Softpanorama

Home Switchboard Unix Administration Red Hat TCP/IP Networks Neoliberalism Toxic Managers
May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Bigger doesn't imply better. Bigger often is a sign of obesity, of lost control, of overcomplexity, of cancerous cells

Deep State

News Media-Military-Industrial Complex Recommended Books Recommended Links National Security State / Surveillance State Big Uncle is Watching You  US and British media are servants of security apparatus
 Nation under attack meme Fake News scare and US NeoMcCartyism Trump vs. Deep State Anti Trump Hysteria Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak Neoconservatism New American Militarism
Jingoism of the US neoliberal elite American Exceptionalism Corporatism Neo-fascism Inverted Totalitarism Bureaucracies Bureaucracy as a Political Coalition
Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism  The Pareto Law Amorality of neoliberal elite Casino Capitalism Ayn Rand and Objectivism Cult Pluralism as a myth What's the Matter with Kansas
Neoliberal Brainwashing: Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few The Guardian Slips Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment The importance of controlling the narrative  Patterns of Propaganda Corruption of Regulators Two Party System as polyarchy Audacious Oligarchy and Loss of Trust
Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton - unsuccessful deep state candidate for presidency US Presidential Elections of 2016 as a referendum on neoliberal globalization Swiftboating Trump: Khan gambit against Trump at the Democratic Convention Obama: a yet another Neocon Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Robert Kagan Paul Wolfowitz
Wrecking Crew: Notes on Republican Economic Policy Libertarian Philosophy In Goldman Sachs we trust: classic example of regulatory capture by financial system hackers Groupthink Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc

Introduction


DEEP STATE n. A hard-to-perceive level of government or super-control that exists regardless of elections and that may thwart popular movements or radical change. Some have said that Egypt is being manipulated by its deep state.

A Wordnado of Words in 2013 - NYTimes.com , Dec 21, 2013

"For some time I have been disturbed by the way the CIA has been diverted from its original assignment. It has become an operational and at times a policy-making arm of the government.... I never had any thought that when I set up the CIA that it would be injected into peacetime cloak and dagger operations."

President Harry Truman

"For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies primarily on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence - on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day.

It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations. Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, no secret is revealed."

President John_F._Kennedy, speech on April 27, 1961

In the mind of ordinary American the term "Deep State" and "democracy" happily coexist. Most do not even understand that they are infected  with what in famous George Orwell novel 1984 is called "Doublethink."  The  existence of uncontrollable elite is incompatible with the existence of the democracy, unless we assume that democracy exists for the top 1% or even less of the population. It is some modernized feudalism for all the rest. This strange, but stable combination is called neoliberalism.

In a way, the concept of  Corporatism and the concept of  "deep state" are very close. Corporatism presuppose the merger of government and corporations. It can be done openly as was the case in Mussolini Italy, or via back door including the "revolving door" mechanism as it was done in the USA. In the latter case part of power of 'surface state" is preserved.  Deep state just adds another component to corporatism power structure -- intelligence agencies.  With this addition elections became simply device to legitimize the governance of the current elite, with undesirable candidates filtered before they can compete in election by various means, including radical as was the cans with JFK assassination.  Elections serve just of Potemkin village legitimizing the chose of tiny elite. With the exception of deep social crisis like was the case with election of Trump, who definitely was less preferred by the deep state candidate then Hillary Clinton.

We can say that Deep State emerged simultaneously with powerful intelligence agencies after WWII.  In case of the USA it was Truman who created added CIA to the roster of intelligence agencies and as such he can be called a godfather of the US deep state. This concept became more well known recently in view of color revolution against Trump launched by Clinton wing of Democratic party (so called "soft neoliberal" wing)  in association the supporting them elements of intelligence agencies such as State Department, CIA and FBI. 

The concept of the deep state is related to the answer the another fundamental question: Can democracy exists in a state with powerful intelligence agencies like NSA, CIA, FBI (which plays the role of counterintelligence agency in the USA; look at Russiagate) and the State Department (which has functions,  which duplicate those of CIA).  Thus  the concept of the "deep state" can be viewed as a reformulation of the iron law of oligarchy  on a new level (state level), explaining the role of intelligence agencies as an immanent part of the ruling elite.  For example, the neoliberals elite which rules the USA since late 70th (Carter not Reagan was the first neoliberal president of the USA).

Intelligence agencies  acquired a special status under corporatism. They became the backbone and intellectual center of the Media-Military-Industrial Complex which now is extended to major Wall Street banks (which historically have a very close ties with CIA; CIA was formed by lawyers which served their interests such  as Allen Dulles).   Under neoliberalism the financial oligarchy became the most important part of this complex (especially oligarchy of such banks as Goldman Sachs  and Citibank). Recently Silicon Valley mega corporations also joined it and all of them are closely connected to NSA and CIA (especially Amazon, Google and Facebook).  In a way military-industrial complex mutated into Media-Military-Financial-Industrial-Silicon Valley complex.

This is a new unelected aristocracy with huge financial resources. Member of this  clan stands above law and can't be easily demotes from their positions (on intelligence agencies level, J. Edgar Hoover   who managed to die in his official position, much like the USSR members of Politburo, is an excellent example here).  They now are a new incarnation of  the "royal court", or in more modern term Nomenklatura, which can, like in old times,  to depose a monarch or even kill him.

So in a way the concept of "deep state"  implies and emphasizes the hypertrophied role of three letter agencies among unelected government bureaucracy. They are  joined at the heap with financial oligarchy, MIC and Silicon Valley in national politics. Especially in formulating foreign policy. Influence of MIC on  the US foreign policy is nothing new and power of neocon, who are, in essence, lobbyists of MIC attests that. They dominate the USA foreign policy since then end of WWII.  After all one of the most plausible hypotheses of why JFK was killed is that his policies were directed against and curtain power of intelligences agencies (especially CIA which he hated) and MIC.

But devil is always in details and some features of the USA deep state are unique and different the deep state in other neoliberal countries such as EU, GB, Turkey, or Russia. BTW the term "deep state" originated in Turkey. 

The "deep state" victory over voters and political dominance is always "incomplete."  The "surface state" is still keeping some positions and periodically even try to counterattack deep state in certain areas (Church Committee.) Second, the merger of interests of three letter agencies like CIA/NSA/ FBI also has its own internal contraditions. For example NSA and CIA competes for funds. State Department, which is forth most important intelligence  agency  in the USA (and the oldest of all four)  now lost its independence  and can generally be viewed as a subsidiary of CIA, see Emailgate and  Strzogate for details ). Alliance of CIA and Wall Street also can never be absolute. They have somewhat different worldviews on both the USA foreign policy priorities and methods of achieving them. Also there is a fierce competition between intelligence agencies for state resources, which pitch, for example, CIA against NSA and both of then against DIA (just look at Sacrifice of Michael Flynn to neocons story). As we can see from Syria war such differences can lead to essentially supporting hostile to each other  groups of insurgent while trying to achieve the same color revolution based "regime change" in the country.

The statement that relations between three letter agencies are far from harmonious are supported by leaked story about how CIA ('humint") was very concerned about recent rise of status and capabilities of NSA ("sigint") and tried to duplicate its capabilities ( Vault 7 scandal)  They lie to each other and try to poach  funds from the other agencies. Vault 7 scandal is a strong confirmation that CIA brass is very concerted about increased role and influence of NSA in the era on Internet communications and is trying to counterattack and undermine it.

Add to this a special, more independent, status and role of military intelligence which also now is not in best relations with both CIA and NSA. Destiny of General Flynn, who served as the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency,  and in 2017 was entrapped by FBI with the help of NSA and CIA is a strong sign there not much love left between DIA and other agencies (with DIA probably being the most competent of them all three). So in certain areas they are more like spiders in the cage with CIA perfectly capable attacking NSA and DIA and vise versa. That gives us some hope. 

The rise of intelligence  agenizes inevitably led to conversion of the state into national security state and we can talk about "election democracy" in such state only with great reservations. Yes some freedom to chose candidatures still exist (as Sanders and, possibly, Trump emergence in 2016 elections attests), but the  final choice is more often then not is determined by intelligence agencies, not so much by voters (FBI derailing of Sanders in favor of establishment candidate -- Hillary Clinton -- quite vividly attests this fact; not that Sanders fought a good fight in this respect serving more like a sheep dog in the elections).

Two party system invented by elite of Great Britain proved to be perfect for inverted totalitarism type of regimes, including the US neoliberalism.  But there is second trend here which increase the elite control of the county:  this is dramatic transfer of power to institutions of "deep state", which in certain sense now like TBTF are beyond civil  control. As well as a secret alliance between Wall Street and CIA and other three letter agencies.

All those factors essentially make Presidential and Congress election in the USA truly optional, serving mostly ceremonial, decorative function. Yes elections still continue to exist and sometime provide good theater, within the strict rules of an emasculated "two parties, winner takes all" system, which if you think about it is not that different from one party elections in the USSR.

They still have a role in legitimizing the current rulers, although actual rules are not the same as those who were elected. This is especially true about the two recent US Presidents: George W Bush and Barack Obama.  And that explains why Barack Obama foreign policy is essentially a continuation of policy of George W Bush with minor tweaks.  Just the fact that neocon Victoria Nuland who worked for Cheney was promoted to the key role of the  Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs  tells that Obama controls very little in foreign policy area and that 'deep state" is functioning autonomously and without control of "surface state".

The USA political system does not have a single government. It actually has two distinct governments. They are called "surface state" or Madisonians and "deep state" or Trumanites (national security establishment in alliance with selected members of financial oligarchy, media owners and technocrats). The latter term emerged because it was Harry Truman who signed National Security Act of 1947  which created major three letter agencies (CIA, DOD, FBI and NSA).

Simplifying the complex relation between those two US governments (sometimes Madisonians fight back and have Trumanites to make a temporary retreat) we can say that:

In other words, the "Deep state" represent the actual government of the society by unelected elite, which is composed of high-level officials within the intelligence services, military, law enforcement, judiciary and, often, organized crime. It should be viewed as an extended and more realistic variant of military industrial complex dominance (see Media-Military-Industrial Complex) as it includes selected members of financial oligarchy along with industrialists, Internet moguls,  and media owners.  In British author John le Carré’s latest novel, A Delicate Truth, a character describes the Deep State as

“… the ever-expanding circle of non-governmental insiders from banking, industry and commerce who were cleared for highly classified information denied to large swathes of Whitehall and Westminster.”

Conversion of system of governance to "deep state" which happened in the USA almost immediately after 1947 essentially made large part of federal elections including Presidential elections optional, but they still continue to exist as a ceremonial function for the sake of providing the legitimacy of the government in an emasculated "two parties system" form.  While relationship is more complex then simple dominance, in essence "deep state" is the tail that wags the dog. And JFK assassination (Nov 22, 1963)  meant first of all the triumph of "deep state" over "surface state". In this sense 9/11 was just the last nail in the coffin of democracy.

The term “Deep State” was coined in Turkey (and actually Wikipedia discusses only it) but it is widespread modern phenomenon which is a typical model of governance in all major neoliberal states, including the USA, GB and France. For example, it able to govern the United States without reference to the consent of the governed as expressed through the formal political process. That's why elected candidates swiftly perform "bat and switch" maneuver and conduct polices radically different from those for which they were elected. As any elite dominance project it is deeply anti-democratic although it uses fig leaf of democracy for foreign expansion via color revolutions and wars. 

Like in Third Reich, this dominance is supported by relentless propaganda and brainwashing with mechanisms polished since Reagan to perfection. There is now no problem to create an "enemy of the people" when the elite wants and it does not matter which country or individual is selected as an enemy. The essence of elite politics in this area was best formulated by Hermann Goering, President of the Reichstag, Nazi Party, and Luftwaffe Commander in Chief

Naturally the common people don't want war: Neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

In other words this is a hidden set of political actors and powerful institutions that are concealed within the wider, “visible” state which, essentially, took over the functions of traditional state, leaving such organization of Executive branch, President, congress and courts mainly ceremonial role. Such transformation is well explained by the Iron Law of Oligarchy and in various forms happened in Third Reich, the USSR, Turkey, China and many other countries.

Mike Lofgren: the “deep state” is the Washington-Wall-Street-Silicon-Valley Establishment

Here is how The American Conservative covers this topic:

Steve Sailer links to this unsettling essay by former career Congressional staffer Mike Lofgren, who says the “deep state” — the Washington-Wall-Street-Silicon-Valley Establishment — is a far greater threat to liberty than you think. The partisan rancor and gridlock in Washington conceals a more fundamental and pervasive agreement.

Excerpts:

These are not isolated instances of a contradiction; they have been so pervasive that they tend to be disregarded as background noise. During the time in 2011 when political warfare over the debt ceiling was beginning to paralyze the business of governance in Washington, the United States government somehow summoned the resources to overthrow Muammar Ghaddafi’s regime in Libya, and, when the instability created by that coup spilled over into Mali, provide overt and covert assistance to French intervention there. At a time when there was heated debate about continuing meat inspections and civilian air traffic control because of the budget crisis, our government was somehow able to commit $115 million to keeping a civil war going in Syria and to pay at least £100m to the United Kingdom’s Government Communications Headquarters to buy influence over and access to that country’s intelligence. Since 2007, two bridges carrying interstate highways have collapsed due to inadequate maintenance of infrastructure, one killing 13 people. During that same period of time, the government spent $1.7 billion constructing a building in Utah that is the size of 17 football fields. This mammoth structure is intended to allow the National Security Agency to store a yottabyte of information, the largest numerical designator computer scientists have coined. A yottabyte is equal to 500 quintillion pages of text. They need that much storage to archive every single trace of your electronic life.

Yes, there is another government concealed behind the one that is visible at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue, a hybrid entity of public and private institutions ruling the country according to consistent patterns in season and out, connected to, but only intermittently controlled by, the visible state whose leaders we choose. My analysis of this phenomenon is not an exposé of a secret, conspiratorial cabal; the state within a state is hiding mostly in plain sight, and its operators mainly act in the light of day. Nor can this other government be accurately termed an “establishment.” All complex societies have an establishment, a social network committed to its own enrichment and perpetuation. In terms of its scope, financial resources and sheer global reach, the American hybrid state, the Deep State, is in a class by itself. That said, it is neither omniscient nor invincible. The institution is not so much sinister (although it has highly sinister aspects) as it is relentlessly well entrenched. Far from being invincible, its failures, such as those in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, are routine enough that it is only the Deep State’s protectiveness towards its higher-ranking personnel that allows them to escape the consequences of their frequent ineptitude.
 

More:

Washington is the most important node of the Deep State that has taken over America, but it is not the only one. Invisible threads of money and ambition connect the town to other nodes. One is Wall Street, which supplies the cash that keeps the political machine quiescent and operating as a diversionary marionette theater. Should the politicians forget their lines and threaten the status quo, Wall Street floods the town with cash and lawyers to help the hired hands remember their own best interests. The executives of the financial giants even have de facto criminal immunity. On March 6, 2013, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Eric Holder stated the following: “I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy.” This, from the chief law enforcement officer of a justice system that has practically abolished the constitutional right to trial for poorer defendants charged with certain crimes. It is not too much to say that Wall Street may be the ultimate owner of the Deep State and its strategies, if for no other reason than that it has the money to reward government operatives with a second career that is lucrative beyond the dreams of avarice — certainly beyond the dreams of a salaried government employee. [3]

The corridor between Manhattan and Washington is a well trodden highway for the personalities we have all gotten to know in the period since the massive deregulation of Wall Street: Robert Rubin, Lawrence Summers, Henry Paulson, Timothy Geithner and many others. Not all the traffic involves persons connected with the purely financial operations of the government: In 2013, General David Petraeus joined KKR (formerly Kohlberg Kravis Roberts) of 9 West 57th Street, New York, a private equity firm with $62.3 billion in assets. KKR specializes in management buyouts and leveraged finance. General Petraeus’ expertise in these areas is unclear. His ability to peddle influence, however, is a known and valued commodity. Unlike Cincinnatus, the military commanders of the Deep State do not take up the plow once they lay down the sword. Petraeus also obtained a sinecure as a non-resident senior fellow at theBelfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard. The Ivy League is, of course, the preferred bleaching tub and charm school of the American oligarchy.

Lofgren goes on to say that Silicon Valley is a node of the Deep State too, and that despite the protestations of its chieftains against NSA spying, it’s a vital part of the Deep State’s apparatus. More:

The Deep State is the big story of our time. It is the red thread that runs through the war on terrorism, the financialization and deindustrialization of the American economy, the rise of a plutocratic social structure and political dysfunction. Washington is the headquarters of the Deep State, and its time in the sun as a rival to Rome, Constantinople or London may be term-limited by its overweening sense of self-importance and its habit, as Winwood Reade said of Rome, to “live upon its principal till ruin stared it in the face.”

Read the whole thing.  Steve Sailer says that the Shallow State is a complement to the Deep State. The Shallow State is, I think, another name for what the Neoreactionaries call “The Cathedral,” defined thus:

The Cathedral — The self-organizing consensus of Progressives and Progressive ideology represented by the universities, the media, and the civil service. A term coined by blogger Mencius Moldbug. The Cathedral has no central administrator, but represents a consensus acting as a coherent group that condemns other ideologies as evil. Community writers have enumerated the platform of Progressivism as women’s suffrage, prohibition, abolition, federal income tax, democratic election of senators, labor laws, desegregation, popularization of drugs, destruction of traditional sexual norms, ethnic studies courses in colleges, decolonization, and gay marriage. A defining feature of Progressivism is that “you believe that morality has been essentially solved, and all that’s left is to work out the details.” Reactionaries see Republicans as Progressives, just lagging 10-20 years behind Democrats in their adoption of Progressive norms.

You don’t have to agree with the Neoreactionaries on what they condemn — women’s suffrage? desegregation? labor laws? really?? — to acknowledge that they’re onto something about the sacred consensus that all Right-Thinking People share. I would love to see a study comparing the press coverage from 9/11 leading up to the Iraq War with press coverage of the gay marriage issue from about 2006 till today. Specifically, I’d be curious to know about how thoroughly the media covered the cases against the policies that the Deep State and the Shallow State decided should prevail. I’m not suggesting a conspiracy here, not at all. I’m only thinking back to how it seemed so obvious to me in 2002 that we should go to war with Iraq, so perfectly clear that the only people who opposed it were fools or villains. The same consensus has emerged around same-sex marriage. I know how overwhelmingly the news media have believed this for some time, such that many American journalists simply cannot conceive that anyone against same-sex marriage is anything other than a fool or a villain. Again, this isn’t a conspiracy; it’s in the nature of the thing. Lofgren:

Cultural assimilation is partly a matter of what psychologist Irving L. Janis called “groupthink,” the chameleon-like ability of people to adopt the views of their superiors and peers. This syndrome is endemic to Washington: The town is characterized by sudden fads, be it negotiating biennial budgeting, making grand bargains or invading countries. Then, after a while, all the town’s cool kids drop those ideas as if they were radioactive. As in the military, everybody has to get on board with the mission, and questioning it is not a career-enhancing move. The universe of people who will critically examine the goings-on at the institutions they work for is always going to be a small one. As Upton Sinclair said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”

A more elusive aspect of cultural assimilation is the sheer dead weight of the ordinariness of it all once you have planted yourself in your office chair for the 10,000th time. Government life is typically not some vignette from an Allen Drury novel about intrigue under the Capitol dome. Sitting and staring at the clock on the off-white office wall when it’s 11:00 in the evening and you are vowing never, ever to eat another piece of takeout pizza in your life is not an experience that summons the higher literary instincts of a would-be memoirist. After a while, a functionary of the state begins to hear things that, in another context, would be quite remarkable, or at least noteworthy, and yet that simply bounce off one’s consciousness like pebbles off steel plate: “You mean the number of terrorist groups we are fighting is classified?” No wonder so few people are whistle-blowers, quite apart from the vicious retaliation whistle-blowing often provokes: Unless one is blessed with imagination and a fine sense of irony, growing immune to the curiousness of one’s surroundings is easy. To paraphrase the inimitable Donald Rumsfeld, I didn’t know all that I knew, at least until I had had a couple of years away from the government to reflect upon it.

When all you know is the people who surround you in your professional class bubble and your social circles, you can think the whole world agrees with you, or should. It’s probably not a coincidence that the American media elite live, work, and socialize in New York and Washington, the two cities that were attacked on 9/11, and whose elites — political, military, financial — were so genuinely traumatized by the events.

Anyway, that’s just a small part of it, about how the elite media manufacture consent. Here’s a final quote, one from the Moyers interview with Lofgren:

BILL MOYERS: If, as you write, the ideology of the Deep State is not democrat or republican, not left or right, what is it?

MIKE LOFGREN: It’s an ideology. I just don’t think we’ve named it. It’s a kind of corporatism. Now, the actors in this drama tend to steer clear of social issues. They pretend to be merrily neutral servants of the state, giving the best advice possible on national security or financial matters. But they hold a very deep ideology of the Washington consensus at home, which is deregulation, outsourcing, de-industrialization and financialization. And they believe in American exceptionalism abroad, which is boots on the ground everywhere, it’s our right to meddle everywhere in the world. And the result of that is perpetual war.

This can’t last. We’d better hope it can’t last. And we’d better hope it unwinds peacefully.

I, for one, remain glad that so many of us Americans are armed. When the Deep State collapses — and it will one day — it’s not going to be a happy time.

Questions to the room: Is a Gorbachev for the Deep State conceivable? That is, could you foresee a political leader emerging who could unwind the ideology and apparatus of the Deep State, and not only survive, but succeed? Or is it impossible for the Deep State to allow such a figure to thrive? Or is the Deep State, like the Soviet system Gorbachev failed to reform, too entrenched and too far gone to reform itself? If so, what then?

Professor Michael J. Glennon   book “National Security and Double Government.”

The second important thinker in this area is  Professor Michael J. Glennon who wrote the book  “National Security and Double Government.”. The strong point of his views on the subject is that he assumes that there is an internal struggle between those two forms of government, not just passive submission one to another, but in most cases deep state prevails. This move led the USA "beyond a mere imperial presidency to a bifurcated system — a structure of double government — in which even the President now exercises little substantive control over the overall direction of U.S. national security policy."

The "deep state" (call by Professor Michael J. Glennon) The Trumanites, exercise their power due to alliance with Wall Street, almost unlimited funding (with many hidden sources belong US budget),  higher efficiency, abuse of secrecy, exaggerated threats, peer pressure to conform, and corruption of  the key decision-makers.

Here is how Amazon reviewer Mal Warwick summarized the book in his review written on December 22, 2014

Who makes national security decisions? Not who you think!

Why does Barack Obama's performance on national security issues in the White House contrast so strongly with his announced intentions as a candidate in 2008? After all, not only has Obama continued most of the Bush policies he decried when he ran for the presidency, he has doubled down on government surveillance, drone strikes, and other critical programs.

Michael J. Glennon set out to answer this question in his unsettling new book, National Security and Double Government. And he clearly dislikes what he found.

The answer, Glennon discovered, is that the US government is divided between the three official branches of the government, on the one hand — the "Madisonian" institutions incorporated into the Constitution — and the several hundred unelected officials who do the real work of a constellation of military and intelligence agencies, on the other hand. These officials, called "Trumanites" in Glennon's parlance for having grown out of the national security infrastructure established under Harry Truman, make the real decisions in the area of national security. (To wage the Cold War, Truman created the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Department of Defense, the CIA, the NSA, and the National Security Council.) "The United States has, in short," Glennon writes, "moved beyond a mere imperial presidency to a bifurcated system — a structure of double government — in which even the President now exercises little substantive control over the overall direction of U.S. national security policy. . . . The perception of threat, crisis, and emergency has been the seminal phenomenon that has created and nurtures America's double government." If Al Qaeda hadn't existed, the Trumanite network would have had to create it — and, Glennon seems to imply, might well have done so.

The Trumanites wield their power with practiced efficiency, using secrecy, exaggerated threats, peer pressure to conform, and the ability to mask the identity of the key decision-maker as their principal tools.

Michael J. Glennon comes to this task with unexcelled credentials. A professor of international law at Tufts and former legal counsel for the Senate Armed Services Committee, he came face to face on a daily basis with the "Trumanites" he writes about. National Security and Double Government is exhaustively researched and documented: notes constitute two-thirds of this deeply disturbing little book.

The more I learn about how politics and government actually work — and I've learned a fair amount in my 73 years — the more pessimistic I become about the prospects for democracy in America. In some ways, this book is the most worrisome I've read over the years, because it implies that there is no reason whatsoever to think that things can ever get better. In other words, to borrow a phrase from the Borg on Star Trek, "resistance is futile." That's a helluva takeaway, isn't it?

On reflection, what comes most vividly to mind is a comment from the late Chalmers Johnson on a conference call in which I participated several years ago. Johnson, formerly a consultant to the CIA and a professor at two campuses of the University of California (Berkeley and later San Diego), was the author of many books, including three that awakened me to many of the issues Michael Glennon examines: Blowback, The Sorrows of Empire, and Nemesis. Johnson, who was then nearly 80 and in declining health, was asked by a student what he would recommend for young Americans who want to combat the menace of the military-industrial complex. "Move to Vancouver," he said.

Another good summary of the book can be found is review by Bruce Morgan (Shadow Government )

October 28, 2014 | Tufts Now

Elected officials are no longer in charge of our national security—and that is undermining our democracy, says the Fletcher School's Michael Glennon

Michael Glennon in his office

"We are clearly on the path to autocracy," says Michael Glennon. "There's no question that if we continue on that path, [the] Congress, the courts and the presidency will ultimately end up . . . as institutional museum pieces." Photo: Kelvin Ma

Michael Glennon knew of the book, and had cited it in his classes many times, but he had never gotten around to reading the thing from cover to cover. Last year he did, jolted page after page with its illuminating message for our time.

The book was The English Constitution, an analysis by 19th-century journalist Walter Bagehot that laid bare the dual nature of British governance. It suggested that one part of government was for popular consumption, and another more hidden part was for real, consumed with getting things done in the world. As he read, Glennon, a professor of international law at the Fletcher School, where he also teaches constitutional law, saw distinct parallels with the current American political scene.

He decided to explore the similarities in a 30-page paper that he sent around to a number of his friends, asking them to validate or refute his argument. As it happens, Glennon's friends were an extraordinarily well-informed bunch, mostly seasoned operatives in the CIA, the U.S. State Department and the military. "Look," he told them. "I'm thinking of writing a book. Tell me if this is wrong." Every single one responded, "What you have here is exactly right."

Expanded from that original brief paper, Glennon's book National Security and Double Government (Oxford University Press) takes our political system to task, arguing that the people running our government are not our visible elected officials but high-level—and unaccountable—bureaucrats nestled atop government agencies.

Glennon's informed critique of the American political system comes from a place of deep regard. Glennon says he can remember driving into Washington, D.C., in the late spring of 1973, at the time of the Senate Watergate hearings, straight from law school at the University of Minnesota, to take his first job as assistant legislative counsel to the U.S. Senate. Throughout his 20s, he worked in government, culminating in his position as legal counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee under Sen. Frank Church from 1977 to 1980. Since entering academic life in the early 1980s, Glennon has been a frequent consultant to government agencies of all stripes, as well as a regular commentator on media outlets such as NPR's All Things Considered, the Today show and Nightline.

In his new book, an inescapable sadness underlies the narrative. "I feel a great sense of loss," Glennon admits. "I devoted my life to these [democratic] institutions, and it's not easy to see how to throw the current trends into reverse." Tufts Now spoke with Glennon recently to learn more of his perspective.

Tufts Now: You've been both an insider and an outsider with regard to government affairs. What led you to write this book?

Michael Glennon: I was struck by the strange continuity in national security policy between the Bush administration and the Obama administration. Obama, as a candidate, had been eloquent and forceful in criticizing many aspects of the Bush administration's national security policies, from drone strikes to Guantanamo to surveillance by the National Security Agency—the NSA—to covert operations. Yet as president, it turned out that he made very, very few changes in these policies. So I thought it was useful to explain the reason for that.

Were you surprised by the continuity?

I was surprised by the extent of it. I knew fundamentally from my own experience that changing national policies is like trying to change the course of an aircraft carrier. These policies in many ways were set long ago, and the national security bureaucracy tends to favor the status quo. Still, I thought that a president like Obama would, with the political wind in his sails and with so much public and congressional support for what he was criticizing, be more successful in fulfilling his promises.

You use the phrase "double government," coined by Walter Bagehot in the 1860s. What did he mean by that?

Walter Bagehot was one of the founders of the Economist magazine. He developed the theory of "double government," which in a nutshell is this. He said Britain had developed two sets of institutions. First came "dignified" institutions, the monarchy and the House of Lords, which were for show and which the public believed ran the government. But in fact, he suggested, this was an illusion.

These dignified institutions generate legitimacy, but it was a second set of institutions, which he called Britain's "efficient" institutions, that actually ran the government behind the scenes. These institutions were the House of Commons, the Cabinet and the prime minister. This split allowed Britain to move quietly from a monarchy to what Bagehot called a "concealed republic."

The thesis of my book is that the United States has also drifted into a form of double government, and that we have our own set of "dignified" institutions—Congress, the presidency and the courts. But when it comes to national security policy, these entities have become largely for show. National security policy is now formulated primarily by a second group of officials, namely the several hundred individuals who manage the agencies of the military, intelligence and law enforcement bureaucracy responsible for protecting the nation's security.

What are some components of this arrangement?

The NSA, the FBI, the Pentagon and elements of the State Department, certainly; generally speaking, law enforcement, intelligence and the military entities of the government. It's a diverse group, an amorphous group, with no leader and no formal structure, that has come to dominate the formation of American national security policy to the point that Congress, the presidency and the courts all defer to it.

You call this group the "Trumanite network" in your book. What's the link to Harry Truman?

It was in Truman's administration that the National Security Act of 1947 was enacted. This established the CIA and the National Security Council and centralized the command of the U.S. military. It was during the Truman administration as well that the National Security Agency [NSA] was set up, in 1952, although that was a secret and didn't come to light for many years thereafter.

In contrast to the Trumanites you set the "Madisonians." How would you describe them?

The Madisonian institutions are the three constitutionally established branches of the federal government: Congress, the judiciary and the president. They are perceived by the public as the entities responsible for the formulation of national security policy, but that belief is largely mistaken.

The idea is driven by regular exceptions. You can always point to specific instances in which, say, the president personally ordered the killing of Osama bin Laden or Congress enacted the War Powers Resolution. But these are exceptions. The norm is that as a general matter, these three branches defer to the Trumanite network, and that's truer all the time.

So the trend is toward increased power on the Trumanite side of the ledger.

Correct.

If that's true, why has there not been a greater outcry from the public, the media—all the observers we have?

I think the principal reason is that even sophisticated students of government operate under a very serious misunderstanding. They believe that the political system is self-correcting. They believe the framers set up a system of government setting power against power, and ambition against ambition, and that an equilibrium would be reached, and that any abuse of power would be checked, and arbitrary power would be prevented.

That is correct as far as it goes, but the reality is that's only half the picture. The other half is that Madison and his colleagues believed that for equilibrium to occur, we would have an informed and engaged citizenry. Lacking that, the entire system corrupts, because individuals are elected to office who do not resist encroachments on the power of their branches of government, and the whole equilibrium breaks down.

What role, if any, have the media played?

The media have pretty much been enablers. Although there are a handful of investigative journalists who have done a heroic job of uncovering many of the abuses, they are the exception, for a number of reasons. Number one, the media are a business and have a bottom line. It takes a huge amount of money to fund an investigative journalist who goes about finding sources over a period of years. Very few newspapers or television concerns have those sorts of deep pockets.

Second, access for the press is everything. There is huge incentive to pull punches, and you don't get interviews with top-ranking officials at the NSA or CIA if you're going to offer hard-hitting questions. Look, for example, at the infamous 60 Minutes puff piece on the NSA, a really tragic example of how an otherwise respectable institution can sell its soul and act like an annex of the NSA in order to get some people it wants on the TV screen.

What is the role of terror in this environment?

The whole transfer of power from the Madisonian institutions to the Trumanite network has been fueled by a sense of emergency deriving from crisis, deriving from fear. It's fear of terrorism more than anything else that causes the American people to increasingly be willing to dispense with constitutional safeguards to ensure their safety.

Madison believed that government has two great objects. One object of a constitution is to enable the government to protect the people, specifically from external attacks. The other great object of a constitution is to protect the people from the government. The better able the government is to protect the people from external threats, the greater the threat posed by the government to the people.

You've been involved with the U.S. government for 40 years. How has your view of government changed?

Double government was certainly a factor in the 1970s, but it was challenged for the first time thanks to the activism stemming from the civil rights movement, Vietnam and Watergate. As a result, there were individuals in Congress—Democrats and Republicans like William Fulbright, Frank Church, Jacob Javits, Charles Mathias and many others—who were willing to stand up and insist upon adherence to constitutionally ordained principles. That led to a wave of activism and to the enactment of a number of pieces of reform legislation.

But there is no final victory in Washington. Those reforms have gradually been eaten away and turned aside. I think today we are in many ways right back where we were in the early 1970s. NSA surveillance is an example of that. The Church Committee uncovered something called Operation Shamrock, in which the NSA had assembled a watch list of antiwar and civil rights activists based upon domestic surveillance. Church warned at the time that NSA capabilities were so awesome that if they were ever turned inward on the American people, this nation would cross an abyss from which there is no return. The question is whether we have recently crossed that abyss.

To what degree are we still a functioning democracy? I'm sure you know that President Jimmy Carter told a German reporter last year that he thought we no longer qualified as a democracy because of our domestic surveillance.

We are clearly on the path to autocracy, and you can argue about how far we are down that path. But there's no question that if we continue on that path, America's constitutionally established institutions—Congress, the courts and the presidency—will ultimately end up like Britain's House of Lords and monarchy, namely as institutional museum pieces.

Bruce Morgan can be reached at bruce.morgan@tufts.ed

Here is how Christopher Bellavita in Homeland Security Watch summarize an interesting discussion at Cato think tank which I highly recommend to watch:

Why has American national security policy changed so little from the Bush administration to the Obama

That’s the question Michael J. Glennon asks in his book “National Security and Double Government.”

His answer: national security policy is determined largely by “the several hundred managers of the military, intelligence, diplomatic, and law enforcement agencies who are responsible for protecting the nation and who have come to operate largely immune from constitutional and electoral restraints.” The president, congress and the courts play largely a symbolic role in national security policy, Glennon claims.

You can read a Harvard National Security Journal article that outlines Glennon’s argument at this link: http://harvardnsj.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Glennon-Final.pdf.  The paper is not an especially easy read, but I found it to be well researched and – for  me – persuasive.

His book adds more analysis to the argument, using (from Graham Allison’s Essence of Decision) the rational actor model, the government politics model, and the organizational behavior model. Glennon extends that framework by discussing culture, networks, and the myth of alternative competing hypotheses.  The book is richer, in my opinion.  But the core of Glennon’s position is in the paper.

This link takes you to a video of Glennon talking about his book at the Cato Institute: http://www.cato.org/events/national-security-double-government (the talk starts at the 5:20 mark).

From the Cato site:

In National Security and Double Government, Michael Glennon examines the continuity in U.S. national security policy from the Bush administration to the Obama administration. Glennon explains the lack of change by pointing to the enervation of America’s “Madisonian institutions,” namely, the Congress, the presidency, and the courts. In Glennon’s view, these institutions have been supplanted by a “Trumanite network” of bureaucrats who make up the permanent national security state. National security policymaking has been removed from public view and largely insulated from law and politics. Glennon warns that leaving security policy in the hands of the Trumanite network threatens Americans’ liberties and the republican form of government.

Some blurb reviews:

I’ve spoken to three people I consider to be members of the “shadow national security state.”   One person said Glennon’s argument is nothing new.  The second told me he’s got it exactly right.  The third said it’s even worse.

Professor Peter Dale Scott book and articles

If Michael Glennon conceded defeat, but still has some hope, here we enter perfect Dante hell picture along the lines "Leave all hopes those who dare to enter"

Professor Peter Dale Scott book and article represent probably the most comprehensive coverage, especially his book. But the article in the Asia-Pacific journal represents fair summary of his views on the subject (The State, the Deep State, and the Wall Street Overworld (Updated March 13, 2014):

In the last decade it has become more and more obvious that we have in America today what the journalists Dana Priest and William Arkin have called

two governments: the one its citizens were familiar with, operated more or less in the open: the other a parallel top secret government whose parts had mushroomed in less than a decade into a gigantic, sprawling universe of its own, visible to only a carefully vetted cadre – and its entirety…visible only to God.1

And in 2013, particularly after the military return to power in Egypt, more and more authors referred to this second level as America’s “deep state.”2 Here for example is the Republican analyst Mike Lofgren:

There is the visible government situated around the Mall in Washington, and then there is another, more shadowy, more indefinable government that is not explained in Civics 101 or observable to tourists at the White House or the Capitol. The former is traditional Washington partisan politics: the tip of the iceberg that a public watching C-SPAN sees daily and which is theoretically controllable via elections. The subsurface part of the iceberg I shall call the Deep State, which operates according to its own compass heading regardless of who is formally in power.3

At the end of 2013 a New York Times Op-Ed noted this trend, and even offered a definition of the term that will work for the purposes of this essay:

DEEP STATE n. A hard-to-perceive level of government or super-control that exists regardless of elections and that may thwart popular movements or radical change. Some have said that Egypt is being manipulated by its deep state.4

The political activities of the deep state are the chief source and milieu of what I have elsewhere called “deep politics:” “all those political practices and arrangements, deliberate or not, which are usually repressed rather than acknowledged.”5

Others, like Tom Hayden, call the deep state a “state within the state,” and suggest it may be responsible for the failure of the Obama administration to follow the policy guidelines of the president’s speeches:

We have seen evidence of a "state within the state" before, going back as far as the CIA's operations against Cuba. In Obama's time, the president correctly named the 2009 coup in Honduras a "coup", and then seemed powerless to prevent it.6

This development of a two-level or dual state has been paralleled by two other dualities: the increasing resolution of American society into two classes – the “one percent” and the “ninety-nine percent” – and the bifurcation of the U.S. economy into two aspects: the domestic, still subject to some governmental regulation and taxation, and the international, relatively free from governmental controls.7 All three developments have affected and intensified each other – particularly since the Reagan Revolution of 1980, which saw American inequality of wealth cease to diminish and begin to increase.8 Thus for example we shall see how Wall Street – the incarnation of the “one percent” – played a significant role in increasing the deep state after World War Two, and how three decades later the deep state played a significant role in realigning America for the Reagan Revolution.

In earlier books I have given versions of this America-centered account of America’s shift into empire and a deep state. But another factor to be mentioned is the shift of global history towards an increasingly global society dominated by a few emergent superpowers. This trend was accelerated after the Industrial Revolution by new technologies of transport, from the railroad in the 19th century to the jet plane and space travel in the 20th.9

In the fallout from this rearrangement we must include two world wars, as a result of which Britain ceased to act as the dominant superpower it had been since Napoleon. Not surprisingly, the Soviet Union and the United States subsequently competed in a Cold War to fill the gap. It  was not however predetermined that the Cold War would be as thuggish and covertly violent as for decades it continued to be. For that we should look to more contingent causes on both sides of the Iron Curtain – starting with the character of Stalin and his party but also including the partly responsive development of the American deep state.

The Deep State, The Shadow Government and the Wall Street Overworld

The “deep state” was defined by the UK newsletter On Religion as “the embedded anti-democratic power structures within a government, something very few democracies can claim to be free from.”10 The term originated in Turkey in 1996, to refer to U.S.-backed elements, primarily in the intelligence services and military, who had repeatedly used violence to interfere with and realign Turkey’s democratic political process. Sometimes the definition is restricted to elements within the government (or “a state-within-the state”), but more often in Turkey the term is expanded, for historical reasons, to include “members of the Turkish underworld.”11 In this essay I shall use “deep state” in the larger sense, to include both the second level of secret government inside Washington and those outsiders powerful enough, in either the underworld or overworld, to give it direction. In short I shall equate the term “deep state” with what in 1993 I termed a “deep political system:” “ one which habitually resorts to decision-making and enforcement procedures outside as well as inside those publicly sanctioned by law and society.”12

Like myself, Lofgren suggests an ambiguous symbiosis between two aspects of the American deep state:

1)  the Beltway agencies of the shadow government, like the CIA and NSA, which have been instituted by the public state and now overshadow it, and

2)  the much older power of Wall Street, referring to the powerful banks and law firms located there.

In his words,

It is not too much to say that Wall Street may be the ultimate owner of the Deep State and its strategies, if for no other reason than that it has the money to reward government operatives with a second career that is lucrative beyond the dreams of avarice - certainly beyond the dreams of a salaried government employee.13

I shall argue that in the 1950s Wall Street was a dominating complex. It included not just banks and oil firms but also the oil majors whose cartel arrangements were successfully defended against the U.S. Government by the Wall Street law firm Sullivan and Cromwell, home to the Dulles brothers. This larger complex is what I mean by the Wall Street overworld.

The Long History of the Wall Street Overworld

Lofgren’s inclusion of Wall Street is in keeping with Franklin Roosevelt’s observation in 1933 to his friend Col. E.M. House that “The real truth … is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the larger centers has owned the Government ever since the days of Andrew Jackson.”14

FDR’s insight is well illustrated by the efficiency with which a group of Wall Street bankers (including Nelson Rockefeller’s grandfather Nelson Aldrich and Paul Warburg) were able in a highly secret meeting in 1910 to establish the Federal Reserve System – a system which in effect reserved oversight of the nation’s currency supply and of all America’s banks in the not impartial hands of its largest.15 The political clout of the quasi-governmental Federal Reserve Board (where the federal Treasury is represented but does not dominate) was clearly demonstrated in 2008, when Fed leadership secured instant support from the successive administrations of a Texan Republican president, followed by a Midwest Democratic one, for public money to rescue the reckless management of Wall Street banks: banks Too Big To Fail, and of course far Too Big To Jail, but not Too Big To Bail.16

Wall Street and the Launching of the CIA

Top-level Treasury officials, CIA officers, and Wall Street bankers and lawyers think alike because of the “revolving door” by which they pass easily from private to public service and back. In 1946 General Vandenberg, as Director of Central Intelligence (DCI), recruited Allen Dulles, then a Republican lawyer at Sullivan and Cromwell in New York, "to draft proposals for the shape and organization of what was to become the Central Intelligence Agency in 1947." Dulles promptly formed an advisory group of six men, all but one of whom were Wall Street investment bankers or lawyers.17 Dulles and two of the six (William H. Jackson and Frank Wisner) later joined the agency, where Dulles proceeded to orchestrate policies, such as the overthrow of the Arbenz regime in Guatemala, that he had previously discussed in New York at the Council on Foreign Relations.18

There seems to be little difference in Allen Dulles’s influence whether he was a Wall Street lawyer or a CIA director. Although he did not formally join the CIA until November 1950, he was in Berlin before the start of the 1948 Berlin Blockade, “supervising the unleashing of anti-Soviet propaganda across Europe.”19 In the early summer of 1948 he set up the American Committee for a United Europe (ACUE), support of what became by the early 1950s “the largest CIA operation in Western Europe.”20

The Deep State and Funds for CIA Covert Operations

Wall Street was also the inspiration for what eventually became the CIA’s first covert operation: the use of “over $10 million in captured Axis funds to influence the [Italian] election [of 1948].”21 (The fundraising had begun at the wealthy Brook Club in New York; but Allen Dulles, still a Wall Street lawyer, persuaded Washington, which at first had preferred a private funding campaign, to authorize the operation through the National Security Council and the CIA.)22

Dulles’s friend Frank Wisner then left Wall Street to oversee an enlarged covert operations program through the newly created Office of Policy Co-ordination (OPC). Dulles, still a lawyer, campaigned successfully to reconstruct Western Europe through what became known as the Marshall Plan.23 Together with George Kennan and James Forrestal, Dulles also “helped devise a secret codicil [to the Marshall Plan] that gave the CIA the capability to conduct political warfare. It let the agency skim millions of dollars from the plan.”24

This created one of the earlier occasions when the CIA, directly or indirectly, recruited local assets involved in drug trafficking. AFL member Irving Brown, the assistant of AFL official Jay Lovestone (a CIA asset), was implicated in drug smuggling activities in Europe, at the same time that he used funds diverted from the Marshall Plan to establish

a "compatible left" labor union in Marseilles with Pierre Ferri-Pisani. On behalf of Brown and the CIA, Ferri-Pisani (a drug smuggler connected with Marseilles crime lord Antoine Guerini), hired goons to shellack striking Communist dock workers.25

An analogous funding source for the CIA developed in the Far East: the so-called

"M-Fund," a secret fund of money of enormous size that has existed in Japan [in 1991] for more than forty years. The Fund was established by the United States in the immediate postwar era for essentially the same reasons that later gave rise to the Marshall Plan of assistance by the U.S. to Western Europe, including the Federal Republic of Germany….. The M-Fund was used not only for the building of a democratic political system in Japan but, in addition, for all of the purposes for which Marshall Plan funds were used in Europe.26

For at least two decades the CIA lavishly subsidized right-wing parties in countries including Japan and Indonesia, possibly still using captured Axis funds.27 (One frequently encounters the claim that the source of the M-fund was gold looted by Japan during World War Two (“Yamashita’s gold”).28

As a general rule the CIA, rather than assimilating these funds into its own budget, appears to have left them off the books in the hands of cooperative allied powers – ranging from other U.S. agencies like the Economic Cooperation Administration (ECA. set up in 1948 to administer the Marshall Plan) to oil companies to powerful drug kingpins.29

The CIA never abandoned its dependency on funds from outside its official budget to conduct its clandestine operations. In Southeast Asia, in particular, its proprietary firm Sea Supply Inc., supplied an infrastructure for a drug traffic supporting a CIA-led paramilitary force, PARU.30 The CIA appears also to have acted in coordination with slush funds from various U.S. government contracts, ranging from the Howard Hughes organization to (as we shall see) the foreign arms sales of U.S. defense corporations like Lockheed and Northrop.31

... ... ....


