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War is Racket

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New American Militarism Media-Military-Industrial Complex Anatol Leiven on American Messianism  American Exceptionalism Neoconservatism as a US version of Neoliberalism The Deep State  
All wars are bankers wars Casino Capitalism Corporatism Resurgence of neofascism as reaction on crisis of neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization National Security State Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law Big Uncle is Watching You
Looting pays dividends to empire Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Hypocrisy of British ruling elite Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime   Ayn Rand and her Objectivism Cult Globalization of Financial Flows
Fifth Column of Globalization Color revolutions Compradors NGOs as braintrust of color revolutions Diplomacy by deception Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Pope Francis on danger of neoliberalism
EuroMaidan Victoria Nuland’s ‘Ukraine-gate’ The Far Right Forces in Ukraine as Trojan horse of neoliberalism Resurgence of ideology of neo-fascism Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law  The Grand Chessboard Machiavellism
Media domination strategy Media as a weapon of mass deception Developing Countries Hit Hardest by Brain Drain Republics are usually warlike and unscrupulous Politically Incorrect Political Humor American Imperialism Bookshelf Etc

The slightest acquaintance with history shows that powerful republics  are the most warlike and unscrupulous of nations.

Ambrose Bierce

"The wealth of another region excites their greed; and if it is weak, their lust for power as well. Nothing from the rising to the setting of the sun is enough for them. Among all others only they are compelled to attack the poor as well as the rich. Robbery, rape, and slaughter they falsely call empire; and where they make a desert, they call it peace."

Tacitus, Agricola

"When the rich wage war, it is the poor who die."

Jean-Paul Sartre, The Devil and the Good Lord

During the Vietnam War, one of the peace movement’s more sardonic slogans was: “War is good business. Invest your son" (Iraq War and Venture Capitalism by Norman Solomon )

ZNet

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During the Vietnam War, one of the peace movement’s more sardonic slogans was: “War is good business. Invest your son.”

In recent years, some eminent pundits and top government officials have become brazen about praising war as a good investment.

Thomas Friedman’s 1999 book “The Lexus and the Olive Tree” summed up a key function of the USA’s high-tech arsenal. “The hidden hand of the market will never work without a hidden fist,” he wrote. “McDonald’s cannot flourish without McDonnell Douglas, the designer of the U.S. Air Force F-15. And the hidden fist that keeps the world safe for Silicon Valley’s technologies to flourish is called the U.S. Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.”

On Sept. 12, 2003, Secretary of State Colin Powell spoke this way as he defended the U.S. military occupation of Iraq: “Since the United States and its coalition partners have invested a great deal of political capital, as well as financial resources, as well as the lives of our young men and women -- and we have a large force there now -- we can’t be expected to suddenly just step aside.” He was voicing the terminology and logic of a major capitalist investor.

And so, it was fitting when the New York Times reported days ago that Powell will soon be (in the words of the headline) “Taking a Role in Venture Capitalism.” The article explained that Powell is becoming a partner in Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a renowned Silicon Valley venture firm: “Mr. Powell acknowledged in an interview Tuesday that he has had any number of tempting job offers since leaving the State Department in January, but that the chance to work as a venture capitalist at Kleiner Perkins seemed too enticing to turn down.”

Writ large, the balance-sheet outlook of venture capitalism is being widely applied to the current war in Iraq -- even while defenders of the war are apt to indignantly reject any claim that it’s driven by zeal for massive profits. But let’s take the corporate firms at their own words.

Last year, I went through the latest annual reports from some American firms with Pentagon contracts. Those reports acknowledged, as a matter of fact, the basic corporate reliance on the warfare state.

Orbit International Corp., a small business making high-tech products for use by the U.S. Navy, Air Force, Army, and Marines, had increased its net sales by nearly $2.4 million during the previous two years, to about $17.1 million -- and the war future was bright. “Looking ahead,” CEO Dennis Sunshine reported, “Orbit’s Electronics and Power Unit Segments expect to continue to benefit from the expanding military/defense and homeland security marketplace.” In its yearly report to federal regulators, Orbit International acknowledged: “We are heavily dependent upon military spending as a source of revenues and income. Accordingly, any substantial future reductions in overall military spending by the U.S. government could have a material adverse effect on our sales and earnings.”

A much larger corporation, Engineered Support Systems, Inc., had quadrupled its net revenues between 1999 and 2003, when they reached $572.7 million. For the report covering 2003, the firm’s top officers signed a statement that declared: “As we have always said, rapid deployment of our armed forces drives our business.” The company’s president, Jerry Potthoff, assured investors: “Our nation’s military is deployed in over 130 countries, so our products and personnel are deployed, as well. As long as America remains the world’s policeman, our products and services will help them complete their missions.”

The gigantic Northrop Grumman firm, while noting that its revenues totaled $26.2 billion in 2003, boasted: “In terms of the portfolio, Northrop Grumman is situated in the ‘sweet spot’ of U.S. defense and national security spending.”

War. How sweet it can be.

This article is adapted from Norman Solomon’s new book “War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.” For information, go to:


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[Feb 22, 2018] Ray McGovern's First Day as CIA Director

Notable quotes:
"... The low-calorie Jan. 6 ICA was clumsily cobbled together: "We assess with high confidence that Russian military intelligence used the Guccifer 2.0 persona and DCLeaks.com to release US victim data obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets and relayed material to WikiLeaks." ..."
"... Binney and other highly experienced NSA alumni, as well as other members of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), drawing on their intimate familiarity with how the technical systems and hacking work, have been saying for a year and a half that this CIA/FBI/NSA conclusion is a red herring , so to speak. Last summer, the results of forensic investigation enabled VIPs to apply the principles of physics and the known capacity of the internet to confirm that conclusion. ..."
"... Oddly, the FBI chose not to do forensics on the so-called "Russian hack" of the Democratic National Committee computers and, by all appearances, neither did the drafters of the ICA. ..."
"... What troubles me greatly is that the NYT and other mainstream print and TV media seem to be bloated with the thin gruel-cum-Kool Aid they have been slurping at our CIA trough for a year and a half; and then treating the meager fare consumed as some sort of holy sacrament. That goes in spades for media handling of the celebrated ICA of Jan. 6, 2017 cobbled together by those "handpicked" analysts from CIA, FBI, and NSA. It is, in all candor, an embarrassment to the profession of intelligence analysis and yet, for political reasons, it has attained the status of Holy Writ. ..."
"... And Democrats like Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, were kicking the ball hard down the streets of Washington. On Jan. 25, 2017, I had a chance to confront Schiff personally about the lack of evidence -- something that even Obama had acknowledged just before slipping out the door. I think our two-minute conversation speaks volumes. ..."
"... Now I absolutely look forward to dealing with Adam Schiff from my new position as CIA director. I will ask him to show me the evidence of "Russian hacking" that he said he could not show me on Jan. 25, 2017 – on the chance his evidence includes more than reports from the New York Times ..."
"... Intelligence analysts put great weight, of course, on sources. The authors of the lede, banner-headlined NYT article of Jan. 7, 2017 were Michael D. Shear and David E. Sanger; Sanger has had a particularly checkered career, while always landing on his feet. Despite his record of parroting CIA handouts (or perhaps partly because of it), Sanger is now the NYT's chief Washington correspondent. ..."
"... More instructive still, in May 2005, when firsthand documentary evidence from the now-famous "Downing Street Memorandum" showed that President George W. Bush had decided by early summer 2002 to attack Iraq, the NYT ignored it for six weeks until David Sanger rose to the occasion with a tortured report claiming just the opposite. The title given his article of June 13 2005 was "Prewar British Memo Says War Decision Wasn't Made." ..."
"... Against this peculiar reporting record, I was not inclined to take at face value the Jan. 7, 2017 report he co-authored with Michael D. Shear – "Putin Led a Complex Cyberattack Scheme to Aid Trump, Report Finds." ..."
"... Nor am I inclined to take seriously former National Intelligence Director James Clapper's stated views on the proclivity of Russians to be, well, just really bad people – like it's in their genes. I plan to avail myself of the opportunity to discover whether intelligence analysts who labored under his "aegis" were infected by his quaint view of the Russians. ..."
"... I shall ask any of the "handpicked" analysts who specialize in analysis of Russia (and, hopefully, there are at least a few): Do you share Clapper's view, as he explained it to NBC's Meet the Press on May 30, 2017, that Russians are "typically, almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever"? I truly do not know what to expect by way of reply. ..."
"... In sum, my priority for Day One is to hear both sides of the story regarding "Russian hacking" with all cards on the table. All cards. That means no questions are out of order, including what, if any, role the "Steele dossier" may have played in the preparation of the Jan. 6, 2017 assessment. ..."
Feb 22, 2018 | www.antiwar.com

Now that I have been nominated again – this time by author Paul Craig Roberts – to be CIA director, I am preparing to hit the ground running.

Last time my name was offered in nomination for the position – by The Nation publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel – I did not hold my breath waiting for a call from the White House. Her nomination came in the afterglow of my fortuitous, four-minute debate with then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, when I confronted him on his lies about the attack on Iraq , on May 4, 2006 on national TV. Since it was abundantly clear that Rumsfeld and I would not get along, I felt confident I had royally disqualified myself.

This time around, on the off-chance I do get the nod, I have taken the time to prepare the agenda for my first few days as CIA director. Here's how Day One looks so far:

Get former National Security Agency Technical Director William Binney back to CIA to join me and the "handpicked" CIA analysts who, with other "handpicked" analysts (as described by former National Intelligence Director James Clapper on May 8, 2017) from the FBI and NSA, prepared the so-called Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) of Jan. 6, 2017. That evidence-impoverished assessment argued the case that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his minions "to help President-elect Trump's election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton."

When my predecessor, CIA Director Mike Pompeo invited Binney to his office on Oct. 24, 2017 to discuss cyber-attacks, he told Pompeo that he had been fed a pack of lies on "Russian hacking" and that he could prove it. Why Pompeo left that hanging is puzzling, but I believe this is the kind of low-hanging fruit we should pick pronto.

The low-calorie Jan. 6 ICA was clumsily cobbled together: "We assess with high confidence that Russian military intelligence used the Guccifer 2.0 persona and DCLeaks.com to release US victim data obtained in cyber operations publicly and in exclusives to media outlets and relayed material to WikiLeaks."

Binney and other highly experienced NSA alumni, as well as other members of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), drawing on their intimate familiarity with how the technical systems and hacking work, have been saying for a year and a half that this CIA/FBI/NSA conclusion is a red herring , so to speak. Last summer, the results of forensic investigation enabled VIPs to apply the principles of physics and the known capacity of the internet to confirm that conclusion.

Oddly, the FBI chose not to do forensics on the so-called "Russian hack" of the Democratic National Committee computers and, by all appearances, neither did the drafters of the ICA.

Again, Binney says that the main conclusions he and his VIPs colleagues reached are based largely on principles of physics – simple ones like fluid dynamics. I want to hear what that's all about, how that applies to the "Russian hack," and hear what my own CIA analysts have to say about that.

I will have Binney's clearances updated to remove any unnecessary barriers to a no-holds-barred discussion at a highly classified level. After which I shall have a transcript prepared, sanitized to protect sources and methods, and promptly released to the media.

Like Sisyphus Up the Media Mountain

At that point things are bound to get very interesting. Far too few people realize that they get a very warped view on such issues from the New York Times . And, no doubt, it would take some time, for the Times and other outlets to get used to some candor from the CIA, instead of the far more common tendentious leaks. In any event, we will try to speak truth to the media – as well as to power.

I happen to share the view of the handful of my predecessor directors who believed we have an important secondary obligation to do what we possibly can to inform/educate the public as well as the rest of the government – especially on such volatile and contentious issues like "Russian hacking."

What troubles me greatly is that the NYT and other mainstream print and TV media seem to be bloated with the thin gruel-cum-Kool Aid they have been slurping at our CIA trough for a year and a half; and then treating the meager fare consumed as some sort of holy sacrament. That goes in spades for media handling of the celebrated ICA of Jan. 6, 2017 cobbled together by those "handpicked" analysts from CIA, FBI, and NSA. It is, in all candor, an embarrassment to the profession of intelligence analysis and yet, for political reasons, it has attained the status of Holy Writ.

The Paper of (Dubious) Record

I recall the banner headline spanning the top of the entire front page of the NYT on Jan. 7, 2017: "Putin Led Scheme to Aid Trump, Report Says;" and the electronic version headed "Putin Led a Complex Cyberattack Scheme to Aid Trump, Report Finds." I said to myself sarcastically, "Well there you go! That's exactly what Mrs. Clinton – not to mention the NY Times, the Washington Post and The Establishment – have been saying for many months."

Buried in that same edition of the Times was a short paragraph by Scott Shane: "What is missing from the public report is what many Americans most eagerly anticipated: hard evidence to back up the agencies' claims that the Russian government engineered the election attack. That is a significant omission."

Omission? No hard evidence? No problem. The publication of the Jan. 6, 2017 assessment got the ball rolling. And Democrats like Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, were kicking the ball hard down the streets of Washington. On Jan. 25, 2017, I had a chance to confront Schiff personally about the lack of evidence -- something that even Obama had acknowledged just before slipping out the door. I think our two-minute conversation speaks volumes.

Now I absolutely look forward to dealing with Adam Schiff from my new position as CIA director. I will ask him to show me the evidence of "Russian hacking" that he said he could not show me on Jan. 25, 2017 – on the chance his evidence includes more than reports from the New York Times .

Sources

Intelligence analysts put great weight, of course, on sources. The authors of the lede, banner-headlined NYT article of Jan. 7, 2017 were Michael D. Shear and David E. Sanger; Sanger has had a particularly checkered career, while always landing on his feet. Despite his record of parroting CIA handouts (or perhaps partly because of it), Sanger is now the NYT's chief Washington correspondent.

Those whose memories go back more than 15 years may recall his promoting weapons of mass destruction in Iraq as flat fact. In a July 29, 2002 article co-written with Them Shanker, for example, Iraq's (nonexistent) "weapons of mass destruction" appear no fewer than seven times as flat fact.

More instructive still, in May 2005, when firsthand documentary evidence from the now-famous "Downing Street Memorandum" showed that President George W. Bush had decided by early summer 2002 to attack Iraq, the NYT ignored it for six weeks until David Sanger rose to the occasion with a tortured report claiming just the opposite. The title given his article of June 13 2005 was "Prewar British Memo Says War Decision Wasn't Made."

Against this peculiar reporting record, I was not inclined to take at face value the Jan. 7, 2017 report he co-authored with Michael D. Shear – "Putin Led a Complex Cyberattack Scheme to Aid Trump, Report Finds."

Nor am I inclined to take seriously former National Intelligence Director James Clapper's stated views on the proclivity of Russians to be, well, just really bad people – like it's in their genes. I plan to avail myself of the opportunity to discover whether intelligence analysts who labored under his "aegis" were infected by his quaint view of the Russians.

I shall ask any of the "handpicked" analysts who specialize in analysis of Russia (and, hopefully, there are at least a few): Do you share Clapper's view, as he explained it to NBC's Meet the Press on May 30, 2017, that Russians are "typically, almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever"? I truly do not know what to expect by way of reply.

End of Day One

In sum, my priority for Day One is to hear both sides of the story regarding "Russian hacking" with all cards on the table. All cards. That means no questions are out of order, including what, if any, role the "Steele dossier" may have played in the preparation of the Jan. 6, 2017 assessment.

I may decide to seek some independent, disinterested technical input, as well. But it should not take me very long to figure out which of the two interpretations of alleged "Russian hacking" is more straight-up fact-based and unbiased. That done, in the following days I shall brief both the Chair, Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and ranking member Schiff of the House Intelligence Committee, as well as the Chair and ranking member of its counterpart in the Senate. I will then personally brief the NYT's David Sanger and follow closely what he and his masters decide to do with the facts I present.

On the chance that the Times and other media might decide to play it straight, and that the "straight" diverges from the prevailing, Clapperesque narrative of Russian perfidy, the various mainstream outlets will face a formidable problem of their own making. Mark Twain put it this way: "It is easier to fool people than it is to convince them they have been fooled."

And that will probably be enough for Day One.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was an Army Infantry/Intelligence officer and CIA analyst for a total of 30 years and now servers on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS). Reprinted with permission from Consortium News .

[Feb 22, 2018] The US-UK Deep State Empire Strikes Back 'It's Russia! Russia! Russia!'

Notable quotes:
"... For weeks the unfolding story in Washington has been how a cabal of conspirators in the heart of the American federal law enforcement and intelligence apparat ..."
"... Are you reading this commentary? ..."
"... To the extent that Russiagate was less about Trump than ensuring that enmity with Russia will be permanent and will continue to deepen , this latest Mueller indictment is a smashing success already. ..."
Feb 22, 2018 | www.strategic-culture.org

There's no defense like a good offense.

For weeks the unfolding story in Washington has been how a cabal of conspirators in the heart of the American federal law enforcement and intelligence apparat colluded to ensure the election of Hillary Clinton and, when that failed, to undermine the nascent presidency of Donald Trump. Agencies tainted by this corruption include not only the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ) but the Obama White House, the State Department, the NSA, and the CIA, plus their British sister organizations MI6 and GCHQ , possibly along with the British Foreign Office (with the involvement of former British ambassador to Russia Andrew Wood ) and even Number 10 Downing Street.

Those implicated form a regular rogue's gallery of the Deep State: Peter Strzok (formerly Chief of the FBI's Counterespionage Section, then Deputy Assistant Director of the Counterintelligence Division; busy bee Strzok is implicated not only in exonerating Hillary from her email server crimes but initiating the Russiagate investigation in the first place, securing a FISA warrant using the dodgy "Steele Dossier," and nailing erstwhile National Security Adviser General Mike Flynn on a bogus charge of "lying to the FBI "); Lisa Page (Strzok's paramour and a DOJ lawyer formerly assigned to the all-star Democrat lineup on the Robert Mueller Russigate inquisition); former FBI Director James Comey, former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe, and – let's not forget – current Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, himself implicated by having signed at least one of the dubious FISA warrant requests . Finally, there's reason to believe that former CIA Director John O. Brennan may have been the mastermind behind the whole operation .

Not to be overlooked is the possible implication of a pack of former Democratic administration officials, including former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, former National Security Adviser Susan Rice , and President Barack Obama himself, who according to text communications between Strzok and Page "wants to know everything we're doing." Also involved is the DNC, the Clinton campaign, and Clinton operatives Sidney Blumenthal and Cody Shearer – rendering the ignorance of Hillary herself totally implausible.

On the British side we have "former" (suuure . . . ) MI6 spook Christopher Steele, diplomat Wood, former GCHQ chief Robert Hannigan (who resigned a year ago under mysterious circumstances ), and whoever they answered to in the Prime Minister's office.

The growing sense of panic was palpable. Oh my – this is a curtain that just cannot be allowed to be pulled back!

What to do, what to do . . .

Ah, here's the ticket – come out swinging against the main enemy. That's not even Donald Trump. It's Russia and Vladimir Putin. Russia! Russia! Russia!

Hence the unveiling of an indictment against 13 Russian citizens and three companies for alleged meddling in U.S. elections and various ancillary crimes.

For the sake of discussion, let's assume all the allegations in the indictment are true, however unlikely that is to be the case. (While that would be the American legal rule for a complaint in a civil case, this is a criminal indictment, where there is supposedly a presumption of innocence. Rosenstein even mentioned that in his press conference, pretending not to notice that that presumption doesn't apply to Russian Untermenschen – certainly not to Olympic athletes and really not to Russians at all, who are presumed guilty on "genetic" grounds .)

Based on the public announcement of the indictment by Rosenstein – who is effectively the Attorney General in place of the pro forma holder of that office, Jeff Sessions (R-Recused) – and on an initial examination of the indictment, and we can already draw a few conclusions:

The Mueller indictment against the Russians is a well-timed effort to distract Americans' attention from the real collusion rotting the core of our public life by shifting attention to a foreign enemy. Many of the people behind it are the very officials who are themselves complicit in the rot. But the sad fact is that it will probably work.

[Feb 20, 2018] For the life of me I cannot figure why Americans want a war/conflict with Russia

Highly recommended!
This post summaries several "alternative" views that many suspect, but can't express as clearly as here.
Feb 20, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Palloy | Feb 20, 2018 8:52:02 PM | 34

@4 "For the life of me I cannot figure why Americans want a war/conflict with Russia."

Ever since US Crude Oil peaked its production in 1970, the US has known that at some point the oil majors would have their profitability damaged, "assets" downgraded, and borrowing capacity destroyed. At this point their shares would become worthless and they would become bankrupt. The contagion from this would spread to transport businesses, plastics manufacture, herbicides and pesticide production and a total collapse of Industrial Civilisation.

In anticipation of increasing Crude Oil imports, Nixon stopped the convertibility of Dollars into Gold, thus making the Dollar entirely fiat, allowing them to print as much of the currency as they needed.

They also began a system of obscuring oil production data, involving the DoE's EIA and the OECD's IEA, by inventing an ever-increasing category of Undiscovered Oilfields in their predictions, and combining Crude Oil and Condensate (from gas fields) into one category (C+C) as if they were the same thing. As well the support of the ethanol-from-corn industry began, even though it was uneconomic. The Global Warming problem had to be debunked, despite its sound scientific basis. Energy-intensive manufacturing work was off-shored to cheap labour+energy countries, and Just-in-Time delivery systems were honed.

In 2004 the price of Crude Oil rose from $28 /barrel up to $143 /b in mid-2008. This demonstrated that there is a limit to how much business can pay for oil (around $100 /b). Fracking became marginally economic at these prices, but the frackers never made a profit as over-production meant prices fell to about $60 /b. The Government encourages this destructive industry despite the fact it doesn't make any money, because the alternative is the end of Industrial Civilisation.

Eventually though, there must come a time when there is not enough oil to power all the cars and trucks, bulldozers, farm tractors, airplanes and ships, as well as manufacture all the wind turbines and solar panels and electric vehicles, as well as the upgraded transmission grid. At that point, the game will be up, and it will be time for WW3. So we need to line up some really big enemies, and develop lots of reasons to hate them.

Thus you see the demonisation of Russia, China, Iran and Venezuela for reasons that don't make sense from a normal perspective.

[Feb 20, 2018] Russia's Election Meddling Worse Than a Crime; a Blunder by Robert W. Merry

Feb 20, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Ukraine is crucial in this Russian sense of territorial imperative. It's a tragically split country, with part tilting toward the West and part facing eastward toward Russia. That makes for a delicate political and geopolitical situation, but for centuries that delicate political and geopolitical situation has been overseen by Russia. Now the West wants to end that. Upending a duly elected (though corrupt) Ukrainian president was part of the plan. Getting Ukraine into NATO is the endgame.

Note that the Ukrainian revolution occurred in 2014, which just happened to be the year, according to the U.S. indictments, that Russia initiated its grand program to influence America's 2016 elections. Kennan was right: Russia inevitably would react badly to the NATO encirclement policy, and then America's anti-Russian cadres would cite that as evidence that the encirclement was necessary all along. That's precisely what's happening now.

Which brings us to the fifth and final fundamental reality surrounding the revelation of Russia's grand effort to influence the U.S. election. It was an incredible blunder. Given all that's happened in U.S.-Russian relations this century, there probably wasn't much prospect that those relations could ever be normalized, much less made cordial. But that is now utterly impossible.

Donald Trump campaigned on a platform of seeking better relations with Russia. After getting elected he repeatedly asserted in his first news conference that it would be "positive," "good," or "great" if "we could get along with Russia." Unlike most of America's elites, he vowed to seek Moscow's cooperation on global issues, accepted some U.S. share of blame for the two countries' sour relations, and acknowledged "the right of all nations to put their interests first."

This suggested a possible dramatic turn in U.S.-Russian relations -- an end to the encirclement push, curtailment of the hostile rhetoric, a pullback on economic sanctions, and serious efforts to work with Russia on such nettlesome matters as Syria and Ukraine. That was largely put on hold with the narrative of Russian meddling in the U.S. election and vague allegations of campaign "collusion" with Russia on behalf of Trump's presidential ambitions.

It doesn't appear likely that investigators will turn up any evidence of collusion that rises to any kind of criminality. But it doesn't matter now, in terms of U.S.-Russian relations, because these indictments will cement the anti-Russian sentiment of Americans for the foreseeable future. No overtures of the kind envisioned by Trump will be possible for any president for a long time. It won't matter that every nation does it or that America in particular has done it or that the West's aggressive encirclement contributed to the Russian actions. The U.S.-Russian hostility is set. Where it leads is impossible to predict, but it won't be good. It could be tragic.

Robert W. Merry, longtime Washington, D.C., journalist and publishing executive, is editor of The American Conservative . His latest book, President McKinley: Architect of the American Century , was released in September.

[Feb 20, 2018] Hillary Clinton If I m President, We Will Attack Iran We Would be Able to Totally Obliterate Them. Global Research - Cent

Notable quotes:
"... Among Global Research's most popular articles in 2016. ..."
"... Hillary is Dangerous. She Means What She says? Or Does She? (M. C. GR. Editor) ..."
"... On July 3, 2015, presidential aspirant Hillary Clinton addressed a hand-picked audience at a Dartmouth College campaign event. She lied calling Iran an "existential threat to Israel I hope we are able to get a deal next week that puts a lid on (its) nuclear weapons program." ..."
"... Stephen Lendman ..."
"... lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. ..."
"... His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III." ..."
"... http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html ..."
Feb 20, 2018 | www.globalresearch.ca

Hillary Clinton: "If I'm President, We Will Attack Iran We Would be Able to Totally Obliterate Them." By Stephen Lendman Global Research, February 19, 2018 Global Research 5 July 2015 Region: Middle East & North Africa , USA Theme: Militarization and WMD , US NATO War Agenda In-depth Report: IRAN: THE NEXT WAR?

Among Global Research's most popular articles in 2016.

Hillary is Dangerous. She Means What She says? Or Does She? (M. C. GR. Editor)

* * *

On July 3, 2015, presidential aspirant Hillary Clinton addressed a hand-picked audience at a Dartmouth College campaign event. She lied calling Iran an "existential threat to Israel I hope we are able to get a deal next week that puts a lid on (its) nuclear weapons program."

Even if we do get such a deal, we will still have major problems from Iran. They are the world's chief sponsor of terrorism.

They use proxies like Hezbollah to sow discord and create insurgencies to destabilize governments. They are taking more and more control of a number of nations in the region and they pose an existential threat to Israel.

We have to turn our attention to working with our partners to try to reign in and prevent this continuing Iranian aggressiveness.

Fact: US and Israeli intelligence both say Iran's nuclear program has no military component. No evidence whatever suggests Tehran wants one. Plenty indicates otherwise.

As a 2008 presidential aspirant, she addressed AIPAC's annual convention saying:

The United States stands with Israel now and forever. We have shared interests .shared ideals .common values. I have a bedrock commitment to Israel's security.

(O)ur two nations are fighting a shared threat" against Islamic extremism. I strongly support Israel's right to self-defense (and) believe America should aid in that defense.

I am committed to making sure that Israel maintains a military edge to meet increasing threats. I am deeply concerned about the growing threat in Gaza (and) Hamas' campaign of terror.

No such campaign exists. The only threats Israel faces are ones it invents.

Clinton repeated tired old lies saying Hamas' charter "calls for the destruction of Israel. Iran threatens to destroy Israel."

"I support calling the Iranian Revolutionary Guard what it is: a terrorist organization. It is imperative that we get both tough and smart about dealing with Iran before it is too late."

She backs "massive retaliation" if Iran attacks Israel, saying at the time:

" I want the Iranians to know that if I'm president, we will attack Iran. In the next 10 years, during which they might foolishly consider launching an attack on Israel, we would be able to totally obliterate them."

She endorses using cluster bombs, toxic agents and nuclear weapons in US war theaters. She calls them deterrents that "keep the peace." She was one of only six Democrat senators opposed to blocking deployment of untested missile defense systems – first-strike weapons entirely for offense.

*

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

[Feb 20, 2018] Russophobia is a futile bid to conceal US, European demise by Finian Cunningham

Highly recommended!
This is an old method to unite the nation against external enemy. Carnage (with so much oil and gas) needs to be destroyed. And it's working only partially with the major divisions between Trump and Hillary supporters remaining open and unaffected by Russiagate witch hunt.
Notable quotes:
"... It is an age-old statecraft technique to seek unity within a state by depicting an external enemy or threat. Russia is the bête noire again, as it was during the Cold War years as part of the Soviet Union. ..."
"... Russophobia -- "blame it all on Russia" -- is a short-term, futile ploy to stave off the day of reckoning when furious and informed Western citizens will demand democratic restitution for their legitimate grievances. ..."
"... The dominant "official" narrative, from the US to Europe, is that "malicious" Russia is "sowing division;""eroding democratic institutions;" and "undermining public trust" in systems of governance, credibility of established political parties, and the news media. ..."
"... A particularly instructive presentation of this trope was given in a recent commentary by Texan Republican Representative Will Hurd. In his piece headlined, "Russia is our adversary" , he claims: "Russia is eroding our democracy by exploiting the nation's divisions. To save it, Americans need to begin working together." ..."
"... He contends: "When the public loses trust in the media, the Russians are winning. When the press is hyper-critical of Congress the Russians are winning. When Congress and the general public disagree the Russians are winning. When there is friction between Congress and the executive branch [the president] resulting in further erosion of trust in our democratic institutions, the Russians are winning." ..."
"... The endless, criminal wars that the US and its European NATO allies have been waging across the planet over the past two decades is one cogent reason why the public has lost faith in grandiose official claims about respecting democracy and international law. ..."
"... The US and European media have shown reprehensible dereliction of duty to inform the public accurately about their governments' warmongering intrigues. Take the example of Syria. When does the average Western citizen ever read in the corporate Western media about how the US and its NATO allies have covertly ransacked that country through weaponizing terrorist proxies? ..."
"... The destabilizing impact on societies from oppressive economic conditions is a far more plausible cause for grievance than outlandish claims made by the political class about alleged "Russian interference". ..."
"... Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, he is a Master's graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV. ..."
Feb 20, 2018 | www.rt.com

Russophobia - "blame it all on Russia" - is a short-term, futile ploy to stave off the day of reckoning when furious and informed Western citizens will demand democratic restitution for their legitimate grievances

It is an age-old statecraft technique to seek unity within a state by depicting an external enemy or threat. Russia is the bête noire again, as it was during the Cold War years as part of the Soviet Union.

But the truth is Western states are challenged by internal problems. Ironically, by denying their own internal democratic challenges, Western authorities are only hastening their institutional demise.

Russophobia -- "blame it all on Russia" -- is a short-term, futile ploy to stave off the day of reckoning when furious and informed Western citizens will demand democratic restitution for their legitimate grievances.

The dominant "official" narrative, from the US to Europe, is that "malicious" Russia is "sowing division;""eroding democratic institutions;" and "undermining public trust" in systems of governance, credibility of established political parties, and the news media.

This narrative has shifted up a gear since the election of Donald Trump to the White House in 2016, with accusations that the Kremlin somehow ran "influence operations" to help get him into office. This outlandish yarn defies common sense. It is also running out of thread to keep spinning.

Paradoxically, even though President Trump has rightly rebuffed such dubious claims of "Russiagate" interference as "fake news", he has at other times undermined himself by subscribing to the notion that Moscow is projecting a campaign of "subversion against the US and its European allies." See for example the National Security Strategy he signed off in December.

Pathetically, it's become indoctrinated belief among the Western political class that "devious Russians" are out to "collapse" Western democracies by "weaponizing disinformation" and spreading "fake news" through Russia-based news outlets like RT and Sputnik.

Totalitarian-like, there seems no room for intelligent dissent among political or media figures.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has chimed in to accuse Moscow of "sowing division;" Dutch state intelligence claim Russia destabilized the US presidential election; the European Union commissioner for security, Sir Julian King, casually lampoons Russian news media as "Kremlin-orchestrated disinformation" to destabilize the 28-nation bloc; CIA chief Mike Pompeo recently warned that Russia is stepping up its efforts to tarnish the Congressional mid-term elections later this year.

On and on goes the narrative that Western states are essentially victims of a nefarious Russian assault to bring about collapse.

A particularly instructive presentation of this trope was given in a recent commentary by Texan Republican Representative Will Hurd. In his piece headlined, "Russia is our adversary" , he claims: "Russia is eroding our democracy by exploiting the nation's divisions. To save it, Americans need to begin working together."

Congressman Hurd asserts: "Russia has one simple goal: to erode trust in our democratic institutions It has weaponized disinformation to achieve this goal for decades in Eastern and Central Europe; in 2016, Western Europe and America were aggressively targeted as well."

Lamentably, all these claims above are made with scant, or no, verifiable evidence. It is simply a Big Lie technique of relentless repetition transforming itself into "fact" .

It's instructive to follow Congressman Hurd's thought-process a bit further.

He contends: "When the public loses trust in the media, the Russians are winning. When the press is hyper-critical of Congress the Russians are winning. When Congress and the general public disagree the Russians are winning. When there is friction between Congress and the executive branch [the president] resulting in further erosion of trust in our democratic institutions, the Russians are winning."

As a putative solution, Representative Hurd calls for "a national counter-disinformation strategy" against Russian "influence operations" , adding, "Americans must stop contributing to a corrosive political environment".

The latter is a chilling advocacy of uniformity tantamount to a police state whereby any dissent or criticism is a "thought-crime."

It is, however, such anti-democratic and paranoid thinking by Western politicians -- aided and abetted by dutiful media -- that is killing democracy from within, not some supposed foreign enemy.

There is evidently a foreboding sense of demise in authority and legitimacy among Western states, even if the real cause for the demise is ignored or denied. Systems of governance, politicians of all stripes, and institutions like the established media and intelligence services are increasingly held in contempt and distrust by the public.

Whose fault is that loss of political and moral authority? Western governments and institutions need to take a look in the mirror.

The endless, criminal wars that the US and its European NATO allies have been waging across the planet over the past two decades is one cogent reason why the public has lost faith in grandiose official claims about respecting democracy and international law.

The US and European media have shown reprehensible dereliction of duty to inform the public accurately about their governments' warmongering intrigues. Take the example of Syria. When does the average Western citizen ever read in the corporate Western media about how the US and its NATO allies have covertly ransacked that country through weaponizing terrorist proxies?

How then can properly informed citizens be expected to have respect for such criminal government policies and the complicit news media covering up for their crimes?

Western public disaffection with governments, politicians and media surely stems also from the grotesque gulf in social inequality and poverty among citizens from slavish adherence to economic policies that enrich the wealthy while consigning the vast majority to unrelenting austerity.

The destabilizing impact on societies from oppressive economic conditions is a far more plausible cause for grievance than outlandish claims made by the political class about alleged "Russian interference".

Yet the Western media indulge this fantastical "Russiagate" escapism instead of campaigning on real social problems facing ordinary citizens. No wonder such media are then viewed with disdain and distrust. Adding insult to injury, these media want the public to believe Russia is the enemy?

Instead of acknowledging and addressing real threats to citizens: economic insecurity, eroding education and health services, lost career opportunities for future generations, the looming dangers of ecological adversity, wars prompted by Western governments trashing international and diplomacy, and so on -- the Western public is insultingly plied with corny tales of Russia's "malign influence" and "assault on democracy."

Just think of the disproportionate amount of media attention and public resources wasted on the Russiagate scandal over the past year. And now gradually emerging is the real scandal that the American FBI probably colluded with the Obama administration to corrupt the democratic process against Trump.

Again, is there any wonder the public has sheer contempt and distrust for "authorities" that have been lying through their teeth and playing them for fools?

The collapsing state of Western democracies has got nothing to do with Russia. The Russophobia of blaming Russia for the demise of Western institutions is an attempt at scapegoating for the very real problems facing governments and institutions like the news media. Those problems are inherent and wholly owned by these governments owing to chronic anti-democratic functioning, as well as systematic violation of international law in their pursuit of criminal wars and other subterfuges for regime-change objectives.

Finian Cunningham (born 1963) has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, he is a Master's graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. For over 20 years he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organizations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent. Now a freelance journalist based in East Africa, his columns appear on RT, Sputnik, Strategic Culture Foundation and Press TV.

