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National Security State as Protection Racket on the Danger of Terrorism: Review of Literature

“Plunderers of the world, when nothing remains on the lands to which they have laid waste by wanton thievery, they search out across the seas. The wealth of another region excites their greed; and if it is weak, their lust for power as well. Nothing from the rising to the setting of the sun is enough for them. Among all others only they are compelled to attack the poor as well as the rich. Robbery, rape, and slaughter they falsely call empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace.”

Tacitus, Agricola
 

News Corporatism Recommended Links Skripal poisoning Did Obama order wiretaps of Trump conversations Neofascism Nation under attack meme
Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ? The problem of control of intelligence services in democratic societies History of American False Flag Operations False flag operations as an important part of demonization of the enemy strategy False flag operations in cyberspace FBI and CIA contractor Crowdstrike and very suspicious DNC leak saga Vault 7 scandal
Neoliberal war on reality or the importance of controlling the narrative Operation Gladio - Wikipedia The Deep State Litvinenko poisoning Inverted Totalitarism Reconciling Human Rights With Total Surveillance To whom Euromaydan Sharp-shooters belong?
Mystery of Building 7 Collapse Charlie Hebdo - more questions then answers Manchester attack vs Charlie Hebdo Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17? Douma gas attack: Yet another false flag poisoning? Khan Sheikhoun gas attack Idlib false flag chemical attack
Demonization of Putin White Helmets as a tool for false flag poisonings Total Surveillance Media-Military-Industrial Complex Elite Theory And the Revolt of the Elite Two Party System as Polyarchy Corporate Media: Journalism In the Service of the Powerful Few
Edward Snowden as Symbol of Resistance to National Security State Facebook as Giant Database about Users Social Sites as intelligence collection tools DNC and Podesta emails leak and  subsequent false flag operation to  blame Vladimir Putin Systematic Breach of Vienna Convention Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism The Iron Law of Oligarchy
American Exceptionalism New American Militarism Machiavellism Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite The Grand Chessboard Humor Etc

"The greatest threat is that we shall become like those who seek to destroy us"

the legendary US diplomat George Kennan warned in 1947

“In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem”


Ronal Reagan about a different crisis

Books have been written about President Eisenhower’s famous farewell warning in 1961 about the “military-industrial complex,” and what he described as its “unwarranted influence.” But an even greater leviathan today, one that the public knows little about, is the “intelligence-industrial complex.”

Michael Hirsh in

How America's Top Tech Companies
Created the Surveillance State )

If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.

- James Madison


Introduction

The National Security State is an ideology and practice of the USA elite, closely connected with the idea of the rule of the Media-Military-Industrial Complex, and especially three-letter agencies ("Trumanites" because of our 33rd president's role in founding the CIA, the modern Defense Department, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the National Security Agency).  It is somewhat different from national socialist idea as it is married to neoliberalism and does not included the decisive influence of the state in economic sphere.

Under neoliberalism society has become increasingly militarized, meaning that as most aspects of the social-democratic state (New Deal state) are eliminated, a police state is rising in its place. All problems that in the past were seen as social problems, and hence required social solutions, now acquire police solutions.

Moreover intelligence services became Praetorian Guard of  neoliberal elite that is in power and that completely changed the nature of governance in the USA. Now there is a country within the country in the USA. It can be called "Classified America".  It has population of around 5 million people and controls the other 320 million. Almost 5 million people is almost 2% of total population and much higher percentage of the adult population  of working  age (around 200 millions). And now it become a formidable political force that strives to become a kingmaker. much like Praetorian Guard in ancient Role it is clearly out of control of elected government and has its own, sometimes nefarious agenda.  All-in-all this is the fastest growing part of media-military-industrial complex and connected to it influential caste of Imperial Servants -- people well being of which is dependent on the existence and expansion of the US global neoliberal empire. This is probably no less then 10 million people if we count defense contractors, Pentagon brass, Intelligence agencies staff, State Department employees, top layers from Wall-Street and Silicon Valley,  and the Staff of the Congress.)  

In economic sphere deregulation (economic liberalism or neoliberalism) produces social conflict, which at some point can not be masked by neoliberal demagogy ("shareholder value", "stakeholder participation" and other neoliberal crap).  At some point it requires police methods of suppression of dissent like was the case with "Occupy Wall Street" movement suppression). As the state now represents interest only of the top 0.1% population, economic and political spheres became merged under authoritarian rule of financial oligarchy, not unlike the USSR under Bolshevism with the only difference that until 1970th the USSR "Nomenklatura" was more aligned with the interests of the society then financial oligarchy. Later it became detached from that interest of lower 80% of population, adopted neoliberal ideology, became turncoats and facilitated dissolution of the USSR privatizing its wealth in the process. 

The neoliberal state now represents interest only of the top 0.1% population, economic and political spheres became merged under authoritarian rule of financial oligarchy, not unlike the USSR under Bolshevism with the only difference that until 1970th the USSR "Nomenklatura" was more aligned with the interests of the society then financial oligarchy. Later it became detached from that interest of lower 80% of population, adopted neoliberal ideology, became turncoats and facilitated dissolution of the USSR privatizing its wealth in the process. 

Under neoliberalism, which established itself in the USA since late 70th, tax laws, inheritance rules, status to trade unions, "revolving door" regulations (which highly correlates with the degree of corruption of the society) became the result of political decisions favoring neoliberal elite at the expense of common citizens. So it was a typical revolution from above. To hide this requires constant brainwashing of the population and instilling fear using external threat (with Russia as preferred object). That's where intelligence agencies come handy as they by-and-large control key journalists and key MSM. For example Washington Post for a long time was called "voice of CIA" even in the US establishment. 

Since 9/11 terrorism is used as a smoke screen to hide the warts of neoliberalism and facilitate the transition of state into national security state. Adoption of Patriot Act and resulting hypertrophied growth of intelligence agencies in the USA are just a tip of the iceberg. In reality the situation became pretty much Orwellian with Intelligence agencies as the new incarnation of the "Big Brother" as well as the "permanent war for permanent peace" between Oceania (USA and NATO vassals) and Eurasia (Russia and China) in the Orwell's famous  novel 1984.  It is clear that the war with terrorism launched also can be called  "permanent war for permanent peace" and the enemy is illusive and can be  really easily faked with minimal propaganda efforts.  The level of rampant militarism in the USA now is close to what we observe in typical neo-fascist movements, especially under Trump (Fascism - Wikipedia ):

Fascism is a form of radical authoritarian nationalism[1][2] that came to prominence in early 20th-century Europe, influenced by national syndicalism. Fascism originated in Italy during World War I and spread to other European countries. Fascism opposes liberalism, Marxism and anarchism and is usually placed on the far-right within the traditional left–right spectrum.[3][4]

Fascists saw World War I as a revolution that brought massive changes in the nature of war, society, the state, and technology. The advent of total war and total mass mobilization of society had broken down the distinction between civilian and combatant. A "military citizenship" arose in which all citizens were involved with the military in some manner during the war.[5][6] The war had resulted in the rise of a powerful state capable of mobilizing millions of people to serve on the front lines and providing economic production and logistics to support them, as well as having unprecedented authority to intervene in the lives of citizens.[5][6]

Fascists believe that liberal democracy is obsolete, and they regard the complete mobilization of society under a totalitarian one-party state as necessary to prepare a nation for armed conflict and to respond effectively to economic difficulties.[7] Such a state is led by a strong leader—such as a dictator and a martial government composed of the members of the governing fascist party—to forge national unity and maintain a stable and orderly society.[7] Fascism rejects assertions that violence is automatically negative in nature, and views political violence, war, and imperialism as means that can achieve national rejuvenation.[8][9][10][11] Fascists advocate a mixed economy, with the principal goal of achieving autarky through protectionist and interventionist economic policies.[12]

Since the end of World War II in 1945, few parties have openly described themselves as fascist, and the term is instead now usually used pejoratively by political opponents. The descriptions neo-fascist or post-fascist are sometimes applied more formally to describe parties of the far right with ideologies similar to, or rooted in, 20th century fascist movements.[13]

Paradoxically intelligence agencies  and Pentagon can't live peacefully with each other and struggle for power. That why intelligence  agencies launched a color revolution against Trump, who can in some ways be viewed as the Presidential Candidate of Pentagon (especially if we view neocons as Pentagon lobbysts and Israel as a state-lobbyst for Pentagon).

After coming to power Trump introduced several new measures which in some way signify a new stage of the development of neoliberalism and can be  "national neoliberalism". He explicitly rejects globalization on the base of multinational treaties (which was neoliberalism Modus operandi since its inception)  and wants to use the power of the US to bully all nations  "one-to-one" basis. Those who behave against the USA wishes have sanctions imposed, cut from US dominated financial system and are threatened with war.  Iran is the latest example here. 

In this mutation of  neoliberalism as a social system US intelligence apparatus and military establishment are raised to the level above and beyond civilian control and become a somewhat autonomous system, a hidden government of the USA. The Deep state as it is now called. For example, intelligence agencies now strive and de facto achieved the role of king maker for the most top positions in the USA government. And, if necessary, can act as a king remover (JFK assassination is a nice example here; CIA fingerprints are all over the place, but nobody from CIA went to jail for this: "mission accomplished"; Nixon removal is another although less visible one).

The colossal budget with  juicy cost-plus contracts of affiliated private companies gives intelligence agencies and Pentagon not only tremendous power, but also create vested ideological and financial interests of the whole caste of "imperial servants", the well being of which depends of their continuation.  Wars became necessary for maintaining the level of those budgets. Existence of the "country-scapegoat" is important too for projecting on it all evil that happens within the USA under neoliberalism and blowbacks from neoliberal foreign policy.

Existence of the "country-scapegoat" is important too for projecting on it all evil that happens within the USA under neoliberalism and blowbacks from neoliberal foreign policy.

It is important to understand that the USA intelligence agencies are probably closer connected to Wall Street and military contractors then the federal government and often serve as enforcers of specific interests. They are able to work against particular administration officially proclaimed policies, for example in organizing the foreign coup d'état.  For example, for the moment of its creation, due to Allen Dulles background CIA was aligned with the interests of Wall Street.

There no real overseeing of three letter agencies from neither executive branch, not from the Congress, nor from the Justice Department. But the reverse is not true: the intelligence agencies have appointees in all mentioned above branches of government. The natural line of development of intelligence agencies  since its inception and toward acquiring more power and securing higher budget. With time, the tail start wagging the dog.  This phenomenon is not limited to the USA. Actually the term the "Deep State" originated in Turkey.  The same hijacking of executive, parliamentarian and judicial braches of govern happened in other countries. A very interesting example provides the USSR: it was actually betrayal of KGB brass (under Andropov, who was instrumental in installing Gorbachov into power), who switched side and decided to privatize the country, that was the key factor that led to the dissolution of the USSR.

The key "three letter agencies" (CIA, DOD, NSA, FBI) were established by the National Security Act of 1947, signed in September 18, 1947 by President Harry S. Truman. This year can be considered as the year when National Security State was born and probably should be celebrated accordingly instead of old-fashioned Independence Day.  Very little was preserved from the "old republic" after this transformation of the USA. 

It is prudent to view National Security State as a modern form of corporatism, closely related to concepts of neo-fascism and Inverted Totalitarism. As ellatynemouth noted in the comment to the Guardian article Internet privacy as important as human rights, says UN's Navi Pillay (Dec 26, 2013):

The surveillance state is the ruling class's key hole through which they monitor us and our potential dissent. It's now an integral part of capitalism and can't be removed.

The game has changed. It's now about convincing us as much as possible that they will stop snooping on us. They won't though. It will just become more heavily hidden.

Surveillance state was made possible with the advent of computers, Internet and wireless communication. In some features it is close to neo-fascism and Latin-American far right authoritarian regimes, but there are important difference. Instead of organized violence against opponents it achieved its goals without relentless physical repression/elimination of opponents. It's key feature is mass surveillance, discreditation and blackmailing of opponents (like in German Democratic Republic there are dossier for every member of society and skeletons from the closet can be revealed for any politician or activist)  as well as control and manipulation of media, not mass repression of opponents. Like neofascist regimes of the past (such as Pinochet regime in Chile) and authoritarian "communist" regimes of the past and present, it make organized opposition to the government virtually impossible. Of the 20 characteristic traits of neo-fascist regimes probably around a half are applicable to the national security state.

After 9/11, Bush government's behavior and especially appeals to public clearly resonate with the proto-fascist "... uber alles" ideas ("America is an exceptional nation"). As an amazing example of doublespeak Bushists managed to integrate American exceptionalism into the framework of globalist neoliberal regime (as the command-and-control center for neoliberal world empire, no less).

Bush government inspired post-9/11 paranoia doesn’t come cheaply, though. Costs were staggering: the military ($682 billion), Homeland Security (about $60 billion), and 15 intelligence agencies (official figure of combined budget is perhaps $75 billion; but in reality more then that). The total is probably over a trillion.  Add to this several trillion dollars wasted on war in Afghanistan and occupation of Iraq. The Congressional Research Service estimate for 2001-2016 is 1.6 trillion; Brown university estimate is 3.6 trillion; some estimates are as high as six trillions (PolitiFact).  Only future medical care and disability benefits for veterans of these war is near $1 trillion (Center for Strategic and International Studies )

Nothing changed under President Obama, which suggests that he is just a figurehead and the  "deep state" is actually in charge. In most areas the Obama administration was more like Bush II administration, with "change we can believe in" as a smokescreen for nefarious actions. Obama launched more wars then Bush II too.  In this sense this was the most blatant and the most successful  "bait and switch" in the recent  political history of the USA.  Later is lightly different form repeated with Trump, who  also during election campaign proposed reasonable steps of improving standard of living of the US population and finishing forign wars, but instance switched sides after election pushing neoliberal policies at home, and continuing all Bush-Obama wars foreign wars abroad.  He also appointed open war hawks into his administration. The list of neocons in Trumps administration is as long as in Bush II administration and includes people in key positions such as Haley, Bolton, and Pompeo.

This is the view of Professor Michel Greenon, who in his book advocated the view that tradition troika of powers in the USA became by and large ceremonial and that real actors, at least in area of national security are not non-elected executives of super-powerful and well financed three-letter agencies. Here is a brief overview taken from review published by Reason (National Security State - Reason.com):

Though Glennon doesn't describe his thesis in terms of public choice theory, it echoes that discipline's insight that institutions are run for the benefit of the people who run the institutions. For the Trumanites, Glennon explains, "benefits take the form of enlarged budgets, personnel, missions; costs take the form of retrenchments in each." Witness the vast archipelago of intelligence facilities-nearly three Pentagons' worth of office space-that have been erected in greater Washington, D.C., since 9/11.

The national security state is becoming an autonomous, self-perpetuating entity, Glennon warns. It sets the table for elected officials' choices and increasingly dictates terms to them. The permanent bureaucracy basks in the "glow" of Madisonian institutions, drawing legitimacy from the illusion that elected officials are in charge. But while the buck may stop with the president, the real power resides with the Trumanites.

This explanation is strongest in the realm of state surveillance, which serves as Glennon's central case study. Recall the embarrassing revelation, in the summer of 2013, that the NSA was tapping German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone. What did the president know, and when did he know it? If you believe top administration officials, Obama was almost as surprised as Merkel. Glennon quotes Secretary of State John Kerry to the effect that the Merkel wiretap, like a lot of NSA programs, occurred "on autopilot."

On one hand, that's what you'd expect them to say. On the other hand, the claim is entirely plausible, and it is consistent with the earlier history of NSA abuses uncovered by the Church Committee in the 1970s. Under Project SHAMROCK, for example, the NSA collected the content of virtually all cable traffic entering or leaving the United States for three decades-150,000 messages a month at its height. It was, the committee's final report concluded, "probably the largest governmental interception program affecting Americans ever undertaken." And yet it's not clear that any president ordered, approved, or was even aware of SHAMROCK. When the program's existence was exposed in the mid-'70s, Louis Tordella, longtime deputy director of the NSA, admitted that he didn't know whether any president or attorney general had ever been briefed on it.

The picture grows somewhat more complicated when we look at the modern practice of presidential war making. From the Truman administration onward, the president has accumulated enormous unchecked authority, despite James Madison's conviction that, since the executive department was "most distinguished by its propensity to war," it is "the practice of all states, in proportion as they are free, to disarm this propensity of its influence."

When it comes to picking the wars we wage, it's not clear that the Trumanites are fully in charge. Take four major war-powers decisions during the Obama administration: the Afghan surge, the escalation of drone attacks, the Libya intervention, and the current war against ISIS. I put the Trumanite win-loss record at roughly .500 here. The military and national security bureaucracy fought hard for the surge and the drone escalation, and got them. They generally opposed the Libyan action, and some prominent Trumanites-such as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs -appear to have been reluctant to endorse our latest war in the Middle East.

In the case of this most recent war, domestic politics seems a better explanation: The president yielded to the near-irresistible demand that he "do something" about the beheading of Americans and the implosion of the Iraqi state. Bombing ISIS is something, so we're doing it.

The Obama experience suggests we get the wars the Trumanites want -- and also some they don't. But this is hardly fatal to Glennon's thesis. He stresses that "a good theory of institutional behavior can predict, at best, only tendency over time"; his "predicts only that national security policy will change little from one administration to the next." So far, that theory is holding up rather well.

Even so, I've always been partial to one version of the "government politics" explanation. A few years ago, I wrote a book arguing that "Americans' unconfined conception of presidential responsibility is the source of much of our political woe and some of the gravest threats to our liberties." If the political reality is such that the president will be held personally accountable for any domestic terror attack, don't be surprised when he seeks powers nearly as vast as the expectations put upon him.

Glennon acknowledges it's not either-or; "explanations overlap," he writes. Dumb wars and security-state overreach are the result of political choices and the bureaucratic imperative. Policy continuity is depressingly overdetermined.

Real-time histories of key national security decisions in the Obama years tend to underscore this point. In Kill or Capture, reporter Daniel Klaidman describes the enormous political pressure the Obama administration was under after the failed "underwear bomber" attack on December 25, 2009. "For the White House," Klaidman writes, "the psychic toll of Christmas Day was profound. Obama realized that if a failed terror attempt could suck up so much political oxygen, a successful attack would absolutely devastate his presidency. And much as he liked to talk about returning to first principles, Obama also had a powerful instinct for self-correction-as well as self-preservation."

The psychic aftershock of Christmas 2009 helped shape a lot of what followed: from body scanners at airports to ramped-up drone strikes to the lethal targeting of an American citizen.

But to Glennon's point, the administration was under pressure from the Trumanites well before that. In the 2012 book, The Obamians: The Struggle Inside the White House to Redefine American Power, James Mann describes a concerted effort by then-CIA director Michael Hayden and other senior intelligence officials to preserve business as usual by scaring the hell out of the incoming Obama team. Their private name for this scheme was the "Aw, Shit! Campaign."

The scare tactics worked. Klaidman reports that both Harold Koh, legal advisor at the State Department, and Jeh Johnson, the Pentagon's general counsel, used the same metaphor to describe the military pressure for more targeted killings: a runaway train. It was like "a massive freight train hurling down the tracks" Koh said. "You would have to throw yourself on the tracks to try to stop it," said Johnson.

All this helps shed light

 
e border="2" width="90%" bgcolor="#FFFF00">   ;s strange and disorienting May 2013 "drone speech" at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., in which the president seemed to be speaking not as commander in chief, but as his own loyal opposition.

In the speech, Obama said things like "Unless we discipline our thinking, our definitions, our actions, we may be drawn into more wars we don't need to fight, or continue to grant Presidents unbound powers." And: "The very precision of drone strikes can also lead a president and his team to view [them] as a cure-all for terrorism." I remember thinking: "A president"? Which one? Anyone in particular? Who's in charge here, anyway?

National Security and Double Government suggests that the answer to that last question isn't quite so obvious, that the "most powerful man in the world" isn't nearly as powerful as he might appear.

It remains the case that Obama had the formal authority to say no to mass surveillance and perpetual war. But saying no would require resisting enormous bureaucratic and political pressure. And anybody willing to do what it takes to become president is unlikely to transform himself into a self-denying Cincinnatus once in office. Political survivors don't jump in front of trains.

While US government spent around $3.67 trillion in 2013, the revenue was just $2.77 trillion. Of that amount over one trillion went to three-letter agencies and DOD. Now you understand to whom real power belongs.  Moreover the government has to borrow about $900 billion in order to maintain national security state programs intact. And there are 5 million (yes million) people in the USA with security clearance and around 3 million with top security clearance. In other words "Welcome to the USSR." or even Third Reich (actually republican senators opposed Truman initiative due to fear that he replicated institution of the Third Reich in the USA and only support of powerful Democrats allowed the president to push the act through the Congress.

But even if it was close to the Third Reich in political effects and its essence, this type of political structure is different, because it does not rely on mass mobilization. Instead it relied on the power of "deep state" and mass surveillance as well as passivity of most electorate. 

As Paxton describes it (Tracking Fascism) fascism as just hypertrophied and misguided nationalism, a specific flavor of far right nationalism. The central emotions in fascism and nationalism are identical. In other words at the core of fascist emotional mobilization always lies far right nationalism and that is important distinction with national security state and neoliberalism which are globalist and  "imperial" and does not stress particular nationality as long of the person/group serves empire interests:

...Feelings propel fascism more than thought does. We might call them mobilizing passions, since they function in fascist movements to recruit followers and in fascist regimes to "weld" the fascist "tribe" to its leader. The following mobilizing passions are present in fascisms, though they may sometimes be articulated only implicitly:
  1. The primacy of the group, toward which one has duties superior to every right, whether universal or individual.
  2. The belief that one's group is a victim, a sentiment which justifies any action against the group's enemies, internal as well as external.
  3. Dread of the group's decadence under the corrosive effect of individualistic and cosmopolitan liberalism.
  4. Closer integration of the community within a brotherhood (fascio) whose unity and purity are forged by common conviction, if possible, or by exclusionary violence if necessary.
  5. An enhanced sense of identity and belonging, in which the grandeur of the group reinforces individual self-esteem.
  6. Authority of natural leaders (always male) throughout society, culminating in a national chieftain who alone is capable of incarnating the group's destiny.
  7. The beauty of violence and of will, when they are devoted to the group's success in a Darwinian struggle.

Post 9/11  "passions" in the USA were definitely skillfully used by Bush administration to push the nation into the Iraq war and the attacks on dissenters that occurred during it were pretty vicious, really in traditions of Third Reich ("you are either with us, or with our enemies"). 

But public was not really central in this whole issue. Americans were extras at best, patsies at worst,  Essentially all major decisions were made "behind the curtain" by deep state structures and public was just brainwashed into approval of those action. That's an important different between national security state and classical fascist regimes. In classic fascist state the leading fascist party would be central to unleashing such a war.  Here it was bust a bunch of highly placed bureaucrats in Bush II administration (so called neocons, which is an ideological group allied with the military industrial complex, but not an organized party as such).

Here is a more extended treatment of this issue (cited from Rush, Newspeak and Fascism An exegesis IV Tracking Fascism):

1. [Group primacy]: See, again, the Bush Doctrine. An extension of this sentiment is at play among those jingoes who argue that Americans may need to sacrifice some of their civil rights -- say, free speech -- during wartime.
2. [Victim mentality]: This meme is clearly present in all the appeals to the victims of Sept. 11 as justifications for the war. It is present at nearly all levels of the debate: from the White House, from the media, even from the jingoist entertainment industry (see, e.g., the lyric of Darryl Worley's extraordinarily popular country-western hit, "Have You Forgotten?": "Some say this country's just out looking for a fight / Well after 9/11 man I'd have to say that's right.").
3. [Dread of liberal decadence]: This meme has been stock in trade of the talk-radio crowd since at least 1994 -- at one time it focused primarily on the person of Bill Clinton -- and has reached ferocious levels during the runup to the war and after it, during which antiwar leftists have regularly and remorselessly been accused of treason.
4. [Group integration] and 5. [Group identity as personal validation] are, of course, among the primary purposes of the campaign to demonize liberals -- to simultaneously build a cohesive brotherhood of like-minded "conservatives" who might not agree on the details but are united in their loathing of all things liberal. It plays out in such localized manifestations as the KVI Radio 570th On-Air Cavalry, which has made a habit of deliberately invading antiwar protests with the express purpose of disrupting them and breaking them up. Sometimes, as they did recently in Bellingham, this is done with caravans of big trucks blaring their horns; and they are also accompanied by threatening rhetoric and acts of physical intimidation. They haven't yet bonded in violence -- someone did phone in a threat to sniper-shoot protesters -- but they are rapidly headed in that direction.
6. [Authority of leaders]: This needs hardly any further explanation, except to note that George W. Bush is actually surprisingly uncharismatic for someone who inspires as much rabid loyalty as he does. But then, that is part of the purpose of Bush's PR campaign stressing that he receives "divine guidance" -- it assures in his supporters' mind the notion that he is carrying out God's destiny for the nation, and for the conservative movement in particular.
7. [An aesthetic of violence]: One again needs only turn to the voluminous jingoes of Fox News or the jubilant warbloggers to find abundant examples of celebrations of the virtues -- many of them evidently aesthetic -- of the evidently just-completed war.

I would like to stress that similar processes occurred in different states after WWII as well (Latin America military dictatorships are one example). And with new force and on the new level after the dissolution of the USSR in Russia.  Of course the USSR was a National Security Surveillance State even before WWII, being one of the "pioneers" of this form of state along with Italy and Germany. But it was a rather "primitive" form of national security state  in a sense that it did not rely on computers, collecting "envelope" of all Internet communication, emails headers and other "meta-data" as well as systematic interception of SMS-based communications as well interception of wireless communication and financial operations via computerized banking (especially credit card transactions)  for surveillance.

Rule of Trumanites as the essence of the US National security state -- Boston Globe review of Michael Glennon book

Mickey Edwards, who served in Congress from 1977 to 1993, and is the author of “The Parties Versus the People: How to Turn Republicans and Democrats Into Americans.” published a very penetrating review of the book in  The Boston Globe. In which he stated:

It has long been the province of conspiracy theorists to claim that the real power of government is not wielded by the obvious practitioners of statecraft — presidents, members of Congress, the judiciary — but by secret or semi-secret entities, real wizards whose hidden machinations send us to war, sell us out to enemies, siphon public treasure into private hands. Depending on your talk show or paranoia of choice, these are the bankers, oil barons, one-worlders, war profiteers, Bilderbergers, Masons, Catholics, Jews, or Trilateralists. Our formal institutions, in this scenario, are stage sets, Potemkin villages; our officials are puppets; we are an unsuspecting audience.

Michael Glennon, a respected academic (Tufts’s FLETCHER SCHOOL) and author of a book brought to us by an equally respected publisher (Oxford University Press), is hardly the sort to indulge in such fantasies. And that makes the picture he paints in “National Security and Double Government” all the more arresting. Considering Barack Obama’s harsh pre-election criticisms of his predecessor’s surveillance policies, for example, Glennon notes that many of those same policies — and more of the same kind — were continued after Obama took office. “Why,” he asks, “does national security policy remain constant even when one President is replaced by another, who as a candidate repeatedly, forcefully, and eloquently promised fundamental changes in that policy?”

The answer Glennon places before us is not reassuring: “a bifurcated system — a structure of double government — in which even the President now exercises little substantive control over the overall direction of US national security policy.” The result, he writes, is a system of dual institutions that have evolved “toward greater centralization, less accountability, and emergent autocracy.”

If this were a movie, it would soon become clear that some evil force, bent on consolidating power and undermining democratic governance, has surreptitiously tunneled into the under-structure of the nation. Not so. In fact, Glennon observes, this hyper-secret and difficult-to-control network arose in part as an attempt to head off just such an outcome. In the aftermath of World War II, with the Soviet Union a serious threat from abroad and a growing domestic concern about weakened civilian control over the military (in 1949, the Hoover Commission had warned that the Joint Chiefs of Staff had become “virtually a law unto themselves”), President Truman set out to create a separate national security structure.

By 2011, according to The Washington Post, there were 46 separate federal departments and agencies and 2,000 private companies engaged in classified national security operations with millions of employees and spending of roughly a trillion dollars a year. As Glennon points out, presidents get to name fewer than 250 political appointees among the Defense Department’s nearly 700,000 civilian employees, with hundreds more drawn from a national security bureaucracy that comprise “America’s Trumanite network” — in effect, on matters of national security, a second government.

Glennon’s book is not a breezy read: It’s thick with fact and not unappreciative of conundrum (“The government is seen increasingly by elements of the public as hiding what they ought to know, criminalizing what they ought to be able to do, and spying upon what ought to be private. The people are seen increasingly by the government as unable to comprehend the gravity of security threats.”). Nor is he glib with proposed solutions: to adequately respond to the threats posed by a below-the-radar second government will require “a general public possessed of civic virtue,” which prompts Glennon to cite retired Supreme Court justice David Souter’s bemoaning of a “pervasive civic ignorance.” Not all of the problem can be laid at Truman’s feet. And if we ourselves are part of the zeitgeist that allows invisible governments to flourish, repair will be difficult. As Glennon puts it, “the term Orwellian will have little meaning to a people who have never known anything different, who have scant knowledge of history, civics, or public affairs, and who in any event have never heard of George Orwell.”

This is no secret conspiracy nor a plot to deprive Americans of their civil liberties. It is the unintended consequence of a thoughtful attempt to head off the very threats that those attempts have inadvertently created. But if Glennon’s book is enlightening it is also scary. And it’s not fiction.

Why National Security State needs provocations -- pseudo terrorist attacks (false flag attacks)

There are multiple reasons such as to instill fear, and to demonstrate competence (Big Brother’s Liberal Friends — Crooked Timber)

Dr. Hilarius, 10.27.14 at 11:44 pm
An excellent analysis and summation.

Any defense of the national security state requires the proponent to show, at a minimum, that the present apparatus is competent at its task. Having lived through Vietnam, the Gulf Wars, Iraq and Afghanistan (not to mention many smaller governmental adventures) I see no evidence of competence. Instead, it’s repetitive failures of analysis and imagination no matter how much raw intelligence is gathered.

Nor is there any evidence that existing oversight mechanisms function as intended. Recent revelations about the CIA spying on the Senate should be enough to dispel the idea that leakers have no role to play.

Kinsley is particularly loathsome. His position is little more than “your betters know best” and that the state’s critics are guttersnipes needing to be kicked to the curb. Kinsley doesn’t need a coherent position, his goal is to be a spokesman for the better sorts, nothing more...

Tremendous push (or acceleration of pre-existing tendencies) toward National Security State occurred after 9/11 under the banner of fighting terrorism. At the point technological capabilities of mass surveillance using computers and the ability to have a dossier for everybody were in place, while mass deployment of PC, credit cards and cell phones provides constant stream of information to those dossiers, not that different from "gum shoes" reports. On November, 2001 the phone records of most Americans begin flowing to the N.S.A. After 9/11, President Bush authorizes the N.S.A. to collect phone and Internet content and metadata without a warrant. Within weeks, under the so-called President’s Surveillance Program (P.S.P.), the major telephone companies voluntarily hand over the data. The N.S.A. creates a twenty-four-hour “Metadata Analysis Center” (MAC) to search the phone records. In October 26, 2001: The Patriot Act is passed. Section 215 allows the government to seize “any tangible things (including books, records, papers, documents, and other items) for an investigation to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.”

At this point the process started with adoption of Truman doctrine came to a logical end: national surveillance state became a reality. Formally Truman Doctrine was created "to support free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures." but in reality their function was more questionable and after 9/11 (some people date this event as early as 1963 -- JFK assassination) those activities created what is called "The State Within a State" similar to the USSR KGB role (see The State Within a State by Yevgenia Albats and Catherine A. Fitzpatrick). Here is one review of the book:

A Customer

passionate albeit muddled, August 24, 1999

I have problems with the author's obvious hatred of the Russian Revolution and Stalin and the way she claims there is an unbroken chain of horror going all the way back to 1917. Obviously things are better today -- hence her book! She says 66.7 million people died under "Chekist" rule since the Russian Revolution -- and then cites the Guiness Book of Records as her source!? No one could ever prove such a figure, I think its one of things that's repeated 'til it becomes fact.

I also find the author's lack of knowledge about our own CIA kind of disheartening. This fine organization has spread as much death and terror in the Third World (Indonesia, Guatemala,Chile, Argentina, Brazil etc. etc. ) as the KGB ever did anywhere, yet she seems to make them out to be benevolent compared to the KGB (which if you read this book are responsible for everything wrong with the world today).

After reading this book I still don't understand why she thinks the KGB or its incarnations are as bad today as they were at the height of the Terror in 1937. Its not really explained in the book. I still am not convinced that the KGB was the NKVD, and definitely convinced that either was the SS. Research I have done casually has never come up with hard, convincing figures for a Nazi style genocide in the USSR, and this anecdotal, unconvincing book didn't change my historical views.

See Michael J. Hogan, A Cross of Iron: Harry S. Truman and the Origins of the National Security State, 1945-1954. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998; which "explains the transformative process that ended in the ultimate demise of the New Deal state with its emphasis on social spending and ushered in the militarist National Security State." From Amazon review:

Hogan, a specialist in American diplomatic and national security studies, has written a complex but interesting work on the emergence of the national security state. To create this state, it was necessary to merge the armed forces, the Defense Department, and scientists into a single unit to enhance the military's capabilities. To a large extent, this unification was accomplished in the 1950s. The driving forces were James Forrestal, Dean Acheson, and powerful members of Congress such as Carl Vinson (D-GA), who chaired the Committee on Naval Affairs, along with presidents Truman and Eisenhower.

Hogan presents a compelling case but overemphasizes the importance of Truman and Eisenhower while downplaying the role of Vinson and others in the security state's creation. In fact, both Truman and Eisenhower often seemed opposed to it but succumbed to pressure from Congress and key figures like Acheson. This extremely complex study, which deals with a subject few other books handle, is designed for scholars and informed lay readers interested in the creation of the "military-industrial complex." by Richard P. Hedlund, Ashland Community Coll., KY

Former CIA officer Victor Marchetti in his book "Propaganda and Disinformation: How the CIA Manufactures History" noted:

"As I pointed out in the preface to The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence in 1974, democratic governments fighting totalitarian enemies run the risk of imitating their methods and thereby destroying democracy. By suppressing historical fact, and by manufacturing historical fiction, the CIA, with its obsessive secrecy and its vast resources, has posed a particular threat to the right of Americans to be informed for the present and future by an objective knowledge of the past.

As long as the CIA continues to manipulate history, historians of its activities must be Revisionist if we are to know the truth about the agency's activities, past and present."

Attempts to curtain the surveillance proved to by fruitless.  Church Committee was probably the most important "after JFK assassination" attempt to somewhat tame three latter agencies and especially CIA, but it ended in nothing.

Later NSA overtook CIA in many areas of intelligence gathering activities. Which create internal frictions between two agencies. State Department also "infringed" in CIA role in foreign countries and, for example, in organization of neoliberal color revolutions in oil rich or strategically important countries it is difficult to tell when clandestine actions of State Department ends and clandestine actions of CIA stars and vice versa. 

In is interesting to note that even Senators feel threatened by this total surveillance system. In December 14, 2005 Senators Barack Obama, Chuck Hagel, John Kerry, Richard Durbin, and several colleagues sign a letter warning that Section 215 “would allow the government to obtain library, medical and gun records and other sensitive personal information” that “would allow government fishing expeditions targeting innocent Americans.” They demand that the records requested should “have some connection to a suspected terrorist or spy,” a requirement that would

protect innocent Americans from unnecessary surveillance and ensure that government scrutiny is based on individualized suspicion, a fundamental principle of our legal system.

In March, 2006, the Patriot Act is reauthorized without the changes sought by Obama and others.

In his October 19, 2012 review of the book Saman Mohammadi (The Excavator) wrote:

The case could be made that the creation of the CIA and the National Security State in 1947 was necessary. But after sixty years of human rights abuses, systematic attacks on the constitution, false flag terror events, assassinations of political reformers, and other horrible crimes against humanity, should not the CIA be reformed?

Let's put the question of morality aside. What are the "national security" reasons that legitimize the existence of the CIA? Once you learn that Al-Qaeda is a CIA creation and proxy insurgent army and that 9/11 was a massive false flag operation, you come to the natural conclusion that the CIA does not perform a national security role.

The CIA plays a much dirtier role: engineering the American mind. It is not denied that the shadow CIA has major influence in the mainstream media, especially amongst top newspapers such as The Washington Post and The New York Times. Michael S. Rozeff speculates that the New York Times is entirely run by the CIA.

We can't know for certain if that is true because of the lack of historical documentation in the public domain, but there is a mountain of observable evidence that proves the CIA has many of its spooks working for the New York Times. Go here for just one example.

Until the American people demand that the U.S. government commit to radical transparency and the principles enshrined in the U.S. constitution, the shadow CIA and the mainstream media can twist history and manage public perceptions of reality as much as they like.

The shadow CIA's greatest power comes from its command of the American public mind as well as its ability to create a fictional version of history. The false flag September 11 events was the shadow CIA's biggest media operation to date. It was their Mona Lisa. They painted the canvas of reality with the brush of myth, and worked day and night to shape the collective memory of the American people while the horror of the tragic attacks was still fresh in the nation's mind.

Although the shadow CIA doesn't have a total command of the American mind and of history, as proven by the rise of the global 9/11 truth and justice movement, it possesses enough media power to mold world public opinion and dictate government policy for the United States with ease. There is no question that its power is totalitarian in nature and its aims are evil. It does not serve the interests of the American people; that much is clear.

How can there be freedom when CIA officials in television studios, newspaper offices, and publishing companies drive the public conversation and form the national narrative on every issue of significance. The global alternative media is the only global civil society actor that is putting limits on the CIA's power to make up history and suppress the truth about historical events like 9/11 and the occult sacrifice of JFK.

In the past, the shadow CIA was presented with roadblocks in the Congress. But 9/11 fixed that problem. The laws and the politics changed. In "The Big Chill," author Dan Froomkin says the absence of Congressional leadership in the post-9/11 political universe has strengthened executive power. Here is an excerpt his article:

After past periods of executive excess, the Fourth Estate was certainly more robust and arguably more persistent, but it also found natural allies in the other branches of government—particularly Congress. By contrast, over the summer of 2012, the publication of a minimal amount of new information regarding drones, cyberwarfare and targeted killings incited bipartisan agreement on Capitol Hill—not to conduct hearings into what had been revealed, but to demand criminal investigations into the leaking.

That's how Congress has been ever since the terrorist attacks 11 years ago. "We never got our post 9/11 Church Committee," said Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists's Project on Government Secrecy, referring to a special investigative Senate committee that held hearings on widespread intelligence abuses after the Watergate scandal. "What we've got instead is the intelligence oversight committee drafting legislation to penalize leaks."

Since the Congress is not willing to stand up for the rights of the American people, the truth, human rights, and the U.S. Constitution, then the American people and global civil society must stand up. Congress has no real power. According to a recent Rasmussen survey, Congress only has an eight percent approval rating. There are underground, neo-Nazi groups in Europe that are more popular than the Congress.

The mainstream media is no better. It is content with its role as a propaganda arm of the shadow CIA, and that is a tragedy. American newspapers have the power to improve their nation and change the world for the better, but instead they choose to cover up independent investigations of shady events like 9/11 that shed light on how the U.S. government really operates.

Alternative media outlets like Infowars.com, Veterans Today, Lew Rockwell.com, Washington's Blog, The Corbett Report, and countless others are doing the best they can to educate the American people and wake up humanity.

The last thing the shadow CIA wants to see is an informed and awakened America. It is waging a silent war on human consciousness because it is scared of an enlightened world. A world that is awake and aware of its crimes against humanity is its greatest nightmare.

If the shadow CIA has its way, it will continue inventing stories and passing it off as history with total immunity. But the global alternative media is telling the shadow CIA: Enough is enough, stop lying to the American people and the world.

The CIA's reckless disregard of U.S. traditions and laws made former President Harry Truman rethink his decision to create the CIA in the first place. On December 22, 1963, Truman wrote in The Washington Post:

For some time I have been disturbed by the way the CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the Government. This has led to trouble and may have compounded our difficulties in several explosive areas. I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations.

On August 17, 1975 Senator Frank Church stated on NBC's Meet the Press without mentioning the name of the NSA about this agency (Wikipedia):

In the need to develop a capacity to know what potential enemies are doing, the United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air. Now, that is necessary and important to the United States as we look abroad at enemies or potential enemies. We must know, at the same time, that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left such is the capability to monitor everything—telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.

If this government ever became a tyrant, if a dictator ever took charge in this country, the technological capacity that the intelligence community has given the government could enable it to impose total tyranny, and there would be no way to fight back because the most careful effort to combine together in resistance to the government, no matter how privately it was done, is within the reach of the government to know. Such is the capability of this technology.

I don’t want to see this country ever go across the bridge. I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.[11]

Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer list of features of National security state

In his book "Brave New World Order" (Orbis Books, 1992, paper), Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer argues that the Bush I war in Iraq (as well as Bush II invasion and occupation of the country) was an action of the military industrial complex usurping the "peace dividend". Iraq was attractive target as it has oil and far enough away to prove a good vehicle for eating up contract cash. He views the rise of the National Security Defense State as a consequence of "the threat of peace" for military industrial complex and identifies seven characteristics of a such a state:

  1. The military is the highest authority. In a National Security State the military not only guarantees the security of the state against all internal and external enemies, it has enough power to determine the overall direction of the society. In a National Security State the military exerts important influence over political, economic, as well as military affairs.
  2. Political democracy and democratic elections are viewed with suspicion, contempt, or in terms of political expediency. National Security States often maintain an appearance of democracy. However, ultimate power rests with the military or within a broader National Security Establishment.
  3. The military and related sectors wield substantial political and economic power. They do so in the context of an ideology which stresses that 'freedom" and "development" are possible only when capital is concentrated in the hands of elites.
  4. Obsession with enemies. There are enemies of the state everywhere. Defending against external and/or internal enemies becomes a leading preoccupation of the state, a distorting factor in the economy, and a major source of national identity and purpose.
  5. The working assumption is that the enemies of the state are cunning and ruthless. Therefore, any means used to destroy or control these enemies is justified.
  6. It restricts public debate and limits popular participation through secrecy or intimidation. Authentic democracy depends on participation of the people. National Security States limit such participation in a number of ways: They sow fear and thereby narrow the range of public debate; they restrict and distort information; and they define policies in secret and implement those policies through covert channels and clandestine activities. The state justifies such actions through rhetorical pleas of "higher purpose" and vague appeals to "national security."
  7. The church is expected to mobilize its financial, ideological, and theological resources in service to the National Security State.
Now we can add one additional feature
  1. Total surveillance

Compare that definition of the National Security State with the definition of Inverted Totalitarism. Most countries now have features of both.

