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Predator states and debt enslavement

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Introduction


"American imperialism has been made plausible and attractive in part by the insistence that it is not imperialistic."

Harold Innis, 1948

I call it a tribal phenomena. A tribe can be a religion, a nation, a gender, a race, or any group which is different from the group you identify with. It is not confined to religion.

And it seems to be an inherent trait in the human species that was one aspect of our evolution. Only when we learn that it is better to cooperate with each other rather than kill each other will we be free from this deadly disease which may, in the end, destroy us all.

sheridan44 comment in The Guardian

When you talk about the effectiveness of American imperialism, you highlight the fact that part of the reason it's so effective is because it has been able to be largely invisible, and it has been invisible, you point out, through, I think, two mechanisms, one, that it trains the elites in other countries in order to manage affairs on behalf of American imperialism, and also because it disseminates, through popular media, images of America that in essence--I'm not sure you use this word exactly--indoctrinate or brainwash a population into allowing them to believe that America is instilled with values that in fact it doesn't have, the ability of imperialistic forces to supposedly give these values to the countries they dominate.

I mean, that is a kind of a raison d'être for economic and even military intervention, as we saw in Iraq, in planning democracy in Baghdad and letting it spread out across the Middle East, or going into Afghanistan to liberate the women of Afghanistan. That, as somebody who spent 20 years on the outer edges of empire, is a lie.

Chris Hedges

Days of Revolt The Making of Global Capitalism

Neoliberalism is a fundament and, simultaneously philosophical justification of predator capitalism. Today the signature feature of neoliberal societies, including but not limited to the USA, G7 (especially Germany and France), and to a lesser extent Russia and China, is predation, both in respect of their own citizens as well as weaker states.

While precise definition of what can be called “predatory capitalism” is difficult we can say that in this social system the top 1% (or less) rich and connected feast on decaying infrastructure objects and factories built during previous generation for wider population and belonging to state or its agents. As well as on less well-off part of country population. With full legal impunity. Economist Jamie K Galbraith book suggests that modern (Bush-Cheney) Republicanism was and is first of all about the creation of a "predator state".

Neoliberal markets that are emerging throughout Latin America and xUSSR countries are characterized by little regulation, a minimal state presence, cult of money and speculation. (as opposed to more collective or communitarian visions of society). Governments are very much pro-business. Such markets, in turn, support a peculiar form of capitalism, one that we would call predatory capitalism with its own part of the elite, which we would call "predatory class".

The predatory class is just a tiny upper crust of the wealthy; and it may be opposed by many others of similar wealth. But it is the defining feature of the modern USA and other neoliberal societies. It is the neoliberal society driving force. Its agents are in full control of the government. For in a predatory regime, nothing is done for public reasons. Indeed, the ideologists of the Casino Capitalism do not recognize that “public purposes” are legitimate. Only predation is. It is a capitalism that preys on those without economic resources -- the popular sectors, noncompetitive industries, weaker countries. And it further deprives them of resources via debt slavery and policy prescriptions ( Bresser Pereira, Maravall, and Przeworski 1993). Neoliberalism has its own dynamic and tends to disproportionately reward those who already exercise some form of power (particularly economic power). The severity of the socioeconomic dislocations caused by the rapid neoliberalization of Latin America (stating with Chilean coup d'état) and strongly associated with predatory capitalism has led some to draw interesting parallels with the latter part of the nineteenth century through the 1920s ( Korzeniewicz and Smith 1997; Smith and Korzeniewicz 1996). This was the last period during which economic liberalism dominated the region.

From this perspective, the very predatory nature of capitalism makes it unlikely that it will be long lasting. Just as nineteenth-century economic liberalism led to the emergence of powerful labor movements and other actors that successfully struggled to reign in capitalism by ultimately erecting the modern welfare state. It is unclear which forces will try to give a fight for neoliberalism during the current period, but emergence of left government in many Latin American countries will work to erect new state institutions that can correct many, if not all, of predatory capitalism's most pernicious elements. Polanyi summarized the challenge that unregulated markets posed for society in the early twentieth century in a way that seems almost prophetic for Latin America in the 1990s:

"the [ nineteenth century] idea of a self-adjusting market implied a stark utopia. Such an institution could not exist for any length of time without annihilating the human and natural substance of society. . . . Inevitably, society took measures to protect itself" ( 1944: 3).

Here is a summary of James K. Galbraith’s The Predator State book and the concept from Aaron Swartz's Raw Thought blog

James K. Galbraith’s The Predator State is undoubtedly one of the most important books on the economics of our era. Galbraith sets himself the task, not only of exposing the discredited economic orthodoxies of our generation, but also documenting the economy as it really exists, and setting an agenda for the future. It is a book that desperately needs to be listened to. And, even better than all that, it’s a fun read. Go out and buy it immediately.

That said, here is a brief, abbreviated summary of the book, to better pull out its themes and spread its message. It is of necessity less clear and less well-argued than the book itself, which you should actually read if you want to argue, but it should give the gist of things.

  1. The Reaganites swept into power on the arguments of economic conservatives: lower taxes, tight money, and an assault on all opponents of market forces (government, regulation, unions). Their views were tried and failed completely. They have no remaining defenders in academia and only slogans and cronies outside of it. There is no longer any vision on the right; the left should leave its defensive crouch and start proposing something new.
  2. Friedman and friends said that markets would lead to democracy — that “economic freedom” begets political freedom. But economic freedom isn’t what it sounds like; it’s not freedom from economic want but instead, as Friedman put it, “the freedom to choose” or, in other words, “the freedom to shop”. But control over production is as unfree as in the Soviet Union, with advertising for propaganda, R&D for planning, and Wall Street analysts for government inspectors. “Lines form, under capitalism, every day.”
  3. Supply-siders argued that a) saving is a public good because it leads to investment, b) America does not save enough compared to other countries, c) saving would be unleashed by lowering taxes on it, d) the resulting investment would spur an economic boom. Every piece of this is wrong: a) in an efficient market, all the benefits from investment are captured by the investor; thus investment cannot be a public good unless markets are inefficient, in which case the government should step in more, b) the correct amount of saving is a policy decision, there’s no reason to believe other countries have it right (the Soviet Union had a 40% level of saving right up to its collapse), c) rich people save most of their money anyway (it’s impossible to consume that much) and changes in interest rates dwarf changes in tax rates; furthermore, real investment is encouraged by high personal taxes, since this forces people to keep their money in corporations, d) personal saving is less than 1% of GDP; almost all investment comes from corporations or overseas.
  4. Milton Friedman claimed that high inflation (it was 10% in the 1970s) was just the result of printing too much money. Reagan’s Fed adopted this belief, sending the US and many foreign countries into deep recession. Eventually, the policy was completely abandoned and high inflation has not been seen since. Serious inflation isn’t caused by printing money, but by wage-price spirals — the price of oil shot up, causing rising prices to cover oil costs, causing workers to demand higher wages to pay those prices, causing prices to rise even higher, and so on. Today, most prices are set by overseas manufacturers and labor unions are so weak that workers can’t demand wage increases. Inflation is dead.
  5. Democrats (and some Republicans) repeatedly insist that we need to balance the budget or face fiscal collapse. But the budget is ruled by a simple equation: the total amount the government owes + the total amount the public owes = the total amount we owe to foreign countries. This is simple logic: whatever is not owed within the country must be owed to another country. But the international economy depends on other countries keeping large reserves of dollars (see 14), meaning our trade deficit must be high. As long as this is so, we must either have the government run large deficits or ask people to do so. The budget deficit was closed in the late 1990s because citizens picked up the slack with high credit card spending and home equity loans, inevitably leading to a slump. Balancing the budget is for suckers; Democrats should spend the money on public goods instead, promoting economic growth and thus raising tax revenue.
  6. The argument for free trade comes from Ricardo’s “comparative advantage” — a clever textbook exercise, but irrelevant to the real world since it assumes constant costs. In reality, either you produce manufactured goods, in which your costs go down as you make more, or you sell off commodities, in which case your costs go up as you make more. With the former, it takes time for local industry to build up the advantage (requiring protectionism). With the latter, you end up like Mongolia, which opened up its animal husbandry market, swelling herd sizes, turning grass into permanent desert, and killing off the entire market. With no other exports, such a country is in big trouble. Ricardo was wrong: diversification, not specialization, is the way to develop — and how every successful country has. Unfortunately, we’ve forced this broken system on most of the world. (China has escaped, letting state-supported banks fund money-losing new companies until they grow large enough to succeed as exporters. In the mean time, they dump their products on local Chinese, allowing them to have a very high standard of living at very low wages.)
  7. There is no trade-off between equality and efficiency. Instead, equality leads to efficiency. Denmark is one of the most equal countries in Europe, and as a result one of the wealthiest. The rest are on a continuum down to unequal and inefficient. Full employment and high wages require companies to make the most of the employees they have, increasing efficiency. Raising the minimum wage doesn’t raise unemployment, it lowers it — unemployment and inequality have risen and fallen together since 1920. Higher wages lead to more job taking and less quitting. The remaining increase in inequality was caused by stock market giveaways to dot-commers and Bush giveaways to government contractors — which is why it was limited to Silicon Valley and the Potomac, respectively.
  8. The US is not a free market. Of GDP, 17% is health care (where experts, not consumers decide how to spend), 16% is housing (subsidized by quasi-public mortgage firms and tax deductions), 15% is federal welfare, 14% is local welfare, 4.5% is military spending, 3% is higher education (paid for mostly by government or conspicuous philanthropy1 and consumed for status and not value). Together, 70% of US GDP is planned; it’s just that our facade of a free market makes us less efficient at planning than other countries (especially in health care).
  9. In the 1970s, American industry (particularly steel and cars) was being challenged and weakened by Japan. Reagan’s assault on inflation (see 4) dealt them a death blow, sending their foreign and domestic markets into deep recession, driving up the value of the dollar (making their exports more expensive than their competitors’), and raising interest rates. In the 1980s the technical staff left for Silicon Valley, and 1990s financial fraud killed off what remained. When new startup founders paid themselves exorbitant salaries from VC money other CEOs rushed to keep up, making them all wealthy enough to become a separate class. They used their new power to prey on the corporations that they ran.2
  10. Previously, regulation kept the predators in check — unions, NGOs, and progressive businesses pushed government standards to kill regressive competitors. But newly-wealthy predator CEOs had the Republicans take over and gut regulation. The result is the Predator State, where every new law is a corporate giveaway. Prescription drug benefits for Big Pharma; NCLB to defund and deskill schools (building support for vouchers); and Social Security reform to give workers’ paychecks to Wall Street. (Democrats have so far prevented the latter, but corporate-funded think tanks now aim to take them down from inside.) The programs allow further predation; privatizing college loans has led loan companies to bribe student loan officers. It’s not that Republican government fails at tasks like stopping Katrina; it’s that such tasks of governance are not its goal — opening up New Orleans for Halliburton contracts is.
  11. The great liberal economic agenda is “making markets work” — small fixes for market failures. The canonical example is job training to fight unemployment. But job training does not create new jobs, economic growth does; the tech boom was the last time we saw a real decrease in unemployment. Similarly, some Dems propose universal preschool since experiments find kids with free preschool grow up to get better-paying jobs. But those preschools did not create jobs, they just gave their students an advantage in getting them. Universal preschool would give everyone that advantage, leaving no net impact. And creating markets in unmarketable goods (health care, energy, the climate) is doomed to failure. In these industries markets will not work; planning is required.
  12. Planning is alleged to have been disproven by the Soviet Union’s fall. But it is unavoidable. The market, even when it does work, fails to take into account the wishes of the poor and the needs of the future, since neither can buy things today. New Orleans fell not because of a lack of foresight (it was predicted by the local paper) or technology (the Army knew how to build strong levees) but because we lacked a plan — nobody in power bothered to do anything about it. Similarly, climate change will melt Antarctica and drown New York, Boston, South Florida, Houston, the Bay Area, London, the Netherlands, Bangladesh, and Shanghai. Stopping it requires a plan; an enormous one ranging from elementary school classes to government-funded research centers to a WWII-level restructuring of the economy.
  13. Deregulation can have three effects:
    1. Increasing competition and lowering wages and prices,
    2. Speeding technological change and increasing quality,
    3. Creating monopolies and raising prices.

    Trucking deregulation did 1, airline deregulation did 1 and 2, but telecom, banking, and energy deregulation did 3. Charles Keating donated to the government, leading VP George H. W. Bush’s task force to deregulate his industry and allow the Savings and Loan Scandal. Ken Lay was Bush’s largest contributor, leading VP Dick Cheney’s task force to deregulate his industry and allow the Enron energy scandal.

  14. The solution is to lower CEO pay, raise the minimum wage, and set wage standards in between. Some liberals claim trade is the problem and the solution is to set environmental and labor standards on other countries. These are unenforceable and will be ineffective (companies moving overseas already build clean factories since that’s most efficient and no significant exports are made using child or prison labor). Instead, we should set wage standards at home, like Scandinavia, forcing companies to increase productivity and pay fair wages. Wage standards should also apply to undocumented workers; illegal immigration is caused by employers who send recruiters to Mexico for compliant and low-paid workers. Applying wage standards to all will end these abusive practices.
  15. Any country that can pay for its imports entirely with exports can organize its internal economy (its people and resources) however it likes. Countries that do not balance their trade depend instead on global capital markets and must play by their rules. But the US is a special case: after World War II (1944) it set up the Bretton Woods system of international exchange, pegging all currencies to the dollar and backing the dollar with gold reserves. But during Vietnam’s deficits (1971), Nixon broke the system, devaluing US currency and wreaking havoc on the rest of the world. Reagan’s tight money policies (1981) caused so much instability that other countries were forced to build up reserves of US Treasury Bonds in exchange for military, economic, and export security. US bubbles and the Soviet Union’s fall make this system less secure than before, but as long as it remains the US can do whatever it likes economically. And it might as well, since economic success will strengthen the system and the policies proposed here will lead to economic success.
  1. Conspicuous philanthropy is like conspicuous consumption, a way for the rich to flaunt their wealth, only far more effective — you can outdo your neighbors simply by adding another zero to the check, the buildings with your name on them live on after you die, and the government gives you a tax deduction.
  2. See the classic Thorstein Veblen, Theory of the Leisure Class for more on predation.

The term "predator state" originated with the concept of military industrial complex

The term "predator state" originated with the concept of military industrial complex. There are other similar terms such as neofascism,  national security state, disaster capitalism, etc which describe the same phenomenon, stressing different aspects of it.  For example, here is what Thomas Palley writes about predator state (Asia Times Online):

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Stephen M. Walt take on US predator capitalism with fig leaf of "promotion of democracy" attached

Skeptic view on American Exceptionalism is valuable for different reasons some of which were listed by Stephen M. Walt in his The Myth of American Exceptionalism (Foreign Policy, November 2011)

The only thing wrong with this self-congratulatory portrait of America's global role is that it is mostly a myth. Although the United States possesses certain unique qualities -- from high levels of religiosity to a political culture that privileges individual freedom -- the conduct of U.S. foreign policy has been determined primarily by its relative power and by the inherently competitive nature of international politics. By focusing on their supposedly exceptional qualities, Americans blind themselves to the ways that they are a lot like everyone else.

This unchallenged faith in American exceptionalism makes it harder for Americans to understand why others are less enthusiastic about U.S. dominance, often alarmed by U.S. policies, and frequently irritated by what they see as U.S. hypocrisy, whether the subject is possession of nuclear weapons, conformity with international law, or America's tendency to condemn the conduct of others while ignoring its own failings. Ironically, U.S. foreign policy would probably be more effective if Americans were less convinced of their own unique virtues and less eager to proclaim them.

What we need, in short, is a more realistic and critical assessment of America's true character and contributions. In that spirit, I offer here the Top 5 Myths about American Exceptionalism.

Myth 1: There Is Something Exceptional About American Exceptionalism.

Whenever American leaders refer to the "unique" responsibilities of the United States, they are saying that it is different from other powers and that these differences require them to take on special burdens.

Yet there is nothing unusual about such lofty declarations; indeed, those who make them are treading a well-worn path. Most great powers have considered themselves superior to their rivals and have believed that they were advancing some greater good when they imposed their preferences on others. The British thought they were bearing the "white man's burden," while French colonialists invoked la mission civilisatrice to justify their empire. Portugal, whose imperial activities were hardly distinguished, believed it was promoting a certain missão civilizadora. Even many of the officials of the former Soviet Union genuinely believed they were leading the world toward a socialist utopia despite the many cruelties that communist rule inflicted. Of course, the United States has by far the better claim to virtue than Stalin or his successors, but Obama was right to remind us that all countries prize their own particular qualities.

So when Americans proclaim they are exceptional and indispensable, they are simply the latest nation to sing a familiar old song. Among great powers, thinking you're special is the norm, not the exception.

Myth 2: The United States Behaves Better Than Other Nations Do.

Declarations of American exceptionalism rest on the belief that the United States is a uniquely virtuous nation, one that loves peace, nurtures liberty, respects human rights, and embraces the rule of law. Americans like to think their country behaves much better than other states do, and certainly better than other great powers.

If only it were true. The United States may not have been as brutal as the worst states in world history, but a dispassionate look at the historical record belies most claims about America's moral superiority.

For starters, the United States has been one of the most expansionist powers in modern history. It began as 13 small colonies clinging to the Eastern Seaboard, but eventually expanded across North America, seizing Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, and California from Mexico in 1846. Along the way, it eliminated most of the native population and confined the survivors to impoverished reservations. By the mid-19th century, it had pushed Britain out of the Pacific Northwest and consolidated its hegemony over the Western Hemisphere.

The United States has fought numerous wars since then -- starting several of them -- and its wartime conduct has hardly been a model of restraint. The 1899-1902 conquest of the Philippines killed some 200,000 to 400,000 Filipinos, most of them civilians, and the United States and its allies did not hesitate to dispatch some 305,000 German and 330,000 Japanese civilians through aerial bombing during World War II, mostly through deliberate campaigns against enemy cities. No wonder Gen. Curtis LeMay, who directed the bombing campaign against Japan, told an aide, "If the U.S. lost the war, we would be prosecuted as war criminals." The United States dropped more than 6 million tons of bombs during the Indochina war, including tons of napalm and lethal defoliants like Agent Orange, and it is directly responsible for the deaths of many of the roughly 1 million civilians who died in that war.

More recently, the U.S.-backed Contra war in Nicaragua killed some 30,000 Nicaraguans, a percentage of their population equivalent to 2 million dead Americans. U.S. military action has led directly or indirectly to the deaths of 250,000 Muslims over the past three decades (and that's a low-end estimate, not counting the deaths resulting from the sanctions against Iraq in the 1990s), including the more than 100,000 people who died following the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003. U.S. drones and Special Forces are going after suspected terrorists in at least five countries at present and have killed an unknown number of innocent civilians in the process. Some of these actions may have been necessary to make Americans more prosperous and secure. But while Americans would undoubtedly regard such acts as indefensible if some foreign country were doing them to us, hardly any U.S. politicians have questioned these policies. Instead, Americans still wonder, "Why do they hate us?"