[Feb 19, 2018] Nunes FBI and DOJ Perps Could Be Put on Trial by Ray McGovern

Highly recommended!
Nunes chances to bring perpetrators to justice are close to zero. The Deep State controls the Washington, DC and can withstand sporadic attacks.
It is an extremly courageous of Devin Nunes to give this interview.
Notable quotes:
"... Throwing down the gauntlet on alleged abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) by the Department of Justice and the FBI, House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) stated that there could be legal consequences for officials who may have misled the FISA court. "If they need to be put on trial, we will put them on trial," he said. "The reason Congress exists is to oversee these agencies that we created." ..."
"... Nunes took this highly unusual, no-holds-barred stance during an interview with Emmy-award winning investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson , which aired on Sunday. ..."
"... He unapologetically averred that, yes, a criminal trial might well be the outcome. "DOJ and FBI are not above the law," he stated emphatically. "If they are committing abuse before a secret court getting warrants on American citizens, you're darn right that we're going to put them on trial." ..."
"... The stakes are very high. Current and former senior officials -- and not only from DOJ and FBI, but from other agencies like the CIA and NSA, whom documents and testimony show were involved in providing faulty information to justify a FISA warrant to monitor former Trump campaign official Carter Page -- may suddenly find themselves in considerable legal jeopardy. Like, felony territory. ..."
"... On the other hand, the presumptive perps have not run into a chairman like Nunes in four decades, since Congressmen Lucien Nedzi (D-Mich.), Otis Pike (D-NY), and Sen. Frank Church (D-Idaho) ran tough, explosive hearings on the abuses of a previous generation deep state, including massive domestic spying revealed by quintessential investigative reporter Seymour Hersh in December 1974. (Actually, this is largely why the congressional intelligence oversight committees were later established, and why the FISA law was passed in 1978.) ..."
"... At this point, one is tempted to say plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose ..."
"... One glaring sign of the media's unwillingness to displease corporate masters and Official Washington is the harsh reality that Hersh's most recent explosive investigations, using his large array of government sources to explore front-burner issues, have not been able to find a home in any English-speaking newspaper or journal. ..."
"... On this point, Nunes said, "In the last administration they were unmasking hundreds, and hundreds, and hundreds of Americans' names. They were unmasking for what I would say, for lack of a better definition, were for political purposes." ..."
"... It is real courageous of Devin Nunes to give this interview. It is not only the accountability to law that is at stake in U.S., but the Whole World is imperiled with what happens in Washington. But as many have written before in comments about this complete moral collapse of the Entire West, I am afraid, it is all going to be swept under the rug. We have to just keep the fingers crossed. ..."
"... I have never seen such media bias against a sitting president in my lifetime, not even against Richard Nixon when they at least practiced decorum and feigned objectivity even if they were secretly cheering on his demise. I will reiterate here that I do not champion the man but rather due process under our constitution, which has been made a travesty from the moment of Clinton's loss at the polls. ..."
"... I completely agree with you Realist. I am not Trump's fan or supporter of his agenda, in fact, in many things quite the opposite of it. However, he raised some very valid points about the the domestic economy and other issues, and about the need to stop interventions in foreign countries, and getting along Russia, and the need to rebuild country's manufacturing system again. He was duly elected by the people, and he should have been given the support to pursue what he promised. But it did not happen. ..."
"... Although it's being done for the wrong reasons, I am nevertheless looking forward to seeing our out-of-control intelligence agencies being put in their place. If I were president and my party controlled both houses of Congress, you'd better believe I'd be looking to dismantle the national surveillance state and reduce the military budget to a "mere" $250 billion annually. ..."
"... The post 9-11 wars of aggression, massive surveillance, torture and other war crimes were sold to the American public as only to be inflicted on foreigners, i.e. "we fight them over there so we don't fight them here." But the blowback has now turned America's schools, malls, workplaces, concerts and churches into war zones and little by little, the disinformation ops, "regime change" know-how and other accoutrements of perpetual war (the fool's errand of gaining full spectrum dominance over the rest of the world) have been turned inward on the American people, including powerful American officials themselves. So it would seem to be a good thing that some politicians like Nunes have finally seen the light exactly as Frank Church did -- only when they themselves began to reap the negative consequences of what they thought would only negatively impact other, lesser people. ..."
"... But there is more to it, as some have pointed out in comments above, there are some intra-party quarrels going on in Washington to take the upper hand. Regarding foreign policy, National Security State and surveillance, and other such issues, both parties are joined at the hip. ..."
"... It is instructive to read the comments on any NYT article on this subject. The comments are clearly written by intelligent, well-educated individuals – who parrot the Deep State's anti-Russian propaganda as if they were the dumbest of the "Better dead than Red!" 50s McCarthyites. ..."
"... The new McCarthyites are actually stupider and more authoritarian than their sad fore-bearers, because they could pierce the Deep States lies with 30 minutes of online research, but they prefer tribalism and ignorance, instead. ..."
"... Trump started going head to head with the intel folks, but has backed down a lot now. Let's hope Nunes et al hang in there and keep the pressure on these despicable criminals who hide behind governmental powers. ..."
"... Somehow I don't think Nunes or his committee is capable of reigning in Frankenstein. His "constitutuents"" are not likely to allow it and although the monster was pieced together from many body parts its instincts for self-preservation are formidable. Nevertheless, I would applaud anyone who makes the effort. ..."
"... Note that after saying the Russians are indicted for interfering in the election, and spending 5 minutes on this, at the 5 minute 20 second mark Rosenstein says there is no evidence that the Russians had any affect [sic] on the election! So what we have is the Deputy Attorney General of the United States announcing an indictment for which he says there is no evidence! ..."
"... In the world of cypher espionage I have no knowledge, but if Russia does hang out in it well then I'm sure the U.S. is already there to do what it must to defend it's cypher security. So that's a wash, but this insane Russia-Gate distraction was originally a way to deflect attention from Hillary & Debbie's putting the screws to Socialist Sanders . then Russia-Gate became a MSM driven coup to oust Trump from his Electoral won presidential office. ..."
"... Impossible to get the whole Gorgon's head, anyway, in such a corrupt system as we have ..."
"... Ray, do you think Trump has made a deal: he'll allow escalations against Russia, and in return the Deep State will leave him alone? If so, does that portend that this will fizzle out? ..."
"... While the shiny ball, smoke and mirrors psychological operation known as "Russiagate" has begun running on fumes before the gas tank finally runs dry, the major revelation of the Clinton WikiLeaks emails describing Saudi/Qatari financing of ISIS drops further down the memory hole. There's nothing like success ..."
Feb 19, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes has stated that "DOJ and FBI are not above the law," and could face legal consequences for alleged abuses of the FISA court, reports Ray McGovern.

Throwing down the gauntlet on alleged abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) by the Department of Justice and the FBI, House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) stated that there could be legal consequences for officials who may have misled the FISA court. "If they need to be put on trial, we will put them on trial," he said. "The reason Congress exists is to oversee these agencies that we created."

Nunes took this highly unusual, no-holds-barred stance during an interview with Emmy-award winning investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson , which aired on Sunday.

Attkisson said she had invited both Nunes and House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) but that only Nunes agreed. She asked him about Schiff's charge that Nunes' goal was "to put the FBI and DOJ on trial." What followed was very atypical bluntness -- candor normally considered quite unacceptable in polite circles of the Washington Establishment.

Rather than play the diplomat and disavow what Schiff contended was Nunes' goal, Nunes said, in effect, let the chips fall where they may. He unapologetically averred that, yes, a criminal trial might well be the outcome. "DOJ and FBI are not above the law," he stated emphatically. "If they are committing abuse before a secret court getting warrants on American citizens, you're darn right that we're going to put them on trial."

Die Is Cast

The stakes are very high. Current and former senior officials -- and not only from DOJ and FBI, but from other agencies like the CIA and NSA, whom documents and testimony show were involved in providing faulty information to justify a FISA warrant to monitor former Trump campaign official Carter Page -- may suddenly find themselves in considerable legal jeopardy. Like, felony territory.

This was not supposed to happen. Mrs. Clinton was a shoo-in, remember? Back when the FISA surveillance warrant of Page was obtained, just weeks before the November 2016 election, there seemed to be no need to hide tracks, because, even if these extracurricular activities were discovered, the perps would have looked forward to award certificates rather than legal problems under a Trump presidency.

Thus, the knives will be coming out. Mostly because the mainstream media will make a major effort -- together with Schiff-mates in the Democratic Party -- to marginalize Nunes, those who find themselves in jeopardy can be expected to push back strongly.

If past is precedent, they will be confident that, with their powerful allies within the FBI/DOJ/CIA "Deep State" they will be able to counter Nunes and show him and the other congressional investigation committee chairs, where the power lies. The conventional wisdom is that Nunes and the others have bit off far more than they can chew. And the odds do not favor folks, including oversight committee chairs, who buck the system.

Staying Power

On the other hand, the presumptive perps have not run into a chairman like Nunes in four decades, since Congressmen Lucien Nedzi (D-Mich.), Otis Pike (D-NY), and Sen. Frank Church (D-Idaho) ran tough, explosive hearings on the abuses of a previous generation deep state, including massive domestic spying revealed by quintessential investigative reporter Seymour Hersh in December 1974. (Actually, this is largely why the congressional intelligence oversight committees were later established, and why the FISA law was passed in 1978.)

At this point, one is tempted to say plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose -- or the more things change, the more they stay the same -- but that would be only half correct in this context. Yes, scoundrels will always take liberties with the law to spy on others. But the huge difference today is that mainstream media have no room for those who uncover government crimes and abuse. And this will be a major impediment to efforts by Nunes and other committee chairs to inform the public.

One glaring sign of the media's unwillingness to displease corporate masters and Official Washington is the harsh reality that Hersh's most recent explosive investigations, using his large array of government sources to explore front-burner issues, have not been able to find a home in any English-speaking newspaper or journal. In a sense, this provides what might be called a "confidence-building" factor, giving some assurance to deep-state perps that they will be able to ride this out, and that congressional committee chairs will once again learn to know their (subservient) place.

Much will depend on whether top DOJ and FBI officials can bring themselves to reverse course and give priority to the oath they took to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic. This should not be too much to hope for, but it will require uncommon courage in facing up honestly to the major misdeeds appear to have occurred -- and letting the chips fall where they may. Besides, it would be the right thing to do.

Nunes is projecting calm confidence that once he and Trey Gowdey (R-Tenn.), chair of the House Oversight Committee, release documentary evidence showing what their investigations have turned up, it will be hard for DOJ and FBI officials to dissimulate.

In Other News

In the interview with Attkisson, Nunes covered a number of other significant issues:

The committee is closing down its investigation into possible collusion between Moscow and the Trump campaign; no evidence of collusion was found. The apparently widespread practice of "unmasking" the identities of Americans under surveillance. On this point, Nunes said, "In the last administration they were unmasking hundreds, and hundreds, and hundreds of Americans' names. They were unmasking for what I would say, for lack of a better definition, were for political purposes." Asked about Schiff's criticism that Nunes behaved improperly on what he called the "midnight run to the White House," Nunes responded that the stories were untrue. "Well, most of the time I ignore political nonsense in this town," he said. "What I will say is that all of those stories were totally fake from the beginning."

Not since Watergate has there been so high a degree of political tension here in Washington but the stakes for our Republic are even higher this time. Assuming abuse of FISA court procedures is documented and those responsible for playing fast and loose with the required justification for legal warrants are not held to account, the division of powers enshrined in the Constitution will be in peril.

A denouement of some kind can be expected in the coming months. Stay tuned.

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Savior in inner-city Washington. He was a CIA analyst for 27 years and is co-founder of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).


Skip Scott , February 19, 2018 at 9:38 am

Thanks Ray for another great article. One can only hope that Nunes is successful. However, like you say, the MSM is now complicit with the "Deep State", so the fight for justice becomes much harder. One also has to remember Schumer's "six ways from Sunday" applies equally to the congress as it does to the president. I hardly ever watch TV news, but recently I've been subjected to it, and I've seen a deluge of fluff pieces on our so-called Intelligence Agencies. I would love to see Trump give a speech (instead of a tweet) directly to the American people letting them know what rascals like Brennan, Clapper, et al have been up to.

Bob Van Noy , February 19, 2018 at 12:51 pm

This may be the best broadcast tv journalism in many years, read Sharyl Attkisson's story, "Stonewalled" (I will link the commentary page to that book for thorough readers). And thank you Nat, Ray McGovern & CN

https://www.amazon.com/Stonewalled-Obstruction-Intimidation-Harassment-Washington/dp/0062322850/ref=sr_1_1/140-4375232-2286101?ie=UTF8&qid=1519058613&sr=8-1&keywords=stonewalled#customerReviews

Dave P. , February 19, 2018 at 2:29 pm

An excellent and very timely article by Ray McGovern. Lawlessness, greed, complete subservience to Wall Street Finance and other Powers, insanity, and utter inhumanity prevails in present day Ruling Establishment in Washington. Obama, "the hope and change" Con Artist for whose election, being democrats we worked so hard in 2008 turned to be the biggest perpetrator of this lawlessness and responsible for fanning the flames still further in starting a new Cold War.

It is real courageous of Devin Nunes to give this interview. It is not only the accountability to law that is at stake in U.S., but the Whole World is imperiled with what happens in Washington. But as many have written before in comments about this complete moral collapse of the Entire West, I am afraid, it is all going to be swept under the rug. We have to just keep the fingers crossed.

Howard Dean just said yesterday that Nunes and people like him belong in jail. Now can you believe it, how low these so called liberal democrats have come to? Looking at the pictures of Adam Schiff, Howard Dean, and others in their company, I literally feel sick in the stomach. And one asks the essential question: "did not their parents teach them any honesty or moral principles in young age?".

Abbybwood , February 19, 2018 at 3:54 pm

But what he said is very confusing. First he says that Congress has no way to prosecute the DOJ/FBI for wrong doing then at the end he says Congress will need to prosecute the DOJ/FBI if necessary. Either Congress has the ability to prosecute the DOJ/FBI and issue indictments and set up Grand Juries or they don't.

Somebody needs to find out, Constitutionally, what the solution is when the DOJ/FBI at the highest levels become the criminals. WHO has the power to indict/convict these individuals??

Sam F , February 19, 2018 at 10:36 pm

A special prosecutor (Mueller's position) is appointed by the Pres or AG.

Annie , February 19, 2018 at 3:20 pm

From what I've heard expressed by a few FBI people, you don't come before a court, but a judge, one person, and they are known to rubber stamp almost everything. So they should be investigated too.

Realist , February 19, 2018 at 5:02 pm

I have never seen such media bias against a sitting president in my lifetime, not even against Richard Nixon when they at least practiced decorum and feigned objectivity even if they were secretly cheering on his demise. I will reiterate here that I do not champion the man but rather due process under our constitution, which has been made a travesty from the moment of Clinton's loss at the polls.

Dave P. , February 19, 2018 at 7:56 pm

I completely agree with you Realist. I am not Trump's fan or supporter of his agenda, in fact, in many things quite the opposite of it. However, he raised some very valid points about the the domestic economy and other issues, and about the need to stop interventions in foreign countries, and getting along Russia, and the need to rebuild country's manufacturing system again. He was duly elected by the people, and he should have been given the support to pursue what he promised. But it did not happen. We would not know now what he actually wanted to accomplish.

Sam F , February 19, 2018 at 10:41 pm

Yes, neither party nor the mass media shows concern for the Constitution or for the people. As the propaganda agency, the mass media are primarily responsible. The zionist/WallSt/MIC oligarchy have consolidated control over mass media, secret agencies, and elections, but not without factions.

Michael , February 19, 2018 at 10:00 am

Although it's being done for the wrong reasons, I am nevertheless looking forward to seeing our out-of-control intelligence agencies being put in their place. If I were president and my party controlled both houses of Congress, you'd better believe I'd be looking to dismantle the national surveillance state and reduce the military budget to a "mere" $250 billion annually.

Joe Tedesky , February 19, 2018 at 11:09 am

Michael I hear ya. Yes, there is a civil war of sorts going on in DC, and yes it would be a wonderful thing to rid our bureaucracy of all the slim that is in it, but taking Jiminy Cricket's good advice to heart would be so much more fruitful to if you and I would only sing;

'When you wish upon a star
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires will come to you"

Now that song will be stuck in my head all day .got any Journey? Joe

Coleen Rowley , February 19, 2018 at 3:27 pm

It's true that people generally do not care when bad practices, policies or violence is inflicted on others and not on themselves. Of course that's stupid because it's just a matter of time before "blowback" occurs (as the CIA euphemistically labeled how doing unto others eventually boomerangs back on perpetrators). Going back to the Church Committee and how that bit of accountability finally happened, it only got off the ground when Frank Church and other Senators found THEMSELVES in the crosshairs of FBI Cointelpro; CIA's "CHAOS" and NSA's "Minaret" surveillance. http://foreignpolicy.com/2013/09/25/secret-cold-war-documents-reveal-nsa-spied-on-senators/ (To this day, only 7 of the 1000 or so Americans targeted by the NSA during the Vietnam War have been discovered but their identities are telling.)

The post 9-11 wars of aggression, massive surveillance, torture and other war crimes were sold to the American public as only to be inflicted on foreigners, i.e. "we fight them over there so we don't fight them here." But the blowback has now turned America's schools, malls, workplaces, concerts and churches into war zones and little by little, the disinformation ops, "regime change" know-how and other accoutrements of perpetual war (the fool's errand of gaining full spectrum dominance over the rest of the world) have been turned inward on the American people, including powerful American officials themselves. So it would seem to be a good thing that some politicians like Nunes have finally seen the light exactly as Frank Church did -- only when they themselves began to reap the negative consequences of what they thought would only negatively impact other, lesser people.

BobS , February 19, 2018 at 4:50 pm

" the blowback has now turned America's schools, malls, workplaces, concerts and churches into war zones"

"blowback" is doing a lot of work in that sentence, if you're referring specifically to "post 9-11 wars of aggression, massive surveillance, torture and other war crimes". Whenever the incidents have had a political agenda attached, it's more often than not been of the domestic right-wing variety. And of course, all of them have been facilitated by easy civilian access to hardware that was originally developed by the military (ours and the Soviets) to efficiently kill/incapacitate large numbers of enemy fighters.

Gregory Herr , February 19, 2018 at 7:30 pm

BobS fails to understand that blowback encapsulates more than "revenge". "Forever war" and all Colleen mentions that goes with it has had societal impact because violence is glorified as a "solution" and feelings of suspicion and antagonism become part of the dark undertow.

Sam F , February 19, 2018 at 10:54 pm

Well said, Colleen. Let us hope that Nunes is not merely acting the part. I wonder whether the greatest secrets of domestic spying are now so compartmentalized and controlled that only those most dependent upon their agency could blow the whistle.

Annie , February 19, 2018 at 4:23 pm

This is not to be compared to spying on citizens, which is unacceptable, but they tried to undermine a presidency, whether you like Trump or not, and at the same time it allowed them to push their cold war agenda. I remember Clinton's campaign manager coming out right after the e-mail dump that said the Russians did it. And didn't Obama send a lot of those Russian ambassadors packing? They should be investigated, as should the FISA court itself. Perhaps if Trump didn't have this charge of colluding with Russia he might have been able to be more diplomatic on that score. Now, they made sure he would never be getting along with Russia. What they have now is a bunch of Russians acting on their own that allegedly interfered in our elections and created political discord, which is absurd, since the democrats are mainly responsible for this nonsense, as is the FBI and DOJ. I was a democrat, but no more.

Dave P. , February 19, 2018 at 4:52 pm

Annie, you are right on that. However, Coleen Rowely has also made some very good observations in her comments. But there is more to it, as some have pointed out in comments above, there are some intra-party quarrels going on in Washington to take the upper hand. Regarding foreign policy, National Security State and surveillance, and other such issues, both parties are joined at the hip.

Gregory Herr , February 19, 2018 at 7:42 pm

I wouldn't completely discount the idea that Nunes' sense of responsibility has been activated by being a close witness to what is blatant wrongdoing. But then my cynicism is still tempered by the belief that sometimes people are compelled to do what's right just because it's what's right. Silly me.

Virginia , February 19, 2018 at 10:34 am

Me, too, Michael, to " dismantle the national surveillance state and reduce the military budget to a 'mere' $250 billion annually."

Thanks to Ray McGovern for another good article with link to interview. Good to hear they will finally be closing the Mueller investigation (Nunes was straightforward about that, no there there) and will likely be investigating the FBI and DOJ.

Applause goes to David Nunes. Keep up the good work.

Abbybwood , February 19, 2018 at 4:03 pm

But I see where Trump asked for nearly one TRILLION dollars for the military and got it.

Pandas4peace , February 19, 2018 at 10:24 am

Where can we get access to Seymour Hersh's "recent explosive investigations" even if they are written in German?

Cherrycoke , February 19, 2018 at 11:57 am

https://www.welt.de/politik/ausland/article165905578/Trump-s-Red-Line.html

There is more at the bottom of the page.

Ray McGovern , February 19, 2018 at 12:11 pm

Try this link: http://raymcgovern.com/?s=hersh+welt or simply search on consortiumnews.com webpage.

ray

mike k , February 19, 2018 at 2:54 pm

"On June 25th 2017 the German newspaper, Welt, published the latest piece by Seymour Hersh, countering the "mainstream" narrative around the April 4th 2017 Khan Sheikhoun chemical attack in Syria."

Ray McGovern , February 19, 2018 at 9:35 pm

Ranney,

Please have a look at this: https://consortiumnews.com/2017/06/25/intel-behind-trumps-syria-attack-questioned/

Consortiumnews.com publishes and comments on everything Pulitzer Prize winning Sy Hersh does. The problem is that he is BANNED from English-language pubs -- simply banned and even kept off erstwhile "liberal" TV and radio programs. Amy Goodman, for example, has ALWAYS had Sy on when he had a new story until this one. She would not touch it; these days prefers to go with the "White Helmets" of this world. O Tempora, O Mores. Sad.

So, in sum, the problem is a very basic one. Sy does not publish until he has nailed down every significant detail and, since he is so well plugged in with many longtime, trusted sources to sift through, that takes a while for a bit story -- as all of them are. And when he is ready to publish, he hears folks whisper "Leper" as he gets close to an editorial office. It really IS that bad. We owe the op-ed editor at die Welt our thanks.

Btw: The Consortiumnews.com main page has a SEARCH button that I find very handy. Try to search on Seymour Hersh. Same goes for easily searchable raymcgovern.com, my website.

Ray

David Otness , February 19, 2018 at 5:37 pm

The London Review of Books has been publishing Hersh's work. That's one source.

Ray McGovern , February 19, 2018 at 9:51 pm

David,

Not for his latest of last June. See explanation of LRB cave in at: https://consortiumnews.com/2017/06/25/intel-behind-trumps-syria-attack-questioned/

The ostracizing of Sy Hersh is a major -- if highly depressing -- story in and of itself. But he is irrepressible. I do not think he is going to silently steal away any time soon.

Ray McGovern

Kim Dixon , February 19, 2018 at 10:32 am

Can anyone imagine the Neocon WashPo, or the NYT (or CBS, or CNN, or ) committing actual journalism, as this story progresses?

That, and the DNC's commitment to the DNC to the Russia Did It!™ canard, will ensure that real revelations go nowhere.

It is instructive to read the comments on any NYT article on this subject. The comments are clearly written by intelligent, well-educated individuals – who parrot the Deep State's anti-Russian propaganda as if they were the dumbest of the "Better dead than Red!" 50s McCarthyites.

The new McCarthyites are actually stupider and more authoritarian than their sad fore-bearers, because they could pierce the Deep States lies with 30 minutes of online research, but they prefer tribalism and ignorance, instead.

Lois Gagnon , February 19, 2018 at 1:01 pm

You got that right! I live in the 5 college area in Massachusetts. Plenty of those types around here playing activists. They fit your description. I can't stand to be in the same room with any of them. They may as well be from Mars.

Nancy , February 19, 2018 at 2:47 pm

I agree. The average working person has more common sense than the so-called intelligent, educated class. I suspect their views reflect the fact that they are very comfortable, financially, with the status quo, and don't want any real change.

mike k , February 19, 2018 at 10:35 am

Trump started going head to head with the intel folks, but has backed down a lot now. Let's hope Nunes et al hang in there and keep the pressure on these despicable criminals who hide behind governmental powers. When you allow people to do whatever they want in secret with no oversight, you can expect them to abuse their power. The basic question all this leads to is "who is running this country and making crucial decisions about war and peace, or fascism and democracy"?

BobH , February 19, 2018 at 10:52 am

Somehow I don't think Nunes or his committee is capable of reigning in Frankenstein. His "constitutuents"" are not likely to allow it and although the monster was pieced together from many body parts its instincts for self-preservation are formidable. Nevertheless, I would applaud anyone who makes the effort.

BobH , February 19, 2018 at 6:43 pm

Here's where Mueller's investigation didn't go https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-2_Bc_7Pos

Bob Van Noy , February 19, 2018 at 7:11 pm

Thanks BobH, that's an excellent rant, thanks for passing it along.

Joe Tedesky , February 19, 2018 at 10:58 am

The only way any trail that Nunes could even begin to make magically appear to happen before our weary eyes will happen only, and I say only, will appear because it will be good for tv ratings. Enforcing Constitutional law, I mean who does that anymore? Why today in our nation's capital we have congressional people asking the opposite of what Ben Franklin warned us good citizens about as the swamp critters are saying, 'Constitution how can we lose it'. You know this Ray that these crooks and crookettes in DC think that the U.S. Constitution is so passé and so anciently colonial that they hear Jefferson saying, 'ignore this stupid document, I was drunk with Adams and Franklin when I wrote it. It was all a big mistake.' Or something like that, but Constitutional law we don't need no stink'n Constitutional law, now get back to your part time work. (Whip cracking sound)

Hey Ray this whole fiasco does what is most important in this new American century, this fiasco is entertaining and the ratings are going through the roof so with that what more could a red blooded good American ask for now pass the tv remote.

Joe Tedesky , February 19, 2018 at 11:29 am

Paul Craig Roberts may have nailed this thing: https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/02/18/cbs-contradicts-muellers-report/

blimbax , February 19, 2018 at 9:21 pm

Paul Craig Roberts wrote,

Note that after saying the Russians are indicted for interfering in the election, and spending 5 minutes on this, at the 5 minute 20 second mark Rosenstein says there is no evidence that the Russians had any affect [sic] on the election! So what we have is the Deputy Attorney General of the United States announcing an indictment for which he says there is no evidence!

If we take Roberts' statement at face value, he may have inadvertenly mischaracterized Rosenstein's statement. According to Roberts, Rosenstein said there is no evidence of an effect on the election, but it does not follow from that that Rosenstein is saying that there is no evidence of interference. There may have been "interference" that had no impact. And, of course, there is the question, just what is meant by "interference" in this context?

I share the frustration many commenters have about the entire "Russiagate" narrative, but I think it is important to be careful in how we evaluate these statements. It may all be a "nothinburger," but it is important to describe things carefully and correctly. Otherwise, one ends up inadvertently setting up a straw man for someone else to knock down.

Joe Tedesky , February 19, 2018 at 10:25 pm

I share the stress you do blimblax that you and all who stay on this Russia-Gate pay-ops suffer, but the way this crooked nail investigation has been going, mostly distorted by the press coverage, your argument about the interpretation of Rosenstein's words to the general public will be like splitting hairs with bald people . they just won't get it, and why, because I'm not sure the vast amount of Americans get it now. They got turned off along time ago back when the FBI didn't produce Trump performing his much heard about Steele Dossier acclaimed Water Sports in his Moscow Obama's Presidential Suite sick, yes, but it's the truth. No pictures, no believe you.

Personally I have never doubted any Russian influence in the way of statements, or essays, but this contribution of opinion is to be expected from any well thinking country, or nation if you'd rather of the world. Plus the Russians spending wasn't even close to any real fraction of what both U.S. Presidential candidate spend on their campaigns, get real.

In the world of cypher espionage I have no knowledge, but if Russia does hang out in it well then I'm sure the U.S. is already there to do what it must to defend it's cypher security. So that's a wash, but this insane Russia-Gate distraction was originally a way to deflect attention from Hillary & Debbie's putting the screws to Socialist Sanders . then Russia-Gate became a MSM driven coup to oust Trump from his Electoral won presidential office.

We could argue to how Trump,should be questioned, or even brought up on impeachment charges, but not for this particular Russia interference into our so well guarded American democracy. In fact we Americans don't need any Russian help at bringing our American democracy down, because we Americans already did that with the Patriot Act as among a few many other things. Joe

Joe Tedesky , February 19, 2018 at 11:59 am

Here is a rant by Charles Hugh Smith: http://charleshughsmith.blogspot.com/2018/02/russian-meddling-gagging-on-irony.html

SocraticGadfly , February 19, 2018 at 1:35 pm

Neither Dems nor GOP truly care about the First Amendment. Ray won't write about that. I have, re the Mueller indictments: http://socraticgadfly.blogspot.com/2018/02/internet-research-agency-butt-hurt.html

Joe Tedesky , February 19, 2018 at 2:14 pm

That was a terrific read, and so is this: http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/02/mueller-indictement-the-russian-influence-is-a-commercial-marketing-scheme.html#more

Enjoy. Joe

Bill , February 19, 2018 at 11:48 am

Somehow many Democrats are convinced that the FBI/DOJ did nothing wrong with regards to the FISA warrants. And they're still convinced that Trump colluded with Putin. Nothing will change their minds, it's hopeless.

Lois Gagnon , February 19, 2018 at 4:17 pm

It is indeed surreal to watch people who classify themselves as the left undermining the left by supporting the very agencies whose sole purpose from their inception is to destroy the left.

As David William Pear put it at OpEd News, "I don't think even Orwell has a scene like this: anti-authoritarian dissidents endorse more authoritarian means to weed out authoritarians resulting in authoritarians having more control to weed out dissidents."

I have a headache.

Jessika , February 19, 2018 at 11:55 am

The Deep State is very, very deep, and we're "Knee Deep in the Big Muddy" (Pete Seeger). Anybody knows the US Deep State was thoroughly entrenched by Reagan's time. It's overdue not to let this deep state corruption harden to concrete. I support neither party until there is a course correction, and Nunes makes valid points in support of a correction. Thanks, Ray.

BobS , February 19, 2018 at 11:58 am

Thin skinned too, eh Ray?
You're right, of course- Russia analysts at the CIA did stellar work in the 1980s.

Joe Tedesky , February 19, 2018 at 12:01 pm

No BobS it's you with your thickhead that doesn't get it. Keep it up BobS, because eventually you are going to say something funny. Take care. Joe

SocraticGadfly , February 19, 2018 at 1:34 pm

Ray continues to engage in two-siderism. He ignores digging into legit critiques of Mueller, as I have. http://socraticgadfly.blogspot.com/2018/02/internet-research-agency-butt-hurt.html

Charles Misfeldt , February 19, 2018 at 11:58 am

Will Nunes or any conservative go after the thousands of illegal acts perpetrated by conservatives??? NO! Nunes, along with every conservative traitor in America (republican or democrat) needs to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The conservative agenda is not moral or constitutional.

BobS , February 19, 2018 at 1:09 pm

Considering their disregard for law as well as their worship of authoritarianism (exercised against the proper targets, of course), I'd say it's more than "self-enrichment" that drives conservatives, both ancient and modern.

Deniz , February 19, 2018 at 1:58 pm

Perhaps that is an issue, but I am unclear precisely what is wrong in Nunes position that he is relying on Gowdy, an undeniably sharp, precise, prosecutor, to review the examined material. Watching both Nunes and Gowdy in sessions, I would have probably, and gladly, made the same decision. It also make sense politically that they cover for each other, one person is expendable and takes the heat – Nunes, while the other – Gowdy, an upward star of the party, who probably ran the whole investigation anyway, keeps his hands clean.

BobS , February 19, 2018 at 2:09 pm

The always partisan "upward star" Trey 'BENGHAZI!!!' Gowdy announced his retirement from congress last month due to his being "sick of hyper-partisanship". And let me show you this bridge I'm selling

Deniz , February 19, 2018 at 2:32 pm

In fact, I would greatly enjoy a discussion on weapons transfers from Libya to Erdogan to Al – Qaeda via Clinton. This is actually one of my favorite topics. So have it.

Deniz , February 19, 2018 at 5:34 pm

So what is your argument, that we should be loyal to our crime family and not theirs?

Or do you think Hillary, "We came, we saw, he died" or Mueller, of nothing to see here on 9/11 notoriety are the sort of people we should be defending.

Jessika , February 19, 2018 at 12:07 pm

Impossible to get the whole Gorgon's head, anyway, in such a corrupt system as we have. Why else are we in such a mess? Both GOP and Democrats have not served the people, so we should therefore give up trying to address any abuse?

Antiwar7 , February 19, 2018 at 12:35 pm

Ray, do you think Trump has made a deal: he'll allow escalations against Russia, and in return the Deep State will leave him alone? If so, does that portend that this will fizzle out?

Gregory Herr , February 19, 2018 at 8:14 pm

So you are privy to the briefings in question. Just because Reagan bloated the military budget doesn't mean he was being fed false intelligence by McGovern.

On the other hand, it is well publicized that Cheney twisted arms at Langley and Tenet obliged and Rummy worked the Iraq angle as well. We also had the Downing Street Memo and the Powell fiasco and Valerie Plame. Ray was right to be indignant.

Jerry Alatalo , February 19, 2018 at 3:50 pm

While the shiny ball, smoke and mirrors psychological operation known as "Russiagate" has begun running on fumes before the gas tank finally runs dry, the major revelation of the Clinton WikiLeaks emails describing Saudi/Qatari financing of ISIS drops further down the memory hole. There's nothing like success

Drew Hunkins , February 19, 2018 at 3:59 pm

Good point Mr. Alatalo. The Saudi-Zio Terror Network gets away with murder, literally and figuratively and of course the Saudi-Zio Terror Network NEVER, EVER interferes in ANY elections in the United States, no never.

(sarcasm)

Paul E. Merrell, J.D. , February 19, 2018 at 5:59 pm

Related news: Kim Dotcom: "Let Me Assure You, The DNC Hack Wasn't Even A Hack", https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-02-18/kim-dotcom-let-me-assure-you-dnc-hack-wasnt-even-hack (Kim Dot Com claims personal knowledge on who took the DNC emails (Seth Rich) and his lawyers wrote to Mueller twice, offering his testimony, but never heard back from Mueller).

Bob Van Noy , February 19, 2018 at 7:18 pm

Thank you Paul E. Merrell, J.D. I have been convinced from the beginning of all of this that this was the line to Wikileaks. Now if we could only get a real investigation into Seth's murder.

Stop Bush and Clinton , February 19, 2018 at 7:34 pm

"We found that they broke a vast number of laws, did surveillance of a competitor with a warrant based on fake evidence, all adding up to treason worse than Watergate. But we think that no reasonable prosecutor would file charges .." -- The FBI

[Feb 19, 2018] The Russiagate Intelligence Wars What We Do and Don't Know

Highly recommended!
Mueller was the person responsible for investigation of 911. That fact alone tells you all as for what we can expect.
Notable quotes:
"... NO actual physical proof has been presented to the public to substantiate claims that Russia hacked the DNC ..."
"... There is NO proof (only allegations) of collusion between Trump's campaign and the Kremlin ..."
"... Social media efforts by Russian trolls to influence the election were minimal in the extreme, laughably amateurish and completely ineffective ..."
"... Glenn Greenwald has spent the past year documenting in detail the large volume of fake anti-Russian "news" generated by the MSM (see GG at The Intercept) ..."
"... There is NO connection between the Russian government and the 13 private citizens recently indicted for their pathetic and ineffectual activity as part of a troll farm ..."
"... Thanks to the paranoid, xenophobic, Russia-bashing nationalistic propaganda that is being promoted by our military-industrial-intelligence-media complex, the U.S. now believes it is acceptable to launch a first strike nuclear attack in retaliation for breeches of cyber security ..."
"... Trump won't be impeached over Russiagate for the simple reason that Russiagate is nothing but a psyops perpetrated against the American people by the national-security bureaucracy (and their corporate media propagandists) for the purposes of reigniting a second Cold War and maintaining U.S. global hegemony. ..."
"... Thanks to the hysterical McCarthyism now rampant among Democrats - and that is being used to great effect by Washington's bipartisan neocon warmongers - we may just end up in a nuclear war. The good news: it will be a short war and the Democrats will never have to accept responsibility for Clinton's loss. ..."
"... How about that Clinton got the CIA to partner with neo-Nazis in Ukraine to stage a coup, kick out Putin's friend, and install a billionaire capitalist as President? - something the media never mentions. ..."
"... Ultimately, I see the Russia story as getting its legs from the efforts of the dominant Hillary wing of the Democratic party, backed by big media, to continue to assert that Hillary really won the presidency in 2016, and that their wing should continue to have control of the party. ..."
"... That an immensely dangerous war fever is being whipped up in the process is of no importance to them. And, by no means incidentally, they are ignoring all of the real atrocities being committed by the Trump administration against the American people and the earth's environment. ..."
"... It has been thus since the creep moved into the White House. Dreyfuss, perky Rachel Maddow, Colbert, Maher, and many others have been the true "useful idiots". ..."
"... This same media never gave Sanders any media exposure during the primary. ..."
"... I would add that the election manipulations which the Clinton forces engaged in to defeat Sanders during the Democratic primaries dwarfs, by orders of magnitude, anything alleged against the Russians by even the most hawkish backers of the Russia probe. ..."
"... tweet by Peter Van Buren, former US foreign intelligence officer "Just did a quick read of the '13 Russian' indictment. Missing are a) any connections between the 13 and the Russian government and/or Trump campaign; b) any discussion of the impact (if any) their social media efforts had. It describes them buying Facebook ads, but nothing about if it affected votes; c) no connection shown between any of this and DNC, Wikileaks, hacking of emails; d) no discussion of motive; e) assumption that anything anti-Clinton was defacto pro-Bernie and/or pro-Trump. And all indicted persons are Russians, and outside the U.S., so highly unlikely this is going anywhere further legally. ..."
"... BTW, today the media put up that scumbag Podesta as a spokesperson for the Democrats. ..."
"... Seems that the end justifies the means. No matter what is the truth. In the mean-time, they're actually harming the opposition to Trump. I suppose nobody asked Podesta why the DNC never offered their computers for FBI forensics. ..."
"... The MSM never asks the hard questions anymore. It seems all pre-scripted and sanitized for corporate media. ..."
"... It's been a year since Mueller went to work and what's he got? A couple of Republican political operatives being political operatives. Their crime was not reporting to the USG that they were working for Ukraine. Now we're down to social media posts. You're probably one of those people who say, I saw it on the internet so it must be true. If the government is going to be upset about crap they see on social media from foreign parties, they need to start by telling said social media that they can't solicit advertising from foreign entities with political overtones as facebook did of RT. ..."
"... So we are going to limit global free speech by spending $Trillions more on building a nuclear arsenal - total madness - driven by [un] Democratic whining. ..."
"... Apparently, it comes down to trolls who planted various "fake news" stories. Stipulate to all of that; the worst of it. How does THAT begin to stack–up against the murderous coup that the USA OPENLY fomented in the Ukraine a couple of years earlier by bankrolling dozens of Non-governmental organizations whose sole purpose was "regime change"? ..."
"... Maybe come back to me about all of this when the FBI can convincingly prove that the Russian government armed and funded a Neo–nazi para–military group that assaulted and burned–down the North Carolina State House. ..."
"... You mean like Clinton and the CIA did in Ukraine, for economic domination over Russia, don't you? ..."
"... Tell me, as soon as you can, when having skepticism on the Russia/Election Meddling story is finally permitted. I heard tell, we've lately dropped the "Treason" narration. Now the spin du jour is that Trump & Co were all duped by them clever Ruskies. Whatever floats your boat. ..."
"... Stephen Cohen's take on Russiagate makes a lot of sense, to me. I've followed Russia/soviet/US relations very closely since Gorbachev. Open your eyes, Mattis has labeled Russia our mortal enemy, we just upped defense spending to an obscene level that shall keep our schools, hospitals, social services, and infrastructure in their bad state. ..."
Feb 19, 2018 | www.thenation.com

Cara Marianna says: February 19, 2018 at 4:36 pm

Here's what we know:

  1. NO actual physical proof has been presented to the public to substantiate claims that Russia hacked the DNC
  2. There is NO proof (only allegations) of collusion between Trump's campaign and the Kremlin
  3. Social media efforts by Russian trolls to influence the election were minimal in the extreme, laughably amateurish and completely ineffective
  4. Glenn Greenwald has spent the past year documenting in detail the large volume of fake anti-Russian "news" generated by the MSM (see GG at The Intercept)
  5. There is NO connection between the Russian government and the 13 private citizens recently indicted for their pathetic and ineffectual activity as part of a troll farm
  6. Thanks to the paranoid, xenophobic, Russia-bashing nationalistic propaganda that is being promoted by our military-industrial-intelligence-media complex, the U.S. now believes it is acceptable to launch a first strike nuclear attack in retaliation for breeches of cyber security

Read number six again and think about it. The U.S. is ready and willing to launch a preemptive nuclear attack against any nation it accuses of undermining our cyber security - no proof necessary. The Democratic establishment, which has spent the past year engaging in baseless Kremlin-baiting (and very little else), is directly responsible for this insanity.

