposed financial buffers really necessary? And will this all be feasible within European legislation?”In their opinion, the proposed rules within the FTK are unnecessarily strict and would hurt pension fund participants and pensioners’ purchasing power. Like many senators, Backer wondered why pension funds must discount their liabilities against a stricter rate than the one the EU has prescribed for insurers. He also said he was unsure whether the FTK proposals would give pension funds enough space to create tailor-made policies. The Dutch Pensions Federation said it was prepared to accept a delay in the introduction of the FTK, if the proposals were strengthened.However, in this case, it will call for the implementation to be delayed, its spokesman said.The Ministry for Social Affairs – responsible for the FTK bill – declined to comment.last_img read more

Brisbane’s fixer-upper suburbs: Where to buy a renovator’s delight

first_imgNew research from Realestate.com.au reveals ‘renovation’ related properties for sale account for 12 per cent of all listings on the property site — and one of the suburbs with the most homes prime for renovation is in Ipswich. This three-bedroom, one-bathroom ‘renovator’s delight’ at 24 Esdale St, Wavell Heights, is scheduled for auction.Sadliers Crossing is among the top 10 suburbs for renovator homes in the country, with 58 per cent of listings classifying as having the potential for renovation — and you can pick up a fixer-upper in the suburb for under $300,000.Half or more of the properties for sale in Petrie Terrace and Herston also have the potential to be renovated, but you can expect to pay a bit more for their inner-city postcodes. Video Player is loading.Play VideoPlayNext playlist itemMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:45Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:45 Playback Rate1xChaptersChaptersDescriptionsdescriptions off, selectedCaptionscaptions settings, opens captions settings dialogcaptions off, selectedQuality Levels540p540p360p360p270p270pAutoA, selectedAudio Tracken (Main), selectedFullscreenThis is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.This is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.Close Modal DialogThis is a modal window. This modal can be closed by pressing the Escape key or activating the close button.PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration 0:00Loaded: 0%Stream Type LIVESeek to live, currently playing liveLIVERemaining Time -0:00 Playback Rate1xFullscreenWhat is the new HomeBuilder scheme?00:46 Alycia and Nick Chapman at the Clayfield home they are about to renovate. Picture: Peter Wallis.FIXER-UPPERS are set to be in hot demand across Brisbane as homeowners seek to cash in on the renovation component of the $25,000 HomeBuilder grant.Experts say the COVID-19 lockdown has already sparked a surge in home improvements, and the federal goverment stimulus package will only fuel this demand, and push those who are considering purchasing a renovator property to buy now and start work. MORE: Live like a Wallaby: Rugby star selling up Suburb % of total listings While the HomeBuilder grant has come under fire from critics who claim the eligibility criteria is too strict, Herron Todd White director David Notley said for those who did qualify, the grant offered a significant boost and made tackling a renovation project much more enticing. This three-bedroom, one-bathroom ‘renovator’s delight’ at 32 Stephenson St, Sadliers Crossing, is for sale for $269,000 plus.“For those with the financial capacity to upgrade their home or investment, making improvements not only boosts the property’s liveability, but it can add value too,” Mr Notley said.Figures from MCG Quantity Surveyors reveal homeowners have spent more on renovations since the COVID-19 restrictions were introduced. The average spend on an established house in Queensland since March was $46,654 — up from $26,457 at the same time last year. This three-bedroom, three-bathroom ‘renovator’s delight’ at 34 Campbell St, Paddington, is scheduled for auction.Minister for Housing and Assistant Treasurer Michael Sukkar said this week that more than 16,500 Australians had registered their interest in the grant.To be eligible, the value of the renovation contract needs to be between $150,000 and $750,000 and the property value cannot exceed $1.5 million. But construction must be contracted to start within three months of the contract date and applicants will be subject to income caps of $125,000 for singles and $200,000 for couples. This three-bedroom, one-bathroom renovator’s delight at 55 Payne St, Auchenflower, is for sale.Brisbane couple Alycia and Nick Chapman qualify for the renovation component of the HomeBuilder package and plan to use the $25,000 to press ahead with their current project in Clayfield.