The United States talks a good game on human rights and international law, but it has refused to sign most human rights treaties, is not a party to the International Criminal Court, and has been all too willing to cozy up to dictators -- remember our friend Hosni Mubarak? -- with abysmal human rights records. If that were not enough, the abuses at Abu Ghraib and the George W. Bush administration's reliance on waterboarding, extraordinary rendition, and preventive detention should shake America's belief that it consistently acts in a morally superior fashion. Obama's decision to retain many of these policies suggests they were not a temporary aberration.

The United States never conquered a vast overseas empire or caused millions to die through tyrannical blunders like China's Great Leap Forward or Stalin's forced collectivization. And given the vast power at its disposal for much of the past century, Washington could certainly have done much worse. But the record is clear: U.S. leaders have done what they thought they had to do when confronted by external dangers, and they paid scant attention to moral principles along the way. The idea that the United States is uniquely virtuous may be comforting to Americans; too bad it's not true.

Myth 3: America's Success Is Due to Its Special Genius.

The United States has enjoyed remarkable success, and Americans tend to portray their rise to world power as a direct result of the political foresight of the Founding Fathers, the virtues of the U.S. Constitution, the priority placed on individual liberty, and the creativity and hard work of the American people. In this narrative, the United States enjoys an exceptional global position today because it is, well, exceptional.

There is more than a grain of truth to this version of American history. It's not an accident that immigrants came to America in droves in search of economic opportunity, and the "melting pot" myth facilitated the assimilation of each wave of new Americans. America's scientific and technological achievements are fully deserving of praise and owe something to the openness and vitality of the American political order.

But America's past success is due as much to good luck as to any uniquely American virtues. The new nation was lucky that the continent was lavishly endowed with natural resources and traversed by navigable rivers. It was lucky to have been founded far from the other great powers and even luckier that the native population was less advanced and highly susceptible to European diseases. Americans were fortunate that the European great powers were at war for much of the republic's early history, which greatly facilitated its expansion across the continent, and its global primacy was ensured after the other great powers fought two devastating world wars. This account of America's rise does not deny that the United States did many things right, but it also acknowledges that America's present position owes as much to good fortune as to any special genius or "manifest destiny."

Myth 4: The United States Is Responsible for Most of the Good in the World.

Americans are fond of giving themselves credit for positive international developments. President Bill Clinton believed the United States was "indispensable to the forging of stable political relations," and the late Harvard University political scientist Samuel P. Huntington thought U.S. primacy was central "to the future of freedom, democracy, open economies, and international order in the world." Journalist Michael Hirsh has gone even further, writing in his book At War With Ourselves that America's global role is "the greatest gift the world has received in many, many centuries, possibly all of recorded history." Scholarly works such as Tony Smith's America's Mission and G. John Ikenberry's Liberal Leviathan emphasize America's contribution to the spread of democracy and its promotion of a supposedly liberal world order. Given all the high-fives American leaders have given themselves, it is hardly surprising that most Americans see their country as an overwhelmingly positive force in world affairs.

Once again, there is something to this line of argument, just not enough to make it entirely accurate. The United States has made undeniable contributions to peace and stability in the world over the past century, including the Marshall Plan, the creation and management of the Bretton Woods system, its rhetorical support for the core principles of democracy and human rights, and its mostly stabilizing military presence in Europe and the Far East. But the belief that all good things flow from Washington's wisdom overstates the U.S. contribution by a wide margin.

For starters, though Americans watching Saving Private Ryan or Patton may conclude that the United States played the central role in vanquishing Nazi Germany, most of the fighting was in Eastern Europe and the main burden of defeating Hitler's war machine was borne by the Soviet Union. Similarly, though the Marshall Plan and NATO played important roles in Europe's post-World War II success, Europeans deserve at least as much credit for rebuilding their economies, constructing a novel economic and political union, and moving beyond four centuries of sometimes bitter rivalry. Americans also tend to think they won the Cold War all by themselves, a view that ignores the contributions of other anti-Soviet adversaries and the courageous dissidents whose resistance to communist rule produced the "velvet revolutions" of 1989.

Moreover, as Godfrey Hodgson recently noted in his sympathetic but clear-eyed book, The Myth of American Exceptionalism, the spread of liberal ideals is a global phenomenon with roots in the Enlightenment, and European philosophers and political leaders did much to advance the democratic ideal. Similarly, the abolition of slavery and the long effort to improve the status of women owe more to Britain and other democracies than to the United States, where progress in both areas trailed many other countries. Nor can the United States claim a global leadership role today on gay rights, criminal justice, or economic equality -- Europe's got those areas covered.

Finally, any honest accounting of the past half-century must acknowledge the downside of American primacy. The United States has been the major producer of greenhouse gases for most of the last hundred years and thus a principal cause of the adverse changes that are altering the global environment. The United States stood on the wrong side of the long struggle against apartheid in South Africa and backed plenty of unsavory dictatorships -- including Saddam Hussein's -- when short-term strategic interests dictated. Americans may be justly proud of their role in creating and defending Israel and in combating global anti-Semitism, but its one-sided policies have also prolonged Palestinian statelessness and sustained Israel's brutal occupation.

Bottom line: Americans take too much credit for global progress and accept too little blame for areas where U.S. policy has in fact been counterproductive. Americans are blind to their weak spots, and in ways that have real-world consequences. Remember when Pentagon planners thought U.S. troops would be greeted in Baghdad with flowers and parades? They mostly got RPGs and IEDs instead.

Myth 5: God Is on Our Side.

A crucial component of American exceptionalism is the belief that the United States has a divinely ordained mission to lead the rest of the world. Ronald Reagan told audiences that there was "some divine plan" that had placed America here, and once quoted Pope Pius XII saying, "Into the hands of America God has placed the destinies of an afflicted mankind." Bush offered a similar view in 2004, saying, "We have a calling from beyond the stars to stand for freedom." The same idea was expressed, albeit less nobly, in Otto von Bismarck's alleged quip that "God has a special providence for fools, drunks, and the United States."

Confidence is a valuable commodity for any country. But when a nation starts to think it enjoys the mandate of heaven and becomes convinced that it cannot fail or be led astray by scoundrels or incompetents, then reality is likely to deliver a swift rebuke. Ancient Athens, Napoleonic France, imperial Japan, and countless other countries have succumbed to this sort of hubris, and nearly always with catastrophic results.

Despite America's many successes, the country is hardly immune from setbacks, follies, and boneheaded blunders. If you have any doubts about that, just reflect on how a decade of ill-advised tax cuts, two costly and unsuccessful wars, and a financial meltdown driven mostly by greed and corruption have managed to squander the privileged position the United States enjoyed at the end of the 20th century. Instead of assuming that God is on their side, perhaps Americans should heed Abraham Lincoln's admonition that our greatest concern should be "whether we are on God's side."

Given the many challenges Americans now face, from persistent unemployment to the burden of winding down two deadly wars, it's unsurprising that they find the idea of their own exceptionalism comforting -- and that their aspiring political leaders have been proclaiming it with increasing fervor. Such patriotism has its benefits, but not when it leads to a basic misunderstanding of America's role in the world. This is exactly how bad decisions get made.

America has its own special qualities, as all countries do, but it is still a state embedded in a competitive global system. It is far stronger and richer than most, and its geopolitical position is remarkably favorable. These advantages give the United States a wider range of choice in its conduct of foreign affairs, but they don't ensure that its choices will be good ones. Far from being a unique state whose behavior is radically different from that of other great powers, the United States has behaved like all the rest, pursuing its own self-interest first and foremost, seeking to improve its relative position over time, and devoting relatively little blood or treasure to purely idealistic pursuits. Yet, just like past great powers, it has convinced itself that it is different, and better, than everyone else.

International politics is a contact sport, and even powerful states must compromise their political principles for the sake of security and prosperity. Nationalism is also a powerful force, and it inevitably highlights the country's virtues and sugarcoats its less savory aspects.

But if Americans want to be truly exceptional, they might start by viewing the whole idea of "American exceptionalism" with a much more skeptical eye.

Links to disaster capitalism

The term disaster capitalism reflects the strategy of neoliberal elite to use political unrest, natural disasters and other, including manufactured, social crisis such as the result of color revolution in Serbia, Libya, Ukraine and other countries for plunder. In his article Debt and deficit as shock therapy ( Asia Times, Nov 06, 2013) Ismael Hossein-zadeh wrote:

Speaking Freely is an Asia Times Online feature that allows guest writers to have their say. Please click here if you are interested in contributing.

When Naomi Klein published her ground-breaking book The Shock Doctrine (2007), which compellingly demonstrated how neoliberal policy makers take advantage of overwhelming crisis times to privatize public property and carry out austerity programs, most economists and media pundits scoffed at her arguments as overstating her case. Real world economic developments have since strongly reinforced her views.

Using the unnerving 2008 financial crash, the ensuing long recession and the recurring specter of debt default, the financial oligarchy and their proxies in the governments of core capitalist countries have embarked on an unprecedented economic coup d'état against the people, the ravages of which include extensive privatization of the public sector, systematic application of neoliberal austerity economics and radical redistribution of resources from the bottom to the top. Despite the truly historical and paradigm-shifting importance of these ominous developments, their discussion remains altogether outside the discourse of mainstream economics.

The fact that neoliberal economists and politicians have been cheering these brutal assaults on social safety-net programs should not be surprising. What is regrettable, however, is the liberal/Keynesian economists' and politicians' glaring misdiagnosis of the plague of austerity economics: it is all the "right-wing" Republicans' or Tea Partiers' fault, we are told; the Obama administration and the Democratic Party establishment, including the labor bureaucracy, have no part or responsibility in the relentless drive to austerity economics and privatization of public property.

Keynesian and other liberal economists and politicians routinely blame the abandonment of the New Deal and/or Social-Democratic economics exclusively on Ronald Reagan's supply-side economics, on neoliberal ideology or on economists at the University of Chicago. Indeed, they characterize the 2008 financial collapse, the ensuing long recession and the recurring debt/budgetary turmoil on "bad" policies of "neoliberal capitalism," not on class policies of capitalism per se. [1]

Evidence shows, however, that

Indeed, it could be argued that, due to his uniquely misleading status or station in the socio-political structure of the United States, and equally unique Orwellian characteristics or personality, Obama has served the interests of the powerful financial oligarchy much better or more effectively than any Republican president could do, or has done - including Ronald Reagan. By the same token, he has more skillfully hoodwinked the public and harmed their interests, both in terms of economics and individual/constitutional rights, than any of his predecessors.

Ronald Reagan did not make any bones about the fact that he championed the cause of neoliberal supply-side economics. This meant that opponents of his economic agenda knew where he stood, and could craft their own strategies accordingly.

By contrast, Obama publicly portrays himself as a liberal opponent of neoliberal austerity policies (as he frequently bemoans the escalating economic inequality and occasionally sheds crocodile tears over the plight of the unemployed and economically hard-pressed), while in practice he is a major team player in the debt "crisis" game of charade, designed as a shock therapy scheme in the escalation of austerity economics. [5]

No president or major policy maker before Obama ever dared to touch the hitherto untouchable (and still self-financing) Social Security and Medicare trust funds. He was the first to dare to make these bedrock social programs subject to austerity cuts, as reflected, for example, in his proposed federal budget plan for fiscal year 2014, initially released in April 2013. Commenting on this unprecedented inclusion of entitlements in the social programs to be cut, Christian Science Monitor wrote (on April 9, 2013): "President Obama's new budget proposal ... is a sign that Washington's attitude toward entitlement reform is slowly shifting, with prospects for changes to Social Security and Medicare becoming increasingly likely."

Obama has since turned that "likelihood" of undermining Social Security and Medicare into reality. He did so by taking the first steps in turning the budget crisis that led to government shutdown in the first half of October into negotiations over entitlement cuts. In an interview on the second day of the shutdown (October 3rd), he called for eliminating "unnecessary" social programs and discussing cuts in "long-term entitlement spending". [6]

Five days later on October 5th, Obama repeated his support for cutting Social Security and Medicare in a press conference, reassuring congressional Republicans of his willingness to agree to these cuts (as well as to cuts in corporate tax rates from 35% to 28%) if the Republicans voted to increase the government's debt limit: "If anybody doubts my sincerity about that, I've put forward proposals in my budget to reform entitlement programs for the long haul and reform our tax code in a way that would ... lower rates for corporations". [7]

Only then, that is, only after Obama agreed to collaborate with the Republicans on ways to cut both the entitlements and corporate tax rates, the Republican budget negotiators agreed to the higher budget ceiling and the reopening of the government. The consensus bill that ended the government shutdown extends the automatic across-the-board "sequester" cuts that began last March into the current year. This means that "the budget negotiations in the coming weeks will take as their starting point the $1 trillion in cuts over the next eight years mandated by the sequestration process". [8]

And so, once again, the great compromiser gave in, and gave away - all at the expense of his (unquestioning) supporters.

To prepare the public for the long-awaited attack on Social Security, Medicare and other socially vital programs, the bipartisan ruling establishment has in recent years invented a very useful hobgoblin to scare the people into submission: occasional budget/debt crises and the specter or the actual pain of government shutdown. As Sheldon Richman recently pointed out:

"Wherever we look, there are hobgoblins. The latest is … DEFAULT. Oooooo.

Apparently the threats of international terror and China rising aren't enough to keep us alarmed and eager for the tether. These things do tend to wear thin with time. But good old default can be taken off the shelf every now and then. It works like a charm every time.

No, no, not default! Anything but default!". [9]

Economic policy makers in the White House and the Congress have invoked the debt/deficit hobgoblin at least three times in less than two years: the 2011 debt-ceiling panic, the 2012 "fiscal cliff" and, more recently, the 2013 debt-ceiling/government shutdown crisis - all designed to frighten the people into accepting the slashing of vital social programs. Interestingly, when Wall Street speculators needed trillions of dollars to be bailed out, or as the Fed routinely showers these gamblers with nearly interest-free money through the so-called quantitative easing, debt hobgoblins were/are nowhere to be seen!

The outcome of the latest (2013) "debt crisis management," which led to the 16-day government shutdown (October 1-16), confirmed the view that the "crisis" was essentially bogus. Following the pattern of the 2010, 2011 and 2012 budget/debt negotiations, the bipartisan policy makers kept the phony crisis alive by simply pushing its "resolution" several months back to early 2014. In other words, they did not bury the hobgoblin; they simply shelved it for a while to be taken off when it is needed to, once again, frighten the people into accepting additional austerity cuts - including Social Security and Medicare.

The outcome of the budget "crisis" also highlighted the fact that, behind the apparent bipartisan gridlock and mutual denunciations, there is a "fundamental consensus between these parties for destroying all of the social gains won by the working class over the course of the twentieth century". [10] To the extent there were disagreements, they were mainly over the tone, the temp, the magnitude, the tactics, and the means, not the end. At the heart of all the (largely contrived) bipartisan bickering was how best to escalate, justify or camouflage the brutal cuts in the vitally necessary social spending.

The left/liberal supporters of Obama, who bemoan his being "pressured" or "coerced" by the Tea Party Republicans into right-wing compromises, should look past his liberal/populist posturing. Evidence shows that, contrary to Barack Obama's claims, his presidential campaigns were heavily financed by the Wall Street financial titans and their influential lobbyists. Large Wall Street contributions began pouring into his campaign only after he was thoroughly vetted by powerful Wall Street interests, through rigorous Q & A sessions by the financial oligarchy, and was deemed to be their "ideal" candidate for presidency. [11]

Obama's unquestioning followers should also note that, to the extent that he is being "pressured" by his political opponents into compromises/concessions, he has no one to blame but himself: while the Republican Party systematically mobilizes its social base through offshoots like Tea Partiers, Obama tends to deceive, demobilize and disarm his base of supporters. Instead of mobilizing and encouraging his much wider base of supporters (whose more numerous voices could easily drown the shrill voices of Tea Partiers) to political action, he frequently pleads with them to "be patient," and "keep hope alive."

As Andre Damon and Barry Grey have keenly observed, "There was not a single mass organization that denounced the [government] shutdown or opposed it. The trade unions are completely allied with the Obama administration and support its policies of austerity and war". [12]

Obama's supporters also need to open their eyes to the fact that, as I have shown in an earlier essay, [13] Obama harbors ideological affinities that are more in tune with Ronald Reagan than with FDR. This is clearly revealed in his book, The Audacity of Hope, where he shows his disdain for

"...those who still champion the old time religion, defending every New Deal and Great Society program from Republican encroachment, achieving ratings of 100% from the liberal interest groups. But these efforts seem exhausted…bereft of energy and new ideas needed to address the changing circumstances of globalization". [14]

(Her own shortcomings aside, Hillary Clinton was right when, in her bid for the White House against Obama, she pointed out that Obama's economic philosophy was inspired largely by Reagan' supply-side economics. However, because the Wall Street and/or the ruling establishment had already decided that Obama was the preferred choice for the White House, the corporate media let Clinton's comment pass without dwelling much on the reasons behind it; which could readily be examined by simply browsing through his own book.)

The repeated claim that the entitlements are the main drag on the federal budget is false - for at least three reasons. To begin with, the assertion that the large number of retiring baby-boomers is a major culprit in budgetary shortfalls is bogus because while it is true that baby-boomers are retiring in larger than usual numbers they do not come from another planet; before retiring, they also worked and contributed to the entitlement trust fund in larger than usual numbers. This means that, over time, the outflow and inflow of baby-boomers' funds into the entitlement trust fund must necessarily even each other out.

Second, even assuming that this claim is valid, the "problem" can easily be fixed (for many years to come) by simply raising the ceiling of taxable income for Social Security from the current level of $113,700 to a slightly higher level, let's say, $140,000.

Third, the bipartisan policy makers' hue and cry about the alleged budget/debt crisis is also false because if it were true, they would not shy away from facing the real culprits for the crisis: the uncontrollable and escalating health care cost, the equally uncontrollable and escalating military/war/security cost, the massive transfer of private/Wall Street debt to public debt in response to the 2008 financial crash, and the considerable drop since the early 1980s in the revenue side of the government budget, which is the result of the drastic overhaul of the taxation system in favor of the wealthy.

A major scheme of the financial oligarchy and their bagmen in the government to substitute the New Deal with neoliberal economics has (since the early 1980s) been to deliberately create budget deficits in order to justify cuts in social spending. This sinister feat has often been accomplished through a combination of tax cuts for the wealthy and spending hikes for military/wars/security programs.

David Stockman, President Reagan's budget director and one of the main architects of his supply-side tax cuts, confirmed the Reagan administration's policy of simultaneously raising military spending and cutting taxes on the wealthy in order to force cuts in non-military public spending: "My aim had always been to force down the size of the domestic welfare state to the point where it could be adequately funded with the revenues after the tax cut". [15] That insidious policy of intentionally creating budget deficits in order to force neoliberal austerity cuts on vital social needs has continued to this day - under both Republican and Democratic administrations.