Trump won't be impeached over Russiagate for the simple reason that Russiagate is nothing but a psyops perpetrated against the American people by the national-security bureaucracy (and their corporate media propagandists) for the purposes of reigniting a second Cold War and maintaining U.S. global hegemony.

Thanks to the hysterical McCarthyism now rampant among Democrats - and that is being used to great effect by Washington's bipartisan neocon warmongers - we may just end up in a nuclear war. The good news: it will be a short war and the Democrats will never have to accept responsibility for Clinton's loss.

Fred Caruso says: February 18, 2018 at 9:30 pm

Who gives a shit really?

How about that Clinton got the CIA to partner with neo-Nazis in Ukraine to stage a coup, kick out Putin's friend, and install a billionaire capitalist as President? - something the media never mentions.

Caleb Melamed says: February 18, 2018 at 9:12 am

As I open the online edition of The Nation this morning, there are two lead stories. One of them tells how Trump is planning to evict 5 million poor people from public housing. A very important story.

The second story by Bob Dreyfuss is probably the 10,000th one I've seen about the Russia probe. The public housing story is obviously much more important and substantial, yet the Democrats have been focusing almost exclusively on the flimsy Russia probe. Not even the pressing need to regulate assault rifles has really grabbed their full attention, even in the wake of the latest dreadful Florida high school massacre. In perusing the news stories this Sunday morning, the Russia probe continues to hold first place in coverage by a big margin.

Ultimately, I see the Russia story as getting its legs from the efforts of the dominant Hillary wing of the Democratic party, backed by big media, to continue to assert that Hillary really won the presidency in 2016, and that their wing should continue to have control of the party.

That an immensely dangerous war fever is being whipped up in the process is of no importance to them. And, by no means incidentally, they are ignoring all of the real atrocities being committed by the Trump administration against the American people and the earth's environment.

Clark M Shanahan says: February 18, 2018 at 9:52 am

Amen, Caleb
It has been thus since the creep moved into the White House. Dreyfuss, perky Rachel Maddow, Colbert, Maher, and many others have been the true "useful idiots".

Fred Caruso says: February 18, 2018 at 9:33 pm

This same media never gave Sanders any media exposure during the primary.

Caleb Melamed says: February 18, 2018 at 9:42 am

I would add that the election manipulations which the Clinton forces engaged in to defeat Sanders during the Democratic primaries dwarfs, by orders of magnitude, anything alleged against the Russians by even the most hawkish backers of the Russia probe.

Clark M Shanahan says: February 18, 2018 at 8:24 am

FYI
tweet by Peter Van Buren, former US foreign intelligence officer "Just did a quick read of the '13 Russian' indictment. Missing are a) any connections between the 13 and the Russian government and/or Trump campaign; b) any discussion of the impact (if any) their social media efforts had. It describes them buying Facebook ads, but nothing about if it affected votes; c) no connection shown between any of this and DNC, Wikileaks, hacking of emails; d) no discussion of motive; e) assumption that anything anti-Clinton was defacto pro-Bernie and/or pro-Trump. And all indicted persons are Russians, and outside the U.S., so highly unlikely this is going anywhere further legally.

Fred Caruso says: February 18, 2018 at 9:37 pm

There is nothing illegal or unethical about any individual of government supporting one candidate over another. BTW, today the media put up that scumbag Podesta as a spokesperson for the Democrats.

Clark M Shanahan says: February 19, 2018 at 9:02 am

Seems that the end justifies the means. No matter what is the truth. In the mean-time, they're actually harming the opposition to Trump. I suppose nobody asked Podesta why the DNC never offered their computers for FBI forensics.

Fred Caruso says: February 19, 2018 at 12:31 pm

The MSM never asks the hard questions anymore. It seems all pre-scripted and sanitized for corporate media.

Richard Phelps says: February 18, 2018 at 2:52 am

There is one issue that no media is talking about regarding the "memos". Trump is clearly a "person of interest", if not a suspect in some parts of the investigation. Given Trump's entanglement how is it not an absolute conflict of interest for Trump being the person who decides what memos get to be public and what redactions must be made.

Imagine a judge being a suspect in a crime or a major stockholder in a corporate civil suit. S/he would never be allowed to make any rulings on what evidence the jury gets to see or anything about the case. Some non-interested 3rd party needs to make those decisions.

Fred Caruso says: February 18, 2018 at 9:38 pm

Quit feeding this beast.

Jeffrey Harrison says: February 16, 2018 at 8:15 pm

The other interesting and fun fact not mentioned anywhere. Three Names won by 3 million votes. Crafty Ruskis.

Carla Skidmore says: February 16, 2018 at 7:33 pm

This investigation by Mueller is just beginning. In other words, and to use the vernacular, "We "ain't seen nothing," yet."

Fred Caruso says: February 18, 2018 at 9:40 pm

You are right. This is nothing but bullshit and it may be just the beginning. The Democrats have an endless supply of donkey-shit.

Jeffrey Harrison says: February 16, 2018 at 6:08 pm

It's interesting that the Russians set this all up to boost Trump and disparage Three Names before Trump even announced he was running. The basic set up for this was going on in 2014 whereas Trump announced in 2015.

Carla Skidmore says: February 16, 2018 at 7:29 pm

No, not really. Trump was making gestures of interest in the presidency in 2012

Clark M Shanahan says: February 18, 2018 at 10:28 am

Since when have you been so trusting of our FBI & CIA, Carla? From what we've experienced together from the Gulf of Tonkin onward, I'm a wee-tad taken aback. Please read the ex-foreign intelligence officer's twitter posting that I posted above.

Jeffrey Harrison says: February 16, 2018 at 8:30 pm

Pfui. He also made noises about running in the 2012 election. People don't set up organizations to do stuff just on the off chance that some politician or wannabe is going to run. These guys ain't got nothin'. It's been a year since Mueller went to work and what's he got? A couple of Republican political operatives being political operatives. Their crime was not reporting to the USG that they were working for Ukraine. Now we're down to social media posts. You're probably one of those people who say, I saw it on the internet so it must be true. If the government is going to be upset about crap they see on social media from foreign parties, they need to start by telling said social media that they can't solicit advertising from foreign entities with political overtones as facebook did of RT.

Fred Caruso says: February 19, 2018 at 3:35 pm

So we are going to limit global free speech by spending $Trillions more on building a nuclear arsenal - total madness - driven by [un] Democratic whining.

Francis Louis Szot says: February 16, 2018 at 6:05 pm

Apparently, it comes down to trolls who planted various "fake news" stories. Stipulate to all of that; the worst of it. How does THAT begin to stack–up against the murderous coup that the USA OPENLY fomented in the Ukraine a couple of years earlier by bankrolling dozens of Non-governmental organizations whose sole purpose was "regime change"?

Maybe come back to me about all of this when the FBI can convincingly prove that the Russian government armed and funded a Neo–nazi para–military group that assaulted and burned–down the North Carolina State House.

Fred Caruso says: February 19, 2018 at 3:37 pm

You mean like Clinton and the CIA did in Ukraine, for economic domination over Russia, don't you?

Clark M Shanahan says: February 16, 2018 at 3:44 pm

I'm hoping the hush-money passed on to two of Trump's romantic caprices, during the election, gets traction.

Tell me, as soon as you can, when having skepticism on the Russia/Election Meddling story is finally permitted. I heard tell, we've lately dropped the "Treason" narration. Now the spin du jour is that Trump & Co were all duped by them clever Ruskies. Whatever floats your boat.

Clark M Shanahan says: February 17, 2018 at 10:13 am

Yes David, I'm still a skeptic. In fact, I think this move to indict 13 suspects, that have a snowball in Hell's chance of ever being tried, is simply a dog and pony show to placate the public. Debrief yourself, read Binney's report and listen to Stephen F Cohen's latest, here on the Nation.

Clark M Shanahan says: February 17, 2018 at 5:25 pm

Stephen Cohen's take on Russiagate makes a lot of sense, to me. I've followed Russia/soviet/US relations very closely since Gorbachev. Open your eyes, Mattis has labeled Russia our mortal enemy, we just upped defense spending to an obscene level that shall keep our schools, hospitals, social services, and infrastructure in their bad state.

As if Hill, who stole the primaries actually ran a competent campaign.

[Feb 19, 2018] With the almost non stop Russian bashing in the US one has to wonder if something else is at play here. Like priming the US psych to cheer on an inevitable war with Russia.

More like attempt to unite the nation which crumbles die to crisis of neoliberalism and decimation of neoliberal ideology. And resore even on false pretext trust for neoliberal ruling elite that is sitting in Congress and major government institutions.
As well as swipe Hillary political fiasco under the rug and prevent loss of power by Clinton wing of Democratic Party.
Feb 19, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

not dead vet Fri, 02/16/2018 - 23:43 Permalink

With the almost non stop Russian bashing in the US one has to wonder if something else is at play here. Like priming the US psych to cheer on an inevitable war with Russia. If one digs into the revelations it's obvious they are bunk, unless your reading Wapo, New York Times, Time, and other neocon mouthpieces which are full of fiction not facts, but America is a soundbite nation. We stop reading after the headline and the way stories are structured that do have some truth in them never get read.

No matter what the US has done to crash the Russian economy Putin has strengthened it and is working hard to make it impervious to outside forces.

Unlike the US where the government and the CEO's can't destroy it fast enough while filling their wallets. The more successful Putin is, especially on foreign policy, the more desperate and dangerous the neocons will become. Remember they have nice luxurious bunkers to wait out the inevitable while you die a slow death.

[Feb 19, 2018] America Is Descending Into a Dangerous Psychosis by James Howard Kunstler

Notable quotes:
"... The author is a prominent American social critic, blogger, and podcaster , and we carry his articles regularly on RI . His writing on Russia-gate has been highly entertaining. ..."
"... He is one of the better-known thinkers The New Yorker has dubbed 'The Dystopians' in an excellent 2009 profile , along with the brilliant Dmitry Orlov, another regular contributor to RI (archive) . These theorists believe that modern society is headed for a jarring and painful crack-up. ..."
"... You can find his popular fiction and novels on this subject, here . To get a sense of how entertaining he is, watch this 2004 TED talk about the cruel misery of American urban design - it is one of the most-viewed on TED. ..."
"... If you like his work, please consider supporting him on Patreon . ..."
"... Why Does Trump Ignore Top Officials' Warnings on Russia? , ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... Sport's Illustrated ..."
"... Actually the Times's editorial seems to have CIA / NSA fingerprints all over it, or at least Deep State paw prints. By stating that the Russians are already "meddling" in 2018 elections that haven't happened yet, aren't our own security agencies setting up the public to lose faith in the electoral process and fight over election results? Oh, by the way, the Times ..."
"... The longer this fantasy about Russia continues from the Left side of the political transect, the deeper the nation sinks into a dangerous collective psychosis. After all this time, the only known instances of American political figures "colluding" with Russians involve the shenanigans between the DNC, the Hillary Clinton campaign, and US intel services including the FBI and CIA, in paying for the "Steele Dossier" and the activities of the Fusion GPS company that claimed Russia hacked Hillary's and John Podesta's email. ..."
"... There is now a ton of evidence about all this monkey business, and no sign (yet) that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller may be taking a good hard look at it, not to mention the professional misconduct of a half dozen senior FBI, NSA, and CIA officials, especially former CIA chief John Brennan, who has now morphed into a CNN "analyst," taking an active role in what amounts to a psy-ops campaign to shove the public toward war. ..."
"... We are already choking this polity to death by endlessly litigating the past, insuring that the country doesn't have the time or the fortitude to deal with much more important quandaries of the present -- especially a financial system that is speeding into the most colossal train wreck in history. That will de-rail Mr. Trump soon enough, and then all the rest of us will have enough to do to keep our lives together or to refashion them in some that will work in a very different economy. ..."
Feb 19, 2018 | russia-insider.com
The author is a prominent American social critic, blogger, and podcaster , and we carry his articles regularly on RI . His writing on Russia-gate has been highly entertaining.

He is one of the better-known thinkers The New Yorker has dubbed 'The Dystopians' in an excellent 2009 profile , along with the brilliant Dmitry Orlov, another regular contributor to RI (archive) . These theorists believe that modern society is headed for a jarring and painful crack-up.

You can find his popular fiction and novels on this subject, here . To get a sense of how entertaining he is, watch this 2004 TED talk about the cruel misery of American urban design - it is one of the most-viewed on TED.

If you like his work, please consider supporting him on Patreon .

Forget about sharks. In their Valentine's Day editorial: Why Does Trump Ignore Top Officials' Warnings on Russia? , The New York Times jumped several blue whales (all the ones left on earth), a cruise ship, a subtropical archipelago, a giant vortex of plastic bottles, and the Sport's Illustrated swimsuit shoot. The lede said:

The phalanx of intelligence chiefs who testified on Capitol Hill delivered a chilling message: Not only did Russia interfere in the 2016 election, it is already meddling in the 2018 election by using a digital strategy to exacerbate the country's political and social divisions.

Hmmm . After almost two years of relentless public paranoia about Russia and US elections, don't you suppose these Ruskie gremlins would find some other way to make mischief in our world -- maybe meddle in the NHL playoffs, or hack WalMart's bookkeeping department, or covertly switch out the real Dwayne Johnson with a robot? I kind of completely and absolutely doubt that they'll bother with our elections.

Actually the Times's editorial seems to have CIA / NSA fingerprints all over it, or at least Deep State paw prints. By stating that the Russians are already "meddling" in 2018 elections that haven't happened yet, aren't our own security agencies setting up the public to lose faith in the electoral process and fight over election results? Oh, by the way, the Times presented no evidence whatsoever that this alleged "meddling" is taking place. They just assert it, as if it were already adjudicated.

But then they take it another step, making the case that because Mr. Trump does not go along with the Russian Meddling story, he is obstructing efforts to prevent Russian interference in the elections that haven't happened yet, and is therefore by implication guilty of treason. A fine piece of casuistry.

The longer this fantasy about Russia continues from the Left side of the political transect, the deeper the nation sinks into a dangerous collective psychosis. After all this time, the only known instances of American political figures "colluding" with Russians involve the shenanigans between the DNC, the Hillary Clinton campaign, and US intel services including the FBI and CIA, in paying for the "Steele Dossier" and the activities of the Fusion GPS company that claimed Russia hacked Hillary's and John Podesta's email.

There is now a ton of evidence about all this monkey business, and no sign (yet) that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller may be taking a good hard look at it, not to mention the professional misconduct of a half dozen senior FBI, NSA, and CIA officials, especially former CIA chief John Brennan, who has now morphed into a CNN "analyst," taking an active role in what amounts to a psy-ops campaign to shove the public toward war.

The "resistance" may think it is getting some mileage out of this interminable narrative, but its arrant inconsistencies only undermine faith in all our political institutions, and that is really playing with fire.

We are already choking this polity to death by endlessly litigating the past, insuring that the country doesn't have the time or the fortitude to deal with much more important quandaries of the present -- especially a financial system that is speeding into the most colossal train wreck in history. That will de-rail Mr. Trump soon enough, and then all the rest of us will have enough to do to keep our lives together or to refashion them in some that will work in a very different economy.

... ... ...

[Feb 19, 2018] Russian Meddling Was a Drop in an Ocean of American-made Discord by AMANDA TAUB and MAX FISHER

Highly recommended!
Very weak analysis The authors completely missed the point. Susceptibility to rumors (now called "fake new" which more correctly should be called "improvised news") and high level of distrust to "official MSM" (of which popularity of alternative news site is only tip of the iceberg) is a sign of the crisis and tearing down of the the social fabric that hold the so social groups together. This first of all demonstrated with the de-legitimization of the neoliberal elite.
As such attempt to patch this discord and unite the US society of fake premises of Russiagate and anti-Russian hysteria look very problematic. The effect might be quite opposite as the story with Steele dossier, which really undermined credibility of Justice Department and destroyed the credibility o FBI can teach us.
In this case claims that "The claim that, for example, Mrs. Clinton's victory might aid Satan " are just s a sign of rejection of neoliberalism by voters. Nothing more nothing less.
Notable quotes:
"... It has infected the American political system, weakening the body politic and leaving it vulnerable to manipulation. Russian misinformation seems to have exacerbated the symptoms, but laced throughout the indictment are reminders that the underlying disease, arguably far more damaging, is all American-made. ..."
"... A recent study found that the people most likely to consume fake news were already hyperpartisan and close followers of politics, and that false stories were only a small fraction of their media consumption. ..."
Feb 18, 2018 | www.nytimes.com

That these efforts might have actually made a difference, or at least were intended to, highlights a force that was already destabilizing American democracy far more than any Russian-made fake news post: partisan polarization.

"Partisanship can even alter memory, implicit evaluation, and even perceptual judgment," the political scientists Jay J. Van Bavel and Andrea Pereira wrote in a recent paper . "The human attraction to fake and untrustworthy news" -- a danger cited by political scientists far more frequently than orchestrated meddling -- "poses a serious problem for healthy democratic functioning."

It has infected the American political system, weakening the body politic and leaving it vulnerable to manipulation. Russian misinformation seems to have exacerbated the symptoms, but laced throughout the indictment are reminders that the underlying disease, arguably far more damaging, is all American-made.

... ... ...

A recent study found that the people most likely to consume fake news were already hyperpartisan and close followers of politics, and that false stories were only a small fraction of their media consumption.

Americans, it said, sought out stories that reflected their already-formed partisan view of reality. This suggests that these Russians efforts are indicators -- not drivers -- of how widely Americans had polarized.

That distinction matters for how the indictment is read: Though Americans have seen it as highlighting a foreign threat, it also illustrates the perhaps graver threats from within.

An Especially Toxic Form of Partisanship

... ... ...

"Compromise is the core of democracy," she said. "It's the only way we can govern." But, she said, "when you make people feel threatened, nobody compromises with evil."

The claim that, for example, Mrs. Clinton's victory might aid Satan is in many ways just a faint echo of the partisan anger and fear already dominating American politics.

Those emotions undermine a key norm that all sides are served by honoring democratic processes; instead, they justify, or even seem to mandate, extreme steps against the other side.

Advertisement Continue reading the main story

In taking this approach, the Russians were merely riding a trend that has been building for decades. Since the 1980s , surveys have found that Republicans and Democrats' feelings toward the opposing party have been growing more and more negative. Voters are animated more by distrust of the other side than support for their own.

This highlights a problem that Lilliana Mason, a University of Maryland political scientist, said had left American democracy dangerously vulnerable. But it's a problem driven primarily by American politicians and media outlets, which have far louder megaphones than any Russian-made Facebook posts.

"Compromise is the core of democracy," she said. "It's the only way we can govern." But, she said, "when you make people feel threatened, nobody compromises with evil."

The claim that, for example, Mrs. Clinton's victory might aid Satan is in many ways just a faint echo of the partisan anger and fear already dominating American politics.

Those emotions undermine a key norm that all sides are served by honoring democratic processes; instead, they justify, or even seem to mandate, extreme steps against the other side.

[Feb 18, 2018] America Is Descending Into a Dangerous Psychosis by James Howard Kunstler

Notable quotes:
"... The author is a prominent American social critic, blogger, and podcaster , and we carry his articles regularly on RI . His writing on Russia-gate has been highly entertaining. ..."
"... He is one of the better-known thinkers The New Yorker has dubbed 'The Dystopians' in an excellent 2009 profile , along with the brilliant Dmitry Orlov, another regular contributor to RI (archive) . These theorists believe that modern society is headed for a jarring and painful crack-up. ..."
"... You can find his popular fiction and novels on this subject, here . To get a sense of how entertaining he is, watch this 2004 TED talk about the cruel misery of American urban design - it is one of the most-viewed on TED. ..."
"... If you like his work, please consider supporting him on Patreon . ..."
"... Why Does Trump Ignore Top Officials' Warnings on Russia? , ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... Sport's Illustrated ..."
Feb 18, 2018 | russia-insider.com
The author is a prominent American social critic, blogger, and podcaster , and we carry his articles regularly on RI . His writing on Russia-gate has been highly entertaining.

He is one of the better-known thinkers The New Yorker has dubbed 'The Dystopians' in an excellent 2009 profile , along with the brilliant Dmitry Orlov, another regular contributor to RI (archive) . These theorists believe that modern society is headed for a jarring and painful crack-up.

You can find his popular fiction and novels on this subject, here . To get a sense of how entertaining he is, watch this 2004 TED talk about the cruel misery of American urban design - it is one of the most-viewed on TED.

If you like his work, please consider supporting him on Patreon .

Forget about sharks. In their Valentine's Day editorial: Why Does Trump Ignore Top Officials' Warnings on Russia? , The New York Times jumped several blue whales (all the ones left on earth), a cruise ship, a subtropical archipelago, a giant vortex of plastic bottles, and the Sport's Illustrated swimsuit shoot. The lede said:

The phalanx of intelligence chiefs who testified on Capitol Hill delivered a chilling message: Not only did Russia interfere in the 2016 election, it is already meddling in the 2018 election by using a digital strategy to exacerbate the country's political and social divisions.

Hmmm . After almost two years of relentless public paranoia about Russia and US elections, don't you suppose these Ruskie gremlins would find some other way to make mischief in our world -- maybe meddle in the NHL playoffs, or hack WalMart's bookkeeping department, or covertly switch out the real Dwayne Johnson with a robot? I kind of completely and absolutely doubt that they'll bother with our elections.

Actually the Times's editorial seems to have CIA / NSA fingerprints all over it, or at least Deep State paw prints. By stating that the Russians are already "meddling" in 2018 elections that haven't happened yet, aren't our own security agencies setting up the public to lose faith in the electoral process and fight over election results? Oh, by the way, the Times presented no evidence whatsoever that this alleged "meddling" is taking place. They just assert it, as if it were already adjudicated.

But then they take it another step, making the case that because Mr. Trump does not go along with the Russian Meddling story, he is obstructing efforts to prevent Russian interference in the elections that haven't happened yet, and is therefore by implication guilty of treason. A fine piece of casuistry.

The longer this fantasy about Russia continues from the Left side of the political transect, the deeper the nation sinks into a dangerous collective psychosis. After all this time, the only known instances of American political figures "colluding" with Russians involve the shenanigans between the DNC, the Hillary Clinton campaign, and US intel services including the FBI and CIA, in paying for the "Steele Dossier" and the activities of the Fusion GPS company that claimed Russia hacked Hillary's and John Podesta's email.

There is now a ton of evidence about all this monkey business, and no sign (yet) that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller may be taking a good hard look at it, not to mention the professional misconduct of a half dozen senior FBI, NSA, and CIA officials, especially former CIA chief John Brennan, who has now morphed into a CNN "analyst," taking an active role in what amounts to a psy-ops campaign to shove the public toward war.

The "resistance" may think it is getting some mileage out of this interminable narrative, but its arrant inconsistencies only undermine faith in all our political institutions, and that is really playing with fire.

We are already choking this polity to death by endlessly litigating the past, insuring that the country doesn't have the time or the fortitude to deal with much more important quandaries of the present -- especially a financial system that is speeding into the most colossal train wreck in history. That will de-rail Mr. Trump soon enough, and then all the rest of us will have enough to do to keep our lives together or to refashion them in some that will work in a very different economy.

PS: Readers may wonder why I did not devote this space to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida. It is exactly what you get in a society that wants to erase behavioral boundaries. It is especially dangerous where adolescent boys are concerned. The country has a gigantic boundary problem.

We have also created perfect conditions -- between the anomie of suburbia and the dreariness of our school systems -- to induce explosions of violent despair. That's why these things happen.

Until we change these conditions, expect ever more of it.

[Feb 18, 2018] And, what about all the foreign nationals who post here in this forum on this blog? I daresay most offer opinions not complementary of the US government and its political menagerie.

"I swear that Russiagate is nothing more than trying to cover up the blatant corruption of the DNC, Hillary Clinton, the FBI, CIA and The Department of Justice. Keep everybody busy with Russiagate and don't allow the corruption (with the help of the press) to see the light of day. Otherwise, people in high places would be going to jail.
Notable quotes:
"... As many commentators have pointed out, we are a country of completely brain washed people now. Schiff, Schumer, Sanders . . . they are all cut from the same cloth. There is not one politician left in the country who will challenge the The Ruling Power Structure's narrative. Even in Russia, there are lot of opposition leadership voices who are making noises against the System they disagree with. ..."
"... They can't make "hacking" stick 'cause it's false. They can't make "Trump is a Putin puppet" stick 'cause it's false. So now the whole damn dumb show–regurgitated by either shameless war profiteers or straight-faced useful idiots–comes down to so-called Russian social media trolls exercising the same "speech" that we are supposedly so proud to call "free" in this country. ..."
"... The Thought Police use surveillance and psychological monitoring to find and eliminate members of society who challenge the party's authority and ideology. ..."
"... Anyone who has questioned the intelligence agencies narrative that Russians and Trump colluded to win the election are viewed with suspicion as potential enemies of the state. ..."
"... What is the end goal? The end goal is to prop up a long in the tooth multi-decade cold war with Russia to justify massive military spending. Do you want to know the answer to your question of whether or not the US defense industry and our intelligence agencies are trying to spark a war with Russia? ..."
"... The answer is yes they are. As crazy as that sounds, the hungry defense industry with its insatiable appetite for more weapons has decided to go for the ultimate win the lottery strategy and foment war with Russia. It had been happening under Obama and now it is happening under Trump. They are trying to box him into a corner where he will feel enough pressure to go against Russia. Perhaps they can goad him into attacking Russia which is what I believe they want to do. Our national media plays along and is in bed with the intelligence agencies as much as ever just like they spouted the lies of Chalabi in Iraq War II falsely believing his claims that Saddam Hussein had nuclear and chemical and biological weapons. ..."
"... "Yet still they want more as Caitlin Johnstone pointed out. What they want now to do is to do the same thing they have been doing under Obama and enlist Trump on the grandest military adventure of all. War with Russia." ..."
"... The Russiagate affair has been going on for almost a year and I would think Mueller is under a lot of pressure to find something to stick. This indictment may be it. ..."
"... Once again, Russia's reputation will be taken down a few notches and made to suffer another humiliation. And the US will move on to the next allegation, "UK and US blame Russia for the malicious NotPetya cyberattack" (headline on BBC). ..."
Feb 18, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

"Realist , February 17, 2018 at 3:27 pm

Essentially, all Mueller did yesterday was to indict a bunch of private Russian citizens for expressing their opinions about the candidates in the last presidential election via public media (mainly Facedbook and Twitter), and the individual Russians contacted by the press about it did not deny doing so. Mueller made no links to the Russian government, Putin, the FSB or even their alleged puppet Donald Trump. Just private individuals being persecuted for expressing an opinion on American politics in public because they are foreigners. Doesn't matter whether the opinions were true, false, complementary or disparaging because they were subjective just like anyone else's opinions (you know, opinions are like a-holes, everybody's got one).

So, if that move by Mueller is allowed to stand and serve as a precedent in American jurisprudence, doesn't that mean that journalists from foreign lands, like Caitlin herself, are at risk of being indicated at any moment by the US Justice Department if they express opinions that the insiders in the Deep State do not like? And, what about all the foreign nationals who post here in this forum on this blog? I daresay most offer opinions not complementary of the US government and its political menagerie. And, to be honest, many do so in order to either change minds or solidify shared beliefs with others, including great swirling drifts of snowflake Americans.

This free exchange of thoughts is now to be verboten because someone other than Uncle Sam may have an influence or even change the mind of a precious American citizen? This is madness. That the most educated and articulate amongst us do not see this, but rather participate in the feeding frenzy upon the carcass of what is left of our liberal democracy is absolutely stupifying. As I have been saying for some time now, someone or some force must be imposing a form of mass hypnosis upon the population and only a few of us (including most here) seem to be immune to its effects. Maybe something we consume acts as an antidote. Perhaps your Italian grandma's muffalettas or calzones, Joe? Or my mother's German rouladen?

Dave P. , February 17, 2018 at 5:01 pm

Realist –

"As I have been saying for some time now, someone or some force must be imposing a form of mass hypnosis upon the population and only a few of us (including most here) seem to be immune to its effects."

You are dead right on that. My wife was yelling and screaming last night that why I was not watching this "Russia trolls" show with her on CNN, MSNBC, and PBS; to learn how the Russians have destroyed our beautiful democracy. She had seen the World too, mostly for fun and experiences; she taught English in Malaysia – British colony until 1957 – as a peace Corps volunteer during 1960's. There you have it. As many commentators have pointed out, we are a country of completely brain washed people now. Schiff, Schumer, Sanders . . . they are all cut from the same cloth. There is not one politician left in the country who will challenge the The Ruling Power Structure's narrative. Even in Russia, there are lot of opposition leadership voices who are making noises against the System they disagree with.

Gregory Herr , February 17, 2018 at 6:21 pm

They can't make "hacking" stick 'cause it's false. They can't make "Trump is a Putin puppet" stick 'cause it's false. So now the whole damn dumb show–regurgitated by either shameless war profiteers or straight-faced useful idiots–comes down to so-called Russian social media trolls exercising the same "speech" that we are supposedly so proud to call "free" in this country. They not only take us for moronic fools, but they can't even see that that they are insulting us further by insinuating that our voting decisions are completely unsophisticated and easily swayed to the point that 13 Russians could have an impact amidst a sea of election season campaign "propaganda" from both major parties and an array of special interest influence peddling. Like the Clinton campaign didn't hire Facebook trolls!
Bye Bye First Amendment no one in the halls of power takes it seriously enough to defend it unless you're spouting groupthink right Bernie?

Zachary Smith , February 17, 2018 at 8:00 pm

Essentially, all Mueller did yesterday was to indict a bunch of private Russian citizens for expressing their opinions about the candidates in the last presidential election via public media (mainly Facedbook and Twitter), and the individual Russians contacted by the press about it did not deny doing so.

I'll echo Drew Hunkins in calling this a brilliant condensation of the issue. What worries me is what the morons-in-charge might have in mind as a follow-up to this lunacy.

CitizenOne , February 18, 2018 at 2:31 am

Perhaps we are entering into the Orwellian dawn of Thought Crimes which are any feelings or thinking a Citizen has which are counter to the State Propaganda put out by the Ministry of Truth. The Thought Police (thinkpol in Newspeak) are the secret police of the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. It is their job to uncover and punish thoughtcrime. The Thought Police use surveillance and psychological monitoring to find and eliminate members of society who challenge the party's authority and ideology.

Anyone who has questioned the intelligence agencies narrative that Russians and Trump colluded to win the election are viewed with suspicion as potential enemies of the state.

It would appear to be allegations of thought crime because 15 foreign nationals posted things on social media. We have been under the perception that social media is a free forum for discourse but now, like China, we are seeing the formation of a witch hunt for foreign devils who have infiltrated the social mediascape and are on trial for the results of a national election.

We are literally burning some innocent teenager for the calamity we are convinced was not of our own making. We need to find a witch to brew some witchcraft to explain how our current situation has arisen.

Not sure if anyone alive today believes the Salem Witch Trials served justice and created a restoration of civil harmony. I'm fairly sure that everyone looks at those dark days as a travesty of justice.

Yes we are living in a time of universal deceit and the act of telling the truth has become a revolutionary act just as Orwell portrayed in his novel.

Thought crimes are fairly scary and they imply that our government is willing to indict the thoughts of whoever it deems to be an enemy of the state and bring the thinkers of thought crime as defined by the state as anyone who questions the official fake narrative of Russia Gate to "justice".

What is the end goal? The end goal is to prop up a long in the tooth multi-decade cold war with Russia to justify massive military spending. Do you want to know the answer to your question of whether or not the US defense industry and our intelligence agencies are trying to spark a war with Russia?

The answer is yes they are. As crazy as that sounds, the hungry defense industry with its insatiable appetite for more weapons has decided to go for the ultimate win the lottery strategy and foment war with Russia. It had been happening under Obama and now it is happening under Trump. They are trying to box him into a corner where he will feel enough pressure to go against Russia. Perhaps they can goad him into attacking Russia which is what I believe they want to do. Our national media plays along and is in bed with the intelligence agencies as much as ever just like they spouted the lies of Chalabi in Iraq War II falsely believing his claims that Saddam Hussein had nuclear and chemical and biological weapons.

Even the analysis on North Korea which opines that NK will use all weapons first as a first strike in a scenario the USA has called the "Use it or Lose it" fell short and was proved a false scenario or that there were really no actual WMDs in Iraq as the UN claimed.

Either way, the likely outcomes of a WMD armed Iraqi leader facing imminent demise which would cause him to use all available weapons at his disposal did not happen. There are only two conclusions to the outcome. Saddam did not have these weapons or the likely scenario of "Use it or Lose it" is all wrong.

Either way the premise of the war was shown to be false.

Unfortunately in the aftermath of that war there was no US counterpart to the British Chilcot Report and the US went on to engage in regime change in other nations like Ukraine, Syria, Libya and elsewhere.

There is no sense to it other than to destabilize nations, foment violence and create international tensions which have the effect of causing our elected leaders to pony up more money for defense to combat the new enemies we just created.

Yet still they want more as Caitlin Johnstone pointed out. What they want now to do is to do the same thing they have been doing under Obama and enlist Trump on the grandest military adventure of all. War with Russia.

I agree with her assessment that this is crazy. This is the most irresponsible thing yet but it has been enabled by a fake news press just as it was enabled by the fake news media all the times before.

I agree with you Joe that a form of mass hypnosis has gripped our democrat officials and a large segment of our population. We have been handed a leader they don't like and they are ready and able to make hay with the election outcome to persuade us by force to support more military adventures.

Dave P. , February 18, 2018 at 3:53 am

Citizen One –

"Yet still they want more as Caitlin Johnstone pointed out. What they want now to do is to do the same thing they have been doing under Obama and enlist Trump on the grandest military adventure of all. War with Russia."

I agree with her assessment that this is crazy. This is the most irresponsible thing yet but it has been enabled by a fake news press just as it was enabled by the fake news media all the times before."

Yes. This scenario is getting more and more likely. All steps point to that direction.

Skeptigal , February 17, 2018 at 11:10 pm

Unfortunately I'm not as confident. Here is the complete indictment at http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-43091945 . There are three counts (with almost 70 allegations): 1. Conspiracy to Defraud the United States 2. Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud And Bank Fraud and 3. Aggravated Identity Theft. It ends with a forfeiture allegation seeking property, real or personal from the defendants.

The Russiagate affair has been going on for almost a year and I would think Mueller is under a lot of pressure to find something to stick. This indictment may be it. Mueller will be the hero; Trump may be saved as the interference started in 2014, before his campaign began; the Hillary emails and Nunes memo will be cast aside; and the USA can say to the world "see I told you so."

Once again, Russia's reputation will be taken down a few notches and made to suffer another humiliation. And the US will move on to the next allegation, "UK and US blame Russia for the malicious NotPetya cyberattack" (headline on BBC).

Martin - Swedish citizen , February 18, 2018 at 1:15 am

If the allegations are true, they need to be put in perspective:
– what might be the rational behind? Eg tit-for-tat for Western meddling, arms race,
– do other nations engage in similar projects? What are the scale of those?

Starting in 2014 could it have been triggered by the Kiev coup and Nuland's was it five billion?

[Feb 18, 2018] This dangerous escalation of tensions with Russia is extremely lucrative for the war profiteers, the retired generals intelligence members who prostitute themselves as media pundits, the members of Congress who get $$$ from the war profiteers, and the corporate media which thrives on links to the war profiteers as well as on war reporting

Highly recommended!
Feb 18, 2018 | consortiumnews.com

REDPILLED

This dangerous escalation of tensions with Russia is extremely lucrative for the war profiteers, the retired generals & intelligence members who prostitute themselves as media pundits, the members of Congress who get $$$ from the war profiteers, and the corporate media which thrives on links to the war profiteers as well as on war reporting.

That's why we must all be kept fearful, so we don't demand that annual trillion dollar military "defense" budgets be slashed and that money instead be spent on social safety net programs and infrastructure.

That's also why tensions with not only Russia, but Iran, Syria, North Korea, and China must be maintained, and our endless wars and global empire of military bases continued.

As long as war and militarism are such profitable rackets, it doesn't matter that all life on earth is threatened. That is the essence of capitalism in a nutshell: profits are more important than life itself.