Top updates

Bulletin Latest Past week Past month
Google Search


NEWS CONTENTS

Old News ;-)

Home 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014

For the list of top articles see Recommended Links section

The Deep State 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015

[Jan 17, 2019] The Kennedy Assassination plot overlord was Naval Intelligence.

Jan 17, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Red Ryder , Jan 17, 2019 3:15:46 PM | link

If you search the most nefarious and deadly covert operations, you will usually find Naval Intelligence deeply involved.

Bush-CIA was always a cover for Bush-Naval Intel.

The Kennedy Assassination plot overlord was Naval Intelligence.

The most pervasive war-mongering by the Hegemon is led by US Naval Intelligence.

See Bob Woodward's background, even Steve Bannon's CV.

The US Navy projects US hegemonic power and is decisive for Logistical transport of war efforts.

The most elite of SOF is Navy SEALS. SEALS are always sent on the most sensitive missions.

The Rumsfeld-Cebrowski doctrine followed this century to destroy the sovereignty of third world states is the masterplan of Cebrowski, an Admiral. Thierry Meyssan always refers to it as the strategic basis for the chaos in MENA and coming to Africa and Latin America.

From the USS Maine in Havana harbor, to Pearl Harbor, to Iran-Contra, to Iraq,Libya, Syria, the handprint is there.

[Jan 17, 2019] Yinon Plan, Israeli strategic plan to ensure regional superiority, stipulates that Israel must balkanize neighboring Arab states

Jan 17, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Chupacabra-322, 21 minutes ago link

The Zionist Plan for the Middle East, also known as the Yinon Plan, is an Israeli strategic plan to ensure Israeli regional superiority. It insists and stipulates that Israel must reconfigure its geo-political environment through the balkanization of the surrounding Arab states into smaller and weaker states.

The reach of a "Greater Israel", as described in the Yinon plan.

When viewed in the current context, the war on Iraq, the 2006 war on Lebanon, the 2011 war on Libya, the ongoing war on Syria, not to mention the process of regime change in Egypt, must be understood in relation to the Zionist Plan for the Middle East. The latter consists in weakening and eventually fracturing neighboring Arab states as part of an Israeli expansionist project.

"Greater Israel" consists in an area extending from the Nile Valley to the Euphrates.

Israeli strategists viewed Iraq as their biggest strategic challenge. This is why Iraq was outlined as the centerpiece to the balkanization of the Middle East and the Arab World. In Iraq, on the basis of the concepts of the Yinon Plan, Israeli strategists have called for the division of Iraq into a Kurdish state and two Arab states, one Shiite and the other Sunni.

The Atlantic, in 2008, and the U.S. military's Armed Forces Journal, in 2006, both published widely circulated maps that closely followed the outline of the Yinon Plan. Aside from a divided Iraq, the Yinon Plan calls for a divided Lebanon, Egypt, and Syria. The Yinon Plan also calls for color revolutions (Arab Spring) North Africa and forecasts it as starting from Egypt and then spilling over into Sudan, Libya, and the rest of the region.

"Greater Israel" requires the breaking up of the existing Arab states into small states. The plan operates on two essential premises. To survive, Israel must

  1. become an imperial regional power, and
  2. must effect the division of the whole area into small states by the dissolution of all existing Arab states.

Small here will depend on the ethnic or sectarian composition of each state. Consequently, the Zionist hope is that sectarian-based states become Israel's satellites and, ironically, its source of moral legitimation This is not a new idea, nor does it surface for the first time in Zionist strategic thinking. Indeed, fragmenting all Arab states into smaller units has been a recurrent theme.

Viewed in this context, the war on Syria is part of the process of Israeli territorial expansion. Israeli intelligence working hand in glove with the US, Turkey and NATO is directly supportive of the Al Qaeda terrorist mercenaries inside Syria.

The Zionist Project also requires the destabilization of Egypt, the creation of factional divisions within Egypt as instrumented by the "Arab Spring" leading to the formation of a sectarian based State dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood.

[Jan 17, 2019] Managerialism is synonym for corporatism

Jan 17, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

JulesBywaterLees -> Zagradotryad , 29 Nov 2018 08:29

Managerialism is a state of European/Western politics, power has moved to large corporations. In 2008 the finance industry held countries to ransom...
Zagradotryad , 29 Nov 2018 08:03

power that has become too distant from the people.

That's the problem.

It's not technology, or Russians, or Trump or any other of the things you throw up to convince yourself the problem is external.

Managerialism has merely delivered gross inequality. The tools don't matter.

[Jan 17, 2019] The Coke or Pepsi and parties is a perfect corporatist arrangement, which guarantee filtering out any opposition to the oligarchy in 99 percent of elections

Only a severe political crisi can shake this "controlled duopoly" of the US coporatism.
Jan 16, 2019 | theguardian.com

William Williamson, 15 Jan 2019 10:38

Well put. All the USA has is Coke or Pepsi.
With a lot of masquerading in between.
A couple people who aren't on THE payroll,
or wanting to be.
MyGenericUsername , 15 Jan 2019 07:38
Half of Americans don't bother voting for president. Why is the American media full only of people who insist that the country is divided in half between Democrat and Republican supporters? Where are the people of influence who think it's a problem and reflects poorly on the country that half of eligible voters don't see a reason to participate, and that it's worth changing things in order to get more people to change their minds about that?

Both parties are content with being unpopular, but with political mechanisms ensuring they stay in power anyway. The Democrats aren't concerned with being popular. They're content with being a token opposition party that every once in a while gets a few token years with power they don't put to any good anyway. It pays more, I guess.

CanSoc , 15 Jan 2019 07:34
It still looks like if Americans want to live in a progressive country, they'll have to move to one. But as it is clear that the neoliberalism of establishment Democrats has little or nothing to offer the poor and working class, or to non-wealthy millennials, the times they are a-changing.

[Jan 17, 2019] The rise of National Socialism in Germany in the 30s had many causes and some surprising supporters

Jan 17, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

RogerPalmer -> 5nufk1n4prez , 29 Nov 2018 07:30

True but incredibly naive.

The rise of National Socialism in Germany in the 30s had many causes and some surprising supporters.

Part of the problem was undeniably the crippling reparations for WWI forced on Germany by the victorious allies.

Part of the problem was communism strengthening in Russia and a growing communist threat in Germany.

Part of the problem was a desire by the entrenched elites to use the National Socialists as a counter to challenge the populism of the communism.

There are many contributing factors and the responsibility for the Nazis reaches far beyond the German border.

[Jan 17, 2019] Seymour Hersh George H.W. Bush Team Leaked To Media To Reveal CIA's Iran-Contra Affair

Notable quotes:
"... London Review of Books ..."
Jan 17, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

bevin , Jan 17, 2019 3:05:49 PM | link

A new piece by Seymour Hersh in the London Review of Books gives some insight into secret U.S. operations during the Reagan administration. The Vice President's Men includes a quite sensational claim of who revealed the Iran-Contra affair.

According to the conventional wisdom, as reflected in Wikipedia, an Iranian operator revealed to a Lebanese paper that the U.S. was selling weapons to Iran in the hope to get hostages in Lebanon released:

After a leak by Mehdi Hashemi, a senior official in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Lebanese magazine Ash-Shiraa exposed the arrangement on 3 November 1986. This was the first public report of the weapons-for-hostages deal.

People is the National Security Council used profits from these weapon sales to illegally arm and finance CIA run anti-government gangs in Nicaragua. Both, the weapon sales to Iran and the weapon delivery to guerilla in Nicaragua, were illegal under U.S. law. The leak to Lebanese paper blew up both operations.

That Mehdi Hashemi, the Iranian operative, leaked the affair is only supported by second hand hearsay from a dubious source. Seymour Hersh reports of a very different culprit.

According to his sources former CIA director George H.W. Bush, who was then Reagan's vice president, ran his own secret operations through a special office in the Pentagon. It was led by Vice-Admiral Arthur Moreau. The office and its operations were kept outside of congressional oversight. Neither the CIA nor the Joint Chief's of Staff were aware of its doing. During some 30 different operations the Bush team used small groups of U.S. marines to effect Soviet operations in foreign countries and to get rid of unwanted foreign politicians. Bush essentially ran the prequel of the 'war on/of terror' which today is run by the CIA and the Joint Special Forces Command.

Bush disliked William Casey, who Reagan had named as new CIA director. Casey was a business man who got the job after he managed Ronald Reagan's election campaign. Bush thought that he was too incompetent to run the clandestine service.

One of the operations run under Bush also involved Nicaragua, but had nothing to do with the later Iran-Contra scandal. At the same time the CIA director William Casey was drumming up support for the Contras in Nicaragua. The two operations collided when Lieutenant Colonel Oliver (Ollie) North at the National Security Council used the proceeds from the weapon sales to Iran to illegally finance the CIA's Contras in Nicaragua. While North was also a confident of the Bush/Moreau's operations, he allegedly freelanced and eventually deserted to the CIA side.

According to a former officer involved in Bush's operations office, Bush and Moreau feared that the CIA's widely expanding Iran-Contra operation run by Oliver North would become a threat to their own operations. They decided to blow it up:

'Ollie brings in Dick Secord and Iranian dissidents and money people in Texas to the scheme, and it's gotten totally out of control,' the officer said. 'We're going nuts. If we don't manage this carefully, our whole structure will unravel. And so we' – former members of Moreau's team who were still working for Bush – 'leaked the story to the magazine in Lebanon.' He was referring to an article, published on 3 November 1986 by Ash-Shiraa magazine in Beirut, that described the arms for hostages agreement. He would not say how word was passed to the magazine, ...

According to Hersh's source the effect of the leak to the Lebanese paper was foreseen and intended:

The officer explained that it was understood by all that the scandal would unravel in public very quickly, and Congress would get involved. ' Our goals were to protect the Moreau operation, to limit the vice president's possible exposure, and to convince the Reagan administration to limit Bill Casey's management of covert operations. It only took a match to light the fire. It was: "Oh my god. We were paying ransom for the hostages – to Iran."'

If Hersh's anonymous source is correct, which I have no reason to doubt, the Iranian Mehdi Hashemi did not leak the issue. It was bureaucratic infighting between a former CIA director, who continued to run secret operations, and a sitting one, who was deemed incompetent by the former, that led to the disclosure of the Iran-Contra affair.

Seymour Hersh is known to have lots of contacts with former officials and officers. According to his on telling he is actively seeking them out as soon as they retire. Old men like to tell war stories, but dislike to damage their still living friends. George H.W. Bush died last November. Hersh likely knew the story long ago but is only now allowed to tell it.

The new Hersh/LRB piece is quite long and the details seems to have little relevance for current affairs. But his sources tell an interesting story about the backstage fights that went on between the various branches of the national security bureaucracy during the Reagan presidency. There is no doubt that similar fights, including intentional leaks to damage competing officials, continue today.

Posted by b at 02:11 PM | Comments (36) Interesting too that Hersh cannot finds a publisher in the United States. The fact that this is in the LRB-where I just read it- tells you all you need to know about, for example, the New Yorker, The Atlantic and Harpers. As to the newspapers, they are a lost cause.
Now let us see if there is any follow up in the MSM..anywhere. My guess is that RT will cover it.
Congratulations, again to b, for spotting the stories that matter and making sure that the imperialist media cannot suppress them.


Cherrycoke , Jan 17, 2019 3:13:47 PM | link

"That Mehdi Hashemi, the Iranian operative, leaked the affair is only supported by second hand hearsay from a dubious source."

That dubious source is George Cave aka Ibrahim Razin aka Oswald LeWinter, poet, Shakespeare expert, and involved since the Sixties in disinformation of the highest order. He had a role -- mainly as disinformant, I believe -- in at least the following cases: Charlie Manson, Propaganda Due, Iran-Contra, Olof Palme, Princess Diana, Lockerbie. LeWinter turns up in Francovich's Gladio as well as his Lockerbie movie.

See Wiki and: http://www.leopoldreport.com/LRsajt74.html

LeWinter died a few years ago. A piece of work.

snake , Jan 17, 2019 3:14:26 PM | link
I think the take home is how agency structure at different levels is used to circumvent relevant laws and public awareness. An auditor applying normal audit technique under contract to one agency would be hard pressed to find this kind of activity because it exist in another agency at a different level. My question is how could this have been discovered at the time it happened? What formula, question or technique could produce a discovery that would lead to the existence of this kind of activity? Even more important did the auditors discover the activity and fail to report it or did they have the data to discover it and just missed it. The audit firm involved might owe the government some money.

Reconciling the actually delivery of assets deployed to the funds that were used to acquire and transport them might have produced a discovery result.?

Red Ryder , Jan 17, 2019 3:15:46 PM | link
If you search the most nefarious and deadly covert operations, you will usually find Naval Intelligence deeply involved.

Bush-CIA was always a cover for Bush-Naval Intel.

The Kennedy Assassination plot overlord was Naval Intelligence.

The most pervasive war-mongering by the Hegemon is led by US Naval Intelligence.

See Bob Woodward's background, even Steve Bannon's CV.

The US Navy projects US hegemonic power and is decisive for Logistical transport of war efforts.

The most elite of SOF is Navy SEALS. SEALS are always sent on the most sensitive missions.

The Rumsfeld-Cebrowski doctrine followed this century to destroy the sovereignty of third world states is the masterplan of Cebrowski, an Admiral. Thierry Meyssan always refers to it as the strategic basis for the chaos in MENA and coming to Africa and Latin America.

From the USS Maine in Havana harbor, to Pearl Harbor, to Iran-Contra, to Iraq,Libya, Syria, the handprint is there.

[Jan 17, 2019] The Deep State is not monolithic

Notable quotes:
"... It does appear that a portion of the Deep State was really disappointed and didn't give up when other billionaires got Trump elected. ..."
Jan 17, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

gepay , Jan 17, 2019 8:53:55 PM | 34 ">link

The Deep State is not monolithic. I would not be surprised that at the same time as Iran Contra there were other large scale covert operations going on.

There certainly are ongoing operations that are directed at keeping actual nationalists (like I believe Putin to be) from gaining power in important resource countries in Africa and other continents

Llike the operation that brought down Gough Whitlam without the need for Perkin's (Economic hitman) jackals which were probably used to kill Olof Palme.

It does appear that a portion of the Deep State was really disappointed and didn't give up when other billionaires got Trump elected.

[Jan 17, 2019] What makes folks think that the Bush secret cabal has gone away?

Apparently papa Bush was a dirtbag.
Jan 17, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Pft , Jan 17, 2019 6:36:28 PM | link

psychohistorian , Jan 17, 2019 5:54:09 PM | link

What makes folks think that the Bush secret cabal has gone away?

I see a splintering or bankruptcy of many elite coming as part of the new order.....cull the herd...... If only the elite would take each other down in this event I would be pleased.....grin

Leave the rest of us to pick up the pieces and move on with life after our global private finance/God of Mammon world collapses.

I agree with comment #2 Richard Steven Hack that Hersh is playing his role of keeping focus off more recent crimes against humanity by exposing the deeds of the dead but staying tight lipped about deeds of the living.

lysias , Jan 17, 2019 6:08:17 PM | link

If Hersh is now revealing secrets he couldn't while Bush was still alive, I wish he would tell us what connection there was between Bush and the JFK assassination. Unfortunately, Hersh's disgraceful book "The Dark Side of Camelot," suggests he will not. That book reflects thinking by Hersh's CIA and Secret Service sources that Kennedy was such a bad person and president that it's a good thing he was killed. The book never explicitly says this, but it's the underlying thought.
Hersh seems to be engaged in a bit of revisionism to whitewash Bush's role on Iran-Contra. Probably he has been strong armed, like so many others today

President Bush decapitated the Iran-Contra investigation by pardoning 6 figures including Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger, whose trial was about to begin, with Bush himself likely called to testify. ." Bush first consulted his attorney general at the time, William Barr. Barr has just been named by Trump as attorney general.

Interesting article on Barr here (i broke the link with space). The swamp just keeps getting nastier

https://larouchepub.com/eiw/public/1994/eirv21n42-19941021
/eirv21n42-19941021_029-william_barr_the_bush_clique_and.pdf


Bush was basically the acting President during the Reagan years like Cheney was during his sons regime. Cheney and Bush go way back. Bush like Cheney knew everything going on.

"On May 14, 1982, Vice President Bush's position as chief of all U.S. covert action was formalized in a secret memorandum (signed "for the President" by Ronald Reagan's National Security Adviser William P. Clark and declassified during the congressional Iran-Contra hearings)."

[Jan 17, 2019] Another bit of evidence backing my hypothesis that the CIA quickly gained control of the Executive branch of the Federal government soon after its inception.

Jan 17, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Jan 17, 2019 3:22:19 PM | 8 ">link

Gee, what a surprise, GHW Bush committing ongoing acts of treason, first as DCI then, Veep, then POTUS. Yet another bit of evidence backing my hypothesis that the CIA quickly gained control of the Executive branch of the Federal government soon after its inception.

It would be tempting to call it the Mafiosi States of America except that so few Italians or Sicilians are involved.

Saker's Anglo-Zionist Empire is quite close to reality, although I prefer my own Outlaw US Empire.

What I was trained to portray the USA as to students is a massive lie, some of which I knew at the time, but not to the extent I now know. Frankly, I'm rather glad my elders have all passed--to be told you've been living a lie your entire life is an affront to one's dignity that's hard to top.

[Jan 17, 2019] Longtime Reporter Leaves NBC, Accuses Media of Lionizing Destructive Organizations Like the FBI

Notable quotes:
"... By Thomas Neuberger. Originally published at DownWithTyranny! ..."
"... I'd argue that under Trump, the national security establishment not only hasn't missed a beat but indeed has gained dangerous strength. Now it is ever more autonomous and practically impervious to criticism. -- William Arkin, former NBC war reporter ..."
"... Former CIA Director John Brennan the latest superspook," they said, "to be reborn as a TV newsie . He just cashed in at NBC News as a 'senior national security and intelligence analyst' and served his first expert views on Meet the Press . The Brennan acquisition seeks to elevate NBC to spook parity with CNN , which employs former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former CIA Director Michael Hayden in a similar capacity. ..."
"... Other, lesser-known national security veterans thrive under TV's grow lights. Almost too numerous to list, they include Chuck Rosenberg, former acting DEA administrator, chief of staff for FBI Director James Comey, and counselor to former FBI Director Robert Mueller; Frank Figliuzzi, former chief of FBI counterintelligence; Juan Zarate, deputy national security adviser under Bush, at NBC ; and Fran Townsend, homeland security adviser under Bush. ..."
"... At this point Arkin is selling the idea, with which I agree, that the security state has become so powerful that it's able to use the news networks, who compete for "spook parity," as their sales platforms. ..."
"... And there's no real evidence that the FBI is either -- is that competent of an institution, to begin with, in terms of even pursuing the prosecutions that it's pursuing. But yet we lionize them. We hold them up on a pedestal, that somehow they are the truth tellers , that they're the ones who are getting to the bottom of things, when there's just no evidence that that's the case. ..."
"... And we tend, again, to say "Donald Trump's Homeland Security Department." Donald Trump couldn't find the Department of Homeland Security if somebody set him on the streets of New York -- of Washington, D.C. So it's not Donald Trump's Homeland Security Department. It's our Homeland Security Department. And I think it's important for us to recognize that this is a department that is really operating on its own behalf and out of control . ..."
"... if a President Sanders attempted to do all that, what would be the response of the national security apparatus, guardians of the status quo? Whom would they serve, the billionaire owners of the established, corrupt-but-lucrative bipartisan state, or the Sanders-led revolutionary FDR-style government they're constitutionally sworn to defend? ..."
"... The Guard had the power to "make or break emperors." Are we growing our own Praetorian Guard, or giving them leave to grow, under cover of their anti-Trump "resistance"? If I were one of the national security superspooks, I'd want nothing better than to be welcomed -- and washed clean -- by acceptance into that well-praised effort. Doors would open publicly that before were open only in secret. ..."
"... the form of government he leaves behind may be worse, especially if he cements in the public mind the rightness of superspooks acting as new-minted kingmakers. Sanders supporters, take note. ..."
Jan 17, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on January 15, 2019 by Yves Smith By Thomas Neuberger. Originally published at DownWithTyranny!

The Praetorian Guard declares a cowering Claudius emperor after murdering Caligula (from a painting by Lawrence Alma-Tadema)

I'd argue that under Trump, the national security establishment not only hasn't missed a beat but indeed has gained dangerous strength. Now it is ever more autonomous and practically impervious to criticism. -- William Arkin, former NBC war reporter

File this under "Praetorian Guard Watch."

William Arkin is a longtime NBC reporter, primarily covering war and national security news. He recently quit NBC, offering his reasons in an online " departure letter ." There he castigated the media's coverage of the president, calling them at one point "prisoners of Donald Trump."

"Of course he is an ignorant and incompetent impostor," Arkin wrote. "And yet I'm alarmed at how quick NBC is to mechanically argue the contrary, to be in favor of policies that just spell more conflict and more war. Really? We shouldn't get out Syria? We shouldn't go for the bold move of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula? Even on Russia, though we should be concerned about the brittleness of our democracy that it is so vulnerable to manipulation, do we really earn for the Cold War? And don't even get me started with the FBI: What? We now lionize this historically destructive institution?"

Please notice the last sentences above, about the growth in reputation -- and irreproachability -- of the national security state: "And don't even get me started with the FBI: What? We now lionize this historically destructive institution?"

Then he gave an interview to Democracy Now 's Amy Goodman. Part of that interview went this way (emphasis mine throughout):

AMY GOODMAN: So, you talked about the people who populate the networks as pundits, and you've been a fierce critic of the national security state, or at least understanding who it is who is explaining things to us.

Reading from Politico , " Former CIA Director John Brennan the latest superspook," they said, "to be reborn as a TV newsie . He just cashed in at NBC News as a 'senior national security and intelligence analyst' and served his first expert views on Meet the Press . The Brennan acquisition seeks to elevate NBC to spook parity with CNN , which employs former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former CIA Director Michael Hayden in a similar capacity.

Other, lesser-known national security veterans thrive under TV's grow lights. Almost too numerous to list, they include Chuck Rosenberg, former acting DEA administrator, chief of staff for FBI Director James Comey, and counselor to former FBI Director Robert Mueller; Frank Figliuzzi, former chief of FBI counterintelligence; Juan Zarate, deputy national security adviser under Bush, at NBC ; and Fran Townsend, homeland security adviser under Bush."

And it goes on and on and on. These are now the pundits. And so, when you have a situation like President Trump announcing he will immediately withdraw U.S. troops from Syria and halve the troops that are in Afghanistan, you have this massive attack on him that's actually led by the permanent national security state under the guise of pundits on television .

At this point Arkin is selling the idea, with which I agree, that the security state has become so powerful that it's able to use the news networks, who compete for "spook parity," as their sales platforms.

But in doing so, he's making another point as well, if not mindfully -- that the national security state is approaching (or has approached) the status of a latter-day Praetorian Guard, a military organization without whose approval no one can become or remain president.

He gets there in stages. First, this:

WILLIAM ARKIN: Well, I think that you've -- I mean, what you said stands for itself, Amy. But I would add to it that I think the real crisis is that when we have a panel discussion on television, in the mainstream press, and even in the mainstream newspapers, we don't populate that panel with people who are in opposition. We have a single war party in the United States, and it's the only one that is given voice.

And I think that probably because of the phenomenon of Donald Trump -- let's just be honest about it -- really what we see on TV now is former Obama administration officials masquerading as analysts who are nonpartisan, when in fact they are partisan .

Brennan, Clapper (he who lied to Congress but, as an approved insider, was forgiven), and a number of other "former Obama administration officials" are not just partisan, pro-endless war advocates "masquerading as analysts"; they are "analysts" working to delegitimize Donald Trump. Whether not Trump is a legitimate president, that "partisan superspooks" are uncritically accepted as part of the takedown operation should be concerning.

Arkin seems to recognize this. Later in the interview he's asked to explain his comment about the FBI, which I noted above.

AMY GOODMAN: And, William Arkin, you also write, "don't [even] get me started with the FBI : What? We now lionize this historically destructive institution?"

WILLIAM ARKIN: Well, there's a crazy collateral damage of Donald Trump. And that is that there are a lot of liberals in America who believe that the CIA and the FBI is going to somehow save the country from Donald Trump .

Well, I'm sorry, I'm not a particular fan of either the CIA or the FBI . And the FBI , in particular, has a deplorable record in American society, from Martin Luther King and the peace movements of the 1960s all the way up through Wen Ho Lee and others who have been persecuted by the FBI .

And there's no real evidence that the FBI is either -- is that competent of an institution, to begin with, in terms of even pursuing the prosecutions that it's pursuing. But yet we lionize them. We hold them up on a pedestal, that somehow they are the truth tellers , that they're the ones who are getting to the bottom of things, when there's just no evidence that that's the case.

AMY GOODMAN:
And what do you mean by the "creeping fascism of homeland security"?

WILLIAM ARKIN: You know, I was against the creation of the Homeland Security Department in 2003, to begin with. First of all, don't like the word. "Homeland security" sounds a little bit brown-shirty to me. But, second of all, it was created to be a counterterrorist organization, a domestic counterterrorist organization. And all during the Obama administration, we heard Janet Napolitano, the secretary of homeland security, saying, "You know, we are counterterrorism." But since then, we've seen they're creeping into cybersecurity. We've seen them creeping into election security. We've seen ICE and TSA become the second and third largest federal law enforcement agencies in the country. And so, now homeland security sort of has become a domestic intelligence agency with really an unclear remit, really with broad powers that we don't fully understand .

And we tend, again, to say "Donald Trump's Homeland Security Department." Donald Trump couldn't find the Department of Homeland Security if somebody set him on the streets of New York -- of Washington, D.C. So it's not Donald Trump's Homeland Security Department. It's our Homeland Security Department. And I think it's important for us to recognize that this is a department that is really operating on its own behalf and out of control .

I'd like you to ask yourself this. If a President Bernie Sanders wanted better relations with Russia and North Korea, and went about it in a smart, safe way; wanted to bring manufacturing back to the U.S. by smartly but radically renegotiating our billionaire- and corporate-friendly trade deals; wanted to radically reduce spending on the national security apparatus , on our endless wars, and spend instead on government-provided services like Medicare for All (which, by the way, would devastate several powerful, well-funded industries and bipartisan donor constituencies) and for good measure, started jailing bankers again

if a President Sanders attempted to do all that, what would be the response of the national security apparatus, guardians of the status quo? Whom would they serve, the billionaire owners of the established, corrupt-but-lucrative bipartisan state, or the Sanders-led revolutionary FDR-style government they're constitutionally sworn to defend?

As a reminder : The Praetorian Guard was an elite unit of the Imperial Roman army whose members served as personal bodyguards to the Roman emperors. [T]he Guard became notable for its intrigue and interference in Roman politics, to the point of overthrowing emperors and proclaiming their successors. In 312, the Guard was disbanded by Constantine the Great [after defeating them and their latest declared emperor at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge ].

The Guard murdered Caligula -- insane, incompetent and dangerous -- and declared Claudius emperor, the first of its many "interferences." After Claudius was poisoned, they transferred allegiance to Nero. It went like this for centuries (of which we have none, by the way).

The Guard had the power to "make or break emperors." Are we growing our own Praetorian Guard, or giving them leave to grow, under cover of their anti-Trump "resistance"? If I were one of the national security superspooks, I'd want nothing better than to be welcomed -- and washed clean -- by acceptance into that well-praised effort. Doors would open publicly that before were open only in secret.

In that sense, Trump may be even more dangerous than he's now considered to be. What he may do while still with us may be frightful to consider. But the form of government he leaves behind may be worse, especially if he cements in the public mind the rightness of superspooks acting as new-minted kingmakers. Sanders supporters, take note.

[Jan 17, 2019] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-10/f-35-program-costs-jump-to-406-billion-in-new-pentagon-estimate

Jan 17, 2019 | www.bloomberg.com

What a bunch of fools. As Tucker Carlson aptly said

Most terrifying of all, the crew has become incompetent. They have no idea how to sail. They're spinning the ship's wheel like they're playing roulette and cackling like mental patients.

The boat is listing, taking on water, about to sink. They're totally unaware that any of this is happening. As waves wash over the deck, they're awarding themselves majestic new titles and raising their own salaries. You look on in horror, helpless and desperate. You have nowhere to go. You're trapped on a ship of fools.

Plato imagined this scene in The Republic. He never mentions what happened to the ship. It would be nice to know. What was written as an allegory is starting to feel like a documentary, as generations of misrule threaten to send our country beneath the waves.

The people who did it don't seem aware of what they've done. They don't want to know, and they don't want you to tell them. Facts threaten their fantasies. And so they continue as if what they're doing is working, making mistakes and reaping consequences that were predictable even to Greek philosophers thousands of years before the Internet.
They're fools. The rest of us are their passengers.

[Jan 17, 2019] We are disenfranchised by what the elites are saying because the elites control the narrative in a way that makes sure the power will always reside with them.

One of the main power weapons of the elite is the control over the information flows
Jan 17, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Albert Ravey , 29 Nov 2018 10:45

Some highlights from this thread (no names, no pack drill):

Populism is a kickback and correction to the forty years of political correctness where the white masses of Europe and America were forbidden by the liberal establishment to be their real selves

People are fed up with the elite consensus because of the failures of the elites.

Perhaps the reason that "populism" is thriving is that the liberal elites who ruled us in the entire post war period became complacent out of touch with those they were meant to represent.

there are millions of others whose voices have been ignored or silenced by the mainstream news

We are disenfranchised by what the elites are saying because the elites control the narrative in a way that makes sure the power will always reside with them.

The MSM has always been biased-

Why is democracy booming the article asks.
Well because the lies and bullshit of the liberal elite are there for all to see.

Take a look at what the MSM refuses to report, or what it deliberately distorts,

You can see the problem. It's like they are all reading from the same limited script which has been handed to them. Given the freedom to express our opinions, we are regurgitating what someone else has told us to say.

Maybe we should not be too pessimistic. The levels of opportunity for expression that the internet and social media have given us might currently have exceeded our ability to think critically about whatever bullshit we are being fed, but future generations may be better. After all, it's only a small step from doubting whatever mainstream thought tells you, to starting to wonder who is telling you to doubt those things and why and then to actually go back and think for yourself about the issues.

TheBorderGuard -> SomlanderBrit , 29 Nov 2018 10:44

... the white masses of Europe and America were forbidden by the liberal establishment to be their real selves.

Lifted straight from the pages of the Völkischer Beobachter , I suspect.

TheBorderGuard , 29 Nov 2018 10:43
Some people are more attracted to certainties than subtleties -- and I suspect such people are ideologues in general and populists in particular.
DanInTheDesert , 29 Nov 2018 09:46
Sigh.

So Corbyn and Trump are the same because they both have shirts. Well, color me convinced!

Like so many of these articles -- including the long but uninformative 'long read' on the same topic -- there is no mention of the failures of the elites.

Clinton sold us a false bill of goods. The Washington Consensus on economics would make the country richer and, after some 'pain', would benefit the working class. Sure you wouldn't be making cars but after some retraining you would work in tech.

This was a broken promise -- de industrialization has devastated the upper midwest. The goods are made in China and the money goes to Bezos. People are rightly upset.

The Washington Consensus on war sold us a false bill of goods. Instead of peace through strength we have seen a century of endless conflict. We have been caught in state of constant killing since 2001 and we are no safer for it. Indeed the conflicts have created new enemies and the only solution on offer is a hair of the dog solution.

People are fed up with the elite consensus because of the failures of the elites. Nowhere are the repeated failures of the elites, the decades of broken promises mentioned in the articles. Instead, those of us who prefer Sanders to Clinton, Corbyn to Blair are mesmerized by emotional appeals and seduced by simplistic appeals to complex problems. And they wonder why we don't accept their analyses . . .

TL;DR -- clickbait didn't get us here. The broken promises of the Washington consensus did.

[Jan 15, 2019] State Department was employing a de facto foreign agent

Jan 15, 2019 | grayzoneproject.com

Of all the State Department officials named in Integrity Initiative documents, the one who appeared most frequently was Todd Leventhal. Leventhal has been a staffer at the State Department's Global Engagement Center, boasting of "20 years of countering disinformation, misinformation, conspiracy theories, and urban legends." In an April 2018 Integrity Initiative memo, he is listed as a current team member:

Funded to the tune of $160 million this year to beat back Russian disinformation with "counter-propaganda," the State Department's Global Engagement Center has refused to deny targeting American citizens with information warfare of its own. "My old job at the State Department was as chief propagandist," confessed former Global Engagement Center Director Richard Stengel. "I'm not against propaganda. Every country does it and they have to do it to their own population and I don't necessarily think it's that awful."

Like so many of the media and political figures involved in the Integrity Initiative's international network, the Global Engagement Center's Leventhal has a penchant for deploying smear tactics against prominent voices that defy the foreign policy consensus. Leventhal appeared in an outtake of a recent NBC documentary on Russian disinformation smugly explaining how he would take down a 15-year-old book critical of American imperialism in the developing world. Rather than challenge the book's substance and allegations, Leventhal boasted how he would marshall his resources to wage an ad hominem smear campaign to destroy the author's reputation. His strategic vision was clear: when confronting a critic, ignore the message and destroy the messenger.

Like so many of the media and political figures involved in the Integrity Initiative's international network, the Global Engagement Center's Leventhal has a penchant for deploying smear tactics against prominent voices that defy the foreign policy consensus. Leventhal appeared in an outtake of a recent NBC documentary on Russian disinformation smugly explaining how he would take down a 15-year-old book critical of American imperialism in the developing world. Rather than challenge the book's substance and allegations, Leventhal boasted how he would marshall his resources to wage an ad hominem smear campaign to destroy the author's reputation. His strategic vision was clear: when confronting a critic, ignore the message and destroy the messenger.

Integrity Initiative documents reveal that Leventhal has been paid $76,608 dollars (60,000 British pounds) for a 50% contract.

While those same documents claim he has retired from the State Department, Leventhal's own Linkedin page lists him as a current "Senior Disinformation Advisor" to the State Department. If that were true, it would mean that the State Department was employing a de facto foreign agent.

[Jan 15, 2019] Apparently, the FBI, and not the CIA, are the real government by Colonel Pat Lang

More correctly is probably say that FBI and CIA can act as a single agency when their interests are threatened. And based on the fact that investigation was run by FBI counterintelligence division, which is a branch of CIA (with dotted line reporting) it was CIA (Brennan and Obama) which was at the helm. The problem with powerful intelligence agencies that very soon the tail starts wag the dog. Which happened in the USA around 1963.
Clearly this was a soft coup, organized along color revolution schema, so well known by both State Department and CIA, and adapted to the USA government structure. Mueller investigation was a classic move designed to paralyze and undermine the President.
Jan 15, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Just to review the situation:

1. The president of the US was made head of the Executive Branch (EC) of the federal government by Article 2 of the present constitution of the US. He is also Commander in Chief of the armed forces of the federal government. As head of the EC, he is head of all the parts of the government excepting the Congress and the Federal courts which are co-equal branches of the federal government. The Department of Justice is just another Executive Branch Department subordinate in all things to the president. The FBI is a federal police force and counter-intelligence agency subordinate to the Department of Justice and DNI and therefore to the president in all things. The FBI actually IMO has no legal right whatever to investigate the president. He is the constitutionally elected commander of the FBI. Does one investigate one's commander? No. The procedures for legally and constitutionally removing a president from office for malfeasance are clear. He must be impeached by the House of Representatives for "High Crimes and Misdemeanors" and then tried by the US Senate on the charges. Conviction results in removal from office.

2. According to these transcripts of congressional testimony by some of the participants, the FBI decided all by itself after Comey was fired to consider acting against Trump by pursuing him for suspicion of conspiracy with Russia to give the Russians the president of the US that they supposedly wanted. Part of the discussions among senior FBI people had to do with whether or not the president had the legal authority to remove from office an FBI Director. Say what? Where have these dummies been all their careers? Do they not teach anything about this at the FBI Academy? The US Army lectures its officers at every level of schooling on the subject of the constitutional and legal basis and limits of their authority.

3. Following these seditious and IMO illegal discussions the FBI and Sessions/Rosenstein's Justice Department sought FISA Court warrants for surveillance against associates of Trump and members of his campaign for president. Their application for warrants were largely based on unsubstantiated "opposition research" funded by the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign. The judge who approved the warrants was not informed of the nature of the evidence. These warrants provided an authority for surveillance of the Trump campaign.

4. IMO this collection of actions when added to whatever Clapper, Brennan and "the lads" of the Deep State were doing with the British intelligence services amount to an attempted "soft coup" against the constitution and from the continued stonewalling of the FBI and DoJ the coup is ongoing. pl

[Jan 15, 2019] The Trump-Russia Scam - How Obama Enabled The FBI To Spy On Trump

Mueller investigation is a continuation of JFK assassination by other means.
Notable quotes:
"... Washington Post ..."
"... Now, as the 'Russian influence' narrative is dying down, the anti-Trump - anti-Russian campaign is moving to new grounds. ..."
"... Initiating a counter-intelligence investigation, for which there was no basis, gave the FBI, and later the Mueller investigation, unfettered access to NSA 'signals intelligence' that could then possibly be used to incriminate Trump or his associates. ..."
"... It was the Obama administration which had given the FBI access to this tool : ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... Trump is no populist. A populist can't be elected by the money-based US political system. Trump's election was almost certainly arranged ..."
"... Then why did Trump nominate Gina Haspel as head of the CIA? She is the acolyte of Trump nemesis Brennan. Why does Trump choose people like Nikki Halley, Pompeo, Bolton? ..."
"... "I very much dislike most of Trump's domestic and foreign policy. But he was duly elected under the existing rules. The campaign the media and the intelligence services have since run against him undermines the will of the people." ..."
"... the assassination of JFK opened the floodgates of blatant depravity perpetrated by those whose greed and lust for power will ultimately destroy us. ..."
"... There are trends: A growing US citizen realization that their political system prior to Trump was nearly completely corrupt; the Clintons are more broadly understood as the pathological criminals that they are; the Podesta emails with their sick connotations remain 'in the air' - See Ben Swann's work, for example. The Clinton Foundation is far more broadly understood as a massive criminal enterprise. ..."
"... "Pompeo met on October 24 [at Trump's request] with William Binney, a former National Security Agency official-turned-whistleblower who co-authored an analysis published by a group of former intelligence officials that challenges the U.S. intelligence community's official assessment that Russian intelligence was behind last year's theft of data from DNC computers. Binney and the other former officials argue that the DNC data was "leaked," not hacked, "by a person with physical access" to the DNC's computer system." ..."
"... In short the last two years have been about trying to defeat Trump but the attackers are looking more and more wounded, and Trump, well, he's hanging in there. General Kelly and others have described Trump's work ethic as exhausting. ..."
"... Trump has been put under intense investigation by Deep State hacks who are determined to see him impeached. And all they have come up with is that he is a compulsive pussy-grabber (no shit, hey?). ..."
"... Well, if he has then he has hidden them extraordinarily well, because Mueller with all his resources hasn't found any. Indeed, Mueller's investigation is so well-resourced that the only conclusion I can reach is that Trump has no such skeletons. ..."
"... "Simply put, the Russia NIA is not an "IC-coordinated" assessment -- the vehicle for such coordination, the NIC, was not directly involved in its production, and no NIO was assigned as the responsible official overseeing its production. Likewise, the Russia NIA cannot be said to be the product of careful coordination between the CIA, NSA and FBI -- while analysts from all three agencies were involved in its production, they were operating as part of a separate, secretive task force operating under the close supervision of the Director of the CIA, and not as an integral part of their home agency or department." ..."
"... Escalation towards war with Russia was a matter of public record in late pre-election 2016, thanks to Clinton News Network ... now ask yourselves where is that general in the press conference nowadays? ..."
"... For a thorough update on the Integrity Initiative and its offshoots, check out the latest from legal investigator Barbara Boyd. ..."
"... To defeat the "Deep State" in the U.S., it is essential to understand the role of British Intelligence. While it is essential to know the role of Hillary Clinton, Obama, Comey, DOJ/FBI operatives, et.al., it is even more important to understand the geopolitical assumptions behind Russiagate. And for that, one must turn to the British. ..."
"... The aim of the counterintelligence operation and of the Russiagate hoax was not to build a prosecution case against President Trump. It was to put the United States in constitutional limbo by creating a parallel and competing center of constitutional legitimacy. ..."
"... Very difficult to judge: what is the result of infighting in the US vs. any agreed-on never mind coherent foreign policy? That the question is even asked - all over the world now - spells stage one collapse. ..."
"... Trump's nationalist credentials are further belied by such things as: adding TPP provisions to the new North American trade agreement; attacking Syria based on false flags; arming Ukraine; pulling out of the INF treaty and engaging in an unnecessary and costly arms race; actively seeking to overthrow the governments of Iran and Venezuela; etc. ..."
"... My own theory about 2016 is that everybody miscalculated. Trump was (IMO) running as an ego-building publicity stunt. Hillary (and her Deep State sponsors) had actively helped Trump get the nomination with hundreds of millions of dollars of free publicity which also enhanced the bottom lines of Big Media. His multiple flaws were airbrushed away. ..."
Jan 15, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Despite the loss of major narratives, the war of the deep state against U.S. President Trump continues unabated. The main of tool in this war are allegations of relations between Trump and anything Russia. The war runs along several parallel paths.

