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Syria war bulletin, 2017

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[Jan 11, 2020] Atomization of workforce as a part of atomization of society under neoliberalism

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... a friend of mine, born in Venice and a long-time resident of Rome, pointed out to me that dogs are a sign of loneliness. ..."
"... And the cafes and restaurants on weekends in Chicago–chockfull of people, each on his or her own Powerbook, surfing the WWW all by themselves. ..."
"... The preaching of self-reliance by those who have never had to practice it is galling. ..."
"... Katherine: Agreed. It is also one of the reasons why I am skeptical of various evangelical / fundi pastors, who are living at the expense of their churches, preaching about individual salvation. ..."
"... So you have the upper crust (often with inheritances and trust funds) preaching economic self-reliances, and you have divines preaching individual salvation as they go back to the house provided by the members of the church. ..."
Apr 18, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
DJG , April 17, 2017 at 11:09 am
Neoliberalism is creating loneliness. That's what's wrenching society apart George Monbiot, Guardian

George Monbiot on human loneliness and its toll. I agree with his observations. I have been cataloguing them in my head for years, especially after a friend of mine, born in Venice and a long-time resident of Rome, pointed out to me that dogs are a sign of loneliness.

A couple of recent trips to Rome have made that point ever more obvious to me: Compared to my North Side neighborhood in Chicago, where every other person seems to have a dog, and on weekends Clark Street is awash in dogs (on their way to the dog boutiques and the dog food truck), Rome has few dogs. Rome is much more densely populated, and the Italians still have each other, for good or for ill. And Americans use the dog as an odd means of making human contact, at least with other dog owners.

But Americanization advances: I was surprised to see people bring dogs into the dining room of a fairly upscale restaurant in Turin. I haven't seen that before. (Most Italian cafes and restaurants are just too small to accommodate a dog, and the owners don't have much patience for disruptions.) The dogs barked at each other for while–violating a cardinal rule in Italy that mealtime is sacred and tranquil. Loneliness rules.

And the cafes and restaurants on weekends in Chicago–chockfull of people, each on his or her own Powerbook, surfing the WWW all by themselves.

That's why the comments about March on Everywhere in Harper's, recommended by Lambert, fascinated me. Maybe, to be less lonely, you just have to attend the occasional march, no matter how disorganized (and the Chicago Women's March organizers made a few big logistical mistakes), no matter how incoherent. Safety in numbers? (And as Monbiot points out, overeating at home alone is a sign of loneliness: Another argument for a walk with a placard.)

Katharine , April 17, 2017 at 11:39 am

I particularly liked this point:

In Britain, men who have spent their entire lives in quadrangles – at school, at college, at the bar, in parliament – instruct us to stand on our own two feet.

With different imagery, the same is true in this country. The preaching of self-reliance by those who have never had to practice it is galling.

DJG , April 17, 2017 at 11:48 am

Katherine: Agreed. It is also one of the reasons why I am skeptical of various evangelical / fundi pastors, who are living at the expense of their churches, preaching about individual salvation.

So you have the upper crust (often with inheritances and trust funds) preaching economic self-reliances, and you have divines preaching individual salvation as they go back to the house provided by the members of the church.

[Dec 30, 2017] In Syria Russia has been very restraint to avoid direct conflict with US even under attacked.

Notable quotes:
"... Russia know Erogan is only the meganomania fool puppet. A Russia counterstrike will activate NATO obligation. So Putin ingeniously bring Turkey to his side, finished off terrorists, have whole Syria, Iran & Hezbollah so indebted, perpetual base in Syria, showcase Russia weapons and power, take high moral ground to raise Russia status in world stage as indispensable leader of Middle East, that's true Art of War -- Winning everything at least cost. Humiliating US is the biggest revenge. ..."
Dec 30, 2017 | www.unz.com

TT , December 29, 2017 at 5:23 pm GMT

Saker, this article has only general facts without your usual sharp analysis. It even contradict your own previous NK war analysis. Has Crazy Trumps & his WH really disheartened you so much? But some said Trumps is godsend, he has bared all US(Nato & Israel too) hypocrisy, destroying whole US in every aspects, either intentionally to reconstruct the ultra corrupted & manipulated US, or unintentionally hasten the empire collapse. Cheer up, look at the bright side like China, they are very positive about Trumps(he only love $, not war).

1. Afghanistan: Yes nothing will happen, unless US attack Russia army in Syria, then this will be one hot spot that Russia can heat up by equipping whoever(Taliban) to inflict heavy casualties for US.

The rockets attacked in Afghanistan airport during US Defense Secretary Mad Dog visit is to sent a very clear warning signal to US incharged, what Russia can pay back for the death of its General in Syria? To kill a few generals won't scare off Mattis, this will.

2. Syria: Russia has been very restraint to avoid direct conflict with US even under attacked. This emboldened US & Nato. So its likely US/Israel will conduct some air raids or missiles attack on SAA, Iran, Hezbollah, but no suicidal ground attack with these war harden formidable fighters.

3. Russia: Swift & Assets freeze -- Russia already has its own clearing system set up for this. China got its warning from WH too. When US did that to Russia, the world will hasten the Petrol dollar replacement with Yuan. So its unlikely US like it, unless direct war break out.

Shoot down Russia plane? Not likely, Syria plane Yes -- Recent Su35 chasing off F22 showed US is just a paper tiger. S400 can bring down some US birds too in return. Come to direct conflict, Russia is fully capable to inflict greater damage to many US bases in Middle East with missiles. So US can only continue using its "moderate" terrorists to harass but not shoot down Russia plane directly.

There is probably agreement in place, No SAM equipment to terrorists(ISIS hasn't got any SAM in entire Syria war), as it can threaten US too when moderates switch camp. Certainly Israel know Russia has no lack of SAM to equip Hezbollah as a return courtesy.

That's right, when Putin failed to direct attack Turkey after its Su24 is shot down, it emboldened US Nato. But Putin is a cold Grand chess player. He won't let a impulse lost his entire game. Sure he had exacted the revenge later. As a starter, he had the entire Turkey's Uyghur Turks terrorists army that killed the pilot carpet bombed, making Turkey Erogan thumping chest. Doubt US want its whole terrorists with its embedded Special force get carpet bombed yet.

Russia know Erogan is only the meganomania fool puppet. A Russia counterstrike will activate NATO obligation. So Putin ingeniously bring Turkey to his side, finished off terrorists, have whole Syria, Iran & Hezbollah so indebted, perpetual base in Syria, showcase Russia weapons and power, take high moral ground to raise Russia status in world stage as indispensable leader of Middle East, that's true Art of War -- Winning everything at least cost. Humiliating US is the biggest revenge.

4. Iran May be more than tearing off Nuclear deal, Trumps is all in with Israel. So everything is possible, including US limited missiles attack to Iran to fulfil Israel wish, but not full scale war which need much preparation.

5. Ukraine US sure love to escalate this proxy war to suck in Russia for full scale war. Its depends whether Ukraine will get force into this bloody shit hole . which is very likely with its manipulated leaders.

6. Korea War No war, all hot air, as your last analysis shown its gonna too bloody for US to contemplate. Biggest factor is Russia and China behind, not about $. US knew too well in Vietnam war and previous Korea war. FB has some good analysis in this.

Myanmar is certainly a cakewalk, but why for last 50 years US didn't attempt to attack for its tremendous rich unexplored resources? Its the China factor.

7. Venezuela This is the easiest sweetest soft target for Trumps if he ever need a war. Army is weak. There is no China Russia next door factor. And it has the world largest oil to pay. At the same time can destroy China and Russia dominant investments like Libya case, also removing their present at its backyard. Venezuela is what US capable to bully, not Iran or DPRK.

[Dec 30, 2017] The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity All Is Not Quiet on the Syrian Front US to Launch Another War

Notable quotes:
"... Reprinted with permission from Strategic Culture Foundation . ..."
Dec 30, 2017 | ronpaulinstitute.org

This is a classic example of flip-flop policy. In November, the US promised Turkey to stop arming Kurdish militias in Syria after the Islamic State was routed. Brett McGurk, the US Special Presidential Envoy to the Global Coalition to Defeat Islamic State, explained that after the urban fighting in Raqqa was over "adjustments in the level of military support" would be made. "We had to give some equipment – and it's limited, extremely limited – all of which was very transparent to our NATO ally, Turkey," he said during a special briefing on December 21. In June, the US told Turkey it would take back weapons supplied to the Kurdish the People's Protection Units (YPG) militia in northern Syria after the defeat of Islamic State.

But sophisticated weapons will continue to be sent to Syria in 2018, including thousands of anti-tank rocket launchers, heat seeking missiles and rocket launchers. The list of weaponry and equipment was prepared by US Department of Defense as part of the 2018 defense budget and signed by Trump of Dec. 12. It includes more than 300 non-tactical vehicles, 60 nonstandard vehicles, and 30 earth-moving vehicles to assist with the construction of outposts or operations staging areas. The US defense spending bill for 2018 ("Justification for FY 2018 Overseas Contingency Operations / Counter-Islamic State of Iraq and Syria Train and Equip Fund") includes providing weapons worth $393 million to US partners in Syria. Overall, $500 million, roughly $70 million more than last year, are to be spent on Syria Train and Equip requirements. The partners are the Kurds-dominated Syria Democratic Forces (SDF). The YPG – the group that is a major concern of Turkey – is the backbone of this force.

The budget does not refer to Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) but instead says "Vetted Syrian Opposition". According to the budget list, there are 25,000 opposition forces supported as a part of the train and equip program in Syria. That number is planned to be increased to 30,000 in 2018. The arming of Kurdish militants with anti-tank rockets is a sensitive topic because of Turkey's reliance on its armored Leopard tanks in northern Syria.

Talal Sillo, a former high-ranking commander and spokesperson of the US-backed SDF, who defected from the group last month to go to Turkey, divulged details of the US arming the Kurdish group.

The list does not detail which vetted Syrian groups will receive certain pieces of equipment. In northern Syria, there is the SDF, including the YPG, and the Syria Arab Coalition -- a group of Arab fighters incorporated into the SDF. The Maghawir al-Thawra and Shohada al-Quartayn groups are operating in the southeastern part of Syria. They are being trained by US and British instructors at the al-Tanf border crossing between Syria and Iraq.

Besides the SDF and the groups trained at al-Tanf, the US is in the process of creating the New Syria Army to fight the Syrian government forces. The training is taking place at the Syrian Hasakah refugee camp located 70 kilometers from the border of Turkey and 50 kilometers from the border of Iraq.

Around 40 Syria opposition groups on Dec. 25 rejected to attend the planned Sochi conference on Syria scheduled to take place in January. They said Moscow, which organizes the conference, was seeking to bypass the UN-based Geneva peace process, despite the fact that UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura said that Russia's plan to convene the congress should be assessed by its ability to contribute to and support the UN-led Geneva talks on ending the war in Syria. If fighting starts, these groups are likely to join the formations created by the US.

So, the United States not only maintains its illegal military presence in Syria and creates new forces to fight against the Syrian government, it appears to be preparing for a new war to follow the Islamic State's defeat. The continuation of arming and training Kurdish militias will hardly improve Washington's relations with Ankara, while saying one thing and doing another undermines the credibility of the United States as a partner.

Reprinted with permission from Strategic Culture Foundation .


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[Dec 30, 2017] Russian Foreign Minister: US Military Must Leave All Of Syria

Notable quotes:
"... For now, the Iranian's Trump-tautning has remained unanswered. The problem is that if Iran continues to dare the US, and its new regional allies Israel and Saudi Arabia, now that there is a regional axis meant to "contain" Iran by any means necessary, it won't take much for the US, and especially Israel, to respond accordingly." ..."
"... The more desperate the establishment grows, the more rabid it will turn. For those, for whom cannot be what can't be, devastating times lie ahead. The polarization of the planet has reached a new dimension. ..."
Dec 30, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Here is the latest from ZH on Syria

Russian Foreign Minister: US Military Must Leave All Of Syria

The take-away quote

"Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated on Thursday that US forces must leave all of Syria. Speaking to Interfax news agency, Lavrov stated that the UN Security Council has not approved the work of the United States and its coalition in Syria, nor has been invited by the legitimate Syrian government.

Concerning a prior statement by US Defense Secretary James Matisse voicing the intent for US troops to stay in Syria until achieving progress in a political settlement, Lavrov pointed out that such statement is "surprising" because it means that Washington reserves the right to determine such progress and wants to maintain control over parts of Syrian territory in order to achieve the result it wants."

Posted by: psychohistorian | Dec 28, 2017 5:03:22 PM | 6

elsi , Dec 28, 2017 5:50:04 PM | 7

@Jen | Dec 28, 2017 4:10:15 PM | 4

Well, it took also the "casuality" that the Russian Syrian base of Hmeimim was attacked by missiles launched by terrorists today...Of course, not only St. Petersburg, but the world is wide and huge...but, eventhough, I think that all these "terrorist attacks" are related...to the current insistence by Russian officials on US troops leaving Syria asap....

psychohistorian , Dec 28, 2017 8:43:51 PM | 18
Sometime ZH has news that is portrayed more in a propaganda manner than other times or authors...whatever. That said the link and quotes below show how the ME rhetoric is marching along

US And Israel Reach "Secret Plan" To Counter Iran

"One month after we reported that Israel would take the unprecedented step of sharing intelligence with Saudi Arabia as the two countries ramped up efforts to curb what they perceive as "Iranian expansion" in the region, on Thursday Israel's Channel 10 reported that Israel has also pivoted to the US and reached a similar plan to counter Iranian activity in the Middle East. As Axios adds, U.S. and Israeli officials said the joint understandings were reached in "a secret meeting" between senior Israeli and U.S. delegations at the White House on December 12th."