Joe Tedesky , February 17, 2018 at 12:55 pm

You got that right, and the sooner the American public wise up to all these lies the better. If you want this maddening insanity to stop, well then my fellow Americans quit buying into their lies. Just go ahead and board the damn plane, oh BTW one of the reasons NFL attendance is down is well think of the new security rules put in place plus who knows the rules of football anymore (our football is even tainted with screwiness). Sorry for the rant, but we Americans got to start calling our officials out on this stuff. It's that plain and simple. Nice post REDPILLED. Joe

Virginia , February 17, 2018 at 1:06 pm

REDPILLED,

I'm just imagining how it must feel, if you're Putin, to be able to rein in your emotions, to not react no matter how much baited, and to stay above the fray while warmongers, like dogs, are barking at your feet. That degree of self-composure, resting on a strong necessity to try to prevent WWIII and nuclear annihilation, well, I'm afraid not many of us will ever know or feel that exactly, but we can imagine! To do this with grace and dignity, insult after insult! There are lessons to be learned here.

Joe Tedesky , February 17, 2018 at 1:10 pm

Virginia we Americans better hope patient Putin stays in power. Joe

irina , February 17, 2018 at 3:19 pm

Exactly. I can't imagine who the Creatures of the Deep think would be a
good successor to Putin, but I do think they should be very careful of
what they wish for. Case in point, the Ukraine. What exactly happened
to "Our Man Yats" anyway ? He seems to have (been ?) disappeared. . .

Joe Tedesky , February 17, 2018 at 3:30 pm

There is a bit of a warring nature still left in this old fighter cat, and during these imaginary moments of destruction I struggle with I see Russian T72 tanks driving down Maiden Square looking for old Yats and his friends. Not to worry though, I seriously don't want anyone, anywhere, to have to suffer even one minute of war, but on a bad day, well need I say more? Joe

ranney , February 17, 2018 at 5:45 pm

I agree Virginia. I am so depressed by Mueller's actions my head swims. I had hoped that Mueller was actually an honest investigator who believed in the rule of law as everyone said. Now I can't imagine what game he is playing. Now it seems like all hope has vanished that anything even vaguely resembling the truth will come out.. Mueller"s indictments of these poor people seals the deal: Russia is the evil bugbear that must be destroyed and all right thinking patriots will agree to that when we launch nuclear war.
I keep feeling like we're all in a Kafka exercise or a Harold Pinter play where motives and truths are hidden behind an impenatrable wall. Even the new Consortium article by McGovern and Binney seems to hint at much more than they are telling, leaving me to wish they'd just come out and say what they are worried about given their knowledge and expertise. Instead I'm left with the sense that there is a coded message in there that I have missed.

So yes, I too worry about how patient Putin can be when we have already in so many ways performed a dozen or more acts of war on Russia in the past year and he has not reacted violently.

p.s. Once again Caitlin has provided great links. Click on one of the first about the government telling us lies. It'll get you a great 4 minute cartoon based on Chomskys book Manufacturing Consent. It's about propaganda. You'll like it.

Virginia , February 17, 2018 at 8:50 pm

Ranney -- One thing that has lifted my spirit somewhat, I heard a real thinker say that the Deep State (DS) is losing ground now because its anointed candidate HRC was defeated in 2016. So 2016 marks a positive time of turning and healing. Putin and Xi seem to both be working for the good of the world. Wonderful if Donald Trump could drain the swamp and get on board. Either way, those two Leaders together can lead us out of this morass.

There's a state of thought that remains composed no matter what the valley of the shadow of death. The more I learn -- and sometimes what I learn is vastly darker than I could ever conceive -- the deeper grows my joy. It's been a puzzle to me that I could read something truly devastating here on CN and walk away with more joy than I had before reading it (and believe me, it's not because of the evil news). It's partly because I'm grateful that my eyes have been opened. There is absolutely nothing I can do without being well informed about it. I feel I'm learning all this for a reason; a very real big good reason. Don't you? There's a state of thought that refuses to be fearful no matter what. Adopt that one, Ranney.

Just look at those Olympiads doing the impossible! They start with, "I can."

Dave P. , February 18, 2018 at 4:07 am

Virginia,

Yes. Regarding the barking dogs, I read some where this Putin's answer to a question a few days ago on that list of 200 sanctioned Russians put out by U.S. Treasury Department. Putin said: Let the barking dogs bark, but the caravan goes on.

[Feb 17, 2018] Trump has at least one thing right our post-9-11 wars have been a mistake by Andrew J. Bacevich

MIC controls Trump, not the other way around. That's why Trump deflated just three months after inauguration. He can tell all he wants, but his actions speak louder then his words. His actions are typical neocon actions.
Notable quotes:
"... However inadvertently, Trump has thereby bestowed on the American people a singular gift, putting a presidential imprimatur on a point that critics have been making for years, to no avail. Pointing out that our post-9/11 wars have resulted in a multitrillion-dollar waste of lives and treasure represents easily the greatest achievement of his young administration. ..."
"... Now let's look at the rest of the story. I will claim that most US military adventures, since Korea has been a failure often with unintended consequences, squandering taxpayer dollars while the national infrastructure and national psyche crumble. Involving ourselves in Vietnam after the French abandoned it was a horrific mistake with the loss of many lives and the expenditure of immeasurable political and economic capital. Somebody tell me again what Bay of Pigs and Grenada accomplished? There have been numerous other short term in-and-out deployments of troops and materiel since Korea. See Wikipedia's "Timeline of United States military operations." ..."
"... Let's face it. The military-industrial complex continues to lead the country into deeply unfortunate places and situations. Let's tie all this back to the recent school massacre in Parkland FL, one of many in recent years. Military surplus has been given away by the federal government to build up highly militarized SWAT teams in cities, armed with tanks, missile launchers and automatic weapons. Citizens easily and quickly arm themselves with semi-automatic weapons, seizing on loopholes that regulate the buying of hand guns but not AK-15s, all because the NRA owns too many members of Congress. ..."
"... Let's go beyond Trump's simplistic pronouncement. The United States has been and is a bellicose and violent nation. Unfortunately, President Trump's words have been equally bellicose, especially toward North Korea. I have little faith that our country will dial back its aggressiveness under the Trump regime. ..."
Feb 16, 2018 | www.bostonglobe.com

In a typically offhand remark, President Trump the other day rendered his personal assessment of our various post-9/11 wars, interventions, and punitive expeditions. " Seven trillion dollars. What a mistake ," he said. "But it is what it is."

The seven trillion is merely a guesstimate, of course. No one, least of all the lords of the Pentagon, really knows how much our sundry military campaigns, large and small, have cost. Yet at this point, total expenditures certainly reach well into the trillions. And whatever the current tally, that sum will inevitably increase as our wars drag on and as downstream obligations – care for veterans, for example – pile up for decades to come.

That Trump himself should characterize those wars as mistaken represents a moment of plain speaking rare in today's Washington. After all, as the current commander in chief, he owns that mistake and its myriad consequences. We may doubt that the generals occupying senior positions in his administration share their boss's assessment. Nor, in all likelihood, does the national security establishment as a whole. Yet it qualifies as more than mildly interesting that the individual exercising supreme authority views the entire enterprise as misbegotten.

Imagine the head of Planned Parenthood declaring herself a pro-lifer. Imagine Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos criticizing the American penchant for conspicuous consumption. Imagine Tom Brady announcing that his son will never play a brutal and dangerous sport like football. A sitting American president characterizing ongoing American wars as mistaken is hardly less notable and ought to command widespread public attention.

Imagine the head of Planned Parenthood declaring herself a pro-lifer. Imagine Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos criticizing the American penchant for conspicuous consumption. Imagine Tom Brady announcing that his son will never play a brutal and dangerous sport like football. A sitting American president characterizing ongoing American wars as mistaken is hardly less notable and ought to command widespread public attention. Of course, Trump is an improbable source of truth. His many critics have become accustomed to dismissing his every word as either false or hateful or simply bizarre. Yet in this instance, I submit, he has uttered a genuine truth of profound importance.

Unfortunately, Trump's bottom line obscures the implications of that truth: "It is what it is." There are at least two ways of interpreting that remark. The first is fatalistic: We're stuck in a heckuva mess and there's no way of getting unstuck. The second is pragmatic: Here are facts that we dare not ignore.

... ... ...

In Hans Christian Andersen's familiar tale "The Emperor's New Clothes," a young child states the obvious: The monarch is naked. Now we have the emperor himself making a comparably self-evident point: Our wars aren't working.

However inadvertently, Trump has thereby bestowed on the American people a singular gift, putting a presidential imprimatur on a point that critics have been making for years, to no avail. Pointing out that our post-9/11 wars have resulted in a multitrillion-dollar waste of lives and treasure represents easily the greatest achievement of his young administration.

We tend to think that the story of that administration thus far has been one of ineptitude combined with persistent scandal. Yet the real scandal will occur if the American people and their elected representatives in Washington fail to treat Trump's verdict regarding our recent wars with the respect and seriousness it deserves.

Thank you, Mr. President, for your candor. If for nothing else, on this score, we owe you one.

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

[Feb 17, 2018] In Trump's 2019 Budget, Lockheed Looms Almost as Large as State Dept by Jason Ditz

Notable quotes:
"... Lockheed Martin, after all, gets nearly as much money from the US government as the State Department. CEO Marilyn Hewson is, by the reckoning of some analysts, as powerful as most US cabinet secretaries. ..."
Feb 16, 2018 | news.antiwar.com
In great measure, the Pentagon runs on Lockheed Martin. The US armsmaker racked up $35.2 billion in sales to the US government last year, a preposterously large figure that positions them both as heavily reliant on the government for its profits, and gives them a level of influence unmatched.

Lockheed Martin, after all, gets nearly as much money from the US government as the State Department. CEO Marilyn Hewson is, by the reckoning of some analysts, as powerful as most US cabinet secretaries.

Teal Group's Richard Aboulafia has the gold medal quote on this – " diplomacy is out; airstrikes are in. " From the F-35 on, Lockheed is a key facilitator of airstrikes, and soaring demands for its products are leading to soaring revenue and rising profit margins.

Reports on the company brag about "juicy" shipbuilding deals, and the money pouring in from nuclear weapons upgrades. Lockheed Martin's status as a main seller of US arms and the US obsession with growing its military seem to ensure that the company will remain rich, and wildly influential, for years to come.

[Feb 17, 2018] Former CIA Chief Admits US Meddling In Foreign Elections For Their Own Good

Notable quotes:
"... How about Brazil, Argentina, and South Africa? Fuck Allen Dulles, Mike Pompeo, and everybody in-between! ..."
"... BTW, Victoria Noodles will be very disappointed Ukraine didn't make the list after all of her hard work. ..."
"... Victoria "F*ck the EU" Nuland and the CIA were all over the Ukrainian "coup", but of course no mention of that on "Fair and Balanced". Laura Ingram is a typical Fox News Zio-Nazi bitch, hiding behind a cross, who apparently believes her own BS, and along others like Hannity have blood on their hands. ..."
"... You can always spot a psychopathic liar by their predisposition to smile or laugh at questions that are not humorous. Laura Ingraham is a neocon mouth-peice for the establishment. ..."
Feb 17, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Former CIA chief James Woolsey appeared on Fox News to push the narrative of how dastardly 'dem Russkies' are in their meddling with the sacred soul of America's democracy.

Woolsey did his patriotic deep-state-duty and proclaimed the evils of "expansionist Russia" and dropped 'facts' like "Russia has a larger cyber-army than its standing army," before he moved on to China and its existential threats.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/SpWai3kZ-gM

But then, beginning at around 4:30 , the real debacle of the conversation begins as Ingraham asks Woolsey,

"Have we ever tried to meddle in other countries' elections?"

Hes responds, surprisingly frankly...

"Oh probably... but it was for the good of the system..."

To which Ingraham follows up...

"We don't do that now though? We don't mess around in other people's elections?"

Prompting this extraordinary sentence from a former CIA chief...

"Well...hhhmmm, numm numm numm numm... only for a very good cause...in the interests of democracy"

So just to clarify - yes, the CIA chief admitted that Democracy-spreading 'Murica meddled in the Democratic elections of other nations "in the interests of democracy."

In case you wondered which ones he was referring to, here's a brief selection since 1948...

2016: UK (verbal intervention against Brexit)
2014: Afghanistan (effectively re-writing Afghan constitution)
2014: UK (verbal intervention against Scottish independence)
2011: Libya (providing support to overthrow Colonel Gaddafi)
2009: Honduras (ousting President Zelaya)
2006: Palestine (providing support to oust Prime Minister Haniyeh)
2005: Syria (providing support against President al-Assad)
2003: Iran (providing support against President Khatami)-
2003: Iraq (ousting of President Hussein)
2002: Venezuela (providing support to attempt an overthrow of President Chavez)
1999: Yugoslavia (removing Yugoslav forces from Kosovo)
1994: Iraq (attempted overthrow of President Hussein)
1991: Haiti (ousting President Aristide)
1991: Kuwait (removing Iraqi forces from Kuwait)
1989: Panama (ousting General Noriega)
1983: Grenada (ousting General Austin's Marxist forces)
1982: Nicaragua (providing support
1971: Chile (ousting President Allende)
1967: Indonesia (ousting President Sukarno)
1964: Brazil (ousting President Goulart)
1964: Chile (providing support against Salvador Allende)
1961: Congo (assassination of leader Lumumba)
1958: Lebanon (providing support to Christian political parties)
1954: Guatemala (ousting President Arbenz)
1953: Iran (ousting Prime Minister Mossadegh)
1953: Philippines (providing support to the President Magsaysay campaign)
1948: Italy (providing support to the Christian Democrats campaign)

(h/t @Yogi_Chan)


gellero Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:18 Permalink

What?? No Ukrania ???

Stan522 -> gellero Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:23 Permalink

obama sent in operatives into Israel to mess with Bibi....... They missed that one too....

skbull44 -> Stan522 Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:25 Permalink

It's always for the children...

https://olduvai.ca

TBT or not TBT -> skbull44 Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:29 Permalink

Yeah, a little bit for the children, but primarily it's for the stockholders and upper management, with some serious trickle down to their children.

Looney -> TBT or not TBT Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:32 Permalink

How about Brazil, Argentina, and South Africa? Fuck Allen Dulles, Mike Pompeo, and everybody in-between!

Looney

Mango327 -> manofthenorth Sat, 02/17/2018 - 17:01 Permalink

This Russia bullshit has gotta stop. For the love of God, it's been like two and a a half years now. If Vladimir Putin was as twice as evil as we're told, he still wouldn't be half as evil as the Clintons are on any given Thursday.

MUELLER IS A JOKE, ABOLISH the F.B.I.

https://youtu.be/wC_Ro80LlhE

SoilMyselfRotten -> skbull44 Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:47 Permalink

Democracy? Annnnnnnd it's gone! No wonder the rest of the world thinks we've collectively lost our minds. BTW, Victoria Noodles will be very disappointed Ukraine didn't make the list after all of her hard work.

marysimmons -> SoilMyselfRotten Sat, 02/17/2018 - 17:16 Permalink

Victoria "F*ck the EU" Nuland and the CIA were all over the Ukrainian "coup", but of course no mention of that on "Fair and Balanced". Laura Ingram is a typical Fox News Zio-Nazi bitch, hiding behind a cross, who apparently believes her own BS, and along others like Hannity have blood on their hands.

The whole purpose of the Mueller indictment was to give the mainstream outlets something to report so idiot Americans will believe the crap put out about Russia since the Winter Olympics in Sochi and set the tone to justify a military conflict with Russia that won't end well for anyone, IMO

veritas semper -> marysimmons Sat, 02/17/2018 - 17:40 Permalink

And Victoria Nuland Kagan is now Senior Adviser in the Donald's Department of Defense. See, kids, how the swamp is drained?

New_Meat -> marysimmons Sat, 02/17/2018 - 17:46 Permalink

mary, just a touch catty tonight, don't cha' think?

Zio-Nazi? How dat work?

Whole purpose of the Mueller indictments is to give the folks a show to prove that their money hasn't been wasted on a Trump collusion charge for collusion that started in 2014 when Trump was prolly out schlongin' some playmate or other..

TheSilentMajority -> Looney Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:47 Permalink

They didu sumtin.

Deep Snorkeler -> skbull44 Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:38 Permalink

America plays political-economic pranks on the rest of the world for the good of the system. It's worked out well.

Dumpster Elite -> Stan522 Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:28 Permalink

I kinda wondered why they missed that one, too. I've seen that list on here before. I guess messing with Israel's elections doesn't fit the ZH narrative?

Justin Case -> Stan522 Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:36 Permalink

That anchor sounds like she would be a good candidate for a gender change, meat stick and tea bag.

Vilfredo Pareto -> Stan522 Sat, 02/17/2018 - 17:00 Permalink

They missed post war Greece too, Albania, and a ton of others.

Bastiat -> Vilfredo Pareto Sat, 02/17/2018 - 17:18 Permalink

. . . and Australia: watch The Falcon and the Snowman, if you haven't.

TheSilentMajority -> gellero Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:51 Permalink

Rothschilds at it again?

keep the basta -> gellero Sat, 02/17/2018 - 17:53 Permalink

No Australia? Whitlam dismissal 11/11/1975 even wiki lists it

dirty fingernails Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:20 Permalink

The US is working hard to make banana republics look respectable

TBT or not TBT -> dirty fingernails Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:31 Permalink

We're The Most Interesting Banana Republic In The World.

Justin Case -> dirty fingernails Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:45 Permalink

to make banana republics look respectable

Not like a shit hole?

Bay Area Guy Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:20 Permalink

I generally can't stand Laura, but that was a spot on question. America is the quintessential "do as I say and not as I do" government.

chunga -> Bay Area Guy Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:33 Permalink

Among the many things sorely lacking in uncle sam is simple humility.

rwe2late Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:29 Permalink

Woolsey is an evil man. I doubt if he really believes. that the murders and tortures he presided over were for "their own good".

Ms No -> rwe2late Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:55 Permalink

No way he believes it. One thing about people who lack human empathy is that they would NEVER fall for the same tricks that the empathy having population does. They will always see the angle. It's what their brain is devoted to. All the capacity that we use to be reflective, emotional or caring all goes to angling for advantage with them. He knows exactly why people are tortured and couldn't give a shit less. You are either shark or mutilated gold fish as far as he is concerned.

New_Meat -> rwe2late Sat, 02/17/2018 - 17:51 Permalink

Woolsey is an evil man, for a certainty. But, au contraire, I bet he does believe it is for their own good. Whoever "they" are that he's doin' shit to. Like the Jesuits in Andalusia, purging the non-believers.

- Ned

dizzyfingers Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:29 Permalink

This repeats our own terrible history: Tom Landess on "The Dark Side of Abraham Lincoln," and the week in review at the Abbeville Institute.

serotonindumptruck Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:31 Permalink

You can always spot a psychopathic liar by their predisposition to smile or laugh at questions that are not humorous. Laura Ingraham is a neocon mouth-peice for the establishment.

Dumpster Elite Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:32 Permalink

It really would be a new dawn for this country if the entire Deep State were outed, and publicly executed. I know that sounds like tinfoil hat talk, but hey, I'm sure the NSA is all over me right about now. Too bad they can't seem to find serial killers that say they're going to shoot up a school online. Too busy trying to shut up those that don't like the Deep State.

Ms No Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:50 Permalink

They have always done this and every single other accusation that they have levied against other "tyrants". The crazy train continues to pick up speed.

OT: Wales may have had a fracking quake. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fM4Wcqe6s_s

This is pretty funny. "Footage" of quake. Fracking quakes usually are not that big but it did drop masonry off of buildings. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEI4cSd4B38

Paracelsus Sat, 02/17/2018 - 16:52 Permalink

Ummm, Fidel Castro, Cuba, 1962 ? Leading up to Dallas? Which led to LBJ and ramp up of Indochina. If you look closely you will see that there was a huge little war going on in Laos, lots of bombing of the Ho Chi Minh trail from fighter bombers based in Thailand.

Also, Australia. The 1972 Whitlam dismissal was a bloodless coup d'état. Whitlam recognized North Vietnam which pissed off a bunch of people in Langley. The pilots were on strike and they couldn't fly parts and crew into Alice Springs (Pine Gap Satellite facility). The Aussies have long memories and it will be a cold day in hell before they trust the Yanks like before. This is a country with a strong sense of injustice. The Aussies still talk about the "bodyline" cricket scandal with the Brits, and that happened in the 1930's....

[Feb 17, 2018] Iran is already being attacked from West and East in the North

Feb 17, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Posted by: ninel | Feb 11, 2018 3:59:15 PM

Here is an interesting article that points to the new American strategy with respect to Iran and central Asia. Iran is already being attacked from West and East in the North. And central Asia is next. This might force Iran to pull back some forces from Syria and Iraq.

No end to the wars.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/02/06/us-isis-nexus-afghanistan-becomes-hot-topic.html

[Feb 17, 2018] Neo-McCarthyite Hysteria at US Senate Intelligence Committee Hearing Global Research - Centre for Research on Globalization

Notable quotes:
"... The concern of the American ruling class is not Russian or Chinese "subversion," but the growth of social opposition within the United States. The narrative of "Russian meddling" has been used to justify a systematic campaign to censor the Internet and suppress free speech. ..."
"... World Socialist Web Site ..."
Feb 17, 2018 | www.globalresearch.ca

The concern of the American ruling class is not Russian or Chinese "subversion," but the growth of social opposition within the United States. The narrative of "Russian meddling" has been used to justify a systematic campaign to censor the Internet and suppress free speech.

Senator Mark Warner

The performance of Senator Mark Warner , the ranking Democrat on the committee, was particularly obscene. Warner, whose net worth is estimated at $257 million, appeared to be doing his best impersonation of Senator Joe McCarthy . He declared that foreign subversion works together with, and is largely indistinguishable from, "threats to our institutions from right here at home."

Alluding to the publication of the so-called Nunes memo, which documented the fraudulent character of the Democratic-led investigation of White House "collusion" with Russia, Warner noted,

"There have been some, aided and abetted by Russian Internet bots and trolls, who have attacked the basic integrity of the FBI and the Justice Department."

Responding to questioning from Warner, FBI Director Christopher Wray praised the US intelligence agencies' greater "engagement" and "partnership" with the private sector, concluding,

"We can't fully police social media, so we have to work with them so that they can police themselves."

Wray was referring to the sweeping measures taken by social media companies, working directly with the US intelligence agencies, to implement a regime of censorship, including through the hiring of tens of thousands of "content reviewers," many with intelligence backgrounds, to flag, report and delete content.

The assault on democratic rights is increasingly connected to preparations for a major war, which will further exacerbate social tensions within the United States. Coats prefaced his remarks by declaring that "the risk of inter-state conflict, including among great powers, is higher than at any time since the end of the Cold War."

As the hearing was taking place, multiple news outlets were reporting that potentially hundreds of Russian military contractors had been killed in a recent US air strike in Syria. This came just weeks after the publication of the Pentagon's National Defense Strategy, which declared,

"Inter-state strategic competition, not terrorism, is now the primary concern in US national security."

However, the implications of this great-power conflict are not simply external to the US "homeland." The document argues that "the homeland is no longer a sanctuary," and that "America is a target," for "political and information subversion" on the part of "revisionist powers" such as Russia and China.

Since "America's military has no preordained right to victory on the battlefield," the only way the US can prevail in this conflict is through the "seamless integration of multiple elements of national power," including "information, economics, finance, intelligence, law enforcement and military."

In other words, America's supremacy in the new world of great-power conflict requires the subordination of every aspect of life to the requirements of war. In this totalitarian nightmare, already far advanced, the police, the military and the intelligence agencies unite with media and technology companies to form a single seamless unit, whose combined power is marshaled to manipulate public opinion and suppress political dissent.

The dictatorial character of the measures being prepared was underscored by an exchange between Wray and Republican Senator Marco Rubio , who asked whether Chinese students were serving as spies for Beijing.

"What is the counterintelligence risk posed to US national security from Chinese students, particularly those in advanced programs in the sciences and mathematics?" asked Rubio.

Wray responded that

"the use of nontraditional collectors, especially in the academic setting, whether it's professors, scientists, students, we see in almost every field office that the FBI has around the country, not just in major cities, small ones as well, basically every discipline."

This campaign, with racist overtones, recalls the official rationale -- defense of "national security" -- used to justify the internment of some 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry during the Second World War.

In its open letter calling for a coalition of socialist, antiwar and progressive websites against Internet censorship, the World Socialist Web Site noted that

"the ruling class has identified the Internet as a mortal threat to its monopolization of information and its ability to promote propaganda to wage war and legitimize the obscene concentration of wealth and extreme social inequality."

It is this mortal threat -- and fear of the growth of class conflict -- that motivate the lies and hypocrisy on display at the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing.

The original source of this article is World Socialist Web Site Copyright © Andre Damon , World Socialist Web Site , 2018

[Feb 17, 2018] News Watch A Reading on Collective Angst naked capitalism

Notable quotes:
"... or like viewing old photos of the Robber Barons. The msm has stopped trying to convince middle class readers it's 'on their side', imo. A few have gone full plutocrat friendly. Anything that rocks the plutocrats boats must be caused by 'russians, russians, russians', or outside agitators, or foreigners of one kind or another – not 'real' Americans. ..."
"... Exactly the kind of things the robber barons and their press said 100+ years ago about working class workers striking for better wages and working conditions. ..."
"... I agree in the regard to the seeming reduction in analytical quantity and quality. I think you're right with it being caused by reductions in newsroom staff, but I think the type of journalists we have has also changed drastically. ..."
"... In this real world context, this guy wants to promote an unnecessary new cold war to get Democrats elected. Truly disgusting and insane. ..."
"... Not only disgusting and insane, but politically stupid. Any Democrat politician who thinks that promoting Unhinged Russia Hysteria is a winning political strategy is guilty of political malpractice. ..."
"... seems to be what she and they are pushing(unhinged Russia hysteria ) as a winning political strategy. ..."
"... That's what people are going to remember when they go to the voting booth in 2018 (if they even bother) – while the Democrats where whining about Putin and Russia and doing nothing productive whatsoever to improve people's lives, Trump gave everybody more $$$. ..."
"... The "official" narratives from much of the MSM are increasingly removed from any reality experienced by the majority. For example, the latest is a report from Hamilton that much of the social media activity concerning the Florida school shooting is now infested and promoted by Russian bots "to sow division". How more absurd could it be? ..."
"... I have it on good authority that the whole rebranding of the KKK first as the CCC than as the NRA was a long-term Soviet Russian plot to cause an epidemic of mass shootings that would undermine not only US 'Democracy', but the entire capitalist juggernaut! ..."
"... Following up on something Lambert wrote once, it seems that pundits who are incapable of using the term "working class" without somehow attaching the word "white" to it are -- besides not really being on the left -- also more likely than others to push the "Russia ate my Election" nonsense. ..."
"... I think what the horrid warmongering article in Useless News misses is that the flyover states, which supply the troops for the wars, are getting war weary (and why not). Trump capitalized on this in the election, and there was a positive correlation at IIRC the county level between war casualities and troop support. ..."
"... An anti-war candidate who could make the case in the flyover states might really make an impact. ..."
"... I wholeheartedly agree about how a significant factor is that the mainstream media insists on viewing everything through ridiculously contrived "lenses" (Trump, "Russia-gate", Brexit, harassment) and, intentionally I would claim, deliberately obscuring the real problems (wealth distribution, neoliberalism, collapse of the social contract). ..."
"... whatever other news there is seems weirdly predictable and is based around personalities, rather than communities and systems. ..."
"... Animals become agitated in advance of earthquakes. It may be that the reason for angst does not lie in the past, but in the future. In general, so many of the stories are predictable self-parodies, from the Democrats relentless pursuit of the mythical 'moderate insurgents' in republican suburbs, and their comical screeching about Putin, to the drumbeat stories attacking Trump for Obama policies, to the contortions of the neocon policy apparatus trying to justify occupation and regime change in Syria, without mentioning those goals ..."
"... For me, this is key. When I cast my eye upon the news I'm greeted with unrelenting bleakness. Trump's cruel and terrible health plan was big news for months, then his terrible tax cut plan, now his terrible budget. Foreign affairs are equally bleak: the Democrats are busy stirring up a second Cold War. There's no end in sight to the trillions of dollars our nation spends every year on waste and destructive mayhem. Sociopathic corporations and octogenarian billionaires own this country. It's difficult to see anything positive on the horizon. ..."
"... There are two Americas. The news is mostly for and from the one that protects the rentier or elite class. They send their children to private schools. The second one has children who go to public schools who get shot and killed by gunmen that the school and law authorities have been warned about and then decide it's not worth their attention. ..."
"... I think we have reached America's breaking point. Shitty jobs, shitty pay, shitty hours, no hope of affordable housing anywhere, no advancement, massive amounts debt, no easy access to medical care, uneven safety nets, denigration, lack of mutual respect, a lifetime of working with little hope of a safe retirement it's just not pretty out here. ..."
"... I think we are still in a Wile E. Coyote moment where he has gone off the cliff but gravity has not taken hold yet (cartoons don't understand parabolic arcs, similar to central banks and politicians). One of the purposes of financial crises like 2008 is to reset the playing field. The inequality and inefficiency of the Roaring 20s got reset in the 1930s where many people who had paper wealth, but large debt, collapsed and regulation followed that survived for 60 years in preventing similar scenarios. The 2009-2016 period missed that window of opportunity as the focus became preserving the people who had destabilized the system. That meant the damage was one-sided to the bottom 90%. The top 10% are largely disconnected, deliberately, from what is going on with the bottom 90% and as a result are baffled about the swelling unrest in the country. That unrest is still largely unfocused and just burps out random things right now like the Tea Party, Trump, Sanders etc. ..."
"... The only good news to come out of the Florida shooting is that the young people are beginning to realize that they are cannon fodder (literally) in the cynical political battles waged by their elders. ..."
"... I've done my stint in living through the chaotic end to the 1970's and endured the major social upheavals in Thatcher's show-no-mercy early 1980's. Those were bad times. But this is worse in a lot of ways, if only for the crushing atmosphere of a powerless proletariat. ..."
"... The Dem commitment to Russiagate has become their WMD story, it has to be stuck with lest its proponents admit their lying ..."
"... The Russo-Resistance strategy has had the effect of exacerbating divisions in the potential opposition to neoliberalism. Not a bug. ..."
"... Compare and contrast with Putin and Xi, who are personally untouched by corruption taint, and whom their population actually believes has their nations' long-term interests at heart ..."
"... The general consensus was that we simply cannot go on as we are. ..."
"... I think you've hit the nail on the head. Whether it's skyrocketing measures of income inequality, health insurance premiums rising faster than wages, college tuition rates and student loan balances rising faster than wages, mindlessly skyrocketing stock markets and asset bubbles fueled by stupid central bank policies, or whatever other unsustainable woe you choose to pick, these things cannot go on forever ..."
"... And we're incredibly divided. Most of the MSM has been sucked into personality conflicts and the us-vs-them mindset. They actively feed it now. You're expected to pick a team and learn to hate the other guys. ..."
"... I too suspect that "tweaking round the edges" will prove totally inadequate, but I have no desire for revolution. I've seen too many of them start off well but then go off the rails in horrible, terrifying directions. Revolutions can be terribly sloppy affairs, with real people getting hurt in the process. And they usually don't end where we really want them to. ..."
"... Just yesterday I was asked, "Aren't you a liberal Democrat?" I answered, "No, I hate both parties equally." That set them back on their laurels. They expected me to say "Yes." ..."
"... The general consensus was that we simply cannot go on as we are ..."
"... Waiting for Godot ..."
"... A seemingly endless loop of outrage that yields nothing, except the feeling of powerlessness -- that all that is important in life is out of our hands, and in the hands of those who look at us and see nothing but another source of revenue. ..."
"... I rather think that our "feeling of powerlessness" is the goal aimed for by the msm. And identity politics serves a divide and conquer function. (But you can buy T-shirts! so it's all good. /s) ..."
"... I hope to draw some response to the second part of my complaint, which is that in the dog-eat-dog world of a society ordered solely by markets, we are reduced: First, from being to citizens to consumers, then from being consumers to being marks, rubes, suckers. The "news" (such as it is) isn't reported to us, it's sold to us. ..."
"... Corporate media has been pumping out Trump Derangement Syndrome stories for 18+ months. [if you're cynical] not only because the media genuinely dislike trump, but to drive clickbait and subscription sign-ups ..."
"... From my reading of history, when countries have been in the grip of anxiety it is often a relief when a feared thing happens – such as when Japan bombed Pearl Harbour it was widely reported that the response of the public, including anti-war activists, was great relief. ..."
"... I've read that much the same feeling descended over much of Europe at the start of WWI. While the same situation doesn't quite apply in the US, I do fear that there is a craving for some sort of decision, a decisive act. ..."
"... I think Trump understands more than he reveals. I think we are looking at the tempered effects of MSM froth by all the good, sensible internet bloggers and commenters which serve to neutralize the nonsense. What I see is angst failure – nobody bought this farcical onslaught of propaganda. Everyone questioned it. Something happens to the "news" when opposite views and facts collide – it gets emulsified like vinegar and oil into much less drastic possibilities. ..."
"... Interesting reminds me of how some torturers have learned that the fear of the pain can be worse than the pain itself in terms of emotional distress and breaking down ego-barriers to cooperation/submission. When the fear is worse than the feared experience, the feared experience itself is a relief. ..."
"... ur–Angst? ..."
"... Our Jerri-Lynn, who mainly lives overseas, was briefly in the US last month and dropped by our NYC meetup. She commented to me that she was very eager to leave because she could sense how high the general tension level was. ..."
"... Few people I know feel secure; a lot of it is about the basic stuff, health care and jobs. ..."
"... True, but can they address those concerns? The Occupy movement was such an effort, but the police seem to have stifled it. Then Sen. Sanders appeared on the scene with his Presidential campaign and that too was suppressed. If people are in fact not engaged it probably indicates an absence of what is important and meaningful for them in the larger society ..."
"... The LAT had truly turned into a piece of garbage the past years, they'd get scooped on stories in their own backyard, the writing was what you'd expect from a newspaper emanating from a city of 48,424, and it would be a given that new reporter hires should go at least a page into google when investigating. ..."
"... We've been watching a German TV series called Babylon Berlin, which is set in Wiemar Germany, 1929, just before the crash. It's fascinating to compare those times to our own, there are many parallels. The show is extremely well done. https://newrepublic.com/article/147053/babylon-berlin-sees-weimar-republic ..."
"... ah, yes. this has been on my mind lately. More the best lacking all conviction and the worst full of passionate intensity than the rough beast part He's already ensconced in Washington and doesn't seem to be able to do much of anything [brain glancing off the specter of all those judges]. ..."
"... post the nation state ..."
"... When war comes it will not be fought by "post-nation states." ..."
"... These are middle aged and middle class professionals about to be thrown on the scrap heap. ..."
"... Colonel Smithers, I observed something similar during the Sanders campaign's peak here in Tucson. That would be during late 2015 and early 2016. Let's just say that people weren't flocking to Bernie because their lives were going well. ..."
"... If the subtext to the MSM's Trump coverage is, "He's a racist authoritarian so he must be stopped at all costs," then you'd think they'd cover police brutality every day. If they're so concerned about racism and authoritarianism. Instead, we're seeing the FBI, CIA, etc., cast in the role of 'oppressed minorities standing up to The System, Maaan!' ..."
"... Plus, as a fan of paranoia, I can say. . . I've never seen a more unsatisfying, overly-abstract conspiracy in my life. It's not that they are rehabilitating CIA goons, but they're doing so specifically in order to obsess over memos, and reports about memos, and memos about reports about leaks about other memos. ..."
"... It's like an episode of The Office if everyone in the office had nukes. ..."
"... that attitude is nearly universal, across all layers of society ..."
"... I am in my late 50s, and for most of my life there was an air of seriousness and competence about national leaders. Even when they were doing something you didn't like, you could generally assume they were adequate to the situation, or at least had access to people who were. E.g., the moronic Reagan at least supposedly had a coterie of serious people in his administration who could keep the train on the tracks. ..."
"... Now we seem to be at a point where the people in charge are unapologetic about their greed, their lack of ability or even interest in their jobs and consitiuents, their lack of intellect and integrity, and the absence of any pretense of doing anything useful for the population or the society ..."
"... I guess what I'm saying is, as one surveys the landscape, there is a marked loss of hope coupled with a tearing urgency that something needs to be done. It's a terrible, very volatile and dangerous condition. ..."
Feb 17, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Jim Haygood , February 16, 2018 at 7:42 am

' orthodox MSM outlets like the New York Times and the WaPo seem to be presenting us with stale fare right now '

Such as this [paywalled] bombshell from the WaPo: 'With McCain's retreat, some turn to Romney to carry his torch.'

Riveting. Like reviewing old photos of the Soviet Politburo to see who got airbrushed out. To paraphrase the WaPo's slogan, 'Democracy dies in decadence. '

flora , February 16, 2018 at 10:31 am

or like viewing old photos of the Robber Barons. The msm has stopped trying to convince middle class readers it's 'on their side', imo. A few have gone full plutocrat friendly. Anything that rocks the plutocrats boats must be caused by 'russians, russians, russians', or outside agitators, or foreigners of one kind or another – not 'real' Americans.

Exactly the kind of things the robber barons and their press said 100+ years ago about working class workers striking for better wages and working conditions.

Alex V , February 16, 2018 at 10:25 am

I agree in the regard to the seeming reduction in analytical quantity and quality. I think you're right with it being caused by reductions in newsroom staff, but I think the type of journalists we have has also changed drastically.

Most of the younger generation that is being brought in has gone directly to journalism school, but has no other experience in the real world. I think many of the older guard had other careers, expertise or experience before they started writing.

So much of what passes for "analysis" nowadays reveals very shallow knowledge of the subject being covered by the writer. This is often most apparent in tech or science articles. I would say some overlap to "management" culture – managers are interchangeable, no matter the industry, since they are experts on managing. Same thing with journalism – if you can write something, you can write about anything .

XXYY , February 16, 2018 at 2:59 pm

For one thing, the, MSM has become heavily dependent on election coverage in the last decade or so, both (I assume) in revenue from political advertising, and in fountains of easy-to-write daily horse race articles about the state of the election.

I think 2017, a post-election year, kind of got a free pass because of the election of Trump, who was either going to make everything great (again!) or blow everything up, and the media was able to sustain an electoral-style energy and reader involvement well beyond the 2016 elections.