Although the bipartisan tactics of austerity cuts are subtle and obfuscating, they can be illustrated with the help of a few simple (hypothetical) numbers: first (and behind the scenes), the two sides agree on cutting non-military public spending by, let's say, $100 billion. To reach this goal, Republicans would ask for a $200 billion cut, for example.

The Obama administration/Democratic Party, pretending to represent the poor and working families, would vehemently object that this is too much ... and that all they can offer is $50 billion, again for example. Next, the Republican negotiators would come up with their own counter-offer of, let's say, $150 billion. Then come months of fake haggling and passionate speeches in defense of their positions ... until they meet eventually half way between $50 billion and $150 billion, which has been their hidden goal ($100 billion) from the beginning.

This is, of course, an overly simplified hypothetical example. But it captures, in broad outlines, the essence of the political game that the Republican and Democratic parties - increasingly both representing big finance/big business - play on the American people. All the while the duplicitous corporate media plays along with this political charade in order to confuse the public by creating the impression that there are no alternatives to austerity cuts, and that all the bipartisan public bickering over debt/budgetary issues vividly represents "democracy in action."

The atmosphere of panic and anxiety surrounding the debt/deficit negotiations is fabricated because the central claim behind the feigned crisis that "there is no money" for jobs, education, health care, Social Security, Medicare, housing, pensions and the like is a lie. Generous subsidies to major Wall Street players since the 2008 market crash has lifted financial markets to new highs, as evinced by the Dow Jones Industrial Average's new bubble above the 15000 mark.

The massive cuts in employment, wages and benefits, as well as in social spending, have resulted in an enormous transfer of economic resources from the bottom up. The wealthiest 1% of Americans now own more than 40% of the entire country's wealth; while the bottom 80% own only 7%. Likewise, the richest 1% now takes home 24% of the country's total income, compared to only 9% four decades ago. [16]

This means that there really is no need for the brutal austerity cuts as there really is no shortage of financial resources. The purported lack of resources is due to the fact that they are concentrated largely in the deep coffers of the financial oligarchy.

Ismael Hossein-zadeh is Professor Emeritus of Economics, Drake University, Des Moines, Iowa. He is the author of The Political Economy of U.S. Militarism (Palgrave-Macmillan 2007) and Soviet Non-capitalist Development: The Case of Nasser's Egypt (Praeger Publishers 1989). His latest book, Beyond Mainstream Explanations of the Financial Crisis: Parasitic Finance Capital, will be forthcoming from Routledge Books.

Pepe Escobar provided an interesting analysis of Libya case in Disaster capitalism swoops over Libya [Voltaire Network]:

Think of the new Libya as the latest spectacular chapter in the Disaster Capitalism series. Instead of weapons of mass destruction, we had R2P, short for "responsibility to protect". Instead of neo-conservatives, we had humanitarian imperialists.

Voltaire Network | Sâo Paulo (Brazil)

But the target is the same: regime change. And the project is the same: to completely dismantle and privatize a nation that was not integrated into turbo-capitalism; to open another (profitable) land of opportunity for turbocharged neo-liberalism. The whole thing is especially handy because it is smack in the middle of a nearly global recession.

It will take some time; Libyan oil won’t totally return to the market within 18 months. But there’s the reconstruction of everything the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) bombed (well, not much of what the Pentagon bombed in 2003 was reconstructed in Iraq ...).

Anyway - from oil to rebuilding - in thesis juicy business opportunities loom. France’s neo-Napoleonic Nicolas Sarkozy and Britain’s David of Arabia Cameron believe they will be especially well positioned to profit from NATO’s victory. Yet there’s no guarantee the new Libyan bonanza will be enough to lift both former colonial powers (neo-colonials?) out of recession.

President Sarkozy in particular will milk the business opportunities for French companies for all they’re worth - part of his ambitious agenda of "strategic redeployment" of France in the Arab world. A compliant French media are gloating that this was "his" war - spinning that he decided to arm the rebels on the ground with French weaponry, in close cooperation with Qatar, including a key rebel commando unit that went by sea from Misrata to Tripoli last Saturday, at the start of "Operation Siren".

Well, he certainly saw the opening when Muammar Gaddafi’s chief of protocol defected to Paris in October 2010. That’s when the whole regime change drama started to be incubated.

Bombs for oil

As previously noted (see "Welcome to Libya’s ’democracy’", Asia Times Online, August 24) the vultures are already circling Tripoli to grab (and monopolize) the spoils. And yes - most of the action has to do with oil deals, as in this stark assertion by Abdeljalil Mayouf, information manager at the "rebel" Arabian Gulf Oil Company: "We don’t have a problem with Western countries like the Italians, French and UK companies. But we may have some political issues with Russia, China and Brazil."

These three happen to be crucial members of the BRICS group of emerging economies (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), which are actually growing while the Atlanticist, NATO-bombing economies are either stuck in stagnation or recession. The top four BRICs also happen to have abstained from approving UN Security Council resolution 1973, the no-fly zone scam that metamorphosed into NATO bringing regime change from above. They saw right through it from the beginning.

To make matters worse (for them), only three days before the Pentagon’s Africom launched its first 150-plus Tomahawks over Libya, Colonel Gaddafi gave an interview to German TV stressing that if the country were attacked, all energy contracts would be transferred to Russian, Indian and Chinese companies.

So the winners in the oil bonanza are already designated: NATO members plus Arab monarchies. Among the companies involved, British Petroleum (BP), France’s Total and the Qatar national oil company. For Qatar - which dispatched jet fighters and recruiters to the front lines, trained "rebels" in exhaustive combat techniques, and is already managing oil sales in eastern Libya - the war will reveal itself to be a very wise investment decision.

Prior to the months-long crisis that is in its end game now with the rebels in the capital, Tripoli, Libya was producing 1.6 million barrels per day. Once resumed, this could reap Tripoli’s new rulers some US$50 billion annually. Most estimates place oil reserves at 46.4 billion barrels.

The "rebels" of new Libya better not mess with China. Five months ago, China’s official policy was all ready to call for a ceasefire; if that had happened, Gaddafi would still control more than half of Libya. Yet Beijing - never a fan of violent regime change - for the moment is exercising extreme restraint.

After a Libyan "rebel" official warned that Chinese oil companies could lose out after the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi, China urged Libya to protect its investments and said their oil trade benefited both countries.

Wen Zhongliang, the deputy head of the Ministry of Trade, willfully observed, "Libya will continue to protect the interests and rights of Chinese investors and we hope to continue investment and economic cooperation." Official statements are piling up emphasizing "mutual economic cooperation".

Last week, Abdel Hafiz Ghoga, vice president of the dodgy Transitional National Council (TNC), told Xinhua that all deals and contracts agreed with the Gaddafi regime would be honored - but Beijing is taking no chances.

Libya supplied no more than 3% of China’s oil imports in 2010. Angola is a much more crucial supplier. But China is still Libya’s top oil customer in Asia. Moreover, China could be very helpful in the infrastructure rebuilding front, or in the technology export - no less than 75 Chinese companies with 36,000 employees were already on the ground before the outbreak of the tribal/civil war, swiftly evacuated in less than three days.

The Russians - from Gazprom to Tafnet - had billions of dollars invested in Libyan projects; Brazilian oil giant Petrobras and the construction company Odebrecht also had interests there. It’s still unclear what will happen to them. The director general of the Russia-Libya Business Council, Aram Shegunts, is extremely worried: "Our companies will lose everything because NATO will prevent them from doing business in Libya."

Italy seems to have passed the "rebel" version of "you’re either with us or without us". Energy giant ENI apparently won’t be affected, as Premier Silvio "Bunga Bunga" Berlusconi pragmatically dumped his previous very close pal Gaddafi at the start of the Africom/NATO bombing spree.

ENI’s directors are confident Libya’s oil and gas flows to southern Italy will resume before winter. And the Libyan ambassador in Italy, Hafed Gaddur, reassured Rome that all Gaddafi-era contracts will be honored. Just in case, Berlusconi will meet the TNC’s prime minister, Mahmoud Jibril, this Thursday in Milan.

Bin Laden to the rescue

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu - of the famed "zero problems with our neighbors" policy - has also been gushing praise on the former "rebels" turned powers-that-be. Eyeing the post-Gaddafi business bonanza as well, Ankara - as NATO’s eastern flank - ended up helping to impose a naval blockade on the Gaddafi regime, carefully cultivated the TNC, and in July formally recognized it as the government of Libya. Business "rewards" loom.

Then there’s the crucial plot; how the House of Saud is going to profit from having been instrumental in setting up a friendly regime in Libya, possibly peppered with Salafi notables; one of the key reasons for the Saudi onslaught - which included a fabricated vote at the Arab League - was the extreme bad blood between Gaddafi and King Abdullah since the run-up towards the war on Iraq in 2002.

It’s never enough to stress the cosmic hypocrisy of an ultra-regressive absolute monarchy/medieval theocracy - which invaded Bahrain and repressed its native Shi’ites - saluting what could be construed as a pro-democracy movement in Northern Africa.

Anyway, it’s time to party. Expect the Saudi Bin Laden Group to reconstruct like mad all over Libya - eventually turning the (looted) Bab al-Aziziyah into a monster, luxury Mall of Tripolitania.

Links to American exceptionalism

American exceptionalism should probably be more correctly called US-specific version of far right nationalism. and as any other nationalism is it is the fundament of empire building. Along with Neoliberalism it is the main force that shapes predator state behavior of the USA in foreign affairs. Like in case of Medieval Crusades which plunder Egypt, Iraq as well as plunder Constantinople and destroyed Byzantium empire it has distinct religious overtones and can be called "Democracy Crusade" and US neocons can be called "democracy crusaders".

The first deep analyses of American exceptionalism was done by Niebuhr from the religious positions in his famous book The Irony of American History. Niebuhr as a theologian considered it to be a sin that inevitably lead to the false allure of simple solutions and lack of appreciation of limits of power. In his opinion "Messianic consciousness" which constitute the core of American exceptionalism, was partially inherited form religious dogmas of early religious sects which came to colonize America.

But while its origin is different in all major manifestations it is identical to far right nationalism.

The policy which oppose exceptionalism is often called Noninterventionism

Noninterventionism is a rather clunky and unappealing label for a set of very appealing ideas: that the U.S. should mind its own business, act with restraint, respect other nations, refrain from unnecessary violence, and pursue peace. If future administrations took just a few of these as guiding principles for the conduct of foreign policy, America and the world would both be better off.

There were several important thinkers who contributed to understand of this complex phenomena:

See also neo-conservatism which is a related phenomenon. In this case the pre-eminence of the USA as the sole superpower needs to be maintained at all costs.

Recent events in Ukraine led to a disappointing conclusion: nationalists can behave as compradors: as enthusiastic servants of the US neoliberal in plunder of their own country by international banking cartel. Ukraine is one example, Serbia and Georgia are other but very similar examples of this new type of plunder...

Niebuhr's contribution to understanding of American exceptionalism

In his brilliant foreword to Niebuhr's book Bacevich noted:

In Niebuhr's view, America's rise to power derived less from divine favor than from good fortune combines with a fierce determination to convert that good fortune in wealth and power. The good fortune cane in the form of vast landscape, rich in resources, ripe for exploitation, and apparently insulated from the bloody cockpit of [European] power politics. The determination found expression in a strategy of commercial and territorial expansionism that proved staggeringly successful, evidence not of superior virtue but of shrewdness punctuated with a considerable capacity for ruthlessness.

In describing America's rise to power Niebuhr does not shrink from using words like "hegemony" and "imperialism". His point is not to tag the United States with responsibility for all the world's evils. Rather, it is to suggest that it does not differ from other great powers as much as Americans may imagine.

...Niebuhr has little patience for those who portray the United States as acting on God's behalf. "All men are naturally inclined to obscure the morally ambiguous element in this political cause by investing it with religious sanctity," he once observed. " This is why religion is more frequently a source of confusion then of light in the political realm.". In the United States, he continued "The tendency to equate our political [goals] with our Christian convictions cause politics to generate idolatry."

Michael Ignatieff contribution to understanding of American exeptionalism

In the introduction to American Exceptionalism and Human Rights Michael Ignatieff identifies three main types of exceptionalism:

I would add to it

The contributors to American Exceptionalism and Human Rights use Ignatieff's essay as a starting point to discuss specific types of exceptionalism -- America's approach to capital punishment and to free speech, for example -- or to explore the social, cultural, and institutional roots of exceptionalism.

Anatol Lieven contribution

The second important contribution to to the studies of American exceptionalism is Anatol Lieven. He correctly linked American exceptionalism with far right nationalism which Wikipedia defined as

Far-right politics or extreme-right politics are right-wing politics to the right of the mainstream centre right on the traditional left-right spectrum. They often involve a focus on tradition as opposed to policies and customs that are regarded as reflective of modernism. They tend to include disregard or disdain for egalitarianism, if not overt support for social inequality and social hierarchy, elements of social conservatism and opposition to most forms of liberalism and socialism.

"America keeps a fine house," Anatol Lieven writes in his probably best book on the American Exceptionalism (America Right or Wrong An Anatomy of American Nationalism ) "but in its cellar there lives a demon, whose name is nationalism." In a way US neocons, who commanded key position in Bush II and Barack Obama administrations are not that different from Israeli Likud Party.

While neocons definitely played an important role in shaping the US policy immediately after 9/11, the origins of aggressive U.S. foreign policy since 9/11 also reflect controversial character of the US national identity, which according to Anatol Lieven embraces two contradictory features.

Both of those tendencies are much older then 9/11. The first aggressive, expansionist war by the US was the war of 1812. See American Loyalists, The Most Important War You Probably Know Nothing About - By James Traub Foreign Policy

The War of 1812 matters because it was America’s first war of choice. The United States did not have to declare war on Great Britain on June 18, 1812, to survive as a nation and indeed President James Madison did not want to. The newly founded United States was growing westward but the “war hawks” in Congress pressed for a conflict with America’s former colonial masters in the hopes of gaining even more territory to the north. The term “hawk” was coined in the run-up to the War of 1812 and the hawks of U.S. foreign policy have been with us ever since.

The War of 1812 was America’s first neocon war. With an audacity that would become familiar, the war hawks appealed to a combination of personal pride — the British navy was forcibly conscripting Americans — and the prospect of material gain — the absorption of British Canada — wrapped up in love of country. No one said the conquest of Canada would be a “cakewalk,” but the hawks were confident the Americans would be greeted as liberators.

These two mutually-excusive impulses caused wild oscillations of the US foreign policy, especially in the Middle East and influenced the nature of U.S. support for Israel. Due to those oscillations those two contradictory impulses are undermining the U.S. foreign policy credibility in the eyes of the worlds and complicates reaching important national objectives.

Some attribute the term “American Exceptionalism” to Alexis de Tocqueville — though he never penned the phrase. In reality this term originated by German Marxists who were trying to explain weakness of worker movement in the USA. The idiom was popularized by neo-conservative pundits (aka former Trotskyites) soon after WWII.

In reality the term "American Exceptionalism is nothing but a disguised, more "politically correct" reference to America's Janus-faced nationalism. It has some mystical components like long vanished under the hill of financial oligarchy the "American dream" and its German-style refrain "God bless America". What is interesting about "God bless America" is that most founding fathers were Deists, profoundly critical of organized religions and they sought to separate personal -- what many of them described as mythologies -- from government. They were profoundly respectful of personal religious belief, but saw government as necessarily secular if freedom was to prevail. Not until the religious revivals of the 1820s through the 1860s can you find many identifying religion as a component of American exceptionalism.

As Martin Woollacott aptly noted in his review of Anatol Lieven book America, Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism ( Guardian):

He cuts through the conformist political rhetoric of America, the obfuscating special language of the "American dream", or the "American exception", which infects even foreign accounts. Even to use the word "nationalism" to describe an American phenomenon is, as he notes, not normal. Americans are not "nationalist", they are "patriotic". It is a patriotism which too often leaves no room for the patriotism of others, combining a theoretical care for all humanity with, in practice, an "indifference verging on contempt" for the interests and hopes of non-Americans. Nothing could be more distant from "the decent respect to the opinions of mankind" recommended to Americans in the early years of their independent existence

Lieven first paints a picture of an in some ways admirable American "civic nationalism", based on respect for the rule of law, constitutionality, democracy, and social (but not economic) equality, and a desire to spread these values in the world. But because this nationalism unrealistically holds that such "American" values can be exported at will, it blinds Americans to the different nature of other societies, sustaining the mistaken idea that if only particular rulers or classes can be displaced, "democracy" will prevail - a "decapitation" theory which contributed to the decision to attack Saddam. The American campaign to democratize other societies, Lieven says, harshly but fairly, "combines sloppiness of intellect and meanness of spirit". But, while in part mythic and not entirely rational, this side of American nationalism is of some value not only to the United States, but to the world as a whole.

...The result, Lieven argues, is that instead of the mature nationalism of a satisfied and dominant state, American nationalism is more akin to that of late developing and insecure states such as Wilhelmine Germany and Tsarist Russia.

"While America keeps a splendid and welcoming house," Lieven writes in his preface, "it also keeps a family of demons in its cellar.

His book supports Mark Twain quite to the effect that we are blessed with three things in this country, freedom of speech, freedom of conscience and, thirdly, the common sense to practice neither one!

He also points at the very important side effect of Exceptionalism: "America's hypocrisy," (see for example Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair). An outstanding level of hypocrisy in the US foreign policy also is corroborated by other scholars, among them James Hillman in his recent book "A Terrible Love of War" in which he characterizes hypocrisy as quintessentially American (although British are strong competitors). Now after Snowden, Libya, Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, etc we might be appear to be entering an new stage on which "The era of easy hypocrisy is over."

The regime of easy hypocrisy means that America position itself as a blessed nation created by God and (here’s the rub) therefore privileged in what actions it can take around the world and the nation that can safely ignore international norms, which are created only for suckers. It is above the international law.

We create our own reality

The source of the term, which implicitly stresses that the USA stands outside international norms and treaties and can act as it please, is a quotation in an October 17, 2004, The New York Times Magazine article by writer Ron Suskind, quoting an unnamed aide to George W. Bush (later attributed to [1]):

The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."[2]

This is pretty precise definition of the idea of introduced by Nazi idea of “decisionism” in which action is seen as a value in itself. Decisionism is a defining feature of any totalitarian state. By extension if you find decisionism is rational to expect other features of such states. Umberto Eco has listed fourteen attributes along with two major features: irrationalism and decisionism. Eco has them listed as attributes 2 and 3.

The Enlightenment, the Age of Reason, is seen as the beginning of modern depravity. In this sense Ur-Fascism can be defined as irrationalism.

