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Resurgence of neofascism as reaction on crisis of neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization

News Corporatism Recommended Links Ethno-lingustic Nationalism Media-Military-Industrial Complex Operation Gladio
Predator state National Security State Neocons as USA neofascists Inverted Totalitarism Crisis of Neoliberalism and Shift to neofascism Gangster Capitalism: The United States and the Globalization of Organized Crime
Nation under attack meme The Far Right Forces in Ukraine Big Uncle is Watching You Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime
National Socialism and Military Keysianism F-scale American Exceptionalism Neo Trotskyism aka Neoconservatism Neo-theocratic Movements Audacioues Oligarchy and Loss of Trust
Totalitarian Decisionism New American Militarism The Grand Chessboard Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ? Neoliberal Brainwashing: Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few The Guardian Slips Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment
Corruption of Regulators Double High Authoritarians The Iron Law of Oligarchy In Goldman Sachs we trust: classic example of regulatory capture by financial system hackers Reconciling Human Rights IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement
The Tea Party Mayberry Machiavellians War and Peace Quotes Henry A Wallace Quotes Snowden Quotes Etc
"Fascism: Any program for setting up a centralized autocratic national regime with severely nationalistic policies, exercising regimentation of industry, commerce, and finance, rigid censorship, and forcible suppression of opposition."

--Merriam-Webster Dictionary

"Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victim-hood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites , abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion."

- Robert Paxton


Introduction

Classic fascism can be viewed a variant of ultra-nationalism, which aspires to bring the renewal of a nation deeply in crisis and replacement of the corrupt liberal democracy with authoritarian dictatorship.  In a way, classic Fascism strongly correlates with the mental state of nation which is attacked by strong enemy, the enemy which has supporters inside the country. In addition it typically promotes militarism and territorial or economic expansion as the way to deal with internal problems.  Wikipedia defines the term in the following way:

Neo-fascism is a post–World War II ideology that includes significant elements of fascism. Neo-fascism usually includes ultranationalism, populism, anti-immigration policies or, where relevant, nativism, anti-communism, anti-socialism, anti-Marxism, anti-anarchism and opposition to the parliamentary system and liberal democracy. Allegations that a group is neo-fascist may be hotly contested, especially if the term is used as a political epithet.

In its essence fascism is an attempt to simplify control of population by the elite. It remains a viable right wing program for setting up a highly centralized regime with militaristic, nationalistic policies (especially external expansion, for example in the form of neoliberal empire expansion), merge of industrial and financial corporations with the government, total population control, rigid control of MSM, and violent suppression of opposition.

Neofascism essentially relax the same postulates. For example it does not directly oppose to parliamentary democracy and is ready to work within parliamentary system to get to power, it does not advocate violate as the primary means of suppressing the opposition, but now this is unnecessary as modern technology polished the ways of suppression any opposition by other means (see Inverted Totalitarism == Managed Democracy == Neoliberalism ). The strongest lhe link is  rampant militarism and exaggeration of external threat to the nation well-being (for example, the threat from Islamic terrorism)  which makes it surprisingly close to the ideology of National Security State  (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]

In other words while classic fascism now is almost extinct, there are multiple and more viable mutations of far right nationalism (which experience renaissance due to effects of population caused by neoliberal austerity) that are called by generic name of neofascism. And it proved to be highly adaptable ideology.

For example, some flavors of neofascism replace physical suppression of internal opposition with MSM control (which already achieved in neoliberal societies).  Opposition is simply pushed out of mainstream media into alternative media and ignored, but not physically suppressed.

Similar the idea of racial/ethnic purity can be replaced by cultural "belonging", by rejection speakers of alternative languages (and  culture) in particular country. It can be Spanish in the USA or Russian in Ukraine.  In other words neo-fascism deploys more sophisticated forms of identity politics, than classic fascism. And it less oriented on open violence. Neo-fascists often reject ethnic-based identity policies preferring "cultural nationalism" based solely on the language and culture identifies.

Similar, the idea of one party system can be replaced with two party system, producing the same effect and allowing to preserve parliamentary democracy, while achieving basically the same goals as one party system as both party candidates are selected by non elected cabal, be it  the "Deep state" or the "party elite" 

As a political behavior all flavors of fascism are distinguished by  obsessive preoccupation with militarism, community decline, humiliation, or victim-hood (Nation under attack meme) and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and the idea of national rejuvenation (as reflected in "make America great again" slogan, although it originated in Paleoconservatism movement which is not connected to fascist ideology of any kind). After all, the concept of national rejuvenation historically was one of the key reasons  classic fascist regimes of the last century came to power. First Mussolini and then Hitler espoused citizens’ duty to recover their respective nations ancient strength and glory.

The key question for particular country is:

"Do the country has an organized, committed nationalistic (please note that "exceptionalism" is a form of nationalism) militants, in alliance with traditional elites, who are ready to use violence without ethical or legal restraints for internal cleansing of the society and external expansion?".  

So all those signs of neo-fascism but without militants organized in military fashion as was the case in Ukraine are not enough to classify a movement which adheres to those ideas and is ready to use extralegal means including violence as a fascist movement.

But it can well be neofascist. It is the readiness to go to extra-legal means the is the key distinction between neofascism (and any far right nationalism) and regular nationalism.    "Regular" nationalism and nationalists still is adhering to the existing legal framework and fights for its ideas on election booth. Neo-fascists cross this boundaly (and that's why they often are called far-right).  They despise traditional dual law  enforcement (one for elite and one for common people) and oligarchic democracy (the democracy for only top 1% or less of population).

Another important distinction is  presence of elements of social democratic requirements, requirements for social justice in their program: neofascists movements typically are more pro-middle class and, at least partially, pro working class then far right movements.  They typically despise financial oligarchy and "unearned" income. 

They are also anti-elite, anti multinational corporations and transnational organizations like NAFTA or WTO.  And especially against transnational financial oligarchy (in Nazism that degenerated into anti-Semitism, but it is is not necessary for a fascist movement to be anti-Semitic per se).

Like classic economics, a typical neofascist movement distinguished between "earned" and "unearned" income and consider the later a sign of parasitism and decadence of the society.  NSDAP program of 1920 explicitly stated "Abolition of unearned (work and labor) incomes. Breaking of debt (interest)-slavery." Without this point we can talk only about for-right nationalism or in case of Bannonism "bastard neoliberalism" (neoliberalism without globalization).

Just looks at NSDAP program of 1920 and you will clearly see the requisite elements for neo-facsism. Paradoxically those demands now position the US neofascists to the left of the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party, which is in the pocket of financial oligarchy and is ready to privatize Social Security and Medicare to please its Wall Street sponsors. to say nothing about Republican Party: 

The 25-point Program of the NSDAP
… … …
7. We demand that the state be charged first with providing the opportunity for a livelihood and way of life for the citizens. If it is impossible to sustain the total population of the State, then the members of foreign nations (non-citizens) are to be expelled from the Reich.
8. Any further immigration of non-citizens is to be prevented. We demand that all non-Germans, who have immigrated to Germany since 2 August 1914, be forced immediately to leave the Reich.
9.All citizens must have equal rights and obligations.
10.The first obligation of every citizen must be to work both spiritually and physically. The activity of individuals is not to counteract the interests of the universality, but must have its result within the framework of the whole for the benefit of all. Consequently, we demand:
11.Abolition of unearned (work and labour) incomes. Breaking of debt (interest)-slavery.
12.In consideration of the monstrous sacrifice in property and blood that each war demands of the people, personal enrichment through a war must be designated as a crime against the people. Therefore, we demand the total confiscation of all war profits.
13.We demand the nationalisation of all (previous) associated industries (trusts).
14.We demand a division of profits of all heavy industries.
15.We demand an expansion on a large scale of old age welfare.
16.We demand the creation of a healthy middle class and its conservation, immediate communalization of the great warehouses and their being leased at low cost to small firms, the utmost consideration of all small firms in contracts with the State, county or municipality.
17.We demand a land reform suitable to our needs, provision of a law for the free expropriation of land for the purposes of public utility, abolition of taxes on land and prevention of all speculation in land.
18.We demand struggle without consideration against those whose activity is injurious to the general interest. Common national criminals, usurers, profiteers and so forth are to be punished with death, without consideration of confession or race.
… … …
21.The State is to care for the elevating national health by protecting the mother and child, by outlawing child-labor, by the encouragement of physical fitness, by means of the legal establishment of a gymnastic and sport obligation, by the utmost support of all organizations concerned with the physical instruction of the young.
22. We demand abolition of the mercenary troops and formation of a national army.

And as far as external expansion goes, neoliberalism can definitely viewed as a form of neofascism ("Permanent War for Permanent Peace"), so there is a strong connection between neoliberalism and neofascism in foreign policy area and for this reason neoconservatism should probably be viewed as a modern flavor of neofascism.  See Professor Andrew Bacevich excellent book Washington Rules: America's Path to Permanent War

There are strong objections of using this word due to its historical baggage (and first of all the crimes committed by Nazi Germany in WWII), but the ideology of neofascism now experience strong Renaissance in most European countries. Critics claim that the term lost any precision and in many respects become a catchall for any kind of totalitarianism. In other words the term became useless.

But, in reality it is not, even if it is used as a synonym of "far right nationalism", because most modern far right nationalism movement borrow key ideas of the three classic fascist regimes -- Mussolini in Italy, Nazism in Germany and Fracoism (falagism) in Spain.  New is often well forgotten old.   As Robert O. Paxton noted in his essay "The Five Stages of Fascism":

We cannot give up in the face of these difficulties. A real phenomenon exists. Indeed, fascism is the most original political novelty of the twentieth century, no less. ... If we cannot examine fascism synthetically, we risk being unable to understand this century, or the next.

We must have a word, and for lack of a better one, we must employ the word that Mussolini borrowed from the vocabulary of the Italian Left in 1919, before his movement had assumed its mature form. Obliged to use the term fascism, we ought to use it well.

Similarly there is a right for existence of the term neofascism, which is general denotes more aggressive and violent forms of far right nationalism, but at the  same time expelssing interests of lower middle and working class and having strong anti financial oligarchy centiments (for example, distiguishing between earned and unearned income (rent)).  This is a set of trends and far right political movements  now observable in many countries which experienced neoliberal austerity, especially in Europe.

Like fascism and neoliberalism, in no way neofascism is a coherent ideology. It is often self-contradicting and contains mutually exclusive elements. That are several sometimes conflicting types of neofascism in modern societies:

Neofascism ideology is pretty fuzzy and flexible (remember that allies of Nazi Germany in WWII were Japanese, which were as far from Arian ethno type as we can get; while  Nazy were adamantly anti-Slav, which represents very similar to Arian ethnic type).

All-in-all it represents a popular and rising in importance on the political scene post–World War II ideology, which proved to be more enduring and popular then the communist ideology. It well coexists with neoliberalism (and can be completely merged with it as in Chile under Pinochet). While "excesses" of classical fascism are rejected it still has the key elements of "national socialism" in the form of  "socialism for 1%", if you wish.

There are multiple similar terms, such as military-industrial complex (neoconservatives can be viewed as lobbyists of military industrial complex, and as such neofacistat least in foreign policy strategy and goals),  predator state, national security state, etc which essentially describe the same phenomenon, stressing different aspects of it. 

For example, look how close to basic tenets of neofascism (if we assume that Arian nation is limited to financial, government and corporate oligarchy) is what James K Galbraith called the predator state (from the review by Thomas I Palley of the book in Asia Times Online,  Aug 22, 2008):

Economist Jamie K Galbraith's recent book [1] describes modern (Bush-Cheney) Republicanism as creating a "predator state". Its predatory aspects are starkly visible in the gangs of corporate lobbyists who roam Washington DC, the Halliburton Iraq war procurement scandal and the corruption and incompetence that surrounded the Hurricane Katrina relief effort.

However, the broad concept of a predator state needs qualification as we are really talking of an "American corporate" predator state. Thus, the predatory nature of contemporary US governance is quintessentially linked to corporations, and it is also a uniquely American phenomenon.

Kleptocratic predator states, such as Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe or Sese Seko Mobutu's Zaire in Africa, are fundamentally different. There is no equivalent in Europe, and none in East Asia where ruling elites have a sense of obligation to the nation even as they often enrich themselves illicitly. Nor is there an equivalent in Latin America because government there never reached an economic size proportional to that of government in the US.

It is important to understand the social origins of the American corporate predator state because understanding is a necessary part of developing responses for caging the predators and replacing them with another, better, order. Those origins clearly trace back to the military-industrial complex that president Dwight Eisenhower warned about in his final televised address to the nation on January 17, 1961.

That complex has captured politics and corrupted the business of government, including of course the conduct of national security policy. The fact that it has wrapped itself with the flag makes it impossible to confront without being charged as unpatriotic. Worst yet, its enormous enduring profitability has provided a model for imitation by other industrial complexes like Big Pharma and Big Oil.

The political success of these predators is clearly linked to money's role in politics. Money gives the power to buy the political process, and that power is defended by a gospel of free speech that takes no account of the fact that out-shouting someone is qualitatively equivalent to silencing them. Economics also comes to money's defense with its absurd myth of a market for ideas in which participants compete on a level playing field and truth is effortlessly sorted from error.

The American worship of business and businessmen, which Sinclair Lewis (Babbitt, 1922) wrote about long ago, also plays a role. This worship privileges business over thought and other activities, and is behind the dismissive sneer "if you're so smart, how come you're not rich?" As a result, Americans are all too willing to hand over their government to business predators. Today, it is in Goldman Sachs we trust.

Another feature of business worship is a tendency to conflate profit with free markets. That means the distinction between fair competition (which is good) and fat profits (which are bad) is lost, thereby providing cover for predators.

Lastly, there is the legacy of the Cold War which contributed to economic dumbing-down and suppression of awareness of class and class conflict. This suppression was seen as necessary for blunting the dangerous appeal of Soviet communism, but a consequence was to create blindness to the predators in our midst.

All of this reveals a deep deficit in America's social and economic understanding (some deficits really do matter). And as long as this deficit remains, the predators will have a starting-gate advantage in the game of political persuasion.

Yet, how to close the deficit and insert another understanding is an enormous challenge. There are deep institutional obstructions in the academy, the media, and the Democratic Party. Moreover, raising these issues may create unsettling cognitive dissonance that pushes voters into denial and a closer embrace of the predators.

In effect, there is a paradox to be solved. Lasting progressive political victory requires transforming understanding, but the immediate political incentives are aligned to discourage engagement with such a project.

Note: The Predator State: How Conservatives Abandoned the Free Market and Why Liberals Should Too, by James K Galbraith, Free Press, 2008.

Thomas I Palley is the founder of the Economics for Democratic and Open Societies Project.
 

Classic fascism

Fascism is not a uniform doctrine. From the very beginning there were different flavors of it. In this sense attempt to distill key features of such regimes are difficult and non-rewarding task beacuse facism was alway a national not universal (like Marxism) phenomenon.  Such attempts as Arendt's leave much to be desired. Even within a single country there can be several competing version of fascism. They can be even hostile to such an extent that the supporters of one of fascism movement strive to completely destroy the supporters of the other.

Since 30-ies of XX century, there were four "classic" flavours of fascism: Italian fascism, Nazism,  and Spanish Francoism(falangism) and (mostly Latin American) "induced fascism" régimes.  All "classic" versions rely on mass political movement of the "middle class" making a claim to political power -- to the detriment of the traditional elites and "working classes".  They were mildly hostile to monopolies and, sometimes, to financial oligarchy. For example, Nazi decried  "unearned income" -- rentier capitalism.  All those regimes were revolutionary in a sense that they  accepted violence as the legitimate political tool in the struggle to get to power. 

But even within them there are multiple and significant differences both in social base and proclaimed goals:

The political views of the "new right" coincided with the views of practitioners of neoliberalism in the era of Reaganomics and Thatcherism. Not by chance the Pinochet regime (a classic example of "induced, puppet fascism") is characterized as "Militant Thatcherism". Even the fundamental views publicly expressed by Thatcher and Pinochet, were often identical (e.g., he and the other refused to recognize the existence of society - which was, in fact, merely a repetition of the doctrine of Italian fascism). What parties and movements, connecting the idea of "new right"   has achieved in recent years greater success in elections in Western Europe: the national front of  Le Pen in France, the party of P. Fortuyn in the Netherlands, the freedom Party. Haider in Austria, etc. (revealing, incidentally, that the Freedom Party is included in the Liberal international!).

Other cases pre-war neofascism was monarchist far right regimes developed in countries of Eastern Europe.   Rapid inclusion of these parties and regimes in the orbit of Italian and German influences have masked their identity, on the one hand, and did not allow them to develop into independent phenomenon.

There can me multiple fascism movements in the same countri. In France before the war all three classic brand of fascism were well represented: French version of the Italian fascism ("francism", etc.), the French version of Nazism (French people's party, etc.), the French version of francoism ("capulary") and, finally, the original aristocratic elitist fascism "action française", close to the monarchist-fascism. Sometimes the supporters of the different flavors of fascism fight with each other. In Austria  supporters of Italian fascism came to power in February 1934, but in July, the Nazis organized a putsch and killed Chancellor E. Dollfuss, and ended the fight by smashing austrofascism and initiating the Anschluss. In Hungary, the supporters of Italian fascism - hungarista led by Admiral Horthy was overthrown in 1944 by the Hungarian Nazis movement  headed by Salashi. In Romania, the confrontation between supporters of Italian fascism and Nazism - "seleniumselenium", "jeleznovodask", Antonescu and Horia SIMA - has resulted in mutual mass terror .

After World war II the Western ruling elite has never repeated his pre-war mistakes and understood that fascism is a tricky bet in the fight against social revolution. So it was relegated as a tool for countries "About  which we do not care" They understood that such a movement as  "classical" fascism or other extremist movements of "middle class" easily get out of control.  All post-war fascist regimes relied on mass movements. Such movements were outlawed in most Western countries.  

Fascism vs. far right nationalism

As neofascism has a lot of common features with far right nationalism it is very difficult to say when one ends and another starts. Those terms can be used as synonyms, but I would suggest that neofascism is a specific flavor of far right nationalism that has anti-financial oligarchy bent.   It is a more "socialist" version of far right nationalism and always was.

So far right nationalism a more generic term then neofascism: all neofascists are far right nationalists, but the reverse is not true.

Neofascism is more narrow concept that emphasizes/defines more features of the movement then far right nationalism.  Typically neofascism movements are a more radical, more anti-democratic, more statist than an "average" far right nationalism movements.  And their flavor of militaristic bent includes the idea of expanding the "living space"/empire  for the particular nation (or country) by promoting rampant militarism (which also serves as a tool to "unify" the nation and suppress dissent).  Like for example neoconservatives in the USA.  Also neofascism has a certain flavor of "victimhood" which far right nationalism does not necessary possesses. 

What is clear that there is a much larger political space for far right nationalist movements then for neofascist movements in modern societies. The backlash against neoliberal globalization now mainly take the form of far right nationalism, but not necessarily neo-fascism: many such far right movement are completely devoid of the hostility to financial oligarchy and unearned income. 

So it's given that far right movements and their more specific case -- neofascism -- have many common features, many similarities:

  1. Like far right nationalism, neofascism denies equality of people. So in a way it oppose to Christian and other major religions. This is a clearly anti-elitarian ideology "at large" while it can be egalitarian "in  the small", within an  "Arian nation" whatever it means for the particular movement.  In a fundamental way internal fascist policies are just a transfer of policies and methods used Europeans in colonies to the specific ethnicities in European countries (Slavs, Jews, Gypsies).  In a way the Hitler idea of colonizing and exterminating Slavs was a plagiarism from the USA colonists treatment of Indians.
     
  2. If we abstract from external expansion, then the idea Arian ("titular") nation or social group in fascism is a variation of the theme of Apartheid and can be called internal colonialism, or internal colonization of the country.  The same is generally true about far right nationalism although the selection of Arian group is different.
     
  3. Like far right nationalism neofascism  instills hatred and direct, open discrimination of some identifiable social groups and/or nationalities (immigrants, Jews, Gipsy, Russians, Chinese, etc)  -- the key ideas fascism stems from the concept of "national socialism" or socialism for one "chosen"/Arian nationality at the expense of others (the idea very similar to American Exceptionalism, in which the USA is proclaim to be special, blessed nation, that has the right to extent its power and influence any way it likes on other states and nations). In fascist ideology one group of people is classified as Ubermensch  and everybody else as  Untermensch. This division of people into two distinct classes is a fundamental feature of both far right nationalism and neofascism. Various forms of far right nationalism and neofascism differ only in the criteria of this division. It can be separation by race, nationality, language, or even between "creative people" (capitalists) is everybody else as in Randism.
     
  4. The idea of inferiority (of other nationalities, countries, political systems, etc). Neoliberalism is classic example of this trend. It simply denies the right to exist of any other form of political rule and practice so called "export of democracy" (read export of neoliberalism, often by military means, much like fascist governments of the past.
     
  5. Nationalist hysteria with a particular scapegoat as the tool to increase unity,  for example anti-Russian hysteria which replaced anti-Jewish hysteria in the past.
     
  6. Both promote militarism and "national security state".

But there are some minor  differences.

Like communists, classic fascists  promote violence as a legitimate political tool, but this is less true about neofascist.  Classic fascism, Payne says, requires "a philosophical valuing of violence, of Sorelian violence. [Fascists believe] that violence is really good for you, that it's the sort of thing that makes you a vital, alive, dedicated person, that it creates commitment. Fascism makes violence not just a political strategy, but also a philosophical principle. For fascists "war is the health of the nation". That's mentality is unique to fascism. This feature is reduced and subdued in neofascism, but still is present.

Classic fascism also has some anti-clerical bent and typically promotes  a specific  secular, "political religion" in which the nation is considered a real, living, and yet sacred thing to be revered and protected, instead of traditional religion.  This goes well beyond typical far right nationalism views on religion. Far right nationalists more commonly promote an existing religion  (Vox). But those two trends can happily co-exists.

The idea of rejuvenation of the nation also is typical for both. But look more closely at the way Trump talks about rejuvenating America:

These statements are much closer to the "I want my soccer team to win" version of patriotism — and much more concerned with the qualities of Donald Trump as the leader, than America the nation.

Two classes of people and NSDAP Party program of 1920

Neoliberal MSM brainwash people running a campaign hypertrophied dehumanization of  Untermensch. Essentially this campaign is directed toward conditioning people to view "lower classes" as a category of cattle, much like in slavery. This tendency ot "blaming poor" is definitely a defining trend of modern day US neoliberalism.  And that's as close to fascism as one can get.

Socialism in national socialism exists only for Ubermensch. And for them (and for them only) it does contain almost all major socialist elements. This is undeniable if we analyze the  NSDAP Party program announced by Hitler on February 20, 1920. It is also important to  remember that some fascists leaders, such as Benito Mussolini, previously were prominent figures in the social-democratic  movement (Wikipedia)

The National Socialist Programme (aka the 25-point Programme and the 25-point Plan) was the party program of the National Socialist German Workers' Party. Originally the name of the party was the German Workers' Party (DAP) but on the same day of the announced party program it was renamed the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP, Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei), headed by Adolf Hitler. Hitler announced the party's program on 24 February 1920 in front of around 2000 people in the Munich Festsaal of the Hofbräuhaus. The National Socialist Program originated at a DAP congress in Vienna, then was taken to Munich, by the civil engineer and theoretician Rudolf Jung, who, having explicitly supported Hitler, had been expelled from Czechoslovakia, because of his political agitation.[1]

... ... ...

  1. We demand the unification of all Germans in the Greater Germany on the basis of the people's right to self-determination.
  2. We demand equality of rights for the German people in respect to the other nations; abrogation of the peace treaties of Versailles and St. Germain.
  3. We demand land and territory (colonies) for the sustenance of our people, and colonization for our surplus population.
  4. Only a member of the race can be a citizen. A member of the race can only be one who is of German blood, without consideration of creed. Consequently no Jew can be a member of the race.
  5. Whoever has no citizenship is to be able to live in Germany only as a guest, and must be under the authority of legislation for foreigners.
  6. The right to determine matters concerning administration and law belongs only to the citizen. Therefore we demand that every public office, of any sort whatsoever, whether in the Reich, the county or municipality, be filled only by citizens. We combat the corrupting parliamentary economy, office-holding only according to party inclinations without consideration of character or abilities.
  7. We demand that the state be charged first with providing the opportunity for a livelihood and way of life for the citizens. If it is impossible to sustain the total population of the State, then the members of foreign nations (non-citizens) are to be expelled from the Reich.
  8. Any further immigration of non-citizens is to be prevented. We demand that all non-Germans, who have immigrated to Germany since 2 August 1914, be forced immediately to leave the Reich.
  9. All citizens must have equal rights and obligations.
  10. The first obligation of every citizen must be to work both spiritually and physically. The activity of individuals is not to counteract the interests of the universality, but must have its result within the framework of the whole for the benefit of all. Consequently we demand:
  11. Abolition of unearned (work and labour) incomes. Breaking of debt (interest)-slavery.
  12. In consideration of the monstrous sacrifice in property and blood that each war demands of the people, personal enrichment through a war must be designated as a crime against the people. Therefore we demand the total confiscation of all war profits.
  13. We demand the nationalisation of all (previous) associated industries (trusts).
  14. We demand a division of profits of all heavy industries.
  15. We demand an expansion on a large scale of old age welfare.
  16. We demand the creation of a healthy middle class and its conservation, immediate communalization of the great warehouses and their being leased at low cost to small firms, the utmost consideration of all small firms in contracts with the State, county or municipality.
  17. We demand a land reform suitable to our needs, provision of a law for the free expropriation of land for the purposes of public utility, abolition of taxes on land and prevention of all speculation in land.
  18. We demand struggle without consideration against those whose activity is injurious to the general interest. Common national criminals, usurers, profiteers and so forth are to be punished with death, without consideration of confession or race.
  19. We demand substitution of a German common law in place of the Roman Law serving a materialistic world-order.
  20. The state is to be responsible for a fundamental reconstruction of our whole national education program, to enable every capable and industrious German to obtain higher education and subsequently introduction into leading positions. The plans of instruction of all educational institutions are to conform with the experiences of practical life. The comprehension of the concept of the State must be striven for by the school [Staatsbürgerkunde] as early as the beginning of understanding. We demand the education at the expense of the State of outstanding intellectually gifted children of poor parents without consideration of position or profession.
  21. The State is to care for the elevating national health by protecting the mother and child, by outlawing child-labor, by the encouragement of physical fitness, by means of the legal establishment of a gymnastic and sport obligation, by the utmost support of all organizations concerned with the physical instruction of the young.
  22. We demand abolition of the mercenary troops and formation of a national army.
  23. We demand legal opposition to known lies and their promulgation through the press. In order to enable the provision of a German press, we demand, that: a. All writers and employees of the newspapers appearing in the German language be members of the race; b. Non-German newspapers be required to have the express permission of the State to be published. They may not be printed in the German language; c. Non-Germans are forbidden by law any financial interest in German publications, or any influence on them, and as punishment for violations the closing of such a publication as well as the immediate expulsion from the Reich of the non-German concerned. Publications which are counter to the general good are to be forbidden. We demand legal prosecution of artistic and literary forms which exert a destructive influence on our national life, and the closure of organizations opposing the above made demands.
  24. We demand freedom of religion for all religious denominations within the state so long as they do not endanger its existence or oppose the moral senses of the Germanic race. The Party as such advocates the standpoint of a positive Christianity without binding itself confessionally to any one denomination. It combats the Jewish-materialistic spirit within and around us, and is convinced that a lasting recovery of our nation can only succeed from within on the framework: The good of the state before the good of the individual.[9]
  25. For the execution of all of this we demand the formation of a strong central power in the Reich. Unlimited authority of the central parliament over the whole Reich and its organizations in general. The forming of state and profession chambers for the execution of the laws made by the Reich within the various states of the confederation. The leaders of the Party promise, if necessary by sacrificing their own lives, to support by the execution of the points set forth above without consideration.

Neoliberalism demonstrate the resurgence of classic fascism tendencies with the sharp division between upper class (Ubermensch) and lower class, "inferior people"  (Untermensch)  and the associated cult of violence. Although  in new slightly more moderate form, but with the same set of core ideas and principles.

In neofascism unrestricted violence, terror against "inferior people" is subdued. As the criteria nationality is often (but not completely) replaced with culture and especially the national language (language nationalism) and is directed almost exclusively to foreigners, immigrants and national minorities who continue to use "wrong" language because it is their mother tongue (for example, Russians in case of Far Right Forces in Ukraine).

In neoliberalism nationality is replaced by "creative abilities", which are understood as the ability of capital accumulation and self-enrichment. In cultural variant of neofascism the language and culture replace the race as a defining point of "belonging", and the key distinction between "Arian race" and Untermensch. Replacement of nationality with the cultural identity makes it closer to ultra-right republicanism as exists in the USA. It is also clearly visible in Ukranian far right movement:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=vUDhy4BA-Xs

But all-in-all neofascism remains just a mutation of classic fascist ideology (yuricareport.com):

Call it Pseudo Fascism. Or, if you like, Fascism Lite. Happy-Face Fascism. Postmodern Fascism. But there is little doubt anymore why the shape of the "conservative movement” in the 21st century is so familiar and disturbing: Its architecture, its entire structure, has morphed into a not-so-faint hologram of 20th-century fascism.

...Unlike the genuine article, it presents itself under a normative, rather than a revolutionary, guise; and rather than openly exulting in violence, it pays lip service to law and order. Moreover, even in the areas where it resembles real fascism, the similarities are often more familial than exact. It is, in essence, less virulent and less violent, and thus more likely to gain broad acceptance within a longtime stable democratic system like that of the United States.

It is important to understand that neofascism inherited the major traits of fascism connected with creating a scapegoat nationality or anti-immigration sentiments, often induced by actual misbehavior of immigrants (such a rapes, beating of people by criminal gangs, etc) or large influx of immigrant from other nation in economic crisis (Immigrants in Europe, Russia, to lesser extent in other "countries of immigrants" such as USA, Australia, Canada, etc). At certain stages it can actually "return to the roots" and adopt violence as the key form of dealing with the opponents (see EuroMaidan )

The key element of any flavor of fascist ideology is rejection of liberalism and opposition to the parliamentary system and liberal democracy (and implicitly to the rule of law). It is the cult of "strong hand" the makes it similar to authoritarism. While officially neofascists parties no longer endorses violence as a chief means to silence the opposition, they often resort to it as a temporary mean to achieve their goals, and, especially, to come to power.

Allegations that a group is neofascist are typically hotly contested, especially if the term is used as a political epithet.

Revolt of the elite against "commoners"

neofascism can be viewed as one of the forms of the "revolt of the elite", a mutation of corporatism that invariably emerges during acute economic crises and related loss of profitability of many businesses. While cannon fodder of neofascism are small business owners, the puppeteers always are large business owners and, especially, financial oligarchy and oligarchy connected to  military-industrial complex. For the latter neofascism is an ideal regime.

That's why right now proto-fascist and neofascist groups and sentiments are on the rise in many countries including, but not limited USA, France, Germany, Holland, Russia, Poland, Greece, Ukraine, Hungary, Finland, Norway. In many cases neofascist parties such as Ukrainian Svoboda get enough votes to be represented in national parliaments (algemeiner.com/2013/05/24):

In Ukraine, the noisiest anti-Semitic group is the Svoboda ( "Freedom”) party. Established in 1991 as the "Social-National Party of Ukraine” under the SS-era symbol of the Wolfsangel. In 2004, with new leader Oleh Tyahnybok, the party renamed itself and adopted innocuous symbols.

That, however, didn’t change the Nazi characteristic of the party. Tyahnybok himself has stated on several occasions that the "Moscow-Jewish mafia” is running Ukraine. Other prominent party members have often used the derogatory, anti Jewish slur ”zhid”, including against Ukrainian-born American actress Mila Kunis, suggesting she was not a "real” Ukrainian because of her Jewish heritage.

Svoboda supporters include among their heroes leaders of pro-Nazi World War II organizations known for their atrocities against Jews and Poles, such as the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA), and the 14th Waffen-SS Galicia Division. (To Svoboda’s vocal displeasure, Poland’s parliament recently introduced a resolution condemning the OUN and the UPA for wartime massacres of Polish civilians.)

Here is another telling video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Z24XaNIbmp0

Skinheads is also a prominent phenomenon which is typical for many European countries. They are definitely part of neofascism movemeent. This rage is directed toward immigrants. Torch processions borrowed from classic fascism now became common in many countries (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-20929755)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=MEKJDle0nZ0

7 January 2013 Last updated at 01:38 ET Help

A sudden rise in popularity of Ukraine's ultra-nationalist party, Svoboda, has caused concern both inside and outside the country.

Svoboda, which means "freedom" in Ukrainian, is allied with European far-right parties. But many observers warn that its views are extremist.

David Stern reports from Kiev.

Also popular are typical for classic fascism physical violence such as street fights with opponents. A new element is that now it can happen during football matches like recently in Poland:

Removed by Youtube

Neofascism and National Security State

While neofascism is anti-democratic, anti-liberal, and corporatist, unlike classic fascism which openly declared itself as such, they deployed as thick smoke screen of propaganda to present itself in completely different light. The destruction of meaning by creating "empty phrases" combining opposite ideas has, as we have seen, become a prominent strategy deployed by the conservative movement.]

Another key element of neofascism is "vast, systemic, blanket collection of the personal data of innocent people." It often covered with a fig leaf of "fight against terrorism". DW.DE 09.01.2014

Like classic fascism neofascism remains rabidly anti-socialist. Actually socialists and communists, let's not forget, were among the first people imprisoned and "liquidated" by the Nazi regime.

Early on during the first term of the Bush presidency many progressives characterized Bush's statements and actions as "neofascist". It is also true that Bush II has some neofascist baggage, as Bush family did has some ties with fascist regimes in the past and the U.S. government found that Bush's grandfather had illegally aided the Nazis during the 30's. It's true that regime of Bush II has some neofascist leanings. It definitely introduced into public discourse and tried to implement in practice several elements of neofascist ideology. Some of them with some interesting innovations. For example, unlike classic fascism instead of mass mobilization Bush government preferred political passivity as prescribed by Inverted Totalitarism doctrine ("go shopping" was his famous recommendation after 9/11).

But full development of neofascist ideas and forming a popular party is impossible without acute economic distress

www.youtube.com/embed/Z24XaNIbmp0

or political crisis (like the one in Ukraine) and a real economic crisis arrived only at the end of Bush Presidency (2008). So paradoxically the major implementer of Bush neofascist ideas and first of all the idea of total surveillance was the regime of Barack Obama. With a tea-party being a close proxy of radical neofascist parties in Eastern Europe. There is distinct racial element in it. Nobody will try to disprove the claim that it has mainly white middle class composition. And like European radical parties of neofascist orientation it endorses violence to achieve its goals. See Tea Party and right wing rage

But even if we assume that 9/11 was a false flag operation that is reminiscent of Reichstag Fire generally the USA neofascist elements were innovatively mixed with the ideas from the theoretical model called Inverted Totalitarism. Direct violence toward opponents never materialized. Just the pre-existing process of the conversion of the USA into National Security State dramatically increased. Now we know more about the new role assigned to NSA during this period.

American exeptionalism ideas promoted by Bush administration clearly resonate with the proto-fascist "... uber alles" ideas. The unique feature here is that they were integrated into the framework of globalist neoliberal regime. So it's more like "top 1% uber alles" then "The USA uber alles" ;-).

The common features that constitute "generic fascism"

It should be stressed that some of ideas inherent in neofascist doctrine are integral part of European culture. As Paxton describes them (Robert O. Paxton, "The Five Stages of Fascism," The Journal of Modern History 70 (March 1998): pp. 3-5.) in the following way:

...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 [neo]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.

Paxton's list makes easier to identify typical "passions" which are at play in proto-fascist environment, particularly during the debate over the Iraq war and the attacks on dissenters that occurred during it (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.

In 2002, Laurence W. Britt's Fascism Anyone? analyzed seven fascist regimes in order to find the common features that constitute "generic fascism". He selected the following regimes: Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Franco's Spain, Salazar's Portugal, Papadopoulos's Greece, Pinochet's Chile, and Suharto's Indonesia. He found 14 common characteristics (reprinted below, with 6 additions by Umberto Eco) and concluded:

"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."

We think "maybe not." It's just a matter of degree. There is an ongoing transformation of the US in this particular direction.

List of Generic Features of a neofascist Political Regime

It is difficult to tell when far right nationalistic group get brown color. Litmus text is the creation of paramilitary group (death squads, stormtroopers, etc) for repression of opponents and adoption of terror as a legitimate methods of struggle for power. Those paramilitary group exists outside law, the key interpreter of which became the party not the counts. Another telling sign is the creation of concentration camps.

  1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism. From the prominent displays of flags to the ubiquitous lapel pins, the fervor to show patriotic nationalism is carefully stroked up. Catchy slogans, pride in the military, and demands for unity were common themes in expressing this nationalism. It was usually coupled with a suspicion of foreigners that often borders on xenophobia. In the USA the role of nationalism serves American exeptionalism.
  2. Disdain for the importance of human rights. While the regime can and often pay lip services to human rights, this is just a smokescreen. In reality such regimes views human rights of opponents as of little value and a hindrance to realizing the objectives of the ruling elite. Terror against opponents considered to be legitimate. At the same time, they can promote human rights as false flag operation at home and at foreign policy. Through clever use of propaganda, the population was brought to accept these human rights abuses of paramilitary squads by marginalizing, even demonizing groups or nationalities being targeted. When abuse was egregious as was the case in Guantanamo Bay detention camp and Abu Ghraib, the tactic is to use secrecy, denial, and disinformation.
  3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause. The most significant common thread among these regimes was 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 regimes would incite 'spontaneous' acts against the target scapegoats, usually communists, socialists, liberals, Jews, Russians Chinese, other ethnic and racial minorities, traditional national enemies, members of other religions, secularists, homosexuals, and "terrorists." Active opponents of these regimes were inevitably labeled as terrorists and dealt with accordingly. Paradoxically the attempt to enforce absolute equality to people of non traditional sexual orientation can serve the same purpose.
  4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism. Ruling elites always identified closely with the military and the industrial infrastructure that supported it. But the immanent feature of this type of regimes is that a disproportionate share of national resources was allocated to the military, even when domestic needs were acute. The military was seen as an expression of nationalism/exeptionalism, and was used whenever possible to assert national goals, intimidate other nations, and increase the power and prestige of the ruling elite. See New American Militarism. The second part of this trend is cancer-style growth of intelligence agencies. Which at some point became uncontrolled government of the country and are engages in political actions. Role of CIA in JFK assassination is still covered but many researcher consider CIA the major player in the plot to kill JFK.
  5. A controlled mass media. Under most of neofascist regimes, the mass media is under strict direct or indirect control and could be relied upon never to stray from the party line. Monopolization of MSM works that same way as total government control representing slightly more sophisticated and more subtle power to ensure media orthodoxy. Methods included the control of licensing and access to resources, economic pressure, appeals to patriotism, buyout of journalists and news anchors, various direct or indirect forms of bribes, and implied threats. Sometimes physical violence is used too. The owners of the mass media are an integral part of the elite and as such do its bidding. The net result was usually complete success in keeping the general public unaware of the regimes excesses.
  6. Obsession with national security. Inevitably, a national security apparatus under direct control of the ruling elite is the most effective tool for crushing social protest, operating in secret and beyond any constraints. Its actions were justified under the rubric of protecting 'national security'. Questioning its activities is portrayed as unpatriotic or even treasonous.
  7. Religion and ruling elite tied together. Most of the regimes attached themselves to the predominant religion of the country and chose to portray themselves as defenders of religion . The fact that the ruling elite's behavior was incompatible with the precepts of the religion was generally swept under the rug. Propaganda is used to keep up the illusion that the ruling elites are defenders of the faith.

    A perception is manufactured that opposition to the power elite is tantamount to an attack on religion.

  8. Power of corporations, oligarchy is protected, while power of labor suppressed.. 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. 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. Under some regimes, being poor was considered akin to a vice.
  9. Suppression of "non-conformist" intellectuals. Intellectuals and the inherent freedom of ideas and expression associated with them were anathema to these regimes. Intellectual and academic freedom were considered subversive to national security. In modern day direct physical suppression or elimination of opponents is no longer necessary. Indirect ways such as silencing them are no less effective. Universities are tightly, but indirectly, controlled; politically unreliable faculty harassed and deprived of funding. Unorthodox ideas or expressions of dissent are silenced. To these regimes, art and literature should serve the national interest or they had no right to exist.
  10. Obsession with crime and punishment. Most of these regimes maintained Draconian systems of criminal justice with huge prison populations, directed at lower classes. The police were often glorified and had almost unchecked power, leading to rampant abuse. Difference between regular and political crimes sometimes is fuzzy due to trumped-up criminal charges which sometimes are used against political opponents of the regime. Fear, and hatred of criminals is promoted among the population as an excuse for more police power and repression of political opponents. Police are militarized and provided with powerful weapons and military level communication tools.
  11. Rampant cronyism and corruption. On propaganda front such regimes often pretend to be anti-oligarchic and populists. But in reality rampant cronyism rules. 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. Members of the power elite were in a position to obtain vast wealth from other sources as well: for example, by stealing national resources. With the national security apparatus under control and the media muzzled, this corruption was largely unconstrained and not well understood by the general population.
  12. Fraudulent elections. Under such regimes elections in the form of plebiscites or public opinion polls are usually bogus. With public opinion polls servicing as a powerful mean to ensure results of election not as a simple sampling tool. When actual elections held, candidates are preselected and both represents the same "party in power" just under slightly different sauce (Bush vs Kerry), This way the whole idea of elections is perverted by the power elite to get the desired result. Additional methods included maintaining control of the election machinery, intimidating and disenfranchising opposition voters, destroying or disallowing legal votes, and, as a last resort, turning to a judiciary beholden to the power elite.

Here are six more characteristics found in Umberto Eco's "Eternal Fascism: Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt," from New York Review of Books, 22 June 1995, pp.12-15.

  1. Neofascism is based upon a selective populism, a qualitative populism, one might say. In a democracy, the citizens have individual rights, but the citizens in their entirety have a political impact only from a quantitative point of view -- one follows the decisions of the majority. For neofascism, however, individuals as individuals have no rights, and the People is conceived as a quality, a monolithic entity expressing the Common Will. Since no large quantity of human beings can have a common will, the Leader pretends to be their interpreter. Having lost their power of delegation, citizens do not act; they are only called on to play the role of the People. Thus the People is only a theatrical fiction. There is in our future a TV or Internet populism, in which the emotional response of a selected group of citizens can be presented and accepted as the Voice of the People. Because of its qualitative populism, neofascism must be against "rotten" parliamentary governments. Wherever a politician casts doubt on the legitimacy of a parliament because it no longer represents the Voice of the People, we can smell neofascism.

  2. Neofascism speaks Newspeak. Newspeak was invented by Orwell, in Nineteen Eighty-Four, as the official language of what he called Ingsoc, English Socialism. But elements of neofascism are common to different forms of dictatorship. All the Nazi or Fascist schoolbooks made use of an impoverished vocabulary, and an elementary syntax, in order to limit the instruments for complex and critical reasoning. But we must be ready to identify other kinds of Newspeak, even if they take the apparently innocent form of a popular talk show. [When fascism is employed in a society with democratic tradions, one strand of Newspeak is to use the traditional words, like "freedom," but to give them new meaning. This strategy is also employed when new programs are initiated. --Politex]

  3. Disagreement is treason. [As opposed to neofascism,] the critical spirit makes distinctions, and to distinguish is a sign of modernism. In modern culture the scientific community praises disagreement as a way to improve knowledge. For neofascism, disagreement is treason. neofascism grows up and seeks consensus by exploiting and exacerbating the natural fear of difference. The first appeal of a fascist or prematurely fascist movement is an appeal against the intruders. Thus neofascism is racist by definition.

  4. Skilled manipulation of social frustration. neofascism derives its power from individual social frustration. That is why one of the most typical features of the historical fascism was the appeal to a frustrated middle class, a class suffering from an economic crisis or feelings of political humiliation, and frightened by the pressure of lower social groups. In our time, when the old "proletarians" are becoming petty bourgeois (and the lumpen are largely excluded from the political scene), the fascism of tomorrow will find its audience in this new majority.

  5. Life is permanent warfare. For neofascism life is lived for struggle. Thus pacifism is trafficking with the enemy. It is bad because life is permanent warfare. This, however, brings about an Armageddon complex. Since enemies have to be defeated, there must be a final battle, after which the movement will have control of the world. But such "final solutions" implies a further era of peace, a Golden Age, which contradicts the principle of permanent war. No fascist leader has ever succeeded in solving this predicament.

  6. Cult of personality. [The neofascist leader presents himself as a hero, a strong man. As such, his image is ubiquitous in the media, and is often photographed in costume in conjunction with images or people that represent the fascist characteristics noted above. --Politex] Since both permanent war and heroism are difficult games to play, the neofascist transfers his will to power to sexual matters. This is the origin of machismo (which implies both disdain for women and intolerance and condemnation of nonstandard sexual habits, from chastity to homosexuality). Since for such people sex is a difficult game to play, the neofascist hero tends to play with weapons -- doing so becomes an ersatz phallic exercise.

Rise of neofascism in Eastern and Western Europe

Both Eastern and Western Europe are experiencing a new and important cultural and political development: the appearance of a new breed, new generation, of far right, extremist movements. These are some indications of the emergence of a new, emerging political forces in Europe which emerged as a reaction to neoliberalism with its dominance of globalized banking. That lead to paradoxical situation when many of Le Pen's votes come from former Red strongholds. In other word like in 20th and 30th the working class is, for very understandable reasons, is turning to nationalism as an antidote to casino capitalism enforced by the USA. So the USA neoliberal empire is the main precondition for resurgence As Slavoj Žižek noted:

The Ukrainian nationalist right is one instance of what is going on today from the Balkans to Scandinavia, from the US to Israel, from central Africa to India: ethnic and religious passions are exploding, and Enlightenment values receding.

These passions have always been there, lurking; what’s new is the outright shamelessness of their display.

... ... ...

One of the signs of this regression is a request often heard on the new European right for a more "balanced" view of the two "extremisms", the right and the left. We are repeatedly told that one should treat the extreme left (communism) the same way that Europe after the second world war treated the extreme right (the defeated fascists)

But in reality there is no balance here: the equation of fascism and communism secretly privileges fascism. Thus the right are heard to argue that fascism copied communism: before becoming a fascist, Mussolini was a socialist; Hitler, too, was a National Socialist; concentration camps and genocidal violence were features of the Soviet Union a decade before Nazis resorted to them; the annihilation of the Jews has a clear precedent in the annihilation of the class enemy, etc.

The point of these arguments is to assert that a moderate fascism was a justified response to the communist threat (a point made long ago by Ernst Nolte in his defence of Heidegger’s involvement with Nazism). In Slovenia, the right is advocating the rehabilitation of the anti-communist Home Guard which fought the partisans during the second world war: they made the difficult choice to collaborate with the Nazis in order to thwart the much greater evil of communism.

Among other condition that favor resurgence of such groups we can name such features of neoliberal regimes, what now dominate the continent as demographic pressures from immigrant labor, social dislocation due to dismantling of social security state, and economic pressures inherent in "dog eat dog" capitalism and outsourcing to lower wage countries advocated by neoliberalism. In many ways neoliberalism represents a perfect environment for nurturing neofascist movements.

Those pressures are very similar to pressures which used to exist in 20th and 30th of the last century. As before they stimulate the formation of a new generation of far right movements whose motives and characteristics while somewhat differ from the right wing groups of the early twentieth century what came to power in Italy, Germany and Spain are still driven by the same resentment of middle class and "Lumpenbourgeoisie". They use the same ideas of dominance of particular ethnic group. scapegoat in form of another ethnic group, glorification of state, using violence against opponents, limitations on civil rights in the name of giving the state more power to protect the populace from "destructive elements" within the society and external aggressors. Fall of "fist generation" fascist regimes did not destroy the movement which acquired strong roots in neoliberal societies across the globe.

They are different from classic far right nationalist of the past that the criteria of belonging is no longer ethnicity per se (although some elements, for example anti-Semitism and Russophobia, of this remained) but "cultural affiliation" and first of all the language. In other words they are not fascists, they are neofascists. But in Ukraine they are not only alive, they are particularly well. Ukraine is the first Europian state where element of neofascist Party were included in the government after putsch of February 22.

All that means that the huge rise of Ukrainian far right forces is not a unique and isolated phenomenon. Far right organizations that first crystallized around football ultras and skinheads are European-wide phenomenon. See for example https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gG-2HdFdvkY

This process also includes Russia although level of suppression of nationalism and especially neofascism in Russia is probably one of the highest among European countries.

And it goes without saying that all major EU counties experience dramatic rise of far right forces too. That includes Germany, France, Sweden as well as usual suspects Hungary, Poland and Baltic states (Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia). The whole story of the EU since the Maastricht Treaty and the establishment of the Euro was about neoliberal conversion similar to the USA conversion. And this conversion destroyed standards of living of lower middle class, especially small merchants, across southern Europe. Now the Southern Europe have had enough and are going to send nationalists to the European Parliament (The Guardian, May 14, 2014):

In France, Denmark and Finland, rightwing nationalist and racist parties are set to win more than 20% of the vote – with Geert Wilders' Muslim-baiting Freedom party not far behind in the Netherlands. So is the virulently anti-Roma and anti-Semitic Jobbik in Hungary, while the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party in Greece is on the way to winning its first Euro seats.In France, Denmark and Finland, rightwing nationalist and racist parties are set to win more than 20% of the vote – with Geert Wilders' Muslim-baiting Freedom party not far behind in the Netherlands. So is the virulently anti-Roma and antisemitic Jobbik in Hungary, while the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn party in Greece is on the way to winning its first Euro seats.

This new wave of nationalism is different then the previous wave which arose in the beginning of XX century and which led to establishment of "classic" fascist regimes. It can be called "cultural nationalism" where not ethnicity, but cultural identity was put in the center of the nationalistic doctrine.

For "cultural nationalism" a common identity is based more on acceptance for the language and the culture than on the racial solidarity (although it dies not exclude xenophobia). Due to the power of the USA and general alliance with the West, fewer of this movements and parties are openly anti-Semitic and if they are anti-Semitic then the stress is on refusal of Jews to accept the national culture, the charge similar to the change of "country less cosmopolitans" trials in the USSR in late 40th of the last century.

Ukrainian fascists love the Russia-hammering NATO, but detest the Russia-accommodating and supra-nationalistic EU.

And they aren’t alone. Fascism — and anti-EU sentiment — pervade parts of Europe that never felt Stalin’s wrath. In the last elections for the European Parliament, "eurosceptics” and xenophobic ultra-nationalists scored significant gains, led by Marine Le Pen, whose National Front took 25% of the French seats.

A lot of it has to do with the equivocal track record of globalized neo-liberal capitalism in the last decade. We’re all Pikettyists now, and it seems that among the most important outcomes of neo-liberalism are income inequality and oligarchs.

It is anathema to liberal democrats, but it should be acknowledged that fascism is catching on, largely as a result of a growing perception that neo-liberalism and globalization are failing to deliver the economic and social goods to a lot of people.

Democracy is seen as the plaything of oligarchs who manipulate the current system to secure and expand their wealth and power; liberal constitutions with their guarantees of minority rights appear to be recipes for national impotence. Transnational free markets in capital and goods breed local austerity, unemployment, and poverty. Democratic governments seem to follow the free market playbook, get into problems they can’t handle, and surrender their sovereignty to committees of Euro-financiers.

Fascism, with its exaltation of the particular, the emotional, and the undemocratic provides an impregnable ideological and political bulwark against these outside forces.

Fascism has become an important element in the politics of resistance: a force that obstructs imposition of the norms of globalization, and an ideology that justifies the protection of local local interests against the demands of liberal democracy, transnational capital, and property and minority rights.

Maybe it’s neo-liberalism, not fascism, that is facing a crisis of legitimacy and acceptance.

So the idea that fascism can be treated as a delusional artifact of the 20th century and the challenge of fascism to the neo-liberal order can be ignored is, itself, wishful thinking.

... ... ...

For some, resentment will, inevitably, congeal around nationalism and the perception that fascist resistance, defiantly militant, uncompromising, and irrational, racial and undemocratic, exclusionary and brutal, is the best instrument to achieve local identity and agency—power– in an ever bigger, more dangerous, and less responsive continental order.

New nationalist movements and far right groups widely use Internet and have well established Web presence including such social sited as Facebook and Google++. They also establish cross-border links with similar parties. For example Ukrainian far-right group have links not only with Germany far right (which is natural for them), but paradoxically also with Polish far-right with which they theoretically should be bitter enemies and sometimes even with Russian neo-liberals (several of them visited EuroMaidan in "support missions") and far-right groups (despite the fact that Russian culture and by extension people are official cultural enemy of Ukrainian nationalism)

Strong support by the government and big business

The story of 20th and 30th repeats again. Far right groups are nurtured by both government and part of the big business as the most adequate response to the challenging and poorly controlled political situation at home.  That happened, for example, in Ukraine under Yanukovich who essentially nurtured his own demise. As Helena Smith reported about Greece (The Observer, [Jun 09, 2014):

It has been a bad week for democracy in Athens. All around this great Greek city, the politics of hate now lurk. On Friday I got a taste of it in the tiny Italian-style cafe I frequent off Syntagma Square.

It arrived in the form of two middle-aged men, both supporters of the neofascist Golden Dawn – and, by their own account, the holders of university degrees, well-travelled and well-informed. Over espressos, they began to engage in an animated discussion about all that is wrong with Greece.

The first, a self-described businessman decked out in designer suit, brogues and silk tie, blamed the country's economic collapse on malfeasance, corruption and uncontrolled immigration. "The only way to teach our filthy politicians is to bring in Golden Dawn," he trilled, his eyes locked in a fierce glare. "These gentlemen are patriots, proud Greek nationalists, and they know how to deal with the scum, the foreigners who never pay taxes, who steal our jobs, who have taken over our streets."

What makes Ukrainian experience more interesting is the Ukrainian far right forces are classic case of forces brought to the front stage and openly supported by the neoliberal government. They were covertly supported by all Ukrainian governments, but, especially, by pro-US "democratic" Yushchenko regime, since 1991 as a way to create "Ukrainian national identity". This is when they got open state support and Yushchenko even dared to bestow the title of hero of Ukraine to the leader of Ukrainian nationalists in WWII Stepan Bandera, who is guilty of serious crimes such an ethnic cleansing against Polish citizens and Jews.

Viktor Yushchenko, the president produced by the last American-supported Ukrainian uprising, the "Orange Revolution,” put the full weight of the ideological apparatus of the Ukrainian state into reinventing the history of Ukrainian complicity with Nazism into a "national liberation” mythology.

But paradoxically it was not Yushchenko, but Yanukovich regime and his financial and logistical support which essentially launch Svoboda into mainstream. As CounterPunch noted (The Durability of Ukrainian Fascism):

Ukrainian nationalists turned largely toward fascism, specifically toward a concept of "integral nationalism” that, in the absence of an acceptable national government, manifested itself in a national will residing in the spirit of its adherents, not expressed by the state or restrained by its laws, but embodied by a charismatic leader and exercised through his organization, whose legitimacy supersedes that of the state and whose commitment to violence makes it a law unto itself.

That leader, at least for many Ukrainians of the fascist persuasion, was Stepan Bandera. The organization, his OUN-B faction.

This state of affairs persists in today’s successor to the OUN-B, Pravy Sektor, with its fascist trappings, leader cult, and paramilitary arm. The "mainstreaming” of the second major fascist grouping, Svoboda, looks more like a strategic repackaging in order to strive for greater electoral success by hiding its fascist antecedents.

So, unfortunately for apologists for the current Kyiv regime, the correct description of these two groups is not "nationalist” or "ultranationalist”; it is "fascist”.

Fatally, the Ukrainian government has turned to fascist nationalism and heroes in order to forge a post-Soviet, essentially Ukrainian, identity for the post-1991 state

Narcissism of small differences

Paradoxically, part of Ukrainian far right groups, at least superficially, are pro-EU. It is less paradoxical then it sounds is we assume that the cultural affinity is the key to the new nationalism. Ukrainian nationalists cultural identity is based on strong, fanatic rejection of all things Russian demonstrating a perfect example of Narcissism of small differences -- the tendency to exaggerate the dissimilarities of those who resemble us in an effort to buttress our own self-regard...

An excellent discussion of why this is the case and why they are nurtured by the US government was provided in the article Charge of the Right Brigade: Ukraine and the Dynamics of Capitalist Insurrection from The Polemicist blog (March 19, 2014). I recommend to read this excellent analysis in full, but here is a (large) relevant quote:

To pretend that the ex-post-facto parliamentary maneuvers that ratified the result of this insurrection actually confer some kind of retroactive constitutional legitimacy on it is ludicrous. As Nicolai Petro points out, these actions were taken by "a Parliament that rules without any representation from the majority party – since most of the deputies of the east and the south of the country are afraid to set foot in Parliament… [and] all across the country, headquarters of parties are being sacked by their opponents,” by a parliament that outlawed the only effective remaining opposition party (the Communists) and that "consolidate[ed] the powers of the speaker of the Parliament and the acting president in a single individual, giving him greater powers than allowed under any Ukrainian constitution,” in a context where "Vigilante militias routinely attack and disperse public gatherings they disapprove of.”25 Please, let’s recognize these parliamentary acts as what they are – the ratification of an insurrection, in defiance of the extant constitutional order. Call them the first steps in a new, post-insurrection constitutional order if you want, but recognize the radical break they represent.