"Meanwhile, apparently unconcerned by the Saudi-Israeli-US axis that has formed to contain his nation, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that US President Donald Trump would fail in his hardened stance towards Iran, saying Tehran is stronger than during the time of Ronald Reagan.

"Reagan was more powerful and smarter than Trump, and he was a better actor in making threats, and he also moved against us and they shot down our plane,"

Khamenei said in a speech carried on state television.

For now, the Iranian's Trump-tautning has remained unanswered. The problem is that if Iran continues to dare the US, and its new regional allies Israel and Saudi Arabia, now that there is a regional axis meant to "contain" Iran by any means necessary, it won't take much for the US, and especially Israel, to respond accordingly."

Beat those drums! Beat those drums! There must be a war for Trump to be a Real US President and cover for the posturing of the other two "new"(grin) regional allies.

My hope is that instead of a war, Trump gets to oversee the US default on the national debt, which he has some experience with personally. That would be the precipitation event for the new Bretton Woods agreement about global finance going forward.

What is the next chapter in this story and is everyone fearful enough yet?

nottheonly1 , Dec 29, 2017 4:40:00 AM | 25
Who Are The Leading State Sponsors of Terrorism?

For many, that has not been a serious question for a very long time. The answer reveals, that the umpire has only two possible exit strategies. One is that start WW3 and the other one is actually not a strategy - only an exit from the world.

Pretty much everybody is no longer wearing clothes. The naked truth is for all decent people to see. The implosion is underway and can no longer be averted. The only question that remains is how many lives will be lost/wasted and how many can be saved.

The more desperate the establishment grows, the more rabid it will turn. For those, for whom cannot be what can't be, devastating times lie ahead. The polarization of the planet has reached a new dimension.

And yes, I am convinced that the inability to post and glitches when typing have nothing to do with b. or this website, but everything to do with the manipulation of the internet and all it's users.

USS America is sinking. No iceberg was needed.

[Dec 28, 2017] On your surmise that Putin prefers Trump to Hillary and would thus have incentive to influence the election, I beg to differ. Putin is one smart statesman; he knows very well it makes no difference which candidates gets elected in US elections.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... I accept your point that the Democrats and the Republicans are two sides of the same coin, but it's important to understand that Putin is deeply conservative and very risk averse. ..."
"... Hillary Clinton may be a threat to Russia but she knows the "rules" and is very predictable, while Trump doesn't know the rules and appears to act on a whim ..."
"... However, given the problems that Hillary Clinton had to overcome to get elected, backing her against Trump would be risky. So the highly risk averse Putin would logically stay out of the election entirely and all the claims of Russia hacking the election are fake news. ..."
"... As for the alleged media campaign, my response is "so what!". Western media, including state-owned media, interferes around the world all the time so complaining about Russian state-owned media doing the same is pure hypocrisy and should be ignored. ..."
Dec 28, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

Ghost Ship , Dec 27, 2017 10:17:37 AM | 92

Posted by: Oriental Voice | Dec 26, 2017 3:56:16 PM | 35
On your surmise that Putin prefers Trump to Hillary and would thus have incentive to influence the election, I beg to differ. Putin is one smart statesman; he knows very well it makes no difference which candidates gets elected in US elections.

I accept your point that the Democrats and the Republicans are two sides of the same coin, but it's important to understand that Putin is deeply conservative and very risk averse.

Hillary Clinton may be a threat to Russia but she knows the "rules" and is very predictable, while Trump doesn't know the rules and appears to act on a whim , so if Putin were to have interfered in the 2016 presidential election, logic would suggest that he would do so on Hillary Clinton's side. However, given the problems that Hillary Clinton had to overcome to get elected, backing her against Trump would be risky. So the highly risk averse Putin would logically stay out of the election entirely and all the claims of Russia hacking the election are fake news.

As for the alleged media campaign, my response is "so what!". Western media, including state-owned media, interferes around the world all the time so complaining about Russian state-owned media doing the same is pure hypocrisy and should be ignored.

[Dec 26, 2017] National Security Searches for a Strategy by Philip Giraldi

Trump is now 100% pure neocon. What a metamorphose is less a year from inauguration...
Notable quotes:
"... It says, with extreme hyperbole, that "China and Russia challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity. They are determined to make economies less free and less fair, to grow their militaries, and to control information and data to repress their societies and expand their influence. At the same time, the dictatorships of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Islamic Republic of Iran are determined to destabilize regions, threaten Americans and our allies, and brutalize their own people." ..."
"... A somewhat more detailed account of what Moscow is up to is also contained in the written report, stating that "Russia is using subversive measures to weaken the credibility of America's commitment to Europe, undermine transatlantic unity, and weaken European institutions and governments. With its invasions of Georgia and Ukraine, Russia demonstrated its willingness to violate the sovereignty of states in the region. Russia continues to intimidate its neighbors with threatening behavior, such as nuclear posturing and the forward deployment of offensive capabilities." ..."
"... Nearly every detail in the indictment of Russia can be challenged. Most notably, if anyone is forward deploying offensive capabilities in Eastern Europe or invading other countries it is the United States, a trend that continues under Donald Trump. Just this past week, Trump approved the sale of offensive weapons to Ukraine, which has already drawn a warning from Moscow and will make any dialogue with Russia unlikely. ..."
"... And, of course, there is the usual softball for Israel claiming that "For generations the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has been understood as the prime irritant preventing peace and prosperity in the region. Today, the threats from jihadist terrorist organizations and the threat from Iran are creating the realization that Israel is not the cause of the region's problems." It is a conclusion that must make the unspeakable Benjamin Netanyahu smile. One might observe that as Israel has attacked all of its neighbors since it was founded, holding its governments blameless is a formulation that others in the region might well dispute. ..."
"... So the Donald Trump National Security Strategy will be more of the same, a combination of the worst ideas to emerge from his two predecessors with little in the way of mitigation. Trump might balk at going toe-to-toe with North Korea because they have the actual capability to strike back and might think they have nothing to lose if they are about to be incinerated, something no bully likes to see, but Iran is certainly in the cross hairs and you best believe they have taken notice and will be preparing. Vladimir Putin too can sit back and wonder how Trump could possibly have gotten everything so ass-backwards when he had so much latitude to get at least some things right. The National Security Strategy will deliver little in the way of security but it will provide an answer to why most of the world has come to hate the United States. ..."
Dec 26, 2017 | www.unz.com

If one takes Trump at his word, the U.S. will use force worldwide to make sure that only Washington can dominate regionally, a frightening thought as it goes beyond even the wildest pretensions of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. And equally ridiculous are the potential consequences of such bullying – the White House clearly believes that it will make other nations respect us and follow our leadership whereas quite the reverse is likely to be true.

On the very limited bright side, Trump did have good things to say about the benefits derived from intelligence sharing with Russia and he also spoke about both Moscow and Beijing as "rivals" and "adversaries" instead of enemies. That was very refreshing to hear but unfortunately the printed document did not say the same thing.

The NSS report provided considerably more detail than did the speech but it also was full of generalizations and all too often relied on Washington group think to frame its options. The beginning is somewhat terrifying for one of my inclinations on foreign policy:

"An America that is safe, prosperous, and free at home is an America with the strength, confidence, and will to lead abroad. It is an America that can preserve peace, uphold liberty, and create enduring advantages for the American people. Putting America first is the duty of our government and the foundation for U.S. leadership in the world. A strong America is in the vital interests of not only the American people, but also those around the world who want to partner with the United States in pursuit of shared interests, values, and aspirations."

One has to ask what this "lead" and "leadership" and "partner" nonsense actually represents, particularly in light of the fact that damn near the entire world just repudiated Trump's decision to move the American Embassy in Israel as well as the nearly global rejection of his response to climate change? And Washington's alleged need to lead has brought nothing but grief to the American people starting in Korea and continuing with Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and numerous lesser stops along the way in places like Somalia, Panama and Syria. The false narrative of the threat coming from "foreigners" has actually done nothing to make Americans safer while also diminishing constitutional liberties and doing serious damage to the economy.

The printed report is much more brutal than was Trump about the dangers facing America and it is also much more carefree in the "facts" that it chooses to present. It says, with extreme hyperbole, that "China and Russia challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity. They are determined to make economies less free and less fair, to grow their militaries, and to control information and data to repress their societies and expand their influence. At the same time, the dictatorships of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and the Islamic Republic of Iran are determined to destabilize regions, threaten Americans and our allies, and brutalize their own people."

A somewhat more detailed account of what Moscow is up to is also contained in the written report, stating that "Russia is using subversive measures to weaken the credibility of America's commitment to Europe, undermine transatlantic unity, and weaken European institutions and governments. With its invasions of Georgia and Ukraine, Russia demonstrated its willingness to violate the sovereignty of states in the region. Russia continues to intimidate its neighbors with threatening behavior, such as nuclear posturing and the forward deployment of offensive capabilities."

Nearly every detail in the indictment of Russia can be challenged. Most notably, if anyone is forward deploying offensive capabilities in Eastern Europe or invading other countries it is the United States, a trend that continues under Donald Trump. Just this past week, Trump approved the sale of offensive weapons to Ukraine, which has already drawn a warning from Moscow and will make any dialogue with Russia unlikely.

And, of course, there is the usual softball for Israel claiming that "For generations the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians has been understood as the prime irritant preventing peace and prosperity in the region. Today, the threats from jihadist terrorist organizations and the threat from Iran are creating the realization that Israel is not the cause of the region's problems." It is a conclusion that must make the unspeakable Benjamin Netanyahu smile. One might observe that as Israel has attacked all of its neighbors since it was founded, holding its governments blameless is a formulation that others in the region might well dispute.

So the Donald Trump National Security Strategy will be more of the same, a combination of the worst ideas to emerge from his two predecessors with little in the way of mitigation. Trump might balk at going toe-to-toe with North Korea because they have the actual capability to strike back and might think they have nothing to lose if they are about to be incinerated, something no bully likes to see, but Iran is certainly in the cross hairs and you best believe they have taken notice and will be preparing. Vladimir Putin too can sit back and wonder how Trump could possibly have gotten everything so ass-backwards when he had so much latitude to get at least some things right. The National Security Strategy will deliver little in the way of security but it will provide an answer to why most of the world has come to hate the United States.

[Dec 23, 2017] Seems that those cuddly White Helmets really ARE good guys in the parallel universe Guardian readers are thought to inhabit.

Dec 23, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Cortes , December 18, 2017 at 11:19 am

Quite the week of Ancient History here the last few days, what with Lesbians torn between the Spartans and the Athenians (!) and the daddy of Western lawgivers, Solon, has snuck in.

Witnesseth:

conspiracy-theories

Here's the article author's "bio":

https://muckrack.com/oliviasolon/bio

Seems (selon Solon as they'll be saying at Charlie Hebdo) that those cuddly White Helmets really ARE good guys in the parallel universe Guardian readers are thought to inhabit. The Russians done calumnify those latter day saints.

Cortes , December 18, 2017 at 11:25 am
Oops!

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/18/syria-white-helmets-conspiracy-theories

And, yes, the Imp of the Perverse forced me to use THAT word.

marknesop , December 18, 2017 at 1:13 pm
What a pity, such upstanding citizens smeared. Perhaps next year for the Nobel, what?
Fern , December 19, 2017 at 5:29 am
Ah, the pain of these folk in the MSM as they experience losing control of the narrative ..we should be more understanding and compassionate. I also love the conjugation of the Guardian's irregular verbs we are independent, impartial journalists who are experts on Syria because we talk only to those people who share our views, you are a mere blogger, they, being courageous folk like Vanessa Beeley and Eva Bartlett who've actually been to Syria and talked to people outside the western bubble are Assad and Putin stooges.

[Dec 23, 2017] Slovenia is among the Coalition of the 128 NOT willing to be punked by USA. Melania better keep a low profile around Trump and Nikki

Dec 23, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Northern Star , , December 21, 2017 at 1:13 pm

Uh Oh Slovenia is among the Coalition of the 128 NOT willing to be punked by USA..

Maybe some panic stricken late night 911 DV calls from the WH??

Melania better keep a low profile around Trump and Nikki !!!!!! LOL!!

Jen , December 21, 2017 at 2:48 pm
India was naughty as well and Nimrata Nikki Randhawa Haley ought to have taken the Indian ambassador's name down as well. Maybe she'll even declare she won't ever set foot in India again. Her relatives there will breathe sighs of relief!
Cortes , December 21, 2017 at 4:27 pm
She's made herself untouchable.
Jen , December 21, 2017 at 8:03 pm
Ha ha!
Moscow Exile , December 21, 2017 at 8:41 pm
She makes me Sikh

[Dec 22, 2017] US elites and media are constantly freaking out about some Iranian "empire" supposedly being created and threatening US allies in the mideas

Notable quotes:
"... The supposed threat of an Iranian empire is a common theme in interventionist US media and in certain think tanks/pressure groups, even five minutes of googling produced this: ..."
Dec 22, 2017 | www.unz.com

German_reader , December 18, 2017 at 9:51 pm GMT

@Art Deco US elites and media are constantly freaking out about some Iranian "empire" supposedly being created and threatening US allies in the mideast since you seem to put great trust in their credibility, shouldn't that concern you?