The debate about National Security State reemerged in June 2008 due to revelations make about existence of the Prism program and similar program by British security services. For example, Jacob Augstein used the term "Obama's Soft Totalitarianism" in his article Europe Must Stand Up to American Cyber-Snooping published by SPIEGEL.

Here is an interesting comment of user MelFarrellSr in The Guardian discussion of the article NSA analysts 'willfully violated' surveillance systems, agency admits (August 24, 2013):

Here's the thing about the NSA, the GCHQ, Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, et al...

We all have to stop commenting as if the NSA and the GCHQ are in this thing on their own; the reality is that no one was supposed to know one iota about any of these programs; the NSA and the GCHQ began and put in place the structure that would allow all internet service providers, and indeed all corporations using the net, the ability to track and profile each and every user on the planet, whether they be using the net, texting, cell, and landline.

We all now know that Google, Yahoo, and the rest, likely including major retailers, and perhaps not so major retailers, are all getting paid by the United States government, hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money, our money, to profile 24/7 each and every one of us..., they know how we think, our desires, our sexual preferences, our religious persuasion, what we spend, etc.; make no mistake about it, they know it all, and what they don’t currently have, they will very soon…

These agencies and indeed all those who are paid by them, will be engaged over the next few weeks in a unified program of "perception management" meaning that they will together come up with an all-encompassing plan that will include the release of all manner of statements attesting to the enforcement of several different disciplinary actions against whomever for "illegal" breaches of policy...

They may even bring criminal actions against a few poor unfortunate souls who had no idea they would be sacrificed as one part of the "perception management" game.

Has anyone wondered why, to date, no one in power has really come out and suggested that the program must be curtailed to limit its application to terrorism and terrorist types?

Here’s why; I was fortunate recently to have given an education on how networks such as Prism, really work, aside from the rudimentary details given in many publications. They cannot, and will not, stop monitoring even one individuals activity, because to do so will eventually cause loss of the ability to effectively monitor as many as 2.5 Million individuals.

Remember the “Two to Three Hop” scenario, which the idiot in one of the hearings inadvertently spoke of; therein lies the answer. If the average person called 40 unique people, three-hop analysis would allow the government to mine the records of 2.5 million Americans Do the math; Internet usage in the United States as of June 30, 2012 reached a total of over 245,000,000 million…

The following link shows how connected the world is… http://www.internetworldstats.com/stats2.htm

We should never forget how the Internet began, and who developed it, the United States Armed Forces; initially it was known as Arpanet, see excerpt and link below…

"The Internet may fairly be regarded as a never-ending worldwide conversation." - Supreme Court Judge statement on considering first amendment rights for Internet users.

"On a cold war kind of day, in swinging 1969, work began on the ARPAnet, grandfather to the Internet. Designed as a computer version of the nuclear bomb shelter, ARPAnet protected the flow of information between military installations by creating a network of geographically separated computers that could exchange information via a newly developed protocol (rule for how computers interact) called NCP (Network Control Protocol).”

http://inventors.about.com/library/weekly/aa091598.htm

There is no government anywhere on the planet that will give up any part of the program…, not without one hell of a fight...

Incidentally, they do hope and believe that everyone will come to the same conclusion; they will keep all of us at bay for however long it takes; they have the money, they have the time, and they economically control all of us...

Pretty good bet they win...

Whether the United States stands within the order of international law or outside it ?

The book American Exceptionalism and Human Rights (edited by Ignatieff) raised an important and probably the most controversial question in world politics: whether the United States stands within the order of international law or outside it.

Following are based on the article by Laurence W. Britt published in Free Inquiry magazine

To a secular humanist, the principles of international law seems logical, right, and crucial. Yet, there is one archetypal political philosophy that is anathema to almost all of these principles. It is fascism. And fascism’s principles are wafting in the air today, surreptitiously masquerading as something else, challenging everything we stand for. The cliché that people and nations learn from history is not only overused, but also overestimated; often we fail to learn from history, or draw the wrong conclusions. Sadly, historical amnesia is the norm.

We are two-and-a-half generations removed from the horrors of Nazi Germany, although constant reminders jog the consciousness. German and Italian fascism form the historical models that define this twisted political worldview. Although they no longer exist, this worldview and the characteristics of these models have been imitated by protofascist regimes at various times in the twentieth century. Both the original German and Italian models and the later protofascist regimes show remarkably similar characteristics. Although many scholars question any direct connection among these regimes, few can dispute their visual similarities.

Beyond the visual, even a cursory study of these fascist and protofascist regimes reveals the absolutely striking convergence of their modus operandi. This, of course, is not a revelation to the informed political observer, but it is sometimes useful in the interests of perspective to restate obvious facts and in so doing shed needed light on current circumstances.

The following regimes can be studies in this respect: Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Franco’s Spain, Salazar’s Portugal, Papadopoulos’s Greece, Pinochet’s Chile, and Suharto’s Indonesia. They constitute a mixed bag of national identities, cultures, developmental levels, and history. But they all followed the fascist or protofascist model in obtaining, expanding, and maintaining power. Further, all these regimes have been overthrown, so a more or less complete picture of their basic characteristics and abuses is possible. Analysis of these seven regimes reveals fourteen common threads that link them in recognizable patterns of national behavior and abuse of power. These basic characteristics are more prevalent and intense in some regimes than in others, but they all share at least some level of similarity.

One can wonder how many of those are applicable to Bush/McCain. What do you think ?
  1. Propaganda of nationalism and Exceptionalism ("shining city on the hill", beckon of democracy, etc). Prominent displays of flags and ubiquitous lapel pins. The fervor to show patriotic nationalism, both on the part of the regime itself and of citizens caught up in its frenzy. Pride in the military, and demands for unity are way of expressing this nationalism. It was usually coupled with a level of suspicion of things foreign that often bordered on xenophobia (French fries - Freedom fries).

  2. Disdain for the importance of human rights. Despite "freedom rhetorics" the party views human rights as of little value and a hindrance to realizing the objectives of the ruling elite. Through clever use of propaganda, the population was brought to accept these human rights abuses by marginalizing, even demonizing, those being targeted. When abuse was egregious and truth about gulags is out, the tactic was to use secrecy, denial, and disinformation.

  3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause. The use of scapegoating as a means to divert the people’s attention from other problems, to shift blame for failures, and to channel frustration in controlled directions. The methods of choice—relentless propaganda and disinformation—were usually effective. Often the parties would incite “spontaneous” acts against the target scapegoats, such as Muslims, communists/socialists/liberals, ethnic and racial minorities, traditional national enemies, members of other religions, secularists, homosexuals, and “terrorists.” Opponents of these party were inevitably labeled as terrorists stooges and dealt with accordingly.

  4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism. Ruling elites identified closely with the military. A disproportionate share of national budget is allocated to the military, even when domestic needs were acute. The military was seen as an ultimate expression of nationalism, and was used whenever possible to assert national goals, intimidate other nations, and increase the power and prestige of the ruling elite.

  5. Sexism. Beyond the simple fact that the political elite and the national culture were male-dominated, the party covertly views women as second-class citizens. Often are both anti-abortion and homophobic with the cover of religious values. For propaganda reasons those attitudes were masterfully blended into strong support of the fundamentalist religious sects, thus lending the party some legitimacy to cover for its abuses.

  6. A controlled mass media. The mass media could be relied upon never to stray from the party line. Control can be indirect and subtle with formal adoption of slogan about "free media". Methods included the control of licensing, access to resources, economic pressure, appeals to patriotism, and implied threats. The leaders and owners of the mass media are part of the power elite. The result is rampant brainwashing, which usually success in keeping the general public unaware of the party's excesses.

  7. Obsession with national security. A national security apparatus is bend to come under direct control of the ruling elite. It is used to bypass laws as a direct instrument of oppression, operating in secret and beyond any constraints. Its actions were justified under the rubric of protecting “national security,” and questioning its activities was portrayed as unpatriotic or even treasonous.

  8. Abuse of religion. The party attaches itself to the dominant religion of the country and chose to portray themselves as militant defenders of religious values. The fact that the ruling elite’s behavior was incompatible with those values is swept under the rug. Propaganda kept up the illusion that the ruling elites were defenders of the faith and opponents are “godless.” A perception was manufactured that opposing the party is tantamount to an attack on religion.

  9. Power of corporations protected. Although the personal life of ordinary citizens was under strict control, the ability of large corporations to operate in relative freedom was not compromised. The ruling elite saw the corporate structure as a way to not only ensure military production (in developed states), but also as an additional means of social control. Members of the economic elite were often pampered by the political elite to ensure a continued mutuality of interests, especially in the repression of “have-not” citizens.

  10. Power of organized labor suppressed or eliminated. Since organized labor was seen as the one power center that could challenge the political hegemony of the ruling elite and its corporate allies, it was inevitably crushed or made powerless. The poor formed an underclass, viewed with suspicion or outright contempt. Being poor was considered akin to a vice.

  11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals. Intellectuals and the inherent freedom of ideas and expression associated with them were anathema to these party. Intellectual and academic freedom were considered subversive to national security and the patriotic ideal. Universities professors come under close scrutiny; politically unreliable faculty harassed or eliminated. Unorthodox ideas or scientific theories, especially economic, are strongly attacked, silenced, or crushed.

  12. Obsession with crime and punishment. Draconian systems of criminal justice with huge prison populations. The police is often glorified and had almost unchecked power, leading to rampant abuse. Criminal charges sometimes are used against political opponents. Fear, and hatred, of criminals or “traitors” was often promoted among the population as an excuse for more police power.

  13. Rampant cronyism and corruption. Those in business circles and close to the power elite often used their position to enrich themselves. This corruption worked both ways; the power elite would receive financial gifts and property from the economic elite, who in turn would gain the benefit of government favoritism. With the national security apparatus under control and the media muzzled, this corruption was largely unconstrained and not well understood by the general population.

  14. Fraudulent elections. Elections in the form of two candidates representing the same power elite are usually bogus. When actual elections with candidates were held, they would usually be perverted by the power elite to get the desired result. Common methods included maintaining control of the election machinery, intimidating and disenfranchising opposition voters, suppressing responsibilities for legal votes, and, as a last resort, turning to a judiciary beholden to the power elite.

Does any of this ring alarm bells? Of course not. After all, this is America, officially a democracy with the rule of law, a constitution, a free press, honest elections, and a well-informed public constantly being put on guard against evils. Historical comparisons like these are just exercises in verbal gymnastics. Maybe, maybe not.

Edward Snowden quotes about National Security State

The most recent debate about the legitimacy of national security state as exists in the USA was sparked by Edward Snowden revelations. The following are 27 quotes from Edward Snowden about National Security State modus operandi  might send a chill up your spine...


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[Aug 22, 2019] Trump Doesn t Know How to Negotiate by Daniel Larison

Highly recommended!
The problem with Trump is that everything in him is second rate. Even bulling. and many americans were aware of that and voted for him just because that thought that Hillary was worse. Much worse.
Actually Madeleine (not so bright) Albright was of the same mold... Gangster style bulling and extortion as the only Modus operandi
And Daniel Larison is correct: when Trump faces strong backlash he just declare the partner in negotiation "terrible" and walks out and try to justify his defeat ex post facto.
Notable quotes:
"... As we have seen, Trump's bullying, maximalist approach does not work with other governments, and this approach cannot work because the president sees everything as a zero-sum game and winning requires the other side's capitulation. ..."
"... The result is that no government gives Trump anything and instead all of them retaliate in whatever way is available to them. He can't agree to a mutually beneficial compromise because he rejects the idea that the other side might come away with something. Because every existing agreement negotiated in the past has required some compromise on our government's part, he condemns all of them as "terrible" because they did not result in the other party's surrender. ..."
"... he is so clueless about international relations and diplomacy that he still thinks it can get him what he wants. The reality is that all of his foreign policy initiatives are failing or have already failed, and the costs for ordinary people in the targeted countries and here at home keep going up. ..."
"... "Temperamentally, the president is unprepared for diplomacy and negotiations with sovereign states," said D'Antonio. "He doesn't know how to practice the give-and-take that would produce bilateral or multilateral achievements and he takes things so personally that he considers those with a different point of view to be enemies. He is offended when others decline to be bullied and angered by those who counter his proposals with their own ideas." ..."
"... The greatest trick that Trump pulled on Americans was to make many of them believe that he understood how to negotiate when he has never been any good at it. Now the U.S. and many other countries around the world are paying the price. ..."
"... "Trump has always been a lousy negotiator." ..."
"... But, but, but... he is very good in breaking up negotiated treaties, and breaking up negotiation itself. ..."
Aug 22, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Michael Hirsh reminds us that Trump has always been a lousy negotiator:

Michael D'Antonio, a Trump biographer who interviewed him many times, agrees with Lapidus that there is no discernible difference in the way Trump negotiates today, as president, compared to his career in business. "His style involves a hostile attitude and a bullying method designed to wring every possible concession out of the other side while maximizing his own gain," D'Antonio said. "As he explained to me, he's not interested in 'win-win' deals, only in 'I win' outcomes. When I asked if he ever left anything on the table as a sign of goodwill so that he might do business with the same party in the future he said no, and pointed out that there are many people in the world he can work with, one at a time."

As we have seen, Trump's bullying, maximalist approach does not work with other governments, and this approach cannot work because the president sees everything as a zero-sum game and winning requires the other side's capitulation.

The result is that no government gives Trump anything and instead all of them retaliate in whatever way is available to them. He can't agree to a mutually beneficial compromise because he rejects the idea that the other side might come away with something. Because every existing agreement negotiated in the past has required some compromise on our government's part, he condemns all of them as "terrible" because they did not result in the other party's surrender.

He seems particularly obsessed with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) because the trade-off inherent in any agreement made with Iran was that they would regain access to frozen assets, and he ignorantly equates this with "giving" them money. The fact that the JCPOA heavily favored the U.S. and the rest of the P5+1 doesn't interest Trump. Iran was allowed to come away with something at the end, and even the little bit they were able to get is far too much for him. This is one reason he has been so closely aligned with Iran hawks over the last four years, and it helps explain why he endorses absurd, unrealistic demands and "maximum pressure" of collective punishment. He is doing more or less the same thing he has always done, and he is so clueless about international relations and diplomacy that he still thinks it can get him what he wants. The reality is that all of his foreign policy initiatives are failing or have already failed, and the costs for ordinary people in the targeted countries and here at home keep going up.

Here is another relevant point from the article:

"Temperamentally, the president is unprepared for diplomacy and negotiations with sovereign states," said D'Antonio. "He doesn't know how to practice the give-and-take that would produce bilateral or multilateral achievements and he takes things so personally that he considers those with a different point of view to be enemies. He is offended when others decline to be bullied and angered by those who counter his proposals with their own ideas."

The greatest trick that Trump pulled on Americans was to make many of them believe that he understood how to negotiate when he has never been any good at it. Now the U.S. and many other countries around the world are paying the price.


JSC2397 8 hours ago

Pulling off that "greatest trick" was amazing easy, actually: all Trump and his creatures had to do was go on the assumption that most Americans will readily believe what they see on television. Especially when it jibes with their prejudices.
david 8 hours ago
"Trump has always been a lousy negotiator."

But, but, but... he is very good in breaking up negotiated treaties, and breaking up negotiation itself.

Martin Ranger 6 hours ago
"The greatest trick that Trump pulled on Americans was to make many of them believe that he understood how to negotiate when he has never been any good at it."

While I agree with pretty much all of the article, let us not forget that a majority of Americans was not, in fact, fooled.

Zsuzsi Kruska 6 hours ago
He can negotiate, but the thugs in Wash. don't want to. They are doing everything they can to start a war somewhere.
me 5 hours ago
Americans are certainly paying a price Benjamin Franklin warned about. But as for other countries, theirs is due strictly to their own doing, for relying excessively on the goodwill of America and turning a blind-eye to our imperialism. Quite frankly, up to now, US allies have been enablers.
Gary Rosenberg 5 hours ago
Add to that, " When someone hits me, I hit them back ten times harder."
This is not what we teach our children. It is a miserable way to live, or to run a country. No wonder the President is longer referred to as "the leader of the free world." He gave up that title. These are sad days.
d_hochberg 3 hours ago
Yes, he is utterly incompetent on his main selling point, his supposed skill at negotiating. It is very inconvenient having Trump as our standard-bearer.
Alan Vanneman 3 hours ago
"The greatest trick that Trump pulled on Americans was to make many of them believe that he understood how to negotiate when he has never been any good at it."

Actually, the people who voted for Trump and who support him now love him for being a bully. That's what they want. They want a Tony Soprano as their president, a guy who will go out and beat up all the people they hate. They don't want "negotiation". They want a guy who has a baseball bat and knows how to use it. What's "interesting" is that despite all of Trump's appeals to violence, and his willingness to support violence (for example, Saudi Arabia), he largely shrinks from it himself. We've seen far fewer Tomahawks than one might have expected, particularly considering the great press he received the first time around. Will we continue to be lucky? I hope so, but it's hard to be optimistic.

[Aug 22, 2019] The US Can't 'Get' Iran to 'Shut Down' Its Nuclear Program

That's how polls distort public opinion and promote militarism...
Aug 22, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
survey shows that most Americans don't want war with Iran. Only 18% of all American adults favor military action against Iran, and even among Republicans that number is just 25%. 78% favor economic and diplomatic efforts. That's fine as far as it goes, and it shows that there is very little support for a new war at this time. The framing of the question is the bigger problem and makes the results from the poll much less useful.

The poll asks, "What do you think the United States should do to get Iran to shut down its nuclear program -- take military action against Iran, or rely mainly on economic and diplomatic efforts?" The question assumes that it is within our government's power to "get Iran to shut down its nuclear program," when the experience of the last twenty years tells us that it is not. The nuclear negotiations that produced the JCPOA show beyond any doubt that there are limits to what Iran is willing to concede on this point. It is good that most Americans prefer non-military options to pursue this fantastical goal, but the assumption that Iran will one day "shut down" its nuclear program is completely unrealistic. On the contrary, the more pressure that the U.S. puts on Iran in an attempt to force such a shutdown, the more inclined Iran's government is to build up its program.

If Iran's nuclear program remains peaceful, there is no need for them to shut it down. The long-term goal of the JCPOA has been to demonstrate to the satisfaction of all parties that Iran's nuclear program is and will remain peaceful, and then at that point Iran will be treated like any other member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The U.S. doesn't need to do anything to "get" Iran to do this because the goal of shutting down the program is a foolish and impossible one. Perceiving Iran's possession of a peaceful nuclear program as a problem to be solved is one of the reasons why our debate over Iran policy is so warped and biased in favor of coercive measures. The idea that Iran has to "shut down" a program that it is legally entitled to have under the NPT is bizarre, but it is obviously a common view here in the U.S.

The question is misleading in another way, since it suggests that military action could be effective in forcing Iran to "shut down" the program. In reality, attacking Iran's nuclear facilities would at most set back the program, but it would give the Iranian government a strong incentive to develop and build a deterrent that would discourage the U.S. from launching more attacks in the future. Attacking a country when it doesn't have nuclear weapons is a good way to encourage them to acquire those weapons as quickly as possible.

That makes the results to the follow-up question all the more dispiriting. The poll also asks, "Suppose U.S. economic and diplomatic efforts do not work. If that happens, do you think the United States should -- or should not -- take military action against Iran?" Once again, the question assumes that getting Iran to "shut down" its nuclear program is both a legitimate and realistic goal. If non-military measures "do not work," there is additional support for military action from a depressing 42% of those who initially favored "economic and diplomatic efforts." Put them together with the initial supporters of military action, and you have a narrow majority of all American adults that thinks the U.S. should take military action:

The 42% of those who favor military action if nonmilitary efforts fail translates to 35% of all U.S. adults. Combining that group with the 18% who favor military action outright means a slim majority of Americans, 53%, would support military action against Iran if diplomatic and economic efforts are unsuccessful.

There is a disturbingly high level of support for launching an illegal attack on another country for something it is legally permitted to have. The assumption that "economic and diplomatic efforts" will be "unsuccessful" if they don't force Iran to abandon its nuclear program helps to push respondents to give that answer, but they wouldn't endorse a military option if they hadn't been led to think that Iran's nuclear program is an intolerable danger. That is partly because of the bad framing of the questions, but it is also a product of decades of relentless propagandizing about a supposed threat from Iran's nuclear program that is completely divorced from reality. We need better poll questions on this subject, but we also need better, more informed debate about Iran and we have to stamp out the threat inflation that poisons and distorts the public's perceptions of threats from other states.

[Aug 21, 2019] Losing a job in your 50s is especially tough. Here are 3 steps to take when layoffs happen by Peter Dunn

Unemployment benefits currently are usually is just six month or so; this is the time when you can plan you "downsizing". You do not need to rush but at the same time do not expect that you will get job offers quickly, if at all. Usually it does not happen. many advertised positions are fakes, another substantial percentage is already reserved for H1B candidates and posting them is the necessary legal formality.
Often losing job logically requires selling your home and moving to a modest apartment, especially if no children are living with you. At 50 it is abut time... You need to do it later anyway, so why not now. But that's a very tough decision to make... Still, if the current housing market is close to the top (as it is in 2019), this is one of the best moves you can make. Getting from your house several hundred thousand dollars allows you to create kind of private pension to compensate for losses in income till you hit your Social Security check, which currently means 66.
$300K investment in A quality bonds that returns 3% per year is enough to provides you with $24K per year "private pension" from 50 to age of 66 when social security kicks in. That allows you to pay for the apartment and amenities. The food is extra but with this level of income you qualify for food assistance.
This way you can take lower paid job, of much lower paid job (which mean $15 per hour), of temp job and survive.
And if this are many form you house sell your 401k remains intact and can supplement your SS income later on. Simple Excel spreadsheet can provide you with a complete picture of what you can afford and what not. Actually the ability to walk of fresh air for 3 or more hours each day worth a lot of money ;-)
Notable quotes:
"... Losing a job in your 50s is a devastating moment, especially if the job is connected to a long career ripe with upward mobility. As a frequent observer of this phenomenon, it's as scary and troublesome as unchecked credit card debt or an expensive chronic health condition. This is one of the many reasons why I believe our 50s can be the most challenging decade of our lives. ..."
"... The first thing you should do is identify the exact day your job income stops arriving ..."
"... Next, and by next I mean five minutes later, explore your eligibility for unemployment benefits, and then file for them if you're able. ..."
"... Grab your bank statement, a marker, and a calculator. As much as you want to pretend its business as usual, you shouldn't. Identify expenses that don't make sense if you don't have a job. Circle them. Add them up. Resolve to eliminate them for the time being, and possibly permanently. While this won't necessarily lengthen your fuse, it could lessen the severity of a potential boom. ..."
Feb 15, 2019 | finance.yahoo.com

... ... ...

Losing a job in your 50s is a devastating moment, especially if the job is connected to a long career ripe with upward mobility. As a frequent observer of this phenomenon, it's as scary and troublesome as unchecked credit card debt or an expensive chronic health condition. This is one of the many reasons why I believe our 50s can be the most challenging decade of our lives.

Assuming you can clear the mental challenges, the financial and administrative obstacles can leave you feeling like a Rube Goldberg machine.

Income, health insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, bills, expenses, short-term savings and retirement savings are all immediately important in the face of a job loss. Never mind your Parent PLUS loans, financially-dependent aging parents, and boomerang children (adult kids who live at home), which might all be lurking as well.

When does your income stop?

From the shocking moment a person learns their job is no longer their job, the word "triage" must flash in bright lights like an obnoxiously large sign in Times Square. This is more challenging than you might think. Like a pickpocket bumping into you right before he grabs your wallet, the distraction is the problem that takes your focus away from the real problem.

This is hard to do because of the emotion that arrives with the dirty deed. The mind immediately begins to race to sources of money and relief. And unfortunately that relief is often found in the wrong place.

The first thing you should do is identify the exact day your job income stops arriving . That's how much time you have to defuse the bomb. Your fuse may come in the form of a severance package, or work you've performed but haven't been paid for yet.

When do benefits kick in?

Next, and by next I mean five minutes later, explore your eligibility for unemployment benefits, and then file for them if you're able. However, in some states severance pay affects your immediate eligibility for unemployment benefits. In other words, you can't file for unemployment until your severance payments go away.

Assuming you can't just retire at this moment, which you likely can't, you must secure fresh employment income quickly. But quickly is relative to the length of your fuse. I've witnessed way too many people miscalculate the length and importance of their fuse. If you're able to get back to work quickly, the initial job loss plus severance ends up enhancing your financial life. If you take too much time, by your choice or that of the cosmos, boom.

The next move is much more hands-on, and must also be performed the day you find yourself without a job.

What nonessentials do I cut?

Grab your bank statement, a marker, and a calculator. As much as you want to pretend its business as usual, you shouldn't. Identify expenses that don't make sense if you don't have a job. Circle them. Add them up. Resolve to eliminate them for the time being, and possibly permanently. While this won't necessarily lengthen your fuse, it could lessen the severity of a potential boom.

The idea of diving into your spending habits on the day you lose your job is no fun. But when else will you have such a powerful reason to do so? You won't. It's better than dipping into your assets to fund your current lifestyle. And that's where we'll pick it up the next time.

We've covered day one. In my next column we will tackle day two and beyond.

Peter Dunn is an author, speaker and radio host, and he has a free podcast: "Million Dollar Plan." Have a question for Pete the Planner? Email him at AskPete@petetheplanner.com. The views and opinions expressed in this column are the author's and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.

[Aug 19, 2019] Rest assured "The Great War" did not mean "The Splendid war"

Aug 19, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

It was the World's largest war at that time and surpassed WW II in many statistics, although probably not "tonnage of bombs dropped". That latter was WW II, not surpassed until the Gulf War when USAF used up all it's old arsenal (the better to let more contracts, my dear).
To be fair, military aviation was in its infancy then. The slaughter on the Western front broke England's Social Structure and paved the way for the destruction of the British Empire. Four other empire's died as a consequence of WW I (German, Austrian, Russian, and Turkish)
Note: "Kaiser" derives from "Caesar" which was an Imperial title of the late Roman Empire besides being Gaius Julius Caesar's family name). Promises made to both Arabs and Jews by the two-faced British Foreign Office paved the way for today's Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
It was a shattering event which tend to occur at 100 year intervals. The one previous was the Napoleonic Wars. I forget the one before that. War of the Spanish succession? And coincidentally, we are now living a hundred years later in the Middle east Forever war, which I fully expect to have similar consequences. The rights and civil liberties of free Americans are already a casualty.

The Great War set the stage for the Great Depression. I think a similar depression occurred after the War of 1812 (Napoleonic War in Europe). I'd have to consult a history text to see about others, but our 1970's economic travails were mirrored after the Civil war and the dot com bust is eerily similar to the Depression of 1890.

There is a theory that wars and revolutions occur at two cycles of approximately 100 and 170 years based on temperature and rainfall cycles. Every 500 years they coincide in a 5-3 resonance and whole civilizations fall or are transformed. Toynbee's 1000 year cycles can be seen as two such resonances. Following his analysis, the first crisis turns the civilization inwards and autocratic. The second breaks it entirely. Religions change too. I forget how. My Toynbee is packed away. does anyone here know what were the religious changes? Interestingly, the next 500 year supercycle fell in 2000 AD, so we are now in the first major crisis of Western Technical Civilization? (my name for the Renaissance and beyond, usually prosaically called "Modern"). this should turn WTC inward and autocratic, eventually dying in the next event around 2500 AD which should entire the collapse of civilization and a great folk-wandering sparked by environmental collapse. (loss of Eurasian pasture in the case of 500AD, turning steppe peoples westward (China was having a civilization peak, no way were the Huns turning east. In fact, they were expelled from China.

Ain't history fun? unless you are living it.

[Aug 19, 2019] There Once Was a President Who Hated War. American elites used to see war as a tragic necessity. Now they're completely addicted to it by Stephen M. Walt

Notable quotes:
"... Stephen M. Walt ..."
"... Steven A. Cook ..."
"... Jeffrey Lewis ..."
Aug 18, 2019 | foreignpolicy.com
A statue of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his dog Fala are seen at the FDR Memorial September 20, 2012 in Washington, DC. KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images

Along with George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt is often hailed as one of the United States' greatest presidents. FDR gave Americans hope during the Great Depression, created key institutions like Social Security that remain broadly popular today, led the country to victory in World War II, and created a broad political coalition that endured for decades. He made mistakes -- as all presidents do -- but it's no wonder he's still regarded with reverence.

On Aug. 14, 1936 -- 83 years ago -- FDR gave a speech at Chautauqua in upstate New York, fulfilling a promise he had made at his inauguration in 1933. It is a remarkable speech, where FDR lays out his thoughts on the proper American approach to international affairs. He explains his "good neighbor" policy toward Latin America, along with his belief that although a more liberal international trade may not prevent war, "without a more liberal international trade, war is a natural sequence."

For me, the most remarkable feature of this speech is Roosevelt's blunt, vivid, and passionate denunciation of war, expressed with a candor that is almost entirely absent from political discourse today. After making it clear that "we are not isolationists, except insofar as we seek to isolate ourselves completely from war," he acknowledges that "so long as war exists on Earth, there will be some danger that even the nation which most ardently desires peace may be drawn into war."

But then he goes on:

"I have seen war. I have seen war on land and sea. I have seen blood running from the wounded. I have seen men coughing out their gassed lungs. I have seen the dead in the mud. I have seen cities destroyed. I have seen 200 limping, exhausted men come out of line -- the survivors of a regiment of 1,000 that went forward 48 hours before. I have seen children starving. I have seen the agony of mothers and wives. I hate war."

Roosevelt then reminds his listeners that war can result from many causes (including, in a passage that surely speaks to us today, "political fanaticisms in which are intertwined race hatreds"). He hopes to preserve U.S. neutrality should conflict erupt elsewhere and warns against the few selfish men who would seek to embroil the country in war solely to reap war profits. To make sure the country does not foolishly choose profits over peace, he calls for the "meditation, the prayer, and the positive support of the people of America who go along with us in seeking peace."

Yet, for all that, FDR leaves no doubt that the American people will defend themselves and their interests if war is forced on them. In his closing paragraph, he declares: "If there are remoter nations that wish us not good but ill, they know that we are strong; they know that we can and will defend ourselves and defend our neighborhood." And it is precisely what Roosevelt ultimately did.

Seriously, can you think of a recent U.S. president who spoke of war and peace in similar terms, with equal passion and frankness?

Bill Clinton was no militarist, but he was so worried about being labeled a dove that he kept boosting defense spending, firing off cruise missiles without thinking, and blindly assuming that exporting democracy, expanding trade, and issuing open-ended security guarantees would suffice to bring peace around the world. And when he had a golden opportunity to broker a lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace, he whiffed.

By contrast, George W. Bush was a swaggering frat boy who brought wars to several places and peace nowhere. He liked to pose in a nifty flight suit and give high-minded, tough-talking speeches, but the unnecessary wars he launched killed hundreds of thousands of people and severely damaged America's global position.

Barack Obama may have agonized over every targeted killing and major military decision, but he also ramped up the drone war, sent additional troops to Afghanistan to no good purpose, helped turn Libya into a failed state, and tacitly backed the Saudi-led war in Yemen. And when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (!), his acceptance speech focused as much on defending America's role in the world -- including its widespread use of military force -- as it did on extolling the virtues of peace and the measures that must be taken to advance it.

Ironically, though Donald Trump loves military parades, flybys, and the other visible trappings of military power, he seems rather leery of war. Like former Vice President Dick Cheney, who sought and received five separate deferments from the draft during Vietnam, Trump (or his father) apparently saw military service as something that only less fortunate people ought to participate in. As president, he does seem to recognize that starting some new war could hurt him politically, even as his more hawkish advisors keep pushing him in that direction. And we've yet to hear him extolling the virtues of peace as candidly as Roosevelt did in 1936.

Look, you don't have to tell a realist like me that we live in an imperfect world and that perpetual peace is a pipe dream. But the difficulty of the task is precisely why it merits serious attention. Yet instead of embracing peace as a virtue, U.S. politicians go to great lengths to show how tough they are and how ready they are to send Americans into harm's way in order to take out some alleged enemy. But how often do they talk about trying to understand the complex origins of most contemporary conflicts? How often do they try to empathize with the United States' adversaries, not in order to agree with them but so as to understand their position and to figure out a way to change their behavior without resorting to threats, coercion, or violence? How often do prominent politicians say, as Roosevelt did, that they "hate war"?

As I've said before , the U.S. disinterest in peace isn't just morally dubious; it's strategically myopic.

The United States should not shrink from fighting if such fighting is forced on it, but it should be the country's last resort rather than its first impulse. The United States is remarkably secure from most external dangers, and apart from political malfeasance at home (see: the Trump administration), the only thing that could really screw things up in the short term is a big war. War is bad for business (unless you're Boeing or Lockheed Martin), and it tends to elevate people who are good at manipulating violence but not so good at building up institutions, communities, or companies. When you're already on top of the world, encouraging the use of force isn't prudent; it's dumb. Peace, in short, is almost always in America's strategic interest.

Which makes it even more surprising that the word has mostly vanished from Americans' strategic vocabulary, and here I think two big factors are responsible. First, fewer politicians (and especially presidents) have "seen war" in the way that Roosevelt had. Harry Truman did, and so did Dwight D. Eisenhower (obviously), John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, Gerald Ford, and George H.W. Bush. Needless to say, none of the post-Cold War presidents ever saw war in the same way.

Equally important, both the political class and the public have been imbibing an intoxicating brew of militarist rhetoric, imagery, and argument for decades. Americans cheer the troops at baseball games, wave giddily at thunderous aerial flybys, and finance all of their military adventures by borrowing money so that no one has to make obvious sacrifices now.

In Roosevelt's era, Americans were still reluctant to "go abroad in search of monsters to destroy," but they fought with unexpected ferocity when attacked. They were slow to anger but united in response. The situation today is the exact opposite -- they are quick on the trigger provided that none of them have to do very much once the bullets are flying. Instead of seeing war as a tragic necessity that is to be avoided if at all possible, Americans regard it as a rather sanitary "policy option" that takes place in countries most of them cannot locate and is conducted primarily by drones, aircraft, and volunteers. Americans fight all the time but without clear purpose or firm resolve. As one would expect, they usually lose, although others often pay a much larger price than they do.

There are faint signs that this situation is changing, after nearly 25 years of mostly failed adventures abroad. The foreign-policy elite may have acquired a certain addiction to war , but longtime addicts sometimes decide to turn their lives around and kick the habit. As noted above, Trump hasn't started any new wars yet, and his various Democratic challengers aren't pushing for more war either. Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Tulsi Gabbard have pretty fair ( but not perfect ) records on this broad issue, and each has been vocal in opposing U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. Pete Buttigieg wants the United States to rely less on military force in some places (but not others), Kamala Harris has been mostly silent on the issue, and the other leading candidates have more mixed records. Don't forget that Joe Biden voted for the Iraq War, and both Cory Booker and Amy Klobuchar lean in more hawkish directions.

I'm waiting for one of them to start talking openly and intelligently about peace. What is needed to promote it, and how can the United States use its still considerable power to keep itself out of war and to help others escape its destructive clutches? If any of the 2020 candidates decide to tackle this issue head-on, they might start by reading what a great president once said, 83 years ago.

Stephen M. Walt is the Robert and Renée Belfer professor of international relations at Harvard University. View
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Tags: Peace , U.S. Foreign Policy , United States , Voice , War

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[Aug 19, 2019] CIA ( Dulles in particular) "invented" the term ""conspiracy theory" to further muddy the waters in the wash up from the Kennedy assassination.

Aug 19, 2019 | www.unz.com

animalogic , says: August 18, 2019 at 8:32 am GMT

@Sean McBride Not sure if I'm correct here, but my understanding is that the CIA (& & Dulles in particular) "invented" the term ""conspiracy theory" to further muddy the waters in the wash up from the Kennedy assassination.

[Aug 19, 2019] Conspiracy Theories From the Elders of Zion to Epstein's Youngsters by Gilad Atzmon

Aug 19, 2019 | www.unz.com

'Conspiracy theory' is how the mainstream media characterizes any narrative that differs from their reporting of the official line. What is a conspiracy theory? Can it be defined in categorical terms? Can a conspiracy theory be validated forensically or refuted by similar means? What criteria can be used to differentiate between a conspiracy theory and theoretical musings?

The labelling of a theory as 'conspiratorial' is an attempt to discredit its author/authors and deny its validity. A 'conspiracy theory' usually involves an explanatory thesis that points to a malevolent plot often involving a secretive interested party. The term 'conspiracy theory' has a pejorative connotation: its use suggests that the theory appeals to prejudice and/or involves a farfetched, unsubstantiated narrative built on insufficient evidence.

Those who oppose conspiracy theories argue that such theories resist falsification and are reinforced by circular reasoning, that such theories are primarily based on beliefs, as opposed to academic or scientific reasoning.

But this critique is also not exactly based on valid scholarly principles. It isn't just 'conspiracy theories' that resist falsification or are reinforced by circular reasoning. The philosopher Karl Popper, who defined the principle of falsifiability, would categorically maintain that Freudian psychoanalysis and Marxism fail for the same reasons. The Oedipal complex, for instance, has never been scientifically proven and can't be scientifically falsified or validated. Marxism also resists falsification. Despite Marx's 'scientific' predictions, the proletarian revolution never occurred. I have personally never come across anyone who refers to Marx or Freud as 'conspiracy theorists.' 'Resisting falsification' and "reinforced by circular reasoning," are traits of non-scientific theories and do not apply only to 'conspiracy theories.'

The Oxford English Dictionary defines conspiracy theory as "the theory that an event or phenomenon occurs as a result of a conspiracy between interested parties; spec. a belief that some covert but influential agency (typically political in motivation and oppressive in intent) is responsible for an unexplained event".

The Oxford dictionary does not set forth the criteria that define a conspiracy theory in categorical terms. The history of mankind is saturated with references to hidden plots led by influential parties.

The problem with refuting conspiracy theories is that they are often more elegant and explanatory than the official competing narratives. Such theories have a tendency to ascribe blame to hegemonic powers. In the past, conspiracy theories were popular mostly amongst fringe circles, they are now becoming commonplace in mass media. Alternative narratives are widely disseminated through social media. In some cases, they have been disseminated by official news outlets and even by the current American president. It is possible that the rapid rise in popularity of alternative explanatory theories is an indication of a growing mistrust of the current ruling class, its ideals, its interests and its demography.

The response to the story of Jeffrey Epstein's suicide is illustrative. The official narrative provoked a reaction that was a mixture of disbelief expressed in satire and inspired a plethora of theories that attempted to explain the saga that had escalated into the biggest sex scandal in the history of America and beyond.

The obvious question is what has led to the increase in popularity of so called 'conspiracy theories'? I would push it further and ask, why is a society that claims to be 'free' is threatened by the rise of alternative explanatory narratives?

In truth, the question is itself misleading. No one is really afraid of 'conspiracy theories' per se. You will not be arrested or lose your job for being a 'climate change denier.' You may speculate on and even deny the moon landing as much as you like. You are free to speculate about Kennedy's assassination as long as you don't mention the Mossad . You can even survive being a 911 truther and espouse as many alternative narratives as you like, however, the suggestion that ' Israel did 911' will get you into serious trouble. Examining 'The Protocols of the Elders of Zion' as a fictional, however prophetic , piece of literature can lead to imprisonment in some countries. Digging into the true origin of Bolshevism and the demographics of the Soviet revolution is practically a suicidal act. Telling the truth about Hitler's agreement with the Zionist agency will definitely result in your expulsion from the British Labour party and you will be accused of being at the least, theoretically conspiratorial .

[Aug 17, 2019] Debunking the Putin Panic by Stephen F. Cohen

Highly recommended!
Aug 17, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

STEPHEN COHEN: I'm not aware that Russia attacked Georgia. The European Commission, if you're talking about the 2008 war, the European Commission, investigating what happened, found that Georgia, which was backed by the United States, fighting with an American-built army under the control of the, shall we say, slightly unpredictable Georgian president then, Saakashvili, that he began the war by firing on Russian enclaves. And the Kremlin, which by the way was not occupied by Putin, but by Michael McFaul and Obama's best friend and reset partner then-president Dmitry Medvedev, did what any Kremlin leader, what any leader in any country would have had to do: it reacted. It sent troops across the border through the tunnel, and drove the Georgian forces out of what essentially were kind of Russian protectorate areas of Georgia.

So that- Russia didn't begin that war. And it didn't begin the one in Ukraine, either. We did that by [continents], the overthrow of the Ukrainian president in [20]14 after President Obama told Putin that he would not permit that to happen. And I think it happened within 36 hours. The Russians, like them or not, feel that they have been lied to and betrayed. They use this word, predatl'stvo, betrayal, about American policy toward Russia ever since 1991, when it wasn't just President George Bush, all the documents have been published by the National Security Archive in Washington, all the leaders of the main Western powers promised the Soviet Union that under Gorbachev, if Gorbachev would allow a reunited Germany to be NATO, NATO would not, in the famous expression, move two inches to the east.

Now NATO is sitting on Russia's borders from the Baltic to Ukraine. So Russians aren't fools, and they're good-hearted, but they become resentful. They're worried about being attacked by the United States. In fact, you read and hear in the Russian media daily, we are under attack by the United States. And this is a lot more real and meaningful than this crap that is being put out that Russia somehow attacked us in 2016. I must have been sleeping. I didn't see Pearl Harbor or 9/11 and 2016. This is reckless, dangerous, warmongering talk. It needs to stop. Russia has a better case for saying they've been attacked by us since 1991. We put our military alliance on the front door. Maybe it's not an attack, but it looks like one, feels like one. Could be one.