And why not call this what it is? Isn’t that what revolutionary change is all about – a radical break with the old order? To reprise what I said in a previous post on Egypt: An electoral process can be a thin facade of democracy and, effectively, a tool of disempowerment, justifying militant extra-electoral politics, or even insurrection. A serious revolutionary conjuncture, a real break into a new social order, usually involves both. It’s an unapologetic, forceful, seizure of power that seeks to be definitive and irreversible. (Of course, not every insurrection is a revolution, or even a step forward, but let’s leave that aside for the moment.)

As someone who accepts the revolutionary socialist argument, I do not object to extra-legal, extra-parliamentary, insurrectionary politics per se. And guess what? All the self-proclaimed liberal, conservative, moderate, non-violent, constitutional, parliamentary democratic thinkers, politicians and commentators who are proudly and loudly supporting what happened in Ukraine also do not object to extra-legal, extra-parliamentary, insurrectionary politics per se – they just don’t want to admit it. Like me, they will support an insurrection, depending on what it’s about. Unlike me, they will pretend it wasn’t really an insurrection at all, just another, maybe somewhat "messy,” but fundamentally non-violent, constitutionally-authorized transition within the rules of bourgeois parliamentary democracy. And that’s because, as the man said: We wouldn’t permit that in any Western capital, no matter how righteous the cause.

It’s quite amusing, until it gets sickening, to watch American leaders—who cling to the notion that a thin, corrupt, disempowering electoral process legitimizes them — embrace the forceful overthrow of a democratically-elected leader in a functioning parliamentary democracy while insisting they are doing no such thing.

Let’s recognize that virtually nobody really supports or opposes what happened in Ukraine, or anywhere else, because it was an insurrection, but because of what kind of insurrection it was – what it’s explicit and implicit socio-political objective was, what different kind of society and polity it was moving toward creating. And let’s recognize that the US would denounce, and help to crush, any insurrection, no matter how popular or righteous the cause, in which leftist forces played anything close to the prominent fighting role that right-wing, neofascist forced played in this one. If revolutionary anarcho-syndicalists had been the vanguard of the Maidan, Yanukovych would have been America’s "democratic” hero.

As for "democracy” (along with "nonviolent,” one of the most dishonestly abused words in the American political vocabulary), it certainly does not just mean having an election. It means power to the people. Neither Ukrainian oligarchs, nor the EU-IMF neo-liberal "technocrats,” nor the American government, nor NATO, want that. They have too much to lose.

It was a right-wing, imperialist insurrection, powered by fascist groups and permeated with fascist ideology.

The overthrow of Yanukovych was an insurrection accomplished by a political movement that was driven by popular socio-economic discontent and thoroughly imbued by "ultranationalist”—i.e., neofascist—ideology.

It was decidedly not a revolution, in the strong sense of the word. A revolutionary insurrection marks the beginning of a change in the social order. This movement did not, will not, and, given its foundations, could not, establish a popular government that will create anything like more widespread prosperity and deeper democracy, let alone a new social order.

It was a regime change, fuelled by popular discontent, powered by neofascist militants, and surreptitiously managed by American intelligence diplomats, with Ukrainian oligarchs maneuvering for ultimate control behind the scenes—factions that have different, sometimes internally contradictory, agendas. It will create a government that will be controlled by and benefit some Ukrainian oligarchs at the expense of others, that will benefit European and American capitalism at the (acknowledged, indeed promised!) cost of austerity and immiseration for Ukrainian working people, and that will benefit American and NATO plans for an ever-tightening military encirclement of Russia at the expense of possible war and perpetual tension for Ukraine.

The only possibility for a more serious, "revolutionary” break from neo-liberal standards of oligarchic-imperial rule in the near future would come from the neofascist groups, who indeed imagine themselves to have a radically different agenda. But guess what? Faced with any popular uprising against its policies, from the right or the left, the new neo-liberal, Euro-facing, Russia-hating, America-loving, Ukrainian government, and its international supporters, will trot out the bourgeois democratic principles that its leaders, of course, never really contravened, and insist, Berkut (by any other name) and all: We won’t permit that in our democratic, European capital, no matter how righteous the cause.

Is there anybody who honestly doubts any of this?

Brendan O’Neill makes the point quite nicely:

For what we have in Ukraine is not revolution, but regime change …As for the word ‘revolution’ … its deployment in Ukraine takes its bastardisation to a new low: there has of course been no replacement of one social order by another in Ukraine, or even the installment of a people’s government; instead various long-established parties in parliament, some of which are deeply unpopular among certain constituencies in Ukraine, are forming an interim government. Revolutionary? Hardly.

The Western debate and coverage … has certainly made externally generated regime change seem revolutionary, and the Western-assisted anti-democratic removal of an elected leader seem like an act of people’s democracy. It has exposed a severe dearth of independent critical thinking among the Western commentariat. …

The truth of what has happened in Ukraine is this: the EU and Washington have effectively brought about regime change, replacing an elected pro-Russian regime with an unelected, still-being-formed new government that is more amenable to the institutions of the West.26

Regarding the "fascism” question, Max Blumenthal’s Alternet piece, and Per Anders Rudling’s detailed scholarly study are indispensable sources. Rudling understates considerably, when he says: "The far-right tradition is particularly strong in western Ukraine.” The fascist currents in the Kiev movement are undeniable. They are represented in the parliament by the Svoboda (Freedom) Party (originally called the Social National Party). In December, 2012, the European Parliament condemned Svoboda for its "racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic views,” and urged other Ukrainian parties "not to associate with, endorse or form coalitions with this party.”27

As Blumenthal notes, Svoboda’s leader, Oleh Tyahnybok, defines his mission as freeing his country from the "Muscovite-Jewish mafia.” His deputy, Yuriy Mykhalchyshyn founded a think tank named after a historical figure he admires greatly: The Joseph Goebbels Political Research Center. Svoboda’s – and, unfortunately, much of western Ukraine’s – "nationalism” is embodied in the revered figure of Stepan Bandera, a World War II-era Nazi collaborator who led the pro-fascist Organization of Ukrainian (OUN), which helped to form a Ukrainian division of the Waffen SS to fight with the Nazis against the Soviet Union. From 1942-1944, Yaroslav Stetsko, the "Prime Minister” of ONU-B (Bandera’s wing), who supported "bringing German methods of exterminating Jewry to Ukraine,” oversaw the killing of "more than 90,000 Poles and thousands of Jews” in western Ukraine. Banderists in Lvov circulated a pamphlet telling the city’s Jews: "We will lay your heads at Hitler’s feet.”28

After the war, Bandera’s Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) continued its fascist campaign for "a totalitarian, ethnically pure Europe,” engaging in a futile armed struggle against the Soviet Union, until KGB agents assassinated him in Munich in 1959. Nothing "neo” about this Nazi.

Viktor Yushchenko, the president produced by the last American-supported Ukrainian uprising, the "Orange Revolution,” put the full weight of the ideological apparatus of the Ukrainian state into reinventing the history of Ukrainian complicity with Nazism into a "national liberation” mythology. He "tasked a set of nationalistically minded historians” into "disseminating a sanitized, edifyingly patriotic version of the history of the ‘Ukrainian national liberation movement,’ the leaders of which were presented in iconographic form as heroic and saintly figures, martyrs of the nation.”

Thus, in 2010, against the protestation of the European Parliament—which he accused of having a "historical complex” — Yushchenko awarded Stepan Bandera the title of "Hero of Ukraine."29 As Rudling notes: "There was little protest from intellectuals who identify themselves as liberals.” It was the government of big, bad Yanukovych that later annulled the award.

And thus, still satisfied by their political research, Svoboda led a 15,000-person march in honor of Bandera in Kiev on January 1st of this year, with chants of "Ukraine above all” and "Bandera, come and bring order!” 30

Now, as a result of the insurrection, Svoboda, which won about 10% of the vote in the last election, has effectively muscled the much larger (34% of the last vote) Party of the Regions out of parliament, and seeks nationally to outlaw it and the Communist Party (13% of the vote), whose leader’s house was burned down. With the help of its Right Sector allies, these parties have already been banned in a number of regions. Svoboda now holds "key leadership positions in the parliament and law enforcement, four ministerial portfolios in the new government [including Prosecutor General and Deputy Prime Minister] and several appointed governorships.” Svoboda’s co-fouder, Andriy Parubiy, is head of the National Security & Defense Council of the new, democratic, government of Ukraine.31

So, fourteen months after denouncing Svoboda for its "racism, anti-Semitism and xenophobia,” European governments are gushing over the new "democracy” in Ukraine over which Svoboda presides. And, as the BBC reports: "Inside the columned central hall of Kiev's city council, an activist base of operations, hung a giant banner with a Celtic cross, a symbol of ‘white power,’ and an American confederate flag….and an immense portrait of Stepan Bandera.”32

Keep in mind, too, Rudling’s point that the whole Banderist "national liberation” narrative "was well received in western Ukraine but was received coldly or met open hostility in the eastern and southern parts of the country.”

As Svoboda represents fascism in the parliament, Right Sector (Pravy Sektor) represented fascism in the maidan, and continues to do so with its intimidating tactics in the streets and administrative offices of Kiev and the regions, as well as from its new positions in government. Right Sector is a confederation of far-right groups such as Patriots of Ukraine, the Social-National Assembly, White Hammer, Stepan Bandera’s Trident, and the Ukrainian National Assembly-Ukrainian People's Self-Defense (UNA-UNSO). Their favorite ensign is the wolfsangel--a favorite, too, of the Waffen SS--which was on display all over the maidan:

As Ukrainian journalist Oleg Shynkarenko points out, Right Sector leader, Dmytro Yarosh defines the group's creed thusly: "We are against degeneration and totalitarian liberalism, but we support traditional morals and family values, against the cult of profit and depravity.” Right Sector’s websites rail against the "liberal homodictatorship” of modern Western society.33 Blumenthal points out that Right Sector is: "linked to a constellation of international neofascist parties,” and "through the Alliance of European National Movements (AEMN), Right Sector is promising to lead its army of aimless, disillusioned young men on ‘a great European Reconquest’.” In some ways, the neofascist right does want power to the people—just the morally and ethnically pure people.

BBC did a decent report on the "Neo-Nazi threat in new Ukraine.” Again, maybe not so "neo.” The reporter, Gabriel Gatehouse, interviews Svoboda and Right Sector militants, meets a group called C14 (apparently an armed wing of Svoboda) under a portrait of Lenin in the Communist Party headquarters they had taken over, and shows two Svoboda MPs displaying "14” and "88” tokens. These numbers, which are often displayed in combination, and which appeared in graffiti throughout the maidan, have special fascist significance: "14” stands for from the Fourteen Words coined by an American white supremacist: "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for White children” (there’s an alternate version, about "the White Aryan woman”); "88” represents a double of the eighth letter of the Latin alphabet, HH, for Heil Hitler. [I cannot make this stuff up.]

Yes, it depends what you’re fighting for.

My favorite is this 2½-minute tidbit from a young Right Sector gentleman, explaining the group’s, and his, affinity for "National Socialist themes,” and assuring his interviewer that they want a society that’s just "a little bit like” that "under Hitler”:

"http://www.youtube.com/embed/5SBo0akeDMY

The leader of the Right Sector, Dmytro Yarosh, is now the deputy head of the National Security Council, and is running for President, of Ukraine’s new, democratic, government.

You might also take a look at this video, where Right Sector leader Aleksandr Muzychko roughs up a local prosecutor to show him who’s the boss now, and threatens to have him lynched: "Shut the fuck up, you bitch! Your fucking time is over… If you think I am goodie because I’ve come without my rifle, you are gravely mistaken. I’ve come with a pistol. There are a few choice videos of Muzychko, who is also identified as a member of the "Wiking" unit of the Ukrainian National Assembly – Ukrainian People’s Self-Defense (UNA-UNSO), another post-Banderist right-wing paramilitary group.

So there’s no question that fascists were part of the insurrection, and there is no question that they were crucial to its success. As Oleg Shynkarenko insists, the scenes of fighting resistance and advance were led by Right Sector and allied groups:

[I]t was the far right that first started to talk back to Yanukovych in his own language. They were the first to throw Molotov cocktails and stones at police and to mount real and well-fortified barricades. They were amongst those who burned two military troop carriers that attacked the barricades on February 18. The Euromaidan won thanks to the resoluteness of people who were ready to fight rather than to negotiate in parliament when any negotiation became pointless.
Nicolai Petro agrees, and points out the political ramifications:
I ascribe a much greater role to the Right Sector…the spearhead of the revolution. … [T]he actual coup was accomplished thanks to the armed intervention of extreme nationalists, led by the Right Sector. And the fact that they were so instrumental in accomplishing this change of power has put them in the driver’s seat. From now on, whatever political decisions are arrived at will really be at the sufferance of the Right Sector.
Let’s be clear, also, that these neofascist groups not only fought and defeated Yanokovych’s police, they attacked and drove away any political group from the left that tried to establish a presence in the maidan. The fascists made sure they controlled the radical politics of the square. Sascha, a member of AntiFascist Action Ukraine, a group that monitors and fights fascism in Ukraine, recounts in an interview published in mid-February:
A group of 100 anarchists tried to arrange their own self-defense group, different Anarchist groups came together for a meeting on the Maidan. While they were meeting a group of Nazis came in a larger group, they had axes and baseball bats and sticks, helmets, they said it was their territory. They called the Anarchists things like Jews, blacks, Communists. There weren’t even any Communists, that was just an insult. The Anarchists weren’t expecting this and they left. People with other political views can’t stay in certain places, they aren’t tolerated.34
And Mira, of the same group, adds:
One of the worst things is that Pravy has this official structure. They are coordinated. You need passes to go certain places. They have the power to give or not give people permission to be active. We’re trying to be active but we have to avoid Nazis, and I’m not going to ask a Nazi for permission!...
Early on a Stalinist tent was attacked by Nazis. One was sent to the hospital. Another student spoke out against fascism and he was attacked.
Pravy Sektor got too much attention after the first violence, the media gave them popularity and they started to think they’re cool guys. Pravy existed before but now it’s growing and attracting a lot of new people.
Ilya Budraitskis, a Russian Socialist who came to the maidan in January, tells us how the "ultranationalists” brutalized and evicted everyone from leftish Europhiles to anarchists:
Another part of the left repetitively tried to join the movement, even after they were repetitively kicked out of it. Some of the "euro-enthusiastic” leftists came to Maidan in November with red (instead of blue) flag of the EU, with banners for free healthcare and education, and with feminist slogans. They were brutally attacked by Nazis. Then there was an episode when the far-right attacked the tent of the Confederation of Free Trade Unions of Ukraine near the Maidan. A man on the stage said that there were some "provocateurs” and said that "men know what to do”; as a result, a mob of Nazis has broken ribs of the trade union activists, tore their tent with knives and stolen their property. The victims hadn’t been doing anything "leftist” per se, but they were members of the left movement, known to their political adversaries, and that was enough….
[T]here is also another group of people who are often confused with the radical left. …who call themselves anarchists but actually have a very conservative political agenda full of machismo and xenophobia. After the protests have begun, they shifted to the right dramatically; they reached truce with the nazi groups and showered Molotov cocktails at the police together. Eventually, they parted ways with left movement finally.
A week ago they, together with some actual leftists who wanted to "act”, decided to form an "anarchist sotnia [defense unit]” in the Maidan self-defence. In order to do that, they were prepared to give an oath to [Svoboda leader] Andriy Parubiy. But when they formed their ranks to do this, they were met by approximately 150 Svoboda fighters with baseball bats and axes. The fascists accused them of being racially impure and politically irrelevant and forced them out of Maidan.35
So much for Professor Snyder’s agora.

Of course, the great majority of the people in the square are not fascists, but, for all the reasons of history and ideology discussed above, a lot of people in western Ukraine are susceptible to their charms. As Denis, from Kiev Autonomous Workers Union says: "[I]n the long run the rightist political hegemony is being reinforced,” because "That’s what happens when you don’t have a developed left movement and your liberals are too corrupt and ugly!” Here’s how he describes the rightward political momentum on the maidan:

[Far right] ideology has really become more acceptable in the mainstream (which had initially been leaning to the right!). ... Of course, most protesters really say they want political pluralism, bourgeois democracy. … But at the same time the crowd at the Maidan revives some deeply buried pre-modern, medieval social practices like whipping post, lynching, reinforced traditional gender roles. This scary readiness to slip into barbarism is born from the general disenchantment with parliamentary politics and the ubiquitous nationalist mythology about the golden past, imposed in schools and media.
The original Euromaidan agenda in November was a right liberal one, standing for the EU, "economic liberties” and bourgeois democracy. But even then the issues of multiculturalism, LGBT rights, workers’ rights and freedoms were severely repressed by the politically conscious far-right activists … [whose] political programme had always included critique of the EU’s "liberal fascism”. … The attackers didn’t represent the majority of protesters, but the majority was very susceptible to their political agenda which they had been aggressively pushing through…
[P]eople are new to politics, they just "know” they are rightists and nationalists. And therefore they trust the more politically experienced leaders to express their views and formulate their programme for them. It just so happens that those leaders are nationalists or even Nazis. And they shift the centre of the political discourse even further to the right.
But, first of all, their ideas are welcome among the apolitical crowd; second of all, they are very well organized, and also people love their "radicalism”. An average Ukrainian worker hates the police and the government but he will never fight them openly and risk his comfort. So he or she welcomes a "vanguard” which is ready to fight on their behalf; especially if that vanguard shares "good” patriotic values….And since the basic "common sense” had long ago been established on the nationalist fundamental assumptions, the radicalization goes only further in that direction.36
As we all know, fascists don’t have to be a majority to determine outcomes, and their power to do so can increase very quickly under favorable conditions. Perhaps the most telling, and disturbing remark of the leftists cited in these interviews was this, from Sascha of AntiFascist Action Ukraine, a couple of weeks before the head of Right Sector became deputy head of the National Security and Defense Council: "If Pravy [Right Sector] has positions in a new government that would be really dangerous but that isn’t possible, they aren’t powerful enough.”

Oh, yes they are. Consider the stunning turn of events we have just witnessed: "the ascension of a genuinely fascist mass movement into the corridors of power” in a European country for the first time since WWII, greeted with a stunning non-chalance—nay, embraced as an exemplar of democracy—by the Western liberal democracies. University of Ottawa political scientist Ivan Katchanovski specifies: "The paramilitary right sector has de facto power at least in some Western Ukrainian regions,” and "The far right in Ukraine has now achieved the level of representation and influence that is unparalleled in Europe.”37

Then imagine, please, Professor Katchanovski’s last sentence with "left” substituted for "right,” and consider how unthinkable it is that any American government would be so welcoming of such a "democratic” outcome. The United States and its allied liberal democracies are, in other words, willing to accommodate very hard swings to the right in order to secure and/or extend the neo-liberal capitalist, and US/NATO imperialist, order, but will abide not an inch of movement toward resistance from the left—no matter how righteous or democratic the cause.


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Old News ;-)

Fascism is a system of political authority and social order intended to reinforce the unity, energy, and purity of communities in which liberal democracy stands accused of producing division and decline. [...]

A form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.

Robert Paxton

[Feb 19, 2018] The Free Market Threat to Democracy by John Weeks

Notable quotes:
"... In addition, financial capital leads to inequality, and that inequality, as you've seen in the United States and in Europe and many other places, it increases. And suddenly, not suddenly, but bit by bit, people begin to realize that they aren't getting their share and that means that the government, to protect capitalism, must use force to maintain the order of financial capital. And I think Trump is the fulfillment of that, and I think there are other examples too which I can go into. So, basically, my argument is that with the rise of finance and its unproductive activities, you've got the decline in living standards of the vast majority, and in order to maintain order in such a system where people no longer think that they're sort of getting their share, and so justice doesn't become, a just distribution doesn't become the reason why people support this system, increasingly it has to be done through force. ..."
"... I think that as The Real News has pointed out, that many of Trump's policies appear just to be more extreme versions of things that George Bush did, and in some cases not that much different from what Barack Obama did. ..."
"... The difference with Trump is, he has complete contempt for all of those constraints. That is, he is an authoritarian. I don't think he's a fascist, not yet, but he is an authoritarian. He does not accept that there are constraints which he should respect. There are constraints which bother him, and he wants to get rid of them, and he actually takes steps to do so. ..."
"... Erdoğan so infamously said? "Democracy is like a train. You take it to where you want to go and then you get off." No. Progressive view is that democracy is what it's all about. Democracy is the way that we build the present and we build a future. ..."
"... I think that the struggle in the United States is extremely difficult because of the role of the big money and the media, which you know more about than I do. But it is a struggle which we have to keep at, and we have to be optimistic about it. It's a good bit easier over here, but as we saw, and you reported, during the last presidential election, a progressive came very close to being President of the United States. That, I don't think was a one-off event, not to be repeated. I think it lays the basis for hope in the future. ..."
"... The democratic nation-state basically operates like a criminal cartel, forcing honest citizens to surrender large portions of their wealth to pay for stuff like roads and hospitals and schools. ..."
"... Any hierarchic system will be exploited by intelligent sociopaths. Systems will not save us. ..."
"... What I gleaned from my quick Wikiread was the apparent pattern of economic inequality causing the masses to huddle in fear & loathing to one corner – desperation, and then some clever autocrat subverts the energy from their F&L into political power by demonizing various minorities and other non-causal perps. ..."
"... Like nearly every past fascism emergence in history, US Trumpismo is capitalizing on inequality, and fear & loathing (his capital if you will) to seize power. That brings us to Today – to Trump, and an era (brief I hope) of US flirtation with fascism. Thank God Trump is crippled by a narcissism that fuels F&L within his own regime. Otherwise, I might be joining a survivalist group or something. :-) ..."
Feb 17, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Yves here. This Real News Network interview with professor emeritus John Weeks discussed how economic ideology has weakened or eliminated public accountability of institutions like the Fed and promote neo[neo]liberal policies that undermine democracy.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/o9bXo1f5r0I

SHARMINI PERIES: It's The Real News Network. I'm Sharmini Peries coming to you from Baltimore. The concept of the [neo]liberal democracy is generally based on capitalistic markets along with respect for individual freedoms and human rights and equality in the face of the law. The rise of financial capital and its efforts to deregulate financial markets, however, raises the question whether [neo]liberal democracy is a sustainable form of government. Sooner or later, democratic institutions make way for the interests of large capital to supersede.

Political economist John Weeks recently gave this year's David Gordon Memorial Lecture at the meeting of the American Economic Association in Philadelphia where he addressed these issues with a talk titled, Free Markets and the Decline of Democracy. Joining us now is John Weeks. He joins us from London to discuss the issues raised in his lecture. You can find a link to this lecture just below the player, and John is, as you know, Professor Emeritus of the University of London School of Oriental and African Studies and author of Economics of the 1%: How Mainstream Economics Serves the Rich, Obscures Reality and Distorts Policy. John, good to have you back on The Real News.

JOHN WEEKS: Thank you very much for having me.

SHARMINI PERIES: John, let me start with your talk. Your talk describes a struggle between efforts to create a democratic control over the economy and the interest of capital, which seeks to subjugate government to the interest, its own interest. In your assessment, it looks like this is a losing battle for democracy. Explain this further.

JOHN WEEKS: Yeah, so I think that Marx in Capital, in the first volume of Capital, refers to a concept called bourgeois right, by which he meant that, you said it in the introduction, that in a capitalist society there is a form of equality that mimics the relationship of exchange. Every commodity looks equal in exchange and there is a system of ownership that you might say is the shadow of that. I think more important, in the early stages of development of capitalism, of development of factories, that those institutions or those factories prompted the growth of trade unions and workers' struggles in general. Those workers' struggles were key to the development, or further development of democracy, freedom of speech, a whole range of rights, the right to vote.

However, with the development of finance capital, you've got quite a different dynamic within the capitalist system. Let me say, I don't want to romanticize the early period of capitalism, but you did have struggles, mass struggles for rights. Finance capital produces nothing productive, it doesn't do anything productive. So, what finance capital does basically is it redistributes the income, the wealth, the, what Marx would call the surplus value, from other sectors of society to itself. And it employs relatively few people, so that dynamic of the capital, industrial capital, generating its antithesis So, that a labor movement doesn't occur under financial capital.

In addition, financial capital leads to inequality, and that inequality, as you've seen in the United States and in Europe and many other places, it increases. And suddenly, not suddenly, but bit by bit, people begin to realize that they aren't getting their share and that means that the government, to protect capitalism, must use force to maintain the order of financial capital. And I think Trump is the fulfillment of that, and I think there are other examples too which I can go into. So, basically, my argument is that with the rise of finance and its unproductive activities, you've got the decline in living standards of the vast majority, and in order to maintain order in such a system where people no longer think that they're sort of getting their share, and so justice doesn't become, a just distribution doesn't become the reason why people support this system, increasingly it has to be done through force.

SHARMINI PERIES: All right, John. Before we get further into the relationship between neo[neo]liberalism and democracy, give us a brief summary of what you mean by neo[neo]liberalism. You say that it's not really about deregulation, as most people usually conceive of it. If that's not what it's about, what is it, then?

JOHN WEEKS: I think that if you think about the movements in the United States, and as much as I can, I will take examples from the United States because most of your listeners will be familiar with those, beginning in the early part of the twentieth century, in the United States you have reform movements, the breaking up of the large monopolies, tobacco monopoly, a whole range of Standard Oil, all of that. And then of course under Roosevelt you began to get the regulation of capital in the interests of the majority, much of that driven by Roosevelt's trade union support. So, that was moving from a system where capital was relatively unregulated to where it was being regulated in the interests of the vast majority. I also would say, though, I won't go into detail, to a certain extent it was regulated in the interest of capital itself to moderate competition and therefore, I'd say, ensure a relatively tranquil market environment.

Neo[neo]liberalism involves not the deregulation of the capitalist system, but the reregulation of it in the interest of capital. So, it involves moving from a system in which capital is regulated in the interests of stability and the many to regulation in a way that enhances capital. These regulations, to get specific about them, restrictions on trade unions, as you, on Real News, a number of people have talked about this. The United States now have many restrictions on the organizing of trade unions which were not present 50 or 60 years ago, making it harder to have a mass movement of labor against capital, restrictions on the right to demonstrate, a whole range of things. Then within capital itself, the regulations on the movement of capital that facilitate speculation in international markets. We have a capitalism in which the form of regulation is shifted from the regulation of capital in the interest of labor to regulation of capital in the interest of capital.

SHARMINI PERIES: John, give us a brief summary of the ways in which neo[neo]liberalism undermines democracy.

JOHN WEEKS: Well, I think that there are many examples, but I'm going to focus on economic policy. For an obvious case is the role of the Central Bank, in the case of the United States' Federal Reserve System, in which reducing its accountability to the public, one way you can do that is by assigning goals to it, such as fighting inflation, which then override other goals. Originally, the Federal Reserve System, its charter, or I'll say its terms of reference, if you want me to use that phrase, included full employment and a stable economy. Those have been overridden in more recent legislation, which puts a great emphasis on the control of inflation. Control of inflation basically means maintaining an economy at a relatively high level of unemployment or part-time employment, or flexible employment, where people have relatively few rights at work. And that the Central Bank becomes a vehicle for enforcing a neo[neo]liberal economic policy.

Second of all, probably most of your viewers will not remember the days when we had fixed exchange rates. We had a world of fixed exchange rates in those days that represented the policy, which government could use to affect its trade and also affect its domestic policy. There have been deregulation of that. We now have floating exchange rates. That takes away a tool, an instrument of economic policy. And in fiscal policy, there the, here it's more ideology than laws, though there are also laws. There's a law requiring that the government balance its budget, but more important than that, the introduction into the public consciousness, I'd say grinding into the public consciousness, the idea that deficits are a bad thing, government debt is a bad thing, and that's a completely neo[neo]liberal ideology.

In summary, one way that the democracy has been undermined is to take away economic policy from the public realm and move it to the realm of experts. So, we have certain allegedly expert guidelines that we have to follow. Inflation should be low. We should not run deficits. The national debt should be small. These are things that are just made up ideologically. There is no technical basis to them. And so, in doing that, you might say, the term I like to use is, you decommission the democratic process and economic policy.

SHARMINI PERIES: John, speaking of ideology, in your talk you refer to the challenge that fascism posed or poses to neo[neo]liberal democracies. Now, it is interesting when you take Europe into consideration and National Socialist in Germany, for example, appeal mostly to the working class, as does contemporary far-right leaders in Poland and Hungary, that they support more explicit neo[neo]liberal agendas. Why would people support a neo[neo]liberal agenda that exasperate inequalities and harm public services that they depend on, including jobs?

JOHN WEEKS: I think that to a great extent it is country-specific, but I can make generalizations. First of all, I'm talking about Europe, because you raised a case in some European countries, and then I'll make some comments about the United States and Trump, if you want me to. I think in Europe, a combination of three things resulted in the rise of fascism and authoritarian movements which are verging on fascism. One is that the European integration project, which let me say that I have supported, and I would still prefer Britain not to leave the European Union, but nevertheless, the European Union integration project has been a project run by elites.

It has not been a bottom-up process. It has been a process very much run by elite politicians, in which they get together in closed door, and they make policies which they subsequently announce, and many of the decisions they come to being extremely, the meaning of them being extremely opaque. So, therefore, you have the development in Europe of the European Union which, not from the bottom up, but very much from the top down. You might suggest from the top, but I'm not sure how much goes down. That's one.
The second key factor, I would say, for about 20 years in European integration, it was relatively benign elitism because it was social democratic, it had the support of the working class, or the trade unions, at any rate. Then, increasingly, it began to become neo[neo]liberal. So, you have an elite project which was turning into a neo[neo]liberal project. Specifically, what I mean by neo[neo]liberal is where they're generating flexibility rules for the labor market, austerity policies, bank, balanced budgets, low inflation, the things I was talking about before.

Then the third element, toxic, the most toxic of them, but the other, they're volatile, is the legacy of fascism in Europe. Every European country, with the exception of Britain, had a substantial fascist movement in the 1920s and 1930s. I can go into why Britain didn't sometime. It had to do with the particular class struggle of the, I mean, class structure of Britain. Poland, ironically enough, though, is one of them. It was overrun by the Nazis, and occupied, and incorporated into the German Reich. Ironically, it had a very right-wing government with a lot of sympathies towards fascism when it was invaded in the late summer of 1939.

France had a strong fascist movement. Of course, Italy had a fascist government, and Hungary, where now you have a right-wing government, a very strong fascist movement. The incorporation of these countries into the Soviet sphere of influence, or the empire, as it were, did not destroy that fascism. It certainly suppressed it, but it didn't destroy it. So, as soon as the European project began to transform into a neo[neo]liberal project, and that gathered strength in the early 1990s, I mean, the neo[neo]liberal aspect of the European Union gathered strength in the early 1990s, exactly when you were getting the "liberation" of many countries from Soviet rule. And so, when you put those together, it led to, It was a rise of fascism waiting to happen and now it is happening.

SHARMINI PERIES: John, earlier, you said you'll factor in Trump. How does Trump fit into this phenomena?

JOHN WEEKS: I think that as The Real News has pointed out, that many of Trump's policies appear just to be more extreme versions of things that George Bush did, and in some cases not that much different from what Barack Obama did. Now, though I wouldn't go too deeply into that, I think that that is the most serious offenses by Obama that have been carried on by Trump have to do with the use of drones and the military. But at any rate, but there's a big difference from Trump. For the most part, the previous Republican presidents, and Democratic presidents, accepted the framework of, the formal framework of [neo]liberal democracy in the United States. That is, formally accepted the constraints imposed by the Constitution.

Now, of course, they probably didn't do it out of the goodness of their heart. They did it because they saw that the things that they wanted to achieve, the neo[neo]liberal goals that they wanted to achieve were perfectly consistent with the Constitution's framework and guarantees of rights and so on, that most of those rights are guaranteed in a way that's so weak that you didn't have to repeal the first 10 Amendments of the Constitution in order to have repressive policies.

The difference with Trump is, he has complete contempt for all of those constraints. That is, he is an authoritarian. I don't think he's a fascist, not yet, but he is an authoritarian. He does not accept that there are constraints which he should respect. There are constraints which bother him, and he wants to get rid of them, and he actually takes steps to do so. What you have in Trump, I think, is a sea change. You have a, we've had right-wing presidents before, certainly. What the difference with Trump is, he is a right-wing president that sees no reason to respect the institutions of democratic government, or even, you might say, the institution of representative government. I won't even use a term as strong as "democratic." That lays the basis for an explicitly authoritarian United States, and I'd say that we're beginning to see the vehicle by which this will occur, the restriction on voting rights. Of course, that was going on before Trump, it does in a more aggressive way. I think the, soon, we will have a Supreme Court that will be quite lenient with his tendency towards authoritarian rule.

SHARMINI PERIES: All right, John. Let's end this segment with what can be done. I mean, what must be done to prevent neo[neo]liberal interests from undermining democracy? And who do you believe is leading the struggle for democracy now, and what is the right strategy that people should be fighting for?

JOHN WEEKS: Well, one thing, I think, where I'd begin is that I think progressives, as The Real News represents, and Bernie Sanders, and all the people that support him, and Jeremy Corbyn over here, I'll come back to talk about a bit about Jeremy. We must be explicit that we view democracy, by which we mean the participation of people at the grassroots, their participation in the government, we view that as a goal. It's not merely a technique, or a tool which, what was it that Erdoğan so infamously said? "Democracy is like a train. You take it to where you want to go and then you get off." No. Progressive view is that democracy is what it's all about. Democracy is the way that we build the present and we build a future.

I'm quite fortunate in that I live in perhaps the only large country in the world where there's imminent possibility of a progressive, left-wing, anti-authoritarian government. I think that is the monumental importance of Jeremy Corbyn and his second-in-command, John McDonnell, and others like Emily Thornberry, who is the Foreign Secretary. These people are committed to democracy. In the United States, Bernie Sanders is committed to a democracy, and a lot of other people are too, Elizabeth Warren. So, I think that the struggle in the United States is extremely difficult because of the role of the big money and the media, which you know more about than I do. But it is a struggle which we have to keep at, and we have to be optimistic about it. It's a good bit easier over here, but as we saw, and you reported, during the last presidential election, a progressive came very close to being President of the United States. That, I don't think was a one-off event, not to be repeated. I think it lays the basis for hope in the future.

... ... ...


JTMcPhee , February 17, 2018 at 9:35 am

"Informed speculation" with lots of footnotes and offshoots in this Reddit skein: https://www.reddit.com/r/AskHistorians/comments/1llyf7/about_how_much_in_todays_money_was_30_pieces_of/

"A lot of money" in those days- Some say JI "bought land" with the shekels. An early form of asset swap? A precursor to current financialist activities?

WobblyTelomeres , February 17, 2018 at 10:44 am

Good article. If it were any bleaker, I'd suspect Chris Hedges having a hand in writing it.

The democratic nation-state basically operates like a criminal cartel, forcing honest citizens to surrender large portions of their wealth to pay for stuff like roads and hospitals and schools.

There it is, the Gorgon Thiel, surrounded by terror and rout.

James T. Cricket , February 18, 2018 at 3:46 am

I suppose you've read this.

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2016/10/10/sam-altmans-manifest-destiny

Here's a quote:

"Altman felt that OpenAI's mission was to babysit its wunderkind until it was ready to be adopted by the world. He'd been reading James Madison's notes on the Constitutional Convention for guidance in managing the transition. 'We're planning a way to allow wide swaths of the world to elect representatives to a new governance board,' he said."

I was having trouble choosing which of the passages in this article to provide a mad quote from. Some other choices were
Altman's going to work with the Department of Defense, then help defend the world from them.
Or:
OpenAI's going to take over from humans, but don't worry because they're going to make it (somehow) so OpenAI can only terminate bad people. Before releasing it to the world.
Or:
Altman says 'add a 0 to whatever you're doing but never more than that.'

But if this sort of wisdom (somehow) doesn't work out well for everybody and the world collapses, he's flying with Peter Thiel in the private jet to the New Zealand's south island to wait out the Zombie Apocalypse on a converted sheep farm. (Before returning to the Valley work with more startups?)

These are your new leaders, people

David , February 17, 2018 at 7:56 am

I think it's revealing that the only type of democracy discussed, in spite of the title, is "[neo]liberal democracy", which the host describes as "based on capitalistic markets along with respect for individual freedoms and human rights and equality in the face of the law."

I've always argued that [neo]liberal democracy is a contradiction in terms, and you can see why from that quotation. [neo]liberalism (leaving aside special uses of the term in the US) is about individuals exercising their personal economic freedom and personal autonomy as much as they can, with as little control by government as possible.

But given massive imbalances in economic power, the influence of media-backed single issue campaigns and the growth of professional political parties, policy is decided by the interventions of powerful and well-organised groups, without ordinary people being consulted. At the end, Weeks does start to talk of grassroots participation, but seems to have no more in mind than a campaign to get people to vote for Sanders in 2020, which hardly addresses the problem. The answer, if there is one, is a system of direct democracy, involving referendums and popular assemblies chosen at random.

This has been much talked about, but since you would have the entire political class against you, it's not going to happen. In the meantime, we are stuck with [neo]liberal democracy, whose contradictions, I'm afraid are becoming ever more obvious.

JTMcPhee , February 17, 2018 at 8:45 am

"Contradictions?" One question for me at least would be whether the features and motions of the current regime are best characterized as "contradictions." If so, to what? And implicit in the use of the word is some kind of resolution, via actual class conflict or something, leading to "better" or at least "different." All I see from my front porch is more of the same, and worse. "The Matrix" in that myth gave some comforting illusions to the mopery. I think the political economy/collapsed planet portrayed in "Soylent Green" is a lot closer to the likely endpoints.

At least in the movie fable, the C-Suite-er of the Soylent Corp. as the lede in the film, was sickened of what he was helping to maintain, and bethought himself to blow his tiny little personal whistle that nobody would really hear, and got axed for his disloyalty to the ruling collective. I doubt the ranks of corporatists of MonsantoDuPont and LockheedMartin and the rest include any significant numbers of folks sickened by "the contradictions" that get them their perks and bennies and power (as long as they color inside the lines.)

Eustache De Saint Pierre , February 17, 2018 at 9:33 am

I hope I am way off the mark, but within that genre & in terms of where we could be heading, the film " Snowpiercer " sums it up best for me- a dystopian world society illustrated through the passengers on one long train.

Michael C , February 17, 2018 at 8:46 am

Thanks for the Real News Network for covering issues that never see the light of day on the corporate media and never mentioned by the Rachel Maddow's of the "news" shows.

torff , February 17, 2018 at 10:02 am

Can we please put a moratorium on the term "free market"? It's a nonsense term.

Yves Smith Post author , February 17, 2018 at 6:59 pm

Yes, I wrote about that at length in ECONNED. I kept the RNN headline, which used it, but should have put "free market" in quotes.

Katz , February 18, 2018 at 11:09 am

I actually like the term and find it useful, insofar as it describes an ideology -- as oposed a real political-economic arrangement. The presence of "free markets" may not be a characteristic of the neo[neo]liberal phase, but the belief in them sure is.

(Which is not to say there aren't people who don't believe in free markets but do invoke them rhetorically for other ends. That's a feature of many if not most successful ideologies.)

Jim Haygood , February 17, 2018 at 10:59 am

' Originally, the Federal Reserve charter included full employment and a stable economy. Those have been overridden in more recent legislation, which puts a great emphasis on the control of inflation.

Eh, this is fractured history. The Fed was set up in 1913 as a lender of last resort -- a discounter of government and private bills.

In late 1978 Jimmy Carter signed the Humphrey Hawkins Act instructing the Fed to pursue three goals: stable prices, maximum employment, and moderate long-term interest rates, though the latter is rarely mentioned now and the Fed is widely viewed as having a dual mandate.

The Fed's two percent inflation target it simply adopted at its own initiative -- it's not enshrined in no Perpetual Inflation Act.

' We had a world of fixed exchange rates which government could use to affect its trade and also affect its domestic policy. We now have floating exchange rates. That takes away a tool. '

LOL! This is totally inverted and flat wrong. The Bretton Woods fixed exchange rate system prevented radical monetary experiments such as QE which would have broken the peg. Nixon unilaterally suspended fixed exchange rates in 1971 because he was unwilling to take the political hit of formally devaluing the dollar (or even more unlikely, sweating out Vietnam War inflation with falling prices to maintain the peg).

Floating rates are a new and potentially lethal monetary tool which have produced a number of sad examples of "governments gone wild" with radical monetary experiments and currency swings. Bad boys Japan & Switzerland come readily to mind.

To render history accurately requires getting hands dirty with dusty old books. Icky, I know. :-(

RBHoughton , February 17, 2018 at 6:24 pm

Yes but globalisation meant that all central banks and finance ministers had to act concertedly as in G-20 and similar meetings. While we may talk of floating exchange rates, each country fixes its interest rate to maintain parity with the others. Isn't that so?

Yves Smith Post author , February 17, 2018 at 7:00 pm

Ahem, you skip over that the full employment goal was added to the Fed mandate in 1946, long before the inflation goal was added.

The Rev Kev , February 17, 2018 at 7:29 pm

I think that the key piece of info is that the Federal Reserve was created on December 23rd, 1913. That sounds like that it was slipped in the legislative back door when everybody was going away for the Christmas holidays.

Steven Greenberg , February 17, 2018 at 11:26 am

===== quote =====
Second of all, probably most of your viewers will not remember the days when we had fixed exchange rates. We had a world of fixed exchange rates in those days that represented the policy, which government could use to affect its trade and also affect its domestic policy. There have been deregulation of that. We now have floating exchange rates. That takes away a tool, an instrument of economic policy. And in fiscal policy, there the, here it's more ideology than laws, though there are also laws. There's a law requiring that the government balance its budget, but more important than that, the introduction into the public consciousness, I'd say grinding into the public consciousness, the idea that deficits are a bad thing, government debt is a bad thing, and that's a completely neo[neo]liberal ideology.
===== /quote =====

This makes absolutely no sense and seems to have the case exactly backward. Our federal government has no rule that the budget must be balanced. Fixed exchange rates were not a tool that could be used to affect trade and domestic policy in a good way.

Lee Robertson , February 17, 2018 at 11:42 am

Any hierarchic system will be exploited by intelligent sociopaths. Systems will not save us.

Susan the other , February 17, 2018 at 1:29 pm

I enjoyed John Weeks' point of view. He's the first person I've read who refers to the usefulness of a fixed exchange rate. Useful for a sovereign government with a social spending agenda. We have always been a sovereign government with a military agenda which is at odds with a social agenda.

Guns and butter are a dangerous combination if you are dedicated to at least maintaining the illusion of a "strong dollar." That's basically what Nixon finessed. John Conally told him not to worry, we could go off the gold standard and it wasn't our problem since we were the reserve currency – it was everybody else's problem and we promptly exported our inflation all around the world. And now it has come home to roost because it was fudging and it couldn't last forever.

Much better to concede to some fix for the currency and maintain the sovereign power to devalue the dollar as necessary to maintain proper social spending. I don't understand why sovereign governments cannot see that a deficit is just the mirror image of a healthy social economy (Stephanie Kelton).

And to that end "fix" an exchange rate that maintains a reasonable purchasing power of the currency by pegging it to the long term health of the economy. What we do now is peg the dollar to a "basket of goods and services"- Ben Bernanke. That "basket" is effectively "the market" and has very little to do with good social policy.

There's no reason we can't dispense with the market and simply fiat the value of our currency based on the social return estimated for our social investments. Etc. Keeping the dollar stubbornly strong is just tyranny favoring those few who benefit from extreme inequality.

ebbflows , February 17, 2018 at 4:19 pm

Bancor. Then some got delusions of grandeur.

albert , February 17, 2018 at 2:23 pm

" Democracy is not under stress – it's under aggressive attack, as unconstrained financial greed overrides public accountability ."

I request a lessatorium* on the term 'democracy', because there aren't any democracies. Rather than redefine the term, why not use a more accurate one, like 'plutocracy', or 'corporatocracy'.
-- -- -- -
* It's like a moratorium, you just do less of it.

Paul Cardan , February 17, 2018 at 2:37 pm

What is this democracy of which you speak?

Tomonthebeach , February 17, 2018 at 4:30 pm

I had not given much thought to "Fascist" until the term was challenged as a synonym for "bully." So, I started reading Wikipedia's take on Fascismo. What I discovered was the foremost, my USA education did not teach jack s -- about Fascism – and I went to elite high school in libr'l Chicago.

Is Fascism right or left? Does it matter? What goes around comes around.

What I gleaned from my quick Wikiread was the apparent pattern of economic inequality causing the masses to huddle in fear & loathing to one corner – desperation, and then some clever autocrat subverts the energy from their F&L into political power by demonizing various minorities and other non-causal perps.

Like nearly every past fascism emergence in history, US Trumpismo is capitalizing on inequality, and fear & loathing (his capital if you will) to seize power. That brings us to Today – to Trump, and an era (brief I hope) of US flirtation with fascism. Thank God Trump is crippled by a narcissism that fuels F&L within his own regime. Otherwise, I might be joining a survivalist group or something. :-)

Synoia , February 17, 2018 at 6:32 pm

Left and right are more line circle that a line.

I view the extreme left and extreme right, meeting somewhere, hidden, at the back of a circle.

c_heale , February 17, 2018 at 7:29 pm

I always believed this too!

+1

flora , February 17, 2018 at 8:01 pm

Neoliberalism involves not the deregulation of the capitalist system, but the reregulation of it in the interest of capital. So, it involves moving from a system in which capital is regulated in the interests of stability and the many to regulation in a way that enhances capital.

Prominent politicians in the US and UK have spent their entire political careers representing neoliberalism's agenda at the expense of representing the voters' issues. The voters are tired of the conservative and [neo]liberal political establishments' focus on neoliberal policy. This is also true in Germany as well France and Italy. The West's current political establishments see the way forward as "staying the neoliberal course." Voters are saying "change course." See:

'German Politics Enters an Era of Instability' – Der Speigel

http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/german-political-landscape-crumbling-as-merkel-coalition-forms-a-1193947.html

[Feb 17, 2018] The Deep State Has Long Abused Its Power by George Beebe

Notable quotes:
"... From Eisenhower to Trump, the intelligence community has always struggled with its political role. ..."
"... Note: this article is part of a ..."
"... included in the March/April 2018 issue of the ..."
"... George Beebe is director of the Center for the National Interest's intelligence program. He formerly served as chief of Russia analysis at the CIA, and as special advisor to Vice President Cheney on Russia and the former Soviet Union. ..."
Feb 13, 2018 | nationalinterest.org

From Eisenhower to Trump, the intelligence community has always struggled with its political role. Tweet Share Share March-April 2018 Note: this article is part of a symposium included in the March/April 2018 issue of the National Interest .

FEW QUESTIONS have greater import for the health and integrity of any republic than the question of whether important parts of its government's national-security apparatus are abusing their power for political purposes. This is particularly true in the United States, where the departments and agencies known collectively as the Intelligence Community (IC) have grown so large and capable, where faith in the integrity of our democratic institutions is so vital to the effective functioning of our system, and where suspicions about secret police and intelligence organizations are baked so deeply into our country's political culture.

The United States has faced this question several times in its recent history. The Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon administrations all used -- or attempted to use -- the FBI and CIA to gather intelligence on U.S. citizens they suspected of collaboration with communist agents, with too little regard for statutory regulations and prohibitions of such practices, and too great a tendency to view their political enemies as national-security threats. Lyndon B. Johnson believed, without much justification, that the CIA had conspired against him at the 1960 Democratic convention to ensure that John F. Kennedy won the presidential nomination. Richard Nixon was equally convinced that the CIA had helped to swing the subsequent presidential election to Kennedy. These misperceptions barely surfaced in public at the time and did little to shake voters' faith in the outcome of the election, but they had significant implications for the working relationships of both Johnson and Nixon with the CIA once in office. Johnson's suspicions probably increased his inclination to side with the Defense Department's optimistic assessments of the Vietnam War over the CIA's more pessimistic -- and, in retrospect, more accurate -- analyses. Nixon's suspicions fueled his determination to build a small intelligence-gathering and covert-action group within the White House, which ultimately led to the Watergate break-in and cover-up that destroyed his presidency.

Investigations in the 1970s into various IC abuses, including efforts to collect intelligence on the political activities of U.S. citizens, led to the creation of specially designated congressional oversight committees -- the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence -- with the power and authorization to ensure that the CIA, NSA, FBI, and other IC bodies conduct their activities strictly within the bounds of law. The investigations also resulted in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) of 1978, which imposed strict limits on the government's ability to surveil the communications and activities of U.S. persons, requiring warrants issued by a special FISA court based on probable cause to believe that the target is a foreign power or its agent. The act established "minimization" requirements for disclosing the identities of U.S. persons being surveilled, allowing for "unmasking" -- that is, revealing their names to authorized government officials -- only when there is strong reason to believe they have committed a crime or when their identities are necessary to understand the intelligence information.

The now-infamous Iraq WMD estimate of 2002 raised questions of the political misuse of intelligence in a different form. Seldom had intelligence figured more prominently in the public justifications for a decision to go to war, and seldom had it been proven more spectacularly wrong in retrospect. Years of efforts by the CIA to increase its relevance had paid off in an unprecedentedly close relationship to the White House, but its unique ability to provide policymakers with the skepticism of a disinterested party suffered. The reorganization and reform of the IC mandated by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2005 were designed less to prevent political abuses of intelligence than to make the IC less prone to such consequential errors. This required something new of intelligence overseers: not only to ensure that IC activities remained within the bounds of law, but also to encourage qualitative improvements to its analytic rigor, information sharing and collaboration.

In principle, no one disputes that intelligence operations should be conducted strictly within the bounds of law, and that intelligence and law-enforcement professionals should be guided solely by evidence and analytic rigor in producing their assessments. Human nature being what it is, however, two temptations will be a never-ending challenge: for the IC, to please its White House masters, and for the presidency, to conflate its political enemies with those of the country as a whole. Aspects of both these temptations are evident in the controversies over the 2016 presidential election.

The use of the IC's vast capabilities to gather intelligence on opposition political campaigns should occur only in the rarest of circumstances, justified by solid evidence of treasonous activities warranted by the FISA court. The so-called Steele dossier, a piece of Clinton-funded opposition research gathered from London through unsecure communications with unnamed contacts in Russia, does not meet that standard of evidence. If, as is alleged but not proven, the FBI relied on this unverified document to justify a FISA warrant for collecting intelligence on Trump campaign officials, then the Obama administration crossed an important ethical, though probably not legal, line. Is there a deep state in the United States? Yes, if that means that important parts of our national-security apparatus have the capability, albeit not the legal authority, to abuse intelligence to alter the outcomes of national elections or distort public-policy debates. But we have processes in place to minimize this danger if the oversight provisions established by our laws are properly implemented and our independent media play their informal oversight role effectively. The IC, Congress, judiciary and media all appear to have fallen short of the standards our country should expect.

George Beebe is director of the Center for the National Interest's intelligence program. He formerly served as chief of Russia analysis at the CIA, and as special advisor to Vice President Cheney on Russia and the former Soviet Union.


Alistar , February 14, 2018 9:00 AM

Mr. Beebe, crossed an ethical but probably not legal line??? Really, appalling. FBI/DOJ operatives using the national level intel services to spy against a political opponent? Corruption, deception, lying to judges? Then there's this little aspect of a "cover up." Remember Nixon and Watergate, the break in was small potatoes, it was the lying and cover up that cost Nixon the Presidency. These two questions MUST be asked: What did they know and when did they know it??? Lynch, Holder, Brennan, Comey, Panetta, Biden and especially Obama. The truth will come out, eventually.

Irakli Bokuchava , February 15, 2018 9:12 AM

CIA and Intelligence community in common are parts of the American political system;their successful functioning is basis of success and victory of the USA as civil country;its alpha and omega of practical politics!

enoch arden , February 14, 2018 9:33 AM

The American so-called "Intel community" is a very peculiar phenomenon. Including this very term. Any intelligence agency is a military organisation with a very strict discipline directly subordinated to the commander in chief. Its activity is strictly secret and the commander in chief is the only recipient of the intelligence they acquire.

The Chinese book of military strategy "Sun Tzu" says that if the information of an agent became known to anyone before it was reported to the superior commander, both the agent and the recipient must be executed: the former for his loose tongue, the latter for his inappropriate curiocity. This implies that a particular branch of the intelligence service cannot distribute the information even to the adjacent branches, leaving alone the media.

In the US these rules seems to be entirely foreign. The intelligence officers actively discuss everything both with each other and with the media so that the commander in chief is often the last receiving the information. In a normal country this behaviour would have been stopped by executing the first 100 caught in leaking. The rest would learn the lesson.

TrumpUup💪🏻 enoch arden , February 14, 2018 6:04 PM

I agree but i would say these people are obviously Obama lovers... We both know the realities of today wouldn't allow for executions but it would stop ot and i do agree... The only answer is smaller government but it's to late for that..

sr37212 , February 14, 2018 9:26 AM

I guess we should just ignore the Dulles boys and their using the government to advance their own worth by overthrowing governments.

Schlesinger's Zenith ElPrimero , February 14, 2018 6:02 AM

Another worthless article - how can you mention the Deep State and Nixon and not mention the mighty James Schlesinger and the Family Jewels? I think the Master Old Boy talked about peak oil in his later years too - nah, no such thing as the Limits to Growth eh boys?

Arkansas Traveler Schlesinger's Zenith ElPrimero , February 14, 2018 10:30 AM

The difference is that at one time, the deep state was on the side of the United States

[Feb 17, 2018] The Deep State Is No Supervillain by Michael Lind

Notable quotes:
"... Michael Lind is a visiting professor at the University of Texas at Austin and author, with Robert D. Atkinson, of ..."
"... (MIT Press, March 2018). ..."
"... The rise of the power elite has long been a serious problem in many Western societies, but trying to forcibly overthrow it will only create a new and potentially more dangerous elite in turn. ..."
"... Information is the key to winning any war between the people and the elite ..."
"... Would have been nice to mention that all this was possible post-1991 because there was no longer a peer competitor to the US, and thus Western business elite no longer was constrained to be allied with Western workers. Since 2014, that has all changed. There are now two near-peer competitors to the US. ..."
Feb 17, 2018 | nationalinterest.org

Political scientists often divide explanations of democratic politics in the United States and similar nations among theories of pluralism, state autonomy and elitism. The pluralist theory holds that the American elite, like the population, is divided among competing centers of power and authority with different values and interests. The state-autonomy theory holds that government agencies and military and intelligence organizations are independent actors in politics. The elitist theory holds that in most democracies most of the time, no matter how many political parties there may be, there is a dominant elite, which includes most of the leaders of politics, the economy and civil society and shares a broad consensus.

... ... ...

In my view, the elitist approach best explains the Trump phenomenon, along with contemporary populism on both sides of the Atlantic. Since the end of the Cold War, highly homogeneous social elites in North America and Europe have liberated themselves from the constraints of the institutions that restrained them between 1945 and 1989 -- institutions including strong labor unions, grassroots political parties and, in the United States, a distinct Southern oligarchy that by now has largely lost its identity and power and has been absorbed into the national ruling class.

Elites in the United States, Britain, Germany and other Western nations under post–Cold War leadership have deliberately weakened the bargaining power of workers in their nations by a combination of austerity-induced unemployment, offshoring, permitting Western-controlled corporations to play nation-states against one another and mass low-skilled immigration, creating a low-wage "reserve army of labor" in Western countries.

While restructuring the global economy to crush organized labor, transatlantic elites have simultaneously restructured government to minimize democratic accountability, by shifting decisionmaking from legislatures to executive and judicial agencies within the nation-state, and by enabling treaties and transnational agencies like the European Union, which are more insulated from voters, to replace or modify national statutory law. In both of the cases of anti-worker economic restructuring and de-democratization, American and European oligarchs have claimed that a mysterious, unstoppable force called "globalization" compelled them to do what they wanted to do anyway. This post–Cold War oligarchic revolution from above might be described as a conspiracy, but it is not a secret conspiracy perpetrated by the deep state. It was a program carried out in broad daylight by Bill Clinton and George Bush, Tony Blair and centrist European leaders. And it succeeded in its two goals of weakening the economic leverage and political power of the working-class majorities in the United States, the UK and other Western nations.

The populist rebellions of the second decade of the twenty-first century, which have been led by right-wing tribunes like Trump or left-wing demagogues like Sanders and Corbyn, can only be understood as a long-delayed reaction by populations to the replacement of the cross-class compromises of the post–World War II period by untrammeled oligarchy. America's newly empowered ruling class has closed ranks against Trump, but it would also close ranks against any other outsider president who challenged its post–Cold War dominance of American society, including Bernie Sanders. Deep divide? Yes. Deep state? No.

Michael Lind is a visiting professor at the University of Texas at Austin and author, with Robert D. Atkinson, of Big is Beautiful: Debunking the Myth of Small Business (MIT Press, March 2018).