The narrative war in the media is most visible one. When any of the fake stories about Trump and Russia gets debunked and disposed, new ones are created or others intensified.

In parallel to these propaganda efforts the deep state created an investigation that Trump has no way to escape from. Enabled by one of the Obama administrations last acts the investigation is using signal intelligence to entrap and flip the people surrounding Trump (see section three below). The big price will be Trump himself. Here we take a look at what transpired during the last weeks.


One major anti-Trump narrative was that 'Russian influence' helped to put him into office. This was based on the alleged nefarious influence a Russian clickbait company, the Internet Research Agency (IRA) in St. Peterburg, had on the U.S. electorate. That explanation never made sense. Little of the IRA activities had to do with the election. It used sockpuppets on Facebook and Twitter to attract people to websites filled with puppy pictures or similar nonsense. The IRA would then sell advertisement and promotions on these sites.

This was obvious for anyone following the factual content of the news instead of the 'opinions' a whole bunch of anti-Trump 'experts' and the media formed around them.

That the Mueller investigation finally indicted several of the IRA's officers over minor financial transactions was seen as a confirmation of the political aspects of the IRA activities. But nearly all the reporting left out that Mueller confirmed the commercial intent behind the IRA and its activities. There is nothing political in the accusations. Indeed point 95 of the Mueller indictment of the IRA says:

Defendants and their co-conspirators also used the accounts to receive money from real U.S. persons in exchange for posting promotions and advertisements on the ORGANIZATION-controlled social media pages. Defendants and their co-conspirators typically charged certain U.S. merchants and U.S. social media sites between 25 and 50 U.S. dollars per post for promotional content on their popular false U.S. persona accounts , including Being Patriotic, Defend the 2nd, and Blacktivist.

Part of the false narrative of a political influence campaign was the claim that the $100,000 the IRA spent for advertisement to promote its clickbait webpages through Facebook ads somehow moved people to vote for Trump. But 56% of the IRA ads ran after the election, 25% of all its ads were never seen by anyone. How a few $10,000 for ads only few saw moved an election that was fought with several billions spent by each candidate's campaign was left unexplained.

This week, only fifteen month after this site came to the conclusion that IRA was a commercial clickbait business , the Washington Post finally admitted that the alleged political targeting of voters by the IRA never happened:

[T]he common understanding is that Russia's interference efforts included sophisticated targeting of specific voting groups on Facebook, which could have made the difference in states that Trump narrowly won on his way to an electoral-vote victory.

That understanding about Russia's sophisticated targeting, though, is not supported by the evidence -- if it's not flat-out wrong.
...
Most of the ads purchased by the Russians didn't specify a geographic target smaller than the United States on the whole, according to a Post review of the ads released by the House Intelligence Committee. Those that did target specific states heavily targeted those that weren't really considered targets of the 2016 election, such as Missouri and Maryland. And of those ads that did target specific states, most happened well before or well after the final weeks of the campaign.

All the claims that some Russian sockpuppets influenced the 2016 elections were and are nonsense. The IRA sockpuppets never had any political intent.

Likewise the allegations that Russian intelligence hacked the DNC and Clinton crony Podesta's email are mere assertions for which no hard evidence was ever provided. The only known fact is that the emails and papers were real, and that there content revealed the shoddiness of Hillary Clinton, the DNC, and her campaign.

Now, as the 'Russian influence' narrative is dying down, the anti-Trump - anti-Russian campaign is moving to new grounds. Last week the New York Times claimed that Paul Manafort, who for some time ran the Trump election campaign, gave public and internal polling data to the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska: Manafort Accused of Sharing Trump Polling Data With Russian Associate . A day after that sensational claim made a large splash throughout U.S. media the New York Times recanted:

Kenneth P. Vogel @kenvogel - 18:39 utc - 9 Jan 2019

CORRECTION: PAUL MANAFORT asked KONSTANTIN KILIMNIK to pass TRUMP polling to the Ukrainian oligarchs SERHIY LYOVOCHKIN & RINAT AKHMETOV, & not to OLEG DERIPASKA, as originally reported. We have corrected the story & I deleted a tweet repeating the error.

Duh. Manafort gave polling data to his Ukrainian fixer Konstantin Kilimnik with the request to pass it along to Ukrainian oligarchs for who he had worked before joining the Trump campaign. Kilimnik had long worked for the International Republican Institute office in Moscow. The IRI is a CIA offshot under Republican Party tutelage that is used to influence politics abroad. Its long time head was the deceased hawkish Senator John McCain. While he worked with Kilimnik in the Ukraine, Manafort concentrated on moving the Ukraine towards the European Union and away from Russia. His and Kilimnik efforts were always opposed to Russian interests. But the NYT and others falsely try to pass them off as the opposite with the sole purpose of feeding the anti-Trump/anti-Russia campaign.

Another anti-Trump/anti-Russian propaganda effort is a new sensational NYT piece on obvious misbehavior in the upper rows of the FBI :

In the days after President Trump fired James B. Comey as F.B.I. director, law enforcement officials became so concerned by the president's behavior that they began investigating whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests , according to former law enforcement officials and others familiar with the investigation.

The inquiry carried explosive implications. Counterintelligence investigators had to consider whether the president's own actions constituted a possible threat to national security. Agents also sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia or had unwittingly fallen under Moscow's influence.

The NYT lets it seem as if the decision to launch a counter-intelligence investigation related to Trump was as based on some reasonable suspicion the FBI had. It was not. This was an act of revenge by the upper anti-Trump echelons in the FBI with which they attempted to undermine Trump's presidency. Note what the claimed suspicion was based on:

Mr. Trump had caught the attention of F.B.I. counterintelligence agents when he called on Russia during a campaign news conference in July 2016 to hack into the emails of his opponent, Hillary Clinton. Mr. Trump had refused to criticize Russia on the campaign trail, praising President Vladimir V. Putin. And investigators had watched with alarm as the Republican Party softened its convention platform on the Ukraine crisis in a way that seemed to benefit Russia.

Other factors fueled the F.B.I.'s concerns, according to the people familiar with the inquiry. Christopher Steele, a former British spy who worked as an F.B.I. informant, had compiled memos in mid-2016 containing unsubstantiated claims that Russian officials tried to obtain influence over Mr. Trump by preparing to blackmail and bribe him.

Trump made a joke during the election campaign asking Russia to release the 30,000 emails Hillary Clinton had deleted from her illegal private email server. There is no requirement, as far as I know, for any candidate to criticize this or that country. How can not following the non existing requirement to criticize Russia be suspicious? The Republican Party did not soften its convention platform on Ukraine. It rejected an amendment that would have further sharpened it. Overall the Republican platform was more hawkish than the Democratic one. The Steele dossier was of course from A to Z made up nonsense paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign.

It is non sensible to claim that these were reasonable suspicions sufficient to open a counter-intelligence investigation. The hasty FBI move to launch a counter-intelligence operation obviously had a different motive and aim.

After Trump fired FBI director Comey, the FBI was led by Andrew McCabe, later also fired for leaking to the media and lying about it. His legal council was Lisa Page who exchange tons of anti-Trump SMS messages with her lover, the FBI agent Peter Strozk. These are the people who initiated the counter-intelligence investigation :

Strzok and Page sent other text messages that raise the possibility they were discussing opening up a counterintelligence investigation against Trump before Comey's firing.

"And we need to open the case we've been waiting on now while Andy is acting ," Strzok wrote to Page on the day of Comey's ouster.

Andy is Andrew McCabe, who served as deputy FBI director.

Page gave some indication in her congressional testimony in July 2018 that the text message was a reference to an investigation separate from the obstruction probe that has already been reported.

Normally the FBI needs to clear such counter-intelligence investigations with the Justice Department. In this case it did not do so at all :

In the case of the investigation into Trump, the FBI's decision to open a file on the president so quickly after Comey's firing in May 2017 was a source of concern for some officials at the Justice Department because the FBI acted without first consulting leadership at the department . But those worries were allayed when, days later, special counsel Robert S. Mueller III was appointed to oversee the Russia probe ...

After Comey was fired, the FBI made a very hasty move, without reasonable suspicion and without informing the Justice Department, to launch a counter-intelligence operation involving the sitting president and his administration. What was the real purpose of this move?

Initiating a counter-intelligence investigation, for which there was no basis, gave the FBI, and later the Mueller investigation, unfettered access to NSA 'signals intelligence' that could then possibly be used to incriminate Trump or his associates.

It was the Obama administration which had given the FBI access to this tool :

The Hoarse Whisperer @HoarseWisperer - 4:05 utc - 12 Jan 2019

On his way out the door, we all were wallowing in our winter of discontent, Obama signed an executive order...
...
The order revised the rules around intelligence sharing among our intel community. Specifically, it made the firehose of raw intelligence collected by the NSA directly accessible to the FBI and CIA. Instead of having to ask for intel and getting what they filtered down the FBI and CIA could directly access the unfiltered "SigInt" or signals intelligence. Intercepted phone calls, emails, raw intel from human sources. Everything our vast intelligence vacuum hoovers up, available directly... but only for counterintel and foreign intel purposes .

The NSA can sit on virtually every communication into and out of the U.S. that takes place over networks. Obama made it possible for the FBI to directly access everything they had on Trump, et al. Obama supercharged the FBI's ability to investigate Trump.

The Obama administration enacted the changed executive order EO 12333 in early January 2017, shortly before Trump took over:

Previously, the N.S.A. filtered information before sharing intercepted communications with another agency, like the C.I.A. or the intelligence branches of the F.B.I. and the Drug Enforcement Administration. The N.S.A.'s analysts passed on only information they deemed pertinent, screening out the identities of innocent people and irrelevant personal information.

Now, other intelligence agencies will be able to search directly through raw repositories of communications intercepted by the N.S.A. and then apply such rules for "minimizing" privacy intrusions.
...
[T]he 12333 sharing procedures allow analysts, including those at the F.B.I., to search the raw data using an American's identifying information only for the purpose of foreign intelligence or counterintelligence investigations , not for ordinary criminal cases. And they may do so only if one of several other conditions are met, such as a finding that the American is an agent of a foreign power.

However, under the rules, if analysts stumble across evidence that an American has committed any crime, they will send it to the Justice Department.

At that time Peter Lee, aka Chinahand, already had the suspicion that Obama was behind the FBI campaign against Trump.

With the changes in EO 12333 Obama gave the FBI the ability to launch a world wide snooping operation against the incoming Trump administration under the guise of a 'counter-intelligence' operation. The hasty FBI move after Comey was fired activated this instrument. The Mueller investigation has since used it extensively. 'Crimes' revealed through the snooping operation are turned over to the Justice Department.

The NYT claim that the counter-intelligence investigation was initiated because of reasonable suspicion of Russian influence over Trump is nonsense. It was initiated to get access to a set of tools that would allow unlimited access to communication of Trump and anyone related to him. It was Obama who on his way out of the door gave the FBI these capabilities.

There are signs that the unlimited access the FBI and Mueller investigation have to signal intelligence is used to create prosecutions via ' parallel construction ':

The Hoarse Whisperer @HoarseWisperer - 18:50 utc - 12 Jan 2019

An active counterintel investigation means the Trump Administration's crimes were only as secure as the weakest link in their weakest moment. We got hints of this early. Our intelligence folks picked up "signals intelligence" or SigInt from Russians talking to Russians.
Those "signals" aren't the kind of evidence that finds its way into a courtroom. In fact, it's important that it doesn't. It would burn sources and methods. It lays out the crimes and the players though... and then prosecutors find ways to make triable cases other ways .
The public sees cases for specific charges carrying significant prison time without ever knowing that the NSA and prosecutors knew so much more than they ever revealed. Now, apply those principles to the cases we've seen Mueller bring forward so far.

Mike Flynn: pleaded out to a minor charge, rolled over in full and then produced five rounds of documents. Likely: Flynn was confronted with the intel they had on him and knew he was cooked. They knew the crimes. They heard and saw everything. There'd be no escape.

By flipping and pleading out Flynn, all of that secret intel stays secret. Our intelligence efforts are protected. And Flynn goes down. And he cooks a bunch of other gooses. He's savvy enough to know that once they have the intel, all that's left to do is make the case.
...

The 'crime' that di Flynn in was misremembering a phone call he had with the Russian ambassador. Similar happened with Rick Gates, Paul Manafort's righthand man and a member of Trump's transition team. Then it happened to Paul Manafort himself and to George Papadopoulos.

The Mueller investigation, thanks to the snooping Obama and the FBI enabled, knows the content of every phonecall, chat and email any member of the Trump administration made and make to someone abroad (and likely also within the U.S.). It invites people as witnesses and asks them about the content of a specific calls they made. If they misremember or lie - bang - Mueller has the transcript ready. A crime has been created and an indictment for lying to the FBI will follow. This is what happened to Flynn and the others the Mueller investigation entrapped and convicted.

Because of the counter-intelligence investigation the anti-Trump gang in the FBI hastened to initiate, the investigators got hands on signal intelligence - phone calls, chats and emails - that allowed them to indict minor people for petty crimes and to flip them to talk to the investigation.

The aim, in the end, was and is to build a prosecution case against President Trump for whatever minor and petty half-backed illegal doing there may be.


To make such a prosecution and an indictment publicly palpable the media is assigned with launching story after story about nefarious relations between Trump and anything Russia.

As we have seen above with the IRA story, the retracted NYT 's Manafort bang, and the NYT's false claims about the motive of the FBI's counter-intelligence investigation, none of these stories hold up to diligent scrutiny. Today's Washington Post adds another example of no-beef stories that insinuate mystic 'Russian influence' over Trump:

Trump has concealed details of his face-to-face encounters with Putin from senior officials in administration .

The first graph claims:

President Trump has gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal details of his conversations with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin , including on at least one occasion taking possession of the notes of his own interpreter and instructing the linguist not to discuss what had transpired with other administration officials, current and former U.S. officials said.

The rest of the story largely refutes the claim made in its headline and very first sentence:

Trump did so after a meeting with Putin in 2017 in Hamburg that was also attended by then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
...
Trump generally has allowed aides to listen to his phone conversations with Putin ..
...
In an email, Tillerson said that he " was present for the entirety of the two presidents' official bilateral meeting in Hamburg,"...

After Trump had a first White House meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov in Washington, lots of leaks about the talk appeared in the DC media. Trump was accused of giving information about an ISIS plot to the Russians that was allegedly secret. It was not . Since then Trump clamped down on the number of participants, briefings and readouts for such talks. That is simply a necessary and laudable behavior. Now the media try to construct that into 'Trump is concealing details' about talks with Russia even when the U.S. Secretary of State and others are present in these.


Ever since Trump won the Republican primaries, the Clinton campaign, the Obama administration and the U.S. and British intelligence services prepared to prevent a successful Trump presidency. The Steele dossier, created by 'former' British intelligence agents and paid for by the Clinton campaign, was the basis for an FBI investigation that was seen as an insurance against a Trump win. Any possible Russia relations Trump might have came under scrutiny. This prevented him from fulfilling his campaign promise of coming to better relations with Russia.

Shortly before Obama left the office he created the tool the FBI needed to put its investigation on steroids. When Trump fired Comey for his handling of the Clinton email affair, the FBI put that tool into action. With unfettered access to signal intelligence the Mueller investigation was able to entrap a number of Trump related people and to flip them to its side. It will use any information they give up to find some angle under which Trump can be prosecuted and eventually impeached. Even if nothing comes off this investigations, the media reports and slander all this created may well be enough to prevent an election of Trump for a second term.

I very much dislike most of Trump's domestic and foreign policy. But he was duly elected under the existing rules. The campaign the media and the intelligence services have since run against him undermines the will of the people. Unfortunately I see no way that Trump could escape from the hold it has gained over him. Exposing it as much as possible might well be his best defense.


Jose Garcia , Jan 13, 2019 1:51:10 PM | link

It is information that is put out there that is never cross checked by the American people. They are too busy, too involved with other things or too stupid to find out the true facts. It is hard to predict what will occur next year. I feel it all depends who wins the primary on the Democrat side.

Jackrabbit , Jan 13, 2019 2:32:02 PM | link
I have to take issue with a few points, b.

[Trump] ... was duly elected under the existing rules. The campaign the media and the intelligence services have since run against him undermines the will of the people.

There is a major flaw in reasoning here. Trump is no populist. A populist can't be elected by the money-based US political system. Trump's election was almost certainly arranged:

  • The anti-Russia campaign began in earnest in 2014 (well before the 2016 election);
  • Trump's pre-election relationship to the Clinton's is highly suspect: they were likely to be much closer than we have been led to believe;
  • An FBI informant worked for Trump for over 10 years - during the time that Mueller was FBI director;
  • Trump was the ONLY populist on the Republican side (out of 19 contenders!);
  • Sanders was a 'sheepdog' and Hillary ran a terrible campaign in which she made obvious mistakes that a seasoned campaigner like herself would never make;
  • British involvement in the election (Fusion GPS, Cambridge Analytica, a Brit 'spy' in the Sanders campaign, etc.) suggests CIA-MI6 working together;
  • Trump Administration policies are consistent those of Clinton-Bush-Obama:
> Obamacare was not repealed "on day one" - it has been strengthened by not defending coverage for prior conditions;

> Trump put TPP provisions into his new North American trade deal;

> Trump continues ME meddling;

> Trump continues militarism and tax cutting;

> Etc.

The only major "difference" that I can think of are Trump's Wall and China tariffs. But these are consistent with the 'Deep State' goals.
Surveys show that the "will of the people" is very different than the neoliberal, neoconservative policies that the establishment fosters upon us.

MAGA is a POLICY CHOICE as much as it is a campaign slogan. It is designed to meet the challenge posed by Russia and China and 'turn the page' on the deceit and duplicity of the Obama Administration just as Obama's "Change You Can Believe In" was designed to turn the page on the the militarism of the Bush Administration. These BI-PARTISAN page-turnings ensure that there is no accountability and provides each new Administration with a new sly story line that the public readily swallows. Each new Presidential charade entertains and misdirects as the interests of the Empire are advanced with a refreshed box of tricks and dishonest narratives.

...war of the deep state against U.S. President Trump continues unabated.

Then why did Trump nominate Gina Haspel as head of the CIA? She is the acolyte of Trump nemesis Brennan. Why does Trump choose people like Nikki Halley, Pompeo, Bolton?

The war of the Deep State is a psyop to crush dissent as the butt-hurt Deep State continues to pursue their dream of global hegemony. Anyone that believes that Trump is no part of that psyop is delusional.

radiator , Jan 13, 2019 2:36:06 PM | link
Wow, man. Thanks to you and all the regulars here who contribute to gathering relevant info from all kinds of sources. I hate to repeat myself, but I feel that a little praise every 3 or 6 months is not too much spamming. This is what serious journalism looks like.
Jackrabbit , Jan 13, 2019 2:43:34 PM | link
Zachary Smith @2: ... I just don't buy into the "insurance" theory.

And I don't buy the theory that Hillary is hell bent on war. The Clinton's are very rational and calculating and no President has the freedom that your theory suggests. IMO what the Deep State has done under their man Trump is very similar to what the Deep State would have done if they had selected Clinton instead. The fact is, a populist nationalist is what was deemed necessary to meet the challenge from Russia and China. And that is what we got (surprise!).

<> <> <> <> <> <> <>

Furthermore, focusing on personality and Party is just what they want

"Watch what they do, not what they say" has a corollary: pay attention to the polices, not the politicians.

jacktheokie , Jan 13, 2019 3:01:49 PM | link
MoA's final paragraph is just about how I feel.

"I very much dislike most of Trump's domestic and foreign policy. But he was duly elected under the existing rules. The campaign the media and the intelligence services have since run against him undermines the will of the people."

This pretty well sums it up for me. Being old enough to remember FDR and the brief rise of the middle class in the 40's, 50's and 60's (and having benefited from that attempt at leveling the playing field), I am more than saddened at the downward spiral of our nation. Politics have obviously never been clean and fair, but the assassination of JFK opened the floodgates of blatant depravity perpetrated by those whose greed and lust for power will ultimately destroy us.

donkeytale , Jan 13, 2019 3:19:32 PM | link
Of course b you have nothing here to offer except your opinion. Your views regarding the relentlessness of the US criminal justice system are on target, just ask the underclasses about that. Once in view, you are never let be and in the US everyone can be found guilty of something.

Rather nice to see the pampered son of inherited tax-free wealth on the receiving end for once, in my opinion.

Trump is a crook. Russian collusion is his smokescreen. His crimes have already been demonstrated through what little we already know and there is still much we don't know and probably never will know.

This essay reads something like a veiled mea culpa from you.

You were wrong about Trump from the get go. Why not just admit it and move along? Why remain steadfastly in thrall to any shred of rightwing, authoritarianism of the elite masquerading as populism?

Whatever Trump gets from the criminal justice system, Congress or the voters appears to be well-deserved. He has brought this on himself and really there is no one else to blame even as he never will accept responsibility. He is stupid at best, dishonest at best, a useful idiot at best.

Trump saved his ass financially after a series of disastrous business bankruptcies by accepting what appears by all indications to be laundered money from literally hundreds of anonymous shell companies investing in his condos since at least 2008.

He has run roughshod over the emoluments clause quite openly.

I do believe, knowing what we know now, he will probably avoid indictment and escape impeachment, maybe only through resignation/pardon but more likely the old fashioned way: defeat at the polls in 2020.

In many ways Trump has done some good by reinvigorating the US left (such as it is) and bringing at least enough cohesion in the ranks of a badly splintered populace mainly among white females and white college educated voters who now reject the GOP, or at least the GOP of Trump.

Whether this will lead to badly needed fixes for the heinous wealth inequality (started with Reagan) is doubtful but at least the conversation is now underway (started with Bernie) which is the first step.

Tax increases, social security stabilisation, re-funneling wasted MIC billions to domestic programs for the poor, etc.

It is a start. Will it become a solution or a revolution in time?

That is up to the people who are still under the yoke of neoliberalism and global capital flight.

Don Bacon , Jan 13, 2019 3:29:06 PM | link
re:
Mike Flynn: pleaded out to a minor charge, rolled over in full and then produced five rounds of documents. Likely: Flynn was confronted with the intel they had on him and knew he was cooked. They knew the crimes. They heard and saw everything. There'd be no escape.
By flipping and pleading out Flynn, all of that secret intel stays secret. Our intelligence efforts are protected. And Flynn goes down. And he cooks a bunch of other gooses. He's savvy enough to know that once they have the intel, all that's left to do is make the case.//

So the situation is worse than I thought. The clear inference is that (1) Flynn (and others) really did commit some major crimes, and then (2) got off easy by admitting to a memory lapse (3) while cooking a bunch of other gooses.

Flynn does the easy (2) and gets away with (1) and (3), both very serious. This is justice?

Zachary Smith , Jan 13, 2019 3:42:11 PM | link
@ Jackrabbit #6

Well sir, opinions certainly do vary on this issue.

As you may recall, the woman threatened conflict on cyberattacks.

"As president, I will make it clear that the United States will treat cyberattacks just like any other attack," the Democratic presidential nominee said. "We will be ready with serious political, economic and military responses."

Regarding the Deep State and Trump, Syria is in the process of winning against the neocons. And Iran has not yet been attacked. Hillary has a record, and for the most part hasn't even tried to run away from it.

Hillary Clinton's War Record – 100% For Genocide

If you know of any instances of the woman speaking against the War Solution to problems, kindly tell me about them.

Trump is an incomparable jerk, but perhaps not quite as bad as HRC.

james , Jan 13, 2019 3:43:30 PM | link
thanks b... the topic is so very tiring.. i am sick of hearing about it.. if the usa fell off a cliff and never came back again - i would be fine with that.. thank you regardless, for taking it apart and trying ti dispel the bullshite.. it is so thick, it defies logic.. i agree with @1 jose garcia, and @4 radiator...

trump is a crook... so what? most of the business class in the west are at this point! politics and crookery go hand in hand... i would be surprised if it was any different at this point in time.. how about the intel agencies? you want to sleep with them? lol..

Hoarsewhisperer , Jan 13, 2019 3:57:17 PM | link
There's either something wrong with this assumption, or something we're not being told...

The Mueller investigation, thanks to the snooping Obama and the FBI enabled, knows the content of every phonecall, chat and email any member of the Trump administration made and make to someone abroad (and likely also within the U.S.). It invites people as witnesses and asks them about the content of a specific calls they made. If they misremember or lie - bang - Mueller has the transcript ready. A crime has been created and an indiction for lying to the FBI will follow. This is what happened to Flynn and the others the Mueller investigation entrapped and convicted.

Option 1. Something wrong? If you're being cross-examined in a court or pseudo-legal forum about things you may or may not remember, you have the right to decline to answer a question, or to preface any and every answer with the phrase "If I remember correctly blah blah blah..."

Option 2. Something we're not being told? If the interrogators were able to ambush Flynn, then it's probably because they didn't acquaint him with all of his rights, or he didn't have a lawyer with him.

Trump's not stupid. He won't blunder into a situation bereft of any semblance of legal Human Rights protections designed to ambush him. And if he can't have a lawyer with him when the questions start, then he can probably refuse to attend without breaking any law.

Tess Ting , Jan 13, 2019 3:57:41 PM | link
@donkeytale There has been close to three years of serious investigative intent to lay a glove on Trump (HRC's team, the FBI and Mueller) and there is only the merest scratch of a womaniser (which with three marriages doesn't come as a surprise). What is quite remarkable, despite all the investigative effort, is how clean Trump has managed to keep himself despite building a fortune in one of the toughest cities in the world, building himself up through the eras of the five families, junk bonds and ponzi schemes and soviet union mobsters, not to mention the corruption of the poltical classes and regulatory abuses and unionised labor.

For the world's he moves in, the only explanation that gives him enough protection is that for a long time Trump has been a protected FBI asset for one of the field offices, possibly now senior service figures. And it's this deep relationship with well connected parts of the FBI or other secret services that has given him the ability to steer past the various attempts by the deep state. Why, for instance, do we have such a lot of leakage of the inner workings of the anti-Trump FBI? Some part of the deep state has become disgusted at the spying (eg on congress), the blackmailing, the warmongering, and deep corruption of the anti-constitutionalists, and Trump is their vengence. You just have to decide which side you are on...

Zachary Smith , Jan 13, 2019 4:06:26 PM | link
"Tess Ting" #14

I read that as Testing - perhaps a trial/demonstration as a professional troll for somebody or other. How else to interpret "only the merest scratch of a womaniser" or "how clean Trump has managed to keep himself". Maybe I'm surprised not to also see praise for the clever Government Shutdown.

Peter AU 1 , Jan 13, 2019 4:11:46 PM | link
Hoarsewhisperer 13 I think it unlikely that the likes of Flynn would not know their basic legal rights.
brian , Jan 13, 2019 4:17:24 PM | link
meanwhile..trump and his appointees attack legitimacy of Venezuela govt.
Trump is in bad odor at home while seeking to attack other govts.

' Washington has explicitly expressed its support for a potential coup against the elected Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, by offering its backing to the opposition and stating outright it was time for a "new government."

"The Maduro regime is illegitimate and the United States will continue ... to work diligently to restore a real democracy" to Venezuela, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters on his trip to the Middle East on Saturday, adding that Washington would attempt to make the Latin American nations "come together to deliver that."'
https://www.rt.com/news/448673-us-venezuela-time-new-government/

Peter AU 1 , Jan 13, 2019 4:25:14 PM | link
One thing the US deep state and their muller proxy would have on Trump, and most if not all of Trump's team, is collusion with Israel (can this convert into charges of treason as threats). A weapon that is good for threats against and turning those around Trump, and possibly used in as a last resort to remove Trump.
Peter AU 1 , Jan 13, 2019 4:33:00 PM | link
Adding to my post @ 18
Pat Lang has a post up "What is wrong with Trump?" "But, how does one explain his lack of action on the border? Does someone or some thing in Russia, Israel, the UK, his former business associates, have something really juicy on Trump, something that he fears to unleash through decisive action? pl"

Collusion with Israel is something neither side - team Trump and the deep state - would wish to bring into the open, but this may be the only thing they have on Trump.

Robert Snefjella , Jan 13, 2019 4:43:58 PM | link
Great journalism b!

A few more points: from: https://theconservativetreehouse.com/

"On Thursday November 17th, 2016, NSA Director Mike Rogers traveled to New York and met with President-Elect Donald Trump.

On Friday November 18th The Washington Post reported on a recommendation in "October" that [NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers] Mike Rogers be removed from his NSA position:

The heads of the Pentagon and the nation's intelligence community have recommended to President Obama that the director of the National Security
Agency, Adm. Michael S. Rogers, be removed.

In a move apparently unprecedented for a military officer, Rogers, without notifying superiors, traveled to New York to meet with Trump on Thursday at Trump Tower.

Occam's Razor. NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers didn't want to participate in the spying scheme [on Trump]

(Clapper, Brennan, Etc.), which was the baseline for President Obama's post presidency efforts to undermine Donald Trump and keep Trump from digging into [who knows what crimes]"

After the visit by Rogers, Trump vacated Trump Towers. There is considerable irony in the Mueller 'probe' and the continuing avalanche of MSM lies and evasions and spin etc pertaining to Trump.

There are trends: A growing US citizen realization that their political system prior to Trump was nearly completely corrupt; the Clintons are more broadly understood as the pathological criminals that they are; the Podesta emails with their sick connotations remain 'in the air' - See Ben Swann's work, for example. The Clinton Foundation is far more broadly understood as a massive criminal enterprise.

Serious criminality at the highest levels of the FBI is now far more obvious to far more people

MSM as evil propaganda is more widely understood.

It is understood widely that the DNC material to Wikileaks was not 'hacked' (Binney)

From the theintercept.com :

"Pompeo met on October 24 [at Trump's request] with William Binney, a former National Security Agency official-turned-whistleblower who co-authored an analysis published by a group of former intelligence officials that challenges the U.S. intelligence community's official assessment that Russian intelligence was behind last year's theft of data from DNC computers. Binney and the other former officials argue that the DNC data was "leaked," not hacked, "by a person with physical access" to the DNC's computer system."

In short the last two years have been about trying to defeat Trump but the attackers are looking more and more wounded, and Trump, well, he's hanging in there. General Kelly and others have described Trump's work ethic as exhausting.

Brendan , Jan 13, 2019 5:12:30 PM | link
The Internet Research Agency (IRA) paid $100,000 for Facebook ads and then charged its customers for the clickbait service (between 25 and 50 U.S. dollars per post for promotional content). So even if the IRA didn't manage to make a profit, the net cost for them must have been much lower than $100,000. Does anyone know how much revenue it made from that operation? Facebook must know but they've kept quiet about it. Same with Mueller.
juliania , Jan 13, 2019 5:17:56 PM | link
Thank you, b. I am so glad I did not vote for Obama a second time around. A very rotten duopoly has taken over the US government, all based on the premise that money is speech and money runs government, the people be damned. Hence the shutdown being orchestrated by money, with Trump in the crosshairs.

I also very much adhere to your final paragraph's sentences. Let no one be in any doubt - what is underway is no less than traitorous activity, a clear violation of the US Constitution, motivated by corrupt individuals whose meanness is beyond dispute. How it can be redressed at this very late stage beggars the mind; I can only hope it be done as peacefully as possible.

vk , Jan 13, 2019 5:19:18 PM | link
If this is really true, then it's a clear sign of decline: Obama sacrificed a huge chunk of American freedom just for the sake of personal political revenge. The USA is transitioning from a laissez faire to a highly burocratized, byzantine economy.
Hal Duell , Jan 13, 2019 6:27:54 PM | link
Shortly after the USSR's experiment with communism collapsed, I read an article which suggested that if the noise from that fall was loud, even louder will be the noise when the second shoe (the American experiment with capitalism) falls. And this is the crux of why I appreciate The Donald. His is the most honest face the US can present to the world at this point in time. So look at it closely, and marvel at where we have come to.
Zachary Smith , Jan 13, 2019 6:47:25 PM | link
@ juliania #23
I am so glad I did not vote for Obama a second time around.

LOL (first time I've ever written this!)

You made the same mistake I did in 2008. The deck was really stacked in that election, though I was too blind to see it at the time. Smiling & smooth-talking black face issuing zillions of promises, and this was right after the Codpiece Commander. It took me a whole year to realize I'd been suckered, and by 2012 understood the fix was STILL on. Obama had lost most all of his glitter by then, so the Power Elites arranged his opposition to be a financial predator/Mormon bishop paired up with the most awful Libertarian POS I've ever seen. Speaking the honest truth here, I'd prefer to have Sarah Palin as POTUS to Paul Ryan. What a combo! That's why I offered anybody I met 10:1 odds on Obama winning. Hillary thought she had had seen a winning pattern from all that, and arranged to have as her opponent a fellow named Donald Trump.

Yeah, Right , Jan 13, 2019 8:35:30 PM | link
@15 Zachary Smith "How else to interpret 'only the merest scratch of a womaniser' or 'how clean Trump has managed to keep himself'."

Zachary Smith, I have been posting here for a number of years, and on this I have to agree with the newcomer Tess Ting

Trump has been put under intense investigation by Deep State hacks who are determined to see him impeached. And all they have come up with is that he is a compulsive pussy-grabber (no shit, hey?).

To my mind Trump is a very offensive human being, but that isn't an impeachable character trait. I had assumed that he would have skeletons in his cupboard that would be grounds for impeachment.

Well, if he has then he has hidden them extraordinarily well, because Mueller with all his resources hasn't found any. Indeed, Mueller's investigation is so well-resourced that the only conclusion I can reach is that Trump has no such skeletons.

As I say, that is extraordinary. But - apparently - also true.

Blooming Barricade , Jan 13, 2019 9:21:09 PM | link
Astonishing how out in the open the military coup plotting against Venezuela is right now, it was consisted an outrage to overthrow Allende and that was even before direct proof of US involvement, now the anti-war and left wing consciousness of the public and the intellectual class has been so corroded that nobody care and many even see an attempted coup as a god thing. The ideological counter revolution in full swing.
psychohistorian , Jan 13, 2019 9:48:09 PM | link
@ Yeah, Right who wrote:
"
Indeed, Mueller's investigation is so well-resourced that the only conclusion I can reach is that Trump has no such skeletons.
"

I would just bring your attention to the possibility that bringing Trump down brings them down as well. Your assertion that Trump doesn't have any skeletons in the closet is laughable.

Also consider that most of what is known comes from compromised sources and much of the house of cards we live is built on sketchy assumptions.

Cui Bono for Trump?

I am beginning to understand how Trump fits the elite plan and instead of your "grab them by the pussy" thought change it to "they have him by the balls". They played his ego to get him to run the race and then, gee, he won.

I now see Trump as the last great hope of the elite to carve out as big a chunk as they can of the new world....and try and hold onto it. The ongoing proxy conflicts will keep the musical chair game playing for a bit more but then something is going to stop the music.

A shrink told me once that after fire came music. What comes after music?

NemesisCalling , Jan 13, 2019 10:18:57 PM | link
@3 jr

How did I know that you would be first up after b's exhaustive story on the IC's corruption and utterly obvious attempt to take Trump down to cry, "Fiction."

Here is a reply to all your points:

- yes, the Russia-bad narrative was picking up steam before Trump's election. The MSM and TPTB incorrectly surmised that there would be enough anti-Russia fervor among the masses that pinning the accusation on Trump would stick. It did not. It is evidence of THEIR stupidity.
- you must have never heard of keeping your enemies close. The Clintons are powerbrokers. Trump used them. Maybe he did like them at one point, but clearly shat on his relationship with them and since the election they have truly been trashed and unable to recover any good fortune or power. The Dems made a mistake will backing HRC. They weren't acting under Deep State orders once again, Occam's Razor dictates that stupidity is the culprit here.
- How does FBI informant in campaign neccessarily implicate Trump in conspiracy and not confirm IC's weasely attempts to dig up dirt?
- Look at prior Repub primaries? Notice anything? Populists don't float in the Yacht Club Party, do they? Trump was an anomoly indicitive of the times (again, Occam's Razor).
- Again, it is absolutely absurd and suspicious that you can not admit that the Dems are a party of retards and that they consistently step over quarters to pick up pennies.
- Your opinion that Trump's policies do not differ from the Dems needs qualifying. I don't agree that his domestic policies align and verdict is still out on his FP. We know he is not a True-Believer, which is good.
- British involvement again suggests that the IC is compromised and globalized yielding national sovereignty to centralized planning. Trump deserves that ire and proves that there is a contest afoot.

Jen , Jan 13, 2019 10:32:05 PM | link
Tess Ting @ 14, Zachary Smith (really?!) @ 15, Yeah, Right @ 28, Psychohistorian @ 30:

Donald Trump has declared six business bankruptcies and there is considerable information on these bankruptcies if you Google for information on them, such as the article linked to here:
https://www.thoughtco.com/donald-trump-business-bankruptcies-4152019

If Trump's corporate bankruptcies are so well-known, and picked over several times by different media sources (even Snopes has covered them), surely any other behaviour or incident that might call Trump's character or ethics into question must have been uncovered by Robert Mueller by now?

ab initio , Jan 13, 2019 11:03:11 PM | link
I can't imagine the scale of exploding heads among the media talking heads and the establishment of the two parties, IF, Trump gets re-elected. DC would be in serious melt down. After 4 years of continuous assault the voters may actually repudiate the corporate media and the DC elites in the 2020 elections.

In any case with the Democrat candidates starting to announce we are essentially into the next presidential campaign. I don't think it is smart to under-estimate Trump's electoral chances.

slit , Jan 13, 2019 11:05:10 PM | link
Great work, B!

"Normally the FBI needs to clear such counter-intelligence investigations with the Justice Department. In this case it did not do so at all:"This sounds like the same "kangaroo court" MO Scott Ritter detailed a few years ago:

"Simply put, the Russia NIA is not an "IC-coordinated" assessment -- the vehicle for such coordination, the NIC, was not directly involved in its production, and no NIO was assigned as the responsible official overseeing its production. Likewise, the Russia NIA cannot be said to be the product of careful coordination between the CIA, NSA and FBI -- while analysts from all three agencies were involved in its production, they were operating as part of a separate, secretive task force operating under the close supervision of the Director of the CIA, and not as an integral part of their home agency or department."

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/did-17-intelligence-agencies-really-come-to-consensus-on-russia/

slit , Jan 13, 2019 11:25:22 PM | link
Zachary @2, JackRabbit:

Why does it have to be either-or?; it could have been for insurance AND warmongering narrative/dog whistling.

Escalation towards war with Russia was a matter of public record in late pre-election 2016, thanks to Clinton News Network ... now ask yourselves where is that general in the press conference nowadays?

DNC Russia Hotwar

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=dIYHje-rv5w

Jackrabbit , Jan 14, 2019 1:19:29 AM | link
NemesisCalling @31: Here is a reply to all your points

Well, you haven't replied to all my points, nor have you addressed the the thrust of my remarks. But I'll answer the issues that you raised so my view is clear to everyone.

=
- yes, the Russia-bad narrative was picking up steam before Trump's election. The MSM and TPTB incorrectly surmised that there would be enough anti-Russia fervor among the masses that pinning the accusation on Trump would stick. It did not. It is evidence of THEIR stupidity.
Wrong. Firstly, I was referring to the anti-Russia imperative in official circles NOT to the propaganda effort. That imperative intensified greatly after Russia blocked USA-proxy takeover of Syria (2013), and Crimea and Donbas (2014). In fact, Kissinger wrote a WSJ Op-Ed in Aug 2014 that issued a cryptic call for MAGA.

"picking up steam before Trump's election" needs some unpacking. The anti-Russia fervor among the masses has been entirely concocted, and mostly AFTER 2014.

Nothing has stuck to Trump because there's no substance to the allegations.

=
- you must have never heard of keeping your enemies close. The Clintons are powerbrokers. Trump used them. Maybe he did like them at one point, but clearly shat on his relationship with them and since the election they have truly been trashed and unable to recover any good fortune or power. The Dems made a mistake will backing HRC. They weren't acting under Deep State orders once again, Occam's Razor dictates that stupidity is the culprit here.
What does Occam's Razor have to say about the remarkable continuity of US foreign and domestic policy for the last 30 years?

Trump and the Clintons were known to be close. Even their daughter's were/are close.

Are you unaware of the CIA connections of Clinton, Bush, and Obama? Should we assume that Trump is free of any such connection?

=
- How does FBI informant in campaign neccessarily implicate Trump in conspiracy and not confirm IC's weasely attempts to dig up dirt?
The FBI informant (Felix Sater) worked for Trump from about 2001 to 2013. This was essentially the same period in which Mueller was FBI Director. Mueller and Comey are close and are connected to the Clinton's.

The informant wasn't investigating Trump or digging up dirt on him, he was informing on the Russian mob, and probably using employment by Trump to get closer to the mob. FBI/counter intel might have also used info provided to turn some of the Russians into US intel assets.

=
- Look at prior Repub primaries? Notice anything? Populists don't float in the Yacht Club Party, do they? Trump was an anomoly indicitive of the times (again, Occam's Razor).
Have you heard of the Tea Party? Have you heard of Obama using the IRS against the Tea Party? Seems that a Republican populist would get a lot of votes against the hated Hillary who championed Obama's "legacy".

- Again, it is absolutely absurd and suspicious that you can not admit that the Dems are a party of retards and that they consistently step over quarters to pick up pennies.
You can't admit that the Dem's have failed the left so consistently that it is unlikely to be due to their mental capacity or an accident of circumstance.

=
- Your opinion that Trump's policies do not differ from the Dems needs qualifying. I don't agree that his domestic policies align and verdict is still out on his FP. We know he is not a True-Believer, which is good.
I didn't say that they don't differ from the Dems, I said that Trump policies are consistent with policies of previous Administrations and that Hillary likely would've ruled in much the same way.

=
- British involvement again suggests that the IC is compromised and globalized yielding national sovereignty to centralized planning. Trump deserves that ire and proves that there is a contest afoot
The US IC is undoubtedly primary and universally acknowledged to be the lead in the US-Brit Intel relationship.

The only 'contest' I can discern is how best to fool the people.

<> <> <> <> <> <> <> <>

You seem to believe that a populist outsider can be elected President. And, you also believe that a US President can be both all powerful (Obama) or constrained by Deep State whim (Trump).

You also seem to believe that Trump's rhetoric is gospel-truth and means what you think it does. Surprise! "Negotiation with Russia" doesn't mean peace. Troop 'pull out' doesn't mean it'll happen any time soon (and possibly never). Anti-TPP doesn't mean he won't implement TPP provisions in other trade agreements. Etc.

PS The establishment doesn't benefit DESPITE our populist President's, they benefit BECAUSE we are willing to believe that our populist President's work for US.

NemesisCalling , Jan 14, 2019 2:14:54 AM | link
Jr, it was a fruitless endeavor, to be sure, but I gave it a shot.

For the record, I never counted Trump as savior, although he could very well be if he continues on getting caught with his dick in his hand as the empire around him crumbles. He's not a true believer, but he can at the very least be a useful idiot for the real anti-imperialists in the world.

bryan hemming , Jan 14, 2019 7:05:34 AM | link
It is of note that Oleg Deripaska is not a stranger to the world of politics and politicians. Before his fortunes changed dramatically, Oleg Deripaska was well-known for entertaining world politicians on his luxury yacht moored off Kassiopi in the northwest corner of the Greek Island of Corfu.