3. Irrationalism also depends on the cult of action for action's sake.

Action being beautiful in itself, it must be taken before, or without, reflection. Thinking is a form of emasculation. Therefore culture is suspect insofar as it is identified with critical attitudes. Distrust of the intellectual world has always been a symptom of Ur-Fascism, from Hermann Goering's fondness for a phrase from a Hanns Johst play ("When I hear the word 'culture' I reach for my gun") to the frequent use of such expressions as "degenerate intellectuals," "eggheads," "effete snobs," and "universities are nests of reds." The official Fascist intellectuals were mainly engaged in attacking modern culture and the liberal intelligentsia for having betrayed traditional values.

Eternal Fascism:
Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt

http://www.themodernword.com/eco/eco_blackshirt.html

Fascism has an irrational element that rejects modern thought because it conflicts with traditional beliefs of the Christian religion and because fascism views communist ideology as a child of the Age of Reason and Jewish intellectuals. The Nazis were well aware that Karl Marx was a German Jew. Evolution is seen as modernist and is rejected in favor of Christian creationism. This debate is repeating itself today in American society with Christian fundamentalism attempting to gain control of state education.

Very closely related to irrationalism is “decisionism” in which action is seen as a value in itself. This is an existential element in fascism that elevates action over thought. Action is a sign of unambiguous power, and thought is associated with weakness and indecision. Carl Schmitt, a Nazi Law constitutional jurist, wrote that a decision is “(an actual historical event) and not within that of a norm (an ahistoric and transcendent idea).” The a priori is overshadowed by the posteriori. Actions over abstract principles, Fact over Idea, Power over pure thought, Certainty over ambiguity are the values and ideological norms that are primary in a totalitarian state.

After fleeing Germany, Marcuse wrote in 1934 a critique of German fascist society and attempted to identify those beliefs and philosophical themes found within fascist ideology. Marcuse believed that the seeds of fascism could be found in the Capitalist Democratic Liberal State, which over time mutate as Monopoly Capitalism gain control of the State as in the case of Germany. The evolution of Capitalism is also the concealed dialectic of Fascism. Those mutated liberal democratic ideas and values are betrayed by a totalitarianism based on action and force.

Using Germany as his example of a fascist society Marcuse writes:

And within the political sphere all relationships are oriented in turn toward the most extreme “crisis,” toward the decision about the “state of emergency,” of war and peace. The true possessor of power is defined as beyond all legality and legitimacy: “Sovereign is he who decides on the state of emergency.” (Carl Schmitt, Politische Theologie,1922).

Sovereignty is founded on the factual power to make this decision (decisionism). The basic political relationship is the “friend-enemy relationship.” Its crisis is war, which proceeds until the enemy has been physically annihilated.

There is no social relationship that does not in a crisis turn into a political relationship. Behind all economic, social, religious, and cultural relations stands total politicization. There is no sphere of private or public life, no legal or rational court of appeal that could oppose it.
Negations, page 36.

From what social idea in Capitalistic Liberalism did this decisionism evolve? It is none other than the economic hero, the free independent entrepreneur of industrial capitalism.The idea of the charismatic, authoritarian leader is already preformed in the liberalist celebration of the gifted economic leader, the “born” executive. Negations, page 18.

The total-authoritarian state is born out of the Liberal state and the former concept of the economic leader is transformed into a Fuhrer. We can see this mutation of the concept of the “born” executive into the leader-state (Fuhrerstaat) in George Bush’s speech and actions.

An uneducated but privileged man, George Bush, has merged the idea of the CEO with that of the State Leader. But society has also made this same concatenation of ideas. He is a president of action and seen as a “strong” president. He is doer and not a thinker and his followers are proud of this persona. His opponents are “feminine” and members of the “reality based community.” Consequently, the Bush administration has attempted to engineer the executive branch to be the strongest in American history by claiming “inherent” presidential powers. It is precisely the concept of “state of emergency” that Bush has used to grab more and more state power in the name of security.

He has instituted the hyper-surveillance of Americas with the Patriot act, which is based on the same justification Nazi Law used to empower the Fuhrer. A Bush lawyer and advisor, John Yoo, wrote, Just two weeks after the September 11 attacks, a secret memo to White House counsel Alberto Gonzales’ office concluded that President Bush had the power to deploy military force “preemptively” against any terrorist groups or countries that supported them—regardless of whether they had any connection to the attacks on the World Trade Towers or the Pentagon. The memo, written by Justice Department lawyer John Yoo, argues that there are effectively “no limits” on the president’s authority to wage war—a sweeping assertion of executive power that some constitutional scholars say goes considerably beyond any that had previously been articulated by the department. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6732484/site/newsweek/

Carl Schmitt, a Nazi Law constitutional jurist in Hitler’s Third Reich, wrote a similar justification of power for the State Leader using the concept of the “exception” in his work “Political Theology,” Hence, the thundering opening of his treatise: 'The sovereign is he who decides on the exception.' It is a disturbingly 'realistic' view of politics, which, in the manner of Hobbes, subordinates de jure authority to de facto power: autoritas, non veritas facit legem. (The law is made by the one who has authority (i.e. power) and not the one who possesses the truth (the legitimate sovereign).)

The problem of the exception, for the constitutional jurist Schmitt, can only be resolved within the framework of a decision (an actual historical event) and not within that of a norm (an ahistoric and transcendent idea). Moreover, the legal act which decides what constitutes an exception is 'a decision in the true sense of the word', because a general norm, an ordinary legal prescription, 'can never encompass a total exception'. If so, then, 'the decision that a real exception exists cannot be derived entirely from this norm.' The problem of the exception, in other words, demarcates the limit of the rule of law and opens up that trans-legal space, that no-man's land of existential exigency, which is bereft of legal authority and where the decision of the sovereign abrogates the anomaly of the legal void. …against the legal positivism of his times, Schmitt seems to be arguing that not law but the sovereign, not the legal text but the political will, is the supreme authority in a state. States are not legal entities but historical polities; they are engaged in a constant battle for survival where any moment of their existence may constitute an exception, it may engender a political crisis that cannot be remedied by the application of the rule of law. From the existential priority of the sovereign over the legitimacy of the norm, it would also follow that according to Schmitt, law is subservient to politics and not autonomous of it. The Sovereignty of the Political Carl Schmitt and the Nemesis of Liberalism http://www.algonet.se/~pmanzoor/CarlSchmitt.htm

When the Bush administration argues that increased presidential power is needed to fight terrorism by suspending or overriding the constitutional protections against search and seizures, they are arguing the principles of Nazi constitutional law. Vice President Dick Cheney on Tuesday vigorously defended the Bush administration's use of secret domestic spying and efforts to expand presidential powers, saying "it's not an accident that we haven't been hit in four years." Talking to reporters aboard his government plane as he flew from Islamabad, Pakistan to Muscat, Oman on an overseas mission, Cheney said a contraction in the power of the presidency since the Vietnam and Watergate era must be reversed. "I believe in a strong, robust executive authority and I think that the world we live in demands it. And to some extent, that we have an obligation as the administration to pass on the offices we hold to our successors in as good of shape as we found them," he said.

http://www.breitbart.com/news/2005/12/20/D8EK28B82.htmlAgainst these ever expanding powers of the State stand the once traditional individual freedoms upheld by the Liberal Democratic State. The theologian and philosopher of the Age of Reason, Immanuel Kant wrote…Human right must be kept sacred, no matter how great the sacrifice it costs the ruling powers. One cannot go only halfway and contrive a pragmatically conditioned right….All politics, rather, must bend the knee before sacred human right…

The same idea from slightly different angle is reflected in term "Faith-based community" vs. Reality-based community ( Wikipedia )

Reality-based community is a popular term among liberal political commentators in the United States. In the fall of 2004, the phrase "proud member of the reality-based community" was first used to suggest the commentator's opinions are based more on observation than on faith, assumption, or ideology. The term has been defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from judicious study of discernible reality." Some commentators have gone as far as to suggest that there is an overarching conflict in society between the reality-based community and the "faith-based community" as a whole. It can be seen as an example of political framing.

The source of the term is a quotation in an October 17, 2004, New York Times Magazine article by writer Ron Suskind, quoting an unnamed aide to George W. Bush:

The aide said that guys like me were "in what we call the reality-based community," which he defined as people who "believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality." ... "That's not the way the world really works anymore," he continued. "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."[1]

Commentators who use this term generally oppose former President Bush's policies and by using this term imply that Bush's policies (and, by extension, those of the conservative movement generally) were (or are) out of touch with reality. Others use the term to draw a contrast with the perceived arrogance of the Bush Administration's unilateral policies, in accordance with the aide's quote. Its popularity has prompted some conservative commentators to use the term ironically, to accuse the left-leaning "reality-based community" of ignoring reality[2].

Imperial Outreach

The Republican Party — and more particularly the neo-con wing of the party — is particularly susceptible to imperial outreach. This imperial mentality is well exemplified by Fox News reporting.

For example, Matt Lewis, a conservative political Pundit on MSNBC attacked Barack Obama for saying “Any world order that elevates one nation above another will fall flat.” In response Lewis stated:

“I think that goes against the idea of American exceptionalism…most Americans believe that America was gifted by God and is a blessed nation and therefore we are better.”

For any conservative the concept of “American Exceptionalism” is rather bemusing. America is not more democratic, more free, more enterprising, more tolerant, or more anything else be it Canada, New Zealand or for that matter Australia. America is just a bigger country and due to its size, human resources and industrial potential it the leading Western country and the owner of world reserve currency, after Great Britain became financially exhausted after WWII. That means that American Exceptionalism is simply a politically correct work for a combustible mixture of nationalism (with Christian messianism component similar to Crusades with "democracy" instead Jesus) and Jingoism. In a very deep sense this is a negation of the idea "all men are created equal" and as such is anti-American ;-). The motto of Imperial America is "All animals are equal but some are more equal then other".

America is a blessed nation as everybody in the country is an immigrant, the nation that at some point of time was freer and more prosperous than many others, but as a great Nazarene once said, “The first shall be last and the last shall be first.”

Bill Moyers Journal . Watch & Listen | PBS

sample:

BILL MOYERS:

Here is one of those neon sentences. Quote,

"The pursuit of freedom, as defined in an age of consumerism, has induced a condition of dependence on imported goods, on imported oil, and on credit. The chief desire of the American people," you write, "is that nothing should disrupt their access to these goods, that oil, and that credit. The chief aim of the U.S. government is to satisfy that desire, which it does in part of through the distribution of largesse here at home, and in part through the pursuit of imperial ambitions abroad."

In other words, you're saying that our foreign policy is the result of a dependence on consumer goods and credit.

ANDREW BACEVICH:

Our foreign policy is not something simply concocted by people in Washington D.C. and imposed on us. Our foreign policy is something that is concocted in Washington D.C., but it reflects the perceptions of our political elite about what we want, we the people want. And what we want, by and large - I mean, one could point to many individual exceptions - but, what we want, by and large is, we want this continuing flow of very cheap consumer goods.

We want to be able to pump gas into our cars regardless of how big they may happen to be, in order to be able to drive wherever we want to be able to drive. And we want to be able to do these things without having to think about whether or not the book's balanced at the end of the month, or the end of the fiscal year. And therefore, we want this unending line of credit.

Anti-Americanism as blowback of American exceptionalism

Quite logically the imperial actions is a source of widespread Anti-Americanism. As Ian Tyrrell noted in What is American exceptionalism

It is also important to realize that there is a “negative” version of exceptionalism, i.e. that the US has been exceptionally bad, racist, violent. While this is less a part of the common myths about American history, the attempt to compensate for American exceptionalism by emphasizing unique American evils is equally distorting. We need to think more about this matter, especially when we deal with racial divisions and gender prejudice. Is the US experience a variant on wider racial and gender patterns? While social history has provided new perspectives on the role of women, African Americans, and ethnics in the making of American history, has that new history discredited or qualified ideas of American exceptionalism?

The actual term “American exceptionalism” was originally coined by German Marxists who wished to explain why the US seemed to have by-passed the rise of socialism and Marxism. (Actually the US had much class conflict, some Marxist parties and theorists, and a lively socialist movement, though the latter was not on the scale of, say, France and Germany.) But exceptionalism is much more than about class conflict.

Some historians prefer the terms “differences” or “uniqueness?” Are these suitable substitutes? Whatever the terminology, the implications of American difference/uniqueness have long been debated. Some have said the difference was temporary, and eventually the US would be like other countries. Others have argued that American “specialness” stems from its political, intellectual,


Export of democracy: neocolonial expansion via color revolutions

The hypocrite's crime is that he bears false witness against himself. What makes it so plausible to assume that hypocrisy is the vice of vices is that integrity can indeed exist under the cover of all other vices except this one. Only crime and the criminal, it is true, confront us with the perplexity of radical evil; but only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core.

~Hannah Arendt, On Revolution, 1963

Color revolution is the technology of changing the government, in the interest of particular country using as a pretext "export of democracy" or "fight with corruption". Such operations as mixture of open ("surface") actions and covert actions centered around the US embassy under the smoke screen cover of fighting for democracy, against corruption and other populist slogans.

In is important to understand that underneath "surface" actions of color revolution there is a well financed and strongly supported by State Detartment and the power of the USA three letter agencies covert military operation of "regime change". This operation involves local neoliberal fifth column, CIA, US embassy (and other Western embassies), set of pro-Western NGO, neoliberal press both inside the country and outside the country ("air support"), embassy cash for protestors delivered via diplomatic mail ("bombing country with dollars") and several similar technologies.

The technology of color revolutions was first developed by the USA in early 80th and first used in Phillipines(Colour revolution - Wikipedia). But events in Iran in 1953 also has distinct flavor of color revolution, so the technology is probably much older (The Coup 1953, The CIA, and The Roots of Modern U.S.-Iranian Relations )

One is struck with the healthy and vibrant Iranian democracy which existed before the coup. The nationalization of the oil industry was the result of a long democratic process -- not all Iranian politicians supported nationalization -- and was the result of legislative and congressional (in pre-coup Iran, called Mejlis) debates and discussions. One is struck with the futility and similarity -- then as in now -- of commercial and economic sanctions the Western powers imposed on the country short of actual intervention. One is also struck with the naked exercise of Western Imperialism by BP, the UK, and the US when all other non-invasive methods failed. To be clear nationalization was driven by the long history of officially- sanctioned business abuses and corrupt business practices of BP. Abrahamian goes into great, painstaking detail of these corrupt business practices and of how and in what manner BP systematically shortchanged the Iranian government of royalties due while the concessions were in effect while at the same time exploiting its natural resources.

It has nothing to do with peaceful change of power. In reality this is a new type of warfare, a covert operation with the active, cash-based financing ("bombing country with dollars ( delivered via diplomatic mail or other covert channels) " on neoliberal fifth column within the country (and such fifth column conveniently concentrates in the capital); bribing or intimidating politicians, government officials, key intellectuals , extensive PR-cover and direct participation of all staff of embassy (or several embassies like was the case with EuroMaidan), simultaneous highly coordinated work of three letter agencies, US embassy, set of NGOs, press, fifth column and squads of armed militants.

Great penetration up to dominance in local press is a very important, distinushing feature of color revolutions as a regime change operation. It is usually prepared in advance. It's role is very similar to air superiority in modern wars. It is presence of controlled media that allow to demoralize the government and neutralize power block (especially police and intelligence agencies) of the county.

Again, in its essence, color revolution represent a new military technology used by a powerful country (or a group of such countries). Typically the goal is to install a neoliberal regime. This is a new weapon of USA government and its development was a kind of new, neoliberal Manhattan project.

The concept was developer in early 80th and first successfully implemented in 80th People Power Revolution in Philippines and then in famous 1989 Velvet Revolution. They were also instrumental in the dissolution of the USSR (especially in separation of Baltic states and Ukraine from Russia)

The key idea of color revolution is far from new. It is essentially replicated and adapted to new conditions of neoliberal expansion the Trotskyites idea of permanent revolution. They just replaced the idea of "victory of communism" with the "victory of democracy" as the shining beacon that leads lemmings to the cliff. But generally there is one-to-one correspondence in strategy and tactic -- the same efforts for recruitment of students and unemployed of semi-employed youth (recently in EuroMaidan including especially football fanatics). The same idea of bribing part of intelligencia, expanded to part of government, military and politicians. Especially those who already have experience in clashes with police (in modern conditions the most important of such groups are far right nationalists and football ultras). In other words creating the canon fodder of color revolution.

It is "non-direct", highly disguised, but no less very effective form of aggression against sovereign states, which combine a huge injection of cash ("bombing country with dollars"), mass disinformation campaigns, cyber-measures, the use of special forces, sometimes disguised as local partisans, mobilization of local fifth column, intimidation of opponents through displays of strength and usage of ultra-right groups, pressure from Western government on legitimate government to avoid using direct means of suppressing the protest and other forms of intimidation including economic coercion. Sound familiar? Yes this is what Serbian revolution, Georgian revolution, Ukrainian Orange revolution and EuroMaidan were about to name just a few.

Among methods and technologies used in color revolutions the following should be noted and as you will see, reached a level certain perfection:

A very good summary of essential elements of color revolution was given in the post by Stephen Karganović Analogie mezi Jugoslávií a Ukrajinou (Russian translation is available at Сходство между Югославией и Украиной ИноСМИ - Все, что достойно перевода). Slightly edited Google translation follows:

The analogy between Yugoslavia and the Ukraine by Stephen Karganović

February 15, 2015 | Czech Free Press
Russian experts analyzed in detail the similarities in the methods and strategies used by the western coalition in connection with the Ukrainian crisis that has spawned and has exacerbated into brutal civil war. The same actors used those strategies developed in the 90's create the fertile soil for a brutal civil war which resulted in the destruction of the former Yugoslavia, are The reasons for such in-depth research are legion. First of all, if your not very imaginative or too arrogant enemy repeatedly acts according to the same template, knowing it provides you with a significant strategic advantage. It allows you to some extent to predict his actions and propose effective countermeasures.

Although chutzpa of western strategists undoubtedly allow to counter their schemes more effectively, however, it is very important carefully analyze the key similarities and differences in two different situation so that you are not fighting the last war. Here are key elements of the color revolution template:

  1. The ethnic and religious fragmentation. The starting point of any color revolution is Identification of the usable social tensions and their systematic aggravation so that that at the end they can serve as a detonator of the planned crisis. This means mutual divide constitutive of the community, with an emphasis on what sets them apart, and at the same time reducing the weight of what they have in common.

    In Yugoslavia this strategy began be carried out long before the visible signs of the crisis, forming of new ethnic identities (Muslim, Montenegrin and Macedonian) was financed and supported as well as separatist aspirations were systematically encouragement and refined in the context of the existing ones (especially among the Croats and Slovenians). The Ukrainian identity is also an artificial construction, which is defined not positively, but primarily in a hate of all Russians, as a militant negation of all Russian culture and language. In Ukraine, as before, in Yugoslavia, existing religious cleft between the Catholics and the Orthodox part of the country was also successfully used to increase, deepen and sharpen the existing animosity.

  2. Deceptive by promise higher standard of living and creation of various material temptations to support the politically desired behavior.