Personally I think those fears are exaggerated, but how can it be denied that Iran's influence has increased a lot in recent years and that the removal of Saddam's regime facilitated that development?

Iranian revolutionary guards and Iranian-backed Shia militias operate in Iraq, the Iraqi government maintains close ties to Iran, and Iran is also an active participant in the Syrian civil war would that have been conceivable like this before 2003?

German_reader , December 18, 2017 at 10:46 pm GMT
@Art Deco

No, they aren't.

The supposed threat of an Iranian empire is a common theme in interventionist US media and in certain think tanks/pressure groups, even five minutes of googling produced this:

https://nypost.com/2015/02/01/the-iranian-dream-of-a-reborn-persian-empire/

http://www.breitbart.com/video/2016/01/15/fmr-nato-supreme-allied-commander-stavridis-iran-will-be-imperial-power-due-to-iran-deals-golden-shower-of-money/

https://www.commentarymagazine.com/foreign-policy/middle-east/iran/iran-and-the-imperialism-hypocrisy/

http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/06/30/what-to-do-about-an-imperial-iran-middle-east-persia-regional-dominance/

http://www.defenddemocracy.org/media-hit/may-clifford-d-the-new-persian-empire/ (btw, the Foundation for defense of democracies agrees with me that the removal of Saddam's regime was to Iran's benefit).

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/henry-kissinger-isis-iranian-radical-empire-middle-east-a7881541.html

Obviously I don't want Iran to acquire nuclear weapons, though imo US policy in this regard has been rather counter-productive recently.

Regarding the Iraq war, it's probably pointless to continue the discussion, if you want to continue regarding it as a great idea, I won't argue with you.

Randal , December 18, 2017 at 11:14 pm GMT
@German_reader

And after 9/11 I was very pro-US, e.g. I argued vehemently with a stupid leftie teacher who was against the Afghanistan war (and I still believe that war was justified, so I don't think I'm just some mindless anti-American fool). But Iraq was just too much, too much obvious lying and those lies were so stupid it was hard not to feel that there was something deeply wrong with a large part of the American public if they were gullible enough to believe such nonsense. At least for me it was a real turning point in the evolution of my political views.

The common factor amongst you, reiner and myself here is that none of us come from a dogmatically anti-American background or personal world-view, nor from a dogmatically pacifist one.

As I've probably noted here previously, I grew up very pro-American and very pro-NATO in the late Cold War, and as a strong supporter of Thatcher and Reagan. I saw the fall of the Soviet Union as a glorious triumph and a vindication of all the endless arguments against anti-American lefties and CND numpties. I also strongly supported the Falklands War (the last genuinely justified and intelligent war fought by my country, imo) and also the war against Iraq in 1990/1, though I'm a little less certain on that one nowadays. I'm significantly older than you both, it seems, however, and it was watching US foreign policy in the 1990s, culminating in the Kosovo war, that convinced me that the US is now the problem and not the solution.

When the facts changed, I changed my opinion.

So I was a war or two ahead of you, chronologically, because I'm older, but we've travelled pretty much the same road. Our views on America have been created by US foreign policy choices.

[Dec 21, 2017] The RussiaGate Witch-Hunt Stockman Names Names In The Deep State's Insurance Policy by David Stockman

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Needless to say, the Never Trumpers were eminently correct in their worry that Trump would sully, degrade and weaken the Imperial Presidency. That he has done in spades with his endless tweet storms that consist mainly of petty score settling, self-justification, unseemly boasting and shrill partisanship; and on top of that you can pile his impetuous attacks on friend, foe and bystanders (e.g. NFL kneelers) alike. ..."
Dec 18, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

Deep State's "Insurance Policy" Tyler Durden Dec 18, 2017 11:05 PM 0 SHARES Authored by David Stockman via Contra Corner blog,

There was a sinister plot to meddle in the 2016 election, after all. But it was not orchestrated from the Kremlin; it was an entirely homegrown affair conducted from the inner sanctums---the White House, DOJ, the Hoover Building and Langley----of the Imperial City.

Likewise, the perpetrators didn't speak Russian or write in the Cyrillic script. In fact, they were lifetime beltway insiders occupying the highest positions of power in the US government.

Here are the names and rank of the principal conspirators:

To a person, the participants in this illicit cabal shared the core trait that made Obama such a blight on the nation's well-being. To wit, he never held an honest job outside the halls of government in his entire adult life; and as a careerist agent of the state and practitioner of its purported goods works, he exuded a sanctimonious disdain for everyday citizens who make their living along the capitalist highways and by-ways of America.

The above cast of election-meddlers, of course, comes from the same mold. If Wikipedia is roughly correct, just these 10 named perpetrators have punched in about 300 years of post-graduate employment---and 260 of those years (87%) were on government payrolls or government contractor jobs.

As to whether they shared Obama's political class arrogance, Peter Strzok left nothing to the imagination in his now celebrated texts to his gal-pal, Lisa Page:

"Just went to a southern Virginia Walmart. I could SMELL the Trump support......I LOATHE congress....And F Trump."

You really didn't need the ALL CAPS to get the gist. In a word, the anti-Trump cabal is comprised of creatures of the state.

Their now obvious effort to alter the outcome of the 2016 election was nothing less than the Imperial City's immune system attacking an alien threat, which embodied the very opposite trait: That is, the Donald had never spent one moment on the state's payroll, had been elected to no government office and displayed a spirited contempt for the groupthink and verities of officialdom in the Imperial City.

But it is the vehemence and flagrant transparency of this conspiracy to prevent Trump's ascension to the Oval Office that reveals the profound threat to capitalism and democracy posed by the Deep State and its prosperous elites and fellow travelers domiciled in the Imperial City.

That is to say, Donald Trump was no kind of anti-statist and only a skin-deep populist, at best. His signature anti-immigrant meme was apparently discovered by accident when in the early days of the campaign he went off on Mexican thugs, rapists and murderers----only to find that it resonated strongly among a certain element of the GOP grass roots.

But a harsh line on immigrants, refugees and Muslims would not have incited the Deep State into an attempted coup d'état; it wouldn't have mobilized so overtly against Ted Cruz, for example, whose positions on the ballyhooed terrorist/immigrant threat were not much different.

No, what sent the Imperial City establishment into a fit of apoplexy was exactly two things that struck at the core of its raison d' etre.

First was Trump's stated intentions to seek rapprochement with Putin's Russia and his sensible embrace of a non-interventionist "America First" view of Washington's role in the world. And secondly, and even more importantly, was his very persona.

That is to say, the role of today's president is to function as the suave, reliable maître d' of the Imperial City and the lead spokesman for Washington's purported good works at home and abroad. And for that role the slovenly, loud-mouthed, narcissistic, bombastic, ill-informed and crudely-mannered Donald Trump was utterly unqualified.

Stated differently, welfare statism and warfare statism is the secular religion of the Imperial City and its collaborators in the mainstream media; and the Oval Office is the bully pulpit from which its catechisms, bromides and self-justifications are propagandized to the unwashed masses---the tax-and-debt-slaves of Flyover America who bear the burden of its continuation.

Needless to say, the Never Trumpers were eminently correct in their worry that Trump would sully, degrade and weaken the Imperial Presidency. That he has done in spades with his endless tweet storms that consist mainly of petty score settling, self-justification, unseemly boasting and shrill partisanship; and on top of that you can pile his impetuous attacks on friend, foe and bystanders (e.g. NFL kneelers) alike.

Yet that is exactly what has the Deep State and its media collaborators running scared. To wit, Trump's entire modus operandi is not about governing or a serious policy agenda---and most certainly not about Making America's Economy Great Again. (MAEGA)

By appointing a passel of Keynesian monetary central planners to the Fed and launching an orgy of fiscal recklessness via his massive defense spending and tax-cutting initiatives, the Donald has more than sealed his own doom: There will unavoidably be a massive financial and economic crisis in the years just ahead and the rulers of the Imperial City will most certainly heap the blame upon him with malice aforethought.

In the interim, however, what the Donald is actually doing is sharply polarizing the country and using the Bully Pulpit for the very opposite function assigned to it by Washington's permanent political class. Namely, to discredit and vilify the ruling elites of government and the media and thereby undermine the docility and acquiescence of the unwashed masses upon which the Imperial City's rule and hideous prosperity depend.

It is no wonder, then, that the inner circle of the Obama Administration plotted an "insurance policy". They saw it coming-----that is, an offensive rogue disrupter who was soft on Russia, to boot--- and out of that alarm the entire hoax of RussiaGate was born.

As is now well known from the recent dump of 375 Strzok/Gates text messages, there occurred on August 15, 2016 a meeting in the office of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe (who is still there) to kick off the RussiaGate campaign. As Strzok later wrote to Page, who was also at the meeting:

" I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy's office -- that there's no way he gets elected -- but I'm afraid we can't take that risk......It's like an insurance policy in the unlikely event that you die before you're 40."

They will try to spin this money quote seven-ways to Sunday, but in the context of everything else now known there is only one possible meaning: The national security and law enforcement machinery of Imperial Washington was being activated then and there in behalf of Hillary Clinton's campaign.

Indeed, the trail of proof is quite clear. At the very time of this August meeting, the FBI was already being fed the initial elements of the Steele dossier, and the latter had nothing to do with any kind of national security investigation.

For crying out loud, it was plain old "oppo research" paid for by the Clinton campaign and the DNC. And the only way that it bore on Russian involvement in the US election was that virtually all of the salacious material and false narratives about Trump emissaries meeting with high level Russian officials was disinformation sourced in Moscow, and was completely untrue.

As former senior FBI official, Andrew McCarthy, neatly summarized the sequence of action recently:

The Clinton campaign generated the Steele dossier through lawyers who retained Fusion GPS. Fusion, in turn, hired Steele, a former British intelligence agent who had FBI contacts from prior collaborative investigations. The dossier was steered into the FBI's hands as it began to be compiled in the summer of 2016. A Fusion Russia expert, Nellie Ohr, worked with Steele on Fusion's anti-Trump research. She is the wife of Bruce Ohr, then the deputy associate attorney general -- the top subordinate of Sally Yates, then Obama's deputy attorney general (later acting AG). Ohr was a direct pipeline to Yates.....

Based on the publication this week of text messages between FBI agent Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, the FBI lawyer with whom he was having an extramarital affair, we have learned of a meeting convened in the office of FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe...... right around the time the Page FISA warrant was obtained......

Bruce Ohr met personally with Steele. And after Trump was elected, according to Fusion founder Glenn Simpson, he requested and got a meeting with Simpson to, as Simpson told the House Intelligence Committee, "discuss our findings regarding Russia and the election."

This, of course, was the precise time Democrats began peddling the public narrative of Trump-Russia collusion. It is the time frame during which Ohr's boss, Yates, was pushing an absurd Logan Act investigation of Trump transition official Michael Flynn (then slotted to become Trump's national-security adviser) over Flynn's meetings with the Russian ambassador.

Here's the thing. There is almost nothing in the Steele dossiers which is true. At the same time, there is no real alternative evidence based on hard NSA intercepts that show Russian government agents were behind the only two acts----the leaks of the DNC emails and the Podesta emails----that were of even minimal import to the outcome of the 2016 presidential campaign.

As to the veracity of the dossier, the raving anti-Trumper and former CIA interim chief, Michael Morrell, settled the matter. If you are paying ex-FSA agents for information on the back streets of Moscow, the more you pay, the more "information" you will get:

Then I asked myself, why did these guys provide this information, what was their motivation? And I subsequently learned that he paid them. That the intermediaries paid the sources and the intermediaries got the money from Chris. And that kind of worries me a little bit because if you're paying somebody, particularly former [Russian Federal Security Service] officers, they are going to tell you truth and innuendo and rumor, and they're going to call you up and say, 'Hey, let's have another meeting, I have more information for you,' because they want to get paid some more,' Morrell said.

Far from being "verified," the dossier is best described as a pack of lies, gossip, innuendo and irrelevancies. Take, for example, the claim that Trump lawyer Michael Cohen met with Russian Federation Council foreign affairs head Konstantin Kosachev in Prague during August 2016. That claim is verifiably false as proven by Cohen's own passport.

Likewise, the dossier 's claim that Carter Page was offered a giant bribe by the head of Rosneft, the Russian state energy company, in return for lifting the sanctions is downright laughable. That's because Carter Page never had any serious role in the Trump campaign and was one of hundreds of unpaid informal advisors who hung around the basket hoping for some role in a future Trump government.

Like the hapless George Papadopoulos, in fact, Page apparently never met Trump, had no foreign policy credentials and had been drafted onto the campaign's so-called foreign policy advisory committee out of sheer desperation.

That is, because the mainstream GOP foreign policy establishment had so completely boycotted the Trump campaign, the latter was forced to fill its advisory committee essentially from the phone book; and that desperation move in March 2016, in turn, had been undertaken in order to damp-down the media uproar over the Donald's assertion that he got his foreign policy advise from watching TV!

The truth of the matter is that Page was a former Merrill Lynch stockbrokers who had plied his trade in Russia several years earlier. He had gone to Moscow in July 2016 on his own dime and without any mandate from the Trump campaign; and his "meeting" with Rosneft actually consisted of drinks with an old buddy from his broker days who had become head of investor relations at Rosneft.

Nevertheless, it is pretty evident that the Steele dossier's tale about Page's alleged bribery scheme was the basis for the FISA warrant that resulted in wiretaps on Page and other officials in Trump Tower during September and October.