“We purchased this house almost 12 months ago and always had the plan to raise and build underneath,” Mrs Chapman said. “We were just getting around to that part when COVID hit. We had the plans drawn up, but decided to put everything on pause. “So when this came out, we found out we could qualify and that’s been the driver to get us to continue with the project.” This three-bedroom, one-bathroom ‘renovator’s delight’ at 24 Belnoel St, Wavell Heights, is for sale.Mrs Chapman said she believes investing in a major renovation will pay off eventually, regardless of the market conditions.Once the renovation is finished, the couple plans to sell when the time is right and move on to another project. “I know (the HomeBuilder package) is restrictive and there’s not many people who can qualify for it, but I think it’s going to do what it’s set out to do. When we talked to our subbies and tradies, they were all happy to be able to get some work again.” This four-bedroom, two-bathroom ‘renovator’s delight’ at 32 Ardara St, Bracken Ridge, is for sale for offers over $550,000.Realestate.com.au chief economist Nerida Conisbee said it was “highly likely” the HomeBuilder scheme would increase demand for fixer-uppers, but home renovators needed to move quickly as the grant was only available for a short period of time. “Given that it usually takes a little while to buy a property, this could be a challenge,” Ms Conisbee said.“One consideration for potential renovators is the price of the property. If you are renovating an existing property it needs to be valued at less than the national price cap of $1.5 million. This will exclude many suburbs in inner Brisbane. “The other important point to remember is that investment properties are excluded. This means that you can’t buy a property to renovate to rent out.” This house at 60 Abbott St, New Farm, is the perfect blank canvas for renovators.For those looking for a potential fixer-upper in Brisbane, Mr Notley said the inner-west suburbs of Paddington, Auchenflower, Bardon and Toowong offered some of the best renovation opportunities.Mr Notley said a perennial favourite for fixer-uppers was the suburb of Petrie Terrace and neighbouring Spring Hill. “There are some raw homes on tiny lots for over $600,000, but it’s all about location here,” he said. “These suburbs are literally walking distance to the centre of town as well as entertainment and retail precincts.“And the results can be spectacular.” This two-bedroom, one-bathroom ‘renovator’s delight’ at 12 Lodge St, Toowong, is for sale for between $700,000 and $750,000.For example, a renovated four-bedroom, three-bathroom home on 228 sqm at 35 Sheriff St, Petrie Terrace sold in November 2019 for $1.19 million.Mr Notley said Wavell Heights in Brisbane’s northern middle ring also had some good options, with basic renovators in average positions fetching between $550,000 and $600,000.“But you need to be fast as they sell quickly,” Mr Notley said. “Other homes in Wavell Heights that are in quieter positions with ready access to facilitiesare fetching between $600,000 and $700,000 for a renovation prospect. “In these instances, smart renovation work will yield an end value above $1 million.” This three-bedroom, one-bathroom renovator’s delight at 40 Gould St, Herston, is for sale.Mr Notley said the work-from-home phenomena during COVID-19 was also fuelling a spike in renovations, as more people build or improve their home office spaces.He said creating a work area shut off from family spaces would become a must-have for homebuyers.More from newsParks and wildlife the new lust-haves post coronavirus9 hours agoNoosa’s best beachfront penthouse is about to hit the market9 hours ago“If there’s an efficient, cost-effective way to establish an office, then vendors will want to do this prior to selling,” he said. This worker’s cottage at 78 Menzies St, Petrie Terrace, is the perfect renovation project.Nick Given of Ray White New Farm is marketing the perfect renovation opportunity at 60 Abbott St, New Farm.Mr Given said it was rare for such properties to come up for sale in the sought-after suburb and he had received strong inquiry for it. “The attractive thing about a property like Abbott Street is that there’s only so many renovators left in New Farm,” Mr Given said. “This particular one is a very raw, blank canvas and a really good platform to do a great build on it.” This four-bedroom fixer-upper at 49 Callan St, Keperra is for sale.Raine & Horne executive chairman Angus Raine warned homeowners not to treat Home builder as a gift. “If you have equity in your home and the renovation adds value, then opting into Home builder makes plenty of sense,” Mr Raine said.“Typically, a new kitchen or bathroom augments a property’s appeal, while extra accommodation or a second story will also add to the capital value of your property. “With interest rates also at historic lows, the $25,000 Home builder grant will make renovating a sensible strategy for homeowners, especially if they are planning a sale any time soon.” This renovator’s delight at 87 Anzac Ave, Newtown is on the market for offers over $289,000. THE BRISBANE SUBURBS WITH MOST ‘RENOVATOR’ HOMES FOR SALE Stunning mansion has four levels of luxury 1. Sadliers Crossing 58%2. Petrie Terrace 53%3. Herston 50%4. Newtown 50%5. Grange 47%6. Mount Gravatt 45%7. Keperra 44%8. Wavell Heights 41%9. Jindalee 41%10. Camira 41% (Source: Realestate.com.au)last_img read more