Uniters.org Centrist EIC , February 13, 2018 7:36 AM

A bizarre misreading of history, though good points are made as well.

This is a classic example of a dishonest person analyzing something they disagree with, and instead of sticking to reality, they build a straw man bugaboo to assign blame to, and make their side into a victim:

"deliberately weakened the bargaining power of workers in their nations by a combination of austerity-induced unemployment, offshoring, permitting Western-controlled corporations to play nation-states against one another and mass low-skilled immigration, creating a low-wage "reserve army of labor" in Western countries"

He pretends that he isn't calling it a conspiracy, but that is exactly what he's doing, and some have done what he describes, but where he willfully jumps off the cliff of dishonesty is in claiming to know why ("deliberately") these actions were taken by so many people, over such a long period of time.

That's an obvious lie. Unless Mr. Lind is Professor X, using science fiction psychic magnifying machines to read thousands of minds, both past and present, there is no way anyone could honestly make that claim.

His use of conspiracy theory makes it doubly interesting in how he deconstructs the conspiracy theory many on the right are pushing about the 'deep state'.

Turn that skeptic's lens back on yourself, Mr. Lind.

R. Arandas , February 13, 2018 3:57 PM

The rise of the power elite has long been a serious problem in many Western societies, but trying to forcibly overthrow it will only create a new and potentially more dangerous elite in turn.

Information is the key to winning any war between the people and the elite.

Curt , February 13, 2018 1:59 PM

Would have been nice to mention that all this was possible post-1991 because there was no longer a peer competitor to the US, and thus Western business elite no longer was constrained to be allied with Western workers. Since 2014, that has all changed. There are now two near-peer competitors to the US.

[Feb 16, 2018] The Deep Staters care first and foremost about themselves.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Putin is evil, Putin kills, Putin steals, bla bla bla!!! Putin is only guilty for not being America's vassal. The Russia bashing in MSM will cease by miracle if it becomes America's client state. Putin and Russia are presumed guilty of everything bad that happens in the world. ..."
"... No evidence is needed, high confidence is enough!! It is almost funny that a country like USA which has a long records of meedling and intervention in others countries internal affairs worlwide, now is losing reason about alleged russia meedling. ..."
Feb 16, 2018 | nationalinterest.org

andrewp111 Guest , February 13, 2018 7:21 AM

For a very simple reason. The Deep Staters care first and foremost about themselves. They wanted Hillary to win, badly, but were not willing to risk too much for her. James Comey in particular cares about James Comey. Remember, this is a guy who views himself as a historical Religious Figure. He wanted to be able to serve out a full 10 year term. He wanted to please his Democratic masters enough to avoid being fired by either Obama or Clinton, but not too much to gain excessive ire from Congress. He was afraid that a Republican Congress under a future Clinton Administration would go after him tooth and nail if he "concealed" new evidence against Clinton prior to the election - especially since he promised the Congress that he would inform them of new developments. And Comey probably feared the worst as to what was in Wiener's email archive. When they finally went through that archive, and failed to find much that was new, he must have breathed a sigh of relief - only to see the wrong person win the election.

Tracy Crawford , February 13, 2018 8:21 PM

The political system in the US is a near complete failure. On one hand the massive levels of corruption legalized in Citizen's United give influence over political decisions to wealthy elites previously unseen outside of the deeply corrupted and criminal Russian oligarchy. On the other hand and synergistic with the previous point, the least informed and most easily influenced of people have votes equal in weight to highly informed, well-educated, expert and professional practitioners.

Rights guaranteed by a difficult-to-alter constitution combined with easily managed and easily created social media content based on opaque sources of emotionally charged, unverified and unverifiable information have gained control over public opinion (making alteration of our constitution even more difficult.)

And look at the fourth (Reagan, Bush, Bush, Trump) wave of Republican explosion of national debt under the banner of "fiscal responsibility."

It is astounding how "A" can be so successfully marketed as "B."

I am afraid that once control of public opinion has been so successfully attained in our form of democracy/legalized-corruption that there is no way to recover.

It is a sad state of affairs. I'd love to hear solutions.

Kurt Gayle , February 13, 2018 2:03 PM

An excellent description of the recent activities of the Deep State, Mr. Merry.

Thank you.

The trolls will now come after you full-bore.

WillDippel , February 12, 2018 9:08 PM

As shown in this article, Washington is completely ignoring the one issue of its own making that could create global chaos:

https://viableopposition.bl...

Washington's anti-Russia program is simply a distraction from its real problems.

Anti-Empire , February 14, 2018 12:48 PM

Great piece by Merry. Not new, but worthy of repetition when presented clearly like this.
It does not matter what you call it, Deep State or something else. What Merry says about the threat it poses to what remnants of democracy we have is true.
I prefer to call it the Imperial State since its highest priority is the US Empire, with domestic well-being simply an afterthought or of no cosequence at all.

Jamie , February 14, 2018 12:12 PM

"Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you,"

- Cryin' Chuck Schumer

Steve JimmyD , February 14, 2018 1:29 PM

There is only ONE country that consistently "messes" in the politics of nearly every other country on the planet and that is not Russia.

It is the USA Deep State. I challenge you to research the evidence, "hidden in plain sight", of these examples:

1) US money that flowed into France and Italy elections after WW2;

2) overthrow of Greece elected pres in 1974 by US-friendly generals;

3) overthrow of Salvadore Allende in Chile 1973;

4) overthrow of Iran Mossadegh in 1953;

5) overthrow of neutral govt in Indonesia in early '60s;

6) the massive money that flowed into Russia in 1996 to get Yeltsin re-elected;

7) the money and attention US put into overthrowing legally elected govt in Ukraine in 2014.

That is just a VERY short list.

NO OTHER COUNTRY ON EARTH HAS MAINTAINED THIS FRANTIC PACE OF MASSIVE INTERVENTIONS/MEDDLING/BRIBING/OVERTHROWING/BOMBING/INVADING/DEATH-SQUADing FOREIGN POLITICAL SYSTEMS FOR 70 YEARS LIKE YOUR "GOOD OLE USA", powered by it's un-elected Deep State.

kelly bako JimmyD , February 13, 2018 7:27 PM

Putin is evil, Putin kills, Putin steals, bla bla bla!!! Putin is only guilty for not being America's vassal. The Russia bashing in MSM will cease by miracle if it becomes America's client state. Putin and Russia are presumed guilty of everything bad that happens in the world.

No evidence is needed, high confidence is enough!! It is almost funny that a country like USA which has a long records of meedling and intervention in others countries internal affairs worlwide, now is losing reason about alleged russia meedling.

A troll, from Saint Petersburg.

Tracy Crawford kelly bako , February 13, 2018 10:50 PM

You're right, Kelly, about some of your points. Evil: check. Kill: check. Steal: check. Co-opting the largest per capita criminal network in the world: check.

kelly bako Tracy Crawford , February 14, 2018 2:01 AM

He forced Americans to vote trump to undermine your democracy : check

[Feb 16, 2018] The Deep State Is Very Real by Robert W. Merry

Notable quotes:
"... Note: this article is part of a ..."
"... included in the March/April 2018 issue of the ..."
"... Robert W. Merry, longtime Washington journalist and publishing executive, is editor of ..."
"... . He is the author most recently of ..."
Feb 16, 2018 | nationalinterest.org

February 12, 2018

Note: this article is part of a symposium included in the March/April 2018 issue of the National Interest .

OF COURSE there's a Deep State. Why wouldn't there be? Even a cursory understanding of human nature tells us that power corrupts, as Lord Acton put it; that, when power is concentrated and entrenched, it will be abused; that, when it is concentrated and entrenched in secrecy, it will be abused in secret. That's the Deep State. James Burnham saw it coming. The American philosopher and political theorist (1905–87), first a Trotskyist, then a leading conservative intellectual, wrote in 1941 that the great political development of the age was not the battle between communism and capitalism. Rather, it was the rise of a new "managerial" class gaining dominance in business, finance, organized labor and government. This gathering managerial revolution, as he called it, would be resisted, but it would be impervious to adversarial counteractions. As the managerial elites gained more and more power, exercised often in subtle and stealthy ways, they would exercise that power to embed themselves further into the folds of American society and to protect themselves from those who might want to bust them up.

Nowhere is this managerial elite more entrenched, more powerful and more shrouded in secrecy than in what Dwight Eisenhower called the military-industrial complex, augmented by intelligence and law-enforcement agencies. That's where America's relentless drive for global hegemony meshes with defense manufacturers only too willing to provide the tools of dominance.

Now we have not only a standing army, with hundreds of thousands of troops at the ready, as in Cold War days. We have also permanent wars, nine of them in progress at the moment and not one with what could even remotely be called proper congressional approval. That's how power gets entrenched, how the managerial revolution gains ever greater force and how the Deep State endures.

Few in the general public know what really happened with regard to the allegations of Trump campaign "collusion" with Russia, or how the investigation into those troubling allegations emerged. But we know enough to know we have seen the Deep State in action.

We know that U.S. agencies released an "Intelligence Community Assessment" saying that Russia and President Putin were behind the release of embarrassing Democratic emails in a plot to help Trump win the presidency. But we also know that it wasn't really a National Intelligence Assessment (a term of art denoting a particular process of expansive intelligence analysis) but rather the work of a controlled task force. As Scott Ritter, the former Marine intelligence officer and arms-control official, put it , "This deliberate misrepresentation of the organizational bona fides of the Russia NIA casts a shadow over the viability of the analysis used to underpin the assessments and judgments contained within." Besides, the document was long on assertion and short on evidence. Even the New York Times initially derided the report as lacking any "hard evidence" and amounting "essentially . . . to 'trust us.'"

We have substantial reason to believe that an unconfirmed salacious report on Trump, paid for by the Democratic Party and the Hillary Clinton campaign (with the FBI eventually getting hold of it), was used in an effort to get a secret national-security warrant so the government could spy on the Trump campaign. We know that the FBI went easy on Clinton in its investigation of her irresponsible email practices, and then we find out that a top FBI official involved in both the Clinton and Trump/Russia investigations despised Trump, liked Hillary and expressed an interest in doing what he could to thwart Trump's emergence. We know he privately told his lover that, while he didn't think Trump could win, he nevertheless felt a need for an "insurance policy" because "I'm afraid we can't take that risk." We know these matters were discussed in the office of FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe.

We know further that former FBI director James Comey used a cutout to leak to the press a rendition of an Oval Office conversation with the president that could be interpreted adversely to Trump. We know he did this to set in motion the appointment of an independent investigator, a potentially mortal threat to any president -- and perhaps particularly to this freewheeling billionaire developer.

Perhaps most significant, we know that all this had the effect of wrenching from the president the flexibility to pursue a policy agenda on which he had campaigned -- and which presumably contributed to his election. That was his promise to work toward improved relations between the United States and Russia. Prospects for such a diplomatic initiative now are as dead as the dodo bird. Trump lost that one. The Deep State won.

Robert W. Merry, longtime Washington journalist and publishing executive, is editor of The American Conservative . He is the author most recently of President McKinley: Architect of the American Century .


grumpy_carpenter , February 13, 2018 8:07 AM

I don't believe there is a secret 'deep state' controlling the USA from the shadows like some Bond villian.

What people call the deep state is in fact the interests of the business elite who have been granted nearly unprecedented political influence by the American people in the form or nearly unlimited campaign contributions to politicians who promote their interests, unregulated lobbying, control of the MSM and the funding of think tanks and other institutions that promote their interests.

When historians look back at this time it will be Madison Avenue and the revolution in persuasion that they study.

Paul Cressman grumpy_carpenter , February 13, 2018 6:20 PM

1934 Major General Smedley Butler, US Marine Corp, was asked by US Industrialists to help them overthrow the government. Roosevelt was to remain as the figurehead of the US but the industrialists would be in charge. The industrialist would supply Butler with a 500,000 man army that he would be in charge of. Butler's father was a congressman in the 1920's and Butler told congress of the possible Coup. Read of The Committee of Foreign Affairs, CFA.

R. Arandas grumpy_carpenter , February 13, 2018 4:02 PM

Yes, it is quite disturbing that 2% of the world's population control about 50% of its total wealth though:
https://www.theguardian.com...

JimmyD grumpy_carpenter , February 13, 2018 9:24 AM

Teddy Roosevelt and the Presidents that followed him understood the dangers of the Robber-Barons buying the government. That's why they launched anti-trust, income tax and estate taxes to protect democracy.

[Feb 16, 2018] The March-April 2018 Issue The National Interest

Feb 16, 2018 | nationalinterest.org

The Deep State Isn't What You Think

The problem is not that the "deep state" is thwarting Trump's policy agenda. It is his reliance on advisers who agree with the post–Cold War foreign-policy consensus.

Emma M. Ashford The Deep State Is a Distraction

When you hear the term "dark government," change the channel or turn off the radio; if you see an article, turn the page.

John Deutch Is There a Deep State?

A symposium on the "deep state" in today's Washington.

Jacob Heilbrunn The 'Deep State' Is No Supervillain

The encroaching "deep state" was a program carried out in broad daylight by Bill Clinton and George Bush, Tony Blair and centrist European leaders.

Michael Lind The Deep State Is Very Real

How the Deep State stopped better relations with Russia.

Robert W. Merry The Deep State Has Long Abused Its Power

From Eisenhower to Trump, the intelligence community has always struggled with its political role.

George Beebe The 'Deep State' Conspiracy Is a Joke

From the Masons to UFOs, Americans have loved mysteries.

Gary Hart We've Seen This Deep-State Story Before

As a boy in the early 1950s, I learned about a widely feared attempt to take over America by communists. A few years later, it was just a myth.

John Despres Trump's War on the Deep State

This is why Donald Trump went to war against the entire political class.

Conrad Black America Has No Deep State

The fictitious idea of a deep state is doing more to politicize the bureaucracy than any real deep state ever did.

Paul R. Pillar How We Got Trump's Clash with the Deep State

Had the deep state gotten its way, Donald J. Trump would never have come close to the Oval Office, let alone be sitting in it.

Christopher A. Preble

[Feb 16, 2018] How We Got Trump's Clash with the Deep State by Christopher A. Preble

Notable quotes:
"... History informed his judgement. "The means of defense against foreign danger," he said, "have been always the instruments of tyranny at home." ..."
"... National Security and Double Government ..."
"... Christopher A. Preble is vice president for defense and foreign-policy studies at the Cato Institute and the author of ..."
Feb 16, 2018 | nationalinterest.org

AMERICA'S FOUNDERS anticipated how a sprawling national-security state could subvert the popular will, and even endanger the nation's interests. James Madison told his fellow delegates at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, "A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty."

History informed his judgement. "The means of defense against foreign danger," he said, "have been always the instruments of tyranny at home."

George Washington agreed. In his Farewell Address, the general turned president advised his countrymen to "avoid the necessity of those overgrown military establishments which, under any form of government, are inauspicious to liberty, and which are to be regarded as particularly hostile to republican liberty."

Another general-president, Dwight Eisenhower, echoed these concerns. He worried that the evolving "military-industrial complex" would acquire "unwarranted influence" and "endanger our liberties or democratic processes." "Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry," he continued, "can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."

Alas, the citizenry is neither alert nor knowledgeable.

Which means that the actual conduct of foreign policy falls to what Michael Glennon dubbed the Trumanites: "the network of several hundred high-level military, intelligence, diplomatic, and law enforcement officials within the executive branch who are responsible for making national security policymaking." And within that executive branch, Glennon concludes in his book National Security and Double Government , "The President . . . exercises little substantive control over the overall direction of U.S. national security policy."

Even if you don't buy Glennon's argument, it seems likely that the men and women responsible for executing U.S. foreign policy are uninterested in the views of the many Americans who actually pay for the nation's wars, and the few Americans who fight them.

Defenders of the status quo like to argue that it survives because it works. The public is wrong to doubt the wisdom of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As the foreign-policy elite sees it, the American people can't be expected to understand why we defend wealthy allies, deploy hundreds of thousands of military personnel in numerous foreign countries and align ourselves with some of the world's most reprehensible autocrats.

Dean Acheson, Truman's secretary of state, presumably spoke for many elites (though perhaps too candidly) when he explained, "If you truly had a democracy and did what the people wanted, you'd go wrong every time."

In this sense, it isn't merely inertia that explains why U.S. foreign policy remains on autopilot, despite widespread public dissatisfaction with the status quo. Rather, it's the deep state, doing what the deep state does.

Donald Trump tapped into the resentment engendered by the establishment's contempt for the great unwashed. He has failed, so far at least, to dislodge the deep state and its policies. Then again, maybe he never intended to roll back American primacy. After all, he promised massive military spending increases, and expressed regret that we didn't take the Iraqis' oil. Even his claim to have always opposed the Iraq War was a taradiddle. So there were ample grounds for doubting that Trump would give the American people the foreign policy they wanted. Maybe the deep state didn't thwart him?

The deep state obviously isn't all-powerful. After all, had the deep state gotten its way, Donald J. Trump would never have come close to the Oval Office, let alone be sitting in it.

Now, given the power that we have erroneously invested in the office of the presidency, critics of the deep state should rethink their opposition to it, and members of the deep state should rethink their enthusiasm for a chief executive generally unencumbered by the Congress or the people. The deep state doesn't control the @realDonaldTrump Twitter feed. It cannot stop him from engaging in behavior that increases the risk of a catastrophic conflict. Perhaps we should wish that it could?

But we should never welcome a situation in which unelected officials distort or ignore public sentiments, or undertake policies that are demonstrably harmful to vital national interests.

Christopher A. Preble is vice president for defense and foreign-policy studies at the Cato Institute and the author of The Power Problem: How American Military Dominance Makes Us Less Safe, Less Prosperous, and Less Free .

[Feb 16, 2018] Stephanie Savell The Hidden Costs of America's Wars by Tom Engelhardt

Feb 16, 2018 | www.unz.com

If anything, recent weeks have offered remarkable evidence of just how victorious this country's losingest commanders and their colleagues really are in our nation's capital. In the bipartisan style that these days usually applies only to the U.S. military, Congress has just settled on giving an extra $165 billion to the Pentagon over the next two years as part of a formula for keeping the government open. As it happens, the 2017 Pentagon budget was already as large as the defense spending of the next seven nations combined. And that was before all those extra tens of billions of dollars ensured that the two-year military budget (for 2018 and 2019) would crest at a total of more than $1.4 trillion .

That's the sort of money that only goes to winners, not losers. And if this still seems a little strange to you, given that military's dismal record in actual war-fighting since 9/11, all I can say is: don't bring it up. It's no longer considered polite or proper to complain about our wars and those who fight them or how we fund them, not in an age when every American soldier is a " hero ," which means that what they're doing from Afghanistan to Yemen , Syria to Somalia , must be heroic indeed.

In a draft-less country, those of us not in or connected to our military are expected to say " thank you " to the warriors and otherwise go about our lives as if their wars (and the mayhem they continue to generate abroad) were not a fact of global life. This is the definition of a demobilized public. If you happen to be that rarest of all creatures in our country these days -- someone in active opposition to those wars -- you have a problem. That means Stephanie Savell, who co-runs the Costs of War Project , which regularly provides well-researched and devastating information on the spread of those wars and the money continually being squandered on them, does indeed have a problem. It's one she understands all too well and describes vividly today.

[Feb 15, 2018] Trump's War on the Deep State by Conrad Black

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... And the dossier, a pastiche of falsehoods from gossips in the Kremlin, has been exposed as a smear job paid for by the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee ..."
"... The hunters are the prey and Trump will prosecute, sack, or intimidate the deep state. But it is there, can arise quickly and can be very dangerous. Forewarned is forearmed. ..."
Feb 15, 2018 | nationalinterest.org

...Donald Trump went to war against the entire political class: all factions of both parties, the bureaucracy, the national media, the lobbyists, Hollywood and Wall Street. He said the whole system was rotten and had failed the nation: hopeless wars that accomplished nothing except the wastage of thousands of lives and trillions of dollars, the extension of Iranian influence and an immense humanitarian crisis, a flatlined economy, a shrinking workforce, increasing poverty and crime, oceans of debt, large trade deficits from trade agreements that exported unemployment to the United States and the unmonitored influx of millions of illiterate peasants from Latin America.

... ... ...

For the first nine months of the new administration, there was the constant confected threat of impeachment. The phantasmagorical imbecility that Trump had somehow colluded and connived with the Russian government to rig the election was the excuse of the hapless Clinton and her Trump-hating echo chamber in the national media for the election result.

The deep state was almost the whole state, and it pitched in to sabotage the administration. For nearly that long, the Republican leaders sat on their hands waiting to see if he would be impeached or not. His nominees were a long time in being confirmed. There were leaks of White House conversations, including with foreign leaders -- outright acts of insubordination causing Trump, a decisive executive, to fire some fairly high officials, including the malign director of the FBI, who then informed Congress that he had leaked a self-addressed memo (probably illegally, as it was technically government property), in order to have a special prosecutor named to torment the president over the fatuous Russian allegations, although Comey testified that Trump himself was not a target or suspect and the Russians had not influenced the outcome of the election. (This was a sober position compared to the wholesale fabrications of the Democratic vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Mark Warner, that a thousand Russian agents had swarmed the key battleground states and had delivered Wisconsin to Trump.)

The president has strengthened the White House staff. The FBI and Justice Department have been ripped apart in their partisanship and misuse of the dossier on which the collusion argument and the surveillance of the Trump campaign were based. And the dossier, a pastiche of falsehoods from gossips in the Kremlin, has been exposed as a smear job paid for by the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee, and the whole impeachment movement has collapsed. The hunters are the prey and Trump will prosecute, sack, or intimidate the deep state. But it is there, can arise quickly and can be very dangerous. Forewarned is forearmed.

Conrad Black is a writer and former newspaper publisher whose most recent book is Richard M. Nixon: A Life in Full (PublicAffairs, 2007).

[Feb 15, 2018] How The Deep State Stopped Better Relations With Russia by Robert W. Merry

Feb 14, 2018 | www.informationclearinghouse.info

Note: this article is part of a symposium included in the March/April 2018 issue of the National Interest .

OF COURSE there's a Deep State. Why wouldn't there be? Even a cursory understanding of human nature tells us that power corrupts, as Lord Acton put it; that, when power is concentrated and entrenched, it will be abused; that, when it is concentrated and entrenched in secrecy, it will be abused in secret. That's the Deep State.

James Burnham saw it coming. The American philosopher and political theorist (1905–87), first a Trotskyist, then a leading conservative intellectual, wrote in 1941 that the great political development of the age was not the battle between communism and capitalism. Rather, it was the rise of a new "managerial" class gaining dominance in business, finance, organized labor and government. This gathering managerial revolution, as he called it, would be resisted, but it would be impervious to adversarial counteractions. As the managerial elites gained more and more power, exercised often in subtle and stealthy ways, they would exercise that power to embed themselves further into the folds of American society and to protect themselves from those who might want to bust them up.

Nowhere is this managerial elite more entrenched, more powerful and more shrouded in secrecy than in what Dwight Eisenhower called the military-industrial complex, augmented by intelligence and law-enforcement agencies. That's where America's relentless drive for global hegemony meshes with defense manufacturers only too willing to provide the tools of dominance.

Now we have not only a standing army, with hundreds of thousands of troops at the ready, as in Cold War days. We have also permanent wars, nine of them in progress at the moment and not one with what could even remotely be called proper congressional approval. That's how power gets entrenched, how the managerial revolution gains ever greater force and how the Deep State endures.

Few in the general public know what really happened with regard to the allegations of Trump campaign "collusion" with Russia, or how the investigation into those troubling allegations emerged. But we know enough to know we have seen the Deep State in action.

We know that U.S. agencies released an "Intelligence Community Assessment" saying that Russia and President Putin were behind the release of embarrassing Democratic emails in a plot to help Trump win the presidency. But we also know that it wasn't really a National Intelligence Assessment (a term of art denoting a particular process of expansive intelligence analysis) but rather the work of a controlled task force. As Scott Ritter, the former Marine intelligence officer and arms-control official, put it , "This deliberate misrepresentation of the organizational bona fides of the Russia NIA casts a shadow over the viability of the analysis used to underpin the assessments and judgments contained within." Besides, the document was long on assertion and short on evidence. Even the New York Times initially derided the report as lacking any "hard evidence" and amounting "essentially . . . to 'trust us.'"

[Feb 11, 2018] How Russiagate fiasco destroys Kremlin moderates, accelerating danger for a hot war

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The pro-Hillary warmongering media, the ones that pushed for war in Iraq and elsewhere, through big lies and false evidence, are the vanguard of this ugly machine that supports the most terrible Trump administration bills, yet, this machine can't stop accusing him for 'colluding' with Russia that 'interfered' in the 2016 US election. Of course, no evidence presented for such an accusation and no one really can explain what that 'interference' means. ..."
"... They're accusing the President of the United States of being a Russian agent, this has never happened in American history. However much you may loathe Trump, this is a whole new realm of defamation. For a number of years, there's been a steady degradation of American political culture and discourse, generally. There was a time when I hoped or thought that it would be the Democratic Party that would push against that degradation ..."
"... Now, however, though I'm kind of only nominally, a Democrat, it's the Democratic Party that's degrading our political culture and our discourse. So, this is MSNBC, which purports to be not only the network of the Democratic Party, but the network of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, is now actually because this guy was a semi-anchor was asking the question to an American senator, " Do you think that Representative Nunes, because he wants the memo released, has been compromised by the Kremlin? " ..."
"... And by the way, if people will say, " Well, it's a weak capitulation of McCarthyism, " I say no, it's much more than that because McCarthy was obsessed with Communist. That was a much narrower concept than being obsessed with anybody who might be under Russian influence of any kind. The so-called affinity for Russia. Well, I have a profound affinity for Russian culture and for Russian history. I study it all the time. This is something new. And so, when you accuse a Republican or any Congressman of being a Kremlin agent, this has become a commonplace. We are degraded. ..."
"... We are building up our military presence there, so the Russians are counter-building up, though within their territory. That means the chances of hot war are now much greater than they were before. ..."
"... Every time Trump has tried with Putin to reach a cooperative arrangement, for example, on fighting terrorism in Syria, which is a necessary purpose, literally, the New York Times and the others call him treasonous. Whereas, in the old days, the old Cold War, we had a robust discussion. There is none here. We have no alert system that's warning the American people and its representatives how dangerous this is. And as we mentioned before, it's not only Nunes, it's a lot of people who are being called Kremlin agents because they want to digress from the basic narrative. ..."
"... Meanwhile, people in Moscow who formed their political establishment, who surround Putin and the Kremlin, I mean, the big brains who are formed policy tankers, and who have always tended to be kind of pro-American, and very moderate, have simply come to the conclusion that war is coming. ..."
"... The Democrats couldn't had downgrade their party further. This disgusting spectacle would make FDR totally ashamed of what this party has become. Not only they are voting for every pro-plutocracy GOP bill under Trump administration, but they have become champions in bringing back a much worse and unpredictable Cold War that is dangerously escalating tension with Russia. ..."
Feb 06, 2018 | failedevolution.blogspot.gr

How Russiagate fiasco destroys Kremlin moderates, accelerating danger for a hot war with Russia globinfo freexchange

Corporate Democrats can't stop pushing for war through the Russiagate fiasco.

The party has been completely taken over by the neocon/neoliberal establishment and has nothing to do with the Left. The pro-Hillary warmongering media, the ones that pushed for war in Iraq and elsewhere, through big lies and false evidence, are the vanguard of this ugly machine that supports the most terrible Trump administration bills, yet, this machine can't stop accusing him for 'colluding' with Russia that 'interfered' in the 2016 US election. Of course, no evidence presented for such an accusation and no one really can explain what that 'interference' means.

But things are probably much worse, because this completely absurd persistence on Russiagate fiasco that feeds an evident anti-Russian hysteria, destroys all the influence of the Kremlin moderates who struggle to keep open channels between Russia and the United States.

Stephen Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies, history, and politics at NY University and Princeton University, explained to Aaron Maté and the Real News the terrible consequences:

They're accusing the President of the United States of being a Russian agent, this has never happened in American history. However much you may loathe Trump, this is a whole new realm of defamation. For a number of years, there's been a steady degradation of American political culture and discourse, generally. There was a time when I hoped or thought that it would be the Democratic Party that would push against that degradation.

Now, however, though I'm kind of only nominally, a Democrat, it's the Democratic Party that's degrading our political culture and our discourse. So, this is MSNBC, which purports to be not only the network of the Democratic Party, but the network of the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, is now actually because this guy was a semi-anchor was asking the question to an American senator, " Do you think that Representative Nunes, because he wants the memo released, has been compromised by the Kremlin? "

I think all of us need to focus on what's happened in this country when in the very mainstream, at the highest, most influential levels of the political establishment, this kind of discourse is no longer considered an exception. It is the norm. We hear it daily from MSNBC and CNN, from the New York Times and the Washington Post, that people who doubt the narrative of what's loosely called Russiagate are somehow acting on behalf of or under the spell of the Kremlin, that we aren't Americans any longer. And by the way, if people will say, " Well, it's a weak capitulation of McCarthyism, " I say no, it's much more than that because McCarthy was obsessed with Communist. That was a much narrower concept than being obsessed with anybody who might be under Russian influence of any kind. The so-called affinity for Russia. Well, I have a profound affinity for Russian culture and for Russian history. I study it all the time. This is something new. And so, when you accuse a Republican or any Congressman of being a Kremlin agent, this has become a commonplace. We are degraded.

The new Cold War is unfolding not far away from Russia, like the last in Berlin, but on Russia's borders in the Baltic and in Ukraine. We are building up our military presence there, so the Russians are counter-building up, though within their territory. That means the chances of hot war are now much greater than they were before. Meanwhile, not only do we not have a discussion of these real dangers in the United States but anyone who wants to incite a discussion, including the President of the United States, is called treasonous. Every time Trump has tried with Putin to reach a cooperative arrangement, for example, on fighting terrorism in Syria, which is a necessary purpose, literally, the New York Times and the others call him treasonous. Whereas, in the old days, the old Cold War, we had a robust discussion. There is none here. We have no alert system that's warning the American people and its representatives how dangerous this is. And as we mentioned before, it's not only Nunes, it's a lot of people who are being called Kremlin agents because they want to digress from the basic narrative.

Meanwhile, people in Moscow who formed their political establishment, who surround Putin and the Kremlin, I mean, the big brains who are formed policy tankers, and who have always tended to be kind of pro-American, and very moderate, have simply come to the conclusion that war is coming. They can't think of a single thing to tell the Kremlin to offset hawkish views in the Kremlin. Every day, there's something new. And these were the people in Moscow who are daytime peacekeeping interlockers. They have been destroyed by Russiagate. Their influence as Russia is zilch. And the McCarthyites in Russia, they have various terms, now called the pro-American lobby in Russia 'fifth columnists'. This is the damage that's been done. There's never been anything like this in my lifetime.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/CpVBA4OIfb8

The Democrats couldn't had downgrade their party further. This disgusting spectacle would make FDR totally ashamed of what this party has become. Not only they are voting for every pro-plutocracy GOP bill under Trump administration, but they have become champions in bringing back a much worse and unpredictable Cold War that is dangerously escalating tension with Russia.

And, unfortunately, even the most progressives of the Democrats are adopting the Russiagate bogus, like Bernie Sanders, because they know that if they don't obey to the narratives, the DNC establishment will crush them politically in no time.

[Feb 10, 2018] >The generals are not Borgists. They are something worse ...

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The post WW2 promotion process in the armed forces has produced a group at the top with a mentality that typically thinks rigorously but not imaginatively or creatively. ..."
"... These men got to their present ranks and positions by being conformist group thinkers who do not stray outside the "box" of their guidance from on high. They actually have scheduled conference calls among themselves to make sure everyone is "on board." ..."
"... If asked at the top, where military command and political interaction intersect, what policy should be they always ask for more money and to be allowed to pursue outcomes that they can understand as victory and self fulfilling with regard to their collective self image as warrior chieftains. ..."
"... In Trump's time his essential disinterest in foreign policy has led to a massive delegation of authority to Mattis and the leadership of the empire's forces. Their reaction to that is to look at their dimwitted guidance from on high (defeat IS, depose Assad and the SAG, triumph in Afghanistan) and to seek to impose their considerable available force to seek accomplishment as they see fit of this guidance in the absence of the kind of restrictions that Obama placed on them. ..."
"... Like the brass, I, too, am a graduate of all those service schools that attend success from the Basic Course to the Army War College. I will tell you again that the people at the top are not good at "the vision thing." They are not stupid at all but they are a collective of narrow thinkers ..."
"... Academia reinforces the groupthink. The mavericks are shunned or ostracized. The only ones I have seen with some degree of going against the grain are technology entrepreneurs. ..."
"... "They are not stupid at all but they are a collective of narrow thinkers." I have found this to be the case with 80 to 90% of most professions. A good memory and able to perform meticulously what they have been taught, but little thinking outside that narrow box. Often annoying, but very dangerous in this case. ..."
"... Since Afghanistan and the brass were mentioned in the editorial statement, here is an immodest question -- Where the brass have been while the opium production has been risen dramatically in Afghanistan under the US occupation? "Heroin Addiction in America Spearheaded by the US-led War on Afghanistan" by Paul Craig Roberts: https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/02/06/heroin-addiction-america-spearheaded-us-led-war-afghanistan/ ..."
"... A simple Q: What has been the role of the CENTCOM re the racket? Who has arranged the protection for the opium production and for drug dealers? Roberts suggests that the production of opium in Afghanistan "finances the black operations of the CIA and Western intelligence agencies." -- All while Awan brothers, Alperovitch and such tinker with the US national security? ..."
"... God help the poor people of Syria. ..."
"... thanks pat... it seems like the usa has had a steady group of leaders that have no interest in the world outside of the usa, or only in so far as they can exploit it for their own interest... maybe that sums up the foreign policy of the usa at this point... you say trump is disinterested.. so all the blather from trump about 'why are we even in syria?', or 'why can't we be friends with the russia?' is just smoke up everyone's ass... ..."
"... Predictably there is always someone who says that this group is not different from all others. Unfortunately the military function demands more than the level of mediocrity found in most groups ..."
"... A lot of technology entrepreneurs--especially those active today--are stuck in their own groupthink, inflated by their sense that they are born for greatness and can do no wrong. ..."
"... The kind of grand schemes that the top people at Google, Uber, and Facebook think up to remake the universe in their own idea of "good society" are frightening. That they are cleverer (but not necessarily wiser) than the academics, borgists, or generals, I think, makes them even more dangerous. ..."
"... They [the generals] seem to have deliberately completely ignored the issues and policy positions Trump ran on as President. It isn't a case of ignorance but of wilful disregard. ..."
"... So true and as others commented this is a sad feature of the human race and all human organizations. Herd mentality ties into social learning ..."
"... Our massive cultural heritages are learned by observing and taken in as a whole. This process works within organizations as well. ..."
"... I suspect a small percentage of the human race functions differently than the majority and retains creative thinking and openness along with more emphasis on cognitive thinking than social learning but generally they always face a battle when working to change the group "consensus", i.e. Fulton's folly, scepticism on whether man would ever fly, etc. ..."
"... This is an interesting discussion. The top in organisations (civil and military) are increasingly technocrats and thinking like systems managers. They are unable to innovate because they lack the ability to think out of the box. Usually there is a leader who depends on specialists. Others (including laymen) are often excluding from the decision-making-proces. John Ralston Saul's Voltaires Bastards describes this very well. ..."
"... Because of natural selection (conformist people tend to choose similar people who resemble their own values and ways-of-thinking) organizations have a tendency to become homogeneous (especially the higher management/ranks). ..."
"... In combination with the "dumbing" of people (also of people who have a so-called good education (as described in Richard Sale's Sterile Chit-Chat ) this is a disastrous mix. ..."
"... That's true not only of the US military but of US elites in general across all of the spectra. And because that reality is at odds with the group-think of those within the various elements that make up the spectra it doesn't a hearing. Anyone who tries to bring it up risks being ejected from the group. ..."
"... "The United States spent at least $12 billion in Syria-related military and civilian expenses in the four years from 2014 through 2017, according to the former U.S. ambassador to the country. This $12 billion is in addition to the billions more spent to pursue regime change in Syria in the previous three years, after war broke out in 2011." https://goo.gl/8pj5cD ..."
"... "They are not stupid at all but they are a collective of narrow thinkers." I've often pondered that concept. Notice how many of radical extremist leaders were doctors, engineers and such? Narrow and deep. ..."
"... Long ago when I was a professor, I advised my students that "the law is like a pencil sharpener, it sharpens the mind by narrowing it." I tried to encourage them to "think backwards". ..."
"... Col, I think it might help people to think of "the Borg" - as you have defined & applied it - in a broader context. It struck me particularly as you ID'd the launching of our modern military group-think / careerism behavior coming from the watershed of industrialized scale & processes that came out of WWII. ..."
"... We note parallel themes in all significant sectors of our civilization. The ever-expanding security state, the many men in Gray Flannel Suits that inhabit corporate culture, Finance & Banking & Big Health scaling ever larger - all processes aimed to slice the salami thinner & quicker, to the point where meat is moot ... and so it goes. ..."
"... I just finished reading Command & Control (about nuclear weapons policy, systems design & accidents). I am amazed we've made it this far. ..."
Feb 10, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

(Editorial Statement)

The Borgist foreign policy of the administration has little to do with the generals.

To comprehend the generals one must understand their collective mentality and the process that raised them on high as a collective of their own. The post WW2 promotion process in the armed forces has produced a group at the top with a mentality that typically thinks rigorously but not imaginatively or creatively.

These men got to their present ranks and positions by being conformist group thinkers who do not stray outside the "box" of their guidance from on high. They actually have scheduled conference calls among themselves to make sure everyone is "on board."

If asked at the top, where military command and political interaction intersect, what policy should be they always ask for more money and to be allowed to pursue outcomes that they can understand as victory and self fulfilling with regard to their collective self image as warrior chieftains.

In Obama's time they were asked what policy should be in Afghanistan and persuaded him to reinforce their dreams in Afghanistan no matter how unlikely it always was that a unified Western oriented nation could be made out of a collection of disparate mutually alien peoples.

In Trump's time his essential disinterest in foreign policy has led to a massive delegation of authority to Mattis and the leadership of the empire's forces. Their reaction to that is to look at their dimwitted guidance from on high (defeat IS, depose Assad and the SAG, triumph in Afghanistan) and to seek to impose their considerable available force to seek accomplishment as they see fit of this guidance in the absence of the kind of restrictions that Obama placed on them.

Like the brass, I, too, am a graduate of all those service schools that attend success from the Basic Course to the Army War College. I will tell you again that the people at the top are not good at "the vision thing." They are not stupid at all but they are a collective of narrow thinkers. pl


Jack , 09 February 2018 at 05:42 PM

Sir

IMO, this conformism pervades all institutions. I saw when I worked in banking and finance many moons ago how moving up the ranks in any large organization meant you didn't rock the boat and you conformed to the prevailing groupthink. Even nutty ideas became respectable because they were expedient.

Academia reinforces the groupthink. The mavericks are shunned or ostracized. The only ones I have seen with some degree of going against the grain are technology entrepreneurs.

Fredw , 09 February 2018 at 06:26 PM
You remind me of an old rumination by Thomas Ricks:

Take the example of General George Casey. According to David Cloud and Greg Jaffe's book Four Stars, General Casey, upon learning of his assignment to command U.S. forces in Iraq, received a book from the Army Chief of Staff. The book Counterinsurgency Lessons Learned from Malaya and Vietnam was the first book he ever read about guerilla warfare." This is a damning indictment of the degree of mental preparation for combat by a general. The Army's reward for such lack of preparation: two more four star assignments.

http://foreignpolicy.com/2012/02/07/cmon-man-meathead-generals-and-some-other-things-that-are-driving-me-crazy-about-life-in-this-mans-post-911-army/

Peter AU , 09 February 2018 at 06:37 PM
"They are not stupid at all but they are a collective of narrow thinkers." I have found this to be the case with 80 to 90% of most professions. A good memory and able to perform meticulously what they have been taught, but little thinking outside that narrow box. Often annoying, but very dangerous in this case.
Anna , 09 February 2018 at 06:48 PM
Since Afghanistan and the brass were mentioned in the editorial statement, here is an immodest question -- Where the brass have been while the opium production has been risen dramatically in Afghanistan under the US occupation? "Heroin Addiction in America Spearheaded by the US-led War on Afghanistan" by Paul Craig Roberts: https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/02/06/heroin-addiction-america-spearheaded-us-led-war-afghanistan/

" in 2000-2001 the Taliban government –with the support of the United Nations (UNODC) – implemented a successful ban on poppy cultivation. Opium production which is used to produce grade 4 heroin and its derivatives declined by more than 90 per cent in 2001. The production of opium in 2001 was of the order of a meager 185 tons. It is worth noting that the UNODC congratulated the Taliban Government for its successful opium eradication program. The Taliban government had contributed to literally destabilizing the multibillion dollar Worldwide trade in heroin.

In 2017, the production of opium in Afghanistan under US military occupation reached 9000 metric tons. The production of opium in Afghanistan registered a 49 fold increase since Washington's invasion. Afghanistan under US military occupation produces approximately 90% of the World's illegal supply of opium which is used to produce heroin. Who owns the airplanes and ships that transport heroin from Afghanistan to the US? Who gets the profits?"

---A simple Q: What has been the role of the CENTCOM re the racket? Who has arranged the protection for the opium production and for drug dealers? Roberts suggests that the production of opium in Afghanistan "finances the black operations of the CIA and Western intelligence agencies." -- All while Awan brothers, Alperovitch and such tinker with the US national security?

J , 09 February 2018 at 07:05 PM
Colonel,

There needs to be a 're-education' of the top, all of them need to be required to attend Green Beret think-school, in other words they need to be forced to think outside the box, and to to think on their feet. They need to understand fluid situations where things change at the drop of a hat, be able to dance the two-step and waltz at the same time. In other words they need to be able to walk and chew gum and not trip over their shoe-laces.

By no means are they stupid, but you hit the nail on the head when you said 'narrow thinkers'. Their collective hive mentality that has developed is not a good thing.

divadab , 09 February 2018 at 07:16 PM
God help the poor people of Syria.
james , 09 February 2018 at 07:30 PM
thanks pat... it seems like the usa has had a steady group of leaders that have no interest in the world outside of the usa, or only in so far as they can exploit it for their own interest... maybe that sums up the foreign policy of the usa at this point... you say trump is disinterested.. so all the blather from trump about 'why are we even in syria?', or 'why can't we be friends with the russia?' is just smoke up everyone's ass...

i like what you said here "conformist group thinkers who do not stray outside the "box" of their guidance from on high. They actually have scheduled conference calls among themselves to make sure everyone is "on board." - that strikes me as very true - conformist group thinkers... the world needs less of these types and more actual leaders who have a vision for something out of the box and not always on board... i thought for a while trump might fill this bill, but no such luck by the looks of it now..

David E. Solomon , 09 February 2018 at 07:50 PM
Colonel Lang,

Your description of these guys sounds like what we have heard about Soviet era planners. Am I correct in my understanding, or am I missing something?

Regards,

David

DianaLC , 09 February 2018 at 07:56 PM
As a young person in eighth grade, I learned about the "domino theory" in regard to attempts to slow the spread of communism. Then my generation was, in a sense, fractured around the raging battles for and against our involvement in Vietnam.

I won't express my own opinion on that. But I mention it because it seems to be a type of "vision thing."

So, now I ask, what would be your vision for the Syrian situation?

Bill Herschel , 09 February 2018 at 09:11 PM
This has been going on for a long time has it not? Westmoreland? MacArthur?

How did this happen?

turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 09:40 PM
Bill Herschel

Westmoreland certainly, Macarthur certainly not. This all started with the "industrialization" of the armed forces in WW2. we never recovered the sense of profession as opposed to occupation after the massive expansion and retention of so many placeholders. a whole new race of Walmart manager arose and persists. pl

turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 09:48 PM
DianaC

The idea of the Domino Theory came from academia, not the generals of that time. They resisted the idea of a war in east Asia until simply ordered into it by LBJ. After that their instinct for acting according to guidance kicked in and they became committed to the task. Syria? Do you think I should write you an essay on that? SST has a large archive and a search machine. pl

turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 09:55 PM
David E. Solomon

I am talking about flag officers at present, not those beneath them from the mass of whom they emerge. There are exceptions. Martin Dempsey may have been one such. The system creates such people at the top. pl

turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 10:08 PM
elaine,

Your usual animosity for non-left wing authority is showing. A commander like the CENTCOM theater commander (look it up) operates within guidance from Washington, broad guidance. Normally this is the president's guidance as developed in the NSC process. Some presidents like Obama and LBJ intervene selectively and directly in the execution of that guidance. Obama had a "kill list" of jihadis suggested by the IC and condemned by him to die in the GWOT. He approved individual missions against them. LBJ picked individual air targets in NVN. Commanders in the field do not like that . They think that freedom of action within their guidance should be accorded them. This CinC has not been interested thus far in the details and have given the whole military chain of command wide discretion to carry out their guidance. pl

turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 10:12 PM
J

Thank you, but it is real GBs that you like, not the Delta and SEAL door kickers. pl

turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 10:24 PM
Gaikomainaku

"I am not sure that I understand what makes a Borgist different from a military conformist." The Borg and the military leaders are not of the same tribe. they are two different collectives who in the main dislike and distrust each other. pl

turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 10:27 PM
Anna. Their guidance does not include a high priority for eradicating the opium trade. Their guidance has to do with defeating the jihadis and building up the central government. pl
turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 10:30 PM
Peter AU

Predictably there is always someone who says that this group is not different from all others. Unfortunately the military function demands more than the level of mediocrity found in most groups. pl

turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 10:44 PM
james

Trump would like to better relations with Russia but that is pretty much the limit of his attention to foreign affairs at any level more sophisticated than expecting deference. He is firmly focused on the economy and base solidifying issues like immigration. pl

Peter AU , 09 February 2018 at 11:01 PM
The medical profession comes to mind. GP's and specialists. Many of those working at the leading edge of research seem much wider thinking and are not locked into the small box of what they have been taught.
turcopolier , 09 February 2018 at 11:16 PM
Peter AU

The GPs do not rule over a hierarchy of doctors. pl

J -> turcopolier ... , 09 February 2018 at 11:22 PM
Combat Applications Group and SEALS don't even begin to compare, they're not in the same league as 'real deal' GBs. The GBs are thinkers as well as doers, whereas Combat Applications Group and SEALs all they know is breach and clear, breach and clear.

There is more to life than breach and clear. Having worked with all in one manner or another, I'll take GBs any day hands down. It makes a difference when the brain is engaged instead of just the heel.

kao_hsien_chih -> Jack... , 09 February 2018 at 11:22 PM
A lot of technology entrepreneurs--especially those active today--are stuck in their own groupthink, inflated by their sense that they are born for greatness and can do no wrong.

The kind of grand schemes that the top people at Google, Uber, and Facebook think up to remake the universe in their own idea of "good society" are frightening. That they are cleverer (but not necessarily wiser) than the academics, borgists, or generals, I think, makes them even more dangerous.

FB Ali , 09 February 2018 at 11:23 PM
Col Lang,

They are indeed "narrow thinkers", but I think the problem runs deeper. They seem to be stuck in the rut of a past era. When the US was indeed the paramount military power on the globe, and the US military reigned supreme. They can't seem to accept the reality of the world as it is now.

Of course, these policies ensure that they continue to be well-funded, even if the US is bankrupting itself in the process.

turcopolier , 10 February 2018 at 01:03 AM
dogear

He is still the Saudi Mukhtar for the US and most of the generals are still narrow minded. pl

LondonBob , 10 February 2018 at 06:59 AM
They [the generals] seem to have deliberately completely ignored the issues and policy positions Trump ran on as President. It isn't a case of ignorance but of wilful disregard.
turcopolier , 10 February 2018 at 07:55 AM
LondonBob

I think that is true but, they were able to talk him into that, thus far. pl

DianaLC said in reply to turcopolier ... , 10 February 2018 at 09:23 AM
I've been reading this blog for some time. My question was facetious and written with the understanding of your statement about the generals not having a good grasp of "the vision thing" on their own.
Terry , 10 February 2018 at 09:25 AM
So true and as others commented this is a sad feature of the human race and all human organizations. Herd mentality ties into social learning. Chimps are on average more creative and have better short term memory than humans. We gave up some short term memory in order to be able to learn quickly by mimicking. If shown how to open a puzzle box but also shown unnecessary extra steps a chimp will ignore the empty steps and open the box with only the required steps. A human will copy what they saw exactly performing the extra steps as if they have some unknown value to the process. Our massive cultural heritages are learned by observing and taken in as a whole. This process works within organizations as well.

I suspect a small percentage of the human race functions differently than the majority and retains creative thinking and openness along with more emphasis on cognitive thinking than social learning but generally they always face a battle when working to change the group "consensus", i.e. Fulton's folly, scepticism on whether man would ever fly, etc.

One nice feature of the internet allows creative thinkers to connect and watch the idiocy of the world unfold around us.

"A natural desire to be part of the 'in crowd' could damage our ability to make the right decisions, a new study has shown."

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/12/141216212049.htm

TV , 10 February 2018 at 10:18 AM
The military by definition is a rigid hierarchical structure. It could not function as a collection of individuals. This society can only breed conforming narrow leaders as an "individual" would leave or be forced out.
Barbara Ann , 10 February 2018 at 10:22 AM
That part of our brain responsible for the desire to be part of the 'in crowd' may affect our decision-making process, but it is also the reason we keep chimps in zoos and not the other way around. Or, to put it another way; if chimps had invented Facebook, I might consider them more creative than us.
Babak Makkinejad -> Terry... , 10 February 2018 at 10:30 AM
Do you think chimps are, per the Christian Docrine, in a State of Fall or in a State of Grace?
Adrestia , 10 February 2018 at 10:32 AM
This is an interesting discussion. The top in organisations (civil and military) are increasingly technocrats and thinking like systems managers. They are unable to innovate because they lack the ability to think out of the box. Usually there is a leader who depends on specialists. Others (including laymen) are often excluding from the decision-making-proces. John Ralston Saul's Voltaires Bastards describes this very well.

Because of natural selection (conformist people tend to choose similar people who resemble their own values and ways-of-thinking) organizations have a tendency to become homogeneous (especially the higher management/ranks).

In combination with the "dumbing" of people (also of people who have a so-called good education (as described in Richard Sale's Sterile Chit-Chat ) this is a disastrous mix.

Homogeneity is the main culprit. A specialists tends to try to solve problems with the same knowledge-set that created these.

Not all (parts of) organizations and people suffer this fate. Innovations are usually done by laymen and not by specialists. The organizations are often heterogeneous and the people a-typical and/or eccentric.

(mainly the analytical parts of ) intelligence organizations and investment banks are like that if they are worth anything. Very heterogeneous with a lot of a-typical people. I think Green Berets are also like that. An open mind and genuine interest in others (cultures, way of thinking, religion etc) is essential to understand and to perform and also to prevent costly mistakes (in silver and/or blood).

It is possible to create firewalls against tunnel-vision. The Jester performed such a role. Also think of the Emperors New Clothes . The current trend of people with limited vision and creativity prevents this. Criticism is punished with a lack of promotion, job-loss or even jail (whistle-blowers)

IMO this is why up to a certain rank (colonel or middle management) a certain amount of creativity or alternative thinking is allowed, but conformity is essential to rise higher.

I was very interested in the Colonel's remark on the foreign background of the GB in Vietnam. If you would like to expand on this I would be much obliged? IMO GB are an example of a smart, learning, organization (in deed and not only in word as so many say of themselves, but who usually are at best mediocre)

Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg -> gaikokumaniakku... , 10 February 2018 at 11:58 AM
Isn't the "Borg" really The Atlantic Council?
ISL , 10 February 2018 at 12:58 PM
Dear Colonel,

Would you then say that a rising military officer who does have the vision thing faces career impediments? If so, would you say that the vision thing is lost (if it ever was there) at the highest ranks? In any case, the existence of even a few at the top, like Matthis or Shinseki is a blessing.

ex-PFC Chuck said in reply to FB Ali ... , 10 February 2018 at 01:08 PM
FB Ali:
"When the US was indeed the paramount military power on the globe, and the US military reigned supreme. They can't seem to accept the reality of the world as it is now."
That's true not only of the US military but of US elites in general across all of the spectra. And because that reality is at odds with the group-think of those within the various elements that make up the spectra it doesn't a hearing. Anyone who tries to bring it up risks being ejected from the group.
Adrestia , 10 February 2018 at 02:03 PM
I forget an important part. I really miss an edit-button. Comment-boxes are like looking at something through a straw. Its easy to miss the overview.

Innovations and significant new developments are usually made by laymen. IMO mainly because they have a fresh perspective without being bothered by the (mainstream) knowledge that dominates an area of expertise.

By excluding the laymen errors will continue to be repeated. This can be avoided by using development/decision-making frameworks, but these tend to become dogma (and thus become part of the problem)

Much better is allowing laymen and allowing a-typical people. Then listen to them carefully. Less rigid flexible and very valuable.

kooshy , 10 February 2018 at 02:19 PM
Apparently, according to the last US ambassador to Syria Mr. Ford, from 2014-17 US has spent 12 Billion on Regime change in Syria. IMO, combinedly Iran and Russia so far, have spent far less in Syria than 12 billion by US alone, not considering the rest of her so called coalition. This is a war of attrition, and US operations in wars, are usually far more expensive and longer than anybody else's.

"The United States spent at least $12 billion in Syria-related military and civilian expenses in the four years from 2014 through 2017, according to the former U.S. ambassador to the country. This $12 billion is in addition to the billions more spent to pursue regime change in Syria in the previous three years, after war broke out in 2011." https://goo.gl/8pj5cD

J , 10 February 2018 at 02:49 PM
Colonel, TTG, PT,

FYI regarding Syria

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/sen-tim-kaine-demands-release-secret-trump-war-powers-memo-n846176

Richardstevenhack -> turcopolier ... , 10 February 2018 at 02:56 PM
It may "demand" it - but does it get it? Soldiers are just as human as everyone else.

I'm reminded of the staff sergeant with the sagging beer belly who informed me, "Stand up straight and look like a soldier..." Or the First Sergeant who was so hung over one morning at inspection that he couldn't remember which direction he was going down the hall to the next room to be inspected. I'm sure you have your own stories of less than competence.

It's a question of intelligence and imagination. And frankly, I don't see the military in any country receiving the "best and brightest" of that country's population, by definition. The fact that someone is patriotic enough to enter the military over a civilian occupation doesn't make them more intelligent or imaginative than the people who decided on the civilian occupation.

Granted, if you fail at accounting, you don't usually die. Death tends to focus the mind, as they say. Nonetheless, we're not talking about the grunts at the level who actually die, still less the relatively limited number of Special Forces. We're talking about the officers and staff at the levels who don't usually die in war - except maybe at their defeat - i.e., most officers over the level of captain.

One can hardly look at this officer crowd in the Pentagon and CENTCOM and say that their personal death concentrates their mind. They are in virtually no danger of that. Only career death faces them - with a nice transition to the board of General Dynamics at ten times the salary.

All in all, I'd have to agree that the military isn't much better at being competent - at many levels above the obvious group of hyper-trained Special Forces - any more than any other profession.

dogear said in reply to Terry... , 10 February 2018 at 02:59 PM
That is well put.most important is the grading system that is designed to fix a person to a particular slot thereby limiting his ability to think "outside the box" and consider the many variables that exist in one particular instant.

Creative thinking allows you to see beyond the storm clouds ahead and realize that the connectedness of different realities both the visible and invisible. For instance the picture of the 2 pairs of korean skaters in the news tells an interesting story on many levels. Some will judge them on their grade of proffiency, while others will see a dance of strategy between 2 foes and a few will know the results in advance and plan accordingly

https://www.google.com.au/amp/www.nbcolympics.com/news/north-south-korean-figure-skating-teams-practice-side-side%3famp?espv=1

Mark Logan said in reply to Peter AU... , 10 February 2018 at 03:30 PM
Peter AU

"They are not stupid at all but they are a collective of narrow thinkers." I've often pondered that concept. Notice how many of radical extremist leaders were doctors, engineers and such? Narrow and deep. STEM is enormously useful to us but seems to be a risky when implanted in shallow earth.

turcopolier , 10 February 2018 at 05:03 PM
Mark Logan

These narrow "but deep" thinkers were unable to grasp the nature of the Iraq War for the first couple of years. They thought of it as a rear area security problem, a combat in cities problem, anything but a popular rebellion based on xenophobia and anti-colonialism The IED problem? They spent several billion dollars on trying to find a technology fix and never succeeded. I know because they kept asking me to explain the war to them and then could not understand the answers which were outside their narrow thought. pl

turcopolier , 10 February 2018 at 05:13 PM
ISL

War College selectees, the national board selected creme de la creme test out as 50% SJs (conformists lacking vision) in Myers-Briggs terms and about 15% NTs (intellectuals). To survive and move upward in a system dominated by SJs, the NTs must pretend to be what they are not. A few succeed. I do not think Mattis is an intellectual merely because he has read a lot. pl

outthere , 10 February 2018 at 05:19 PM
Long ago when I was a professor, I advised my students that "the law is like a pencil sharpener, it sharpens the mind by narrowing it." I tried to encourage them to "think backwards".