And that's your insurance policy at work: The Deep State and its allies in the Obama administration were desperately looking for dirt with which to crucify the Donald, and thereby insure that the establishment's anointed candidate would not fail at the polls.

So the question recurs as to why did the conspirators resort to the outlandish and even cartoonish disinformation contained in the Steele dossier?

The answer to that question cuts to the quick of the entire RussiaGate hoax. To wit, that's all they had!

Notwithstanding the massive machinery and communications vacuum cleaners operated by the $75 billion US intelligence communities and its vaunted 17 agencies, there are no digital intercepts proving that Russian state operatives hacked the DNC and Podesta emails. Period.

Yet when it comes to anything that even remotely smacks of "meddling" in the US election campaign, that's all she wrote.

There is nothing else of moment, and most especially not the alleged phishing expeditions directed at 20 or so state election boards. Most of these have been discredited, denied by local officials or were simply the work of everyday hackers looking for voter registration lists that could be sold.

The patently obvious point here is that in America there is no on-line network of voting machines on either an intra-state or interstate basis. And that fact renders the whole election machinery hacking meme null and void. Not even the treacherous Russians are stupid enough to waste their time trying to hack that which is unhackable.

In that vein, the Facebook ad buying scheme is even more ridiculous. In the context of an election campaign in which upwards of $7 billion of spending was reported by candidates and their committees to the FEC, and during which easily double that amount was spent by independent committees and issue campaigns, the notion that just $44,000 of Facebook ads made any difference to anything is not worthy of adult thought.

And, yes, out of the ballyhooed $100,000 of Facebook ads, the majority occurred after the election was over and none of them named candidates, anyway. The ads consisted of issue messages that reflected all points on the political spectrum from pro-choice to anti-gun control.

And even this so-called effort at "polarizing" the American electorate was "discovered" only after Facebook failed to find any "Russian-linked" ads during its first two searches. Instead, this complete drivel was detected only after the Senate's modern day Joseph McCarthy, Sen. Mark Warner, who is the vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and a leading legislator on Internet regulation, showed up on Mark Zuckerberg's doorstep at Facebook headquarters.

In any event, we can be sure there are no NSA intercepts proving that the Russians hacked the Dem emails for one simple reason: They would have been leaked long ago by the vast network of Imperial City operatives plotting to bring the Donald down.

Moreover, the original architect and godfather of NSA's vast spying apparatus, William Binney, has essentially proved that the DNC emails were leaked by an insider who downloaded them on a memory stick. By conducting his own experiments, he showed that the known download speed of one batch of DNC emails could not have occurred over the Internet from a remote location in Russia or anywhere else on the planet, and actually matched what was possible only via a local USB-connected thumb drive.

So the real meaning of the Strzok/Gates text messages is straight foreword. There was a conspiracy to prevent Trump's election, and then after the shocking results of November 8, this campaign morphed into an intensified effort to discredit the winner.

For instance, Susan Rice got Obama to lower the classification level of the information obtained from the Trump campaign intercepts and other dirt-gathering actions by the Intelligence Community (IC)--- so that it could be disseminated more readily to all Washington intelligence agencies.

In short order, of course, the IC was leaking like a sieve, thereby paving the way for the post-election hysteria and the implication that any contact with a Russian--even one living in Brooklyn-- must be collusion. And that included calls to the Russian ambassador by the president-elect's own national security advisor designate.

Should there by any surprise, therefore, that it turns out the Andrew McCabe bushwhacked General Flynn on January 24 when he called to say that FBI agents were on the way to the White House for what Flynn presumed to be more security clearance work with his incipient staff.

No at all. The FBI team was there to interrogate Flynn about the transcripts of his perfectly appropriate and legal conversations with Ambassador Kislyak about two matters of state----the UN resolution on Israel and the spiteful new sanctions on certain Russian citizens that Obama announced on December 28 in a fit of pique over the Dems election loss.

And that insidious team of FBI gotcha cops was led by none other than......Peter Strzok!

But after all the recent leaks---and these text messages are just the tip of the iceberg-----the die is now cast. Either the Deep State and its minions and collaborators in the media and the Republican party, too, will soon succeed in putting Mike Pence into the Oval Office, or the Imperial City is about ready to break-out in vicious partisan warfare like never before.

Either way, economic and fiscal governance is about ready to collapse entirely, making the tax bill a kind of last hurrah before they mayhem really begins.

In that context, selling the rip may become one of the most profitable speculations ever imagined.

CuttingEdge -> The_Juggernaut , Dec 19, 2017 2:05 AM

Not sure why Stockman went off on a tangent about Trump's innumerate economic strategy - kinda dilutes from an otherwise informative piece for anyone who hasn't a handle on the underhand shit that's been hitting the fan in recent months. Its like he has to have a go about it no matter what the main theme. Like PCR and "insouciance". And then there's the texting...

Clue yourself in, David.

A very small percentage of the public are actually informed about what is really going down. Those that visit ZH or your website. Fox is the only pro-Trump mainstream TV news outlet, and as to the NYT, WP et al? The media disinformation complex keep the rest in the matrix, and it has been very easy to see in action over the last year or so because it has been so well co-ordinated (and totally fabricated).

Given the blatant and contemptous avoidance of the truth by the MSM (the current litany of seditious/treasonous actions being a case in point), it is fair to say that Trump's tweets provide a very real public service - focussing the (otherwise ignorant) public's attention on many things the aforementioned cunts (I'll include Google and FaecesBook) divert from like the plague (and making them look utter slime in the process).

Don't knock it

A Sentinel -> BennyBoy , Dec 19, 2017 2:23 AM

I do respect stockman but here's bullshit-call #1: he says that the deep state doesn't like the divisiveness he causes: bush certainly did that and Obama' did so at an order of magnitude higher. I don't believe that the left is more upset by trump than we were by Barry- we're just not a bunch of sniveling, narcissistic babies like they are.

redmudhooch -> BennyBoy , Dec 19, 2017 1:14 PM

Hondurans accuse US of election meddling

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/12/hondurans-accuse-election-meddling...

The US embassy in Honduras has been surrounded by protesters infuriated by the three-week-wait for the definitive result of the presidential election.

Demonstrators accuse the US of meddling in last month's vote which both candidates say they won.

Wage Slave 927 -> shitshitshit , Dec 19, 2017 1:45 AM

When the details of the FISA warrant application are revealed, it will be like a megaton-class munition detonating, and the Deep State will bear the brunt of destruction.

enough of this , Dec 18, 2017 11:19 PM

The Comey - Strzok Duet satire:

http://investmentwatchblog.com/the-comey-strzok-duet-on-the-eve-of-the-c...

SheHunter , Dec 18, 2017 11:25 PM

For those of you who have not yet discovered it Mr. Stockman's Contra Corner is a hands-down great blog well worth a nightly read.

zagzigga -> Mini-Me , Dec 18, 2017 11:48 PM

Similar mass deception was in play to start the Iraq war as well. Constant bombardment led to public consensus and even the liberal New York Times endorsed the war. Whenever we see mass hysteria about something new, we should just go with the flow and not ask any questions at all. It is best for retaining sanity in this dumbed down and getting more dumber world.

Anunnaki , Dec 18, 2017 11:31 PM

Susan Rice and Obama should be indicted for illegally wiretapping Trump Towers for the express purpose of finding oppo research to help Hellary's late term abortiion of a campaign

Tapeworm -> Anunnaki , Dec 19, 2017 8:25 AM

This one is deeper but well laid out. Comey & Mueller Ignored McCabe's Ties to Russian Crime Figures & His Reported Tampering in Russian FBI Cases, Files

https://truepundit.com/comey-mueller-ignored-mccabes-ties-to-russian-cri...

I damned near insist that y'all read this one. Please???

Cardinal Fang , Dec 18, 2017 11:40 PM

Great read, loved the 'Imperial City's immune system' analogy...

I disagree about the economy though.

It feels strange to me that the architect of the Reagan Revolution is unable to see the makings of another revolution, the Trump Revolution.

We have had 10-20 years of pent up demand in the economy and instead of electing another neo-Marxist Alynski acolyte, the American people elected a hard charging anti-establishment bull in a China shop.

Surely Dave can see the potential.

It kills me when people are surprised by a 12 month, 5000 point run up on Wall Street.

For God's sake the United States was run by a fucking commie for 8 years, what the fuck did you think was gonna happen?

Jeez

GoldHermit , Dec 18, 2017 11:58 PM

America is divided and will remain divided. I think it will last at least for the next 50 years, maybe longer. The best way out is to limit the federal government and give each state more responsibility. States can succeed or fail on their own. People will be free to move where they want.

Not My Real Name -> GoldHermit , Dec 19, 2017 1:21 AM

"The best way out is to limit the federal government and give each state more responsibility."

Oh, you mean follow the Constitution as it was written. Good one, Hermit!

bh2 , Dec 19, 2017 12:01 AM

Somewhere there is a FISA judge who should be defrocked and exposed as a fraud. No sober judge would accept such evidence for any purpose, much less authorizing government snooping on a major party candidate for president.

MrSteve -> bh2 , Dec 19, 2017 12:29 AM

This makes FISA a totalitarian joke and that should be investigated.

RonBananas , Dec 19, 2017 4:51 AM

The CIA holds all the videos from Jeff Epstein's Island (20 documented trips by Bill, 6 documented trips by Hillary), I'm sure Bill doing a 12 year old, Hillary and Huma doing an 8 year old girl together, etc. So what are they willing to do for the CIA? Anything at any cost, getting caught red handed with a dossier is chump change when you look at the big picture..they don't care and will do anything...ANYTHING to get rid of Trump.

This is the only reason they are so frantic. There is absolutely no other reason they would play at this level.

Pol Pot -> RonBananas , Dec 19, 2017 4:57 AM

Correct on all except it's the Mossad and not the CIA who ran flight Epstein.

shutterbug , Dec 19, 2017 5:47 AM

Trump is gone in a few months or the DoJ, FBI and all others connected to FBI-gate are prosecuted...

Session's (in-)action will be crucial to one of these paths...

Stud Duck , Dec 19, 2017 6:42 AM

As always, Dave puts it all into prospective for even the brain dead. Ya think Joe and his gang will be talking about this article on their morning talk show today?? I wonder how Brezenski's daughter is going to tell daddy that the gig is up and they may want to look into packing a boogie bag just to play it safe?

David Stockman is a flame of hope in a world of dark machievellian thought!

Occams_Razor_Trader , Dec 19, 2017 7:25 AM

Why did the alt media and the msm all stop reportinmg that McCabe's wife recieved 700 thousand dollars from Terry McAulife (former Clinton campaign manager times 2!) for a Virginia State Senate run? Quid pro quo? Oh no, never the up and up DemonRats.

So when I hear that the conversation was held in McCabe's office- I want to puke first then start building the gallows.

MATA HAIRY , Dec 19, 2017 7:34 AM

fucken brilliant article!! There is a lot I don't like about trump (some of which stockman discusses above), but as a retired govt worker, I can tell you that he right about what he is saying here.

insanelysane , Dec 19, 2017 8:14 AM

One little tidbit that has been lost in all of this:

If the FBI was willing to use their power to back Hillary and defeat Trump at the national level, what did they try to do in McCabe's wife's state senate campaign? She is a pediatrician and she ran for state senate. ??? WTF is that about? She's not only a doctor but a doctor for children. Those people are usually wired to help people. Yet she was going to for-go being a doctor for a state senate position. ??? And the DNC forked over $700,000 to put her on the map.

I'm sure the people meeting daily in Andy's office were not pleased with the voter resistance to his wife and to Hillary. The FBI needs to be shut down. They have become an opposition research firm for the DNC. Even if they can't find dirt on candidates using the NSA database, they are able to tap that database to find out political strategies in real time on opposition The fish is rotten from the head down to the tail.

unklemunky , Dec 19, 2017 8:20 AM

No matter what article you read here, and don't get me wrong, I love the insight, but every fucking article is "it's all over. America is doomed, the petro dollar days are over, China China China. It's getting a bit old. The charts and graphs about stock market collapse......it becoming an old record that needs changed. If I say it's going to rain every fucking day, at some point I will be right. That doesn't make me a genius....it makes me persistent.

insanelysane , Dec 19, 2017 8:24 AM

It's a Deep State mess and Sessions is trying his best as he cowers in a corner sucking his thumb.

If they continue to go after Trump, the FBI is going to be found guilty of violating the Hatch Act by exonerating Hillary. See burner phones. See writing the conclusion in May when the investigation supposedly ended with Hillary's interview on July 3rd. The FBI will also be exposed for sedition as they then carried out the phony Russiagate investigation as their "insurance policy."

However, they have created an expectation with the left that Trump and his minions will be brought to "justice." If we thought the Left didn't handle losing the election well, they will not be pleased at losing Russiagate.

MrBoompi , Dec 19, 2017 4:25 PM

How dare anyone contradict or go against the wishes of ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, or MSNBC? Don't you know they understand what's best for us?

[Dec 20, 2017] It seems like the intelligence agencies are spending more time monitoring politicians and public than Al Queda.