The Rothschilds have an estate outside Kassiopi. Among the many high-powered friends and guests of Deripaska was UK Tory politician, George Osborne, who visited him on his yacht at Kassiopi while still British Chancellor of the Exchequer. Osborne and EU Commissioner Peter Mandelson, a powerful force in Tony Blair's government, were both guests at a function held aboard the yacht in 2008. Baron Mandelson's position in the EU, at the time, led to accusations of a conflict of interest.

Among other movers and shakers, John McCain was also a friend of Oleg Deripaska, but that friendship may have soured after the virtual collapse of the Russian billionaire companies. McCain was more a fairweather friend than a stalwart ally through thick and thin. The reason I mention these tidbits is because the corporate media fails to join all the pieces that show just how corrupt Western politicians have become.

Harley Schlanger , Jan 14, 2019 7:06:30 AM | link
For a thorough update on the Integrity Initiative and its offshoots, check out the latest from legal investigator Barbara Boyd.

To defeat the "Deep State" in the U.S., it is essential to understand the role of British Intelligence. While it is essential to know the role of Hillary Clinton, Obama, Comey, DOJ/FBI operatives, et.al., it is even more important to understand the geopolitical assumptions behind Russiagate. And for that, one must turn to the British.

https://larouchepac.com/20190110/part-ii-integrity-initiatives-foreign-agents-influence-invade-united-states

Hoarsewhisperer , Jan 14, 2019 7:36:44 AM | link
It would help to get a handle on the precise nature and format of these FBI "under oath" fishing expeditions if the FBI released transcripts of a few of the recent hi-profile Q & A sessions. If suspects are being convicted for misdemeanors of dubious relevance to the stated aim of the Mueller Crusade then transcripts would allow inconsistencies to be counted and evaluated. It would also be interesting to discover whether the FBI uses a seductive approach to questioning, or a confrontational approach, given the petty nature of the 'crimes' exposed to date.
Petri Krohn , Jan 14, 2019 8:58:50 AM | link
The aim of the counterintelligence operation and of the Russiagate hoax was not to build a prosecution case against President Trump. It was to put the United States in constitutional limbo by creating a parallel and competing center of constitutional legitimacy.

The Obama Administration would live on in the structure of this "investigation", without ever having to relinquish power to Trump. The investigation would form the center of "The Resistance", with the ability to question the legitimacy of the Trump Administration.

donkeytale , Jan 14, 2019 9:43:31 AM | link
Jackrabbit @ 37

I didn't say that they don't differ from the Dems, I said that Trump policies are consistent with policies of previous Administrations and that Hillary likely would've ruled in much the same way.

This is very true but only in the same sort of overgeneralised sense with you populate your latest CT. That is, sweep any of the plainly ridiculous assumptions in your theory under the widest possible rug available to conspiratards.

At least you aint exactly drinking the Orange Kool-Aid like so many of the posters on this thread. That's a big positive in my book. As for them, it's more a reflection of the love for rightwing authoritarianism than for Trump himself. What they really wish for is a crafier, shrewder Amerikkkan version of Putin, but they accept Trump because his bumbling is the existential proof of US decline in relative power, as if such proof was necessary.

And if you overlook all Trump's achievements (such as they are):

1. Obamacare/Medicaid expansion repeal and subsequent degradation of the enrollment and funding processes by executive degree when appeal failed thanks only to McCain's "in yo office sucka" thumbs down vote.

2. Tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations (basically same thing)

3. SCOTUS and federal bench selections


The US system is meant to create a uniparty environment whereby opposing views are compromised into a "third way" legislative process.

I grok this system is broken and completely controlled by the wealthiest (show me a political system anywhere that you prefer that is not controlled by the wealthiest) but the funding mechanisms need changing before there will ever be significant change to governing processes.

Trump through his ignorance, corruption and loose lips has tilted the playing field left. Hilliary through her elitism, arrogance, corruption and lack of retail political skills gets a big assist in the same tilting.

Those who believe (if any truly do) that Trump represents anything more than the end of Reaganist conservatism are "wishin' and hopin'" as Dusty Springfield would say.

I do applaud those who are willing to show in the comments that they suffer from the real "Trump Derangement Syndrome," such as your good buddy James. They're all crooks, in his opinion.

So what is it Jim? Do you excuse Trump only or do you excuse them all? LMAO

Peter AU 1 , Jan 14, 2019 9:45:39 AM | link
Putin January 2017 - "You know, there is a category of people who leave without saying goodbye, out of respect for the situation that has evolved, so as not to upset anything. And then there are people who keep saying goodbye but don't leave. I believe the outgoing administration belongs to the second category.

What are we seeing in the United States? We are seeing the continuation of an acute internal political struggle despite the fact that the presidential election is over and it ended in Mr Trump's convincing victory. Nevertheless, in my opinion, several goals are being set in this struggle. Maybe there are more, but some of them are perfectly obvious."

The first is to undermine the legitimacy of the US president-elect. By the way, in this regard, I would like to point out that whether deliberately or not, these people are causing enormous damage to US interests. Simply enormous. The impression is that, after a practice run in Kiev, they are now ready to organise a Maidan in Washington to prevent Trump from taking office."

Peter AU 1 , Jan 14, 2019 9:46:40 AM | link
The link for my post @45
http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/53744

Posted by: pretzelattack , Jan 14, 2019 10:05:43 AM | link

sure, no doubt trump has been involved in financial improprieties; this in no way means he colluded with Russia to fix the election, or that russia on its own hacked the election, or any of the other false narratives the ic is trying to cram down our throats with the connivance of the msm and (mostly, but there are some republicans pushing it, too) the "centrist" dems.

And the clintons have their own skeletons, but they seem to be judgement proof with the aid of comey et al.

donkeytale , Jan 14, 2019 10:22:40 AM | link
pretzelattack @ 47

The only real difference between Trump and the Clintons at end of the day is they are smart lawyers who obviously better understand how to navigate the treacherous legal waters surrounding them.

They also know what the definition of "is, is" and how to carefully craft their words in public, while Trump is all loose cannon all the time ahd his legal representation appears to follow his lead, IE Giuliani and Cohen.

Jackrabbit , Jan 14, 2019 10:53:12 AM | link
Posted by: Peter AU 1 | Jan 14, 2019 9:45:39 AM | 45:
We are seeing the continuation of an acute internal political struggle despite the fact that the presidential election is over and it ended in Mr Trump's convincing victory.
Not really. What we are seeing is Deep State controlled media force-feeding the public a toxic concoction: the narrative of a political struggle that centers on anti-Russia hysteria.

Maybe you missed Romney's Op-Ed in which he praised Trump's pro-establishment policies while attacking his Russia-friendly 'pull out' from Syria. That's the best example of the two-faced establishment bullsh*t.

Welcome to the rabbit hole.

Robert Snefjella , Jan 14, 2019 10:57:29 AM | link
What is loosely called 'globalism', consisting of various trends and ideologies and practices: the EU and the aborted for now 'North American Union' and satellites, and cell phones able to instantly transmit images from the other side of the planet, and so on, has also importantly aimed at and advocated for and implemented various means by which national sovereignty was eroded.

And this erosion meant a reduction of the ability of a country's people to wield an effective national politics, let alone something vaguely democratic, or to implement policies which were at odds with the various globalist institutions and imperatives and programs. So we've seen on numerous occasions, for example, the IMF impose its globalist economic 'recipe' on a nation's economic policies.

And even the destruction of Libya in 2011 was primarily or importantly directed at preventing Libya from implementing a national financial strategy intended to give African countries an alternative to the depredations of global financial 'business as usual'.

But over the last two years the movement to restore or renovate national sovereignty has made something of a comeback.

So for example, Macron as recently as roughly two years ago was being lauded as a great new leader of the globalist project, and both he and Merkel have gone on record decrying the very concept of national sovereignty.

But now Macron and Merkel are largely reviled, especially Macron, by their people, and 'populist' enthusiasm strengthens. You can see the same trend in virtually every European country.

And in the United States, the tens of millions of 'deplorables' backing Trump are doing so partly, perhaps mostly, because he champions the restoration of national sovereignty and has questioned dominant globalist institutions.

Now for those who are committed to the view that Trump doesn't really mean it, that he isn't really an American nationalist, and so on, well, fine, believe what you like. But in the end, Trump's base of support is nationalistic, and that is as I noted above a very general trend that is quickly manifesting.

pretzelattack , Jan 14, 2019 11:17:45 AM | link
https://theintercept.com/2019/01/14/the-fbis-investigation-of-trump-as-a-national-security-threat-is-itself-a-serious-danger-but-j-edgar-hoover-pioneered-the-tactic/
Noirette , Jan 14, 2019 12:00:27 PM | link
Collapse ctd.

Re. the USA, when the handmaidens of power, aka politicians, the servant class in an oligarchic corporatist 'state,' are alarmingly seen to fight to the death in public it is crystal clear that control (which may take the shape of relatively informal and obscure networks ) is lost, .. > the 'fight' will only serve to weaken all parties.

Trump is loathed because he upset the apple cart and revealed weakness and fissures in the system. (+ possibly because he is an upstart, from the wrong side of whatever, has bad hair, is dumb, a thief, more )

He ran as an anti-establishment maverick:

- and was elected only for that reason. It was disconcertingly easy to do, which is also terrifying to the PTB. Plus, election/voter fraud did not perform as expected - help !! The MSM promoted him with mega 24/24 coverage - help !!

As the no. 1 disruptive foe is merely an elderly scummy biz type, an intruder, some other entity like malignant agressive Russia had to be associated with him. (Yes, is was Obama-Clinton who started the highjinks + the following Mueller investig.; see b at top - also, bashing Russia gradually took wing as it recovered under Putin, the Ukraine plots did not work out, etc. *Crimea!* the last straw! ..)

If Obama had announced that 2K USA personnel were to be withdrawn from Syria because the good folks want their wonderful husbands and wives, great ppl, our folks, home soon, they have dutifully served, etc. the MSM and anyone who bothered to digest that news would have clapped and sent off pixel sparkles and sweet tweets.

Very difficult to judge: what is the result of infighting in the US vs. any agreed-on never mind coherent foreign policy? That the question is even asked - all over the world now - spells stage one collapse.

Jackrabbit , Jan 14, 2019 12:23:45 PM | link
Robert Snefjella @50:
Now for those who are committed to the view that Trump doesn't really mean it, that he isn't really an American nationalist, and so on, well, fine, believe what you like. But in the end, Trump's base of support is nationalistic ..."

Did Obama really mean it when he touted "Change You Can Believe In"? No. His rhetoric was meant to turn the page from the Bush Administration excesses and convince the world that USA was not the threat that they perceived us to be. In fact, he was given a Nobel Prize for essentially not being Bush. But it was all psyop. Obama refused to hold CIA accountable for rendition and torture, refused to stop NSA pervasive spying, conducted covert wars and regime change ops, bragged of his drone targeting skills, made Bush tax cuts permanent, bailed out bankers, etc.

Does Trump really mean his nationalism? Only to the extent that a nationalist was needed to meet the challenge from Russia and China. People don't fight for globalist principals.

US is still a member of NATO, still involved in the Middle East, still has hundreds of bases around the world.

Trump's nationalist credentials are further belied by such things as: adding TPP provisions to the new North American trade agreement; attacking Syria based on false flags; arming Ukraine; pulling out of the INF treaty and engaging in an unnecessary and costly arms race; actively seeking to overthrow the governments of Iran and Venezuela; etc.

Welcome to the rabbit hole.

Peter AU 1 , Jan 14, 2019 12:41:01 PM | link
dahoit 53

Is there a requirement for an open trial on these sort of things. I'm not sure about the US, but normally gag orders are all that's required to keep something quiet. All the people around Trump could be taken down in this way with charges that would stick.
Apparently the only one they cannot take down in this way is the president (Another post up now at SST on the legalities of investigating the president). As far as I know, the president can only be taken down by impeachment so I guess they wouldn't try to use collusion with Israel for that unless they could keep what they were impeaching him for secret.

donkeytale , Jan 14, 2019 1:18:09 PM | link
Snefjella @ 50

And in the United States, the tens of millions of 'deplorables' backing Trump are doing so partly, perhaps mostly, because he champions the restoration of national sovereignty and has questioned dominant globalist institutions.

Yes, "Amerikkka First" represents nationalism for sure. Many, maybe most Amerikkkans have always been nationalistic and detest globalist structures because they view them as limiting Amerikkka's rightful global sovereignty. This is a fine distinction I believe gets lost in commentary such as yours. Trump isn't looking to retreat from Amerikkkan Exceptionalism at all, it his raison d etre for the tariffs and increases in military spending.

The movement which elected Trump represents the nostalgic view of a lost Amerikkkan dominance over the globe, which of course they blame on those hated Democratic and Republican establishment globalists, Bushes, Clintons and Obama.

donkeytale , Jan 14, 2019 1:23:22 PM | link
And I meant "rightful" in quotation marks not that I believe it is rightful but is the opinion of the "Deplorables".
Zachary Smith , Jan 14, 2019 1:43:05 PM | link
@ Jackrabbit #28
You see all that and then assume that the Hillary-Trump contest was genuine?

Why not assume that the Deep State's candidate won in every election since Carter and work from there.

That first is a difficult one to answer, for I quite agree with you on the second part. Rigged elections from Carter on to the present day matches my own thoughts as well. In 2000 "they" had to go all the way to the Supreme Court to get their man in office, but GWB did indeed move into the White House.

My own theory about 2016 is that everybody miscalculated. Trump was (IMO) running as an ego-building publicity stunt. Hillary (and her Deep State sponsors) had actively helped Trump get the nomination with hundreds of millions of dollars of free publicity which also enhanced the bottom lines of Big Media. His multiple flaws were airbrushed away. Hillary ran a horrible campaign because she is an arrogant and "entitled" woman. The incompetence of that campaign simply didn't uncover the extent to which she was hated by so many people. (myself included, but I didn't vote for the torture-loving Trump, either)

The biggest mistake of all was not having any plan in place to use the touch-screen voting systems (think "Diebold") to nail down her victory. Again an opinion, but I think that was judged to be a little too risky plus the fact it was obviously totally unnecessary. Hillary didn't have a "loss" speech prepared, and Trump didn't have a "victory" one.

This is why I call Trump an "accidental" President. I'll admit the Deep State has reacted pretty well since 2016, but they're still playing catchup. Israel - to name just one - remains in shell shock.

In summary, I think we barely disagree. :)

vk , Jan 14, 2019 1:55:56 PM | link
I think Trump's election was a miscalculation of the American elites...
Robert Snefjella , Jan 14, 2019 2:54:31 PM | link
Further to American's general support for Trump's declared intention of reduction of troops in Syria and Afghanistan, the Daily Caller on the 9th of January 2019 cited 56 % in support, 20 % not sure, and 27 % opposing. This is after MSM and general national political outrage and 'deep concern' over Trump's decision.

Note that US involvement in Syria has been justified by the most lurid of lies and disinfo continually poured for years into American's psyches. For Tulsi Gabbard to have a direct conversation with Assad (the designated 'butcher of Damascus', the 'horrid monstrous dictator' accused over and over of attacking his own people, often with chemical weapons from barrel bombs, and especially targeting children and hospitals: the man can have no soul, no heart! We must help the Syrians in their struggle against this animal!) was an outrage!

So not only do most Americans want American troops out of Syria, it would seem that there is some growing immunity among the people of the United States to their diet of diseased propaganda.

karlof1 , Jan 14, 2019 3:16:31 PM | link
Just finished b's excellent recap and the entire affair reeks of Treason -- not against Trump, but against the Nation.
Jackrabbit , Jan 14, 2019 4:57:11 PM | link
Posted by: vk | Jan 14, 2019 1:55:56 PM | 60

Donald Trump as an outsider of the GOP

The populist hero must be portrayed as an "outsider" that takes on the establishment. Obama was positioned in much the same way.

Trump is no "outsider". He is very establishment. Even before running for President, he had access that ordinary people never get.

Trump only won because of a bizarre technicality of the American electoral system.

You are directing our attention to what the establishment wants us to see. It ignores Hillary's spectacular failure: snubbing of Sanders progressives; Cold shoulder to black voters; insult to white voters ("deplorables"); choosing not to campaign in crucial states; the wierdness of Bill Clinton being discovered meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch (Bill Clinton is one of the most recognizable people in America - why why why would be meeting with the Attorney General on an airport tarmac?), etc.

If the race were easy, Trump woundn't be a populist hero, would he? And Hillary's winning the popular vote is a nice consolation prize to the Clinton's. Plus, it nicely sets up the fake Deep State vs. Trump conflict.

Linda Amick , Jan 14, 2019 8:22:16 PM | link
While Trump is a member of the elite establishment that practically owns the country he has always been a pariah for one main reason. He does not honor the unspoken code of never exposing inside information about other elite members. He is a big mouth.

Given that, the establishment and their propaganda arm of the media have been out to get him even before he was elected. His presidency has largely been an inside struggle. However, Trump is clever and crafty. During his tenure he has been give access to tremendous amounts of information about his political enemies and he continues to bait, insult and fire them, pushing them deeper and deeper into insanity.

He will fight fire with fire. If they attempt to impeach him he will tit for tat release information incriminating his enemies. I view this as a positive direction for the US in the long run. ALL of these people need to be banished to "Elba". Maybe they will fight to the death of both sides. One can dream.

[Jan 15, 2019] The man behind the Russiagate hoax set to resign (Video)

Jan 15, 2019 | theduran.com

A source close to Rosenstein said he intends to stay on until Mueller submits a report to the Justice Department on the Russian meddling investigation. The source said that would mean Rosenstein would remain until early March. Several legal sources have said they expect the Mueller team to submit its report by mid-to-late February, although they said that timeline could change based on unforeseen investigative developments.

Rosenstein had long intended to serve about two years as the Justice Department's No. 2 official, these officials say. They add that this is his own plan and that he is not being forced out by the White House. That's despite the fact that he's been a frequent target of criticism from President Donald Trump on Twitter.

The administration officials say he plans to remain on the job until after a new attorney general is confirmed. After pushing out Jeff Sessions in November, Trump nominated William Barr, who planned to be at the Capitol on Wednesday, beginning a round of courtesy calls with senators ahead of his confirmation hearing, which begins Jan. 15.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Wednesday on Fox News: "I know the deputy attorney general has always planned to roughly stay around two years. My guess is that he is making room for the new attorney general to build a team that he wants around him."

Rosenstein's intentions were first reported by ABC News. He did not respond to questions Wednesday morning.

Rosenstein considered resigning last fall, after a report surfaced that he had advocated secretly recording Trump, but he decided to stay on the job. Aides said he made a comment about having someone "wear a wire" around the president as a joke during a meeting.

Rosenstein had been overseeing the Mueller's investigation into possible Trump campaign collusion with Russia and obstruction of justice because Sessions recused himself because of his role in the Trump campaign. And even with the arrival of acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker, who took over the probe, Rosenstein has continued to help supervise it.

If Barr is confirmed, as seems likely, he will fully take over the investigation. Several legal sources have said it appears that the Mueller investigation is entering its final stages. But Barr would play a key role in deciding whether and how to share Mueller's expected report with Congress and whether to make all or part of it public.

Responding to news of Rosenstein's impending departure, Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia told CNN's "New Day" that he has "deep concern" about how Barr will handle the Mueller probe. He referred to a memo Barr wrote in which he was critical of the investigation.

"William Barr was sending freelance memos to the Trump administration making a case to undercut the Mueller investigation," Kaine said. "So the deep concern will be if he comes in and Rosenstein is gone, is this just a preface to either undercutting the investigation or trying to keep the results of it hidden from the American public."

Rosenstein has been a consistent defender of Mueller and the Justice Department, responding to attacks from Republicans in Congress. He told a Law Day conference last May that the department "is not going to be extorted," after some House Republicans raised the prospect of seeking Rosenstein's impeachment.

The attacks from Congress and the White House were a jolt for Rosenstein, who enjoyed bipartisan support for most of his three decades as a federal prosecutor. But his congressional support faltered when he wrote a memo providing a rationale for Trump's decision to fire FBI Director James Comey.

By appointing Mueller to take over the Russia investigation as a special counsel, Rosenstein won back Democrats but angered the president, who tweeted, "I am being investigated for firing the FBI Director by the man who told me to fire the FBI Director! Witch Hunt."

[Jan 14, 2019] The L>obby at work

Notable quotes:
"... Since the announcement (but no real follow through) to end our military involvement in Syria what passes for our statesmen - John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo - have been ignored, mocked or both. ..."
"... When was the last time you heard of a major US political figure go overseas and be refused a meeting with a foreign head of state, publicly upbraided and sent home like an irrelevant flunkie? ..."
"... The insult couldn't be plainer. The lack of Bolton's self-awareness and understanding of the situation was embarrassing. And it left Erdogan the perfect opportunity to call out the Trump Administration's policies as beholden to a foreign power, Israel. ..."
Jan 14, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Something has changed in U.S. politics. And it may finally signal something changing for the better. Since the announcement (but no real follow through) to end our military involvement in Syria what passes for our statesmen - John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo - have been ignored, mocked or both.

Bolton attempted to box Trump in on not leaving Syria while Israel chest-thumped about how they will not yield an inch to Iran. Turkish President Erdogan publicly lambasted him with no response from President Trump. Or anyone else for that matter.

When was the last time you heard of a major US political figure go overseas and be refused a meeting with a foreign head of state, publicly upbraided and sent home like an irrelevant flunkie?

I can't think of one. Bolton came into the Middle East and made demands like he was the President which Bolton knew were clearly red lines for Erdogan -- guaranteeing the safety of the Syrian Kurds. And he did this from Jerusalem.

The insult couldn't be plainer. The lack of Bolton's self-awareness and understanding of the situation was embarrassing. And it left Erdogan the perfect opportunity to call out the Trump Administration's policies as beholden to a foreign power, Israel.


africoman , 59 minutes ago link

Why Israel so bent on hell to take Syrian sovereign territory of Golan Height seized on so calleds

the Six-Day War in 1967, they did strategic move, still occupied and considers its own,

OIL is the last reason to occupy it and is it related to coming antichrist ?

I think it's more of spiritual than resource control. There are something more

For interested, Check this out:

Circle of Og : Return of the Nephilim and golan heights

yerfej , 37 minutes ago link

Excuse me but Israel won the war and as such can keep the gains.

africoman , 32 minutes ago link

No. In November 2018, the US rejected a symbolic UN resolution calling on Israel to end its occupation of the Golan Heights. The resolution passed with 151 votes in favor, 14 abstentions and only two votes against – the US and Israel itself They call it, "Occupied" for no reason. Gaza also an example but joos kept slicing it out ever since installed there.

yerfej , 12 minutes ago link

Well yes and I held a conference with resolutions in my backyard over some beers and it resulted in calling out the occupation as the spoils of war. The Syrians will just have to suck it up. Everyone else who pays attention to the bleating of ****** morons at the UN should realize the backyard beer occupation resolution trumps all.

fiddy pence haff pound , 1 hour ago link

"The lack of Bolton's self-awareness and understanding of the situation was embarrassing. And it left Erdogan the perfect opportunity to call out the Trump Administration's policies as beholden to a foreign power, Israel. "

This fits into my theory regarding Trump as a good boss. He obviously could not avoid hiring Bolton, as Trump's balancing act goes on. Bolton is an old PNAC petty potentate, and he obviously believes that triumphalist drivel from 2000. So, Bolton obviously thought he could deke around Trump and defy him and walked right into this act of political suicide. He'l be fired when the time is right. He's too connected to get beat up like Sessions. Trump will have to lever Bolton out using his own mustache and with the appropriate backing. That's going to easier now that Bolton danced a jig in Jerusalm.

[Jan 14, 2019] I feel like the U.S. is an occupied country, invaded by corporate lobbyists. We have the kind of crap government you get from occupations.

Notable quotes:
"... Why did Trump appoint Bolton? ..."
"... I think Bolton is a sop to Sheldon Aldelson. He may be playing a similar role to "The Mooch", I hope. ..."
"... Likewise, Pompeo is the Koch brother's man. Both authoritarian billionaires trying to guarantee their investment in Trump. You see the US is being run like a business, or is that like a feudal fiefdom? ..."
Jan 14, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Edward , , January 14, 2019 at 1:01 pm

I feel like the U.S. is an occupied country, invaded by corporate lobbyists. We have the kind of crap government you get from occupations.

Ignim Brites , , January 14, 2019 at 7:36 am

Why did Trump appoint Bolton? A saying of LBJ, I believe attributed to Sam Rayburn, might illuminate. "It is better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in."

Edward , , January 14, 2019 at 8:26 am

I think Bolton is a sop to Sheldon Aldelson. He may be playing a similar role to "The Mooch", I hope.

Allegorio , , January 14, 2019 at 12:49 pm

Likewise, Pompeo is the Koch brother's man. Both authoritarian billionaires trying to guarantee their investment in Trump. You see the US is being run like a business, or is that like a feudal fiefdom?

Carolinian , , January 14, 2019 at 8:33 am

Why did Trump appoint Bolton?

Not to be a broken record but should we blame the Dems? Arguably Trump's "out there" gestures to the right are because he has to keep the Repubs on his side given the constant threat of impeachment from the other side. Extremes beget extremes. There's also the Adelson factor.

Of course this theory may be incorrect and he and Bolton are ideological soul mates, but Trump's ideology doesn't appear to go much beyond a constant diet of Fox News. He seems quite capable of pragmatic gestures which are then denounced by a horrified press.

[Jan 14, 2019] The Russia Hoax The Illicit Scheme to Clear Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump Gregg Jarrett 9788925598352 Amazon.com

The books does not answer the key question: if it was not Russian influence, who of forign powers tried to influence the election: GB, Israel, Saudi, or all three. We have solid evidence of interference of British intelligence services into the election. Which means May government interference.
Also important to understand that FBI from the very beginning was apolitical tool. Nothing new here.
This dirty political witch hunt has one major goal to cement the cracks in neoliberal society that appear after 2008 Financial crash. This attempt failed and Pateigenosse Mueller is unable to change that. Confidence in the ruling neoliberal oligarchy collapsed and problem with the inequality laid now bare.
Jan 14, 2019 | www.amazon.com

KB from Illinois 5.0 out of 5 stars Very detailed. Raises many questions about politically motivated investigations. September 14, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

My interest in this book occurred by chance. Over the past couple years reading news stories on sites like Yahoo News I sensed a very overt stance against President Trump. It appeared very obvious to me, but I wanted some confirmation whether these views may have validity, or perhaps not. So I started to investigate other opinions via some of the conservative talk radio shows. Up until this time, I rarely listened to them. One was the Sean Hannity Show and Gregg Jarrett was sitting in for Sean on one of the shows. He mentioned his book and I thought it sounded interesting. My basic assumption even prior to reading this book was I never felt there was any illegal Trump/Russian collusion in our recent election. I couldn't see how it would ever be done in such a way that would actually affect the voting outcome (other than if it were some kind of ballot box type fraud). So I had doubts about all the related investigations. When this book was mentioned I figured it would offer some factual information to help me understand the investigations better. It did accomplish that. And much more awareness.

One of the major items about this book is that it is well researched and documented. This made me feel somewhat comfortable about its content. There is so much misinformation making its rounds today that knowing what is truthful and what isn't can become a real guessing game. I could even ask 'Did Mr. Jarrett fabricate his sources'? At this point I will go on faith that they are real.

Based on that assumption, he presents a very hard case about the Russian collusion investigation as not being quite what the U.S.A. people are being led to believe by the media outlets. So much so, I hope this book could be a catalyst for other investigations (assuming that isn't already being planned). As summarized in this book, a major point is about federal investigative departments having integrity in performing their duties, and doing so legally and without prejudice or political partisanship. This book does raise some real concerns.

The author states at the end of the book "The people who should read this book, probably won't". Unfortunately he is probably correct. As a country we seem so divided today politically. It is my impression that anti-Trumpers will probably not want to acknowledge any conflicting thoughts or facts to their beliefs. But this book could be a great exercise in broadening one's knowledge regarding the investigations on Trump. It would show a different viewpoint than that being touted by much of the media, and has the facts backing it up. At the very least, it can provide some food for thought.

Grady T. Birdsong 5.0 out of 5 stars Tells the honest truth about corruption in our Government November 23, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

As Gregg Jarrett states in the Epilogue of this book, "The people who should read this book, probably won't... they are intellectually dishonest in believing that the president must have committed some crime in connection with Russia...There was never any plausible evidence that Trump or his campaign collaborated with Russia to win the presidency... Comey's scheme to trigger the appointment of his friend as special counsel was a devious maneuver by an unscrupulous man..."
As many of these events unfolded I have watched closely and performed my own "tests of reasonableness" from facts presented. Utilizing logic and common sense I often wondered if I was missing something? What crystal ball would have predicted that Donald Trump would run for the presidency? One example: The press told us he had been a political asset for many years and had been exchanging Intel with the Russians...
Then I heard about this book, purchased it and began reading it... I could hardly put it down... The information in it is astonishing! It is all to clear now...
Jarrett has researched, compiled and formatted an almost air-tight legal case (within this book) for prosecuting these "weasels." The astonishing levels of corruption and crimes committed by those in the highest levels of the DOJ and FBI are unprecedented. He has compiled an extraordinary amount of source information to back up his many claims throughout the book. I am totally perplexed that our so-called leaders in Congress are allowing this abuse to go unpunished... baffling? This disgraceful abuse of power documented by Jarrett will come back to haunt us! A well written expose by Mr. Jarrett!

E. Christine Hess 5.0 out of 5 stars Mueller, Rosenstein & the members of the Special Council SHOULD be on trial! November 24, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

Gregg Jarrett's research leaves NO DOUBT that drastic action needs to be taken to hold these people- PRETENDING to represent the law- accountable & end their "assassination" tactics on our tax dollar.
This is not Halloween, not a play. This is REALITY with our laws running amok!
And our Congress - our elected officials, supposedly servants of We, the People, - is not taking action?
How is this possible?

Amazon Customer 5.0 out of 5 stars The deep bias rooted in the Deep State, better known now as The Swamp October 8, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

Incredibly well researched and well written book which explains methodically in an easy to read style the undeniable deep seated bias against President Trump at the highest levels of the Department of Justice and the FBI. They tried to first prevent him from being elected by exonerating Hillary Clinton of a long list of crimes committed during her tenure as Secretary of State and then smearing him with a politically motivated fake "Dossier". When that didn't work, they have tried to undermine his presidency from the start with an equally politically motivated Special Prosecutor investigating "Collusion with Russia" in an investigation which had no crime to investigate from the start. A must read for all Americans.

Andrew Maile 5.0 out of 5 stars A very informative, but yet digestible, read........ September 30, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

This author writes with a very smooth, easy, but detailed style. The book brings in much law for the reader to digest, but, somehow, does not get a reader tangled up in the weeds. As for the thrust of the book: A detailed 'tick tock' of the day by day events that have taken America to the point we are today on this entire question of Trump, Russia, and the 2016 election.
This book really is vivid proof that the 'deep state' does emphatically exist. Not as a structure or organization with secret meetings,rituals or handshakes. But as a mentality, or common political/social view of government, stemming from the longevity of bureaucracy to feel invulnerable to popular will because of their simple edict that 'we'll still be here after you're long gone'. And from this, these bureaucrats build liaisons with favoring political elites that lead to deep, hidden, obscure --shall we say 'deep state'-- actions to pervert the popular will for the ends of a few.
This book vividly displays why bureaucrats (whose lifeblood is to promote more government) so turn their collective hand to supporting Democrats, the party of government. Yates covering for Comey and the blackmailing of Gen. Flynn, Comey leaking to a friend in Academia that provokes the appointment of his (Comey's) close associate --indeed, his mentor-- Robert Mueller. Senior bureaucrats (McCabe, Strzok) playing inside baseball to maneuver themselves for promotion in the expected new (Democratic) administration that they so much support and wish for. Indeed friendships with FISA judges to assure bogus warrants can be obtained against political enemies.
Where money and power are traded as coin of the realm in a way that is so antiseptic and hidden. Nobody says 'How much money will it take'; instead it's 'I can help you fund raise'. Rod Blagojevich was foolish enough to call a bribe a bribe...well, he's in jail, but Strzok's wife isn't.
It just goes on and on................it's simple corruption!!! And the band plays on......the human comedy continues........

JG Kuhl 5.0 out of 5 stars How about a media complicity sequel? September 3, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Excellent detailed and researched book that simply amazes me. Lynch, Comey, Clinton, Stzrok, Orr, Rosenstein, McCabe, Reid and Brennen all worked seamlessly to install Hillary and have a backup plan B to lay the groundwork to impeach Trump in case she doesn't make it. All under the oversight of Obama. Neat trick, but what follows is even more orchestrated: MEDIA COMPLICITY! You can't pull this off unless you have the full cooperation willingly or otherwise of: NBC, CBS, NPR, ABC, MSNBC, and most of all CNN, the New York Times, and Washington Post! Here's where the real story lies. The media and the Democrat party are simpatico, joint at the brain and mouth and one other orifice. This is the real story that Jarrett only pays passing attention to. Sequel maybe, I hope so. Jon Kuhl Papillion, NE & New England

Amazon Customer 5.0 out of 5 stars The Deep State Is Real September 14, 2018 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

This book is very thorough and completely exposes the Deep State. If there were any doubts about the conspiracy to depose President Trump before reading this book, there certainly aren't any afterwards. After reading the book, I am very disappointed and discouraged to find that our government has such liars and criminals in the FBI, the DOJ, and the Congress. I have completely lost any confidence I had in the U.S. government and will never believe in it again, unless there is a complete house-cleaning in the FBI and the DOJ.

S. Martin Shelton 4.0 out of 5 stars This attack to undermine our democracy is unparalleled in the history of our republic. October 1, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

Jarrett pens a comprehensive review of the Deep State's inordinate fraud on our Constitution -- perhaps the greatest attack on our constitutional republic in the history of our country. He writes in clear and empathetic style. His narrative evolves in a coherent and logical progression that details the conspirators' skullduggery in an "ABC" type of progression. He cites exactly who violated the relevant federal statute and why and how it was violated. Unfortunately, as of 30 September 2018 -- the date I'm preparing the review -- none of the miscreants have been indicted even though the documentation of evidence is ponderous.

Larry A. Whited 4.0 out of 5 stars One Less than Five Stars August 8, 2018 Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase

Gregg Jarrett's study -- and that is what this book is, a study -- covers two main aspects of recent history. First and foremost it is an in-depth look at the tactics and forces arrayed against President Trump. Intertwined with this comes by necessity a parallel look at Hillary Clinton's tenure as Secretary of State, her presidential run, as well as a broader look at the activities of the Clintons with the nearly full support of those same forces that are now aligned against the presidency of Donald Trump. The nature of the often overlapping issues and the personnel involved has resulted in a fair amount of repetition of key points. This was not a lazy attempt to achieve a book-length manuscript, as Jarrett's original copy by his own admission in the acknowledgments was a hefty 100,000 words before the publisher encouraged him to trim things down.

It is unfortunate that this book will be dismissed by so many who are unwilling to understand and accept that the pervasive high-level animosity against President Trump has evolved into a direct and active threat against our country -- and this threat is compounded by a complicit media that is eager to pounce. The rule of law has been twisted and contorted if not completely abandoned. Trump is the primary target, but whether by design or happenstance it is the U.S. Constitution that is being the most assaulted. The danger of this cannot be overemphasized -- we are at a critical crossroads. Gregg Jarret understands this and was motivated to bring this truth to light. He is no sycophant of President Trump. His loyalty is to the rule of law and to our Constitution rather than to political agendas on either side.

I withheld one star because a great opportunity was lost. This book will never appear in classrooms, and it will likely be stocked in few law libraries. It most certainly should be, and it needs to be read and studied. The flagrant abuses of power by the DOJ, the FBI, and others need to be brought out into a bright light and the corruption purged. As a people we need to get our head out of the sand and realize what has been going on behind closed doors -- our future is most definitely at stake. The lost opportunity that I am alluding to comes down to the expressed (albeit well deserved) disdain and disgust that Gregg Jarrett now has towards those who are participating in this hoax that he has so thoroughly revealed. I fear even the preface itself will turn away those who most need to read this book.

What will be perceived as bias before the facts are presented and developed will allow or even cause those who need to read this book to close their minds, giving them the excuse they want to dismiss the evidence. If strictly the evidence and history had alone been presented with Jarrett's (again, well-deserved) animosity being held in check and edited out, then perhaps this book could have become a classic for later generations to study assuming that we survive these perilously subversive times. I did the math, and there are 771 supporting references -- an average of 70 per chapter -- documenting Jarrett's research, plus 12 references even in the epilogue. Obviously, we are not talking about willfully blind opinion with no basis in fact.

The antagonists who post their 1-star reviews with almost all of them having obviously never read the book (Re. few verified purchases) reveal a dangerous willful ignorance that they are happy to embrace. Their mindset should concern us all.

[Jan 14, 2019] Lobby at work

Jan 14, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Something has changed in U.S. politics. And it may finally signal something changing for the better. Since the announcement (but no real follow through) to end our military involvement in Syria what passes for our statesmen - John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo - have been ignored, mocked or both.

Bolton attempted to box Trump in on not leaving Syria while Israel chest-thumped about how they will not yield an inch to Iran. Turkish President Erdogan publicly lambasted him with no response from President Trump.

Or anyone else for that matter.

When was the last time you heard of a major U.S. political figure go overseas and be refused a meeting with a foreign head of state, publicly upbraided and sent home like an irrelevant flunkie?

I can't think of one.

Bolton came into the Middle East and made demands like he was the President which Bolton knew were clearly red lines for Erdogan -- guaranteeing the safety of the Syrian Kurds.

And he did this from Jerusalem.

The insult couldn't be plainer. The lack of Bolton's self-awareness and understanding of the situation was embarrassing. And it left Erdogan the perfect opportunity to call out the Trump Administration's policies as beholden to a foreign power, Israel.


africoman , 59 minutes ago link

Why Israel so bent on hell to take Syrian sovereign territory of Golan Height seized on so calleds

the Six-Day War in 1967, they did strategic move, still occupied and considers its own,

Bolton to Netanyahu: We have the best US-Israel relations in history

'Golan Heights forever ours!' Israel praises US for its vote against UN anti-occupation resolution

Damascus slams Israel's 'Judaization plans & illegal elections' in occupied Golan Heights

Netanyahu wants to redraw map in the Golan, Russia says – go to the UNSC

OIL is the last reason to occupy it and is it related to coming antichrist ?

I think it's more of spiritual than resource control. There are something more

For interested, Check this out:

Circle of Og : Return of the Nephilim and golan heights

GILGAL REPHAIM, CIRCLE OF OG KING OF BASHAN | - Fallen Angels

Circle of Og, Return of the Nephilm, Circle of the Giants

'Wheel Of Giants' And Mysterious Complex Of Circles - Prehistoric ...

did biblical giants build the circle of the refaim? - Christian Churches of ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6QLz2H8xjc0

Deuteronomy 4:43 Bezer in the wilderness on the plateau belonging ...

What do the Golan Heights, Hebron and the Gaza Strip have in ...

yerfej , 37 minutes ago link

Excuse me but Israel won the war and as such can keep the gains.

africoman , 32 minutes ago link

No,

In November 2018, the US rejected a symbolic UN resolution calling on Israel to end its occupation of the Golan Heights.

The resolution passed with 151 votes in favor, 14 abstentions and only two votes against – the US and Israel itself

They call it, "Occupied" for no reason

Gaza also an example but joos kept slicing it out ever since intalled there.

yerfej , 12 minutes ago link

Well yes and I held a conference with resolutions in my backyard over some beers and it resulted in calling out the occupation as the spoils of war. The Syrians will just have to suck it up. Everyone else who pays attention to the bleating of ****** morons at the UN should realize the backyard beer occupation resolution trumps all.

fiddy pence haff pound , 1 hour ago link

" The lack of Bolton's self-awareness and understanding of the situation was embarrassing. And it left Erdogan the perfect opportunity to call out the Trump Administration's policies as beholden to a foreign power, Israel. "

This fits into my theory regarding Trump as a good boss. He obviously could not avoid

hiring Bolton, as Trump's balancing act goes on. Bolton is an old PNAC petty potentate,

and he obviously believes that triumphalist drivel from 2000. So, Bolton obviously

thought he could deke around Trump and defy him and walked right into this act

of political suicide.

He'l be fired when the time is right. He's too connected to get beat up like Sessions.

Trump will have to lever Bolton out using his own mustache and with the appropriate

backing. That's going to easier now that Bolton danced a jig in Jerusalm.

[Jan 14, 2019] Ship of Fools How a Selfish Ruling Class Is Bringing America to the Brink of Revolution by Tucker Carlson

Jan 14, 2019 | www.amazon.com

Amazon Customer 5.0 out of 5 stars October 2, 2018

Don't drink and read

Don't drink wine and read this book, you'll get angry and make posts on social media that are completely accurate and your friends will hate you.

[Jan 14, 2019] Deep State is a new "Inner Party"

Notable quotes:
"... With Warren wanting to be at the table with the elites, perhaps she took the advice of Larry Summers. In her memoir, "A Fighting Chance", she mentions a dinner conversation where she was told by him '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.' ..."
Jan 14, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

The Rev Kev , , January 11, 2019 at 1:26 am

With Warren wanting to be at the table with the elites, perhaps she took the advice of Larry Summers. In her memoir, "A Fighting Chance", she mentions a dinner conversation where she was told by him '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.'

https://billmoyers.com/2014/09/05/i-had-been-warned/

[Jan 13, 2019] NSA Director Mike Rogers visit to Donald Trump

Notable quotes:
"... On Friday November 18th The Washington Post reported on a recommendation in "October" that [NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers] Mike Rogers be removed from his NSA position: The heads of the Pentagon and the nation's intelligence community have recommended to President Obama that the director of the National Security Agency, Adm. Michael S. Rogers, be removed. ..."
"... After the visit by Rogers, Trump vacated Trump Towers. ..."
Jan 13, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Robert Snefjella , Jan 13, 2019 4:43:58 PM | link

Great journalism b!

A few more points: from: https://theconservativetreehouse.com/

"On Thursday November 17th, 2016, NSA Director Mike Rogers traveled to New York and met with President-Elect Donald Trump.

On Friday November 18th The Washington Post reported on a recommendation in "October" that [NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers] Mike Rogers be removed from his NSA position: The heads of the Pentagon and the nation's intelligence community have recommended to President Obama that the director of the National Security Agency, Adm. Michael S. Rogers, be removed.

In a move apparently unprecedented for a military officer, Rogers, without notifying superiors, traveled to New York to meet with Trump on Thursday at Trump Tower.

Occam's Razor. NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers didn't want to participate in the spying scheme [on Trump]

(Clapper, Brennan, Etc.), which was the baseline for President Obama's post presidency efforts to undermine Donald Trump and keep Trump from digging into [who knows what crimes]"

After the visit by Rogers, Trump vacated Trump Towers.

There is considerable irony in the Mueller 'probe' and the continuing avalanche of MSM lies and evasions and spin etc pertaining to Trump.

There are trends: A growing US citizen realization that their political system prior to Trump was nearly completely corrupt; the Clintons are more broadly understood as the pathological criminals that they are; the Podesta emails with their sick connotations remain 'in the air' - See Ben Swann's work, for example. The Clinton Foundation is far more broadly understood as a massive criminal enterprise.

Serious criminality at the highest levels of the FBI is now far more obvious to far more people

MSM as evil propaganda is more widely understood.