My favorite example was a Japanese fisherman who recovered valuable ancient Chinese pottery. Everyone knew where an ancient ship had sunk, but the water was too deep to dive down to the wreck. And everyone knew the cargo included these valuable vases. And the fisherman was the first to figure out how to recover them. He attached a line to an octopus, and lowered it in the area, waited awhile, and pulled it up. Low and behold, the octopus had hidden in an ancient Chinese vase. The fisherman was familiar with trapping octopuses, by lowering a ceramic pot (called "takosubo") into the ocean, waiting awhile, then raising the vase with octopus inside. His brilliance was to think backwards, and use an octopus to catch a vase.

turcopolier , 10 February 2018 at 05:24 PM
TV

By your calculation people like Joe Stilwell and George Patton should not have existed. pl

turcopolier , 10 February 2018 at 05:31 PM
Adrestia

the original GBS were recruited in the 50s to serve in the OSS role with foreign guerrillas behind Soviet lines in th event of war in Europe. Aaron Bank, the founder, recruited several hundred experienced foreign soldiers from the likely countries who wanted to become American. By the time we were in VN these men were a small fraction of GBs but important for their expertise and professionalism. pl

ked , 10 February 2018 at 05:56 PM
Col, I think it might help people to think of "the Borg" - as you have defined & applied it - in a broader context. It struck me particularly as you ID'd the launching of our modern military group-think / careerism behavior coming from the watershed of industrialized scale & processes that came out of WWII.

We note parallel themes in all significant sectors of our civilization. The ever-expanding security state, the many men in Gray Flannel Suits that inhabit corporate culture, Finance & Banking & Big Health scaling ever larger - all processes aimed to slice the salami thinner & quicker, to the point where meat is moot ... and so it goes.

I note many Borgs... Borgism if you will. An organizational behavior that has emerged out of human nature having difficulty adapting to rapidly accelerating complexity that is just too hard to apprehend in a few generations. If (as many commenters on STT seem to...) one wishes to view this in an ideological or spiritual framework only, they may overlook an important truth - that what we are experiencing is a Battle Among Borgs for control over their own space & domination over the other Borgs. How else would we expect any competitive, powerful interest group to act?

In gov & industry these days, we observe some pretty wild outliers... attached to some wild outcomes. Thus the boring behavior of our political industries bringing forth Trump, our promethean technology sector yielding a Musk (& yes, a Zuckerberg).

I find it hard to take very seriously analysts that define their perspective based primarily upon their superior ideals & opposition to others. Isn't every person, every tribe, team or enterprise a borglet-in-becoming? Everybody Wants to Rule the World ... & Everybody Must Get Stoned... messages about how we are grappling with complexity in our times. I just finished reading Command & Control (about nuclear weapons policy, systems design & accidents). I am amazed we've made it this far.

Unfortunately, I would not be amazed if reckless, feckless leaders changed the status quo. I was particularly alarmed hearing Trump in his projection mode; "I would love to be able to bring back our country into a great form of unity, without a major event where people pull together, that's hard to do.

But I would like to do it without that major event because usually that major event is not a good thing." It strikes me that he could be exceptionally willing to risk a Major Event if he felt a form of unity, or self-preservation, was in the offing. I pray (& I do not pray often or easily) that the Generals you have described have enough heart & guts to honor their oath at its most profound level in the event of an Event.

turcopolier , 10 February 2018 at 06:00 PM
babak

As a time traveler from another age, I can only say that for me it means devotion to a set of mores peculiar to a particular profession as opposed to an occupation. pl

Barbara Ann -> outthere... , 10 February 2018 at 06:00 PM
Great example outthere.

Another springs to mind: James Lovelock (of Gaia hypothesis fame) was once part of the NASA team building the first probe to go to Mars to look for signs of life. Lovelock didn't make any friends when he told NASA they were wasting their time, there was none. When asked how he could be so sure, he explained that the composition of the Martian atmosphere made it impossible. "But Martian life may be able to survive under different conditions" was the retort. Lovelock then went on to explain his view that the evolution of microbial life determined the atmospheric composition on Earth, so should be expected to do the same if life had evolved on Mars. Brilliant backwards thinking which ought to have earned him the Nobel prize IMHO (for Gaia). Lovelock, a classic cross-disciplinary scientist, can't be rewarded with such a box-categorized honor, as his idea doesn't fit well into any one.

Another example of cross-disciplinary brilliance was Bitcoin, which has as much to do with its creator's deep knowledge of Anthropology (why people invented & use money) as his expertise in both Economics and Computer Science.

This is they key to creative thinking in my view - familiarity with different fields yields deeper insights.

[Feb 08, 2018] We are all victims of the pernicious 24/7 scientifically-designed propaganda apparatus

Notable quotes:
"... We are all victims of the pernicious 24/7 scientifically-designed propaganda apparatus. It has little to do with the victim's intelligence since almost all human opinions are formed by emotional reactions that occur even before the conscious mind registers the input. ..."
Feb 08, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

Daniel , February 5, 2018 at 6:57 pm

We are all victims of the pernicious 24/7 scientifically-designed propaganda apparatus. It has little to do with the victim's intelligence since almost all human opinions are formed by emotional reactions that occur even before the conscious mind registers the input.

Through critical thinking, we can overcome these emotional impulses, but only with effort, and a pre-existing skepticism of all information sources. And even still, I have no doubt that all of us who are aware of the propaganda still accept some falsehoods as true.

It could be that having former Intelligence Agency Directors as "news" presenters, and Goldman Sachs alum and Military/Industrial complex CEOs running important government agencies makes clear to some the reality that we live in an oligarchy with near-tyrannical powers. But most people seem too busy surviving and/or being diverted by the circus to notice the depths of the propaganda.

[Feb 03, 2018] Kayfabe is the portrayal of staged events within the industry as real or true, specifically the portrayal of competition, rivalries, and relationships between participants as being genuine and not staged. Kayfabe became a code word for maintaining this reality for the general public.

Feb 03, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

ruffhouse Feb 3, 2018 4:31 PM Permalink

Post-American Politics Is Kayfabe.

KAYFABE: kayfabe /ˈkeɪfeɪb/ is the portrayal of staged events within the industry as "real" or "true," specifically the portrayal of competition, rivalries, and relationships between participants as being genuine and not of a staged or pre-determined nature of any kind.

Kayfabe has also evolved to become a code word of sorts for maintaining this "reality" within the direct or indirect presence of the general public.

http://www.barnhardt.biz/2016/10/08/post-american-politics-is-kayfabe-the-word-is-kayfabe/

[Feb 03, 2018] But What If He s Not an Idiot by John Atcheson

Notable quotes:
"... The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight ..."
"... content of Secretary Clinton's emails that hurt her, ..."
"... Cunning. Sociopathic. Narcissistic needing his constant narcissistic supply (adorers). ..."
"... Trump inherited great wealth. He learned one big lesson in life early on. Hire competent people and they will save your ass when you make a blunder. Trump's one skill is as a promoter of Trump. ..."
Feb 03, 2018 | www.commondreams.org

36 Comments

Trump could be playing us all. And not considering that is, well, idiotic.

Turns out, the first word a lot of people think of when it comes to President Donald Trump is this one: idiot .

The White House's handling of the Comey firing looks a lot like a clip from The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight . The Press Secretary hiding in the bushes, Trump sending virtually his entire staff under the bus with his various and rapidly shifting versions of his reasons for the firing, and his unhinged Twitter rants at the press for covering the fiasco as a fiasco.

Once again, pundits are talking about impulse control, the ADD Presidency, rank amateurism in the Oval Office, threats to Democracy -- all the stuff that they talked about in the campaign. The stuff that was supposed to doom his bid for the presidency to failure.

"It's worth considering what we are not talking about as we watch this political pornography play out."

All of this is grim stuff. We haven't seen a threat to democracy as serious as this since Watergate, so I'm not suggesting that we shouldn't be addressing it.

But it's worth considering what we are not talking about as we watch this political pornography play out and also, how does the focus on Russia undercut the Democratic Party? In other words, what if this is exactly what Trump intended when he fired Comey? It's worth remembering Trump's mentor was Roy Cohn, who was a master at controlling the narrative and one of his favorite techniques was to change the subject with an in-your-face outrage of one kind or another.

Let's examine what we're not talking about, and then what the effect of the whole Russian narrative is having on the Democratic Party.

What We Aren't Talking About

Shortly before Trump tossed in the Comey Molotov Cocktail into the national living room, here's what was dominating the news:

But none of that is being discussed much any longer. And if you ran as a populist, but all your policies are benefitting the top 1%, that's exactly what you'd hope for. Yes, the few Congressional members who are brave enough to hold town meetings are still getting mugged by outraged constituents, but these meetings are not getting the kind of coverage they would have pre-Comey. And that means the Health Care Bill isn't getting the kind of serious examination it would have if the media weren't doing all Comey, all the time. Again, exactly what you'd want if you knew the guts of the legislation were so bad, that if it got out there, even the Trump bobble heads would be pissed off. So folks aren't talking about the fact that it was rushed to the floor before getting scored by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), before we knew what its effects were and what its ultimate cost could be, before people caught on to the fact that the state waiver provision stuck in the revised version of the bill turned it from merely a cruel piece of legislation to the cruelest piece in modern history.

Or take the budget "proposal," which was getting panned by the media and even the few Republicans left in the Senate who actually are fiscal conservatives. Hell, even Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) took issue with some of the cuts. This reprise of "trickle down" and "supply side" chicanery was being almost universally ridiculed by the press and economists, and it was heavily influenced -- if not outsourced to -- the Heritage Foundation, an outfit funded by the likes of the Koch Brothers. Here again, the last thing Trump wants after running as a populist and a fiscal conservative is to get widespread coverage of just how much this plutocrat's budget resembles the stuff he railed against in his campaign.

And speaking of budgets, the media once again ignored the sanest budget proposal in Washington, The Congressional Progressive Caucus's Better Off Budget , which cuts the deficit by more than $4 trillion over the next 10 years -- Trump's budget would have increased it by at least $1.4 trillion over that time period, by the way -- while creating 8.8 million new jobs. The Better Off Budget uses policies that are wildly popular with the majority of Americans to accomplish this.

Now, it must be said that the press always ignores the CPC's budget proposals, but maybe Trump was taking no chances -- after all, if anyone held them up side-by-side, Trump and the Republicans would have been unmasked as the charlatans they are.

But there's no danger of that when it's all Comey, all the time.

Much is made of the fact that Trump's popularity among those who voted for him hasn't budged, despite the fact that he's screwing them left and right with his policies. Well, these kinds of maneuvers may explain why. Look back. When the Russian stuff was first heating up big time, we suddenly just had to bomb Syria. Wagging the dog is a time-honored way to change the subject. So is firing a controversial senior public servant.

Comey, the Russians, and the Establishment Arm of the Democratic Party

If Trump isn't an idiot, then here's where his tactics are brilliant. The neoliberal elitists who control the Democratic Party have been trying to keep the focus on the Russian intervention in our election as the reason Hillary Clinton lost. The progressives in the Party have been attacking the Party's estrangement from the people and its rejection of the New Deal policies as the reason. In short, there's a battle on for the heart and soul of the Party.

Firing Comey, brings the whole Russian thing to the fore, and works to sidetrack the real debate the Democratic Party needs to have about its future.

"Firing Comey, brings the whole Russian thing to the fore, and works to sidetrack the real debate the Democratic Party needs to have about its future."

Two things were working to undermine the establishment's hold on the Party until Comey's firing. First, Sanders continued to poll as the most popular politician in America. Second, people were beginning to realize that it was the content of Secretary Clinton's emails that hurt her, not the emails per se . And that content revealed the soft underbelly of the Democratic Party. To wit: the neoliberal belief in small government, the power and goodness of the market, free trade, deregulation, and fiscal austerity was simply too close to the Republican dogma to generate enough passion among progressives to get a good turnout, and Democrats need a good turnout to win elections.

But now it's all Comey all the time, and the Democratic establishment is taking full advantage of that to deflect attention from the real reason they're losing at all levels of government. It appears they'd rather risk losing elections than embrace a truly progressive agenda, and Trump just reinforced their self-serving narrative.

Yeah. What if he's not an idiot?

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

John Atcheson John Atcheson is author of the novel, A Being Darkly Wise , and he has just completed a book on the 2016 elections titled, WTF, America? How the US Went Off the Rails and How to Get It Back On Track , available from Amazon. Follow him on Twitter @john_atcheson


notwistalemon May '17

Quote from your article:
"But now it's all Comey all the time, and the Democratic establishment is taking full advantage of that to deflect attention from the real reason they're losing at all levels of government. It appears they'd rather risk losing elections than embrace a truly progressive agenda, and Trump just reinforced their self-serving narrative."

In my opinion you are right on the mark; especially with your last paragraph. Practically all the ultra rich in the world live in the same "gated community". Their goal is to control the world's resources and somehow survive the coming mass die-off due to severe climate disruption. To them their party never ends!

drone1066 May '17
It's possible he's not stupid AND he has zero impulse control. That seems most likely. He's good at subverting the few things he does think out.

But Democrats have quintupled down on Russia. For them, it's a battle for existence. They were completely exposed, and it's going to take a lot of "Russia!" to keep that conversation about their profound corruption from taking place.

And Atcheson is also right that this party much prefers losing than giving up its donorship buffet. That's why they do nothing to correct the course to get more votes. They're relying completely on their corporate media allies to keep the illusion going. So far it's working, to the great shame of rank and file Democrats.

SkepticTank May '17
drone1066 The D-Party would rather stumble back to electoral victory on the anti-Trump effect than offer policy that might clash with the wishes of their corporate donors.

Case in point: Single Payer now back-burnered as a distraction from anti-trump hysteria.

Sad to see so many otherwise intelligent commenters here falling for the usual D-Party parlor tricks.

erisx May '17
Whether Trump's just lucky or know how to work a room is unimportant. Results matter, and the result is that the important stuff's not being discussed, and the Greatest Heist In The World continues. Lest we forget, that Heist is NOT just about the USA. There's a reason they call it 'globalization.'
natureboy May '17
Excellent assessment.

Corporate bribes, big salaries, perks and tv star jobs will have to be torn from Neoliberal Democrats' cold dead hands.

And Don, Rupert and the rest of Mammon's soldiers will soon have to deal with an Artificial Intelligence that learns in one day what it took humans 40,000 years to learn. Interesting times.

Direct Democracy

ontheres May '17
Anyone who carefully followed the primaries knows that the democratic machine used all kinds of corrupt methods to defeat Bernie Sanders. And, anyone who follows the general election knows that the election is easily rigged - especially computer voting that leaves no paper trail and cannot be audited. The hypocrisy of Russians hacking our elections when they are hacked by our own politicians, and Russians interfering with our elections when our corporate elite have no problem interfering with elections in other countries all makes me ill. Don't know how many other voters out there are like me, but sure would like to hear from them.
Somehow almost none of this get mentioned in any press, progressive or otherwise.
BWilliamson May '17
bjoldlygo Trump can't control what he himself thinks. He's been a promoter of the Trump name for 40-50 years. That is a reflex with him. That is the extent of his thinking. There are many others around him, supporting him. Praising his genius, as this article is inclined towards, is their means of exploiting his great weakness.
BWilliamson May '17
wolfess There is nothing behind the scenes. Everything is happening center stage. If you spend your time trying to see behind the scenes you're going to miss the whole show.
Olhippy May '17
ontheres No, the seething undercurrent of the discontented is rarely reported on in the "news". Only when it explodes as in Missouri riots or Occupy Wall Street takeovers, does it get coverage which is put down by government forces, either civilian or feds. The Democratic primaries were changed, back in the 70's I believe, after anti-war candidate McCarthy got the nomination nod. That's when the super delegates came about, so they had more control of things. Expect the GOP too, to change things to keep future Trumps' from getting the nod.
Wereflea May '17 1
I see Atcheson's point but I think he needs to remember that Trump is a Prince of inherited wealth. Trump may be an idiot (he really did seem more intelligent before he got elected and then we had a good look at him and listened to his sometimes unintelligible speech patterns) but he has always been in a position where he delegated authority to people who got paid to be smarter than he was, so his 'idiocy' didn't show as much.

Trump paid high priced lawyers to arrange his deals. He paid expensive consultants and investment managers and on and on and all of those people were exceptionally intelligent. He paid someone to ghost write his book for him. Trump makes the same mistakes as he was always wont to do but back then they were always covered and massaged for him by his staff! After all... he was the Prince!

The Oval Office is not quite the same as a business conference with his lawyers, assistants, bankers and etc. Thus we see Trump blurting out statements that his advisors pull him back from as soon as they get the chance . Being president means everything you say gets publicized and despite all his billions that was not the case for the Prince back when he was just a wheeler and dealer.

Trump runs without a script too often but who in his entourage will dare tell the Prince that when he speaks (without their permission first) he ends up sounding like an idiot! Trump may be feeling constrained by his need to be less reckless and impulsive.

Trump unfiltered? Yeah well maybe he really is an idiot too!

Trumps just wanna have fun!

Lrx May '17 1
Olhippy I think you need to go back and review the history of Democratic primaries. Until 1972 the candidates were largely chosen in smoke-filled back rooms. George McGovern was instrumental in largely turning the Democratic primaries over to the voters. And that is how he got the nomination. Unfortunately he only won a single state but he was the people's choice to run. I wouldn't be concerned about the superdelegates. They always go along with the candidate who got the most pledged delegates. It is unlikely they would ever do otherwise. Unless the people chose a candidate who was really off the charts like Trump. Without superdelegates the Republicans were unable to stop Trump once the RNC backed him. Given what happened to the Republicans a case can be made for the superdelegates. Parties can choose their candidates any way they want. They don't have to let the people vote. Both parties now do and for the first time that turned into a complete disaster.
Godless May '17
The Comey firing also distracted from the Kushner family peddling visas for real estate deals in China; the Pence-Koback Commission to make voter cross-checking a federal law; and Sessions reinvigorating the war on drugs and legal marijuana to strike more minority voters from the rolls. El Presidente Naranja Mentiroso only cares about playing to his base and his base loves watching Democratic heads explode. As long as his base is happy, and they are happy with his performance, the Reptilians in Congress will be afraid to move against him. I thoroughly believe that the voter suppression moves will win the Reptilians the elections in 2018 and 2020. With their control of gerrymandering for another decade and the paid-to-lose Democrats only concerned about donor money, the Reptilians have clear sailing to gain 38 governorships and the ability to rewrite the constitution in their twisted image.
skiendhiu May '17
Wereflea I agree with you on your points of Trump having smart lawyers, assistants,bankers etc. around him doing the "smart" work, I am sure he allso used other tactics, of itimidation of one kind or another , taking it to the courts, threats of financial ruin, he allso wasnt kidding when he said he "knew' the system and how it worked, ..or rather how to work it, but he didnt do that singlehanded either, and i am sure there are more than one or two politicians at different levels from municipalitys on up, in his pocket and or good graces.

But to think him not an idiot is getting to be a bit of a stretch, does he really believe that he actually came up with the phrase "prime the pump"? I knew he was an idiot years before he made fun of the disabled reporter, but that single act confirmed it for me.

Yeah "prime the pump" what is he going to lay claim to next? "four score and seven years ago" " E=mc2" or how about.."and Trump said...let there be light"... I 'll tell you who else the idiots are...and that is any one taking this guy seriouslly any longer at least in a presidentiall sense,... that is just ...idiotic in the extreme.

formerly May '17
What If He's Not an Idiot?
Anyways, most of the American people are idiots .... the dark state and the 0.1% mostly aren't idiots -- just psychopaths.
Michael_Wilk May '17
I think it's more likely that the Democrats are even more moronic than is Drumpf, which is why, as usual, they are serving only to strengthen the GOPhers while pretending they're defenders of the public. Why do you think that hundred or so Democrats are signed onto John Conyers' single-payer bill now that Drumpf is in the Oval office and the Republicans hold majorities in both houses of Congress, when they could have done so when Obama was the chief executive and their party controlled Congress including a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, but instead passed a bill that was modeled on the Heritage Foundation's plan? It's all so much political theater designed to distract the public from the last great plundering of the nation before it collapses in on itself.
cassandra May '17
Lrx The Republicans used rule-changing, altho not superdelegates, to derail Ron Paul. There is never just one way to subvert truth.
cassandra May '17
ontheres I'm with you. The whole Russian thing is ridiculous. And they've never been accused of actually hacking voting machines, just the DNC emails which showed how slimy the DNC is. I have read that Georgia believed someone tried to hack their voting machines and they hired a private firm to investigate. What they found was hacking was attempted the the Dept of Homeland Security.

The simple fact that, after losing in 2000 by voting manipulation and probably via voting machines in 2004, the Dems took over the House in 2007 and 2 years later the Presidency and the Senate, they never, to my knowledge, introduced any legislation to require paper trails in federal elections. As far as I'm concerned that said all one needs to know about the Dems. It would have been a simple one page piece of legislation, Ok, maybe 2 pages.

ToniWintroub May '17
Wereflea Factor in his mafia connections here and abroad. To roll around in that slime at the high level he's in requires cunning to kiss up to the really rich guys who can hurt him and whom, actually, he can hurt. Then he's learned how to survive while he manipulates. Idiot? Define the term.

Cunning. Sociopathic. Narcissistic needing his constant narcissistic supply (adorers). Blackmailer and probably blackmailed. I gotta get Barrett's biography of this POS.

Wereflea May '17
ToniWintroub I wore out years ago but it just goes on and on! Lol

Actually at this point in time I am very much engaged in this garbage since Trump is stunningly entertaining as a rightwing boob out of his element and unraveling as we speak. Trump's adventures in incompetency fascinate me. It is just week after week in a steady progression of mistakes, attempted corrections, attempts at re-correcting those corrections that make them even worse and so forth. It would make for an interesting TV show (sort of like the 'apprentice got himself fired') except that this gross and often crude person can trigger a nuclear war on a whim which puts a damper on the pleasures of watching him deconstruct in front of our eyes.

Nevertheless, it is without doubt the most unexpected presidency of my life. Watergate was a comeuppance but Trump is bizzaro world in action.

Btw... Trump inherited great wealth. He learned one big lesson in life early on. Hire competent people and they will save your ass when you make a blunder. Trump's one skill is as a promoter of Trump. He was never a big brain and up until recently, he never pretended to be.

He is rich and loves being the center of attention. However his being rich is often at the expense of others. You assume that because Trump has long had shady connections that he must be an intellect to survive the association. Not really. Trump makes sure that he is profitable for them and they have no problem with that. It isn't genius on his part. It is always having his projects go way over budget. He guarantees them the cream and they 'have an arrangement'.

Prior to becoming president, Trump's associates, advisors, lawyers and accountants kept Trump making money and that made them money.

Trump is truly like the medieval Prince who lives in a sumptuous palace but who needs his Grand Vizier to actually run things in the country. Keep your eye on Kushner who has become the architect of oligarchy by being the real deal maker (he has the intellect) that Trump only promotes (he has the ego and the big mouth)!

[Jan 24, 2018] Trump s got the military behind him - the only institution powerful enough to challenge the deep state

Notable quotes:
"... There is nothing to lose at this point. The elite have made day to day life a void of lifelessness and stress chasing inflating life necessities with a falling dollar. The revolt hinges on the upcoming market crashes. ..."
"... As in the Rome's example, it may be that America can be saved by the cancerous corruption only by a military coup, the alternative being a massive war which will also enable the Army to overtake the control of the government ..."
Jan 24, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

WFO -> Luc X. Ifer Jan 21, 2018 11:20 PM Permalink

Trump's got the military behind him - the only institution powerful enough to challenge the deep state. I also understand he has a special forces security contingent in addition to SS. Trump gets hit - revolution will explode in their face.

Freedom Lover -> WFO Jan 22, 2018 11:32 AM Permalink

After reading the new National Security policy directive I'm not so sure. it is a blueprint for a new cold war possibly nuclear war with Russia and China which is antipathy to Trumps stated policies of collaboration with Russia, no more regime change and cooperation with China on Infrastructure projects. There is obviously a very strong Neo-con component in the Trump administration so i would not necessarily say the generals have his back.

MK ULTRA Alpha -> WFO Jan 22, 2018 2:56 AM Permalink

Black Knight Pence is the Deep State choice, and the military is the epicenter of the Deep State. The US is no longer a country, but an empire, with born and bred, programmed Globalist Officers in the military and all through the government.

It's a system which isn't a part of the country, it's completely in it's own synthetic realm, devoid of reason and logic. It's officers often confer with the Council on Foreign Relations and various controlled think tanks for it's marching orders. We, the American people aren't in the decision loop.

This system was designed from the outcome of the civil war. It's a centralized command and control system. It rules the states as harshly as it rules the world. We speak of freedom, but no one in their right mind can call this freedom. So most of us are not in our right mind, some brainwashed, others suspicious.

Luc X. Ifer -> WFO Jan 22, 2018 12:08 AM Permalink

Agree. I'm sure that Army's Intelligence services are indeed behind all the hacks & leaks which collapsed HC campaign and helped DT's. Also, they exposed the FBI's and NSA dirt. Kind of they didn't liked the ascension of the civils controlling the intelligence policies strategically - kind of the situation between Soviet's army and KGB. In the game of the pig and the chicken, the chicken is only involved with the eggs but the pigs must provide the bacon. Id Trump gets hit I'm pretty sure you'll see a military coup overtaking the governement.

Scipio Africanuz -> Luc X. Ifer, Jan 22, 2018 5:09 AM Permalink

I have a feeling the US army is really pissed they died for nothing. Despite all the talk of shortcomings, the US army, not USAF or USN, is not to be toyed with in an existential war, they will fight!

All adversaries understand that, they lose wars because they don't believe, simple. If the deep state, including feckless military leaders push too far, they'll be facing rifle barrels and possibly be chesting bayonets.

A military coup can happen in the USA despite talk of sacrosant democracy, it happened in Rome, word enough for the wise. 😎

Scipio Africanuz -> Scipio Africanuz, Jan 22, 2018 5:18 AM Permalink

BTW, the bulk of us army is not in active service, never underestimate patriotic veterans, if it comes to a shootout at the OK corral, they'll kill and die for their loved ones, against all enemies, foreign, and "domestic".

Mr Hankey -> Scipio Africanuz, Jan 22, 2018 1:19 PM Permalink

No, they won't Never have, never will .Gutless cowards one & all.They pick on the poor& weak & never won a real war, except Japan. They burn babies 4 billionaires,& there is no such thing as a domestic enemy.

Stupid goldbricking brutes fit 4 fertilizer and nothing else. Go copsuck & flagwank elsewhere, cuckfaggot vet or fanboi

JRobby -> Scipio Africanuz, Jan 22, 2018 6:12 AM Permalink

There is nothing to lose at this point. The elite have made day to day life a void of lifelessness and stress chasing inflating life necessities with a falling dollar. The revolt hinges on the upcoming market crashes.

Luc X. Ifer -> JRobby, Jan 22, 2018 9:47 AM Permalink

Agree + Scipio. As mentioned, till now the chickens lied and Army provided the bacon and the chickens collected all the revenue. As in the Rome's example, it may be that America can be saved by the cancerous corruption only by a military coup, the alternative being a massive war which will also enable the Army to overtake the control of the government, here is where NK and Iran would be good players in the scheme.

[Jan 14, 2018] Neoliberalism betrayed its promises

Notable quotes:
"... A signal feature of modern totalitarianism was that it arose and came to power through the discontents of people's isolation and loneliness ..."
Jan 14, 2018 | www.nytimes.com

Originally from: How Democracies Perish - The New York Times

Deneen argues that [neo]liberal democracy has betrayed its promises. It was supposed to foster equality, but it has led to great inequality and a new aristocracy. It was supposed to give average people control over government, but average people feel alienated from government. It was supposed to foster liberty, but it creates a degraded popular culture in which consumers become slave to their appetites.

Many young people feel trapped in a system they have no faith in. Deneen quotes one of his students: "Because we view humanity -- and thus its institutions -- as corrupt and selfish, the only person we can rely upon is our self. The only way we can avoid failure, being let down, and ultimately succumbing to the chaotic world around us, therefore, is to have the means (financial security) to rely only upon ourselves."

... ... ...

When communism and fascism failed in the 20th century, this version of [neo]liberalism seemed triumphant. But it was a Pyrrhic victory, Deneen argues.

[Neo]Liberalism claims to be neutral but it's really anti-culture. It detaches people from nature, community, tradition and place. It detaches people from time. "Gratitude to the past and obligations to the future are replaced by a nearly universal pursuit of immediate gratification."

Once family and local community erode and social norms dissolve, individuals are left naked and unprotected. They seek solace in the state. They toggle between impersonal systems: globalized capitalism and the distant state. As the social order decays, people grasp for the security of authoritarianism. " A signal feature of modern totalitarianism was that it arose and came to power through the discontents of people's isolation and loneliness ," he observes.

[Jan 09, 2018] Neocon power in Big Government is directly connected to neocon media access and neocon media visibility

Notable quotes:
"... Neocon power in Big Government is directly connected to neocon media access and neocon media visibility. This is why 'experts' such as Boot, Kristol, Weinstein, Cohen, Stephens, Glasser, Podhoretz, Dubowitz, etc., are not only never stepping down from their appointed roles as high media priests–they're actually failing their way into positions of tenure and (undue) respectability. ..."
"... Under any other circumstance, their bulletproof status would defy logic. But because of Israel's unique place in American life, this makes perfect–though astonishing–sense. This above list of scoundrels may resemble the guest list of a Jewish wedding, but this ongoing affair will produce no honeymoon. These operatives function as soft double agents. Their devious mission is to justify US war(s) of aggression that benefit Israel. ..."
"... More subversion and more conflict. This explains why Pres. Trump has reversed course. He's caved. Once elected, Trump decided to would be suicide to try to frustrate the Israeli Lobby. So he cucked his Presidency and dumped several major campaign pledges. ..."
"... Candidate Trump also stated: "I don't want your [Jewish] money" to an auditorium full of wealthy Jews. Well, that's changed too. Pres. Trump is now surrounded by wealthy and powerful Israeli-firsters now, including mega-billionaire, Sheldon Adelson, who ended up feeding the Trump campaign untold millions. Sadly, Trump has totally rolled over for the Israelis. ..."
"... Regarding Israel, Washington will foot their war bill, supply the arms, lend diplomatic cover and even wage war on their behalf. No country in the world receives this kind of treatment. And no country in the world deserves it. ..."
"... Ironically, US security would be improved if we simply minded our own business and did nothing in the Middle East besides pursue normal and peaceful trade policies. But that's not to be. ..."
"... America's 'special relationship' with you-know-who is the quintessential red line that no establishment figure will cross. And those who do cross that line tend to fade rapidly into oblivion. This phenomena has not gone unnoticed. ..."
"... When you control the media, you control the message. That message is that America just has to keep busting up nations for the glory of Apartheid Israel. ..."
"... Much is said about "we dumb Americans." We are not all that dumb – but we are 100% misinformed. Propaganda works. It is a fact that the human mind is susceptible to repeated lies. (It is also true, that people hate being lied too.) ..."
"... The whole US media scene can be summed up as "don't believe their pack of lies. Believe my pack of lies"! ..."
Jan 09, 2018 | www.unz.com
Mark Green , January 9, 2018 at 10:57 am GMT
Neocon power in Big Government is directly connected to neocon media access and neocon media visibility. This is why 'experts' such as Boot, Kristol, Weinstein, Cohen, Stephens, Glasser, Podhoretz, Dubowitz, etc., are not only never stepping down from their appointed roles as high media priests–they're actually failing their way into positions of tenure and (undue) respectability.

Under any other circumstance, their bulletproof status would defy logic. But because of Israel's unique place in American life, this makes perfect–though astonishing–sense. This above list of scoundrels may resemble the guest list of a Jewish wedding, but this ongoing affair will produce no honeymoon. These operatives function as soft double agents. Their devious mission is to justify US war(s) of aggression that benefit Israel.

Being a successful neocon doesn't require being right. Not at all. It's all about sending the right message. Over and over. Evidence be damned. The neocon mission is not about journalism. It's about advancing the cause: Mideast disruption and a secure Jewish state.

More importantly, Washington's impenetrable array of Zio-centric PACs, money-handlers, bundlers, fund-raisers, and billionaires want these crypto-Israeli pundits right where they are–on TV or in the your local newspaper–telling Americans how to feel and what to think. And Big Media–which happens to be in bed with these same powerful forces–needs these Zions in place to not only justify the latest Mideast confrontation, but even ones being planned. It's one big happy effort at group-think, mass deception, and military conquest. Unfortunately, it's not being presented that way.

So what lies ahead?

More subversion and more conflict. This explains why Pres. Trump has reversed course. He's caved. Once elected, Trump decided to would be suicide to try to frustrate the Israeli Lobby. So he cucked his Presidency and dumped several major campaign pledges.

The first to go was his pledge to normalize US-Russian relations ('make peace' with Russia) and after that 2) avoid unnecessary wars abroad. That's was a huge reversal. But Trump did it and few pundits have scolded him for it. The fix is in.

Candidate Trump also stated: "I don't want your [Jewish] money" to an auditorium full of wealthy Jews. Well, that's changed too. Pres. Trump is now surrounded by wealthy and powerful Israeli-firsters now, including mega-billionaire, Sheldon Adelson, who ended up feeding the Trump campaign untold millions. Sadly, Trump has totally rolled over for the Israelis.

So Trump (the President) now sees things differently. Very differently. When it comes to the Middle East, Trump has been Hillary-ized. This means there's no light between what Israel desires and what Washington is willing to deliver. The hyper-wealthy, super cohesive, extraordinarily well-positioned and diabolically cleaver Israeli lobby has Trump over a barrel. Shocking, yes. But true.

So watch Israel's roughshod expansion continue, along with the typically meek and accommodating responses from Washington.

Regarding Israel, Washington will foot their war bill, supply the arms, lend diplomatic cover and even wage war on their behalf. No country in the world receives this kind of treatment. And no country in the world deserves it.

What's worse, our 'independent' MSM will be there to sanitize Washington's pro-Israel shenanigans and basically cheer the whole bloody process on. This is where the Zio-punditry of Kristol, Cohen, Stephens, Dubowitz, and Co. come in. They soothe the nervous nellies as they gently justify the death and destruction that come with these military strikes. Media tactics include:

Don't count enemy war dead. Don't count civilian war dead. Don't count displaced refugees. Don't connect Europe's immigration crisis to Zio-Washington's destruction of Iraq, Libya and Syria.

At the same time: Always praise Israeli 'restraint'. Always refer to Israel as a 'democracy'. Sneer and jeer the 'terrorist' Republic of Iran. Treat every Mideast warlord or rebellion as if it threatens the sanctity of Disneyland or even the next Superbowl. Oh my!

It's a slick, highly-coordinated, and very manipulative affair. But the magic is working. Americans are being fooled.

Ironically, US security would be improved if we simply minded our own business and did nothing in the Middle East besides pursue normal and peaceful trade policies. But that's not to be.

The reason for this phenomena is that Washington's major PACs, syndicates, heavy hitters, influence peddlers, oligarchs, and Big Money handlers (and who also have their clutches on our corrupt MSM) want more Mideast disruption.

Why? Israeli 'security'. Israeli 'survival'. Considering Israel's extraordinary military power, this might seem silly. But this is what the entrenched Israeli lobby desires. And both Parties are listening. To make matters worse, how one 'thinks' and 'talks' about Israel has unacknowledged limitations and restrictions in Big Washington as well as Big Media.

Diversity of opinion stops at Israel's doorstep. Like it or not, Zionist Israel is the Third Rail of American discourse. Watch what you say. Even the typically rancorous disputes between Democrats and Republicans gets warm and fuzzy when Israel's 'special place' in American life is raised. America's 'special relationship' with you-know-who is the quintessential red line that no establishment figure will cross. And those who do cross that line tend to fade rapidly into oblivion. This phenomena has not gone unnoticed.

So America is stuck with pro-Israel speech codes and a militantly pro-Zionist foreign policy that has caused immense cost, dislocation, suffering and destruction. It's been designed that way. And 'outsider' Trump is stuck with it. Few dare examine it.

Here's the short list of Israel's primary Enemies. Significantly, these are the countries that also get the worst press in American media:

N. Korea is even a player here. Iran and N. Korea have allegedly shared nuclear technology. This infuriates nuclear Israel.

So the Israel angle in this picture is huge. Overwhelmingly so. This is where the oligarchs, media lords, and corrupt journalists come together.

Thus, Israel's tenured Hasbara brigade in US media will remain firmly in place.

Buck Turgidson , January 9, 2018 at 11:12 am GMT
The local DC 'conservative' radio station has Bolton as a guest all the time. Same old neocon crap that we don't want any more. Bolton had his day 15 years ago and he sucked then; yet, they keep bringing him on, slobbering all over him ("Ambassador Bolton"), and letting him blather about blowing up everyone. I still see a lot of online comments about how people would love to have John Bolton as our ambassador to the UN. Good grief wise up people.
wayfarer , January 9, 2018 at 11:56 am GMT

" Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth. " – Buddha

"Israel Lobby Refuses to Register as a Foreign Agent! "

Tom Welsh , January 9, 2018 at 12:08 pm GMT
'Stephens' article, entitled Finding the Way Forward on Iran sparkles with throwaway gems like "Tehran's hyperaggressive foreign policy in the wake of the 2015 nuclear deal" and "Real democracies don't live in fear of their own people" and even "it's not too soon to start rethinking the way we think about Iran." Or try "A better way of describing Iran's dictatorship is as a kleptotheocracy, driven by impulses that are by turns doctrinal and venal."'

Hmmmmm . I can immediately think of another nation to which those strictures are far more applicable.

"Hyperaggressive foreign policy"
"Kleptocracy"

Sounds more like the USA, doesn't it?

As for "Real democracies don't live in fear of their own people", that's a real home run.

1. The USA is not, never has been, never will be, and was never meant to be "a real democracy". (Except by unrealistic visionaries like Jefferson).

2. The USA has been, for some decades, a plutocracy – as comprehensively proved by Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page. https://scholar.princeton.edu/sites/default/files/mgilens/files/gilens_and_page_2014_-testing_theories_of_american_politics.doc.pdf

3. "When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty". – Thomas Jefferson

No prizes for guessing which of Jefferson's alternatives prevails today.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/02/14/why-is-department-homeland-security-buying-so-many-bullets.html

Greg Bacon , Website January 9, 2018 at 12:32 pm GMT
When you control the media, you control the message. That message is that America just has to keep busting up nations for the glory of Apartheid Israel.

From an April 2003 Haaretz article:

The war in Iraq was conceived by 25 neoconservative intellectuals, most of them Jewish, who are pushing President Bush to change the course of history. Two of them, journalists William Kristol and Charles Krauthammer, say it's possible.

This is a war of an elite. [Tom] Friedman laughs: I could give you the names of 25 people (all of whom are at this moment within a five-block radius of this office) who, if you had exiled them to a desert island a year and a half ago, the Iraq war would not have happened.

http://www.haaretz.com/news/features/white-man-s-burden-1.14110

If this insanity keeps up, America will either be destroyed by financial collapse from waging all these wars or we'll stumble into WW III and the last thing we'll see is a mushroom cloud.

Former Brit PM Tony Blair at the Chilcot inquiry:

What role did Israel play in the run-up to the Iraq war?

"As I recall that discussion, it was less to do with specifics about what we were going to do on Iraq or, indeed, the Middle East, because the Israel issue was a big, big issue at the time. I think, in fact, I remember, actually, there may have been conversations that we had even with Israelis, the two of us, whilst we were there. So that was a major part of all this."

http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/mehdi-hasan/2010/02/iraq-war-israel-bush-saddam

annamaria , January 9, 2018 at 12:49 pm GMT
@Mark James

"Whether print, air, or both the Neocons want to be players. They have the friends in high –media– places to do it." – They, neocons, are devoid of dignity. This explains why none of them feels any responsibility for the mass slaughter in the Middle East -- picture Madeleine Albright near thousands of tiny corpses of Iraqi children or the piggish Kristol next to the bloody bags with shredded Syrian children. They are psychopaths, the profiteering psychopaths. There is no other way to deal with neo/ziocons but through long-term incarceration.

DESERT FOX , January 9, 2018 at 1:34 pm GMT
Those Zionist neocons are just a few of the cabal that destroyed the WTC and got away with it and every thinking American knows it.

Zionists are Satanists and are going to destroy America, please read THE PROTOCOLS OF ZION.

Jake , January 9, 2018 at 3:01 pm GMT
My fine tuning of this excellent article begins, and perhaps ends, with this quote: "The fact is that Iran is being targeted because Israel sees it as its prime enemy in the region and has corrupted many "opinion makers" in the U.S., to include Stephens, to hammer home that point."

The 'corruption' is not recent and is not about any one issue or series of issues. It springs from Deep Culture. It is part of the WASP worldview.

WASP culture is the direct product of Anglo-Saxon Puritanism, which was a Judaizing heresy. Judaizing heresy always produces culture and politics that are pro-Jewish, pro-Semitic.

At least by the beginning of the Victorian era, virtually 100% of British Empire Elites were hardcore pro-Semitic. Most were pro-Jewish, but a large and growing minority were pro-Arabic and pro-Islamic.

The Saudis are Arabic. The Iranians are NOT Arabic; Iranians are Indo-European.

Siding with both wings of Semitic culture – Jewish and Arabic/Islamic – against an Indo-European people is exactly what WASP cultural Elites will do. It is roughly analogous to Oliver Cromwell allying with Jews to wage war against the vast majority of natives of the British Isles.

JoaoAlfaiate , January 9, 2018 at 3:03 pm GMT
Excellent piece. I'd just like to add that Stephens' op-ed in the NYT ought to be view like Judith Miller's misleading articles about aluminum-tubes-for-nuclear-centrifuges which appeared in the Times during the run up to the Iraq war: Preparation of the Times' readership for yet another war in the middle east, this time against Iran.
Jake , January 9, 2018 at 3:05 pm GMT
@DESERT FOX

No, Saudis destroyed the World Trade Center.

But the Israelis do see the Saudis as their Middle Eastern BFF, and the US is also tightly allied with the Saudis.

Jake , January 9, 2018 at 3:07 pm GMT
@Bill Jones

You cannot separate that 'error' from the fact that such an act fit perfectly with WASP culture as the product of Judaizing heresy.

That is exactly what WASP culture would do.

Tammy , January 9, 2018 at 3:22 pm GMT
@MEexpert

MEexpert says, "Look again. His has a typical Jewish face.

The score is still 6 to 1. John Bolton may bot be Jewish but he is a venom spewing neocon."

Finally someone with the courage of Justin Raimondo has guts to call spade a spade. He has taken the courage to move from the FAKE NEWS:

Why the Korean 'Crisis' Is Completely Phony

http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2018/01/08/korean-crisis-completely-phony/

Ron Unz is another courageous man. I wish and pray to God, that people like Ron Unz, Philip M. Giraldi, Paul Craig Roberts, Saker and their likes to move away from FAKE NEWS too, and tell us the TRUTH.

Evil can be fought only with TRUTH ..

Your idea about an article on political Islam by either Ron Unz or Philip M. Giraldi is an excellent idea, and I am willing to help provided we keep away from sectarianism and stick to TRUTH. The war the First Caliph abu Bakr which he fought with Yemen's Muslims within six months of Prophet's demise is very important to show how the rights given by Prophet Mohammad (saws) were taken away as soon as his demise. Our aim should be to shine the light on the Prophet. This is what Yemen's war did, just to start with:

1. Prophet did away with excommuniting someone from the fold as he saw a very powerful tool in the hands of Rabbis and Preacher. Who gave them the right to remove someone from Synagogue or Church.

2. So abu Bakr came up with much stronger tool, he called all the Yemeni Muslims en masses as apostate.

3. Brought back the slavery.

4. Claimed that he the Caliph abu Bakr was appointed by Will of Allah through predestination.

5. Thus, the ideology of ISIS calling everyone kafir, kafir, kafir .. and chopping their heads.

6. Used Islam as a disguise to bring other countries in to the fold for power and mammon (money), thus bring Islam by Sword.

The list is extensive and I can go on and on. The divide / confuse / rule was used against the Muslims.

The objective of the article should be to bring TRUTH about the Prophet.

for-the-record , January 9, 2018 at 3:26 pm GMT
@Tammy

Anyone who thinks Trump is a fool is an imbecile himself/herself.

Thanks for the compliment!

sarz , January 9, 2018 at 3:33 pm GMT
@Mark Green

Don't lose heart, Mark Green. There is a very good chance that Trump is actually with you, and that he's winning. He cannot afford to be straight at all. His strategy is to take up highly charged strands of the dominant discourse and to short circuit them. A strong play of a weak hand. He's run with the demands of Adelson, Netanyahu and Kushner regarding Jerusalem and other maximal Israeli demands. It's all in response to the worst Jews. The result is that Shias are united with Sunnis, Hamas with PLO, Iran with Turkey and Saudi Arabia. The whole world against America, Israel and some specks of guano. The Iran caper is the same. The Pakistan caper even better. Trump gives the military a free hand to show what they can do in Afghanistan. Then he blows his twitter top to insult Pakistan so there will no longer be a land route. He's doing his damndest and always failing. What a clueless asshole. Yet every failure is undoing the empire, and leading to a one-state resolution in Palestine.

That's just the foreign policy part.

By the time he's finished there will be no Democrat party left as we know it, and the GOP will be transformed as well.
There will be no more Fed. No more debt based currency. A paid off national debt.
And there will be single payer medical coverage.
God willing.

Achmed E. Newman , Website January 9, 2018 at 3:35 pm GMT
That was a great summary of our foreign policy situation, Mr. Giraldi. You have a lot of guts to write out all the truth that you see, as you have in all of the articles of yours I've read on unz.

I really liked this line, too:

To be sure, Iran is a very corrupt place run by people who should not be running a hot dog stand, but the same applies to the United States and Israel .

I have one question for you, Phil, and this is not hypothetical or snarky – just looking for your opinion: What do you think the neocons' attitude about the Orient is? I realize that China is on the road to kicking our ass economically , but that's the "war" we need to fight, not a military war. Then, there's N. Korea, which, in my opinion, is none of our business. Rest of the question – Trump seems to get sucked into the standard invade-the-world mode in the Far East also – do you think that is neocon-inspired, and, since that part of the world is no threat to Israel, if so, why? Would they possibly be masking their intentions by expanding the range of their invade-the-world program?

DaveE , January 9, 2018 at 3:35 pm GMT
Another fine essay, Mr. Giraldi. Thanks once again.

This morning we find a very unusual Op Ed in the JYT by David Brooks, "The Decline of Anti-Trump_vs_deep_state".

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/08/opinion/anti-trump-opposition.html

I don't usually read that filthy rag other than to skim the headlines, but this was just so bizarre, I couldn't resist. Brooks seems to admit that they (Jewish neocons/Bolsheviks) are losing the battle to take down Trump. He openly criticizes the media for being so obvious and self-discrediting.

Is this a total retreat for the neocons / Bolsheviks? Or is Brooks merely rallying the troops? Or simply a desperate attempt to regain credibility by telling the truth, for a change?

Or maybe he is preemptively refuting Mr. Giraldi's premise in this piece, a semi-novel tactic one might call Jewish Preemptive Vengeance getting even BEFORE the fact?

Anyway, it was downright WEIRD.

DESERT FOX , January 9, 2018 at 3:40 pm GMT

@Jake

Do some research, Israel and the U.S. deep state blew up 7 buildings at the WTC on 911 and blew up a section of the pentagram, the Saudis were the patsys , and as corrupt and evil as the Saudis are they had on part in it.

The Zionist neocons did 911 to set the Mideast wars in motion, do some research, hell every thinking American knows Israel did it.

c matt , January 9, 2018 at 3:45 pm GMT
@wayfarer

Considering what an absolute stranglehold they have over American politics, they may have an argument.

Art , January 9, 2018 at 4:01 pm GMT
Mr. Giraldi has gone after the real power center in America – the Jew controlled US media. Much is said about "we dumb Americans." We are not all that dumb – but we are 100% misinformed. Propaganda works. It is a fact that the human mind is susceptible to repeated lies. (It is also true, that people hate being lied too.)

Much is said about "Christian Zionists." Why is it, that NO Christian broadcast media tells the truth about Palestinian suffering? Of course, it is because of Jew media control. If Christian stations were to tell the truth, there would be a lot less Christian Zionists – they would be a small segment of Christianity.

Thanks to Mr. Giraldi and others on the internet – more and more people are listening and learning and getting mad. A base is building. Truth will out!

Think Peace -- Art

Joe Hide , January 9, 2018 at 4:03 pm GMT
The more the psychotic control freaks publically expose themselves, what with social media, the internet, and disenchanted leakers in their own group the more of humanity wakes up to a great sense of absolute disgust in them. We, humanity, are gradually winning and the disgusting pyschopaths are losing.
Michael Kenny , January 9, 2018 at 4:23 pm GMT
Does Mr Giraldi really expect us to believe that the US internet is any better than the media outlets he criticizes? The whole US media scene can be summed up as "don't believe their pack of lies. Believe my pack of lies"!

[Jan 02, 2018] Neocon warmongers should be treated as rapists by Andrew J. Bacevich

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... What's puzzling is why that capacity for outrage and demand for accountability doesn't extend to our now well-established penchant for waging war across much of the planet. ..."
"... Compare their culpability to that of the high-ranking officials who have presided over or promoted this country's various military misadventures of the present century. Those wars have, of course, resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths and will ultimately cost American taxpayers many trillions of dollars. Nor have those costly military efforts eliminated "terrorism," as President George W. Bush promised back when today's G.I.s were still in diapers. ..."
"... Bush told us that, through war, the United States would spread freedom and democracy. Instead, our wars have sown disorder and instability, creating failing or failed states across the Greater Middle East and Africa. In their wake have sprung up ever more, not fewer, jihadist groups, while acts of terror are soaring globally. These are indisputable facts. ..."
"... For starters, there is no "new strategy." Trump's generals, apparently with a nod from their putative boss, are merely modifying the old "strategy," which was itself an outgrowth of previous strategies tried, found wanting, and eventually discarded before being rebranded and eventually recycled. ..."
"... Thus far, Trump's interventionism has been a fragment of what the Hillary campaign promised. ..."
"... This is the center of a world empire. It maintains a gigantic military which virtually never stops fighting wars, none of them having anything to do with defense. It has created an intelligence monstrosity which makes old outfits like Stazi seem almost quaint, and it spies on everyone. Indeed, it maintains seventeen national security establishments, as though you can never have too much of a good thing. And some of these guys, too, are engaged full-time in forms of covert war, from fomenting trouble in other lands and interfering in elections to overthrowing governments. ..."
"... It's unlikely that the USA would be remaining in Afghanistan if its goals were not being attained. So the author has merely shown that the stated goals cannot be the real goals. What then are the real goals? I propose two: 1) establish a permanent military presence on a Russian border; 2) finance it with the heroin trade. Given other actions of the Empire around the globe, the first goal is obvious. The bombing of mud huts containing competitors' drug labs, conjoined with the fact that we do not destroy the actual poppy fields (obvious green targets in an immense ocean of brown) make this goal rather obvious as well. The rest of the article is simply more evidence that the Empire does not include mere human tragedy in its profit calculation. ..."
"... Andrew Bacevich calls for a Weinstein moment without realizing that it already happened more than ten years ago. The 2006 midterm elections were the first Weinstein moment, which saw the American people deliver a huge outpouring of antiwar sentiment that inflicted significant congressional losses on the neocon Republicans of George W. Bush. ..."
Dec 22, 2017 | www.unz.com

What makes a Harvey Weinstein moment? The now-disgraced Hollywood mogul is hardly the first powerful man to stand accused of having abused women. The Harveys who preceded Harvey himself are legion, their prominence matching or exceeding his own and the misdeeds with which they were charged at least as reprehensible.

In the relatively recent past, a roster of prominent offenders would include Bill Clinton, Bill Cosby, Roger Ailes, Bill O'Reilly, and, of course, Donald Trump. Throw in various jocks, maestros, senior military officers, members of the professoriate and you end up with quite a list. Yet in virtually all such cases, the alleged transgressions were treated as instances of individual misconduct, egregious perhaps but possessing at best transitory political resonance.

All that, though, was pre-Harvey. As far as male sexual hijinks are concerned, we might compare Weinstein's epic fall from grace to the stock market crash of 1929: one week it's the anything-goes Roaring Twenties, the next we're smack dab in a Great Depression.

How profound is the change? Up here in Massachusetts where I live, we've spent the past year marking John F. Kennedy's 100th birthday. If Kennedy were still around to join in the festivities, it would be as a Class A sex offender. Rarely in American history has the cultural landscape shifted so quickly or so radically.

In our post-Harvey world, men charged with sexual misconduct are guilty until proven innocent, all crimes are capital offenses, and there exists no statute of limitations. Once a largely empty corporate slogan, "zero tolerance" has become a battle cry.

All of this serves as a reminder that, on some matters at least, the American people retain an admirable capacity for outrage. We can distinguish between the tolerable and the intolerable. And we can demand accountability of powerful individuals and institutions.

Everything They Need to Win (Again!)

What's puzzling is why that capacity for outrage and demand for accountability doesn't extend to our now well-established penchant for waging war across much of the planet.

In no way would I wish to minimize the pain, suffering, and humiliation of the women preyed upon by the various reprobates now getting their belated comeuppance. But to judge from published accounts, the women (and in some cases, men) abused by Weinstein, Louis C.K., Mark Halperin, Leon Wieseltier, Kevin Spacey, Al Franken, Charlie Rose, Matt Lauer, Garrison Keillor, my West Point classmate Judge Roy Moore, and their compadres at least managed to survive their encounters. None of the perpetrators are charged with having committed murder. No one died.

Compare their culpability to that of the high-ranking officials who have presided over or promoted this country's various military misadventures of the present century. Those wars have, of course, resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths and will ultimately cost American taxpayers many trillions of dollars. Nor have those costly military efforts eliminated "terrorism," as President George W. Bush promised back when today's G.I.s were still in diapers.

Bush told us that, through war, the United States would spread freedom and democracy. Instead, our wars have sown disorder and instability, creating failing or failed states across the Greater Middle East and Africa. In their wake have sprung up ever more, not fewer, jihadist groups, while acts of terror are soaring globally. These are indisputable facts.

It discomfits me to reiterate this mournful litany of truths. I feel a bit like the doctor telling the lifelong smoker with stage-four lung cancer that an addiction to cigarettes is adversely affecting his health. His mute response: I know and I don't care. Nothing the doc says is going to budge the smoker from his habit. You go through the motions, but wonder why.

In a similar fashion, war has become a habit to which the United States is addicted. Except for the terminally distracted, most of us know that. We also know -- we cannot not know -- that, in places like Afghanistan and Iraq, U.S. forces have been unable to accomplish their assigned mission, despite more than 16 years of fighting in the former and more than a decade in the latter.

It's not exactly a good news story, to put it mildly. So forgive me for saying it ( yet again ), but most of us simply don't care, which means that we continue to allow a free hand to those who preside over those wars, while treating with respect the views of pundits and media personalities who persist in promoting them. What's past doesn't count; we prefer to sustain the pretense that tomorrow is pregnant with possibilities. Victory lies just around the corner.

By way of example, consider a recent article in U.S. News and World Report. The headline: "Victory or Failure in Afghanistan: 2018 Will Be the Deciding Year." The title suggests a balance absent from the text that follows, which reads like a Pentagon press release. Here in its entirety is the nut graf (my own emphasis added):

"Armed with a new strategy and renewed support from old allies, the Trump administration now believes it has everything it needs to win the war in Afghanistan. Top military advisers all the way up to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis say they can accomplish what two previous administrations and multiple troop surges could not: the defeat of the Taliban by Western-backed local forces, a negotiated peace and the establishment of a popularly supported government in Kabul capable of keeping the country from once again becoming a haven to any terrorist group."

Now if you buy this, you'll believe that Harvey Weinstein has learned his lesson and can be trusted to interview young actresses while wearing his bathrobe.

For starters, there is no "new strategy." Trump's generals, apparently with a nod from their putative boss, are merely modifying the old "strategy," which was itself an outgrowth of previous strategies tried, found wanting, and eventually discarded before being rebranded and eventually recycled.

Short of using nuclear weapons, U.S. forces fighting in Afghanistan over the past decade and a half have experimented with just about every approach imaginable: invasion, regime change, occupation, nation-building, pacification, decapitation, counterterrorism, and counterinsurgency, not to mention various surges , differing in scope and duration. We have had a big troop presence and a smaller one, more bombing and less, restrictive rules of engagement and permissive ones. In the military equivalent of throwing in the kitchen sink, a U.S. Special Operations Command four-engine prop plane recently deposited the largest non-nuclear weapon in the American arsenal on a cave complex in eastern Afghanistan. Although that MOAB made a big boom, no offer of enemy surrender materialized.

$65 billion in U.S. taxpayer dollars. And under the circumstances, consider that a mere down payment.

According to General John Nicholson, our 17th commander in Kabul since 2001, the efforts devised and implemented by his many predecessors have resulted in a "stalemate" -- a generous interpretation given that the Taliban presently controls more territory than it has held since the U.S. invasion. Officers no less capable than Nicholson himself, David Petraeus and Stanley McChrystal among them, didn't get it done. Nicholson's argument: trust me.