Now that (a) Trump has turned out to be an incompetent and ineffectual idiot who does nothing but watch TV, (b) we are seeing the tired old GOP program of screwing the population instead of anything new, and ( c) the Dems have done absolutely nothing for 13 months beyond foam at the mouth about Trump, perhaps the energy of the 2016 election is finally wearing off.

In other words, this is a pre-2018 election lull.

Emorej a Hong Kong , February 16, 2018 at 6:44 am

How much does this weigh?

The article ( https://www.usnews.com/opinion/thomas-jefferson-street/articles/2018-02-13/democrats-should-use-patriotism-to-appeal-to-white-working-class-voters ) linked in yesterday's Water Cooler, seemed to be a major step forward in articulating and advocating a strategy of the Democratic establishment making anti-Russia hysteria (and resulting surveillance and military spending and probably adventures), as a core campaigning plank, the new normal, completely independent of any impeachment or even re-election defeat of Trump.

This strategy was already starting to become implicit, as the Mueller-related "wolf"-crying drags on (and counter-investigations of Clintons are brandished as a M.A.D. deterrent), and as we read that Trump's tax cuts are playing well among likely swing voters both in Congress and in the low-middle income electorate, while it gets ever-closer to "too late" (to be credible before the 2018 midterms) for the Democratic establishment to show any new seriousness about the issues raised and pursued by Bernie Sanders, and by the many local candidates being sabotaged (of necessity more openly than in the past) by the donor-addicted Democratic establishment.

Dwight , February 16, 2018 at 7:48 am

In the real world, we have growing social needs with an aging population that will require Social Security and Medicare. This guy is basically saying to ignore that, which will likely result in a mass die-off of the middle-aged and elderly like that which occurred in 1990s Russia when social programs were gutted under neoliberal shock-therapy "advisors" to the puppet Yeltsin.

Meanwhile, climate change advances requiring massive investment in adaptation, and mitigation if Democrat concerns about climate change are to be taken at face value. (I believe we are 30 years too late, but should do what we can. Democrats claim to be concerned about climate change with their posturing around the Paris Agreement – how does this new cold war lower emissions?)

Nuclear waste from nuclear power and weapons needs to be secured before climate change kicks in, but instead we are spending trillions on new weapons that will create new radioactive waste. The new arms race with Russia and China will be incredibly expensive and dangerous, taking money from real societal and economic needs. Arms spending by the US will result in arms spending in Russia and China, multiplying the problem on a global scale. Unsecured nuclear waste in Russia and China, like unsecured nuclear waste in the US, affects the entire globe.

In this real world context, this guy wants to promote an unnecessary new cold war to get Democrats elected. Truly disgusting and insane.

Big River Bandido , February 16, 2018 at 11:18 am

In this real world context, this guy wants to promote an unnecessary new cold war to get Democrats elected. Truly disgusting and insane.

Not only disgusting and insane, but politically stupid. Any Democrat politician who thinks that promoting Unhinged Russia Hysteria is a winning political strategy is guilty of political malpractice.

petal , February 16, 2018 at 12:22 pm

On that note, I'll try harder to go to that Sen. Jeanne Shaheen talk on Tuesday, as that seems to be what she and they are pushing(unhinged Russia hysteria ) as a winning political strategy.

lyman alpha blob , February 16, 2018 at 1:54 pm

It really is politically stupid.

I got paid today and since the Republican tax cut, my take home pay is larger. Not a dollar or two larger, but enough that it's very easy to notice.

That's what people are going to remember when they go to the voting booth in 2018 (if they even bother) – while the Democrats where whining about Putin and Russia and doing nothing productive whatsoever to improve people's lives, Trump gave everybody more $$$.

DHG , February 16, 2018 at 7:42 pm

Not everything is about money and its not going to affect the majority of people who will be going to the polls, we are already set in our objections of the POTUS and unless he becomes Presidential quickly none of us are changing our minds. This brought to you by a swing voting independent. I will not vote for a republican in 2018 sans what I said.

sleepy , February 16, 2018 at 8:05 am

. . . articulating and advocating a strategy of the Democratic establishment making anti-Russia hysteria (and resulting surveillance and military spending and probably adventures), as a core campaigning plank, the new normal, completely independent of any impeachment or even re-election defeat of Trump.

The "official" narratives from much of the MSM are increasingly removed from any reality experienced by the majority. For example, the latest is a report from Hamilton that much of the social media activity concerning the Florida school shooting is now infested and promoted by Russian bots "to sow division". How more absurd could it be?

I think that sort of disconnect produces both a numbness and an anxiety and a belief that we are governed and led by institutions completely clueless and out of control. Therefore, people just hunker down in disbelief.

taunger , February 16, 2018 at 8:41 am

this. this seems important. coupled with the fact that enough of the news consumers today are wholly cynical regarding any ability of the hoi poloi to make change.

Skip Intro , February 16, 2018 at 10:03 am

I have it on good authority that the whole rebranding of the KKK first as the CCC than as the NRA was a long-term Soviet Russian plot to cause an epidemic of mass shootings that would undermine not only US 'Democracy', but the entire capitalist juggernaut!

Fiery Hunt , February 16, 2018 at 11:05 am

Key phrase here "out of control".

I've definitely been noticing a fairly obvious breakdown in people's ability to be on top of even basic things. We're all fried. I've got really reliable clients suddenly bouncing payments, unable to track projects I've also had first hand encounters with both the law/court system and the medical industry/health care system and the IT processes are byzantine and hugely ineffective.

I think Lambert used the phrase "boom exhaustion ". I think it's apt. We're spinning so hard and nothings getting better or easier.

" the center can't hold.
Things fall apart."

I suggest we expect serious gyrations.

Andrew Watts , February 16, 2018 at 10:42 am

That story is a classic example of a dominant minority resorting to archaism to address the present crisis they face. It won't work either. The US government had an extraordinarily high amount of social trust and support heading into the external crisis that was the Cold War. They eventually frittered it away into the present and the expectation that events will turn out the same is why the creative minority of our past is now a dominant minority in the present. I've said it before, but I'll say it again, for the sake of clarity. We live in a target rich environment for people who've studied Toynbee.

will_f , February 16, 2018 at 12:53 pm

https://www.usnews.com/opinion/thomas-jefferson-street/articles/2018-02-13/democrats-should-use-patriotism-to-appeal-to-white-working-class-voters

Following up on something Lambert wrote once, it seems that pundits who are incapable of using the term "working class" without somehow attaching the word "white" to it are -- besides not really being on the left -- also more likely than others to push the "Russia ate my Election" nonsense.

Lambert Strether , February 16, 2018 at 4:50 pm

I think what the horrid warmongering article in Useless News misses is that the flyover states, which supply the troops for the wars, are getting war weary (and why not). Trump capitalized on this in the election, and there was a positive correlation at IIRC the county level between war casualities and troop support.

An anti-war candidate who could make the case in the flyover states might really make an impact. And the only candidate I can see doing that is Sanders, and I'm not sure Sanders has the inclination, or even the stones, to do it. That F-35 base in Vermont rankles. Is that really the kind of bacon to bring home?

windsock , February 16, 2018 at 7:14 am

A couple of thoughts:

1) Do you think this might be an age-related experience? The elders among us may have a feeling of deja-vu, been here, seen that there's not much new in the world, just the same scenes endlessly repeated with new actors, or an incremental worsening of situations that have already been in decline for years. How long can endless war be news? Or endless corruption? Or endless neo-liberalism etc?

2) Here in the UK, I personally am sick to death with everything being seen through the prism of Brexit. Yes it is an existential crisis for our politics and our way of life but no-one is addressing the ways in which it will improve/demolish our daily lives – food being an obvious one. Yes it is referred to but not in such terms as ordinary people can identify with. It's all about abstracts – treaties/reciprocal arrangements/customs and tariffs/values and volumes of exports/imports etc. And in the meantime, we get stories about how Europeans leaving us will damage our NHS and crop picking without addressing the underlying causes of WHY we need imported labour and why the NHS is still deteriorating despite having those immigrants.

3) Following on from 2, whatever other news there is seems weirdly predictable and is based around personalities, rather than communities and systems. Whatever source one chooses to read, this predictability leads one to end up agreeing with Mandy Rice-Davies "Well, he would say that, wouldn't he?", no matter who the subject is.

4) Now we are leaping on the Russiabus but it is largely met with a huge yawn, unless you like to foam at the mouth at ConservativeHome.

Clive , February 16, 2018 at 7:44 am

I wholeheartedly agree about how a significant factor is that the mainstream media insists on viewing everything through ridiculously contrived "lenses" (Trump, "Russia-gate", Brexit, harassment) and, intentionally I would claim, deliberately obscuring the real problems (wealth distribution, neoliberalism, collapse of the social contract).

Fiery Hunt , February 16, 2018 at 11:09 am

Yep.
And that discord is showing signs of sowing collapse.

sleepy , February 16, 2018 at 9:45 am

Here in the UK, I personally am sick to death with everything being seen through the prism of Brexit.

I read the following article from today's Links fully expecting it to be about Brexit and the political fallout from a possible hard border. Instead, the pivotal issue in the split between Sinn Fein and the DUP apparently revolves around efforts to secure offical status for the Irish language in the North. While that issue too may well be a distraction, it had nothing to do with Brexit, and I was surprised.

https://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2018/02/could-direct-rule-solve-northern-irelands-political-crisis/

MoBee , February 16, 2018 at 10:30 am

whatever other news there is seems weirdly predictable and is based around personalities, rather than communities and systems.

This really hit home for me. Thank you!

Skip Intro , February 16, 2018 at 7:17 am

Animals become agitated in advance of earthquakes. It may be that the reason for angst does not lie in the past, but in the future. In general, so many of the stories are predictable self-parodies, from the Democrats relentless pursuit of the mythical 'moderate insurgents' in republican suburbs, and their comical screeching about Putin, to the drumbeat stories attacking Trump for Obama policies, to the contortions of the neocon policy apparatus trying to justify occupation and regime change in Syria, without mentioning those goals

" The centre does not hold, mere anarchy is loosed upon the world ".

Lee Robertson , February 16, 2018 at 7:22 am

It's the mind numbing parade of horrors.

Brooklin Bridge , February 16, 2018 at 10:55 am

Yes! I've never seen anything like this by any measure. It's the scope and magnitude and number and inter-relatedness and intractability of all the issues at once. Population, climate change, economic disaster systems as in Capitalism going nuts, exploding Military Industrial Complex and perpetual wars , 2 Bat -- - Crazy and utterly corrupt political parties playing nuclear Russian Roulette, Baghdad Bob like main stream media, transformation from a democracy into a police state, open and protected killing of blacks for being black (the fact that isn't exaggerated is mind-numbing), technological tsunamis being co-opted and twisted into iron fisted dystopias by all of the above.

The mind simply can't keep up with it – particularly the reality of it (as in the Democrats going stark raving mad with Russia-Gate – never mind just being corrupt and hypocritical to the core) and the body or something inside sends out a sort of anesthetic to help the mind deal with the increasing perception of the trauma.

I do "get" the analogy of calm before the storm and perhaps that is indeed what we are going through right now but to me it feels like we are simultaneously in the middle of the disaster and constantly waking up to just how horrific it really is.

John , February 16, 2018 at 10:57 am

"Slowed down by a sense of hopelessness in all his decisions and movements, he suffered from bitter sadness, and his incapacity solidified into a pain that often sat like a nosebleed behind his forehead the moment he tried to make up his mind to do something." -- Robert Musil, The Man Without Qualities

False Solace , February 16, 2018 at 4:39 pm

For me, this is key. When I cast my eye upon the news I'm greeted with unrelenting bleakness. Trump's cruel and terrible health plan was big news for months, then his terrible tax cut plan, now his terrible budget. Foreign affairs are equally bleak: the Democrats are busy stirring up a second Cold War. There's no end in sight to the trillions of dollars our nation spends every year on waste and destructive mayhem. Sociopathic corporations and octogenarian billionaires own this country. It's difficult to see anything positive on the horizon.

It could also come down to low Vitamin D and an unusually cold (thanks to climate change) winter.

Lambert Strether , February 16, 2018 at 4:52 pm

> the Democrats are busy stirring up a second Cold War

That's hardly fair; they're stirring up a second Civil War at home, because that's what an impeachment would amount to.

sd , February 16, 2018 at 7:24 am

There are two Americas. The news is mostly for and from the one that protects the rentier or elite class. They send their children to private schools. The second one has children who go to public schools who get shot and killed by gunmen that the school and law authorities have been warned about and then decide it's not worth their attention.

I think we have reached America's breaking point. Shitty jobs, shitty pay, shitty hours, no hope of affordable housing anywhere, no advancement, massive amounts debt, no easy access to medical care, uneven safety nets, denigration, lack of mutual respect, a lifetime of working with little hope of a safe retirement it's just not pretty out here.

rd , February 16, 2018 at 11:38 am

I agree with this. For example this article yesterday caught my attention: http://www.businessinsider.com/san-francisco-housing-crisis-home-sale-2018-2?r=UK&IR=T

Where I live, they post the real estate sales in the newspaper and there are many weeks where not a single house sold for over $500k. But in SF, it is news that something sold for $500k because nothing is ever that cheap.

So you have many areas of the country (not accidental they voted for Trump) where $500k is a fabulously high price for a house because the economies are in a rut but the places where all the people carrying huge student debt loads are supposed to go to work to be part of the future are completely unaffordable for all but a few.

I think we are still in a Wile E. Coyote moment where he has gone off the cliff but gravity has not taken hold yet (cartoons don't understand parabolic arcs, similar to central banks and politicians). One of the purposes of financial crises like 2008 is to reset the playing field. The inequality and inefficiency of the Roaring 20s got reset in the 1930s where many people who had paper wealth, but large debt, collapsed and regulation followed that survived for 60 years in preventing similar scenarios. The 2009-2016 period missed that window of opportunity as the focus became preserving the people who had destabilized the system. That meant the damage was one-sided to the bottom 90%. The top 10% are largely disconnected, deliberately, from what is going on with the bottom 90% and as a result are baffled about the swelling unrest in the country. That unrest is still largely unfocused and just burps out random things right now like the Tea Party, Trump, Sanders etc.

The only good news to come out of the Florida shooting is that the young people are beginning to realize that they are cannon fodder (literally) in the cynical political battles waged by their elders. We may start to see more passion for change occurring. https://www.thecut.com/2018/02/florida-school-shooting-survivors-share-powerful-messages.html Hopefully the 70 years old politicians will move out of the way and allow a new generation with new ideas to start to emerge. However, it will take a lot to displace the current political inertia from funding allowed for the wealthy 70 year olds by Citizens United.

Clive , February 16, 2018 at 7:25 am

Strangely enough, I've been thinking the exact same things, obviously from a U.K. framed perspective. I've not commented on this on posts nor have I discussed this with either Jerri-Lynn, Lambert, Yves, Richard Smith or any of the regular crowd here. I just passed it off to myself as my usual neurotic preoccupations.

I can't really put it into words properly. Which can be one of the reasons why I've not put my thoughts down in writing. Musing on this earlier this week, the best way I could come up with capturing the vibe was to quote from E M Forster who (describing an English country house, the people in it and as a metaphor for the country as a whole at the time) as "being not yet actually in decline, but in the torpor which precedes it". That fit both the mood that I sense and the cause of the pervasive anxiety.

It also, he says, opening a can of worms which he'll probably regret, but here goes, covers and explains several conversations I've had with fellow Brexit voters. The U.K. government is screwing things up royally with regards to the implementation of Brexit. The national division is just as bad as ever. And we're alienating the neighbors who we really need to keep in with for the sake of the long term. We may yet end up as being something akin to Mordor-on-Sea. But, among the friends and relatives I've had these discussions with, none of us could, if we were being honest, really say we cared that much. The nihilism was slightly shocking. What was the reason for that?

The general consensus was that we simply cannot go on as we are. Something -- anything -- is better than years and years, decades and decades of more of the same. A shake up is long overdue and we're way past the point that tweaking round the edges is going to be good enough.

I'm still slightly stunned to have stumbled across this unsettling zeitgeist.

I've done my stint in living through the chaotic end to the 1970's and endured the major social upheavals in Thatcher's show-no-mercy early 1980's. Those were bad times. But this is worse in a lot of ways, if only for the crushing atmosphere of a powerless proletariat.

I do think there are some safety valves. And at least in the past decade we've come to recognise in our shared culture the harms done by things like inequality and how corrupt our governments and corporations really are. And we've channels of common communication (like Naked Capitalism, amongst a few others) which didn't exist a decade or so ago. I'm just not sure they're enough.

windsock , February 16, 2018 at 7:55 am

Mordor-Sea ha! Mordor has better weather.

Completely agree with "none of us could, if we were being honest, really say we cared that much". My friends and I are in the same boat. I'm not sure it's nihilism sometimes I think this is the point of our news coverage – to grind us down with boring mediocrity until we accept whatever settlement suddenly becomes acceptable to TPTB. But then maybe THAT is nihilistic too.

hemeantwell , February 16, 2018 at 8:55 am

Important question! Let me serve up a goulash of inertial fear and loathing:

1. Attacks on Trump have failed to wing him legally. Passage of the corporatophilic tax bill is going to produce a short term stimulus that many of us suspect will undermine the reversal of fortune the policy-thin Dems hoped to pull off. So in part we're stuck with watching a dreary theme in political economy play out in as margin estimates drift downward.

2. The Dem commitment to Russiagate has become their WMD story, it has to be stuck with lest its proponents admit their lying. Down on the ground, I was flummoxed to get a forwarded MoveOn email from a friend encouraging me to participate in flash demonstration at the capitol if Mueller is fired. I was moved to explain that this worried me since it likely hinged on Russophobia. A coolness ensued. This is happening broadly. The Russo-Resistance strategy has had the effect of exacerbating divisions in the potential opposition to neoliberalism. Not a bug.

3. The Syrian conflict has entered yet another crucial phase. I expect the Israelis to kick over the table, and the Trump administration doesn't have the necessary resolution to stop them with guaranteed threats. Militaristic cretins might be given a chance to run with the ball. And then there's North Korea. Breath holding here.

4. Personally, I have very little gut-level understanding of the cadences of crisis politics. Given the seriousness of the issues and the obviousness of the targets, I'd expect Sanders or someone else to be sounding the trumpets. Instead, it seems to be more a matter of setting out rebuttals, worrying about exhausting or boring the audience. I realize that we're not in an "in the streets" phase, but are supposed to be building organizations, finding candidates, etc. But the methodical, deliberate pace of that effort starts to seem inadequate to the moment.

5. And then there's climate warming, which so easily gives rise to that deck chairs feeling. Hard to suppress it at times.

I hate to concede much to the importance of national leadership, but in the absence, as yet, of a broad, thoroughly anti-neoliberal social democratic organization that provides a "culture of solidarity," (as Rick Fantasia described it in his fine book) we need it. And so we're left with moods and presentiments, while trying to deflate fake leader trial balloons -- another Kennedy? Cory Booker?

chwee , February 16, 2018 at 9:42 am

I would argue that there's a basic need for most human beings to feel like part of something greater, that they're working towards something more meaningful than ever more crass consumerism, ala Kennedy's "Ask not what your country can do for you .."

So when push comes to shove, a credible national leader who is able to cajole everyone to start pulling together in the same direction can make a serious go at solving or at least addressing / amerliorating some of our pressing issues. I don't think there's anyone in the US political circles right now that fits the bill ..

Compare and contrast with Putin and Xi, who are personally untouched by corruption taint, and whom their population actually believes has their nations' long-term interests at heart

I'd say national leadership will make all the difference when push comes to shove. Been telling that to US friends for a couple of years, fwiw.

Grumpy Engineer , February 16, 2018 at 8:56 am

" The general consensus was that we simply cannot go on as we are. "

I think you've hit the nail on the head. Whether it's skyrocketing measures of income inequality, health insurance premiums rising faster than wages, college tuition rates and student loan balances rising faster than wages, mindlessly skyrocketing stock markets and asset bubbles fueled by stupid central bank policies, or whatever other unsustainable woe you choose to pick, these things cannot go on forever . Indeed, you can almost feel the "major social upheaval" lurking around the corner.

And we're incredibly divided. Most of the MSM has been sucked into personality conflicts and the us-vs-them mindset. They actively feed it now. You're expected to pick a team and learn to hate the other guys.

I too suspect that "tweaking round the edges" will prove totally inadequate, but I have no desire for revolution. I've seen too many of them start off well but then go off the rails in horrible, terrifying directions. Revolutions can be terribly sloppy affairs, with real people getting hurt in the process. And they usually don't end where we really want them to.

So where does this leave us? Unsettled and full of angst, to say the least, with no good solutions in sight.

perpetualWAR , February 16, 2018 at 9:38 am

Just yesterday I was asked, "Aren't you a liberal Democrat?" I answered, "No, I hate both parties equally." That set them back on their laurels. They expected me to say "Yes."

Lambert Strether , February 16, 2018 at 5:00 pm

> The general consensus was that we simply cannot go on as we are

Waiting for Godot :

ESTRAGON: I can't go on like this.

VLADIMIR: That's what you think.

(Bleakness mitigated by my view that Waiting for Godot is best read, and performed, in the tradition of slapstick comedy.)

bassmule , February 16, 2018 at 7:26 am

A seemingly endless loop of outrage that yields nothing, except the feeling of powerlessness -- that all that is important in life is out of our hands, and in the hands of those who look at us and see nothing but another source of revenue.

timotheus , February 16, 2018 at 7:48 am

Yes, I agree with the "endless loop of outrage" weariness that has set in, the best example being the (ho-hum) shooting of a dozen high school students that in a normal society would prompt mobilization for change and quick marginalization of any leader who said, Let's do nothing! When murder becomes routine, an overall numbness is unavoidable. I had a visitor from Mexico with me recently who asked why I was watching a documentary about serial killer John Wayne Gacey (as someone who hitchhiked nearby around that time, I take a personal interest) and remarked, "In Mexico serial killers are not news."

flora , February 16, 2018 at 10:51 am

"A seemingly endless loop of outrage that yields nothing, except the feeling of powerlessness–"

I rather think that our "feeling of powerlessness" is the goal aimed for by the msm. And identity politics serves a divide and conquer function. (But you can buy T-shirts! so it's all good. /s)

bassmule , February 16, 2018 at 11:39 am

I hope to draw some response to the second part of my complaint, which is that in the dog-eat-dog world of a society ordered solely by markets, we are reduced: First, from being to citizens to consumers, then from being consumers to being marks, rubes, suckers. The "news" (such as it is) isn't reported to us, it's sold to us.

flora , February 16, 2018 at 7:18 pm

Facebook's emotional contagion experiment comes to mind.

Louis Fyne , February 16, 2018 at 7:30 am

Corporate media has been pumping out Trump Derangement Syndrome stories for 18+ months. [if you're cynical] not only because the media genuinely dislike trump, but to drive clickbait and subscription sign-ups

but just as 'likes' juice the happy-chemical parts of your brain, Trump-related outrage stories juice the angry-chemical parts of your brain.

After 18 months of being triggered by the news media [sometimes by Trump, sometimes by DNC pundits, sometimes by real life], your brain basically says -- 'so what? i'm not angry any more.'

qed the overton Window has been moved.

PlutoniumKun , February 16, 2018 at 7:40 am

I was idly wondering yesterday where the current hysteria surrounding Trump will lead everyone. There have been hysterical political situations before, but they have tended to be 'single issue' ones – I can't recall any time when so many people on the main political parties have been so singlemindedly determined to whip up anger. When its a 'single issue' or generated by one side it can run out of steam or diffuse but when its multiple issues I think its liable to either result in an explosion, or, conversely, lead to a sort of nervous exhaustion. Looking at it from the outside, I would really fear what could happen in the US if there was a major economic reversal. A sense of a rising tide can ease over a lot of worries, but if things go into reverse, it can curdle into real anger. In historical situations it can help if the anger has a particular focus, but a huge problem in the US seems to me to be that there is no focus – its all so diffuse – anger at Trump, at inequality, at feminists, at equality, at Russia, at Iran, at pretty much everyone.

From my reading of history, when countries have been in the grip of anxiety it is often a relief when a feared thing happens – such as when Japan bombed Pearl Harbour it was widely reported that the response of the public, including anti-war activists, was great relief. A feeling that at least a course had been set, a key decision made, even if it was a potentially disastrous one.

I've read that much the same feeling descended over much of Europe at the start of WWI. While the same situation doesn't quite apply in the US, I do fear that there is a craving for some sort of decision, a decisive act. While I think Trump is by nature someone who prefers to stir the pot rather than take decisive action, he is also very sensitive to the darker drives of the public feeling. I do fear that he might feel inclined to do something really stupid, and there is nobody sensible around him to stop it happening.

susan the other , February 16, 2018 at 12:25 pm

I think Trump understands more than he reveals. I think we are looking at the tempered effects of MSM froth by all the good, sensible internet bloggers and commenters which serve to neutralize the nonsense. What I see is angst failure – nobody bought this farcical onslaught of propaganda. Everyone questioned it. Something happens to the "news" when opposite views and facts collide – it gets emulsified like vinegar and oil into much less drastic possibilities.

On the one hand – on the other hand. The internet was able to neutralize the MSM because the MSM does only superficial "reporting". There seems to be a state of angst withdrawal, lots of confusion, and no direction. As if "time goes on like nothing is important." And lately a very interesting thing has happened – there is almost no hysteria about "the debt. I have the vague feeling that there are some few people who are actually in control of their senses and the sea change is approaching critical mass. Things will change for the better not only because everyone is fed up but probably more because our dear leaders, including the banksters, are clueless and they don't know how to make capitalism work using the old rules. It's gonna be interesting. Thank you NC.

W , February 16, 2018 at 3:38 pm

Interesting reminds me of how some torturers have learned that the fear of the pain can be worse than the pain itself in terms of emotional distress and breaking down ego-barriers to cooperation/submission. When the fear is worse than the feared experience, the feared experience itself is a relief.

johnf , February 16, 2018 at 7:42 am

I am definitely sensing more Angst in Germany (the ur–Angst? ), but at the moment, that is probably going off topic.

Kevin , February 16, 2018 at 7:44 am

Our Jerri-Lynn, who mainly lives overseas, was briefly in the US last month and dropped by our NYC meetup. She commented to me that she was very eager to leave because she could sense how high the general tension level was.

I can assure you, what she feels is very, very real. My wife and I travel at least once a year back to Canada , where my wife is from – the difference in tension is palpable. I feel so loose and calm when I am there.

windsock , February 16, 2018 at 7:50 am

I feel the same when I leave UK and head to Italy or Portugal.

Lambert Strether , February 16, 2018 at 5:04 pm

> I feel so loose and calm when I am [in Canada]

I felt the very same thing when I lived there for a couple years in the late 90s. I think it's the lack of the imperial burden.

Norello , February 16, 2018 at 7:46 am

"Do you sense, as Lambert and I do, that the news tide has receded?"

My primary news source is the print edition of the Wall Street Journal and I've noted to myself a similar observation recently. The first time I saw the gymnist doctor sex abuse story featured prominetly on the first page I thought it odd. When the story was featured promintely on the front page multiple times after that it felt bizzare. My reaction was wondering how can this possibly be that important compared to everything else happening in the world.

"If so, to resort to Warren Buffett's image, who do you think it has exposed as swimming naked?"

My interpetation has been the news media has been exposed as swimming naked. They are unable or unwilling to spend the money required to deliver professional reporting. Since election season they have depended on reporting on Trump's controversies to fill their pages. That is cheap and easy to do. Without that they have to spend time, money and talent to report on other complex matters.

The quaility and quantity of the print edition of the WSJ has been a noticeable decline the last few years. Little things like a front page lead in to what was supposed to be on page B1 was instead on B4. I've been reading the WSJ for probably twenty years now and never seen that happen before.

Twice during the presidential election they had what looked like at first a normal section of the newspaper but was actually a "paid advertisement" from China and Japan. It was blatant propaganda from their governments. It was shocking that the WSJ would take money to print foreign government's propaganda on election matters. There have been many other observations like that which have lead me to the conclusion news reporting capabilities have been gutted more than most people realize.

Anonymous2 , February 16, 2018 at 4:18 pm

Taken over not so long ago by one R Murdoch? He has damaged every paper he has touched IMO.

Edward , February 16, 2018 at 7:52 am

Maybe this painting depicting ennui captures the current mood: http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/sickert-ennui-n03846

Perhaps this is what happens when you are surrounded by nonsensical rubbish by press and government. But I have felt this way for years.

ChiGal in Carolina , February 16, 2018 at 9:17 am

They might be without purpose but they appear secure. Few people I know feel secure; a lot of it is about the basic stuff, health care and jobs.

Edward , February 16, 2018 at 10:02 am

True, but can they address those concerns? The Occupy movement was such an effort, but the police seem to have stifled it. Then Sen. Sanders appeared on the scene with his Presidential campaign and that too was suppressed. If people are in fact not engaged it probably indicates an absence of what is important and meaningful for them in the larger society.

Eustache De Saint Pierre , February 16, 2018 at 7:57 am

I have had the same or at a least similar feeling of late, but for the most part considered it as me reflecting my own circumstances on the world, as well as worrying items of news particularly from Syria. A bit like an increasing tightness of breath, within the increasingly stale & pressurized air of an expanding balloon.

Wukchumni , February 16, 2018 at 7:58 am

It has been a rather dull time for news, and i'm not really feeling any angst, other than when I went to a neighbor's dinner party surrounded by reign of error supporters that seemed to be doubling down on their choice in an assertive manner, with absolutely no prompting from me.

I found that disturbing, the group-sink mentality, a blackjack equivalent of doubling down on a 16, with the dealer showing a face card, why?

The LA Times got sold this week, which came with the SD Union Tribune as 2 for 1 deal for $500 million.

The LAT had truly turned into a piece of garbage the past years, they'd get scooped on stories in their own backyard, the writing was what you'd expect from a newspaper emanating from a city of 48,424, and it would be a given that new reporter hires should go at least a page into google when investigating.

Why would somebody pay half a billion for something that's broken down and even if you fixed it, where is the upside?

Sam Adams , February 16, 2018 at 7:59 am

My take is we are in the period just before WW1 and the last garden parties. Everything seems warm, slightly off. The skirts are hobbling, the hats large and the military medals shiny on gold braid. The politicians are making noise, but we all know that for all the strum and bother, they will come to a resolution.

Did you hear the Austrian heir and his wife were shot? Try the sandwiches .

JacobiteInTraining , February 16, 2018 at 10:36 am

Ummm, those sandwiches are simply MARVELOUS I *must* get your recipe.

My neighbors sons both joined the Uhlan Regiment, and we are organizing a party for them before they go to the academy. They look sooooo precious in their uniforms, I want to be sure we have the best in food and drink for their send off party!

And yes, those dang Serbians. Such troublemakers. Rest assured they will be dealt with swiftly and severely.

Lord Koos , February 16, 2018 at 2:19 pm

We've been watching a German TV series called Babylon Berlin, which is set in Wiemar Germany, 1929, just before the crash. It's fascinating to compare those times to our own, there are many parallels. The show is extremely well done. https://newrepublic.com/article/147053/babylon-berlin-sees-weimar-republic

Carolinian , February 16, 2018 at 7:59 am

There's an Ingmar Bergman film from the 1960s called Winter Light where one of the characters finds out the Red Chinese have acquired the bomb and kills himself. Surely it's the news media who are creating the current wave of high anxiety and even tragedies like school shootings seem to be egged on by the media since most shooters are copycats.

Which is why some of us have taken to getting our news from sites like this one. A sanity filter is needed. A sense of perspective may also be useful as in world historical terms there have been much worse periods than this. Time does heal wounds, perhaps even elites who have lost their marbles.

ChiGal in Carolina , February 16, 2018 at 9:29 am

ah, yes. this has been on my mind lately. More the best lacking all conviction and the worst full of passionate intensity than the rough beast part He's already ensconced in Washington and doesn't seem to be able to do much of anything [brain glancing off the specter of all those judges].

GERMO , February 16, 2018 at 9:46 am

This is an astute post by NC and lots of great comments -- little to add but I'll see your Yeats and raise you one Gramsci:

"The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear."

Bittercup , February 16, 2018 at 11:24 am

Well as long as we're talking poetry, I think Auden's September 1, 1939 might be even more relevant today than it was back when it was written. So much so that I can't decide which part of it to excerpt (and it's a bit too long to just quote the whole thing!).

Actually, no, I do know -- here is the last stanza of the poem, which just happens to describe exactly the kind of thing that NC -- at its best -- can provide in opposition to the "waves of anger and fear [ ] obsessing our private lives."

Defenceless under the night
Our world in stupor lies;
Yet, dotted everywhere,
Ironic points of light
Flash out wherever the Just
Exchange their messages:
May I, composed like them
Of Eros and of dust,
Beleaguered by the same
Negation and despair,
Show an affirming flame.

Katherine Calkin , February 16, 2018 at 10:15 pm

How about Sartre: Hell is other people.

Jay Jay , February 16, 2018 at 8:16 am

The DOJ Inspector General report will be out in March. After one look at a draft of the report, Randall Wray fired McCabe. And remember, the DOJIG has all of the Strzok e-mails, including the ones the FBI "inadvertently destroyed." Hopes–and fears–are high that this report will expose all of the Russiagate corruption in complete detail. If so, even mainstream media stars won't have a place to hide. They went all in too long ago and pushed the story way too hard.

So to answer Yves's questions: yes, there is deep fear that a receding tide is about to reveal a lot of naked swimmers and that yes, it will be a tsunami.

nv , February 16, 2018 at 8:16 am

Professor Kendall Thomas, director of the Center for the Study of Law and Culture at Columbia Law School, spoke at Goethe House New York recently. He designated Trump a 'post-president,' saying that the mythological status of the US presidency has been exploded (my word). An audience member asked if we were also post the nation state; Kendall replied that the questioner had answered his own question.

Perhaps here we have the source, or one major source, of the generalized angst? (No video, or no video yet, however, see https://www.goethe.de/ins/us/en/sta/ney/ver.cfm ? fuseaction=events.detail&event_id=21154521)

paul , February 16, 2018 at 12:48 pm

Now that is news I can use!

I suppose it might have been private eye, a very changed publication from my first introduction, suggested that the offspring of the firm were far more interested in discotheques and tax free beaches than than the fealty of the field mice in their property.

A little disinterested resignation might go a long way.

However

paul , February 16, 2018 at 1:21 pm

NCO smithers, sorry to hijack your thread; But if I'm going to do it within the headline post: Iraq war protests: The one in edinburgh was glorious, people flowing in from the mound, the west est end and leith street, blocking the roads, g galloway and t sheridan doing what they do best.

I retired and watched the news on the bbc and that is why I have hardly looked at since then.

What your have gifted me is contributions is that nothing is rational as family business, and extra-family is hopeless romance.

I'll jog along (to use the contemporary parlance),

The only weak point is the family.

Loneprotester , February 16, 2018 at 12:04 pm

When war comes it will not be fought by "post-nation states."

Great thread. Keep it going.

Weltschmerz , February 16, 2018 at 8:26 am

1) gaslighting with news that doesn't matter
2) feeeling of an echo chamber and the same ol same ol
3) unclear ways of taking action and identifying those persons who can fix the mess that those persons impmementing neoliberalism and warmongering have created

Colonel Smithers , February 16, 2018 at 8:58 am

Thank you.

I don't have much contact with the 1% now, having changed jobs in mid-2016, but agree with you and get that sense from friends / former colleagues who do.

I work in the City of London. To use the euphemism en vogue at my employer, many people will be "rolling off the platform", ours, over the spring. It's the same at my former employer and another firm I know well. These are middle aged and middle class professionals about to be thrown on the scrap heap.

One can observe Thatcherites becoming Corbynites.

Arizona Slim , February 16, 2018 at 11:40 am

Colonel Smithers, I observed something similar during the Sanders campaign's peak here in Tucson. That would be during late 2015 and early 2016. Let's just say that people weren't flocking to Bernie because their lives were going well.

Lambert Strether , February 16, 2018 at 5:10 pm

> "rolling off the platform"

What's the metaphor here?

ChiGal in Carolina , February 16, 2018 at 6:23 pm

Just to clarify, these are Bernie folks I'm talking about, with no love of corporate Dems/Hillary, but I fear they don't realize how very real the threat is that the energy of the base will be coopted by the leadership.

Norb , February 16, 2018 at 9:20 am

The news tide has receded because by blurring the line between news/information and entertainment, for most people, it looses all relevance in conducting daily life. People are tuned out and apathetic. Those watching the MSM closely are either entirely satisfied with society as is, brainwashed, social voyeurs titilated by the access to human suffering in ever expanding forms, or for professional interest. The weird atmosphere is that people realize how precarious their social positions have become, but are offered no outlet to relieve the growing anxiety. There is no leadership attempting to address these grievances, and when movements do surface, the same set of characters jump to the forefront and successfully diffuse the energy building for something different.
There is no accountability.

The MSM is ubiquitous in its constant drone of irrelevance. Just as the constant flashing of advertising becomes harder and harder to see, it just stops carrying any useful information regardless of what is being said or shown.

My sense for years has been the thought, "what will it take to break the malaise". Society has gone from the Deep Water Horizon disaster, Fukushima meltdown, endless small wars, and growing ecological disasters. Not to mention growing economic inequality with no end in sight. The response is indifference and obfuscation.

Democracy requires civic action, but without proper leadership, Democracy is impossible. Democracy requires institutions that citizens can participate in, and the current crop of leaders undermines that participation at every turn.

So what is left is that everyone conducts their lives on autopilot- until forced to act otherwise. It is a weird atmosphere where the general consensus is one of quiet despair, but easier to pretend that all is well.

Pat , February 16, 2018 at 9:25 am

I will note that years after I stopped biting my nails I have started again. And this time it is worse. I never endangered the quick, but am now so anxious And I have eliminated most traditional sources of news from my life.

I am powerless. A seismic event that should have caused at least a small path change has not. Instead the road is even more closed to alteration, the real news is the same or worse. And the bread and circuses is not considered necessary because nothing really changed. The shootings, the growing early deaths of the populace, and so on are normal. I do not know if the slow boil of the frogs/populace will only end with their total collapse and that we have merely turned up the heat to speed things up. Or if another seismic event that is more violent and revolutionary is going to happen as the restricted road is overrun by those supposed to die quickly and quietly. A Russian and French Revolution level up rising where our current system is bludgeoned to death.