Notable quotes:
"... Freedom Watch lawyer Larry Klayman has a whistle-blower who has stated on the record, publicly, he has 47 hard drives with over 600,000,00 pages of secret CIA documents that detail all the domestic spying operations, and likely much much more. ..."
"... The rabbit hole goes very deep here. Attorney Klayman has stated he has been trying to out this for 2 years, and was stonewalled by swamp creatures, so he threatened to go public this week. Several very interesting videos, and a public letter, are out there, detailing all this. Nunes very likely saw his own conversations transcripted from surveillance taken at Trump Tower (he was part of the transition team), and realized the jig was up. Melania has moved out of Trump Tower to stay elsewhere, I am sure after finding out that many people in Washington where watching them at home in their private residence, whichi is also why Pres Trump sent out those famous angry tweets 2 weeks ago. Democrats on the Committee (and many others) are liars, and very possibly traitors, which is probably why Nunes neglected to inform them. Nunes did follow proper procedures, notifying Ryan first etc, you can ignore the MSM bluster there ..observe Nunes body language in the 2 videos of his dual press briefings he gave today, he appears shocked, angry, disturbed etc. ..."
"... This all stems from Obama's Jan 16 signing of the order broadening "co-operation" between the NSA and everybody else in Washington, so that mid-level analysts at almost any agency could now look at raw NSA intercepts, that is where all the "leaks" and "unmasking" are coming from. ..."
"... AG Lynch, Obama, and countless others knew, or should have known, all about this, but I am sure they will play the usual "I was too stupid too know what was going on in my own organization" card. ..."
Mar 23, 2017 |
fresno dan March 22, 2017 at 6:56 pm

So I see where Nunes in a ZeroHedge posting says that there might have been "incidental surveillance" of "Trump" (?Trump associates? ?Trump tower? ?Trump campaign?)
Now to the average NC reader, it kinda goes without saying. But I don't think Trump understands the scope of US government "surveillance" and I don't think the average citizen, certainly not the average Trump supporter, does either – the nuances and subtleties of it – the supposed "safeguards".

I can understand the rationale for it .but this goes to show that when you give people an opportunity to use secret information for their own purposes .they will use secret information for their own purposes.

And at some point, the fact of the matter that the law regarding the "incidental" leaking appears to have been broken, and that this leaking IMHO was purposefully broken for political purposes .is going to come to the fore. Like bringing up "fake news" – some of these people on the anti Trump side seem not just incapable of playing 11th dimensional chess, they seem incapable of winning tic tac toe .

Was Obama behind it? I doubt it and I don't think it would be provable. But it seems like the intelligence agencies are spending more time monitoring repubs than Al queda. Now maybe repubs are worse than Al queda – I think its time we have a real debate instead of the pseudo debates and start asking how useful the CIA is REALLY. (and we can ask how useful repubs and dems are too)

craazyboy March 22, 2017 at 8:45 pm

If Obama taped the information, stuffed the tape in one of Michelle's shoeboxes, then hid the shoebox in the Whitehouse basement, he could be in trouble. Ivanka is sure to search any shoeboxes she finds.

Irredeemable Deplorable March 23, 2017 at 2:57 am

Oh the Trump supporters are all over this, don't worry. There are many more levels to what is going on than what is reported in the fakenews MSM.

Adm Roger of NSA made his November visit to Trump Tower, after a SCIF was installed there, to .be interviewed for a job uh-huh yeah.

Freedom Watch lawyer Larry Klayman has a whistle-blower who has stated on the record, publicly, he has 47 hard drives with over 600,000,00 pages of secret CIA documents that detail all the domestic spying operations, and likely much much more.

The rabbit hole goes very deep here. Attorney Klayman has stated he has been trying to out this for 2 years, and was stonewalled by swamp creatures, so he threatened to go public this week. Several very interesting videos, and a public letter, are out there, detailing all this. Nunes very likely saw his own conversations transcripted from surveillance taken at Trump Tower (he was part of the transition team), and realized the jig was up. Melania has moved out of Trump Tower to stay elsewhere, I am sure after finding out that many people in Washington where watching them at home in their private residence, whichi is also why Pres Trump sent out those famous angry tweets 2 weeks ago. Democrats on the Committee (and many others) are liars, and very possibly traitors, which is probably why Nunes neglected to inform them. Nunes did follow proper procedures, notifying Ryan first etc, you can ignore the MSM bluster there ..observe Nunes body language in the 2 videos of his dual press briefings he gave today, he appears shocked, angry, disturbed etc.

You all should be happy, because although Pres Trump has been vindicated here on all counts, the more important story for you is that the old line Democratic Party looks about to sink under the wieght of thier own lies and illegalities. This all stems from Obama's Jan 16 signing of the order broadening "co-operation" between the NSA and everybody else in Washington, so that mid-level analysts at almost any agency could now look at raw NSA intercepts, that is where all the "leaks" and "unmasking" are coming from.

AG Lynch, Obama, and countless others knew, or should have known, all about this, but I am sure they will play the usual "I was too stupid too know what was going on in my own organization" card.

Lambert Strether Post author March 23, 2017 at 4:08 am

> Was Obama behind it? I doubt it and I don't think it would be provable

I think he knew about it. After fulminating about weedy technicalities, let me just say that Obama's EO12333 expansion made sure that whatever anti-Trump information got picked up by the intelligence community could be spread widely, and would be hard to trace back to an individual source .

[Dec 19, 2017] I won t be optimistic about AmeriKKKa until Russia and/or China announce a Zero Tolerance policy toward US military adventurism in countries on the borders of Russia/China. But this will never happen

The overall direction of the empire was never going to change with or without Trump and we are seeing it play out now.
Notable quotes:
"... Ok, he has been called the most pro Israel President by Netanyahu himself, his administration just recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, something even most ardent analysts in here did not predict. His son-in-law who he listens to is a pure Zionist and the neo-con lap dog Hailey is quite clearly gearing the audience up for a confrontation with Iran. One way or another....watch out 2018. ..."
"... But no he is not controlled enough by the Zionists? The overall direction of the empire was never going to change with or without Trump and we are seeing it play out now. ..."
"... America is a particularly vivid example of indoctrinated groupthink and I just cannot see anyone/movement espousing alternative ways of operating getting traction. ..."
"... Simply pay attention to what those monsters actually do. The Trump Administration has continued and expanded US domestic and foreign policy precisely as has his predecessors. NATO is bigger, better funded, and more heavily deployed along Russia's "near abroad" than at any time in history. The Pentagon now admits we have 2,000 to 5,000 active "boots on the ground" in Syria, and they have no intention of ever leaving. Goldman Sachs is embedded in every Executive Branch office. Taxes on the wealthy and corporations are being slashed soon to be followed in social services, as neo-liberal economics remains the god worshipped by all. ..."
Dec 19, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

ben , Dec 19, 2017 10:10:35 PM | 53

"I won't be optimistic about AmeriKKKa until Russia and/or China announce a Zero Tolerance policy toward US military adventurism in countries on the borders of Russia/China - by promising to bomb the continental USA if it attacks a Russia/China neighbor.

Imo it's absolutely essential to light a big bonfire under AmeriKKKa's Impunity. And it would be delightful, sobering, and a big boost for Peace and Diplomacy to hear the Yankees whingeing about being threatened by entities quite capable of following through on their threats."

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Dec 19, 2017 11:10:32 AM | 14

Hell yes, I'd love that scenario, but never happen. Too much $to be made by kissing up to the empire.

Sad Canuck @ 31: Abso fukken 'lutely!!

b, you better change what you're smoken' if you believe the empire is going isolationist.

Alexander P , Dec 19, 2017 10:17:08 PM | 54
@48 They did not want him lol? So many comments in here make me chuckle.

Ok, he has been called the most pro Israel President by Netanyahu himself, his administration just recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, something even most ardent analysts in here did not predict. His son-in-law who he listens to is a pure Zionist and the neo-con lap dog Hailey is quite clearly gearing the audience up for a confrontation with Iran. One way or another....watch out 2018.

But no he is not controlled enough by the Zionists? The overall direction of the empire was never going to change with or without Trump and we are seeing it play out now.

dh , Dec 19, 2017 10:27:40 PM | 55
@26 "I think you would find that the vast majority of Americans would be quite happy to disengage militarily from the rest of the world, and put resources at work on domestic problems."

Disengage militarily? I would like to think so sleepy but why do they keep getting so involved internationally? Instead of concentrating on domestic issues putting 'America first' seems to mean bullying any country that doesn't do what it's told.

psychohistorian , Dec 19, 2017 10:42:31 PM | 56
@ Debsisdead with the end of his comment
"
America is a particularly vivid example of indoctrinated groupthink and I just cannot see anyone/movement espousing alternative ways of operating getting traction.
"

There are those that say the same (vivid example of indoctrinated groupthink) about China, so there might be some competition in our world yet.

I , for one, want to end private finance and maybe give the China way a go. Anyone else? I did future studies in college and am intrigued by planning processes at the scale that China has done 13 of....their 5-year plans.

May we live to see structural change in the way our species comports itself......soon, I hope

Daniel , Dec 19, 2017 10:51:15 PM | 57
NemesisCalling, I suggest paying little to know attention to Trump's (or any other politician/oligarch) platitudes.

Simply pay attention to what those monsters actually do. The Trump Administration has continued and expanded US domestic and foreign policy precisely as has his predecessors. NATO is bigger, better funded, and more heavily deployed along Russia's "near abroad" than at any time in history. The Pentagon now admits we have 2,000 to 5,000 active "boots on the ground" in Syria, and they have no intention of ever leaving. Goldman Sachs is embedded in every Executive Branch office. Taxes on the wealthy and corporations are being slashed soon to be followed in social services, as neo-liberal economics remains the god worshipped by all.

I remain amazed that people who KNOW that the MSM lies to us constantly, about things big and small, still believe with all their hearts the MSM narrative that Trump is an "outsider" whom the Establishment hates and has fought against ever since they gave him $5 billion in free advertising.

Don Bacon , Dec 19, 2017 10:52:39 PM | 58
Disengage? In 2017, U.S. Special Operations forces, including Navy SEALs and Army Green Berets, deployed to 149 countries around the world, according to figures provided to TomDispatch by U.S. Special Operations Command. That's around 75 percent of the nations on the planet.

What the vast majority of Americans might want has been cast aside by this president after he got their votes. There go hope and change again, damn.

[Dec 16, 2017] Mohammed bin Salman's ill-advised ventures have weakened Saudi Arabia, by Patrick Cockburn - The Unz Review

Notable quotes:
"... We are the ones who have been fomenting destabilization all throughout the region some of whom would have been allies of the Saudis in some common cause. ..."
"... I think there are more effective choices concerning Yemen and Qatar. But figuring out what the choices are is not going to be easy. And harder still perhaps is implementing them. As for backfire -- we are just not in a position to judge, at the moment. Anyone hoping that another major state collapses in that region is probably miscalculating the value of instability. ..."
Dec 16, 2017 | www.unz.com

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) of Saudi Arabia is the undoubted Middle East man of the year, but his great impact stems more from his failures than his successes. He is accused of being Machiavellian in clearing his way to the throne by the elimination of opponents inside and outside the royal family. But, when it comes to Saudi Arabia's position in the world, his miscalculations remind one less of the cunning manoeuvres of Machiavelli and more of the pratfalls of Inspector Clouseau.

Again and again, the impulsive and mercurial young prince has embarked on ventures abroad that achieve the exact opposite of what he intended. When his father became king in early 2015, he gave support to a rebel offensive in Syria that achieved some success but provoked full-scale Russian military intervention, which in turn led to the victory of President Bashar al-Assad. At about the same time, MbS launched Saudi armed intervention, mostly through airstrikes, in the civil war in Yemen. The action was code-named Operation Decisive Storm, but two and a half years later the war is still going on, has killed 10,000 people and brought at least seven million Yemenis close to starvation.

The Crown Prince is focusing Saudi foreign policy on aggressive opposition to Iran and its regional allies, but the effect of his policies has been to increase Iranian influence. The feud with Qatar, in which Saudi Arabia and the UAE play the leading role, led to a blockade being imposed five months ago which is still going on. The offence of the Qataris was to have given support to al-Qaeda type movements – an accusation that was true enough but could be levelled equally at Saudi Arabia – and to having links with Iran. The net result of the anti-Qatari campaign has been to drive the small but fabulously wealthy state further into the Iranian embrace.

Saudi relations with other countries used to be cautious, conservative and aimed at preserving the status quo. But today its behaviour is zany, unpredictable and often counterproductive: witness the bizarre episode in November when the Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri was summoned to Riyadh, not allowed to depart and forced to resign his position. The objective of this ill-considered action on the part of Saudi Arabia was apparently to weaken Hezbollah and Iran in Lebanon, but has in practice empowered both of them.

What all these Saudi actions have in common is that they are based on a naïve presumption that "a best-case scenario" will inevitably be achieved. There is no "Plan B" and not much of a "Plan A": Saudi Arabia is simply plugging into conflicts and confrontations it has no idea how to bring to an end.

MbS and his advisers may imagine that it does not matter what Yemenis, Qataris or Lebanese think because President Donald Trump and Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and chief Middle East adviser, are firmly in their corner. "I have great confidence in King Salman and the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, they know exactly what they are doing," tweeted Trump in early November after the round up and confinement of some 200 members of the Saudi elite. "Some of those they are harshly treating have been 'milking' their country for years!" Earlier he had tweeted support for the attempt to isolate Qatar as a supporter of "terrorism".

But Saudi Arabia is learning that support from the White House these days brings fewer advantages than in the past. The attention span of Donald Trump is notoriously short, and his preoccupation is with domestic US politics: his approval does not necessarily mean the approval of other parts of the US government. The State Department and the Pentagon may disapprove of the latest Trump tweet and seek to ignore or circumvent it. Despite his positive tweet, the US did not back the Saudi confrontation with Qatar or the attempt to get Mr Hariri to resign as prime minister of Lebanon.