It is understood widely that the DNC material to Wikileaks was not 'hacked' (Binney)

From the theintercept.com :

"Pompeo met on October 24 [at Trump's request] with William Binney, a former National Security Agency official-turned-whistleblower who co-authored an analysis published by a group of former intelligence officials that challenges the U.S. intelligence community's official assessment that Russian intelligence was behind last year's theft of data from DNC computers. Binney and the other former officials argue that the DNC data was "leaked," not hacked, "by a person with physical access" to the DNC's computer system."

In short the last two years have been about trying to defeat Trump but the attackers are looking more and more wounded, and Trump, well, he's hanging in there. General Kelly and others have described Trump's work ethic as exhausting.

[Jan 13, 2019] As FBI Ramped Up Witch Hunt When Trump Fired Comey, Strzok Admitted Collusion Investigation A Joke

Highly recommended!
All links are going to Brennan and CIA. Rosenstein was just a tool, necessary to appoint the Special Prosecutor. And launching the prove was the meaning of "insurance" that Strock mentioned to his mistress. Both Strzok and McCabe have their liasons (read bosses) at CIA, so in essence they were "CIA infiltration group" within the FBI. And it is also important to understand that Obama was just a CIA snowperson.
There is Stalin's NKVD chief Beria shadow over CIA and FBI now. He famously said "Show me the man and I'll find you the crime."
Notable quotes:
"... The Daily Caller 's Chuck Ross has made a brilliant observation, noting Peter Strzok - then the FBI's deputy chief of counterintelligence, admitted to his FBI lawyer mistress, Lisa Page, that there was no merit to the investigation. ..."
"... Interestingly, another series of Strzok-Page texts refers to "coordinating investigation" after Strzok apparently met with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who both recommended Comey's firing, then authorized the special counsel probe ..."
"... As Ross notes in The Daily Caller , there were other text messages that between Strzok and Page which raise suspicion over whether the FBI was working on a "gotcha" against Trump. ..."
Jan 13, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

As FBI Ramped Up "Witch Hunt" When Trump Fired Comey, Strzok Admitted Collusion Investigation A Joke

A Friday report in the New York Times revealing that the FBI supercharged its Trump-Russia collusion investigation after President Trump fired FBI director James Comey appears to have backfired - especially when one reviews internal FBI communications from the time period in question.

The Daily Caller 's Chuck Ross has made a brilliant observation, noting Peter Strzok - then the FBI's deputy chief of counterintelligence, admitted to his FBI lawyer mistress, Lisa Page, that there was no merit to the investigation.

Nine days after Comey was fired and the DOJ "sought to determine whether Mr. Trump was knowingly working for Russia," Strzok texted Page on May 18, 2017: "You and I both know the odds are nothing. If I thought it was likely I'd be there no question. I hesitate in part because of my gut sense and concern there's no big there there. "

It is unclear from The Times report what information was used as a predicate to open the investigation. The article suggests that the FBI had long considered the move and that Comey's firing and Trump's subsequent comments marked a tipping point.

...

A source close to Strzok told The Daily Caller News Foundation on Jan. 26, 2018, shortly after the text was released, that the message reflected Strzok's concern that the FBI would not find evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia . - Daily Caller

The Times' explanation for the FBI's rationale that Trump may have been a Russian asset consists of Trump's call for Moscow to release Hillary Clinton's emails an election debate, and allegations contained within the unverified Steele Dossier. The Times was also quick to note that Trump may have "unwittingly fallen under Moscow's influence," to temper the accusation that he was an agent of a foreign power. In short, weak sauce.

It's no wonder Strzok was hesitant to join Mueller's team.

Interestingly, another series of Strzok-Page texts refers to "coordinating investigation" after Strzok apparently met with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who both recommended Comey's firing, then authorized the special counsel probe.

As Ross notes in The Daily Caller , there were other text messages that between Strzok and Page which raise suspicion over whether the FBI was working on a "gotcha" against Trump.

" And we need to open the case we've been waiting on now while Andy is acting ," Strzok texted Page the day Comey was fired, referring to then-deputy FBI director Andrew McCabe.

Meanwhile, Page - who served as McCabe's deputy, provided some additional color on the text messages during her July 2018 congressional testimony, suggesting that the "case we've been waiting on" text referred to an investigation separate of the obstruction probe we already knew about.

"Well, other than obstruction, what could it have been?" one lawmaker asked Page in her interview, details of which were published by The Epoch Times on Friday.

" I can't answer that, sir. I'm sorry ," she replied.

"If I was able to explain in more depth why the Director firing precipitated this text, I would," she continued while declining to say if the text message referred to an obstruction of justice investigation or something more. - Daily Caller

That said, Page admitted that Comey's firing prompted the text exchange.

"So the firing of Jim Comey was the precipitating event as opposed to the occupant of the Director's office?" asked one lawmaker.

"Yes, that's correct," replied Page.

Meanwhile, The Times went to great lengths to imply that the FBI was justified in their ratcheted-up collusion investigation - failing to mention who started the probe, who led it, and more importantly - waiting until the 9th paragraph to mention the fact that it turned up nothing .

"No evidence has emerged publicly that Mr. Trump was secretly in contact with or took direction from Russian government officials. An F.B.I. spokeswoman and a spokesman for the special counsel's office both declined to comment."

VideoEng_NC

"It is unclear from The Times report what information was used as a predicate to open the investigation."

Should be pretty simple with one question. "Was it Hillary who was the responsible party to open an investigation on Trump?". About as direct as it gets & we already know the answer.

adampeart

TDS sufferers hate Trump so bad that they have become (at 70%) pro-warmonger. Pathetic. I guess that I shouldn't be surprised. They were fine with Black Jesus starting wars, overthrowing governments and bombing brown people for 8 years.

Teeter

McCabe initiated the investigation. Nobody likes McCabe, so he is likely to be the one guy that gets thrown under the bus. Of course what he knows may protect him to some extent... they won't want a trial.

Duc888

Sedition? Treason?

Yippie21

7 Days in May.... except for current version we use the DOJ and FBI! Interesting times.

[Jan 13, 2019] What is wrong with Trump

Trump was elected using Adelson money. That;s probably is what is wrong with Trump.
Is Trump a Republican Obama? As in "Brain dead Dems kept saying Obama would do the right thing by the nation, that he was playing 4D chess, up till the moment he was no longer president, and in the end he was a narcisstic, self-aggrandizing politician who transferred trillions to the 0.1% and made America worse by any standard."
Notable quotes:
"... The struggle between the neocons and Trump over control of foreign policy has become ridiculous. One must remember that he can dismiss them all with the stroke of a pen, just he can dismiss his non civil service tormentors in the justice department and the FBI. ..."
"... Bolton has tried to countermand Trump's decision in Syria. His attempt and that of Jeffrey were rebuked in Ankara and DoD then announced an immediate commencement of the withdrawal. ..."
"... And yet the unholy trio of Pompeo (first in the hearts of his USMA class), Jeffrey, a career neocon hack at State, and Bolton (the mustachioed menace) are still in their jobs? Say what? ..."
"... And then there is the Great Southern Border Crisis. The Democrats have repeatedly voted for a great deal of money for barrier systems on the border. Chancy (Chuck and Nancy) were in the lead in such votes over the years. Now Nancy (who may not remember her votes) is denying Trump "a single dollar" for border barriers. ..."
"... To say that barriers are ineffective is dishonest. By now Trump knows that he can declare a national emergency and fund the barriers after however much litigation the Dems can arrange. There is ample money available for the purpose. So, why does he not do it? ..."
"... I voted for Trump. He lost me when he filled his cabinet with swamp creatures and then further when he replaced the generals with neo-cons like Bolton. You cant change the government if you don't understand how the government works - its not a real estate business that you can declare bankruptcy to make a buck. ..."
"... Brain dead Dems kept saying Obama would do the right thing by the nation, that he was playing 4D chess, up till the moment he was no longer president, and in the end he was a narcisstic, self-aggrandizing politician who transferred trillions to the 0.1% and made America worse by any standard. ..."
"... If he cared about illegal immigration, how about enforcing laws against employing illegal immigrants ..."
Jan 13, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

According to Hido, Washington's Special Representative for Syria, James Jeffrey, delivered several messages to the leadership of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) demanding them to slow down the negotiations with Damascus and promising to discuss the idea of establishing a no-fly zone over northeastern Syria.

The Kurdish political described Jeffery's messages as "disturbing" and called on the Kurdish leadership to deal with them in careful manner.

Furthermore, Hido stressed that the SDF should take a decision on the talks with the Damascus government as soon as possible and regretted that some Kurdish officials are still pinning their hopes on a possible change in the U.S. decision to withdraw from Syria .

"Talks with the Syrian government are still ongoing in a positive atmosphere," RT quoted Hido as saying.

Jeffrey made a visit to Turkey recently, where he tried to strike a deal with Ankara over northeastern Syria. However, Turkey's plans to attack US-backed Kurdish forces and invade the region hindered his efforts.

It appears to be that the SDF's only real option is the deal with Damascus as any U.S. solution would likely involve Turkey, which has demonstrated its agressive attitude towards Syrian Kurdish groups during its operation in Afrin in 2018." SF

------------

The struggle between the neocons and Trump over control of foreign policy has become ridiculous. One must remember that he can dismiss them all with the stroke of a pen, just he can dismiss his non civil service tormentors in the justice department and the FBI.

Bolton has tried to countermand Trump's decision in Syria. His attempt and that of Jeffrey were rebuked in Ankara and DoD then announced an immediate commencement of the withdrawal.

What could that have been other than a renewed presidential order to the Defense Department? And yet the unholy trio of Pompeo (first in the hearts of his USMA class), Jeffrey, a career neocon hack at State, and Bolton (the mustachioed menace) are still in their jobs? Say what?

And then there is the Great Southern Border Crisis. The Democrats have repeatedly voted for a great deal of money for barrier systems on the border. Chancy (Chuck and Nancy) were in the lead in such votes over the years. Now Nancy (who may not remember her votes) is denying Trump "a single dollar" for border barriers.

BTW, any soldier will tell you that the purpose of barriers IS NOT to stop all movement. No, it is to slow up movement and canalize it so that Quick Reaction Forces (QRF) can get there first with the most. To say that barriers are ineffective is dishonest. By now Trump knows that he can declare a national emergency and fund the barriers after however much litigation the Dems can arrange. There is ample money available for the purpose. So, why does he not do it?

On Smerconish's show today, Bob Baer, spy extraordinaire, (read his books) asserted that the various bits and pieces of circumstantial "evidence" about Trump's contacts with and attitude toward Russia, as well as those of his flunkies and relatives amount to a "good enough" case for Trump being a Russian agent of influence. That is how a HUMINT spook judges such things. It is a matter of probabilities, not hard evidence. Assets of an alien government are not always witting (understanding) of their status from the POV of the foreign government, but that does not necessarily make other than agents. Sometimes they think they are merely cooperating in a good and normal way when, in fact, the relationship is much deeper. Jane Fonda in North Vietnam would be an example.

OTOH the president is responsible for the conduct of US foreign policy and is not under an obligation to accept the perhaps hackneyed views of his subordinates. Perhaps his world view is quite different and he is not mesmerized by the group think of the Borg. If that is so ...

But, how does one explain his lack of action on the border? Does someone or some thing in Russia, Israel, the UK, his former business associates, have something really juicy on Trump, something that he fears to unleash through decisive action? pl

https://southfront.org/kurdish-politician-washington-trying-to-sabotage-talks-between-sdf-and-damascus/

Eric Newhill , a day ago

Sir, I think he's just being cautious and exhausting all other options because half of the country has been made to believe he's a dictator. He's being sensitive to that. He will act. Give it time.
ISL -> Eric Newhill , 17 hours ago
Sensitive? Cautious? Caring about Americans not in his base (whatever his base means)? Doesnt sounds like president Donald Trump the last two years. He acts more like he is confused about what the president's powers are while the wormtongues he appointed and replaces with more of the same continue to whisper in his ear.
Eric Newhill -> ISL , 10 hours ago
Contrary to all the TDS out there, maybe he prefers to do things the right way and have Congress make laws and budgets that work for all of us whether or not we all understand how.
ISL -> Eric Newhill , 3 hours ago
If that was the case, why so many signing statements (particularly since republicans control congress ). He is on target to pass Obama. who also preferred not to do things by laws. http://www.coherentbabble.c... Its just that the trend towards an imperial, unitary presidency keeps getting worse with full acquiescence of congress who suckles on the corporate money teat, under both Dems and Repubs.

I voted for Trump. He lost me when he filled his cabinet with swamp creatures and then further when he replaced the generals with neo-cons like Bolton. You cant change the government if you don't understand how the government works - its not a real estate business that you can declare bankruptcy to make a buck.

Brain dead Dems kept saying Obama would do the right thing by the nation, that he was playing 4D chess, up till the moment he was no longer president, and in the end he was a narcisstic, self-aggrandizing politician who transferred trillions to the 0.1% and made America worse by any standard.

-----
Here's a nice plot - US apprehensions comparable to 1970 when the US had a much smaller population.

ISL -> ISL , 3 hours ago
Now if Trump shut the govt down until congress did something about big pharma and the opioid crisis because Congress is in their pocket he would have my support. But then the republicans and dems would jointly impeach him to keep the money spigot flowing.

Decreasing life expectancy is what happens in the sh-tholes to use his term. If he cared about illegal immigration, how about enforcing laws against employing illegal immigrants. Don't republicans who theoretically support capitalism (as opposed to crony capitalism) understood supply and demand? (If there is a demand, then supply will meet it)

Oh, because illegal immigrants are good for the bottom line of people, like, well, Trump:

https://www.washingtonpost....

[Jan 13, 2019] So even if the IRA didn't manage to make a profit, the net cost for them must have been much lower than $100,000

Notable quotes:
"... Does anyone know how much revenue it made from that operation? Facebook must know but they've kept quiet about it. Same with Mueller. ..."
Jan 13, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Brendan , Jan 13, 2019 5:12:30 PM | link

The Internet Research Agency (IRA) paid $100,000 for Facebook ads and then charged its customers for the clickbait service (between 25 and 50 U.S. dollars per post for promotional content). So even if the IRA didn't manage to make a profit, the net cost for them must have been much lower than $100,000.

Does anyone know how much revenue it made from that operation? Facebook must know but they've kept quiet about it. Same with Mueller.

[Jan 13, 2019] Mitt Romney, Commander of the Fake Internationalists by Doug Bandow

Notable quotes:
"... Mitt Romney, Commander of the Fake Internationalists Newly-inaugurated Senator has been promoted to standard-bearer for the bipartisan War Party, filling in for John McCain. ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. A former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of ..."
Jan 10, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Mitt Romney, Commander of the Fake Internationalists Newly-inaugurated Senator has been promoted to standard-bearer for the bipartisan War Party, filling in for John McCain.

No surprise: Senator Mitt Romney does not like President Donald Trump, as he recently explained in The Washington Post . But what, one wonders, was the former GOP presidential candidate thinking two years ago when he supped with the man he now claims to deplore while seeking an appointment as secretary of state?

Much of Romney's complaint is over manners. Yes, the president is a boor. Most people, including many of Trump's supporters, recognize that. Trump won not because of his etiquette but because of what he stood for -- and against.

Romney also defended The Blob, Washington's bipartisan foreign policy establishment. In his article attacking the president, he offered the usual vacuous bromides that characterize the interventionist consensus, which poses as internationalism but with plenty of bombing raids, illegal occupations, and nation-building. Most importantly, this perspective presumes permanent American domination, irrespective of cost.

Romney wrote: "America has long been looked to for leadership. Our economic and military strength was part of that, of course, but our enduring commitment to principled conduct in foreign relations, and to the rights of all people to freedom and equal justice, was even more esteemed." Indeed, "The world needs American leadership, and it is in America's interest to provide it. A world led by authoritarian regimes is a world -- and an America -- with less prosperity, less freedom, less peace."

In fact, Romney appears more committed to dependence on allies than American leadership. For him, these are two sides of the same coin. The only alternative he sees to Washington in control is the bad guys leading.

Related is Romney's apparent belief that foreign policy is fixed, irrespective of circumstance: the very same U.S.-dominated alliances created in 1950 are needed today. Although America's friends have raced ahead economically, politically, even militarily, Washington must forever treat them as helpless derelicts. For instance, Russia, a weakened declining power, faces the U.S. and Europe -- which together have more than 20 times its GDP. Yet Romney sees Moscow as the greatest threat facing America. It is 1945 all over again.

Romney's most important omission is Iraq. After the war there turned bad, he remained silent about his support for it. The Iraq disaster is an important reason why Trump won and other Republicans, including Romney, lost. In 2008, Americans rejected John McCain, the very symbol of promiscuous war-making. Four years later, Romney criticized President Barack Obama for leaving Iraq too soon, by which the Republican nominee probably meant leaving at any time. In saying he would keep more troops in Iraq, he ignored the fact that the Iraqis had refused to negotiate a status of forces agreement with the Bush administration.

Romney also failed to mention Afghanistan, both as a presidential candidate in 2012 and senator in 2019. After all, what good can be said for entering the 18th year of nation-building in a region of little strategic interest? As for Syria, last November, Romney predictably denounced as "recklessness in the extreme" exiting a multi-sided civil war in a country never important to America.

Whose Side is Mitt Romney On? Robert Kagan's Jungle Book of Forever War

Now Romney is being touted as the new standard-bearer for the bipartisan War Party, filling in for John McCain. Bloomberg columnist Hal Brands theorized that Romney was attempting to "position himself as heir to John McCain as the congressional conscience of U.S. diplomacy" (defined as advocating policies designed to prolifically kill and destroy).

Towards this effort, Romney is articulating "a renewed Republican internationalism based on opposition to aggressive authoritarian regimes." Brands celebrates Romney's Russophobia, saying he "deserves credit for being anti-Russia before being anti-Russia was cool." No hint that the U.S. might have contributed to Moscow's hostility through the aggressive "internationalism" of Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama -- violating commitments not to expand NATO, dismantling Moscow's Slavic friend Serbia, and encouraging violent regime change against an elected government that neighbored Russia. After all, equivalent Russian intervention in Mexico would have triggered an extremely hostile reaction in Washington.

Neoconservative Max Boot lauded Romney for throwing "down the gauntlet to President Trump." Indeed, argued Boot, "it now falls upon Romney to champion the cause of principled conservatism in Washington." Boot hoped the freshman senator would lead a general opposition and seemed especially pleased at Romney's support for the interventionist status quo.

Yet the passion-less Romney is a poor substitute for the perennially angry McCain. It is difficult to imagine Romney leading Lindsey Graham and Joseph Lieberman on another apocalyptic ride, demanding that death and destruction be visited upon an enemy du jour. Indeed, Romney admitted as much, complained The New York Times , which noted that he said he "would only speak out against Mr. Trump on issues of 'great significance,' which means not much."

Worse, Romney is a typical denizen of Washington and lacks any connection to the disastrous consequences of his policies. Give McCain credit: he and his sons served in the military. Not Romney. He received four deferments during the Vietnam War, explaining that he "had other plans." This sounds eerily like Dick Cheney, who said his five deferments reflected "other priorities."

Moreover, none of Romney's five sons served. That is, of course, their prerogative. But their decision further insulated Romney from any consequences of his policies. His response to questions about their lack of service: "One of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping me get elected because they think I'd be a great president." Did Romney believe working for him was as dangerous as fighting Iraqi insurgents in Fallujah? Or that his personal interest in winning the election was as important as the nation winning a war?

My friend William Smith at the Center for the Study of Statesmanship at Catholic University argued that Romney's article "is another clear sign that the bipartisan political establishment is largely oblivious to the terrible tragedy of wartime casualties disproportionately inflicted on certain communities." Candidate Trump did particularly well in states that so suffered. Complained Smith: "What is astonishing is that, after all this tragedy, Romney offers only cliched neoconservative bromides to the many heartbroken communities across the nation."

However, The Blob, which dominates foreign policy under both parties, poses an even larger problem. These policymakers consider permanent war to be America's natural condition. They seek to suppress dissident views to ensure united support for permanent war. Anyone who hesitates to back every proposed new intervention is demonized and marginalized.

The favorite technique, recently employed by Frederick Kagan in The Hill, is to call opponents, irrespective of their actual positions, "isolationists." Thus did Kagan urge left and right "internationalists" -- meaning military interventionists -- to work together to defend "the principle that the United States must remain actively engaged in the world," by which he meant warring without end on multiple countries.

Exclaimed Kagan: "The isolationists who have condemned the United States involvement in the Middle East and the rest of the world for decades are about to get their wish. We will witness what the world looks like when left to its own devices."

Egads. Imagine what might have happened had the U.S. not intervened in the Lebanese Civil War, armed Turkey to kill tens of thousands of Kurds and destroy thousands of Kurdish villages, invaded Iraq and triggered sectarian conflict, fostered civil war in Libya and the chaos that followed, supported decades of violent occupation over millions of Palestinians by Israel, backed murderous Saudi Arabia in Bahrain and Yemen, supported a coup against Iran's democratically elected government and a brutal invasion backed by chemical weapons against Iran's Islamist regime, actively underwritten tyranny across the Middle East, and tried to sort out the Syrian Civil War. Something bad might have happened.

Yeah.

In Syria, Kagan views as "isolationist" the withdrawal of an illegal military deployment that risks violent confrontation with Syria, Turkey, Iran, and Russia over minor stakes. In contrast, "internationalism" means war everywhere all the time, especially in a country like Syria.

Trump, complained Kagan, is leaving "Afghanistan for no clear reason whatsoever." No reason other than Washington long ago having achieved its objective of degrading and displacing al-Qaeda and punishing the Taliban for hosting al-Qaeda. And eventually having recognized, after more than 17 years passed, trillions of dollars were spent, and thousands of lives were lost, that using force to create a liberal democracy in Central Asia is a fool's errand. Why leave, indeed?

It has oft been recognized that Donald Trump is a flawed vehicle to achieve almost any foreign policy end. However, he still possesses far more common sense than Mitt Romney. It is time to rescue "internationalism" from those who love humanity so much that they would destroy the world in order to save it.

Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. A former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America's New Global Empire . MORE FROM THIS AUTHOR

Attack of the Pork Hawks Does It Really Matter If North Korea Denuclearizes? Hide 20 comments 20 Responses to Mitt Romney, Commander of the Fake Internationalists

EliteCommInc. January 9, 2019 at 11:01 pm

"No reason other than Washington long ago having achieved its objective of degrading and displacing al-Qaeda and punishing the Taliban for hosting al-Qaeda."

One should avoid the back pedal here. the Taliban did not host Al Quaeda in the manner your reference suggests.

John_M , , January 9, 2019 at 11:06 pm
I truly voted against Romney when he ran for president because of his omnidirectional belligerence. I also didn't like his vulture capitalism style (and I did technical due diligence for venture capital activities as a side line).

I don't see that he has gotten any wiser.

Own Goal , , January 10, 2019 at 2:22 am
Romney just guaranteed that he won't get the nomination. Amazing, really, stupid and gratuitous.

He could at the least have shown a little "growth" in the direction of populist disgust with the wasteful, reckless, failed wars, not to mention concerns about the growth of government and corporate mass surveillance of the public, and the continuing unholy collaboration between Wall Street, Silicon Valley, and Washington in ripping off taxpayers and importing cheap labor to take American jobs.

Not Mitt. He seems to think he's running for president of our utterly discredited, pseudo-meritocratic "Establishment".

steve mckinney , , January 10, 2019 at 2:48 am
Let's all thank the knuckle-headed Utahns for delivering another unimaginative empty suit to the Nation's State House. Sure, Trump is often a boor, and unmistakably human, but give me a man-child with conviction and Devil-may-care determination over a dapper dolt whose ideas are contrived platitudes and whose passion is a Macbeth-like obsession with stature and power any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Well written Mr. Bandow! Keep fighting the good fight.
polistra , , January 10, 2019 at 4:10 am
I get the sense that the "isolationist" line doesn't work any more. It was a commonly used rhetorical weapon 10 years ago, and it effectively silenced opposition. Now it's not used much, and it seems to be ignored or derided when it is used. Most Americans understand now that maintaining and expanding an empire is destroying us.
Aunt Lila , , January 10, 2019 at 7:44 am
You really don't get Romney, do you. Who are you to decided what anyone sees or feels. Do you think you could use the word seems like a professional journalist. I don't construe
Romney that way. You SEEM to put words in his mouth and thought in his head. Please be professional.
Dan Green , , January 10, 2019 at 8:12 am
My take is Mitt see's himself as a Gerald Ford calming effect, for this 4 year disruption, the Swamp battles with. The Deep state needs an impeachment win and soon. With that said it will be ever difficult for the Beltway to change Americans perception , they don't trust the government.
Kolya Krassotkin , , January 10, 2019 at 10:23 am
For someone so smart Romney should realize that Americans will reject him (again), when he takes up the mantle of McCain (again) as quickly as they did the last time. But that he fails to realize that substance trumps form, which is why 67 million Americans voted for the President, demonstrates what a shallow narcisst and sociopath he is. I mean, it's okay to rob your neighbor so long as you say "please" and "thank you," isn't it?
Stephen J. , , January 10, 2019 at 11:31 am
The writer states: "Now Romney is being touted as the new standard-bearer for the bipartisan War Party, filling in for John McCain."

I believe The "War Party" are:
"The Maniacs of Militarism"

The maniacs of militarism are creating wars
Countries are bombed by warmongering whores
Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and other countries too
Are hell holes of the earth, "The work," of this insane crew

Enabled by politicians in positions of power
These well dressed war criminals hide and cower
The generals salute their political masters
Then the brainwashed obey these bemedaled disasters

Cities are destroyed and reduced to rubble
Where are the perpetrators that created all this trouble?
They are residing in luxury and given fancy titles
War crimes trials are needed, and are so vital

But this is not happening: the system is corrupted
And these evil beings, by some are worshiped
Blood-soaked villains that never do the fighting
They are the "experts" that do the inciting

They are the producers of death and destruction
Others are profiteers of all the bloody actions
Missiles, bombs and horrendous weapons
There is no end to the endless aggression

Millions are dead, and millions are homeless
Millions are refugees, and all this is atrocious
Once they had jobs, families, and homes as well
Then their countries were bombed by the agents from hell

Setting the world on fire is what these war arsonists do
The money for their depredations comes from me and you
They have made us all accessories to their criminal acts
Our Taxes are the blood money and that is a fact

Will the people ever say: "We have had enough"?
And put all these villains in secure handcuffs
Then lock them up in maximum security prisons
Then, we can say "goodbye" to the maniacs of militarism
[more info at link below]
http://graysinfo.blogspot.com/2017/04/the-maniacs-of-militarism.html
-- --
And:
"More War "

More war is needed to keep armies trained and employed
More wars are needed so that countries can be destroyed
More killing, bombing, destruction and death
More of this is needed until the victims have nothing left
[read more at link below]

https://graysinfo.blogspot.com/2017/08/more-war.html

prodigalson , , January 10, 2019 at 1:21 pm
Romney is such an empty suit i'm not sure if he isn't weakening his position just by virtue that, he Romney, supports it.

Does this guy inspire anyone to any emotion other than revulsion? Along with Hillary, they both strike me both as elites who want to become president, not from any actual passions or desires, but because they've run out of other things to add to their C.V.

The only thing I can say with certainty that Mitt Romney believes in, is Mitt Romney. So I'm intensely skeptical that ANYONE in America, aside from the most firebrand resistance types, are going to take anything coming out of this corporate drone's mouth with any seriousness. And even for the resistance types the support would equally follow a labrador retriever, just so long as it opposed Trump, so Mitt doesn't even have that thin thread of loyatly going for him.

I guess that leaves him with the neocons as BFFs. They're welcome to each other.

One Guy , , January 10, 2019 at 1:32 pm
Why are we ragging on Romney? Is it because he had the audacity to criticize Trump? Shouldn't we wait until he actually does something bad before ragging on him? Has he lied 6,000 times in the last few years, for example? Did he refuse to rake the forests?
Mike Clements , , January 10, 2019 at 2:54 pm
Such trashing of Romney becomes a real challenge for me.

I can't decide if it's the fevered imaginings or the straw man arguments that disappoint me the most.

Tim , , January 10, 2019 at 3:34 pm
I think Romney is simply miffed that the boorish Trump became president and he did not and sadly, he may be running for president again. I think someone used the word revulsion about Romney. I approve. It's ironic the boorish Trump isn't nearly as revolting as the urbane Mitt.
Jeeves , , January 10, 2019 at 4:09 pm
@Mike Clements
For me it's the straw man arguments that are most egregious. As an Arizonan, I knew John McCain, and Romney is no McCain (whose like we will never see again, if we're lucky).

Just to single out one objection to Mr. Bandow's argument: Romney didn't refer to the SOFA, which supposedly required Obama to abandon Iraq, for the very good reason that Leon Panetta, who should know, has said that Obama, with plenty of time to do it, made no effort whatsoever to re-negotiate the SOFA 2011 deadline. Panetta regrets this and so do I.

fabian , , January 10, 2019 at 4:34 pm
Romney is the epitome of the decay of the USA. Further, he shows the complete inability of the Republican party to choose the correct casting. After Bush and Iraq they propose McPain. After the Great Financial Crisis they propose Mittens. It's akin to cast Dany de Vito to play Casanova. When Trump is gone, this party is finished.
Kolya Krassotkin , , January 10, 2019 at 5:06 pm
I approve. It's ironic the boorish Trump isn't nearly as revolting as the urbane Mitt.

That Americans are revolted more by Romney than by Trump, in fact, speaks well for them. All morally mature folk should be repelled more by a polite, urbane, well-scrubbed pirate, who made his fortune destroying people's lives and wealth than by a loud-talking, crude womanizer, who creates wealth and, in fact, shows his concern for the people below him more than the polite, charming, well-bred pirate.

Bacon , , January 10, 2019 at 10:11 pm
As I understand it, Romney's saying we need more Middle East wars, more Wall Street bailouts, and more immigrants.

I think we already knew that Romney wants those things. It's why we don't want Romney.

Also, it's its unnecessary to counter Kagan's arguments. He's not taken seriously any more. Too many bad and wrong judgments about important things.

rta , , January 11, 2019 at 10:09 am
@Jeeves, Obama would have stayed in Iraq if the Iraqi's had allowed us to continue to kill with impunity. Thankfully, they said no. And why on earth would you regret us not negotiating a new SOFA?
kswc , , January 11, 2019 at 11:24 am
Mitt Romney is the Republican's answer to the Democrat's John Kerry.
WorkingClass , , January 11, 2019 at 5:06 pm
If Utah has a problem with Trump they could have elected a Democrat.

Romney is obsolete. Never Trump Republicans are sinking in a tar pit. Romney cannot be nominated much less elected even if Trump does not run. He can help with the impeachment of Trump if it comes to that. But again, a Democrat would be more useful.

[Jan 13, 2019] Those Porky Pentagon Earmarks Never Really Went Away

Notable quotes:
"... What's 5 billion dollars for a largely useless wall compared to this. The mind boggles. ..."
"... "People say the Pentagon does not have a strategy. They are wrong. The Pentagon does have a strategy; it is 'Don't interrupt the money flow, add to it.'" -Col. John R. Boyd (USAF Ret.) John Boyd (Fighter Pilot, Tactician, Strategist, Conceptual Designer, Reformer) died in 1997. ..."
Jan 13, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

about:blank

Those Porky Pentagon Earmarks Never Really Went Away In fact, the new scheme is even more venal, underhanded, and wasteful. By Winslow T. Wheeler January 11, 2019

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/like.php?app_id=347697165243043&channel=https%3A%2F%2Fstaticxx.facebook.com%2Fconnect%2Fxd_arbiter%2Fr%2Fj-GHT1gpo6-.js%3Fversion%3D43%23cb%3Df114d1042513fe4%26domain%3Dwww.theamericanconservative.com%26origin%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Fwww.theamericanconservative.com%252Ff139e75dfb6be88%26relation%3Dparent.parent&container_width=0&font=lucida%20grande&href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theamericanconservative.com%2Farticles%2Fthose-porky-pentagon-earmarks-never-really-went-away%2F&layout=button_count&locale=en_US&sdk=joey&send=true&show_faces=false&width=125

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets/tweet_button.8f9047c344e062fa7c7ada2fa8332f75.en.html#dnt=false&id=twitter-widget-0&lang=en&original_referer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theamericanconservative.com%2Farticles%2Fthose-porky-pentagon-earmarks-never-really-went-away%2F&related=amconmag&size=m&text=Those%20Porky%20Pentagon%20Earmarks%20Never%20Really%20Went%20Away%20%7C%20The%20American%20Conservative&time=1547431651934&type=share&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theamericanconservative.com%2Farticles%2Fthose-porky-pentagon-earmarks-never-really-went-away%2F&via=amconmag

https://apis.google.com/se/0/_/+1/fastbutton?usegapi=1&size=medium&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theamericanconservative.com&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theamericanconservative.com%2Farticles%2Fthose-porky-pentagon-earmarks-never-really-went-away%2F&gsrc=3p&ic=1&jsh=m%3B%2F_%2Fscs%2Fapps-static%2F_%2Fjs%2Fk%3Doz.gapi.en_US.GTl3bn_Jf-4.O%2Fam%3DgQ%2Frt%3Dj%2Fd%3D1%2Frs%3DAGLTcCMBs9jfUMDDcVzWid6H2RmszAw2BQ%2Fm%3D__features__#_methods=onPlusOne%2C_ready%2C_close%2C_open%2C_resizeMe%2C_renderstart%2Concircled%2Cdrefresh%2Cerefresh&id=I0_1547431651446&_gfid=I0_1547431651446&parent=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theamericanconservative.com&pfname=&rpctoken=99997436

Michael Hogue In past years, Congress has become notorious for adding dubious items we call "pork" to spending bills. That way, senators and House members can advertise themselves to their constituents as bringing home the bacon, while picking up a few campaign contributions from thankful contractors along the way.

This practice was particularly notorious in defense bills, especially, and only became worse during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. After they were exposed spending billions of taxpayer dollars for earmarked projects like museums, artificial lungs, and VIP air transports for senior generals, bureaucrats, and lawmakers, Congress supposedly reformed the practice of earmarking -- first in 2007 by the Democrats in the majority, and again in 2011 by the Republicans in the majority, who claimed to have banned them altogether.

In truth, both parties in Congress have simply swapped the pork system for a scheme that is even more venal and underhanded. They've circumvented their own rules and are putting even more pork in defense bills than before. They hypocritically proclaim that their bills are earmark-free, while simultaneously boasting about the pork to constituents. They deceptively pay for the hidden earmarks by raiding essential accounts for soldiers' pay and military readiness, and they readily accept hundreds of thousands of dollars in political contributions from the very contractors who received huge chunks of the billions of dollars that Congress added.

The new pork system is deceptive and complex. It took all of my 31 years of experience on Capitol Hill to fully unravel it, with the help of some excellent research from two outstanding watchdog groups, Taxpayers for Common Sense and the Taxpayers Protection Alliance.

Advertisement

To explain, let's start with one of the more brazen acts of hypocrisy.

On October 22, Niels Lesniewski reported in Roll Call that 10 senators from both parties announced in a letter to the House and Senate leadership that they wanted to strengthen the existing ban on earmarks and make it impossible for anyone to "bring back earmarks" as President Donald Trump and others have suggested . Their new bill , they said, would impose even more serious procedural blocks on any earmark in any bill. But the bill, the senators' press release, and their letter are a sham. Another Roll Call reporter pointed out that gimmicks and various porky items in a new Department of Defense appropriations bill gave the lie to the idea that contemporary bills were free of earmarks. And Taxpayers for Common Sense and the Taxpayers Protection Alliance noted at the same time that the new DoD appropriations bill, just signed into law, was already stuffed with hundreds of earmarks costing billions of dollars.

The explanation of Congress's new, more deceptive and expensive pork system starts with Trump declaring that "America is being respected again" on September 28, while signing an appropriations bill into law that provided $675 billion to the Pentagon. The bill was passed in the House of Representatives with the vote of four of every five House members and in the Senate with almost nine of every 10 senators.

Speech after speech credited the bill with solving the problem of planes that cannot fly, ships with repairs delayed for years, and pay increases for soldiers who deserve more for their service.

Mattis: One More General for the 'Self Licking Ice Cream Cone' Why the Regulators Went Soft on Monopolies

Notably, Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois, the top-ranking Democrat on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee, praised the bill he helped to write, saying , "The priority of this defense bill is supporting our troops . This bill shows what Democrats and Republicans can accomplish when we work across the aisle to solve problems." The chairman of the subcommittee, Republican Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, who had an even larger hand in shaping the bill, said , "I am proud to present this legislation to my colleagues and urge their strong support."

The issues they didn't talk about

Despite numerous speeches in the congressional record praising the defense spending bill, important details attracted not one word of discussion. The bill was riddled with earmarks, and the very pay and military readiness accounts that member after member praised were being raided to pay for it. This is hardly new. In my three decades on Capitol Hill, this behavior was typical -- and even self-styled "pork busters" including, I regret to say, the recently passed Senator John McCain, were known to participate. Despite the rule changes in 2007 and 2011, nothing ultimately changed for the better. Today, the money flow for earmarks has greatly increased, and the process that was once evident with a little inspection has been almost totally obscured.

What earmarks? The legislation has none; it says so. The joint explanatory statement (JES) for the defense spending bill, which purports to clarify the statutory text, contains the following on page two : "The conference agreement does not contain any congressional earmarks as defined by clause 9 of rule XXI of the Rules of the House of Representatives."

That rule defines an earmark as spending specifically requested by a member of Congress for "an entity, or targeted to a specific State, locality or congressional district ." But simply fuzz up the authorship, recipient, or location of an added spending item, and it transforms from an earmark to a "congressional special interest item." There are hundreds of those, most of them buried in sparsely worded tables in the JES.

But these congressional special interest items are important: the conference committee that wrote the JES went to some length to cite them to the Pentagon for special treatment; they made the congressional special interest items subject to special rules to prevent DoD from reducing the amount to be spent. That conference committee, appointed to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill, consisted of senior members of the same House and Senate defense appropriations subcommittees who wrote the original bills, such as Senators Durbin and Shelby.

Taxpayers for Common Sense (TCS) reported that 68 procurement programs in this defense bill received $7.5 billion in new, unrequested spending, a large portion going to the Lockheed Corporation. These are blatant earmarks, as explained by TCS, which also pointed out that the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee added $5.6 billion to the procurement account for these items, while its Senate counterpart added a more generous $6.2 billion. The bill was "compromised" by the conference committee at a level above both: $7.5 billion.

The Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) tabulated all the add-ons in the bill -- not just the 68 in Procurement -- above the Pentagon's request. Again, the Senate Defense Subcommittee proved more generous than the House, and again the final conference was higher than either subcommittee's recommendation. TPA found 679 earmarks costing $19.3 billion.

Pigs in a poke

Are these earmarks all pork, that is, poorly justified spending slipped into bills to enable a member to boast that he or she can "bring home the bacon" for jobs back home or to appease defense corporations?

The authors of this bill don't want you to know. In the past, earmarks would specify things like "Intrepid Naval Museum," "Fort Richardson Running Trail," or "Fort Huachuca Readiness Center" as the recipient, and for a short period, committee reports identified them and their House or Senate sponsors.

Now, none of that is done. Instead, sparsely worded tables contain vague entries like "Program Increase." Many add a hint such as designating the increase for "modernization" or "silicon fiber research." But there is nothing to indicate the state or district, the contractor, or any other specifics. Hence, they do not technically qualify as "earmarks." However, after the bill is law, congressional staff contact the Pentagon to make sure it knows where the money is to go -- and what will happen if it doesn't.

The rules meant to reform earmarking have made the practice worse. It is now more opaque, and it gobbles up more money than ever. The $19.3 billion TPA found in 2019 absolutely dwarfs the amounts that I and others, such as the Congressional Research Service and the Committee Against Government Waste , found in these bills before the so-called reforms took hold.

Perhaps the biggest joke is the recent debate on whether it would be a good idea to "bring back earmarks." They never went away. The hypocrisy of the members who opine on this is only exceeded by the cluelessness of the press and the president, who raised it as something to ponder. Then there's the mendacity of those 10 senators who designed their phony legislation to pretend earmarks are gone and must not be allowed to come back. The last section of their bill reads as follows : "(e) APPLICATION. -- This section shall not apply to any authorization of appropriations to a Federal entity if such authorization is not specifically targeted to a State, locality, or congressional district."

Yes, you are reading that right: the bill exempts any earmark that fuzzes up the targeted location, and under the existing system that would be all of them. The 10 authors of this fraud are the following: Senators Claire McCaskill, Jeff Flake, Pat Toomey, Mike Lee, Ben Sasse, Rob Portman, Joni Ernst, James Lankford, Rand Paul, and Ted Cruz.

Too big to be hidden

Despite the carefully applied opacity, some of the biggest giveaways and their authors are clear. The House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee chairwoman, Texas Republican Kay Granger, was widely identified as behind $726 million added for six additional F-35Cs to be built by Lockheed in her Fort Worth congressional district.

But is this an example of pork? Granger and official Pentagon witnesses would surely testify that more F-35Cs are urgently needed. Others, including myself and colleagues at the Project on Government Oversight, will tell you that the F-35 is an ineffective boondoggle and is not ready for initial operational testing, let alone expanded production. However, despite many critical Government Accountability Office evaluations and embarrassing official and leaked reports from the Pentagon, the majority of Congress rejects such advice and welcomes more F-35 spending. Pork is in the eye of the beholder.

However, such easily identified earmarks are few and far between.

Trump requested $676 billion for the defense bill; the final Conference Report reduced that by $1.1 billion to $674.9 billion. How was the additional $19.3 billion found by TPA for 679 earmarks stuffed into a bill that cut spending?

While publicly touting the "largest pay raise for troops in nearly a decade" and claiming the bill "improves military readiness," Defense Subcommittee Chairman Shelby, Ranking Member Durbin, and other authors actually cut the budget for both.

They reduced the Pentagon's request for military pay, the Military Personnel account, by $2.1 billion. That's right: while praising themselves for supporting higher pay, they actually cut the budget for it. The request was $148.2 billion; the bill provided $146.1 billion.

Praising their handiwork on supporting military readiness, they cut the Operation and Maintenance (O&M) request from the Pentagon by $5.8 billion. O&M is a huge diverse account, but it is also the heart and core of spending for training, maintenance, spare parts, military depots, and everything else that means "readiness." The Pentagon requested $199.5 billion; it got $193.7 billion.

The way they cut both the Military Personnel and O&M accounts was notably duplicitous. A veteran journalist, John M. Donnelly, reported in Roll Call that most cuts were obtusely justified with explanations such as "Revised Estimate," "Historical Unobligated Balances," and "Not Properly Accounted."

My own research shows $809 million of cuts in those "Revised Estimates." They are completely unexplained in any text and neither committee report from the House or Senate appropriations committees mentions any such reduction. They appear to have been an invention of the conference committee.

When I worked for a Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee member (Republican Senator Pete Domenici of New Mexico), I observed staffers being instructed to phony up reductions with just such a ruse. In one case, to make room for all senators' earmarks, the subcommittee chairman, Republican Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, directed the staff to use the earmark dollar total to determine the cuts to be announced. I suspect this crude offset technique underlies the "revised estimates" that appeared out of nowhere.

In both R&D and Procurement, they cut $1.5 billion using "Historical Unobligated Balances" or "Historical Unobligations" as a reason. An unobligated balance is money that DoD has planned but not yet spent: the program may be behind schedule, or it may be on schedule, but the timetable for sending out the money has not occurred yet. Here, some unidentified actor took the money away without a word of explanation as to what parts of the program were being lost or why.