I try to ignore that sense, that prediction. But as my admission makes clear I cannot. We are cursed to live in interesting times.

Dean , February 16, 2018 at 10:02 am

The firehose of information (shit?) being sprayed at me during my waking hours by the industrial-information complex was chipping away at my soul one clickbait headline at a time, one junk email at a time, one advertisement at a time. So I made a choice and l 'opted out' as best I could. I have only 3 news bookmarks (NC on of them). I dropped all social media in the summer of '16. I've been cable free for nearly two years.

My overall mood has improved greatly over this time. I am not feeling the angst but I see the effect the 24×7 bombardment is having on people close to me.

I am beginning to wonder if this constant bombardment is someone's grand design to wear us down, divide us, and keep us in a permanent state of fear and paralysis.

Loneprotester , February 16, 2018 at 12:37 pm

Brilliant! I felt a similar Lightness of Being after giving up Facebook a few months ago. But this has been undermined by recently taking up Twitter. Twitter is like having a stranger run up to you every few minutes shouting the same piece of nonsense in your face. Then someone else shouts the exact opposite. And so on and so on.

Lambert Strether , February 16, 2018 at 5:24 pm

Twitter demands extremely careful curation, and then it's incredibly valuable. Rather like life.

Kokuanani , February 16, 2018 at 1:06 pm

I share your sense of "bombardment," and for me it's an on-going fight with my husband who wants to watch MSNBC, CNN, etc. We have a very small house, so it's almost impossible for me to get away from the audio, and it's winter, so going outside to escape is more challenging.

I find the yelling of Rachel Maddow et al. actually like a physical assault on my senses. I say to my husband, "you know things in the world are crap. Do you need to have that fact repeated to you again and again? And don't you feel that this assault wears you down and makes you less able to take positive action? That's its effect on me."

[I wear my noise-cancelling earphones a lot.]

Eclair , February 16, 2018 at 1:37 pm

Gosh, Kokuanani, I am in much the same situation. My recently-retired husband turns the TV on first thing in the morning and almost never shuts it down until bedtime. We have downsized to a small condo, which fortunately has a small second bedroom/sitting room, so I can escape for a time.

He watches CNN and the local news stations a lot and, as I stroll through the living room or work in the adjacent kitchen, I am assaulted with the tension-laden voices of the news anchors, pushing the latest disaster. I was almost grateful for the school shooting, since it did make a change from the incessant prattling about l'affaire Porter.

What I find most horrifying are the daytime TV shows that feature white male authority figures telling hapless people who have supposedly screwed up their lives and relationships, exactly where they have gone wrong and what they need to do to straighten themselves out. The audience, or should it be the 'mob,' acts as a chorus, egging on the participants.

I now realize how insulated from the 'real world' I have been for decades.

It is interesting that you feel the verbal yelling as as an almost physical assault. I feel the same about constant background noise; it hurts. My spouse, on the other hand, seems to need the stimulation of the verbal stream. (Might have something to do with his dyslexia).

RMO , February 16, 2018 at 3:36 pm

I frequently like to have the television on – often as background while I do other things. I do have cable (as part of an integrated telephone/internet/television package) and when I have broadcast television playing, as opposed to DVD's etc., I find I gravitate to old comedy reruns. I've rewatched the entirety of the Mary Tyler Moore show multiple times this winter along with many other 50's through early 80's television. The only breakthrough from the hurricane of angst whirling through the U.S. media has been the commercials. The ads are often made up of 50% promotion of a new pharmaceutical or medical product and 50% an invitation to join a class action suit against the makers of a slightly older pharmaceutical or medical product. It's an odd juxtaposition.

Lambert Strether , February 16, 2018 at 5:26 pm

I visit friends who watch CNN all the time fairly regularly (and as readers know, I don't have a TV at all, so it's quite an experience for me).

Whatever's going on at CNN, it's clearly not news in any sense that I understand. It's demented, crazy-making.

John , February 16, 2018 at 10:07 am

The wheels keep turning in place with no movement forward, backward, or in a circle. Case in point: Yet one more mass shooting in a school. Yet one more disturbed, angry, and/or obsessed personal with a semi-automatic weapon. Shock, horror, thoughts, prayers; we need 'sensible' gun controls; it's not the time to talk about guns, etc., etc. Same script every time and it fades away until the next time. Does no one notice?

What can I add to what has already been said? I am sick to death of slippery empty words and sly tactics and thievery. I want to say to hell with it all, but I cannot not care.

Craig H. , February 16, 2018 at 10:11 am

The reason most news is dull is that most of it is fake. I was watching an old interview that Kerry Cassidy did with Jim Marrs the other day and he was riveting. A lot of people classify Marrs as a conspiracy nut but he described himself as a journalist. One of the most memorable things he said (this is not an exact quote) is that he still tried to do journalism, but we really don't have journals any more. They are more like advertising circulars and the stories are almost all government or corporate public relations pieces. There are plenty of stories to write. The pieces you guys run on Uber and Calpers are rare and not dull. It is obvious when a competent journalist has taken the time to do research and investigate and double-check things and think about what they are doing.

The manipulated dope the government releases on the latest shooting is not news. It is propaganda. It isn't worth reading.

schultzzz , February 16, 2018 at 2:08 pm

my 2 cents: the FOX NEWS-ification of the MSM is now complete, and that's why it's weird.

If the subtext to the MSM's Trump coverage is, "He's a racist authoritarian so he must be stopped at all costs," then you'd think they'd cover police brutality every day. If they're so concerned about racism and authoritarianism. Instead, we're seeing the FBI, CIA, etc., cast in the role of 'oppressed minorities standing up to The System, Maaan!'

Plus, as a fan of paranoia, I can say. . . I've never seen a more unsatisfying, overly-abstract conspiracy in my life. It's not that they are rehabilitating CIA goons, but they're doing so specifically in order to obsess over memos, and reports about memos, and memos about reports about leaks about other memos.

It's like an episode of The Office if everyone in the office had nukes. Sheesh, give me P2 and the Vatican Bank any day.

TLDR: It's weird because of the sudden growth of the disconnect between [the very real anxieties we news consumers feel in our daily lives] . . . . and the news reports which attempt to leverage those anxieties into outrage at [whatever media elites are mad at that day].

EGrise , February 16, 2018 at 2:13 pm

A question I'm pondering lately that may be related: suppose a general pulled a Julius Caesar, crossed the Rubicon/Potomac and seized control of the US government. What would the response be?

Sixty years ago, there would have been staunch support for the civilian government, politicians of both parties would have rallied their supporters to defend our democratic heritage, and I believe ordinary citizens would have actively opposed the military government in a number of ways up to and including taking up arms.

Today? I just can't see it. I don't know if anyone would really give a [family_blog] beyond some outrage on Facebook or Twitter. The nihilism and ennui are palpable.

Mark Blyth tells the story of speaking to a room full of fund managers and other monied types, and he asked them if they would have trusted the politicians they supported twenty or thirty years prior to manage one of their accounts, to general assent. But when he asked if they would trust any of the politicians they currently support to do the same, they all laughed out loud. In the US, that attitude is nearly universal, across all layers of society .

Could you see yourself risking your life to go fight for our democracy under the banner of Chuck Schumer? The DNC? Any of the ghouls in the GOP? I can't. And I think that's meaningful.

schultzzz , February 16, 2018 at 2:22 pm

If I didn't know any better, I'd say the MSM is getting revenge on us. They got the 2016 election wrong, were exposed as out-of-touch, and rightly ridiculed. Lacking credibility and unwilling to do stories that would upset their owners (i.e. stories ABOUT average American problems), the only tool left in their 'keep people reading us' toolkit is. . .'aaaaah read this or the country dies!!!!'

And what do you know, the 'anxiety' tool just also happens to inflict a lot of psychic punishment on the same news consumers that ridiculed them. So that's a two-fer!

Rosario , February 16, 2018 at 2:44 pm

I'm having trouble articulating the pile of words in my head to describe my thinking on current news media. I'll just say that I've suspected an "establishment agenda" in most news for years and Trump has mostly confirmed that suspicion. I'm sure it has, to some extent, always been that way with the press (we can't escape our culture), but the stakes of milquetoast (or outright nefarious) new media seem bigger now than ever (US empire collapse, climate change, ballooning global inequality). I'm only 31 so let me know if I'm off base thinking the sky is falling.

I think the hosts are right that the news seems to be drying up as of late, but I think that is more a feature than a bug. There is plenty to discuss and dissect. They are just not the kinds of things that capitalist media wants to even acknowledge much less cover.

I don't know if there are any Aussies in this thread, but I'll include a link to a comedian from Australia who has excellent and usually funny commentary on Australian politics. He posts a great deal on Youtube and has a pretty excellent take down of Vice News. BTW the ever edgy Vice has a 5% stake owned by Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox and his boy James is/was a board member, figure that one out. The comedian says more pointedly what I was trying to say above to a particular example of the problem, and I think the critique of Vice News is within the topic of the thread. As a heads up, you may need to see his initial video to get any context. I recommend both.

XXYY , February 16, 2018 at 3:36 pm

I think one thing that is new recently is that the people supposedly driving the bus are *obviously* incompetent and in over their heads.

I am in my late 50s, and for most of my life there was an air of seriousness and competence about national leaders. Even when they were doing something you didn't like, you could generally assume they were adequate to the situation, or at least had access to people who were. E.g., the moronic Reagan at least supposedly had a coterie of serious people in his administration who could keep the train on the tracks. Various government departments were staffed by people who had a lifetime of experience in their affairs, and there was thus a deep bench of skill and experience the national leaders could rely on when needed. Government seemed serious and purposeful for the most part, and the nation seemed in reasonably good hands.

It's impossible to say how much of this sensibility was real and how much carefully maintained illusion; my guess is a lot of what was going on was the latter, but at least leaders and the media realized seriousness was an important front to maintain.

Now we seem to be at a point where the people in charge are unapologetic about their greed, their lack of ability or even interest in their jobs and consitiuents, their lack of intellect and integrity, and the absence of any pretense of doing anything useful for the population or the society. Important national institutions (e.g. the State Department! The CDC!) are being left to languish or being actively dismantled. Who will fill the void? No one cares. The media, meanwhile, not only fails to lament these things but actually seems to have some glee about the situation and delights in spotlighting incompetence and even criminality in the leadership

(I write from the US, obviously; however, the same seems to be true, perhaps even more so, in the UK, from what I read.)

As a result, a deadly sense of futility sets in. At best, we can head off the bigger disasters. Nothing is likely to actually improve. The will and leadership to face our many impending disasters (climate change, nuclear war, inequality, racism, financial collapse, infrastructure collapse) seems utterly absent.

I guess what I'm saying is, as one surveys the landscape, there is a marked loss of hope coupled with a tearing urgency that something needs to be done. It's a terrible, very volatile and dangerous condition.

jrs , February 16, 2018 at 7:40 pm

a sensible emotional response to Trump perhaps. Obama was bad in many ways, but Trump is something harder to make sense of than mere bad: he's absurd.

Jim , February 16, 2018 at 6:55 pm

The Crack-Up F.Scott Fitzgerald (1936)

"Before I go on with this short history, let me make a general observation -- the test of a first rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise."

Do we still have that will and can we find a way?

[Feb 16, 2018] The indictment includes charges not yet proven in a court of law, yet prominent Americans are treating the indictment as fact

Notable quotes:
"... People read these accusational headlines, probably just the headlines, and it acts as a virus and penetrates the membrane of the collective subconscious, without even a moments thought to question the assertion. In time, the virus breaks down the will of the rational consumer to weigh evidence fairly, though it is also aided by further bombardment of fake news, which increases the rate of infection. ..."
Feb 16, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org
stonebird , Feb 16, 2018 3:49:41 PM | 39
francis @37

One of the best bits about the indictment is the mention ;"arranging for a Real US person to stand in front of the White House in the district of Colombia with a sign that read; "Happy 55th birthday dear boss" (May 29, in 2016)" America must have trembled. (or maybe they were shaking with laughter?).

NemesisCalling , Feb 16, 2018 4:14:31 PM | 40
People read these accusational headlines, probably just the headlines, and it acts as a virus and penetrates the membrane of the collective subconscious, without even a moments thought to question the assertion. In time, the virus breaks down the will of the rational consumer to weigh evidence fairly, though it is also aided by further bombardment of fake news, which increases the rate of infection.

The virus then blossoms into a fairly beautiful and uniform flower with clean, geometric edges and universal appeal which catches the gaze of others and so is able to double the rate of infection from this secondary source.

This flower, the Ruskiesdidittous, is the result of haphazard propogation, though its ability to survive and thrive is notable due to a carrier population already enfeebled by a diet of Dr. Pepper and a lack of discernible vegetables.

I tremble for my countrymen.

Don Bacon | Feb 16, 2018 4:25:01 PM | 41

...adding to the remarks in #40...

The indictment includes charges not yet proven in a court of law, yet prominent Americans are treating the indictment as fact. from CNN:

>House Speaker Paul Ryan called the Russians' alleged actions "a conspiracy to subvert the process, and take aim at democracy itself." "We have known that Russians meddled in the election, but these indictments detail the extent of the subterfuge," Ryan said in a statement.

>Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement that given the indictments, Trump should "immediately" implement the Russia sanctions that Congress passed last summer to punish Moscow for its election meddling. "The administration needs to be far more vigilant in protecting the 2018 elections, and alert the American public any time the Russians attempt to interfere," Schumer said.

>House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement that the indictments "make absolutely clear" that Russians tried to influence the presidential election to support Trump's campaign and continue to try to interfere with our elections. "We are on the eve of the 2018 midterm elections," the statement added. "There is no time to waste to defend the integrity of our elections and our democracy."

>Robby Mook, Clinton's former campaign manager, tweeted: "The intelligence community has repeatedly told us Russia meddled. Now criminal indictments from DOJ. We were attacked by a foreign adversary. Will our Congress and President stand strong and take action? Or let it happen again?"

karlof1 | Feb 16, 2018 5:04:57 PM | 42

My rebuttal of Pelosi's statement @41--

There has never been any "integrity" in US elections, nor is there such a thing as "democracy" within the USA.

IMO, Congresscritters have never before looked and acted so damn stupid -- clearly they are merely mutts being led by a leash and told to bray at a moon called Russia.

The Outlaw US Empire totally lacks integrity and clearly isn't a democracy; it is merely another of history's failed empires destroyed by its own hubris; it really needs to gouge its eyes out and wander in the forest until it dies.

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

Feb 16, 2018 | www.unz.com

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

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

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

[Feb 15, 2018] If America Wasn't America, the United States Would Be Bombing It by Darius Shahtahmasebi

Notable quotes:
"... Reprinted with permission from The Anti-Media . ..."
Feb 15, 2018 | ronpaulinstitute.org

February 13, 2018

On January 8, 2018, former government advisor Edward Luttwak wrote an opinion piece for Foreign Policy titled "It's Time to Bomb North Korea."

Luttwak's thesis is relatively straightforward. There is a government out there that may very soon acquire nuclear-weapons capabilities, and this country cannot be trusted to responsibly handle such a stockpile. The responsibility to protect the world from a rogue nation cannot be argued with, and we understandably have a duty to ensure the future of humanity.

However, there is one rogue nation that continues to hold the world ransom with its nuclear weapons supply. It is decimating non-compliant states left, right, and center. This country must be stopped dead in its tracks before anyone turns to the issue of North Korea.

In August of 1945, this rogue nation dropped two atomic bombs on civilian targets, not military targets, completely obliterating between 135,000 and 300,000 Japanese civilians in just these two acts alone. Prior to this event, this country killed even more civilians in the infamous firebombing of Tokyo and other areas of Japan, dropping close to 500,000 cylinders of napalm and petroleum jelly on some of Japan's most densely populated areas.

Recently, historians have become more open to the possibility that dropping the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was not actually necessary to end World War II. This has also been confirmed by those who actually took part in it. As the Nation explained:

Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet, stated in a public address at the Washington Monument two months after the bombings that 'the atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military standpoint, in the defeat of Japan ' Adm. William "Bull" Halsey Jr., Commander of the US Third Fleet, stated publicly in 1946 that 'the first atomic bomb was an unnecessary experiment . It was a mistake to ever drop it . [the scientists] had this toy and they wanted to try it out, so they dropped it
A few months' prior, this rogue country's invasion of the Japanese island of Okinawa also claimed at least one quarter of Okinawa's population. The Okinawan people have been protesting this country's military presence ever since. The most recent ongoing protest has lasted well over 5,000 days in a row.

This nation's bloodlust continued well after the end of World War II. Barely half a decade later, this country bombed North Korea into complete oblivion, destroying over 8,700 factories, 5,000 schools, 1,000 hospitals, 600,000 homes, and eventually killing off as much as 20 percent of the country's population. As the Asia Pacific Journal has noted, the assaulting country dropped so many bombs that they eventually ran out of targets to hit, turning to bomb the irrigation systems, instead:

By the fall of 1952, there were no effective targets left for US planes to hit. Every significant town, city and industrial area in North Korea had already been bombed. In the spring of 1953, the Air Force targeted irrigation dams on the Yalu River, both to destroy the North Korean rice crop and to pressure the Chinese, who would have to supply more food aid to the North. Five reservoirs were hit, flooding thousands of acres of farmland, inundating whole towns and laying waste to the essential food source for millions of North Koreans."
This was just the beginning. Having successfully destroyed the future North Korean state, this country moved on to the rest of East Asia and Indo-China, too. As Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi has explained :
We [this loose cannon of a nation] dumped 20 million gallons of toxic herbicide on Vietnam from the air, just to make the shooting easier without all those trees, an insane plan to win 'hearts and minds' that has left about a million still disabled from defects and disease – including about 100,000 children, even decades later, little kids with misshapen heads, webbed hands and fused eyelids writhing on cots, our real American legacy, well out of view, of course.
This mass murder led to the deaths of between 1.5 million and 3.8 million people, according to the Washington Post. More bombs were dropped on Vietnam than were unleashed during the entire conflict in World War II . While this was going on, this same country was also secretly bombing Laos and Cambodia, too, where there are over 80 million unexploded bombs still killing people to this day.

This country also decided to bomb Yugoslavia , Panama , and Grenada before invading Iraq in the early 1990s. Having successfully bombed Iraqi infrastructure, this country then punished Iraq's entire civilian population with brutal sanctions. At the time, the U.N. estimated that approximately 1.7 million Iraqis had died as a result, including 500,000 to 600,000 children . Some years later, a prominent medical journal attempted to absolve the cause of this infamous history by refuting the statistics involved despite the fact that, when interviewed during the sanctions-era, Bill Clinton's secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, intimated that to this rogue government, the deaths of half a million children were "worth it" as the "price" Iraq needed to pay. In other words, whether half a million children died or not was irrelevant to this bloodthirsty nation, which barely blinked while carrying out this murderous policy.

This almighty superpower then invaded Iraq again in 2003 and plunged the entire region into chaos . At the end of May 2017, the Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR) released a study concluding that the death toll from this violent nation's 2003 invasion of Iraq had led to over one million deaths and that at least one-third of them were caused directly by the invading force.

Not to mention this country also invaded Afghanistan prior to the invasion of Iraq (even though the militants plaguing Afghanistan were originally trained and financed by this warmongering nation). It then went on to bomb Yemen, Syria, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, and the Philippines .

Libya famously had one of the highest standards of living in the region. It had state-assisted healthcare, education, transport, and affordable housing. It is now a lawless war-zone rife with extremism where slaves are openly traded like commodities amid the power vacuum created as a direct result of the 2011 invasion.

In 2017, the commander-in-chief of this violent nation took the monumental death and destruction to a new a level by removing the restrictions on delivering airstrikes, which resulted in thousands upon thousands of civilian deaths. Before that, in the first six months of 2017, this country dropped over 20,650 bombs , a monumental increase from the year that preceded it.

Despite these statistics, all of the above conquests are mere child's play to this nation. The real prize lies in some of the more defiant and more powerful states, which this country has already unleashed a containment strategy upon. This country has deployed its own troops all across the border with Russia even though it promised in the early 1990s it would do no such thing. It also has a specific policy of containing Russia's close ally, China, all the while threatening China's borders with talks of direct strikes on North Korea (again, remember it already did so in the 1950s).

This country also elected a president who not only believes it is okay to embrace this rampantly violent militarism but who openly calls other countries "shitholes" – the very same term that aptly describes the way this country has treated the rest of the world for decades on end. This same president also reportedly once asked three times in a meeting , "If we have nuclear weapons, why don't we use them?" and shortly after proposed a policy to remove the constraints protecting the world from his dangerous supply of advanced nuclear weaponry.

When it isn't directly bombing a country, it is also arming radical insurgent groups , creating instability, and directly overthrowing governments through its covert operatives on the ground.

If we have any empathy for humanity, it is clear that this country must be stopped. It cannot continue to act like this to the detriment of the rest of the planet and the safety and security of the rest of us. This country openly talks about using its nuclear weapons, has used them before, and has continued to use all manner of weapons unabated in the years since while threatening to expand the use of these weapons to other countries.

Seriously, if North Korea seems like a threat, imagine how the rest of the world feels while watching one country violently take on the rest of the planet single-handedly, leaving nothing but destruction in its wake and promising nothing less than a nuclear holocaust in the years to come.

There is only one country that has done and that continues to do the very things North Korea is being accused of doing.

Take as much time as you need for that to resonate.

Reprinted with permission from The Anti-Media .

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

Feb 14, 2018 | www.informationclearinghouse.info

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Feb 15, 2018] Russophobia a Futile Bid to Conceal US, European Decline by Finian Cunningham

Feb 14, 2018 | www.informationclearinghouse.info

It is an age-old statecraft technique to seek unity within a state by depicting an external enemy or threat. Russia is the bête noire again, as it was during the Cold War years as part of the Soviet Union. But the truth is Western states are challenged by internal problems.

Ironically, by denying their own internal democratic challenges, Western authorities are only hastening their institutional demise.

Russophobia -- "blame it all on Russia" -- is a short-term, futile ploy to stave off the day of reckoning when furious and informed Western citizens will demand democratic restitution for their legitimate grievances.

The dominant "official" narrative, from the US to Europe, is that "malicious" Russia is "sowing division;""eroding democratic institutions;" and "undermining public trust" in systems of governance, credibility of established political parties, and the news media.

This narrative has shifted up a gear since the election of Donald Trump to the White House in 2016, with accusations that the Kremlin somehow ran "influence operations" to help get him into office. This outlandish yarn defies common sense. It is also running out of thread to keep spinning.

Paradoxically, even though President Trump has rightly rebuffed such dubious claims of "Russiagate" interference as "fake news" , he has at other times undermined himself by subscribing to the notion that Moscow is projecting a campaign of "subversion against the US and its European allies." See for example the National Security Strategy he signed off in December.

Pathetically, it's become indoctrinated belief among the Western political class that "devious Russians" are out to "collapse" Western democracies by "weaponizing disinformation" and spreading "fake news" through Russia-based news outlets like RT and Sputnik.

Totalitarian-like, there seems no room for intelligent dissent among political or media figures.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has chimed in to accuse Moscow of "sowing division;" Dutch state intelligence claim Russia destabilized the US presidential election; the European Union commissioner for security, Sir Julian King, casually lampoons Russian news media as "Kremlin-orchestrated disinformation" to destabilize the 28-nation bloc; CIA chief Mike Pompeo recently warned that Russia is stepping up its efforts to tarnish the Congressional mid-term elections later this year.

On and on goes the narrative that Western states are essentially victims of a nefarious Russian assault to bring about collapse.

A particularly instructive presentation of this trope was given in a recent commentary by Texan Republican Representative Will Hurd. In his piece headlined, "Russia is our adversary" , he claims: "Russia is eroding our democracy by exploiting the nation's divisions. To save it, Americans need to begin working together."

Congressman Hurd asserts: "Russia has one simple goal: to erode trust in our democratic institutions. It has weaponized disinformation to achieve this goal for decades in Eastern and Central Europe; in 2016, Western Europe and America were aggressively targeted as well."

Lamentably, all these claims above are made with scant, or no, verifiable evidence. It is simply a Big Lie technique of relentless repetition transforming itself into "fact" .

It's instructive to follow Congressman Hurd's thought-process a bit further.

He contends: "When the public loses trust in the media, the Russians are winning. When the press is hyper-critical of Congress the Russians are winning. When Congress and the general public disagree the Russians are winning. When there is friction between Congress and the executive branch [the president] resulting in further erosion of trust in our democratic institutions, the Russians are winning."

As a putative solution, Representative Hurd calls for "a national counter-disinformation strategy" against Russian "influence operations" , adding, "Americans must stop contributing to a corrosive political environment".

The latter is a chilling advocacy of uniformity tantamount to a police state whereby any dissent or criticism is a "thought-crime."

It is, however, such anti-democratic and paranoid thinking by Western politicians -- aided and abetted by dutiful media -- that is killing democracy from within, not some supposed foreign enemy.

There is evidently a foreboding sense of demise in authority and legitimacy among Western states, even if the real cause for the demise is ignored or denied. Systems of governance, politicians of all stripes, and institutions like the established media and intelligence services are increasingly held in contempt and distrust by the public.

Whose fault is that loss of political and moral authority? Western governments and institutions need to take a look in the mirror.

The endless, criminal wars that the US and its European NATO allies have been waging across the planet over the past two decades is one cogent reason why the public has lost faith in grandiose official claims about respecting democracy and international law.

The US and European media have shown reprehensible dereliction of duty to inform the public accurately about their governments' warmongering intrigues. Take the example of Syria. When does the average Western citizen ever read in the corporate Western media about how the US and its NATO allies have covertly ransacked that country through weaponizing terrorist proxies?

How then can properly informed citizens be expected to have respect for such criminal government policies and the complicit news media covering up for their crimes?

Western public disaffection with governments, politicians and media surely stems also from the grotesque gulf in social inequality and poverty among citizens from slavish adherence to economic policies that enrich the wealthy while consigning the vast majority to unrelenting austerity.

The destabilizing impact on societies from oppressive economic conditions is a far more plausible cause for grievance than outlandish claims made by the political class about alleged "Russian interference".

Yet the Western media indulge this fantastical "Russiagate" escapism instead of campaigning on real social problems facing ordinary citizens. No wonder such media are then viewed with disdain and distrust. Adding insult to injury, these media want the public to believe Russia is the enemy?

Instead of acknowledging and addressing real threats to citizens: economic insecurity, eroding education and health services, lost career opportunities for future generations, the looming dangers of ecological adversity, wars prompted by Western governments trashing international and diplomacy, and so on -- the Western public is insultingly plied with corny tales of Russia's "malign influence" and "assault on democracy."

Just think of the disproportionate amount of media attention and public resources wasted on the Russiagate scandal over the past year. And now gradually emerging is the real scandal that the American FBI probably colluded with the Obama administration to corrupt the democratic process against Trump.

Again, is there any wonder the public has sheer contempt and distrust for "authorities" that have been lying through their teeth and playing them for fools?

The collapsing state of Western democracies has got nothing to do with Russia. The Russophobia of blaming Russia for the demise of Western institutions is an attempt at scapegoating for the very real problems facing governments and institutions like the news media. Those problems are inherent and wholly owned by these governments owing to chronic anti-democratic functioning, as well as systematic violation of international law in their pursuit of criminal wars and other subterfuges for regime-change objectives.

Finian Cunningham has written extensively on international affairs, with articles published in several languages. He is a Master's graduate in Agricultural Chemistry and worked as a scientific editor for the Royal Society of Chemistry, Cambridge, England, before pursuing a career in newspaper journalism. He is also a musician and songwriter. For nearly 20 years, he worked as an editor and writer in major news media organisations, including The Mirror, Irish Times and Independent.

This article was originally published by " RT "


Cathi · 4 hours ago

Anyone who believes MSM is totally indoctrinated since it has been proven over and over that they won't tell the truth of the matter. The only REAL thing this country supplies or produces is war. Most other industries have been outsourced and given subsidies to so, thus taking American jobs from our lives. And now they want to take Social Security and Medicare to PAY for our military buildup????
Jim P · 3 hours ago
This nation needs a complete chage. All Congress and Dual citizens must be removed!
vicenr · 4 hours ago
It is without a doubt true that the political class and their oligharchic owners are falling and falling fast. They need a war to sustain their enrichment and attempted control of the world. They have run out of potential victims , while on the home front the naive Amrikan is starting to reject their nonsense. They can't really afford to take on China as they could easily dump their US treasuries and sink the financing arrangements for a war. They would like to stop the OBOR ; but how? Ah Russia. Smaller population but lethal in central Europe and perhaps beyond. Good geographic position for cutting OBOR. After all why would anyone be allowed to put in such a mega project and not let the US oligharchic class control it?
Woopy · 3 hours ago
A big part of the problem with Washington DC is that they are ruled by the Rothschild oligarchs and function first and foremost for Rothschild interests such as Israel and other Rothschild programs. Washington is not focused on the states it was designed to serve. Rothschild's and other oligarchs, fascists and the like control Washington crippling them. Countries like China, Russia are making their own destinies while Washington languishes and dissolves under a Rothschild fascist flag.
the_chump · 3 hours ago
"Intel chief: Federal debt poses 'dire threat' to national security"

The above was the title to an article in The Hill, yesterday. The comment was attributed to Dan Coates, DNI in testimony to Congress. To me, since elected officials CREATE the federal debt, what the DNI is REALLY saying is that the elected officials are a dire threat to national security. Their spending and fake borrowing from the Federal Reserve is the threat-not Syria, Yemen, or other countries that have not attacked the US. The elected officials, both Democrat and Republicans are on the way to destroying the US. Not Russia, China, ISIS, or international terrorism.

Eric · 2 hours ago
I recently read a horrifying commentary by John Whitehead on the burgeoning sex trade in this country where young girls are abducted and sold for sexual favors to deviants in every major city in the US. Many of these girls are as young a three and four years old, and the average age of these victims is 13! Thousands of missing children end up as sex slaves and are forced to be with as many as 40 men a night.

This great evil has become extremely lucrative, and numerous monsters, both men, and women are reaping billions of dollars from the unspeakable crime of destroying children's lives, not only physically, but mentally and spiritually as well.

The West has reached a new level of rottenness. Moral decay is actively gnawing at the very fabric of our society. The Cabal and its rampant criminality in Washington is a reflection of this terrible decline we are witnessing around us.

The hypocritical cry and hue from our government officials about the terrible human rights abuses in other countries as they seek to deflect the attention away from their own criminality and murderous abuses at home and abroad is indeed sickening.

Ray Joseph Cormier 84p · 1 hour ago
UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold was killed in a suspicious plane crash in 1961. He dared speak Truth to the Power. His quote from over 60 years ago is so relevant to what is going on Today. It has spread like never before to affect the judgments of the Politicians, the news media, and the Public.

-The Assembly has witnessed over the last weeks how historical truth is established; once an allegation has been repeated a few times, it is no longer an allegation, it is an established fact, even if no evidence has been brought out in order to support it.

American propaganda is scapegoating Russia to absolve Americans of responsibility for creating their own political divisions.

Observing from CanaDa, this anti-Russia/Putin Propaganda is confirming this Vision of the Future published 41 years ago.

On September 13, 1976, the major daily THE KANSAS CITY TIMES published this Vision of the FUTURE: "He came to town for the Republican National Convention and will stay until the election in November TO DO GOD'S BIDDING: To tell the world, from Kansas City, this country has been found wanting and its days are numbered [...] He gestured toward a gleaming church dome. "The gold dome is the symbol of Babylon," he said." [...] He wanted to bring to the Public's attention an "idea being put out subtly and deceptively" by the government that we have to get prepared for a war with Russia.

It's taken over 40 years, but that 1976 FUTURE is NOW with the Revelation of the details GENERALLY unfolding in the spirit of the letter. The World is finally waking up to see Trump just may hasten "its days are numbered" part of the 1976 Public record.

Ray Joseph Cormier 84p · 1 hour ago
The KANSAS CITY TIMES did a follow up report on ALL SOULS DAY, November 2, 1976. When the TV movie 'THE DAY AFTER' Kansas City was incinerated in a Nuclear Holocaust appeared in 1983, most likely, I was the only Human on Earth, including the newspaper reporters, to note at the END, the movie pauses at the very same picture frame THE KANSAS CITY TIMES chose for the ALL SOULS DAY record 7 years earlier.

Any way you look at it, that HISTORICAL FACT is a confirming SIGN for our Generations, the World has arrived at this point of Decision, of an "idea being put out subtly and deceptively" by the government that we have to get prepared for a war with Russia."
Multitudes! Multitudes in the Valley of Decision. The Day of the LORD IS NEAR in the Valley of Decision.

Not many will recognize, "this country has been found wanting and its days are numbered" as the 1st two parts, of the 3 part 'Writing on the Wall" from Daniel 5 and the Captivity of Babylon some 2600 years ago. The whole world saw The Writing on the Wall for the 1st TIME at the same TIME, with the Global Financial Meltdown-Economic Pearl Harbour in September of 2008, even if the world does not recognize it as such.

The 3rd part of the Writing on the Wall tells of the decline of Babylon, the 1st Biblical model of the Nation that reaches Imperial Military-Economic Superpower Status, and the rise of Persia

Ancient Babylon is now Iraq, and ancient Persia is now Iran.

The US is the latest, greatest of all the Nations reaching Imperial Military-Economic Superpower Status in the 2600 year old Biblical Babylonian superstructure.

The TAIL struck the HEAD, causing the unravelling of the Earthly Babylonian superstructure and infrastructure, ushering in the Law of the Jungle to the Middle East and this World.

The Iranian Revolution happened in 1979, 2-1/2 years after the record in the 1976 KANSAS CITY TIMES Timeline.

All the chaos in the Middle East since then, including the carnage in Syria, is the consequence of the vain attempt to reverse that God ordained, repeat of History, as a SIGN for our Generations.
http://ray032.com/2013/09/01/signs-of-the-times/

refirex · 55 minutes ago
https://warsclerotic.com/2017/01/07/cartoons-and-...
Take Placid · 43 minutes ago
Bulldoze them Georgia Guidestones.
Erase that Denver Airport Artwork.
Send Lady Liberty back to France.
Neandertals, behaving badly.
Stars and Stripes gilded cheap pennant should be changed to Skull n Bones.
Guest99 · 5 minutes ago
What the U.S. political and Deep State accused of Russia today is exactly what they themselves have done to much of the world. Entire Wikipedia is not big enough to write about the dirty tricks of the CIA and NSA.

Russia of course has no need to do what was accused. But they are surely laughing at being accused. Indeed, keep the accusation coming. The more the accusations, the longer they last, the more sure Russia know the corrupt terror empires of the west are going down.

Without firing a single shot. Now isn't that funny? Just ask the Chinese!

[Feb 15, 2018] Dutch FM Admits Lying About Putin - Russia

Feb 15, 2018 | www.informationclearinghouse.info

February 14, 2018 " Information Clearing House " - Every empire needs a scary external threat, led by a singular menacing villain, to justify its massive military expenditures, consolidation of authoritarian powers, and endless wars. For the five decades after the end of World War II, Moscow played this role perfectly. But the fall of Soviet Union meant, at least for a while, that the Kremlin could no longer sustain sufficient fear levels. After some brief, largely unsuccessful auditions for possible replacements -- Asian actors like China and a splurging Japan were considered -- the post-9/11 era elevated a cast of Muslim understudies to the starring role: Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden, ISIS and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and "jihadism" generally kept fear alive.

The lack of any 9/11-type catastrophic attack on U.S. (or any Western) soil for the past 17 years, along with the killing of a pitifully aged, ailing bin Laden and the erosion of ISIS, has severely compromised their ongoing viability as major bad guys. So now -- just as a film studio revitalizes a once-successful super-villain franchise for a new generation of moviegoers -- we're back to the Russians occupying center stage.

That Barack Obama spent eight years (including up through his final year-end news conference) mocking the notion that Russia posed a serious threat to the U.S. given their size and capabilities, and that he even tried repeatedly to accommodate and partner with Russian President Vladimir Putin, is of no concern: In the internet age, "2016" is regarded as ancient history, drowned out by an endless array of new threats pinned by a united media on the Russkie Plague. Moreover, human nature craves a belief in an existential foreign threat because it confers a sense of purpose and cause, strengthens tribal unity and identity, permits scapegoating, shifts blame for maladies from internal to external causes, and (like religion) offers a simplifying theory for understanding a complex world.

One of the prime accusations sustaining this script is that the Kremlin is drowning the West in "fake news" and other forms of propaganda. One can debate its impact and magnitude, but disinformation campaigns are something the U.S., Russia, and countless other nations have done to one another for centuries, and there is convincing evidence that Russia does this sort of thing now. But evidence of one threat does not mean that all claimed threats are real, nor does it mean that that tactic is exclusively wielded by one side.

Over the past year, there have been numerous claims made by Western intelligence agencies, mindlessly accepted as true in the Western press, that have turned out to be baseless, if not deliberate scams. Just today, it was revealed that Dutch Foreign Minister Halbe Zijlstra lied when he claimed he was at a meeting with Putin, in which the Russian president "said he considered Belarus, Ukraine and the Baltic states as part of a 'Greater Russia.'"

"Fake news" is certainly something to worry about when it emanates from foreign adversaries, but it is at least as concerning and threatening, if not more so, when emanating from one's own governments and media. And there are countless, highly significant examples beyond today's of such propaganda that emanates from within.

... ... ...

If there's any lesson that should unite everyone in the West, it's that the greatest skepticism is required when it comes to government and media claims about the nature of foreign threats. If we're going to rejuvenate a Cold War, or submit to greater military spending and government powers in the name of stopping alleged Russian aggression, we should at least ensure that the information on which those campaigns succeed are grounded in fact. Even a casual review of the propaganda spewing forth from Western power centers over the last year leaves little doubt that the exact opposite is happening.