Disturbed Voter , July 30, 2018 at 6:32 am

Real politik. Don't bring a knife to a gun fight. Don't start fights in the first place. The idea that American leadership is any better than mid-Victorian imperialism, is laughable.

Jerri-Lynn Scofield , July 30, 2018 at 8:15 am

Here's the RNN link to part one: The Russia "National Security Crisis" is a U.S. Creation .

integer , July 30, 2018 at 7:12 am

AARON MATE: We hear, often, talk of Putin possibly being the richest person in the world as a result of his entanglement with the very corruption of Russia you're speaking about

Few appear to be aware that Bill Browder is single-handedly responsible for starting, and spreading, the rumor that Putin's net worth is $200 billion (for those who are unfamiliar with Browder, I highly recommend watching Andrei Nekrasov's documentary titled " The Magnitsky Act – Behind the Scenes "). Browder appears to have first started this rumor early in 2015 , and has repeated it ad nauseam since then, including in his testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2017 . While Browder has always framed the $200 billion figure as his own estimate, that subtle qualifier has had little effect on the media's willingness to accept it as fact.

Interestingly, during the press conference at the Helsinki Summit, Putin claimed Browder sent $400 million of ill-gotten gains to the Clinton campaign. Putin retracted the statement and claimed to have misspoke a week or so later, however by that time the $400 million figure had been cited by numerous media outlets around the world. I think it is at least possible that Putin purposely exaggerated the amount of money in question as a kind of tit-for-tat response to Browder having started the rumor about his net worth being $200 billion.

Blue Pilgrim , July 30, 2018 at 11:39 am

The stories I saw said there was a mistranslation -- but that the figure should have $400 thousand and not $400 million. Maybe Putin misspoke, but the $400,000 number is still significant, albeit far more reasonable.

Putin never was on the Forbes list of billionaires, btw, and his campaign finance statement comes to far less. It never seems to occur to rabid capitalists or crooks that not everyone is like them, placing such importance on vast fortunes, or want to be dishonest, greedy, or power hungry. Putin is only 'well off' and that seems to satisfy him just fine as he gets on with other interests, values, and goals.

integer , July 30, 2018 at 12:03 pm

Yes, $400,000 is the revised/correct figure. My having written that "Putin retracted the statement" was not the best choice of phrase. Also, the figure was corrected the day after it was made, not "a week or so later" as I wrote in my previous comment. From the Russia Insider link:

Browder's criminal group used many tax evasion methods, including offshore companies. They siphoned shares and funds from Russia worth over 1.5 billion dollars. By the way, $400,000 was transferred to the US Democratic Party's accounts from these funds. The Russian president asked us to correct his statement from yesterday. During the briefing, he said it was $400,000,000, not $400,000. Either way, it's still a significant amount of money.

JohnnyGL , July 30, 2018 at 2:54 pm

I hadn't heard about the revision/edit to the $400M, thanks!

Seems crazy to think how much Russo-phobia seems to have been ginned up by one tax-dodging hedgie with an axe to grind.

Procopius , July 31, 2018 at 1:11 am

There's something weird about the anti-Putin hysteria. Somehow, many, many people have come to believe they must demonstrate their membership in the tribe by accepting completely unsupported assertions that go against common sense.

Eureka Springs , July 30, 2018 at 7:58 am

In a sane world we the people would be furious with the Clinton campaign, especially the D party but the R's as well, our media (again), and our intel/police State (again). Holding them all accountable while making sure this tsunami of deception and lies never happens again.

It's amazing even in time of the internetz those of us who really dig can only come up with a few sane voices. It's much worse now in terms of the numbers of sane voices than it was in the run up to Iraq 2.

CenterOfGravity , July 30, 2018 at 12:52 pm

Regardless of broad access to far more information in the digital age, never under estimate the self-preservation instinct of American exceptionalist mythology. There is an inverse relationship between the decline of US global primacy and increasingly desperate quest for adventurism. Like any case of addiction, looking outward for blame/salvation is imperative in order to prevent the mirror of self-reflection/realization from turning back onto ourselves.

integer , July 30, 2018 at 9:28 am

we're not to believe we're not supposed to believe we're supposed to believe

Believe whatever you want, however your comment gives the impression that you came to this article because you felt the need to push back against anything that does not conform to the liberal international order's narrative on Putin and Russia, rather than "with an eagerness to counterbalance the media's portrayal of Putin". WRT to whataboutism, I like Greenwald's definition of the term :

"Whataboutism": the term used to bar inquiry into whether someone adheres to the moral and behavioral standards they seek to impose on everyone else. That's its functional definition.

Rojo , July 30, 2018 at 12:25 pm

Invoking "whataboutism" is a liberal team-Dem tell.

Amfortas the Hippie , July 30, 2018 at 2:20 pm

aye. I've never seen it used by anyone aside from the worst Hill Trolls.
Indeed, when it was first thrown at me, I endeavored to look it up, and found that all references to it were from Hillaryites attempting to diss apostates and heretics.

Jonathan Holland Becnel , July 30, 2018 at 8:22 pm

Eh, probably

John Oliver, whos been completely sucking lately with TDS, did a semi decent segment on Whataboutism.

Eureka Springs , July 30, 2018 at 9:52 am

The degree of consistency and or lack of hypocrisy based on words and actions separates US from Russia to an astonishing level. That is Russia's largest threat to US, our deceivers. The propaganda tables have turned and we are deceiving ourselves to points of collective insanity and warmongering with a great nuclear power while we are at it. Warmongering is who we are and what we do.

Does Russia have a GITMO, torture Chelsea Manning, openly say they want to kill Snowden and Assange? Is Russia building up arsenals on our borders while maintaining hundreds of foreign bases and conducting several wars at any given moment while constantly threatening to foment more wars? Is Russia dropping another trillion on nuclear arsenals? Is Russia forcing us to maintain such an anti democratic system and an even worse, an entirely hackable electronic voting system?

You ready to destroy the world, including your own, rather than look in the mirror?

rkka , July 30, 2018 at 9:52 am

You're talking about extending Russian military power into Europe when the military spending of NATO Europe alone exceeds Russia's by almost 5-1 (more like 12-1 when one includes the US and Canada), have about triple the number of soldiers than Russia has, and when the Russian ground forces are numerically smaller than they have been in at least 200 years?

" to put their self-interests above those of their constituents and employees, why can't we apply this same lens to Putin and his oligarchs?"

The oligarchs got their start under Yeltsin and his FreeMarketDemocraticReformers, whose policies were so catastrophic that deaths were exceeding births by almost a million a year by the late '90s, with no end in sight. Central to Yeltsin's governance was the corrupt privatization, by which means the Seven Bankers came to control the Russian economy and Russian politics.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Semibankirschina

Central to Putin's popularity are the measures he took to curb oligarchic predation in 2003-2005. Because of this, Russia's debt:GDP ratio went from 1.0 to about 0.2, and Russia's demographic recovery began while Western analysis were still predicting the death of Russia.

So Putin is the anti-oligarch in Russian domestic politics.

Blue Pilgrim , July 30, 2018 at 12:17 pm

"While it's true that power corrupts"

I know of many people who sacrifice their own interests for those of their children (over whom they have virtually absolute power), family member and friends. I know of others who dedicate their lives to justice, peace, the well being of their nation, the world, and other people -- people who find far greater meaning and satisfaction in this than in accumulating power or money. Other people have their own goals, such as producing art, inventing interesting things, reading and learning, and don't care two hoots about power or money as long as their immediate needs are met.

I'm cynical enough about humans without thinking the worst of everyone and every group or culture. Not everyone thinks only of nails and wants to be hammers, or are sociopaths. There are times when people are more or less forced into taking power, or getting more money, even if they don't want it, because they want to change things for the better or need to defend themselves.
There are people who get guns and learn how to use them only because they feel a need for defending themselves and family but who don't like guns and don't want to shoot anyone or anything.

There are many people who do not want to be controlled and bossed around, but neither want to boss around anyone else. The world is full of such people. If they are threatened and attacked, however, expect defensive reactions. Same as for most animals which are not predators, and even predators will generally not attack other animals if they are not hungry or threatened -- but that does not mean they are not competent or can be dangerous.

Capitalism is not only inherently predatory, but is inherently expansive without limits, with unlimited ambition for profits and control. It's intrinsically very competitive and imperialist. Capitalism is also a thing which was exported to Russia, starting soon after the Russian Revolution, which was immediately attacked and invaded by the West, and especially after the fall of the Soviet Union. Soviet Russia had it's own problems, which it met with varying degrees of success, but were quite different from the aggressive capitalism and imperialism of the US and Europe.

Not every culture and person are the same.

BenX , July 30, 2018 at 3:28 pm

The pro-Putin propaganda is pretty interesting to witness, and of course not everything Cohen says is skewed pro-Putin – that's what provides credibility. But "Putin kills everybody" is something NOBODY says (except Cohen, twice in one interview) – Putin is actually pretty selective of those he decides to have killed. But of course, he doesn't kill anyone, personally – therefore he's an innocent lamb, accidentally running Russia as a dictator.

rkka , July 31, 2018 at 9:11 am

The most recent dictator in Russian history was Boris Yeltsin, who turned tanks on his legislature while it was in the legal and constitutional process of impeaching him, and whose policies were so catastrophic for Russians (who were dying off at the rate of 900k/yr) that he had to steal his re-election because he had a 5% approval rating.

But he did as the US gvt told him, so I guess that makes him a Democrat.

Under Putin Russia recovered from being helpless, bankrupt & dying, but Russia has an independent foreign policy, so that makes Putin a dictator.

Plenue , July 30, 2018 at 3:54 pm

"Does any sane person believe that there will ever be a Putin-signed contract provided as evidence? Does any sane person believe that Putin actually needs to "approve" a contract rather than signaling to his oligarch/mafia hierarchy that he's unhappy about a newspaper or journalist's reporting?"

Why do you think Putin even needs, or feels a need, to have journalists killed in the first place? I see no evidence to support this basic assumption.

The idea of Russia poised to attack Europe is interesting, in light of the fact that they've cut their military spending by 20%. And even before that the budgets of France, Germany, and the UK combined well exceeded that of Russia, to say nothing of the rest of NATO or the US.

Putin's record speaks for itself. This again points to the absurdity of claiming he's had reporters killed: he doesn't need to. He has a vast amount of genuine public support because he's salvaged the country and pieced it back together after the pillaging of the Yeltsin years. That he himself is a corrupt oligarch I have no particular doubt of. But if he just wanted to enrich himself, he's had a very funny way of going about it. Pray tell, what are these 'other interpretations'?

"The US foreign policy has been disastrous for millions of people since world war 2. But Cohen's arguments that Russia isn't as bad as the US is just a bunch of whattaboutism."

What countries has the Russian Federation destroyed?

witters , July 31, 2018 at 1:30 am

Here is a fascinating essay ["Are We Reading Russia Right?"] by Nicolai N. Petro who currently holds the Silvia-Chandley Professorship of Peace Studies and Nonviolence at the University of Rhode Island. His books include, Ukraine
in Crisis (Routledge, 2017), Crafting Democracy (Cornell, 2004), The Rebirth of Russian Democracy (Harvard, 1995), and Russian Foreign Policy, co-authored with Alvin Z. Rubinstein (Longman, 1997). A graduate of the University of Virginia, he is the recipient of Fulbright awards to Russia and to Ukraine, as well as fellowships from the Foreign Policy Research Institute, the National Council for Eurasian and East European Research, the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies in Washington,
D.C., and the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. As a Council on Foreign Relations Fellow, he served as special assistant for policy toward the Soviet Union in the U.S. Department of State from 1989 to 1990. In addition to scholarly publications
on Russia and Ukraine, he has written for Asia Times, American Interest, Boston Globe, Christian Science Monitor, The Guardian (UK), The Nation, New York Times, and Wilson Quarterly. His writings have appeared frequently on the web sites of the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs and The National Interest.

I warn you – it is terrifying!

http://npetro.net/resources/Petro-FF+Spring+2018.pdf

Carolinian , July 30, 2018 at 8:55 am

Thanks for so much for this. Great stuff. Cohen says the emperor has no clothes so naturally the empire doesn't want him on television. I believe he has been on CNN one or two times and I saw him once on the PBS Newshour where the interviewer asked skeptical questions with a pained and skeptical look. He seems to be the only prominent person willing to stand up and call bs on the Russia hate. There are plenty of pundits and commentators who do that but not many Princeton professors.

Thye Rev Kev , July 30, 2018 at 9:04 am

It has been said in recent years that the greatest failure of American foreign policy was the invasion of Iraq. I think that they are wrong. The greatest failure, in my opinion, is to push both China and Russia together into a semi-official pact against American ambitions. In the same way that the US was able to split China from the USSR back in the seventies, the best option was for America to split Russia from China and help incorporate them into the western system. The waters for that idea have been so fouled by the Russia hysteria, if not dementia, that that is no longer a possibility. I just wish that the US would stop sowing dragon's teeth – it never ends well.

NotTimothyGeithner , July 30, 2018 at 9:45 am

The best option, but the "American exceptionalists" went nuts. Also, the usual play book of stoking fears of the "yellow menace" would have been too on the nose. Americans might not buy it, and there was a whole cottage industry of "the rising China threat" except the potential consumer market place and slave labor factories stopped that from happening.

Bringing Russia into the West effectively means Europe, and I think that creates a similar dynamic to a Russian/Chinese pact. The basic problem with the EU is its led by a relatively weak but very German power which makes the EU relatively weak or controllable as long as the German electorate is relatively sedate. I think they still need the international structures run by the U.S. to maintain their dominance. What Russia and the pre-Erdogan Turkey (which was never going to be admitted to the EU) presented was significant upsets to the existing EU order with major balances to Germany which I always believed would make the EU potentially more dynamic. Every decision wouldn't require a pilgrimage to Berlin. The British were always disinterested. The French had made arrangements with Germany, and Italy is still Italy. Putting Russia or Turkey (pre-Erdogan) would have disrupted this arrangement.

John Wright , July 30, 2018 at 11:11 am

>which is oddly not easy to locate on its site

It appeared to me that Aaron Mate knew he was dealing with a weak hand by the end of the interview.

When Mate stated "it's widely held that Putin is responsible for the killing of journalists and opposition activists who oppose him."

There are many widely held beliefs in the world, and that does not make them true.

For example, It was widely held, and still may be believed by some, that Saddam Hussein was involved in the events of 9/11.

It is widely believed that humans are not responsible, in any part, for climate change.

Mate may have been embarrassed when he saw the final version and as a courtesy to him, the interview was made more difficult to find.

pretzelattack , July 30, 2018 at 11:35 am

iirc he didn't say it was true.

Elizabeth Burton , July 30, 2018 at 7:18 pm

The Crimea voted to be annexed by Russia by a clear majority. The US overran Hawaii with total disregard for the wishes of the native population. Your comparison is invalid.

vato , July 31, 2018 at 3:37 am

"Putin's finger prints are all over the Balkan fiasco".How is that with Putin only becoming president in 2000 and the Nato bombing started way beforehand. It's ridiculous to think that Putin had any major influence at that time as govenor or director of the domestic intelligence service on what was going during the bombing of NATO on Belgrad. Even Gerhard Schroeder, then chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany, admitted in an interview in 2014 with a major German Newspaper (Die Zeit) that this invasion of Nato was a fault and against international law!

Can you concrete what you mean by "fingerprints" or is this just another platitudes?

ewmayer , July 31, 2018 at 6:05 pm

"Somebody called it Trump derangement syndrome."

I believe that the full and proper name of the psychiatric disorder in question is Putin-Trump Derangement Syndrome [PTDS].

Symptoms include:

o Eager and uncritical ingestion and social-media regurgitation of even the most patently absurd MSM propaganda. For example, the meme that releasing factual information about actual election-meddling (as Wikileaks did about the Dem-establishment's rigging of its own nomination process in 2016) is a grave threat to American Democracy™;

o Recent-onset veneration of the intelligence agencies, whose stock in trade is spying on and lying to the American people, spreading disinformation, election rigging, torture and assassination and its agents, such as liar and perjurer Clapper and torturer Brennan;

o Rehabilitation of horrid unindicted GOP war criminals like G.W. Bush as alleged examples of "norms-respecting Republican patriots";

o Smearing of anyone who dares question the MSM-stoked hysteria as an America-hating Russian stooge.

[Aug 17, 2019] Putin-Trump Derangement Syndrome (PTDS)

Highly recommended!
Aug 17, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

ewmayer , July 31, 2018 at 6:05 pm

"Somebody called it Trump derangement syndrome."

I believe that the full and proper name of the psychiatric disorder in question is Putin-Trump Derangement Syndrome [PTDS].

Symptoms include:

[Aug 17, 2019] Ukraine reveals it staged 'murder' of Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko

Aug 17, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Marko , August 14, 2019 at 18:24

Remember this ? :

"Ukraine reveals it staged 'murder' of Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko"

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/30/russian-journalist-arkady-babchenko-who-was-reported-killed-is-still-alive

In this case the authorities voluntarily admitted to the ruse , but if they had chosen to , and with the cooperation of a handful of family members and the like , Babchenko could have remained "dead" , while living a long and happy life in some faraway place.

[Aug 17, 2019] In the grand scheme of things, there is a compelling historical argument for the idea that when the NSA/CIA was created, Dulles found an opportunity to consolidate control of information and by logic, populations which was in reality, a velvet coup

Notable quotes:
"... The other aspect this control and coup was NACA being taken over by Nazi Intel/strategists/scientists/war planners through Paper Clip and other relations of the Dulles family were involved with this. Dulles had not one patriotic bone in his body but only cared about elitism, and power. Yes, he made patriotic statements but they were as thin as his skin. ..."
Aug 17, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Tim Jones , August 15, 2019 at 20:47

Because "The links between high government officials, CIA, FBI, and organized crime is astonishing." we will never have an answer, just like John Kennedy, MLK, etc.

In the grand scheme of things, there is a compelling historical argument for the idea that when the NSA/CIA was created, Dulles found an opportunity to consolidate control of information and by logic, populations which was in reality, a velvet coup.

The other aspect this control and coup was NACA being taken over by Nazi Intel/strategists/scientists/war planners through Paper Clip and other relations of the Dulles family were involved with this. Dulles had not one patriotic bone in his body but only cared about elitism, and power. Yes, he made patriotic statements but they were as thin as his skin.

[Aug 16, 2019] One of the ways the Deep State undermines conspiracy theories is to plant evidence purporting to support the theory, but easily disproved by easily available information

Notable quotes:
"... Even more importantly, we should all be troubled by efforts to shut down content and discussions labeled "false and misleading" on major social media platforms . ..."
"... Conspiracies can be found out by many different ways e.g. documents uncovered, discrepancies, evidence that contradicts what has been claimed etc. ..."
"... "A two decade old CT, like 9/11, or worse, one six decades old (the JFK assassination), are false because they would have involved too many people–someone would have blown the whistle, if only on their deathbed." ..."
"... "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. ..."
"... The old adage 'two men can keep a secret, if one of them is dead' applies here. ..."
"... This co-ordinated and global media attack on the 'Conspiracy Theorist' is co-ordinated and Global for good reason. ..."
"... The determination of international deepstate to make illegal any question or recognition of it under guise of 'Conspiracy theorist=domestic terrorist/anti-semite/anti-Zionist/BDS/trump supporting white supremacist(etc)'- conflating those ULTRA memes with growing awareness of the Anglo/Yankee/zionist PSYOPS underway globally, mean we are entering a choke point in progression of reason, truth and beauty. ..."
"... The danger of the conspiracy theorist to the present world order, is that most of the BIG ones, the nasty ones, are true. And CIA operation Mockingbirds' job (Quote) 'is to Guard against the illicit Transformation of Probability into Certainty," that they are . ..."
"... Ultimately, the average conspiracy theorist has a better grasp of how the world works than the average liberal. ..."
"... The reality is that the ruling class and its public servants really do have a parasitic and predatory relationship to the vast majority of humanity ..."
"... I like Michael Moore's response when asked if he believed the conspiracy theories which were floating about at the time: "Just the ones that are true" ..."
"... A conspiracy theory, like any theory is as strong as the evidence put forward to support it. ..."
"... One of the ways they will do this is to plant "evidence" purporting to support the theory, but easily disproved by easily available information. Unfortunately,it is a sad fact that far too many "conspiracy theorists" readily accept and share along with genuine evidence, this planted "evidence" to the wider internet, thereby undermining the solid evidence of a conspiracy, by associating it with the easily disprovable nonsense. ..."
"... For example, after the attack on the WTC Kissinger was appointed to the head the 9/11 commission (before stepping down). ..."
"... 'Conspiracy theorists' would have thought – why are neocons appointing a mass-murdering neocon to investigate an event that might have involved neocons (raising obvious credibility issues) – whereas those who regard conspiracy theorists as dribbling fruitcakes would have welcomed the appointment of the nobel peace prize winner. ..."
OffGuardian

Noam Chomsky has pointed out , the more educated we are, the more we are a target for state-corporate propaganda. Even journalists outside the mainstream may internalize establishment values and prejudices. Which brings us to Parramore's embrace of the term "conspiracy theory." Once a neutral and little-used phrase, "conspiracy theory" was infamously weaponized in 1967 by a memo from the CIA to its station chiefs worldwide.

Troubled by growing mass disbelief in the "lone nut" theory of President Kennedy's assassination, and concerned that "[c]onspiracy theories have frequently thrown suspicion on our organization," the agency directed its officers to "discuss the publicity problem with friendly and elite contacts (especially politicians and editors)" and to "employ propaganda assets to answer and refute the attacks of the critics. Book reviews and feature articles are particularly appropriate for this purpose."

As Kevin Ryan writes , and various analyses have shown :

In the 45 years before the CIA memo came out, the phrase 'conspiracy theory' appeared in the Washington Post and New York Times only 50 times, or about once per year. In the 45 years after the CIA memo, the phrase appeared 2,630 times, or about once per week."
While it turns out that Parramore knows something about this hugely successful propaganda drive, she chose in her NBC piece to deploy the phrase as the government has come to define it, i.e., as "something that requires no consideration because it is obviously not true." This embeds a fallacy in her argument which only spreads as she goes on. Likewise, the authors of the studies she cites, who attempt to connect belief in "conspiracy theories" to "narcissistic personality traits," are not immune to efforts to manipulate the wider culture. Studies are only as good as the assumptions from which they proceed; in this case, the assumption was provided by an interested Federal agency. And what of their suggested diagnosis?

The DSM-5's criteria for narcissism include "a pervasive pattern of grandiosity a need for admiration and lack of empathy." My experience in talking to writers and advocates who -- to mention a few of the subjects Parramore cites -- seek justice in the cases of the political murders of the Sixties , have profound concerns about vaccine safety , or reject the official conspiracy theory of 9/11 , does not align with that characterization.

On the contrary, most of the people I know who hold these varied (and not always shared) views are deeply empathic, courageously humble, and resigned to a life on the margins of official discourse, even as they doggedly seek to publicize what they have learned. A number of them have arrived at their views through painful, direct experience, like the loss of a friend or the illness of a child, but far from having a "negative view of humanity," as Parramore writes, most hold a deep and abiding faith in the power of regular people to see injustice and peacefully oppose it. In that regard, they share a great deal in common with writers like Parramore: ultimately, we all want what's best for our children, and none of us want a world ruled by unaccountable political-economic interests. If we want to achieve that world, then we should work together to promote speech that is free from personal attacks on all sides. Even more importantly, we should all be troubled by efforts to shut down content and discussions labeled "false and misleading" on major social media platforms.

Who will decide what is false and what is true? ... ... ...

President Kennedy said:

a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people."
Perhaps we should take a closer look at ideas that so frighten the powers-that-be. Far from inviting our ridicule, the people who insist that we look in these forbidden places may one day deserve our thanks.
John Kirby is a documentary filmmaker. His latest project, Four Died Trying, examines what John Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy were doing in the last years of their lives which may have led to their deaths.

George
I am responding to an earlier comment you made because, for some reason, I cannot reply to it in the proper place.

"The old adage 'two men can keep a secret, if one of them is dead' applies here."

Wrong: secrets can be uncovered even if both of them are dead.

"The conspiracies we know about are exposed because someone talks, or a computer gets hacked."

Conspiracies can be found out by many different ways e.g. documents uncovered, discrepancies, evidence that contradicts what has been claimed etc.

"A two decade old CT, like 9/11, or worse, one six decades old (the JFK assassination), are false because they would have involved too many people–someone would have blown the whistle, if only on their deathbed."

Always a bad sign when you start to repeat "would have". Lots of presumption here.

"No new facts have emerged because the only people who knew anything are long dead, taking the reasons to their graves .."

New facts can emerge all the time even regarding the most ancient of events.

" .or in the case of 9/11, because there was no great conspiracy, beyond the one reported."

So you now have godlike omniscience?

"A propensity for subscribing to conspiracy theories, is, sad to say, indicative of mental inadequacy "

There's no point in going much further here. You now devolve into psychobabble which, as always, is based on the dogmatic assertion that you are right. (cf. the formerly mentioned godlike omniscience)

Ragnar
"If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie.

It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State." These words are attributed to Joseph Goebbels.

-So, George, it would hardly make a difference whether the State is Marxist or Capitalist. It's either power or truth. They are inherently different and can not be reconciled. Ultimately, there is no bridge possible.

However, so-called "common" goals are of a lower order and cooperation here is possible, temporarily. These relationships are unstable and prone to breaking up precisely because they're ultimately not common at all. The principle are different and the personalities too. Ships Passing In The Night, like. -See?

George
We all have common goals. Basically the goals of life and health. And these are hardly goals "of a lower order". If that was true then we must be living in a state of "postmodernist relativity" where anyone can decide arbitrarily what matters. And that would certainly lead to your ships-passing-in-the-night scenario i.e. the ultimate divide-and-rule vision.

As for power, the late Marxist writer Ellen Meiksins Wood noted that, in modern times, we have an unprecedented degree of political freedom. But the reason for that is that power no longer lies in politics. It lies in economics. What is the point of having formal rights when your livelihood is gone?

William HBonney

The old adage 'two men can keep a secret, if one of them is dead' applies here.

The conspiracies we know about are exposed because someone talks, or a computer gets hacked. A two decade old CT, like 9/11, or worse, one six decades old (the JFK assassination), are false because they would have involved too many people – someone would have blown the whistle, if only on their deathbed. No new facts have emerged because the only people who knew anything are long dead, taking the reasons to their graves, or in the case of 9/11, because there was no great conspiracy, beyond the one reported.

A propensity for subscribing to conspiracy theories, is, sad to say, indicative of mental inadequacy. Such people are unable to deal with the complexities of the world as it is, and therefore seek to make it a world of black and white, good and evil, heroes and villains. The internet, with its blurring of fantasy and fact enables them. This is why discussions like this get so polarised.

TFS

1. 9/11 and JFK are false because WILLIAM HBonney has declared it so.

Boom, thanks for watching kids.

2. In other news, some Conspiracy Theorists Imagined 747-E4Bs above Washington at the time of 9/11 and 25+second delay introduced into the Air Traffic Control System but the Official Conspiracy Account of 9/11 didn't discuss it because there was nothing to see.

3. In related news, HWB wack jobs go on one

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/07/no_author/new-york-fire-commissioners-call-for-new-9-11-investigation-about-pre-planted-explosives/

4. Corbett, goes off on one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HXYswf3lzU8

5. And again, Corbett goes even more mental. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWLis-TVB2w

6. But it's ok kidz, because HWB wack jobs, like first responders, police, fire personnel architects, physicists, former military personnel, pilots, Nobel Peace Prixe winners, medical experts, etc etc all collectively asertained that the Official Conspiracy Theory of 9/11 is about as usefull as the Warren Commission Report.

7. HOWEVER, HWB THINKS YOU'RE A WACK JOB.

r. rebar
unless & until someone goes to jail -- there are no conspiracies & as silence is -- like any commodity -- only as good as the price paid to maintain it -- those who know have a real vested interest in not talking (it's not a secret if you tell someone)
roger morris
Ms Parramore is doing nothing more than her profession and tenure demands. Witting or un-witting. This co-ordinated and global media attack on the 'Conspiracy Theorist' is co-ordinated and Global for good reason.

It is the 'Great Wurlitzer' at full throat coinciding with extraordinary reductions in internet freedoms of information flow. The determination of international deepstate to make illegal any question or recognition of it under guise of 'Conspiracy theorist=domestic terrorist/anti-semite/anti-Zionist/BDS/trump supporting white supremacist(etc)'- conflating those ULTRA memes with growing awareness of the Anglo/Yankee/zionist PSYOPS underway globally, mean we are entering a choke point in progression of reason, truth and beauty.

A read of the Cass Sunstein/Cornelius Adrian Comstock Vermeule Paper describing 'Conspiracy theory' as a 'crippled Epistemology' and determining 'COINTELPRO' type strategies to counter the danger of their truth becoming certainty, will enlighten those in the dark of IIO methodology and expose Ms Parramore as a true MOCKINGBIRD.

The danger of the conspiracy theorist to the present world order, is that most of the BIG ones, the nasty ones, are true. And CIA operation Mockingbirds' job (Quote) 'is to Guard against the illicit Transformation of Probability into Certainty," that they are .

mathias alexand
Try this for conspiracy thinking

https://lorenzoae.wordpress.com/2016/05/31/part-2/

George
Good link. I like this bit:

"Ultimately, the average conspiracy theorist has a better grasp of how the world works than the average liberal. Even the most outlandish "conspiracy theory" in existence -- that people like George W. Bush and Queen Elizabeth are shape-shifting, extra-dimensional reptilians -- is closer to the truth than what liberals believe.

The reality is that the ruling class and its public servants really do have a parasitic and predatory relationship to the vast majority of humanity "

I've often felt there is a lot of (metaphorical!) truth in David Icke's ravings, although the reptile image is unfortunate in that actual reptiles are amongst the most sedate and peaceful creatures.

Molloy
Eichmann and today's useful idiots; Hannah Arendt

(start Arendt quote)

Despite all the efforts of the prosecution, everybody could see that this man was not a "monster," but it was difficult indeed not to suspect that he was a clown. And since this suspicion would have been fatal to the whole enterprise, and was also rather hard to sustain, in view of the sufferings he and his like had caused so many millions of people, his worst clowneries were hardly noticed. What could you do with a man who first declared, with great emphasis, that the one thing he had learned in an ill-spent life was that one should never take an oath ("Today no man, no judge could ever persuade me to make a sworn statement. I refuse it; I refuse it for moral reasons. Since my experience tells me that if one is loyal to his oath, one day he has to take the consequences, I have made up my mind once and for all that no judge in the world or other authority will ever be capable of making me swear an oath, to give sworn testimony.

I won't do it voluntarily and no one will be able to force me"), and then, after being told explicitly that if he wished to testify in his own defense he might "do so under oath or without an oath," declared without further ado that he would prefer to testify under oath? Or who, repeatedly and with a great show of feeling, assured the court, as he had assured the police examiner, that the worst thing he could do would be to try to escape his true responsibilities, to fight for his neck, to plead for mercy -- and then, upon instruction of his counsel, submitted a handwritten document that contained a plea for mercy?

As far as Eichmann was concerned, these were questions of changing moods, not of inconsistencies, and as long as he was capable of finding, either in his memory or on the spur of the moment, an elating stock phrase to go with them, he was quite content.
(end quote)

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/1963/02/16/eichmann-in-jerusalem-i

Molloy
Chomsky dealing with the indoctrinated. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lLcpcytUnWU&app=desktop Why it is important to call out the so-called 'Global Elite' facilitators on here.

And why it is essential to understand what Eichmann was facilitating (and the madness that morphed into the same apartheid bigotry in the 21st century).

Better understand than be hanged.

Gary Weglarz

I appreciate the article, but the sentence below is offered with no logical or rational support – it is simply an evidence free assertion:

("But Parramore and many journalists like her are neither assets of an intelligence service nor unthinking tools of big media; ) – really?

It is quite clear that if someone "is" (an asset of an intelligence service) that they will certainly not be broadcasting this fact to the world or to friends and family. And for someone to assert that "conspiracies" don't exist in the real world requires a level of credulity that most intelligent and rational people the least bit familiar with the historical record would find rather difficult to muster up. I dare say it would be much easier in fact to prove the assertion that our Western history is simply the "history of conspiracies" given the oligarchic control of Western populations for millennia. This is hardly "rocket science" as they say. We do have a rather well documented historical record to fall back on to show the endless scheming of Western oligarchy behind the backs of Western populations.

wardropper
I like Michael Moore's response when asked if he believed the conspiracy theories which were floating about at the time: "Just the ones that are true"
John Thatcher
A conspiracy theory, like any theory is as strong as the evidence put forward to support it. Often people offer as fact conspiracies that only as yet exist as theories,with greater or lesser amounts of evidence to support.I have no doubt that interested parties who are the accused in these theories, will mount efforts to discredit any theory mounted against them or those they represent.

One of the ways they will do this is to plant "evidence" purporting to support the theory, but easily disproved by easily available information. Unfortunately,it is a sad fact that far too many "conspiracy theorists" readily accept and share along with genuine evidence, this planted "evidence" to the wider internet, thereby undermining the solid evidence of a conspiracy, by associating it with the easily disprovable nonsense.

Harry Stotle

Isn't it high time we had a term to describe those who always accept the official version of events after controversial political incidents no matter how implausible this account might be?

For example, after the attack on the WTC Kissinger was appointed to the head the 9/11 commission (before stepping down).

'Conspiracy theorists' would have thought – why are neocons appointing a mass-murdering neocon to investigate an event that might have involved neocons (raising obvious credibility issues) – whereas those who regard conspiracy theorists as dribbling fruitcakes would have welcomed the appointment of the nobel peace prize winner.

Anyway, here's a clip of Henry – the believers in everything the government say would never have considered the objections raised in the film – such questions are tantamount to mental illness according to these 'progressives'.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/YcxjJDlbnC4?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

[Aug 16, 2019] Two key questions facing the nation is the unchecked power of MIC and financial oligarchy. Unless they are tamed the USA will follow the road of the USSR sooner or later

Notable quotes:
"... The election will be waged, like the primaries, around race-baiting. Biden will be the first victim. The other white candidates are running scared & becoming more shrill in their denunciations of whites in general by the hour. ..."
Aug 16, 2019 | www.unz.com

swamped , says: August 16, 2019 at 8:20 am GMT

"the Great Arsenal of Democracy was looted by" the military-industrial complex Arsenal & it's unending wars & nothing short of nuclear annihilation is going to change that. There is no Democrat who is willing to bet their chance at the presidency on pulling it down.

And the American public, by and large, is put to sleep by lengthy discussions of the intricacies of trade policy.

The election will be waged, like the primaries, around race-baiting. Biden will be the first victim. The other white candidates are running scared & becoming more shrill in their denunciations of whites in general by the hour.

There's no telling where it all may lead but it's becoming clearer day by day that the hostility will outlast the primaries & the general election will be a very ugly affair. There's no turning back to the soothing center now, it will be an us-vs.-them type election & hopefully, Pat Buchanan, still America's shrewdest pundit, will keep us fully apprised.

[Aug 16, 2019] According to Dr.Crenshaw who treated JFK at the Parkland Hospital Kennedy was shot once or twice from the front

Aug 16, 2019 | www.unz.com

9/11 Inside job , says: August 14, 2019 at 1:37 pm GMT

Need to investigate the role , if any , of Dr. Michael Baden in the Epstein and JFK autopsy cover-ups .

According to Dr.Crenshaw who treated JFK at the Parkland Hospital Kennedy was shot once or twice from the front and , therefore, Oswald could not possibly have been the killer. See " Trauma Room One , the JFK Medical Coverup Exposed . " By Dr. Michael Crenshaw .

[Aug 16, 2019] Ministry of truth materialized in XXI century in a neoliberal way by Kit Knightly

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Latest is the secretive Andy Pryce squandering millions of public money on the "Open Information Partnership" (OIP) which is the latest name-change for the Integrity Initiative and the Institute of Statecraft, just like al-Qaeda kept changing its name. ..."
"... In true Orwellian style, they splashed out on a conference for "defence of media freedom", when they are in the business of propaganda and closing alternative 'narratives' down. And the 'media' they would defend are, in fact, spies sent to foreign countries to foment trouble to further what they bizarrely perceive as 'British interests'. Just like the disgraceful White Helmets, also funded by the FO. ..."
"... "The Guardian is struggling for money" Surely, they would be enjoying some of the seemingly unlimited US defense and some of the mind control programmes budgets. ..."
Aug 16, 2019 | off-guardian.org

OffGuardian already covered the Global Media Freedom Conference, our article Hypocrisy Taints UK's Media Freedom Conference , was meant to be all there was to say. A quick note on the obvious hypocrisy of this event. But, in the writing, I started to see more than that. This event is actually creepy. Let's just look back at one of the four "main themes" of this conference:

Building trust in media and countering disinformation
"Countering disinformation"? Well, that's just another word for censorship. This is proven by their refusal to allow Sputnik or RT accreditation. They claim RT "spreads disinformation" and they "countered" that by barring them from attending. "Building trust"? In the post-Blair world of PR newspeak, "building trust" is just another way of saying "making people believe us" (the word usage is actually interesting, building trust not earning trust). The whole conference is shot through with this language that just feels off. Here is CNN's Christiane Amanpour :
Our job is to be truthful, not neutral we need to take a stand for the truth, and never to create a false moral or factual equivalence."
Being "truthful not neutral" is one of Amanpour's personal sayings , she obviously thinks it's clever. Of course, what it is is NewSpeak for "bias". Refusing to cover evidence of The White Helmets staging rescues, Israel arming ISIS or other inconvenient facts will be defended using this phrase – they will literally claim to only publish "the truth", to get around impartiality and then set about making up whatever "truth" is convenient. Oh, and if you don't know what "creating a false moral quivalence is", here I'll demonstrate: MSM: Putin is bad for shutting down critical media. OffG: But you're supporting RT being banned and Wikileaks being shut down. BBC: No. That's not the same. OffG: It seems the same. BBC: It's not. You're creating a false moral equivalence . Understand now? You "create a false moral equivalence" by pointing out mainstream media's double standards. Other ways you could mistakenly create a "false moral equivalence": Bringing up Gaza when the media talk about racism. Mentioning Saudi Arabia when the media preach about gay rights. Referencing the US coup in Venezuela when the media work themselves into a froth over Russia's "interference in our democracy" Talking about the invasion of Iraq. Ever. OR Pointing out that the BBC is state funded, just like RT. These are all no-longer flagrant examples of the media's double standards, and if you say they are , you're "creating a false moral equivalence" and the media won't have to allow you (or anyone who agrees with you) air time or column inches to disagree. Because they don't have a duty to be neutral or show both sides, they only have a duty to tell "the truth" as soon as the government has told them what that is. Prepare to see both those phrases – or variations there of – littering editorials in the Guardian and the Huffington Post in the coming months. Along with people bemoaning how "fake news outlets abuse the notion of impartiality" by "being even handed between liars the truth tellers". (I've been doing this site so long now, I have a Guardian-English dictionary in my head).

Equally dodgy-sounding buzz-phrases litter topics on the agenda. "Eastern Europe and Central Asia: building an integrated support system for journalists facing hostile environments" , this means pumping money into NGOs to fund media that will criticize our "enemies" in areas of strategic importance. It means flooding money into the anti-government press in Hungary, or Iran or (of course), Russia. That is ALL it means. I said in my earlier article I don't know what "media sustainability" even means, but I feel I can take a guess. It means "save the government mouthpieces". The Guardian is struggling for money, all print media are, TV news is getting lower viewing figures all the time. "Building media sustainability" is code for "pumping public money into traditional media that props up the government" or maybe "getting people to like our propaganda". But the worst offender on the list is, without a doubt "Navigating Disinformation"

https://www.youtube.com/embed/1vbSj1WQqUw?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

"Navigating Disinformation" was a 1 hour panel from the second day of the conference. You can watch it embedded above if you really feel the need. I already did, so you don't have to. The panel was chaired by Chrystia Freeland, the Canadian Foreign Minister. The members included the Latvian Foreign Minister, a representative of the US NGO Committee to Protect Journalists, and the Ukrainian Deputy Minister of Information

Have you guessed what "disinformation" they're going to be talking about? I'll give you a clue: It begins with R. Freeland, chairing the panel, kicks it off by claiming that "disinformation isn't for any particular aim" . This is a very common thing for establishment voices to repeat these days, which makes it all the more galling she seems to be pretending its is her original thought. The reason they have to claim that "disinformation" doesn't have a "specific aim" is very simple: They don't know what they're going to call "disinformation" yet. They can't afford to take a firm position, they need to keep their options open. They need to give themselves the ability to describe any single piece of information or political opinion as "disinformation." Left or right. Foreign or domestic. "Disinformation" is a weaponised term that is only as potent as it is vague. So, we're one minute in, and all "navigating disinformation" has done is hand the State an excuse to ignore, or even criminalise, practically anything it wants to. Good start. Interestingly, no one has actually said the word "Russia" at this point. They have talked about "malign actors" and "threats to democracy", but not specifically Russia. It is SO ingrained in these people that "propaganda"= " Russian propaganda" that they don't need to say it.

The idea that NATO as an entity, or the individual members thereof, could also use "disinformation" has not just been dismissed it was literally never even contemplated. Next Freeland turns to Edgars Rinkēvičs, her Latvian colleague, and jokes about always meeting at NATO functions. The Latvians know "more than most" about disinformation, she says. Rinkēvičs says disinformation is nothing new, but that the methods of spreading it are changing then immediately calls for regulation of social media. Nobody disagrees. Then he talks about the "illegal annexation of Crimea", and claims the West should outlaw "paid propaganda" like RT and Sputnik. Nobody disagrees. Then he says that Latvia "protected" their elections from "interference" by "close cooperation between government agencies and social media companies". Everyone nods along. If you don't find this terrifying, you're not paying attention. They don't say it, they probably don't even realise they mean it, but when they talk about "close cooperation with social media networks", they mean government censorship of social media. When they say "protecting" their elections they're talking about rigging them. It only gets worse. The next step in the Latvian master plan is to bolster "traditional media".