In essence, the "new strategy" devised by Trump's generals, Secretary of Defense Mattis and Nicholson among them, amounts to this: persist a tad longer with a tad more. A modest uptick in the number of U.S. and allied troops on the ground will provide more trainers, advisers, and motivators to work with and accompany their Afghan counterparts in the field. The Mattis/Nicholson plan also envisions an increasing number of air strikes, signaled by the recent use of B-52s to attack illicit Taliban " drug labs ," a scenario that Stanley Kubrick himself would have been hard-pressed to imagine.

Notwithstanding the novelty of using strategic bombers to destroy mud huts, there's not a lot new here. Dating back to 2001, coalition forces have already dropped tens of thousands of bombs in Afghanistan. Almost as soon as the Taliban were ousted from Kabul, coalition efforts to create effective Afghan security forces commenced. So, too, did attempts to reduce the production of the opium that has funded the Taliban insurgency, alas with essentially no effect whatsoever . What Trump's generals want a gullible public (and astonishingly gullible and inattentive members of Congress) to believe is that this time they've somehow devised a formula for getting it right.

Turning the Corner

With his trademark capacity to intuit success, President Trump already sees clear evidence of progress. "We're not fighting anymore to just walk around," he remarked in his Thanksgiving message to the troops. "We're fighting to win. And you people [have] turned it around over the last three to four months like nobody has seen." The president, we may note, has yet to visit Afghanistan.

I'm guessing that the commander-in-chief is oblivious to the fact that, in U.S. military circles, the term winning has acquired notable elasticity. Trump may think that it implies vanquishing the enemy -- white flags and surrender ceremonies on the U.S.S. Missouri . General Nicholson knows better. "Winning," the field commander says , "means delivering a negotiated settlement that reduces the level of violence and protecting the homeland." (Take that definition at face value and we can belatedly move Vietnam into the win column!)

Should we be surprised that Trump's generals, unconsciously imitating General William Westmoreland a half-century ago, claim once again to detect light at the end of the tunnel? Not at all. Mattis and Nicholson (along with White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster) are following the Harvey Weinstein playbook: keep doing it until they make you stop. Indeed, with what can only be described as chutzpah, Nicholson himself recently announced that we have " turned the corner " in Afghanistan. In doing so, of course, he is counting on Americans not to recall the various war managers, military and civilian alike, who have made identical claims going back years now, among them Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta in 2012 .

From on high, assurances of progress; in the field, results that, year after year, come nowhere near what's promised; on the homefront, an astonishingly credulous public. The war in Afghanistan has long since settled into a melancholy and seemingly permanent rhythm.

The fact is that the individuals entrusted by President Trump to direct U.S. policy believe with iron certainty that difficult political problems will yield to armed might properly employed. That proposition is one to which generals like Mattis and Nicholson have devoted a considerable part of their lives, not just in Afghanistan but across much of the Islamic world. They are no more likely to question the validity of that proposition than the Pope is to entertain second thoughts about the divinity of Jesus Christ.

In Afghanistan, their entire worldview -- not to mention the status and clout of the officer corps they represent -- is at stake. No matter how long the war there lasts, no matter how many " generations " it takes, no matter how much blood is shed to no purpose, and no matter how much money is wasted, they will never admit to failure -- nor will any of the militarists-in-mufti cheering them on from the sidelines in Washington, Donald Trump not the least among them.

Meanwhile, the great majority of the American people, their attention directed elsewhere -- it's the season for holiday shopping, after all -- remain studiously indifferent to the charade being played out before their eyes.

It took a succession of high-profile scandals before Americans truly woke up to the plague of sexual harassment and assault. How long will it take before the public concludes that they have had enough of wars that don't work? Here's hoping it's before our president, in a moment of ill temper, unleashes " fire and fury " on the world.

Andrew J. Bacevich, a TomDispatch regular , is the author, most recently, of America's War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History .

anonymous , Disclaimer December 11, 2017 at 3:31 am GMT

It's astonishing to see people make the claim that "victory" is possible in Afghanistan. Could they actually believe this or are they lying in order to drag this out even longer and keep the money pit working overtime? These are individuals that are highly placed and so should know better. It's not really a war but an occupation with the native insurgents fighting to oust the foreign occupier. The US has tried every trick there is in trying to tamp down the insurgency. They know what we're trying to do and can thwart us at every step. The US lost even as it began it's invasion there but didn't know it yet in the wake of it's initial success in scattering the Taliban, not even a real army and not even a real state. They live there and we don't; they can resist for the next thirty years or fifty years. When does the multi-billion bill come due and how will we pay it?
Issac , December 12, 2017 at 4:07 am GMT
"How long will it take before the public concludes that they have had enough of wars that don't work?"

It already happened, but Progressives like you failed to note that Republican voters subbed the Bush clan and their various associates for Trump in the Primary season, precisely because he called the Iraq and Afghan wars mistakes. The Americans suffer under a two party establishment that is clearly antagonistic to their interests. As a part of that regime, a dutiful Progressive toad, you continue to peddle the lie that it was the war-weary White Americans who celebrated those wars. In reality, any such support was ginned up from tools like you who wrote puff pieces for their Neocon Progressive masters.

Thus far, Trump's interventionism has been a fragment of what the Hillary campaign promised. Might you count that among your lucky stars? Fat chance. You cretinous Progressive filth have no such spine upon which to base an independent thought. You trot out the same old tiresome tropes week after week fulfilling your designated propagandist duty and then you skulk back to your den of iniquity to prepare another salvo of agitprop. What a miserable existence.

USAMNESIA , December 14, 2017 at 3:32 am GMT
This is the center of a world empire. It maintains a gigantic military which virtually never stops fighting wars, none of them having anything to do with defense. It has created an intelligence monstrosity which makes old outfits like Stazi seem almost quaint, and it spies on everyone. Indeed, it maintains seventeen national security establishments, as though you can never have too much of a good thing. And some of these guys, too, are engaged full-time in forms of covert war, from fomenting trouble in other lands and interfering in elections to overthrowing governments.

Obama ended up killing more people than any dictator or demagogue of this generation on earth you care to name, several hundred thousand of them in his eight years. And he found new ways to kill, too, as by creating the world's first industrial-scale extrajudicial killing operation. Here he signs off on "kill lists," placed in his Oval Office in-box, to murder people he has never seen, people who enjoy no legal rights or protections. His signed orders are carried out by uniformed thugs working at computer screens in secure basements where they proceed to play computer games with real live humans as their targets, again killing or maiming people they have never seen.

If you ever have wondered where all the enabling workers came from in places like Stalin's Gulag or Hitler's concentration camps, well, here is your answer. American itself produces platoons of such people. You could find them working at Guantanamo and in the far-flung string of secret torture facilities the CIA ran for years, and you could find them in places like Fallujah or Samarra or Abu Ghraib, at the CIA's basement game arcade killing centers, and even all over the streets of America dressed as police who shoot unarmed people every day, sometimes in the back.

https://chuckmanwords.wordpress.com/2017/01/12/john-chuckman-essay-of-wizards-and-washington-and-the-dreary-unrelenting-reality-of-american-politics-a-raw-and-sometimes-darkly-comic-survey-of-americas-treacherous-political-terrain/

nsa , December 18, 2017 at 5:36 am GMT
ZOG has now asserted the right to kill anyone, anywhere, anytime, for any reason. No trial, no hearing, no witnesses, no defense, no nothing. Is this actually legal? Any constitutional lawyers out there care to comment? Has ZOG now achieved the status of an all-powerful all-knowing deity with the power of life and death over all living things?
Waiting too , December 18, 2017 at 10:36 am GMT
It's unlikely that the USA would be remaining in Afghanistan if its goals were not being attained. So the author has merely shown that the stated goals cannot be the real goals. What then are the real goals? I propose two: 1) establish a permanent military presence on a Russian border; 2) finance it with the heroin trade. Given other actions of the Empire around the globe, the first goal is obvious. The bombing of mud huts containing competitors' drug labs, conjoined with the fact that we do not destroy the actual poppy fields (obvious green targets in an immense ocean of brown) make this goal rather obvious as well. The rest of the article is simply more evidence that the Empire does not include mere human tragedy in its profit calculation.
War for Blair Mountain , December 18, 2017 at 1:09 pm GMT
5.6 TRILLION $$$$$$ FOR GULF WAR 1 AND GULF WAR 2

The Native Born White American Working Class Teenage Male Population used as CANNON FODDER for Congressman Steven Solarz's and Donald Trump's very precious Jewish only Israel .

WAR IS A RACKET!!!! don't you think?

DESERT FOX , December 18, 2017 at 1:43 pm GMT
Israel and the deep state did the attack on 911 and thus set the table for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and Libya and Syria and the Zionist neocons who control every facet of the U.S. gov and the MSM and the MIC and the FED ie the BANKS set in motion the blood sacrifice for their Zionist god SATAN, that is what they have done.

The Zionist warmongers and Satanists will destroy America.

Michael Kenny , December 18, 2017 at 2:17 pm GMT
It's not so much that America is addicted to war as that the American "business model" makes permanent war inevitable. US global dominance rests on economic domination, in particular, the dollar as world reserve currency. That has allowed the US economy to survive in spite of being hollowed out, financialised and burdened with enormous sovereign debt. Economic dominance derives from political dominance, which, in its turn, flows from military dominance. For that military dominance to be credible, not only must the US have the biggest and best military forces on the planet, it must show itself willing to use those forces to maintain its dominance by actually using them from time to time, in particular, to unequivocally beat off any challenge to its dominance (Putin!). It also, of course, must win, or, more correctly, be able to present the outcome credibly as a win. Failure to maintain military dominance will undermine the position of the dollar, sending its value through the floor. A low dollar means cheap exports (Boeing will sell more planes than Airbus!), but it also means that imports (oil, outsourced goods) will be dear. At that point the hollowed out nature of the US economy will cut in, probably provoking a Soviet-style implosion of the US economy and society and ruining anyone who has holdings denominated in dollars. I call that the Gorbachev conundrum. Gorby believed in the Soviet Union and wanted to reform it. But the Soviet system had become so rigid as to be unreformable. He pulled a threat and the whole system unravelled. But if he hadn't pulled the thread, the whole system would have unravelled anyway. It was a choice between hard landing and harder landing. Similarly, US leaders have to continue down the only road open to them: permanent war. As Thomas Jefferson said of slavery, it's like holding a wolf by the ears. You don't like it but you don't dare let go!
TG , December 18, 2017 at 2:36 pm GMT
"How long will it take before the public concludes that they have had enough of wars that don't work?" Answer: Never.

In Alabama when people would rant about how toxic Roy Moore was, I would politely point out that his opponent for Senate was OK with spending trillions of dollars fighting pointless winless wars on the other side of the planet just so politically connected defense contractors can make a buck, and ask if that should be an issue too? The response, predictably, was as if I was an alien from the planet Skyron in the galaxy of Andromeda.

We are sheep. We are outraged at these sexual transgressions because the corporate press tells us to be outraged. We are not outraged at these stupid foreign wars, because the corporate press does not tell us to be outraged. It's all mass effect, and the comfort of being in a herd and all expressing the same feelings.

Intelligent Dasein , Website December 18, 2017 at 2:37 pm GMT
Andrew Bacevich is wrong about a couple of things in this article.

First, he says that the American public is both apathetic and credulous. I agree that we have largely become apathetic towards these imperial wars, but I disagree that we have become credulous. In fact, these two states of mind exclude one another; you cannot be both apathetic and credulous with respect to the same object at the same time. The credulity charge is easy to dismiss because virtually no one today believes anything that comes out of Washington or its mouthpieces in the legacy media. The apathy charge is on point but it needs qualification. The smarter, more informed Americans have seen that their efforts to change the course of American policy have been to no avail, and they've given up in frustration and disgust. The less smart, less informed Americans are constrained by the necessity of getting on with their meager lives; they are an apolitical mass that possesses neither the understanding nor the capacity to make any difference on the policy front whatsoever.

Second, Andrew Bacevich calls for a Weinstein moment without realizing that it already happened more than ten years ago. The 2006 midterm elections were the first Weinstein moment, which saw the American people deliver a huge outpouring of antiwar sentiment that inflicted significant congressional losses on the neocon Republicans of George W. Bush. An echo of that groundswell happened again in 2008 when Barack Obama was elected to office on an explicitly antiwar platform. But Obama turned out to be one of the most pro-war presidents ever, and thus an angry electorate made one final push in the same direction by attempting to clean house with Donald Trump. Now that Donald has shown every sign of having cucked out to the war lobby, we seem to be left with no electoral solutions.

The only thing that's going to work is for the American Imperium to be handed a much-deserved military and financial defeat. The one encouraging fact is that if the top ten percent of our political and financial elite were planed off by a foreign power, the American people would give as few damns about that as they currently do about our imperial wars.

Ilyana_Rozumova , December 18, 2017 at 3:04 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny

Very good but some little errors. Concerning Russia and China, Russia vent all or nothing. China was much smarter. First they allowed self employment, than small business and long time after they started to sell state enterprises,

Anonymous , Disclaimer December 18, 2017 at 3:17 pm GMT
If Tom's Dispatch continues to be successful, Americans will continue to be asleep.

Masterful propaganda. War, according to our favorite spooks, is necessary to win, but otherwise reprehensible.

Sex is otherwise necessary for human life but Harvey Weinstein is ugly. Hold tightly to your cognitive dissonance, because you're expected to remember John F Kennedy who got it on, but is the expendable martyr you should care about, not that other guy

Let's review: terror attacks are wins. Superior or effective anti-war propaganda comes from the military
itself. They really don't want war, but really they do.

nebulafox , December 18, 2017 at 4:00 pm GMT
@anonymous

We're trying to make Afghanistan not Afghanistan: aka, trying to be a miracle worker. We can throw as much money as we like at that place, and it isn't going to happen, least of all with troops on nine month shifts.

Let Iran and Pakistan squabble over it. Good riddance.

nebulafox , December 18, 2017 at 4:08 pm GMT
@Waiting too

1) doesn't really make much sense, given that Poland and the Baltic States would be more than happy to take all US forces in Europe to give us a presence near Russia in a part of the world that would be far easier to justify to the American public-and to the international community. Afghanistan? Who exactly is Russia going to mess with? Iran is their-for now, longer term, the two have conflicting agendas in the region, but don't expect the geniuses in the Beltway to pick up on that opportunity-ally, and unlike the USSR, the Russians don't want to get involved in the India-Pakistan conflict. Russia's current tilt toward China makes a strategic marriage with India of the kind that you found in the Cold War impossible, but they obviously don't want to tilt toward the basketcase known as Pakistan. The only reason that Russia would want to get involved with Afghanistan beyond having a more preferable status than having American troops there is power projection among ex-Soviet states, and there are far more effective ways to do than muddle about with Afghanistan.

2, on the other hand, given Iran-Contra who knows? The first generation of the Taliban pretty much wiped the heroin trade out as offensive to Islamic sensibilities, but the newer generations have no such qualms.

I think you give America's rulers far too much credit. The truth is probably far scarier: the morons who work in the Beltway honestly believe their own propaganda-that we can make Afghanistan into some magical Western democracy if we throw enough money at it-and combine that with the usual bureaucratic inertia.

Anonymous , Disclaimer December 18, 2017 at 4:28 pm GMT
@Waiting too

Another bonus is that Afghan heroin seeps into Russia and wreaks havoc in the regions bordering Afghanistan -- krokodil and all that.

Art , December 18, 2017 at 4:45 pm GMT
According to General John Nicholson, our 17th commander in Kabul since 2001,

We have been killing these people for 17 years. Now our generals say that if we indiscriminately kill enough men, women, and children who get in the way of our B52s, that they will see the light and make peace. How totally wonderful.

My solution is to gage the Lindsey Grahams for a year.

What will do more good for peace – B52s or shutting up Graham's elk?

Think Peace -- Art

MarkinLA , December 18, 2017 at 5:59 pm GMT
I remember when Trump said he knew more than the generals and was viciously attacked for it. It turns out he did know more than the generals just by knowing it was a waste. Trump was pushed by politics to defer to the generals who always have an answer when it comes to a war – more men, more weapons, more time.
Sollipsist , December 18, 2017 at 6:20 pm GMT
@Intelligent Dasein

"The less smart, less informed Americans are constrained by the necessity of getting on with their meager lives; they are an apolitical mass that possesses neither the understanding nor the capacity to make any difference on the policy front whatsoever."

I wonder if any Abolitionists criticized the slaves for failing to revolt? Probably not; I'm guessing they were mostly convinced that the negro required intervention from outside, whether due to their nature or from overwhelming circumstance.

If the enslaved American public is liberated, I hope we'll know what to do with ourselves afterwards. It'd be a shame to simply end up in another kind of bondage, resentful and subject to whatever oppressive system replaces the current outrage. Perhaps the next one will more persuasively convince us that we're important and essential?

peterAUS , December 18, 2017 at 6:46 pm GMT
@Michael Kenny

Agree.
Very good post, IMHO.

That phrase "a choice between hard landing and harder landing" is good and can be easily applied to USA today.

Interesting times.

peterAUS , December 18, 2017 at 6:47 pm GMT
@TG

Agree.
This is well written, IMHO:

We are sheep. We are outraged at these sexual transgressions because the corporate press tells us to be outraged. We are not outraged at these stupid foreign wars, because the corporate press does not tell us to be outraged. It's all mass effect, and the comfort of being in a herd and all expressing the same feelings.

Sowhat , December 18, 2017 at 7:29 pm GMT
Thank you, Andrew J. Bacevich, for your words of wisdom and thank you, Mr. Unz, for this post.
This corporation needs to be dissolved. I've read about "the inertia" of Federal Government that has morphed into a cash cow for a century of wasted tax dollars funding the MIIC, now the MIIC. Does our existence have to end in financial ruin or, worse yet, some foreign entity creating havoc on our soil?
The Founders NEVER intended that the US of A become a meddler in other Sovereignty's internal affairs or the destroyer of Nation States that do not espoused our "doctrine." Anyone without poop for brains knows that this is about Imperialism and greed, fueled by money and an insatiable luster for MORE.
This should be easier to change than it appears. Is there no will? After all, it Is our Master's money that lubricates the machinery. So, we continue to provide the lubrication for our Masters like a bunch of imbeciles that allow them to survail our words and movements. Somebody please explain our stupidity.
Delinquent Snail , December 18, 2017 at 8:57 pm GMT
@nebulafox

If americans would just go all in and commit genocide. That would lead to victory.

No afgans, no enemy.

joe webb , December 18, 2017 at 8:58 pm GMT
the folks in the US are sick of the wars, contrary to Bacevich. They simply will vote come next election accordingly. They register their disgust in all the polls.

This article is not very useful. More punditry puff.

No comments on the Next War for Israel being cooked up by the new crop of neocon youngsters, I guess, and Trump who will trump, trump, trump into the next War for the Jews.

How about some political science on Iran, Syria, Hisbollah, Hamas and the US, Arabia, Judenstaat axis of evil?

Joe Webb

Jim Christian , December 18, 2017 at 9:07 pm GMT
Hey Bacevich? When you link to WashPost and NYTimes to make your points, you don't. They block access if you've already read links to those two papers three times each and can no longer, for the month, read there. When folks link to papers that won't let you read, it makes one wonder why.
Simply Simon , December 18, 2017 at 10:26 pm GMT
I believe Americans are damned sick and tired of the stupid, needless war in Afghanistan. But then they should have been sick and tired of stupid , needless wars like Korea, Vietnam and Iraq, and probably most of them were. But it's easy to be complacent when someone else's son is doing the fighting and dying And it's easy to be complacent when your stomach is full and you have plenty of booze and pain killers available. There will be a day of reckoning when the next big economic bust arrives and which may make the Great Depression paltry by comparison. America is a far different place then it was in the 1930s when our population was 140 million. Americans were not so soft and the conveniences we now take for granted not available. When the supermarkets run out of food, watch out. There may not even be any soup lines to stand in.
Joe Franklin , December 18, 2017 at 11:21 pm GMT

In truth, U.S. commanders have quietly shelved any expectations of achieving an actual victory -- traditionally defined as "imposing your will on the enemy" -- in favor of a more modest conception of success.

Your assumptions are wrong about the US goal of the invasion of Afghanistan. Afghanistan and Iraq were not invaded to establish democracy or impose American will whatever that is. Afghanistan and Iraq were invaded to establish a temporary military staging ground for a US invasion of Iran, the designated regional enemy of Israel. As long as the current regime in Iran remains, the US will remain in Iraq and Afghanistan.

... ... ...

Druid , December 19, 2017 at 12:41 am GMT
@Waiting too

And minerals! Eric Prince himself recently tried to sell the idea of having his private militias do the fighting in Afghanistan for the US and finance it by mining said country's minerals, thus making himself even richer.

anno nimus , December 19, 2017 at 1:53 am GMT
"i can live without a friend, but not without an enemy."
Cloak And Dagger , December 19, 2017 at 5:03 am GMT
@SolontoCroesus

I was onboard with Mr. Bacevich, until I got to this:

Almost as soon as the Taliban were ousted from Kabul, coalition efforts to create effective Afghan security forces commenced. So, too, did attempts to reduce the production of the opium that has funded the Taliban insurgency

What utter rubbish! The Taliban was instrumental in shutting down the poppy production until the CIA came along and restarted it to fund their black ops.

http://www.sfaw.org/newswire/2017/03/28/a-conspiracy-theory-that-became-a-conspiracy-fact-the-cia-afghanistans-poppy-fields-and-americas-growing-heroin-epidemic/

We have the reverse Midas touch. Everything we touch (Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, etc., etc.) turns to shit. We supposedly attack countries to liberate them from their tyrants who are supposedly killing their own people, and end up killing more people than all of them put together. And, oh yes, we have our favorite tyrants (Saudis, Israelis) whom we provide with horrible weapons (like cluster bombs) to help them kill people we hate.

Mr. Bacevich is right about the lack of outrage about our wars, but the current Weinstein explosion consists of hordes of mostly American female victims, mostly white, a (very) few jews, and a few men, who have the stage to complain about their oppressors. What would be the counterpart of that w.r.t. the wars? Millions of brown victims in far away lands that most of us couldn't even find on a map? How likely is that to happen?

So yes, no outrage, and none likely. The last 17 years have proven that.

Joe Wong , December 20, 2017 at 2:25 pm GMT
@anonymous

You don't know the American has been paying everything through monopoly money printed through the thin air since WWI, i.e. a keystroke on the Federal Reserve's computer? No wonder the Americans have been waging reckless wars all over the world on the fabricated phantom WMD allegations as humanitarian intervention relentlessly.

Romans did not stop waging reckless wars until their empire collapsed; the British imitates the Romans and the American is born out of the British, hence the Americans will no stop waging reckless wars until their empire collapsed like the Romans.

[Dec 31, 2017] Truth-Killing as a Meta-Issue

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Washington Post ..."
"... What we know, first and foremost, is that it hardly matters what Trump says because what he says is as likely as not to have no relationship to the truth, no relationship to what he said last year during the campaign or even what he said last week. ..."
May 05, 2017 | nationalinterest.org
One of the best summary observations in this regard is from Washington Post columnist Steven Pearlstein , who writes on business and financial matters but whose conclusions could apply as well to Trump's handling of a wide range of foreign and domestic matters: " What we know, first and foremost, is that it hardly matters what Trump says because what he says is as likely as not to have no relationship to the truth, no relationship to what he said last year during the campaign or even what he said last week. What he says bears no relationship to any consistent political or policy ideology or world-view. What he says is also likely to bear no relationship to what his top advisers or appointees have said or believe, making them unreliable interlocutors even if they agreed among themselves, which they don't. This lack of clear policy is compounded by the fact that the president, despite his boasts to the contrary, knows very little about the topics at hand and isn't particularly interested in learning. In other words, he's still making it up as he goes along."

Many elements of dismay can follow from the fact of having this kind of president. We are apt to get a better idea of which specific things are most worthy of dismay as the rest of this presidency unfolds. I suggest, however, that a prime, overarching reason to worry is Trump's utter disregard for the truth. Not just a disregard, actually, but a determination to crush the truth and to instill falsehood in the minds of as many people as possible. The Post 's fact checker, Glenn Kessler , summarizes the situation by noting that "the pace and volume of the president's misstatements" are so great that he and other fact checkers "cannot possibly keep up."

Kessler also observes how Trump's handling of falsehoods is qualitatively as well as quantitatively different from the garden variety of lying in which many politicians indulge: "Many will drop a false claim after it has been deemed false. But Trump just repeats the claim over and over." It is a technique reminiscent of the Big Lie that totalitarian regimes have used, in which the repetition and brazenness of a lie help lead to its acceptance.

The problem is fundamental, and relates to a broad spectrum of policy issues both foreign and domestic, because truth-factual reality -- is a necessary foundation to consider and evaluate and debate policy on any subject. Crushing the truth means not just our having to endure any one misdirected policy; it means losing the ability even to address policy intelligently. To the extent that falsehood is successfully instilled in the minds of enough people, the political system loses what would otherwise be its ability to provide a check on policy that is bad policy because it is inconsistent with factual reality.

[Dec 29, 2017] As former CIA Director William Casey allegedly once said: "We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false."

Notable quotes:
"... Russiagate and corporate media scapegoating Putin's trolls are information operations to keep the little people misinformed. The Ukraine Putsch and the MH-17 shoot down were handled poorly by Russia. They've come back in Syria. Russian intelligence wouldn't be doing their job if they weren't surveilling the West. ..."
"... What got western oligarchs upset is the disclosure of the truth; the system is rigged. Obama voters in mid-America voted for Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton's loss triggered a witch hunt rather than addressing the root causes of her defeat. A group of oligarchs want the upstart NY casino boss gone. The only question is what will be the collateral damage from the mob war. ..."
"... As former CIA Director William Casey allegedly once said: "We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." His error here was saying Americans were the target and not the global population as well, but at least as far as America goes I think its pretty much a thumbs up. Mission Accomplished. ..."
"... Media and social media tycoons - all could be taken down very fast if they did not toe the CIA line, though for most, it seems their work with CIA is voluntary and enthusiastic. ..."
"... I guess you don't get that rich by having ethics or scruples. ..."
Dec 29, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

VietnamVet , Dec 26, 2017 3:40:43 PM | 30

Russiagate and corporate media scapegoating Putin's trolls are information operations to keep the little people misinformed. The Ukraine Putsch and the MH-17 shoot down were handled poorly by Russia. They've come back in Syria. Russian intelligence wouldn't be doing their job if they weren't surveilling the West.

Victoria Nuland's EU rant was released. Vladimir Putin preferred Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton.

What got western oligarchs upset is the disclosure of the truth; the system is rigged. Obama voters in mid-America voted for Donald Trump. Hillary Clinton's loss triggered a witch hunt rather than addressing the root causes of her defeat. A group of oligarchs want the upstart NY casino boss gone. The only question is what will be the collateral damage from the mob war.

NemesisCalling , Dec 26, 2017 4:39:00 PM | 36 karlof1 , Dec 26, 2017 4:42:57 PM | 37
Name of Me | Dec 26, 2017 12:13:28 PM | 2

The US Government was controlling media well before the CIA's creation. Please take a little time to learn about George Seldes whose 1929 book You Can't Print That!: The Truth Behind the News, 1918–1928 is vastly informative with original copies easy to find under $15, or even online through this link . Indeed, numerous works of his are digitized. I.F. Stone followed in Seldes's footsteps, and the website with his collected writings is here . Perhaps one of the least known episodes of US Government media manipulation was related to the atomic bomb crimes, an event nearly 100% airbrushed from history books, and of course the ongoing attempt to cover up one of the biggest crimes of all time.

My mention of media manipulation by the US Government wouldn't be complete without including the 100% blackout that was to apply to the discussions in Philadelphia that led to the 1787 Constitution -- the document that elevated the "natural aristocracy" into the catbird seat ensuring their control of the federal government until it's overthrown via revolution.

Fortunately, Madison and others kept copious notes that were eventually published long after the fate of Commoners was sealed, so we know that Aristocracy viewed its contemporary deplorables no differently than how HRC and today's 1% view them/us.

Pft , Dec 26, 2017 7:09:07 PM | 43
Americans and much of the rest of the world are the target of an immense psyop . Propaganda techniques going back to Bernay and WWI have been expanded on and perfected. Infiltration and control is lot limited to the print media and TV news stations but also , hollywood movies/TV shows , academia (history, economics, etc) , book publishing, blogs and social media. The last few bastions of truth will be eliminated with the end of net neutrality.

As former CIA Director William Casey allegedly once said: "We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false." His error here was saying Americans were the target and not the global population as well, but at least as far as America goes I think its pretty much a thumbs up. Mission Accomplished.

Peter AU 1 , Dec 26, 2017 7:58:27 PM | 49
"We do not know what the billionaires get for their service. The CIA surely has many ways to let them gain information on their competition or to influence business regulations in foreign countries. One hand will wash the other."

Something I have often thought about. Media and social media tycoons - all could be taken down very fast if they did not toe the CIA line, though for most, it seems their work with CIA is voluntary and enthusiastic.

I guess you don't get that rich by having ethics or scruples.

[Dec 19, 2017] Do not Underestimate the Power of Microfoundations

Highly recommended!
Nice illustration of ideologically based ostrakism as practiced in Academia: "Larry [Summers] leaned back in his chair and offered me some advice. I had a choice. I could be an insider or I could be an outsider. Outsiders can say whatever they want. But people on the inside don't listen to them. Insiders, however, get lots of access and a chance to push their ideas. People - powerful people - listen to what they have to say. But insiders also understand one unbreakable rule: they don't criticize other insiders."
Notable quotes:
"... A more probable school of thought is that this game was created as a con and a cover for the status quo capitalist establishment to indulge themselves in their hard money and liquidity fetishes, consequences be damned. ..."
"... The arguments over internal and external consistency of models is just a convenient misdirection from what policy makers are willing to risk and whose interests they are willing to risk policy decisions for ..."
"... Mathematical masturbations are just a smoke screen used to conceal a simple fact that those "economists" are simply banking oligarchy stooges. Hired for the specific purpose to provide a theoretical foundation for revanschism of financial oligarchy after New Deal run into problems. Revanschism that occurred in a form of installing neoliberal ideology in the USA in exactly the same role which Marxism was installed in the USSR. With "iron hand in velvet gloves" type of repressive apparatus to enforce it on each and every university student and thus to ensure the continues, recurrent brainwashing much like with Marxism on the USSR universities. ..."
"... To ensure continuation of power of "nomenklatura" in the first case and banking oligarchy in the second. Connections with reality be damned. Money does not smell. ..."
"... Economic departments fifth column of neoliberal stooges is paid very good money for their service of promoting and sustaining this edifice of neoliberal propaganda. Just look at Greg Mankiw and Rubin's boys. ..."
"... "Larry [Summers] leaned back in his chair and offered me some advice. I had a choice. I could be an insider or I could be an outsider. Outsiders can say whatever they want. But people on the inside don't listen to them. Insiders, however, get lots of access and a chance to push their ideas. People - powerful people - listen to what they have to say. But insiders also understand one unbreakable rule: they don't criticize other insiders." ..."
Apr 04, 2015 | Economist's View

Darryl FKA Ron -> pgl...

At the risk of oversimplifying might it not be as simple as stronger leanings towards IS-LM and kind are indicative of a bias towards full employment and stronger leanings towards DSGE, microfoundations, and kind are indicative of a bias towards low inflation?

IN general I consider over-simplification a fault, if and only if, it is a rigidly adhered to final position. This is to say that over-simplification is always a good starting point and never a good ending point. If in the end your problem was simple to begin with, then the simplified answer would not be OVER-simplified anyway. It is just as bad to over-complicate a simple problem as it is to over-simplify a complex problem. It is easier to build complexity on top of a simple foundation than it is to extract simplicity from a complex foundation.

A lot of the Chicago School initiative into microfoundations and DSGE may have been motivated by a desire to bind Keynes in a NAIRU straight-jacket. Even though economic policy making is largely done just one step at a time then that is still one step too much if it might violate rentier interests.

Darryl FKA Ron -> Barry...

There are two possible (but unlikely) schools of (generously attributed to as) thought for which internal consistency might take precedence over external consistency. One such school wants to consider what would be best in a perfect world full of perfect people and then just assume that is best for the real world just to let the chips fall where they may according to the faults and imperfections of the real world. The second such school is the one whose eyes just glaze over mesmerized by how over their heads they are and remain affraid to ask any question lest they appear stupid.

A more probable school of thought is that this game was created as a con and a cover for the status quo capitalist establishment to indulge themselves in their hard money and liquidity fetishes, consequences be damned.

Richard H. Serlin

Consistency sounds so good, Oh, of course we want consistency, who wouldn't?! But consistent in what way? What exactly do you mean? Consistent with reality, or consistent with people all being superhumans? Which concept is usually more useful, or more useful for the task at hand?

Essentially, they want models that are consistent with only certain things, and often because this makes their preferred ideology look far better. They want models, typically, that are consistent with everyone in the world having perfect expertise in every subject there is, from finance to medicine to engineering, perfect public information, and perfect self-discipline, and usually on top, frictionless and perfectly complete markets, often perfectly competitive too.

But a big thing to note is that perfectly consistent people means a level of perfection in expertise, public information, self-discipline, and "rationality", that's extremely at odds with how people actually are. And as a result, this can make the model extremely misleading if it's interpreted very literally (as so often it is, especially by freshwater economists), or taken as The Truth, as Paul Krugman puts it.

You get things like the equity premium "puzzle", which involves why people don't invest more in stocks when the risk-adjusted return appears to usually be so abnormally good, and this "puzzle" can only be answered with "consistency", that people are all perfectly expert in finance, with perfect information, so they must have some mysterious hidden good reason. It can't be at all that it's because 65% of people answered incorrectly when asked how many reindeer would remain if Santa had to lay off 25% of his eight reindeer ( http://richardhserlin.blogspot.com/2013/12/surveys-showing-massive-ignorance-and.html ).

Yes, these perfect optimizer consistency models can give useful insights, and help to see what is best, what we can do better, and they can, in some cases, be good as approximations. But to say they should be used only, and interpreted literally, is, well, inconsistent with optimal, rational behavior -- of the economist using them.

Richard H. Serlin -> Richard H. Serlin...
Of course, unless the economist using them is doing so to mislead people into supporting his libertarian/plutocratic ideology.

dilbert dogbert

As an old broken down mech engineer, I wonder why all the pissing and moaning about micro foundations vs aggregation. In strength of materials equations that aggregate properties work quite well within the boundaries of the questions to be answered. We all know that at the level of crystals, materials have much complexity. Even within crystals there is deeper complexities down to the molecular levels. However, the addition of quantum mechanics adds no usable information about what materials to build a bridge with.

But, when working at the scale of the most advanced computer chips quantum mechanics is required. WTF! I guess in economics there is no quantum mechanics theories or even reliable aggregation theories.

Poor economists, doomed to argue, forever, over how many micro foundations can dance on the head of a pin.

RGC -> dilbert dogbert...

Endless discussions about how quantum effects aggregate to produce a material suitable for bridge building crowd out discussions about where and when to build bridges. And if plutocrats fund the endless discussions, we get the prominent economists we have today.

Darryl FKA Ron -> dilbert dogbert...

"...I guess in economics there is no quantum mechanics theories or even reliable aggregation theories..."

[I guess it depends upon what your acceptable confidence interval on reliability is. Most important difference that controls all the domain differences between physical science and economics is that underlying physical sciences there is a deterministic methodology for which probable error is merely a function of the inaccuracy in input metrics WHEREAS economics models are incomplete probabilistic estimating models with no ability to provide a complete system model in a full range of circumstances.

YOu can design and build a bridge to your load and span requirements with alternative models for various designs with confidence and highly effective accuracy repeatedly. No ecomomic theory, model, or combination of models and theories was ever intended to be used as the blueprint for building an economy from the foundation up.

With all the formal trappings of economics the only effective usage is to decide what should be done in a given set of predetermined circumstance to reach some modest desired effect. Even that modest goal is exposed to all kinds of risks inherent in assumptions, incomplete information, externalities, and so on that can produce errors of uncertain potential bounds.

Nonetheless, well done economics can greatly reduce the risks encountered in the random walk of economics policy making. So much so is this true, that the bigger questions in macro-economics policy making is what one is willing to risk and for whom.

The arguments over internal and external consistency of models is just a convenient misdirection from what policy makers are willing to risk and whose interests they are willing to risk policy decisions for.]

Darryl FKA Ron -> Peter K....

unless you have a model which maps the real world fairly closely like quantum mechanics.

[You set a bar too high. Macro models at best will tell you what to do to move the economy in the direction that you seek to go. They do not even ocme close to the notion of a theory of everything that you have in physics, even the theory of every little thing that is provided by quantum mechanics. Physics is an empty metaphor for economics. Step one is to forgo physics envy in pursuit of understanding suitable applications and domain constraints for economics models.

THe point is to reach a decision and to understand cause and effect directions. All precision is in the past and present. The future is both imprecise and all that there is that is available to change.

For the most part an ounce of common sense and some simple narrative models are all that are essential for making those policy decisions in and of themselves. HOWEVER, nation states are not ruled by economist philosopher kings and in the process of concensus decision making by (little r)republican governments then human language is a very imprecise vehicle for communicating logic and reason with respect to the management of complex systems. OTOH, mathematics has given us a universal language for communicating logic and reason that is understood the same by everyone that really understands that language at all. Hence mathematical models were born for the economists to write down their own thinking in clear precise terms and check their own work first and then share it with others so equipped to understand the language of mathematics. Krugman has said as much many times and so has any and every economist worth their salt.]

likbez -> Syaloch...

I agree with Pgl and PeterK. Certain commenters like Darryl seem convinced that the Chicago School (if not all of econ) is driven by sinister, class-based motives to come up justifications for favoring the power elite over the masses. But based on what I've read, it seems pretty obvious that the microfoundation guys just got caught up in their fancy math and their desire to produce more elegant, internally consistent models and lost sight of the fact that their models didn't track reality.

That's completely wrong line of thinking, IMHO.

Mathematical masturbations are just a smoke screen used to conceal a simple fact that those "economists" are simply banking oligarchy stooges. Hired for the specific purpose to provide a theoretical foundation for revanschism of financial oligarchy after New Deal run into problems. Revanschism that occurred in a form of installing neoliberal ideology in the USA in exactly the same role which Marxism was installed in the USSR.
With "iron hand in velvet gloves" type of repressive apparatus to enforce it on each and every university student and thus to ensure the continues, recurrent brainwashing much like with Marxism on the USSR universities.

To ensure continuation of power of "nomenklatura" in the first case and banking oligarchy in the second. Connections with reality be damned. Money does not smell.

Economic departments fifth column of neoliberal stooges is paid very good money for their service of promoting and sustaining this edifice of neoliberal propaganda. Just look at Greg Mankiw and Rubin's boys.

But the key problem with neoliberalism is that the cure is worse then disease. And here mathematical masturbations are very handy as a smoke screen to hide this simple fact.

likbez -> likbez...

Here is how Rubin's neoliberal boy Larry explained the situation to Elizabeth Warren:

"Larry [Summers] leaned back in his chair and offered me some advice. I had a choice. I could be an insider or I could be an outsider. Outsiders can say whatever they want. But people on the inside don't listen to them. Insiders, however, get lots of access and a chance to push their ideas. People - powerful people - listen to what they have to say. But insiders also understand one unbreakable rule: they don't criticize other insiders."

Elizabeth Warren, A Fighting Chance

Syaloch -> likbez...

Yeah, case in point.

[Dec 18, 2017] Can The Deep State Be Cured

Notable quotes:
"... The "Obama Doctrine" a continuation of the previous false government doctrines in my lifetime, is less doctrine than the disease, as David Swanson points out . But in the article he critiques, the neoconservative warmongering global planning freak perspective (truly, we must recognize this view as freakish, sociopathic, death-cultish, control-obsessed, narcissist, take your pick or get a combo, it's all good). Disease, as a way of understanding the deep state action on the body politic, is abnormal. It can and should be cured. ..."
"... The deep state seems to have grown, strengthened and tightened its grip. Can a lack of real money restrain or starve it? I once thought so, and maybe I still do. But it doesn't use real money, but rather debt and creative financing to get that next new car, er, war and intervention and domestic spending program. Ultimately it's not sustainable, and just as unaffordable cars are junked, stripped, repossessed, and crunched up, so will go the way of the physical assets of the warfare–welfare state. ..."
"... Because inflated salaries , inflated stock prices and inflated ruling-class personalities are month to month, these should evaporate more quickly, over a debris field once known as some of richest counties in the United States. Can I imagine the shabbiest of trailer parks in the dismal swamp, where high rises and government basilicas and abbeys once stood? I'd certainly like to. But I'll settle for well-kept, privately owned house trailers, filled with people actually producing some small value for society, and minding their own business. ..."
"... Finally, what of those pinpricks of light, the honest assessments of the real death trail and consumption pit that the deep state has delivered? Well, it is growing and broadening. Wikileaks and Snowden are considered assets now to any and all competitors to the US deep state, from within and from abroad – the Pandora's box, assisted by technology, can't be closed now. The independent media has matured to the point of criticizing and debating itself/each other, as well as focusing harsh light on the establishment media. Instead of left and right mainstream media, we increasingly recognize state media, and delightedly observe its own struggle to survive in the face of a growing nervousness of the deep state it assists on command. ..."
"... Watch an old program like"Yes, Minister" to understand how it works. Politicians come and go, but the permanent state apparatchiks doesn't. ..."
"... The "deep state" programs, whether conceived and directed by Soros' handlers, or others, risks unintended consequences. The social division intended by BLM, for example could easily morph beyond the goals. The lack of law due to corruption is equally susceptible to a spontaneous reaction of "the mob," not under the control of the Tavistock handlers. There's an old saying on Wall St; pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. ..."
www.zerohedge.com

Submitted by Karen Kwiatkowski via LewRockwell.com,

So, after getting up late, groggy, and feeling overworked even before I started, I read this article . Just after, I had to feed a dozen cats and dogs, each dog in a separate room out of respect for their territorialism and aggressive desire to consume more than they should (hmm, where have I seen this before), and in the process, forgot where I put my coffee cup. Retracing steps, I finally find it and sit back down to my 19-inch window on the ugly (and perhaps remote) world of the state, and the endless pinpricks of the independent media on its vast overwhelmingly evil existence. I suspect I share this distractibility and daily estrangement from the actions of our government with most Americans .

We are newly bombing Libya and still messing with the Middle East? I thought that the wars the deep state wanted and started were now limited and constrained! What happened to lack of funds, lack of popular support, public transparency that revealed the stupidity and abject failure of these wars?

Deep state. Something systemic, difficult to detect, hard to remove, hidden. It is a spirit as much as nerves and organ. How do your starve it, excise it, or just make it go away? We want to know. I think this explains the popularity of infotainment about haunted houses, ghosts and alien beings among us. They live and we are curious and scared.

The "Obama Doctrine" a continuation of the previous false government doctrines in my lifetime, is less doctrine than the disease, as David Swanson points out . But in the article he critiques, the neoconservative warmongering global planning freak perspective (truly, we must recognize this view as freakish, sociopathic, death-cultish, control-obsessed, narcissist, take your pick or get a combo, it's all good). Disease, as a way of understanding the deep state action on the body politic, is abnormal. It can and should be cured.

My summary of the long Jeffrey Goldberg piece is basically that Obama has become more fatalistic (did he mean to say fatal?) since he won that Nobel Peace Prize back in 2009 . By the way, the "Nobel prize" article contains this gem, sure to get a chuckle:

"Obama's drone program is regularly criticized for a lack of transparency and accountability, especially considering incomplete intelligence means officials are often unsure about who will die. "

[M]ost individuals killed are not on a kill list, and the government does not know their names," Micah Zenko, a scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations told the New York Times."

This is about all the fun I can handle in one day. But back to what I was trying to say.

The deep state seems to have grown, strengthened and tightened its grip. Can a lack of real money restrain or starve it? I once thought so, and maybe I still do. But it doesn't use real money, but rather debt and creative financing to get that next new car, er, war and intervention and domestic spending program. Ultimately it's not sustainable, and just as unaffordable cars are junked, stripped, repossessed, and crunched up, so will go the way of the physical assets of the warfare–welfare state.

Because inflated salaries , inflated stock prices and inflated ruling-class personalities are month to month, these should evaporate more quickly, over a debris field once known as some of richest counties in the United States. Can I imagine the shabbiest of trailer parks in the dismal swamp, where high rises and government basilicas and abbeys once stood? I'd certainly like to. But I'll settle for well-kept, privately owned house trailers, filled with people actually producing some small value for society, and minding their own business.

Can a lack of public support reduce the deep state, or impact it? Well, it would seem that this is a non-factor, except for the strange history we have had and are witnessing again today, with the odd successful popular and populist-leaning politician and their related movements. In my lifetime, only popular figures and their movements get assassinated mysteriously, with odd polka dot dresses, MKULTRA suggestions, threats against their family by their competitors (I'm thinking Perot, but one mustn't be limited to that case), and always with concordant pressures on the sociopolitical seams in the country, i.e riots and police/military activations. The bad dealings toward, and genuine fear of, Bernie Sanders within the Democratic Party's wing of the deep state is matched or exceeded only by the genuine terror of Trump among the Republican deep state wing. This reaction to something or some person that so many in the country find engaging and appealing - an outsider who speaks to the growing political and economic dissatisfaction of a poorer, more indebted, and more regulated population – is heart-warming, to be sure. It is a sign that whether or not we do, the deep state thinks things might change. Thank you, Bernie and especially Donald, for revealing this much! And the "republicanization" of the Libertarian Party is also a bright indicator blinking out the potential of deep state movement and compromise in the pursuit of "stability."

Finally, what of those pinpricks of light, the honest assessments of the real death trail and consumption pit that the deep state has delivered? Well, it is growing and broadening. Wikileaks and Snowden are considered assets now to any and all competitors to the US deep state, from within and from abroad – the Pandora's box, assisted by technology, can't be closed now. The independent media has matured to the point of criticizing and debating itself/each other, as well as focusing harsh light on the establishment media. Instead of left and right mainstream media, we increasingly recognize state media, and delightedly observe its own struggle to survive in the face of a growing nervousness of the deep state it assists on command.

Maybe we will one day soon be able to debate how deep the deep state really is, or whether it was all just a dressed up, meth'ed up, and eff'ed up a sector of society that deserves a bit of jail time, some counseling, and a new start . Maybe some job training that goes beyond the printing of license plates. But given the destruction and mass murder committed daily in the name of this state, and the environmental disasters it has created around the world for the future generations, perhaps we will be no more merciful to these proprietors of the American empire as they have been to their victims. The ruling class deeply fears our judgment, and in this dynamic lies the cure.

Jim in MN Tallest Skil Aug 20, 2016 8:22 PM

I made a list of steps that could be taken to disrupt the Beast. It's all I can offer but I offer it freely.

https://www.scribd.com/document/67758041/List-of-Demands-October-6-2011

4:00 AM October 6, 2011

Kitchen Table, USA

LIST OF DEMANDS TO PROTECT THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA FROM FINANCIAL CATASTROPHE

I.CURB CORRUPTION AND EXCESSIVE POWER IN THE FINANCIAL ARMS OF THE US GOVERNMENT

A. FEDERAL RESERVE

1. Benjaman Bernanke to be removed as Chairman immediately

2. New York Federal Reserve Bank and all New York City offices of the Federal Reserve system will be closed for at least 3 years

3. Salaries will be reduced and capped at $150,000/year, adjusted for official inflation

4. Staffing count to be reduced to 1980 levels

5. Interest rate manipulation to be prohibited for at least five years

6. Balance sheet manipulation to be prohibited for at least five years

7. Financial asset purchases prohibited for at least five years

B. TREASURY DEPARTMENT

1. Timothy Geithner to be removed as Secretary immediately

2. All New York City offices of the Department will be closed for at least 3 years

3. Salaries will be reduced and capped at $150,000/year, adjusted for official inflation

4. Staffing count to be reduced to 1980 levels

5. Market manipulation/intervention to be prohibited for at least five years

7. Financial asset purchases prohibited for at least five years

II. END THE CORRUPTING INFLUENCE OF GIANT BANKS AND PROTECT AMERICANS FROM FURTHER EXPOSURE TO THEIR COLLAPSE

A. END CORRUPT INFLUENCE

1. Lifetime ban on government employment for TARP recipient employees and corporate officers, specifically including Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan Chase

2. Ten year ban on government work for consulting firms, law firms, and individual consultants and lawyers who have accepted cash from these entities

3. All contacts by any method with federal agencies and employees prohibited for at least five years, with civil and criminal penalties for violation

B. PROTECT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE FROM FURTHER HARM AT THE HANDS OF GIANT BANKS

1. No financial institution with assets of more than $10billion will receive federal assistance or any 'arm's-length' bailouts

2. TARP recipients are prohibited from purchasing other TARP recipient corporate units, or merging with other TARP recipients

3. No foreign interest shall be allowed to acquire any portion of TARP recipients in the US or abroad

III. PREVENT CORPORATE ACCOUNTING AND PENSION FUND ABUSES RELATED TO THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS

A. CORPORATE ACCOUNTING

1. Immediately implement mark-to-market accounting rules which were improperly suspended, allowing six months for implementation.

2. Companies must reserve against impaired assets under mark-to-market rules

3. Any health or life insurance company with more than$100 million in assets must report on their holdings and risk factors, specifically including exposure to real estate, mortgage-backed securities, derivatives, and other exotic financial instruments. These reports will be to state insurance commissions and the federal government, and will also be made available to the public on the Internet.

B. PENSION FUNDS

1. All private and public pension funds must disclose their funding status and establish a plan to fully fund accounts under the assumption that net real returns across all asset classes remain at zero for at least ten years.

Winston Churchill -> Sam Clemons Aug 20, 2016 7:26 PM

Watch an old program like"Yes, Minister" to understand how it works. Politicians come and go, but the permanent state apparatchiks doesn't.

sinbad2 -> Winston Churchill Aug 20, 2016 7:58 PM

Sir Humphrey Appleby: You know what happens when politicians get into Number 10; they want to take their place on the world stage.

Sir Richard Wharton: People on stages are called actors. All they are required to do is look plausible, stay sober, and say the lines they're given in the right order.

Sir Humphrey Appleby: Some of them try to make up their own lines.

Sir Richard Wharton: They don't last long.

rlouis Aug 20, 2016 7:47 PM

The "deep state" programs, whether conceived and directed by Soros' handlers, or others, risks unintended consequences. The social division intended by BLM, for example could easily morph beyond the goals. The lack of law due to corruption is equally susceptible to a spontaneous reaction of "the mob," not under the control of the Tavistock handlers. There's an old saying on Wall St; pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered.

The failed coup in Turkey is a significant indication of institutional weakness and also vulnerability. The inability to exercise force of will in Syria is another. The list of failures is getting too long.

[Dec 15, 2017] The underlying problem of Trump vs. Hillary choice is the problem of the degradation of the US elite, a slide to gerontocracy which reminds me the deterioration of Soviet elite. At this point people do not respect their leaders. Much like was the case in the USSR after 1960

Dec 09, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

Internet-is-Beast -> Ms No , Dec 9, 2017 3:25 AM

I acknowledge what you are saying. However, I have learned that when one is in the midst of a pessimistic scenario, one tends to develop tunnel vision and assume that the future will be like the present, only worse. Though I despise psychology as a science, this is a very psychological phenomenon. Granting what you say about Trump and the false optimism he generated, I voted for him not because I hated Trump less, but that I hated Hillary more.

Nevertheless, notwithstanding, in spite of all this, I do have a certain optimism about the American people, as a rayon de lumière in a gloomy prospect.

Davidduke2000 -> Internet-is-Beast , Dec 9, 2017 3:05 AM

keep the blinders on, even better yet wear the virtual reality goggles of MAGA while the country is living off a never ending fraud.

Every part of the us government is a fraud, the money is a fraud, wall street is a fraud, 99% of the food you eat is kosher fraud and you pension is fraud as the money is not there to allow you to collect your pension yet most people are paying dearly for their pension and the money goes to either israel or the profiteers of the war machine.

Clock Crasher -> Ms No , Dec 9, 2017 12:57 AM

They are toast. The leaks are not going to stop. Once the baby boom generation dies off completely the next generations will clean up their mess. The baby boom can't see past their own prosperity. But everyone else is ready for reform.

(trying to throw a little optimism into the mix)

Think about it.. when you look at the electoral map by county HRC was thoroughly crushed. Is DJT a SomaSalesMan aka Mega Psyop.. who the fuck knows. The awakening is happen Chinese water torture style.

This is a lot like being a Gold perma Bull. We want to come into the forums every day and write about how hopeless the situation is (a lot like what I do here everyday).

Just remember this.. Even Mao's wife had to stand trial for crimes against the populace. In 20 years the babyboomers will be out of the way and we can get onto bigger and better things.

Davidduke2000 -> Clock Crasher , Dec 9, 2017 2:58 AM

the biggest problems come from the millennial who grew up with bullshit, baby boomers lived threw a lot of american bullshit and they are the ones like PCR are warning the youngs that america's days are numbered . even Deagel.com predict that the us population in 2025 will dwindle from 325 million to only 55 millions, where do you think the 275 million will go? nuclear war will take care of them.

http://www.deagel.com/country/forecast.aspx

the corruption is so great that every single new weapon does not work and all these weapons are built at a great cost. The bulk of the left activists are millennials , the same with the super left, yet on the right the millennials are busy filing their nails, surfing and buying bitcoin for a quick profit.

I am Canadian, I am an outsider and see clearly as I am not part of the system, I see a country where the leaders convinced the population that they are exceptional but the people took it as a compliment, it was meant to fool them into a sense of being above the rest of the world, yet most americans do not know the capital of florida, california, mississippi, alabama yet they are in their own country.

This exceptionalism is preventing them from understanding the danger they are in.

For the first time I see a consensus on zerohedge that PCR is 100% right and the posters are worried what will become of america if israel is left with a huge hold on all us presidents and on the political infrastructure of the us and they agree with PCR on the list of propaganda the us have been telling the citizens to keep them distracted from knowing that their days are numbered when the Russians might attack thinking america wants to annihilate them.

FredFlintstone -> Ms No , Dec 9, 2017 5:55 AM

Damnit! I just wanted to retire quietly to a golf course.

veritas semper ... , Dec 9, 2017 12:27 AM

Pax Britannica<< Pax Americana<< Pax Judaica.

We are in the late stages of Pax Judaica. They, through their money magic,usury,fiat printing,and the bought/paid for/bribed/blackmailed sycophants,rule almost the whole world.The West entirely.

They have push so much,on all aspects of the society,that the recoil is going to be devastating.We started seeing this with the Jerusalem f*ck up.

US can not be saved at this point. It is at the Event Horizon already. I don't know what will be left of it: a few 4th world small countries ,where warlords kill each other? Americans love violence.

I absolutely sure IS...RA...EL is NOT going to survive. Neither Saudi Barbaria. Especially after this last blunder.

Will they go into the dustbin of history gracefully,without destroying the whole world in the process?

I don't think so,they are psychopaths.They do not like to lose or to be exposed for what they really are.

PCR makes a valid point. The Russians are patient ,balanced, intelligent people,but if they sense they are dealing with irrational ones ,they will not take a chance. The Russians have already said that US is not agreement capable, a great insult in their view.

Internet-is-Beast -> veritas semper vinces , Dec 9, 2017 2:46 AM

Referencing your first line, there's also "army intelligence" "Long Island expressway" to cite a couple of other examples of the same wordplay.

HRClinton -> veritas semper vinces , Dec 9, 2017 3:44 AM

Pax Iudaea. Delenda est.

Hostis humani generis. Delenda est.

roddy6667 -> JibjeResearch , Dec 9, 2017 1:06 AM

In America everybody has their labels (businessman, Libertarian, Democrat, Republican) so they can all fight with each other better. The country is so Balkanized that cannot function as a whole any more. I guess that was the plan all along.

IDESofMARCH , Dec 9, 2017 1:07 AM

Peace and truth are not welcome at the Whitehouse which should be painted BLOOD RED. Politicians are a greedy bloodthirsty criminals, That includes Trump. If you want to save the world from WW3 which we are watching incubate. ALL current crop of politicians have to be thrown out of government. YOU NEED A BLOODY REVOLUTION and throw these criminals into maximum security with the killers and molestors to do as they wish with them.

Without public revolt we'll just keep seeing, hearing and swallowing fake news after fake news brain wash and send our children to kill the innocent in WAR after WAR.

Walt , Dec 9, 2017 1:28 AM

Private interests and agendas have control over the US government. As in (((Private interests and agendas))) have control over the US government.

Seasmoke , Dec 9, 2017 1:34 AM

Don't forget the biggest lie. Even bigger than 9/11. That in the mid 2000s millions of deadbeats all decided to buy houses that they could not afford. What a joke of a country. Land of the fee. Home of the Slave.

Moe Howard , Dec 9, 2017 1:46 AM

"What Mueller is doing is so corrupt that he really should be arrested and renditioned to Egypt." Best line of the whole piece. Love it. We are not, however, "Walking Into Armageddon" Rather, we are "Slouching into the Apocolypse"

I am ENTERTAINED.