    In the former Yugoslavia, where there was by the end of the 80. years of a decent standard of living, has been used in the prospects for an even better life, which would have followed the dissolution of the socialist state, as a bait to encourage separatist tendencies. Yugoslavia Catholic west was promised to increase the well-being to the level of Germany, when they decide to separate and commit to the "civilizational choice" (nearly identical phrase was used in the context of Ukraine) in favor of the integration with EU. Muslims in Bosnia and in Kosovo were promised great benefit from close connection to the rich Islamic countries. In Ukraine the EuroMaidan events were triggered by the illusion of rapid inclusion into the European union as associated ability to travel to the Western countries without visa and dramatic raise of standard of living.

    The majority of the population in western and central Ukraine, who have responded positively to these fake prospects of improving their standard of living and totally failed to realize gravity of the real economic and social transition, and more importantly, didn't realize the existence of the strong "no new members" trend in the EU. As a result they were forced to act on the basis of completely unfounded assumptions.

  3. Control of MSM in the target countries for the purpose of influencing the perception and behavior of the masses.

    The penetration of western influences in the media space in the former Yugoslavia, the pioneer of which was Soros, started immediately as soon as the political liberalization at the end of the 80th allow it. From the early 90's. years, when the conflict was the feeded mainly from abroad and did not yet became self sustained, a big part of the local media in all of the Yugoslav republics fall under the direct control of the western owners. A similar transfer of MSM into western hands occurred in Ukraine during the last two decades, where before EuroMaidan all the major MSM including TV channels were under the firm control of the controlled by the west oligarchs such as Poroshenko and kolomyski. all of them simultaneously Promoted the almost uniform and factually incorrect narrative about the benefits that would come from a political alliance EU and NATO and the EU, and total alienation from Russia.

  4. As in Ukraine, as in Yugoslavia, there was a certain core of the population, which proved to be resistant to brainwashing and continues to hold its own narrative. It was politically marginalized.

    While those people Radically reject these false ideas, which were designed to guarantee the acceptance of the new political arrangement under the iron heel of the West. In Ukraine, it was the Russian speaking east, in Yugoslavia the Serbs.

    The rejection of these groups to accept peacefully the loss of their own cultural identity and political autonomy has led in both cases to conflicts. A clear answer is required whether the armed conflict (although he was in principle predictable) also the preplanned and intended consequence of the processes that have been put into operation.

    In the case of Ukraine we can be reasonably doubtful, because of the apparent intention of the new Kiev junta after regime change was to include the country to NATO and the EU under the guidance of a vassal government in Kiev and this goal does not include the political disintegration of the country. EU wanted to eat the whole peace, as a single country.

    In the case of Yugoslavia, it can be argued that the conflict leading in the Serbian military defeat was clearly part of the plan. It is possible, however, that was originally expected that the campaign will be much faster and more successful. As it turned out, by the fact that the instigators of the Yugoslav crisis reviews are written by free rein to their Croatian and Muslim protecting, perhaps inadvertently, created a clear existential threat to the Serbs, who were scattered throughout the territory of the former Yugoslavia, which greatly cemented their resistance and prolong the conflict longer than originally expected.

    In addition, it could lead to further unintentional result: a serious challenge to the Yeltsin's alliance with the West (although Russia played a role of Western vassal in this case). It has come to a critical stage in the time of the Kosovo war. The result was the rise of Putin and his political vision as a response to the war.

    Whether it was the original intention of the Ukraine anything (was probably only about the direction of cultural fragmentation while maintaining the overall political integrity of the country, albeit with a much more reliable western component, which would put to the untrusted east of the country into submission), it seems that failed as soon as it was when Kiev junta used brute force. As pointed out by informed analysts, power compromise between Kiev and Russian speaking east, which was possible two or three months ago [the article was written in September 2014, nb], is no longer possible because of the suffering and destruction Kiev junta has caused. The situation is evolving rapidly, while the regions that are culturally focused mainly on Russia, more and more refuse to have anything to do with Kiev, irrespective of the details of the proposed arrangement, if any. In this sense, today in Ukraine are getting a strong analogy with the spirit of the resistance, which was typical for Bosnian and Croatian Serbs during the Yugoslav conflict.

    One can imagine that if the West backed junta in both of the cases from the beginning took a more subtle and a more flexible attitude towards the Serbian and the Russian population, whose political role they want to diminish, it could proceed much more effectively, and might even prevent the radicalization of the opposition. And could it be truly successful, because in both cases, it was junta not the rebels, who, at least initially, intend to resort to violence.

  5. The west uses the most despicable social strata and dirty methods to achieve their goals. there are a number of documents that can shed light on the diabolic pact of the West with Iran (Iran-Contra) and other usage of more or less fundamentalist Islamic actors in order to strengthen the local Muslim forces in Bosnia, which was in line with the interests of NATO and the EU and the fight for control of the whole country.

    The participation of certain elements of the European far right in the war on the side of the right-center regime in Croatia was encouraged. A similar pattern can be observed in the Middle east, where the radical Islamic faction become a means to undermine the secular regimes, which were regarded as hostile to the West.

    In Ukraine there was a contract with the devil clearly included some of the most egregious of the local fascist forces, literally remnants and direct ascendants of forces that collaborated with Nazi during WW2. Their task was to provide a storm troopers for seizing power, and stage the coup d'état after which the West supported oligarchs and politicians in Kiev took power consolidate pro western neoliberal government. It seems that in both in Yugoslavian the Ukrainian case the key idea was :

    "Now we are going to use them for the removal of our main opponent and them we will deal with neofascists later."

    The probability that monsters which the West created at some point can refuse to obey their Western masters, was not taken into consideration. The post-war spread of radical Islam in Bosnia, where it previously never existed, and the consolidation of a strong fascist groundswell in Croatia is enough proof of this effect. In terms of the Nazi-inspired movements and armed formations in Ukraine, it seems that there is no clear plan as for how to bring them back to obedience once a conflict is over and they, presumably, outlived their usefullness for the west.

    Those tools, which the West amorally used to achieve their objectives, sow the Dragon teeth of the long-term instability as there is a distinct tendency of such forces to get out of control of their creators and even turn against them as happened with radical Wahhabism Islam.

    For Russia, the Ukraine is a serious problems, as those Dragon teeth, which was sown opportunistically by West as a tool for interference , will bear bitter fruits. Undoubtedly, they will prevent integration of Ukraine into the "Russian world", even if we limit to most basic cooperation as understood by the current Russian politicians. In other words Ukraine lost all Russian market.

  6. Covert support of Western puppets, while publicly proclaiming the policy of non-interference, which in practice is demanded only from other parties.

    Another important similarity lies in the fact that in the case of both the crisis of the West has initiated an embargo on the importation of weapons and logistical support to the conflicting parties, but on a regular basis is skirted in favor of their local clients. Rich evidentiary material, which was accumulated after the end of the 90. years, leaves no doubt about the fact that the Bosnian Muslim and Croatian forces in Yugoslavia were supplied by the west with a huge amount of weapons and large amount of training.

    Russia is the target of the process of demonization for not only the military, but even humanitarian aid to rebel regions in Ukraine. Western patrons insist on an almost unlimited right to support their clients, as in Belgrade in the 90's years, and Moscow now have similar privileges denied. Their insistence on a "level playing field" - the cliché which was often used at the time of the Bosnian conflict, turned out not to be what was in fact: it was the naked hypocrisy.

  7. A significant difference: Moscow has a clearly defined political objectives. You could say that one of the main reasons for the failure of the Serbian resistance in Croatia and only partial success in Bosnia was the lack of a clear political vision of both in their own ranks, and in Belgrade, which supported them.

    The Russian analysis of this experience has played an important role in ensuring that Moscow and its allies try to avoid to get into the swamp of the civil war without a clear definition of their goals and means to achieve them. No doubt that president , Putin does not want to imitate Slobodan Milosevic, who delivered a brilliant television speech, which contained a crucial insight about the machinations of his western opponents, but his timing couldn't be worse - it was delivered a few days before his overthrow.

It seems that the Balkan events led to a more sobering view on the USE and a lot of self-reflection of Russian politicians, and that has double effect. First of all, the Kosovo war and the bombing of Yugoslavia at the end of the 90. years clearly give rise to substantial upheaval that has contributed to the change of Russian leadership. As a result Vladimir Putin became Russian president and his vision now if dominant. However, the negative consequences of the tortuous policy of encouraging their protégés in Bosnia and Croatia, followed by Milosevic, have been for the Russians another huge lesson. This lies in the fact that if someone does not have a wider strategic vision and the ability to put it place, it is better to avoid such a risky and complex entanglements.

Source: vineyardsaker.blogspot.cz, translation: Charles Hyka

Taken from the www.kosovoonline.cz

Trotskyite theory of the Permanent Revolution in a new skin

The origin of the concept is Trotskyite theory of the Permanent Revolution adapted by neoliberal establishment to serve the spread of neoliberalism under disguise of spread of "democracy" instead of communism. "Domocracy" and "fight with corruption" are just smoke screens used to intelligence operation of regime change. Much like Bolsheviks attempts (not very successful) to stage socialist revolutions in Eastern Europe in 20th. Such an irony of history. Comrade Trotsky probably rolls in his grave ;-). Below is Trotsky quote:

The Bolsheviks were also implementing a new strategy – "Revolution from abroad" (Revolutsiya izvne, literally "revolution from the outside"); based around the assumption that revolutionary masses desire revolution but are unable to carry it out without help from more organized and advanced Bolsheviks.

Hence, as Leon Trotsky remarked, the revolution should be "brought on bayonets" (of the Red Army), as "through Kiev leads the straight route for uniting with Austro-Hungarian revolution, just as through Pskov and Vilnius goes the way for uniting with German revolution.

Offensive on all fronts! Offensive on the west front, offensive on the south front, offensive on the all revolutionary fronts!". The concept was developed in 1918, but officially published under such name first in 1920 (Wojennaja Mysl i Riewolucija, 3/1920, Mikhail Tukhachevsky.[3]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_westward_offensive_of_1918%E2%80%9319

While the second word in the term "color revolution" is "revolution", in fact this is a complex, multilayer intelligence operation, an externally organized and financed coup d'état.

The key features are:

The net result in case of success is friendly to the West neoliberal regime in which comprador elite that is allied with transactional corporation and exists to put their share of profits into Western banks put in power. Economic rape of the country goes in full swing with assets sold of pennies on a dollar ("disaster capitalism"). Look for example at Yeltsin and Gaidar, or, more recently, Yatsenyuk and Turchinov in Ukraine. Actually EuroMaidan can teach us a lot of valuable lessons about how color revolution is organized, financed and pushed toward victory by State Department and the US embassy.

As EuroMaidan had shown important part of this fifth column are University professors and deans of economics and several other University departments. This category of people has natural neoliberal leaning (especially in Economics departments) and as such they are easy and cheap to corrupt by grants, foreign trips, etc. In case of EuroMaidan it was they who, if not asked students to go to the street, at least encourages them by granted them "amnesty" from missing the classes. And they operated within the larger framework of staging color revolution, being just one element. The same was true in Hong Cong.

The start of color revolution means just a switch to active stage of of multifaceted intelligence operation using the US cash and assets in the country such as NGO, neoliberal journalists, corrupt officials within the government, law enforcement, etc. this is the part of the iceberg that is prepared for several years with street protest being just a tip of the iceberg, signifying switch to an active stage of coup d'état and start of active dispensing of cash to "protesters".

Those extras that show up on the streets just create a stage for public consumption. Real events of infiltration that make color revolutin possible happen on higher level and are hidden from the view. The goal is always to paralyze and neutralize both government and law enforcement by finding people who can be bought, coerced into supporting the coup d'état. And without "successes" in this direction the street protesters will never appear on the streets.

Their appearance probably always means that Nuland and her colleagues from Department of State made serious progress in creating the "color revolution infrastructure" and fifth column with the county elite. They probably are now keeping of short leash some corrupt officials both in law enforcement and government. Cash is now dispensed continuously as "the show must go on", independently of the level of enthusiasm of "protesters". In Kiev reported payments were $30 a night (200-300 hrivna). Of source some radical nationalist elements participated "for free" but a lot of extras were paid.

In other word the key precondition of color revolution is readiness of fifth column within the government to topple the current government. In case of Ukraine it was Lyovochkin and his people from Party of Regions, as well as elements within SBU and police (remnants from Yutchenko government) with strong nationalistic leanings. Also Nuland kept Yanukovich by the balls be threatening to confiscate his foreign assets.

So color revolution always has important "elite betrayal" component and that's why action of the government in suppressing protests are usually contradictory and inefficient.

While figures like Yatsenyuk and Turchinov are typical compradors, they still represent a pretty curious mixture of neoliberals (and that, by definition, means stooges of the USA) with ethnic nationalists. Such a perfect example of Doublethink (not to mix it with Doublespeak).

Doublethink is ... simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct, often in distinct social contexts.[1] Doublethink is related to, but differs from, hypocrisy and neutrality. Somewhat related but almost the opposite is cognitive dissonance, where contradictory beliefs cause conflict in one's mind. Doublethink is notable due to a lack of cognitive dissonance — thus the person is completely unaware of any conflict or contradiction.

And such caricature figures of nationalists who somehow manage to be simultaneously the USA stooges and did not jump from the fifth or higher floor with the cry "Russians are coming" because of incompatibility of those notions, are pretty typical (Yatsenyuk who enhanced his university education by selling used cars full time is an interesting variation on Joe Biden theme and is completely unable to keep his tongue in the month; Turchinov is a unique mixture of former Komsomol boss responsible for Ideology, and, drums, Evangelical Pastor, and, drums, ethnic nationalist).

Nevertheless with strong US push they managed to unleash the forces of radical, far right Ukrainian nationalism and of bayonets of storm troupers of Western Ukrainian nationalistic military formations (Right Sector) to seize the power, deposing Yanukovich. Bribing of key figures in Yanukovich entourage ( especially important was Lyovochkin) which reminds bringing key figures of Iraq regime before capturing Baghdad, pressure and possibly threat of losing actives in Western banks for some oligarchs (Kolomoysky and Poroshenko) as well as corruption of Yanukovich who probably was equally afraid to lose stolen from Ukrainian people money in Western banks and to lose power also played a role.

That means that Ukrainian EuroMaidan has features of classic color revolution (support or Western MSM, role of NGO, finance flows, etc) and, simultaneously, a national-socialist revolution like Hitler coming to power in Germany (radical right as the core of the protest, xenophobia, anti-Semitism replaced by Russophobia, "Ukraine uber alles" mentality (aka Ukrainian exceptionalism ;-), etc). With those two elements co-existing and supporting each other. People who thought that (at least tactical, temporary) alliance of neoliberals and neofascists is impossible due to globalist character of neoliberalism should think again.

In a way dissolution of the USSR can be considered the first "modern" color revolution. As Anatol Lieven noted

"As I wrote in a previous book on the reasons for Russia's defeat in Chechnya between 1994 and 1996, there was a real attempt by America in the 1990s, with tremendous help from the Russian elites themselves, to turn Russia into a kind of comprador state, whose elites would be subservient to America in foreign policy and would exist to export raw materials to the West and transfer money to Western bank accounts."

The word "color" in the term is connected with one of the pretty superficial (but still historically consistent) feature of these revolutions -- the symbol of such a revolution often became a particular (probably assigned by NED ;-) color. For example, Ukrainian coup d'état of in 2004 that brought to power Victor Yushchenko is called the Orange Revolution. The "Russian color revolution" of 2011-2012 attempted before election of Putin the selected color is white, so it is often called "white revolution of 2011-2012".

Color revolutions are especially efficient instrument in "cleft countries". That includes former Western colonies were borders which were purposely made to comprise diverse ethnic and cultural groups to weaken the newly formed country (Iraq, Syria, Libya) as well as xUSSR countries with large Russian population (borders of which were created by Bolsheviks with the purpose to "dilute" part of the country that might represent a threat to their rule)

The theory of color revolutions borrows heavily from Marxist playbook, especially from writing of Trotsky. Essentially it is a plagiarism of Trotsky "permanent revolution" with neoliberalism instead of Marxism as an ideology and driving force. In this respect, in Marxist tradition, we can talk about several pre-conditions of "revolutionary situation" -- condition in the society in which color revolution became feasible, and which can be created both as result of internal development as well as external pressure or economic shock. There are several pre-conditions for success of a color revolution:

The USA possesses tremendous technological power as well as ideological advantage and due to this is critical force of promoting neoliberalism in the world. And it was and still is the dominant ideology within the USA since Reagan years by-and-large displacing Christianity as an official regulation.

Neoliberalism since 1980 defeated and displaced Marxism as dominant globalist ideology. In essence a color revolution is a scheme of using transnational actors within a given society as an active force to implement the US foreign policy objectives and install a new polyarchy regime ( the "regime change" component). It was first laid by Joseph Nye’s as the idea of "soft power" which called for harnessing the US's tremendous reserve of intangible resources such as culture, ideology and institutions for preserving world dominance as well as power of transnational corporations.

All in all color revolution demonstrate tremendous power and flexibility of the US foreign policy and its ability to adapt to new situation while vigorously pursuing the established goals. But the real question whether it corresponds to the US national interests. In essence the US destroyed the very concept of an open society but introduction corruption using foreign funds in the process.

They also put on the opposition label "made by CIA", which does not help. In is not accidental that that in Russia the recipients of foreign grants are now commonly called "grant eaters" and forces that support globalism (iether in the form of Euro centrism, or other) and the US foreign policy have a derogatory nickname Liberasts.

There is distinct need to have a strategy of counting such a color revolution , It is very difficult to respond to unconventional war. And first of all, you must understand that there is a war. It will not go anywhere and will not dissipate until regime change is achieved. And, as in any war, you can lose or win. In order to increase your chances of winning, it is necessary to understand the nature of the opposing problem and first of all incredible aggressiveness and ruthlessness of sponsors of such events. So the politics of appeasement which Yanukovich and Kaddafi tried, does not work.

Installing a new polyarchy regime under the smoke screen of "democratization"

The mechanic of staging of what is now called “Color revolutions” is a classic mechanics of destabilizing government and bringing to the power a minority elite groups with strong Western connections. In former USSR space those elite groups were sometimes (Baltic countries, Ukraine) former Nazi collaborationists. The key idea is the install a new polyarchy regime ( the "regime change" component )

After such a revolution a new, more pro-Western part of the elite comes to power and exercise often brutal monopoly power in the interests of the USA and transnational corporations. Typically privatization of the county is in the cards. Which regimes of Boris Yeltsin, Viktor Yushchenko and Mikheil Saakashvili demonstrated all too well. Also important that as 1965 CIA report about Philippines stresses that "The similarity of the parties, nevertheless encourages moderation, readiness to compromise, and lack of dogmatism in the political elite". Philippines were a key client regime in 1950th and 1960th with Clark Air Base and Subtic Naval Base to be the largest military facilities outside US mainland (Promoting polyarchy globalization ... - William I. Robinson (p. 120)). Here is one Amazon review of the book:

Brilliant exposition of US policy and the global order June 12, 2001

By Geoff Johnson

In this difficult but extremely provocative and scholarly work, William I. Robinson presents a new model for understanding US foreign policy and the emergent global society as a whole. The crux of his thesis is this: US foreign policy has changed in the last twenty years or so from open support of authoritian regimes in countries where the US has economic and/or strategic interests to a program of "democracy promotion" that strives to place minority elite groups who are responsive to the interests of the United States and transnational capital at the head of the political, economic, and civic structures of "third world" countries.