For its part, the White House is finding out the limitations of Saudi power. MbS was not able to get the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to agree to a US-sponsored peace plan that would have given Israel very much and the Palestinians very little. The idea of a Saudi-Israeli covert alliance against Iran may sound attractive to some Washington think tanks, but does not make much sense on the ground. The assumption that Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and the promise to move the US embassy there, would have no long-term effects on attitudes in the Middle East is beginning to look shaky.

It is Saudi Arabia – and not its rivals – that is becoming isolated. The political balance of power in the region changed to its disadvantage over the last two years. Some of this predates the elevation of MbS: by 2015 it was becoming clear that a combination of Sunni states led by Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey was failing to carry out regime change in Damascus. This powerful grouping has fragmented, with Turkey and Qatar moving closer to the Russian-backed Iranian-led axis, which is the dominant power in the northern tier of the Middle East between Afghanistan and the Mediterranean.

If the US and Saudi Arabia wanted to do anything about this new alignment, they have left it too late. Other states in the Middle East are coming to recognise that there are winners and losers, and have no wish to be on the losing side. When President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called a meeting this week in Istanbul of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, to which 57 Muslim states belong, to reject and condemn the US decision on Jerusalem, Saudi Arabia only sent a junior representative to this normally moribund organisation. But other state leaders like Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, King Abdullah of Jordan and the emirs of Kuwait and Qatar, among many others, were present. They recognised East Jerusalem as the Palestinian capital and demanded the US reverse its decision.

MbS is in the tradition of leaders all over the world who show Machiavellian skills in securing power within their own countries. But their success domestically gives them an exaggerated sense of their own capacity in dealing with foreign affairs, and this can have calamitous consequences. Saddam Hussein was very acute in seizing power in Iraq but ruined his country by starting two wars he could not win.

Mistakes made by powerful leaders are often explained by their own egomania and ignorance, supplemented by flattering but misleading advice from their senior lieutenants. The first steps in foreign intervention are often alluring because a leader can present himself as a national standard bearer, justifying his monopoly of power at home. Such a patriotic posture is a shortcut to popularity, but there is always a political bill to pay if confrontations and wars end in frustration and defeat. MbS has unwisely decided that Saudi Arabia should play a more active and aggressive role at the very moment that its real political and economic strength is ebbing. He is overplaying his hand and making too many enemies.

Svigor , December 16, 2017 at 6:24 am GMT
The only hope someone as cloistered as a Saudi crown prince can have of being an effective ruler is either by being an extraordinary person (very curious, love learning for its own sake, etc), or be at least moderately intelligent, and listen to consensus.

For its part, the White House is finding out the limitations of Saudi power. MbS was not able to get the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas to agree to a US-sponsored peace plan that would have given Israel very much and the Palestinians very little.

Lies and Jew-hatred. Everyone knows that despite their infamous sharpness in business dealings, the world's longest history of legalism, a completely self-centered and ethnocentric culture, and their longstanding abuse of the Palestinians, every single deal the Jews try to sign with the Palestinians heavily favors the Palestinians, and the only reason the Palestinians won't sign is because they're psychotic Jew-haters.

The idea of a Saudi-Israeli covert alliance against Iran may sound attractive to some Washington think tanks, but does not make much sense on the ground. The assumption that Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and the promise to move the US embassy there, would have no long-term effects on attitudes in the Middle East is beginning to look shaky.

Hey, you skipped the part where you did anything to support the idea that a Zionist-Saudi alliance doesn't make sense.

K, let's all wait for Art Deco to come in and spew some Hasbara then tell us he's not a Zhid.

Avery , December 16, 2017 at 6:28 am GMT
{Mohammed Bin Salman's Ill-Advised Ventures Have Weakened Saudi Arabia}

GREAT news. Hopefully the evil, cannibalistic terrorism spreading so-called 'kingdom' of desert nomads will continue on its path of self destruction, and disappear as a functioning state.

Tammy , December 16, 2017 at 9:51 am GMT
Once more a Saudi Firster was detained in KSA. This time the owner of Arab Bank, a Jordanian with dual Jordan and KSA citizenship. Saad Hariri a Lebanese was the first one who was dual Lebanon and KSA citizens and who lost his diplomatic immunity in KSA.

I wonder if the Israel Firster who are dual citizens are now sweating? Wonder, if Netanyahu is still an USA citizen? Happy days are coming back .

Jake , December 16, 2017 at 12:31 pm GMT
"Saudi relations with other countries used to be cautious, conservative and aimed at preserving the status quo. But today its behaviour is zany, unpredictable and often counterproductive:"

Saudis allied with Israelis, backed by the wealth and might of the US? Guaranteed to bring out the worst in Saudis (which is bad enough at base) and Israelis and Americans.

cbrown , December 16, 2017 at 1:07 pm GMT
Machiavellian skills really ? I'd see 6 months ahead if this was true. MBS just made a show that they are a de facto Mafia not a businessman to the whole world. I'd bet he just quashed a lot of efforts and money spent on raising the racing horses of the saud monarch and in turn destroyed some serious connection that were vital but aren't readily available to them. Just how potent money they thought it would be ? Sure all is businesses and it will work so long you can pay the right person. The problem is where to find the right person.
Joe Hide , December 16, 2017 at 1:53 pm GMT
Come on Cockburn, look at the Big Picture, not the little one. This the old fallacy of looking at the trees and not seeing the forest. What is happening in Saudi Arabia is a piece of the much bigger puzzle being put together over years, decades, and maybe generations.

The psychopaths at the top of the power pyramid have been engaged in this hidden global game for generations, it's always been part of their longterm strategy.

Very recently Highly intelligent, realistic, morally and ethically centered, and practically oriented individuals, have also formed secret powerful groups to arrive at beneficial goals for humanity. These truly Good Guys have learned that the criminal, murderous, lecherous, degenerate, deviate, psychopaths in positions of great power are irredeemable and should be eliminated where possible. What you see in Saudi Arabia is merely a tree, not the forest. Just the same, to the author, keep writing but research the subject much much more before you put pen to paper, as you do have apersuasive and talented style.

EliteCommInc. , December 16, 2017 at 2:25 pm GMT
I am going to come to the defence here.

1. We have been screaming about the unintended consequences of Saudi giving to charities since 2004.

2. We removed the buffer of Iraq from Iranian ambitions (as unclear as it may be debated) creating issues not only for Saudi Arabia, but others in the region as well.

3. We are the ones who have been fomenting destabilization all throughout the region some of whom would have been allies of the Saudis in some common cause.

4. No one is escaping the negative consequences of our Iraq invasion.

5. We have been complaining about rogue and irresponsible wealthy Muslims ad naseum.

Now when someone steps up the plate to meet the challenges many caused by the US – our first complaint is not astute counsel but rather a series of articles highlighting failure. I would not contend that I support every choice. But I think we should at least take a wait and see perspective. He is operating in a region rife with intrigue and ambitions, not to mention -- Muslims bent on spreading Islam as one would expect a muslim to do. Frankly I am not sure how one governs in the arena of the middle east – especially now – it's a region in major shift.

I think there are more effective choices concerning Yemen and Qatar. But figuring out what the choices are is not going to be easy. And harder still perhaps is implementing them. As for backfire -- we are just not in a position to judge, at the moment. Anyone hoping that another major state collapses in that region is probably miscalculating the value of instability.

DESERT FOX , December 16, 2017 at 2:39 pm GMT
The Saudis are the U.S. and ISISRAELS puppet, they do what the Zionist neocons tell them to do, which is to be the Zionist agent provocateur in the Mideast.

The Saudis have helped the U.S. and ISISRAEL create and finance ISIS aka AL CIADA and for this the Saudis can rot in hell, and by the way the reason for the attack on Yemen is that the Saudis oil reserves are diminishing and so the Saudis figured they would take Yemens oil.

The main creators of ISIS aka AL CIADA are the U.S. and ISISRAEL and BRITAIN ie the CIA and the MOSSAD and MI6.

Anon , Disclaimer December 16, 2017 at 4:55 pm GMT
The irony is that Saudis, before MbS and during his dominance, are making exactly the same suicidal blunders as the US. No enemy could have damaged the US and its positions in the world more than its Presidents and the Congress in the last 17 years. The same is true for KSA, with the same mistakes being made: undermining the financial system of the country, global over-reach that forces all opposition to unite, crazy military expenses, etc.
Art , December 16, 2017 at 5:57 pm GMT
Sorry, but these people dressed in 14 century robes and garb, cannot be taken seriously. They look like play-people feigning a furious grandeur. Without their petrochemicals – they would be laughed at by everyone – including their own kind. They should not be respected because they are religious – they are old world tribalist thugs hiding behind a religion. They use and abuse their people – holding them back from modernity.

Think Peace -- Art

Anon , Disclaimer December 16, 2017 at 6:17 pm GMT
@Z-man

Thing is, Saudi regime was rotten through and through before MbS, remains rotten under his rule, and will remain rotten when some other jerk kicks him out and establishes himself at the helm.

neutral , December 16, 2017 at 6:31 pm GMT
It does not matter how smart Saudi Arabia is with their foreign policy now, they became allies with Israel, that means Saudi Arabia can never claim to be a power working for the interests of Islam. MBS is a marked man, no matter how many purges he undertakes in his army, or even if he just hires Pakistani soldiers, if he has Muslims fighting in his army he will always be carrying the risk of being assassinated by somebody who has seen him cross the red line and become pro jewish.
Svigor , December 16, 2017 at 6:51 pm GMT
I don't really understand the constant hopes that the Saudi regime will fall. How is that any different from cheering Bush's disastrous regime change in Iraq? How will the fallout be any better in Arabia than it was in Iraq, Libya, etc?
cbrown , December 16, 2017 at 7:43 pm GMT
@Svigor

It's not that there's a constant hope it's just they'd fall in the near future and fortunately it will balance the geopolitical power in the future. Their fallout aren't going to be as bad unless the people pulling their string persistent in keeping them in power.

neutral , December 16, 2017 at 8:14 pm GMT
@Svigor

It will be better because it means Israel loses an ally, also with the Saudis gone Egypt will also be unable to keep their population in check. The fall of the Saudis means that Israel will be surrounded by regimes that oppose it...

someone , December 17, 2017 at 12:14 am GMT
Another Junior Gaddafi that is going to ruin his entire nation while intoxicated with NYT or other Western media coverage. He talks of corruption after spending 1.1 Billion dollars on a yacht and a painting.
Netenyahu is much the same. He has weakened Israel immensely by playing the scary wolf.
anon , Disclaimer December 17, 2017 at 12:33 am GMT
@neutral

South Africa was never in danger from their hostile neighbors . They committed suicide. Egypt cannot control its own territory let alone start wars , ditto for Syria and Lebanon. Jordan is a client state of Israel and lacks a functioning army. ...