The "Not Properly Accounted" justification meant $706 million in unexplained cuts.

Another term in the bill is "Rate Adjustments"; they cut $124 million. How is this different from "Revised Estimate" or "Historical Unobligated Balances?" The House Defense Subcommittee contains not a word of explanation. The Senate Defense Subcommittee report contains assertions of "Improving funds management: Rate adjustments," but that is all the explanation you get.

Further indecipherable cuts included "Unjustified Growth," another $1.1 billion; "Excess Growth," $468 million; "Underexecution," $134 million; and "Insufficient Justification," $35 million.

Yet another ruse was to transfer $2 billion out of the O&M budget to Title IX of the bill that funds the "Global War on Terrorism." But there, only $1.4 billion of the transferred $2 billion is actually retained. The transfer is a shell game.

There are other ruses in other parts of the bill; the details are mind-bending, but you get the point.

They were cutting military pay and readiness accounts so they could add to the DoD Research and Development (R&D) and the Procurement accounts. That's where the vast majority of the earmarks -- rather, congressional special interest items -- are.

In R&D they added $3.9 billion to the Pentagon's request. The account went from $91 billion to $94.9 billion. In Procurement, they added $4.8 billion to the Pentagon's request of $130.6 billion. Some of the earmarks in these accounts were huge. The controversial F-35 got over $2 billion in several earmarks, the notorious Littoral Combat Ship got $950 million, unrequested C-130s got $640 million, and so on.

Other unspoken consequences

While money over the years was being redirected to earmarks, something very different was happening at the other end of the world -- among our operating military forces.

On January 8, 2014, 29-year-old Liuetenant Wes Van Dorn died when his MH-53E Sea Dragon helicopter, beset with maintenance problems the Navy had deferred, caught fire due to frayed wires and a leaking fuel line. He had been battling for three years to get adequate spare parts and much-needed refurbishment work to bring these old and unreliable helicopters up to minimally safe flying condition. His was only one of several lethal accidents involving the MH-53E resulting from inadequate maintenance, as reported by Mike Hixenbaugh and others in the The Virginian-Pilot and in a new documentary by investigative reporter Zachary Stauffer.

Such accidents resulted from raiding O&M money, such as in 2010 when, for example, Democratic Defense Subcommittee Chairman John Murtha of Pennsylvania cut O&M by a net $2.3 billion to stuff money into earmarks.

Advertising the earmarks they said didn't exist

Though their legislation proclaims earmarks banned, the authors of the defense bill changed their tune when they self-advertised to constituents.

In a press release from his personal office, Senator Dick Durbin declared , "From Rock Island Arsenal to Scott Airforce Base and Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois [t]his bill safeguards Illinois defense jobs by continuing investments in our state's defense installations and initiatives." Durbin took credit for funding nine programs in Illinois, costing $2.8 billion, most of it for Boeing -- headquartered in Chicago and the producer of the Navy's F/A-18 Super Hornet and MQ-25 Stingray refueling drone.

Subcommittee Chairman Shelby claimed he helped acquire $8.3 billion for 25 projects in Alabama.

Granger claimed she helped win over $12.3 billion for Fort Worth -- including $9.4 billion for Lockheed's F-35, $1.8 billion for Lockheed's C-130J, and $1.1 billion for the Bell Boeing V-22.

Note that they each claimed credit not just for their add-ons but for the entire program expense, including both the Pentagon-requested money and money spent outside their states or districts. For example, the C-130 is assembled in Marietta, Georgia, not Durbin's Illinois, and the F-18's engines are contracted by General Electric in Ohio. In fact, the entire F-18 is fabricated in Missouri; Durbin is advertising himself not to workers but to the Boeing headquarters.

The ranking member on the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, Pete J. Visclosky of Indiana, did not participate in these overblown claims. His website shows no press release listing defense budget goodies for his Indiana district.

The under the table incentives

On the other hand, Visclosky was no shrinking violet when it came to accepting campaign contributions from the corporations benefiting from the legislation's earmarks. OpenSecrets.org, a project of the Center for Responsive Politics that documents federal campaign contributions, shows that for his 2018 reelection campaign, Visclosky accepted $347,933 from defense-related donors, $59,800 of it from Lockheed . The $347,933 constituted 27 percent of Visclosky's total campaign contributions , reported as of November 2018. For these and other efforts, Visclosky is getting a promotion: with the Democrats taking over the House next year, he is slated to be defense subcommittee chairman.

Chairwoman Granger accepted $397,560 from defense aerospace and electronics donors, constituting 17 percent of her larger total of $2,371,044 in reported contributions. Granger's contributions from Lockheed were more than twice Visclosky's: $136,360 .

The Senate Defense Appropriations Subcommittee ranking member, Senator Durbin, does not run for reelection until 2020. The OpenSecrets.org data on his last election in 2014 show that Durbin accepted $236,549 from defense aerospace donors, making him the Senate's top beneficiary of such donations at the time. Adding other defense contribution categories, he took in $455,799 .

Senator Shelby's total reported defense-related contributions for his reelection in 2016, before he became defense subcommittee chairman, were $334,800. Commensurate with his elevation to chairman in 2018, he received $1,048,000 , nearly tripling his defense-related total, and he is four years away from his next campaign in 2022.

Granger, Durbin, and the others will resent any implication that their actions are influenced by the generosity of Lockheed or other defense contractors, lobbyists, and PACs. Indeed, campaign finance laws, as written by Congress, make it hard to conclude that contributions illegally influence congressional decision-making, and a recent Supreme Court ruling makes it even more difficult.

The bottom line

All this adds up to a Pentagon budget process in Congress that is:

Dishonest : The bill and its authors proclaim it is free of earmarks, but it has 679 of them costing $19.3 billion according to research from an independent group. Deceptive : The bill's authors, with huge support from the rest of Congress, proclaim their dedication to better pay for the troops and military readiness, and yet cut those very accounts by almost $8 billion. The reductions are arbitrary and vague, and are used to offset those 679 earmarks. The senators and representatives circumvent their own rules on earmarks by fuzzing up sponsors, recipients, and locations, making the entire process opaque. Hypocritical : Imagine the gall of nine Republicans and one Democrat with their bill to profess earmarks gone and making sure they don't "come back." There is nothing new about members of Congress posing as pork reformers and actually being pork enablers; however, these 10 assume an unprecedented level of cluelessness among the press; in some but not all corners, they were right to do so. Mercenary : $19.3 billion in earmarks makes rich material for senators and representatives to advertise themselves, with considerable exaggeration, as successful porkers for their states and districts. They also accept hundreds of thousands of dollars from the contractors, lobbyists, and PACs that benefit from the millions, if not billions, of dollars that the Pentagon never requested.

All this is not illegal, but according to common English, it is venal.

Winslow T. Wheeler worked in the U.S. Senate for Republican and Democratic senators and in the Government Accountability Office on national security issues for 31 years. After he left the Senate in 2002, he ran the Straus Military Reform Project at the Center for Defense Information, which moved to the Project on Government Oversight in 2012. He retired in 2016.

about:blank



HenionJD January 11, 2019 at 4:43 pm

What's 5 billion dollars for a largely useless wall compared to this. The mind boggles.
Minnesota Mary , , January 11, 2019 at 5:13 pm
This is a rather long article but well worth reading. I am sick of the Washington 2-Step dance.
Ed Lindgren , , January 11, 2019 at 7:48 pm
"People say the Pentagon does not have a strategy. They are wrong. The Pentagon does have a strategy; it is 'Don't interrupt the money flow, add to it.'" -Col. John R. Boyd (USAF Ret.) John Boyd (Fighter Pilot, Tactician, Strategist, Conceptual Designer, Reformer) died in 1997.
Taras 77 , , January 11, 2019 at 11:16 pm
This is a solid article by a very respected critic of the obscene defense spending and weapons programs. I believe Mr Wheeler early on was on this F-35 debacle, labeling it the flying swiss army knife. (aplogies to the manufacturer of the knife and its fans.) Notable of recent are a series of feel good reports that the F-35 is combat ready, etc. Hopefully, the pilots of the F-35's will never have to face the real test.

Thank you, Mr Wheeler, for the continuation of exposing this fraud.

EliteCommInc. , , January 12, 2019 at 1:26 am
Deeply appreciated this article.
Brendan Sexton , , January 13, 2019 at 1:56 pm
Now that we are well into this new era of draining the swamp, we are all over our heads in muck and democracy AND prosperity are in danger of drowning. Venal is awfully polite.

[Jan 13, 2019] Deep State neutered Trump: I have been FAR tougher on Russia than Obama, Bush or Clinton. Maybe tougher than any other President

He essentially became a Republican Obama, save Nobel Peace Price. If Obama was/is a CIA-democrat, this guy is a Deep State controlled republican
And that means that he lost a considerable part of his electorate: the anti-war republicans and former Sanders supporters. He might do good not to try to run in 2020 as he might already be a toast. He definitely is not up to the job and in no way he is an economic nationalist. He is "national neoliberal" which rejects parts of neoliberal globalization based on treaties and prefer to bully nations to compliance that favor the US interests instead of treaties.
And his "fight" with the Depp state recemble so closly to complete and unconditional surrender, that you might have difficuties to distinuish between the two.
Most of his appointees are radib neolon. That that extends beyoong obsious cazies like Haley, Bolton and Pompeo.
Jan 13, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
Washington Post stating that he "has gone to extraordinary lengths to conceal details" of his discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin - telling Fox News host Jeanine Pirro in a phone interview that he would be willing to release the details of a private conversation in Helsinki last summer.

"I would. I don't care," Trump told Pirro, adding: "I'm not keeping anything under wraps. I couldn't care less."

"I mean, it's so ridiculous, these people making up," Trump said of the WaPo report.

The president referred to his roughly two-hour dialogue with Putin in Helsinki -- at which only the leaders and their translators were present -- as "a great conversation" that included discussions about "securing Israel and lots of other things."

"I had a conversation like every president does," Trump said Saturday. "You sit with the president of various countries. I do it with all countries." - Politico

me title=

In July an attempt by House Democrats to subpoena Trump's Helsinki interpreter was quashed by Republicans.

"The Washington Post is almost as bad, or probably as bad, as the New York Times," Trump said.

When Pirro asked Trump about a Friday night New York Times report that the FBI had opened an inquiry into whether he was working for Putin, Pirro asked Trump "Are you now or have you ever worked for Russia, Mr. President?"

"I think it's the most insulting thing I've ever been asked," Trump responded. "I think it's the most insulting article I've ever had written."

Trump went on an epic tweetstorm Saturday following the Times article, defending his 2017 firing of former FBI Director James Comey, and tweeting that he has been "FAR tougher on Russia than Obama, Bush or Clinton. Maybe tougher than any other President. At the same time, & as I have often said, getting along with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing. I fully expect that someday we will have good relations with Russia again!"

[Jan 13, 2019] Until we have more action on this than just some furious tweets, it doesn't matter

Notable quotes:
"... Yes, plus they could have at least tied in the Rosenstein attempt to wear a wire to trap Trump via the 25th amendment as hatched by McCabe too. Lousy article. ..."
Jan 13, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

navy62802 , 1 hour ago link

Until we have more action on this than just some furious tweets, it doesn't matter.

notfeelinthebern , 1 hour ago link

OLD news. This was established long ago by looking at the time line of events.

SDShack , 1 hour ago link

Yes, plus they could have at least tied in the Rosenstein attempt to wear a wire to trap Trump via the 25th amendment as hatched by McCabe too. Lousy article.

[Jan 13, 2019] RFK knew how it works. RFK junior explained the reason for RFK's focus on organized-crime until CIA whacked him. That's why his book was made to sink without a ripple.

Jan 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

MK-DELTABURKE , says: July 23, 2018 at 12:40 pm GMT

@Cagey Beast Yup. Furthermore, CIA is organized crime and organized crime is CIA. CIA recruits and runs agents in favored criminal syndicates in every illicit trade: drugs, child sexual trafficking, arms, fraud, bustouts, extortion, money laundering. Their purpose is not to interdict the trade but to control it.

CIA manages transnational organized crime to top up their budget for unauthorized clandestine operations, like killing JFK.

CIA protects its criminal proteges with their chartered impunity. They call off law enforcement with the magic words national security or 'sources and methods.' If the plan gets exposed, CIA's criminal cutouts insulate the agency from exposure.

RFK knew how it works. RFK junior explained the reason for RFK's focus on organized-crime until CIA whacked him. That's why his book was made to sink without a ripple.

https://popularresistance.org/the-mass-media-will-not-review-rfk-jr-s-book-why/

Evenfurthermore, CIA is the government and the government is CIA. Decades ago Fletcher Prouty showed that CIA's deepest-cover illegal moles are embedded in our own government. Every agency with repressive capacity is infiltrated with focal points, who report to CIA handlers without the other agency's knowledge.

https://ratical.org/ratville/JFK/ST/ST.html

Of course Israel is trying to infiltrate it -- they understand the levers of power.

Assange has got some mighty stinkers in his insurance file. All we can do is hope they're enough to destabilize the CIA Reich that has ruled America since 1949.

[Jan 13, 2019] CIA is boosting the volume of its anti-Russian vilification because more and more CIA assets are getting flushed out. Stephan Halper is an obvious spook. Page is the corniest traitor since Lee Harvey Oswald

Notable quotes:
"... CIA is boosting the volume of its anti-Russian vilification because more and more CIA assets are getting flushed out. Stephan Halper is an obvious spook. Page is the corniest traitor since Lee Harvey Oswald ..."
"... Strzok has clearly got a dotted-line report to his real boss in CIA ..."
"... Publius Tacitus is incorrect, though, in making a distinction between the Obama administration and the intelligence community. Obama is a third-generation CIA spook he's a CIA spokesmodel, not a head of state (see Andrew Krieg's Presidential Puppetry.) ..."
"... To add to the list of things that the Russians had on Hillary . IIRC, she was Sec of State at the time the US election-meddling-and-color-revolution brigade tried to rig the Russian elections against Putin. ..."
"... Putin does not seem to be the sort to let emotion be more important than policy, but I've always wondered that to the small extent the Russians did take a pop at Hillary's campaign, if it didn't bring a bit of a smile to Putin's face to know he was just giving back the hits he'd already taken from her. ..."
Jan 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

Halper , says: July 23, 2018 at 6:52 pm GMT

CIA is boosting the volume of its anti-Russian vilification because more and more CIA assets are getting flushed out. Stephan Halper is an obvious spook. Page is the corniest traitor since Lee Harvey Oswald .

https://dailystormer.name/is-carter-page-a-cia-spook/

Strzok has clearly got a dotted-line report to his real boss in CIA :

https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2018/07/22/a-review-of-the-doj-fbi-fisa-application-release/

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2018/07/fisa-fraud-by-obamas-doj-and-intel-community-by-publius-tacitus.html

Publius Tacitus is incorrect, though, in making a distinction between the Obama administration and the intelligence community. Obama is a third-generation CIA spook he's a CIA spokesmodel, not a head of state (see Andrew Krieg's Presidential Puppetry.)

Daniel Rich , says: July 23, 2018 at 10:35 pm GMT
@peterAUS It's impossible to asses [correctly] who's influenced by what, but it seems that telling lies doesn't work that well any longer. You can find some numbers in the following article: Democracy Dies in Debt? US News Outlets Slashing Staff Left and Right -- Link to Sputnik.

Excerpt : "A Pew Research analysis on Monday found that more than a third of the US' largest newspapers and more than a fifth of its largest digital outlets experienced layoffs between January 2017 and April 2018."

Bill the Cat , says: July 24, 2018 at 12:06 am GMT
To add to the list of things that the Russians had on Hillary . IIRC, she was Sec of State at the time the US election-meddling-and-color-revolution brigade tried to rig the Russian elections against Putin.

Putin does not seem to be the sort to let emotion be more important than policy, but I've always wondered that to the small extent the Russians did take a pop at Hillary's campaign, if it didn't bring a bit of a smile to Putin's face to know he was just giving back the hits he'd already taken from her.

Hillary of course was incompetent in having America interfere in Russian elections. That campaign never had a chance as Putin is a lot more popular in Russia than Hillary is in America. So, she took a pot shot at a rival world leader knowing (or at least some smart people did) that it would have no effect and that Putin would win that election anyways. And of course Hillary the Arrrogant could never imagine that another player in the game would get to take a turn, and that others might interfere in her election, and she knew she'd run and she knew she'd rig the Dem party to get the nod, in the same way the NED and the Soros NGO's tried to interfere in Russia.

skrik , says: July 24, 2018 at 1:59 pm GMT
@Northgunner

'ruling class', 'elites'

I share your sentiments [in a slightly different vernacular]; of course they, the usurping 'rulers' are neither a class nor in any way 'elite,' but who/what ever they are [jews, oligarchs, 'simply' psychopaths or 'true' spawn of Satan], they do seem to be 'in control.' Proof of that is the coordinated criminal actions of 'the West.'

Find "CIA is the government and the government is CIA" above; it's the obvious place to expect a ccc = covert criminal cabal to establish itself. Add to that the truly weird concept of having spies a) out of all control and b) with apparently unlimited power. We 'shall know them by their deeds' which is almost unrelievedly a 'bad look.' Odd is that the 1st mention of any conspiracy that I heard of was that of 'jewish banksters ruling the world.' We since know that such was pilloried by the CIA, but it seems to me to be a case of the tar-baby: The more they [CIA, jews] howl/deny, the guiltier they prove themselves to be. rgds

Mulegino1 , says: July 24, 2018 at 9:55 pm GMT
I would say that what is affecting the western establishment elites at this juncture is not mere dementia but the madness which arises from acts of pure, hellish evil. These people are the Gadarine swine of the contemporary era; a good portion of them appear to be Satanic perverts and pedophiles, if we are to judge from recent revelations. I am not being hyperbolic when I write that Antichrist's reign has been postponed. They had imagined it would be installed by November of 2016 and this is driving them to despair. They hate Trump because his election blocked their lord and master's ascent and they hate Putin because he represents the great restraining power.
Cagey Beast , says: July 24, 2018 at 10:16 pm GMT
@yurivku He's of course is a bone in DC's throat, but his level of intelligence and real power seem to be extremely low.

Yes, he's a golden chandelier stuck in the belly of the Beast. I think he's quite smart, in his own way, but can only do so much on his own. He also has some bad ideas and makes enemies when it isn't necessary but he's still the only hope for change at the centre of the American empire.

Jeff Stryker , says: July 25, 2018 at 4:12 am GMT
@skrik Be that as it may, Romper Stomper took place 30 years after the Vietnam War began. The reverberations of the war were felt in Australia long afterwards.
Jeff Stryker , says: July 25, 2018 at 4:27 am GMT
@peterAUS That's an armchair rugby referee for you, encouraging a Civil War in a country he's probably never set foot. What do you believe would change its policy towards Oz.

If you remember when Reagan broke the air-traffic control union strikes and 30,000 of them immigrated to Oz in 1981, what would happen would be that many qualified Americans would come to Australia and take Australian jobs.

That's how such unrest would affect you.

At any rate, the US would still have the same grip on popular culture (If not financial markets) and Vegemite would not suddenly replace McDonald's everywhere.

Also, though the Asians seem to slowly taking over your economy anyhow, if the US military was busy suppressing a civil war and Asian countries might get aggressive towards you militarily.

Jeff Stryker , says: July 25, 2018 at 4:31 am GMT
@peterAUS The Asians might get more aggressive if the US military suddenly found itself preoccupied with a Civil War.

Asia is taking over your country economically anyhow but they might get a bit anti-social if suddenly the US were to lose all capacity to maintain its presence in your hemisphere.

peterAUS , says: July 25, 2018 at 5:12 am GMT
@Jeff Stryker O.K.

Good luck.

skrik , says: July 25, 2018 at 6:15 am GMT
@peterAUS

I know, for your types. Feels comfortable

Aw, don't go all wussy -- you're acting like a wounded suitor. I suppose it was my rejection of your

I'd need to trust you and then we'd have a long chat somewhere in open public place

Similr to which you you offered Backstay

Have a quiet chat somewhere in a park, for example. Just two of us. Two

Try this google ; that the sort of place you had in mind? It's also reputedly a secret entrance to an ASIO bunker but I suppose you know that; I call attempted entrapment.

RobinG , says: July 25, 2018 at 6:18 am GMT
@skrik . ? ccc = 'great financial consortiums' ?

"As a matter of fact, the composition of the governments is predetermined, and their actions are controlled by great financial consortiums."

J. V. Stalin, Questions & Answers to American Trade Unionists: Stalin's Interview With the First American Trade Union Delegation to Soviet Russia
Pravda September 15, 1927 ___________(h/t, J.S.)

yurivku , says: July 25, 2018 at 6:52 am GMT
@Cagey Beast

think he's quite smart, in his own way, but can only do so much on his own

But I think he's stupid, ignorant, spineless (as well as most of POTUSes), the only difference is -- he's not completely belongs to DC. Probably it's better than if Clinton was on his place, but who knows, Trump can make any stupid thing

standall , says: July 25, 2018 at 7:39 am GMT
@exiled off mainstreet I agree.
skrik , says: July 25, 2018 at 9:31 am GMT
@RobinG

ccc = 'great financial consortiums' ?

G'day, q.possibly and glad you responded. Yeah sure, Stalin is 'close;' it's why some suggest oligarchs, but it demonstrably falls a bit short. My ccc = covert criminal cabal, each word of the highest significance; let's examine each one:

[COED:] covert = not openly acknowledged or displayed -- this is 100% true, since they operate from 'behind a curtain' of deliberate secrecy. Not declaring who they are is a lie of omission, then see after cabal below. Before moving on, let's consult Cicero:

mendaci neque quum vera dicit, creditor

= A liar is not to be believed, even when speaking the truth. That's never a 'good look,' and leads to the next:

criminal -- self-evident, then:

[COED:] cabal = a secret political clique or faction. Øarchaic a secret intrigue .

ORIGIN
C16 (denoting the Kabbalah): from French cabale, from medieval Latin cabala (see Kabbalah).

Finally [COED:] Kabbalah (also Kabbala, Cabbala, Cabala, or Qabalah = the ancient Jewish tradition of mystical interpretation of the Bible .

I allow myself to propose an exactly apposite example of the latter: 'Xxx promised it to us!' -- Where Xxx comes directly from some "mystical interpretation of the Bible." 'Nuff said?

More? IF it were only "great financial consortiums" THEN one would need to explain the criminality, since I'm pretty sure oligarchs *could* work legally. Then, the 'normal' consortiums' business is to 'make money' [and cheating and/or theft may be sort of 'normal'], but the ccc goes *far* past that into [mass-]murdering for spoil, quite/most often for oil and/or *soil* . The latter is within Nuremberg class = supreme international criminality. That may complete the loop and explain why covert in the 1st place.

I wrote above that I would 'revisit' lies; here's a partial quote:

But it remained for the yyy, with their unqualified capacity for falsehood,

Feel free to 'guess' at the yyy, then I assert QED rgds

Anon [243] Disclaimer , says: July 25, 2018 at 2:30 pm GMT
Great article. Good to read someone not suffering from dementia!
Jeff Stryker , says: July 25, 2018 at 3:00 pm GMT
@peterAUS Good luck?
EugeneGur , says: July 25, 2018 at 3:18 pm GMT
@peterAUS

Or who are the guys, in Ukrainian Armed Forces, presently engaged against Donbass?

Besides those in "volunteer battalions", which tend to be nationalistic with distinct Nazi overtones, people in the regular Armed Forces are there for the money. There are very few paying jobs in today's Ukraine, so men enlist and hope for the best.

the ratio hate/don't care shall shift, hard and fast. Not in Russian favor, I suspect.

That could've been the case in 2014. Today I very much doubt it. Even the Right Sector people are fed up with the current power in Kiev, and even the dumbest nationalists are beginning to realize what a deep hole the country is in. Normal people all over the South-East are hoping and praying for the Russians to come. The problem is the Russians aren't coming.

Poupon Marx , says: July 25, 2018 at 5:05 pm GMT
The moniker "journalist" should immediately by banished by replacement of "reporter", as in report the facts and observations, not interpretations or personal opinions.
Eagle Eye , says: July 25, 2018 at 5:18 pm GMT
@Authenticjazzman

I am not a Scientologist, but I consider [L. Ron Hubbard] to be one of the most brilliant minds of the twentieth century

Interesting point. Serious question -- in your view, what else (other than psychotropic medication) was Hubbard "brilliant" about?

Authenticjazzman , says: July 25, 2018 at 6:51 pm GMT
@Eagle Eye " In your view what else was Hubbard brilliant about?"

Well for example his bizarre sounding concepts regarding the sources of mankind, and the history of this insane planet, which are repeatedly ridiculed and labeled as absurd by the PTB, who of course have their own turf to defend, and their own concepts which they do not want to be brought into question.

AJM

peterAUS , says: July 25, 2018 at 6:53 pm GMT
@EugeneGur Well can't say I disagree with the comment.
Or, better, can't provide any concrete evidence to the contrary, especially re the second paragraph.

The thing is, nationalism is a peculiar feeling.
So, while this

Normal people all over the South-East are hoping and praying for the Russians to come.

could be true, the rest of Ukraine could get into quite the opposite.

But, as you say

The problem is the Russians aren't coming.

so it's all academic.

Now, speaking of

people are fed up with the current power .

one could feel, probably, the same in Donbass.
Things aren't great there either.

In any case the conflict is there, frozen for the moment (not for the people along the front line) and can erupt, again, when the US Deep State wants it.

Interesting times.

Cratylus , says: July 26, 2018 at 5:49 am GMT
@Michael Kenny If one wants a clear example of the Russophobic or Putinophobic hysteria infecting the West, one need go no further than this demented fellow. And to that he adds a conspiracy theory about the gangsters ruling over it all.
Uncle Bee , says: July 26, 2018 at 12:06 pm GMT
@Cyrano Imagine if the WMDs get you attacked rule applied to Israel?
Jeff Davis , says: July 26, 2018 at 3:17 pm GMT
@seeing-thru You got it 100% Right my friend. That's the best reality-connected assessment of the Donald's performance that I've read. I'm going to swipe it for reuse elsewhere. Thank you, and may the force be with you.
seeing-thru , says: July 26, 2018 at 5:58 pm GMT
@Jeff Davis Glad you liked it. Yeah, go ahead use it any which way. BTW, my fear is that the Donald may not be able to succeed because of the massive line-up of forces against him. The whole lunatic asylum is out of their cages, snarling and clawing and planning all sorts of stuff to bring him down. Let us wish him success.
Apolonius , says: July 26, 2018 at 9:54 pm GMT
@Vojkan Bravo Vojkane!
Jeff Davis , says: July 27, 2018 at 6:24 pm GMT
@Lauri Törni

So standing up for American citizens is considered a "mentally insane" thing?

You are utterly and completely out of your mind, virtually from another planet, another reality. A textbook example of insanity. The fact that you don't recognize it, simply confirms the fact.

The Deep state is not, repeat not , the American people.

Regarding the Intel community: There are the guys in the trenches. these are honorable guys. Then there is the leadership. The current leadership is on notice to behave itself, on account of the new "Sheriff" in town. The corrupt politicized leadership from the Clinton/Bush/Obama regimes however, now out of power, are attempting to overthrow the legitimately elected president of the United States. In so doing, they are pursuing treason-lite.

Clapper, Brennan, and Hayden are already full-on war criminals: Iraq & torture. Now, in their attempt to destroy the Trump presidency, they are adding betrayal of democracy and betrayal of the Constitution of the United States to their criminal resume. These are evil men who think it is their job to run the United States from behind a malleable (gutless?) figurehead who does what they tell him to do.

As I said in my original post, it is fascinating to observe people like you, utterly dominated -- brain-raped really -- by a neocon/neoliberal narrative that has reduced them to robotic -- even willing -- slaves of the 1%. Good for you. Enjoy. The others, who prefer self-mastery to self-enslavement, will benefit from your choice of enslavement.

That is what all of this boils down to; Trump treating Americans like s*hit in front of the whole world, while praising Russia and Russians.

The IC war criminals/traitors should not be equated with or allowed to hide anonymous behind the majority population of decent Americans. Which is what simpletons like you enable and then fall for.

I fully understood all the concerns for what the Left is doing to people and to the society.

Trump praises Israel and says that, "Securing Israel's safety is our most important task" not a peep comes from the Trump-supporters?!

Some Trump supporters do object. Others however grasp the political reality of Jewish political influence in the US. Politically incompetent simpletons like yourself think Trump should commit political suicide by taking on the Jews.

The Jews/Israel will be dealt with -- or not -- later, when Trump has secured his presidency. And then, the rebalancing of the US-Israeli relationship will not be grounded in hostility to the Jews, but will be more along the lines of America First.

Never ever did I expect, that it would be the Trump-supporters surfacing as the fifth column, giving the "finishing touch" to the destruction of American citizens.

The above is pure paranoid, "the sky is falling", TDS whackadoodle.

The Liberals seem to have woken up,

The country is in the throes of a cultural war between the bubble-wrapped snowflakes and "real" people. Thankfully, the "real" people will win, precisely because they have the advantage of being reality-connected. The snowflakes will benefit as well -- you will benefit -- by the resulting opportunity to reconnect with reality.

Good luck, best wishes, Trump is rapidly changing the world for the better.

And let me add: The Soviet Union is a quarter century gone, and with it Soviet Communism. Putin is the preeminent statesman of our times. Go to YouTube and listen to what he says. He and Trump, aligned, are a force for good in the world. Peace with Russia is coming, and with it a new era of peace and prosperity in the world.

Which leaves me to echo your closing comment:

Are you ever going to be able to comprehend this?

(Answer: Probably not for another six years, if ever.)

Malcontent , says: July 29, 2018 at 8:59 pm GMT
@Cyrano Are you joking? Russia is the second largest nuclear arsenal in the world.
Malcontent , says: July 29, 2018 at 9:01 pm GMT
@Jeff Davis Bravo! Exactly my thoughts!
peterAUS , says: July 29, 2018 at 9:27 pm GMT
@Jeff Davis

Thankfully, the "real" people will win, precisely because they have the advantage of being reality-connected.

Ah, good.

The last time when "real" people won against the US "Deep State" was let me see .well shame on me, can't think of it.

Let's see after the fall of the Wall:
Yugoslavia, then Serbia proper .no
Afghanistan .no .
Ah Iraq .no ..
Lybia no .
Syria well not so sure.

Ah, yes, those weren't Americans. Yeah.

I got concerned for a bit; all good now.
No need to think about M.A.D. anymore. (Re)focus on fishing. Snapper, preferably.

Jeff Stryker , says: July 30, 2018 at 8:09 am GMT
@peterAUS Australia's problem is going to be an Asian economic overclass you Australians always obsess about country's located halfway around the world first the UK now the US.

you're worried about blacks in the US in the ghetto's wealth inequality while Chinese business elite reduce you to paupers IN Australia and eventually you go the way of the black aborigines.

But you cannot see that because you're focused on US cultural colonization or things you have seen in Hollywood films.

Jeff Stryker , says: July 30, 2018 at 8:15 am GMT
@peterAUS Sorry, countries not country's.

Point is that in the sixties you were still obsessed with the British Empire though you are a bit of a lost colony now you are obsessed with the United States, another waning Empire.

Pretty soon the Chinese will have you sleeping in your cars and you will still be focused on the state of blacks in the US ghetto and inequality in America.

But see, the US won't be the problem in Australia. China will.

You compare yourself to the United States because it is a similar former British colony and white settler nation but it is Asia that will stomp you.

James Bacque , says: Website July 31, 2018 at 7:16 pm GMT
She is most likely onto something important. My solution is that most people are double-minded because it suits us to lazily allow our leaders to control us while we (somewhat) hypocritically condemn them for faults and errors which profit us.

St Paul, Shakespeare and Montaigne all complained of their own double-mindedness.

I hope that a column of mine on this topic will appear soon in The U.R.

James Bacque Penetanguishene ON

peterAUS , says: July 31, 2018 at 8:18 pm GMT
@James Bacque

most people are double-minded because it suits us to lazily allow our leaders to control us while we (somewhat) hypocritically condemn them for faults and errors which profit us ..

I guess you are onto something here.

It could go a bit deeper, though, as:

. most people are double-minded because it suits us to allow our betters to lead us while we (somewhat) hypocritically condemn them for their and our faults and errors which profit us.

skrik , says: August 1, 2018 at 3:18 pm GMT
@Jeff Stryker

But you cannot see that because you're focused on US cultural colonization or things you have seen in Hollywood films You compare yourself to the United States because it is a similar former British colony and white settler nation

If I may intercede, no, and that twice.

1. peterAUS, if my interpretation is correct, sees the world through 'military blinkers,' is assumed not to notice China et al. except as one 'enemy' among many, and probably thinks that ~100 F35s, xxx new warships, yyy new submarines and zzz new 'armoured cars,' costing the Aus-taxpayer nose-bleeding squillions will 'save his/their bacon.' As such, peterAUS cannot be addressed as any valid representative of 'the great Aus-unwashed.'

2. That great Aus-unwashed, hoovering up the trash err, sorry for the US-speak; hoovering up the horrendous rubbish 'presented' to them via their '1984-style telescreens' err, one-finger flat-screen distraction devices [when not actual television sets], is largely unconscious of any 'real world.'

Since the CIA-sponsored coup of 1975, the country has been 'going to the dogs' at an increasing rate. The sheople glory under their 'Lucky Country' delusion, not even knowing its full import: Lucky not to be even partly aware. Yeah sure, the corrupt&venal MSM+PFBCs [= publicly financed broadcasters] try to revive 'the yellow peril' scare, but that's just standard 'Bernays haze' scare mongering, to keep the proles from thinking: Der, they [as peterAUS] didn't think. rgds

PS The great Aus-unwashed, as any 'Western' citizen, has zero choice; so-called 'Western democracy' allows for as good as zero 'citizen input.' The 'choice' of Trump should be put down to an aberration -- some 'clever-clogs' manipulators -- *not* Russians -- pulled off a coup. But as they used to say: "Better red than dead;" better Trump than HRC.

Johnj , says: August 2, 2018 at 11:48 pm GMT
Do we have a democracy? Or even representative government? So what happened to our jobs off-shored. Who approved that? Who approved 100 million legal immigrants in the last 50 years?

Why does anyone accept our stilted self-image, especially Diana?

Johnj , says: August 3, 2018 at 12:10 am GMT
@Lauri Törni Good God, this Lauri reads the NYT and has the gall to post it as proof of her opinions. So that means she is nuts and brainwashed.
Ace , says: September 15, 2018 at 5:55 pm GMT
Outstanding article.

On the point about the "world's greatest prison population" note that some one-third of the federal prison population consists of illegal alien criminals and the large U.S. black criminal underclass commits crimes at a higher rate than everyone else, so there are more blacks in our prisons. Oh, the horror.

If other nations enjoyed large illegal immigrant populations and a large black criminal underclass we would see similar inflated prison populations.

Spare us the silliness on this score as well as the "regular massacres of school children" garbage. No doubt you'll enlighten us with your anti-gun views on American gun nuts at a later time. I wait with bated breath.

Still, you almost got a lock on insightful commentary these days.

Ace , says: September 15, 2018 at 7:59 pm GMT
@Lauri Törni Liberals fight for the existence of Americans?

Amazing. Do you intend to live on our planet or are you just visiting?

james bacque , says: Website October 24, 2018 at 6:51 pm GMT
Ron Unz

This is a very good blog, column, whatever, because it illuminates with the light of reason the mass madness of the Washington crowd, and probably much of the American population. See the New Yorker article in the current issue about the utility of caregivers lying to and/or deceiving demented patients to keep them content. That is what is happening now in the USA and your failure to understand my explanation for it, in my essay on double-mindedness, which I sent you last summer, I mind very much. You could lead the way out of the mess if you would re-read that essay and try to understand it.

I am a very ordinary guy and I understand it. Please try again. The world needs this.

Jim Bacque

[Jan 13, 2019] This nasty neocon Rachel MadCow

Jan 13, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Serious.Lee , 1 hour ago link

""Take Rachel Maddow. Whatever you think of her politics, she is -- undoubtedly -- a brilliant woman.""

Take the above author, Maj. Danny Sjursen. Whatever else you think of his article, that statement is - undoubtedly - retarded.

lincolnsteffens , 1 hour ago link

I can't stand Rachael Maddow but she is smart.

peippe , 1 hour ago link

she said Trump would not win Florida. That is not too smart. actually, it is wrong.

True Blue , 1 hour ago link

Feral, yes; rabid, absolutely; smart... not so much. Why is anyone surprised? The DemoRats have never been a party dedicated to peace; the only ones thinking that are the walking bong-holes who assuage their cognitive dissonance by telling themselves that. Both the demorats and their willing accomplices 'across the aisle' have led us into constant war for nearly eight decades. Lilliputian Big enders and Little enders all.

AI Agent , 1 hour ago link

She's a good lying propagandist... but she's not brilliant. Smart? maybe. Brilliant? Cow flop has more shine than Madcow.

desertboy , 36 minutes ago link

Maybe he meant "brilliant manipulator" - sometimes they have meant the same thing.

Throat-warbler Mangrove , 1 hour ago link

Get.Us (a). Out.Now

Screw the war mongers and the MIC.

BlackChicken , 1 hour ago link

If you read the article, it's obvious that [neo]liberals/whores are the apogee of hypocrisy.

richardsimmonsoftrout , 1 hour ago link

"they're likely to emerge from 2020 with not only smeared consciences, but four more years in the opposition."

"Smeared consciences"... that's rich, pretty sure the psychopaths don't have a conscience.

navy62802 , 1 hour ago link

Perpetual war is about $$$. It knows no party. Never has and never will.

holdbuysell , 1 hour ago link

Yup. It's always about the money. As Fitts would say, that screeching you hear is the cash flow drying up for the rentiers. The murdering of women and children be damned. Hillary's demonic cackle is but the grotesque cherry on top: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fgcd1ghag5Y

[Jan 13, 2019] The only reason the evil bastards who control our society can get away with their treachery is because most of the American people are out to lunch on the most important issues of our time.

Notable quotes:
"... This screaming comes not only from the US mainstream, but also from that European elite which has been housebroken for seventy years as obedient poodles, dachshunds or corgis in the American menagerie, via intense vetting by US trans-Atlantic "cooperation" associations. ..."
"... They are CIA assets who do what they're told. ..."
"... There is an unrecognized plague in our society called antidepressants. More than ten per cent of the people in the industrialized world take drugs which interfere with self doubt. They don't ask themselves whether an idea in their minds is true, fair or kind. They only ask if they believe it. And since the chemical they ingest prevents them from assessing the idea from all sides they always believe that if they think something it must be true. ..."
"... Other symptoms of antidepressant use include high levels of free floating anxiety (because useful anxiety is suppressed) and restlessness. ..."
"... I am still asking myself what motivated a veteran politician like Hillary Clinton to violate a cardinal rule of politics by attacking not her opponent but his supporters with the "basket of deplorable" comment in the closing days of the 2016 campaign except chemically induced madness. ..."
"... If history has recorded that the Roman Empire collapsed due to lead poisoning from the water pipes a future time may also conclude the US Empire was destroyed due to antidepressants. ..."
"... The psychology of the mass of Americans with it's self-righteousness and self-centerdness is really amazing. Just in the last seventeen years the US has invaded or otherwise attacked numerous countries and has caused millions of people to die, become miserable refugees, become orphans and all other manner of evil. ..."
"... Not least of all has been it's creation and patronage of ISIS, one of the most heinous groups in history. Yet Americans have this massive blind spot to the war criminality of all this that their country has committed against the peace of the world. Instead they're being stampeded into some irrational Russia-phobia. It's the US that's been on the march everywhere, labeling those countries that resist it's aggression as being aggressors for being willing to defend themselves. It's all upside-down. ..."
"... "I would rather take a political risk in pursuit of peace than to risk peace in pursuit of politics." ..."
"... I'd really like to know who wrote that line for the Prez. (Since I think it unlikely that he wrote that, or any of his "prepared remarks".) Stephen Miller? Whoever. But it was a genius comment. ..."
"... "Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad" obviously the Gods want to destroy the so called western man ..."
Jan 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

lavoisier , says: Website July 23, 2018 at 11:47 am GMT

@peterAUS

Anyone with an average intelligence can, in two hours trawling of Internet, get how false all that is. And, yet, here we are.
The same people who can spend hours on social media, shopping and entertainment online can't, for SOME reason, figure all that out.

Easy to blame "them" and media/academia/whatever. Maybe it's time to start passing a bit of blame to people in general. Not holding my breath.

I fully agree with this sentiment. The only reason the evil bastards who control our society can get away with their treachery is because most of the American people are out to lunch on the most important issues of our time. If the sheeple were to take responsibility to inform themselves of what is happening today they would be able to see the lies they are being constantly exposed to as just that -- lies. And then, they could put down the beer and turn off the damn sports channel and get angry at what has happened to their country.

The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for ignorant people to remain ignorant.

Giuseppe , says: July 23, 2018 at 1:01 pm GMT

This screaming comes not only from the US mainstream, but also from that European elite which has been housebroken for seventy years as obedient poodles, dachshunds or corgis in the American menagerie, via intense vetting by US trans-Atlantic "cooperation" associations.

They are CIA assets who do what they're told.

Gordon Pratt , says: July 23, 2018 at 2:49 pm GMT
There is an unrecognized plague in our society called antidepressants. More than ten per cent of the people in the industrialized world take drugs which interfere with self doubt. They don't ask themselves whether an idea in their minds is true, fair or kind. They only ask if they believe it. And since the chemical they ingest prevents them from assessing the idea from all sides they always believe that if they think something it must be true.

This is the perfect environment for the virus of groupthink to spread.

And since our leaders, both on the left and the right, may be ahead of the curve on drug usage the neocons and the politically correct may use antidepressants at greater levels than 10 per cent.

Other symptoms of antidepressant use include high levels of free floating anxiety (because useful anxiety is suppressed) and restlessness.

I am still asking myself what motivated a veteran politician like Hillary Clinton to violate a cardinal rule of politics by attacking not her opponent but his supporters with the "basket of deplorable" comment in the closing days of the 2016 campaign except chemically induced madness.

If history has recorded that the Roman Empire collapsed due to lead poisoning from the water pipes a future time may also conclude the US Empire was destroyed due to antidepressants.

AnonFromTN , says: July 23, 2018 at 3:09 pm GMT
@Gordon Pratt I think you are mistaken trying to rationalize the behavior of the political class and their puppet masters. I believe the real driver are not antidepressants, but an obscene greed, which is so blinding that it made MIC profiteers forget that to enjoy the fruits of their thievery they have to be alive.
anonymous [339] Disclaimer , says: July 23, 2018 at 3:49 pm GMT
The psychology of the mass of Americans with it's self-righteousness and self-centerdness is really amazing. Just in the last seventeen years the US has invaded or otherwise attacked numerous countries and has caused millions of people to die, become miserable refugees, become orphans and all other manner of evil.

Not least of all has been it's creation and patronage of ISIS, one of the most heinous groups in history. Yet Americans have this massive blind spot to the war criminality of all this that their country has committed against the peace of the world. Instead they're being stampeded into some irrational Russia-phobia. It's the US that's been on the march everywhere, labeling those countries that resist it's aggression as being aggressors for being willing to defend themselves. It's all upside-down.

Jeff Davis , says: July 23, 2018 at 5:01 pm GMT

"I would rather take a political risk in pursuit of peace than to risk peace in pursuit of politics."