Contrary to popular opinion (and that of much of academia), the real goal of democracy promotion, or what Robinson refers to as "promoting polyarchy", is not the promotion of democracy at all, but rather the promotion of the interests of an increasingly transnational elite headed by the US who seek open markets for goods and an increase in the free flow of capital. This marks a conscious shift in foreign policy in which the US now favors "consensual domination" by democratically elected governments rather than authoritarian leaders and the type of "crony capitalism" made famous by the likes of Ferdinand Marcos and Anastacio Somoza.

The first sections of the book introduce numerous theoretical concepts (drawing heavily on the theories of the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci, in particular his theory of hegemony) that are crucial to the understanding of the text. I personally found these sections extremely difficult but well worth the time it takes to read certain parts several times. Robinson then goes on to document four case studies-- the Phillipines, Chile, Nicaragua, and Haiti-- each of which fleshes out his conceptual framework in much more concrete terms. The result is a disturbing picture of US foreign policy and the current direction of "globalization." I would highly recommend this to anyone with a strong interest in foreign affairs and/or the future of humanity.

Disaster capitalism game plan in action

Implementation of color revolution follows "disaster capitalism" game plan, as it involves using some kind of crisis like close elections in the situation of economic difficulties or decline of standard of living of population (double whammy). In this situation the standard move from the playbook of color revolution is to declare that he/she won, and that elections were stolen and call for heavy propaganda bombardment by already entrenched in the political system of the country NGOs. And you can do a lot if you inject one billon dollars into a country election process via NGOs. It is essentially converting any election system into the US election system where candidate with the most money wins.

Such an approach of making already "warm" situation "hot" reminds Marxism as Marx considered a presence of a deep economic crisis as one of the most important preconditions for the revolution (Roche,2010)

Commercial Crises

After setting up this precondition, which he believes had been met by 1848, Marx turns to a lengthy discussion of commercial crises. According to Marx, “In these crises a great part not only of the existing products, but also of the previously created productive forces, are periodically destroyed. In these crises there breaks out…the epidemic of over-production.”12 Effectively, the bourgeois economy produces more than it is able to consume and thereby falls into chaos and disarray. Arguably, World War I could have been considered a commercial crisis and some Bolsheviks argued that it was the final crisis of capitalism.13 However, Western and Central Europe emerged from the crisis without falling into communism and began a recovery that even the Bolsheviks recognized.14

Those real difficulties are used as a fuse to incite people anger and direct it at the "corrupt" government (which is often really inapt and corrupt, but typically a saint in comparison with the next government installed by foreign power after the color revolution).

The idea is to enhance the flames of people protest to the level when it destroys the current government of the country. And then get serious economic and political dividends by installing a puppet government. Color revolutions are extremely profitable for the sponsoring foreign power. Much more so then a direct invasion. Actually with any government the country in such a situation has no negotiating power as the society is encompassed in economic chaos, or, worse, in a civil war.

There is one exception here -- a small state that is designated as a carrier of the US interests in the region. In this case the consequences can be less bleak. Georgia is one example here. Actually there was some economic progress in Georgia after installation of puppet regime of Mikheil Saakashvili

From this point of view it can be called a variation of "divide and conquer" policy. The latter is leitmotif of in The Grand Chessboard by Zbigniew Brzezinski. The book famous for predicting 9/11 events. Here is quote from Amazon review by R. D. Smith:

Three things in this book made my blood run ice cold. The first is the complete absence of any sense of morality in the whole discussion. I do not mean that this is an *im*moral book, it is not a moral book, it is *a*moral in that there is literally no discussion whatsoever whether what is being proposed is RIGHT or should be done. That the recommendations to grow the American Empire are valid is simply assumed, not proven or even argued. The second thing was the whole discussion on how the political center of mass was Central Eurasia (i.e. the region between Turkey and Pakistan and between Iran and Turkmenistan) and how unlikely it was that we were going to be able to have a substantial presence in the region (in the near term) unless we have SOME PERL HARBOR CLASS EVENT to accelerate the populations willingness to accept the costs. Also, This Was Bad because it would delay our needed expansion. Then, just on cue, we have the 9/11 attacks, and dang if we don't end up with a Whole Bunch of military presence all throughout the heart of Eurasia... Coincidence? Makes one wonder. As if that is not enough, the book closes with a clear and unambiguous reference to the steps needed to get us to the One World Government of the New World Order.

Typically the government that replaces the current "tyrannical" and "corrupt" government is even more tyrannical and corrupt, but at this stage all those "fighters for democracy" can't care less. Like Franklin D. Roosevelt aptly: Somoza may be a son of a bitch, but he's our son of a bitch."

I would like to think about this episode in a wider context of the mechanic of staging of what can be called "Color revolutions." And if we think this way it is far from "Yawn". It is actually pretty sinister development. Color revolutions is neoliberals rehash of the playbook of communist revolutions ("Red revolutions"), but for completely different purposes. They manage to enrich the quote of Thomas Carlyle "All revolutions are conceived by idealists, implemented by fanatics, and its fruits are stolen by scoundrels." :-) . In this case it became symmetrically Machiavellian as in "...conceived by one set scoundrels, implemented by the other set of scoundrels, and its fruits are stolen by the third set of scoundrels"

The technology is now well polished and extremely powerful against any "not so pro-western" country. Especially effective in xUSSR space. As such Russia is not an exception. For it too color revolution represents a grave threat like for any other government in countries with "not enough pro-Western" policy. So I think it is unwise to underestimate its power. It already proved itself in half dozen countries. There are several films and books that document this new strategy such as

Amazon.com Bringing Down a Dictator Ivan Marovic, Srdja Popovic, Otpor!, Steve York Movies & TV

The Time of the Rebels- Youth Resistance Movements and 21st Century R…

The idea of using economic difficulties for destroying "inconvenient" regimes facing elections and overthrowing the government without overt external aggression is far from being new. Bolshevik's concept of a revolutionary situation <i>" when the lower strata does not want to live by old order and the upper strata can't maintain the old older"</i> is a century old. The new element is the method of artificially creating such a situation out of parliamentary or presidential elections. Even this is not new but can be seen as a variant of "divide and conquer" the strategy is as old as Roman Empire. Divide and rule - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In a way this is a modern, more sophisticated implementation of the old Roman "divide and conquer" imperial strategy:

The maxims divide et impera and divide ut regnes were utilised by the Roman ruler Caesar and the French emperor Napoleon. There is the example of Gabinius parting the Jewish nation into five conventions, reported by Flavius Josephus in Book I, 169-170 of The Wars of the Jews (De bello Judaico).[1] Strabo also reports in Geography, 8.7.3[2] that the Achaean League was gradually dissolved under the Roman possession of the whole of Macedonia, owing to them not dealing with the several states in the same way, but wishing to preserve some and to destroy others.

In modern times, Traiano Boccalini cites "divide et impera" in La bilancia politica, 1,136 and 2,225 as a common principle in politics. The use of this technique is meant to empower the sovereign to control subjects, populations, or factions of different interests, who collectively might be able to oppose his rule. Machiavelli identifies a similar application to military strategy, advising in Book VI of The Art of War[3] (Dell'arte della guerra),[4] that a Captain should endeavor with every art to divide the forces of the enemy, either by making him suspicious of his men in whom he trusted, or by giving him cause that he has to separate his forces, and, because of this, become weaker.

Elements of this technique involve:

I see the following key ingredients of "color revolutions" in action in Russian elections:

  1. The whole process is always staged around election fraud (the best conditions are if two opposing candidates get around 50% of votes, or governing party get close to 50% of votes, but can be used with different percentages as well). It works in two main phases:
    1. Attempt of de-legitimating of elections and forcing a new elections that supposal should rectify falsifications of the previous one. Gorbachov's "two cents" about the necessity of new elections are pretty telling move in this respect if we are talking about Russia. Old fox knows how best to serve his masters.
    2. Parallel de-legitimatization of existing government candidates via charge of election fraud and subsequent overthrow of the weakened opponent "by peaceful means" via second round of elections. Here is one Amazon comment from The Time of the Rebels- Youth Resistance Movements and 21st Century R…

      I regularly screen Bringing Down a Dictator in my courses at Swarthmore College. This film does an excellent job of introducing students to the fundamentals of nonviolent power. Students come to understand that authoritarian regimes, while formidable, are often more fragile than we imagine. Milosevic's regime, like others, relied on a mixture of apathy, fear, and cynicism that the students of Otpor fought to dispel through humor, appeals to nationalism, and tireless public outreach. Like any large institution, Milosevic's regime depended on the loyalty of its functionaries (such as the police) and at least a veneer of public credibility. Otpor students carefully undermined both through its broad grassroots organizing, popular nonviolent resistance, and by awakening a multi-party political opposition.

  2. The government in oligarchic republics like Russia always has a degree of distrust from people as it is well known that it is corrupted. Also due to neoliberal brainwashing expectation of considerable part of urban population which wants to enjoy Western standard of life are completely unrealistic. That why classic in "color revolutions" moment for challenging "power that be" is when the election results in the election of the incumbent president or preserve the ruling party majority. A very plausible claim that "old guard does not want to turn over the power voluntarily" and resorts to fraud to maintain status quo is used. It is attractive to considerable percentage of population in all xUSSR space. And often is true. But even if false can destabilize situation to the extent that new possibilities are opened for the initiators of this process. Also so previous supporters of the "old regime" might jump the ship (remember that their accounts and often families are at the West) or at least bet of both horses. Economic difficulties in addition to elections make a perfect combination. In this respect Putin's decision to be the candidate for the next president of Russia probably did served as a fuel in this particular episode. Because this does smell with the CPSU. In this respect dual party system is much more advanced and much more suitable for the oligarchic republic (and architects can rely on rich, century old USA experience).

  3. The starting point is always the immediate and coordinated campaign of forceful denunciation of "mass falsifications" no matter what actually happened at the elections. Statements of influential figures (like Hillary Clinton's recent statement), etc in support of the claims about mass falsifications. This is followed by creating of "artificial reality" around this claim via well coordinated press campaign with the direct and prominent support of major Western MSM. Direct forgery of video and other documents can be used pretty successfully. Medvedev understands this but the real question is does he has the political will to prosecute perpetrators ? Use of "nonpartisan exit polls" as a pressure cooker for questioning the results. Falsifications and exaggeration of ballot fraud, especially "ballot staffing" via selectively interpreted exit pool data. Here is important to achieve some level of demoralization of authorizes to avoid prosecution of people involved or the whole scheme will fall like a house of cards. The Teflon cover of "fighters for democracy" is used to prevent prosecution. Same trick as with Khodorkovsky. In the latter case it did not work. We will see in this case.

    See http://lass.calumet.purdue.edu/cca/gmj/sp07/graduate/gmj-sp07-grad-venger.htm

  4. Cutting the space for maneuvering of existing government by stressing that this not a direct interference into country affairs, but just support of democratic forces. As long as democracy is the "sacred cow" and Western democracy is the only legitimate form/model to which you need to progress from the current "wild", unlawful, criminal and authoritarian state of total darkness, the Western powers are by definition the arbiters of this progress. There is no defense from this claim in you have foreign observers on the ground. This way the current government itself betray its own legitimacy by delegating it to foreign powers, who can abuse their role at will for benign or not so benign motives: without leaving hotel, the western elections observers will state about mass violation during elections, playing the role of the Trojan horse of the "color revolution". The government is caught is zugzwang as foreign observers are by definition the arbiters of the legitimacy of elections. Any move makes the situation worse.

  5. Systematic, long term attempts to build and maintain student/youth based and heavily financed (60% in case of Ukraine) fifth column of "professional protesters", the move that actually mirrors Bolshevik's reliance on "professional revolutionaries". Students are the most suitable target as they are more easily brainwashed, are excitable, often dream about emigration to Western countries, always need money. Perfect "canon fodder" of the "color revolutions". Creation of set of martyrs "for the just cause of democracy and freedom", especially among young journalists who were arrested during protests and, even better, mistreated, is a part of this tactic. As emigration is considered as desirable future by considerable percent of young people, we have a pool from which it is easy to recruit fighters for the "democratic future" of the nation with the hope that after reaching critical mass the process become self-sustainable. And often it is. Also after being arrested and/or expelled from the university those people have nowhere to go but to became "professional color revolutionaries". Some of then are pretty talented and can do a lot of damage. This was pre-emptive creation of a well-organized "anti-fraud front" tremendously helps to create legitimacy problem for the government as initiative is instantly lost to government opponents. The government is too bureaucratized, unprepared and is taken by surprise the strength of the response. They try to convince that election process was completely legitimate people who does not want to be convinced and just laugh at their efforts. As in any revolution loss of initiative is half of the defeat: the "democratizers" have plan, have hard currency, have hopes about their future in the West and the will to achieve their goals. In Ukraine the "anti-fraud" front has worked under the succinct slogan Pora— "It's Time" ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orange_Revolution#Involvement_of_outside_forces )

    Activists in each of these movements were funded and trained in tactics of political organization and nonviolent resistance by a coalition of Western pollsters and professional consultants funded by a range of Western government and non-government agencies. According to The Guardian, these include the U.S. State Department and US AID along with the National Democratic Institute, the International Republican Institute, NGO Freedom House and billionaire George Soros's Open Society Institute. The National Endowment for Democracy, a U.S. Government funded foundation, has supported non-governmental democracy-building efforts in Ukraine since 1988. Writings on nonviolent struggle by Gene Sharp formed the strategic basis of the student campaigns.

  6. Use of press influence as the most easily hijackable "forth branch" of government to undermine the other three. If this part works for color revolution, and press turns against the government, the government is doomed. Under the cover of "freedom of the press" systematic use of all controllable media, Internet, web sites, social media, mobile communications for spreading the "truth" about mass falsifications. As Goebbels used to say

    “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

    Substitute "State" for "color revolution". Press also serves for coordination and maintaining the direction and unity of the movement. Operation "Occupation of the press" is supported by heavy use of well-financed NGO as the brain trust and coordinating center for the movement:

    Throughout the demonstrations, Ukraine's emerging Internet usage (facilitated by news sites which began to disseminate the Kuchma tapes) was an integral part of the orange revolutionary process. It has even been suggested that the Orange Revolution was the first example of an Internet-organized mass protest. [31] Analysts believe that the Internet and mobile phones allowed an alternative media to flourish that was not subject to self-censorship or overt control by President Kuchma and his allies and pro-democracy activists (such as Pora!) were able to use mobile phones and the Internet to coordinate election monitoring and mass protests.[32][33]

  7. Attempt to provoke police brutality so that "public demonstrations" against attempts by the incumbents "to hold onto power through electoral fraud" became definitely anti-government and status quo. The goal is to undermining police loyalty through carefully stage campaign about police brutality and "befriending policemen" neutralize then to allow "free hands" in undermining the current government. See Nonviolent_Struggle-50CP

  8. The use of "end justifies the means" politic at all stages. Promiscuity in building coalition and seeking allies. Anybody opposed to "brutal and dishonest current regime" is welcomes to join "antifraud front". Are ultra-nationalists now best friends of democracy? There was never such a good friends. Are communist now best friends of democracy? No question about it.

    So this is in a perverted way this is Trotsky idea of "permanent revolution" implemented on industrial scale.

Mercenaries of non-violent struggle -- creating a paid strata of protesters

The tragedy for the participants of color revolutions is that they with their hands and their sacrifice install the government that makes living conditions in the country worse for people and while providing the feast for the international corporations on the ruins of the old regime. Instead of resolving economic difficulties that were exploited to depose the current regime, economic conditions typically became worse and the prosperity of citizens suffers blow after blow. In other words the typical net result of color revolution for citizens of the particular country is quite opposite of expectation. Ukraine, Serbia and Georgia can serve of a litmus test of this statement.

It is actually pretty sinister politic trick that uses false flag of "democracy" for subduing the county in question to the international financial cartel. The main playbook was taken from Bolshevik manual, or more correctly form Trotskyites (some of prominent US Trotskyites join the US establishment before the WWII and brought "new ideas" with them).

As Marxism taught it is important to create a political party that will guide the masses in their struggle against oppressing regime. New element in this Marxist playbook used by color revolutions is that the core of such a party can consist of paid activists -- mercenaries of non-violent struggle

This huge infusion of cash (which at the end of the day is much cheaper then direct military invasion) is a new element of color revolution playbook.

Bombing the country with dollar proved to be very effective. Huge infusions of cash (often delivered illegally across the border to feed selected "dissidents") can really change the game. Again, the key idea here is to create a cadre of Mercenaries of non-violent struggle (Color Revolution Counterpunch « what's left) based on those hard currency inflows:

“In Serbia dollars have accomplished what bombs could not. After U.S.-led international sanctions were lifted with Milosevic’s ouster in 2000, the United States emerged as the largest single source of foreign direct investment. According to the U.S. embassy in Belgrade, U.S. companies have made $1 billion worth of ‘committed investments’ represented in no small part by the $580 million privatization of Nis Tobacco Factory (Phillip Morris) and a $250 million buyout of the national steel producer by U.S. Steel. Coca-Cola bought a Serbian bottled water producer in 2005 for $21 million. The list goes on.” (12)

This enlisting of paid grassroots activists to bring down socialist or economically nationalist governments in order to privatize the country state-owned assets for the benefit of U.S. corporations and investors is a new element in comparison with Bolsheviks template. There are several classes of such activists:

This mechanism of creating Fifth column includes using noble slogans invented in "think tanks" funded by Western governments, but their agendas are formulated to serve strategic Western interests.

The Social Base of Fifth Column: Compradors & lumpenelite

Role of Fifth column is very important.

A fifth column is a group of people who clandestinely undermine a larger group such as a nation from within. A fifth column can be a group of secret sympathizers of an enemy that are involved in sabotage within military defense lines, or a country's borders.[1] A key tactic of the fifth column is the secret introduction of supporters into the whole fabric of the entity under attack.[2] This clandestine infiltration is especially effective with positions concerning national policy and defense.[2] From influential positions like these, fifth-column tactics can be effectively utilized, from stoking fears through misinformation campaigns, to traditional techniques like espionage.[2]

Self-preservation efforts suggest limitation or outright prohibition of flow of money and creation of "professional protestors" cohort. This is difficult undertaking as higher standard of living in Western countries attract a lot of people for whom protest activity is just a springboard to emigration of favorable terms. Also the balance of economic power matters. For example the USA managed to stop Russia from adopting some restrictions of NGOs in 2006. See The Backlash against Democracy Assistance for some constructive steps used by various states.