[Dec 15, 2017] Rise and Decline of the Welfare State, by James Petras

Highly recommended!
Petras did not mention that it was Carter who started neoliberalization of the USA. The subsequent election of Reagan signified the victory of neoliberalism in this country or "quite coup". The death of New Deal from this point was just a matter of time. Labor relations drastically changes and war on union and atomization of workforce are a norm.
Welfare state still exists but only for corporation and MIC. Otherwise the New Deal society is almost completely dismanted.
It is true that "The ' New Deal' was, at best, a de facto ' historical compromise' between the capitalist class and the labor unions, mediated by the Democratic Party elite. It was a temporary pact in which the unions secured legal recognition while the capitalists retained their executive prerogatives." But the key factor in this compromise was the existence of the USSR as a threat to the power of capitalists in the USA. when the USSR disappeared cannibalistic instincts of the US elite prevailed over caution.
Notable quotes:
"... The earlier welfare 'reforms' and the current anti-welfare legislation and austerity practices have been accompanied by a series of endless imperial wars, especially in the Middle East. ..."
"... In the 1940's through the 1960's, world and regional wars (Korea and Indo-China) were combined with significant welfare program – a form of ' social imperialism' , which 'buy off' the working class while expanding the empire. However, recent decades are characterized by multiple regional wars and the reduction or elimination of welfare programs – and a massive growth in poverty, domestic insecurity and poor health. ..."
"... modern welfare state' ..."
"... Labor unions were organized as working class strikes and progressive legislation facilitated trade union organization, elections, collective bargaining rights and a steady increase in union membership. Improved work conditions, rising wages, pension plans and benefits, employer or union-provided health care and protective legislation improved the standard of living for the working class and provided for 2 generations of upward mobility. ..."
"... Social Security legislation was approved along with workers' compensation and the forty-hour workweek. Jobs were created through federal programs (WPA, CCC, etc.). Protectionist legislation facilitated the growth of domestic markets for US manufacturers. Workplace shop steward councils organized 'on the spot' job action to protect safe working conditions. ..."
"... World War II led to full employment and increases in union membership, as well as legislation restricting workers' collective bargaining rights and enforcing wage freezes. Hundreds of thousands of Americans found jobs in the war economy but a huge number were also killed or wounded in the war. ..."
"... So-called ' right to work' ..."
"... Trade union officials signed pacts with capital: higher pay for the workers and greater control of the workplace for the bosses. Trade union officials joined management in repressing rank and file movements seeking to control technological changes by reducing hours (" thirty hours work for forty hours pay ..."
"... Trade union activists, community organizers for rent control and other grassroots movements lost both the capacity and the will to advance toward large-scale structural changes of US capitalism. Living standards improved for a few decades but the capitalist class consolidated strategic control over labor relations. While unionized workers' incomes, increased, inequalities, especially in the non-union sectors began to grow. With the end of the GI bill, veterans' access to high-quality subsidized education declined ..."
"... With the election of President Carter, social welfare in the US began its long decline. The next series of regional wars were accompanied by even greater attacks on welfare via the " Volker Plan " – freezing workers' wages as a means to combat inflation. ..."
"... Guns without butter' became the legislative policy of the Carter and Reagan Administrations. The welfare programs were based on politically fragile foundations. ..."
"... The anti-labor offensive from the ' Oval Office' intensified under President Reagan with his direct intervention firing tens of thousands of striking air controllers and arresting union leaders. Under Presidents Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush and William Clinton cost of living adjustments failed to keep up with prices of vital goods and services. Health care inflation was astronomical. Financial deregulation led to the subordination of American industry to finance and the Wall Street banks. De-industrialization, capital flight and massive tax evasion reduced labor's share of national income. ..."
"... The capitalist class followed a trajectory of decline, recovery and ascendance. Moreover, during the earlier world depression, at the height of labor mobilization and organization, the capitalist class never faced any significant political threat over its control of the commanding heights of the economy ..."
"... Hand in bloody glove' with the US Empire, the American trade unions planted the seeds of their own destruction at home. The local capitalists in newly emerging independent nations established industries and supply chains in cooperation with US manufacturers. Attracted to these sources of low-wage, violently repressed workers, US capitalists subsequently relocated their factories overseas and turned their backs on labor at home. ..."
"... President 'Bill' Clinton ravaged Russia, Yugoslavia, Iraq and Somalia and liberated Wall Street. His regime gave birth to the prototype billionaire swindlers: Michael Milken and Bernard 'Bernie' Madoff. ..."
"... Clinton converted welfare into cheap labor 'workfare', exploiting the poorest and most vulnerable and condemning the next generations to grinding poverty. Under Clinton the prison population of mostly African Americans expanded and the breakup of families ravaged the urban communities. ..."
"... President Obama transferred 2 trillion dollars to the ten biggest bankers and swindlers on Wall Street, and another trillion to the Pentagon to pursue the Democrats version of foreign policy: from Bush's two overseas wars to Obama's seven. ..."
"... Obama was elected to two terms. His liberal Democratic Party supporters swooned over his peace and justice rhetoric while swallowing his militarist escalation into seven overseas wars as well as the foreclosure of two million American householders. Obama completely failed to honor his campaign promise to reduce wage inequality between black and white wage earners while he continued to moralize to black families about ' values' . ..."
"... Obama's war against Libya led to the killing and displacement of millions of black Libyans and workers from Sub-Saharan Africa. The smiling Nobel Peace Prize President created more desperate refugees than any previous US head of state – including millions of Africans flooding Europe. ..."
"... Forty-years of anti welfare legislation and pro-business regimes paved the golden road for the election of Donald Trump ..."
"... Trump and the Republicans are focusing on the tattered remnants of the social welfare system: Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security. The remains of FDR's New Deal and LBJ's Great Society -- are on the chopping block. ..."
"... The moribund (but well-paid) labor leadership has been notable by its absence in the ensuing collapse of the social welfare state. The liberal left Democrats embraced the platitudinous Obama/Clinton team as the 'Great Society's' gravediggers, while wailing at Trump's allies for shoving the corpse of welfare state into its grave. ..."
"... Over the past forty years the working class and the rump of what was once referred to as the ' labor movement' has contributed to the dismantling of the social welfare state, voting for ' strike-breaker' Reagan, ' workfare' Clinton, ' Wall Street crash' Bush, ' Wall Street savior' Obama and ' Trickle-down' Trump. ..."
"... Gone are the days when social welfare and profitable wars raised US living standards and transformed American trade unions into an appendage of the Democratic Party and a handmaiden of Empire. The Democratic Party rescued capitalism from its collapse in the Great Depression, incorporated labor into the war economy and the post- colonial global empire, and resurrected Wall Street from the 'Great Financial Meltdown' of the 21 st century. ..."
"... The war economy no longer fuels social welfare. The military-industrial complex has found new partners on Wall Street and among the globalized multi-national corporations. Profits rise while wages fall. Low paying compulsive labor (workfare) lopped off state transfers to the poor. Technology – IT, robotics, artificial intelligence and electronic gadgets – has created the most class polarized social system in history ..."
"... "The collaboration of liberals and unions in promoting endless wars opened the door to Trump's mirage of a stateless, tax-less, ruling class." ..."
"... Corporations [now] are welfare recipients and the bigger they are, the more handouts they suck up ..."
"... Corporations not only continuously seek monopolies (with the aid and sanction of the state) but they steadily fine tune the welfare state for their benefit. In fact, in reality, welfare for prols and peasants wouldn't exist if it didn't act as a money conduit and ultimate profit center for the big money grubbers. ..."
"... The article is dismal reading, and evidence of the failings of the "unregulated" society, where the anything goes as long as you are wealthy. ..."
"... Like the Pentagon. Americans still don't readily call this welfare, but they will eventually. Defense profiteers are unions in a sense, you're either in their club Or you're in the service industry that surrounds it. ..."
Dec 13, 2017 | www.unz.com

Introduction

The American welfare state was created in 1935 and continued to develop through 1973. Since then, over a prolonged period, the capitalist class has been steadily dismantling the entire welfare state.

Between the mid 1970's to the present (2017) labor laws, welfare rights and benefits and the construction of and subsidies for affordable housing have been gutted. ' Workfare' (under President 'Bill' Clinton) ended welfare for the poor and displaced workers. Meanwhile the shift to regressive taxation and the steadily declining real wages have increased corporate profits to an astronomical degree.

What started as incremental reversals during the 1990's under Clinton has snowballed over the last two decades decimating welfare legislation and institutions.

The earlier welfare 'reforms' and the current anti-welfare legislation and austerity practices have been accompanied by a series of endless imperial wars, especially in the Middle East.

In the 1940's through the 1960's, world and regional wars (Korea and Indo-China) were combined with significant welfare program – a form of ' social imperialism' , which 'buy off' the working class while expanding the empire. However, recent decades are characterized by multiple regional wars and the reduction or elimination of welfare programs – and a massive growth in poverty, domestic insecurity and poor health.

New Deals and Big Wars

The 1930's witnessed the advent of social legislation and action, which laid the foundations of what is called the ' modern welfare state' .

Labor unions were organized as working class strikes and progressive legislation facilitated trade union organization, elections, collective bargaining rights and a steady increase in union membership. Improved work conditions, rising wages, pension plans and benefits, employer or union-provided health care and protective legislation improved the standard of living for the working class and provided for 2 generations of upward mobility.

Social Security legislation was approved along with workers' compensation and the forty-hour workweek. Jobs were created through federal programs (WPA, CCC, etc.). Protectionist legislation facilitated the growth of domestic markets for US manufacturers. Workplace shop steward councils organized 'on the spot' job action to protect safe working conditions.

World War II led to full employment and increases in union membership, as well as legislation restricting workers' collective bargaining rights and enforcing wage freezes. Hundreds of thousands of Americans found jobs in the war economy but a huge number were also killed or wounded in the war.

The post-war period witnessed a contradictory process: wages and salaries increased while legislation curtailed union rights via the Taft Hartley Act and the McCarthyist purge of leftwing trade union activists. So-called ' right to work' laws effectively outlawed unionization mostly in southern states, which drove industries to relocate to the anti-union states.

Welfare reforms, in the form of the GI bill, provided educational opportunities for working class and rural veterans, while federal-subsidized low interest mortgages encourage home-ownership, especially for veterans.

The New Deal created concrete improvements but did not consolidate labor influence at any level. Capitalists and management still retained control over capital, the workplace and plant location of production.

Trade union officials signed pacts with capital: higher pay for the workers and greater control of the workplace for the bosses. Trade union officials joined management in repressing rank and file movements seeking to control technological changes by reducing hours (" thirty hours work for forty hours pay "). Dissident local unions were seized and gutted by the trade union bosses – sometimes through violence.

Trade union activists, community organizers for rent control and other grassroots movements lost both the capacity and the will to advance toward large-scale structural changes of US capitalism. Living standards improved for a few decades but the capitalist class consolidated strategic control over labor relations. While unionized workers' incomes, increased, inequalities, especially in the non-union sectors began to grow. With the end of the GI bill, veterans' access to high-quality subsidized education declined.

While a new wave of social welfare legislation and programs began in the 1960's and early 1970's it was no longer a result of a mass trade union or workers' "class struggle". Moreover, trade union collaboration with the capitalist regional war policies led to the killing and maiming of hundreds of thousands of workers in two wars – the Korean and Vietnamese wars.

Much of social legislation resulted from the civil and welfare rights movements. While specific programs were helpful, none of them addressed structural racism and poverty.

The Last Wave of Social Welfarism

The 1960'a witnessed the greatest racial war in modern US history: Mass movements in the South and North rocked state and federal governments, while advancing the cause of civil, social and political rights. Millions of black citizens, joined by white activists and, in many cases, led by African American Viet Nam War veterans, confronted the state. At the same time, millions of students and young workers, threatened by military conscription, challenged the military and social order.

Energized by mass movements, a new wave of social welfare legislation was launched by the federal government to pacify mass opposition among blacks, students, community organizers and middle class Americans. Despite this mass popular movement, the union bosses at the AFL-CIO openly supported the war, police repression and the military, or at best, were passive impotent spectators of the drama unfolding in the nation's streets. Dissident union members and activists were the exception, as many had multiple identities to represent: African American, Hispanic, draft resisters, etc.

Under Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon, Medicare, Medicaid, OSHA, the EPA and multiple poverty programs were implemented. A national health program, expanding Medicare for all Americans, was introduced by President Nixon and sabotaged by the Kennedy Democrats and the AFL-CIO. Overall, social and economic inequalities diminished during this period.

The Vietnam War ended in defeat for the American militarist empire. This coincided with the beginning of the end of social welfare as we knew it – as the bill for militarism placed even greater demands on the public treasury.

With the election of President Carter, social welfare in the US began its long decline. The next series of regional wars were accompanied by even greater attacks on welfare via the " Volker Plan " – freezing workers' wages as a means to combat inflation.

Guns without butter' became the legislative policy of the Carter and Reagan Administrations. The welfare programs were based on politically fragile foundations.

The Debacle of Welfarism

Private sector trade union membership declined from a post-world war peak of 30% falling to 12% in the 1990's. Today it has sunk to 7%. Capitalists embarked on a massive program of closing thousands of factories in the unionized North which were then relocated to the non-unionized low wage southern states and then overseas to Mexico and Asia. Millions of stable jobs disappeared.

Following the election of 'Jimmy Carter', neither Democratic nor Republican Presidents felt any need to support labor organizations. On the contrary, they facilitated contracts dictated by management, which reduced wages, job security, benefits and social welfare.

The anti-labor offensive from the ' Oval Office' intensified under President Reagan with his direct intervention firing tens of thousands of striking air controllers and arresting union leaders. Under Presidents Carter, Reagan, George H.W. Bush and William Clinton cost of living adjustments failed to keep up with prices of vital goods and services. Health care inflation was astronomical. Financial deregulation led to the subordination of American industry to finance and the Wall Street banks. De-industrialization, capital flight and massive tax evasion reduced labor's share of national income.

The capitalist class followed a trajectory of decline, recovery and ascendance. Moreover, during the earlier world depression, at the height of labor mobilization and organization, the capitalist class never faced any significant political threat over its control of the commanding heights of the economy.

The ' New Deal' was, at best, a de facto ' historical compromise' between the capitalist class and the labor unions, mediated by the Democratic Party elite. It was a temporary pact in which the unions secured legal recognition while the capitalists retained their executive prerogatives.

The Second World War secured the economic recovery for capital and subordinated labor through a federally mandated no strike production agreement. There were a few notable exceptions: The coal miners' union organized strikes in strategic sectors and some leftist leaders and organizers encouraged slow-downs, work to rule and other in-plant actions when employers ran roughshod with special brutality over the workers. The recovery of capital was the prelude to a post-war offensive against independent labor-based political organizations. The quality of labor organization declined even as the quantity of trade union membership increased.

Labor union officials consolidated internal control in collaboration with the capitalist elite. Capitalist class-labor official collaboration was extended overseas with strategic consequences.

The post-war corporate alliance between the state and capital led to a global offensive – the replacement of European-Japanese colonial control and exploitation by US business and bankers. Imperialism was later 're-branded' as ' globalization' . It pried open markets, secured cheap docile labor and pillaged resources for US manufacturers and importers.

US labor unions played a major role by sabotaging militant unions abroad in cooperation with the US security apparatus: They worked to coopt and bribe nationalist and leftist labor leaders and supported police-state regime repression and assassination of recalcitrant militants.

' Hand in bloody glove' with the US Empire, the American trade unions planted the seeds of their own destruction at home. The local capitalists in newly emerging independent nations established industries and supply chains in cooperation with US manufacturers. Attracted to these sources of low-wage, violently repressed workers, US capitalists subsequently relocated their factories overseas and turned their backs on labor at home.

Labor union officials had laid the groundwork for the demise of stable jobs and social benefits for American workers. Their collaboration increased the rate of capitalist profit and overall power in the political system. Their complicity in the brutal purges of militants, activists and leftist union members and leaders at home and abroad put an end to labor's capacity to sustain and expand the welfare state.