I'd really like to know who wrote that line for the Prez. (Since I think it unlikely that he wrote that, or any of his "prepared remarks".) Stephen Miller? Whoever. But it was a genius comment.

Respect , says: July 23, 2018 at 5:10 pm GMT
QUOS VULT IUPITER PERDERE DEMENTAT PRIUS

"Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad" obviously the Gods want to destroy the so called western man

Jeff Davis , says: July 23, 2018 at 5:28 pm GMT
@Lauri Törni

Feel free to attack me.

TDS is a convenient shorthand for this form of disconnect from reality. That said it is absolutely fascinating to see and puzzle over this geopolitical tectonic event. The old narrative is crumbling, with the result that people like Lauri are fighting desperately to preserve their "sanity", dependent as it is on their tribal submission to the old order and its old narrative (its timeworn lies).

"Science advances one funeral at a time."
Max Planck

By which he means that people persist in believing in those "truths" (their belief system) they have held for a lifetime. Only when they die out will a new, revised belief system replaced the old. The same in geopolitics as in science.

Jeff Davis , says: July 23, 2018 at 5:34 pm GMT
@Tulips "Malefactors of great wealth."
Simple Pseudonym , says: July 23, 2018 at 5:58 pm GMT
American dementia is not new. It is current but after the false flags of almost all of our (US) wars going back as far as the Barbary Pirates, Americans have thrived on being the good guys in an evil world. We are SO GOOD, and the world thinks we are perfect and want to be part of US so much, that any other thought is treasonous.

The fact that getting along with Russia is necessary to NOT create armageddon, is irrelevant to the typical citizen because no matter how wrong, we are blessed and perfect in the eyes of the gawd we pretend to believe in.

So, same old same old

[Jan 13, 2019] The USA repeats the history of the later Roman empire, with the army and intelligence agencies firmly in control

Intelligence agencies are a new Praetorian Guard
Jan 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

jilles dykstra , says: July 23, 2018 at 7:30 am GMT

In my opinion, no dementia. Too many careers and institutions are built on continuing hostility towards Russia. First ECB President Duisenberg's ph d thesis had as title 'The economic consequences of peace', something like that, his conclusion was that demilitarization was possible economically, when controlled sensibly.

Did anyone read 'The Iron Mountain Report', I never quite knew what to make of it, but it also is about if demilitarization is possible. Barbara Hinckley Sheldon Goldman, American Politics and Government, Glenview Ill.,1990 describes how the USA weapons industry skillfully prevents that spending on useless weapons diminishes. The history of the later Roman empire, the army in control.

[Jan 13, 2019] Republican politicians may invoke the rhetoric of free markets to justify cutting taxes for the rich and benefits for the poor, or removing environmental regulations that hurt polluters' profits, but they don't really care about free markets per se. After all, the party had little problem lining up behind Trump's embrace of tariffs

Notable quotes:
"... If anything, Trump and the GOP have finally shown common decent folk what the democratic experiment in America has become: a system that looks alot like feudal systems of the past. Including walls! ..."
"... There is no such thing as a free market. Let me repeat it again for effect: there is NO such thing as a free market. Whether one calls it libertarianism or neoliberalism, the idea is pretty much the same: if we just unleash the power of human greed, the market will equal everything out, and we'll all be freer because of it. Sorry, but it doesn't work that way. Our government gives huge incentives to large corporations with the idea that wealth will trickle down into middle class jobs and prosperity. But guess what? Those corporations keep most of the incentives and profits for themselves and their shareholders. The comparatively minuscule recent tax cuts for the middle class pale in comparison to the huge corporate cuts that added $2 trillion to our national deficit. The only thing stopping corporate excess and monopolies is government. Many libertarians cry "starve the beast." Well, they shouldn't complain if they get food poisoning because their food wasn't properly inspected by a government they loath. And neither should President Trump complain, if, like most Americans, his next Big Mac doesn't agree with him. ..."
"... Anarchy is oligarchy. The rule of law -- law crafted by dedicated public servants, who are elected by sober and informed citizens -- is the closest we can come to freedom. ..."
"... The libertarian philosophy is this: while you're young and healthy and productive, you can help make money for your boss. However, once you are old and no longer capable of making a contribution to someone else, it is your obligation to simply die. ..."
"... Privatizing Social Security so that investment firms can get a piece of the action, privatizing Medicare so that insurance companies can get a piece of the action, and privatizing the military, so that private paramilitary companies can get more than their fair share of the action. It's theft in plain sight. We can't believe it, because it's so obvious. ..."
"... Paraphrasing Marie Antoinette "Let them eat contaminated cake" ..."
"... Funny how libertarians never argue for privatizing the military, or law enforcement. ..."
"... I cannot enumerate the number of rich Republicans who tried to get the government to support their elderly while the children of those elderly got the money. I could tell you stories, including one about a certain Republican Governor of Pennsylvania who tried to put his adult, but mentally handicapped child on Medicaid. ..."
"... Cutting tax rates on the wealthy are stealing from the rest of us. We make contributions every hour of every day which are hoovered up by the wealthy and the powerful. Meanwhile we cannot afford the cost of living, which has skyrocketed vs wages and benefits. The cost of an apartment is exorbitant. The cost of health care is exorbitant. Meanwhile the commons suffer. Infrastructure suffers. Sidewalks are a menace. There is lead in the water. Rich people who do not pay their fair share of taxes are stealing from the people in so many ways it's impossible to count them. But count them in years lost, in lives cut short, in lives blighted. ..."
"... Republicans aren't against government, it has grown more under every Republican president including Reagan himself. They simply have their preferences as to who benefits from it. ..."
"... As the saying goes, you never miss your water until your well runs dry. ..."
Jan 13, 2019 | www.nytimes.com

That said, the truth is that libertarian ideology isn't a real force within the G.O.P.; it's more of a cover story for the party's actual agenda.

In the case of the party establishment, that agenda is about redistributing income up the scale, and in particular helping important donor interests. Republican politicians may invoke the rhetoric of free markets to justify cutting taxes for the rich and benefits for the poor, or removing environmental regulations that hurt polluters' profits, but they don't really care about free markets per se. After all, the party had little problem lining up behind Trump's embrace of tariffs.

Meanwhile, the philosophy of the party's base is, in essence, big government for me but not for thee. Stick it to the bums on welfare, but don't touch those farm subsidies. Tellingly, the centerpiece of the long G.O.P. jihad against Obamacare was the false claim that it would hurt Medicare.

And as it happens, many of the spending cuts being forced by the shutdown fall heavily and obviously on base voters. Small business owners are much more conservative than the nation as a whole, but they really miss those government loans. Rural voters went Republican during a Democratic midterm blowout, but they want those checks. McConnell may have trash-talked food stamps in the past, but a sudden cutoff would have a catastrophic effect on the most Republican parts of his home state.


C Wolfe Bloomington IN Jan. 10

I had an idiot,er, libertarian friend once who actually believed the market would take care of food safety, because people wouldn't buy food from a source if that source was known to have sold tainted food. "What about the people who die in the meantime?" I asked. "Well, it's up to people to decide what to eat. The government shouldn't tell people what to eat." "But how are you supposed to know? How much tainted food has to be sold and eaten before people even know to avoid it? People get sick or die.

What about people's lives?" "Argh, 'people's lives.'" (Eye roll.) "Liberals are always talking about 'people's lives.'" I swear this is an actual conversation that I repeated so many times I have it memorized.

AndyE Berkley MI Jan. 10

Ironically, the likelihood of chronic dependency on federal dollars is directly proportional to the redness of the state.

DB NC Jan. 11 Times Pick

One of the big obstacles I've observed is that conservatives, in general, have to experience negative consequences directly to understand the link between cause and effect. Liberals, in general, are better at imagining negative consequences and taking preventive action before they directly experience it. It has to do with empathy and solidarity, I think. Liberals see someone suffering, and they think, "We should find out what caused that and fix it so it doesn't happen to the rest of us." Conservatives see someone suffering, and they think, "That guy must be a terrible person. He totally deserves what happened to him. It can never happen to me because I'm a good guy." It is only when the negative thing does directly happen to the conservative that he may reconsider. That's when it is important to find a scapegoat- illegal immigrants, minorities, Jews- to blame in order to obscure the causal link.

Socrates Downtown Verona. NJ Jan. 10

Libertarianism attracts the finest stunted teenaged and hypocritical minds that are either disconnected from reality or that suffer from cognitive dissonance that allows hypocrisy and selfishness to flourish like mutant bacteria. Taxes and good government are the price of any decent civilization...and both of these concepts are completely demonized by Republicans even though Republicans are some of the greatest welfare queens in the nation. Productive, modern, blue Democratic state federal tax dollars have long subsidized rural, religious Republican states that hate the federal government....they curse they horse that feeds them and then they curse even more when the federal teat is turned off. America's 0.1% Robber Barons and crony vulture capitalists curse 'high tax rates' that aren't particularly high compared to the rest of the world while using America's infrastructure, legal system, government-funded research and technology, and corrupted electoral system to make parasitic profits that dwarf those of foreign corporations who pay their fair share of taxes to countries with increasingly better infrastructure and educational systems. The libertarian theology followed to fruition is Somalia-like; an unregulated anarchy of human misery. Decent human beings understand that healthy taxes produce healthy civilization. Today's version of libertarian Republicanism is a demented form of arrested emotional development that's been destroying the USA since 1980. Nice GOPeople.

Larry St. Paul, MN Jan. 11 Times Pick

Those who believe, like Ronald Reagan, that government is the problem, are about to discover that the absence of government is an even worse problem.

Wilbray Thiffault Ottawa. Canada Jan. 10

Senator Mitch McConnel said that the food stamp program is "making it excessively easy to be non productive." Well, Mitch McConnel is not on the food stamp program and he manages to be one of the most "non productive" senator in the history of the US Senate. Congratulation Senator!

Eric Bremen Jan. 11 Times Pick

Almost unfailingly, the stoutest Republican supporters seem to be the biggest beneficiaries of government: the military, farmers, pensioners or small business owners. Growing up in a military family, I remember subsidized gas, medical treatment for free and school trips paid by the DoD. Yet anytime there was a Democratic president, it sounded like there would be a coup when our military parents met at picnicks and had a few beers. If anything, Trump and the GOP have finally shown common decent folk what the democratic experiment in America has become: a system that looks alot like feudal systems of the past. Including walls!

jrinsc South Carolina Jan. 11 Times Pick

There is no such thing as a free market. Let me repeat it again for effect: there is NO such thing as a free market. Whether one calls it libertarianism or neoliberalism, the idea is pretty much the same: if we just unleash the power of human greed, the market will equal everything out, and we'll all be freer because of it. Sorry, but it doesn't work that way. Our government gives huge incentives to large corporations with the idea that wealth will trickle down into middle class jobs and prosperity. But guess what? Those corporations keep most of the incentives and profits for themselves and their shareholders. The comparatively minuscule recent tax cuts for the middle class pale in comparison to the huge corporate cuts that added $2 trillion to our national deficit. The only thing stopping corporate excess and monopolies is government. Many libertarians cry "starve the beast." Well, they shouldn't complain if they get food poisoning because their food wasn't properly inspected by a government they loath. And neither should President Trump complain, if, like most Americans, his next Big Mac doesn't agree with him.

TM Muskegon, MI Jan. 10

For those who despise government regulations, I offer 3 observations: 1. I lived near Muskegon, MI, prior to the EPA, when 3 foundries were constantly belching smoke and foundry dust into the air. Breathing the air was equivalent to smoking 2 packs of cigarettes a day.

2. I lived in Cairo, Egypt for 3 years. I purchased 4 pairs of prescription eyeglasses before finally giving up. None of them were right - and no regulations meant that I had no recourse.

3. I lived in Accra, Ghana for 3 years. No construction codes meant that the brand new luxury apartment building I moved into suffered numerous problems with plumbing, resulting in mold, flooded floors and sudden loss of water pressure.

In Cairo and in Accra, there was no social safety net. Beggars were a constant. Often they would be horribly disfigured and with no family what were they to do? I am happily retired now, back in Western Michigan, thoroughly enjoying the clean air, safe food, and clean parks. Obama said it best - it's not the size of government, it's the effectiveness of it. And if it's not working, that's on us - we're the ones who put those people in office. 2020 can't arrive soon enough.

Lex DC Jan. 10

The Trump voter in my family was a libertarian before switching to the Party of Trump and still believes that government is an interference. One conversation we had was about electricians needing to be licensed. He said electricians did not need to be licensed because if their work led to customers being injured or killed due to a fire, that information would circulate and those electricians would be forced out of the market. I asked him if he cared about the people injured or killed, he shrugged his shoulders and said that's just the way things are. I then asked him what if he was one the customers injured or killed. He looked rather shocked at that question and immediately dropped the subject. That is all that I ever needed to know about libertarianism.

Michael W. Espy Flint, MI Jan. 11 Times Pick

I like to pay taxes, I get civilization in return.

Pat Somewhere Jan. 10

"Libertarianism" according to the GOP means that YOU need the discipline of the "free market," but I deserve all the protections and support of the nanny state (financed with your tax dollars, thank you very much.)

Goodglud Flagstaff, AZ Jan. 10

As George Lakoff reminded us, what the anti-government folks call "regulations" are, for the most part, "protections." We shouldn't let the Kochs, Trumps, McConnells, and Ryans frame the discussion. "The term "regulation" is framed from the viewpoint of corporations and other businesses. From their viewpoint, "regulations" are limitations on their freedom to do whatever they want no matter who it harms. But from the public's viewpoint, a regulation is a protection against harm done by unscrupulous corporations seeking to maximize profit at the cost of harm to the public." https://georgelakoff.com/2017/01/28/the-publics-viewpoint-regulations-are-protections

Michael McLemore Athens, Georgia Jan. 11 Times Pick

At some point the American people need to realize that conservative/libertarian pundits are just on-air hucksters selling a product. Instead of selling Vegematics, Ginsu knives or non-stick cookware, they are peddling right-wing bile for a profit. And the profits derived from their corporate advertisers are huge. Forget truth or journalism, Rush Linbaugh openly proclaims himself to be an "entertainer" and not a "journalist" (mainly to make it more difficult to sue him for falsehood). Ann Coulter similarly declares herself a "polemicist". Forget for a moment the subversive influence of Russian money and hacking on American politics. Our own homegrown corporate advertisers are eagerly subverting America by underwriting glib purveyors of corrosive right-wing propaganda, who will slyly proclaim the gospel of unbridled greed and not of social responsibility. Of course drug companies don't want the FDA. Why would they want oversight to keep the public safe, when safety costs them money? Why would banks want regulation to safeguard the financial system and consumers, when regulation interferes with short-term profits? The Koch brothers don't want pesky interference from the EPA in regulating their mega-refinery in Minnesota. Their family homes are in Aspen, Palm Beach and Manhattan, so why should it concern them if effluent rolls through St. Louis, Memphis, and New Orleans? Don't dare call this something so plain as "greed". Wrap it in a bow and call it "libertarianism".

FunkyIrishman member of the resistance Jan. 11 Times Pick

Republican mantra (even Libertarian) is to be left alone, so long as THEIR way of life is left alone, and they are subsidized by you for living that way. That may mean a MASSIVE military to be a deterrent, or to go invade some other country to keep the oil flowing. That may mean subsidizing all sorts of industries, businesses and the like, because they cannot compete at all on a truly free open market. That might mean support for all sorts of social programs, health programs, education programs and the like as well, because bootstraps only take you so far. I would use the word hypocrisy, but that would entail that many know what they speak of when describing what Libertarian, or Socialist. or another ''ist'' form of government actually means. We are all in this together or we are not. There is no in between, but many would have you believe it is possible. It is not.

earlyman Portland Jan. 10

@Bill Once you our you loved one eats salmonella contaminated lettuce and nearly dies, good luck going after, or even finding, the agra-business across the country who caused it.

Linda Sausalito, CA Jan. 10

European food is heavily regulated, uh, by governments. Much tastier and doesn't contain known carcinogens. Watching the train wreck of the United States.

Will Schmidt perlboy on a ranch 6 miles from Ola, AR Jan. 10

@C Wolfe This rings so true for me too. I majored in economics at UICC in the early seventies. My favorite prof was a PhD candidate at U of Chicago, and one of his advisors was Milton Friedman. Being at UICC, I did not study under the great man, but I did under one of his acolytes, who was close to tenure (ABD, if I remember correctly), and I thought, a very intelligent one. One of his two areas of doctoral specialty (you had to have two; his other was labor) was macro, and I took him for among other things, money & banking. In fact, I took M&B twice, because the first time (I got an A) was from a Keynesian, and I wanted to get it from a Quantity Theory guy; another A.) Because my prof was a diciple of M.F., I got to attend several special lectures at UC, and partake of the kool-aid. Well, I heard directly from the horse's mouth how consumers would boycotte inferior suppliers and only the best would survive. The free market would favor the best and punish the worst. Of course, this required perfect information. Unfortunately, no good case was made how a perfect information economy could be achieved nor how consumers could afford to acquire perfect information. The price of discovering bad suppliers of tainted food would surely include the deaths of some number of consumers before that information became generally available. We debated perfect markets and perfect information but never did get a convincing case for abandoning government inspection of food products.

Michael Kelly Bellevue, Nebraska Jan. 10

The famous Republican philosopher Grover Norquist once said that he's want to have government so small that one could drown it in the bathtub. Right now, nearly one million government workers are facing the prospect of drowning in debt. Trump suggests that they could make do like he always used to, namely declare bankruptcy or go to daddy for a loan. All this while court jester Pence 'handles' the negotiations. His idea is to make more requests while staying firm on a wall.

LT Chicago Jan. 10

Perhaps the GOP base will finally learn just how dependent they really are on the government they profess to hate. Trump loving farmers and small town business owners are in for a particularly nasty surprise. It's not just farm subsidies. As described by Michael Lewis in "The Fifth Risk": "As the U.S.D.A.'s loans were usually made through local banks, the people on the receiving end of them were often unaware of where the money was coming from. There were many stories very like the one Tom Vilsack told, about a loan they had made, in Minnesota, to a government-shade-throwing, Fox News-watching, small-town businessman. The bank held a ceremony and the guy wound up being interviewed by the local paper. "He's telling the reporter how proud he is to have done it on his own," said Vilsack. "The U.S.D.A. person goes to introduce herself, and he says, 'So who are you?' She says, 'I'm the U.S.D.A. person.' He asks, 'What are you doing here?' She says, 'Well, sir, we supplied the money you are announcing.' He was white as a sheet." There are rural counties in this country that are only viable with government money. Trump counties. It's going to be an expensive and painful education. Trump University lives.

Norm Weaver Buffalo NY Jan. 10

If ever there was a group that lives in a fantasy world, it's the libertarians. In another article in another newspaper that dealt with "intrusive" government, I submitted a comment saying that I wouldn't be surprised if Libertarians would be opposed to STOP signs and traffic lights because these would constitute an unnecessary infringement on their freedom. Wouldn't you know that a person of that persuasion actually replied to my comment and confirmed my suspicion. Working in an IT position for three decades I dealt with this type daily. Many were 30-something white males, often both cognitively and physically well above average, who had learned to program computers. They were blessed with being raised in two-parent families. I acknowledge the hard work they did to learn to wrestle with computers, but they lacked the perspective to realize that they had not hit a home run but rather had been born on second or third base due to the intellectual and physical gifts they possess that many others don't.They could not understand why others in society could not emulate their success. In one conversation about affirmative action, one such person asked "Why do we need that anymore? There are laws against discrimination.". Many of this type get bit in the behind when some government regulation is repealed then it turns out that THEY are the ones adversely affected by the repeal. But don't waste your breath trying to pierce the fantasy balloon. They hold tight to those fantasies.

George Chicago Jan. 10

I'm waiting for Grover Norquist and the other small government proponents to relocate to Somalia, home of no real government. Why it's not thriving without the yoke of onerous regulations is surprising.

Red Sox, '04, '07, '13, '18, Boston Jan. 10

"...making it excessively easy to be non-productive." -- Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The irony is too rich here. While he and his president and the "non-productive" Republican Senators draw a paycheck for soaking up the public dime, kids will go hungry; start-up hopefuls will lose loans; farmers will feel the bite; food will become contaminated and people will fill hospital ER's and strain their health insurance. For openers. The Right is getting its own back on FDR's New Deal. All because "government is the problem." Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Dominic Holland San Diego Jan. 10

A relatively minor point: "Maybe you believe that private companies could take over the F.D.A.'s role in keeping food safe, but such companies don't exist now and can't be conjured up in a matter of weeks." Such inspection companies could only exist if they were funded by the food companies they were inspecting. Competition among inspection companies would then obviously lead to grade inflation: hire some other company that is more likely to give you a passing grade, who in turn will be happy to lower standards to attract more customers. This is not an avenue for effective replacement of the FDA. Libertarianism is for chumps and fanatics, no one else.

Paul K Michigan USA Jan. 11 Times Pick

We lived in a small West African nation for 25 years. There were no collectable taxes because the tax collectors kept what they could extort from poor people, no safety nets such as social security or medicaid/medicare, no fire fighters, no functional road departments, no regulation of pharmaceuticals, an unprepared and unarmed military, no paid federal, regional of local police forces, no judges who were not bought by the highest bidder, no standards for the public hospitals, no communication systems, no running water in major cities, no electric power that functioned more than 4-6 hours a day, and not a single government official who was not on the take.

What we did have were cholera epidemics that killed 5000 people, annual measle epidemics that killed children under 5 years old , villages burned to the ground by wildfire, a school system which did not pay its teachers and finally a 12 year civil war which killed over 200,000 people and a [post war ebola epidemic which killed 12,000 more.

The proper use of taxes was not even a dream. Now in the USA, the "leadership" under its current president and his sycophants are playing personal and infantile grade school games with your and my tax dollars and the congress is helping them do it. Amazing! I feel like I am back home in my 3rd world village .

Tom B New York Jan. 11 Times Pick

Anarchy is oligarchy. The rule of law -- law crafted by dedicated public servants, who are elected by sober and informed citizens -- is the closest we can come to freedom. Governance that provides basic order and rules and a safety net for when people fail (either from behavior that is unwise or from ill fortune) is part of the rule of law. There are also necessary things that the government can provide (without a profit motive) better than either charity of for profit organizations. Roads and basic science are good examples. Other things are best left alone by government -- things like sex, drugs, and rock'n'roll. These should be principles that we all can live by, but it seems like the so-called conservatives believe quite the opposite. They believe in unregulated guns, flows of money to unregulated trusts, defunded public goods, and violent repression of sex, drugs, and free expression.

Kinsale Charlottesville, VA Jan. 10

@earlyman correct. The first thing those large corporations responsible will do is use their lobbying power to legislate liability caps on what they have to pay in settlement costs. That's the way the real world works. We're not living in some libertarian utopia.

James Wallis Martin Christchurch, New Zealand Jan. 10

Problems with the food industry in the US isn't just a new issue since the Trump administration, it has been an issue for decades. The problems of Big Ag and Food Manufacturers lobbying has been so bad, that whenever I see doctors in Germany and New Zealand, the first question they ask is have I been and eaten food in the US in the last six months, when they are trying to ascertain health issues". When the medical community around the world asks about US food intake, you know corporate libertarianism has run afoul and at the cost of the health of America. The fact that foods that can't be sold in Europe for health reasons are dumped in the US just highlights how it is no longer the United States of America, but rather the Corporate States of America. When will the people demand for Separation of Corporation and State?

John Moran Tennessee Jan. 11

I had serious Libertarian leanings up until a few years ago when my family and I moved to Bangalore, India to work for three years. It was an eye opening experience to see what actually happens when you don't have a strong central government regulating things like the air you breathe, the water you drink, and the food you eat.

Bangalore was once known as the Garden City and is considered the Silicon Valley of India, but corporate greed, unchecked expansion, and government corruption, along with no meaningful environmental laws that are actually enforced, has turned it into a nightmare-- or maybe into what Libertarianism looks like in the real world, outside of Ayn Rand novels.

The river beside our street was so polluted it had layers of chemical foam that would reach ten feet in height and blow across the road, stopping traffic.

The nearby lake would literally catch on fire, burning for days. Open sewers ran into nearby water sources. Forget tap water, it would make Flint, Michigan's water crisis seem desirable by comparison. Food safety? Roll the dice and take your chances.

Within a year any trace of Libertarian beliefs were wiped clean from my mind and I longed for strong government regulations to protect me and my family. This U.S. shutdown isn't even a minor taste of what it truly means to live without powerful and enforceable government regulations and protections.

Pete Victoria, BC Jan. 10

@Bill it is important to keep in mind that contaminated food can kill you before you even have a chance to pursue remedies. The critical elements for us now leaving much longer than our ancestors involve personal and public hygiene (e.g. safe food, sewer systems), medicine and healthy environments (e.g. pollution controls). I recommend watching the Trashopolis series, its quite informative.

Thomas Zaslavsky Binghamton, N.Y. Jan. 10

@C Wolfe Decades ago I had a very similar conversation with a doctrinaire libertarian, though it was about a less essential question. I also repeated it many times. The incredulity factor is large. I mean, I couldn't believe the degree to which rationality disappeared.

Karen Garcia New York Jan. 10

On the bright side, a federal judge just ruled Iowa's so-called Ag-Gag law to be unconstitutional, making it easier to expose the filthy and inhumane conditions on factory farms. So agribusiness will be smacked with the double whammy of losing their corporate welfare checks and bribery payments, and having their own cruelty exposed at the same time.

It's obvious that Trump's tantrum of a shutdown is the latest episode of disaster capitalism, or what Naomi Klein has dubbed the Shock Doctrine. Create a crisis, like neglecting New Orleans levees, or most recently, the criminally negligent homicides of Hurricane Maria victims in Puerto Rico, and you allow the vulture capitalists to swoop in and cash in. The entire school system of N.O. is now privatized, and libertarian billionaires are buying up huge chunks of Puerto Rico at bargain basement prices to create palaces. With walls, of course. The trash and overflowing toilets at our national parks are just the ticket for corporations to take them over and charge exorbitant admissions... before selling out to ranchers and drillers to further speed up the Anthropocene. The other semi-bright upshot of this disaster capitalism is that rich conservatives will get just as sick from eating tainted food as the poor. Trump probably figures he is immune, because he likes the polluting cow flesh he consumes to be well-done to burnt. But without getting paid, how long will the White House chefs continue to serve him? : -)

Chris Hunter WA State Jan. 10

Exactly so. It has been my experience that my libertarian friends are only able to be libertarian because they have been protected all their lives (at great expense, they would argue) by the very government they deride.

hen3ry Westchester, NY Jan. 10

What's fascinating about all of this is how the Gutless Obnoxious Popinjays refuse to take any responsibility at all for the problems. It's always the Democrats fault. I'm surprised that none of them have pointed a finger at Obama. After all, he didn't try to build a wall so it must be his fault that Trump is demanding money for a beautiful wall that will protect all Americans from the outside world. It's fascinating to realize that McConnell, Pence, Trump, and the rest of the obnoxious crowd are getting paid by the government they want to drown. They are contributing to the very cycles of misfortune that they blame people for. Are they going to write letters for every federal employee who loses a home, falls farther behind on loan payments than they should, who can't afford to pay for medical care or the premium? No. The GOP has no plans to share the misery it's causing. Trump doesn't understand or care. This is what happens when a complete incompetent is elected to run a country: chaos, uncertainty, and worse. The party that abhorred communism and the Russians now has a president who may be owned by the Russians. Even if he's not, the entire debacle that is Trump's presidency must warming the hearts of Putin and his "friends" each day it continues. As Obama said, elections have consequences. This is one of them. I don't know about the GOP and the libertarians but I prefer to eat, drink, and breathe safely. It's why I like a functioning government.

Mark McHenry Jan. 10

The libertarian philosophy is this: while you're young and healthy and productive, you can help make money for your boss. However, once you are old and no longer capable of making a contribution to someone else, it is your obligation to simply die.

If you look at all the proposals of the Republicans, this seems to be the guiding force. Privatizing Social Security so that investment firms can get a piece of the action, privatizing Medicare so that insurance companies can get a piece of the action, and privatizing the military, so that private paramilitary companies can get more than their fair share of the action. It's theft in plain sight. We can't believe it, because it's so obvious.

Lake trash Lake ozarks Jan. 10

It's the chaos this president keeps thrusting on all of us. We can't keep up day to day of his lack of self control, his lack of understanding how government works, the principles of the constitution, the rule of law that has sustained us through the years. He seems to believe that he has the support to destroy everything that keeps us safe. The foundation that made this a great country is at risk. I'm old now and can not believe what I see every day from this American President.

Cowsrule SF CA Jan. 11

@Zhou "I'll sue the company producing it". How will you do that in the absence of any governmental mechanism to enforce compliance with a law suit? And how will you prove contamination in the absence of any recognized standard to show it is present?

Aram Hollman Arlington, MA Jan. 10

@Bill So, you prefer the pound of cure known as a lawsuit to a regulatory ounce of prevention. Personally, I'd prefer to avoid both the discomfort of food poisoning and the expense of a lawsuit. Besides, do you really think you'd win? None of the many people poisoned by contaminated vegetables at Taco Bell stores a few years ago had any chance of even bringing a lawsuit, much less winning one and gettting compensation. It took regulatory agencies, public health departments, and the national Center for Disease Control simply to track down the offending vegetables and force Taco Belll to clean up its act. As for your checks and balances, most of the checks go from lobbyists to congressmen, and that throws any balances way out of whack. Your annual deficit figure of $1 trillion is out of date. The latest Trump tax cuts raised it to $1.5 trillion. So, start worrying real fast. But, I'd start worrying more not merely about the deficit, but about how money is being spent. You seem to worry more about the comparative peanuts spent on the FDA (which, by the way, also regulates drugs and medical devices) or the USDA (which also helps regulate food safety). than on the far larger amounts spent on the military (e.g. latest technology F-35 jets that can't fly in the rain), US taxpayer funding of arms sales to foreign countries that neither share our values nor help keep us safe (e.g. Saudi Arabia).

Otis-T Los Osos, CA Jan. 10

I work with alot of big Ag companies -- they're constantly raging about government regs and the red tape, etc, etc., but they have HUGE lobby and political power. On an average year, they get an amazing amount of subsidies coming in all kinds of forms, from direct compensation packages to float an industry a la corn, or from electric rates that are lower for them at the expense of the other rate classes. And when any hint of hardship comes, nevermind true hardship, they're front and center for the hand-outs. And they get plenty. All this before we even address immigrant labor! Ha! Libertarian Ag would look WAY different out in the fields. And one thing that would surely be needed: Cheap immigrant (sometimes illigal) labor. You get what you vote for.

JaneF Denver Jan. 10

@michjas Except the Republicans could reopen the government if they chose to. They could pass the same bill they passed in December, and then override the President's veto. Their conspiracy is that they won't do that.

John Quixote NY Jan. 10

So the party of fiscal responsibility which is already running up the deficit insists on building a wall over 2000 miles of border, seizing private property along the way . When we stopped teaching Geography and Citizenship and dismissed literature as irrelevant to getting a good job, we created an electorate that could be gulled by such propaganda and conned into thinking that fear is our avatar: fear of otherness, fear of government, fear of taxes, fear of liberals, fear of fear itself.

Cathy NJ Jan. 10

@Aoy when food is contaminated, the FDA is able to locate "ground zero" with utmost efficiency--Food Science 101. Without the FDA--which was established under T. Roosevelt's administration--there is no coordination between the food chain and the population. You can wash your lettuce to your heart's content, but if it was grown in contaminated soil, the cells within are contaminated. So, yes, the FDA is extremely necessary.

Jake Reeves Atlanta Jan. 10

"Government," declared Ronald Reagan in his first Inaugural Address, "is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem." Yup, Republicans say government is the problem and then they get in power and prove it. The Party of Problem Government.

keith San Miguel de Allende Jan. 11 Times Pick

Anyone who thinks enforced food safety is unnecessary should go to India and eat in a restaurant anywhere but a first-tier hotel for foreigners. Your odds of getting sick are very high. Ditto in Alexandria, Egypt, and other places I've experienced where profit is important and product is, well, less so. Remedies? Seriously? How will you prove anything? Especially when all the restaurants have the same cavalier attitude toward washing food and hands. You ate the salad? More fool you.

Castor Troy D.C. Jan. 10

I wish that shutdowns were actually that-- shut things down. That means no air traffic controllers, no TSA, no border agents. Wonder how quickly the politicians would solve their differences if they couldn't rely on slave labor from unpaid federal employees forced to work?

alank Wescosville, PA Jan. 11 Times Pick

Paraphrasing Marie Antoinette "Let them eat contaminated cake"

Ecce Homo Jackson Heights Jan. 10

Funny how libertarians never argue for privatizing the military, or law enforcement. When they think it's really important, even libertarians come running back to government. The facts are that markets are only free if they are transparent, and in all of history nobody has come up with a better way than government regulation to make markets transparent. We tried unregulated markets in food production, and it was a disaster - which is why we have federal regulation of food production today. We tried unregulated labor markets and it was also a disaster - which is why we have child labor laws, minimum wage laws, and the full range of other labor regulations we have today. politicsbyeccehomo.wordpress.com

Ben Chicago Jan. 10

People forget that government workers are themselves participants in the economy. They buy cars and houses. They go to the grocery and the hardware store. When they don't get paid, the businesses they patronize -- private businesses -- also go without. Yesterday, I had lunch at a famous old restaurant right near the federal plaza in Chicago's Loop. One of the workers there told me that because of the shutdown the place's business had fallen way off. (And that's with the federal courthouse still open. Just wait until the courts shut, too.) It's a closed system, folks.

Cal Prof Berkeley, USA Jan. 10

Spot on. Naïveté about libertarianism runs deep. It was brought home to me when I worked with programmers in Silicon Valley in the 1980s. A fair number espoused libertarian ideas. Yet they had all had their computer science degrees paid for by the Defense Department, many at state universities. I was not too sophisticated myself but even I could see the disconnect between the ideas they were pushing and the real world implications.

Tom B New York Jan. 10

Have you ever actually tried a personal injury case? For a food borne illness? I ask those questions rhetorically because I can tell from your comment that you haven't. As a lawyer, who doesn't often get involved in personal injury cases, I can tell you that people often think they aren't hurting anyone by cutting corners, and are only restrained from doing things like serving contaminated food or doing illegal gas line plumbing by the threat of fines if caught cutting those corners. It's not the lawsuit that makes them take care.

Rich Davidson Lake Forest, IL Jan. 10

The gilded age of the 1890's seem like a wonderful time for libertarians. The productivity of the nation was high and gaining. But, it came with dirty air and water, bad food and medicine, quackery and robber barons. It was followed by the Roaring 20's where stocks grew without limits and borrowed money paid for it. That did not end well, either. Finally, in FDR's first 100 days, government stepped in and wrote the rules that made life good for most of us. The GOP does not know history and forgot what happened when there was a libertarian society. They are getting an education, finally.

Linda Oklahoma Jan. 10

One of the things that might end is the Indian Health Services. The government made contracts with tribes that in exchange for their land, the federal government would provide education and healthcare. It's not a welfare program. It is payment for millions of acres of land. If Indian Health Services ends, that's the same as reneging on a contract. Trump may see tribes going to court to get what was promised to them in exchange for land and lifestyle. If the shutdown continues, lots of people may be taking Trump to court.

Yuri Asian Bay Area Jan. 10

Do you believe in magic? Religious extremists do. So do Libertarians. And so do Republicans though what they believe is a variant of magic that might be called delusion or magic mixed with whisky and soda, which we call cynicism. What they all have in common is a collective inability to see the forest from the trees: central to their emptiness is the absence of humanity and all the messy ambiguity that entails, instead substituting a bogus certainty that's nothing more than a palliative for existential panic at the absence of self identity grounded in community. Bertrand Russell called it cosmic anxiety. It drives the compulsion for religion, ideology, in fact all systems of coping that avoid the crushing weight of freedom that comes without compass or owner's manual. Whether the god of the invisible hand that directs the market, or the god of clubs with exclusive membership and status, or the god of ancient fables told and retold for a millennium of successive generations, all are rationales for the irrational aversion of responsibility to do the work necessary to make freedom meaningful without making it meaningless for others. The two bargain bins in the basement of modern life are religion and ideology. Libertarianism can be found on the clearance rack for one size fits all.

OUTsider deep south Jan. 10

Paul, you included this quote from Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader... When talking about Food Stamps he has denounced the program for "making it excessively easy to be nonproductive." He has no business being so judgmental. Being productive implies a positive result for society. When it comes to being productive, his entire career is in question.

Elizabeth Moore Pennsylvania Jan. 11

@ebmem You don't know anything. For one thing, you are DEAD WRONG. Medicare DOES NOT PAY FOR NURSING HOME CARE AT ALL! MEDICAID DOES, but only for the poor. It is WEALTHY REPUBLICANS who "Medicaid Plan" their assets so the government will cover their living expenses so they can preserve wealth for their heirs. How do I know this to be the truth? I spend 23 years as a government regulator for Medicaid (Medical Assistance) in the state of Pennsylvania.

I cannot enumerate the number of rich Republicans who tried to get the government to support their elderly while the children of those elderly got the money. I could tell you stories, including one about a certain Republican Governor of Pennsylvania who tried to put his adult, but mentally handicapped child on Medicaid.

Sherry Washington Jan. 10

It is remarkable how farmers, who are particularly reliant on federal government programs to buy seed, equipment, get loans, get crop subsidies, and market their food, still support Trump, even though these programs are shut down and he's started a trade war. One farmer in today's issue supports Trump, saying "we need some border security", even though it means he might lose his farm. What kind of politics is this where people support a President who intentionally ruins their prospects and their way of life? It reminds me how dictators keep power through propaganda, rewriting history and painting its leadership as heroic. Fox News is like North Korean TV rewiring Republican brains to believe that Republicans, no matter how bone-headed, are always good, and Democrats are always bad, so much so they are willing to lose the farm, like North Koreans are willing to starve.

Will Hogan USA Jan. 11

@Mark Nuckols all the government programs that help business mean that the wealthy owe some money back. when 5000 workers of a large corporation all drive the company trucks on free public roads built with tax dollars, when those roads need repair, it sure should be taxes on the company that helps pay, along with the gas tax we all pay. Your mistake is in thinking that the income of the company owner was earned by him and him alone, but in reality, the taxpayers helped him plenty every step of the way. You just did not see it all.

ridgeguy No. CA Jan. 10

The article focuses on food inspections, but what about drug inspections? Is the FDA inspecting pharma manufacturing houses? Are they inspecting precursor chemicals commonly imported from, say, China? Libertarians (along with the rest of us) may be in for much more consequential disappointments than bad lettuce.

Chris DC Jan. 10

Well, at this point it certainly comes as no surprise that the narrowly tailored ideological conceit republicans like to think of as - laughably - 'Libertarianism' was little more than an economic grubsteak to the plutocratic interests. Indeed, it makes my head spin to think how quickly the so-called libertarians of the republican party would support rollbacks on women's reproductive liberties, not to mention the liberties of minorities and the LGBTQ community, not to mention how they would import the Christian Right's version of theology into the public domain. (Ah yes, get government off our backs, but shove God into every home.) The issue that looms broadly over all this, however, is the republican's intent to liquidate this nation's status as technologically advanced, industrialized liberal democracy. Apparently the maintenance/perpetuation of modernity is not compatible with right wing notions of 'liberty,' let alone libertarianism.

Areader Huntsville Jan. 10

The first libertarian I knew was a slum landlord who did not want the Government regulations concerning maintenance of apartments and the like. This seems like a common trait among the political group as I think libertarians are more interested in profit.

Peter CT Jan. 10

No one complains more loudly and more often about attempts to curtail his first amendment rights "guaranteed by the constitution," than my libertarian friend, who refuses to pay taxes, then expects the government he won't support to protect his freedoms. If you really miss those debate club arguments from jr. high school, go try to talk sense to some libertarians. For the rest of us, plain old Republicans are a perfectly adequate source of flawed reasoning.

Sophia chicago Jan. 11

@Mark Nuckols Wrong! Cutting tax rates on the wealthy are stealing from the rest of us. We make contributions every hour of every day which are hoovered up by the wealthy and the powerful. Meanwhile we cannot afford the cost of living, which has skyrocketed vs wages and benefits. The cost of an apartment is exorbitant. The cost of health care is exorbitant. Meanwhile the commons suffer. Infrastructure suffers. Sidewalks are a menace. There is lead in the water. Rich people who do not pay their fair share of taxes are stealing from the people in so many ways it's impossible to count them. But count them in years lost, in lives cut short, in lives blighted.

sapere aude Maryland Jan. 10

Republicans aren't against government, it has grown more under every Republican president including Reagan himself. They simply have their preferences as to who benefits from it.

Helena Princeton New Jersey Jan. 10

I'm surprised that the air traffic controllers haven't all called in sick. They have the collective power to bring air travel to a standstill. I've long felt that a general nationwide strike would finally get the attention of our corporate overlords. After all, all they care about is money--just like Trump and the GOP.

YoursTruly Pakistan Jan. 11 Times Pick

When two elephants fight, its the grass that gets uprooted. In this show of arrogance and egos its the lives of many ordinary Americans that is adversely affected. I only wish that this crisis comes to an end soon to the relief of many.

dpaqcluck Cerritos, CA Jan. 10

@jrinsc, exactly right with an academic exception. Adam Smith and his ideas of free market competition assumed that there would be large number of companies competing with each other with their sole means of competition being consumer satisfaction, price and employee efficiency. Anyone who couldn't compete went out of business, hence "free market". The government's only role is to enforce anti-trust laws to keep businesses small and competitive, and assure that the competitive triangle of business, labor, and consumer are kept in balance. Fundamentally big business is bad, always! What real "free markets" DO NOT include is the idea that a small number of huge companies pay the government to create a competition free environment. The term "free market" has been stolen to mean that companies can do anything they want to succeed, including creating laws with profitable loopholes, laws to inhibit labor participation in the competition, and laws that inhibit consumers from using fraud laws to suppress shoddy products. In reality there is no "free market", as @jrinsc said, except to mean that big companies are free to do whatever they want to be profitable.

PB USA Jan. 10

My first lecture in economics dealt with free. The professor, then the Chief Economist at the Cleveland Fed, made the point that nothing was free: no free lunch; no free air; no free love. The point that he made was that somebody always pays. For everything; maybe not you, not now; but somebody does. So every time that I hear this Republican rant about free markets, I begin to laugh.

White Buffalo SE PA Jan. 11

@dpaqcluck Adam Smith believed corporate entities needed to be regulated. something always left out.

J. Benedict Bridgeport, Ct Jan. 10

I am wondering if Mitch McConnell and his close Republican allies have been living off food stamps because it seems to me they all have been incredibly unproductive for years which he sights as a consequence of anyone using food stamps.

John California California Jan. 11

@Joel Sanders This is completely specious reasoning. There are any number of non-state food groups that compete to set, e.g., organic, standards for food... for their participants. And they can restrict anyone from using their seal of approval without meeting their requirements. What they can't do, and the State can, is to require tainted products to be removed from distribution. Having the power of the State depends on law that transcends private agreement. And in the case of food, drugs, highways, airlines, and a number of other avenues of social life, that strikes me as a valuable thing. Why is this SO difficult for you, Mr. Sanders?

James Lee Arlington, Texas Jan. 11

I once heard a conservative economist give a speech in which he denounced the FDA for its suppression of competition in the pharmaceutical industry. I asked him what would protect the consumer if the market replaced the Feds as regulator of new drugs. He responded that, if my wife died from the effects of a toxic drug, I could always sue the firm that produced it. I found this notion deeply comforting. I might lose my wife, but the drug company would have to compensate me with a pile of dollars, assuming I could prove its negligence. For this libertarian, a life and money weighed equally in the scales of justice.