This article was originally published by " The Intercept "


Zeesso 101p · 4 hours ago

Russia accusations are a false flag!!-No evidence-Zero NADA!!
Rather than Russia how about Mossad false flags??!
More likely .............and the silence is deafening.......... at theZionist owned MSMs in the USA!!!!
Dollars to Doughnuts-Israel is the perpetrator
Invictus · 2 hours ago
I suppose I am too naive to understand the
hysteria and indignation that claims of Russia
Interference in the 2016 american electoral process garners.
The US openly calls for regime change in Syria. Hung Saddam
Hussein after a show trial. Arranged Muammar Gaddafi's sodomization
and assassination.
Do americans not realize that in levelling the accusation that Putin-Russia
successfully subverted the US electoral process that you are conceding that Russia has the power to subjugate (bring under domination or control, especially by conquest.) the US electoral process, its government, institutions and public perception.
If americans are going to continue to make this outlandish claim for which no evidence has yet to be produced then Putin's Russia must be recognized as the world hegemon and the indispensable- Exceptional nation. What does that do to the narrative of the "shining city set upon a hill".
The US is blinded by its own conceit.
fudmier · 1 hour ago
Frankly, what I have seen in the past 20 years, the people in San Francisco might be better off under Russian federation management than it has been under the selected, elected, salaried, privileged 527 USA neo clowns who manage Americans in America. At least the Russians might not give USA money to foreigners, prevent Americans from drilling their own gas and oil, tax Americans so the USA can give the tax revenues to the corporations, and send American jobs and educational knowledge to far away places; as the NEO CLOWN management has done.

My personal experience with Russia people with whom I have worked is they are just exactly like Americans, quite a bit better educated, may be a little more honest.. so the question becomes under which managing government would 340,000,000 Americans be better off: the Russian Federation or the 527 neocon-selected, media-elected, salaried, privileged USA neo clowns? Actually, i think both governments are in need of being better arranged to respond to the needs and intentions of their people instead of using those they govern to satisfy the Oligarchs.

beanhead001 102p · 1 hour ago
"9/11-type catastrophic attack on U.S." a self-inflicted "catastrophic attack". Perhaps the USI should quit murdering people at home and abroad... maybe that way some semblence of symathy could be mustered up.
Oh and the "shooter" in Florida.. notuce it's not a "terrorist"? So this kid was a "shooter". Pfft. Call it what it is. He was and is a terrorist. Treat him as one would treat the invented funded and propped up "terrorists" abroad. Send the kid to 'Gitmo' (how i loathe that americanized word)

[Feb 14, 2018] The Lies That Enable Perpetual War

Feb 14, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Damon Linker chides Americans for the lies we tell ourselves about our unending wars:

The honest and alarming truth that we seem all-too-eager to evade is that America is already at war around the world. Someone desperately needs to pay attention, demand accountability, and keep tabs on the steep monetary, human, and geopolitical costs.

Linker is right that Americans should pay attention to and demand accountability for the endless wars waged in their name, but he also acknowledges that most have no interest in doing so. Another alarming truth is that many Americans seem content to allow perpetual war to continue so long as the steep costs are borne mostly by people in other countries. Those costs tend to be ignored or mentioned only in passing when assessing the damage done, and even when they are acknowledged they are not given much weight in our policy debates. The hundreds of thousands that died because of the 2003 invasion of Iraq have practically been reduced to a footnote in subsequent debates over military intervention.

One reason for this indifference is that many of our leaders tell us other comforting lies about these wars: that they are necessary and waged in self-defense. The reality is that virtually none of the military interventions that the U.S. has carried out in the last thirty years was unavoidable or required for the defense of the United States and its allies. Our wars are usually wars of choice fought for reasons unrelated to defending ourselves or the nations we are obliged by treaty to protect, and they are typically fought in places where the U.S. has no vital interests at stake.

The U.S. is at war around the world because our government chooses to be at war around the world. For the most part, this was not forced on us, but rather it is something that our leaders and pundits have willingly embraced again and again. Perhaps the biggest lie of all is that the U.S. goes to war reluctantly and grudgingly. In fact, no other government resorts to the use of force in international affairs so often and so casually as ours has in the last twenty-five years. On the rare occasions when the public recoils from this, as they did in the 2006 midterms and again in 2013 at the prospect of attacking Syria, our leaders and pundits shake their heads and warn against the dangers of "retreat" from the world. Of course, the myth of retreat is another lie used to justify the next unnecessary war, and if that doesn't work then they tell us the lie that the rest of the world supposedly craves and demands U.S. "leadership" in its most destructive form.


Uncle Billy February 14, 2018 at 10:42 am

Saddam Hussein was a tyrant, but served as a bulwark against Iran and kept down Sunni fanatics as well. He was no threat to the US. Why did we go to war with Iraq and topple him? How have things gone in Iraq since the US invasion?

The whole concepts of premptive war and regime change is insanity. I want the United States to be a republic not an empire.

paradoctor , says: February 14, 2018 at 10:45 am
Nor do we ever win those forever wars; and this for one simple reason; those involved are not paid to win wars, just to forever wage them.
liberal , says: February 14, 2018 at 10:55 am
Adam Johnson has been good at pointing out all the times the US is being described as "accidentally" or "reluctantly" being pulled into a war somewhere.
Youknowho , says: February 14, 2018 at 11:11 am
We need to bring back the draft. Not until is it THEIR CHILDREN in the line of fire will the people of the US revolt. The draft was the reason why the war in Vietnam was so unpopular. After it was done with, war became a spectator sport, to be viewed from the comfort of ones couch.

The All-Volunteer arm (A.K.A. mercenaires) made perpetual war possible.

SDS , says: February 14, 2018 at 11:12 am
How many people voted for Trump because he was the only one of the bunch on either side saying anything other than "SYRIA/IRAN/ISRAEL/ RUSSIA/WIN"..??
Yes; we find(probably should have known) that he is a filthy low-life . but in desperation
I think a lot of us gave him a chance
Peter , says: February 14, 2018 at 12:09 pm
Justified to invade wretched Afghanistan, not nuclear Pakistan where he actually was.

And the war goes on and on forever

Someone in the crowd , says: February 14, 2018 at 12:34 pm
What is missing from this otherwise healthy and needed essay is a description of lies. Being cagey and silent is not the same as telling lies.

After all, the fact that we are engaged in persistent conflicts, these past few decades, is not being denied. I haven't heard the U.S. government say: 'We are at peace with all the world.' Saying so would indeed be a lie. But, to the contrary, the US government boldly announces that it is fighting -- in Syria, for example. Though ISIS is defeated, the Defense Dept. recently stated that U.S. army personnel are staying in Syria, with the goal of regime change, despite having no legal basis whatsoever to do so.

So here we have one example of a lie -- our government's earlier excuse for being in Syria ('to defeat ISIS'). What other lies of this sort has our government been telling us? THAT would be an article that warrants this essay's title.

b. , says: February 14, 2018 at 12:34 pm
The honest and alarming truth that we seem all-too-eager to evade is that America is violating its own Constitution, the UN Charter, and the ratified international order around the world. We all need to pay attention, demand the impeachment of Presidents, Senators and Representatives, and vote any incumbent that aided, abetted or authorized illegal acts of aggression out of office regardless of the cost.

Thank you for making a principled statement to refute a deeply misleading observation by Linker. If Linker's is the best published opinion can do, then we are still content to be cognitively captured by War Profiteers "R" US.

Given the exercise of collective punishment that the US engages in in Yemen and has engaged in elsewhere, this is on *us*, whether we accept it or not.

"Americans seem content to allow perpetual war to continue so long as the steep costs are borne mostly by people in other countries "

.. and states, and counties.

It is to the eternal shame of the Democratic Party that Trump apparently won additional votes in the districts across the nation where the military casualties and related "cost" of our wars for chosen profits are born the most.

The "National Securities" con is the textbook example of bipartisan comity and national unity that anybody could conceive. Why anybody would be asking for more "consensus" is beyond me.

b. , says: February 14, 2018 at 12:49 pm
Linker writes:

"Bacevich suggested a number of explanations for why the overwhelming majority of Americans, from elected officials on down to ordinary voters, display such indifference about our frenzied military actions abroad. They include: because casualty rates on our side are low; because, despite President Trump's rhetoric, no one really keeps track of and demands public accountability for just how much money is being spent, and wasted, around the world; because the wars are fought by an all-volunteer force in which a tiny percentage of the population serves, allowing most Americans to go about their lives without ever being touched by the human consequences; and because the threat of terrorism is hyped, and most people just want to feel safe. Voters want to be protected, and politicians want to avoid the blame either for a successful attack on the homeland or a humiliating defeat abroad. The result is that no war ever comes to a decisive end, the total number of wars increases over time, and we never speak of any of them."

Neither he nor Bacevich mention what I consider the most relevant aspects – many Americans benefit from these wars, and most are not taxed by the cost of debt-financed war and "defense" spending.

"Furthermore, we have about 50% of the world's wealth but only 6.3% of the its population . In this situation, we cannot fail to be the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national security. To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day dreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives. We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world-benefaction. This process cannot be a liberal or peaceful one."

George Kennan in a 1948 memorandum
https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Memo_PPS23_by_George_Kennan

We are willingly sacrificing both living humans being and our unborn children for our own personal, immediate profit. How fitting for a nation born in tax evasion and collapsing by defunding itself in public-private partnerships for profit extraction.

War is never a conservative choice.

One Guy , says: February 14, 2018 at 1:11 pm
Think of all the jobs that are made necessary by endless wars. Somebody has to make the bullets, the tanks, they planes, helicopters, uniforms, etc. Americans don't care how many thousands of little brown people die, as long as Uncle Joe has a job at Boeing.
Someone in the crowd , says: February 14, 2018 at 3:05 pm
To clarify an earlier post (in case my first sentence is misinterpreted) -- of course the US government regularly lies, especially about its 'foreign policy', endless wars, etc. My point was simply that this article needed to focus on the nature of those lies and bogus justifications. It's an almost inexhaustible subject, enough to keep an army of journalists busy for many years.

The problem, of course, is not the need for such analysis: what could be more obvious? The problem is that digging too deep in that way is taboo. And taboos are enforced here. Ask Chuck Schumer.

[Feb 14, 2018] Trump's Massive Giveaway to the Pentagon by Daniel Larison

Feb 14, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Judah Grunstein dubs Trump "the generals' president" because of his total capitulation to whatever the current and former generals around him want:

Trump's generals have instead gone back to the future, restoring the model of a U.S. military that faces no fiscal or strategic constraints, while preparing for a conflict -- a conventional war with either or both of its nuclear-armed big power competitors -- that is not just unlikely, but unwinnable.

While it is true that Trump voiced some objections to foreign wars long after they were over or when it was no longer very risky to do so, it is important to remember that he was always in favor of throwing more money at the military from the beginning of his campaign. He seized on the nonsense talking point that the military had been "depleted" under Obama, and he has continued to use it until now, and he made undoing the imaginary "depletion" one of the main planks of his platform. Since Trump is a militarist, and since he now comes from the more hawkish of the two parties, it was more or less a given that he would waste huge sums on higher military spending while agreeing to the policies favored by Mattis, McMaster, et al. Add to this his fetish for "strength" and "greatness," and you have a recipe for massive wasteful spending on weapons and programs that the U.S. doesn't need. When there are already Pentagon agencies losing track of how they spend hundreds of millions of dollars , throwing more money at a huge department with inadequate oversight is pure folly.

The increase in military spending that Trump has endorsed reflects his impulse to give the military whatever they want. In addition to being completely unnecessary, higher military spending will indulge the Pentagon in all its worst habits:

The Pentagon budget request for 2019 puts the military on a course of spending unmatched since the Reagan-era buildup, boosting the number of troops, warplanes and bombs, according to documents and analysts.

But, defense analysts say, the $716 billion spending plan risks flooding too much money into a Defense Department that may not spend it wisely.

"The risk is that when the budget is flowing freely, policy makers are usually reluctant to make hard choices," said Todd Harrison, director of defense budget analysis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a non-partisan think tank.

"While this is not a record increase, it comes on top of a budget that was already higher than the peak of the Reagan buildup when adjusted for inflation [bold mine-DL]," Harrison said.

The fantasy claim that the military budget suffered significant reductions in the last decade has been one of the standard hawkish criticisms of the previous administration, and Trump takes that falsehood as gospel. The truth is that an already bloated military budget has continued to grow, and Trump proposes to make it grow even faster. Everyone in Washington was so desperate to have the generals rein in Trump that most of them never thought through what it meant for Trump to be the military's unthinking yes-man.

[Feb 14, 2018] President Trump has pursued an agenda mirroring the police state operations of the FBI – only on a global scale by James Petras

Notable quotes:
"... anti-Trump movements combined with critics of the liberal/democrat apparatus to build broader movements and especially oppose growing war-fever. ..."
"... Abroad, bi-partisan wars have failed to defeat independent state and mass popular resistance struggles for national sovereignty everywhere – from North Korea, Iran, Yemen, Syria, and Venezuela and beyond. ..."
"... Even the fight within the two-headed reactionary party of the US oligarchy has had a positive effect. Each side is hell-bent on exposing the state-sponsored crimes of the other. In an unprecedented and historic sense, the US and world public is witness to the spies, lies and crimes of the leadership and elite on prime time and on the wide screen. We head in two directions. In one direction, there are the threats of nuclear war, economic collapse, environmental disasters and a full blown police state. In the other direction, there is the demise of empire, a revived and renewed civil society rooted in a participatory economy and a renewed moral order. ..."
Feb 14, 2018 | www.unz.com

Originally from: The FBI and the President – Mutual Manipulation, by James Petras - The Unz Review

President Trump has pursued an agenda mirroring the police state operations of the FBI – only on a global scale. Trump's violation of international law includes collaboration and support for Saudi Arabia's tyrannical invasion and destruction of the sovereign nation of Yemen; intensified aid and support for Israel's ethnic war against the Palestinian people; severe sanctions and threatened nuclear first-strike against North Korea (DPRK); increased deployment of US special forces in collaboration with the jihadi terrorist war to overthrow the legitimate government of Syria; coup-mongering, sabotage, sanctions and economic blockade of Venezuela; NATO missile and nuclear encirclement of Russia; and the growing naval threats against China.

... .. ...

In the face of the national-political debacle local and regional movements became the vehicle to support the struggles. Women organized at some workplaces and gained better protection of their rights; African-Americans vividly documented and published video evidence of the systematic brutal violation of their rights by the police state and effectively acted to restrain local police violence in a few localities; immigrant workers and especially their children gained broad public sympathy and allies within religious and political organizations; and anti-Trump movements combined with critics of the liberal/democrat apparatus to build broader movements and especially oppose growing war-fever.

Abroad, bi-partisan wars have failed to defeat independent state and mass popular resistance struggles for national sovereignty everywhere – from North Korea, Iran, Yemen, Syria, and Venezuela and beyond.

Even the fight within the two-headed reactionary party of the US oligarchy has had a positive effect. Each side is hell-bent on exposing the state-sponsored crimes of the other. In an unprecedented and historic sense, the US and world public is witness to the spies, lies and crimes of the leadership and elite on prime time and on the wide screen. We head in two directions. In one direction, there are the threats of nuclear war, economic collapse, environmental disasters and a full blown police state. In the other direction, there is the demise of empire, a revived and renewed civil society rooted in a participatory economy and a renewed moral order.

[Feb 14, 2018] Recused Judge in Flynn Prosecution Served on FISA Court

Highly recommended!
Feb 14, 2018 | www.unz.com

Clyde, February 14, 2018 at 11:20 am GMT

@Ozymandias

"It's worth noting that intentionally deceiving a federal judge is a felony."
It's also worth noting that sometimes the judge is in on it.

For the Trump Admin surveillance warrants the FISA judge was probably Contreras. So goes the rumor. He was probably in on it or halfway in on it. All the major players in DC know each other and trade favors.

And Gen Mike Flynn is in the process of getting his case dismissed. The only thing left to determine is how much the Federales will have to reimburse him for his lawyers fees, which are a million plus.

FISA Judge Rudolph Contreras EXPOSED – twitter.com

Rudolph Contreras was the FISA Judge who issued a warrant to spy on Carter Page because of a Yahoo News article and a Phony Probably have already. He needs to go

Recused Judge in Flynn Prosecution Served on FISA Court

https://www.infowars.com/recused-judge-in-flynn-prosecution-served&#8230 ;

Did Judge Contreras OK electronic surveillance of Recused Judge in Flynn Prosecution Served on FISA Court Did Judge Contreras OK electronic surveillance of

Federal FISA Judge Recuses Himself From Michael Flynn Case

https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2017/12/07/federal-fisa-judge&#8230 ;

Blows the whole FISA Court to hell in a hand basket and Judge Contreras is getting the hell out of dodge. This a helluva mess for the FISA Court and it's victims. Rule 5. Authority of the Judges. (b) Referring Matters to Other Judges.

[Feb 14, 2018] The FBI and the President – Mutual Manipulation by James Petras

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The liberals and Democrats and their allies in the FBI, political police and other elements of the security state apparatus were deeply involved in an attempt to implicate Russian government officials in a plot to manipulate US public opinion on Trump's behalf and corrupt the outcome of the election. However, the FBI, the Justice Department and Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller have produced no evidence of collusion linking the Russian government to a campaign to undermine Hillary Clinton's candidacy in favor of Trump. This is despite thousands of interviews and threats of long prison sentences against former Trump campaign advisers. Instead, they focus their attack on Trump's early campaign promise to find common ground in improving economic and diplomatic ties between the US and Russia, especially in confronting jihadi terrorists. ..."
"... The liberal-progressive FBI cohort turned into rabid Russia-bashers demanding that Trump take a highly aggressive stance against Moscow, while systematically eliminating his military and security advisors who expressed anti-confrontation sentiments. In the spirit of a Joe McCarthy, the liberal-left launched hysterical attacks on any and every Trump campaign adviser who had spoken to, dined with or exchanged eyebrows with any and all Russians! ..."
"... The conversion of liberalism to the pursuit of political purges is unprecedented. Their collective amnesia about the long-term, large-scale involvement by the FBI in the worst criminal violations of democratic values is reprehensible. The FBI's anti-communist crusade led to the purge of thousands of trade unionists from the mid-1940's onward, decimating the AFL-CIO. They blacklisted actors, screen writers, artists, teachers, university academics, researchers, scientists, journalists and civil rights leaders as part of their sweeping purge of civil society. ..."
"... President Trump has pursued an agenda mirroring the police state operations of the FBI – only on a global scale. Trump's violation of international law includes collaboration and support for Saudi Arabia's tyrannical invasion and destruction of the sovereign nation of Yemen; intensified aid and support for Israel's ethnic war against the Palestinian people; severe sanctions and threatened nuclear first-strike against North Korea (DPRK); increased deployment of US special forces in collaboration with the jihadi terrorist war to overthrow the legitimate government of Syria; coup-mongering, sabotage, sanctions and economic blockade of Venezuela; NATO missile and nuclear encirclement of Russia; and the growing naval threats against China ..."
"... Domestically, Trump's response to the FBI's blackmail has been to replace the original political leadership with his own version; to expand and increase the police state powers against immigrants; to increase the powers of the major tech companies to police and intensify work-place exploitation and the invasion of citizens' privacy; to expand the unleash the power of state agents to torture suspects and to saturate all public events, celebrations and activities with open displays of jingoism and militarism with the goal of creating pro-war public opinion. ..."
"... Even the fight within the two-headed reactionary party of the US oligarchy has had a positive effect. Each side is hell-bent on exposing the state-sponsored crimes of the other. In an unprecedented and historic sense, the US and world public is witness to the spies, lies and crimes of the leadership and elite on prime time and on the wide screen. We head in two directions. In one direction, there are the threats of nuclear war, economic collapse, environmental disasters and a full blown police state. In the other direction, there is the demise of empire, a revived and renewed civil society rooted in a participatory economy and a renewed moral order ..."
Feb 09, 2018 | www.unz.com

Few government organizations have been engaged in violation of the US citizens' constitutional rights for as long a time and against as many individuals as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Seldom has there been greater collusion in the perpetration of crimes against civil liberties, electoral freedom and free and lawful expression as what has taken place between the FBI and the US Justice Department.

In the past, the FBI and Justice Department secured the enthusiastic support and public acclaim from the conservative members of the US Congress, members of the judiciary at all levels and the mass media. The leading liberal voices, public figures, educators, intellectuals and progressive dissenters opposing the FBI and their witch-hunting tactics were all from the left. Today, the right and the left have changed places: The most powerful voices endorsing the FBI and the Justice Department's fabrications, and abuse of constitutional rights are on the left, the liberal wing of the Democratic Party and famous liberal media corporations and public opinion makers.

The recently published Congressional memo, authored by Congressman Devin Nunes, provides ample proof that the FBI spied on Trump campaign workers with the intent to undermine the Republican candidate and sabotage his bid for the presidency. Private sector investigators, hired by Trump's rival Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee, worked with pro-Clinton operatives within the FBI and Justice Department to violate the national electoral process while flouting rules governing wiretaps on US citizens. This was done with the approval of the sitting Democratic President Barack Obama.

The liberals and Democrats and their allies in the FBI, political police and other elements of the security state apparatus were deeply involved in an attempt to implicate Russian government officials in a plot to manipulate US public opinion on Trump's behalf and corrupt the outcome of the election. However, the FBI, the Justice Department and Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller have produced no evidence of collusion linking the Russian government to a campaign to undermine Hillary Clinton's candidacy in favor of Trump. This is despite thousands of interviews and threats of long prison sentences against former Trump campaign advisers. Instead, they focus their attack on Trump's early campaign promise to find common ground in improving economic and diplomatic ties between the US and Russia, especially in confronting jihadi terrorists.

The liberal-progressive FBI cohort turned into rabid Russia-bashers demanding that Trump take a highly aggressive stance against Moscow, while systematically eliminating his military and security advisors who expressed anti-confrontation sentiments. In the spirit of a Joe McCarthy, the liberal-left launched hysterical attacks on any and every Trump campaign adviser who had spoken to, dined with or exchanged eyebrows with any and all Russians!

The conversion of liberalism to the pursuit of political purges is unprecedented. Their collective amnesia about the long-term, large-scale involvement by the FBI in the worst criminal violations of democratic values is reprehensible. The FBI's anti-communist crusade led to the purge of thousands of trade unionists from the mid-1940's onward, decimating the AFL-CIO. They blacklisted actors, screen writers, artists, teachers, university academics, researchers, scientists, journalists and civil rights leaders as part of their sweeping purge of civil society.

The FBI investigated the private lives of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, even threatening their family members. They illegally spied on and infiltrated civil liberties organizations, and used provocateurs and spies in anti-war groups. Individuals lives were destroyed, some were driven to suicide; important popular American organizations were undermined to the detriment of millions. This has been its focus since its beginning and continues with the current fabrication of anti-Russian propaganda and investigations.

President Trump: Victim and Executor

President Trump has pursued an agenda mirroring the police state operations of the FBI – only on a global scale. Trump's violation of international law includes collaboration and support for Saudi Arabia's tyrannical invasion and destruction of the sovereign nation of Yemen; intensified aid and support for Israel's ethnic war against the Palestinian people; severe sanctions and threatened nuclear first-strike against North Korea (DPRK); increased deployment of US special forces in collaboration with the jihadi terrorist war to overthrow the legitimate government of Syria; coup-mongering, sabotage, sanctions and economic blockade of Venezuela; NATO missile and nuclear encirclement of Russia; and the growing naval threats against China .

Domestically, Trump's response to the FBI's blackmail has been to replace the original political leadership with his own version; to expand and increase the police state powers against immigrants; to increase the powers of the major tech companies to police and intensify work-place exploitation and the invasion of citizens' privacy; to expand the unleash the power of state agents to torture suspects and to saturate all public events, celebrations and activities with open displays of jingoism and militarism with the goal of creating pro-war public opinion.

In a word: From the right to the left there are no political options to choose from among the two ruling political parties. Popular political movements and mass demonstrations have risen up against Trump with clear justification, but have since dissolved and been absorbed. They came together from diverse sectors: Women against sexual abuse and workplace humiliation; African-Americans against police impunity and violence; and immigrants against mass expulsion and harassment. They staged mass demonstrations and then declined as their 'anti-Trump' animus was frustrated by the liberal-democrats hell-bent on pursuing the Russian connection.

In the face of the national-political debacle local and regional movements became the vehicle to support the struggles. Women organized at some workplaces and gained better protection of their rights; African-Americans vividly documented and published video evidence of the systematic brutal violation of their rights by the police state and effectively acted to restrain local police violence in a few localities; immigrant workers and especially their children gained broad public sympathy and allies within religious and political organizations; and anti-Trump movements combined with critics of the liberal/democrat apparatus to build broader movements and especially oppose growing war-fever.

Abroad, bi-partisan wars have failed to defeat independent state and mass popular resistance struggles for national sovereignty everywhere – from North Korea, Iran, Yemen, Syria, and Venezuela and beyond.

Even the fight within the two-headed reactionary party of the US oligarchy has had a positive effect. Each side is hell-bent on exposing the state-sponsored crimes of the other. In an unprecedented and historic sense, the US and world public is witness to the spies, lies and crimes of the leadership and elite on prime time and on the wide screen. We head in two directions. In one direction, there are the threats of nuclear war, economic collapse, environmental disasters and a full blown police state. In the other direction, there is the demise of empire, a revived and renewed civil society rooted in a participatory economy and a renewed moral order .

[Feb 12, 2018] Drug Wars, Missing Money, and a Phantom $500 Million by Nick Turse

Notable quotes:
"... Last year, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime noted that while West Africa "has long been a transit zone for cocaine and heroin trafficking, it has now turned into a production zone for illicit substances such as amphetamines and precursors" and that drug use "is also a growing issue at the local level." Meanwhile, heroin trafficking has been on the rise in East Africa , along with personal use of the drug. ..."
"... In the spring of 2001, American experts concluded that a ban on opium-poppy cultivation by Afghanistan's Taliban government had wiped out the world's largest heroin-producing crop. Later that year, the U.S. military invaded and, since 2002, America has pumped $8.7 billion in counternarcotics funding into that country. A report issued late last month by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction detailed the results of anti-drug efforts during CENTCOM's 16-year-old war: "Afghanistan's total area under opium cultivation and opium production reached an all-time high in 2017," it reads in part. "Afghanistan remains the world's largest opium producer and exporter, producing an estimated 80% of the world's opium." ..."
"... While AFRICOM and, to a lesser extent, CENTCOM have made changes in how they track counternarcotics aid, both seemingly remain hooked on pouring money into efforts that have produced few successes. More effective use of spreadsheets won't solve the underlying problems of America's wars or cure an addiction to policies that continue to fail. ..."
Feb 11, 2018 | www.unz.com

More troubling than the findings in the IG's report or CENTCOM's apparent refusal to heed its recommendations may be the actual trajectory of the drug trade in the two commands' areas of responsibility: Africa and the Greater Middle East. Last year, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime noted that while West Africa "has long been a transit zone for cocaine and heroin trafficking, it has now turned into a production zone for illicit substances such as amphetamines and precursors" and that drug use "is also a growing issue at the local level." Meanwhile, heroin trafficking has been on the rise in East Africa , along with personal use of the drug.

Even the Pentagon's Africa Center for Strategic Studies is sounding an alarm. "Drug trafficking is a major transnational threat in Africa that converges with other illicit activities ranging from money laundering to human trafficking and terrorism," it warned last November. "According to the 2017 U.N. World Drug Report, two-thirds of the cocaine smuggled between South America and Europe passes through West Africa, specifically Benin, Cape Verde, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Nigeria, and Togo. Kenya, Nigeria, and Tanzania are among the countries that have seen the highest traffic in opiates passing from Pakistan and Afghanistan to Western destinations." As badly as this may reflect on AFRICOM's efforts to bolster the counter-drug-trafficking prowess of key allies like Kenya, Mali, and Nigeria, it reflects even more dismally on CENTCOM, which oversees Washington's long-running war in Afghanistan and its seemingly ceaseless counternarcotics mission there.

In the spring of 2001, American experts concluded that a ban on opium-poppy cultivation by Afghanistan's Taliban government had wiped out the world's largest heroin-producing crop. Later that year, the U.S. military invaded and, since 2002, America has pumped $8.7 billion in counternarcotics funding into that country. A report issued late last month by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction detailed the results of anti-drug efforts during CENTCOM's 16-year-old war: "Afghanistan's total area under opium cultivation and opium production reached an all-time high in 2017," it reads in part. "Afghanistan remains the world's largest opium producer and exporter, producing an estimated 80% of the world's opium."

In many ways, these outcomes mirror those of the larger counterterror efforts of which these anti-drug campaigns are just a part. In 2001, for example, U.S. forces were fighting just two enemy forces in Afghanistan: al-Qaeda and the Taliban. Now, according to a recent Pentagon report , they're battling more than 10 times that number. In Africa, an official count of five prime terror groups in 2012 has expanded, depending on the Pentagon source, to more than 20 or even closer to 50 .

Correlation doesn't equal causation, but given the outcomes of significant counternarcotics assistance from Africa Command and Central Command -- including some $500 million over just three recent years -- there's little evidence to suggest that better record-keeping can solve the problems plaguing the military's anti-drug efforts in the greater Middle East or Africa. While AFRICOM and, to a lesser extent, CENTCOM have made changes in how they track counternarcotics aid, both seemingly remain hooked on pouring money into efforts that have produced few successes. More effective use of spreadsheets won't solve the underlying problems of America's wars or cure an addiction to policies that continue to fail.

Nick Turse is the managing editor of TomDispatch , a fellow at the Nation Institute, and a contributing writer for the Intercept . His 2017 Harper's magazine article, " Ghost Nation ," is a finalist for an American Society of Magazine Editors award . His website is NickTurse.com .

[Feb 12, 2018] Ike's Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex Is Alive and Very Well by William J. Astore

Highly recommended!
160 billion plus 160 billion are pretty serious money. money that were stolen from ordinary Americans.
PRESIDENT EISENHOWER: Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. This is, I repeat, the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron. (cited from The Age of Lunacy The Doomsday Machine naked capitalism )
Notable quotes:
"... The military talks about needing all these scores of billions to "rebuild." And, sure, there are ships that need to be refitted, planes in need of repairs, equipment that needs to be restocked, and veterans who need to be cared for. But a massive increase in military and war spending, perhaps as high as $320 billion over two years, is a recipe for excessive waste and even more disastrous military adventurism. ..."
"... Perhaps you've heard of the expression, "Spending money like drunken sailors on shore leave." Our military has been drunk with money since 9/11. Is it really wise to give those "sailors" an enormous boost in the loose change they're carrying, trusting them to spend it wisely? ..."
Feb 12, 2018 | www.antiwar.com

The new Congressional budget boosts military spending in a big way . Last night's PBS News report documented how military spending is projected to increase by $160 billion over two years, but that doesn't include "overseas contingency funding" for wars, which is another $160 billion over two years. Meanwhile, spending for the opioid crisis, which is killing roughly 60,000 Americans a year (more Americans than were killed in the Vietnam War), is set at a paltry $6 billion ($25 billion was requested).

One thing is certain: Ike was right about the undue influence of the military-industrial-Congressional complex.

The military talks about needing all these scores of billions to "rebuild." And, sure, there are ships that need to be refitted, planes in need of repairs, equipment that needs to be restocked, and veterans who need to be cared for. But a massive increase in military and war spending, perhaps as high as $320 billion over two years, is a recipe for excessive waste and even more disastrous military adventurism.

Even if you're a supporter of big military budgets, this massive boost in military spending is bad news. Why? It doesn't force the military to think . To set priorities. To define limits. To be creative.

Perhaps you've heard of the expression, "Spending money like drunken sailors on shore leave." Our military has been drunk with money since 9/11. Is it really wise to give those "sailors" an enormous boost in the loose change they're carrying, trusting them to spend it wisely?

William J. Astore is a retired lieutenant colonel (USAF). He taught history for fifteen years at military and civilian schools and blogs at Bracing Views . He can be reached at wastore@pct.edu . Reprinted from Bracing Views with the author's permission.

[Feb 12, 2018] The Age of Lunacy: The Doomsday Machine

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The world had a great opportunity in March of 1953 to reverse course rather than this insane military spending that was beginning. On March 5th, 1953, Stalin died. The Soviet leaders reached out to the United States. They offered the Americans an olive branch. They talked about changing the direction of our relations. They talked about, basically, ending the Cold War. We could've ended the Cold War as early as March 5, 1953, taken a different route. Eisenhower and the others in his administration debate what to do, how to respond. Churchill, who was now re-elected and back in office in England, begged the United States to hold a summit with the Soviet leaders and move toward peace, rather than belligerence and hostility. Eisenhower doesn't say anything publicly in response for six weeks. Then he makes a speech. It's a visionary speech. It's the kind of vision that Eisenhower represented at his best, and he says there ..."
"... PRESIDENT EISENHOWER: Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. This is, I repeat, the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron. ..."
"... two days later, John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State, makes a speech reversing the whole thing. Instead of an olive branch, he gives the Soviets a middle finger and he accuses the Soviet Union of trying to overthrow every Democratic government in the world. The exact wrong message. ..."
"... Did Eisenhower speak for it or did Dulles speak for it? Was Eisenhower the militarist or was Dulles the militarist? In many ways, the '50s was a very, very dangerous time. And there were so many harebrained schemes that were going on. ..."
"... The great independent journalist I.F. Stone mentioned that the word for lunar, for moon, in Latin is Luna. And he said, we should have a new department in the cabinet and call it the Department of Lunacy because of the crazy ideas that were being promulgated at the time. ..."
"... Well, the Cuban Missile Crisis is very important because now we're going through the Korean Missile Crisis, and if Trump has his way, we'll also go through the Iranian Missile Crisis. And the last time we were this close to nuclear war was during the Cuban Missile Crisis. What happens there is that Khrushchev, in order to try to accomplish two things, or three things, really. ..."
"... And so, we were planning, we had the plans in place to overthrow the Cuban government, number one. Number two, Khrushchev wanted a credible deterrent. The Americans learned, Kennedy says, "Let's find out what the reality of the Missile Gap is." And he has McNamara do the study. We find out that there is a Missile Gap. By October of '61, we find out that there is a Missile Gap, and it's in our favor. The United States is ahead between 10 to 1 and 100 to 1 over the Soviet Union in every important category. ..."
"... He said, "We would've definitely destroyed Cuba and probably wiped out the Soviet Union as well." So, that's how close we came at this time. Which is again, as Robert Gates, another hawk, warns, "The United States should not invade Syria," he said. "Or should not bomb Syria because haven't we learned anything from Iraq and Afghanistan and Libya, that whenever these things happen, you never know what the consequences are going to be. It's always the unintended consequences that are going to get you." ..."
"... It takes two to tango. The idea that the US is solely to blame for the continuation of the Cold War, or that the US is solely to blame for a revival is Soviet/Russian propaganda. Great powers are aggressive, and rarely circumspect. ..."
"... And given Churchill's anathema toward Communism in general, and the Soviet Union in particular, and given that he was the architect of the Cold War from the West I find the idea of him being a peacenik to be bizarre. ..."
"... They do not appreciate that there are different manifestations of both economic models. (Neoliberalism is eating us alive.) They do not appreciate that communism was probably the salvation of both post-war Russia and China. They conflate socialism with communism, view high taxes as communistic, and ignore that the countries with the highest standard of living are quite socialist. ..."
"... Ike was so right about the Military-Industrial complex, and yet we have only enabled it to grow to the point that it dominates every political decision – every law – every regulation in ways that ensure weapons are expended so more can take their place; and more weapons need to be developed because the boogeyman out there (pick a regime) probably, maybe, could be building an even nastier weapon. Make no mistake, Sputnik was viewed as evidence that the Russians already had better weapons and that they would take over "outer space" and we would thus be at their mercy. Back in the 60s the US did worry that communism was working better than capitalism, and that fear enabled a lot of foreign policy (gunboat diplomacy). ..."
"... Capitalism has fatal flaws, but we should all thank Communism died the way it did. ..."
"... not like capitalism didn't murder a few proletarians if murder is the standard, both are condemned ..."
"... the vast bulk of provocations and exacerbations in that now-reprised Cold War were a pas de deluxe, not mostly driven by our own insane US leaders, like the ones discussed in small detail in the post. Conveniently ignoring the whole escalation process of the Exceptional Empire doing the "policies" of the Dulleses and their clan, the craziness of stuff like the John Birchers and the McCarthy thing, and the madness of MAD (which I believe was a notion coined by that nest of vipers called RAND, that "we have to be understood to be insane enough to commit suicide, to kill the whole planet, for the 'deterrent effect' of Massive Retaliation (forget that the US policy and military structure very seriously intended a first strike on the Evil Soviets for quite a long time, and are now building "small nukes" for 'battlespace use' as if there are no knock-on consequences.) ..."
"... Russia suffered 20 million dead in WW II, pretty much won that war against fascism, and the leaders there get dang little decrepit for being (so far) so much more the "grownups in the room" in the Great Game Of RISK! ™ that our idiot rulers are playing. Go look up how many times, however, beyond that vast set of slapstick plays that led to the "Cuban Missile Crisis", the human part of the world skated up, by combinations of accident and error, to getting its death wish. And the main impetus for the nuclear "standoff" has been the US and the "policies" forwarded by "our" insane rulers and militarists. ..."
"... Guys, I generally treasure the NC comments section, and I am not singling anyone out, but some of the rhetoric here is starting to remind me of ZeroHedge doomp&rn. Let's please recover some perspective. ..."
"... Every year of human history since the expulsion from Eden will let us cherry pick overwhelming evidence that the lunatics were running the asylum. Or that every generation of our forebears gleefully built our civilization atop heaps of skulls of [insert oppressed groups here]. ..."
"... Such faith we have in ourselves, and such little evidence other than maybe a couple of world wars and long histories of the loonies playing stupid with whole populations, that we don't need to worry about the concentrated efforts of the sociopathic lunatics to rise to positions of great power and do stupid stuff. ..."
"... "It's the kind of vision that Eisenhower represented at his best, and he says there" Was he subsequently co-opted, or BSing? ..."
"... But that doesn't help the millions who would die on the peninsula. Further, whats known as a Nuclear Famine could still occur, which would be pretty damn devastating for civilization, even if mankind itself manages to survive. ..."
"... Science is about doubt and skepticism. That's what the scientific process is. Doubt a nuclear winter: Ok, I'll bite. We have examples – Large Volcanic eruptions, and we have the year without a summer sometime in the 1830s I believe – that is in recorded History. The we searched to archeological record for more evidence, and found large die-offs following a layer of volcanic dust. Again and again, I believe. Quoting scientists who "doubt nuclear winter" requires more examination: ..."
"... Humanity might survive as a species but not as an idea. Am about halfway through the Ellsberg book and, yes, it does make Dr. Strangelove look like a documentary. Current thinking does not seem much changed. ..."
"... Something missing from the sequence of events here is that the main reason that the Kremlin put nuclear missiles in Cuba was the fact that more than 100 Jupiter intermediate-range ballistic nuclear missiles were deployed in Italy and Turkey in 1961 by the US, thus cutting down any reaction time by Moscow to minutes in case of a US attack. ..."
"... The main – unacknowledged – part of the climb down from the Cuba missile crisis was that as Russia pulled its nuclear missiles out of Cuba, the US would do the same in Europe. It cooled things down again until Reagan was electe ..."
"... I had forgotten that the 50s had just as many crazies as present times – the Dulles brothers, Curtis LeMay, Edward Teller, J. Edgar Hoover – really scary people and probably founding members of the deep state. ..."
"... The Jupiter missile agreement was a secret at the time. Kennedy wanted to minimize the appearance of a quid-pro-quo. The subsequent presence of Pershings and Tomahawks in Europe (but not Turkey) was a reaction to the mobile IRBMs deployed by the Soviet Union. Which they still have. France and Britain have their own independent deterrents. Which is just as well, since the Pershings and Tomahawks were traded away as part of START/SALT. ..."
"... The more recent escalation of NATO into E Europe, the Baltics and the Ukraine are a definite violation of the spirit of the Cuban Missile Crisis agreement, and are pure aggression against a Russia that was seen as too weak to do anything about it until they did do something about it in 2014. ..."
"... An aggressive NATO is something I view with horror. One does not poke the bear. But Kissinger (the German) and Berzhinski (the Pole) are fanatically anti-Russian. They made up for the passing of Churchill. ..."
"... LeMay had suggested that we should perhaps wipe out the Soviet Union before they had the chance to catch up to us in nukes. It was an era ruled by fear of nuclear war–a fear that was unleashed by the use of the bomb in Japan. Truman and Byrnes (the latter in a meeting in his hometown–my hometown) rejected calls by some of the Los Alamos scientists to share the nuclear secrets with the Russians and forestall this arms race or so they hoped. ..."
"... This isn't accurate. Stalin tried repeatedly and even towards the end, desperately, to sign a treaty with the Britain and France. They rebuffed him because [he was a] Commie. He signed up with Hitler only after those efforts had clearly failed. It was a self-preservation move. It probably did buy him less time than he thought. But let's not kid ourselves: Hitler's first move otherwise would have been to the East. What were later the Allies would have been delighted to see him take over the USSR. This was why British aristos were so keen on Hitler, that he was seen as an answer to Communism and therefore "our kind of man". ..."
"... General LeMay was responsible for the death of a fifth (some say a third) of the North Korean population by saturation bombing with napalm, was he not? A third? Isn't that one in three? ..."
"... Additional books that shed light on both leaving the new deal behind and the Cuban missile crisis are (1) "The Devil's Chessboard" by Talbot and (2) "JFK and The Unspeakable" by Douglass. The first is mostly about Allen Dulles but has interesting chapters on McCarthy, Eisenhower, Nixon, etc. It is reasonably well foot-noted. The second is about the assassination and has loads of detail about the missile crisis and its power players. It is meticulously foot-noted. ..."
Feb 11, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Posted on February 11, 2018 by Jerri-Lynn Scofield

Jerri-Lynn here: Lest anyone be deluded into thinking that the current lunacy of Trump foreign policy is unprededented and ahistoric, part eight of an excellent Real News Network series on Undoing the New Deal reminds us this simply isn't so.