Trade unions in the US did not use their collaboration with empire in its bloody regional wars to win social benefits for the rank and file workers. The time of social-imperialism, where workers within the empire benefited from imperialism's pillage, was over. Gains in social welfare henceforth could result only from mass struggles led by the urban poor, especially Afro-Americans, community-based working poor and militant youth organizers.

The last significant social welfare reforms were implemented in the early 1970's – coinciding with the end of the Vietnam War (and victory for the Vietnamese people) and ended with the absorption of the urban and anti-war movements into the Democratic Party.

Henceforward the US corporate state advanced through the overseas expansion of the multi-national corporations and via large-scale, non-unionized production at home.

The technological changes of this period did not benefit labor. The belief, common in the 1950's, that science and technology would increase leisure, decrease work and improve living standards for the working class, was shattered. Instead technological changes displaced well-paid industrial labor while increasing the number of mind-numbing, poorly paid, and politically impotent jobs in the so-called 'service sector' – a rapidly growing section of unorganized and vulnerable workers – especially including women and minorities.

Labor union membership declined precipitously. The demise of the USSR and China's turn to capitalism had a dual effect: It eliminated collectivist (socialist) pressure for social welfare and opened their labor markets with cheap, disciplined workers for foreign manufacturers. Labor as a political force disappeared on every count. The US Federal Reserve and President 'Bill' Clinton deregulated financial capital leading to a frenzy of speculation. Congress wrote laws, which permitted overseas tax evasion – especially in Caribbean tax havens. Regional free-trade agreements, like NAFTA, spurred the relocation of jobs abroad. De-industrialization accompanied the decline of wages, living standards and social benefits for millions of American workers.

The New Abolitionists: Trillionaires

The New Deal, the Great Society, trade unions, and the anti-war and urban movements were in retreat and primed for abolition.

Wars without welfare (or guns without butter) replaced earlier 'social imperialism' with a huge growth of poverty and homelessness. Domestic labor was now exploited to finance overseas wars not vice versa. The fruits of imperial plunder were not shared.

As the working and middle classes drifted downward, they were used up, abandoned and deceived on all sides – especially by the Democratic Party. They elected militarists and demagogues as their new presidents.

President 'Bill' Clinton ravaged Russia, Yugoslavia, Iraq and Somalia and liberated Wall Street. His regime gave birth to the prototype billionaire swindlers: Michael Milken and Bernard 'Bernie' Madoff.

Clinton converted welfare into cheap labor 'workfare', exploiting the poorest and most vulnerable and condemning the next generations to grinding poverty. Under Clinton the prison population of mostly African Americans expanded and the breakup of families ravaged the urban communities.

Provoked by an act of terrorism (9/11) President G.W. Bush Jr. launched the 'endless' wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and deepened the police state (Patriot Act). Wages for American workers and profits for American capitalist moved in opposite directions.

The Great Financial Crash of 2008-2011 shook the paper economy to its roots and led to the greatest shakedown of any national treasury in history directed by the First Black American President. Trillions of public wealth were funneled into the criminal banks on Wall Street – which were ' just too big to fail .' Millions of American workers and homeowners, however, were ' just too small to matter' .

The Age of Demagogues

President Obama transferred 2 trillion dollars to the ten biggest bankers and swindlers on Wall Street, and another trillion to the Pentagon to pursue the Democrats version of foreign policy: from Bush's two overseas wars to Obama's seven.

Obama's electoral 'donor-owners' stashed away two trillion dollars in overseas tax havens and looked forward to global free trade pacts – pushed by the eloquent African American President.

Obama was elected to two terms. His liberal Democratic Party supporters swooned over his peace and justice rhetoric while swallowing his militarist escalation into seven overseas wars as well as the foreclosure of two million American householders. Obama completely failed to honor his campaign promise to reduce wage inequality between black and white wage earners while he continued to moralize to black families about ' values' .

Obama's war against Libya led to the killing and displacement of millions of black Libyans and workers from Sub-Saharan Africa. The smiling Nobel Peace Prize President created more desperate refugees than any previous US head of state – including millions of Africans flooding Europe.

'Obamacare' , his imitation of an earlier Republican governor's health plan, was formulated by the private corporate health industry (private insurance, Big Pharma and the for-profit hospitals), to mandate enrollment and ensure triple digit profits with double digit increases in premiums. By the 2016 Presidential elections, ' Obama-care' was opposed by a 45%-43% margin of the American people. Obama's propagandists could not show any improvement of life expectancy or decrease in infant and maternal mortality as a result of his 'health care reform'. Indeed the opposite occurred among the marginalized working class in the old 'rust belt' and in the rural areas. This failure to show any significant health improvement for the masses of Americans is in stark contrast to LBJ's Medicare program of the 1960's, which continues to receive massive popular support.

Forty-years of anti welfare legislation and pro-business regimes paved the golden road for the election of Donald Trump

Trump and the Republicans are focusing on the tattered remnants of the social welfare system: Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security. The remains of FDR's New Deal and LBJ's Great Society -- are on the chopping block.

The moribund (but well-paid) labor leadership has been notable by its absence in the ensuing collapse of the social welfare state. The liberal left Democrats embraced the platitudinous Obama/Clinton team as the 'Great Society's' gravediggers, while wailing at Trump's allies for shoving the corpse of welfare state into its grave.

Conclusion

Over the past forty years the working class and the rump of what was once referred to as the ' labor movement' has contributed to the dismantling of the social welfare state, voting for ' strike-breaker' Reagan, ' workfare' Clinton, ' Wall Street crash' Bush, ' Wall Street savior' Obama and ' Trickle-down' Trump.

Gone are the days when social welfare and profitable wars raised US living standards and transformed American trade unions into an appendage of the Democratic Party and a handmaiden of Empire. The Democratic Party rescued capitalism from its collapse in the Great Depression, incorporated labor into the war economy and the post- colonial global empire, and resurrected Wall Street from the 'Great Financial Meltdown' of the 21 st century.

The war economy no longer fuels social welfare. The military-industrial complex has found new partners on Wall Street and among the globalized multi-national corporations. Profits rise while wages fall. Low paying compulsive labor (workfare) lopped off state transfers to the poor. Technology – IT, robotics, artificial intelligence and electronic gadgets – has created the most class polarized social system in history. The first trillionaire and multi-billionaire tax evaders rose on the backs of a miserable standing army of tens of millions of low-wage workers, stripped of rights and representation. State subsidies eliminate virtually all risk to capital. The end of social welfare coerced labor (including young mother with children) to seek insecure low-income employment while slashing education and health – cementing the feet of generations into poverty. Regional wars abroad have depleted the Treasury and robbed the country of productive investment. Economic imperialism exports profits, reversing the historic relation of the past.

Labor is left without compass or direction; it flails in all directions and falls deeper in the web of deception and demagogy. To escape from Reagan and the strike breakers, labor embraced the cheap-labor predator Clinton; black and white workers united to elect Obama who expelled millions of immigrant workers, pursued 7 wars, abandoned black workers and enriched the already filthy rich. Deception and demagogy of the labor-

Issac , December 11, 2017 at 11:01 pm GMT

"The military-industrial complex has found new partners on Wall Street and among the globalized multi-national corporations."

"The collaboration of liberals and unions in promoting endless wars opened the door to Trump's mirage of a stateless, tax-less, ruling class."

A mirage so real, it even has you convinced.

whyamihere , December 12, 2017 at 4:24 am GMT
If the welfare state in America was abolished, major American cities would burn to the ground. Anarchy would ensue, it would be magnitudes bigger than anything that happened in Ferguson or Baltimore. It would likely be simultaneous.

I think that's one of the only situations where preppers would actually live out what they've been prepping for (except for a natural disaster).

I've been thinking about this a little over the past few years after seeing the race riots. What exactly is the line between our society being civilized and breaking out into chaos. It's probably a lot thinner than most people think.

I don't know who said it but someone long ago said something along the lines of, "Democracy can only work until the people figure out they can vote for themselves generous benefits from the public treasury." We are definitely in this situation today. I wonder how long it can last.

Disordered , December 13, 2017 at 8:41 am GMT
While I agree with Petras's intent (notwithstanding several exaggerations and unnecessary conflations with, for example, racism), I don't agree so much with the method he proposes. I don't mind welfare and unions to a certain extent, but they are not going to save us unless there is full employment and large corporations that can afford to pay an all-union workforce. That happened during WW2, as only wartime demand and those pesky wage freezes solved the Depression, regardless of all the public works programs; while the postwar era benefited from the US becoming the world's creditor, meaning that capital could expand while labor participation did as well.

From then on, it is quite hard to achieve the same success after outsourcing and mechanization have happened all over the world. Both of these phenomena not only create displaced workers, but also displaced industries, meaning that it makes more sense to develop individual workfare (and even then, do it well, not the shoddy way it is done now) rather than giving away checks that probably will not be cashed for entrepreneurial purposes, and rather than giving away money to corrupt unions who depend on trusts to be able to pay for their benefits, while raising the cost of hiring that only encourages more outsourcing.

The amount of welfare given is not necessarily the main problem, the problem is doing it right for the people who truly need it, and efficiently – that is, with the least amount of waste lost between the chain of distribution, which should reach intended targets and not moochers.

Which inevitably means a sound tax system that targets unearned wealth and (to a lesser degree) foreign competition instead of national production, coupled with strict, yet devolved and simple government processes that benefit both business and individuals tired of bureaucracy, while keeping budgets balanced. Best of both worlds, and no military-industrial complex needed to drive up demand.

Wally , Website December 13, 2017 at 8:57 am GMT
"President Obama transferred 2 trillion dollars to the ten biggest bankers and swindlers on Wall Street " That's twice the amount that Bush gave them.
jacques sheete , December 13, 2017 at 10:52 am GMT

The American welfare state was created in 1935 and continued to develop through 1973. Since then, over a prolonged period, the capitalist class has been steadily dismantling the entire welfare state.

Wrong wrong wrong.

Corporations [now] are welfare recipients and the bigger they are, the more handouts they suck up, and welfare for them started before 1935. In fact, it started in America before there was a USA. I do not have time to elaborate, but what were the various companies such as the British East India Company and the Dutch West India Companies but state pampered, welfare based entities? ~200 years ago, Herbert Spencer, if memory serves, pointed out that the British East India Company couldn't make a profit even with all the special, government granted favors showered upon it.

Corporations not only continuously seek monopolies (with the aid and sanction of the state) but they steadily fine tune the welfare state for their benefit. In fact, in reality, welfare for prols and peasants wouldn't exist if it didn't act as a money conduit and ultimate profit center for the big money grubbers.

Den Lille Abe , December 13, 2017 at 11:09 am GMT
Well, the author kind of nails it. I remember from my childhood in the 50-60 ties in Scandinavia that the US was the ultimate goal in welfare. The country where you could make a good living with your two hands, get you kids to UNI, have a house, a telly ECT. It was not consumerism, it was the American dream, a chicken in every pot; we chewed imported American gum and dreamed.

In the 70-80 ties Scandinavia had a tremendous social and economic growth, EQUALLY distributed, an immense leap forward. In the middle of the 80 ties we were equal to the US in standards of living.

Since we have not looked at the US, unless in pity, as we have seen the decline of the general income, social wealth fall way behind our own.
The average US workers income has not increased since 90 figures adjusted for inflation. The Scandinavian workers income in the same period has almost quadrupled. And so has our societies.

The article is dismal reading, and evidence of the failings of the "unregulated" society, where the anything goes as long as you are wealthy.

wayfarer , December 13, 2017 at 1:01 pm GMT

Between the mid 1970's to the present (2017) labor laws, welfare rights and benefits and the construction of and subsidies for affordable housing have been gutted. 'Workfare' (under President 'Bill' Clinton) ended welfare for the poor and displaced workers. Meanwhile the shift to regressive taxation and the steadily declining real wages have increased corporate profits to an astronomical degree.

source: http://www.unz.com/jpetras/rise-and-decline-of-the-welfare-state/

What does Hollywood "elite" JAP and wannabe hack-stand-up-comic Sarah Silverman think about the class struggle and problems facing destitute Americans? "Qu'ils mangent de la bagels!", source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Let_them_eat_cake

... ... ...

Anonymous , Disclaimer December 13, 2017 at 1:40 pm GMT
@Greg Fraser

Like the Pentagon. Americans still don't readily call this welfare, but they will eventually. Defense profiteers are unions in a sense, you're either in their club Or you're in the service industry that surrounds it.

Anonymous , Disclaimer December 13, 2017 at 2:43 pm GMT
As other commenters have pointed out, it's Petras curious choice of words that sometimes don't make too much sense. We can probably blame the maleable English language for that, but here it's too obvious. If you don't define a union, people might assume you're only talking about a bunch of meat cutters at Safeway.

The welfare state is alive and well for corporate America. Unions are still here – but they are defined by access and secrecy, you're either in the club or not.

The war on unions was successful first by co-option but mostly by the media. But what kind of analysis leaves out the role of the media in the American transformation? The success is mind blowing.

America has barely literate (white) middle aged males trained to spout incoherent Calvinistic weirdness: unabased hatred for the poor (or whoever they're told to hate) and a glorification of hedge fund managers as they get laid off, fired and foreclosed on, with a side of opiates.

There is hardly anything more tragic then seeing a web filled with progressives (management consultants) dedicated to disempowering, disabling and deligitimizing victims by claiming they are victims of biology, disease or a lack of an education rather than a system that issues violence while portending (with the best media money can buy) that they claim the higher ground.

animalogic , December 13, 2017 at 2:57 pm GMT
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