The problems with traditional media, he says, are that journalists aren't paid enough, and don't keep up to date with all the "new tricks". His solution is to "promote financing" for traditional media, and to open more schools like the "Baltic Centre of Media Excellence", which is apparently a totally real thing .

It's a training centre which teaches young journalists about "media literacy" and "critical thinking". You can read their depressingly predictable list of "donors" here . I truly wish I was joking. Next up is Courtney Radsch from CPJ – a US-backed NGO, who notionally "protect journalists", but more accurately spread pro-US propaganda. (Their token effort to "defend" RT and Sputnik when they were barred from the conference was contemptible).

She talks for a long time without saying much at all. Her revolutionary idea is that disinformation could be countered if everyone told the truth. Inspiring. Beata Balogova, Journalist and Editor from Slovakia, gets the ship back on course – immediately suggesting politicians should not endorse "propaganda" platforms. She shares an anecdote about "a prominent Slovakian politician" who gave exclusive interviews to a site that is "dubiously financed, we assume from Russia". They assume from Russia. Everyone nods.

It's like they don't even hear themselves.

Then she moves on to Hungary. Apparently, Orban has "created a propaganda machine" and produced "antisemitic George Soros posters". No evidence is produced to back-up either of these claims. She thinks advertisers should be pressured into not giving money to "fake news sites". She calls for "international pressure", but never explains exactly what that means. The stand-out maniac on this panel is Emine Dzhaparova, the Ukrainian First Deputy Minister of Information Policy. (She works for the Ministry of Information – nicknamed the Ministry of Truth, which was formed in 2014 to "counter lies about Ukraine". Even The Guardian thought that sounded dodgy.)

She talks very fast and, without any sense of irony, spills out a story that shoots straight through "disinformation" and becomes "incoherent rambling". She claims that Russian citizens are so brainwashed you'll never be able to talk to them, and that Russian "cognitive influence" is "toxic like radiation." Is this paranoid, quasi-xenophobic nonsense countered? No. Her fellow panelists nod and chuckle. On top of that, she just lies. She lies over and over and over again. She claims Russia is locking up Crimean Tartars "just for being muslims", nobody questions her. She says the war in Ukraine has killed 13,000 people, but doesn't mention that her side is responsible for over 80% of civilian deaths.

She says only 30% of Crimeans voted in the referendum, and that they were "forced". A fact not supported by any polls done by either side in the last four years, and any referenda held on the peninsula any time in the last last 30 year. It's simply a lie. Nobody asks her about the journalists killed in Ukraine since their glorious Maidan Revolution . Nobody questions the fact that she works for something called the "Ministry of Information". Nobody does anything but nod and smile as the "countering disinformation" panel becomes just a platform for spreading total lies.

When everyone on the panel has had their ten minutes on the soapbox, Freeland asks for recommendations for countering this "threat" – here's the list:

  1. Work to distinguish "free speech" from "propaganda", when you find propaganda there must be a "strong reaction".
  2. Pressure advertisers to abandon platforms who spread misinformation.
  3. Regulate social media.
  4. Educate journalists at special schools.
  5. Start up a "Ministry of Information" and have state run media that isn't controlled, like in Ukraine.

This is the Global Conference on Media Freedom and all these six people want to talk about is how to control what can be said, and who can say it. They single only four countries out for criticism: Hungary, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Russia .and Russia takes up easily 90% of that. They mention only two media outlets by name: RT and Sputnik. This wasn't a panel on disinformation, it was a public attack forum – a month's worth of 2 minutes of hate. These aren't just shills on this stage, they are solid gold idiots, brainwashed to the point of total delusion.

They are the dangerous glassy eyes of a Deep State that never questions itself, never examines itself, and will do anything it wants, to anyone it wants whilst happily patting itself on the back for its superior morality. They don't know, they don't care. They're true believers. Terrifyingly dead inside. Talking about state censorship and re-education camps under a big sign that says "Freedom". And that's just one talk. Just one panel in a 2 day itinerary filled to the brim with similarly soul-dead servants of authority. Truly, perfectly Orwellian.


Jonathan Jarvis

https://southfront.org/countering-russian-disinformation-or-new-wave-of-freedom-of-speech-suppression/

Read and be appalled at what America is up to .keep for further reference. We are in danger.

Tim Jenkins
It would serve Ms. Amanpour well, to relax, rewind & review her own interview with Sergei Lavrov:-

Then she might see why Larry King could stomach the appalling corporate dictatorship, even to the core of False & Fake recording of 'our' "History of the National Security State" , No More

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8H7aKGOpSwE

Amanpour was forced to laugh uncontrollably, when confronted with Lavrov's humorous interpretations of various legal aspects of decency & his Judgement of others' politicians and 'Pussy Riots' >>> if you haven't seen it, it is to be recommended, the whole interview, if nothing else but to study the body language and micro-facial expressions, coz' a belly up laugh is not something anybody can easily control or even feign that first spark of cognition in her mind, as she digests Lavrov's response :- hilarious

Einstein
A GE won't solve matters since we have a Government of Occupation behind a parliament of puppets.

Latest is the secretive Andy Pryce squandering millions of public money on the "Open Information Partnership" (OIP) which is the latest name-change for the Integrity Initiative and the Institute of Statecraft, just like al-Qaeda kept changing its name.

In true Orwellian style, they splashed out on a conference for "defence of media freedom", when they are in the business of propaganda and closing alternative 'narratives' down. And the 'media' they would defend are, in fact, spies sent to foreign countries to foment trouble to further what they bizarrely perceive as 'British interests'. Just like the disgraceful White Helmets, also funded by the FO.

Pryce's ventriloquist's dummy in parliament, the pompous Alan Duncan, announced another £10 million of public money for this odious brainwashing programme.

Tim Jenkins
That panel should be nailed & plastered over, permanently:-

and as wall paper, 'Abstracts of New Law' should be pasted onto a collage of historic extracts from the Guardian, in offices that issue journalistic licenses, comprised of 'Untouchables' :-

A professional habitat, to damp any further 'Freeland' amplification & resonance,

of negative energy from professional incompetence.

Francis Lee
Apropos of the redoubtable Ms Freeland, Canada's Foreign Secretary.

The records now being opened by the Polish government in Warsaw reveal that Freeland's maternal grandfather Michael (Mikhailo) Chomiak was a Nazi collaborator from the beginning to the end of the war. He was given a powerful post, money, home and car by the German Army in Cracow, then the capital of the German administration of the Galician region. His principal job was editor in chief and publisher of a newspaper the Nazis created. His printing plant and other assets had been stolen from a Jewish newspaper publisher, who was then sent to die in the Belzec concentration camp. During the German Army's winning phase of the war, Chomiak celebrated in print the Wehrmacht's "success" at killing thousands of US Army troops. As the German Army was forced into retreat by the Soviet counter-offensive, Chomiak was taken by the Germans to Vienna, where he continued to publish his Nazi propaganda, at the same time informing for the Germans on other Ukrainians. They included fellow Galician Stepan Bandera, whose racism against Russians Freeland has celebrated in print, and whom the current regime in Kiev has turned into a national hero.

Those Ukrainian 'Refugees' admitted to Canada in 1945 were almost certainly members of the 14th Waffen SS Division Galizia 1. These Ukie collaboraters – not to be confused with the other Ukie Nazi outfit – Stepan Bandera's Ukrainian Insurgent Army -were held responsible for the massacre of many Poles in the Lviv area the most infamous being carried out in the Polish village of Huta Pienacka. In the massacre, the village was destroyed and between 500] and 1,000 of the inhabitants were killed. According to Polish accounts, civilians were locked in barns that were set on fire while those attempting to flee were killed. That's about par for the course.
Canada's response was as follows:

The Canadian Deschênes Commission was set up to investigate alleged war crimes committed by the collaborators

Memorial to SS-Galizien division in Chervone, Lviv Oblast, western Ukraine

The Canadian "Commission of Inquiry on War Crimes" of October 1986, by the Honourable Justice Jules Deschênesconcluded that in relation to membership in the Galicia Division:

''The Galicia Division (14. Waffen grenadier division der SS [gal.1]) should not be indicted as a group. The members of Galicia Division were individually screened for security purposes before admission to Canada. Charges of war crimes of Galicia Division have never been substantiated, either in 1950 when they were first preferred, or in 1984 when they were renewed, or before this Commission. Further, in the absence of evidence of participation or knowledge of specific war crimes, mere membership in the Galicia Division is insufficient to justify prosecution.''

However, the Commission's conclusion failed to acknowledge or heed the International Military Tribunal's verdict at the Nuremberg Trials, in which the entire Waffen-SSorganisation was declared a "criminal organization" guilty of war crimes. Also, the Deschênes Commission in its conclusion only referenced the division as 14. Waffen-Grenadier-Division der SS (Galizische Nr.1), thus in legal terms, only acknowledging the formation's activity after its name change in August 1944, while the massacre of Poles in Huta Pieniacka, Pidkamin and Palikrowy occurred when the division was called SS Freiwilligen Division "Galizien". Nevertheless, a subsequent review by Canada's Minister of Justice again confirmed that members of the Division were not implicated in war crimes.

Yes, the west looks after its Nazis and even makes them and their descendants political figureheads.

mark
Most of these people are so smugly and complacently convinced of their own moral superiority that they just can't see the hypocrisy and doublethink involved in the event.
Mikalina
Eva Bartlett gives a wider perspective:
https://www.globalresearch.ca/londons-media-freedom-conference-smacks-irony-critics-barred-no-mention-jailed-assange/5683808
Harry Stotle
Freedom-lover, Cunt, will be furious when he hears about this!

Apparently Steve Bell is doubleplusbad for alluding to the fact Netanyahu has got his hand shoved deep into Tom Watson's arse – the Guardian pulled Bell's most recent ouvre which suggests the media's antisemitism trope might not be quite as politically untainted as the likes of Freedland, Cohen and Viner would have you believe.
https://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/guardian-cartoonist-steve-bell-specious-charge-of-antisemitism-in-email-to-all-paper-1.486570

Meanwhile Owen Jones has taken to Twitter to rubbish allegations that a reign of terror exists at Guardian Towers – the socialist firebrand is quoted as saying 'journalists are free to say whatever they like, so long as it doesn't stray too far from Guardian-groupthink'.

Tutisicecream
Good analysis Kit, of the cognitive dissonant ping pong being played out by Nazi sympathisers such as Hunt and Freeland.

The echo chamber of deceit is amplified again by the selective use of information and the ignoring of relevant facts, such as the miss reporting yesterday by Reuters of the Italian Neo-Nazi haul of weapons by the police, having not Russian but Ukrainian links.

Not a word in the WMSM about this devious miss-reporting as the creation of fake news in action. But what would you expect?

Living as I do in Russia I can assure anyone reading this that the media freedom here is on a par with the West and somewhat better as there is no paranoia about a fictitious enemy – Russians understand that the West is going through an existential crisis (Brexit in the UK, Trump and the Clinton war of sameness in the US and Macron and Merkel in the EU). A crisis of Liberalism as the failed life-support of capitalism. But hey, why worry about the politics when there is bigger fish to fry. Such as who will pay me to dance?

The answer is clear from what Kit has writ. The government will pay the piper. How sweet.

I'd like to thank Kit for sitting through such a turgid masquerade and as I'm rather long in the tooth I do remember the old BBC schools of journalism in Yelsin's Russia. What I remember is that old devious Auntie Beeb was busy training would be hopefuls in the art of discretion regarding how the news is formed, or formulated.

In other words your audience. And it ain't the public

Steve Hayes
The British government's "Online Harms" White Paper has a whole section devoted to "disinformation" (ie, any facts, opinions, analyses, evaluations, critiques that are critical of the elite's actual disinformation). If these proposals become law, the government will have effective control over the Internet and we will be allowed access to their disinformation, shop and watch cute cat videos.
Question This
The liberal news media & hypocrisy, who would have ever thought you'd see those words in the same sentence. But what do you expect from professional liars, politicians & 'their' free press?

Can this shit show get any worse? Yes, The other day I wrote to my MP regards the SNP legislating against the truth, effectively making it compulsory to lie! Mr Blackford as much as called me a transphobic & seemed to go to great length publishing his neo-liberal ideological views in some scottish rag, on how right is wrong & fact is turned into fiction & asked only those that agreed with him contact him.

Tim Jenkins
"The science or logical consistency of true premise, cannot take place or bear fruit, when all communication and information is 'marketised and weaponised' to a mindset of possession and control." B.Steere
Mikalina
I saw, somewhere (but can't find it now) a law or a prospective law which goes under the guise of harassment of MPs to include action against constituents who 'pester' them.

I've found a link for the Jo Cox gang discussing it, though.
https://www.kcl.ac.uk/news/new-research-on-the-intimidation-and-harassment-of-mps-featured-in-inaugural-conference

Question This
I only emailed him once! That's hardly harassment. Anyway I sent it with proton-mail via vpn & used a false postcode using only my first name so unlikely my civil & sincere correspondence will see me locked up for insisting my inalienable rights of freedom of speech & beliefs are protected. But there again the state we live in, i may well be incarcerated for life, for such an outrageous expectation.
Where to?
"The Guardian is struggling for money" Surely, they would be enjoying some of the seemingly unlimited US defense and some of the mind control programmes budgets.
Harry Stotle
Its the brazen nature of the conference that is especially galling, but what do you expect when crooks and liars no longer feel they even have to pretend?

Nothing will change so long as politicians (or their shady backers) are never held to account for public assets diverted toward a rapacious off-shore economic system, or the fact millions of lives have been shattered by the 'war on terror' and its evil twin, 'humanatarian regime change' (while disingenuous Labour MPs wail about the 'horrors' of antisemitism rather than the fact their former leader is a key architect of the killings).

Kit remains a go-to voice when deconstructing claims made by political figures who clearly regard the MSM as a propaganda vehicle for promoting western imperialism – the self-satisfied smugness of cunts like Jeremy Cunt stand in stark contrast to a real journalist being tortured by the British authorities just a few short miles away.

It's a sligtly depressing thought but somebody has the unenviable task of monitoring just how far our politicians have drifted from the everyday concerns of the 'just about managing' and as I say Mr Knightly does a fine job in informing readers what the real of agenda of these media love-ins are actually about – it goes without saying a very lengthy barge pole is required when the Saudis are invited but not Russia.

Where to?
This Media Freedom Conference is surely a creepy theatre of the absurd.

It is a test of what they can get away with.

Mikalina
Yep. Any soviet TV watcher would recognise this immediately. Message? THIS is the reality – and you are powerless.
mark
When are they going to give us the Ministry of Truth we so desperately need?

[Aug 16, 2019] Lapdogs for the Government and intelligence agencies by Greg Maybury

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... We know our disinformation program is complete when almost everything the American public believes is false.' ..."
"... Using groundbreaking camera and lighting techniques, Riefenstahl produced a documentary that mesmerized Germans; as Pilger noted, her Triumph of the Will 'cast Adolf Hitler's spell'. She told the veteran Aussie journalist the "messages" of her films were dependent not on "orders from above", but on the "submissive void" of the public. ..."
"... All in all, Riefenstahl produced arguably for the rest of the world the most compelling historical footage of mass hysteria, blind obedience, nationalistic fervour, and existential menace, all key ingredients in anyone's totalitarian nightmare. That it also impressed a lot of very powerful, high profile people in the West on both sides of the pond is also axiomatic: These included bankers, financiers, industrialists, and sundry business elites without whose support Hitler might've at best ended up a footnote in the historical record after the ill-fated beer-hall putsch. (See here , and here .) ..."
"... The purpose of this propaganda barrage, as Sharon Bader has noted, has been to convince as many people as possible that it is in their interests to relinquish their own power as workers, consumers, and citizens, and 'forego their democratic right to restrain and regulate business activity. As a result the political agenda is now confined to policies aimed at furthering business interests.' ..."
Aug 16, 2019 | off-guardian.org

Lapdogs for the Government

Here was, of course, another surreal spectacle, this time courtesy of one of the Deep State's most dangerous, reviled, and divisive figures, a notable protagonist in the Russia-Gate conspiracy, and America's most senior diplomat no less.

Not only is it difficult to accept that the former CIA Director actually believes what he is saying, well might we ask, "Who can believe Mike Pompeo?"

And here's also someone whose manifest cynicism, hypocrisy, and chutzpah would embarrass the much-derided scribes and Pharisees of Biblical days.

We have Pompeo on record recently in a rare moment of honesty admitting – whilst laughing his ample ass off, as if recalling some "Boy's Own Adventure" from his misspent youth with a bunch of his mates down at the local pub – that under his watch as CIA Director:

We lied, cheated, we stole we had entire training courses.'

It may have been one of the few times in his wretched existence that Pompeo didn't speak with a forked tongue.

At all events, his candour aside, we can assume safely that this reactionary, monomaniacal, Christian Zionist 'end-timer' passed all the Company's "training courses" with flying colours.

According to Matthew Rosenberg of the New York Times, all this did not stop Pompeo however from name-checking Wikileaks when it served his own interests. Back in 2016 at the height of the election campaign, he had ' no compunction about pointing people toward emails stolen* by Russian hackers from the Democratic National Committee and then posted by WikiLeaks."

[NOTE: Rosenberg's omission of the word "allegedly" -- as in "emails allegedly stolen" -- is a dead giveaway of bias on his part (a journalistic Freudian slip perhaps?), with his employer being one of those MSM marques leading the charge with the "Russian Collusion" 'story'. For a more insightful view of the source of these emails and the skullduggery and thuggery that attended Russia-Gate, readers are encouraged to check this out.]

And this is of course The Company we're talking about, whose past and present relationship with the media might be summed up in two words: Operation Mockingbird (OpMock). Anyone vaguely familiar with the well-documented Grand Deception that was OpMock, arguably the CIA's most enduring, insidious, and successful psy-ops gambit, will know what we're talking about. (See here , here , here , and here .) At its most basic, this operation was all about propaganda and censorship, usually operating in tandem to ensure all the bases are covered.

After opining that the MSM is 'totally infiltrated' by the CIA and various other agencies, for his part former NSA whistleblower William Binney recently added , ' When it comes to national security, the media only talk about what the administration wants you to hear, and basically suppress any other statements about what's going on that the administration does not want get public. The media is basically the lapdogs for the government.'

Even the redoubtable William Casey , Ronald Reagan's CIA Director back in the day was reported to have said something along the following lines:

We know our disinformation program is complete when almost everything the American public believes is false.'

In order to provide a broader and deeper perspective, we should now consider the views of a few others on the subjects at hand, along with some history. In a 2013 piece musing on the modern significance of the practice, my compatriot John Pilger ecalled a time when he met Leni Riefenstahl back in 70s and asked her about her films that 'glorified the Nazis'.

Using groundbreaking camera and lighting techniques, Riefenstahl produced a documentary that mesmerized Germans; as Pilger noted, her Triumph of the Will 'cast Adolf Hitler's spell'. She told the veteran Aussie journalist the "messages" of her films were dependent not on "orders from above", but on the "submissive void" of the public.

All in all, Riefenstahl produced arguably for the rest of the world the most compelling historical footage of mass hysteria, blind obedience, nationalistic fervour, and existential menace, all key ingredients in anyone's totalitarian nightmare. That it also impressed a lot of very powerful, high profile people in the West on both sides of the pond is also axiomatic: These included bankers, financiers, industrialists, and sundry business elites without whose support Hitler might've at best ended up a footnote in the historical record after the ill-fated beer-hall putsch. (See here , and here .)

" Triumph " apparently still resonates today. To the surprise of few one imagines, such was the impact of the film -- as casually revealed in the excellent 2018 Alexis Bloom documentary Divide and Conquer: The Story of Roger Ailes -- it elicited no small amount of admiration from arguably the single most influential propagandist of recent times.

[Readers might wish to check out Russell Crowe's recent portrayal of Ailes in Stan's mini-series The Loudest Voice , in my view one the best performances of the man's career.]

In a recent piece unambiguously titled "Propaganda Is The Root Of All Our Problems", my other compatriot Caitlin Johnstone also had a few things to say about the subject, echoing Orwell when she observed it was all about "controlling the narrative".

Though I'd suggest the greater "root" problem is our easy propensity to ignore this reality, pretend it doesn't or won't affect us, or reject it as conspiratorial nonsense, in this, of course, she's correct. As she cogently observes,

I write about this stuff for a living, and even I don't have the time or energy to write about every single narrative control tool that the US-centralised empire has been implementing into its arsenal. There are too damn many of them emerging too damn fast, because they're just that damn crucial for maintaining existing power structures.'

The Discreet Use of Censorship and Uniformed Men

It is hardly surprising that those who hold power should seek to control the words and language people use' said Canadian author John Ralston Saul in his 1993 book Voltaire's Bastards–the Dictatorship of Reason in the West .

Fittingly, in a discussion encompassing amongst other things history, language, power, and dissent, he opined, ' Determining how individuals communicate is' an objective which represents for the power elites 'the best chance' [they] have to control what people think. This translates as: The more control 'we' have over what the proles think, the more 'we' can reduce the inherent risk for elites in democracy.

' Clumsy men', Saul went on to say, 'try to do this through power and fear. Heavy-handed men running heavy-handed systems attempt the same thing through police-enforced censorship. The more sophisticated the elites, the more they concentrate on creating intellectual systems which control expression through the communications structures. These systems require only the discreet use of censorship and uniformed men.'

In other words, along with assuming it is their right to take it in the first place, ' those who take power will always try to change the established language ', presumably to better facilitate their hold on it and/or legitimise their claim to it.

For Oliver Boyd-Barrett, democratic theory presupposes a public communications infrastructure that facilitates the free and open exchange of ideas.' Yet for the author of the recently published RussiaGate and Propaganda: Disinformation in the Age of Social Media , 'No such infrastructure exists.'

The mainstream media he says, is 'owned and controlled by a small number of large, multi-media and multi-industrial conglomerates' that lie at the very heart of US oligopoly capitalism and much of whose advertising revenue and content is furnished from other conglomerates:

The inability of mainstream media to sustain an information environment that can encompass histories, perspectives and vocabularies that are free of the shackles of US plutocratic self-regard is also well documented.'

Of course the word "inability" suggests the MSM view themselves as having some responsibility for maintaining such an egalitarian news and information environment. They don't of course, and in truth, probably never really have! A better word would be "unwilling", or even "refusal". The corporate media all but epitomise the " plutocratic self-regard" that is characteristic of "oligopoly capitalism".

Indeed, the MSM collectively functions as advertising, public relations/lobbying entities for Big Corp, in addition to acting as its Praetorian bodyguard , protecting their secrets, crimes, and lies from exposure. Like all other companies they are beholden to their shareholders (profits before truth and people), most of whom it can safely be assumed are no strangers to "self-regard", and could care less about " histories, perspectives and vocabularies" that run counter to their own interests.

It was Aussie social scientist Alex Carey who pioneered the study of nationalism , corporatism , and moreso for our purposes herein, the management (read: manipulation) of public opinion, though all three have important links (a story for another time). For Carey, the following conclusion was inescapable: 'It is arguable that the success of business propaganda in persuading us, for so long, that we are free from propaganda is one of the most significant propaganda achievements of the twentieth century.' This former farmer from Western Australia became one of the world's acknowledged experts on propaganda and the manipulation of the truth.

Prior to embarking on his academic career, Carey was a successful sheep grazier . By all accounts, he was a first-class judge of the animal from which he made his early living, leaving one to ponder if this expertise gave him a unique insight into his main area of research!

In any event, Carey in time sold the farm and travelled to the U.K. to study psychology, apparently a long-time ambition. From the late fifties until his death in 1988, he was a senior lecturer in psychology and industrial relations at the Sydney-based University of New South Wales, with his research being lauded by such luminaries as Noam Chomsky and John Pilger, both of whom have had a thing or three to say over the years about The Big Shill. In fact such was his admiration, Pilger described him as "a second Orwell", which in anyone's lingo is a big call.

Carey unfortunately died in 1988, interestingly the year that his more famous contemporaries Edward Herman and Chomsky's book Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media was published, the authors notably dedicating their book to him.

Though much of his work remained unpublished at the time of his death, a book of Carey's essays – Taking the Risk Out of Democracy: Corporate Propaganda Versus Freedom and Liberty -- was published posthumously in 1997. It remains a seminal work.

In fact, for anyone with an interest in how public opinion is moulded and our perceptions are managed and manipulated, in whose interests they are done so and to what end, it is as essential reading as any of the work of other more famous names. This tome came complete with a foreword by Chomsky, so enamoured was the latter of Carey's work.

For Carey, the three "most significant developments" in the political economy of the twentieth century were: the growth of democracy the growth of corporate power; and the growth of propaganda as a means of protecting corporate power against democracy.

Carey's main focus was on the following: advertising and publicity devoted to the creation of artificial wants; the public relations and propaganda industry whose principal goal is the diversion to meaningless pursuits and control of the public mind; and the degree to which academia and the professions are under assault from private power determined to narrow the spectrum of thinkable (sic) thought.

For Carey, it is an axiom of conventional wisdom that the use of propaganda as a means of social and ideological control is 'distinctive' of totalitarian regimes. Yet as he stresses: the most minimal exercise of common sense would suggest a different view: that propaganda is likely to play at least as important a part in democratic societies (where the existing distribution of power and privilege is vulnerable to quite limited changes in popular opinion) as in authoritarian societies (where it is not).' In this context, 'conventional wisdom" becomes conventional ignorance; as for "common sense", maybe not so much.

The purpose of this propaganda barrage, as Sharon Bader has noted, has been to convince as many people as possible that it is in their interests to relinquish their own power as workers, consumers, and citizens, and 'forego their democratic right to restrain and regulate business activity. As a result the political agenda is now confined to policies aimed at furthering business interests.'

An extreme example of this view playing itself right under our noses and over decades was the cruel fiction of the " trickle down effect " (TDE) -- aka the 'rising tide that would lift all yachts' -- of Reaganomics . One of several mantras that defined Reagan's overarching political shtick, the TDE was by any measure, decidedly more a torrent than a trickle, and said "torrent" was going up not down. This reality as we now know was not in Reagan's glossy economic brochure to be sure, and it may have been because the Gipper confused his prepositions and verbs.

Yet as the GFC of 2008 amply demonstrated, it culminated in a free-for all, dog eat dog, anything goes, everyman for himself form of cannibal (or anarcho) capitalism -- an updated, much improved version of the no-holds-barred mercenary mercantilism much reminiscent of the Gilded Age and the Robber Barons who 'infested' it, only one that doesn't just eat its young, it eats itself!

Making the World Safe for Plutocracy

In the increasingly dysfunctional, one-sided political economy we inhabit then, whether it's widgets or wars or anything in between, few people realise the degree to which our opinions, perceptions, emotions, and views are shaped and manipulated by propaganda (and its similarly 'evil twin' censorship ,) its most adept practitioners, and those elite, institutional, political, and corporate entities that seek out their expertise.

It is now just over a hundred years since the practice of propaganda took a giant leap forward, then in the service of persuading palpably reluctant Americans that the war raging in Europe at the time was their war as well.

This was at a time when Americans had just voted their then-president Woodrow Wilson back into office for a second term, a victory largely achieved on the back of the promise he'd "keep us out of the War." Americans were very much in what was one of their most isolationist phases , and so Wilson's promise resonated with them.

But over time they were convinced of the need to become involved by a distinctly different appeal to their political sensibilities. This "appeal" also dampened the isolationist mood, one which it has to be said was not embraced by most of the political, banking, and business elites of the time, most of whom stood to lose big-time if the Germans won, and/or who were already profiting or benefitting from the business of war.

For a president who "kept us out of the war", this wasn't going to be an easy 'pitch'. In order to sell the war the president established the Committee on Public Information (aka the Creel Committee) for the purposes of publicising the rationale for the war and from there, garnering support for it from the general public.

Enter Edward Bernays , the nephew of Sigmund Freud, who's generally considered to be the father of modern public relations. In his film Rule from the Shadows: The Psychology of Power , Aaron Hawkins says Bernays was influenced by people such as Gustave le Bon , Walter Lippman , and Wilfred Trotter , as much, if not moreso, than his famous uncle.

Either way, Bernays 'combined their perspectives and synthesised them into an applied science', which he then 'branded' "public relations".

For its part the Creel committee struggled with its brief from the off; but Bernays worked with them to persuade Americans their involvement in the war was justified -- indeed necessary -- and to that end he devised the brilliantly inane slogan, "making the world safe for democracy" .

Thus was born arguably the first great propaganda catch-phrases of the modern era, and certainly one of the most portentous. The following sums up Bernays's unabashed mindset:

The conscious, intelligent manipulation of the organised habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country.'

The rest is history (sort of), with Americans becoming more willing to not just support the war effort but encouraged to view the Germans and their allies as evil brutes threatening democracy and freedom and the 'American way of life', however that might've been viewed then. From a geopolitical and historical perspective, it was an asinine premise of course, but nonetheless an extraordinary example of how a few well chosen words tapped into the collective psyche of a country that was decidedly opposed to any U.S involvement in the war and turned that mindset completely on its head.

' [S]aving the world for democracy' (or some 'cover version' thereof) has since become America's positioning statement, 'patriotic' rallying cry, and the "Get-out-of-Jail Free" card for its war and its white collar criminal clique.

At all events it was by any measure, a stroke of genius on Bernays's part; by appealing to people's basic fears and desires, he could engineer consent on a mass scale. It goes without saying it changed the course of history in more ways than one. That the U.S. is to this day still using a not dissimilar meme to justify its "foreign entanglements" is testament to both its utility and durability.

The reality as we now know was markedly different of course. They have almost always been about power, empire, control, hegemony, resources, wealth, opportunity, profit, dispossession, keeping existing capitalist structures intact and well-defended, and crushing dissent and opposition.

The Bewildered Herd

It is instructive to note that the template for 'manufacturing consent' for war had already been forged by the British. And the Europeans did not 'sleepwalk' like some " bewildered herd ' into this conflagration.

For twenty years prior to the outbreak of the war in 1914, the then stewards of the British Empire had been diligently preparing the ground for what they viewed as a preordained clash with their rivals for empire the Germans.

To begin with, contrary to the opinion of the general populace over one hundred years later, it was not the much touted German aggression and militarism, nor their undoubted imperial ambitions, which precipitated its outbreak. The stewards of the British Empire were not about to let the Teutonic upstarts chow down on their imperial lunch as it were, and set about unilaterally and preemptively crushing Germany and with it any ambitions it had for creating its own imperial domain in competition with the Empire upon which Ol' Sol never set.

The "Great War" is worth noting here for other reasons. As documented so by Jim Macgregor and Gerry Docherty in their two books covering the period from 1890-1920, we learn much about propaganda, which attest to its extraordinary power, in particular its power to distort reality en masse in enduring and subversive ways.

In reality, the only thing "great" about World War One was the degree to which the masses fighting for Britain were conned via propaganda and censorship into believing this war was necessary, and the way the official narrative of the war was sustained for posterity via the very same means. "Great" maybe, but not in a good way!

In these seminal tomes -- World War One Hidden History: The Secret Origins of the First World War and its follow-up Prolonging the Agony: How the Anglo-American Establishment Deliberately Extended WWI by Three-And-A-Half Years -- Macgregor and Docherty provide a masterclass for us all of the power of propaganda in the service of firstly inciting, then deliberately sustaining a major war.

The horrendous carnage and destruction that resulted from it was of course unprecedented, the global effects of which linger on now well over one hundred years later.

Such was the enduring power of the propaganda that today most folks would have great difficulty in accepting the following; this is a short summary of historical realities revealed by Macgregor and Docherty that are at complete odds with the official narrative, the political discourse, and the school textbooks:

It was Great Britain (supported by France and Russia) and not Germany who was the principal aggressor in the events and actions that let to the outbreak of war; The British had for twenty years prior to 1914 viewed Germany as its most dangerous economic and imperial rival, and fully anticipated that a war was inevitable; In the U.K. and the U.S., various factions worked feverishly to ensure the war went on for as long as possible, and scuttled peacemaking efforts from the off; key truths about this most consequential of geopolitical conflicts have been concealed for well over one hundred years, with no sign the official record will change; very powerful forces (incl. a future US president) amongst U.S. political, media, and economic elites conspired to eventually convince an otherwise unwilling populace in America that U.S. entry onto the war was necessary; those same forces and many similar groups in the U.K. and Europe engaged in everything from war profiteering, destruction/forging of war records, false-flag ops, treason, conspiracy to wage aggressive war, and direct efforts to prolong the war by any means necessary, many of which will rock folks to their very core.

But peace was not on the agenda. When, by 1916, the military failures were so embarrassing and costly, some key players in the British government were willing to talk about peace. This could not be tolerated. The potential peacemakers had to be thrown under the bus. The unelected European leaders had one common bond: They would fight Germany until she was crushed.

Prolonging the Agony details how this secret cabal organised to this end the change of government without a single vote being cast. David Lloyd George was promoted to prime minister in Britain and Georges Clemenceau made prime minister in France. A new government, an inner-elite war cabinet thrust the Secret Elite leader, Lord Alfred Milner into power at the very inner-core of the decision-makers in British politics.

Democracy? They had no truck with democracy. The voting public had no say. The men entrusted with the task would keep going till the end and their place-men were backed by the media and the money-power, in Britain, France and America.

Propaganda Always Wins

But just as the pioneering adherents of propaganda back in the day might never have dreamt how sophisticated and all-encompassing the practice would become, nor would the citizenry at large have anticipated the extent to which the industry has facilitated an entrenched, rapacious plutocracy at the expense of our economic opportunity, our financial and material security, our physical, social and cultural environment, our values and attitudes, and increasingly, our basic democratic rights and freedoms.

We now live in the Age of the Big Shill -- cocooned in a submissive void no less -- an era where nothing can be taken on face value yet where time and attention constraints (to name just a few) force us to do so; [where] few people in public life can be taken at their word; where unchallenged perceptions become accepted reality; where 'open-book' history is now incontrovertible not-negotiable, upon pain of imprisonment fact; where education is about uniformity, function, form and conformity, all in the service of imposed neo-liberal ideologies embracing then prioritising individual -- albeit dubious -- freedoms.

More broadly, it's the "Roger Ailes" of this world -- acting on behalf of the power elites who after all are their paymasters -- who create the intellectual systems which control expression through the communications structures, whilst ensuring these systems require only 'the discreet use of censorship and uniformed men.'

They are the shapers and moulders of the discourse that passes for the accepted lingua franca of the increasingly globalised, interconnected, corporatised political economy of the planet. Throughout this process they 'will always try to change the established language.'

And we can no longer rely on our elected representatives to honestly represent us and our interests. Whether this decision making is taking place inside or outside the legislative process, these processes are well and truly in the grip of the banks and financial institutions and transnational organisations. In whose interests are they going to be more concerned with?

We saw this all just after the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) when the very people who brought the system to the brink, made billions off the dodge for their banks and millions for themselves, bankrupted hundreds of thousands of American families, were called upon by the U.S. government to fix up the mess, and to all intents given a blank cheque to so do.

That the U.S. is at even greater risk now of economic implosion is something few serious pundits would dispute, and a testament to the effectiveness of the snow-job perpetrated upon Americans regarding the causes, the impact, and the implications of the 2008 meltdown going forward.

In most cases, one accepts almost by definition such disconnects (read: hidden agendas) are the rule rather than the exception, hence the multi-billion foundation -- and global reach and impact -- of the propaganda business. This in itself is a key indicator as to why organisations place so much importance on this aspect of managing their affairs.

At the very least, once corporations saw how the psychology of persuasion could be leveraged to manipulate consumers and politicians saw the same with the citizenry and even its own workers, the growth of the industry was assured.

As Riefenstahl noted during her chinwag with Pilger after he asked if those embracing the "submissive void" included the liberal, educated bourgeoisie? " Everyone ," she said.

By way of underscoring her point, she added enigmatically: 'Propaganda always wins if you allow it'.

Greg Maybury is a freelance writer based in Perth, Australia. His main areas of interest are American history and politics in general, with a special focus on economic, national security, military, and geopolitical affairs. For 5 years he has regularly contributed to a diverse range of news and opinion sites, including OpEd News, The Greanville Post, Consortium News, Dandelion Salad, Global Research, Dissident Voice, OffGuardian, Contra Corner, International Policy Digest, the Hampton Institute, and others.


nottheonly1

This brilliant essay is proof of the reflective nature of the Universe. The worse the propaganda and oppression becomes, the greater the likelihood such an essay will be written.

Such is the sophistication and ubiquity of the narrative control techniques used today -- afforded increasingly by 'computational propaganda' via automated scripts, hacking, botnets, troll farms, and algorithms and the like, along with the barely veiled censorship and information gatekeeping practised by Google and Facebook and other tech behemoths -- it's become one of the most troubling aspects of the technological/social media revolution.

Very rarely can one experience such a degree of vindication. My moniker 'nottheonly1' has received more meaning with this precise depiction of the long history of the manipulation of the masses. Recent events have destroyed but all of my confidence that there might be a peaceful way out of this massive dilemma. Due to this sophistication in controlling the narrative, it has now become apparent that we have arrived at a moment in time where total lawlessness reigns. 'Lawlessness' in this case means the loss of common law and the use of code law to create ever new restrictions for free speech and liberty at large.

Over the last weeks, comments written on other discussion boards have unleashed a degree of character defamation and ridicule for the most obvious crimes perpetrated on the masses through propaganda. In this unholy union of constant propaganda via main stream 'media' with the character defamation by so called 'trolls' – which are actually virtual assassins of those who write the truth – the ability of the population, or parts thereof to connect with, or search for like minded people is utterly destroyed. This assault on the online community has devastating consequences. Those who have come into the cross hairs of the unintelligence agencies will but turn away from the internet. Leaving behind an ocean of online propaganda and fake information. Few are now the web sites on which it is possible to voice one's personal take on the status quo.

There is one word that describes these kind of activities precisely: traitor. Those who engage in the character defamation of commenters, or authors per se, are traitors to humanity. They betray the collective consciousness with their poisonous attacks of those who work for a sea change of the status quo. The owner class has all game pieces positioned. The fact that Julian Assange is not only a free man, but still without a Nobel price for peace, while war criminals are recipients, shows just how much the march into absolute totalitarianism has progressed. Bernays hated the masses and offered his 'services' to manipulate them often for free.

Even though there are more solutions than problems, the time has come where meaningful participation in the search for such solution has been made unbearable. It is therefore that a certain fatalism has developed – from resignation to the acceptance of the status quo as being inevitable. Ancient wisdom has created a proverb that states 'This too, will pass'. While that is a given, there are still enough Human Beings around that are determined to make a difference. To this group I count the author of this marvelous, albeit depressing essay. Thank you more that words can express. And thank you, OffGuardian for being one of the last remaining places where discourse is possible.

GMW
Really great post! Thanks. I'm part of the way through reading Alex Carey's book: "Taking the Risk Out of Democracy: Corporate Propaganda Versus Freedom and Liberty," referenced in this article. I've learned more about the obviously verifiable history of U.S. corporate propaganda in the first four chapters than I learned gaining a "minor" in history in 1974 (not surprisingly I can now clearly see). I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in just how pervasive, entrenched and long-standing are the propaganda systems shaping public perception, thought and behavior in America and the West.
Norcal
Wow Greg Maybury great essay, congratulations. This quote is brilliant, I've never see it before, "For Carey, the following conclusion was inescapable: 'It is arguable that the success of business propaganda in persuading us, for so long, that we are free from propaganda is one of the most significant propaganda achievements of the twentieth century.' "

Too, Rodger Ailes was the man credited with educating Nixon up as how to "use" the TV media, and Ailes never looked back as he manipulated media at will. Thank you!

nondimenticare
That is also one of the basic theses of Harold Pinter's Nobel Prize speech.
vexarb
I read in 'Guns, Germs and Steel' about Homo Sapiens and his domesticated animals. Apparently we got on best in places where we could find animals that are very like us: sheep, cattle, horses and other herd animals which instinctively follow their Leader. I think our cousins the chimpanzee are much the same; both species must have inherited this common trait from some pre-chimpanzee ancestor who had found great survival value in passing on the sheeple trait to their progeny. As have the sheep themselves.

By the way, has anybody observed sheeple behaviour in ants and bees? For instance, quietly following a Leader ant to their doom, or noisily ganging up to mob a worker bee that the Queen does not like?

Andy
Almost unbelievable that this was commisioned by the BBC 4 part series covering much of what is in Gregs essay. Some fabulous old footage too. https://topdocumentaryfilms.com/the-century-of-the-self/
S.R.Passerby
I'd say the elites are both for and against. Competing factions. It's clear that many are interested in overturning democracy, whilst others want to exploit it.

The average grunt on the street is in the fire, regardless of the pan chosen by the elites.

[Aug 12, 2019] That self-admitted CIA linked, totally-not deep state propaganda puppet outlet lecturing the rest of us about the virtues of fact-checking and journalistic integrity...

Aug 12, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Aug 12 2019 2:05 utc | 42

@ Posted by: vk | Aug 11 2019 20:42 utc | 11

Oops, it seems I was too optimistic about the NYT. Not even 24h later, we already have these in its home page:

Jeffrey Epstein's Opaque Finances Could Become a Focus for Investigators

[emphasis on the "could"]

Epstein Suicide Conspiracies Show How Our Information System Is Poisoned

Now, people who are doubting the USG are automatically labelled "conspiracy theorists". Except that, in this case, it is perfectly sensible to doubt about his death. He could've put down really powerful people. He wasn't your daily mafia-boy struggling against his mafia boss over US$ 1 billion in cocaine; no: he could put down half the American royalty.