Ivan de beers , Dec 9, 2017 2:05 AM

Trump handing Jerusalem to israel is just the first step in setting up the rise of Israel and the fall of America. It is a symbolic transfer of power. All is left is world war 3 and the financial system collapse.

GardenWeasel , Dec 9, 2017 2:57 AM

PCR is way off this time. Flynn is acting as bait, and the swamp critters went for it. Trump and Bannon are playing the ol' rope-a-dope rather well. After the Dems and Deep Staters wear themselves out throwing all of these ineffective punches they will take them out.

ProsperD9 -> GardenWeasel , Dec 9, 2017 3:56 AM

You might be on to something...as the Dems and Deep State reveal themselves for what they really are, it makes it easier for Trump to go in for the kill....! They are getting more and more careless and their corruption and stupidity revealed more and more each day. I hope Trump be able to pave the way to cleaning up America and getting it back on its feet....we will see...!

jafo2me , Dec 9, 2017 3:01 AM

As many of you either know or have heard...

"THE" controllers of the puppet politicans, bankers and world leaders "WANT YOU TO LIVE IN FEAR." All the reasons stated by PCR are valid but not one of them is a reason to go out and get drunk tomorrow. Either you believe in your own fate and the actions which control the fate which you harvest "OR YOU DON'T."

Why would I worry about things I have zero control over, especially when I "KNOW" "THEY" live off of that fear? I will live every moment of my life in the joy and happiness which is this blessing to be alive "AND" will live in fear of no one. If you live your life this way they lose and you get to appreciate a gift which is greater then any material object on the planet.

The worse which they can do when you decide to refuse to live in fear of "THEM" is to take your life which they have no power to do either.. Put up your middle finger to all of them, smile and move on and enjoy what time you have here to make it the best you can do.

Choose not to live in fear of them..

We all fear death and question our place in the universe. The artist's job is not to succumb to despair, but to find an antidote for the emptiness of existence. ... Ernest Hemingway

slicktroutman -> jafo2me , Dec 9, 2017 8:40 AM

And then he killed himself.....l...

Conscious Reviver , Dec 9, 2017 3:08 AM

Two interesting pieces of news out of moonofalabama.org

First b says the real buyer of the fake $450M fake DaVinci is MbS, the KSA crown prince. Second, MbS just fired his Zino-friendly, Jared-friendly foreign minister.

jafo2me , Dec 9, 2017 3:23 AM

As for Flynn...

The rumors early on were that Flynn knew who all the pedophiles were in Washington, wanted to go after them "AND" would not back down. Trump's VP was included on that list and played a part in the decision to move him out of the public eye and into the position he currently occupies behind the scenes.

Interestingly enough it was supposedly this stupid explanation of him not telling Pence about his meeting with the Russian Ambassador which was the excuse as to why he had to be removed. On face value, think about how ridiculous this is. A decorated General who answers to the President withheld information on a meeting which is fairly typical military procedure.

"IT'S CALLED THE NEED TO KNOW." HELLO....

Trump could have simply stated that Flynn was not under orders from Pence and was acting under a protocol common to members within the Military but not common to politicians. If Pence wanted to know anything about what people within my Administration are doing he is always welcome to discuss it with me. PERIOD...

THE ENTIRE EXCUSE IS TOTAL BS AND THE WEAKNESS OF THAT EXCUSE GIVES ME SUSPICION TO BELIEVE THAT THE ORIGIONAL RUMORS WERE ACCURATE.

JailBanksters , Dec 9, 2017 3:29 AM

America Isn't "Walking Into Armageddon", America Is "Pushing for Armageddon"

Conscious Reviver -> JailBanksters , Dec 9, 2017 4:46 AM

The Fascist Tom Cotton with his hair on fire leading the charge. Metaphorically leading the charge to our own destruction. He would never get himself involved in any genuine battle charge. Russia is not my enemy or adversary.

JailBanksters -> Conscious Reviver , Dec 9, 2017 5:11 AM

Has Iraq, Libya, Syria, Iran, Russia, China, North Korea ever done any physical harm to the USA ? No ... How about the reverse ? Mmm, it appears the only ones that have attacked the USA are Saudi Arabia and Israel. But America does not attack them, instead it only attacks the countries that have never attacked the USA.

Is that wierd or what ?, it's almost as if there is another agenda at play.

slipreedip , Dec 9, 2017 4:57 AM

US foreign Policy in a nutshell. Its war...one way or another.

Stan Derdissue -> Tellthetruth , Dec 9, 2017 6:25 AM

You mean the Islam that allows grandads to marry and abuse 10 year olds. Husbands to beat up their wives, hang gay teenage boys off cranes in public squares. Whip 12 year old girls in public for wearing western tight jeans ( underneath their hijab may I add). Satan would approve of this sadistic protocol.

free corn , Dec 9, 2017 5:59 AM

it's amazing to see so much naivety here. People seems to believe that America/Russia are bad/good. But people it's not just imperialism anymore it's globalism. Therefore it's not about interests of countries but rather the ones of oligarchs. And oligarchs interests are international, so why would they be interested in Armageddon? Earth belong to them, why would they want to damage their wealth so much? i think we'll see busyness as usual - small wars, removing obstacles for transnationals, concentration of wealth and power and social engineering on global scale.

Conscious Reviver -> free corn , Dec 9, 2017 7:00 AM

The NWO globalism program failed already. Now we are on to something else.

slicktroutman -> Conscious Reviver , Dec 9, 2017 8:30 AM

Can you explain how it failed already? Be specific.

WTFUD -> free corn , Dec 9, 2017 7:23 AM

Naive, ha ha! Take a look at Libya, the War Crimes & Genocide, overseen by the US & Vassals and talk about Good/Bad, NO SON, we're talking Class A EVIL here, and in the other Regime Change Neocon Playbook. How many Foreign Bases/Entanglements are Russia involved in, outside of Russia? In their Only ME base/port in Syria the US tried to fuck them over. Now Russia has half a dozen strategic Bases ( including a meeting of minds with Egypt, Qatar, Libya, Turkey, Sudan ) to eliminate DAESH/al-CIAd'uh (US Constructs).

Lastly, Only through Threat and Intimidation can the US keep these Vassals on board. Have you not noticed how the Geopolitical Landmark is changing with Sovereigns flocking far and wide to Moscow, for an ALTERNATIVE to the Vassal Prisoner Status offered up by Vichy DC.

Naive Son? Z/Hedgers will call out Russia if they deviate from the Path of Righteousness.

No Russia didn't displace, maim, murder, tens of millions of citizens in the ME, VICHY DC did.

Dark star , Dec 9, 2017 6:46 AM

I read somewhere that the Ukrainian Army has changed its rule book to allow soldiers to wear beards. The inference from this is that those ISIS members rescued by the Americans are being shipped to Ukraine to fight with the Nazis against those in the East who object to Kiev's desire to genocide ethnic Russians. It would appear that, not content with arming Nazis and putting them in Ukraine's Government, the US is now putting an armed ISIS into Eastern Europe. Does anybody have more detail?

WTFUD -> Dark star , Dec 9, 2017 6:59 AM

Airlifting them from Der el Zor ( and inevitable destruction at the hands of Syrian/Hezbollah Bravehearts ) onto the demarcation line in the Donbass? Good luck with that Chestnut! What are the Jihadi's wearing, 3 SETS OF THERMALS? Let's put it this way, no matter how many Jihadi proxy scum/Advisers they airlift into Donbass there will be 10 times more FOREIGN FREEDOM-FIGHTERS (ok mainly Russian, but from Everywhere ) ready to join that gig, me included.

Death to ZATO!

WTFUD , Dec 9, 2017 6:47 AM

How convenient that Trump gets to play the Good Guy, supposedly fingers tied at every turn by Deep State, preventing him from reaching out.

There's not a shred of evidence that he's intervened to mend relations with Russia and if there is can someone shed light on this?

First up he has a filthy Neocon POS in Nikki Haley in the UN, the Only one on the Security Council who's a War Hawk (including the Palestinian fiasco ).

Did he intervene in the ILLEGAL eviction of Russian Diplomatic Quarters? Has he worked diligently with China & Russia to resolve DPRK or contributed to the Neocon war-drum beat with more bluster? Has he increased or defused tension in the ME by withdrawing US Troops or has he added to Obama's clandestine proxy jihadi recruitment programme by sending moar ADVISERS?

They say Tillerson's on his way out, to be replaced by a Neocon war-hawk in Mike Pompeo who's current charge of al-CIAd'uh covert operations is a continuation of the Obama failings.

Unlike Obama ( one of his few credits in 8 years ) Trump's Encouraging Netanyahu's Deviancy?

I've read over at the Saker/Other that behind the scenes Vichy DC could step up the supply of WMD's/Advisers to Kiev.

The US Coalition Forces in Syria (minus the US, lol), like their Iraqi counterparts (the Kurds in the main ) are at least talking with Russia/Government to thwart, long-term US Military Bases on Syrian soil. Obviously the US is unhappy about this with their Partition ambitions.

FUCK VICHY DC & EVERYONE IN IT!

Conscious Reviver -> WTFUD , Dec 9, 2017 7:05 AM

When Vicky Nuland's relatives ran Russia. https://youtube.com/watch?v=pRfY8CwjXvY

Able Ape , Dec 9, 2017 8:15 AM

The US suffers from MIC Induced Psychosis - the only cure is stop funding the military!...

"Rebellion to t... , Dec 9, 2017 8:33 AM

Pope John Paul II, Gorbachev, and Reagan, together, ended the Cold War. HW Bush is the architect on how the USA kept its military industrial complex intact. The USA no longer had an existential threat, and no longer a reason to maintain a multiple tens of billions annual defense budget. So HW Bush picked an enemy and started a global war, that continues to this day. The British military map makers, redrew much of the middle east, after WWI.

The state of Israel was already in the works, long before the story of the holocaust, some 20 years later. Anyway, Sadaam Hussein, leader of Iraq, and US ally, spoke to the Bush administration about Kuwait; and taking back for Iraq, what Sadaam believed the British map makers took away in 1917. Saddam was fooled, and the Bush administration had a reason to keep the military industrial complex intact. The globalism/new world order, that US and EU government officials speak of, is simply another way of saying that no one has any civil liberties and everyone is being monitored.

This dangerous game was effective and working for quite a while. A great deal of wealth and power transferred to a select few. The strategy went sideways when Mr Putin said enough is enough, in roughly 2011.

Now, freedom fighters have joined Mr Putin, such as Edward Snowden, Julian Assange, Barrett Brown, Manning, Glenn Greenwald, Sarah Carter,and many other, to restore freedom and honor back to the people of the world by shining light on all of the corruption.

It will take Trump and Sessions some time to restore trust and to root out the corruption.

The bottom line is that there are good people out there, who will never let this criminal behavior and corruption to be hidden from the unwashed masses.

Sudden Debt , Dec 9, 2017 9:01 AM

America is just looking for an excuse to send their young kids to war to get shot to pieces and get mentally fucked up so the drug industry can profit, the war industry can profit, the banks can profit...

in all...

It's clear that it's the patriotic thing to do.

[Dec 13, 2017] All the signs in the Russia probe point to Jared Kushner. Who next?

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... More like he's denying the story peddled by the Democrats in some vain attempt at reducing his legitimacy over smashing Hillary in the elections. ..."
"... What is he going to prison for, again? Colluding with Israel? ..."
"... The most anger in the media against the POTUS seems to be directed against Russia gate. Time and energy is wasted on conjecture, most 'probables will not stand in a court of law. This media hysteria deflects from the destruction of the affordable healthcare act and the tax changes good for the rich against the many. I think the people are being played. ..."
"... In the 1990s and 2000s a large section of the American establishment was effectively bought off by people like Prince Bandar. These are the ones that are determined that the anti-Russian policy then instigated be continued, even at the cost of slandering the current President's son-in-law. The irony is that in the meantime an effective regime change has taken place in Saudi and Bandar's bandits are mostly locked up behind bars. ..."
"... True, and not just hypocrisy either. This has to be seen in the context of a war, cold for now, on Russia - with China, via Iran and NK, next in line. Dangerous times, as a militarily formidable empire in economic decline looks set to take us all out. For the few who think and resist the dominant narrative - and are thereby routinely called out as 'kremlin trolls' - it is dismaying how easily folk are manipulated. ..."
"... Your points are valid but, alas, factual truths are routinely trumped (!) by powerful mythology. Fact is, despite an appalling record since WW2, Washington and its pet institutions - IMF/World Bank/WTO - are still seen as good guys. How? Because (a) all western states have traded foreign policy independence for favoured status in Washington, (b) English as global lingua franca means American soft propaganda is lapped up across the world via its entertainment industry, and (c) all 'our' media are owned by billionaire corps or as with BBC/Graun, subject to government intimidation/market forces. ..."
"... Truth is, DRT is not some horrifically new entity. (Let's not forget how HRC's 'no fly zone' for Syria promised to take us into WW3, nor her demented "we came, we saw, he died - ha ha" response to Gaddafi's sodomisation by knife blade, and more importantly to Libya's descent into hell.) As John Pilger noted, "the obsession with Trump the man – not Trump as symptom and caricature of an enduring system – beckons great danger for all of us". ..."
"... If all Meuller has is Flynn and the Russians during the transition period, he's got nothing. ..."
"... It's alleged that Turkey wanted Flynn to extradite Gullen for his alleged involvement in Turkey's failed coup. Just this weekend, Turkey have issued an arrest warrant for a former CIA officer in relation to the failed coup. So, IF the CIA were behind the failed coup and Flynn knows this - well, a good way to silence him would be to charge him with some serious crimes and then offer to drop them in return for his silence. But, like your theory, it's just speculation. ..."
"... The secret deep state security forces haven't been this diminished since Carter cleared the stables in the 70's - they fought back and stopped his second term ... ..."
"... Seeing how the case against Trump and Flynn is based on 'probable' and not hard proof its 'probable that the anti Trump campaign is directed from within the murky enclaves of the US intelligence community. ..."
"... Hatred against Trump deflects the anger, see the system works the US is still a democracy. Well it isn't, its a sick oligarchy run by the mega rich who own the media, 90% is owned by 5 corporations. Americans are fed the lie that their vast military empire with its 800 overseas bases are to defend US interests. ..."
"... Wow this is like becoming McCarthy Era 2.0. I'm just waiting for the show trials of all these so-called colluders. ..."
"... the interest of (Russian Ambassador) Kislyak in determining the position of the new administration on sanctions is not unheard of in Washington, or necessarily untoward to raise with one of the incoming national security advisers. Ambassadors are supposed to seek changes in policies and often seek to influence officials in the early stages of administrations before policies are established. Flynn's suggestion that the Russians wait as the Trump administration unfolded its new policies is a fairly standard response of an incoming official ..."
"... "The problem is charging Flynn for lying. A technicality. But not charging Hillary for email server. Another technicality. That's all the public will see if no collusion proved, and will ruin credibility of the FBI and the Dems" ..."
"... It's not just collusion is it, what about the rampant, naked nepotism, last seen on this unashamed scale in ancient Rome? ..."
"... So he lobbied for Israel not Russia then? Whoops. How does the author even know where Mueller's probe is heading, and which way Flynn flipped? Flynn worked much longer for the Obama administration than for Trump's. ..."
"... You can easily impeach Trump for bombing Syria's military airfield, which is by UN definition war crime of war aggression, starting war without the Congress approval; and doing so by supporting false flag of AQ, is support of terrorists and so on ..."
"... Oh you can't do it, of course, it was so - so presidential to bomb another country and it is just old habit and no war declaration, if country is too weak to bomb you back. And you love this exiting crazy balance of global nuclear annihilation too much, so you prefer screaming Russia, Russia to keep it hot, for wonderful military contracts. ..."
"... If the US wanted to do itself a massive favour it should shine the spotlight on Robert Mueller, the man now in charge of investigating the President of these United States for "collusion" with Russia and possible "obstruction of justice" himself obstructed a congressional investigation into the 9/11 terrorist attacks. ..."
"... Dealing with western backed coups on its own doorstep and being the only country actually to be legally fighting in Syria - a war that directly threatens its security - does not amount to global belligerence. ..."
"... Clinton lied under oath ..."
"... The logan act is a dead law no one will be prosecuted for a act that has never been used... plus the president elect can talk to any foreign leader he or she wishes to use and even talk deals even if a current president for 2 months is still in office... ..."
"... Should all countries which try to influence elections be treated as enemies? Where do you set the threshold? If we go by the actual evidence, Russia seems to have bought some Facebook ads and was allegedly involved in exposing HRC's meddling with the Democratic primaries. Compare that to the influence that countries like Israel and the Gulf Arabs exert on American politics and elections. Are you seriously claiming that Russia's influence is bigger or more decisive? ..."
"... The goal of weakening the US is also highly debatable. Accepting for a moment that Russia tried to tip the balance in favor of Trump, would America be stronger if it were engaged more actively in Syria and Ukraine? Is there a specific example where Trump's administration weakened the American position to the advantage of Russia? And how is the sustained anti-Russian information warfare helping anyone but the Chinese? ..."
"... The clues that Kushner has been pulling the strings on Russia are everywhere... He then pushed Flynn hard to try to turn Russia around on an anti-Israel vote by the UN security council. ..."
"... And Russia didn't turn, so hardly a clue that Kushner was pulling strings with any effect. What this clue does suggest however, is that Israel pressured/colluded with the Trump Team to undermine the Obama administrations policy towards a UN resolution on illegal settlements. The elephant in the room is Israels influence on US politics. ..."
"... In relation to the "lying" charge - In December, Flynn (in his role as incoming National Security Advisor) was told to talk to the Russians by Kushner (in his role as incoming special advisor). In these conversations, Flynn told the Russians to be patient regarding sanctions as things may change when Trump becomes President. All of this is totally legal and is what EVERY new adminstration does. Flynn had his phoned tapped by the FBI so they knew he had talked to the Russian about sanctions - they also knew the conversation was totally legal - but when they asked him about it, he said he didn't discuss sanctions. So Flynn is being charged about lying about something that was totally legal for him to do. That's it. ..."
"... All those thinking this is the beginning of the end of Trump are going to be disappointed. Just look at the charges so far. Manafort has been charged with money laundering and not registering as a foreign agent - however, both of those charges pre-date him working for Trump. Flynn has been charged with lying to the FBI about speaking to the Russians - even though him speaking to the Russians in his role as National Security Advisor to the President-elect was not only totally legal, it was the norm. And this took place in December, after the election. ..."
"... So the 2 main players have been charged with things that have nothing to do with the Trump campaign, and lets not forget the point of the investigation is to find out if Trump's campaign colluded with the Russians to win the election. Manafort's charges related to before working for the Trump campaign whilst Flynn's came after Trump won the Presidency, neither of which have anything to do with the election. As much as I wish Trump wasn't President, don't get your hopes up that this is going anywhere ..."
"... Gross hypocrisy on the US governments side. They have, since WW2 interfered with other countries elections, invaded, and killed millions worldwide, and are still doing so. Where were the FBI investigations then? Non existent. US politicians and the military hierarchy are completely immune from any prosecutions when it comes down to overseas illegal interference. ..."
"... America like all governments are narcissistic, they will cheat, steal, kill, if it benefits them. It's called national interest, and it's number one on any leader's job list. Watch fog of war with Robert McNamara, fantastic and terrifying to see how it works. ..."
"... The US has also been meddling in other countries elections for years, and doubtless most Americans neither know or care about that! So it's perhaps it's best to simply term them a 'rival', most people should be able to agree on that ..."
"... Gallup have been polling Americans for the past couple of decades on this. The last time I read about it a couple of years ago 70% of Americans had unfavourable views of Russia, ranging from those who saw them as an enemy (a smaller amount) through to those who saw them as a threat. ..."
Dec 13, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

polpont , 4 Dec 2017 08:32

Mueller will have to thread very carefully because he is maneuvering on a very politically charged terrain. And one cannot refrain from comparing the current situation with the many free passes the democrats were handed over by the FBI, the Department of Justice and the media which make the US look like a banana republic.

The mind blowing fact that Clinton sat with the Attorney General on the tarmac of the Phoenix airport "to chit-chat" and not to discuss the investigation on Clinton's very wife that was being overseen by the same AG, leaves one flabbergasted.

And the fact that Comey essentially said that Clinton's behaviour, tantamount in his own words to extreme recklessness, did not warrant prosecution was just inconceivable.

Don't forget that Trump has nearly 50 M gun-toting followers on Tweeter and that he would not hesitate to appeal to them were he to feel threatened by what he could conceive as a judicial Coup d'Etat. The respect for the institutions in the USA has never been so low.

ID1456161 -> Canadiman , 4 Dec 2017 08:30

...a judge would decide if the evidence was sufficient to warrant a trial.

Actually, in the U.S. a grand jury would decide if the evidence was sufficient to warrant formal charges leading to a trial. There is also the possibility that Mueller has uncovered both Federal and NY State offenses, so charges could be brought against Kushner at either level. Mueller has been sharing information from his investigation with the NY Attorney General's Office. Trump could pardon a federal offense, but has no jurisdiction to pardon charges brought against Kushner by the State of NY.

Anna Bramwell -> etrang , 4 Dec 2017 08:28
I watched RT for 24 months before the US election. They favoured Bernie Saunders strongly before he lost to Hilary. Then they ran hustings for the smaller US parties, eg Greens, and the Libertarians , which could definitely be seen as an interference in the US election, but which as far as I know, was never mentioned in the US. They were anti Hilary but not pro Trump. And indeed, their strong anti capitalist bias would have made such support unlikely.
EduardStreltsovGhost -> JonShone , 4 Dec 2017 08:28
What's he lying about? More like he's denying the story peddled by the Democrats in some vain attempt at reducing his legitimacy over smashing Hillary in the elections.

Obama and Hillary met hundreds of foreign officials. Were they colluding as well?

pretzelattack -> Atticus_Finch , 4 Dec 2017 08:28
What is he going to prison for, again? Colluding with Israel?
oddballs -> Taf1980uk , 4 Dec 2017 08:26
The most anger in the media against the POTUS seems to be directed against Russia gate. Time and energy is wasted on conjecture, most 'probables will not stand in a court of law. This media hysteria deflects from the destruction of the affordable healthcare act and the tax changes good for the rich against the many. I think the people are being played.
Krautolivier , 4 Dec 2017 08:21
In the 1990s and 2000s a large section of the American establishment was effectively bought off by people like Prince Bandar. These are the ones that are determined that the anti-Russian policy then instigated be continued, even at the cost of slandering the current President's son-in-law. The irony is that in the meantime an effective regime change has taken place in Saudi and Bandar's bandits are mostly locked up behind bars.
It's all too funny.
zerohoursuni -> damientrollope , 4 Dec 2017 08:19
True, and not just hypocrisy either. This has to be seen in the context of a war, cold for now, on Russia - with China, via Iran and NK, next in line. Dangerous times, as a militarily formidable empire in economic decline looks set to take us all out. For the few who think and resist the dominant narrative - and are thereby routinely called out as 'kremlin trolls' - it is dismaying how easily folk are manipulated.

Your points are valid but, alas, factual truths are routinely trumped (!) by powerful mythology. Fact is, despite an appalling record since WW2, Washington and its pet institutions - IMF/World Bank/WTO - are still seen as good guys. How? Because (a) all western states have traded foreign policy independence for favoured status in Washington, (b) English as global lingua franca means American soft propaganda is lapped up across the world via its entertainment industry, and (c) all 'our' media are owned by billionaire corps or as with BBC/Graun, subject to government intimidation/market forces.

Truth is, DRT is not some horrifically new entity. (Let's not forget how HRC's 'no fly zone' for Syria promised to take us into WW3, nor her demented "we came, we saw, he died - ha ha" response to Gaddafi's sodomisation by knife blade, and more importantly to Libya's descent into hell.) As John Pilger noted, "the obsession with Trump the man – not Trump as symptom and caricature of an enduring system – beckons great danger for all of us".

cookcounty , 4 Dec 2017 08:15
I missed Jill Abramson's column about all the meetings the Obama administration held -- quite openly -- with foreign governments during the transition period between his election and his first inauguration.

But since she's been demonstrably and laughably wrong about predicting future political events in the USA (see her entire body of work during the 2016 election campaign), why should she start making sense now?

It's completely possible, of course, that some as-yet-to-be-revealed piece of evidence will prove collusion -- before the election and by candidate Trump -- with the Russians. But the Flynn testimony certainly isn't it. All the heavy breathing and hysteria is simply a sign of how the media, yet again, always gravitates toward the news it wishes were true, rather than what really is true. If all Meuller has is Flynn and the Russians during the transition period, he's got nothing.

themandibleclaw -> SteveMilesworthy , 4 Dec 2017 08:12
Flynn was charged with far more serious crimes which were all dropped and he was left with a charge that if he spends any time in prison, it will be about 6 months. Now, you could say for him to agree to that, he must have some juicy info - and he probably does - but what that juicy info is is just speculation. And if we are speculating, then maybe what he traded it for was nothing to do with Trump? After all, one of the charges against him was failing to register as a foreign agent on behalf of Turkey.

It's alleged that Turkey wanted Flynn to extradite Gullen for his alleged involvement in Turkey's failed coup. Just this weekend, Turkey have issued an arrest warrant for a former CIA officer in relation to the failed coup. So, IF the CIA were behind the failed coup and Flynn knows this - well, a good way to silence him would be to charge him with some serious crimes and then offer to drop them in return for his silence. But, like your theory, it's just speculation.

WallyWillage , 4 Dec 2017 08:05
Still no evidence of Russian collusion in Trump campaign BEFORE the election...... whatever happened after being president elect is not impeachable unless it would be after taking office.

The secret deep state security forces haven't been this diminished since Carter cleared the stables in the 70's - they fought back and stopped his second term ...

EduardStreltsovGhost -> CitizenOfTinyBlue , 4 Dec 2017 08:03

You can easily impeach Trump for bombing Syria's military airfield, which is by UN definition war crime of war aggression

if that were the case, Clinton, Bush and Obama would be sitting in jail right now.
oddballs -> Taf1980uk , 4 Dec 2017 07:58
Seeing how the case against Trump and Flynn is based on 'probable' and not hard proof its 'probable that the anti Trump campaign is directed from within the murky enclaves of the US intelligence community.

Trumps presidency could have the capability of galvanising a powerful resistance against the 2 party state for 'real change, like affordable healthcare and affordable education for ALL its people. But no its not happening, Trump is attacked on probables and undisclosed sources. A year has passed and nothing has been revealed.

Hatred against Trump deflects the anger, see the system works the US is still a democracy. Well it isn't, its a sick oligarchy run by the mega rich who own the media, 90% is owned by 5 corporations. Americans are fed the lie that their vast military empire with its 800 overseas bases are to defend US interests.

Well their not, their only function is, is to spend tax dollars that otherwise would be spent on education, health, infrastructure, things that would 'really' benefit America. Disagree, well go ahead and accuse me of being a conspiracy nut-job, in the meantime China is by peaceful means getting the mining rights in Africa, Australia, deals that matter.

The tax legislation for the few against the many is deflected by the anti-Trump hysteria based on conjecture and not proof.

EduardStreltsovGhost , 4 Dec 2017 07:52
Wow this is like becoming McCarthy Era 2.0. I'm just waiting for the show trials of all these so-called colluders.
RelaxAndChill -> Silgen , 4 Dec 2017 07:46
Crimea was and is Russian. Your mask is slipping, Vlad .

Your ignorance is showing. I have no connection to Russia what so ever. Crimea was legally ceded to Russia over 200 years ago, by the Ottomans to Catherine the Great. Russia has never relinquished control. What the criminal organization the USSR did under Ukrainian expat Khrushchev, is irrelevant. And as Putin said , any agreement about respecting Ukraine's territorial integrity was negated when the USA and the EU fomented and financed a rebellion and revolution.

StillAbstractImp , 4 Dec 2017 07:40
Decelerating Fascism - Is Kushner a Putin operative, too?
mikedow -> Karantino , 4 Dec 2017 07:35
Australia, Canada, and S. Africa supply the lion's share of gold bullion that London survives on. And the best uranium in the world. All sorts of other precious commodities as well. If you're not toeing the line on US foreign policies religiously, the Yanks will drop you.
themandibleclaw -> Toastface_Killah , 4 Dec 2017 07:34

You are selectively choosing to refer to this one instance, but even here Obama administration were still in charge - so not very legal, was it.

I am "selectively choosing to refer to this one instance" because that's all Flynn has been charged with. Oh, and it is totally legal for a member of the incoming administration to start talks with their foreign counterparts. Here's a quote from an op-ed piece in The Hill from a law professor at Washington University.

the interest of (Russian Ambassador) Kislyak in determining the position of the new administration on sanctions is not unheard of in Washington, or necessarily untoward to raise with one of the incoming national security advisers. Ambassadors are supposed to seek changes in policies and often seek to influence officials in the early stages of administrations before policies are established. Flynn's suggestion that the Russians wait as the Trump administration unfolded its new policies is a fairly standard response of an incoming official .

http://thehill.com/opinion/judiciary/362813-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly-of-the-flynn-indictment

backstop -> EdwardFatherby , 4 Dec 2017 07:31
"The problem is charging Flynn for lying. A technicality. But not charging Hillary for email server. Another technicality. That's all the public will see if no collusion proved, and will ruin credibility of the FBI and the Dems"

It's not just collusion is it, what about the rampant, naked nepotism, last seen on this unashamed scale in ancient Rome?

BustedBoom , 4 Dec 2017 07:31

He then pushed Flynn hard to try to turn Russia around on an anti-Israel vote by the UN security council.

So he lobbied for Israel not Russia then? Whoops. How does the author even know where Mueller's probe is heading, and which way Flynn flipped? Flynn worked much longer for the Obama administration than for Trump's.
CitizenOfTinyBlue , 4 Dec 2017 07:26
You can easily impeach Trump for bombing Syria's military airfield, which is by UN definition war crime of war aggression, starting war without the Congress approval; and doing so by supporting false flag of AQ, is support of terrorists and so on

Oh you can't do it, of course, it was so - so presidential to bomb another country and it is just old habit and no war declaration, if country is too weak to bomb you back. And you love this exiting crazy balance of global nuclear annihilation too much, so you prefer screaming Russia, Russia to keep it hot, for wonderful military contracts.

Oh, and I have to be supporter of Putin's oligarchy with dreams of great tsars of Russia, if I care about humans survival on this planet and have very bad opinion about suicidal fools playing this stupid games.

ConCaruthers , 4 Dec 2017 07:25
If the US wanted to do itself a massive favour it should shine the spotlight on Robert Mueller, the man now in charge of investigating the President of these United States for "collusion" with Russia and possible "obstruction of justice" himself obstructed a congressional investigation into the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
moonsphere -> Hydro , 4 Dec 2017 07:24
Dealing with western backed coups on its own doorstep and being the only country actually to be legally fighting in Syria - a war that directly threatens its security - does not amount to global belligerence.
etrang -> CraftyRabbi , 4 Dec 2017 07:14

Mueller could charge/indict Kushner or Trump Jr under New York state criminal statutes

But not for crimes relating to federal elections or conspiring with Russia.

John Edwin -> OlivesNightie , 4 Dec 2017 07:13
Clinton lied under oath
John Edwin -> SoAmerican , 4 Dec 2017 07:11
The logan act is a dead law no one will be prosecuted for a act that has never been used... plus the president elect can talk to any foreign leader he or she wishes to use and even talk deals even if a current president for 2 months is still in office...
emiliofloris -> Sowester , 4 Dec 2017 07:08

I am not sure any level of scandal will make much difference to Trump or his supporters. They simply see this as an elitist conspiracy and not amount of evidence of wrongdoing will have an impact.

So far the level of scandal is below that of Whitewater/Lewinsky, and that was a very low level indeed. What "evidence of wrongdoing" is there? Nothing, that's why they charged Flynn with lying to investigators. It's important to keep in mind that the he did nor lie about actual crimes. Perhaps that's going to change as the investigation proceeds, but so far this is nothing more than a partisan lawfare fishing expedition.

Billsykesdoggy -> reinhardpolley , 4 Dec 2017 06:55
<blockquoteSpecifically, it prohibits citizens from negotiating with other nations on behalf of the United States without authorization.>

So Trump authorized Obama's talks with Macron last week?

Don't think so.

braciole -> Karantino , 4 Dec 2017 06:55

Because they attempted to covertly influence a general election in order to weaken the US.

And your evidence for this is what exactly? As for countries trying to influence elections in other countries, I'm all for it particularly when one of the candidates is murderous, arrogant and stupid.

BTW, in Honduras after supporting a coup against the democratically-elected president because he sought a referendum on allowing presidents to serve two terms, you'd think the United States would interfere when his non-democratically-elected replacement used a "packed" supreme court to change the constitution to allow presidents to serve more than one term to at least stop him stealing an election as he is now doing/has done. But they didn't and that hasn't stopped the United States whining that Evo Morales is being undemocratic by trying to extend the number of terms he can serve.

emiliofloris -> Karantino , 4 Dec 2017 06:53

Because they attempted to covertly influence a general election in order to weaken the US.

Should all countries which try to influence elections be treated as enemies? Where do you set the threshold? If we go by the actual evidence, Russia seems to have bought some Facebook ads and was allegedly involved in exposing HRC's meddling with the Democratic primaries. Compare that to the influence that countries like Israel and the Gulf Arabs exert on American politics and elections. Are you seriously claiming that Russia's influence is bigger or more decisive?

The goal of weakening the US is also highly debatable. Accepting for a moment that Russia tried to tip the balance in favor of Trump, would America be stronger if it were engaged more actively in Syria and Ukraine? Is there a specific example where Trump's administration weakened the American position to the advantage of Russia? And how is the sustained anti-Russian information warfare helping anyone but the Chinese?

technotherapy , 4 Dec 2017 06:46
The clues that Kushner has been pulling the strings on Russia are everywhere... He then pushed Flynn hard to try to turn Russia around on an anti-Israel vote by the UN security council.

And Russia didn't turn, so hardly a clue that Kushner was pulling strings with any effect. What this clue does suggest however, is that Israel pressured/colluded with the Trump Team to undermine the Obama administrations policy towards a UN resolution on illegal settlements. The elephant in the room is Israels influence on US politics.

themandibleclaw -> Simon Denham , 4 Dec 2017 06:44

Can someone please actually tell us what Flynn/Jared/Trump is supposed to have done.

In relation to the "lying" charge - In December, Flynn (in his role as incoming National Security Advisor) was told to talk to the Russians by Kushner (in his role as incoming special advisor). In these conversations, Flynn told the Russians to be patient regarding sanctions as things may change when Trump becomes President. All of this is totally legal and is what EVERY new adminstration does. Flynn had his phoned tapped by the FBI so they knew he had talked to the Russian about sanctions - they also knew the conversation was totally legal - but when they asked him about it, he said he didn't discuss sanctions. So Flynn is being charged about lying about something that was totally legal for him to do. That's it.

moonsphere -> SoAmerican , 4 Dec 2017 06:44
These days "US influence" seems to consist of bombing Middle Eastern countries back to the bronze age for reasons that defy easy logic. Anything that reduces that kind of influence would be welcome.
reinhardpolley -> Simon Denham , 4 Dec 2017 06:33
The Logan Act (18 U.S.C.A. § 953 [1948]) is a single federal statute making it a crime for a citizen to confer with foreign governments against the interests of the United States. Specifically, it prohibits citizens from negotiating with other nations on behalf of the United States without authorization.
https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Logan+Act
themandibleclaw , 4 Dec 2017 06:22
All those thinking this is the beginning of the end of Trump are going to be disappointed. Just look at the charges so far. Manafort has been charged with money laundering and not registering as a foreign agent - however, both of those charges pre-date him working for Trump. Flynn has been charged with lying to the FBI about speaking to the Russians - even though him speaking to the Russians in his role as National Security Advisor to the President-elect was not only totally legal, it was the norm. And this took place in December, after the election.

So the 2 main players have been charged with things that have nothing to do with the Trump campaign, and lets not forget the point of the investigation is to find out if Trump's campaign colluded with the Russians to win the election. Manafort's charges related to before working for the Trump campaign whilst Flynn's came after Trump won the Presidency, neither of which have anything to do with the election. As much as I wish Trump wasn't President, don't get your hopes up that this is going anywhere.

damientrollope , 4 Dec 2017 06:15
Gross hypocrisy on the US governments side. They have, since WW2 interfered with other countries elections, invaded, and killed millions worldwide, and are still doing so. Where were the FBI investigations then? Non existent. US politicians and the military hierarchy are completely immune from any prosecutions when it comes down to overseas illegal interference.

But now this Russian debacle, and at last they've woken up, because another country had the temerity to turn the tables on them. And I think if this was Bush or Obama we would never have heard a thing about it. Everybody hates the Dotard, because he's an obese dick with an IQ to match.

Boojay , 4 Dec 2017 06:15
Nothing will happen to Trump, It's all bollocks. You've all watched too many Spielberg films, bad guys win, and they win most of the time.
Trump is the real face of America, America like all governments are narcissistic, they will cheat, steal, kill, if it benefits them. It's called national interest, and it's number one on any leader's job list. Watch fog of war with Robert McNamara, fantastic and terrifying to see how it works.
formerathlete -> vacantspace , 4 Dec 2017 06:15

when American presidents were rational, well balanced with progressive views we had.... decent American healthcare? Equality of opportunity? Gun laws that made it safe to walk the streets?

Say who, what an a where now????????? Since when has the US EVER had any of the three things that you mentioned???

If ever, then it was a loooooong time before the pilgrim fathers ever landed.

Hugh Mad -> JonShone , 4 Dec 2017 06:10

The US has also been meddling in other countries elections for years, and doubtless most Americans neither know or care about that! So it's perhaps it's best to simply term them a 'rival', most people should be able to agree on that.

That is the bottom line, yes. People view the world through west = good and Russia = bad, while both make economic and political decisions that serve the interests of their people respectively. Ultimately, I think people are scared that the West's monopoly on global influence is slipping, to as you said, a rival.

JonShone -> Hugh Mad , 4 Dec 2017 06:06
You are right that calling Russia the US enemy needs justification, but these threads often deteriorate into arguments of the yes it is/no it isn't variety.

Gallup have been polling Americans for the past couple of decades on this. The last time I read about it a couple of years ago 70% of Americans had unfavourable views of Russia, ranging from those who saw them as an enemy (a smaller amount) through to those who saw them as a threat.

It's certain that their ideals and goals run counter to those generally held in the US in many ways. But let's not forget that the US' ideals are often, if not generally, divergent from their interests and US foreign policy since 1945 has been responsible for countless deaths, perhaps more than Russia's.

The US has also been meddling in other countries elections for years, and doubtless most Americans neither know or care about that! So it's perhaps it's best to simply term them a 'rival', most people should be able to agree on that.

RelaxAndChill , 4 Dec 2017 05:59
All the signs in the Russia probe point to ..

How the liberals and the Democrats don't give a damm about the USA or the world's political scene, just some endless 'sore loser' witch hunt. So much could be achieved by the improving of relations with Russia. Crimea was and is Russian. Let Trump have a go as POTUS and then judge him. He wants to befriend Putin and if done it would help solve Syrian, Nth Korean and other global problems.

variation31 -> Sowester , 4 Dec 2017 05:50

They simply see this as an elitist conspiracy and not amount of evidence of wrongdoing will have an impact

Whereas if it's a Democrat in the spotlight, these same dipshits see it as an élitist cover-up and no lack of evidence of wrongdoing will have an impact. If anything, lack of evidence is evidence of cover-up which is therefore proof of evidence.

These cynical games they play with veracity and human honesty are a very pure form of evil.

[Dec 10, 2017] When Washington Cheered the Jihadists Consortiumnews

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... William Roebuck, the American embassy's chargé d'affaires in Damascus, thus urged Washington in 2006 to coordinate with Egypt and Saudi Arabia to encourage Sunni Syrian fears of Shi'ite Iranian proselytizing even though such concerns are "often exaggerated." It was akin to playing up fears of Jewish dominance in the 1930s in coordination with Nazi Germany. ..."
"... A year later, former NATO commander Wesley Clark learned of a classified Defense Department memo stating that U.S. policy was now to "attack and destroy the governments in seven countries in five years," first Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran. (Quote starts at 2:07 .) ..."
"... So the answer was not to oppose the Islamists, but to use them. Even though "the Islamist surge will not be a picnic for the Syrian people," Gambill said, "it has two important silver linings for US interests." One is that the jihadis "are simply more effective fighters than their secular counterparts" thanks to their skill with "suicide bombings and roadside bombs." ..."
"... The other is that a Sunni Islamist victory in Syria will result in "a full-blown strategic defeat" for Iran, thereby putting Washington at least part way toward fulfilling the seven-country demolition job discussed by Wesley Clark. ..."
"... The U.S. would settle with the jihadis only after the jihadis had settled with Assad. The good would ultimately outweigh the bad. This kind of self-centered moral calculus would not have mattered had Gambill only spoken for himself. But he didn't. Rather, he was expressing the viewpoint of Official Washington in general, which is why the ultra-respectable FP ran his piece in the first place. ..."
"... The parallels with the DIA are striking. "The west, gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition," the intelligence report declared, even though "the Salafist[s], the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [i.e. Al Qaeda in Iraq] are the major forces driving the insurgency." ..."
"... ancien régime, ..."
"... With the Saudis footing the bill, the U.S. would exercise untrammeled sway. ..."
"... Has a forecast that ever gone more spectacularly wrong? Syria's Baathist government is hardly blameless in this affair. But thanks largely to the U.S.-backed sectarian offensive, 400,000 Syrians or more have died since Gambill's article appeared, with another 6.1 million displaced and an estimated 4.8 million fleeing abroad. ..."
"... So instead of advancing U.S. policy goals, Gambill helped do the opposite. The Middle East is more explosive than ever while U.S. influence has fallen to sub-basement levels. Iranian influence now extends from the Arabian Sea to the Mediterranean, while the country that now seems to be wobbling out of control is Saudi Arabia where Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman is lurching from one self-induced crisis to another. The country that Gambill counted on to shore up the status quo turns out to be undermining it. ..."
"... It's not easy to screw things up so badly, but somehow Washington's bloated foreign-policy establishment has done it. Since helping to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, Gambill has moved on to a post at the rightwing Middle East Forum where Daniel Pipes, the group's founder and chief, now inveighs against the same Sunni ethnic cleansing that his employee defended or at least apologized for. ..."
"... The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy ..."
"... I do not believe than anyone in the civil or military command ever believed that arming the jihadists would bring any sort of stability or peace to the region. I do not believe that peace was ever an interest of the US until it has once again gained hegemonic control of central Asia. This is a fight to retain US global domination – causalities do not matter. The US and its partners or co-rulers of the Empire the Saud family and the Zionist oligarchy will slaughter with impunity until someone stops them or their own corruption defeats them. ..."
"... The Empire can not exist without relentless ongoing slaughter it has been at it every day now for 73 years. It worked for them all that time but that time has run out. China has already set the date for when its currency will become fully freely exchanged, less than 5 years. ..."
"... Even the most stupid person on earth couldn't think that the US was using murdering, butchering head choppers in a bid to bring peace and stability to the middle East. The Neocons and the other criminals that infest Washington don't want peace at any price because its bad for business. ..."
"... It's the same GROTESQUE caricature of these wars that the mainstream media always presents: that the U.S. is on the side of good, and fights for good, even though every war INVARIABLY ends up in a bloodbath, with no one caring how many civilians have died, what state the country is left in, that civilian infrastructure and civilians were targeted, let alone whether war could have been prevented. For example, in 1991, shortly after the first Gulf War, Iraqis rose up against their regime, but George H. Bush allowed Saddam to fly his military helicopters (permission was needed due to the no-fly zones), and quell the rebellion in blood – tens of thousands were butchered! Bush said that when he told Iraqis to rebel, he meant the military generals, NOT the Iraqi people themselves. In other words, the U.S. wanted Saddam gone, but the same regime in place. The U.S. never cared about the people! ..."
"... The military-industrial-complex sicced Mueller on Trump because they despise his overtures towards rapprochement with the Kremlin. The military-industrial-complex MUST have a villain to justify the gigantic defense [sic] spending which permeates the entire U.S. politico-economic system. Putin and Russia were always the preferred demon because they easily fit the bill in the minds of an easily brainwashed American public. Of course saber rattling towards Moscow puts the world on the brink of nuclear war, but no matter, the careerism and fat contracts are all that matter to the MIC. Trump's rhetoric about making peace with the Kremlin has always mortified the MIC. ..."
"... This is a rare instance of our elites battling it out behind the scenes, both groups being reprehensible power hungry greed heads and sociopaths, it's hard to tell how this will end. ..."
"... Lets be clear: The military-industrial-complex wants plenty of low intensity conflict to fuel ever more fabulous weapons sales, not a really hot war where all those pretty expensive toys are falling out of the sky in droves. ..."
"... On 24 October 2017, the Intercept released an NSA document unearthed from leaked intelligence files provided by Edward Snowden which reveals that terrorist militants in Syria were under the direct command of foreign governments from the early years of the war which has now claimed half a million lives. ..."
"... The US intelligence memo is evidence of internal US government confirmation of the direct role that both the Saudi and US governments played in fueling attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, as well as military targets in pursuit of "regime change" in Syria. ..."
"... Israel's support for terrorist forces in Syria is well established. The Israelis and Saudis coordinate their activities. ..."
"... An August 2012 DIA report (written when the U.S. was monitoring weapons flows from Libya to Syria), said that the opposition in Syria was driven by al Qaeda and other extremist groups: "the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria." The "deterioration of the situation" was predicted to have "dire consequences" for Iraq, which included the "grave danger" of a terrorist "Islamic state". Some of the "dire consequences" are blacked out but the DIA warned one such consequence would be the "renewing facilitation of terrorist elements from all over the Arab world entering into Iraqi Arena." ..."
"... The heavily redacted DIA memo specifically mentions "the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran)." ..."
"... To clarify just who these "supporting powers" were, mentioned in the document who sought the creation of a "Salafist principality," the DIA memo explained: "The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition; while Russia, China, and Iran support the regime." ..."
"... The DIA memo clearly indicates when it was decided to transform US, Saudi, and Turkish-backed Al Qaeda affiliates into ISIS: the "Salafist" (Islamic) "principality" (State). NATO member state Turkey has been directly supporting terrorism in Syria, and specifically, supporting ISIS. In 2014, Germany's international broadcaster Deutsche Welle's reported "'IS' supply channels through Turkey." DW exposed fleets of hundreds of trucks a day, passing unchallenged through Turkey's border crossings with Syria, clearly bound for the defacto ISIS capital of Raqqa. Starting in September 2015, Russian airpower in Syria successfully interdicted ISIS supply lines. ..."
"... The usual suspects in Western media launched a relentless propaganda campaign against Russian support for Syria. The Atlantic Council's Bellingcat disinformation operation started working overtime. ..."
"... The propaganda effort culminated in the 4 April 2017 Khan Shaykhun false flag chemical incident in Idlib. Bellingcat's Eliot Higgins and Dan Kaszeta have been paraded by "First Draft" coalition media "partners" in a vigorous effort to somehow implicate the Russians. ..."
"... In a January 2016 interview on Al Jazeera, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Michael Flynn admitted that he "paid very close attention" to the August 2012 DIA report predicting the rise of a "declared or undeclared Salafist Principality" in Syria. Flynn even asserts that the White House's sponsoring of terrorists (that would emerge as Al Nusra and ISIS) against the Syrian regime was "a willful decision." ..."
"... Flynn was interviewed by British journalist Mehdi Hasan for Al Jazeera's Head to Head program. Flynn made it clear that the policies that led to the "the rise of the Islamic State, the rise of terrorism" were not merely the result of ignorance or looking the other way, but the result of conscious decision making ..."
"... General Flynn explained to Hersh that 'If the American public saw the intelligence we were producing daily, at the most sensitive level, they would go ballistic.' Hersh's investigative report exposed a kind of intelligence schism between the Pentagon and CIA concerning the covert program in Syria. ..."
"... The article raises a very serious charge. Up till now it appeared that supplying weapons to Al Qaeda affiliates in Syria was just another example of Pentagon incompetence but the suggestion here is that it was a concerted policy and it's hard to believe that there was no one in the Pentagon that was privy to that policy who wouldn't raise an objection. ..."
"... That it conformed with Israeli, Saudi and CIA designs is not surprising, but that there was no dissension within the Pentagon is appalling (or that Obama didn't raise objections). Clark's comment should put him on the hot seat for a congressional investigation but, of course, there is no one in congress to run with it. The policy is so manifestly evil that it seems to dwarf even the reckless ignorance of preceding "interventions". ..."
"... The DIA report released by Gen. Flynn in 2012 predicted the Islamic State with alarm. That is why Flynn was fired as Director of DIA. He objected to the insane policy of supporting the CIA/Saudi madness and saw it as not only counter-productive but disastrous. His comments to AlJazeera in 2016 reinforced this position. Gen Flynn's faction of the American military has been consistent in its opposition to CIA support of terrorist forces. ..."
"... I see Gen. Flynn as a whistleblower. The 2012 report he circulated saw the rise of the Salafist Islamic state with alarm ..."
"... Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, director of the DIA between 2012 and 2014, confirmed that his agency had sent a constant stream of classified warnings to the civilian leadership about the dire consequences of toppling Assad. ..."
"... Thank you. Gen Flynn also urged coordination with Russia against ISIS, so it doesn't take much to see why he was targeted. ..."
"... The use of Islamist proxy warriors to help achieve American geo-political ends goes back to at least 1979, including Afghanistan, Bosnia, Libya, and Syria. One of the better books on 9/11 is Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed's "The War On Truth: 9/11, Disinformation, and the Anatomy of Terrorism". The first section of that book – "The Geopolitics of Terrorism" – covers, across 150 well-sourced pages, the history and background of this involvement. It is highly recommended for anyone who wishes to be better informed on this topic. ..."
"... Jaycee, actually you have to go back much further than that to WW2. Hitler used the marginalized Turkic people in Russia and turned them into effective fighters to create internal factions within the Soviet Union. After Hitler lost and the Cold War began, the US, who had no understanding of the Soviets at the time radicalized and empowered Islamist including the Muslim Brotherhood to weaponize Islam against the Soviet Union. ..."
"... All these western imperial geostrategic planners are certifiably insane and have no business anywhere near the levers of government policy. They are the number one enemy of humanity. If we don't find a way to remove them from power, they may actually succeed in destroying life on Earth. ..."
"... There is a volume of evidence that the war criminals in our midst were arming and training "jihadists." See link below. http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2016/10/the-evidence-of-planning-of-wars.html ..."
"... Incompetence and stupidity are their only defense because if anyone acknowledged that trillions of dollars have been made by the usual suspects committing these crimes, the industrialists of war would face a justice symbolized by Nuremberg. ..."
"... The American groupthink rarely allows propaganda and disinformation disturb: endless wars and endless lies and criminality, have not disturbed this mindset. It is clever to manipulate people to think in a way opposite of truth so consistently. All the atrocities by the US have been surrounded by media propaganda and mastery of groupthink techniques go down well. Mention something unusual or real news and you might get heavily criticized for daring to think outside the box and doubt what are (supposedly) "religious truths". Tell a lie long enough and it becomes the truth. ..."
"... The CIA was a key force behind the creation of both al Qaeda and ISIS. Most major incidents of "Islamic Terrorism" have some kind of CIA backing behind them. See this large collection of links for compiled evidence: http://www.pearltrees.com/joshstern/government-supporting/id18814292 ..."
"... This journalist and other journalists writing on some of my favorite Russian propaganda news websites, have reported the US empire routinely makes "deals with the devil", the enemy of my enemy is my friend, if doing so furthers their goal of perpetual war and global hegemony. Yet, inexplicably, these journalists buy the US empire's 911 story without question, in the face of many unanswered questions ..."
"... Bin Laden (CIA staffer) and a handful of his men, all from close allied countries to the US, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, delivered the 2nd Pearl Harbor on 911. What a timely coincidence! We accept the US Empire provides weapons and military support to the same enemy, and worse, who attacked us on 911, but one is labeled a "conspiracy nut" if they believe that same US Empire would orchestrate 911 to justify their long planned global war. One thing about being a "conspiracy nut", if you live long enough, often you will see your beliefs vindicated ..."
"... So many questions, and so much left unanswered, but don't worry America may run out of money for domestic vital needs but the U.S. always has the money to go fight another war. It's a culture thing, and if you ain't into it then you just don't pay no attention to it. In fact if your life is better off from all of these U.S. led invasions, then your probably not posting any comments here, either. ..."
"... From the October 1973 Yom Kippur War onward, the United States had no foreign policy in the Middle East other than Israel's. Daniel Lazare should read "A clean break: a new strategy for the Realm". ..."
"... For the majority of amoral opportunists of the US, money=power=virtue and they will attack all who disagree. ..."
"... I am stunned that anyone could be so foolish as to think that the US military machine, US imperialism, does things "naively", bumbling like a helpless giant into wars that destroy entire nations with no end in sight. One need not be a "conspiracy theorist" to understand that the Pentagon does not control the world with an ever-expanding war budget equal to the next 10 countries combined, that it does this just because it is stuck on the wrong path. No! US imperialism develops these "big guns" to use them, to overpower, take over and dominate the world for the sake of profits and protection of the right to exploit for private profit. ..."
"... Daniel Pipes, from what I've read of him, is among those who counsel the U.S. government to use its military power to support the losing side in any civil wars fought within Israel's enemy states, so that the wars will continue, sparing Israel the threat of unified enemy states. What normal human beings consider a humanitarian disaster, repeated in Iraq, Syria and Libya, would be reckoned a success according to this way of thinking. The thinking would appear to lead to similar treatment of Iran, with even more catastrophic consequences. ..."
"... I think this pattern of using Salafists for regime change started already in Afghanistan, with Brzezinski plotting with Saudi-Arabia and Pakistan to pay and train Osama bin Laden to attack the pro Russia regime and trying to get the USSR involved in it, also trying to blame the USSR for its agression, like they did in Syri"r? ..."
"... Yes, the Brzezinski/Reagan support of fanatic insurgencies began in AfPak and was revived for the zionists. Russia happened to be on the side more or less tending to progress in both cases, so it had to be opposed. The warmongers are always the US MIC/intel, allied with the anti-American zionist fascists for Mideast wars. ..."
"... Sheldon Adelson, Soros, Saban all wanted carving up of Arabic states into small sectarian pieces (No Nasseric pan-Arabic states, a threat to Israël). And protracted wars of total destruction. Easy. ..."
"... Of course, they were told (by whom?) that the jihadists were 'democratic rebels' and 'freedom fighters' who just wanted to 'bring democracy' to Syria, and get rid of the 'tyrant Assad.' 5 years later, so much of the nonsense about "local councils" and "white helmets" has been exposed for what it was. Yet many 'free thinking' people bought the propaganda. Just like they do on Russiagate. Who needs an "alt-right" when America's "left" is a total disgrace? ..."
Dec 10, 2017 | consortiumnews.com

When a Department of Defense intelligence report about the Syrian rebel movement became public in May 2015, lots of people didn't know what to make of it. After all, what the report said was unthinkable – not only that Al Qaeda had dominated the so-called democratic revolt against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for years, but that the West continued to support the jihadis regardless, even to the point of backing their goal of creating a Sunni Salafist principality in the eastern deserts.

Journalist James Foley shortly before he was executed by an Islamic State operative in August 2014.

The United States lining up behind Sunni terrorism – how could this be? How could a nice liberal like Barack Obama team up with the same people who had brought down the World Trade Center?

It was impossible, which perhaps explains why the report remained a non-story long after it was released courtesy of a Judicial Watch freedom-of-information lawsuit . The New York Times didn't mention it until six months later while the Washington Post waited more than a year before dismissing it as "loopy" and "relatively unimportant." With ISIS rampaging across much of Syria and Iraq, no one wanted to admit that U.S. attitudes were ever anything other than hostile.

But three years earlier, when the Defense Intelligence Agency was compiling the report, attitudes were different. Jihadis were heroes rather than terrorists, and all the experts agreed that they were a low-risk, high-yield way of removing Assad from office.

After spending five days with a Syrian rebel unit, for instance, New York Times reporter C.J. Chivers wrote that the group "mixes paramilitary discipline, civilian policing, Islamic law, and the harsh demands of necessity with battlefield coldness and outright cunning."

Paul Salem, director of the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, assured the Washington Post that "al Qaeda is a fringe element" among the rebels, while, not to be outdone, the gossip site Buzzfeed published a pin-up of a "ridiculously photogenic" jihadi toting an RPG.

"Hey girl," said the subhead. "Nothing sexier than fighting the oppression of tyranny."

And then there was Foreign Policy, the magazine founded by neocon guru Samuel P. Huntington, which was most enthusiastic of all. Gary Gambill's " Two Cheers for Syrian Islamists ," which ran on the FP web site just a couple of weeks after the DIA report was completed, didn't distort the facts or make stuff up in any obvious way. Nonetheless, it is a classic of U.S. propaganda. Its subhead glibly observed: "So the rebels aren't secular Jeffersonians. As far as America is concerned, it doesn't much matter."

Assessing the Damage

Five years later, it's worth a second look to see how Washington uses self-serving logic to reduce an entire nation to rubble.