That series more generally discuses who helped unravel the New Deal and why. That was no accident, either. In this installment, historian Peter Kuznick says Eisenhower called for decreased militarization, then Dulles reversed the policy; the Soviets tried to end the cold war after the death of Stalin; crazy schemes involving nuclear weapons and the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba put the world of the eve of destruction.

Three things I've seen recently made me think readers might appreciate this interview. First, I recently finished reading Stephen Kinzer's The Brothers , about the baleful consequences of the control over US foreign policy by Dulles brothers– John Foster and Alan. These continue to reverberate to today. Well worth your time.

Over the hols, I watched Dr. Strangelove again. And I wondered, and this not for the first time: why has the world managed to survive to this day? Seems to me just matter of time before something spirals out of control– and then, that's a wrap.

Queued up on my beside table is Daniel Ellsberg's The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner . Haven't cracked the spine of that yet, so I'll eschew further commentary, except to say that I understand Ellsberg's provides vivid detail about just how close we've already come to annihilation.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/3ejpFDjks9M

PAUL JAY: Welcome to The Real News Network, I'm Paul Jay. We're continuing our series of discussions on the Undoing of the New deal, and we're joined again by Professor Peter Kuznick, who joins us from Washington. Peter is a Professor of History, and Director of the Nuclear Studies Institute at American University. Thanks for joining us again Peter.

PETER KUZNICK: My pleasure, Paul.

PAUL JAY: So, before we move on to Kennedy, and then we're going to get to Johnson, you wanted to make a comment about Eisenhower, who made a couple of great sounding speeches about reducing military expenditure but I'm not sure how much that actually ever got implemented. But talk about this speech in, I guess, it's 1953, is it?

PETER KUZNICK: Yes. The world had a great opportunity in March of 1953 to reverse course rather than this insane military spending that was beginning. On March 5th, 1953, Stalin died. The Soviet leaders reached out to the United States. They offered the Americans an olive branch. They talked about changing the direction of our relations. They talked about, basically, ending the Cold War. We could've ended the Cold War as early as March 5, 1953, taken a different route. Eisenhower and the others in his administration debate what to do, how to respond. Churchill, who was now re-elected and back in office in England, begged the United States to hold a summit with the Soviet leaders and move toward peace, rather than belligerence and hostility. Eisenhower doesn't say anything publicly in response for six weeks. Then he makes a speech. It's a visionary speech. It's the kind of vision that Eisenhower represented at his best, and he says there

PRESIDENT EISENHOWER: Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children. The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities. It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population. It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some fifty miles of concrete pavement. We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat. We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people. This is, I repeat, the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking. This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

PETER KUZNICK: This is not a way of life at all. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is humanity hanging from a cross of iron.� What a great speech and the Soviets were thrilled. They republished this. They reprinted it. They broadcast it over and over, and then two days later, John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State, makes a speech reversing the whole thing. Instead of an olive branch, he gives the Soviets a middle finger and he accuses the Soviet Union of trying to overthrow every Democratic government in the world. The exact wrong message.

And so, it's sort of like Trump, where Tillerson says something sane and then Trump will undermine it two days later when it comes to North Korea. The same thing happened in 1953 with Eisenhower and Dulles. We're really much more on the same page, but if you look at the third world response, you've got the Bandung Conference in Indonesia in 1955, and the third world leaders are all saying, "We have to be independent. We have to be neutral." They say, "It is insane to spend all these dollars and all these rubles on the military when we need money for development."

PAUL JAY: So, what went on with Eisenhower, making that kind of speech? He's not known for any big increase in social spending domestically. He helps build, as you said, the military industrial complex, especially the nuclear side of it. So, what was that speech about, and then how does he allow Dulles to contradict him two days later?

PETER KUZNICK: That's one of the mysteries. That's why writing books on the debate, what was going on in that administration. Did Eisenhower speak for it or did Dulles speak for it? Was Eisenhower the militarist or was Dulles the militarist? In many ways, the '50s was a very, very dangerous time. And there were so many harebrained schemes that were going on.

We talked a little bit about Sputnik but one of the proposals after that was to blast a hydrogen bomb on the surface of the moon to show the world that we really are the strongest. And they talked about putting missile bases on the moon, and then the idea was to have the Soviets respond by putting their own missile bases on the moon. We could put ours on distant planets, so that we could then hit the Soviet bases on the moon. The great independent journalist I.F. Stone mentioned that the word for lunar, for moon, in Latin is Luna. And he said, we should have a new department in the cabinet and call it the Department of Lunacy because of the crazy ideas that were being promulgated at the time.

This comes across, really, with the nuclear policies. So, when McGeorge Bundy asks Dan Ellsberg in 1961 to find out from the Joint Chiefs what would be, how many people would die as a result of America's nuclear launch in the event of a war with the Soviet Union, the Pentagon comes back with the idea that between 600 and 650 million people would die from America's weapons alone in our first PSYOP. And that doesn't even account for nuclear winter, which would have killed us all, or the numbers who would be killed by the Soviet weapons. That includes at least 100 million of our own allies in Western Europe.

We are talking about a period the lunacy and insanity was captured best by Stanley Kubrick in Dr. Strangelove in 1964. That policy was so close to what was actually occurring at the time. Did Eisenhower speak for this? When Eisenhower wanted to, one of his visions was for planetary excavation using hydrogen bombs. People should study the lunacy of Project Plowshare.

PAUL JAY: They used to have tourism to go look at nuclear tests outside of Las Vegas and people would sit just a few miles away with sunglasses on.

PETER KUZNICK: And we sent American soldiers into the blast area, knowing that they were going to be irradiated. Yeah, the irrationality in these times. People are going to look back at the Trump administration and if we're here later, maybe they'll laugh at us. If we survive this period, they'll laugh. They'll look back and say, "Look at the craziness of this period." Well, if you look at the history of the '50s and early '60s, you see a lot of that same kind of craziness in terms of the policies that were actually implemented at the time, and the ones, for example, one of the ideas was to melt the polar ice caps using hydrogen bombs. We wanted to increase polar melting. We wanted to increase the temperature on the planet by exploding nuclear bombs.

PAUL JAY: And this was to do, to what end?

PETER KUZNICK: For what end? I'm not sure. I mean, one-

PAUL JAY: Well, they may get their way, the way things are heading right now. They may get that.

PETER KUZNICK: And one of the things from Trump's National Security speech was to not talk about, or to say that global warming is not a National Security concern as Obama and others had believed it was. But they wanted to actually redirect hurricanes by setting off hydrogen bombs in the atmosphere in the path of the hurricane, so they could redirect hurricanes. They wanted to build new harbors by setting off hydrogen bombs. They wanted to have a new canal across the, instead of the Panama canal, with hydrogen bombs and reroute rivers in the United States.

I mean, crazy, crazy ideas that was considered American policy. And actually, it was the Soviets who saved us because Eisenhower wanted to begin to do these programs, but the Soviets would not allow, would not give the United States the right to do that because there was a temporary test ban in the late 1950s. And Eisenhower would have had to abrogate that in order to begin these projects.

PAUL JAY: Okay. Let's catch up. So, we had just, the last part dealt with some of Kennedy. We get into the 1960s. Kennedy is as preoccupied with the Cold War, the beginning of the Vietnam War, Cuba, the Missile Crisis. And we had left off right at the moment of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Give us a really quick recap because I think on this issue of militarization and former policy, we kind of have to do a whole nother series that focuses more on that. We're trying to get more into this issue of the New Deal and what happened to domestic social reforms in the context of this massive military expenditure. But talk a bit about that moment of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

PETER KUZNICK: Well, the Cuban Missile Crisis is very important because now we're going through the Korean Missile Crisis, and if Trump has his way, we'll also go through the Iranian Missile Crisis. And the last time we were this close to nuclear war was during the Cuban Missile Crisis. What happens there is that Khrushchev, in order to try to accomplish two things, or three things, really.

One is to, he knows the United States is planning an invasion of Cuba. The United States had been carrying out war games, massive war games, 40,000 people participating in these war games. Like now, we're carrying out war games off the Korean coast. And the war game that was planned for October of '62 was called Operation Ortsac. Anybody who doesn't get it? Certainly the Soviets did. Ortsac is Castro spelled backwards.

And so, we were planning, we had the plans in place to overthrow the Cuban government, number one. Number two, Khrushchev wanted a credible deterrent. The Americans learned, Kennedy says, "Let's find out what the reality of the Missile Gap is." And he has McNamara do the study. We find out that there is a Missile Gap. By October of '61, we find out that there is a Missile Gap, and it's in our favor. The United States is ahead between 10 to 1 and 100 to 1 over the Soviet Union in every important category.

Still, the pressure was to increase America's missiles and so, the Strategic Air Command in the Air Force wanted to increase our missiles by 3,000. McNamara figures that the least number he can get away with is to increase our intercontinental ballistic missiles by 1,000 even though we're ahead 10 to 1 already at that point. The Kremlin interpreted that, and said, "Why is the US increasing its missiles when it's so far ahead of us?" They said, "Obviously, the United States is preparing for a first strike against the Soviet Union." That was the Kremlin interpretation. It needed a credible deterrent.

They knew that, initially they thought, "Well, the fact that we can take out Berlin will be a credible enough deterrent. The Americans will never attack." Then they realized that that wouldn't be a sufficient deterrent to some of the hawks in the American military, the Curtis LeMays, who had a lot of influence at the time. Or before that, the Lemnitzers. And so, they decide, "Well, we've got to put missiles in Cuba, which is a more credible deterrent."

And the third is that Khrushchev wanted to appease his hawks. Khrushchev's strategy was to build up Soviet consumer economy. He said, "The Soviet people want washing machines. They want cars. They want houses. That's what we need." And so, he wanted to decrease defense spending and one of the cheap ways to do that was to put the missiles in Cuba. So, they do that foolishly. It's a crazy policy because they don't announce it. It's very much like the movie Strangelove, where Khrushchev was planning to announce that the missiles were in Cuba on the anniversary of the Soviet Revolution. That was coming up in a couple-

PAUL JAY: You mean Dr. Strangelove, meaning what's the point of a doomsday machine if you don't tell people you've got it?

PETER KUZNICK: As Strangelove says, "Well what's the point of the doomsday machine if you don't announce that you have it?" And then, the Americans didn't, the Soviets didn't announce that they had the, if they had announced that the missiles were there, then the United States could not have invaded Cuba the way the military wanted. They could not have bombed Cuba. It would've been an effective deterrent, especially if they announced that also, that the missiles were there, that the warheads were there and that they also had put 100 battlefield nuclear weapons inside Cuba.

That would have meant that there was no possibility of the United States invading and that the deterrent would've actually worked. But they didn't announce it. And so, the United States plans for an invasion and we got very close to doing so. But again, the intelligence was abysmal. We knew where 33 of the 42 missiles were. We didn't find the other missiles. We didn't know that the battlefield nuclear weapons were there. We didn't know that the missiles were ready to be armed.

And so, the United States was operating blind. We thought that there were 10,000 armed Soviets in Cuba. Turns out, there were 42,000 armed Soviets. We thought that there were 100,000 armed Cubans. Turns out, there were 270,000 armed Cubans. Based on the initial intelligence, McNamara said, "If we had invaded, we figured we'd suffer 18,000 casualties, 4,500 dead." When he later finds out how many troops there actually were there, he says, "Well, that would've been 25,000 Americans dead." When he finds out that there were 100 battlefield nuclear weapons as well, he doesn't find that out until 30 years later, and then he turns white, and he says, "Well that would've meant we would've lost 100,000 American Troops." Twice as many, almost, as we lost in Vietnam.

He said, "We would've definitely destroyed Cuba and probably wiped out the Soviet Union as well." So, that's how close we came at this time. Which is again, as Robert Gates, another hawk, warns, "The United States should not invade Syria," he said. "Or should not bomb Syria because haven't we learned anything from Iraq and Afghanistan and Libya, that whenever these things happen, you never know what the consequences are going to be. It's always the unintended consequences that are going to get you."

Which we learned in Cuba. We learned in Iraq and Afghanistan or we should've learned from Iraq and Afghanistan. Obviously, Trump hasn't learned it and we had better learn before we do something crazy now in Korea.

PAUL JAY: All right, thanks, Peter. And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.


Disturbed Voter , February 11, 2018 at 5:28 am

It takes two to tango. The idea that the US is solely to blame for the continuation of the Cold War, or that the US is solely to blame for a revival is Soviet/Russian propaganda. Great powers are aggressive, and rarely circumspect. The existence of nuclear weapons, was what prevented either the US or the Soviet Union/Russia from attacking each other. Otherwise the sport of kings would have continued as usual.

And given Churchill's anathema toward Communism in general, and the Soviet Union in particular, and given that he was the architect of the Cold War from the West I find the idea of him being a peacenik to be bizarre.

Chris , February 11, 2018 at 9:49 am

It's always that word, "communism", isn't it? As long as that word is used, everything is justifiable. If you look at it closely, it would seem that the Russians have discovered that communism is every bit as susceptible to corruption as capitalism. Communism has been, in fact, MORE discredited than capitalism (for now.) With Russia on the other side of the planet, what would be the harm in letting whatever failed ideologies they have fail like Kansas failed? As Jesus might say, "Ah Ye of little faith."

https://www.forbes.com/sites/beltway/2017/06/07/the-great-kansas-tax-cut-experiment-crashes-and-burns/

Tomonthebeach , February 11, 2018 at 1:03 pm

The vast majority of Americans today have no idea what communism is. Most cannot even thing about communism in terms of it being just another economic system different from capitalism. (No, it is slavery!) They do not appreciate that there are different manifestations of both economic models. (Neoliberalism is eating us alive.) They do not appreciate that communism was probably the salvation of both post-war Russia and China. They conflate socialism with communism, view high taxes as communistic, and ignore that the countries with the highest standard of living are quite socialist.

In many cases, Americans vote against their own interests just because some pol labels a new social program as communist so he can give his new bill and edge.

Ike was so right about the Military-Industrial complex, and yet we have only enabled it to grow to the point that it dominates every political decision – every law – every regulation in ways that ensure weapons are expended so more can take their place; and more weapons need to be developed because the boogeyman out there (pick a regime) probably, maybe, could be building an even nastier weapon. Make no mistake, Sputnik was viewed as evidence that the Russians already had better weapons and that they would take over "outer space" and we would thus be at their mercy. Back in the 60s the US did worry that communism was working better than capitalism, and that fear enabled a lot of foreign policy (gunboat diplomacy).

Trump is anything if he is not politically and strategically a dim wit. Thus he probably buys into the communist boogeyman scenario common in our culture. He is likely attracted to the economic stimulus that more guns and less butter offer in the short run. Our problems seems to hinge on leaders who limit their action to the short run, and the long run (ensuring survival of the human species?), well, they never get around to that.

Moocao , February 11, 2018 at 8:09 pm

I would not be so loving over the "communistic ideals". My great grandparents were murdered for the fact that one was a postal office manager, another was a sock factory owner. Believe what you want, but communism is far from just an economic theory.

Communism, once you force the politics into the economic theory, is this: equality of all men, regardless of abilities, and damn if you started off well because everything will be taken from you. Your life is not your own, your family is not your own, your work is not your own: it belongs to the state.

Capitalism has fatal flaws, but we should all thank Communism died the way it did.

Duck1 , February 11, 2018 at 11:10 pm

not like capitalism didn't murder a few proletarians if murder is the standard, both are condemned

JTMcPhee , February 11, 2018 at 9:55 am

Yaas, it's just Putin friendly propaganda, that's all. Let us persuade ourselves that the vast bulk of provocations and exacerbations in that now-reprised Cold War were a pas de deluxe, not mostly driven by our own insane US leaders, like the ones discussed in small detail in the post. Conveniently ignoring the whole escalation process of the Exceptional Empire doing the "policies" of the Dulleses and their clan, the craziness of stuff like the John Birchers and the McCarthy thing, and the madness of MAD (which I believe was a notion coined by that nest of vipers called RAND, that "we have to be understood to be insane enough to commit suicide, to kill the whole planet, for the 'deterrent effect' of Massive Retaliation (forget that the US policy and military structure very seriously intended a first strike on the Evil Soviets for quite a long time, and are now building "small nukes" for 'battlespace use' as if there are no knock-on consequences.)

How does one break the cycle of ever-increasing vulnerability and eventual destruction, that includes the extraction and combustion and all the other decimations of a livable planet? how to do that when the Imperial Rulers are insane, by any sensible definition of insanity? And the Russians sure seem to be wiser and more restrained (barring some provocation that trips one of their own Doomsday Devices that they have instituted to try to counter the ridiculous insane provocations and adventures of the Empire?

Maybe revert to "Duck and cover?" Or that Civil Defense posture by one of the Reaganauts, one T.K. Jones, who wanted Congress to appropriate $252 million (1980 dollars) for Civil Defense, mostly for SHOVELS: in the firmly held belief that "we can fight and win a nuclear war with the Soviet Union:"

Three times Mr. Jones – or someone speaking in his name – agreed to testify. Three times he failed to appear. The Pentagon finally sent a pinch-hitter, Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard Perle. But the Senate wants Mr. Jones. It wants an authoritative explanation of his plan to spend $252 million on civil defense. Evidently, most of that money will go for shovels.

For this is how the alleged Mr. Jones describes the alleged civil defense strategy: "Dig a hole, cover it with a couple of doors and then throw three feet of dirt on top. It's the dirt that does it."

Mr. Jones seems to believe that the United States could recover fully, in two to four years, from an all-out nuclear attack. As he was quoted in The Los Angeles Times: "Everybody's going to make it if there are enough shovels to go around."

Dig on, Senator Pressler. We're all curious.

Russia suffered 20 million dead in WW II, pretty much won that war against fascism, and the leaders there get dang little decrepit for being (so far) so much more the "grownups in the room" in the Great Game Of RISK! ™ that our idiot rulers are playing. Go look up how many times, however, beyond that vast set of slapstick plays that led to the "Cuban Missile Crisis", the human part of the world skated up, by combinations of accident and error, to getting its death wish. And the main impetus for the nuclear "standoff" has been the US and the "policies" forwarded by "our" insane rulers and militarists.

"Tu Quoque" is an especially weak and inapposite and insupportable argument in this context.

Chris , February 11, 2018 at 10:28 am

SPOT ON! IF Robby Mook and the gang can stir up a Russian frenzy from hell based on nothing more than sour grapes, and IF what we know about the deep state is only the tip of the iceberg, and IF the media is largely under the control of the 'Gov, THEN a logical human must at least be open to the possibility that there is also such a thing as American propaganda, must (s)he not?

https://townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2018/01/08/hillarys-campaign-manager-the-russia-investigation-is-not-a-winning-strategy-n2429189

Summer , February 11, 2018 at 12:30 pm

Indeed, WWII was never a war against fascism, just particular fascists that ventured off the establishment reservation.

rd , February 11, 2018 at 2:51 pm

Yes. Nobody invaded Argentina when Juan Peron et al took over. Hitler and Mussolini could have died as dictators decades later if they had simply kept their armies home.

ObjectiveFunction , February 11, 2018 at 11:20 am

Guys, I generally treasure the NC comments section, and I am not singling anyone out, but some of the rhetoric here is starting to remind me of ZeroHedge doomp&rn. Let's please recover some perspective.

Every year of human history since the expulsion from Eden will let us cherry pick overwhelming evidence that the lunatics were running the asylum. Or that every generation of our forebears gleefully built our civilization atop heaps of skulls of [insert oppressed groups here].

Yet during the Cold War, there were plenty of prominent people calling out the McCarthys and Lemays of the world as loons (and behind the Curtain, even Stalin was removed from key posts before his death). Guess what, sane generally wins out over the mad king. The arc of history indeed bends toward justice, though never without sacrifice and diligent truthseeking. The ones to worry about are the snake oil merchants, who pee on our shoes and tell us it's raining.
g.

Here endeth my catechism.

JTMcPhee , February 11, 2018 at 12:19 pm

Keep whistling past the graveyard: http://nuclearfiles.org/menu/key-issues/nuclear-weapons/issues/accidents/20-mishaps-maybe-caused-nuclear-war.htm

Such faith we have in ourselves, and such little evidence other than maybe a couple of world wars and long histories of the loonies playing stupid with whole populations, that we don't need to worry about the concentrated efforts of the sociopathic lunatics to rise to positions of great power and do stupid stuff.

Summer , February 11, 2018 at 12:48 pm

Yes, this is what the world gets when technological advancement is combined with a socio-economic system that rewards sociopathic tendencies. A system advanced by propaganda (disguised as entertainment and education) backed up with the barrell of a gun and cameras everywhere.

bob , February 11, 2018 at 12:59 pm

"The arc of history indeed bends toward justice"

You're going to need some proof for that wild, completely baseless claim.

oaf , February 11, 2018 at 6:57 am

"It's the kind of vision that Eisenhower represented at his best, and he says there" Was he subsequently co-opted, or BSing?

Don Midwest , February 11, 2018 at 6:58 am

This article is not scary enough. Find out that in 1983 there was almost a nuclear war. Both sides have a first strike strategy and a Russian general thought that actions of Reagan were getting ready for the first strike and he was going to strike first. And during the Cuban missile crisis, Russian subs had nuclear weapons on them and we dropped low level depth charges on them and we didn't know that they were armed.

This is a very long interview of Daniel Ellsberg in Seattle on Jan 9, 2018.

Daniel Ellsberg with Daniel Bessner:
The Doomsday Machine

Now that everyone, except many in the USA, knows that when the USA changes a government that the country is ruined, this may have forced North and South Korea to get together.

Ellsberg says that any nukes used in the Korean Peninsula would result in at least 1 million dead and while 60 million in WWII were killed during the course of the war, with nukes that many cold be killed in a week. And then, nuclear winter would finish off the rest of us.

I am scared.

Massinissa , February 11, 2018 at 10:13 am

To be fair, there are now doubts among scientists that Nuclear Winter as classically described would even be a thing.

But that doesn't help the millions who would die on the peninsula. Further, whats known as a Nuclear Famine could still occur, which would be pretty damn devastating for civilization, even if mankind itself manages to survive.

JTMcPhee , February 11, 2018 at 1:15 pm

Some scientists doubt global warming too. Got support for your assertion? https://www.popsci.com/article/science/computer-models-show-what-exactly-would-happen-earth-after-nuclear-war

Synoia , February 11, 2018 at 2:21 pm

Science is about doubt and skepticism. That's what the scientific process is. Doubt a nuclear winter: Ok, I'll bite. We have examples – Large Volcanic eruptions, and we have the year without a summer sometime in the 1830s I believe – that is in recorded History. The we searched to archeological record for more evidence, and found large die-offs following a layer of volcanic dust. Again and again, I believe. Quoting scientists who "doubt nuclear winter" requires more examination:

List them, together with their credentials and "donor$."

Donald , February 11, 2018 at 3:07 pm

You can google nuclear winter early enough. And yes, there are scientists who are skeptical for various reasons. The only group that has written a paper on it in recent years is composed of some of the same scientists who originally proposed it and they think it is real.

Reasons for skepticism include doubt about the amount of smoke that would be produced. And the volcano and asteroid comparisons are imperfect because the details are different. People used to talk about volcanic dust, and now it is mostly sulfuric acid droplets. With asteroids the initial thought was the KT boundary layer represented trillions of tons of submicron size dust and then Melosh proposed ejects blasted around the world heated the upper atmosphere and ignited global fires and created soot and then his grad student Tamara Goldin wrote her dissertation saying the heat might not be quite enough to do that and then people suggested it was ( I won't go into why) and others suggested the bolide hit sulfur layers .

The point is that there is not a consensus about the detailed atmospheric effects of either large asteroid impacts or of super volcanoes like Toba and yet we do have some evidence because these things happened. We don't have an example to study in tge geologic record where hundreds of cities were hit simultaneously with nuclear weapons.

I could go on, but I don't want to give the impression I have a strong opinion either way, because I don't. But I think the case for global warming is overwhelming because vastly more people are working on it and it is happening in front of us. It is not just computer models.

Sy Krass , February 11, 2018 at 5:18 pm

Forget possible nuclear winter, the economic effects alone would be worth 10 Lehman brothers (2008 meltdowns). And then the knock on effects would cause other knock on effects like other wars. Even without a nuclear winter, civilization would probably collapse within 18 months anyway.

JBird , February 11, 2018 at 5:32 pm

All this, while true, only change the details not the results. The Chicxulub impact almost certainly exterminated the majority of then living species, and the Toba Supervolcano probably almost caused our extinction. That suggest throwing massive amounts of anything into the atmosphere is not good.

As a student I would like to know the details, but in practice, it's like arguing whether a snow storm or a blizzard killed someone. Humanity as a species would probably survive a nuclear war okay, but many(most?) individuals as well as our planetary civilization would be just as dead. The numbers dying would be slightly different is all.

rfdawn , February 11, 2018 at 6:53 pm

Humanity might survive as a species but not as an idea. Am about halfway through the Ellsberg book and, yes, it does make Dr. Strangelove look like a documentary. Current thinking does not seem much changed.

Jer Bear , February 11, 2018 at 7:07 am

Trump, like everyone before him, will do what Kissinger advises him to do.

The Rev Kev , February 11, 2018 at 8:11 am

Something missing from the sequence of events here is that the main reason that the Kremlin put nuclear missiles in Cuba was the fact that more than 100 Jupiter intermediate-range ballistic nuclear missiles were deployed in Italy and Turkey in 1961 by the US, thus cutting down any reaction time by Moscow to minutes in case of a US attack.

The main – unacknowledged – part of the climb down from the Cuba missile crisis was that as Russia pulled its nuclear missiles out of Cuba, the US would do the same in Europe. It cooled things down again until Reagan was elected.

I had forgotten that the 50s had just as many crazies as present times – the Dulles brothers, Curtis LeMay, Edward Teller, J. Edgar Hoover – really scary people and probably founding members of the deep state.

Jerri-Lynn Scofield Post author , February 11, 2018 at 8:26 am

Excellent point about the missiles deployed in Turkey and Italy– and one I might have mentioned if I had remembered it, absent your prod.

Disturbed Voter , February 11, 2018 at 9:02 am

The Jupiter missile agreement was a secret at the time. Kennedy wanted to minimize the appearance of a quid-pro-quo. The subsequent presence of Pershings and Tomahawks in Europe (but not Turkey) was a reaction to the mobile IRBMs deployed by the Soviet Union. Which they still have. France and Britain have their own independent deterrents. Which is just as well, since the Pershings and Tomahawks were traded away as part of START/SALT.

The more recent escalation of NATO into E Europe, the Baltics and the Ukraine are a definite violation of the spirit of the Cuban Missile Crisis agreement, and are pure aggression against a Russia that was seen as too weak to do anything about it until they did do something about it in 2014.

An aggressive NATO is something I view with horror. One does not poke the bear. But Kissinger (the German) and Berzhinski (the Pole) are fanatically anti-Russian. They made up for the passing of Churchill.

The Rev Kev , February 11, 2018 at 5:55 pm

Just recently Russia deployed more nuclear-capable Iskander missiles to the Kaliningrad enclave between Poland and Lithuania. Maybe something to do with all those special forces NATO keeps stationing on the Russian border?

JTMcPhee , February 11, 2018 at 9:14 pm

And all the a -- -oles who Command and Rule, and most of the commentariat and punditry, all treat these affairs as if they are playing some Brobdingnagian Game of Risk ™, where as with Monopoly (which was originally intended to teach a very different lesson) the object of the game is all about TAKING OVER THE WHOLE WORLD, WAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA an idiotic froth on top of an ever more dangerous brew of exponentially increasing,and largely ignored, mutual if often asymmetric, deadly vulnerability.

Stupid effing humans and their vast stupid monkey tricks

Carolinian , February 11, 2018 at 9:14 am

LeMay had suggested that we should perhaps wipe out the Soviet Union before they had the chance to catch up to us in nukes. It was an era ruled by fear of nuclear war–a fear that was unleashed by the use of the bomb in Japan. Truman and Byrnes (the latter in a meeting in his hometown–my hometown) rejected calls by some of the Los Alamos scientists to share the nuclear secrets with the Russians and forestall this arms race or so they hoped.

So no the crazy didn't start with Trump and Trump had even advocated we make nice with the Russians until the Dems, their remnants at State and Defense and the press forced him to change course (on threat of impeachment). The elites who have gained more or less permanent power over the direction of this country are a threat to us all.

Anyhow, thanks for the above post. Those who forget history ..

polecat , February 11, 2018 at 11:51 am

Let's not forget the little country that could with it's aggregated threat of 300+ undeclared
They're 'in-the-mix' too !

Disturbed Voter , February 11, 2018 at 12:02 pm

In so far as the US has moved away from the JFK view of nuclear deterrence to the LeMay view of nuclear first strike we are dead.

David , February 11, 2018 at 11:07 am

Different world. The first generation of nuclear weapons had yields (around 20-30Kt) that were comprehensible in terms of conventional bombing, which of course would have required many more aircraft but was also much more efficient per tonne of explosives. For the formative years after 1945, therefore, people thought of nuclear weapons as weapons in the classic sense and, at that time, nobody really knew that much about the effects of radiation and fallout. This all changed with the advent of the hydrogen bomb, but even then it took a long time for the likely catastrophic effects of the use of such weapons in large numbers to sink in. Nuclear technology, and both delivery and guidance systems, evolved far more quickly than rationales for their use could be found. Indeed, you can say that the Cold War was a period when nuclear powers found themselves acquiring weapons with technologies that couldn't actually be used, but couldn't be un-invented either. Enormous intellectual effort went into trying to provide post-hoc rationales for having these weapons, some of it very ingenious, most of it wasted.

Don't forget the role of paranoia either. NSC-68, the report that formalized US strategy during the Cold War, reads today like the ravings of a group of lunatics, seeing, almost literally, Reds under the beds. And if Stalin was dead, the Soviet leadership had just gone through a war which had cost them almost 30 million dead, and any, literally any, sacrifice was worth it to make sure that they prevented another war, or at least won it quickly.

rd , February 11, 2018 at 11:56 am

Dr. Strangelove has moved from the archive boxes of historical artifacts to being a "must see" movie again.

Baby Gerald , February 11, 2018 at 2:12 pm

It never left the 'must see' list. Its just moved higher up the rankings in recent months, what with all this 'collaboration' conspiracy drivel.

From wikipedia :

US military casualties in WW2: 407,300
US civilian casualties in WW2: 12,100

USSR military casualties in WW2: estimated by various sources [see the footnotes] between 8,668,000 to 11,400,000.
USSR civilian casualties in WW2: 10,000,000 [plus another 6-7 million deaths from famine, a line in the table that is completely blank for the US]

Simply put, for every American that died, somewhere between a thousand to two thousand of their Russian counterparts were killed. And somehow people in the US were convinced and worried that Russia wanted to start yet another war when they still hadn't finished burying the dead from the last one.

rd , February 11, 2018 at 3:06 pm

1. Stalin made his pact with the devil that gave Hitler free rein to invade Poland and France. Hitler then invaded Russia from Poland as the jumping off point. Stalin miscalculated big-time.

2. Invaded countries always have many more civilian countries than un-invaded ones.

3. Germany started WW II only 20 years after the end of WW I that also slaughtered 2 million German soldiers. Past losses generally does not appear to impact the decision-making of dictators regarding new wars. So it would have been irrational for the West to think that the USSR had no intent to expand its borders. That was the blunder that France and Britain made in 1938-39. However, the paranoia did get extreme in the Cold War.

Yves Smith , February 11, 2018 at 6:03 pm

This isn't accurate. Stalin tried repeatedly and even towards the end, desperately, to sign a treaty with the Britain and France. They rebuffed him because [he was a] Commie. He signed up with Hitler only after those efforts had clearly failed. It was a self-preservation move. It probably did buy him less time than he thought. But let's not kid ourselves: Hitler's first move otherwise would have been to the East. What were later the Allies would have been delighted to see him take over the USSR. This was why British aristos were so keen on Hitler, that he was seen as an answer to Communism and therefore "our kind of man".

JBird , February 11, 2018 at 8:34 pm

The Poles have been the Germans and Russians chewtoy ever since it was completely partitioned. All the countries immediately around Russia have been horribly abused by Russia. Putin is doing his country no favors by reminding everyone of that. He can cow them into submission, but like the American government is finding, just because they are doesn't mean they cannot cause trouble. Heck, the current Great Game could be said to have started with the Soviet-Afghanistan War.

Going into the war every country was unprepared and unwilling to fight and had difficulty choices. The German military itself was not prepared. It was Hitler's choice to start when and where and by 1938 everyone knew it. Hitler was surprised that France and Great Britain honored their guarantee to Poland.

As evil as Stalin's regime was, and his invasion of Poland was just as bad as Hitler's at first, I don't think most people really understood just how evil the Nazis were and what they were planning on doing for Germany's living space. It was worse than anything that Stalin did and between the Ukrainian famine, the Great Purges, the takeover of the Baltic States, the invasion of Finland, etc he did serious evil.

Harold , February 11, 2018 at 3:17 pm

General LeMay was responsible for the death of a fifth (some say a third) of the North Korean population by saturation bombing with napalm, was he not? A third? Isn't that one in three?

xformbykr , February 11, 2018 at 12:34 pm

Additional books that shed light on both leaving the new deal behind and the Cuban missile crisis are (1) "The Devil's Chessboard" by Talbot and (2) "JFK and The Unspeakable" by Douglass. The first is mostly about Allen Dulles but has interesting chapters on McCarthy, Eisenhower, Nixon, etc. It is reasonably well foot-noted. The second is about the assassination and has loads of detail about the missile crisis and its power players. It is meticulously foot-noted.

JTMcPhee , February 11, 2018 at 1:09 pm

For those with a shred of remaining optimism who want to be rid of it, might I suggest a book titled "With Enough Shovels" by Robert Scheer. https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/robert-scheer-4/with-enough-shovels-reagan-bush-and-nuclear-war/

I was going to post the text of the short review, but all I got at the moment is this blankety iPhone and its limits with cut