JW , Aug 12 2019 2:48 utc | 48

Ah yes, that self-admitted CIA linked, totally-not deep state propaganda puppet outlet lecturing the rest of us about the virtues of fact-checking and journalistic integrity...
bjd , Aug 11 2019 21:33 utc | 19
Any NYT reporting on Epstein is meant as a distraction -- to cover up the facts.
The NYT is the elites' protector, it punches down instead of up.
The NYT 'revelations' about guards are a) punching down to protect elites and b) a distraction to protect elites.
The NYT is one of the Augean Stables.

[Aug 12, 2019] The primary mission of intelligence agencies is self-preservation, and that means co-operation with other nation's intelligence agencies whenever possible. They are on one team, and those outside the intelligence "community" are on the other team. /

Aug 12, 2019 | www.unz.com

Justvisiting , says: August 11, 2019 at 7:20 pm GMT

@freedom-cat

I'm hoping that an element within our intelligence services did the right thing and Offed him to send a loud and clear message to the rest of the tribal members involved in false flags against USA and world. Obviously, JE was a very high ranking mossad agent who had strong ties with ALL the Israelis and Americans who did 9/11.

The primary mission of intelligence agencies is self-preservation, and that means co-operation with other nation's intelligence agencies whenever possible.

As a practical matter it is highly likely that both Israeli and US Intelligence agencies had access to the Epstein blackmail materials to use as they wish.

( and, as a practical matter it is highly likely that both Israeli and US Intelligence agencies were behind 911, the Kennedy assassinations, etc etc etc)

They are on one team, and those outside the intelligence "community" are on the other team.

Anon [245] Disclaimer , says: August 12, 2019 at 12:54 am GMT
Question for all,

Ever consider a rogue upper echelon CIA faction may have ran Epstein, hoping it looked optically like the Mossad ran him?

Epstein was probably a sex criminal from his early adulthood, but knew a few people. Hell, his handlers could have told him they were Mossad. I think our CIA/NSA has some brass who wouldnt mind calling America's foreign policy shots from behind the scenes via blackmail info on influential company leaders and corporate officers/assorted congresscritters. Epstein could privide this while appearing to be Mossad.

Its hard to believ CIA would let the Mossad get kompramat on our politicians so they could boss them around. Turf concerns and a bruised ego would lead me to believe the CIA would at least brief new members of congress about this anyway. I think it could have been them. "He belongs to intelligence".

Beefcake the Mighty , says: August 12, 2019 at 1:13 am GMT
@Anon Interesting idea, but aren't the CIA and Mossad joined at the hip at this stage? How likely is it that rogue elements within the CIA haven't been purged by now?
peterAUS , says: August 12, 2019 at 1:36 am GMT
@Anon

Ever consider a rogue upper echelon CIA faction may have ran Epstein, hoping it looked optically like the Mossad ran him?

No. For simple reasons: "What's there for me" and "Unless having THAT clearance I'll never know".

Re the former: if they can pull this to him what can they pull on me (or people I care for) if/when they want it.

Gets worse.

What if they pull that just to get a kick of out of it? Like aristocrats/nobles of Rome would pull it on a gladiator/slave? Or Middle Age noble on a serf?

I remember when Milosevic died and I'd mention that over lunch in white-collar/corporate environment. He WAS a head of state, European, White. I remember the jokes. And I was thinking (stupid, I know) the same: if they can do this to him, what can they do to me? Nobody else was, of course, at least where I was moving around (senior corporate management, that is .or so I say).
Then, there was a S.A.S. guy. Quote from Wikipedia:

He was a lance corporal in 1980, serving in Pagoda Troop, 'B' Squadron, 22 SAS Regiment, when he led "Blue Team" in the storming of the Iranian Embassy in London during a hostage siege on 5 May 1980. McAleese fought in the Falklands War in 1982, and in Ulster. He was awarded the Military Medal for gallantry in action at the Loughgall ambush in Armagh on 8 May 1987,[4] and was present at the Drumnakilly ambush in County Tyrone in August 1988.[5] He also served as a bodyguard for three Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom.

The last sentence could be interesting.
And, then ..

Four days after his son's funeral John McAleese was arrested by officers from West Mercia Police on charges of accessing indecent images of juveniles on the internet via a home computer.

So, again, if they can do that to this fellow, what can they do to me?
Etc.

Hehehe ..now the funny part: how many people reading this knew about Mr. McAleese? No need to state it here.

Oh, BTW, how many people you know are paying attention to this? Real attention, I mean?
Funny too.

[Aug 11, 2019] Some government inspector in Texas had agreed to testify about the details of a gigantic corruption ring that was closely connected with LBJ. I can't remember the exact details, but not long afterward, he was found dead, shot seven times.

Notable quotes:
"... Malcolm Wallace and LBJ had been closely linked. In the early 50’s, LBJ had gone to great extents to save Wallace’s life after he shot down a professional golfer who was having an affair with LBJ’s alcoholic sister. Although guilty of murder, Wallace ended up with a minor sentence. ..."
"... Interestingly, a Wallace fingerprint was apparently found at the TSBD “Sniper nest” from where Oswald allegedly shot JFK. Probably some insurance taken against LBJ by his co-conspirators… ..."
Aug 11, 2019 | www.unz.com

Ron Unz: August 10, 2019 at 11:47 pm GMT

This reminds me a little of a almost forgotten incident from the 1960s

Some government inspector in Texas had agreed to testify about the details of a gigantic corruption ring that was closely connected with LBJ. I can't remember the exact details, but not long afterward, he was found dead, shot seven times.

The local Texas court ruled it an apparent suicide and that's exactly how it was reported in the Washington Post and the other national newspapers

Iris : August 11, 2019 at 12:16

His name was Henry Marshall.

In 1984, Billie Sol Estes told a grand jury investigating the 1961 shooting death of Henry Marshall, an official with the Department of Agriculture, that LBJ’s associate Malcolm Wallace was Marshall’s murderer.

Malcolm Wallace and LBJ had been closely linked. In the early 50’s, LBJ had gone to great extents to save Wallace’s life after he shot down a professional golfer who was having an affair with LBJ’s alcoholic sister. Although guilty of murder, Wallace ended up with a minor sentence.

Interestingly, a Wallace fingerprint was apparently found at the TSBD “Sniper nest” from where Oswald allegedly shot JFK. Probably some insurance taken against LBJ by his co-conspirators…

lysias , says: August 11, 2019 at 1:34 am GMT

@Iris Shortly before he died, Estes collaborated with a French journalist on a book called “Le dernier temoin” (“The Last Witness”) in which Estes claimed that he had participated in a meeting with LBJ in which the JFK assassination was planned. The book was published in French (I have a copy), but no English translation has ever appeared.

[Aug 06, 2019] The Military-Industrial Jobs Scam naked capitalism

Aug 06, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Yves here. This is a very important post, documenting how despite defense contractor claims to the contrary, increased military spending has been accompanied by job losses in the US. This should come as no surprise. Military contracting is an exercise in pork, and regularly flagrantly disregards national security. A classic example: US uniforms and boots are made in China.

Another example of the benefits of military pork going outside the US was the use of contractors during the war in Iraq. From a 2007 Vanity Fair story:

In one place the job of laundering soldiers' uniforms, for example, might be performed by a company working directly for KBR. But in another a subcontractor will have sub-subcontracted the work to someone else, and sometimes even sub-sub-sub-subcontracted it. "I've come across examples where you get down four or five levels," says a government auditor who spoke on condition of anonymity. "There's the U.S. prime, the subcontractor from the Middle East, then a sub-subcontractor from Pakistan, then a shell corporation with a box number in Michigan, and finally the Iraqis who're actually doing the work -- for next to nothing."

This system has created great difficulties for anyone attempting to oversee the process on behalf of American taxpayers. It has also substantially increased the overall costs of the war by creating the conditions for obscene markups between contract levels. "There is an enormous need to get a closer handle on the detail in the field," says the auditor. "If you go ask one of the inspectors general, 'Tell me about the subcontracts,' they can't tell you anything. It's a black hole. What this means for oversight, and basic issues of fairness, is that there is none."

On top of that, inflating the number of people tasked to an activity was routine, and the article has first hand accounts from individuals who tried opposing the practice.

In other words, the contracting fraud results in US taxpayers paying way more than it would have cost for US personnel to do the work with the added insult that the tasks were performed by locals for a pittance.

By Nia Harris, a Research Associate at the Center for International Policy, Cassandra Stimpson, a Research Associate at the Center for International Policy and Ben Freeman, Director of the Foreign Influence Transparency Initiative at the Center for International Policy and Co-Chair of its Sustainable Defense Task Force. Originally published at TomDispatch

A Marilyn has once again seduced a president. This time, though, it's not a movie star ; it's Marillyn Hewson, the head of Lockheed Martin, the nation's top defense contractor and the largest weapons producer in the world. In the last month, Donald Trump and Hewson have seemed inseparable. They " saved " jobs at a helicopter plant. They took the stage together at a Lockheed subsidiary in Milwaukee. The president vetoed three bills that would have blocked the arms sales of Lockheed (and other companies) to Saudi Arabia. Recently, the president's daughter Ivanka even toured a Lockheed space facility with Hewson.

On July 15th, the official White House Twitter account tweeted a video of the Lockheed CEO extolling the virtues of the company's THAAD missile defense system, claiming that it "supports 25,000 American workers." Not only was Hewson promoting her company's product, but she was making her pitch -- with the weapon in the background -- on the White House lawn. Twitter immediately burst with outrage over the White House posting an ad for a private company, with some calling it "unethical" and "likely unlawful."

None of this, however, was really out of the ordinary as the Trump administration has stopped at nothing to push the argument that job creation is justification enough for supporting weapons manufacturers to the hilt. Even before Donald Trump was sworn in as president, he was already insisting that military spending was a great jobs creator. He's only doubled down on this assertion during his presidency. Recently, overriding congressional objections, he even declared a national "emergency" to force through part of an arms sale to Saudi Arabia that he had once claimed would create more than a million jobs. While this claim has been thoroughly debunked , the most essential part of his argument -- that more money flowing to defense contractors will create significant numbers of new jobs -- is considered truth personified by many in the defense industry, especially Marillyn Hewson.

The facts tell a different story.

Lockheed Locks Down Taxpayer Dollars, While Cutting American Jobs

To test Trump's and Hewson's argument, we asked a simple question: When contractors receive more taxpayer money, do they generally create more jobs? To answer it, we analyzed the reports of major defense contractors filed annually with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ( SEC ). Among other things, these reveal the total number of people employed by a firm and the salary of its chief executive officer. We then compared those figures to the federal tax dollars each company received, according to the Federal Procurement Data System, which measures the "dollars obligated," or funds, the government awards company by company.

We focused on the top five Pentagon defense contractors, the very heartland of the military-industrial complex, for the years 2012 to 2018. As it happened, 2012 was a pivotal year because the Budget Control Act (BCA) first went into effect then, establishing caps on how much money could be spent by Congress and mandating cuts to defense spending through 2021. Those caps were never fully adhered to. Ultimately, in fact, the Pentagon will receive significantly more money in the BCA decade than in the prior one, a period when the American wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were at their heights.

In 2012, concerned that those caps on defense spending would cut into their bottom lines, the five top contractors went on the political offensive, making future jobs their weapon of choice. After the Budget Control Act passed, the Aerospace Industries Association -- the leading trade group of the weapons-makers -- warned that more than one million jobs would be at risk if Pentagon spending were cut significantly. To emphasize the point, Lockheed sent layoff notices to 123,000 employees just before the BCA was implemented and only days before the 2012 election. Those layoffs never actually happened, but the fear of lost jobs would prove real indeed and would last.

Consider it mission accomplished, since Pentagon spending was actually higher in 2018 than in 2012 and Lockheed received a sizeable chunk of that cash infusion. From 2012 to 2018, among government contractors, that company would, in fact, be the top recipient of taxpayer dollars every single year, those funds reaching their zenith in 2017, as it raked in more than $50.6 billion federal dollars. By contrast, in 2012, when Lockheed was threatening its employees with mass layoffs , the firm received nearly $37 billion .

So what did Lockheed do with those additional $13 billion taxpayer dollars? It would be reasonable to assume that it used some of that windfall (like those of previous years) to invest in growing its workforce. If you came to that conclusion, however, you would be sorely mistaken. From 2012 to 2018, overall employment at Lockheed actually fell from 120,000 to 105,000 , according to the firm's filings with the SEC and the company itself reported a slightly larger reduction of 16,350 jobs in the U.S. In other words, in the last six years Lockheed dramatically reduced its U.S. workforce, even as it hired more employees abroad and received more taxpayer dollars.

So where is all that additional taxpayer money actually going, if not job creation? At least part of the answer is contractor profits and soaring CEO salaries. In those six years, Lockheed's stock price rose from $82 at the beginning of 2012 to $305 at the end of 2018, a nearly four-fold increase. In 2018 , the company also reported a 9% ($590 million) rise in its profits, the best in the industry. And in those same years, the salary of its CEO increased by $1.4 million, again according to its SEC filings .

In short, since 2012 the number of taxpayer dollars going to Lockheed has expanded by billions, the value of its stock has nearly quadrupled, and its CEO's salary went up 32%, even as it cut 14% of its American work force. Yet Lockheed continues to use job creation, as well as its employees' present jobs, as political pawns to get yet more taxpayer money. The president himself has bought into the ruse in his race to funnel ever more money to the Pentagon and promote arms deals to countries like Saudi Arabia, even over the nearly unified objections of an otherwise incredibly divided Congress.

Lockheed Is the Norm, Not the Exception

Despite being this country's and the world's top weapons maker, Lockheed isn't the exception but the norm. From 2012 to 2018, the unemployment rate in the U.S. plummeted from roughly 8% to 4%, with more than 13 million new jobs added to the economy. Yet, in those same years, three of the five top defense contractors slashed jobs. In 2018, the Pentagon committed approximately $118 billion in federal money to those firms, including Lockheed -- nearly half of all the money it spent on contractors. This was almost $12 billion more than they had received in 2012 . Yet, cumulatively, those companies lost jobs and now employ a total of 6,900 fewer employees than they did in 2012, according to their SEC filings .

In addition to the reductions at Lockheed, Boeing slashed 21,400 jobs and Raytheon cut 800 employees from its payroll. Only General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman added jobs -- 13,400 and 16,900 employees, respectively -- making that total figure look modestly better. However, even those "gains" can't qualify as job creation in the normal sense, since they resulted almost entirely from the fact that each of those companies bought another Pentagon contractor and added its employees to its own payroll. CSRA, which General Dynamics acquired in 2018, had 18,500 employees before the merger, while Orbital ATK, which General Dynamics acquired last year, had 13,900 employees. Subtract these 32,400 jobs from the corporate totals and job losses at the firms become staggering.

In addition, those employment figures include all company employees, even those now working outside the U.S. Lockheed is the only top five Pentagon contractor that provides information on the percentage of its employees in the U.S., so if the other firms are shipping jobs overseas, as Lockheed has done and as Raytheon is planning to do, far more than 6,900 full-time jobs in the U.S. have been lost in the last six years.

Where, then, did all that job-creation money really go? Just as at Lockheed, at least part of the answer is that the money went to the bottom-line and to top executives. According to a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers, a consulting firm that provides annual analyses of the defense industry, "the aerospace and defense (A&D) sector scored record revenues and profits in 2018" with an "operating profit of $81 billion, surpassing the previous record set in 2017." According to the report, Pentagon contractors were at the forefront of these profit gains. For example, Lockheed's profit improvement was $590 million, followed closely by General Dynamics at $562 million. As employment shrank, CEO salaries at some of these firms only grew. In addition to compensation for Lockheed's CEO jumping from $4.2 million in 2012 to $5.6 million in 2018, compensation for the CEO of General Dynamics increased from $6.9 million in 2012 to a whopping $20.7 million in 2018.

Perpetuating the Same Old Story

This is hardly the first time that these companies have extolled their ability to create jobs while cutting them. As Ben Freeman previously documented for the Project On Government Oversight, these very same firms cut almost 10% of their workforce in the six years before the BCA came into effect, even as taxpayer dollars heading their way annually jumped by nearly 25% from $91 billion to $113 billion.

Just as then, the contractors and their advocates -- and there are many of them, given that the weapons-making outfits spend more than $100 million on lobbying yearly, donate tens of millions of dollars to the campaigns of members of Congress every election season, and give millions to think tanks annually -- will rush to defend such job losses. They will, for instance, note that defense spending leads to job growth among the subcontractors used by the major weapons firms. Yet research has repeatedly shown that, even with this supposed "multiplier effect," defense spending produces fewer jobs than just about anything else the government puts our money into. In fact, it's about 50% less effective at creating jobs than if taxpayers were simply allowed to keep their money and use it as they wished.

As Brown University's Costs of War project has reported , "$1 billion in military spending creates approximately 11,200 jobs, compared with 26,700 in education, 16,800 in clean energy, and 17,200 in health care." Military spending actually proved to be the worst job creator of any federal government spending option those researchers analyzed. Similarly, according to a report by Heidi Garrett-Peltier of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, for every $1 million of spending on defense, 6.9 jobs are created both directly in defense industries and in the supply chain. Spending the same amount in the fields of wind or solar energy, she notes, leads to 8.4 or 9.5 jobs, respectively. As for the education sector, the same amount of money produced 19.2 jobs in primary and secondary education and 11.2 jobs in higher education. In other words, not only are the green energy and education areas vital to the future of the country, they are also genuine job-creating machines. Yet, the government gives more taxpayer dollars to the defense industry than all these other government functions combined .

You don't, however, have to turn to critics of defense spending to make the case. Reports from the industry's own trade association show that it has been shedding jobs. According to an Aerospace Industries Association analysis , it supported approximately 300,000 fewer jobs in 2018 than it had reported supporting just three years earlier.

If the nation's top defense contractor and the industry as a whole have been shedding jobs, how have they been able to consistently and effectively perpetuate the myth that they are engines of job creation? To explain this, add to their army of lobbyists, their treasure trove of campaign contributions, and those think tanks on the take, the famed revolving door that sends retired government officials into the world of the weapons makers and those working for them to Washington.

While there has always been a cozy relationship between the Pentagon and the defense industry, the lines between contractors and the government have blurred far more radically in the Trump years. Mark Esper, the newly minted secretary of defense, for example, previously worked as Raytheon's top lobbyist in Washington. Spinning the other way, the present head of the Aerospace Industries Association, Eric Fanning , had been both secretary of the Army and acting secretary of the Air Force. In fact, since 2008, as the Project On Government Oversight's Mandy Smithberger found , "at least 380 high-ranking Department of Defense officials and military officers shifted into the private sector to become lobbyists, board members, executives, or consultants for defense contractors."

Whatever the spin, whether of that revolving door or of the defense industry's publicists, the bottom line couldn't be clearer: if job creation is your metric of choice, Pentagon contractors are a bad taxpayer investment. So whenever Marillyn Hewson or any other CEO in the military-industrial complex claims that spending yet more taxpayer dollars on defense contractors will give a jobs break to Americans, just remember their track record so far: ever more dollars invested means ever fewer Americans employed.


JBird4049 , August 5, 2019 at 1:01 am

I seem to recall reading repeatedly that half of the American combat troops in Iraq and Afghanistan were private contractors hired by such upstanding companies like Blackwater as well as much, or perhaps mostly, were the staffing in such as cooks, janitors, even drivers. Workers doing gig work in a war zone.

The American government got to use statistical legerdemain to cut the number of Americans fighting, dying, and being injured, which means that the official numbers of American military casualties is a lie, but it played well in the "news" stories sound bites.

The funds to pay for the hidden forces were used to pay the inflated contracts with the money often going more to companies' profits than in paying the workers. Sometimes, as in the case of the "retired" combat veterans, the pay was very, very good, but too often it was chump pay especially as the wounded did not qualify for the benefits of the military such as long term medical care or disability payments. This last bit also reduces the long term costs of the wars for the government as any help that they might get would be something like Social Security.

There are probably a fair number of disabled Americans wasting away from their unofficial military service without any of the support, problematic as it is sometimes, that the military veterans get. Then there are the lack of survivors benefits.

And yes, many people took those jobs because they were none to be had that paid the bills, but the companies made bank.

sd , August 5, 2019 at 3:01 am

To be clear, it wasn't combat troops. It was logistics support which was contracted out to Halliburton under LOGCAP. Halliburton in turn used a subsidiary and subbed it out further. USAID and various "reconstruction" contracts further inflated the number of contractors.

The significance of participating in the "Coalition" of nations was that their citizens would not be considered mercenaries under UN agreements. Hence everyone jumping on board for a piece of the pie.

JCC , August 5, 2019 at 9:39 am

True, the vast majority were logistical support personnel. I was one of them, IT services.

The layers were 3 to 5 deep, everything from laundry services and kitchen people from Pakistan and electricians and carpenters from the Philippines. KBR made bank while paying these people squat. And not only was KBR/Haliburton getting rich over over there, they failed to deliver on many of the services they were paid to provide.

Oh the stories I could tell. I learned the true meaning of War Profiteering courtesy of companies like KBR.

The Rev Kev , August 5, 2019 at 9:56 am

Then I suppose that the contents of this old 2010 article would be no surprise to you-

https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2010/jun/09/arianna-huffington/halliburton-kbr-and-iraq-war-contracting-history-s/

JCC , August 5, 2019 at 10:49 am

I thought about doing a list of just what I saw, including the illegal billed for "force protection" mentioned in this article:

In April 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a civil fraud case against KBR over the issue of using private security forces in Iraq to protect its workers and subcontractors. Private security wasn't allowed under the LOGCAP contract because the U.S. military was supposed to provide protection.

Not only did Haliburton/KBR bill for it, they never provided it, at least not at the largest post there, Balad Air Base.

This article is a decent summary of the big picture, on the ground level it looked a lot worse, including costing some their lives as a direct result of incompetence and worse.

Oh , August 5, 2019 at 6:49 pm

A small biz without Cheney connections would have been nailed to the wall with the management going to prison for a crime like this.

David in Santa Cruz , August 5, 2019 at 1:20 am

This used to be called the "self-licking ice cream cone." These people have no morals, and don't care about anyone but themselves. They are merchants of death.

Off The Street , August 5, 2019 at 10:39 am

That sweet tooth got extended once the perps could brag about drinking your milkshake . Strange how they didn't get any cavities but the rest of the populace did.

skippy , August 5, 2019 at 4:05 am

Sniff I remember all the Bush Jr years of buddies getting sweetheart contracts and doing nada besides shuffling some papers .

Joe Well , August 5, 2019 at 10:14 am

>>A classic example: US uniforms and boots are made in China.

New Balance, the sneaker company with a small but significant US manufacturing capability, has been protesting this vociferously for years.

After the most recent presidential election, one of their executives told a trade publication that they were still optimistic for the future (what else were they supposed to say?) and said specifically that they were hopeful that the new administration would enforce Made-in-USA rules more forcefully (which they had been saying like a mantra forever).

And you can probably guess what happened. There was a Twitter storm of people burning New Balance sneakers. The Intercept columnist Sean King put New Balance on a list of companies to boycott.

And that is how this particular scam-laden military empire perpetuates itself: with a fake opposition stuffed with scams of its own. How much do you wanna bet that the current holders of said military contracts were astroturfing this opposition?

shinola , August 5, 2019 at 10:14 am

From the article:
As Brown University's Costs of War project has reported, "$1 billion in military spending creates approximately 11,200 jobs, compared with 26,700 in education "
This implies that a job in the MIC sector making WMD pays nearly 2.4x more than a job educating our children. What's wrong with this picture?

Trump throws billion$ more into the "defense" budget than was requested. MIC related stock prices seem to be doing rather well. Mr. President, what's in your portfolio?

Eugene , August 5, 2019 at 12:23 pm

At least we get to voice our concerns – free speech – guaranteed so far, but that's all. One day, the Ponzi will collapse, probably sooner than we think. And who will get blamed? None other then the POTUS, but he'll escape any legal hassle's because he'll be diagnosed with the dreaded "DEMENTIA". Where have we heard that before.

[Aug 06, 2019] The Declining Empire Of Chaos Is Going Nuts Over Iran

Notable quotes:
"... Tensions were then focused on Syria , where a mercenary army of at least 200,000 men, armed and trained by the US, UK, Israel, France, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, almost managed to completely topple the country. ..."
"... As the Americans, British, French and Israelis conducted their bombing missions in Syria, the danger of a deliberate attack on Russian positions always remained, something that would have had devastating consequences for the region and beyond. It is no secret that US military planners have repeatedly argued for a direct conflict with Moscow in a contained regional theater. (Clinton called for the downing of Russian jets over Syria, and former US officials claimed that some Russians had to " pay a little price ".) ..."
"... Trump's dramatic U-turn following his historic meeting with Kim Jong-un (a public relations/photo opportunity) began to paint a fairly comical and unreliable picture of US power, revealing to the world the new US president's strategy. The president threatens to nuke a country, but only as a negotiating tactic to bring his opponent to the negotiating table and thereby clinch a deal. He then presents himself to his domestic audience as the "great" deal-maker. ..."
"... With Iran, the recent target of the US administration, the bargaining method is the same, though with decidedly different results. In the cases of Ukraine and North Korea, the two most powerful lobbies in Washington, the Israeli and Saudi lobbies, have had little to say. Of course the neocons and the arms lobbyists are always gunning for war, but these two powerful state-backed lobbies were notably silent with regard to these countries, less towards Syria obviously. As distinguished political scientist John J. Mearsheimer has repeatedly explained , the Israel and Saudi lobbies have unlimited funds for corrupting Democrats and Republicans in order to push their foreign-policy goals. ..."
"... These two lobbies (together with their neocon allies) have for years been pushing to have a few hundred thousand young Americans sent to Iran to sacrifice themselves for the purposes of destroying Iran and her people. Such geopolitical games are played at the cost of US taxpayers, the lives of their children sent to war, and the lives of the people of the Middle East, who have been devastated by decades of conflict. ..."
"... The reasons vary with each case, and I have previously explained extensively why the possibilities for conflict are unthinkable. With Ukraine, a conflict on European soil between Russia and NATO was unthinkable , bringing to mind the type of devastation that was seen during the Second World War. Good sense prevailed, and even NATO somewhat refused to fully arm the Ukrainian army with weapons that would have given them an overwhelming advantage over the Donbass militias. ..."
"... In Syria, any involvement with ground troops would have been collective suicide, given the overwhelming air power deployed in the country by Russia. Recall that since the Second World War, the US has never fought a war in an airspace that was seriously contested (in Vietnam, US air losses were only elevated because of Sino-Soviet help), allowing for ground troops to receive air cover and protection . A ground assault in Syria would have therefore been catastrophic without the requisite control of Syria's skies. ..."
"... Because a war with Iran would be difficult to de-escalate, we can conclude that the possibility of war being waged against the country is unlikely if not impossible. The level of damage the belligerents would inflict on each other would make any diplomatic resolution of the conflict difficult. While the powerful Israeli and Saudi lobbies in the US may be beating the war drums, an indication of what would happen if war followed can be seen in Yemen. Egypt and the UAE were forced to withdraw from the coalition fighting the Houthis after the UAE suffered considerable damage from legitimate retaliatory missile strikes from the Yemen's Army Missile Forces. ..."
"... An open war against Iran continues to be a red line that the ruling financial elites in the US, Israelis and Saudis don't want to cross, having so much at stake. ..."
"... With an election looming, Trump cannot risk triggering a new conflict and betraying one of his most important electoral promises. The Western elite does not seem to have any intention of destroying the petrodollar-based world economy with which it generates its own profits and controls global finance. ..."
"... Even if we consider the possibility of Netanyahu and Bin Salman being mentally unstable, someone within the royal palace in Riyadh or the government in Tel Aviv would have counseled them on the political and personal consequences of an attack on Iran. ..."
Aug 06, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

In 2014 we were almost at the point of no return in Ukraine following the coup d'etat supported and funded by NATO and involving extremist right-wing Ukrainian nationalists. The conflict in the Donbass risked escalating into a conflict between NATO and the Russian Federation, every day in the summer and autumn of 2014 threatening to be doomsday. Rather than respond to the understandable impulse to send Russian troops into Ukraine to defend the population of Donbass, Putin had the presense of mind to pursue the less direct and more sensible strategy of supporting the material capacity of the residents of Donbass to resist the depredations of the Ukrainian army and their neo-Nazi Banderite thugs. Meanwhile, Europe's inept leaders initially egged on Ukraine's destabilization, only to get cold feet after reflecting on the possibility of having a conflict between Moscow and Washington fought on European soil.

With the resistance in Donbass managing to successfully hold back Ukrainian assaults, the conflict began to freeze, almost to the point of a complete ceasefire, even as Ukrainian provocations continue to this day.

Tensions were then focused on Syria , where a mercenary army of at least 200,000 men, armed and trained by the US, UK, Israel, France, Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, almost managed to completely topple the country. Russian intervention in 2015 managed to save the country with no time to spare, destroying large numbers of terrorists and reorganizing the Syrian armed forces and training and equipping them with the necessary means to beat back the jihadi waves. The Russians also ensured control of the skies through their network of Pantsir-S1, Pantsir-S2, S-300 and S-400 air-defence systems, together with their impressive jamming (Krasukha-4), command and control information management system (Strelets C4ISR System) and electronic-warfare technologies (1RL257 Krasukha-4).

As the Americans, British, French and Israelis conducted their bombing missions in Syria, the danger of a deliberate attack on Russian positions always remained, something that would have had devastating consequences for the region and beyond. It is no secret that US military planners have repeatedly argued for a direct conflict with Moscow in a contained regional theater. (Clinton called for the downing of Russian jets over Syria, and former US officials claimed that some Russians had to " pay a little price ".)

Since Trump became president, the rhetoric of war has soared considerably, even as the awareness remains that any new conflict would sink Trump's chances of re-election. Despite this, Trump's bombings in Syria were real and potentially very harmful to the Syrian state. Nevertheless, they were foiled by Russia's electronic-warfare capability, which was able to send veering away from their intended target more than 70% of the latest-generation missiles launched by the British, French, Americans and Israelis.

One of the most terrifying moments for the future of humanity came a few months later when Trump started hurling threats and abuses at Kim Jong-un , threatening to reduce Pyongyang to ashes. Trump, moreover, delivered his fiery threats in a speech at the United Nations General Assembly.

Trump's dramatic U-turn following his historic meeting with Kim Jong-un (a public relations/photo opportunity) began to paint a fairly comical and unreliable picture of US power, revealing to the world the new US president's strategy. The president threatens to nuke a country, but only as a negotiating tactic to bring his opponent to the negotiating table and thereby clinch a deal. He then presents himself to his domestic audience as the "great" deal-maker.

With Iran, the recent target of the US administration, the bargaining method is the same, though with decidedly different results. In the cases of Ukraine and North Korea, the two most powerful lobbies in Washington, the Israeli and Saudi lobbies, have had little to say. Of course the neocons and the arms lobbyists are always gunning for war, but these two powerful state-backed lobbies were notably silent with regard to these countries, less towards Syria obviously. As distinguished political scientist John J. Mearsheimer has repeatedly explained , the Israel and Saudi lobbies have unlimited funds for corrupting Democrats and Republicans in order to push their foreign-policy goals.

The difference between the case of Iran and the aforementioned cases of Ukraine, Syria and North Korea is precisely the direct involvement of these two lobbies in the decision-making process underway in the US.

These two lobbies (together with their neocon allies) have for years been pushing to have a few hundred thousand young Americans sent to Iran to sacrifice themselves for the purposes of destroying Iran and her people. Such geopolitical games are played at the cost of US taxpayers, the lives of their children sent to war, and the lives of the people of the Middle East, who have been devastated by decades of conflict.

What readers can be assured of is that in the cases of Ukraine, Syria, North Korea and Iran, the US is unable to militarily impose its geopolitical or economic will.

The reasons vary with each case, and I have previously explained extensively why the possibilities for conflict are unthinkable. With Ukraine, a conflict on European soil between Russia and NATO was unthinkable , bringing to mind the type of devastation that was seen during the Second World War. Good sense prevailed, and even NATO somewhat refused to fully arm the Ukrainian army with weapons that would have given them an overwhelming advantage over the Donbass militias.

In Syria, any involvement with ground troops would have been collective suicide, given the overwhelming air power deployed in the country by Russia. Recall that since the Second World War, the US has never fought a war in an airspace that was seriously contested (in Vietnam, US air losses were only elevated because of Sino-Soviet help), allowing for ground troops to receive air cover and protection . A ground assault in Syria would have therefore been catastrophic without the requisite control of Syria's skies.

In North Korea, the country's tactical and strategic nuclear and conventional deterrence discourages any missile attack. Any overland attack is out of the question, given the high number of active as well as reserve personnel in the DPRK army. If the US struggled to control a completely defeated Iraq in 2003, how much more difficult would be to deal with a country with a resilient population that is indisposed to bowing to the US? The 2003 Iraq campaign would really be a "cakewalk" in comparison. Another reason why a missile attack on North Korea is impossible is because of the conventional power that Pyongyang possesses in the form of tens of thousands of missiles and artillery pieces that could easily reduce Seoul to rubble in a matter of minutes. This would then lead to a war between the US and the DPRK being fought on the Korean Peninsula. Moon Jae-in, like Merkel and Sarkozy in the case of Ukraine, did everything in his power to prevent such a devastating conflict.

Concerning tensions between the US and Iran and the resulting threats of war, these should be taken as bluster and bluff. America's European allies are heavily involved in Iran and depend on the Middle East for their oil and gas imports. A US war against Iran would have devastating consequences for the world economy, with the Europeans seeing their imports halved or reduced. As Professor Chossudovsky of the strategic think tank Global Research has so ably argued , an attack on Iran is unsustainable, as the oil sectors of the UAE and Saudi Arabia would be hit and shut down. Exports would instantly end after the pipelines going West are bombed by the Houthis and the Strait of Hormuz closed. The economies of these two countries would implode and their ruling class wiped out by internal revolts. The state of Israel as well as US bases in the region would see themselves overwhelmed with missiles coming from Syria, Lebanon, the Golan Heights and Iran. The Tel Aviv government would last a few hours before capitulating under the pressure of its own citizens, who, like the Europeans, are unused to suffering war at home.

Because a war with Iran would be difficult to de-escalate, we can conclude that the possibility of war being waged against the country is unlikely if not impossible. The level of damage the belligerents would inflict on each other would make any diplomatic resolution of the conflict difficult. While the powerful Israeli and Saudi lobbies in the US may be beating the war drums, an indication of what would happen if war followed can be seen in Yemen. Egypt and the UAE were forced to withdraw from the coalition fighting the Houthis after the UAE suffered considerable damage from legitimate retaliatory missile strikes from the Yemen's Army Missile Forces.

An open war against Iran continues to be a red line that the ruling financial elites in the US, Israelis and Saudis don't want to cross, having so much at stake.

With an election looming, Trump cannot risk triggering a new conflict and betraying one of his most important electoral promises. The Western elite does not seem to have any intention of destroying the petrodollar-based world economy with which it generates its own profits and controls global finance. And finally, US military planners do not intend to suffer a humiliating defeat in Iran that would reveal the extent to which US military power is based on propaganda built over the years through Hollywood movies and wars successfully executed against relatively defenceless countries. Even if we consider the possibility of Netanyahu and Bin Salman being mentally unstable, someone within the royal palace in Riyadh or the government in Tel Aviv would have counseled them on the political and personal consequences of an attack on Iran.

It is telling that Washington, London, Tel Aviv and Riyadh have to resort to numerous but ultimately useless provocations against Iran, as they can only rely on hybrid attacks in order to economically isolate it from the rest of the world.

Paradoxically, this strategy has had devastating consequences for the role of the US dollar as a reserve currency together with the SWIFT system. In today's multipolar environment, acting in such an imperious manner leads to the acceleration of de-dollarization as a way of circumventing sanctions and bans imposed by the US.

A reserve currency is used to facilitate transactions. If the disadvantages come to exceed the benefits, it will progressively be used less and less, until it is replaced by a basket of currencies that more closely reflect the multipolar geopolitical reality.

The warmongers in Washington are exasperated by their continuing inability to curb the resilience and resistance of the people in Venezuela, Iran, Syria, North Korea and Donbass, countries and regions understood by the healthy part of the globe as representing the axis of resistance to US Imperialism.


Batman11 , 14 minutes ago link

A multi-polar world became a uni-polar world with the fall of the Berlin Wall and Francis Fukuyama said it was the end of history.

That didn't last long, did it?

The US came up with a great plan for an open, globalised world.

China went from almost nothing to become a global superpower.

It was a great plan for China, which is now the problem for the US.

Batman11 , 24 minutes ago link

The cry of US elites can be heard across the world.

Mummy.

What's gone wrong?

I am used to always getting my own way.

Thought.Adjuster , 55 minutes ago link

If Folks would just accept a unipolar World, we could all live together in peace.

ZeroPorridge , 6 minutes ago link

Monopoly means utter slavery.

Like in a living body, each cells on their own, grouped by function, none really being the boss of the rest.

uhland62 , 1 hour ago link

America must always threaten someone with war. Syria, Iran, Venezuela, China, Russia, so many to choose from.

Conflicts must never be resolved; they must always kept simmering, so a hot war can be triggered quickly. All Presidents are turned in the first three months after sworn in.

Jazzman , 1 hour ago link

Without required air superiority they are what? Say it! Say it loud!

Dude-dude , 49 minutes ago link

It's what happens as empires mature. Governance becomes bloated, corrupt and inept (often leading to wars). Maturity time has become significantly reduced due to the rate of information technology advance. America is five years away from going insolvent according to most models and forecasts. All new debt after 2024 will be used to pay the interest on existing debts and liabilities. There is simply no stopping it. The US already pays close to 500 billion in annual interest on debts and liabilities. Factor in a 600 billion or 700 billion dollar annual military budget, and unrestrained deficit spending clocking in at over a trillion, and, well, it isn't going to work for long. Considering most new well paying jobs are government jobs... The end is either full socialism / fascism (folks still don't get how similar these are), a currency crisis and panic, depression and institutional deterioration. The only good news to libertarians I guess - if you can call it good - is that the blotted government along with the crony corporations will mostly and eventually collapse. Libertarian governance might not be a choice by an electorate, it might simply become fact in the aftermath.

-- ALIEN -- , 3 hours ago link

As the falling EROEI of oil gets worse; countries will collapse... It's all downhill from here

...what few are left.

Lokiban , 3 hours ago link

I guess Trump eventually will understand this lesson in politics that friendship, mutual respect and helping each other accomplishes way way more then threatening countries to be bombed back into the stoneage.
Noone likes to do a cutthroat deal enforced upon them by thuggery. Trump's got to learn that you can't run politics like you do your bussinesses, it's not working unles that was his plan all this time, to destroy America.

NumbersUsa , 3 hours ago link

"The Israel and Saudi lobbies have unlimited funds for corrupting Democrats and Republicans in order to push their foreign-policy goals.

These two lobbies (together with their neocon allies) have for years been pushing to have a few hundred thousand young Americans sent to Iran to sacrifice themselves for the purposes of destroying Iran and her people. Such geopolitical games are played at the cost of US taxpayers, the lives of their children sent to war, and the lives of the people of the Middle East, who have been devastated by decades of conflict."

Excellent and Factual points! Thank You!

Scaliger , 3 hours ago link

https://www.jta.org/2019/07/01/united-states/the-israel-projects-ceo-is-leaving-amid-advocacy-groups-fundraising-difficulties

Minamoto , 3 hours ago link

America is increasingly looking like Ancient Rome towards the end. It is overstretched, nearly insolvent, fewer allies want to be allies, it's population is sick, physically and mentally. Obesity, diabetes, drug use/addiction make it impossible for the Pentagon to meet recruitment goal. Mental illness causes daily mass killing. The education system is so broken/broke that there is little real education being done. Americans are among the most ignorant, least educated and least educate-able people in the developed world.

Militarily, the USA can bomb but that's about it... defeats upon defeats over the past two decades demonstrate the US military is a paper tiger of astonishing incompetence.

Boeing can't make planes anymore. Lockheed is not much better. Parts of the F-35 are made by Chinese subsidiaries. The most recently built aircraft carrier cannot launch fighter jets.

-- ALIEN -- , 3 hours ago link

We gots NASCAR, big trucks, free TV, fast food, and endless ****.

Go 'Merica!

Justin Case , 2 hours ago link

Recent estimates indicate that more than 550,000 people experience homelessness in the US on any given night, with about two-thirds ending up in emergency shelters or transitional housing programs, and one-third finding their way to unsheltered locations like parks, vehicles, and metro stations. According to the Urban Institute, about 25% of homeless people have jobs.

I find that it is difficult for me to wrap my head around pain and suffering on such an immense scale. Americans often think of the homeless as drug-addicted men that don't want to work, but the truth is that about a quarter of the homeless population is made up of children.

foxenburg , 2 hours ago link

Seriously, why would Iran want to hijack a German ship? Iran took the UK one in retaliation for the Brits seizing the one at Gibraltar. Had that not happened, no Brit ships in the Persian Gulf would have been touched. This is all a carefully engineered USA provocation designed to, inter alia, increase tension in the Persian Gulf, put more nails in coffin of JCPOA...and most importantly give UK an excuse, as remaining signatory, to call for the original UN sanctions on Iran to be snapped-back.

terrific , 4 hours ago link

Federico, let me explain it simply: the U.S. is allied with Israel, and Iran hates Israel. Why, I don't know (nor do I care), but that's why the U.S. needs to keep Iran in check.

Grouchy-Bear , 4 hours ago link

You are confused...

Israel hates Iran and it is Israel that needs to be kept in check...

CatInTheHat , 4 hours ago link

Yet CONGRESS just passed the largest defense bill in history. The WAR industry is bankrupting us financially spiritually and morally.

A war is coming. But upon whom this time (or STILL?), because with President Bolton and Vice President Adelson in power, China Iran or Russia or maybe all three, are open options.