First a bit of background. After displacing France and Britain as the region's prime imperial overlord during the 1956 Suez Crisis and then breaking with Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser a few years later, the United States committed itself to the goal of defeating Arab nationalism and Soviet Communism, two sides of the same coin as far as Washington was concerned. Over the next half-century, this would mean steering Egypt to the right with assistance from the Saudis, isolating Libyan strong man Muammar Gaddafi, and doing what it could to undermine the Syrian Baathist regime as well.

William Roebuck, the American embassy's chargé d'affaires in Damascus, thus urged Washington in 2006 to coordinate with Egypt and Saudi Arabia to encourage Sunni Syrian fears of Shi'ite Iranian proselytizing even though such concerns are "often exaggerated." It was akin to playing up fears of Jewish dominance in the 1930s in coordination with Nazi Germany.

A year later, former NATO commander Wesley Clark learned of a classified Defense Department memo stating that U.S. policy was now to "attack and destroy the governments in seven countries in five years," first Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran. (Quote starts at 2:07 .)

Since the United States didn't like what such governments were doing, the solution was to install more pliable ones in their place. Hence Washington's joy when the Arab Spring struck Syria in March 2011 and it appeared that protesters would soon topple the Baathists on their own.

Even when lofty democratic rhetoric gave way to ominous sectarian chants of "Christians to Beirut, Alawites to the coffin," U.S. enthusiasm remained strong. With Sunnis accounting for perhaps 60 percent of the population, strategists figured that there was no way Assad could hold out against religious outrage welling up from below.

Enter Gambill and the FP. The big news, his article began, is that secularists are no longer in command of the burgeoning Syrian rebel movement and that Sunni Islamists are taking the lead instead. As unfortunate as this might seem, he argued that such a development was both unavoidable and far from entirely negative.

"Islamist political ascendancy is inevitable in a majority Sunni Muslim country brutalized for more than four decades by a secular minoritarian dictatorship," he wrote in reference to the Baathists. "Moreover, enormous financial resources are pouring in from the Arab-Islamic world to promote explicitly Islamist resistance to Assad's Alawite-dominated, Iranian-backed regime."

So the answer was not to oppose the Islamists, but to use them. Even though "the Islamist surge will not be a picnic for the Syrian people," Gambill said, "it has two important silver linings for US interests." One is that the jihadis "are simply more effective fighters than their secular counterparts" thanks to their skill with "suicide bombings and roadside bombs."

The other is that a Sunni Islamist victory in Syria will result in "a full-blown strategic defeat" for Iran, thereby putting Washington at least part way toward fulfilling the seven-country demolition job discussed by Wesley Clark.

"So long as Syrian jihadis are committed to fighting Iran and its Arab proxies," the article concluded, "we should quietly root for them – while keeping our distance from a conflict that is going to get very ugly before the smoke clears. There will be plenty of time to tame the beast after Iran's regional hegemonic ambitions have gone down in flames."

Deals with the Devil

The U.S. would settle with the jihadis only after the jihadis had settled with Assad. The good would ultimately outweigh the bad. This kind of self-centered moral calculus would not have mattered had Gambill only spoken for himself. But he didn't. Rather, he was expressing the viewpoint of Official Washington in general, which is why the ultra-respectable FP ran his piece in the first place.The Islamists were something America could employ to their advantage and then throw away like a squeezed lemon. A few Syrians would suffer, but America would win, and that's all that counts.

The parallels with the DIA are striking. "The west, gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition," the intelligence report declared, even though "the Salafist[s], the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI [i.e. Al Qaeda in Iraq] are the major forces driving the insurgency."

Where Gambill predicted that "Assad and his minions will likely retreat to northwestern Syria," the DIA speculated that the jihadis might establish "a declared or undeclared Salafist principality" at the other end of the country near cities like Hasaka and Der Zor (also known as Deir ez-Zor).

Where the FP said that the ultimate aim was to roll back Iranian influence and undermine Shi'ite rule, the DIA said that a Salafist principality "is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran)."

Bottle up the Shi'ites in northwestern Syria, in other words, while encouraging Sunni extremists to establish a base in the east so as to put pressure on Shi'ite-influenced Iraq and Shi'ite-ruled Iran.

As Gambill put it: "Whatever misfortunes Sunni Islamists may visit upon the Syrian people, any government they form will be strategically preferable to the Assad regime, for three reasons: A new government in Damascus will find continuing the alliance with Tehran unthinkable, it won't have to distract Syrians from its minority status with foreign policy adventurism like the ancien régime, and it will be flush with petrodollars from Arab Gulf states (relatively) friendly to Washington."

With the Saudis footing the bill, the U.S. would exercise untrammeled sway.

Disastrous Thinking

Has a forecast that ever gone more spectacularly wrong? Syria's Baathist government is hardly blameless in this affair. But thanks largely to the U.S.-backed sectarian offensive, 400,000 Syrians or more have died since Gambill's article appeared, with another 6.1 million displaced and an estimated 4.8 million fleeing abroad.

U.S.-backed Syrian "moderate" rebels smile as they prepare to behead a 12-year-old boy (left), whose severed head is held aloft triumphantly in a later part of the video. [Screenshot from the YouTube video] War-time destruction totals around $250 billion , according to U.N. estimates, a staggering sum for a country of 18.8 million people where per-capita income prior to the outbreak of violence was under $3,000. From Syria, the specter of sectarian violence has spread across Asia and Africa and into Europe and North America as well. Political leaders throughout the advanced industrial world are still struggling to contain the populist fury that the Middle East refugee crisis, the result of U.S.-instituted regime change, helped set off.

So instead of advancing U.S. policy goals, Gambill helped do the opposite. The Middle East is more explosive than ever while U.S. influence has fallen to sub-basement levels. Iranian influence now extends from the Arabian Sea to the Mediterranean, while the country that now seems to be wobbling out of control is Saudi Arabia where Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman is lurching from one self-induced crisis to another. The country that Gambill counted on to shore up the status quo turns out to be undermining it.

It's not easy to screw things up so badly, but somehow Washington's bloated foreign-policy establishment has done it. Since helping to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, Gambill has moved on to a post at the rightwing Middle East Forum where Daniel Pipes, the group's founder and chief, now inveighs against the same Sunni ethnic cleansing that his employee defended or at least apologized for.

The forum is particularly well known for its Campus Watch program, which targets academic critics of Israel, Islamists, and – despite Gambill's kind words about "suicide bombings and roadside bombs" – anyone it considers the least bit apologetic about Islamic terrorism.

Double your standard, double the fun. Terrorism, it seems, is only terrorism when others do it to the U.S., not when the U.S. does it to others.

Daniel Lazare is the author of several books including The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy (Harcourt Brace).

Babyl-on , December 8, 2017 at 5:26 pm

I do not believe than anyone in the civil or military command ever believed that arming the jihadists would bring any sort of stability or peace to the region. I do not believe that peace was ever an interest of the US until it has once again gained hegemonic control of central Asia. This is a fight to retain US global domination – causalities do not matter. The US and its partners or co-rulers of the Empire the Saud family and the Zionist oligarchy will slaughter with impunity until someone stops them or their own corruption defeats them.

The Empire can not exist without relentless ongoing slaughter it has been at it every day now for 73 years. It worked for them all that time but that time has run out. China has already set the date for when its currency will become fully freely exchanged, less than 5 years. When that happens the world will return to the gold standard + Bitcoin possibly and US dollar hegemony will end. After that the trillion dollar a year military and the 20 trillion debt take on a different meaning. Before that slaughter non-stop will continue.

john wilson , December 9, 2017 at 6:31 am

Really, Baby-lon, your first short paragraph sums this piece by Lazare perfectly and makes the rest of his blog seem rather pointless. Even the most stupid person on earth couldn't think that the US was using murdering, butchering head choppers in a bid to bring peace and stability to the middle East. The Neocons and the other criminals that infest Washington don't want peace at any price because its bad for business.

Jerald Davidson , December 9, 2017 at 11:53 am

Babyl-on and John Wilson: you have nailed it. The last thing the US (gov't.) wants is peace. War is big business; casualties are of no concern (3 million Koreans died in the Korean War; 3 million Vietnamese in that war; 100's of thousands in Iraq [including Clinton's sanctions] and Afghanistan). The US has used jihadi proxies since the mujahedeen in 1980's Afghanistan and Contras in Nicaragua. To the US (gov't.), a Salafist dictatorship (such as Saudi Arabia) is highly preferable to a secular, nationalist ruler (such as Egypt's Nasser, Libya's Gaddafi, Syria's Assad).
So the cover story of the jjihadi's has changed – first they are freedom fighters, then terrorists. What does not change is that in either case they are pawns of the US (gov't.) goal of hegemony.
(Incidentally, Drew Hunkins must be responding to a different article.)

BannanaBoat , December 9, 2017 at 4:31 pm

Exactly Baby right on, Either USA strategists are extremely ignorant or they are attempting to create chaos, probably both. Perhaps not continuously but surely frequently the USA has promoted war prior to the last 73 years. Native Genocide , Mexican Wars, Spanish War, WWI ( USA banker repayment war)

Richard , December 9, 2017 at 5:24 pm

Exactly Babylon! Looks like consortiumnews is turning into another propaganda rag. Assad was allied with Russia and Iran – that's why the U.S. wanted him removed. Israel said that they would preferred ISIS in power over Assad. The U.S. would have happily wiped out 90% of the population using its terrorist proxies if it thought it could have got what it wanted.

Sam F , December 10, 2017 at 8:50 am

CN tends to make moderate statements so as to communicate with those most in need of them. One must start with the understandings of the audience and show them that the evidence leads further.

Richard , December 10, 2017 at 10:27 am

Sam F, no, it's a DELIBERATE lie in support of U.S. foreign policy. The guy wrote: "the NAIVE belief that jihadist proxies could be used to TRANSFORM THE REGION FOR THE BETTER." It could have been written as: "the stated justification by the president that he wanted to transform the region for the better, even though there are often ulterior motives."

It's the same GROTESQUE caricature of these wars that the mainstream media always presents: that the U.S. is on the side of good, and fights for good, even though every war INVARIABLY ends up in a bloodbath, with no one caring how many civilians have died, what state the country is left in, that civilian infrastructure and civilians were targeted, let alone whether war could have been prevented. For example, in 1991, shortly after the first Gulf War, Iraqis rose up against their regime, but George H. Bush allowed Saddam to fly his military helicopters (permission was needed due to the no-fly zones), and quell the rebellion in blood – tens of thousands were butchered! Bush said that when he told Iraqis to rebel, he meant the military generals, NOT the Iraqi people themselves. In other words, the U.S. wanted Saddam gone, but the same regime in place. The U.S. never cared about the people!

Either Robert Parry or the author wrote that introduction. I suspect Mr Parry – he always portrays the president as having a heart of gold, but, always, sadly, misinformed; being a professional journalist, he knows full well that people often only read the start and end of an article.

Drew Hunkins , December 8, 2017 at 5:31 pm

What we have occurring right now in the United States is a rare divergence of interests within our ruling class. The elites are currently made up of Zionist-militarists. What we're now witnessing is a rare conflict between the two factions. This particular internecine battle has reared its head in the past, the Dubai armaments deal comes to mind off the top of my head.

Trump started the Jerusalem imbroglio because he's concerned about Mueller's witch hunt.

The military-industrial-complex sicced Mueller on Trump because they despise his overtures towards rapprochement with the Kremlin. The military-industrial-complex MUST have a villain to justify the gigantic defense [sic] spending which permeates the entire U.S. politico-economic system. Putin and Russia were always the preferred demon because they easily fit the bill in the minds of an easily brainwashed American public. Of course saber rattling towards Moscow puts the world on the brink of nuclear war, but no matter, the careerism and fat contracts are all that matter to the MIC. Trump's rhetoric about making peace with the Kremlin has always mortified the MIC.

Since Trump's concerned about 1.) Mueller's witch hunt (he definitely should be deeply concerned, this is an out of control prosecutor on mission creep), and 2.) the almost total negative coverage the press has given him over the last two years, he's made a deal with the Zionist Power Configuration; Trump, effectively saying to them: "I'll give you Jerusalem, you use your immense influence in the American mass media to tamp down the relentlessly hostile coverage toward me, and perhaps smear Mueller's witch hunt a bit ".

This is a rare instance of our elites battling it out behind the scenes, both groups being reprehensible power hungry greed heads and sociopaths, it's hard to tell how this will end.

How this all eventually plays out is anyone's guess indeed. Let's just make sure it doesn't end with mushroom clouds over Tehran, Saint Petersburg, Paris, Chicago, London, NYC, Washington and Berlin.

Abe , December 8, 2017 at 7:57 pm

Trump's purported deviation from foreign policy orthodoxy regarding both Russia and Israel was a propaganda scam engineered by the pro-Israel Lobby from the very beginning. As Russia-gate fiction is progressively deconstructed, the Israel-gate reality becomes ever more despicably obvious.

The shamelessly Israel-pandering Trump received the "Liberty Award" for his contributions to US-Israel relations at a 3 February 2015 gala hosted by The Algemeiner Journal, a New York-based newspaper, covering American and international Jewish and Israel-related news.

"We love Israel. We will fight for Israel 100 percent, 1000 percent." VIDEO minutes 2:15-8:06 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiwBwBw7R-U

After the event, Trump did not renew his television contract for The Apprentice, which raised speculation about a Trump bid for the presidency. Trump announced his candidacy in June 2015.

Trump's purported break with GOP orthodoxy, questioning of Israel's commitment to peace, calls for even treatment in Israeli-Palestinian deal-making, and refusal to call for Jerusalem to be Israel's undivided capital, were all stage-managed for the campaign.

Cheap theatrics notwithstanding, the Netanyahu regime in Israel has "1000 percent" support from the Trump regime.

Drew Hunkins , December 8, 2017 at 8:10 pm

If Trump were totally and completely subservient to Netanyahu he would have bombed Damascus to remove Assad and would have bombed Tehran to obliterate Iran. Of course thus far he has done neither. Don't get me wrong, Trump is essentially part and parcel of the Zionist cabal, but I don't quite think he's 1,000% under their thumb (not yet?).

I don't think the Zionist Power Configuration concocted Trump's policy of relative peace with the Kremlin. Yes, the ZPC is extremely powerful in America, but Trump's position of detente with Moscow seemed to be genuine. He caught way too much heat from the mass media for it to be a stunt, it's almost torpedoed his presidency, and may eventually do just that. It was actually one of the very few things Trump got right; peace with Russia, cordial relations with the Kremlin are a no-brainer. A no-brainer to everyone but the military-industrial-complex.

Abe , December 8, 2017 at 10:59 pm

Russian. Missiles. Lets be clear: The military-industrial-complex wants plenty of low intensity conflict to fuel ever more fabulous weapons sales, not a really hot war where all those pretty expensive toys are falling out of the sky in droves.

Whether it was "bird strike" or something more technological that recently grounded the "mighty" Israeli F-35I, it's clear that America isn't eager to have those "Inherent Resolve" jets, so busily not bombing ISIS, painted with Russian SAM radar.

Russia made it clear that Trump's Tomahawk Tweet in April 2017 was not only under totally false pretenses. It had posed a threat to Russian troops and Moscow took extra measures to protect them.

Russian deployment of the advanced S-400 system on the Syrian coast in Latakia also impacts Israel's regional air superiority. The S-400 can track and shoot down targets some 400 kilometers (250 miles) away. That range encompasses half of Israel's airspace, including Ben Gurion International Airport. In addition to surface-to-air missiles installations, Russian aircraft in Syria are equipped with air-to-air missiles. Those weapons are part of an calculus of Israeli aggression in the region.

Of course, there's much more to say about this subject.

WC , December 9, 2017 at 3:44 pm

Here's a good one from Hedges (for what little good it will do). https://www.truthdig.com/articles/zero-hour-palestine/

john wilson , December 9, 2017 at 6:34 am

Surely, Drew, even the brain washed sheep otherwise known as the American public can't seriously believe that their government armed head choppers in a bid to bring peace to the region, can they?

Drew Hunkins , December 9, 2017 at 1:34 pm

Yup Mr. Wilson. It's too much cognitive dissonance for them to process. After all, we're the exceptional nation, the beacon on the hill, the country that ONLY intervenes abroad when there is a 'right to protect!' or it's a 'humanitarian intervention.' As Ken Burns would say: Washington only acts "with good intentions. They're just sometimes misplaced." That's all. The biggest global empire the world has ever seen is completely out of the picture.

mike k , December 8, 2017 at 5:34 pm

When evil people with evil intentions set out to do something in the world, the result is evil. Like Libya, or Iraq, or Syria. Why do I call these people who killed millions for their own selfish greed for power evil? If you have to ask that, then you just don't understand what evil is – and you have a lot of company, because many people believe that evil does not even exist! Such sheeple become the perfect victims of the evil ones, who are destroying our world.

john wilson , December 9, 2017 at 6:36 am

Correction, Mike. The public do believe that evil exists but they sincerely think that Putin and Russia are the evil ones'

mike k , December 9, 2017 at 5:41 pm

One of the ways to avoid recognizing evil is to ascribe it to inappropriate, incorrect sources usually as a result of believing misleading propaganda. Another common maneuver is to deny evil's presence in oneself, and believe it is always "out there". Or one can feel that "evil" is an outmoded religious concept that is only used to hit at those one does not like.

Mild - ly Facetious , December 8, 2017 at 6:22 pm

Oh Jerusalem: Requiem for the two-state solution (Gas masks required)

https://electronicintifada.net/content/oh-jerusalem-requiem-two-state-solution/22521

Abe , December 8, 2017 at 6:24 pm

On 24 October 2017, the Intercept released an NSA document unearthed from leaked intelligence files provided by Edward Snowden which reveals that terrorist militants in Syria were under the direct command of foreign governments from the early years of the war which has now claimed half a million lives.

https://theintercept.com/2017/10/24/syria-rebels-nsa-saudi-prince-assad/

Marked "Top Secret" the NSA memo focuses on events that unfolded outside Damascus in March of 2013.

The US intelligence memo is evidence of internal US government confirmation of the direct role that both the Saudi and US governments played in fueling attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, as well as military targets in pursuit of "regime change" in Syria.

Israel's support for terrorist forces in Syria is well established. The Israelis and Saudis coordinate their activities.

Abe , December 8, 2017 at 6:27 pm

An August 2012 DIA report (written when the U.S. was monitoring weapons flows from Libya to Syria), said that the opposition in Syria was driven by al Qaeda and other extremist groups: "the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and AQI are the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria." The "deterioration of the situation" was predicted to have "dire consequences" for Iraq, which included the "grave danger" of a terrorist "Islamic state". Some of the "dire consequences" are blacked out but the DIA warned one such consequence would be the "renewing facilitation of terrorist elements from all over the Arab world entering into Iraqi Arena."

The heavily redacted DIA memo specifically mentions "the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in eastern Syria (Hasaka and Der Zor), and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime, which is considered the strategic depth of the Shia expansion (Iraq and Iran)."

http://www.judicialwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Pg.-291-Pgs.-287-293-JW-v-DOD-and-State-14-812-DOD-Release-2015-04-10-final-version11.pdf

To clarify just who these "supporting powers" were, mentioned in the document who sought the creation of a "Salafist principality," the DIA memo explained: "The West, Gulf countries, and Turkey support the opposition; while Russia, China, and Iran support the regime."

The DIA memo clearly indicates when it was decided to transform US, Saudi, and Turkish-backed Al Qaeda affiliates into ISIS: the "Salafist" (Islamic) "principality" (State). NATO member state Turkey has been directly supporting terrorism in Syria, and specifically, supporting ISIS. In 2014, Germany's international broadcaster Deutsche Welle's reported "'IS' supply channels through Turkey." DW exposed fleets of hundreds of trucks a day, passing unchallenged through Turkey's border crossings with Syria, clearly bound for the defacto ISIS capital of Raqqa. Starting in September 2015, Russian airpower in Syria successfully interdicted ISIS supply lines.

The usual suspects in Western media launched a relentless propaganda campaign against Russian support for Syria. The Atlantic Council's Bellingcat disinformation operation started working overtime.

The propaganda effort culminated in the 4 April 2017 Khan Shaykhun false flag chemical incident in Idlib. Bellingcat's Eliot Higgins and Dan Kaszeta have been paraded by "First Draft" coalition media "partners" in a vigorous effort to somehow implicate the Russians.

Abe , December 9, 2017 at 12:26 pm

In a January 2016 interview on Al Jazeera, former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Michael Flynn admitted that he "paid very close attention" to the August 2012 DIA report predicting the rise of a "declared or undeclared Salafist Principality" in Syria. Flynn even asserts that the White House's sponsoring of terrorists (that would emerge as Al Nusra and ISIS) against the Syrian regime was "a willful decision."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6Y274U7QIs

Flynn was interviewed by British journalist Mehdi Hasan for Al Jazeera's Head to Head program. Flynn made it clear that the policies that led to the "the rise of the Islamic State, the rise of terrorism" were not merely the result of ignorance or looking the other way, but the result of conscious decision making:

Hasan: "You are basically saying that even in government at the time you knew these groups were around, you saw this analysis, and you were arguing against it, but who wasn't listening?"

Flynn: "I think the administration."

Hasan: "So the administration turned a blind eye to your analysis?"

Flynn: "I don't know that they turned a blind eye, I think it was a decision. I think it was a willful decision."

Hasan: "A willful decision to support an insurgency that had Salafists, Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood?"

Flynn: "It was a willful decision to do what they're doing."

Holding up a paper copy of the 2012 DIA report declassified through FOIA, Hasan read aloud key passages such as, "there is the possibility of establishing a declared or undeclared Salafist principality in Eastern Syria, and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime."

Rather than downplay the importance of the document and these startling passages, as did the State Department soon after its release, Flynn did the opposite: he confirmed that while acting DIA chief he "paid very close attention" to this report in particular and later added that "the intelligence was very clear."

Lt. Gen. Flynn, speaking safely from retirement, is the highest ranking intelligence official to go on record saying the United States and other state sponsors of rebels in Syria knowingly gave political backing and shipped weapons to Al-Qaeda in order to put pressure on the Syrian regime:

Hasan: "In 2012 the U.S. was helping coordinate arms transfers to those same groups [Salafists, Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda in Iraq], why did you not stop that if you're worried about the rise of quote-unquote Islamic extremists?"

Flynn: "I hate to say it's not my job but that my job was to was to to ensure that the accuracy of our intelligence that was being presented was as good as it could be."

Flynn unambiguously confirmed that the 2012 DIA document served as source material in his own discussions over Syria policy with the White House. Flynn served as Director of Intelligence for Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) during a time when its prime global mission was dismantling Al-Qaeda.

Flynn's admission that the White House was in fact arming and bolstering Al-Qaeda linked groups in Syria is especially shocking given his stature. The Pentagon's former highest ranking intelligence officer in charge of the hunt for Osama bin Laden confessed that the United States directly aided the Al Qaeda terrorist legions of Ayman al-Zawahiri beginning in at least 2012 in Syria.

Abe , December 9, 2017 at 12:44 pm

Mehdi Hasan goes Head to Head with Michael Flynn, former head of the US Defense Intelligence Agency

Full Transcript: http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/headtohead/2016/01/transcript-michael-flynn-160104174144334.html

Abe , December 9, 2017 at 2:11 pm

"Flynn would later tell the New York Times that this 2012 intelligence report in particular was seen at the White House where it was 'disregarded' because it 'didn't meet the narrative' on the war in Syria. He would further confirm to investigative journalist Seymour Hersh that Defense Department (DoD) officials and DIA intelligence in particular, were loudly warning the administration that jihadists were leading the opposition in Syria -- warnings which were met with 'enormous pushback.' Instead of walking back his Al Jazeera comments, General Flynn explained to Hersh that 'If the American public saw the intelligence we were producing daily, at the most sensitive level, they would go ballistic.' Hersh's investigative report exposed a kind of intelligence schism between the Pentagon and CIA concerning the covert program in Syria.

"In a personal exchange on his blog Sic Semper Tyrannis, legendary DoD intelligence officer and former presidential briefer Pat Lang explained [ ] that the DIA memo was used as a 'warning shot across the [administration's] bow.' Lang has elsewhere stated that DIA Director Flynn had 'tried to persuade people in the Obama Administration not to provide assistance to the Nusra group.' It must be remembered that in 2012 what would eventually emerge as distinct 'ISIS' and 'Nusra' (AQ in Syria) groups was at that time a singular entity desiring a unified 'Islamic State.' The nascent ISIS organization (referenced in the memo as 'ISI' or Islamic State in Iraq) was still one among many insurgent groups fighting to topple Assad.

"In fact, only one year after the DIA memo was produced (dated August 12, 2012) a coalition of rebels fighting under the US-backed Revolutionary Military Council of Aleppo were busy celebrating their most strategic victory to date, which served to open an opposition corridor in Northern Syria. The seizure of the Syrian government's Menagh Airbase in August 2013 was only accomplished with the military prowess of fighters identifying themselves in front of cameras and to reporters on the ground as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham.

"Public embarrassment came for Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford who reluctantly confirmed that in fact, yes, the US-funded and supplied FSA commander on the ground had personally led ISIS and Nusra fighters in the attack (Ford himself was previously filmed alongside the commander). This after the New York Times publicized unambiguous video proof of the fact. Even the future high commander of Islamic State's military operations, Omar al-Shishani, himself played a leading role in the US sponsored FSA operation."

Obama and the DIA 'Islamic State' Memo: What Trump Gets Right
By Brad Hoff
https://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2016/07/01/obama-and-the-dia-islamic-state-memo-what-trump-gets-right/

Abe , December 9, 2017 at 3:08 pm

"one first needs to understand what has happened in Syria and other Middle Eastern countries in recent years. The original plan of the US and Saudi Arabia (behind whom stood an invisible Israel) was the overthrow of Bashar al-Assad and his replacement with Islamic fundamentalists or takfiris (Daesh, al-Qaeda, Jabhat al-Nusra).

"The plan involved the following steps:

"It was an ambitious plan, and the Israelis were completely convinced that the United States would provide all the necessary resources to see it through. But the Syrian government has survived thanks to military intervention by Russia, Iran and Hezbollah. Daesh is almost defeated and Iran and Hezbollah are so firmly entrenched in Syria that it has driven the Israelis into a state of fear bordering on panic. Lebanon remains stable, and even the recent attempt by the Saudis to abduct Prime Minister Saad Hariri failed.

"As a result, Saudi Arabia and Israel have developed a new plan: force the US to attack Iran. To this end, the 'axis of good"' (USA-Israel-Saudi Arabia) was created, although this is nothing new. Saudi Arabia and the other Arab States in the Persian Gulf have in the past spoken in favor of intervention in Syria. It is well known that the Saudis invaded Bahrain, are occupying it de facto, and are now at war in Yemen.

"The Israelis will participate in any plan that will finally split the Sunnis and Shiites, turning the region into rubble. It was not by chance that, having failed in Lebanon, they are now trying to do the same in Yemen after the murder of Ali Abdullah Saleh.

"For the Saudis and Israelis, the problem lies in the fact that they have rather weak armed forces; expensive and high-tech, but when it comes to full-scale hostilities, especially against a really strong opponent such as the Iranians or Hezbollah, the 'Israel/Wahhabis' have no chance and they know it, even if they do not admit it. So, one simply needs to think up some kind of plan to force the Shiites to pay a high price.

"So they developed a new plan. Firstly, the goal is now not the defeat of Hezbollah or Iran. For all their rhetoric, the Israelis know that neither they nor especially the Saudis are able to seriously threaten Iran or even Hezbollah. Their plan is much more basic: initiate a serious conflict and then force the US to intervene. Only today, the armed forces of the United States have no way of winning a war with Iran, and this may be a problem. The US military knows this and they are doing everything to tell the neo-cons 'sorry, we just can't.' This is the only reason why a US attack on Iran has not already taken place. From the Israeli point of view this is totally unacceptable and the solution is simple: just force the US to participate in a war they do not really need. As for the Iranians, the Israeli goal of provoking an attack on Iran by the US is not to defeat Iran, but just to bring about destruction – a lot of destruction [ ]

"You would need to be crazy to attack Iran. The problem, however, is that the Saudis and the Israelis are close to this state. And they have proved it many times. So it just remains to hope that Israel and the KSA are 'crazy', but 'not that crazy'."

The Likelihood of War with Iran By Petr Lvov https://journal-neo.org/2017/12/09/the-likelihood-of-war-with-iran/

BobH, December 8, 2017 at 7:13 pm

The article raises a very serious charge. Up till now it appeared that supplying weapons to Al Qaeda affiliates in Syria was just another example of Pentagon incompetence but the suggestion here is that it was a concerted policy and it's hard to believe that there was no one in the Pentagon that was privy to that policy who wouldn't raise an objection.

That it conformed with Israeli, Saudi and CIA designs is not surprising, but that there was no dissension within the Pentagon is appalling (or that Obama didn't raise objections). Clark's comment should put him on the hot seat for a congressional investigation but, of course, there is no one in congress to run with it. The policy is so manifestly evil that it seems to dwarf even the reckless ignorance of preceding "interventions".

Linda Wood , December 8, 2017 at 10:24 pm

There WAS dissension within the Pentagon, not only about being in a coalition with the Gulf States and Turkey in support of terrorist forces, but about allowing ISIS to invade Ramadi, which CENTCOM exposed by making public that US forces watched it happen and did nothing. In addition, CENTCOM and SOCOM publicly opposed switching sides in Yemen.

http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/4/17/us-generals-think-saudi-strikes-in-yemen-a-bad-idea.html

A senior commander at Central Command (CENTCOM), speaking on condition of anonymity, scoffed at that argument. "The reason the Saudis didn't inform us of their plans," he said, "is because they knew we would have told them exactly what we think -- that it was a bad idea.

Military sources said that a number of regional special forces officers and officers at U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) argued strenuously against supporting the Saudi-led intervention because the target of the intervention, the Shia Houthi movement -- which has taken over much of Yemen and which Riyadh accuses of being a proxy for Tehran -- has been an effective counter to Al-Qaeda.

The DIA report released by Gen. Flynn in 2012 predicted the Islamic State with alarm. That is why Flynn was fired as Director of DIA. He objected to the insane policy of supporting the CIA/Saudi madness and saw it as not only counter-productive but disastrous. His comments to AlJazeera in 2016 reinforced this position. Gen Flynn's faction of the American military has been consistent in its opposition to CIA support of terrorist forces.

BobH , December 8, 2017 at 10:55 pm

Thanks, I never read anything about it in the MSM (perhaps Aljazeera was an exception?). However, this doesn't explain Gen. Flynn's tight relationship with Turkey's Erdogan who clearly backed the Al Qaeda affiliated rebels to the point of shooting down a Russian jet over Syria.

Sam F , December 10, 2017 at 8:57 am

The fighter shoot-down incident was before Erdogan's reversals in Syria policy.

Linda Wood , December 8, 2017 at 10:28 pm

I see Gen. Flynn as a whistleblower. The 2012 report he circulated saw the rise of the Salafist Islamic state with alarm.

http://www.judicialwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Pg.-291-Pgs.-287-293-JW-v-DOD-and-State-14-812-DOD-Release-2015-04-10-final-version11.pdf

B. THE SALAFIST, THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD, AND AQI ARE THE MAJOR FORCES DRIVING THE INSURGENCY IN SYRIA.

C. THE WEST, GULF COUNTRIES, AND TURKEY SUPPORT THE OPPOSITION; WHILE RUSSIA, CHINA, AND IRAN SUPPORT THE REGIME.

C. IF THE SITUATION UNRAVELS THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY OF ESTABLISHING A DECLARED OR UNDECLARED SALAFIST PRINCIPALITY IN EASTERN SYRIA (HASAKA AND DER ZOR), AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE SUPPORTING POWERS TO THE OPPOSITION WANT, IN ORDER TO ISOLATE THE SYRIAN REGIME, WHICH IS CONSIDERED THE STRATEGIC DEPTH OF THE SHIA EXPANSION (IRAQ AND IRAN).

D. THE DETERIORATION OF THE SITUATION HAS DIRE CONSEQUENCES ON THE IRAQI SITUATION AND ARE AS FOLLOWS:

–1. THIS CREATES THE IDEAL ATMOSPHERE FOR AQI TO RETURN TO ITS OLD POCKETS IN MOSUL AND RAMADI, AND WILL PROVIDE A RENEWED MOMENTUM UNDER THE PRESUMPTION OF UNIFYING THE JIHAD AMONG SUNNI IRAQ AND SYRIA ISI COULD ALSO DECLARE AN ISLAMIC STATE THROUGH ITS UNION WITH OTHER TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS IN IRAQ AND SYRIA, WHICH WILL CREATE GRAVE DANGER IN REGARDS TO UNIFYING IRAQ AND THE PROTECTION OF ITS TERRITORY

https://geopolitics.co/2015/12/22/dempseys-pentagon-aided-assad-with-military-intelligence-hersh/
London Review of Books Vol. 38 No. 1 · 7 January 2016
Military to Military: US intelligence sharing in the Syrian war
Seymour M. Hersh

Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, director of the DIA between 2012 and 2014, confirmed that his agency had sent a constant stream of classified warnings to the civilian leadership about the dire consequences of toppling Assad. The jihadists, he said, were in control of the opposition. Turkey wasn't doing enough to stop the smuggling of foreign fighters and weapons across the border. 'If the American public saw the intelligence we were producing daily, at the most sensitive level, they would go ballistic,' Flynn told me. 'We understood Isis's long-term strategy and its campaign plans, and we also discussed the fact that Turkey was looking the other way when it came to the growth of the Islamic State inside Syria.' The DIA's reporting, he said, 'got enormous pushback' from the Obama administration. 'I felt that they did not want to hear the truth.'

j. D. D. , December 9, 2017 at 8:33 am

Thank you. Gen Flynn also urged coordination with Russia against ISIS, so it doesn't take much to see why he was targeted. Ironically, the MSM is now going bananas over his support for nuclear power in the region, which he had tied to desalination of sea water, toward alleviating that crucial source of conflict in the area.

Abbybwood , December 9, 2017 at 11:24 pm

I believe Wesley Clark told Amy Goodman that he was handed the classified memo regarding the U.S. overthrowing seven countries in five years starting with Iraq and ending with Iran, in 2001, not 2006. He said it was right after 9/11 when he visited the Pentagon and Joint Chief of Staff's office and was handed the memo.

jaycee , December 8, 2017 at 7:19 pm

The use of Islamist proxy warriors to help achieve American geo-political ends goes back to at least 1979, including Afghanistan, Bosnia, Libya, and Syria. One of the better books on 9/11 is Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed's "The War On Truth: 9/11, Disinformation, and the Anatomy of Terrorism". The first section of that book – "The Geopolitics of Terrorism" – covers, across 150 well-sourced pages, the history and background of this involvement. It is highly recommended for anyone who wishes to be better informed on this topic.

One disturbing common feature across the years have been US sponsored airlifts of Islamist fighters facing defeat, as seen in Afghanistan in late 2001 and just recently in eastern Syria. In 2001, some of those fighters were relocated to North Africa, specifically Mali – the roots of the Islamist insurgency which has destabilized that country over the past few years. Where exactly the ISIS rebels assisted some weeks ago were relocated is yet unknown.

turk151 , December 9, 2017 at 10:03 pm

Jaycee, actually you have to go back much further than that to WW2. Hitler used the marginalized Turkic people in Russia and turned them into effective fighters to create internal factions within the Soviet Union. After Hitler lost and the Cold War began, the US, who had no understanding of the Soviets at the time radicalized and empowered Islamist including the Muslim Brotherhood to weaponize Islam against the Soviet Union.

Hence the birth of the Mujaheddin and Bin Laden, the rest is history.

j. D. D. , December 8, 2017 at 7:57 pm

The article does not support the sub-headline. There is no evidence provided, nor is there any evidence to be found, that Washington's policy in the region was motivated by anything other than geopolitical objectives.

David G , December 9, 2017 at 7:25 am

I think that phrasing may point to the hand of editor Robert Parry. The incredible value of CN notwithstanding, Parry in his own pieces (erroneously in my eyes) maintains a belief that Obama somehow meant well. Hence the imputation of some "naïve" but ultimately benevolent motive on the part of the U.S. genocidaires, as the whole Syria catastrophe got going on Obama's watch.

Anon , December 9, 2017 at 9:14 am

The imputation of naivete works to avoid accusation of a specific strategy without sufficient evidence.

Skip Scott , December 9, 2017 at 9:45 am

Although I am no fan of Obama, and most especially the continuation of the warmongering for his 8 years, he did balk at the "Red line" when he found out he was being set up, and it wasn't Assad who used chemical weapons. I don't think he "meant well" so much as he knew the exact length of his leash. His bragging about going against "The Washington playbook" was of course laughable; just as his whole hopey/changey thing was laughable with Citigroup picking his cabinet.

Stephen , December 9, 2017 at 2:49 pm

Off topic but you can listen to some of Obama's banking handiwork here: https://sputniknews.com/radio_loud_and_clear/201712091059844562-looming-government-shutdown-will-democrats-fight-trumps-pro-rich-plan/ It starts at about minute 28:14. It explains the whole reaction by Obama and Holder to the banking fiasco in my mind. Sorry but I had to get it from the evil Rooski radio program.

Lois Gagnon , December 8, 2017 at 8:41 pm

All these western imperial geostrategic planners are certifiably insane and have no business anywhere near the levers of government policy. They are the number one enemy of humanity. If we don't find a way to remove them from power, they may actually succeed in destroying life on Earth.

Stephen J. , December 8, 2017 at 8:42 pm

There is a volume of evidence that the war criminals in our midst were arming and training "jihadists." See link below. http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2016/10/the-evidence-of-planning-of-wars.html

MarkU , December 8, 2017 at 10:00 pm

"Official Washington helped unleash hell on Syria and across the Mideast behind the naïve belief that jihadist proxies could be used to transform the region for the better, explains Daniel Lazare." What a load of old rubbish, naïve belief indeed. it is difficult to believe that anyone could write this stuff with a straight face.

Linda Wood , December 8, 2017 at 10:37 pm

Incompetence and stupidity are their only defense because if anyone acknowledged that trillions of dollars have been made by the usual suspects committing these crimes, the industrialists of war would face a justice symbolized by Nuremberg.

Zachary Smith , December 8, 2017 at 11:37 pm

That Gary Gambill character "outed" himself as a Zionist on September 4 of this year. He appears to have mastered the propaganda associated with the breed. At the link see if you can find any mention of the murders, thefts, ethnic cleansing, or apartheid of his adopted nation. Blaming the victim may be this fellow's specialty. Sample:

The well-intentioned flocked in droves to the belief that Israeli- Palestinian peace was achievable provided Israel made the requisite concessions, and that this would liberate the Arab-Islamic world from a host of other problems allegedly arising from it: bloated military budgets, intolerance of dissent, Islamic extremism, you name it.

Why tackle each of these problems head on when they can be alleviated all at once when Israel is brought to heel? Twenty years later, the Middle East is suffering the consequences of this conspiracy of silence.

Zachary Smith , December 8, 2017 at 11:37 pm

http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/The-accidental-Zionist-504221

Gerry , December 9, 2017 at 4:51 am

The American groupthink rarely allows propaganda and disinformation disturb: endless wars and endless lies and criminality, have not disturbed this mindset. It is clever to manipulate people to think in a way opposite of truth so consistently. All the atrocities by the US have been surrounded by media propaganda and mastery of groupthink techniques go down well. Mention something unusual or real news and you might get heavily criticized for daring to think outside the box and doubt what are (supposedly) "religious truths". Tell a lie long enough and it becomes the truth.

It takes courage to go against the flow of course and one can only hope that the Americans are what they think they are: courageous and strong enough to hear their cherished truths smashed, allow the scales before their eyes to fall and practise free speech and free thought.

Theo , December 9, 2017 at 6:35 am

Thanks for this article and many others on this site.In Europe and in Germany you hardly hear,read or see any of these facts and their connections.It seems to be only of marginal interest.

Josh Stern , December 9, 2017 at 6:49 am

The CIA was a key force behind the creation of both al Qaeda and ISIS. Most major incidents of "Islamic Terrorism" have some kind of CIA backing behind them. See this large collection of links for compiled evidence: http://www.pearltrees.com/joshstern/government-supporting/id18814292

triekc , December 9, 2017 at 8:27 am

This journalist and other journalists writing on some of my favorite Russian propaganda news websites, have reported the US empire routinely makes "deals with the devil", the enemy of my enemy is my friend, if doing so furthers their goal of perpetual war and global hegemony. Yet, inexplicably, these journalists buy the US empire's 911 story without question, in the face of many unanswered questions.

Beginning in the 1990's, neocons who would become W's cabinet, wrote detailed plans of military regime change in Middle East, but stating they needed a "strong external shock to the United States -- a latter-day 'Pearl Harbor", to get US sheeple to support increased militarism and global war. Few months after W took office, and had appointed those war mongering neocons to positions of power, Bin Laden (CIA staffer) and a handful of his men, all from close allied countries to the US, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, delivered the 2nd Pearl Harbor on 911. What a timely coincidence! We accept the US Empire provides weapons and military support to the same enemy, and worse, who attacked us on 911, but one is labeled a "conspiracy nut" if they believe that same US Empire would orchestrate 911 to justify their long planned global war. One thing about being a "conspiracy nut", if you live long enough, often you will see your beliefs vindicated

Joe Tedesky , December 9, 2017 at 11:27 am

You commented on what I was thinking, and that was, 'remember when al Queda was our enemy on 911'? So now that bin Laden is dead, and his al Queda now fights on our side, shouldn't the war be over? And, just for the record who did attack us on 911?

So many questions, and so much left unanswered, but don't worry America may run out of money for domestic vital needs but the U.S. always has the money to go fight another war. It's a culture thing, and if you ain't into it then you just don't pay no attention to it. In fact if your life is better off from all of these U.S. led invasions, then your probably not posting any comments here, either.

Knowing the Pentagon mentality they probably have an 'al Queda combat medal' to pin on the terrorists chest. Sarcasm I know, but seriously is anything not within the realm of believable when it comes to this MIC establishment?

Christene Bartels , December 9, 2017 at 8:53 am

Great article and spot on as far as the author takes it. But the world is hurtling towards Armageddon so I'd like to back things up about one hundred years and get down to brass tacks.

The fact of the matter is, the M.E. has never been at total peace but it has been nothing but one colossal FUBAR since the Ottoman Empire was defeated after WWI and the Allied Forces got their grubby, greedy mitts on its M.E. territories and all of that luscious black gold. First up was the British Empire and France and then it really went nuclear (literally) in 1946 when Truman and the U.S. joined in the fun and decided to figure out how we could carve out that ancient prime piece of real estate and resurrect Israel. By 1948 ..violà ..there she was.

So now here we sit as the hundred year delusion that we knew what the hell we were doing comes crashing down around us. Seriously, whoever the people have been who thought that a country with the historical perspective of a toddler was going to be able to successfully manage and manipulate a region filled with people who are still tribal in perspective and are still holding grudges and settling scores from five thousand years ago were complete and total arrogant morons. Every single one of them. Up to the present moment.

Which gets me down to those brass tacks I alluded to at the beginning of my comment. Delusional crusades lead by arrogant morons always, always, always end up as ash heaps. So, I would suggest we all prepare for that rapidly approaching conclusion accordingly. For me, that means hitting my knees.

Gregory Herr , December 9, 2017 at 1:00 pm

Middle Eastern people are no more "tribal" or prone to holding grudges than any other people. Middle Eastern people have exhibited and practiced peaceful and tolerant living arrangements within several different contexts over the centuries. Iraq had a fairly thriving middle class and the Syrians are a cultured and educated people.

Gregory Herr , December 9, 2017 at 10:07 pm

Syrian society is constructed very much within the construct of close family ties and a sense of a Syrian homeland. It is solely the business of the Syrian people to decide whether the socialist Ba'ath government functions according to their own sense of realities and standards. Some of those realities may include aspects of a necessitated national security state (necessitated by CIA and Israeli subterfuge) that prompts shills to immediately characterize the Assad government as "an authoritarian regime" and of course that's all you need to know. Part of what pisses the West off about the Syrians is that they are so competent, and that includes their intelligence and security services. One of the other parts is the socialist example of government functioning in interests of the general population, not selling out to vultures.

It bothers me that Mr. Lazare wrote: "Syria's Baathist government is hardly blameless in this affair." Really? Well the Syrian government can hardly be blamed for the vile strategy of using terrorist mercenaries to take or destroy a people's homeland–killing horrific numbers of fathers, mothers, and children on the way to establish some kind of Wild West control over Damascus that can then be manipulated for the typical elite deviances. What was purposely planned and visited upon the Syrian people has had human consequences that were known and disregarded by the planners. It has been and continues to be a grave crime against our common humanity that should be raised to the roof of objection! People like Gambill should be excoriated for their crass appraisal of human costs .and for their contrived and twisted rationalizations and deceits. President Assad recently gave an interview to teleSUR that is worth a listen. He talks about human costs with understanding for what he is talking about. Gambill doesn't give a damn.

BASLE , December 9, 2017 at 10:46 am

From the October 1973 Yom Kippur War onward, the United States had no foreign policy in the Middle East other than Israel's. Daniel Lazare should read "A clean break: a new strategy for the Realm".

Sam F , December 10, 2017 at 9:08 am

Yes, Israel is the cut-out or fence for US politicians stealing campaign money from the federal budget. US policy is that of the bribery sources and nothing else. And it believes that to be professional competence. For the majority of amoral opportunists of the US, money=power=virtue and they will attack all who disagree.

Herman , December 9, 2017 at 10:47 am

"Official Washington helped unleash hell on Syria and across the Mideast behind the naïve belief that jihadist proxies could be used to transform the region for the better, explains Daniel Lazare."

Lazare makes the case very well about our amoral foreign policy but I think he errs in saying our aim was to "transform the region for the better." Recent history, going back to Afghanistan shows a very different goal, to defeat our enemies and the enemies of our allies with little concern for the aftermath. Just observing what has happened to the people where we supported extremists is evidence enough.

Peace on Earth, Goodwill toward men. We hope the conscience of our nation is bothered by our behavior but we know that is not true, and we sleep very well, thank you.

Marilyn Vogt-Downey , December 9, 2017 at 11:18 am

I am stunned that anyone could be so foolish as to think that the US military machine, US imperialism, does things "naively", bumbling like a helpless giant into wars that destroy entire nations with no end in sight. One need not be a "conspiracy theorist" to understand that the Pentagon does not control the world with an ever-expanding war budget equal to the next 10 countries combined, that it does this just because it is stuck on the wrong path. No! US imperialism develops these "big guns" to use them, to overpower, take over and dominate the world for the sake of profits and protection of the right to exploit for private profit.

There is ample evidence–see the Brookings Institute study among many others–that the Gulf monarchies–flunkies of US imperialism–who "host" dozens of US military bases in the region, some of them central to US war strategy–initiated and nourished and armed and financed the "jihadi armies" in Syria AND Libya AND elsewhere; they did not do this on their own. The US government–the executive committee of the US ruling class–does not naively support the Gulf monarchies because it doesn't know any better! Washington (following British imperialism) organized, established and backed these flunky regimes. They are autocratic, antediluvian regimes, allowing virtually civil rights, with no local proletariat to speak of, no popular base. They are no more than sheriffs for imperialism in that region of the world, along with the Zionist state of Israel, helping imperialism do the really dirty work.

I research this and gathered the evidence to support what I just asserted in a long study printed back in Dec. 2015 in Truthout. Here is the link: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/34151-what-is-the-war-on-terror-and-how-to-fight-it

Look at the evidence. Stop the totally foolish assessment that the US government spends all this money on a war machine just to "naively" blunder into wars that level entire nations–and is not taking on destruction of the entire continent of Africa to eliminate any obstacles to its domination.

No! That is foolish and destructive. Unless we look in the face what is going on–the US government since its "secret" intervention in Afghanistan in the 1970s and 1980s, has recruited, trained, armed, funded and relied on jihadi armies to unseat regimes and destabilize and destroy populations and regimes the US government wants to overthrow, and destroy, any that could potentially develop into an alternative model of nationalist, bourgeois industrial development on any level.

Wake up!!! The evidence is there. There is no reason to bumble and bungle along as if we are in the dark.

Randal Marlin , December 9, 2017 at 11:26 am

Daniel Pipes, from what I've read of him, is among those who counsel the U.S. government to use its military power to support the losing side in any civil wars fought within Israel's enemy states, so that the wars will continue, sparing Israel the threat of unified enemy states. What normal human beings consider a humanitarian disaster, repeated in Iraq, Syria and Libya, would be reckoned a success according to this way of thinking.
The thinking would appear to lead to similar treatment of Iran, with even more catastrophic consequences.

Behind all this is the thinking that the survival of Israel outweighs anything else in any global ethical calculus. Those who don't accept this moral premise but who believe in supporting the survival of Israel have their work cut out for them. This work would be made easier if the U.S. population saw clearly what was going on, instead of being preoccupied with salacious sexual misconduct stories or other distractions.

Zachary Smith , December 9, 2017 at 2:43 pm

A Russian interceptor has been scrambled to stop a rogue US fighter jet from actively interfering with an anti-terrorist operation, the Russian Defense Ministry said. It also accused the US of provoking close encounters with the Russian jets in Syria.

A US F-22 fighter was preventing two Russian Su-25 strike aircraft from bombing an Islamic State (IS, former ISIS) base to the west of the Euphrates November 23, according to the ministry. The ministry's spokesman, Major General Igor Konashenkov described the episode as yet another example of US aircraft attempts to prevent Russian forces from carrying out strikes against Islamic State.

"The F-22 launched decoy flares and used airbrakes while constantly maneuvering [near the Russian strike jets], imitating an air fight," Konashenkov said. He added that the US jet ceased its dangerous maneuvers only after a Russian Su-35S fighter jet joined the two strike planes.

If this story is true, then it illustrates a number of things. First, the US is still providing ISIS air cover. Second, either the F-22 pilot or his commander is dumber than dirt. The F-22 may be a fine airplane, but getting into a contest with an equally fine non-stealth airplane at eyeball distances means throwing away every advantage of the super-expensive stealth.

Zachary Smith , December 9, 2017 at 2:43 pm

https://www.rt.com/news/412590-russia-us-syria-air-force/

Pablo Diablo , December 9, 2017 at 2:53 pm

Gotta keep the War Machine well fed and insure Corporate control of markets and taking of resources.

Abe , December 9, 2017 at 2:54 pm

In October 1973, a nuclear armed rogue state almost triggered a global thermonuclear war.

Yom Kippur: Israel's 1973 nuclear alert
By Richard Sale
https://www.upi.com/Yom-Kippur-Israels-1973-nuclear-alert/64941032228992/

Israel obtained operational nuclear weapons capability by 1967, with the mass production of nuclear warheads occurring immediately after the Six-Day War. In addition to the Israeli nuclear arsenal, Israel has offensive chemical and biological warfare stockpiles.

Israel, the Middle East's sole nuclear power, is not a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

In 2015, the US-based Institute for Science and International Security estimated that Israel had 115 nuclear warheads. Outside estimates of Israel's nuclear arsenal range up to 400 nuclear weapons.

Israeli nuclear weapons delivery mechanisms include Jericho 3 missiles, with a range of 4,800 km to 6,500 km (though a 2004 source estimated its range at up to 11,500 km), as well as regional coverage from road mobile Jericho 2 IRBMs.

Additionally, Israel is believed to have an offshore nuclear capability using submarine-launched nuclear-capable cruise missiles, which can be launched from the Israeli Navy's Dolphin-class submarines.

The Israeli Air Force has F-15I and F-16I Sufa fighter aircraft are capable of delivering tactical and strategic nuclear weapons at long distances using conformal fuel tanks and supported by their aerial refueling fleet of modified Boeing 707's.

In 1986, Mordechai Vanunu, a former technician at Dimona, fled to the United Kingdom and revealed to the media some evidence of Israel's nuclear program and explained the purposes of each building, also revealing a top-secret underground facility directly below the installation.

The Mossad, Israel's secret service, sent a female agent who lured Vanunu to Italy, where he was kidnapped by Mossad agents and smuggled to Israel aboard a freighter. An Israeli court then tried him in secret on charges of treason and espionage, and sentenced him to eighteen years imprisonment.

At the time of Vanunu's kidnapping, The Times reported that Israel had material for approximately 20 hydrogen bombs and 200 fission bombs by 1986. In the spring of 2004, Vanunu was released from prison, and placed under several strict restrictions, such as the denial of a passport, freedom of movement limitations and restrictions on communications with the press. Since his release, he has been rearrested and charged multiple times for violations of the terms of his release.

Safety concerns about this 40-year-old reactor have been reported. In 2004, as a preventive measure, Israeli authorities distributed potassium iodide anti-radiation tablets to thousands of residents living nearby. Local residents have raised concerns regarding serious threats to health from living near the reactor.

According to a lawsuit filed in Be'er Sheva Labor Tribunal, workers at the center were subjected to human experimentation in 1998. According to Julius Malick, the worker who submitted the lawsuit, they were given drinks containing uranium without medical supervision and without obtaining written consent or warning them about risks of side effects.

In April 2016 the U.S. National Security Archive declassified dozens of documents from 1960 to 1970, which detail what American intelligence viewed as Israel's attempts to obfuscate the purpose and details of its nuclear program. The Americans involved in discussions with Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and other Israelis believed the country was providing "untruthful cover" about intentions to build nuclear weapons.

mike k , December 9, 2017 at 6:38 pm

The machinations of those seeking to gain advantages for themselves by hurting others, are truly appalling. If we fail to name evil for what it is, then we fail as human beings.Those who look the other way as their country engages in an organized reign of terror, are complicit in that enormous crime.

Den Lille Abe , December 9, 2017 at 8:54 pm

The path the US has chosen since the end of WWII has been over dead bodies. In the name of "security", bringing "Freedom" and "Democracy" and complete unconstrained greed it has trampled countless nations into piles of rubble. To say it is despised or loathed is an overwhelming understatement. It is almost universally hated in the third world. Rightly. Bringing this monstrosity to a halt is a difficult task, and probably cannot be done militarily without a nuclear war, economically could in the end have the same outcome, then how?

Easy! Ruin its population. This process has started, long ago. The decline in the US of health, general wealth, nutrition, production, education, equality, ethics and morals is already showing as cracks in the fabrics of the US.

A population of incarcerated, obese, low iQ zealot junkies, armed to teeth with guns, in a country with a crumbling infrastructure, full of environmental disasters is 21 st century for most Americans. In all the areas I mentioned the US is going backwards compared to most other countries. So the monster will come down.

turk151 , December 9, 2017 at 10:20 pm

I think you are being a little hard on the incarcerated, obese, low iQ zealot junkies, armed to teeth with guns

I am not sure who is more loathsome the evangelicals who were supporting the Bush / Cheney cabal murderous wars until the bitter end or the liberal intelligentsia careerist cheerleaders for Obama and Hilary's Wars in Iraq and Syria, who also dont give a damn about another Arab country being destroyed and sold into slavery as long as Hillary gets elected. At least with the former group, you can chalk it up to a lack of education.

Linda Wood , December 10, 2017 at 1:52 am

This is possibly the most intelligent and hopeful discussion I have read since 9/11. It says that at least some Americans do see that we have a fascist cell in our government. That is the first step in finding a way to unplug it. Best wishes to all of you who have written here. We will find a way to put war out of business.

Barbara van der Wal-Kylstra , December 10, 2017 at 2:46 am

I think this pattern of using Salafists for regime change started already in Afghanistan, with Brzezinski plotting with Saudi-Arabia and Pakistan to pay and train Osama bin Laden to attack the pro Russia regime and trying to get the USSR involved in it, also trying to blame the USSR for its agression, like they did in Syri"r?

Sam F , December 10, 2017 at 9:18 am

Yes, the Brzezinski/Reagan support of fanatic insurgencies began in AfPak and was revived for the zionists. Russia happened to be on the side more or less tending to progress in both cases, so it had to be opposed. The warmongers are always the US MIC/intel, allied with the anti-American zionist fascists for Mideast wars.

Luutzen , December 10, 2017 at 9:15 am

Sheldon Adelson, Soros, Saban all wanted carving up of Arabic states into small sectarian pieces (No Nasseric pan-Arabic states, a threat to Israël). And protracted wars of total destruction. Easy.

mike k , December 10, 2017 at 11:05 am

The US Military is part of the largest terrorist organization on Earth. For the super rich and powerful rulers of that US Mafia, the ignorant religious fanatics and other tools of Empire are just pawns in their game of world domination and universal slavery for all but themselves. These monsters of evil delight in profiting from the destruction of others; but their insatiable greed for more power will never be satisfied, and will become the cause of the annihilation of every living thing – including themselves. But like other sold out human addicts, at this point they don't really care, and will blindly pursue their nightmare quest to the very end – and perhaps they secretly hope that that final end of everything will at last quench their burning appetite for blood and gold.

Joe Tedesky , December 10, 2017 at 11:12 am

I'm leaving a link to a very long David Swanson article, where Mr Swanson goes into quite a lot of detail to how the U.S. wages war.

http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2017/12/76-years-pearl-harbor-lies.html

Brendan , December 10, 2017 at 12:09 pm

What's interesting of course is how not just Washington, but much of the 'left' also cheered on the jihadists.