In practice, of course, legal constraints are supplemented and reinforced by extra-legal sanctions, ranging from surveillance and harassment to expulsion of democracy assistance NGOs and even the killing of local partners. We gauge and describe the impact of such measures principally with reference to the experience of NED’s core institutes. Indeed, the prevalence and the range of legal and extra-legal measures are indicated by the experience of the AFL-CIO’s Solidarity Center, the NED’s labor affiliate.

“There is no region or sub-region where the Solidarity Center and its trade union partners do not encounter obstacles to implementing or improving democratic principles,” it reports. The Solidarity Center cites impediments ranging

Nor are U.S.-based democracy assistance groups and their grantees or partners the only groups affected. The UK’s Westminster Foundation for Democracy reports that restrictive measures are resulting in “an inability of local partners to obtain licences to operate, censorship, interrogation, travel restrictions, office raids, dismissals, seizing of electronic office equipment and paper files, unreasonably rigorous bureaucratic and financial controls, and detention.”

In addition to legal constraints, many regimes seek to impede democracy assistance NGOs and related groups through unofficial means, from the creation and mobilization of pseudo-NGOs in an attempt to contest and confuse public and international opinion to the deployment of thugs or auxiliary forces—as in Cuba and Egypt—to assault, intimidate or harass activists. In Uzbekistan, for instance, a Freedom House training session was disrupted by 15 protesters who forced their way into the seminar and accused Freedom House of being Wahhabi Islamist extremists and enemies of the Uzbek state.

Egyptian NGOs are impeded by restrictive laws and the “extra-legal” actions of the Security Services, according to a report by Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Civil society groups face severe restrictions under the law governing NGOs. The security services scrutinize and harass civil society activists even though the law does not accord them any such powers,” says the report. HRW cites instances of the security services rejecting NGO registrations, determining the composition of NGO boards, harassing activists, and interfering with funding.

For further details of ICNL’s distinctive and pioneering work on these issues, go to http://www.icnl.org/.

“Margins of Repression: State Limits on Nongovernmental Organization Activism,” Human Rights Watch, New York, 2005.

The issue of NGO harassment is assuming greater political salience, and not only within the world of democracy assistance organizations and civil society. The Russian government’s new measures against independent NGOs acquired diplomatic significance as senior figures from the State Department prevailed upon the Putin regime to refrain from more restrictive measures. The issue is unlikely to fade given Russia’s accession to the chair of the G8 grouping of advanced industrial democracies. Furthermore, as the Bush Administration continues to make democracy promotion a foreign policy priority, it is increasingly likely to confront resistance from autocrats and authoritarians.

At the November 2005 Forum for the Future in Bahrain, for instance, the question of NGO independence prompted Egypt to veto a final declaration and sabotage the launch of a Foundation for the Future designed to promote democratic change within the region. A draft declaration pledged delegates “to expand democratic practices, to enlarge participation in political and public life, (and) to foster the roles of civil society including NGOs.” But participants failed to agree to the draft after Cairo insisted that NGOs be “legally registered in accordance with the laws of the country.”

Egypt’s foreign minister complained that the U.S. and Europeans wanted “an open season for everybody,” a carte blanche for funding political NGOs through which “anybody can acquire anything from anybody at any time.”

The developments outlined above “are not isolated events,” observes the International Center for Not-for-Profit Law, noting that “recently, over twenty countries have introduced restrictive legislation aimed at weakening civil society,” joining “scores of others with existing laws, policies, and practices that stifle the work of civil society organizations (NGOs).” The study, produced by ICNL specifically for this report, reveals that a number of countries have enacted or proposed laws that significantly restrict the activities of civil society (the appendix to this report details ICNL research covering the relevant countries, laws, and provisions). “We are witnessing a marked increase in the use of restrictions on NGO formation, operation, and financing by foreign governments,” ICNL contends. These restrictions pose serious obstacles to both foreign and domestic civil society groups’ ability to form, function effectively, and sustain themselves. Restrictive provisions are found in virtually every region of the world, but tend to be more prevalent in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and the New Independent States (NIS) of the former Soviet Union.

As the ICNL notes, states with restrictive laws tend to exhibit one or more of the following characteristics:

The rationale for the proposal and enactment of repressive measures varies with context and circumstance. Governments often propose an “official” rationalization for a proposed law that does not match the reasons perceived by the international community and local civil society groups. The threat of terrorism is increasingly invoked to justify clampdowns and to deflect international criticism. For example, the Russian government has described its new NGO law as necessary to regulate the NGO sector, counter terrorism, and stop money laundering.

In Thailand, opposition, media, and civic groups are constrained by an emergency law promulgated in July 2005 by Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra purportedly to curb Islamist violence in the Muslim south. The Emergency Powers Law allows the Thai government to impose curfews, detain people without charge, and ban public gatherings. Under the guise of a crackdown on money laundering, the Uzbekistan government effectively stopped the transfer of foreign funds to all Uzbek civil society groups. A resolution of the council of ministers requires NGOs to report activities to a “bank council” before releasing funds. The banking sector is so tightly controlled that it would be impossible to make these transfers. In short, NGOs and business associations are simply not able to function legally using foreign funds.

In some cases, restrictive legislation is projected as an attempt to improve NGO governance and regulation or to curb malpractices. However, in virtually all of the cases cited, the means deployed are more restrictive than necessary to fight NGO malpractice or poor governance, and are often contrary to obligations to protect the right to free association required by the country’s constitution or under international conventions. Restrictive laws are often a continuation of long-standing patterns of repressive government tactics (e.g., Belarus, Zimbabwe).

In some cases, the recent initiatives appear to be motivated by a desire to forestall political opposition. Indeed, ICNL research indicates that governments often enact restrictive NGO legislation before elections, recognizing the critical role that civil society can play in advancing democracy. Most democracy assistance groups have experienced the following legal and extra-legal constraints: restrictions on the right to associate and freedom to form NGOs; impediments to registration and denial of legal status; restrictions on foreign funding and domestic financing; ongoing threats through use of discretionary power; restrictions on political activities; arbitrary interference in NGO internal affairs; establishment of “parallel” organizations or ersatz NGOs; and the harassment, prosecution, and deportation of civil society activists. Some of these measures may appear at first glance to be relatively benign, neutral, or legitimate attempts to regulate civil society. Some authoritarian regimes claim that not only is it appropriate to limit foreign interference in domestic politics—as most advanced democracies do—but falsely claim that their newly restrictive measures are based on legislation already in effect in established democracies. Of course, governments may legitimately seek to regulate foreign funding of domestic political actors and/or to regulate NGOs prone to malpractice or poor governance. But this is where context and intent matter.

...In Vietnam, for instance, NGOs must obtain an operating license and the Vietnamese authorities routinely intervene in NGOs’ internal affairs and governance, often insisting on the prerogative to appoint (or otherwise veto) personnel.

...Many governments closely guard the process by which NGOs can register, i.e., become a legal entity with the associated legal rights and prerogatives. Governments insist that groups, even some as small or informal as a neighborhood association, must register, allowing authorities to monitor groups’ activities. Regimes make registration difficult, impeding the ability of civil society organizations, particularly advocacy groups, to function effectively or even to exist. Tactics include making registration prohibitively expensive and/or unduly burdensome in terms of the type and amount of information required; excessive delays in making registration decisions; and requiring frequent re-registration, giving authorities the right to revisit organizations’ licenses to operate.

In Azerbaijan, Ethiopia, and Algeria, as ICNL reports, regulations governing registration are kept deliberately vague, giving considerable discretion to officials. Consequently, NGOs have difficulty registering; some are denied registration while others experience long delays or repeated requests for further information. In Azerbaijan, the registration of local NGOs has, in effect, been suspended as a result of overly discretionary implementation of registration laws. In March 2005, Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs instructed representatives of the International Republican Institute, National Democratic Institute, and IFES (formerly the International Foundation for Election Systems) to cease operations and leave Ethiopia within 48 hours. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed the view that they were operating illegally, even though all three groups had made a good faith effort to register both through the Ethiopian Embassy in Washington, D.C. and through the Ministry of Justice in Addis Ababa. Tajikistan has been holding international organizations in limbo by neither refusing nor granting registration. As a consequence, groups like NDI and Freedom House are operating with local staff and cannot get visas for international personnel. All NGOs in Tajikistan’s Ferghana Valley have been put through audits and re-registration following the Andijon massacre in Kyrgyzstan. In Belarus, the government exercises considerable discretion over the registration process through a National Commission on Registration of Public Associations that advises, through a notably opaque process, the Ministry of Justice on which organizations it should allow to register. The law requires authorities to respond within one month to registration requests, says ICNL, but NGOs have waited over a year only to be denied registration without explanation. Unregistered status renders activists and organizations vulnerable to capricious and punitive actions on the part of the security services. On March 3, 2006, the Belarusian KGB arrested four election observers from an unregistered NGO associated with the European Network of Election Monitoring Organizations (ENEMO) which is funded by the National Democratic Institute.

Russia’s NGO law, even as amended following protests, requires foreign and de facto domestic NGOs to re-register with a state agency which will examine their activities before determining whether they can continue operations. The measure allows the Federal Registration Service, an agency of the Justice Ministry, to invoke threats to the “constitutional order” to justify terminating funding of certain activities. Government officials enjoy an unprecedented degree of discretion for deeming programs or projects detrimental to Russia’s national interests. Registration officials can exercise prerogatives to close the offices of any foreign NGO undertaking programs that do not have the objective of “defending the constitutional system, morals, public health, rights and lawful interest of other people, [or] guaranteeing the defense capacity and security of the state.”

Restrictions on working with “unregistered” groups in Uzbekistan In December 2003, the Uzbekistan Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) instructed the International Republican Institute to cease working with “illegal organizations,” meaning all unregistered political parties. The country’s foreign minister personally accused the International Republican Institute (IRI) of promoting a coalition of “anti-government forces that wish to overthrow the constitutional order of Uzbekistan,” and advised IRI to take the Uzbek government’s views on this seriously and “act accordingly.” Consequently, IRI postponed a scheduled seminar on “Government Mechanisms for Registration” for political activists. Selected international organizations were instructed to reapply for accreditation through the Ministry of Justice (instead of the Foreign Ministry) and to turn in current MFA accreditation cards before March 1, 2004. Under these circumstances, the U.S. Embassy recommended that IRI take a break from activity in order to assess the situation and plan for 2004. In April 2004, IRI received its official registration certificate, accompanied by a letter from the Ministry of Justice listing IRI’s alleged violations and a warning that registration would be canceled if IRI continued training activities with non-registered groups. In May 2004, the justice minister warned IRI that it was breaking the law by working with the unregistered parties Erk and Birlik. In response to the justice minister’s statement, IRI suspended initiative group training for non-registered movements. In November 2004, the Ministry of Justice, verbally and in writing, warned IRI not to have contact with or extend any kind of assistance to unregistered political movements. This warning came after IRI had hosted, at its office, individual consultations between a Ukrainian consultant and Uzbek activists seeking to run as candidates in the December 2004 Oliy Majlis election.

Restrictions on foreign funding and domestic financing

Restrictions on foreign funding of domestic civil society groups are increasingly common and government attempts to legitimize and gain support for these constraints are frequently couched in faux patriotic or xenophobic terms. In this respect, authoritarian regimes gain a “two-fer.” They impose technical restrictions on civil society groups’ ability to function while undermining them politically by suggesting that they are agents of or otherwise represent alien interests.

Russia, Venezuela, Egypt and Zimbabwe provide perhaps the most blatant and pernicious instances of this trend. “We are against overseas funding for the political activities [of NGOs] in Russia,” President Vladimir V. Putin has stated. “For some of these organizations the main objective has become to receive funds from influential foreign and domestic foundations,” he claims, insisting that “for others the aim is to serve dubious groups and commercial interests.”

In Venezuela, CIPE has noted various types of NGO harassment. “While not much of this can be attributed to specific laws (though that may yet happen),” CIPE notes, intimidation takes various forms including “harassment or the threat of it in the form of financial and tax audits” of grantees. The regime of Hugo Chavez is prosecuting civil society activists from Súmate, a voter education NGO, on charges of “conspiracy” resulting from a NED grant to promote education on electoral rights prior to the 2004 recall referendum. The regime has openly insisted that receipt of foreign funds is in itself subversive. “It is one thing to be involved in politics, and quite another to solicit support from a foreign government to intervene in internal affairs of the country,” says Luisa Ortega, a state prosecutor with Venezuela’s National Council. “There is conclusive proof in the contract with the accused for financial support from NED that shows intent to conduct politics against the current government,” stated Ortega. Article 10 of the recent criminal code reform bill specified that anyone who supplies or receives funds from abroad to conspire against the integrity of the territory of the republic or government institutions, or to destabilize social peace, may be punished with sentences of 20 to 30 years in jail. Although that provision was ultimately withdrawn from the bill, legal experts suggest that its provisions can still be interpreted to the same effect. T

...More generally, ICNL research identifies a wide range of legislative measures used to restrict foreign funding, including requirements that: NGOs must receive prior government permission to receive foreign funding (sometimes on a donation- by-donation basis, imposing further administrative burdens on thinly-stretched organizational resources); NGOs must not only register but frequently re-register with the government, and a government-controlled commission decides whether the organization will be allowed to receive foreign funding; overseas funding must be channeled through government agencies or via designated bank accounts that are easily monitored or even frozen; foreign funds are subjected to punitively high taxation; and foreign funding is restricted to a limited percentage of an NGO’s total income.

In Belarus, an August 2005 presidential edict prohibits organizations and individuals from receiving and using foreign assistance for “preparing and conducting elections and referenda; recalling deputies and members of the Council of the Republic; staging gatherings, rallies, street marches, demonstrations, picketing, or strikes; producing and distributing campaign materials; and any other forms of mass politicking among the population.” Regulations adopted in 2004 imposed reporting and approval mechanisms that ensure government control over donor funds and projects. NGOs are required to pay up to 30 percent tax on foreign aid, a stipulation that has prompted some overseas donors to reconsider the viability of financial support to Belarusian civil society.

In 2004, Belarus enacted provisions allowing the regime to close an NGO for violating laws restricting the use of foreign funds or for demonstrating in violation of a law curtailing mass meetings. In 2003, government officials dissolved 51 leading civil society groups, and in 2004 a further 20 groups were terminated. In 2004, Minsk refused renewal of registration permits for Counterpart and IREX, two U.S.-based organizations implementing U.S. government-funded programs. A December 2005 measure introduces severe penalties for activities deemed conducive to fomenting “revolution” in Belarus, notes 23 the ICNL, specifically: training people to take part in “group activities that flagrantly violate the public peace” and for financing such training would carry a jail sentence of up to six months or a prison sentence of up to two years; training people to take part in “mass riots” or its financing would carry a jail sentence of up to six months or a prison sentence of up to three years; appeals to a foreign country, a foreign or international organization to act “to the detriment of” the country’s “security, sovereignty and territorial integrity,” as well as the distribution of material containing these appeals, would carry a jail sentence of six to 36 months or a prison sentence of two to five years; and distribution of similar appeals via the media would carry a prison sentence of two to five years. A new article to the Criminal Code, titled “Discrediting the Republic of Belarus,” establishes a jail sentence of up to six months or a prison sentence of up to two years for “providing a foreign country, a foreign or international organization with patently false information about the political, economic, social, military and international situation of the Republic of Belarus, the legal position of citizens in the Republic of Belarus, and its governmental agencies.”

Restrictions on political activities

NGOs are frequently required to refrain from activities broadly defined as political, a severe if not disabling obstacle to democracy assistance groups. Even non-partisan or largely technical activities are vulnerable to malicious or willful misinterpretation, rendering activists and organizations vulnerable to potentially severe penalties.

In Kazakhstan, ICNL reports, the law prohibits “foreigners, persons without citizenship, or foreign legal entities and international organizations” from engaging in “activities that support (or make possible) the nomination and election of candidates, political parties, nomination of parties to the party list or the achieving of a specific result during elections.” Penalties for violating the prohibition include fines (for individuals and organizations) and deportation of the individuals involved.

Arbitrary interference in NGO internal affairs.

Even when civil society groups are allowed to form and secure official registration, governments continue to restrict their activities through unchecked oversight authority and interference in NGOs’ internal affairs. Failure to comply with government demands may prompt sanctions and penalties. Civil society groups are frequently impeded and harassed by bureaucratic red tape, visits by the tax inspectorate, and other below-the-radar tactics. Despite amendments to draft proposals, made after international protests and diplomatic representations, Russia’s NGO law still allows officials to utilize less public means of intimidating political opponents. The registration authority enjoys discretionary power to audit the activities and finances of noncommercial organizations, request documents, and attend meetings, including internal strategy or policy discussions.

...China offers a clear and disturbing instance of enhanced state interference and harassment of NGOs, particularly by the Ministry of State Security. Beijing’s concern about the “colored revolutions” and the potential role of civil society groups in fostering political change is well-documented. NGOs have been visited by state security representatives asking about sources of funding, specifically mentioning certain American funders, including NED, IRI, and NDI. The Ministry of Civil Affairs (MoCA), the government body responsible for registering NGOs, recently stopped processing applications for NGO registration.

...In Belarus, a law signed by the president in December 2005 provides for prison sentences for individuals who train others to participate in street protests, engage them to act against Belarusian sovereignty, or tell lies about the country. Organizing activities on the part of a suspended or closed nongovernmental organization or a foundation, or taking part in such a group carries a jail sentence of up to six months or a prison sentence of up to two years. Even prior to the new legislation, NGOs faced acute problems. Some 78 civil society groups ceased operations in Belarus in 2003 following harassment by government officials, the ICNL reports. In 2004, the government inspected and issued warnings to 800 others. The national security agencies and the Office of Public Associations questioned and searched a number of civil society groups and, in some cases, confiscated publications and print materials. Such inspections make it nearly impossible for organizations to focus on their primary activities.

...Punitive legal actions are another form of harassment, notably in Singapore. In February 2006, opposition politician Chee Soon Juan, secretary general of the Singapore Democratic Party, was bankrupted and, as a consequence, barred from contesting political office, following a punitive defamation suit brought by former prime ministers Lee Kuan Yew and Goh Chok Tong. Chee was barred from traveling to the World Movement for Democracy’s Istanbul assembly in May 2006 when immigration agents impounded his passport. As noted above, civil society activists who engaged in voter education prior to Venezuela’s presidential recall referendum are currently facing charges of conspiracy against the state for receiving U.S. funds. If convicted of treason, Alejandro Plaz and Maria Corina Machado face up to 16 years in jail. Civil society groups complain that the Venezuelan authorities are seeking to paint efforts to uphold the constitution as a conspiracy to undermine the government.

In Russia, NGOs associated with international democracy and human rights groups are frequently subject to harassment through inspections and criminal investigations. The field director of one democracy assistance group was detained on arrival at the airport for no apparent reason and would not have been able to re-enter Russia had the U.S. Ambassador not intervened. Later, she was effectively deported from the country after authorities refused to prolong her registration without explanation.