Ofelas , 4 hours ago link

Interview with a Russian I saw 2 years ago "USA wants to create local conflicts on foreign shores, ...on our borders, we will not allow that to happen and make the war international" I will translate: Russia will not be pulled in to some stupid small war draining their resources while the US sits comfortable, they will throw their missiles around - no escape from nuclear winter.

libtears , 3 hours ago link

Us pays more in interest than defense spending now. You'll need to factor that into your predictions

UBrexitUPay4it , 3 hours ago link

If spending has reached the limit now, during peacetime....what will happen during a protracted war? Even if it stays conventional, it would appear that a huge war effort, comparable to WWII, just won't be possible. The US seems to be in a pre-war Britain position, but there isn't a friendly giant across the water to bail them out with both cash and resources.

Either things become insane in fairly short order, or wiser heads will prevail and the US will step back from the brink. Do we have any wiser heads at the moment?

I keep seeing John Bolton's moustache, Andi am not filled with confidence.

[Aug 06, 2019] Congress Spending Surge is National Suicide by Ron Paul

Aug 06, 2019 | www.unz.com

With a national debt approaching $23 trillion and a trillion dollar deficit for this year alone, Congress last week decided to double down on suicidal spending, passing a two year budget that has the United States careening toward catastrophe. While we cannot say precisely when the economic crash will occur, we do know that it is coming. And last week Congress pounded down on the accelerator.

We are told that the US economy is experiencing unprecedented growth, while at the same time the Fed is behaving as it does when we are in recession by cutting rates and dodging insults from the President because it's not cutting fast enough. This is not economic policy – it's schizophrenia!

But that's only the beginning.

Take what they call "national defense" spending. This is the misnomer they use to try and convince us that pumping trillions into the military-industrial complex will make us safe and free. Nothing could be further from the truth: probably ninety percent of the "defense" budget is aggressive militarism and welfare for the rich.

Under this budget deal the military budget would increase to nearly $1.4 trillion for two years. Of course that's only a fraction of real military spending, which is, all told, well over one trillion dollars per year.

What do we get for this money? Are we safer? Not at all. We are more vulnerable than ever. We spend billions fighting "terrorism" in Africa while terrorism has actually increased since the creation of the US Africa Command – "AFRICOM" – in 2007. Meanwhile we continue to spend to maintain our illegal military occupation of a large section of Syria – which benefits terrorist groups seeking to overthrow Assad.

We're sending thousands more troops to the Middle East including basing US troops in Saudi Arabia for the first time since 2003. Back then, even neocon Paul Wolfowitz praised our departure from Saudi Arabia because, as he rightly stated, US troops on Saudi soil was a great recruiting tool for al-Qaeda.

Now we've pulled out of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty so that we can deploy once-forbidden missiles on China's front door. A new arms race with China will mean a new boon for our new Defense Secretary's former colleagues at Raytheon!

[Aug 05, 2019] Don t Underestimate Iran s Ability to Fight a Bloody War

Aug 05, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Don't Underestimate Iran's Ability to Fight a Bloody War They already proved themselves against Iraq during the 1980s -- and they're far stronger today. By Pouya Alimagham August 6, 2019

Circa 1980's; an Iranian soldier wearing gas mask during Iran-Iraq War. Iraq used chemical weapons against military and civilian targets throughout the eight year war. Declassified reports indicate that Saddam Hussein had international assistance in obtaining the weapons, including from the U.S. and U.K, and the CIA assisted in targeting. (Creative Commons/Wikipedia) On July 29, President Trump tweeted: "Just remember, Iranians never won a war, but never lost a negotiation." In just 12 words, Trump leveled a multi-layered, ahistorical insult against both his predecessor, Barack Obama, and Iran.

More importantly, the remarks betray a dangerously ignorant understanding of Iran that could result in another careless Middle East war of choice.

The tweet invokes a clichéd, colonial-era stereotype that Iranians, like other Middle Eastern peoples, are wily swindlers -- rapacious, greedy bazaar merchants who aim to take advantage of honest and unsuspecting Westerners. Trump is hardly the first American leader to dabble in such denigrating stereotypes. Wendy Sherman, a senior State Department official and former lead negotiator who helped forge the Iran nuclear deal in 2015, infamously quipped that Iranians could not be trusted because they have "deception in their DNA."

The president deployed the stereotype of Iranian cunning to imply that they tricked a naïve president, Barack Obama, into signing a flawed nuclear deal. According to the world's foremost nuclear security experts , however, the accord was ensuring Iran's compliance, thereby preventing a nuclear weapons program -- that is, until Trump subverted the agreement in 2018.

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More importantly, Trump's words underscore the idea that Iranians are cowardly and militarily ineffectual, but make up for such unflattering character flaws by swindling their foes during negotiations to achieve victory.

Iran's last war, however, should dispel any notion of cowardice and military weakness -- a history President Trump and anti-Iran hawks like National Security Adviser John Bolton must face with clear eyes if the United States is to avoid another needless, catastrophic war in the Middle East.

Iraq Invades Iran

In the aftermath of the Iranian Revolution in 1979, Iran faced one of its most vulnerable moments in modern times. During the revolutionary upheaval, many arms depots were raided and weapons were distributed to volunteers ready to deliver the monarchy its coup de grace .

After the watershed moment, the Revolutionary Council feared that, given the Anglo-American coup in 1953 through the Iranian military, Iran's generals could not be trusted. The subsequent purge resulted in the decimation of the country's military leadership. Moreover, political infighting between revolutionary factions also led to unrest. To make matters worse, militant students were fearful that the U.S. was planning to undermine the revolution through a coup -- as it did the nationalist government of Mohammad Mossadeq in 1953 -- so they resolved to ward off any such attempts. Consequently, they seized the U.S. embassy and held its personnel hostage. The international community responded by isolating Iran for its blatant disregard for international norms.

Capitalizing on Iran's internal post-revolutionary chaos, military disarray, and international isolation, Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein ordered the invasion of his neighboring rival on September 22, 1980. Shortly after, Iran's internal power struggle between the various revolutionary factions erupted into open warfare.

So devastating was the power struggle that many of the leading personalities of the Iranian Revolution died in assassinations and bomb blasts, including Iran's president and prime minister. Thus, the Iranian state was forced to fight on two battlefronts -- internally against its challengers and externally against Iraqi invaders. The government did not, however, collapse under the weight of its domestic rivals and foreign aggressors. In fact, the war enlivened Charles Tilly's timeless words: "War makes states."

Iranian Resilience

The Iranian state harnessed a powerful ideology that intertwined nationalism with Islamic revolutionary zeal in order to prompt Iranians to close rank behind it, marshaling hundreds of thousands of soldiers to liberate Iranian territory occupied by the Iraqi military. By May 24, 1982, and after tens of thousands of deaths, Iran freed the border city of Khorramshahr after a brutal two-year siege.

Soon after Khorramshahr's liberation, the invading Iraqis were on the defensive, and Saddam's wartime financiers, namely Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, offered Iran a multi-billion dollar reparations package to end the war. Iran's leader refused, declaring that the only way the war would end was with Saddam Hussein's bloody demise. He then spearheaded the conflict onto Iraqi soil for the first time. Time captured the moment by phrasing the counter-invasion as " Iran on the march ."

Iran Versus the World

Iraq enjoyed the support of the United States, Soviet Union, Great Britain, West Germany, France, and the Arab League -- with the exception of Syria and Libya -- and even used chemical weapons on Iranian troops. Yet Iran persisted despite such horrible odds, and hundreds of thousands continued to go to the battlefront knowing it was possible that they, too, could fall victim to Iraq's horrific chemical weapons.

The violence dragged on for eight bitter years, making it the longest conventional war of the 20th century -- with an Iranian death toll estimated between half a million to a million. To put that staggering number into perspective, the conservative estimate exceeds the total American loss of life in World War II.

The war's conclusion was a failure in Iranian eyes, as it did not end in Saddam Hussein's overthrow and Iraqis and the region would continue to suffer at his hands. Two years later, he refused to demobilize his million-man army to a jobless future in a war-ravaged economy, and instead dispatched them across Iraq's border again -- this time to Kuwait.

Yet neither did Iran lose the war. In fact, it was the first conflict since the two 19th-century wars with Czarist Russia in which Iran did not lose any territory. Above all, the country survived a genocidal conflict -- and survival was its own victory.

Iran Today

Today, Iran's population is more than double what it was in 1980 -- estimated at roughly 83 million . After lacking military support from abroad during the Iran-Iraq War, Iran now has extensive domestic weapons manufacturing capabilities. Also unlike 1980, it has more allies in the region. In other words, if Iran fought so stubbornly under such dire circumstances during the '80s, it will only fight more effectively today. It has already proven itself militarily by coordinating the fight alongside the U.S. to defeat ISIS in Iraq while simultaneously working with Russia to help the Syrian government win an unrelenting civil war.

The Iranian military budget may be a fraction of America's, but the Trump administration -- especially anti-Iran hawks John Bolton and Mike Pompeo -- should consider this history and current reality objectively. If they don't, if they continue to underestimate Iran the same way the Bush administration did with a far weaker Iraq in 2003, they risk another war of choice. Indeed, on the eve of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, Vice President Dick Cheney infamously stated : "I think it will go relatively quickly weeks rather than months." To be sure, history has been unkind to his rosy assessment.

Thinking a war with Iran will be over before it begins -- or that it will, as Senator Tom Cotton boasted , not require more than "two strikes, the first strike and the last strike" -- is the first step towards another needless, ruinous war.

Pouya Alimagham is a historian of the modern Middle East at Massachusetts Institute of Technology , and author of the forthcoming Contesting the Iranian Revolution: The Green Uprisings (Cambridge University Press). Follow him on Twitter @iPouya .

[Aug 05, 2019] US federal court exposes Democratic Party conspiracy against Assange and WikiLeaks by Eric London

Notable quotes:
"... The ruling exposes the illegality of the conspiracy by the US government, backed by the governments of Britain, Ecuador, Australia and Sweden and the entire corporate media and political establishment, to extradite Assange to the US, where he faces 175 years in federal prison on charges including espionage. ..."
"... The dismissal of the civil suit exposes massive unreported conflicts of interest and prosecutorial misconduct and criminal abuse of process by those involved. The criminal prosecution of Assange has nothing to do with facts and is instead aimed at punishing him for telling the truth about the war crimes committed by US imperialism and its allies. ..."
"... The judge labeled WikiLeaks an "international news organization" and said Assange is a "publisher," exposing the liars in the corporate press who declare that Assange is not subject to free speech protections. Judge Koeltl continued: "In New York Times Co. v. United States ..."
"... New York Times Co. v. United States ..."
"... The DNC's baseless complaint cited the New York Times ..."
"... New York Times ..."
"... Everyone seems to forget one thing.. Assange knows who gave Assange the DNC data. At some point you have to entertain the idea that eventually he'll play that card. ..."
"... The DNC never allowed a REAL cyber-inspection of it's servers, did they? They also never said the information contained in the supposedly 'stolen' E-Mails was "WRONG" or "INACCURATE", have they? It says volumes.... Occam's Razor points to disgruntled DNC employee Seth Rich using a large capacity flash drive to download the E-Mails, etc which he then passed to someone who got it to Wikileaks. For which he was killed!! ..."
"... No. they never did. Also, if you examine Mueller's BS indictments, the domain they claim was used to phish for Podesta's password (and others) was registered on the same day or perhaps the day before they unsealed the indictment. It's a total fabrication, start to finish! ..."
"... That's just one example of many. The Malware they allegedly 'discovered' (by a Ukranian owned security company Crowdstrike) was not Russian, it was Ukrainian and been floating around the internet for years prior to this alleged non-existent 'hack'.. The whole thing has more holes than proverbial swiss ..."
"... For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence--on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations ..."
"... Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed. It conducts the Cold War, in short, with a war-time discipline no democracy would ever hope or wish to match ..."
"... It is beyond astonishing that Democrats and the media have successfully shifted 99% of the public's attention AWAY FROM the actual content of what information was stolen from top ranking Democrats, especially the Hillary for President Campaign. ..."
"... beaglebailey > michiganderforfreedom ..."
"... ironically surely an equally damning 'leak' came from the DNCs own ex-Chair Donna Brazille in her self-serving 'memoir' Hacks ... in it she revealed Obama left DNC $24m in debt and Hillary Clinton then bailed it out and effectively bought the entire apparatus as her personal plaything. When that is understood all the 'corruption' about rigging the primaries against Sanders wasn't rigging at all, after all he was standing on Clinton's private property at the time. Blair and Brown dutifully followed the same NSA playbook and left Labour broke, presumably so Blair's 'charity' could then step in to buy it... but Corbyn then balanced the books in 6 months of his taking over ..."
"... The corporate media, having already gone to great lengths to convict Assange of such in the court of public opinion, would like to see that "conviction" stand. ..."
"... "The DNC's published internal communications allowed the American electorate to look behind the curtain of one of the two major political parties in the United States during a presidential election." That's precisely the kind of "problem" the bourgeoisie will no longer tolerate. ..."
"... Reporting the truth “undermined and distorted the DNC's ability to communicate the party's values and visions to the American electorate.” ..."
"... They're sick and tired of basic democratic rights almost as much as they're sick and tired of the working class ..."
Jul 31, 2019 | www.wsws.org

In a ruling published late Tuesday, Judge John Koeltl of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York delivered a devastating blow to the US-led conspiracy against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

In his ruling, Judge Koeltl, a Bill Clinton nominee and former assistant special prosecutor for the Watergate Special Prosecution Force, dismissed "with prejudice" a civil lawsuit filed in April 2018 by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) alleging WikiLeaks was civilly liable for conspiring with the Russian government to steal DNC emails and data and leak them to the public.

Jennifer Robinson, a leading lawyer for Assange, and other WikiLeaks attorneys welcomed the ruling as "an important win for free speech."

The decision exposes the Democratic Party in a conspiracy of its own to attack free speech and cover up the crimes of US imperialism and the corrupt activities of the two parties of Wall Street. Judge Koeltl stated:

If WikiLeaks could be held liable for publishing documents concerning the DNC's political financial and voter-engagement strategies simply because the DNC labels them 'secret' and trade secrets, then so could any newspaper or other media outlet. But that would impermissibly elevate a purely private privacy interest to override the First Amendment interest in the publication of matters of the highest public concern. The DNC's published internal communications allowed the American electorate to look behind the curtain of one of the two major political parties in the United States during a presidential election. This type of information is plainly of the type entitled to the strongest protection that the First Amendment offers.

The ruling exposes the illegality of the conspiracy by the US government, backed by the governments of Britain, Ecuador, Australia and Sweden and the entire corporate media and political establishment, to extradite Assange to the US, where he faces 175 years in federal prison on charges including espionage.

The plaintiff in the civil case -- the Democratic Party -- has also served as Assange's chief prosecutor within the state apparatus for over a decade. During the Obama administration, Democratic Party Justice Department officials, as well as career Democratic holdovers under the Trump administration, prepared the criminal case against him.

The dismissal of the civil suit exposes massive unreported conflicts of interest and prosecutorial misconduct and criminal abuse of process by those involved. The criminal prosecution of Assange has nothing to do with facts and is instead aimed at punishing him for telling the truth about the war crimes committed by US imperialism and its allies.

The judge labeled WikiLeaks an "international news organization" and said Assange is a "publisher," exposing the liars in the corporate press who declare that Assange is not subject to free speech protections. Judge Koeltl continued: "In New York Times Co. v. United States , the landmark 'Pentagon Papers' case, the Supreme Court upheld the press's right to publish information of public concern obtained from documents stolen by a third party."

As a legal matter, by granting WikiLeaks' motion to dismiss, the court ruled that the DNC had not put forward a "factually plausible" claim. At the motion to dismiss stage, a judge is required to accept all the facts alleged by the plaintiff as true. Here, the judge ruled that even if all the facts alleged by the DNC were true, no fact-finder could "draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged."

Going a step further, the judge called the DNC's arguments "threadbare," adding: "At no point does the DNC allege any facts" showing that Assange or WikiLeaks "participated in the theft of the DNC's information."

Judge Koeltl said the DNC's argument that Assange and WikiLeaks "conspired with the Russian Federation to steal and disseminate the DNC's materials" is "entirely divorced from the facts." The judge further ruled that the court "is not required to accept conclusory allegations asserted as facts."

The judge further dismantled the DNC's argument that WikiLeaks is guilty-by-association with Russia, calling the alleged connection between Assange and the Russian government "irrelevant," because "a person is entitled to publish stolen documents that the publisher requested from a source so long as the publisher did not participate in the theft."

Judge Koeltl also rejected the DNC's claim "that WikiLeaks can be held liable for the theft as an after-the-fact coconspirator of the stolen documents." Calling this argument "unpersuasive," the judge wrote that it would "eviscerate" constitutional protections: "Such a rule would render any journalist who publishes an article based on stolen information a coconspirator in the theft."

In its April 2018 complaint, the DNC put forward a series of claims that have now been exposed as brazen lies, including that Assange, Trump and Russia "undermined and distorted the DNC's ability to communicate the party's values and visions to the American electorate."

The complaint also alleged: "Russian intelligence services then disseminated the stolen, confidential materials through GRU Operative #1, as well as WikiLeaks and Assange, who were actively supported by the Trump Campaign and Trump Associates as they released and disclosed the information to the American public at a time and in a manner that served their common goals."

At the time the DNC filed its complaint, the New York Times wrote that the document relies on "publicly-known facts" as well as "information that has been disclosed in news reports and subsequent court proceedings." The lawsuit "comes amid a swirl of intensifying scrutiny of Mr. Trump, his associates and their interactions with Russia," the Times wrote.

It is deeply ironic that Judge Koeltl cited the Pentagon Papers case, New York Times Co. v. United States , in his ruling.

The DNC's baseless complaint cited the New York Times eight times as "proof" of Assange and WikiLeaks' ties to Russia, including articles by Times reporters Andrew Kramer, Michael Gordon, Niraj Chokshi, Sharon LaFraniere, K.K. Rebecca Lai, Eric Lichtblau, Noah Weiland, Alicia Parlapiano and Ashley Parker, as well as a July 26, 2016 article by Charlie Savage titled "Assange, avowed foe of Clinton, timed email release for Democratic Convention."

The first of these articles was published just weeks after the New York Times hired James Bennet as its editorial page editor in March 2016. James Bennet's brother, Michael Bennet, is a presidential candidate, a senator from Colorado and former chair of the DNC's Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. In 2018, Bennet signed a letter to Vice President Mike Pence noting he was "extremely concerned" that Ecuador had not canceled asylum for Assange, who was then trapped in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

"It is imperative," the letter read, "that you raise US concerns with [Ecuadorian] President [Lenin] Moreno about Ecuador's continued support for Mr. Assange at a time when WikiLeaks continues its efforts to undermine democratic processes globally."

In April 2019, after the Trump administration announced charges against Assange, the New York Times editorial board, under James Bennet's direction, wrote: "The administration has begun well by charging Mr. Assange with an indisputable crime." Two weeks later, Michael Bennet announced his presidential run and has since enjoyed favorable coverage in the Times editorial page.

Additionally, the father of James and Michael Bennet, Douglas Bennet, headed the CIA-linked United States Agency for International Development in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

On Wednesday, the Times published a brief, six-paragraph article on page 25 under the headline, "DNC lawsuit against election is dismissed." In its online edition, the Times prominently featured a link to its special page for the Mueller Report, which is based on the same DNC-instigated threadbare lies that Judge Koeltl kicked out of federal court

LC • 9 hours ago

Everyone seems to forget one thing.. Assange knows who gave Assange the DNC data. At some point you have to entertain the idea that eventually he'll play that card.

Liberalism Has Failed • 2 days ago

The DNC never allowed a REAL cyber-inspection of it's servers, did they? They also never said the information contained in the supposedly 'stolen' E-Mails was "WRONG" or "INACCURATE", have they? It says volumes.... Occam's Razor points to disgruntled DNC employee Seth Rich using a large capacity flash drive to download the E-Mails, etc which he then passed to someone who got it to Wikileaks. For which he was killed!!

LC > Liberalism Has Failed • 9 hours ago

No. they never did. Also, if you examine Mueller's BS indictments, the domain they claim was used to phish for Podesta's password (and others) was registered on the same day or perhaps the day before they unsealed the indictment. It's a total fabrication, start to finish!

That's just one example of many. The Malware they allegedly 'discovered' (by a Ukranian owned security company Crowdstrike) was not Russian, it was Ukrainian and been floating around the internet for years prior to this alleged non-existent 'hack'.. The whole thing has more holes than proverbial swiss


Tradairn > SFWhite • a day ago

Then why does the US keep interfering in other countries' political processes? You've become the schoolyard bully of the world.

SFWhite > Tradairn • 18 hours ago

Quoting from JFK's speech archived in the JFK Library:
THE PRESIDENT AND THE PRESS: ADDRESS BEFORE THE AMERICAN NEWSPAPER PUBLISHERS ASSOCIATION, APRIL 27, 1961
https://www.jfklibrary.org/...

If the press is awaiting a declaration of war before it imposes the self-discipline of combat conditions, then I can only say that no war ever posed a greater threat to our security. If you are awaiting a finding of "clear and present danger," then I can only say that the danger has never been more clear and its presence has never been more imminent.

It requires a change in outlook, a change in tactics, a change in missions--by the government, by the people, by every businessman or labor leader, and by every newspaper.

***For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence--on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations.

Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried, not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed. It conducts the Cold War, in short, with a war-time discipline no democracy would ever hope or wish to match.***

michiganderforfreedom • 2 days ago

It is beyond astonishing that Democrats and the media have successfully shifted 99% of the public's attention AWAY FROM the actual content of what information was stolen from top ranking Democrats, especially the Hillary for President Campaign.

Had the actual Content of what had been stolen was simply meeting schedules, work shift assignments, lawn sign purchase orders and speech notes, NONE of this scandal would have happened!!

But, the CONTENT of what was stolen revealed the upper echelon of Democrat Party leadership to be nothing but lying, conniving, cheating, law-breaking dirty politicians who are hell-bent on bringing down the American Federation at any cost.

If the actual Content had been cookie recipes and wedding plans, we would not have been put though this traumatic national wringer!!

beaglebailey > michiganderforfreedom • 7 hours ago

This was the reason Hillary's campaign came up with the idea to blame it on Russia. This kept people from focusing on their content and it worked. To this day Hillary's supporters think that her rigging the primary is a conspiracy theory. And it's why they believe that Russia interfered with the election. How sad to see people who saw through the Saddam had WMDs have fallen for the new WMDs scam.

Charlotte Ruse • 4 days ago

"The decision exposes the Democratic Party in a conspiracy of its own to attack free speech and cover up the crimes of US imperialism and the corrupt activities of the two parties of Wall Street."

One should never forget that the corrupt political duopoly is controlled by the military/security/surveillance/corporate state. Assange, published documents revealing to millions that the US committed war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, murdered innocent civilians, and slaughtered two Reuter Reporters.

Revealing atrocities is BAD MARKETING for the military industry which for decades has been robbing the US Treasury blind. Assange's documents threatens the "official narrative" spread by the state-run mainstream news convincing the public to passively accept the plundering of the US Treasury to enhance the wealth of a small cabal of war profiteer gangsters.

In other words, Assange is being attacked by the US Government because he revealed that a big CON GAME is being perpetuated against the American public by the security state.

Dennis Stein > Charlotte Ruse • 3 days ago

“We’ll Know Our Disinformation Program Is Complete When Everything the American Public Believes Is False”

—CIA Director William Casey at an early February 1981 meeting of newly elected President Reagan.

Adrian • 4 days ago

Great news on Assange... but ironically surely an equally damning 'leak' came from the DNCs own ex-Chair Donna Brazille in her self-serving 'memoir' Hacks ... in it she revealed Obama left DNC $24m in debt and Hillary Clinton then bailed it out and effectively bought the entire apparatus as her personal plaything. When that is understood all the 'corruption' about rigging the primaries against Sanders wasn't rigging at all, after all he was standing on Clinton's private property at the time. Blair and Brown dutifully followed the same NSA playbook and left Labour broke, presumably so Blair's 'charity' could then step in to buy it... but Corbyn then balanced the books in 6 months of his taking over

Ed Bergonzi • 5 days ago

This is good news. But now the advantage is with Trump. What will the Democrats do if Trump presses for extradition claiming "national security" concerns, i.e., Assange's exposure of US war crimes. I think their present silence regarding Judge Koeltl's decision speaks volumes.

Greg • 5 days ago • edited

"Going a step further, the judge called the DNC’s arguments “threadbare,” adding: “At no point does the DNC allege any facts” showing that Assange or WikiLeaks “participated in the theft of the DNC’s information.”

The corporate media, having already gone to great lengths to convict Assange of such in the court of public opinion, would like to see that "conviction" stand.

"On Wednesday, the Times published a brief, six-paragraph article on page 25..."

Greg • 5 days ago • edited

"The DNC's published internal communications allowed the American electorate to look behind the curtain of one of the two major political parties in the United States during a presidential election." That's precisely the kind of "problem" the bourgeoisie will no longer tolerate.

Reporting the truth “undermined and distorted the DNC's ability to communicate the party's values and visions to the American electorate.”

They're sick and tired of basic democratic rights almost as much as they're sick and tired of the working class. They practically come out and say it: "There was no attempt by other reporters to pursue the matter, and Conway then began to rant about Trump's reasons for targeting the four congresswomen, saying, “He's tired, a lot of us are sick and tired of this country—of America coming last, to people who swore an oath of office.”

[Aug 05, 2019] I would not be surprised if some of the mass shootings (and other supposed terrorist incidents blamed on radicalised Muslim individuals) that have occurred in the US and elsewhere eventually turn out to have the fingerprints of agencies that claim to be protecting the public.

Aug 05, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jen , Aug 4 2019 22:47 utc | 51

Evelyn @ 34, O @ 48:

My suspicion is that some of these supposed "loner" white supremacist individuals have had some contact with security forces in the past either as or through informants. I would not be surprised if many (if not most) such individuals ended up converted to extreme forms of fascism by joining online groups and networks infiltrated by government law and order / security organisations (you can guess which ones in your own countries) looking for gullible informants and patsies.

Before the 1992 Ruby Ridge siege and shoot-out in Idaho that resulted in the deaths of his wife and son, the survivalist Randy Weaver had resisted being drawn into white supremacist groups such as the Aryan Nations (though he personally knew some people in those groups) on the suspicion that he was being set up by law enforcement agencies. (An informant for one such agency met Weaver at an Aryan Nations meeting in 1986. )

WSWS.org has published articles in the past on the close association between far-right extremists and sections of the military and security forces in Germany (like this one , and this one also).

I would not be surprised if some of the mass shootings (and other supposed terrorist incidents blamed on radicalised Muslim individuals) that have occurred in the US and elsewhere eventually turn out to have the fingerprints of agencies that claim to be protecting the public.

[Aug 04, 2019] Henry Wallace on Maerican fascism

Aug 04, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Watt4Bob , August 4, 2019 at 9:28 am

We were warned about the situation you describe.

The following is a portion of an op-ed piece that appeared in the New York Times On April 4, 1944 . It was written by Henry Wallace, FDR's vice president;

If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists in the United States. There are probably several hundred thousand if we narrow the definition to include only those who in their search for money and power are ruthless and deceitful. Most American fascists are enthusiastically supporting the war effort. They are doing this even in those cases where they hope to have profitable connections with German chemical firms after the war ends. They are patriotic in time of war because it is to their interest to be so, but in time of peace they follow power and the dollar wherever they may lead.

American fascism will not be really dangerous until there is a purposeful coalition among the cartelists, the deliberate poisoners of public information, and those who stand for the K.K.K. type of demagoguery.

The European brand of fascism will probably present its most serious postwar threat to us via Latin America. The effect of the war has been to raise the cost of living in most Latin American countries much faster than the wages of labor. The fascists in most Latin American countries tell the people that the reason their wages will not buy as much in the way of goods is because of Yankee imperialism. The fascists in Latin America learn to speak and act like natives. Our chemical and other manufacturing concerns are all too often ready to let the Germans have Latin American markets, provided the American companies can work out an arrangement which will enable them to charge high prices to the consumer inside the United States. Following this war, technology will have reached such a point that it will be possible for Germans, using South America as a base, to cause us much more difficulty in World War III than they did in World War II. The military and landowning cliques in many South American countries will find it attractive financially to work with German fascist concerns as well as expedient from the standpoint of temporary power politics.

Fascism is a worldwide disease. Its greatest threat to the United States will come after the war, either via Latin America or within the United States itself.

The full text is quite useful in understanding that there is no question as to how and why we find ourselves in the present predicament, it is the logical outcome of a process that was well understood during FDR's tenure.

That understanding has since been deliberately eradicated by the powerful interests that control our media.

[Aug 03, 2019] The CIA Takeover of America in the 1960s Is the Story of Our Times. The Killing of the Kennedys and Today's New Cold War by Edward Curtin

That the rogue elements of the CIA participated in the assassination of JFK now is undisputable. And they probably were connected to the very top. Presence of Bush Senior on Dealey Plaza (who was top CIA executive at the time) at the moment of assassination tells a lot in this respect as well as the speed and intensity of the cover up. The only discussion can be about motives and the degree in which LBJ was involved.
Notable quotes:
"... The killing of the Kennedys and today's new Cold War and war against terror are two ends of a linked intelligence operation. ..."
"... The assassination of the top four leaders of the political left in the five year period – President John Kennedy in 1963, Malcolm X in 1965, and Martin Luther King, Jr. and Senator Robert Kennedy in 1968 – represented nothing less than a slow-motion coup on the political scene. ..."
"... If anyone wishes to understand what has happened to the United States since this coup, and thus to its countless victims at home and throughout the world, one must understand these assassinations and how the alleged assassins were manipulated by the coup organizers and how the public was hoodwinked in a mind-control operation on a vast scale. ..."
"... Sandra Serrano, a Kennedy campaign worker and a courageous witness, was bullied by the CIA-connected police interrogator Sergeant Enrique "Hank" Hernandez. She had been sitting outside on a metal fire escape getting some air when the polka dot dress girl, accompanied by a man, ran out and down the stairs, shouting, "We've shot him, we've shot him." When Serrano asked whom did they shoot, the girl replied, "We've shot Senator Kennedy." Then she and her companion, both of whom Serrano had earlier seen ascending the stairs with Sirhan, disappeared into the night. A little over an hour after the shooting Serrano was interviewed on live television by NBC's Sander Vanocur where she recounted this. And there were others who saw and heard this girl say the same thing as she and her companion fled the crime scene. Nevertheless, the LAPD, led by Lieutenant Manuel Pena, also CIA affiliated, who was brought out of retirement to run the investigation dubbed "Special Unit Senator," worked with Hernandez and others to dismiss the girl as of no consequence. ..."
Apr 02, 2019 | www.globalresearch.ca

The CIA Takeover of America in the 1960s Is the Story of Our Times. The Killing of the Kennedys and Today's New Cold War A Quasi-Review of A Lie Too Big To Fail: The Real History of the Assassination of Robert F. Kennedy by Lisa Pease By Edward Curtin Global Research, August 03, 2019 Region: USA Theme: History , Law and Justice , Media Disinformation

First published by Global Research on April 2, 2019

"'We're all puppets,' the suspect [Sirhan Sirhan] replied, with more truth than he could have understood at that moment." – Lisa Pease , quoting from the LAPD questioning of Sirhan

When Senator Robert Kennedy was assassinated on June 5, 1968, the American public fell into an hypnotic trance in which they have remained ever since. The overwhelming majority accepted what was presented by government authorities as an open and shut case that a young Palestinian American, Sirhan Sirhan , had murdered RFK because of his support for Israel, a false accusation whose ramifications echo down the years. That this was patently untrue and was contradicted by overwhelming evidence made no difference.

Sirhan did not kill Robert Kennedy, yet he remains in jail to this very day. Robert Kennedy, Jr., who was 14 years old at the time of his father's death, has visited Sirhan in prison, claims he is innocent, and believes there was another gunman. Paul Schrade , an aide to the senator and the first person shot that night, also says Sirhan didn't do it. Both have plenty of evidence. And they are not alone.

There is a vast body of documented evidence to prove this, an indisputably logical case marshalled by serious writers and researchers. Lisa Pease is the latest. It is a reason why a group of 60 prominent Americans has recently called for a reopening of, not just this case, but those of JFK, MLK, and Malcom X. The blood of these men cries out for the revelation of the truth that the United States national security state and its media accomplices have fought so mightily to keep hidden for so many years.

That they have worked so hard at this reveals how dangerous the truth about these assassinations still is to this secret government that wages propaganda war against the American people and real wars around the world. It is a government of Democrats, Republicans, and their intelligence allies working together today to confuse the American people and provoke Russia in a most dangerous game that could lead to nuclear war, a possibility that so frightened JFK and RFK after the Cuban Missile Crisis that they devoted themselves to ending the Cold War, reconciling with the Soviet Union, abolishing nuclear weapons, reining in of the power of the CIA, and withdrawing from Vietnam. That is why they were killed.

The web of deceit surrounding the now officially debunked Democratic led Russia-gate propaganda operation that has strengthened Trump to double-down on his anti-Russia operations (a Democratic goal) is an example of the perfidious and sophisticated mutuality of this game of mass mind-control.

The killing of the Kennedys and today's new Cold War and war against terror are two ends of a linked intelligence operation.

Moreover, more than any other assassination of the 1960s, it is the killing of Bobby Kennedy that has remained shrouded in the most ignorance.

It is one of the greatest propaganda success stories of American history.

In her exhaustive new examination of the case, A Lie Too Big To Fail , Lisa Pease puts it succinctly at the conclusion of her unravelling of the official lies that have mesmerized the public:

The assassination of the top four leaders of the political left in the five year period – President John Kennedy in 1963, Malcolm X in 1965, and Martin Luther King, Jr. and Senator Robert Kennedy in 1968 – represented nothing less than a slow-motion coup on the political scene.

If anyone wishes to understand what has happened to the United States since this coup, and thus to its countless victims at home and throughout the world, one must understand these assassinations and how the alleged assassins were manipulated by the coup organizers and how the public was hoodwinked in a mind-control operation on a vast scale. It is not ancient history, for the forces that killed these leaders rule the U.S. today, and their ruthlessness has subsequently informed the actions of almost all political leaders in the years since. A bullet to the head when you seriously talk about peace and justice is a not so gentle reminder to toe the line or else.

"But the way the CIA took over America in the 1960s is the story of our time," writes Pease, "and too few recognize this. We can't fix a problem we can't even acknowledge exists."

Nothing could be truer.

Lisa Pease has long recognized the problem, and for the past twenty-five years, she has devoted herself to shedding light on the CIA's culpability, particularly in the Robert Kennedy case. Few people possess the grit and grace to spend so much of their lives walking this path of truth. The extent of her research is dazzling, so dazzling in its voluminous detail that a reviewer can only touch on it here and there. She has written a book that is daunting in its comprehensiveness. It demands focused attention and perseverance, for it runs to over 500 pages with more than 800 footnotes. This book will remain a touchstone for future research on the RFK assassination, whether one agrees or disagrees with all of her detailed findings and speculations. For this book is so vast and meticulous in its examination of all aspects of the case that one can surely find areas that one might question or disagree with.

Nevertheless, Pease fundamentally proves that Sirhan did not shoot RFK and that there was a conspiracy organized and carried out by shadowy intelligence forces that did so. These same forces worked with the Los Angeles Police Department, federal, state, and judicial elements to make sure Sirhan was quickly accused of being the lone assassin and dispatched to prison after a show trial. And the mass media carried out its assigned role of affirming the government's case to shield the real killers and to make sure the cover-up was successful.

The Blatant Conspiracy behind Senator Robert F. Kennedy's Assassination

No doubt others will investigate this case further. Yet I think no more research is really needed, for as with these other assassinations, additional analyses will only result in pseudo-debates about minutiae. Such debates will only serve to prolong the hallucinatory grip the perpetrators of these crimes have on a day of reckoning, suggesting as they would that we do not really know what happened. This is an old tactic meant to delay forevermore such a day of reckoning.

The facts are clear for all to see if they have the will to truth. All that is now needed is a public tribunal, which is planned for later this year, in which the fundamental, clear-cut facts of these cases are presented to the American public. In the case of Robert Kennedy's assassination as with the others, a little knowledge goes a long way, and only those who are closed to basic logic and evidence will refuse to see that government forces conspired to kill these men and did so because all were seeking peace and justice that was then, and is now, a threat to the war-making forces of wealth and power that control the American government.

Pease writes:

Anyone who has looked closely and honestly at the evidence has realized that more than one person was involved in Robert Kennedy's death. So why can't reporters see this? Why can't the media explain this? Because the media and the government are two sides of the same coin, and those who challenge the government's version of history, as numerous reporters have found out, all too often lose status and sometimes whole careers. Kristina Borjesson published an anthology of such stories in her book Into the Buzzsaw, in which journalists describe how they lost their careers when eachof them expressed a truth that the government did not want exposed.

Lisa Pease discloses such truths. I am reporting on her work. Therefore, the mainstream media, except for an extraordinary reporter or two, such as Tom Jackman of The WashingtonPost , will likely ignore both of us, but the publication where you are reading this is on the side of truth, and in the disclosure of truth lies our hope.

Since more than one person was involved in the killing of RFK, there was – ipso facto – a conspiracy. This is not theory but fact. The fact of a conspiracy. For more than fifty years, mainstream reporters have been cowed by this word "conspiracy," thanks to the CIA. Many others have been intelligence assets posing as journalists, regurgitating the lies. This is a fact.

The official story is that after giving his victory speech for winning the 1968 Democratic California Primary, Kennedy, as he was walking through a crowded hotel pantry, was shot by Sirhan Sirhan, who was standing to his left between 3-6 feet away. Sirhan's revolver held eight bullets, and as he was shooting, he was tackled by a group of large men who subdued him. All witnesses place Sirhan in front of Kennedy and all claim he was firing a gun.

Fact: As the autopsy definitively showed, RFK was shot from the rear at point blank range, three bullets entering his body, with the fatal headshot coming upward at a 45-degree angle from 1-3 inches behind his right ear. Not one bullet from Sirhan's gun hit the Senator. In addition, an audio recording shows that many more bullets than the eight in Sirhan's gun were fired in the hotel pantry that night. It was impossible for Sirhan to have killed RFK.

Let me repeat: More than one gunman, contrary to the government's claims, equals a conspiracy. So why lie about that?

What is amazing is that the obvious conclusion to such simple syllogistic logic (Sirhan in front, bullets in the back, therefore ) that a child could understand has been dismissed by the authorities for fifty-one years. The fact that the government authorities – the LAPD, the Sheriff's Office, the District Attorney, federal and state government officials, the FBI, the CIA – have from the start so assiduously done all in their power to pin the blame on "a lone assassin," Sirhan, proves they are part of a coordinated cover-up, which in turn suggests their involvement in the crime.

The fact that Robert Kennedy was shot from the back and not the front where Sirhan was standing immediately brings to mind the Zapruder film that shows that JFK was killed from the front right and not from the 6 th floor rear where Oswald was allegedly shooting from. That unexpected film evidence was hidden from the public for many years, but when it was finally seen, the case for a government conspiracy was solidified.

While no such video evidence has surfaced in the RFK case, the LAPD made sure that no photographic evidence contradicting the official lies would be seen. As Lisa Pease writes:

Less than two months after the assassination, the LAPD took the extraordinary step of burning some 2,400 photos from the case in Los Angeles County General's medical waste incinerator. Why destroy thousands of photos in an incinerator if there was nothing to hide? The LAPD kept hundreds of innocuous crowd scene photos that showed no girl in a polka dot dress or no suspicious activities or individuals. Why were those photos preserved? Perhaps because those photos had nothing in them that warranted their destruction.

While "perhaps" is a mild word, the cover-up of "the girl in the polka dot dress" needs no perhaps. Dozens of people reported seeing a suspicious, curvaceous girl in a white dress with black polka dots with Sirhan in the pantry and other places. She was seen with various other men as well. The evidence for her involvement in the assassination is overwhelming, and yet the LAPD did all in its power to deny this by browbeating witnesses and by allowing her to escape.

Sandra Serrano, a Kennedy campaign worker and a courageous witness, was bullied by the CIA-connected police interrogator Sergeant Enrique "Hank" Hernandez. She had been sitting outside on a metal fire escape getting some air when the polka dot dress girl, accompanied by a man, ran out and down the stairs, shouting, "We've shot him, we've shot him." When Serrano asked whom did they shoot, the girl replied, "We've shot Senator Kennedy." Then she and her companion, both of whom Serrano had earlier seen ascending the stairs with Sirhan, disappeared into the night. A little over an hour after the shooting Serrano was interviewed on live television by NBC's Sander Vanocur where she recounted this. And there were others who saw and heard this girl say the same thing as she and her companion fled the crime scene. Nevertheless, the LAPD, led by Lieutenant Manuel Pena, also CIA affiliated, who was brought out of retirement to run the investigation dubbed "Special Unit Senator," worked with Hernandez and others to dismiss the girl as of no consequence.

Lisa Pease covers all this and much more. She shows how Sirhan was obviously hypnotized, how the trial was a farce, how the police destroyed evidence from the door frames in the pantry that proved more than the eight bullets in Sirhan's gun were fired, how Officer DeWayne Wolfer manipulated the ballistic evidence, etc. Through years of digging into court records, archives, transcripts, the public library, and doing countless interviews, she proves without a doubt that Sirhan did not kill Kennedy and that the assassination and the cover-up were part of a very sophisticated intelligence operation involving many parts and players. She shows how no matter what route Kennedy took in the hotel that night, the killers had all exits covered and that he would not be allowed to leave alive.

While some of her more speculative points – e.g. that Robert Maheu (Howard Hughes/CIA) was "the most credible high-level suspect for the planner of Robert Kennedy's assassination," that Kennedy was shot twice in the head from behind, etc. are open to debate, they do not detract from her fundamentally powerful case that RFK, like his brother John, was assassinated by a CIA-run operation intended to silence their voices of courageous resistance to an expanding secret government dedicated to war, murder, and human exploitation. The U.S. government of today.

When Bobby Kennedy was entering the kitchen pantry, he was escorted by a security guard named Thane Eugene Cesar, a man long suspected of being the assassin. Cesar was carrying a gun that he drew but denied firing, despite witnesses' claims to the contrary. Conveniently, the police never examined the gun. He has long been suspected of being CIA affiliated, and now Pease says she has found evidence to confirm that. She writes, "It's hard to overstate the significance of finding a current or future CIA contract agent holding Kennedy's right arm at the moment of the shooting."