Of course, they were told (by whom?) that the jihadists were 'democratic rebels' and 'freedom fighters' who just wanted to 'bring democracy' to Syria, and get rid of the 'tyrant Assad.' 5 years later, so much of the nonsense about "local councils" and "white helmets" has been exposed for what it was. Yet many 'free thinking' people bought the propaganda. Just like they do on Russiagate. Who needs an "alt-right" when America's "left" is a total disgrace?

[Dec 10, 2017] Russia-gate s Reach into Journalism by Dennis J Bernstein

Highly recommended!
When national security establishment is trying to undermine sitting President this is iether color revolution or coup d'état. In the USa it looks more like color revolution.
"Now you have this interesting dynamic where the national security establishment is effectively undermining a duly elected president of the United States. I recognize that Trump is vulnerable, but these types of investigations often become highly politicized."
Notable quotes:
"... The Credico subpoena, after he declined a request for a "voluntary" interview, underscores how the investigation is moving into areas of "guilt by association" and further isolating whistleblowers who defy the powers-that-be through unauthorized release of information to the public, a point made by National Security Agency whistleblower Thomas Drake in an interview. ..."
"... Drake knows well what it means to blow the whistle on government misconduct and get prosecuted for it. A former senior NSA executive, Drake complained about a multi-billion-dollar fraud, waste, and widespread violation of the rights of civilians through secret mass surveillance programs. As a result, the Obama administration indicted Drake in 2010, "as the first whistleblower since Daniel Ellsberg charged with espionage," according to the Institute for Public Accuracy. ..."
"... In 2011, the government's case against him, which carried a potential 35 years in prison, collapsed. Drake went free in a plea deal and was awarded the 2011 Ridenhour Truth Telling Prize. ..."
"... In this hyper-inflated, politicized environment, it is extremely difficult to wade through the massive amount of disinformation on all sides. Hacking is something all modern nation-states engage in, including the United States, including Russia. The challenge here is trying to figure out who the players are, whose ox is being gored, and who is doing the goring. ..."
"... From all accounts, Trump was duly elected. Now you have the Mueller investigation and the House investigation. Where is this all leading? The US intelligence agency hasn't done itself any favors. The ICA provides no proof either, in terms of allegations that the Russians "hacked" the election. We do have the evidence disclosed by Reality Winner that maybe there was some interference. But the hyper-politicization is making it extraordinarily difficult. ..."
"... Well, if you consider the content of those emails .Certainly, the Clinton folks got rid of Bernie Sanders. ..."
"... The national security establishment was far more comfortable having Clinton as president. Someone central to my own case, General Michael Hayden, just a couple days ago went apoplectic because of a tweet from Trump taking on the mainstream media. Hayden got over 100,000 likes on his response. Well, Hayden was central to what we did in deep secrecy at the highest levels of government after 9/11, engaging in widespread surveillance and then justifying it as "raw executive authority." ..."
"... Now you have this interesting dynamic where the national security establishment is effectively undermining a duly elected president of the United States. I recognize that Trump is vulnerable, but these types of investigations often become highly politicized. I worry that what is really happening is being sacrificed on the altar of entertainment and the stage of political theater. ..."
"... What is happening to Randy is symptomatic of a larger trend. If you dare speak truth to power, you are going to pay the price. Is Randy that much of a threat, just because he is questioning authority? Are we afraid of the press? Are we afraid of having the uncomfortable conversations, of dealing with the inconvenient truths about ourselves? ..."
"... Yeah, it is definitely a way of describing the concept of fascism without using the word. The present Yankee regime seems to be quite far along that road, and the full-on types seem to be engaged in a coup to eliminate those they fear may not be as much in the fascist deep-state bag. ..."
"... How disgusting to have to live today in the society so accurately described by Orwell in 1984. It was a nice book to read, but not to live in! ..."
"... Truth is he enemy of coercive power. Lies and secrecy are essential in leading the sheeple to their slaughter. ..."
"... Perhaps the one good thing about Trumps election is that its shows democracy is still just about alive and breathing in the US, because as is pointed out in this article, Trump was never expected to win and those who lost are still in a state of shock and disbelief. ..."
"... One things for sure: the Neocons, the deep state, and all the rest of the skunks that infest Washington will make absolutely sure that future elections will go the way as planned, so perhaps we should celebrate Trump, because he may well be the last manifestation of the democracy in the US. ..."
"... In the end, what will bring this monstrously lumbering "Russia-gate" dog and pony show crashing down is that stupid, fake Fusion GPS dossier that was commissioned, paid for, and disseminated by Team Hillary and the DNC. Then, as with the sinking of the Titanic, all of the flotsam and jetsam floating within its radius of destruction will go down with it. What will left to pluck from the lifeboats afterwards is anyone's guess. All thanks to Hillary. ..."
Dec 10, 2017 | www.facebook.com

The investigation to somehow blame Russia for Donald Trump's election has now merged with another establishment goal of isolating and intimidating whistleblowers and other dissidents, as Dennis J Bernstein describes.

The Russia-gate investigation has reached into the ranks of journalism with the House Intelligence Committee's subpoena of Randy Credico, who produced a series about WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for Pacifica Radio and apparently is suspected of having passed on early word about leaked Democratic emails to Donald Trump's supporter Roger Stone.

The Credico subpoena, after he declined a request for a "voluntary" interview, underscores how the investigation is moving into areas of "guilt by association" and further isolating whistleblowers who defy the powers-that-be through unauthorized release of information to the public, a point made by National Security Agency whistleblower Thomas Drake in an interview.

Drake knows well what it means to blow the whistle on government misconduct and get prosecuted for it. A former senior NSA executive, Drake complained about a multi-billion-dollar fraud, waste, and widespread violation of the rights of civilians through secret mass surveillance programs. As a result, the Obama administration indicted Drake in 2010, "as the first whistleblower since Daniel Ellsberg charged with espionage," according to the Institute for Public Accuracy.

In 2011, the government's case against him, which carried a potential 35 years in prison, collapsed. Drake went free in a plea deal and was awarded the 2011 Ridenhour Truth Telling Prize.

I interviewed Drake about the significance of Credico's subpoena, which Credico believes resulted from his journalism about the persecution of Julian Assange for releasing information that powerful people would prefer kept hidden from the public. (I had a small role in Credico's 14-part radio series, Julian Assange: Countdown to Freedom . It was broadcast first as part of his Live on the Fly Series, over WBAI and later on KPFA and across the country on community radio.)

Credico got his start as a satirist and became a political candidate for mayor of New York City and later governor of New York, making mainstream politicians deal with issues they would rather not deal with.

I spoke to Thomas Drake by telephone on Nov. 30, 2017.

Dennis Bernstein: How do you look at Russiagate, based on what you know about what has already transpired in terms of the movement of information? How do you see Credico's role in this?

Thomas Drake: Information is the coin of the realm. It is the currency of power. Anyone who questions authority or is perceived as mocking authority -- as hanging out with "State enemies" -- had better be careful. But this latest development is quite troubling, I must say. This is the normalization of everything that has been going on since 9/11. Randy is a sort of 21st century Diogenes who is confronting authority and pointing out corruption. This subpoena sends a chilling message. It's a double whammy for Randy because, in the eyes of the US government, he is a media figure hanging out with the wrong media figure [Julian Assange].

Dennis Bernstein: Could you say a little bit about what your work was and what you tried to do with your expose?

Thomas Drake: My experience was quite telling, in terms of how far the government will go to try to destroy someone's life. The attempt by the government to silence me was extraordinary. They threw everything they had at me, all because I spoke the truth. I spoke up about abuse of power, I spoke up about the mass surveillance regime. My crime was that I made the choice to go to the media. And the government was not just coming after me, they were sending a really chilling message to the media: If you print this, you are also under the gun.

Dennis Bernstein: We have heard the charges again and again, that this was a Russian hack. What was the source? Let's trace it back as best we can.

Thomas Drake: In this hyper-inflated, politicized environment, it is extremely difficult to wade through the massive amount of disinformation on all sides. Hacking is something all modern nation-states engage in, including the United States, including Russia. The challenge here is trying to figure out who the players are, whose ox is being gored, and who is doing the goring.

From all accounts, Trump was duly elected. Now you have the Mueller investigation and the House investigation. Where is this all leading? The US intelligence agency hasn't done itself any favors. The ICA provides no proof either, in terms of allegations that the Russians "hacked" the election. We do have the evidence disclosed by Reality Winner that maybe there was some interference. But the hyper-politicization is making it extraordinarily difficult.

The advantage that intelligence has is that they can hide behind what they are doing. They don't actually have to tell the truth, they can shade it, they can influence it and shape it. This is where information can be politicized and used as a weapon. Randy has found himself caught up in these investigations by virtue of being a media figure and hanging out with "the wrong people."

Dennis Bernstein: It looks like the Russiagaters in Congress are trying to corner Randy. All his life he has spoken truth to power. But what do you think the role of the press should be?

Thomas Drake: The press amplifies just about everything they focus on, especially with today's 24-hour, in-your-face social media. Even the mainstream media is publishing directly to their webpages. You have to get behind the cacophony of all that noise and ask, "Why?" What are the intentions here?

I believe there are still enough independent journalists who are looking further and deeper. But clearly there are those who are hell-bent on making life as difficult as possible for the current president and those who are going to defend him to the hilt. I was not surprised at all that Trump won. A significant percentage of the American electorate were looking for something different.

Dennis Bernstein : Well, if you consider the content of those emails .Certainly, the Clinton folks got rid of Bernie Sanders.

Thomas Drake: That would have been an interesting race, to have Bernie vs. Trump. Sanders was appealing, especially to young audiences. He was raising legitimate issues.

Dennis Bernstein: In Clinton, they had a known quantity who supported the national security state.

Thomas Drake: The national security establishment was far more comfortable having Clinton as president. Someone central to my own case, General Michael Hayden, just a couple days ago went apoplectic because of a tweet from Trump taking on the mainstream media. Hayden got over 100,000 likes on his response. Well, Hayden was central to what we did in deep secrecy at the highest levels of government after 9/11, engaging in widespread surveillance and then justifying it as "raw executive authority."

Now you have this interesting dynamic where the national security establishment is effectively undermining a duly elected president of the United States. I recognize that Trump is vulnerable, but these types of investigations often become highly politicized. I worry that what is really happening is being sacrificed on the altar of entertainment and the stage of political theater.

What is happening to Randy is symptomatic of a larger trend. If you dare speak truth to power, you are going to pay the price. Is Randy that much of a threat, just because he is questioning authority? Are we afraid of the press? Are we afraid of having the uncomfortable conversations, of dealing with the inconvenient truths about ourselves?

Dennis J Bernstein is a host of "Flashpoints" on the Pacifica radio network and the author of Special Ed: Voices from a Hidden Classroom . You can access the audio archives at www.flashpoints.net .

orwell

"Raw Executive Authority" means Totalitarianism/Fascism.

exiled off mainstreet , December 7, 2017 at 4:23 pm

Yeah, it is definitely a way of describing the concept of fascism without using the word. The present Yankee regime seems to be quite far along that road, and the full-on types seem to be engaged in a coup to eliminate those they fear may not be as much in the fascist deep-state bag.

Jerry Alatalo , December 7, 2017 at 3:34 pm

It is highly encouraging to know that a great many good and decent men and women Americans are 100% supportive of Mr, Randy Credico as he prepares for his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee. Remember all those standing right there beside you, speak what rightly needs to be spoken, and make history Mr. Credico!

jaycee , December 7, 2017 at 3:56 pm

The intensification of panic/hysteria was obviously triggered by the shock election of Trump. Where this is all heading is on display in Australia, as the government is writing legislation to "criminalise covert and deceptive activities of foreign actors that fall short of espionage but are intended to interfere with our democratic systems and processes or support the intelligence activities of a foreign government." The legislation will apparently be accompanied by new requirements of public registration of those deemed "foreign agents". (see http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2017/12/07/auch-d07.html ).

This will be an attack on free speech, free thought, and political freedoms, justified by an orchestrated hysteria which ridiculously assumes a "pure" political realm (i.e. the "homeland") under assault by impure foreign agents and their dirty ideas. Yes, that is a fascist construct and the liberal establishment will see it through, not the alt-right blowhards.

mike k , December 7, 2017 at 5:49 pm

How disgusting to have to live today in the society so accurately described by Orwell in 1984. It was a nice book to read, but not to live in!

john wilson , December 8, 2017 at 5:48 am

Actually Mike, the book was a prophesy but you aren't seen nothing yet. You me and the rest of the posters here may well find ourselves going for a visit to room 101 yet.

fudmier , December 7, 2017 at 4:42 pm

Those who govern (527 of them) at the pleasure of the constitution are about to breach the contract that entitles them to govern. Limiting the scope of information allowed to those who are the governed, silencing the voices of those with concerns and serious doubts, policing every word uttered by those who are the governed, as well as abusing the constitutional privilege of force and judicial authority, to deny peaceful protests of the innocents is approaching the final straw.

The governors and their corporate sponsors have imposed on those the governors govern much concern. Exactly the condition that existed prior to July 4, 1776, which elicited the following:

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the Political bands which connected them with another, and to assume among the Powers of the Earth, the separate and equal Station to which the laws of nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent Respect to the Opinions of Mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

I submit the actions and intentions of those who govern that are revealed and discussed in this article https://consortiumnews.com/2017/12/07/russia-gates-reach-into-journalism/ should be among the list of impels that support the next declaration.

Al Pinto , December 7, 2017 at 5:23 pm

Those who govern (527 of them and the puppet master oligarch behind them) will make certain that there's no support for the next declaration. There's no respect to the opinions of the mankind, what matters is keeping the current status quo in place and further advance it by silencing the independent media.

Maybe when the next "Mother of all bubbles" come, there's an opportunity for the mankind to be heard, but it's doubtful. What has taken place during the last bubble is that the rich has gotten richer and the poor, well, you know the routine.

https://usawatchdog.com/mother-of-all-bubbles-too-big-to-pop-peter-schiff/

mike k , December 7, 2017 at 5:53 pm

Truth is he enemy of coercive power. Lies and secrecy are essential in leading the sheeple to their slaughter.

john wilson , December 8, 2017 at 5:44 am

Perhaps the one good thing about Trumps election is that its shows democracy is still just about alive and breathing in the US, because as is pointed out in this article, Trump was never expected to win and those who lost are still in a state of shock and disbelief.

Trump's election has also shown us in vivid technicolour, just what is really going on in the deep state. Absolutely none of this stuff would have come out had Clinton won and anything there was would have been covered up as though under the concrete foundation of a tower block. However, Trump still has four years left and as a British prime minister once said, "a week is a long time in politics". Well four more years of Trump is a hell of a lot longer so who knows what might happen in that time.

One things for sure: the Neocons, the deep state, and all the rest of the skunks that infest Washington will make absolutely sure that future elections will go the way as planned, so perhaps we should celebrate Trump, because he may well be the last manifestation of the democracy in the US.

Christene Bartels , December 8, 2017 at 9:57 am

In the end, what will bring this monstrously lumbering "Russia-gate" dog and pony show crashing down is that stupid, fake Fusion GPS dossier that was commissioned, paid for, and disseminated by Team Hillary and the DNC. Then, as with the sinking of the Titanic, all of the flotsam and jetsam floating within its radius of destruction will go down with it. What will left to pluck from the lifeboats afterwards is anyone's guess. All thanks to Hillary.

Apparently, Santa isn't the only one making a list and checking it twice this year. He's going to have to share the limelight with Karma.

[Dec 03, 2017] Is Washington the Most Corrupt Government in History by Paul Craig Roberts

Looks like the credibility of the US establishment might collapse under weight of all lies that it perpetuated.
Americans and Russians should be natural partners in a multipolar world to widespread benefit. The current situation dominated by neo-McCarthyism witch hunt is tragic. Looks like the current neoliberal elite is truly evil, so there is not much hope for a change there. The American people are overall decent and generous, but their abysmal lack of (or even interest) in history and ignorance of the current events might be their undoing, I'm afraid.
Notable quotes:
"... The presstitutes never investigate real events. The presstitutes never question inconsistencies in official stories. They never tie together loose ends. They simply read over and over the script handed to them until the official story that controls the explanation is driven into the public's head. ..."
Dec 03, 2017 | www.unz.com

Robert Mueller, a former director of the FBI who is working as a special prosecutor "investigating" a contrived hoax designed by the military/security complex and the DNC to destroy the Trump presidency, has yet to produce a scrap of evidence that Russiagate is anything but orchestrated fake news. As William Binney and other top experts have said, if there is evidence of Russiagate, the NSA would have it. No investigation would be necessary. So where is the evidence?

It is a revelation of how corrupt Washington is that a fake scandal is being investigated while a real scandal is not. The fake scandal is Trump's Russiagate. The real scandal is Hillary Clinton's uranium sale to Russia. No evidence for the former exists. Voluminous evidence for Hillary's scandal lies in plain view. http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2017/10/25/hillary-clinton-and-real-russian-collusion.html

Why are the clearly false charges against Trump being investigated and the clearly true charges against Hillary not being investigated? The answer is that Hillary with her hostility toward Russia and her denunciation of Russian President Putin as the "New Hitler" is not a threat to the budget and power of the US military/security complex, while Trump's aim of normalizing relations with Russia would deprive the military/security complex of the "enemy" it requires to justify its massive budget and power.

Why hasn't President Trump ordered the Justice Department to investigate Hillary? Is the answer that Trump is afraid the military/security complex will assassinate him? Why hasn't the Justice Department undertaken the investigation on its own? Is the answer that Trump's government is allied with his enemies?

How corrupt does Mueller have to be to agree to lead a fake investigation designed to overthrow the democratic election of the President of the United States? Why doesn't Trump have Mueller and Comey arrested for sedition and conspiring to overthrow the president of the United States?

Why instead is Mueller expanding his investigation beyond his mandate and bringing charges against Manafort and others for decade-old under-reporting of income? Why instead is Congress harassing journalist Randy Credico for interviewing Julian Assange? How does an interview become part of the House Intelligence (sic) Committee's investigation into "Russian active measures directed at the 2016 U.S. election?" There were no such active measures, but the uranium sale was real.

Why haven't the media conglomerates that have produced presstitutes instead of journalists been broken up? Why can presstitutes lie 24/7, but a man can't make a pass at a woman?

Once you begin asking questions, there is no end of them.

The failure of the US and European media is extreme.

The presstitutes never investigate real events. The presstitutes never question inconsistencies in official stories. They never tie together loose ends. They simply read over and over the script handed to them until the official story that controls the explanation is driven into the public's head.

Consider, for example, the Obama regime's claim to have murdered Osama bin Laden in his "compound" in Abbottabad, Pakistan, next to a Pakistani military base. The official story had to be changed several times. The Obama regime claim that Obama and top government officials had watched the raid via cameras on the SEALs' helmets had to be abandoned. There was no reason to withhold the filmed evidence, and of course there was no such evidence, so the initial claim to have watched the killing became a "miscommunication." The staged photo of the top government officials watching the alleged live filming was never explained. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1382859/Osama-bin-Laden-dead-Photo-Obama-watching-Al-Qaeda-leader-die-live-TV.html

The entire story never made any sense: Osama, unarmed and defended only by his unarmed wife, was murdered in cold blood by a SEAL. What in the world for? Why murder rather than capture the "terrorist mastermind" from whom endless information could have been gained? Why forgo the political fanfare of parading Osama bin Laden before the world as a captive of the American superpower?

Why were no photographs taken? Why was Osama's body dumped in the ocean. In other words, why was all the evidence destroyed and nothing saved to back up the story?

Why the fake story of Osama being given a sea burial from an aircraft carrier? Why was no media interested that the ship's crew wrote home that no such burial took place?

Why was there no presstitute interest in the fact that the SEAL unit, from which the SEALs on the alleged raid on bin Laden's compound were drawn, was loaded against regulations in one 50-year old Vietnam era helicopter and shot down in Afghanistan, with all lives lost? Why was there no presstitute interest in the parents of the SEALs complaints about inappropriate procedures that cost their sons' lives and about fears expressed to them by sons that something was wrong and they felt endangered? http://www.wnd.com/2013/07/navy-seals-father-obama-sent-my-son-to-his-death/
and https://www.military1.com/navy/article/403494-navy-seals-parents-sue-biden-panetta-over-sons-deaths/ and http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2013/05/08/families-of-seal-team-6-to-reveal-why-they-think-the-govt-is-as-much-responsible-for-the-death-of-their-sons-as-the-taliban

Did the SEAL unit have to be wiped out because the members were asking one another, "who was on that raid?" "Were you on the bin Laden raid?" When in fact no one was on the raid.

Why wasn't Congress interested?

Why was the live Pakistani TV interview with an eye witness of the alleged raid on bin Laden's compound not reported in the US media? The witness contradicted every aspect of the official story. And this was immediately after the event. There was no time for anyone to concoct an elaborate counter-story or motive to do so. Here is the interview: https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2013/11/15/pakistan-samaa-tv-interview-eyewitness-alleged-osama-bin-laden-killing/ and here is a verified translation that confirms the accuracy of the English subscripts: https://www.opednews.com/populum/page.php?f=Pakistan-TV-Report-Contrad-by-paul-craig-roberts-110806-879.html

Osama bin Laden had been dead for a decade prior to the false claim that Navy SEALs murdered him in Pakistan in May 2011. Here are the obituraries from December 2001: https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2013/11/20/bin-ladens-obituary-notice/ and this one from Fox News: http://www.foxnews.com/story/2001/12/26/report-bin-laden-already-dead.html

Here is bin Laden's last confirmed interview. He says he had nothing to do with 9/11. Why would a terrorist leader who succeed in humiliating "the world's only superpower" fail to boost his movement by claiming credit?
https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2012/11/26/the-osama-bin-laden-myth-2/

See also:

https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2014/11/07/another-fake-bin-laden-story-paul-craig-roberts/

http://www.globalresearch.ca/pentagon-orders-purge-of-osama-bin-ladens-death-files-from-data-bank/5342055

http://themindrenewed.com/interviews/2013/334-int-32

https://www.opednews.com/populum/page.php?f=Creating-Evidence-Where-Th-by-paul-craig-roberts-110805-618.html

https://www.opednews.com/populum/page.php?f=Pakistan-TV-Report-Contrad

Think about this. The bin Laden story, including 9/11, is fake from start to finish, but it is inscribed into encyclopedias, history books, and the public's consciousness.

And this is just one example of the institutionalized mass lies concocted by Washington and the presstitutes and turned into truth. Washington's self-serving control over explanations has removed Americans from reality and made them slaves to fake news.

So, how does democracy function when voters have no reliable information and, instead, are led into the agendas of the rulers by orchestrated events and fake news?

Where is there any evidence that the United States is a functioning democracy?

[Dec 01, 2017] JFK The CIA, Vietnam, and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy by L. Fletcher Prouty, Oliver Stone, Jesse Ventura

Highly recommended!
The most important part of power elite in neoliberal society might not be financial oligarchy, but intelligence agencies elite. If you look at the role of Brennan in "Purple color revolution" against Trump that became clear that heads of the agencies are powerful political players with resources at hand, that are not available to other politicians.
Notable quotes:
"... Men in positions of great power have been forced to realize that their aspirations and responsibilities have exceeded the horizons of their own experience, knowledge, and capability. Yet, because they are in chargeof this high-technology society, they are compelled to do something. This overpowering necessity to do something -- although our leaders do not know precisely what to do or how to do it -- creates in the power elite an overbearing fear of the people. It is the fear not of you and me as individuals but of the smoldering threat of vast populations and of potential uprisings of the masses. ..."
"... This power elite is not easy to define; but the fact that it exists makes itself known from time to time. Concerning the power elite, R. Buckminster Fuller wrote of the "vastly ambitious individuals who [have] become so effectively powerful because of their ability to remain invisible while operating behind the national scenery." Fuller noted also, "Always their victories [are] in the name of some powerful sovereign-ruled country. The real power structures [are] always the invisible ones behind the visible sovereign powers." ..."
"... This report, as presented in the novel, avers that war is necessary to sustain society, the nation, and national sovereignty, a view that has existed for millennia. Through the ages, totally uncontrolled warfare -- the only kind of "real" war -- got bigger and "better" as time and technology churned on, finally culminating in World War II with the introduction of atomic bombs. ..."
"... This is why, even before the end of World War II, the newly structured bipolar confrontation between the world of Communism and the West resulted in the employment of enormous intelligence agencies that had the power, invisibly, to wage underground warfare, economic and well as military, anywhere -- including methods of warfare never before imagined. These conflicts had to be tactically designed to remain short of the utilization of the H-bomb by either side. There can never be victories in such wars, but tremendous loss of life could occur, and there is the much-desired consumption and attrition of trillions of dollars', and rubles', worth of war equipment. ..."
"... Since WWII, there has been an epidemic of murders at the highest level in many countries. Without question the most dynamic of these assassinations was the murder of President John F. Kennedy, but JFK was just one of many in a long list that includes bankers, corporate leaders, newsmen, rising political spokesmen, and religious leaders. ..."
"... The ever-present threat of assassination seriously limits the number of men who would normally attempt to strive for positions of leadership, if for no other reason than that they could be singled out for murder at any time. This is not a new tactic, but it is one that has become increasingly utilized in pressure spots around the world. ..."
"... Under totalitarian or highly centralized nondemocratic regimes, the intelligence organization is a political, secret service with police powers. It is designed primarily to provide personal security to those who control the authority of the state against all political opponents, foreign and domestic. These leaders are forced to depend upon these secret elite forces to remain alive and in power. Such an organization operates in deep secrecy and has the responsibility for carrying out espionage, counterespionage, and pseudoterrorism. This methodology is as true of Israel, Chile, or Jordan as it has been of the Soviet Union. ..."
"... The second category of intelligence organization is one whose agents are limited to the gathering and reporting of intelligence and who have no police functions or the power to arrest at home or abroad. This type of organization is what the CIA was created to be; however, it does not exist. ..."
"... Over the decades since the CIA was created, it has acquired more sinister functions. All intelligence agencies, in time, tend to develop along similar lines. The CIA today is a far cry hum the agency that was created in 1947 by the National Security Act. As President Harry S. Truman confided to close friends, the greatest mistake of his administration took place when he signed that National Security Act of 1947 into law. It was that act which, among other things it did, created the Central Intelligence Agency.3 ..."
Oct 08, 2017 | www.amazon.com

True existence of these multimegaton hydrogen bombs has so drastically changed the Grand Strategy of world powers that, today and for the future, that strategy is being carried out by the invisible forces of the CIA, what remains of the KGB, and their lesser counterparts around the world.

Men in positions of great power have been forced to realize that their aspirations and responsibilities have exceeded the horizons of their own experience, knowledge, and capability. Yet, because they are in chargeof this high-technology society, they are compelled to do something. This overpowering necessity to do something -- although our leaders do not know precisely what to do or how to do it -- creates in the power elite an overbearing fear of the people. It is the fear not of you and me as individuals but of the smoldering threat of vast populations and of potential uprisings of the masses.

This power elite is not easy to define; but the fact that it exists makes itself known from time to time. Concerning the power elite, R. Buckminster Fuller wrote of the "vastly ambitious individuals who [have] become so effectively powerful because of their ability to remain invisible while operating behind the national scenery." Fuller noted also, "Always their victories [are] in the name of some powerful sovereign-ruled country. The real power structures [are] always the invisible ones behind the visible sovereign powers."

The power elite is not a group from one nation or even of one alliance of nations. It operates throughout the world and no doubt has done so for many, many centuries.

... ... ...

From this point ot view, warfare, and the preparation tor war, is an absolute necessity for the welfare of the state and for control of population masses, as has been so ably documented in that remarkable novel by Leonard Lewin Report From Iron Mountain on the Possibility and Desirability of Peace and attributed by Lewin to "the Special Study Group in 1966," an organization whose existence was so highly classified that there is no record, to this day, of who the men in the group were or with what sectors of the government or private life they were connected.

This report, as presented in the novel, avers that war is necessary to sustain society, the nation, and national sovereignty, a view that has existed for millennia. Through the ages, totally uncontrolled warfare -- the only kind of "real" war -- got bigger and "better" as time and technology churned on, finally culminating in World War II with the introduction of atomic bombs.

Not long after that great war, the world leaders were faced suddenly with the reality of a great dilemma. At the root of this dilemma was the new fission-fusion-fission H-bomb. Is it some uncontrollable Manichean device, or is it truly a weapon of war?

... ... ...

Such knowledge is sufficient. The dilemma is now fact. There can no longer be a classic or traditional war, at least not the all-out, go-for-broke-type warfare there has been down through the ages, a war that leads to a meaningful victory for one side and abject defeat for the other.

Witness what has been called warfare in Korea, and Vietnam, and the later, more limited experiment with new weaponry called the Gulf War in Iraq.

... ... ...

This is why, even before the end of World War II, the newly structured bipolar confrontation between the world of Communism and the West resulted in the employment of enormous intelligence agencies that had the power, invisibly, to wage underground warfare, economic and well as military, anywhere -- including methods of warfare never before imagined. These conflicts had to be tactically designed to remain short of the utilization of the H-bomb by either side. There can never be victories in such wars, but tremendous loss of life could occur, and there is the much-desired consumption and attrition of trillions of dollars', and rubles', worth of war equipment.

One objective of this book is to discuss these new forces. It will present an insider's view of the CIA story and provide comparisons with the intelligence organizations -- those invisible forces -- of other countries. To be more realistic with the priorities of these agencies themselves, more will be said about operational matters than about actual intelligence gathering as a profession.

This subject cannot be explored fully without a discussion of assassination. Since WWII, there has been an epidemic of murders at the highest level in many countries. Without question the most dynamic of these assassinations was the murder of President John F. Kennedy, but JFK was just one of many in a long list that includes bankers, corporate leaders, newsmen, rising political spokesmen, and religious leaders.

The ever-present threat of assassination seriously limits the number of men who would normally attempt to strive for positions of leadership, if for no other reason than that they could be singled out for murder at any time. This is not a new tactic, but it is one that has become increasingly utilized in pressure spots around the world.

It is essential to note that there are two principal categories of intelligence organizations and that their functions are determined generally by the characteristics of the type of government they serve -- not by the citizens of the government, but by its leaders.

Under totalitarian or highly centralized nondemocratic regimes, the intelligence organization is a political, secret service with police powers. It is designed primarily to provide personal security to those who control the authority of the state against all political opponents, foreign and domestic. These leaders are forced to depend upon these secret elite forces to remain alive and in power. Such an organization operates in deep secrecy and has the responsibility for carrying out espionage, counterespionage, and pseudoterrorism. This methodology is as true of Israel, Chile, or Jordan as it has been of the Soviet Union.

The second category of intelligence organization is one whose agents are limited to the gathering and reporting of intelligence and who have no police functions or the power to arrest at home or abroad. This type of organization is what the CIA was created to be; however, it does not exist.

Over the decades since the CIA was created, it has acquired more sinister functions. All intelligence agencies, in time, tend to develop along similar lines. The CIA today is a far cry hum the agency that was created in 1947 by the National Security Act. As President Harry S. Truman confided to close friends, the greatest mistake of his administration took place when he signed that National Security Act of 1947 into law. It was that act which, among other things it did, created the Central Intelligence Agency.3

[Dec 01, 2017] Elite needs a kill switch for their front men and women

Notable quotes:
"... Today when we consider the major countries of the world we see that in many cases the official leaders are also the leaders in actuality: Vladimir Putin calls the shots in Russia, Xi Jinping and his top Politburo colleagues do the same in China, and so forth. However, in America and in some other Western countries, this seems to be less and less the case, with top national figures merely being attractive front-men selected for their popular appeal and their political malleability, a development that may eventually have dire consequences for the nations they lead. As an extreme example, a drunken Boris Yeltsin freely allowed the looting of Russia's entire national wealth by the handful of oligarchs who pulled his strings, and the result was the total impoverishment of the Russian people and a demographic collapse almost unprecedented in modern peacetime history. ..."
"... An obvious problem with installing puppet rulers is the risk that they will attempt to cut their strings, much like Putin soon outmaneuvered and exiled his oligarch patron Boris Berezovsky. ..."
"... One means of minimizing such risk is to select puppets who are so deeply compromised that they can never break free, knowing that the political self-destruct charges buried deep within their pasts could easily be triggered if they sought independence. I have sometimes joked with my friends that perhaps the best career move for an ambitious young politician would be to secretly commit some monstrous crime and then make sure that the hard evidence of his guilt ended up in the hands of certain powerful people, thereby assuring his rapid political rise. ..."
"... The gist is that elite need a kill switch on their front men (and women). ..."
"... McCain's father connected with the infamous Board of Inquiry which cleared Israel in that state's attack on USS LIBERTY during Israel's seizure of the Golan Heights. ..."
"... Another stunning article in which the author makes reference to his recent acquisition of what he considers to be a reliably authentic audio file of POW McCain's broadcasts from captivity. Dynamite stuff. ..."
"... Also remarkable; fantastic. It's hard to believe, and a testament to the boldness of Washington dog-and-pony shows, because this must have been well-known in insider circles in Washington – anything so damning which was not ruthlessly and professionally suppressed and simply never allowed to become part of a national discussion would surely have been stumbled upon before now. Land of the Cover-Up. ..."
marknesop.wordpress.com
Patient Observer, July 23, 2016 at 7:07 pm
An interesting article on John McCain. I disagree with the contention that McCain hid knowledge that many American POWs were left behind (undoubtedly some voluntarily choose to remain behind but not hundreds ). However, the article touched on some ideas that rang true:

Today when we consider the major countries of the world we see that in many cases the official leaders are also the leaders in actuality: Vladimir Putin calls the shots in Russia, Xi Jinping and his top Politburo colleagues do the same in China, and so forth. However, in America and in some other Western countries, this seems to be less and less the case, with top national figures merely being attractive front-men selected for their popular appeal and their political malleability, a development that may eventually have dire consequences for the nations they lead. As an extreme example, a drunken Boris Yeltsin freely allowed the looting of Russia's entire national wealth by the handful of oligarchs who pulled his strings, and the result was the total impoverishment of the Russian people and a demographic collapse almost unprecedented in modern peacetime history.

An obvious problem with installing puppet rulers is the risk that they will attempt to cut their strings, much like Putin soon outmaneuvered and exiled his oligarch patron Boris Berezovsky.

One means of minimizing such risk is to select puppets who are so deeply compromised that they can never break free, knowing that the political self-destruct charges buried deep within their pasts could easily be triggered if they sought independence. I have sometimes joked with my friends that perhaps the best career move for an ambitious young politician would be to secretly commit some monstrous crime and then make sure that the hard evidence of his guilt ended up in the hands of certain powerful people, thereby assuring his rapid political rise.

The gist is that elite need a kill switch on their front men (and women).

http://www.unz.com/runz/american-pravda-when-tokyo-rose-ran-for-president/

Cortes , July 24, 2016 at 11:16 am

Seems to be a series of pieces dealing with Vietnam POWs: the following linked item was interesting and provided a plausible explanation: that the US failed to pay up agreed on reparations

http://www.unz.com/runz/american-pravda-relying-upon-maoist-professors-of-cultural-studies/

marknesop , July 24, 2016 at 12:29 pm
Remarkable and shocking. Wheels within wheels – this is the first time I have ever seen McCain's father connected with the infamous Board of Inquiry which cleared Israel in that state's attack on USS LIBERTY during Israel's seizure of the Golan Heights.
Cortes , July 25, 2016 at 9:08 am
Another stunning article in which the author makes reference to his recent acquisition of what he considers to be a reliably authentic audio file of POW McCain's broadcasts from captivity. Dynamite stuff. The conclusion regarding aspiring untenured historians is quite downbeat:

http://www.unz.com/runz/american-pravda-will-there-be-a-spotlight-sequel-to-the-killing-fields/

marknesop , July 25, 2016 at 10:40 am
Also remarkable; fantastic. It's hard to believe, and a testament to the boldness of Washington dog-and-pony shows, because this must have been well-known in insider circles in Washington – anything so damning which was not ruthlessly and professionally suppressed and simply never allowed to become part of a national discussion would surely have been stumbled upon before now. Land of the Cover-Up.

yalensis , July 25, 2016 at 3:40 pm

So, McCain was Hanoi Jack broadcasting from the Hanoi Hilton?

[Dec 01, 2017] Elite needs a kill switch for their front men and women

marknesop.wordpress.com
Patient Observer , July 23, 2016 at 7:07 pm
An interesting article on John McCain. I disagree with the contention that McCain hid knowledge that many American POWs were left behind (undoubtedly some voluntarily choose to remain behind but not hundreds ). However, the article touched on some ideas that rang true:

Today when we consider the major countries of the world we see that in many cases the official leaders are also the leaders in actuality: Vladimir Putin calls the shots in Russia, Xi Jinping and his top Politburo colleagues do the same in China, and so forth. However, in America and in some other Western countries, this seems to be less and less the case, with top national figures merely being attractive front-men selected for their popular appeal and their political malleability, a development that may eventually have dire consequences for the nations they lead. As an extreme example, a drunken Boris Yeltsin freely allowed the looting of Russia's entire national wealth by the handful of oligarchs who pulled his strings, and the result was the total impoverishment of the Russian people and a demographic collapse almost unprecedented in modern peacetime history.

An obvious problem with installing puppet rulers is the risk that they will attempt to cut their strings, much like Putin soon outmaneuvered and exiled his oligarch patron Boris Berezovsky.

One means of minimizing such risk is to select puppets who are so deeply compromised that they can never break free, knowing that the political self-destruct charges buried deep within their pasts could easily be triggered if they sought independence. I have sometimes joked with my friends that perhaps the best career move for an ambitious young politician would be to secretly commit some monstrous crime and then make sure that the hard evidence of his guilt ended up in the hands of certain powerful people, thereby assuring his rapid political rise.

The gist is that elite need a kill switch on their front men (and women).

http://www.unz.com/runz/american-pravda-when-tokyo-rose-ran-for-president/

Cortes , July 24, 2016 at 11:16 am

Seems to be a series of pieces dealing with Vietnam POWs: the following linked item was interesting and provided a plausible explanation: that the US failed to pay up agreed on reparations…

http://www.unz.com/runz/american-pravda-relying-upon-maoist-professors-of-cultural-studies/

marknesop , July 24, 2016 at 12:29 pm
Remarkable and shocking. Wheels within wheels – this is the first time I have ever seen McCain's father connected with the infamous Board of Inquiry which cleared Israel in that state's attack on USS LIBERTY during Israel's seizure of the Golan Heights.
Cortes , July 25, 2016 at 9:08 am
Another stunning article in which the author makes reference to his recent acquisition of what he considers to be a reliably authentic audio file of POW McCain's broadcasts from captivity. Dynamite stuff. The conclusion regarding aspiring untenured historians is quite downbeat:

http://www.unz.com/runz/american-pravda-will-there-be-a-spotlight-sequel-to-the-killing-fields/

marknesop , July 25, 2016 at 10:40 am
Also remarkable; fantastic. It's hard to believe, and a testament to the boldness of Washington dog-and-pony shows, because this must have been well-known in insider circles in Washington – anything so damning which was not ruthlessly and professionally suppressed and simply never allowed to become part of a national discussion would surely have been stumbled upon before now. Land of the Cover-Up.

yalensis , July 25, 2016 at 3:40 pm

So, McCain was Hanoi Jack broadcasting from the Hanoi Hilton?

[Nov 18, 2017] How Americas Deep State Operates To Control The Message by Philip Giraldi

Notable quotes:
"... The recent exchanges over the Russia-US relationship exhibit perfectly how the Deep State operates to control the message. ..."
"... Beyond twisting narratives, Russiagate is also producing potentially dangerous collateral damage to free speech, as one of the objectives of those in the Deep State is to rein in the current internet driven relatively free access to information. In its most recent manifestations, an anonymous group produced a phony list of 200 websites that were "guilty" of serving up Russian propaganda, a George Soros funded think tank identified thousands of individuals who are alleged to be "useful idiots" for Moscow, and legitimate Russian media outlets will be required to register as foreign agents. ..."
"... Hegemonic Empire always attacks those nations who are perceived to be weaker than the Empire. ..."
"... Never in my long life have I ever seen such twistedness in the mainstream media. In the days of Nixon and Watergate, there was a media agenda. But it was based in truth. This crap we get now is complete Deep State party line. ..."
"... I wonder if there ever was a time in history where the media in a country was so full of fabrication and propaganda. If there was, I would be interested in hearing how they had a downfall. It seems the media in this country can be so completely covered in deceit and lies and false claims, yet somehow not be accountable for it. ..."
"... The whole Russiagate bullshite has once again destroyed the credibility of the intel agencies and the media. Really old idiots are in charge of these things. ..."
Nov 18, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Philip Giraldi via The Strategic Culture Foundation

It is not possible to overstate the power of certain constituencies and corporate lobbies in the United States.

These pressure groups, joined by powerful government agencies, many of which have secret agendas that focus on national security, constitute what is increasingly being recognized as "Deep State America." Deep State is the widespread belief that there exists in many countries an entrenched and largely hidden infrastructure that really controls the national narrative and runs things. It explains why, for example, a country like the United States is perpetually at war even though the wars have been disastrous failures ever since Korea and have not made the nation more secure.

To be sure, certain constituencies have benefitted from global instability and conflict, to include defense industries, big government in general, and the national security state . They all work together and hand-in-hand with the corporate media to sustain the narrative that the United States is perpetually under threat, even though it is not.

The recent exchanges over the Russia-US relationship exhibit perfectly how the Deep State operates to control the message. American President Donald Trump briefly met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vietnam. Putin reportedly told Trump that Russia "absolutely had not meddled" in the 2016 US election and Trump then told reporters that he believed the Russian leader meant what he said, "which is good." As détente with Russia is not considered desirable by the Deep State, there was an immediate explosion of a contrary narrative, namely that Trump believes a Russian "enemy" and does not trust what his own intelligence agencies have told him about 2016 because he is being "played" by Putin.

This story was repeated both on television news and in all the mainstream newspapers without exception, eventually forcing Trump to recant and say that he does believe in US intelligence.

Not a single major media outlet in the US reported that it just might be possible that Putin was telling the truth and that the intelligence community, which has been wrong many times over the past twenty years, might have to look again at what it considers to be evidence. No journalist had the courage to point out that the claims of the Washington national security team have been remarkably devoid of anything credible to support the conclusions about what the Russian government might or might not have been up to. That is what a good journalist is supposed to do and it has nothing to do with whether or not one admires or loathes either Putin or Trump.

That the relationship between Moscow and Washington should be regarded as important given the capability of either country to incinerate the planet would appear to be a given, but the Washington-New York Establishment, which is euphemism for Deep State, is actually more concerned with maintaining its own power by marginalizing Donald Trump and maintaining the perception that Vladimir Putin is the enemy head of state of a Russia that is out to cripple American democracy.

Beyond twisting narratives, Russiagate is also producing potentially dangerous collateral damage to free speech, as one of the objectives of those in the Deep State is to rein in the current internet driven relatively free access to information. In its most recent manifestations, an anonymous group produced a phony list of 200 websites that were "guilty" of serving up Russian propaganda, a George Soros funded think tank identified thousands of individuals who are alleged to be "useful idiots" for Moscow, and legitimate Russian media outlets will be required to register as foreign agents.

Driven by Russophobia over the 2016 election, a group of leading social media corporations including Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Twitter have been experimenting with ways to self-censor their product to keep out foreign generated or "hate" content.

They even have a label for it: "cyberhate" . Congress is also toying with legislation that will make certain viewpoints unacceptable or even illegal, including a so-called Anti-Semitism Awareness Act that would potentially penalize anyone who criticizes Israel and could serve as a model for banning other undesirable speech. "Defamatory speech" could even eventually include any criticism of the government or political leaders, as is now the case in Turkey, which is the country where the "Deep State" was invented.

serotonindumptruck , Nov 17, 2017 8:14 PM

Fear is the order of the day. Be very, very afraid of that militarily-weak nation on the other side of the world, who poses no legitimate and imminent threat to the US. Hegemonic Empire always attacks those nations who are perceived to be weaker than the Empire. It represents the death knell of Empire, and is typically the final stage of economic and political collapse.

Publicus_Reanimated , Nov 17, 2017 9:07 PM

Howard Beale: "We deal in illusions, man. None of it is true! But you people sit there day after day, night after night, all ages, colors, creeds. We're all you know. You're beginning to believe the illusions we're spinning here. You're beginning to think that the tube is reality and that your own lives are unreal. You do whatever the tube tells you. You dress like the tube, you eat like the tube, you raise your children like the tube. You even think like the tube. This is mass madness. You maniacs. In God's name, you people are the real thing. We are the illusion. So turn off your television sets. Turn them off now. Turn them off right now. Turn them off and leave them off. Turn them off right in the middle of this sentence I am speaking to you now. Turn them off!"

-- Network

If you are too young to have heard of this movie, now you know.

Cherubim , Nov 17, 2017 9:53 PM

Never in my long life have I ever seen such twistedness in the mainstream media. In the days of Nixon and Watergate, there was a media agenda. But it was based in truth. This crap we get now is complete Deep State party line.

I wonder if there ever was a time in history where the media in a country was so full of fabrication and propaganda. If there was, I would be interested in hearing how they had a downfall. It seems the media in this country can be so completely covered in deceit and lies and false claims, yet somehow not be accountable for it.

The only thing in history that I know that would compare to this is the Pravda in the old Soviet days of Brezhnev. And I'm not sure how that came finally tumbling down.

wide angle tree , Nov 17, 2017 9:55 PM

The whole Russiagate bullshite has once again destroyed the credibility of the intel agencies and the media. Really old idiots are in charge of these things.

[Nov 13, 2017] Why Robert Mueller Was Selected To Be The Special Prosecutor

It might well be that Chrystal night in KSA can be a serious blow to fouces which want to depose President Trump. People arrested, especally prince Bandar know way too much. I wonder what will happen if Trump manage to get from Mohammed bin Salman protocols of interrogation of Price Bandarr on interesting to him topics.
Notable quotes:
"... The Saudis were also shielded from Washington's foreign-policy bureaucracy. A government expert on Saudi affairs told me that Prince Bandar dealt exclusively with the men at the top, and never met with desk officers and the like. "Only a tiny handful of people inside the government are familiar with U.S.-Saudi relations," he explained. "And that is purposeful. ..."
"... Both Mueller and Comey were high enough "at the top" so as to know what the people below them needed to hide in order to succeed in their careers ..."
"... William Perry, who was the United States Secretary of Defense at the time that this bombing happened, said in an interview in June 2007 that "he now believes al-Qaida rather than Iran was behind a 1996 truck bombing at an American military base."[25] ..."
"... Although they'd been aware of each other for years, sharing their similar orbits, Comey and Mueller were first brought together professionally by then-FBI director Louis Freeh in the opening days of the Bush administration. As the Bush administration took office in 2001, Freeh asked Bob Mueller, who was acting as John Ashcroft's deputy attorney general, to transfer the [Khobar] case to Comey. ..."
"... So, Comey and Mueller were brought in by Freeh because Freeh was about to retire and he wanted successors who would be committed to the theory of the case, that Freeh had gotten from Prince Bandar. If Comey and Mueller wouldn't go along with that torture-extracted 'testimony' as 'evidence', then their ability to become appointed head the FBI would have been zero. Freeh, Comey, and Mueller are a team - a team that serves the Bushes and the Sauds . But not the American public. ..."
"... CLOSING NOTE: This article had been submitted to, and rejected by, the 39 publications listed here at the bottom, sent to each as an exclusive, but since they all rejected it without comment, I now am sending it not just to them but to the entire U.S. newsmedia, on a non-exclusive and free-of-charge basis to publish. ..."
Nov 12, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

It all began with the 1996 bombing of the Khobar Towers apartment complex in the Saudi city of Khobar, which killed 19 U.S. military, who worked at the Dharan air base three miles away.

That incident became the lynchpin of the accusation by the Saudi royal family, the U.S. State Department , and the CIA , that Iran is the foremost state sponsor of terrorism .

Both Robert Mueller and his longtime ally James Comey (the latter of whose firing as the FBI chief, by U.S. President Trump, had sparked the appointment of Mueller to become the Special Counsel investigating the U.S. President) performed crucial roles in establishing that the Khobar Towers bombing had been a Hezbollah operation run by the Iranian Government - and, starting upon this basis, in helping to develop the case that Iran "is the foremost state sponsor of terrorism."

However, as has been made clear by several great independent investigative journalists, on the basis of far more-solid documentation than the official account, the Khobar Towers bombing was instead entirely a fundamentalist-Sunni operation, specifically perpetrated by Al Qaeda, which hates Shia and which also hates America's military presence in the Middle East. Osama bin Laden's claim of the bombing's having been done by Al Qaeda, was, in fact, entirely honest and accurate.

America's "Deep State," which extends to Saudi Arabia and to a number of other Governments - it's an international network - is deeply committed to supporting the fundamentalist-Sunni war to conquer and destroy Shia Islam, and not merely to conquer the leading Shia nation, which is Iran. The U.S. Government has intensely taken a side in the Sunni-Shia religious war. That war is comparable in some respects to the 30 Years' War (1618-1648) between Catholics and Protestants , which killed an estimated eight million Europeans; and, both the United States and Israel have clearly joined with the fundamentalist-Sunni leaders, against Iran, and against Shia generally.

The reasons behind the prevailing lies about this matter will also be documented here. Discrepancies between the official story and the solidly documented facts, need to be explained, in order for a reader to be able to understand truthfully why Mueller (who cooperated with Comey in order to rig the official account of the bombing, so as to condemn Iran and Hezbollah instead of Al Qaeda) received his appointment. This is also important in order to understand why Trump, though rabidly anti-Iranian himself, is nonetheless insufficiently anti-Iranian to satisfy the Sauds, Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, or the rest of the U.S.-and-allied Deep State.

Before proceeding further here, however, the statistical falseness of the allegation that Iran is the foremost state-sponsor of terrorism has to be clearly recognized as being the ultimate fact ; because, if this entire question - to which Mueller and Comey contributed so importantly to answering by their identifying Iran (and Shia generally) as being precisely that ('the foremost state sponsor of terrorism') -- can be assessed at all objectively, then the statistical answer to it would certainly be the objective one.

Wikipedia's article on "Iran and state-sponsored terrorism" says: "According to the Global Terrorism Database , the majority of deaths, more than 94% attributed to Islamic terrorism since 2001, were perpetrated by Sunni jihadists of the Islamic State , al-Qaeda and others. [3] [4] ." Only 6% were Shiites, at all -- from any country. Similarly, my own independent study of 54 especially prominent global instances of Islamic terrorism was headlined (and reported that) "All Islamic Terrorism Is Perpetrated by Fundamentalist Sunnis, Except Terrorism Against Israel." (The anti-Israel terrorist instances might constitute the "6%" which was referred to in the Wikipedia article, but that article provided no good link to its source for the "6%" figure.)

So: the basic allegation is false, that Iran is the foremost state-sponsor of terrorism; the general allegation isn't anywhere near to being true. It's a lie.

More specifically, now, regarding the Khobar Towers incident, which triggered the start of this fraudulent generalization:

The Saudi royal family asserted, immediately after the bombing, that the attack had been perpetrated by jihadists who had returned from Afghanistan and who were now fighting to overthrow Saudi Arabia's Government (the royal Saud family).

For example, on 15 August 1996, the New York Times headlined "Saudi Rebels Are Main Suspects In June Bombing of a U.S. Base" , and reported that, "The Government of Saudi Arabia now believes that native Saudi Islamic militants, including many veterans of the Afghan war, carried out the June 25 bombing that killed 19 American servicemen at a base in Dhahran, Saudi officials said today." However, the "mujahideen" who had fought in Afghanistan were paid and backed both by the Sauds and by the U.S. Government, For example, as early as 1979, Zbigniew Brzezinski flew into Pakistan and exhorted the Taliban there to become mujahideen in Afghanistan because "That land over there is yours; you'll go back to it one day, because your fight will prevail, and you will have your homes and your mosques back again, because your cause is right and God is on your side."

https://www.youtube.com/embed/A9RCFZnWGE0

Then, starting in 1980, "From the Pakistani border, bin Laden raises funds and provides the mujahedeen with logistical and humanitarian aid." So, the Sauds' allegation that the Khobar bombers had been "veterans of the Afghan war" would have meant that they had been foot-soldiers for the U.S.-Saudi operation in Afghanistan. Both the U.S. Government and the Saud family (who own the Saudi Government) hate Shia and especially hate Iran. Hezbollah are Shia, and they are extremely pro-Iran. How likely is it that Hezbollah, anywhere, would have been fighting under the command of Al Qaeda, or of any other fundamentalist-Sunni jihadist organization that calls all Shia "infidels"? So, the Sauds' account of the Khobar Towers bombing is fishy, at best.

Furthermore, a Google-search for the phrase "Hezbollah in Afghanistan" turns up only "6 results," and all of them say nothing about any "Hezbollah in Afghanistan." No report comes up about such a thing, for any year, or any period. The only countries where Hezbollah was reported to exist were Iran, Syria, and Lebanon. One of the links in that Google search was globally comprehensive for the year 2007, the Center on International Cooperation's "Annual Review of Global Peace Operations -- 2007" . It included reports on wars during that year, in 26 countries, and the chapter for Afghanistan (pages 52-58) doesn't mention Hezbollah even once. However, a search for the phrase "Hezbollah Afghanistan" does bring up "Syria's Other Foreign Fighters: Iran's Afghan and Pakistani Mercenaries" , at the neoconservative (and thus favoring not only the American aristocracy but its allied aristocracies -- especially in Saudi Arabia and Israel) The National Interest, dated 20 November 2015. That article says, "The liwa' fatimiyun (Fatimiyun Brigade) is composed exclusively of Afghans and fights under the auspices of Hezbollah Afghanistan," based in Syria. Other supposed foreign Shiites trying to overthrow Syria's Government are mentioned, as being supposedly "Pakistanis fighting in Syria under the Hezbollah flag." However, if these allegations are true, then those men would be opponents of Syria's secular government, which is headed by the secular Shiite Bashar al-Assad, who is being attacked by fundamentalist Sunnis -- including both ISIS and Al Qaeda there -- who are trying to kill Hezbollah in Syria, who are, in fact, defending Assad. (Such illogical 'historical' accounts as that, are normal in neoconservative publications -- counterfactuality is entirely acceptable to them.) Either that, or else the alleged Shiite Pakistanis who are fighting in Syria to overthrow the Shiite Assad and replace him with a fundamentalist Sunni regime, would be -- not actually members of Hezbollah, but instead -- Shiites from Pakistan who came to Syria in order to help actually not to overthrow the Government but to defend it against its rabidly anti-Shia attackers. That's the opposite of the assumption that The National Interest made, but it conceivably could be the case. A Pew survey scientifically randomly sampled 1,512 Pakistanis, and found that 1,450 of them declared themselves to be "Muslim," which is 96%. It also found that 94% of Pakistanis (of any or no faith) say that religion is "very important" in their lives, and found that 81% of the Muslims said they were "Sunni," 6% said they were "Shiite," and 12% said they were "Just a Muslim." So, only 6% of Pakistanis identify themselves specifically as "Shia." That is such a small percentage of Shiites in Pakistan, as to make unlikely any significant contribution that Pakistanis would be providing to the defense of Syria, which is at least 1,800 miles or 2,900 kilometers, away -- not even in the same general region. But, in any case, that neoconservative magazine's assumptions regarding the entire matter are clearly false.

Clearly, then, the logical feasibility of the U.S. Government's case against Iran is so tiny as to constitute almost an absolute impossibility of that case being true.

Now, then, let's consider the specifics of the case

The great investigative journalist Greg Palast, in his 2003 The Best Democracy Money Can Buy (pages 101-102), wrote:

True-blue Democrats may want to skip the next paragraphs. If President Bush put the kibosh on investigations of Saudi funding of terror and nuclear bomb programs, this was merely taking a policy of Bill Clinton one step further.

Following the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia, Clinton hunted Osama with a passion -- but a passion circumscribed by the desire to protect the sheikdom sitting atop our oil lifeline. In 1994, a Saudi diplomat defected to the United States with 14,000 pages of documents from the kingdom's sealed file cabinets. This mother lode of intelligence included evidence of plans for the assassination of Saudi opponents living in the West and, tantalizingly, details of the $7 billion the Saudis gave to Saddam Hussein for his nuclear program -- the first attempt to build an Islamic bomb. The Saudi government, according to the defector, Mohammed Al Khilewi, slipped Saddam the nuclear loot during the Reagan and Bush Sr. years when our government still thought Saddam too marvelous for words [because he was trying to slaughter Shiite Iran]. The thought was that he would only use the bomb to vaporize Iranians [which the rulers of both the U.S. and Saudi Arabia -- and of Israel -- would love].

Clinton granted the Saudi defector asylum, but barred the FBI from looking at the documents. Al Khilewi's New York lawyer, Michael Wildes, told me he was stunned. Wildes handles some of America's most security-sensitive asylum cases. "We said (to the FBI), 'Here, take the documents! Go get some bad guys with them! We'll even pay for the photocopying!" But the agents who came to his office had been ordered not to accept evidence of Saudi criminal activity, even on U.S. soil.

In 1997, the Canadians caught and extradited to America one of the [Saudi-Government-alleged] Khobar Towers attackers. In 1999, Vernon Jordan's law firm stepped in and -- p