Aubrey Alabama Jan. 10

The people who support libertarianism are like those who support biblical literalism (fundamentalism). The libertarians want to get rid of some laws and regulations but not all of them. Just the ones they don't like. Usually these are laws which make corporations and businesses sell clean and safe food, treat employees fairly, pay taxes, etc. The libertarians don't want to get rid of laws which help business, corporations, and the well-to-do. They want to be sure that Boeing, Lockheed, and others get cushy defense contracts, the petroleum companies get subsidies, Big Pharma gets to charge a lot for drugs, etc. It is just a new name for the same old playbook -- make things tough on the weak and poor -- those with dark skins, immigrants, etc. All the while being solicitous for the well-off and powerful. Religious literalist do the same -- pick out the Bible verses which support the desired message. Ignore those which don't. So many things don't change. We get give them a new name.

Stan Sutton Westchester County, NY Jan. 10

Actually, Krugman didn't confuse Libertarians and Republicans. He said that Republicans used Libertarian rhetoric but weren't true Libertarians, and he didn't accuse Libertarians of favoring Republican policies across the board.

RLiss Fleming Island, Florida Jan. 11

@Bill: See Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 11/9, which covers the Flint water crisis in depth. These people didn't even know they were drinking contaminated water until a health worker broke ranks and made it public. THEN nothing was done.....(Oh, the state provided bottled water for a while, to drink).... The children of Flint were suffering IRREVERSIBLE brain damage due to lead in the water.....would suing 20 years later fix that? AND why did this happen at all? The Republican governor of the state wanted to help his buddies make a lot of money....

DB NC Jan. 10

@Goodglud Excellent link! We need to call it what it is. No more reduce "regulations" which people hear as reducing red tape. Make them advocate to "reduce protections."

Red Sox, '04, '07, '13, '18, Boston Jan. 10

@AndyE, Berkley, MI: Nice turn on Jennings' corollary to Murphy's Law (the chances of the toast falling buttered side down on the carpet is directly proportional to the cost of the carpet).

Buck Santa Fe, NM Jan. 10

@Mamawalrus72 We are living Government by the Kochs now. We have been living Government by corporations for some time.

NM NY Jan. 10

Money talks louder than reason. So long as moneyed libertarians like the Koch Brothers buy political influence, they will purchase an agenda to benefit themselves at our expense.

Chris Toronto Jan. 10

"In the case of the party establishment, that agenda is about redistributing income up the scale, and in particular helping important donor interests. Republican politicians may invoke the rhetoric of free markets to justify cutting taxes for the rich and benefits for the poor, or removing environmental regulations that hurt polluters' profits, but they don't really care about free markets per se." Head of nail, meet hammer. The US used to be the world's beacon of democratic values. No longer. The political system has been severely corrupted by PACs, Super PACs, self-funding billionaire politicians, skewed campaign funding rules, cynical electoral manipulation, self-interest and a lack of statesmanship amongst the political classes. You'd think a credible third political party would be able to drive a bus straight through the middle of this division. Two choices, left or right, just can't be enough to sustain a democracy.

Richard NM Jan. 10

@Will Schmidt perlboy "We debated perfect markets ..." Like in engineering somebody would design a car without engine because there is no friction and you just have to give it a push to get around. I am so happy I am an engineer, forces me into reality.

Audrey Germany Jan. 11

"Knowing that the food you're eating is now more likely than before to be contaminated, does that potential contamination smell to you like freedom?" Exactly. One of the most thing I appreciated of being in the EU is a strong consumer protection and safety regulations. But I guess, it's to "socialist" for some. Let's wait and see how the UK consumers will enjoy post-Brexit "freedom".

Mike Albany, New York Jan. 10

In answer to to Bill from Michigan, the problem with food and water contamination is that it may take years to find out that the food or water is actually contaminated, and then additional time for the public to be informed. After all this time passes, the damage is already done and lives are irreversibly damaged. As an example, the FDA has very strict limits on the amount of mycotoxin and bacterial contamination in our food supply. While E. coli contamination may be detected due to severe acute health effects, the carcinogenic effects of mycotoxin contamination may not be detected in years. The Flint Michigan lead contamination occurred in 2014 and wasn't declared an emergency until two years later, when public health officials alerted the public in 2016. Although this was largely a local issue, the H.R. 4470, the Safe Drinking Water Act Improved Compliance Awareness Act, mandates that consumers be informed. So, personally I'd rather have the Federal Government be on the side of the public and not rely on greedy lawyers.

JRM Melbourne Jan. 11

@ebmem Republicans get in office and go to work to prove that Government doesn't work and is the problem. Government works fine as long as Republicans are not in charge. The sabotage any effort to resolve or solve a problem. They complain about the debt and deficit until they are in office and then they blow the budget to smithereens with invented reasons for war so they can enrich themselves. They are the problem, not Government.

SandraH. California Jan. 11

@Bill, good luck with that. If you survive long enough to sue--and if you can prove the source of your cancer or other illness--you'll find that personal injury lawsuits get you nowhere. The big boys always win. Your best remedy is prevention. Don't let yourself or your loved ones ingest or breathe toxins. Don't let toxins into your groundwater or soil. How do you do that without government regulation?

ben220 brooklyn Jan. 10

Today, medical expenses are stratospheric. Meanwhile, the conservative movement strangles the welfare state so that nearly everyone in the middle class (regardless of political affiliation) who wants to live on more than $900 a month must go through legalized fiscal contortions to be able to pay for adequate care.

Robert David South Watertown NY Jan. 11

@TM Exactly the correct response to libertarians. They like to talk about what "would" happen, as though lack of government were a theoretical that can be calculated. There are plenty of real world examples of what "would" happen. There are historical examples too, but they "would" be different, of course.

Socrates Downtown Verona. NJ Jan. 10

@Aubrey Excellent analogy, although we can also use a good old-fashioned term to describe these 'libertarians', 'conservatives' and religious types -- -- hypocrites ..... of the highest despicable order.

Buttons Cornell Toronto, Canada Jan. 11

What courts? Courts are set up, run by and paid for by government. No government means no court system. You, the little, dying from tainted food, up against a huge agricultural corporation with deep pockets. Libertarianism is a bully system. Those with the money win and the rest die. That's it.

george Iowa Jan. 11

@jrinsc How quickly we forget, of course sometimes it isn`t that we forget but rather our memory is clouded by the smoke from the fires set by vulture capitalism. Upton Sinclair The Jungle should be required reading for all congress critters and all incoming Presidents. The Jungle is a mirror to where todays American Nobility, the 21st century Robber Barons, would like to take us. A disposable population for profit.

HN Philadelphia, PA Jan. 10

Where you see Libertarians, I see people who are so self-unaware and entitled that they believe the only apt government subsidies are the ones that benefit them. Remember the ACA debate line - "keep government out of my medicare?" Most people have no idea of what the government does! What about the staunch GOP voters who nonetheless complain when the government doesn't provide immediate aid to them after a disaster, but hesitate when the aid is going to others? And do they comprehend that all disasters - even those claimed to be "natural" - are actually man made? And do those that value privacy and their right to do what they want - do they really think that corporations and businesses will keep their products fair and safe? No, because corporations and businesses take the short view, while fairness and safety - both of which contribute to the health of the nation and its people - take the long view. Libertarians and their ilk are self-entitled peoples who only think about the immediate impact on themselves and their wallets. They change their tunes quickly when government is needed to help their bottom line.

Independent the South Jan. 11

@Bill The idea is not to sue after you get sick but to prevent you from getting sick. And if you want to reduce deficits, vote for Democrats.

Son Of Liberty nyc Jan. 10

What people with GOP/libertarian leanings should realize is that government regulations were ONLY put into place in response to the horrifying abuses of laissez faire capitalism.

Elizabeth Moore Pennsylvania Jan. 11

@Bill You keep right on believing. THE FACTS ARE that people who would sell you contaminated food have ways of covering up all the evidence. Besides, they could always hide behind the fact that the USDA and FDA inspectors weren't working and "they didn't know" because of that. You would lose any lawsuit because the inspectors didn't reveal any problems and the business owner "did not know to the best of his/her knowledge." EVERYTHING would be blamed on the shutdown, and you would LOSE>

Nova yos Galan California Jan. 10

@Goodglud Yes, regulations are limitations on their freedom to pollute.

Mark Rubin Tucson, AZ Jan. 10

Boy howdy, but it's easy to spout the libertarian line when the FDA, FTC, SEC, EPA, etc. do what they do, day in and day out. Government succeeds quietly! Many post smack about what seem like excesses, while they enjoy safe food and drugs, modest limits on fraudsters, clean air and water, etc.: Now, maybe, we'll see what happens when those who mouth off get the freedom they have demanded for decades. With a months' long shutdown lives will be lost, but those who disparage the regulatory state might get their come-uppance. The coming months, if they involve a partial shutdown, will highlight the value government offers. Opportunities like this one don't appear often. This writer, for one, hopes it represents a crisis which won't be wasted.

gbb Boston, MA Jan. 10

Government in this country seems to me to be run pretty well. I wish that more businesses were run as well as the US Postal Service.

JS Boston Ma Jan. 11

@C Wolfe I made friends with Libertarian from Texas in college my freshman year. He got me to read Ayn Rand's Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. My first take was that Ayn Rand was a pretty weak writer and clearly had serious empathy issues to the point of being a bit creepy. My friend insisted that everyone should be self reliant and was responsible for their own destiny until the day he flunked out because his academically weak high school left him unprepared to survive in our highly selective college. I really felt sorry for him but he was so far behind I could not help him. I have no idea where he ended up.

Lawyermama Buffalo Jan. 10

As the saying goes, you never miss your water until your well runs dry. A very big part of me says this is the only way red states will learn how to stop biting the hand that feeds them: they've been blindly following a party that made no secret that it wished to "starve the beast". This is what it looks like. This new perspective has delighted me even as I worry for my friends, family and colleagues who are feeling the effects. I hope our nation survives this president and learns from the mistakes.

Jim Brokaw California Jan. 10

The problem I have with libertarian utopias is that 'the market' isn't going to work to address all conflicts. So you need to hire enforcement, since government isn't doing it... or are we keeping the courts? And if the courts rule for you, and the other party just refuses to pay, now you have to go get your payment. Good luck with that. It all seems likely to devolve into a 'might makes right' series of standoffs, until people band together into unified groups to collectively agree to a set of rules, and work together with those rules. Sounds a lot like government. Or you can just hire some soldiers and go take what you want. Dare the other guys to take it back. Sounds a lot like anarchy. Libertarians always seems to me like trying to cherry-pick what they like about government, what benefits them, and then dump the rest, the stuff that costs them but they can't see the benefit for. Maybe they'll understand better if they get some contaminated lettuce next time they go grocery shopping...

Pat Stonington, CT Jan. 11

@Bill Who exactly administers said courts that you would turn to for justice? Oh that's right, the government. I hope the irony is not lost on you. Libertarians seem to forgot that no man is an island to himself.

Steve Nirvana Jan. 10

The people I have met who (loudly) espouse libertarian ideas tend to be of three types - all of whom benefit from this philosophy at the expense of others: 1) wealthy heirs like tRump who don't want to pay their taxes since it reduces their ability to live large AND pass on a dynasty to their heirs. 2) those with the luck to obtain the particular skills and education that provide a secure job with high remuneration. (Yes, it is usually a lot of luck) 3) good looking women who are confident that they can latch on to one of those described in 1) or in a pinch, 2) 2) will complain bitterly when the job market shifts - as it did for many in computer science after the glory years of the 80s. 3) will complain if their lawyer doesn't get them a big enough divorce settlement and their looks will no longer give them a second chance. A good economic system works equally for all people, not just those benefiting as members of the lucky gene club.

Spiro Jetti Jan. 11

@Socrates Amen. Something also came to mind in reading your comment: Productive modern blue states subsidize receiving red states, who then, thanks to their outsize representation via the electoral college, bludgeon the blue states with red policies like deregulation and taking of health care etc. Like I am paying someone to punch me. "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark."

SunnyG Kentucky Jan. 10

We don't see the few inspectors who quietly keep our food safe, the EPA folks testing our air and rivers. The impact will be felt much later, and with no one to do the forensics, the story won't be told until well after the shutdown ends. I'm wondering how long the shutdown will last when visible folks start to go on strike. Will the federal employees who will perform the promised IRS, Food Stamp and farm distributions go to work, or ally themselves with their less visible brethren? With transportation, chaos will be most evident. After no paycheck on Friday, what if TSA doesn't shows or they picket Atlanta, OHare, JFK, SFO, IAD and DFW? Ditto for their compatriots in the Control Towers. Chaos. Who benefits? Perhaps we'll learn from Michael Cohen.

Rick Cedar Hill, TX Jan. 10

We as a nation are in this condition because the American character is one of greed, selfishness, one who does not think for himself/herself, and one that is controlled through fear. Maybe once our empire crumbles it will be divided into smaller countries that are easier to manage like the western European countries. I will move to one of the new countries that support a balanced budget, hates the concept of Citizens United and K Street lobbyists, wants to educate their masses, and provides healthcare for everyone rich and not so rich. An ignorant populous is easier to control and manhandle. The US is a good example.

Rima Regas Southern California Jan. 10

@hen3ry "It's fascinating to realize that McConnell, Pence, Trump, and the rest of the obnoxious crowd are getting paid by the government they want to drown." When you go the rest of the way you finally get a true sense of how perverted these people are.

javierg Miami, Florida Jan. 10

Thank you Dr. Krugman for a great perspective. It reminds me of the saying "be careful of what you wish for" ... for it may actually come true. Save for the sacrifice of many good Americans who depend on jobs and government benefits and the public in general, this may be the medicine those Republicans need to cure themselves of their hands off philosophy.

Ron Silverlake WA Jan. 11

@Bill I don't believe for a nano-second you would be willing to expose your family to contaminated or adulterated food on the chance you might be able sue someone after the fact. It could take you years and many thousands of dollars to get justice that way. There is a good reason we have agencies like the FDA. Many years before you were born, we in fact had the very situation you say you would be fine with. It was buyer beware for all foodstuffs. You could not trust food producers to put on the label what was actually in the can or bottle. Meat packers were packing and sending out absolute filth. If you want a hint of what it would be like here without these protective agencies, do a little research on food safety in China. It will make you sick when you see what the Chinese are exposed to.

Jody Quincy, IL Jan. 10

@C Wolfe Libertarian or not, in this country money is always more valued than human life. Again, it took Western Europe more than 2,000 years to become somewhat civilized and it will take this continent at least that long.

Thomas Zaslavsky Binghamton, N.Y. Jan. 10

@Eleanor How will you get around this? Reagan said, 'The nine most terrifying words in the English language are "I'm from the government, and I'm here to help."'

Anne CA Jan. 10

Does the shutdown mean that government will stop collecting tax money while services are suspended? Does it work both ways?

Teresa MN Jan. 11

@ebmem I am an employee of Medicaid who sees countless fellow workers toil long after quitting time to cover the most people, with the least potential harm or burden to them, to get the best services and quality of life possible, AND doing all that earning maybe half the compensation of a comparable private sector position. It saddens me that even the program ensuring our loved ones - or ourselves! - have care at the end of life is not safe from this kind of bitter, distorted partisan anger.

James K. Lowden Camden, Maine Jan. 11

@Bill Two words for you: Blue Milk. Look it up. Food contamination is an old story, as old as tort law. The FDA was created because tort law was unequal to the task. If you think the modern day is different, how is that romaine lettuce lawsuit going for you? As far as I know, no one knows where the contamination came from, much less who to sue. The romaine situation illustrates another flaw in your libertarian fantasy. The individual harm is collectively huge but individually small. Any action -- preventive or retributive -- requires collective action. Which, actually, is what democracy is, and why democracy created the FDA.

Joe Glendale, Arizona Jan. 11

@Linda You said it, Linda. I just returned from Europe. And I could not believe again how much tastier the meat and produce was - not only in restaurants but in humble meals in the country. Commercial food produced in the United States is terrible, tasteless, and full of pernicious additives. Ma and Pa Kettle have become inured to it, and don't know any better.

Blue Moon Old Pueblo Jan. 11

@Wilbray Thiffault "Well, Mitch McConnell is not on the food stamp program, and he manages to be one of the most 'non productive' senators in the history of the US Senate." Correction: Mitch McConnell and his fellow Republicans are indeed on the food stamp program, the best one ever, and the government shutdown is not preventing them all from being paid. They will never give it up willingly.

Sunny NYC Jan. 10

Prof. Krugman says, "Meanwhile, the philosophy of the party's base is, in essence, big government for me but not for thee." I totally agree. It is indeed Trump and the Republican party who is disrupting the free market. The free market can be sustained only when it is run by smart and fair-minded people including top-notched economists and politicians. Otherwise, the socialism-monster would threaten and collapse the free market anytime. What I mean by 'the socialism-monster' is not the economies of Northern European countries such as the Netherlands, Sweden, etc. Some Americans call their economies 'socialism', but that's very wrong; their economies are indeed one of the most advanced capitalistic systems. How can't they be? Capitalism in a sense started from there, i.e., the business markets of the Netherlands, Denmark, Portugal, etc. Only when capitalism is truly advanced can well-rounded safety nets exist. In any case, genuinely socialist countries such as North-Korea and China do not protect human rights and thus prohibit freedom. The real problem with Trump and his allies is that they offer the strongest momentum for socialism by killing the chance for developing truly healthy free market. Trump, with Putin, is turning the whole world back into the days of nationalism, ideologism, and colonialism. They all champion big , huge, monstrous government. If there is any American crisis, it is not border security but gun violence. But Trump underwrites the NRA.

[Jan 12, 2019] CLASSIFIED The most powerful investor you never heard of by globalintelhub

Jan 12, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Pre IPO Swap New York, NY 1/12/2019

Did you know that the CIA has its own Venture Fund? And did you know that Venture fund was key in starting Facebook and Google? As explained in the book Splitting Pennies – the world is not as it seems.

For many readers especially on this comes as no surprise, as you are well aware of the octopus that wraps its tentacles around the globe. But it may surprise you how active In-Q-Tel is and how chummy they are with the rest of the VC community. It's as if they are just another VC, but with another purpose. Let's look at some of the stats, from Crunchbase:

Here's a list of recent investments

If you dig back you won't see Google or Facebook on there – which is company policy for retail consumer investments that can impact the public (it's kept secret behind an NDA). Here's how it works – In-Q-Tel may invest in your startup but there's a big catch. First, you have to sign an NDA which is enforced strongly – that you are not to disclose your partner. Second, you must agree to 'cooperation' when it comes to information sharing now or down the road, such as location data on people using Facebook, Google, or other systems – perhaps only to feed it into a big data brain at Palantir. Or perhaps for more street level surveillance. The surveillance is known by fact, not conspiracy theory – but by fact – due to the disclosure of classified documents by Edward Snowden. If it were not for Snowden, we could only guess about this. The name of the main program is PRISM but there are many others.

For those in the VC community that are deep in the know- the "Deep VCs" like Peter Thiel for example, the Snowden revelations would come as no surprise. MUST READ – No Place To Hide – the story of the NSA, PRISM, and Snowden (written by Greenwald).

But for others, it may come as a surprise that not only the CIA has its own VC fund, but that it sits on many corporate boards alongside many Wall St. firms and other VCs.

And of course, they always do well.

Let's consider the doors they opened for Google, or in the case of Google it was more like the doors that were closed. Google was not the best search engine, it was not superior technology – it wasn't even really very good. It just became a monopoly and crushed the competition. Many wonder how they were able to do it, and that this is part of the Entrepreneur "Magic" that few have. Well we can say in the case of Google there was no Magic they had a helping hand from a friend in the deep shadows. Google wanted to become huge – the CIA wants information (they always do, so we don't use the past tense 'wanted'). So it was a cozy and rational partnership – in exchange for making the right handshakes at the right time, allowing Google to become a global behemoth, all they needed to do was share a little information about users. Actually, a lot of information. No harm in that, right?

But in doing so Google violated itself as well as prostituted its model and its users. Google still does this and is not nearly as flagrant as its brother Facebook, however Google shares more detailed 'meta data' which is actually more useful to Echelon systems like Palantir that rely on big data, not necessarily photos of what you ate for breakfast (but that can be helpful too, they say).

The metaphor is making a deal with the devil; you get what you want but it comes at a price. And that's the price users pay to Google – they get service 'free' but at a huge cost, their privacy. Of course – this is all based on the concept of Freedom which really does exist in USA. You don't have to use Google – there are many alternatives like the rising star Duck Duck Go :

But who cares about privacy; only criminals, hackers, programmers, super wealthy (UHNWI) and a few philosophers.

Google remains the dominant search platform and much more. Google exploits niche by niche even competing with Amazon's Alexa service.

The argument here is that Google wouldn't be Google without the help of the CIA. This isn't our idea it's a fact, you can read about it here on qz.com:

Two decades ago, the US intelligence community worked closely with Silicon Valley in an effort to track citizens in cyberspace. And Google is at the heart of that origin story. Some of the research that led to Google's ambitious creation was funded and coordinated by a research group established by the intelligence community to find ways to track individuals and groups online. The intelligence community hoped that the nation's leading computer scientists could take non-classified information and user data, combine it with what would become known as the internet, and begin to create for-profit, commercial enterprises to suit the needs of both the intelligence community and the public. They hoped to direct the supercomputing revolution from the start in order to make sense of what millions of human beings did inside this digital information network. That collaboration has made a comprehensive public-private mass surveillance state possible today.

There you have it – Google is the child of the digital revolution of the surveillance state. Why spy, when you can collect data electronically and analyze with machine learning?

The new spy is the web bot.

And the investors in Google did well – so that's the investing story that matters here. It pays well to have friends in high places, and in dark places. Of all the investments In-Q-Tel made, almost all of them have done very well. That doesn't mean that Palantir is going to grow to the size of Google, but it does provide natural support should a company backed by In-Q-Tel run into problems.

By the time Facebook came out, digital surveillance was already in the n-th generation of evolution, and they really stepped up their game. In the creepiest examples, Facebook doesn't necessarily (and primarily) collect data on Facebook users – it does this too. But that's just a given – you don't need to perform surveillance on someone who gives all their data to the system willingly – you always know where they are and what they are doing at any given moment. The trick is to get information about those who may try to hide their activities, whether they are real terrorists or just paranoid geniuses.

How does Facebook do this? There are literally hundreds of programs running – but in one creepy example, Facebook collects photos that users take to analyze the environment surrounding. Incidentally, the location data is MUCH MORE accurate than you see on the retail front end. So you get the newspaper and see a gift in your mailbox for your birthday – you take a photo because the ribbons are hanging out. What shows up in the background? All kinds of information. What the neighbor is doing. License plate of the car driving by. Trash waiting to be picked up by the street. A child's toy left by the sidewalk. You get the picture. Facebook users have been turned into sneaky little digital spies! While they are walking around with their 'smartphones' (should be called 'dumbphones') scrolling their walls and snapping photos away – they are taking photos of you too. That means, Facebook collects data for the CIA about users who don't have Facebook accounts. This is the huge secret that the mainstream media doesn't want to tell you. Deleting your Facebook account will do nothing – every time you go out in public you are being photographed, video recorded, and more – all going into big data artificial intelligence for analysis.

But here's the best part. You own it! The CIA may have a bad reputation but it is part of the US Government, and thus – profits go back to the Treasury (those which are declared) or at least they are supposed to. Considering this, why is there a stigma about even talking about In-Q-Tel when in fact we should be more involved in any US Government operation when it is technically owned by the people and funded by taxpayers? Meaning, do taxpayers have rights to know what goes in in taxpayer funded entities, like In-Q-Tel? The big difference between In-Q-Tel and the CIA is that In-Q-Tel functions just like any other VC – they disclose most of their investments, they attend conferences, they accept business plans. You can literally submit your idea to In-Q-Tel and get funding. Of course, like any VC there's a very small chance of being funded.

So what's an investor's take on this story? In-Q-Tel is not Freddie Mac there is nor a quasi-government entity; it's not an NGO and there is no implicit guarantee that In-Q-Tel's deals will do any better than Andreessen Horowitz .

However, their deals do very well. Companies they fund not only have the backing of the CIA explicitly, it's not only about business – it's about national security! Under that guise, it's no wonder that companies like Google and Facebook rocket to the top.

We are not suggesting that investors double down on In-Q-Tel bets. We are only suggesting that at a minimum, we follow what they do. It's a data point – a good source of information. And the best part is that it's public.

Their most recent investment is in a virtual reality company in Boca Raton, FL called Immersive Wisdom:

Immersive Wisdom® is an enterprise software platform that allows users to collaborate in real-time upon diverse data sets and applications within a temporal and geospatially-aware Virtual, Mixed, and Augmented Reality space. Immersive Wisdom is hardware-agnostic and runs on VR, AR, as well as 2D displays. Regardless of geographic location , multiple users can be together in a shared virtual workspace, standing on maps, with instant access to relevant information from any available source. Users can simultaneously, and in real time, visualize, fuse, and act upon sensor inputs, cyber/network data, IoT feeds, enterprise applications, telemetry, tagged assets, 3D Models, LiDAR, imagery and UAV footage/streaming video, providing an omniscient, collaborative view of complex environments. Immersive Wisdom also acts as a natural human interface to multi-dimensional data sets generated by AI and machine learning systems. The platform includes a powerful SDK (Software Developer Kit) that enables the creation of customer-specific workflows as well as rapid integration with existing data sources/applications.

Cool stuff for sure – but it's in early stages. Pre IPO Swap suggests real Pre IPO 'unicorns' not because of size, but because of the right mix of risk and reward. https://preiposwap.com/pitch " style="color:#0d2e46; text-decoration:underline">See why we think so in our pitch.

In any analysis, it's worth watching In-Q-Tel, which is a top source of funding and investment data we watch on www.preiposwap.com/ ">https:// www.preiposwap.com/ " style="color:#0d2e46; text-decoration:underline">Pre IPO Swap.

To get real-time updates on companies like this, companies that In-Q-Tel invests in - www.preiposwap.com/follow ">http:// www.preiposwap.com/follow ">follow our blog free.

[Jan 12, 2019] Mass Dementia in the Western Establishment by Diana Johnstone

A mind is a terrible thing to lose
Any unbiased observer would suspect that considerable part of US Congress consists of senile gerantocrats...
Notable quotes:
"... You can accuse only the elites of dementia: they forgot that to enjoy the fruits of your thievery you have to be alive. ..."
"... They tricked us the last time, I hope that the people have learned their lesson – not to trust them anymore. ..."
"... Thank you, this is an excellent summary of the situation right now. It's worth noting too just how disconnected the establishment is from the wider public. They have enormous financial resources and access to the entire legacy media ..."
"... Let's stop using the word "elites". That sounds too positive, as though they have some admirable traits acquired by hard work, as in "elite athletes". Instead, let's call them "oligarchs" so that we get the right nuances of wealth and power, and get the correct emotional connotations of our disgust with them. We should label them with labels that they will dislike: oligarchs, mob bosses, etc. ..."
"... This is not irrational. The screaming, the hysteria, this is the utterly rational, breathtakingly brutal reaction of a ruling elite that has the moral sense of a reptile. And it's working. All of Trump's campaign promises to stop wasting trillions on pointless winless foreign wars of choice, and instead spend that on our own country? Gone. And so much else besides. ..."
"... It's dangerous to underestimate an enemy. The useful idiot foot soldiers, screaming in mindless herd instinct, are one thing. The people behind them – the Koch brothers, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, others – there is nothing at all mindless or demented about them. ..."
Jan 12, 2019 | www.unz.com

Where to begin to analyze the madness of mainstream media in reaction to the Trump-Putin meeting in Helsinki? By focusing on the individual, psychology has neglected the problem of mass insanity, which has now overwhelmed the United States establishment, its mass media and most of its copycat European subsidiaries. The individuals may be sane, but as a herd they are ready to leap off the cliff.

For the past two years, a particular power group has sought to explain away its loss of power – or rather, its loss of the Presidency, as it still holds a predominance of institutional power – by creation of a myth. Mainstream media is known for its herd behavior, and in this case the editors, commentators, journalists have talked themselves into a story that initially they themselves could hardly take seriously.

Donald Trump was elected by Russia ?

On the face of it, this is preposterous. Okay, the United States can manage to rig elections in Honduras, or Serbia, or even Ukraine, but the United States is a bit too big and complex to leave the choice of the Presidency to a barrage of electronic messages totally unread by most voters. If this were so, Russia wouldn't need to try to "undermine our democracy". It would mean that our democracy was already undermined, in tatters, dead. A standing corpse ready to be knocked over by a tweet.

Even if, as is alleged without evidence, an army of Russian bots (even bigger than the notorious Israeli army of bots) was besieging social media with its nefarious slanders against poor innocent Hillary Clinton, this could determine an election only in a vacuum, with no other influences in the field. But there was a lot of other stuff going on in the 2016 election, some for Trump and some for Hillary, and Hillary herself scored a crucial own goal by denigrating millions of Americans as "deplorables" because they didn't fit into her identity politics constituencies.

The Russians could do nothing to build support for Trump, and there is not a hint of evidence that they tried. They might have done something to harm Hillary, because there was so much there: the private server emails, the Clinton foundation, the murder of Moammer Gaddafi, the call for a no-fly zone in Syria they didn't have to invent it. It was there. So was the hanky panky at the Democratic National Committee, on which the Clintonite accusations focus, perhaps to cause everyone to forget much worse things.

When you come to think of it, the DNC scandal focused on Debbie Wasserman Schultz, not on Hillary herself. Screaming about "Russian hacking the DNC" has been a distraction from much more serious accusations against Hillary Clinton. Bernie Sanders supporters didn't need those "revelations" to make them stop loving Hillary or even to discover that the DNC was working against Bernie. It was always perfectly obvious.

So at worst, "the Russians" are accused of revealing some relatively minor facts concerning the Hillary Clinton campaign. Big deal.

But that is enough, after two years of fakery, to send the establishment into a frenzy of accusations of "treason" when Trump does what he said he would do while campaigning, try to normalize relations with Russia.

This screaming comes not only from the US mainstream, but also from that European elite which has been housebroken for seventy years as obedient poodles, dachshunds or corgis in the American menagerie, via intense vetting by US trans-Atlantic "cooperation" associations. They have based their careers on the illusion of sharing the world empire by following U.S. whims in the Middle East and transforming the mission of their armed forces from defense into foreign intervention units of NATO under U.S. command. Having not thought seriously about the implications of this for over half a century, they panic at the suggestion of being left to themselves.

The Western elite is now suffering from self-inflicted dementia.

Donald Trump is not particularly articulate, navigating through the language with a small repetitive vocabulary, but what he said at his Helsinki press conference was honest and even brave. As the hounds bay for his blood, he quite correctly refused to endorse the "findings" of US intelligence agencies, fourteen years after the same agencies "found" that Iraq was bursting with weapons of mass destruction. How in the world could anyone expect anything else?

But for the mainstream media, "the story" at the Helsinki summit, even the only story, was Trump's reaction to the, er, trumped up charges of Russian interference in our democracy. Were you or were you not elected thanks to Russian hackers? All they wanted was a yes or no answer. Which could not possibly be yes. So they could write their reports in advance.

Anyone who has frequented mainstream journalists, especially those who cover the "big stories" on international affairs, is aware of their obligatory conformism, with few exceptions. To get the job, one must have important "sources", meaning government spokesmen who are willing to tell you what "the story" is, often without being identified. Once they know what "the story" is, competition sets in: competition as to how to tell it. That leads to an escalation of rhetoric, variations on the theme: "The President has betrayed our great country to the Russian enemy. Treason!"

This demented chorus on "Russian hacking" prevented mainstream media from even doing their job. Not even mentioning, much less analyzing, any of the real issues at the summit. To find analysis, one must go on line, away from the official fake news to independent reporting. For example, "the Moon of Alabama" site offers an intelligent interpretation of the Trump strategy , which sounds infinitely more plausible than "the story". In short, Trump is trying to woo Russia away from China, in a reverse version of Kissinger's strategy forty years ago to woo China away from Russia, thus avoiding a continental alliance against the United States. This may not work because the United States has proven so untrustworthy that the cautious Russians are highly unlikely to abandon their alliance with China for shadows. But it makes perfect sense as an explanation of Trump's policy, unlike the caterwauling we've been hearing from Senators and talking heads on CNN.

Those people seem to have no idea of what diplomacy is about. They cannot conceive of agreements that would be beneficial to both sides. No, it's got to be a zero sum game, winner take all. If they win, we lose, and vice versa.

They also have no idea of the harm to both sides if they do not agree. They have no project, no strategy. Just hate Trump.

He seems totally isolated, and every morning I look at the news to see if he has been assassinated yet.

It is unimaginable for our Manichean moralists that Putin might also be under fire at home for failing to chide the American president for U.S. violations of human rights in Guantanamo, murderous drone strikes against defenseless citizens throughout the Middle East, the destruction of Libya in violation of the UN mandate, interference in the elections of countless countries by government-financed "non-governmental organizations" (the National Endowment of Democracy), worldwide electronic spying, invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, not to mention the world's greatest prison population and regular massacres of school children. But the diplomatic Russians know how to be polite.

Still, if Trump actually makes a "deal", there may be losers – neither the U.S. nor Russia but third parties. When two great powers reach agreement, it is often at somebody else's expense. The West Europeans are afraid it will be them, but such fears are groundless. All Putin wants is normal relations with the West, which is not much to ask.

Rather, candidate number one for paying the price are the Palestinians, or even Iran, in marginal ways. At the press conference, asked about possible areas of cooperation between the two nuclear powers, Trump suggested that the two could agree on helping Israel:

"We both spoke with Bibi Netanyahu. They would like to do certain things with respect to Syria, having to do with the safety of Israel. In that respect, we absolutely would like to work in order to help Israel. Israel will be working with us. So both countries would work jointly."

In political terms, Trump knows where political power lies, and is counting on the influence of the pro-Israel lobby, which recognizes the defeat in Syria and the rising influence of Russia, to save him from the liberal imperialists – a daring bet, but he does not have much choice.

On another subject, Trump said that "our militaries" get along with the Russians "better than our politicians". This is another daring bet, on military realism that could somehow neutralize military industrial congressional complex lobbying for more and more weapons.

In short, the only chance to end the nuclear war threat may depend on support for Trump from Israel and the Pentagon!

The hysterical neoliberal globalists seem to have ruled out any other possibility – and perhaps this one too.

"Constructive dialogue between the United States and Russia forwards the opportunity to open new pathways toward peace and stability in our world" Trump declared "I would rather take a political risk in pursuit of peace than to risk peace in pursuit of politics."

That is more than his political enemies can claim.

Mass Dementia in the Western Establishment

exiled off mainstreet , says: July 20, 2018 at 7:02 am GMT

This is a frightening, accurate commentary on what we face as a result of an unaccountable power structure resorting to any and all means to retain power which, if this structure continues to exercise it, will lead to our extinction.
Donatella , says: July 21, 2018 at 2:08 pm GMT
Thanks to say things that make me feel not alone.
AnonFromTN , says: July 22, 2018 at 3:30 am GMT
In the establishment, it's not dementia as such, it's just serving the highest bidder. You can accuse only the elites of dementia: they forgot that to enjoy the fruits of your thievery you have to be alive. If only they die, it would be a great service to the humanity. Unfortunately, the way things go, they might take us all with them.
Cyrano , says: July 22, 2018 at 8:42 am GMT
This mass hysteria over a country hostile to both democracy and gay rights (it's hard to tell which one is worse) has been seen in the west before.

It's very reminiscent of the lead-up to Iraq war in 2003. I mean what's next? Are they gonna accuse Russia of having WMD's too?

They are pretty good at providing false evidence of WMD's, I wouldn't be surprised if they stage another presentation of evidence of Russian WMD's at UN, complete with satellite images of mobile trucks equipped with Uranium enrichment technology and all that.

That Nikki Halley can be quite persuasive, you know. I just hope that the world doesn't buy that BS again. Russia having WMD's? That's preposterous. They tricked us the last time, I hope that the people have learned their lesson – not to trust them anymore.

Cagey Beast , says: July 22, 2018 at 11:18 am GMT
Thank you, this is an excellent summary of the situation right now. It's worth noting too just how disconnected the establishment is from the wider public. They have enormous financial resources and access to the entire legacy media but seem to have almost no real base of support. Remember how the Never Trumpers had no one more prominent and well-known than Evan McMullan (!!) to run as their candidate? Note too the tiny number of views the YouTube videos of the Aspen Institute get: https://www.youtube.com/user/AspenInstitute/videos .

On its own, these things aren't conclusive proof but together they add up. The Aspen Institute crowd is an almost entirely self-contained subculture. They seem to have no base of support, beyond their stacks of money, job titles and the power that come with the various offices they hold. That's probably why they can never stop calling their opponents "populists" or why Bill Kristol keeps tweeting about encountering scrappy shoeshine boys who shout "give Trump hell, Mr Kristol!" as he goes about his urban peregrinations.

Anonymous [115] Disclaimer , says: July 22, 2018 at 11:54 am GMT
OT

Diana Johnstone is not alone. Others on the alt-Left are starting to wake up, too. This is Joaquín Flores:

People are seeing through dishonesty, and the old language traps are used up and done for. If reconquista is the goal, then we need to have an honest conversation about that. If there's a Latino nation with self determination in the south-west US, or rights 'back' to the south-west US, then let's speak of it in such terms. Because then we'd be looking at a Euro-American nation also. Now of course there's issues of interpenetrated peoples, and identities we carry in our minds in diverse urban centers. But the point here is that we have to have an honest discourse, and stop hiding reconquista sentiments under the rubric of 'human rights'. Because European-Americans don't have right of return to Europe, so the left is promoting what will ultimately be a race war, full scale, if they don't chill the fuck out and back off this disingenuous approach to policy-wonkism on immigration.

The paradigmatic question today is, how is wealth made, and where does wealth come from? What is the balance of trade and debts, and how is that is no longer manageable? The US empire and NATO is no longer manageable. Trump is unwinding NATO. That can't be a bad thing.

https://www.fort-russ.com/2018/07/explaining-trump-to-socialist-liberals-flores/

Fort Russ News is really turning out to be a leading voice of the Third Way movement.

Tulips , says: July 22, 2018 at 7:31 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN Let's stop using the word "elites". That sounds too positive, as though they have some admirable traits acquired by hard work, as in "elite athletes". Instead, let's call them "oligarchs" so that we get the right nuances of wealth and power, and get the correct emotional connotations of our disgust with them. We should label them with labels that they will dislike: oligarchs, mob bosses, etc.
AnonFromTN , says: July 22, 2018 at 9:44 pm GMT
@Tulips You are right, of course, the word "elites" has too many positive connotations. In fact, they are oligarchs, mega-thieves, or something on those lines. Functionally, in our society they are puppet masters of all the venal puppets (politicians, journos, etc.).
TG , says: July 23, 2018 at 4:56 am GMT
I hear you, and I sympathize, but this is not mass dementia. The oligarchy that runs the United States was worried that Donald Trump might actually (!!) take some consideration for the national interest of the people of the United States of America. That will never do.

This is not irrational. The screaming, the hysteria, this is the utterly rational, breathtakingly brutal reaction of a ruling elite that has the moral sense of a reptile. And it's working. All of Trump's campaign promises to stop wasting trillions on pointless winless foreign wars of choice, and instead spend that on our own country? Gone. And so much else besides.

It's dangerous to underestimate an enemy. The useful idiot foot soldiers, screaming in mindless herd instinct, are one thing. The people behind them – the Koch brothers, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg, others – there is nothing at all mindless or demented about them.

peterAUS , says: July 23, 2018 at 5:48 am GMT
@TG Agree.

Having a title "Mass Dementia in the Western Establishment" and approaching this effort as "mass insanity", "demented chorus" etc. is simply delusional.

They know exactly what they are doing and, it appears, they are doing it well. The are able to create their own reality. What puzzles me a bit isn't "them" or their servants (media etc.). It's people in general. They appear to be buying that manufactured reality with ease. In this era of instant communications it's .sobering. This constant shitting on "them" and their servants is fine and dandy but feels as just a feel good exercise. Perhaps some effort could be spared in trying to analyze and explain common people approach to all this. The buying, hook and sinker, that manufacture.

Anyone with an average intelligence can, in two hours trawling of Internet, get how false all that is. And, yet, here we are.
The same people who can spend hours on social media, shopping and entertainment online can't, for SOME reason, figure all that out.

Easy to blame "them" and media/academia/whatever. Maybe it's time to start passing a bit of blame to people in general.

Not holding my breath.

jilles dykstra , says: July 23, 2018 at 7:31 am GMT
@Tulips I suggest 'ruling class'
Anon [122] Disclaimer , says: July 23, 2018 at 8:07 am GMT
@Daniel Rich The Russians are by nature cautious. They are a conglomerate of individuals, many of whom remember times when they would be sent by communist tyrants to a gulag for Wrongthink. Of course they're cautious.
Daniel Rich , says: July 23, 2018 at 8:13 am GMT
H.E. Mr. Putin clearly knows what the USA/West is about – Link to Youtube [03:42]
nagra , says: July 23, 2018 at 8:34 am GMT
How Hillary Clinton could even run for presidency after the murder of Moammer Gaddafi and Libya destruction, in any decent civilisation and society.
That's planetary shame and the most important question, not DNC hack or anything else, which just trace in wrong direction.

So, Trump should grow some balls and arrest not just her but Barack Obama as well on the same charges, as war criminals as they are, and prove that he really deserves to be trusted. And sacrifice himself in the process if needed as that would do any honest true US president, and he knew what to expect from such position from the start.

It's not TV reality show, as still it is. All he cares about is his ego and popularity, and he is loosing both.

Israel lobby finally see that they put their money in the wrong bank. I intend to believe more that West, namely USA and UK the most, keeps them more hostage in uncertainty for decades than in some Jewish conspiracy. Also, I also believe that only Russia can guaranty Israel security and peace in the region.

Sean , says: July 23, 2018 at 10:12 am GMT

In political terms, Trump knows where political power lies, and is counting on the influence of the pro-Israel lobby, which recognizes the defeat in Syria and the rising influence of Russia, to save him from the liberal imperialists – a daring bet, but he does not have much choice.

Saudi Arabia spent 40 billion dollars helping Saddam's Iraq in its war against Iran, the cost of US efforts in the Syria civil war have largely been met by the Saudis. The coming attack on Iran will be as much to please the Saudis as to lock Israel into West Bank Arab expulsion mode. The Israel Lobby will is not pushing Donald Trump, they are playing catch up with him. Trump has already shown with the Jerusalem recognition that he is encouraging Israel in unilateral courses of action.

Cagey Beast , says: July 23, 2018 at 10:42 am GMT
@TG No, I agree with the assessment in this article and its title: the establishment is dangerously detached from reality right now. Our stagnant and locked-down political culture in the West allowed the "elite" to develop a false sense of security and and certainty. They thought they had things pretty much figured out a few years ago but now they're genuinely panicked.
yurivku , says: July 23, 2018 at 10:43 am GMT
Looking to this circus from Russia, to those insane speaches, insulting caricatures in MSM, I understand the huge amount of rotteness of Western society, mainly its high top part, but not only. Even here in comments (not in this particularly article) the percentage of trolls and brainwashed idiots exceeds all I could've imagined. So I stopped writing here – no sense, I beleive that something can change only after the dramatic changes in US/West society and that is possible only after a big war/revolution.
So, I'm afraid our future is vague