Yes, it is. As she rightly claims, the CIA takeover of America in the 1960s is the story of our time. And our time is now. None of this is ancient history. That is so crucial to grasp. For those who think that learning the truth about the 1960s assassinations is an exercise in futility reserved for those who are living in the past, they need to think again. Our descent into endless war and massive media propaganda to support it is part of a long-term project that began with the elimination of JFK, Malcom X, MLK, and Robert Kennedy. They were killed for reasons, and those reasons still exist, even if they don't physically, but only in spirit. Their killers roam the land because they have become far more deeply part of the institutional structure of government and the media.

Pease says:

It was horrible that Robert Kennedy was taken from us far too soon. It is horrible that one man has borne the guilt for an operation he neither planned nor willingly participated in. It's horrible the conspiracy was so obvious that bullets had to be lost and switched to hide it. And it's horrible that the mainstream media has never dared to tell the people of this country that the government lied to us about what they really found when they looked into this case. Until the media can deal with the truth of the Robert Kennedy assassination, and until the people can be made aware of the CIA's role in slanting the truth on topics of great importance, America's very survival is in jeopardy .We've come perilously close to losing democracy itself because of fake, CIA-sponsored stories about our history. Should America ever become a dictatorship, the epitaph of our democracy must include the role the mainstream media, by bowing to the National Security state, played in killing it.

By writing A Lie Too Big To Fail, Lisa Pease has done her valiant part in refuting the lie that is now failing. Now it is up to all of us to spread the word of truth by focusing on the fundamental facts so we can finally take back our country from the CIA.

Then we can say with RFK and his favorite poet Aeschylus:

And even in our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, until in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Distinguished author and sociologist Edward Curtin is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

[Aug 03, 2019] Was future President George H. W. Bush at Dealey Plaza during JFK's assassination - Quora

Notable quotes:
"... There is a photo of someone who looks like him standing in front of the School Book Depository. Bush is one of the few people in America who can't remember where he was that day. ..."
Aug 03, 2019 | www.quora.com

Kevin Stewart , Writer Answered Nov 4 2018 · Author has 370 answers and 39.7k answer views

There is some flimsy photo evidence of someone who looked like him in Dealey Plaza, so my answer would be, "not sure." But anecdotally, there sure seems to be a large number of "coincidences" around a guy who could apparently walk across a snow covered field without leaving foot prints , so maybe.

Since the beginning, the rumored driving motive for JFK's assassination, (from both sides really) was the cluster-fuck known as "The Bay of Pigs invasion," so we'll start there. At the end of Mark Lane's book "Plausible Denial," (the account of E. Howard Hunt's ill-fated lawsuit against The Liberty Lobby) some interesting facts about the Bay of Pigs invasion were tossed out that leaves one scratching his or her head and wondering if 41 had anything to do with it. The operation was ostensibly to deliver small arms and ordnance to a (turns out to be fictional) 25,000 man rebel army that was in the Cuban hills waiting for help to depose Castro.

The US Navy supplied a couple of ships, but they were decommissioned, had their numbers scraped off, and were renamed the "Houston" and the "Barbara," (or the Spanish spelling of Barbara.) This is while 41 was living in Houston with his wife Barbara. Also, the CIA code name for the invasion was "Operation Zapata."

This while the name of 41's business was "Zapata Offshore." (Or something like that. 41 had business' using Zapata's name since his days as an oilman in Midland Texas.) The day after Kennedy's killing, a George Bush met with Army Intel. What went on in that meeting is a mystery, and the CIA unconvincingly claims that they had another guy working for them named George Bush, only he wasn't hired until 1964 and his expertise was meteorology so it's difficult to understand why they wanted to talk with him on that day. Then there's the fact that Oswald's CIA handler, a guy name Georges DeMorinshilt (sp?) had the name George (Poppy) Bush in his address book along with 41's Houston address and phone number.

Of course this is all coincidental, but consider: 41 was a failed two-term congressman who couldn't hold his seat, (in Houston Texas of all places) and yet was made by Nixon the ambassador to the UN, then Ford named him ambassador to China and the Director of the CIA. Wow! What a lucky guy.

So was he involved with the Kennedy assassination and photographed in Dealey Plaza? Don't know. I was 13 at the time, but in the intervening years, the politics in this country, especially relating to the Republican Party, have become shall we say, "Kalfkaesque."

Steven Hager , Author of "Killing Kennedy." Updated Dec 31, 2018 · Author has 1.2k answers and 1.4m answer views

There is a photo of someone who looks like him standing in front of the School Book Depository. Bush is one of the few people in America who can't remember where he was that day.

There is also a memo by J.Edgar Hoover referencing a "George Bush of the CIA" reporting on "misguided Cubans" in Dallas that day. The CIA had a safe house stuffed with Cuban agents in the Oak Cliff neighborhood, and Lee Harvey Oswald rented a room nearby shortly before the assassination took place.

Michael Tarnpoll , We came so goddamn close Answered Feb 2, 2017 · Author has 3.7k answers and 1.5m answer views

The George Bush connections to JFK's assassination

Astoundingly, Bush, the elder, claims that he does not remember where he was when Kennedy was assassinated. I do. I'll bet a dollar that you do (if old enough). Everyone above the age of fifty-five does except George H. W. Bush. He does however, remember that he was not at Dealey Plaza at the time.

It is interesting to note that photographs and videos exist showing a man who looks very much like Bush, at the site, at the time. It was not difficult to find them on line in the past. Now, they seem to have been expunged somehow, though a few blurry photos can still be found.

[Aug 03, 2019] Was George Bush in Dealey Plaza on November 22, 1963

Sep 7, 2013 | theamericanchronicle.blogspot.com

We discovered some fascinating evidence that George Bush was directly involved in the murder of President John F Kennedy, the latest of which evidence comes from the late Roger Craig. The evidence seems overwhelming that George Herbert Walker Bush was in Dealey Plaza at the time of the president's murder, supervising the Cubans involved in the assassination squad. Evidence for Bush's involvement is legion. Bush denies remembering where he was on November 22d, largely because he can't remember which lie he should tell about it. It saves him the embarrassing contradictions in which Nixon found himself when explaining his whereabouts on that day. But not remembering one's location on that historic and traumatic day doesn't pass the laugh test although Bush did manage to laugh about it at Gerald Ford's funeral – precisely when he mentioned the murder. The laugh speaks volumes of Bush's contempt for Kennedy. We have written previously about the memo which Hoover wrote about a meeting he had with "Mr George Bush of the CIA" – a memo which irrefutably links Bush with the CIA operating under cover as an "independent oil man from Houston." We reported in a recent blog posting identifying Hunt as Bush's case officer in the CIA. These two independent witnesses help cement Bush's involvement with the agency as well as his presence in the City of Hate on the day he helped murder the president. Bush was on business for the CIA which is why he had official communication with the FBI and most likely Hoover himself in Washington, DC the following day. His official post was Dallas. Bush's cover story is that he spoke at an oil convention – the Dallas based American Association of Oil Well Drilling Contractors, but this is at best plausible deniability.

The important point is that this story demonstrates that he was in Dallas, a fact which the Dallas Morning News reported occurring on the evening of November 21, 1963. Indeed, he stayed at the Sheraton Hotel which was also headquarters of Secret Service communications and other elements coordinating the assassination. Many have covered the James Parrot story in which Bush called the FBI to warm it about suspicious activity of Parrot. But Parrot worked for Bush, and Bush used this lame story to provide an alibi for his non-presence in Dallas.

Unfortunately, the lady doth protest too much. The Tyler, TX story – the one where Bush supposedly called the FBI from Tyler is a giant hoax. It didn't happen. Someone impersonating Bush made the call because Bush was too busy supervising the assassination at that time. As we will show momentarily, Bush was nowhere near Tyler. The aforementioned memo's citation of the "mis-guided" anti-Castro Cubans clearly associates Bush with Alpha 66, Operation 40, and groups the CIA was training for assassination duty. The pretext is that it was against Castro, but the plan was always against Kennedy. But how do we know that? A CIA pilot told the story of George Bush being the pay master for Castro.

We have posted elsewhere in this Chronicle that Cuba was an invention – a hoax – to justify covert and bellicose operations – to justify the permanent war and police state. Castro was on the CIA payroll and has always been a pawn of the New York banksters. Now here is the kicker, as John Hankey quotes Dallas Deputy Sheriff Roger Craig speaking with Jim Garrison, the New Orleans district attorney who prosecuted Clay Shaw for his involvement with the murder: "Jim also asked me about the arrests made in Dealey Plaza that day. I told him I knew of twelve arrests, one in particular made by R. E. Vaughn of the Dallas Police Department. The man Vaughn arrested was coming from the Dal-Tex Building across from the Texas School Book Depository. The only thing which Vaughn knew about him was that he was an independent oil operator from Houston, Texas. The prisoner was taken from Vaughn by Dallas Police detectives and that was the last that he saw or heard of the suspect." (emphasis added)

Here is extraordinary evidence that George Bush was arrested in Dallas at the time of the assassination. But why was he arrested? We diverge from Hankey's explanation that he was caught where he wasn't supposed to be. Citizens knew that bullets were fired from Dal-Tex and were jeering the people coming out. The police were providing Bush an escort of safety from one of the crime scenes, as the Dallas Police were heavily involved in the murder. Thus an enormous amount of evidence places George Bush in the City of Hate and Dealey Plaza on 11/21-22. The evidence consists of newspaper accounts, FBI memoranda, photographs, and first person witness accounts. George Herbert Walker Bush murdered John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Reference Jim Fetzer, John Hankey, Was George H. W. Bush Involved With Assassination of JFK? VeteransToday.com, November 16, 2011 Copyright 2013 Tony Bonn. All rights reserved.

[Aug 03, 2019] Democratic Party under Clinton and Obama was converted into the party of war and neocolonialism

Aug 03, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

nottheonly1 , Aug 2 2019 19:08 utc | 9

While I am aware of Eric Zuesse being somewhat controversial to some people, I do concur with his assessment of the party that should be stripped of the 'Democratic' prefix. There is nothing democratic in this organization and its members are either willful stooges, or the most gullible people on earth - responsible for heinous crimes against humanity under the cover of 'humanitarian aid'.

To even consider to allow this organization to continue in its deception of the American electorate, shows the deepest infiltration of foreign influence, for whom this deception is not only natural, but also compulsive. You may have guessed it, it's not the Russians.

The Democratic Party's AIPAC Candidates

However, an article by the Strategic Culture Organization, linked to on MOA yesterday

The 'Special Relationship' is collapsing , goes even further. It makes obvious the unholy filth that has been plaguing humanity for a very long time. And while some may find it questionable, it turns out that the Queen does appear to be the longest sitting Fascist in the history of mankind.

Sometimes it is necessary to connect the dots beyond personal beliefs in regards to the real conspiracy against working people all over the world.

[Aug 03, 2019] Democratic party now is a war party. As such it does not need to win the elections to stay in power

Aug 03, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Emma Peele , August 2, 2019 at 16:05

Pro war democrats are now using the Russian ruse to go after anti war candidates like Gabbard.

It's despicable to even insinuate Gabbard is working for Putin or had any other rationale for going to Syria than seeking peace.

This alone proved Harris unfit for the presidency.

Her awful record speaks for itself.

[Aug 03, 2019] Russian General recently remarked specific to electronic countermeasures/jammers that the more complex they are, the easier they are to confound or defeat.

Aug 03, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Walter , Aug 3 2019 11:27 utc | 76

@ # 41 > "With the USAF and the military as a whole, increasing amounts of money are thrown at ever increasingly complex weapons systems yet performance in all sectors deteriorates while the ability to recruit also degrades. The problems are widely written..."

Indeed, Ruskie General recently remarked specific to electronic countermeasures/jammers that the more complex they are, the easier they are to confound or defeat.

The general principle operates in all realms.

I did make a note of the guy's name...but it is obvious, isn't it? I mean one has only to look...

[Aug 02, 2019] Does the New York Times Have an Editing Program that Automatically Puts "Free" Before "Trade?

Aug 02, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne , August 02, 2019 at 04:21 AM

http://cepr.net/blogs/beat-the-press/does-the-new-york-times-have-an-editing-program-that-automatically-puts-free-before-trade

August 1, 2019

Does the New York Times Have an Editing Program that Automatically Puts "Free" Before "Trade?"
By Dean Baker

Readers must be wondering because it happens so frequently in contexts where it is clearly inappropriate. The latest example is in an article * about the state of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination following the second round of debates.

The piece told readers:

"After a few candidates used the Detroit debate to demand that Mr. Biden account for Mr. Obama's record on issues such as deportations and free trade, Mr. Biden was joined by some of the former president's advisers, who chastised the critics for committing political malpractice."

The word "free" in this context adds nothing and is in fact wrong. The Obama administration did virtually nothing to promote free trade in highly paid professional services, like physicians services, which would have reduced inequality. It only wanted to reduce barriers that protected less educated workers, like barriers to trade in manufactured goods.

And, it actively worked to increase patent and copyright protections, which are the complete opposite of free trade. These protections also have the effect of increasing inequality.

Given the reality of trade policy under President Obama it is difficult to understand why the New York Times felt the need to modify "trade" with the adjective "free." Maybe it needs to get this editing program fixed.

* https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/01/us/politics/biden-obama.html

[Aug 02, 2019] A lot of US debt is "invested" in bombing sand piles for Prince bin Salman.

Aug 02, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

ilsm -> RC (Ron) Weakley... , July 23, 2019 at 04:05 AM

A lot of US debt is "invested" in bombing sand piles for Prince bin Salman.

The budget deal raises the pentagon's budget from $733 to 738B the 733B the glut that got through the House.

The total US G debt is pretty close to the sum of pentagon largesse since 1947.

RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to ilsm... , July 23, 2019 at 04:22 AM
According to Tim Taylor we should save some of that sand. Maybe sand will be the next oil for funding ME dictators.

Hey, everyone loves a parade and what's a parade without tanks? If gives us something in common with the commies. On the one hand, this is a paranoid world and on the other hand, people love to see stuff get blown up. Battling against empire is an uphill battle with a long historical track record of failures so obscure that mostly no one has even ever heard of them. I guess if someone is committed to fighting a losing battle then they might as well go for losing big.

mulp -> RC (Ron) Weakley... , July 24, 2019 at 05:50 AM
"According to Tim Taylor we should save some of that sand. Maybe sand will be the next oil for funding ME dictators"

Wrong kind of sand. Not sure why, but water borne sand is jagged, but wind borne sand is smooth.

RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to mulp ... , July 24, 2019 at 09:52 AM
[Good to know. Thanks. Do you think that finite (made from desert sand) will eventually be formulated to last long enough for general construction use?]

https://materialdistrict.com/article/finite-concrete-desert-sand/

Finite: a more sustainable alternative to concrete made from desert sand


26 March 2018

Sand is worldwide in high demand and heavily used in many industries, especially construction. With deserts full of it, one can easily be fooled into thinking that sand is an almost infinite resource. However, desert sand has little use; the grains are too smooth and fine to bind together, so it is not suitable for the making of for instance concrete. The start-up Finite, founded by researchers from Imperial College London, created a material composite made with desert sand that serves as a more sustainable alternative to concrete.

The supply of construction-grade sand is dwindling worldwide. This type of sand is stripped from beaches and riverbeds, but because of the heavy use, the supply is diminishing rapidly. Desert sand, on the other hand, is plentiful. This sand is not used in construction, as its grains are too smooth and fine to bind together for building materials.

The newly developed composite makes use of desert sand and "other abundant fine powders that traditionally have no use". According to the inventors, Finite can be turned into structures that have the same strength as housing bricks and residential concrete.

The material is more environmentally friendly than concrete, with a concrete footprint that is less than half that of concrete. Unlike concrete, which must be either downcycled or sent to the landfill at the end of its life, the new material can easily be reused as it can be remoulded for multiple lifecycle uses. The material can be coloured using natural dyes.

Finite can be used in desert areas, made with local sand rather than imported concrete. For now, the material is only suitable for temporary constructions, after which the material can be reused or left to decompose. For permanent structures, the material still has to pass rounds of testing and regulations...

Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to ilsm... , July 23, 2019 at 05:59 AM
As ice melts, Greenland could become big sand
exporter: study https://reut.rs/2Gmryx1

Alister Doyle - February 11, 2019

OSLO (Reuters) - Greenland could start to export sand in a rare positive spinoff from global warming that is melting the island's vast ice sheet and washing large amounts of sediment into the sea, scientists said on Monday.

Mining of sand and gravel, widely used in the construction industry, could boost the economy for Greenland's 56,000 population who have wide powers of self-rule within Denmark but rely heavily on subsidies from Copenhagen.

By mining sand, "Greenland could benefit from the challenges brought by climate change," a team of scientists in Denmark and the United States wrote in the journal Nature Sustainability.

The study, headlined "Promises and perils of sand exploitation in Greenland", said the Arctic island would have to assess risks of coastal mining, especially to fisheries.

Rising global temperatures are melting the Greenland ice sheet, which locks up enough water to raise global sea levels by about seven meters (23 ft) if it ever all thawed, and carrying ever more sand and gravel into coastal fjords.

"You can think of it (the melting ice) as a tap that pours out sediment to the coast," said lead author Mette Bendixen, a researcher at the University of Colorado's Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research.

Worldwide demand for sand totaled about 9.55 billion tonnes in 2017 with a market value of $99.5 billion and is projected to reach almost $481 billion in 2100, driven by rising demand and likely shortages, the study said.

That meant a rare opportunity for the island. ...


RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs... , July 23, 2019 at 09:56 AM
"As you be muche the worse. and I cast awaie.
An yll wynde, that blowth no man to good, men saie.
Wel (quoth he) euery wind blowth not down the corn
I hope (I saie) good hap [luck] be not all out worn." - John Heywood - 1546
Fred C. Dobbs said in reply to RC (Ron) Weakley... , July 24, 2019 at 03:57 AM
Hmmm. "It's an Ille Wynde
that blows no Bodye Goode?"
RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs... , July 24, 2019 at 05:03 AM
Mister Sandman brings dream to Greenland.
RC (Ron) Weakley said in reply to RC (Ron) Weakley... , July 24, 2019 at 05:06 AM
Mister Sandman is moving into Frosty the Snowman's old digs in uptown Nuuk.
anne , July 23, 2019 at 04:11 AM
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/22/opinion/biden-sanders-health-care.html

July 22, 2019

Biden and Sanders, Behaving Badly
A bad-faith debate over health care coverage.
By Paul Krugman

Health care was a key factor in Democrats' victory in the 2018 midterm elections, and it should be a big plus in 2020 as well. The shared Democratic position -- that every legal resident should have access to affordable care, regardless of income or health status -- is immensely popular. The de facto Republican position -- that we should go back to a situation in which those whose jobs don't come with health benefits, or who suffer from pre-existing medical conditions, can't get insurance -- is so unpopular that G.O.P. candidates consistently lie about their own proposals.

But right now, two of the major contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, are having an ugly argument about health care that could hurt the party's chances. There are real, important differences between the two men's policy proposals, and it's fine to point that out. What's not fine is the name-calling and false assertions. Both men are behaving badly. And for their party's sake, and their country's, they need to stop it.

Let's back up. There are, broadly speaking, two ways a country can try to achieve universal health insurance. One is single-payer: The government simply pays the bills. The other retains a role for private insurance but relies on a combination of regulations and subsidies to ensure that everyone gets covered.

We don't have to speculate about how these systems would work in practice, because every advanced country except the U.S. has some form of universal coverage. Some, like Canada and Britain, use single-payer (in Britain the government also operates the hospitals and pays the doctors). Others, like Switzerland and the Netherlands, have a large role for private insurers.

The clean little secret of health care is that both approaches work when countries try to make them work. In fact, we can see both systems at work right here in America.

More than 100 million Americans are covered by Medicare or Medicaid, which are both single-payer programs; despite Ronald Reagan's ominous warnings back in 1961, neither destroyed American freedom. Since 2014, millions more have been covered by the Affordable Care Act, which was underfunded and has been subject to extensive Republican sabotage; nonetheless, states like California that have tried to make the act work have experienced huge declines in the number of residents without insurance.

Which brings us back to the Democratic quarrel.

Sanders, of course, has made Medicare for All his signature proposal. Could such a plan work? Absolutely. But there are two valid criticisms of his proposal.

First, it would have to be paid for with higher taxes. While many people would find the increased tax burden offset by lower premiums, the required tax increases would be daunting. And while Sanders has in fact proposed a number of new taxes, independent estimates say that the revenue they'd generate would fall far short of what his plan would cost.

Second, the Sanders plan would require that roughly 180 million Americans give up their current private insurance and replace it with something different. Persuading them that this would be an improvement, even if true, would be a tall order. Indeed, there's good reason to believe that eliminating the option of retaining private insurance would be an electoral loser. (Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, take heed.)

On the other side, Biden is proposing to build on Obamacare. That can sound like tinkering at the edges. But his actual plan is much bigger and better than is widely realized, with large increases in funding, a public option, and more. It would, arguably, bring the A.C.A. close to the standards of successful European systems.

That said, the Biden plan would preserve the crazy-quilt, Rube Goldberg aspects of our current system, which impose a lot of unnecessary costs and make it too easy for people to fall through the cracks.

So there's plenty of room for a good-faith Sanders-Biden argument. Unfortunately, that's not the argument they're having.

Instead, Sanders is arguing that only single-payer can purge "corporate greed" from the system -- an assertion belied by European experience -- and broadly hinting that Biden is in the pocket of corporate interests. That's a criticism you can level about some of Biden's past policy positions, like his advocacy of the 2005 bankruptcy law. But it's not a fair criticism of a health plan that's actually pretty good, and which most people would have considered radical just a few years ago.

For his part, Biden is declaring that the Sanders plan would undermine Medicare. In fact, it would enhance current recipients' benefits. And it's a bad sign that Biden, who poses as Obamacare's great defender, is using a G.O.P. scare tactic familiar from the utterly dishonest campaign against the A.C.A. No Democrat should be stooping to that level.

Unfortunately, Biden and Sanders will be appearing on different nights during the next Democratic debates. So it will be up to other candidates, or the moderators, to put them on the spot. It's time for both men to stop poisoning their own party's well.

ilsm -> anne... , July 23, 2019 at 04:18 AM
It may get ugly if Sanders points to the elephant in the room......

US remains, and Obamacare did nothing to alter it, the only "developed" country where establishments that finance the health of human beings are run as profit generating businesses.

ilsm -> ilsm... , July 23, 2019 at 01:47 PM
The established democrats are against any progress, as they diss Bernie they are done with me.
mulp -> ilsm... , July 24, 2019 at 06:41 AM
Medicare is a bad model for health care because its based on a piece work production system, ie, payment only for doing medical work, and no payment for preventing preventable medical treatment.

For example, prescribing opiates repeatedly was paid for each and every time, but working to not prescribe opiates is not.

And now getting people off it opiate addiction is paid for, but not working with patients to prevent addiction to opiates.

Thanks to Nixon, a number of very good HMOs were created and required to be options in employer benefit programs, in NH, this resulted in half of all NH residents picking the HMO Mathew Thornton health plan over BCBS which in 1970 covered 80% of NH residents. The HMO only had clinics covering only 60-70% of the population while BCBS paid almost any doctor in the four state region.

MTHP was extremely well liked. It provided great health care. Doctors ran it, not bean counters. Doctors didn't need to invent diseases to get paid for spending time with patients.

But Bernie has stated that HMOs are bad because they seek to not provide medical treatments, as if health care is about making patients suffer both illnesses and then the treatments.

HMOs operate on the Deming model. Design the system for high quality so less work is required, thus lower cost to deliver the best outcome, whether a qualty car, walkman, TV, health.

JohnH -> anne... , July 23, 2019 at 07:46 AM
Coming from Krugman, with a view of how he trashed Bernie's plan on behalf of Hillary in 2016, this is pretty rich.

I guess it's up to Krugman to decide when it's OK to behave badly

And then he attacks Bernie's plan: people won't want to pay more in taxes to fund Medicare for All. Nowhere is it mentioned that the taxes would be in lieu of insurance premiums and as we all know (!!!) people are just delighted to pay those insurance companies because, you know it's better to be ripped off by private enterprise than to pay taxes for real insurance coverage with no deductibles and co-pays!!!

Krugman just can't seem to wean himself of those industry talking points

Christopher H. said in reply to anne... , July 23, 2019 at 07:58 AM
Krugman has gone back to his 2016 ways. It is really sad. I'm surprised Kurt and EMike haven't joined him yet. There's still time.

"It's time for both men to stop poisoning their own party's well."

You need to turn out your base to win, not soft-peddle to win in purple and red states.

Hillary tried EMike's and the centrists' strat and she lost.

If Biden is the nominee, there's a chance he could lose, but then Krugman was never serious about beating Trump despite his overheated rhetoric.

Julio -> anne... , July 23, 2019 at 10:27 AM
"And while Sanders has in fact proposed a number of new taxes, independent estimates say that the revenue they'd generate would fall far short of what his plan would cost."

Mealy-mouthed way of saying that Sanders is lying.

JohnH -> anne... , July 23, 2019 at 01:11 PM
It seems that Krugman is programmed to object strenuously to anything that does not preserve the inefficient, Rube Goldberg health insurance system were have in place today. And here I thought that economists were all about efficiency!!!

I guess industry talking points override efficiency!!!

anne , July 23, 2019 at 04:13 AM
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/18/opinion/2020-trump-economy.html

July 18, 2019

Deficit Man and the 2020 Election
The Trump bump probably peaked too early.
By Paul Krugman

I've seen a number of people suggest that the 2020 election will be a sort of test: Can a sufficiently terrible president lose an election despite a good economy? And that is, in fact, the test we'd be running if the election were tomorrow.

On one side, Donald Trump wastes no opportunity to remind us how awful he is. His latest foray into overt racism delights his base but repels everyone else. On the other side, he presides over an economy in which unemployment is very low and real G.D.P. grew 3.2 percent over the past year.

But the election won't be tomorrow, it will be an exhausting 15 months from now. Trump's character won't change, except possibly for the worse. But the economy might look significantly different.

So let's talk about the Trump economy.

The first thing you need to know is that the Trump tax cut caused a huge rise in the budget deficit, which the administration expects to hit $1 trillion this year, up from less than $600 billion in 2016. This tidal wave of red ink is even more extraordinary than it looks, because it has taken place despite falling unemployment, which usually leads to a falling deficit.

Strange to say, none of the Republicans who warned of a debt apocalypse under President Barack Obama have protested the Trump deficits. (Should we put Paul Ryan's face on milk cartons?) For that matter, even the centrists who obsessed over federal debt during the Obama years have been pretty quiet. Clearly, deficits only matter when there's a Democrat in the White House.

Oh, and the imminent fiscal crisis people like Erskine Bowles used to warn about keeps not happening: Long-term interest rates remain very low.

Now, the evidence on the effects of deficit spending is clear: It gives the economy a short-run boost, even when we're already close to full employment. If anything, the growth bump under Trump has been smaller than you might have expected given the deficit surge, perhaps because the tax cut was so badly designed, perhaps because Trump's trade wars have deterred business spending.

For now, however, Deficit Man is beating Tariff Man. As I said, we've seen good growth over the past year.

But the tax cut was supposed to be more than a short-run Keynesian stimulus. It was sold as something that would greatly improve the economy's long-run performance; in particular, lower corporate tax rates were supposed to lead to a huge boom in business investment that would, among other things, lead to sharply higher wages. And this big rise in long-run growth would supposedly create a boom in tax revenues, offsetting the upfront cost of tax cuts.

None of this is happening. Corporations are getting to keep a lot more of their profits, but they've been using the money to buy back their own stock, not raise investment. Wages are rising, but not at an extraordinary pace, and many Americans don't feel that they're sharing in the benefits of a growing economy.

And this is probably as good as it gets.

I'm not forecasting a recession. It could happen, and we're very badly positioned to respond if it does, but the more likely story is just a slowdown as the effects of the deficit splurge wear off. In fact, if you believe the "nowcasters" (economists who try to get an early read on the economy from partial data), that slowdown is already happening. For example, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York believes that the economy's growth was down to 1.5 percent in the second quarter.

And it's hard to see where another economic bump can come from. With Democrats controlling the House, there won't be another big tax cut. The Fed may cut interest rates, but those cuts are already priced into long-term interest rates, which are what matter for spending, and the economy seems to be slowing anyway.

Which brings us back to the 2020 election.

Political scientists have carried out many studies of the electoral impact of the economy, and as far as I know they all agree that what matters is the trend, not the level. The unemployment rate was still over 7 percent when Ronald Reagan won his 1984 landslide; it was 7.7 percent when Obama won in 2012. In both cases, however, things were clearly getting better.

That's probably not going to be the story next year. If we don't have a recession, unemployment will still be low. But economic growth will probably be meh at best -- which means, if past experience is any guide, that the economy won't give Trump much of a boost, that it will be more or less a neutral factor.

And on the other hand, Trump's awfulness will remain.

Republicans will, of course, portray the Democratic nominee -- whoever she or he may be -- as a radical socialist poised to throw the border open to hordes of brown-skinned rapists. And one has to admit that this strategy might work, although it failed last year in the midterms. To be honest, I'm more worried about the effects of sexism if the nominee is a woman -- not just the sexism of voters, but that of the news media, which still holds women to different standards.

But as far as the economy goes, the odds are that Trump's deficit-fueled bump came too soon to do him much political good.

ilsm -> anne... , July 23, 2019 at 04:21 AM
There remains time for democrats to preside over a new debt ceiling crisis...... anything to oust Trump!

Cover will be provided by the, 30 months too long, Mueller circus.

Christopher H. said in reply to anne... , July 23, 2019 at 09:12 AM
Krugman was predicting overheating in 2016. It would be nice if he admitted when he was wrong.

He's very dismissive of monetary policy and the Fed here. Maybe the Fed has been overly tight?

Maybe Trump's jawboning on the Fed pushed it to stop tightening?

You won't get honest objective answers from Krugman. He's much like the Republicans who are always lying.

mulp -> Christopher H.... , July 24, 2019 at 06:48 AM
Right, zero inflation, just housing prices going up 10% per year.

Hey, you are getting richer as the house you can't buy because your savings and income isn't rising faster than 10% per year so you can finally go into debt and then do cash out refis so you have a constant 80% debt in rising "wealth".

Constantly increasing debt on constantly incressing "wealth" is not inflation.

Just keep saying "there is no inflation, just higher living costs".

Christopher H. said in reply to mulp ... , July 24, 2019 at 08:15 AM
asset appreciation isn't *inflation*

inflation is all prices going up like in the 1970s.

This is why I skip your comments

kurt -> mulp ... , July 25, 2019 at 04:12 PM
You are correct in that housing should be included in CPI. It is now most families biggest cost and housing insecurity is a thing.
Christopher H. said in reply to kurt... , July 27, 2019 at 10:00 AM
Dean Baker disagrees with you and I'd take his opinion over yours and mulps any time of the day. He called the housing bubble.

My guess is that you have no idea but just wanted to try to troll me.

http://cepr.net/images/stories/reports/inflation-housing-2018-06.pdf

Measuring the Inflation Rate:
Is Housing Different?

anne , July 23, 2019 at 04:20 AM
http://cepr.net/publications/op-eds-columns/the-aging-crisis-is-actually-just-a-labor-crisis-for-the-wealthy

July 22, 2019

The "Aging Crisis" Is Actually Just a Labor Crisis for the Wealthy
By Dean Baker

The New York Times told us * last week that China is running out of people. That might seem an odd concern for a country with a population of more than 1.4 billion, but you can read it for yourself:

"Driving this regression in women's status is a looming aging crisis, and the relaxing of the draconian 'one-child' birth restrictions that contributed to the graying population. The Communist Party now wants to try to stimulate a baby boom."

What exactly is supposed to be China's "aging crisis?" China has had a low birth rate for the last four decades, as the government consciously tried to slow the country's population growth. As a result, it does have an aging population and a declining ratio of workers to retirees, but this raises the obvious question, "So what?"

We see endless news articles and columns implying that the prospect of a declining number of workers supporting a growing population of retirees is some sort of crisis. The people making such assertions really need some knowledge of demographics.

The United States and other wealthy countries have been seeing drops in the ratio of workers to retirees for many decades. In the U.S. case, we went from having 5.1 workers for every Social Security retiree in 1960 to just 2.8 workers for each retiree today.

We pay higher taxes for Social Security and Medicare today than we did in 1960 (Medicare did not yet exist), but few would say that current tax rates are a crisis. If China has to see equivalent increases in taxes in the next decade or two to support its retirees, it is hard to see it as a major problem.

Reporters and media commentators like to report on taxes as the biggest concern for working people, but as economists like to point out, the main factor determining living standards is what goes into workers' paychecks, not what the government takes out in taxes.

The Social Security payroll tax rose by 6.4 percentage points between 1960 and 1990. The Medicare tax rose by 2.95 percentage points, for a total increase in federal payroll taxes of 9.35 percentage points.

In spite of this large increase in payroll taxes over this period, workers enjoyed considerably higher after-tax wages in 1990 than in 1960. This was true because real wages rose, especially in the first part of this period (1960 to 1973), when real wages for the typical worker rose at a 2.2 percent annual rate.

The story is even more dramatic in China. Real wages have risen just over 7.0 percent annually over the last decade. Suppose wage growth slows to 5.0 percent over the next two decades. Suppose the country has to raise taxes on workers by 20 percentage points over this period to cover the cost of its aging population. In that case, after taxes, wages would still be more than twice as high as they are today. What is the problem?

The basic story is that if an economy maintains a healthy rate of productivity growth, which allows for healthy real wage growth, then the demographic changes are a relatively small matter. This doesn't mean that society will not face some problems in adjusting for the needs of an aging population ― the U.S. faced many problems associated with the care and education of the Baby Boomers when we were children ― but these problems are far from insoluble.

If simple arithmetic shows that the people shortage story is nonsense, then why does it continually appear in the media? The most obvious explanation is that the concerns over a smaller workforce fall into the well-known "it's hard to get good help" problem.

This is the standard refrain of rich people, employers and major media outlets. A smaller labor market could present employers with a world where workers have more bargaining power and can therefore demand wage increases that are equal to, possibly even greater than, the rate of productivity growth.

As workers move from lower-paying to higher-paying ― and therefore higher productivity ― jobs, it will be harder to get people to work at many of the lowest-paying jobs, such as domestic workers, valets in restaurants, and other jobs that primarily involve providing services to the wealthy.

That probably does look like a crisis to a small segment of the population. The wealthy may really have some cause to be concerned about the prospect of a declining population and workforce. The rest of us, not so much.

* https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/16/world/asia/china-women-discrimination.html

mulp -> anne... , July 24, 2019 at 06:57 AM
The workers in fast food serve primarily the wealthy???

The workers in dollar stores serve primarily the wealthy?

The workers serving the wealthy are primarily middle class, whether food service, retail, child care, etc.

The problem for China is providing opportunity for the young entrepreneurs. Without an abundant eager labor force, the old established businesses will dominate and slow change. Thhey won't be challenged to do better.

Joe , July 23, 2019 at 04:31 AM
Modern money theory and its challenges - VoxEU
---------

Some misperceptions.

MMT is not modern, it is standard generational practice.
Given the nearly unlimited history of humans doing MMT some rules have emerged:
1) MMTs generally last anywhere from three days to three months.
2) The exception to rule 1 is war time where MMT hangs around with price controls.
3) We have a legal issue. This is the first time we have done a good old MMT using double accounting money, we usually do it by repricing gold or exiting the gold market.

I am not sure we have the brains in DC to pull this off without a nightmare result, due to MMT becoming a tribal slogan with no real definition attached.

im1dc , July 23, 2019 at 04:52 AM
The 'Bond Market' agrees with S. Warren, to a point...

S. Warren does not have a friend in Bond World yet they agree...interesting

https://thehill.com/opinion/finance/454198-the-bond-market-agrees-with-elizabeth-warren-up-to-a-point

"The bond market agrees with Elizabeth Warren, up to a point"

By Desmond Lachman, Opinion Contributor...07/23/19...07:30 AM EDT

'The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill'

"Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) is not known for her enthusiasm for the financial markets in general and for the bond market in particular. But there seems to be one important point on which Warren and the world's bond markets currently agree: both the U.S. and the rest of the world could soon be heading for a nasty economic recession.

In a recent article, Warren warned that the odds of another economic downturn were high and growing. In her view, this is due to the precarious state of our economy, which is built on an excessive amount of household and corporate debt. That makes the U.S. economy particularly vulnerable to a number of serious shocks that she now sees on the horizon and that she thinks "could cause our economy's shaky foundation to crumble."

By its nature, the bond market does not spell out the reasons why it prices bonds in any particular manner. But we can infer the bond market's economic outlook from market bond prices.

One indication that the government bond markets now seem to be sharing Warren's gloomy economic prognosis is the fact that long-term U.S. Treasury bond rates have declined to significantly below the Federal Reserve's short-term policy rate. This so-called yield curve inversion implies that the U.S. Treasury bond market is expecting that the U.S. economy will soon go into a recession that will keep interest rates low for a long time.

A more dramatic indication of sovereign bond market pessimism is the fact that a record US$13 trillion of global sovereign bonds, and around one half of all European sovereign bonds, now offer negative interest rates."...

RC (Ron) Weakley , July 23, 2019 at 04:54 AM
RE: Acknowledging and pricing macroeconomic uncertainties

Lars Peter Hansen, Thomas Sargent 22 July 2019


False pretences of knowledge about complicated economic situations have become all too common in public policy debates. While we do know some things, we don't know everything. We believe that prudent decision-making should acknowledge what we don't know. Decision makers should strive to quantify dimensions of their ignorance and adjust their decisions accordingly. This essay describes a tractable approach for acknowledging, characterizing, and responding to the limited understandings discovered by researchers' efforts to interpret existing evidence by using theories and statistical methods available at any particular moment.

An economic model tells how chance, occurrences, and purposeful decisions influence future outcomes. Economic researchers use formal statistical models to describe and interpret data and to formulate policy advice for government and private decision makers. Whether they acknowledge it explicitly or not, real world decision makers also use models or 'views' about how their decisions affect future outcomes. Because they ignore some forces and oversimplify others, all models are just approximations to reality, some better than others depending on the purposes to which they are put. Furthermore, at any time, we can choose among multiple models and are unsure how much credibility to assign to each of them.

Data can surely help us assess the credibility of alternative models, but the real world is so complicated and data are so limited that data can only tell us so much. Therefore, economic modellers and decision makers require ways to express their opinions about the plausibility and usefulness of alternative models for the problem at hand. Because data are only partially informative about a model's plausibility, a decision-maker's purpose as well as his or her 'subjective beliefs' play important roles too. The more complex the situation, the bigger the challenge of confronting uncertainty.

Economists and other scholars have created theoretical foundations for uncertainty. For instance, both John Maynard Keynes (1921) and Frank Knight (1921) wrote on the subject, but mostly in literary ways that are challenging to interpret and to make operational so that they can be applied in quantitative work. The eminent statistician Abraham Wald (1950) introduced a theoretic framework for making decisions under uncertainty. Leonard J. Savage (1954) constructed a complete axiomatic approach to Bayesian decision theory by including subjective probabilities that are entirely in the mind of a decision maker. Itzhak Gilboa and David Schmeidler (1989) extended this approach in ways that acknowledged that a decision maker might not have a unique subjective probability distribution. Recent research in control theory and in dynamic decision theory provides useful practical tools for assessing and coping with various sources of uncertainty. We have worked on these topics for a number of years. Along with others, we have used mathematics and statistics to construct operational quantitative tools that shed light on how financial markets and the macroeconomy work and how alternative fiscal and monetary policies affect them.

In a recent paper (Hansen and Sargent 2019), we propose ways to categorise and respond to the multiple forms of uncertainty that confront decision makers and model builders. Thus, we distinguish among (1) uncertainty within a model; (2) uncertainty across a set of available known models; and (3) uncertainty about each model. We refer to (1) as risk – uncertainty about future outcomes that is described by a single known probability distribution. (This is the type of uncertainty assumed up until now in most work in theoretical and applied finance and macroeconomics.) We call uncertainty of type (2) ambiguity and represent it as being unsure about what weights or probabilities to attach to the available models. We call (3) model misspecification and represent it by surrounding each available model with a vast cloud statistical models with unknown forms that nevertheless fit the available data nearly as well as does an available model.

The models that we economists build and use are highly stylised

*

[These guys both need a new stylist.

Just how certain can they be about uncertainty? If uncertainty were quantifiable then how uncertain would it be? Uncertainty is a lot more than just confidence intervals on statistical data sets. Operators and relationships among interdependent variables are often uncertain while data is just distributed within variance. The past may not be a reliable indicator of the future. I will take Keynes on uncertainty and stay out of the deep end of the pool.]

[Jul 31, 2019] Jack Ruby was the Mafia capo of Dallas

Jul 31, 2019 | www.unz.com

ploni almoni , says: July 30, 2019 at 1:55 am GMT

@Kevin Barrett Jack Ruby did not kill Oswald "for the Jews." He was the Mafia capo of Dallas and was following orders in Plan B when two previous attempts to kill Oswald failed. He tried to get out of it, but had no choice but to follow orders that he could not refuse.

[Jul 30, 2019] Empires in decline tend to behave badly

Notable quotes:
"... Aggressive wars abroad pollute the domestic political discourse and breed hypernationalism, racism and xenophobia. The 18 or so years of war following the 9/11 attacks have seen this ostensible republic sink to new lows of behavior. ..."
Jul 30, 2019 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com

"Empires in decline tend to behave badly. Indeed, whether British, French or Russian, the twilight years of imperialism often brought brutal repression of subjects abroad, the suppression of civil liberties at home and general varieties of brutality toward foreigners, be they refugees or migrants.

Aggressive wars abroad pollute the domestic political discourse and breed hypernationalism, racism and xenophobia. The 18 or so years of war following the 9/11 attacks have seen this ostensible republic sink to new lows of behavior.

Aggressive wars of choice have ushered in rampant torture, atrocities in Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison, indefinite detention at Guantanamo Bay, extraordinary rendition, drone assassinations, warrantless wiretapping, mass surveillance of the citizenry...

It's all connected. The empire -- all empires -- eventually come home."

Maj. Danny Sjursen, An American Tragedy: Empire at Home and Abroad

[Jul 30, 2019] The New Quincy Institute Seeks Warmongering Monsters to Destroy The American Conservative

Jul 30, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The New Quincy Institute Seeks Warmongering Monsters to Destroy Andrew Bacevich on his new left-right group, which is going hammer and tongs against the establishment on foreign policy. By Kelley Beaucar Vlahos July 30, 2019

Andrew J. Bacevich participates in a panel discussion at the U.S. Naval War College in 2016. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Christian S. Eskelund/Released) For the last month, the foreign policy establishment has been abuzz over the new kid on the block: the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft , named for John Quincy Adams. Adams, along with our first president George Washington, warned of foreign entanglements and the urge to go abroad in "search of monsters to destroy," lest America's fundamental policy "insensibly change from liberty to force . She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit ."

Those in the foreign policy Blob have had different reactions to the "upstart" think tank. These are the preeminent organizations that stand imperious in size and square footage, but have lacked greatly in wisdom and clarity over the last 20 years. Quincy will stand apart from them in two significant ways: it is drawing its intellectual and political firepower from both the anti-war Left and the realist and restraint Right. And it is poised to support a new "responsible statecraft," one that challenges the conditions of endless war, including persistent American militarism here and abroad, the military industrial complex, and a doctrine that worships primacy and a liberal world order over peace and the sovereignty of other nations.

Quincy, which is rolling out its statement of principles this week (its official launch will be in the fall), is the brainchild of Trita Parsi, former head of the National Iranian-American Council, who saw an opening to bring together Left and Right academics, activists, and media disenchanted by both sides' pro-war proclivities. Together with Vietnam veteran and former Boston University professor Andrew Bacevich (also a longtime TAC contributor), the Carnegie Endowment's Suzanne DiMaggio, Columbia University's Stephen Wertheim, and investigative journalist Eli Clifton, the group wants to serve as a counterweight to both liberal interventionists like the Brookings Institution and Council on Foreign Relations, and the war hawks and neoconservatives of the Heritage Foundation and Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

They've already taken hits from both sides of the establishment, dismissed brusquely as naive , or worse, isolationist (that swipe from neoconservative Bill Kristol, whose now-defunct Weekly Standard once ran a manifesto headlined "The Case for American Empire" ). The fact that Quincy will be funded by both George Soros on the Left and the Charles Koch Foundation on the Right has brought some rebuke from unfriendlies and even some friendlies. The former hate on one or the other powerful billionaire, while the latter are wary of Soros' intentions (he's has long been a financial supporter of "soft-power" democracy movements overseas, some of which have encouraged revolution and regime change).

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But Quincy's timing couldn't be more perfect. With a president in the White House who has promised to draw down U.S. involvement overseas (with the exception of his Iran policy, he has so far held to much of that pledge), and national conservatives coming around to TAC's long-held worldview on realism and restraint (and an increasing willingness to reach across the aisle to work with like-minded groups and individuals), Quincy appears poised to make some noise in Washington.

According to the group's new statement of principles , "responsible statecraft" 1) serves the public interest, 2) engages the world, 3) builds a peaceful world, 4) abhors war, and 5) is democratic.

Andrew Bacevich and Trita Parsi expanded on this further in a recent Q&A with TAC.

(Full disclosure: the author is on Quincy's steering committee and TAC also receives funding from the Charles Koch Foundation.)

TAC : Quincy's principles -- and thus it's name -- are rooted in the mission of "responsible statecraft." Can you give me a sense of what that means in practical terms, and why you settled on this phrasing for the institute?

AB: With the end of the Cold War, policy elites succumbed to an extraordinary bout of hubris, perhaps best expressed in the claim that history had designated the United States as its "indispensable nation." Hubris bred recklessness and irresponsibility, with the Iraq war of 2003 as Exhibit A. We see "responsible statecraft" as the necessary antidote. Its abiding qualities are realism, restraint, prudence, and vigorous engagement. While the QI is not anti-military, we are wary of war except when all other alternatives have been exhausted. We are acutely conscious of war's tendency to produce unintended consequences and to exact unexpectedly high costs.

TAC : Quincy is a trans-partisan effort that is bringing together Left and Right for common cause. Is it a challenge?

AB: It seems apparent to us that the myriad foreign policy failures and disappointments of the past couple of decades have induced among both progressives and at least some conservatives a growing disenchantment with the trajectory of U.S. policy. Out of that disenchantment comes the potential for a Left-Right coalition to challenge the status quo. The QI hopes to build on that potential.

TAC : Two of the principles take direct aim at the current foreign policy status quo: responsible statecraft abhors war, and responsible statecraft is democratic (calling out a closed system in which Americans have had little input into the wars waged in their names). How much of what Quincy aims to do involves upending conventional norms, particularly those bred and defended by the Washington "Blob"?

AB: In a fundamental sense, the purpose of the QI is to educate the American people and their leaders regarding the Blob's shortcomings, exposing the deficiencies of old ideas and proposing new ones to take their place.

TAC: That said, how much blowback do you anticipate from the Washington establishment, particularly those think tanks and individuals whose careers and very existence depend on the wheels of militarism forever turning?

AB : Plenty. Proponents of the status quo are entrenched and well-funded. Breaking old habits -- for example, the practice of scattering U.S. military bases around the world -- will not come easily.

TAC : There has been much ado about your two primary funders -- Charles Koch and George Soros. What do you say to critics who suggest you will be tied to/limited by their agendas?

AB: Our funding sources are not confined to Koch and Soros and we will continue to broaden our support base. It's not for me to speak for Koch or Soros. But my guess is they decided to support the QI because they support our principles. They too believe in policies based on realism, restraint, prudence, and vigorous engagement.

TAC : Better yet, how did you convince these two men to fund something together?

TP: It is important to recognize that they have collaborated in the past before, for instance on criminal justice reform. This is, however, the first time they've come together to be founding funders of a new entity. I cannot speak for them, but I think they both recognize that there currently is a conceptual deficit in our foreign policy. U.S. elite consensus on foreign policy has collapsed and the void that has been created begs to be filled. But it has to be filled with new ideas, not just a repackaging of old ideas. And those new ideas cannot simply follow the old political alignments. Transpartisan collaboration is necessary in order to create a new consensus. Koch and Soros are showing tremendous leadership in that regard.

TAC : The last refuge of a scorned hawk is to call his critics "isolationist." It would seem as though your statement of principles takes this on directly. How else does Quincy take this often-used invective into account?

AB : We will demonstrate through our own actions that the charge is false.

TAC : Critics (including James Traub, in his own piece on Quincy ) say that Washington leaders, once in office, are "mugged by reality," suggesting that the idea of rolling back military interventions and avoiding others sounds good on paper but presidents like Barack Obama had no choice, that this is all about protecting interests and hard-nosed realism. The alternative is a bit naive. How do you respond?

AB: Choices are available if our leaders have the creativity to recognize them and the gumption to pursue them. Obama's patient and resolute pursuit of the Iran nuclear deal affirms this possibility. The QI will expose the "we have no choice" argument as false. We will identify and promote choice, thereby freeing U.S. policy from outmoded habits and stale routines.

Kelley Beaucar Vlahos is e xecutive editor at . Follow her on Twitter @Vlahos_at_TAC

[Jul 30, 2019] 'Never-Googlers' Take Extreme Measures To Avoid Data Tracking

Jul 30, 2019 | yro.slashdot.org

(startribune.com) 248

To buy his favorite oatmeal, Gregory Kelly drives to a city 40 miles away rather than sharing his data with an online retailer, or purchasing it from the company's web site, "which he says is riddled with tracking software from Google," according to the Washington Post:

"I'm just not sure why Google needs to know what breakfast cereal I eat," the 51-year-old said. Kelly is one of a hearty few who are taking the ultimate step to keep their files and online life safe from prying eyes : turning off Google entirely. That means eschewing some of the most popular services on the Web, including Gmail, Google search, Google Maps, the Chrome browser, Android mobile operating software and even YouTube. Such never-Googlers are pushing friends and family to give up the search and advertising titan, while others are taking to social media to get the word out. Online guides have sprouted up to help consumers untangle themselves from Google.

These intrepid Web users say they'd rather deal with daily inconveniences than give up more of their data. That means setting up permanent vacation responders on Gmail and telling friends to resend files or video links that don't require Google software. More than that, it takes a lot of discipline.

While there's no data on how many people are avoiding Google, the article points out that DuckDuckGo is now averaging 42.4 million searches every day -- up from 23.5 million a year ago.

But at least one Berkeley tech consultant acknowledged that "the improvement is mostly in the category of self-righteousness." Seeking an office software with better privacy protections, he's now paying $100 a year for a subscription to Microsoft Office 365.

[Jul 28, 2019] The CIA Wants To Hide All Its 'Assets'

Jul 28, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Generation O , 16 minutes ago link

I've communicated in the past with former U.S. Army unit leaders whose occasional mission was to escort CIA teams into Laos during the Vietnam war, who were to bring back significant amounts of heroin for placement in the body bags of killed U.S. soldiers for shipment back to the States for distribution. I was told that in some cases, the CIA team did not make it back with the heroin, courtesy of the accompanying U.S. military unit. I guess that saves the trouble of making such activities public.

Promethus , 27 minutes ago link

The CIA / FBI are the deep state's thugs.

Element , 5 minutes ago link

um, they are both state security agencies, those tend to not **** around.

LetThemEatRand , 34 minutes ago link

The point is to criminalize things like the Pentagon Papers (and of course, Wikileaks).

[Jul 28, 2019] Antisemitism prejudices projection on Russians

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... "You have no evidence for the so-called Russian IO. It is a fabrication." In fact, Putin rejects the claim many times publicly saying that Russia does not meddle in foreign elections as a matter of policy. Maybe I'm gullible, but I find his disclaimer pretty convincing.... ..."
"... Is there an unseen connection between the Democrat leadership and the Intel agencies??? And --if there is-- does that mean we are headed for a one-party system??? ..."
"... The Russians trying to rig the elections meme was a fallback for the failure of the “trump is a russianstooge" meme. ..."
Jul 28, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Andrei Martyanov (aka SmoothieX12) -> catherine... , 27 July 2019 at 11:30 PM
Here are some insights into the minds of many movers and shakers in Russiagate:

Key US officials behind the Russia investigation have made no secret of their animus towards Russia.

"I do always hate the Russians," Lisa Page, a senior FBI lawyer on the Russia probe, testified to Congress in July 2018. "It is my opinion that with respect to Western ideals and who it is and what it is we stand for as Americans, Russia poses the most dangerous threat to that way of life."

As he opened the FBI's probe of the Trump campaign's ties to Russians in July 2016, FBI agent Peter Strzok texted Page: "fuck the cheating motherfucking Russians Bastards. I hate them I think they're probably the worst. Fucking conniving cheating savages."

Speaking to NBC News in May 2017, former director of national intelligence James Clapper explained why US officials saw interactions between the Trump camp and Russian nationals as a cause for alarm: "The Russians," Clapper said, "almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever, which is a typical Russian technique. So we were concerned."

In a May interview with Lawfare, former FBI general counsel Jim Baker, who helped oversee the Russia probe, explained the origins of the investigation as follows: "It was about Russia, period, full stop. When the [George] Papadopoulos information comes across our radar screen, it's coming across in the sense that we were always looking at Russia. we've been thinking about Russia as a threat actor for decades and decades."

https://www.thenation.com/article/questions-mueller-russiagate/

It was always about Russians no matter what they do or don't do. Large strata of US so called "elite" is obsessed with Russia. Not even China.

plantman , 27 July 2019 at 12:55 PM

I believe Larry Johnson is right when he says:

"You have no evidence for the so-called Russian IO. It is a fabrication." In fact, Putin rejects the claim many times publicly saying that Russia does not meddle in foreign elections as a matter of policy. Maybe I'm gullible, but I find his disclaimer pretty convincing....

My question for Larry Johnson requires some speculation on his part: How did the claims of "Russia meddling" which began with the DNC and Hillary campaign, take root at the FBI, CIA and NSA???

Is there an unseen connection between the Democrat leadership and the Intel agencies??? And --if there is-- does that mean we are headed for a one-party system???

Walrus , 27 July 2019 at 12:55 PM
The Russians trying to rig the elections meme was a fallback for the failure of the “trump is a russianstooge" meme.

[Jul 28, 2019] I hate to say it, but corporate Democrats along with those who Maddow has totally brainwashed are still true believers in the entire lie.

Jul 27, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Drew Hunkins , July 25, 2019 at 15:01

PCR just posted a piece over at his site in which he declares that Russiagate is now over. https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2019/07/25/repub

I hate to say it, but corporate Democrats along with those who Maddow has totally brainwashed are still true believers in the entire lie. You cannot get through to these people, they will not come to terms with the fact that they've been hoodwinked and bamboozled for the last three years. They read it in WaPo and the NYTimes and heard it on NPR so it's gospel.

For the next 40 years these people will be writing essays, books and giving talks about how the evil Russians interfered in our democracy [sic] to elect their preferred president. It's maddening and perhaps beyond hope.

Rob , July 25, 2019 at 17:18

To your point, the NYT is warning that Russia will interfere AGAIN in the next election. They take it as a given that they interfered in the last one, and so do many, if not most, of their readers, notwithstanding the absence of evidence. This is a full-on, non-stop propaganda effort. Facts will not get in the way.

anon4d2 , July 25, 2019 at 20:37

So we need evidence that Russia
1. Is interfering on both sides of every controversy;
2. Is representing the majority of the US better than the incumbents; or
3. Is plotting with Holland to take over the universe with UFOs and occult powers;
But perhaps it is better to concentrate on the influence of Israel, which is fact.

Drew Hunkins , July 26, 2019 at 10:24

“This is a full-on, non-stop propaganda effort. Facts will not get in the way.”

Exactly!

[Jul 27, 2019] Luongo Gabbard Going After Google Is Double Plus Good

Notable quotes:
"... Any candidate that is publicly against the empire is the enemy of not only the state, it's quislings in the media, the corporations who profit from it and the party machines of both the GOP and the DNC. That is Gabbard's crime. And it's the only crime that matters. ..."
"... This represents an intervention into her ability to speak to voters and, as such, is a violation of not only her First Amendment rights but also, more critically, campaign finance law. ..."
"... On a day when it became clear to the world that Robert Mueller led an investigation to affect the outcome of the 2018 mid-term elections (and beyond) while attempting to overthrow an elected President, Gabbard attacking the one of the main pillars of the information control system is both welcome and needed. ..."
"... Her filing this lawsuit is making it clear that even a fairly conventional Democrat on most all other issues is to be marginalized if she criticizes the empire. ..."
"... You can disagree with Tulsi on many things but she is absolutely right and the only one who gets the real problem.Military Industrial Complex & The Empire. ..."
Jul 27, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Tom Luongo,

Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) is suing Google . It's about time someone did. It's one thing to for conservatives and libertarians to be outraged by their treatment by the tech giant, it's another for them to go after a female Democrat.

Since Trump's election the campaign to curtail free speech has went into overdrive and we are now far beyond Orwell's dystopian vision in 1984 in terms of technological infrastructure.

Google makes Big Brother look like George Carlin's the Hippy Dippy Weather Man with the "hippy dippy weather, man." The drive to stamp out all forms of political division has only one thing animating it, protecting the drive of the elites I call The Davos Crowd to erect a transnational superstate to herd humanity to their vision of sustainability.

Gabbard is the only person running for the Democratic nomination worth any amount of my time. Her fundamental criticisms of the U.S. warfare state are spot on. She's sincere about this. It's costing her stature within her own party.

She's a committed anti-imperialist. She's also young, inexperienced and a little bit naive. But that, to me, is part of her charm. It means she is still malleable. She's smart enough to be outraged about where we are headed and young enough to be flexible about what the solutions are to stop it from happening.

So, as such, she's the perfect champion for the defenders of free speech and critics of the U.S. empire. A young, attractive, intelligent woman of mixed-race heritage with a service record who stands athwart the mainstream on the most important issue in politics today: the U.S. empire.

The entire time I was growing up the prevailing wisdom was Social Security was the third rail of U.S. politics. That, like so many other pearls of wisdom, was nonsense.

The true third rail of U.S. politics is empire.

Any candidate that is publicly against the empire is the enemy of not only the state, it's quislings in the media, the corporations who profit from it and the party machines of both the GOP and the DNC. That is Gabbard's crime. And it's the only crime that matters.

For that crime Google acted to blunt interest in her campaign in the critical hours after the first democratic debate. So, Gabbard, rightly, sued them.

The two main points of her lawsuit are:

1) suspending her Google Ad account for six hours while search traffic for her was spiking and

2) Gmail disproportionately junked her campaign emails.

This represents an intervention into her ability to speak to voters and, as such, is a violation of not only her First Amendment rights but also, more critically, campaign finance law.

Whether this lawsuit goes anywhere or not is beside the point. Google will ignore it until they can't and then settle with her before discovery. Gabbard doing this is good PR for her as it sets her on the right side of an incredibly important issue, censorship and technological bias/de-platforming of political outsiders.

It's also good because if she does pursue this principally, it will lead to potential discovery of Google's internal practices, lending the DoJ a hand in pursuing all the big tech firms for electioneering.

On a day when it became clear to the world that Robert Mueller led an investigation to affect the outcome of the 2018 mid-term elections (and beyond) while attempting to overthrow an elected President, Gabbard attacking the one of the main pillars of the information control system is both welcome and needed.

Her filing this lawsuit is making it clear that even a fairly conventional Democrat on most all other issues is to be marginalized if she criticizes the empire.

As libertarians and conservatives it is irrelevant if she is conventional in other areas. It doesn't matter that she's been to a CFR meeting or two or that she's anti-gun. She's not going to be president.

This is not about our virtue-signaling about the purity of essence of our political figures. They are tools to our ends. And on now two incredibly important issues leading up to the 2020 election Tulsi Gabbard is on the right side of them.

She is someone we can and should reach out to and support while she makes these issues the centerpiece of her campaign. Her timing is even more excellent than what I've already stated.

Filing this lawsuit is a pre-emptive strike at Google now that she's qualified for the next two Democratic debates. And it may assist her in breaking out of the bottom tier of the Democratic field, Ron Paul style if she gets her opportunity.

Shedding light on Google's anti-free speech practices is a fundamental good, one we should celebrate. Dare I say, it's double plus good.

* * *

Join my Patreon and install Brave if you both hate big tech censorship and the empire in equal measure.


Thordoom , 8 minutes ago link

You can disagree with Tulsi on many things but she is absolutely right and the only one who gets the real problem.Military Industrial Complex & The Empire.

If you won't kill this problem you can virtue signal about your left and right opinions about your perfect candidate as much as you want without getting anything done ( Trump). Purism won't help you. It only gets you distracted and controlled by the elites.

otschelnik , 11 minutes ago link

The point of this article is that Gabbard is taking on GOOGLE, for screwing with her account. See Google demonitizes, deboosts, deplatforms people without them even knowing it, and diddles their search algorythms NOT ONLY against conservatives, but for independent democrats like Gabbard. THAT'S THE POINT, not who or what Gabbard stands for. The dem party did the same to Gabbard during the 2016 election, cut her off from financing, because she supported Bernie Sanders.

https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/3609

This is the sort of **** things dim's do, and progressive companies like Fakebook, Twatter and Goolag. Now Gabbard may not have views that we can support, but if she is taking on GOOLAG, than we should stand like a wall behind her. This is a big threat to 1st amendment rights.

chunga , 1 hour ago link

I hope this girl switches to an Independant. A lot of people are sick to death of the blues and the reds.

GoldHermit , 52 minutes ago link

Blues and reds is a sham used by the poliicians to divide the populace.

espirit , 48 minutes ago link

Throw in some greens and purples...

LetThemEatRand , 1 hour ago link

Good point, chunga. She is already being given the Ron Paul treatment by MSM (they either slam her as basically a naive fool, or just ignore her), so no way does she rise to the top of the **** pile of Blue Team candidates. Would make a good run as an independent, and maybe wake some people up.

[Jul 27, 2019] Huxley's Brave New World was published in 1931, Orwell's 1984 in 1949. Both came true ion 2019

Notable quotes:
"... I favor the notion that the Internet's gift of vastly more accessible information and greater and less expensive communication is exposing more of corruption in government that continues an ancient trend, this web site being a sterling example. ..."
Jul 27, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

LJ , July 25, 2019 at 10:38

Quite a few people couldn't help but notice that the country was shifting into a dis-informational mode several years ago. So much for the Information Age, the Internet and hand held ( communication ) devices to increase awareness. It was noticed by some folks even here at CN that tendencies had come ito play that were reminiscent of Orwell's dystopian yet fictional accounts in the novel 1984. This entire Russiagate episode could just as easily have come from 1984's Ministry of Information as our own Intelligence Services and might have been just as boring if it had . Meanwhile us , prols, just go with the flow and don't really care. Are things that much different than they have ever been? I rem,ember the Waterdate hearings and the Iran-Contra Hearings, Ken Starr's Investigation. I'm a little to young to remember the Warren Commission or Senator Joe McCarthy and the Red Scare but I do remember the 9/11 Commission and WMGs in Iraq.. I remember wrote a paper on Propaganda films in WW II. Is this episode really all that different?

Paul Merrell , July 26, 2019 at 19:11

@ "Quite a few people couldn't help but notice that the country was shifting into a dis-informational mode several years ago. So much for the Information Age, the Internet and hand held ( communication ) devices to increase awareness. "

You address a topic I've pondered long and hard. Although I can cite scant evidence, I can't help but wonder: Are we instead only noticing -- because of the far wider availability of information via the Internet -- a disinformation phenomenon that is perhaps centuries old if not still older?

Huxley's Brave New World was published in 1931, Orwell's 1984 in 1949. Dickens' Bleakhouse was serialized in 1852-53. All can be fairly said to deal with a perception that those who control government are dishonest and corrupt, based on then-current norms. E.g., Dickens noted in the preface of his first edition that his fictional Jarndyce and Jarndyce largely paralleled the sadly real Thellusson v Woodford. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thellusson_v_Woodford

Such precedents argue against the "disinformational mode" being of recent origin.

I favor the notion that the Internet's gift of vastly more accessible information and greater and less expensive communication is exposing more of corruption in government that continues an ancient trend, this web site being a sterling example.

[Jul 27, 2019] The Tyranny Of The Police-State Disguised As Law-And-Order

Jul 27, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Having been co-opted by greedy defense contractors, corrupt politicians and incompetent government officials, America's expanding military empire is bleeding the country dry at a rate of more than $15 billion a month (or $20 million an hour) -- and that's just what the government spends on foreign wars. The U.S. military empire's determination to police the rest of the world has resulted in more than 1.3 million U.S. troops being stationed at roughly 1000 military bases in over 150 countries around the world. That doesn't include the number of private contractors pulling in hefty salaries at taxpayer expense. In Afghanistan, for example, private contractors outnumber U.S. troops three to one .

No matter how we might differ about the role of the U.S. military in foreign affairs, surely we can agree that America's war spending and commitment to policing the rest of the world are bankrupting the nation and spreading our troops dangerously thin.

All of the imperial powers amassed by Barack Obama and George W. Bush -- to kill American citizens without due process, to detain suspects indefinitely, to strip Americans of their citizenship rights, to carry out mass surveillance on Americans without probable cause, to suspend laws during wartime, to disregard laws with which they might disagree, to conduct secret wars and convene secret courts, to sanction torture, to sidestep the legislatures and courts with executive orders and signing statements, to direct the military to operate beyond the reach of the law, to operate a shadow government, and to act as a dictator and a tyrant, above the law and beyond any real accountability -- were inherited by Donald Trump. These presidential powers -- acquired through the use of executive orders, decrees, memorandums, proclamations, national security directives and legislative signing statements and which can be activated by any sitting president -- enable past, president and future presidents to operate above the law and beyond the reach of the Constitution.

Yet no matter how we might differ about how success or failure of past or present presidential administrations, surely we can agree that the president should not be empowered to act as an imperial dictator with permanent powers.

Increasingly, at home, we're facing an unbelievable show of force by government agents. For example, with alarming regularity , unarmed men, women, children and even pets are being gunned down by twitchy, hyper-sensitive, easily-spooked police officers who shoot first and ask questions later, and all the government does is shrug and promise to do better. Just recently, in fact, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals cleared a cop who aimed for a family's dog (who showed no signs of aggression), missed, and instead shot a 10-year-old lying on the ground . Indeed, there are countless incidents that happen every day in which Americans are shot, stripped, searched, choked, beaten and tasered by police for little more than daring to frown, smile, question, or challenge an order. Growing numbers of unarmed people are being shot and killed for just standing a certain way, or moving a certain way, or holding something -- anything -- that police could misinterpret to be a gun, or igniting some trigger-centric fear in a police officer's mind that has nothing to do with an actual threat to their safety.

No matter how we might differ about where to draw that blue line of allegiance to the police state, surely we can agree that police shouldn't go around terrorizing and shooting innocent, unarmed children and adults or be absolved of wrongdoing for doing so .

Nor can we turn a blind eye to the transformation of America's penal system from one aimed at protecting society from dangerous criminals to a profit-driven system that dehumanizes and strips prisoners of every vestige of their humanity. For example, in Illinois, as part of a "training exercise" for incoming cadets, prison guards armed with batons and shields rounded up 200 handcuffed female inmates, marched them to the gymnasium, then forced them to strip naked (including removing their tampons and pads), " bend over and spread open their vaginal and anal cavities ," while male prison guards promenaded past or stood staring. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the entire dehumanizing, demoralizing mass body cavity strip search -- orchestrated not for security purposes but as an exercise in humiliation -- was legal. Be warned, however: this treatment will not be limited to those behind bars. In our present carceral state, there is no difference between the treatment meted out to a law-abiding citizen and a convicted felon: both are equally suspect and treated as criminals, without any of the special rights and privileges reserved for the governing elite. In a carceral state, there are only two kinds of people: the prisoners and the prison guards.

No matter how we might differ about where to draw the line when it comes to prisoners' rights, surely we can agree that no one -- woman, man or child -- should be subjected to such degrading treatment in the name of law and order .

In Washington, DC, in contravention of longstanding laws that restrict the government's ability to deploy the military on American soil, the Pentagon has embarked on a secret mission of "undetermined duration" that involves flying Black Hawk helicopters over the nation's capital , backed by active-duty and reserve soldiers. In addition to the increasing militarization of the police -- a de facto standing army -- this military exercise further acclimates the nation to the sight and sounds of military personnel on American soil and the imposition of martial law.

No matter how we might differ about the deference due to those in uniform, whether military or law enforcement, surely we can agree that America's Founders had good reason to warn against the menace of a national police force -- a.k.a. a standing army -- vested with the power to completely disregard the Constitution.

We labor today under the weight of countless tyrannies, large and small, disguised as "the better good," marketed as benevolence, enforced with armed police, and carried out by an elite class of government officials who are largely insulated from the ill effects of their actions. For example, in Pennsylvania, a school district is threatening to place children in foster care if parents don't pay their overdue school lunch bills . In Florida, a resident was fined $100,000 for a dirty swimming pool and overgrown grass at a house she no longer owned. In Kentucky, government bureaucrats sent a cease-and-desist letter to a church ministry, warning that the group is breaking the law by handing out free used eyeglasses to the homeless . These petty tyrannies inflicted on an overtaxed, overregulated, and underrepresented populace are what happens when bureaucrats run the show, and the rule of law becomes little more than a cattle prod for forcing the citizenry to march in lockstep with the government.

No matter how we might differ about the extent to which the government has the final say in how it flexes it power and exerts its authority, surely we can agree that the tyranny of the Nanny State -- disguised as "the better good," marketed as benevolence, enforced with armed police, and inflicted on all those who do not belong to the elite ruling class that gets to call the shots -- should not be allowed to pave over the Constitution.

At its core, this is not a debate about politics, or constitutionalism, or even tyranny disguised as law-and-order. This is a condemnation of the monsters with human faces that have infiltrated our government.

For too long now, the American people have rationalized turning a blind eye to all manner of government wrongdoing -- asset forfeiture schemes, corruption, surveillance, endless wars, SWAT team raids, militarized police, profit-driven private prisons, and so on -- because they were the so-called lesser of two evils.

Yet the unavoidable truth is that the government has become almost indistinguishable from the evil it claims to be fighting, whether that evil takes the form of terrorism , torture, drug trafficking , sex trafficking , murder, violence, theft, pornography, scientific experimentations or some other diabolical means of inflicting pain, suffering and servitude on humanity.

No matter how you rationalize it, the lesser of two evils is still evil.

So how do you fight back?

How do you fight injustice? How do you push back against tyranny? How do you vanquish evil?

You don't fight it by hiding your head in the sand.

We have ignored the warning signs all around us for too long.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People , the government has ripped the Constitution to shreds and left us powerless in the face of its power grabs, greed and brutality.

What we are grappling with today is a government that is cutting great roads through the very foundations of freedom in order to get after its modern devils. Yet the government can only go as far as "we the people" allow.

Therein lies the problem.

The consequences of this failure to do our due diligence in asking the right questions, demanding satisfactory answers, and holding our government officials accountable to respecting our rights and abiding by the rule of law has pushed us to the brink of a nearly intolerable state of affairs.

Intolerable, at least, to those who remember what it was like to live in a place where freedom, due process and representative government actually meant something. Having allowed the government to expand and exceed our reach, we now find ourselves on the losing end of a tug-of-war over control of our country and our lives.

The hour grows late in terms of restoring the balance of power and reclaiming our freedoms, but it may not be too late. The time to act is now, using all methods of nonviolent resistance available to us.

"Don't sit around waiting for the two corrupted established parties to restore the Constitution or the Republic," Naomi Wolf once warned. Waiting and watching will get us nowhere fast.

If you're watching, you're not doing.

Easily mesmerized by the government's political theater -- the endless congressional hearings and investigations that go nowhere, the president's reality show antics, the warring factions, the electoral drama -- we have become a society of watchers rather than activists who are distracted by even the clumsiest government attempts at sleight-of-hand.

It's time for good men and women to do something. And soon.

Wake up and take a good, hard look around you. Start by recognizing evil and injustice and tyranny for what they are. Stop being apathetic. Stop being neutral. Stop being accomplices. Stop being distracted by the political theater staged by the Deep State: they want you watching the show while they manipulate things behind the scenes. Refuse to play politics with your principles. Don't settle for the lesser of two evils.

As British statesman Edmund Burke warned, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men [and women] to do nothing."


SgtShaftoe , 13 hours ago link

With all respect John, The constitution allows the president to deploy soldiers on US soil (bypassing Posse Comitatus) during limited times of insurgency, foreign invasion, war. Everything is in order at the moment. The treasonous companies and actors will be brought to justice. The pedos, and the corrupt Intelligence apparatus is the target.

-- ALIEN -- , 14 hours ago link

The Energy Return on Energy Invested of OIL is falling, hence the debt to pretend everything is still normal.

The rising police state is to control the Sheeple as we become much poorer.

Schooey , 14 hours ago link

Sadly, this (the police state) is one issue that I think Trump has no clue about. Why would he? Somebody needs to get in his ear on this issue.

At the same time lawlessness, driven by the media (purposefully), increases. And increases the need for policing. The game is so ******* obvious. Stop the (((media))) and half the problem is solved.

hoytmonger , 13 hours ago link

Trump is an authoritarian, he prefers the police state and would rather it be more like Israel.

"Take the firearms first, and then go to court... I like taking the guns early."

Schooey , 14 hours ago link

"The national debt is the result of the federal government borrowing money to cover years and years of budget deficits." Right now, the U.S. government is operating in the negative on every front: it's spending far more than what it makes (and takes from the American taxpayers) and it is borrowing heavily ( from foreign governments and Social Security ) to keep the government operating and keep funding its endless wars abroad ." Trillions.

jutah , 14 hours ago link

Since religious zealots are the root cause for the rise of fascism and totalitarian communism- which are reactions from the oppressions of religious authorities supported by secret societies, it is necessary that they must fall and be broken before any real meaningful change can take place. I will defend the right to free speech and the 2nd to my last breath, but when they come to burn down your houses of worship and throw you in the ovens again, we will continue to do nothing. Just as good people did before. We will be your pawns no longer, we're not doing your dirty work anymore. We will not continue to be your slaves that you exploit for your twisted beliefs. History will repeat itself and you will burn and we will watch. This needs to happen before the world has a chance to try again. But the real damage to you zionists will be the spreading of the truth. As enough people finally understand that you offer nothing but the dark con of man and reject your lies and oppression whole heartedly

Commodore 1488 , 14 hours ago link

Our leaders are in Israel, and they don't care how bad it collapses here. They will have us worse than Detroit and laugh.

HyperboreanWind , 14 hours ago link

The Promised Land For Organized Crime

https://archive.org/details/youtube-TB2nM9SI7EU

https://archive.org/details/youtube-tZOfDE2Y4lE

[Jul 27, 2019] Pornographic Democracy by Linh Dinh

Jul 27, 2019 | www.unz.com

Pornography multiplies frequency, duration, angles, positions and sexual partners, an endless and eternal sexual buffet, except that none of it is really happening. Similarly, American democracy gives the appearance of boundless participation by all citizens, for they can't just vote in caucuses and elections, but cheer at conventions, march in protest, write letters to newspapers, comment on the internet and follow, blow by blow, the serial mud wrestling between opposing politicians. Pissed, they can freely curse Bush, Obama or Trump without fearing a midnight knock on the door. Alas, none of their "political activities" actually matters, for Americans don't influence their government's policies, much less decide them. It's all an elaborate spectacle to make each chump think he's somehow a player, in on the action, when he's actually all alone, in the dark, to beat his own meat, yet again.

He has railroaded, premasticated opinions on everything, but without the means to act on any of it. Only his impotence is real.

[Jul 25, 2019] Everybody complains about politicians.

Jul 25, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Monty , July 23, 2019 at 12:55 pm

"Now, there's one thing you might have noticed I don't complain about: politicians. Everybody complains about politicians. Everybody says they suck. Well, where do people think these politicians come from? They don't fall out of the sky. They don't pass through a membrane from another reality. They come from American parents and American families, American homes, American schools, American churches, American businesses and American universities, and they are elected by American citizens. This is the best we can do folks. This is what we have to offer. It's what our system produces: Garbage in, garbage out. If you have selfish, ignorant citizens, you're going to get selfish, ignorant leaders. Term limits ain't going to do any good; you're just going to end up with a brand new bunch of selfish, ignorant Americans. So, maybe, maybe, maybe, it's not the politicians who suck. Maybe something else sucks around here like, the public. Yeah, the public sucks. There's a nice campaign slogan for somebody: 'The Public Sucks. F*ck Hope."

Never gets old.

Arizona Slim , July 23, 2019 at 7:07 pm

Source of this delicious quote, please.

WheresOurTeddy , July 23, 2019 at 10:51 pm

George Carlin, or as I think of him, 21st century Mark Twain

[Jul 25, 2019] When Alex Stamos announced that the Internet Research Agency's ad buys were a drop in the ocean, Zuckerberg was promptly taken to the Congressional Woodshed and told to report to the Atlantic Council.

Notable quotes:
"... I think he fails to understand that Facebook is now an NSA asset. ..."
Jul 24, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

GramSci , , , July 23, 2019 at 8:04 am

When Alex Stamos announced that the Internet Research Agency's ad buys were a drop in the ocean, Zuckerberg was promptly taken to the Congressional Woodshed and told to report to the Atlantic Council. Those two billion-odd fake accounts may be a fraud perpetrated on the advertisers, but they are invaluable to US "law" enforcement and to US propaganda, where the ability to open a fake account on Facebook gives the illusion of privacy.

With all due respect to Mr. Greenspan and his Lowell House creds, I think he fails to understand that Facebook is now an NSA asset.

Summer , , July 23, 2019 at 11:55 am

+1
NSA and other law enforcement asset.
Remember stories about stupid criminals on the run who took the time to update their Facebook page?

The Rev Kev , July 23, 2019 at 10:38 am

This is a fascinating article and it certainly put a smile on my dial. As an asset for use by governments around the world, Facebook may be too invaluable to just let sink. One guy reported that he was in a meeting with Facebook’s top brass including the Zuck when a head honcho of the FBI came into the meeting and sang Zuck’s praises for all the help that Facebook gave the FBI. So the question remains. Just how many “real” Facebook accounts does Facebook have? Ones that people check on daily. Now that is the killer question.

[Jul 24, 2019] Fraud of Facebook user numbers

Jul 24, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

bruce , July 23, 2019 at 4:14 pm

I have three Facebook accounts. The two I never ever look at are the one for my cat and the one for my feminine alter ego. My own account is used for only one thing, watching "People You May Know" to see how far they've penetrated my graph; occasionally disturbing, occasionally hilarious. I've never looked at my "wall", issued or accepted a friend request, posted anything, messaged anyone but they have my email, and wow do I hate this company!

May 2018, a woman I loved and was ultimately going to get to move in died (age 70, natural causes). Twice a week on average I get emails from Facebook inviting me to read her most recent messages. You can imagine how I feel about that. SHE DED!

Facebook has boasted on the order of 2-3 billion users, a significant percentage of the world's population, and I don't believe a word of it. One may assume that the early adopters were people with more tech savvy, affluence and most important, leisure time to screw around on the internet, and the proles don't have a lot of leisure time. Moreover, the value to the advertiser of a set of eyeball impressions is directly related to the amount of disposable income those eyeballs have, and sure, India has about one and a half billion people, but a lot of them have zero disposable income and zero leisure time.

Die Facebook die!

otishertz , July 23, 2019 at 5:37 pm

From the cited lawsuit:

"Based on a combination of publicly available research and Plaintiffs' own analysis, among 18-34 years-olds in Chicago, for example, Facebook asserted its Potential Reach was approximately 4 times (400%) higher than the number of real 18-34 year-olds with Facebook accounts in Chicago. Based on a combination of publicly available research and Plaintiffs' own analysis, Facebook's asserted Potential Reach in Kansas City was approximately 200% higher than the number of actual 18-54 year-olds with Facebook accounts in Kansas City. This inflation is apparent in other age categories as well."

otishertz , July 23, 2019 at 5:40 pm

"These foundational representations are false. Based on publicly available research and Plaintiffs' own analysis, Facebook overstates the Potential Reach of its advertisements. For example, based on publicly available data, Facebook's purported Potential Reach among the key 18-34 year-
22 old demographic in every state exceeds the actual population of 18-34 year-olds ."

[Jul 24, 2019] If one accepts that FB user numbers are fraudulent, the Russiagate narrative falls apart.

Notable quotes:
"... Russiagate, the most extensive disinformation/propaganda campaign since Iraqi WMD, has fallen/is falling apart without any need to reference fake Facebook accounts. ..."
"... The Collusion narrative/conspiracy theory was preposterous from the get-go, riven with internal inconsistencies, and the recent Federal court ruling that prevents Mueller from continuing to publicly accuse Concord management of "undermining our democracy" (that's a hot one) discredits the second of the three bases of the narrative. ..."
Jul 24, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Unsympathetic , , July 23, 2019 at 8:29 am

If one accepts that FB user numbers are fraudulent, the Russiagate narrative falls apart.

What if the fake ads were only "viewed" by fake accounts?

Larry , , July 23, 2019 at 8:38 am

Bingo. But it's a great story for political elites to paper over their complete failure to maintain their control.

Michael Fiorillo , , July 23, 2019 at 9:42 am

Russiagate, the most extensive disinformation/propaganda campaign since Iraqi WMD, has fallen/is falling apart without any need to reference fake Facebook accounts.

The Collusion narrative/conspiracy theory was preposterous from the get-go, riven with internal inconsistencies, and the recent Federal court ruling that prevents Mueller from continuing to publicly accuse Concord management of "undermining our democracy" (that's a hot one) discredits the second of the three bases of the narrative.

Someday the McResistance TM and unhinged liberals possessed by magical thinking must grapple with the fact that Trump was elected in America, by Americans, and that there is no Santa Claus.

Then again, maybe not.

[Jul 24, 2019] Is Facebook a user inflation racket?

Notable quotes:
"... Facebook hasn't provided any data to clarify the matter, in fact their data further confuses it. In that respect it resembles a Madoff-style scheme. And that will become terribly relevant once revenue growth slows down. ..."
Jul 24, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

john BOUGEAREL , July 23, 2019 at 9:38 am

The world is a racket.

And Singer, poor fella, he was crying in his beer back in August because he probably lost money when the stock price went down following an announcement that rev growth rates would predictably slow. If the cry-baby didn't sell, the market has made him pretty much whole again.

If and when rev growth falls off a cliff instead of a natural rate of deceleration, then the fake accounts may become material. Even if revs fall off a cliff, there is little to no likelihood you will find a Madoff of Ponzi lurking around the corner.

Tsk, tsk.

False Solace , July 23, 2019 at 2:22 pm

It sounds like revenue is only growing because advertisers aren't aware of the fake accounts and related puffery.

That will only remain true for so long. Facebook hasn't provided any data to clarify the matter, in fact their data further confuses it. In that respect it resembles a Madoff-style scheme. And that will become terribly relevant once revenue growth slows down.

Fortunately, elites never go after each other so Z and friends will be fine. No worries there.

vlade , July 23, 2019 at 8:33 am

FB fake accounts were an issue for a very long time. It pops up now and then, and then is ignored. Unfortunately.

Google, TBH, has a not dissimilar problem, although it's more obvious to the buyers. That is, it can't tell how many clicks (don't even mention "impressions") are bots. And it has no incentive to put anything strong there, to the contrary, it has incentive to show some captures, but as few as possible.

After all, advertisers pay for clicks and impressions, and you don't want to drop those numbers that your revenue depends on, do you?

If you business model is "user is the product", then of course you have an inc