....Democracy assistance groups are consistent in stressing that the backlash against democracy assistance predates the color revolutions, particularly in Russia. It was in December 2002, for example, several months before Georgia’s Rose Revolution, that U.S. Peace Corps representatives were expelled from Moscow and the representative of the AFL-CIO’s Solidarity Center was refused re-entry into Russia, leading to the eventual closure of its office. While programs often continue in the face of repressive actions, partners and grantees nevertheless become more cautious, circumspect, and wary of adopting a high profile. In some countries, for example, NED grantees have asked program officers not to visit them for fear of drawing the attention of the authorities. In other instances, prospective program partners or grantees have suggested that while they need external assistance and are willing to work with or accept grants from democracy promotion groups, the risks are too great to do so. Yet these instances are relatively rare and practitioners.

...In the case of the closure of the Solidarity Center’s Moscow office, for example, or the expulsion of the Open Society Institute, Freedom House, and IREX from Uzbekistan, democracy promotion groups are forced to relocate to adjacent territories or adopt “semi-detached” forms of engagement with grantees or partners, including provision of assistance through third parties. These measures have less impact on initiatives like the NED’s discretionary grants program that relies on direct grant aid, focusing resources on local activists and groups, and which rarely requires a local presence in the field. Democracy assistance donors are nonetheless affected by new restrictions on funding and, to some extent, disadvantaged by distance. Unlike field-based groups, including NED’s institutes, they are not usually in a position to reassure or placate suspicious local authorities by establishing relationships or providing access to programs.

...The new repressive climate in certain states has highlighted the benefits of non-governmental and civil society-based approaches. Maintaining and highlighting independence from government, such initiatives demonstrate that democracy promotion is most effectively undertaken by non-governmental organizations, particularly in regions like the Middle East and Central Asia where official U.S. support is sometimes shunned. Unlike official government agencies, often constrained by diplomatic or security considerations, democracy promotion NGOs, operating openly but largely below the radar screen, are able to avoid compromising the integrity and efficacy of programs. Groups like NED are able to engage and fund unlicensed organizations that tend to undertake cutting edge programs but cannot ordinarily access official funds.

...NED in particular has extensive experience of channeling aid and assistance to dissidents, labor unions, intellectual and civic groups, and other agencies for democratic change. For example, cross-border programs that require ample coordination and expertise are run by NGOs based in Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Lithuania, which aid media and human rights groups in Belarus and farther afield in Central Asia. Similar work is undertaken by civil society groups in East and Southeast Asia.

Exploiting a "revolutionary situation"

Lenin defined a special term "revolutionary situation" (his well know saying is "A revolution is impossible without a revolutionary situation; furthermore, not every revolutionary situation leads to revolution.") to describe the preconditions in which coup d'état against existing government has greatest chances of success (Translation from Soviet encyclopedia):

Revolutionary Situation is a political situation preceding a revolution and characterized by mass revolutionary ferment and the involvement of broad strata of the oppressed classes in active struggle against the existing system. A revolutionary situation serves as an indicator of whether sociopolitical conditions are ripe for a revolution, for the attainment of power by the progressive class.

A revolutionary situation has three basic symptoms.

  1. A “crisis of the upper classes,” that is, the ruling classes find it impossible to maintain their domination in unchanged form. The crisis in the policies of the ruling class creates a fissure through which the discontent and indignation of the oppressed classes pour. For a revolution to take place, V. I. Lenin noted, “it is usually insufficient for ‘the lower classes not to want’ to live in the old way; it is also necessary that the ‘upper classes should be unable’ to live in the old way.”
  2. “When,” Lenin continues, “the suffering and want of the oppressed classes have grown more acute than usual” (Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 26, p. 218). The exacerbation may result from a deterioration of the economic position of broad strata of the population, from social inequality and the deprivation of the masses, from a sharp intensification of social antagonisms, and from other conditions stemming from the contradictions in a given system (for example, the threat of war, and the offensive of reactionary forces).
  3. A significant rise in the level of political activity among the masses (ibid.). Militant attitudes grow swiftly, and the masses are literally obsessed with politics.

... ... ...

A revolutionary situation is marked by a growing dynamism. As it develops, it passes through a series of stages, beginning with clear signs of mass ferment and ending with a nationwide crisis that develops into a revolution. The higher the stage of the revolutionary situation, the more important is the maturity of the subjective factor—that is, the capacity and readiness of revolutionary classes to carry out pressing reforms and to overthrow the power of the ruling class—in the further development of the situation. During the period of the nationwide crisis, the role of the subjective factor becomes decisive. Not every revolutionary situation reaches the highest stage and becomes a revolution. Examples include the revolutionary situation of 1859–61 in Russia and the revolutionary situation of 1923 in Germany. If for one reason or another the progressive classes are not prepared for aggressive, organized actions, the revolutionary situation declines, the mass revolutionary excitement dies out, and the ruling class finds means of retaining power.

And this strategy of exploiting pre-existing economic difficulties and created by them "revolutionary situation" for "regime change" proved to be quite efficient due to combining forces of internal domestic opposition with Western political and financial power.

This playbook represents a grave threat for any government in countries with “not enough pro-Western” policy.

While separate elements of this scheme were known long before and have a base on Bolshevik theory of revolutions (or more correctly in its Trotskyite variant of permanent revolution, as it was Trotskyites who turned into neocons brought to western government this set of ideas; see The Transitional Program (Part 1)) the "packaged kit" of the color-coded pseudo-revolutions that swept through the former Soviet bloc (and, later, targeted other states from Lebanon to Venezuela) within the last decade remains essentially the same.

Promoting "democratic revolution" has become the surrogate for direct armed invasion - though, as in Iraq and Libya, both can work well together. The strategies these ersatz movements pursue are no different from Communist Popular Front tactics in the same region after World War Two - in fact, the Ukraine's "Orange Revolution" resembles the Czechoslovak "Communist coup" of 1948. The only difference is that in the latter case a flowering of the democratic spirit was choreographed by the USA and the whole movement has a clear anti-Russian edge with the participation of Nazi "collaborationists" from Western region of Ukraine.

Of course there is real frustration and disappointment with the government in the targeted nations, and the revolutionaries of color can find fertile fields for sowing. But the end result does not serve the people whose anger has been manipulated, but invariably the economic and "security" interests of major Western powers, principally but not exclusively the United States.

While they are neoliberal rehash of the playbook of communist revolutions (“Red revolutions”), they manage to enrich the quote of Thomas Carlyle “All revolutions are conceived by idealists, implemented by fanatics, and its fruits are stolen by scoundrels.” . In this case it became symmetrically Machiavellian as in

“…conceived by one set scoundrels, implemented by the other set of scoundrels, and its fruits are stolen by the third set of scoundrels”

Use of NGO as preudo-Bolshevick party and Trojan horses of color revolution

"…power does its work by stealth, and the powerful
can subsequently deny that their strength was ever used at all."

Salman Rushdie, Shalimar the Clown (2005)

The idea is set of NGO like set of think tanks is very similar to Bolsheviks idea of core of professional revolutionaries in Bolshevik Party. The only difference is that neoliberal NGO and set of think tanks is financed by oligarchy, primary by financial oligarchy and key governments of neoliberal world.

Every government official in third world and "developing" country should read Gene Sharp and couple of other books and understand the mechanics used and NGO involved. The list includes

It not an accident that most of those organization were shown the door in several countries where danger of color revolutions exists. There is a good article on the subject written by Sreeram Chaulia 19 January 2006, which we will reproduce in full (Democratisation, NGOs and colour revolutions):

Samuel Huntington, summarizing the mix of primary causes for the "third wave" of democratization that began in 1974, listed a new but not decisive factor that had been absent in the preceding two waves: "Changes in the policies of external actors…a major shift in US policies toward the promotion of human rights and democracy in other countries…". American international NGOs ("Ingos") were prominent mechanisms through which this causal link between superpower foreign policy interests and regime change worked out in many transitions from authoritarian rule in the twenty-one-year-long "third wave".

This essay attempts to extend the analysis on Ingo instrumentality and democratization to the geopolitical storms popularized as "colour" or "flower" revolutions that have been sweeping the post-communist world since 1999. It sets out to assess the strength of the impact of transnational actors on recent international political events of great consequence, and explore the parasitic relationship between Ingos and a hegemonic state.

The intention is to bring the state back into a field dominated by flawed renderings of transnational activism. The principal argument is that the main and direct causes of the colour revolutions were United States foreign-policy interests (strategic expansion, energy security and the war on terrorism) as they were serviced by Ingos. Without the intervention of these US-sponsored Ingos, the political landscapes in countries like Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan would not have been repainted in new coolers.

These three revolutions – the "rose revolution" in Georgia (November 2003-January 2004), the "orange revolution" in Ukraine (January 2005) and the "tulip revolution" in Kyrgyzstan (April 2005) – each followed a near-identical trajectory; all were spearheaded by the American democratization Ingos working at the behest of the US foreign policy establishment.

It will be argued that the comparable political convulsions of Uzbekistan (May 2005) and Azerbaijan (November 2005) did not experience "colour revolutions" due to a variation in the independent variable, US foreign-policy priorities.

The contexts of democratization

Most studies of democratization recognize the international context in which regime change occurs, but such studies never go to the extent of giving external causes prime place. The consensus is that exogenous factors "are difficult to apply in a sustained manner over the long term." In the case of the former communist bloc, some scholars regard international organizations, western economic aid and the Catholic church as "catalysts of democratization"; others claim that international human-rights norms triggered fundamental political changes leading to the demise of communism.

Transnational actors, comprising Ingos at the hub of advocacy networks, are viewed as capitalizing on opportunity structures offered by "internationalism", acting as "ideational vectors of influence", and maintaining constant criticism of vulnerable "target states" that are repressive in nature. Portrayals of advocacy networks as autonomous entities that skillfully maneuver states and international organizations for achieving their own principled ends suggest that democratization was "both a contributing cause and an effect of the expanding role of transnational civil society."

On the question of how transnational actors "penetrate" target states, which is of seminal interest for our colour-revolutions quest, constructivist theory harps on norm institutionalization in issue-areas like human rights that enable coalitions with powerful state actors who favor such norms. The manner in which American democratization Ingos penetrated Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan, however, did not follow this route.

Another pathway for penetration is presented by the "boomerang pattern", wherein international contacts "amplify the demands of domestic groups, pry open space for new issues and then echo back these demands into the domestic arena. " Though campaign strategies and pressurizing tactics of Ingos do approximate to what happened before the colour revolutions in Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan, the origin of American INGO involvement in these states was not as straightforward as an invitation from local civil society to global civil society.

Former communist countries are characterized by weak local civil societies and embryonic homebred intermediate organizations. Nor were the dynamics of INGO intervention in these states as simple as domestic grievances being resolved by coalitions with principled external networks "motivated by values rather than by material or professional norms. " For the most apposite theoretical framework that fits the story of Ingos and colour revolutions, we must leave constructivism and turn to the revolving applications of realism in world politics.

Ingos as vehicles of strategic penetration

Realism asserts that transnational actors can punch above their weight and have disproportionate impact on world affairs only if they lobby and change the preferences, practices and policies of powerful states. The Helsinki network in Europe followed this game plan to great effect by winning over the US government to its side in the struggle against communism.

Norm-driven theorists fail to concede that superpowers have minds and agency of their own and only give in to transnational "pressures" when the issue area serves larger geo-strategic purposes. Rarely has the US promoted human rights and democracy in a region when they did not suit its grander foreign-policy objectives.

Thomas Carothers, a leading authority on US democracy promotion, has decried the instrumentalisation of democratization by recent American administrations: "The United States has close, even intimate relations with many undemocratic regimes for the sake of American security and economic interests… and struggles very imperfectly to balance its ideals with the realist imperatives it faces."

The flip side of this reality is the fact that when undemocratic regimes prove to be thorns in the flesh, the US sees great merit in their overthrow by a range of diverse methods. In the cold-war era, selectivity in democracy promotion was best reflected by Jeane Kirkpatrick’s distinction between "totalitarian" and "authoritarian" regimes, the latter being states which can be supported in the scheme of bigger US interests.

As we delve into the case studies of colour revolutions, the same "good despot-bad despot" patchiness of superpower attitudes to democratization in the post-communist world will resurface in the new context of the "war on terrorism".

Geoffrey Pridham divides geo-strategic impact over regime changes into the two dimensions of space and time. The Mediterranean had turned into an area of intense superpower rivalry in the mid-1970s due to the enhanced Soviet naval presence and instability in the middle east. Regime transitions in that hotspot, therefore, sharpened US and western interests in the outcomes.

As a corollary, at sensitive world historical moments, American inclinations to intervene in regime politics of countries tend to be greater. Early cold-war economic instability in Italy and Greece in the 1970s was one juncture where the outcome stakes were felt to be so high in Washington that it took an active interventionist role. Thirty years on, the spatial and temporal importance of Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan in the geo-strategic sweepstakes was ripe for colour revolutions orchestrated from outside.

Laurence Whitehead has deepened understanding of democratization as a geopolitical strategy that redistributes global power and control with the metaphor of a vaccine, not of a contagion or virus. US military and other modes of destabilizing interventions in Central America were meant to inoculate polities from contamination by Castroism and this treatment was labeled "democracy". "Two-thirds of the democracies existing in 1990 owed their origins to deliberate acts of imposition or intervention from without…It is not contiguity but the policy of a third power that explains the spread of democracy from one country to the next." The colour revolutions under our bioscope were integral to this power-politics tradition motoring dominant states in international relations.

Realist views on transnational actors as instruments of powerful states date back to debates about multinational corporations (MNCs) and their entanglement with American hegemony. Robert Gilpin was the first to explain the rise of MNCs as a function of hegemonic stability, i.e. that the leadership of a powerful political state actor is essential for the creation and maintenance of a liberal world economy in which MNCs thrive.

Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye also warned in the 1970s that "transnational relations may redistribute control from one state to another and benefit those governments at the centre of transnational networks to the disadvantage of those in the periphery." Ingos had not burst onto the global notice board during these early reviews on transnationalism. However, the usage of Ingos as foreign-policy instruments was not unknown right from the start of the cold war.

Humanitarian Ingos like the International Rescue Committee (founded in 1933 to assist anti-Nazi opponents of Hitler) and democratization Ingos like Freedom House (founded in 1941; an important component of the Marshall Plan to prevent communist takeover of western Europe) are two high-profile cases that represented US governmental interests while maintaining INGO legal status.

Inducing defectors and refugees from behind the "iron curtain" to cross over, public diplomacy, propaganda and funding of electoral candidates in foreign countries by charities and Ingos existed long before the voluntary sector attained an overtly pivotal position in the annals of US foreign policy. More recently, humanitarian (not human-rights) Ingos heavily dependent on US finances have been found to be consciously or subconsciously extending US governmental interests. As Julie Mertus writes: "It's not the NGOs driving the government’s agenda; it's the US government driving the NGO agenda."

Doctrinal developments in foreign policy kept pace with the growing potential of Ingos as valuable assets for promoting US national interests. Andrew Scott’s (1965) "informal penetration" theory tied US foreign aid, technical assistance and international organizations together as a toolkit that can be used to increase the porosity and penetrability of rival states.

Permeability of national borders was both a precondition for the emergence of transnational entities like MNCs, Ingos and international organizations, as well as the end result of increasing transnationalism with the US as metropole. Richard Cottam theorised that the Zeitgeist of world politics had changed from the ultimate recourse of "shooting warfare" to political, economic and psychological warfare. The arenas at which critical international battles took place were increasingly the domestic politics of weaker target states that are vulnerable to foreign influence and interference.

Cottam was disappointed with the "ad hoc" nature of US foreign policy and its neglect of a long-term strategic plan based on "tactical interference". The contemporary blueprint for co-opting transnational actors as active wings of foreign policy was laid by Joseph Nye’s liberal "soft power" idea that called for harnessing the US's tremendous reserve of intangible resources such as culture, ideology and institutions for preserving world dominance.

"Soft power" at the end of the cold war would be less costly and more effective to Nye because of its subtlety and seductive quality. The prohibitive costs of direct military action in modern times ensure that "other instruments such as communications, organizational and institutional skills, and manipulation of interdependence have become important instruments of power. " To manage the challenges of "transnational interdependence", Nye urges greater US investment in international institutions and regimes on issue-areas that can perpetuate the American lead in global power.

His emphasis on private actors operating across international borders as a key category that has to be managed by the hegemonic state aims at the heart of our discussion on democratization Ingos as pawns. Among practitioners of US diplomacy too, soft power's utility in furthering strategic ends has been toasted after the end of the cold war. Warren Christopher, President Clinton’s first secretary of state, proposed a strategic approach based on "new realism" to promoting democracy: "By enlisting international and regional institutions in the work, the US can leverage our own limited resources and avoid the appearance of trying to dominate others."

The democratization Gongos

The watershed that brought Ingos to the forefront of global democracy-promotion was the Reagan administration’s decision to create the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in 1983 to roll back Soviet influence. With a stated raison d'être of "strengthening democratic institutions around the world through nongovernmental efforts", NED was conceived as a quasi-governmental foundation that funneled US government funding through Ingos like the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), the International Republican Institute (IRI), International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX), and Freedom House.

These Ingos in turn "targeted" authoritarian states through a plethora of programmatic activities. NED’s first president, Allen Weinstein, admitted openly that "a lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA. " The organization was a deus ex machina in the face of scandalous Congressional investigations into the CIA's "soft side" operations to destabilize and topple unfriendly regimes that embarrassed the government in the late 1970s.

As William Blum writes: "An NGO helps to maintain a certain credibility abroad that an official US government agency might not have. " 97% of NED's funding comes from the US state department (through USAID and before 1999, the Usia), the rest being allocations made by right-wing donors like the Bradley Foundation, the Whitehead Foundation and the Olin Foundation. Since its conception, and despite the bipartisan structure, "neoconservatives have held tight control over NED's agenda and institutional structure."

Senior figures in the George W Bush administration who are signatories to the Project for a New American Century (PNAC), which wears aggressive US foreign interventions on its sleeve, have officiated in NED. Notwithstanding its claims to "independence" and "nongovernmental status", the US state department and other executive agencies regularly appoint NED's programme personnel. As one 'Project Democracy' (codename for NED in the Iran-Contra scandal) advocate put it, "These 'private' agencies are really just fronts for the departments they serve; the agency may prepare a report or a research project that it then gives to the private firm to attach its letterhead to, as if it were really a private activity or initiative."

A survey of NED's partner Ingos reveals a similar pattern of public priorities forwarded by private agents. Freedom House, a neocon hub which succoured the colour revolutions, has a history of being headed and staffed by ex-CIA high-level planners and personnel.

NDI is dominated by "liberal hawks" or right-wing Democrats who find their way to prime foreign-policy slots when their party is in power. IRI comprises a herd of far-right Republican politicians and representatives of major financial, oil, and defense corporations. IFES top brass belong to conservative Republican ranks, the CIA or military intelligence. IREX, the training school for colour revolution elite protagonists, is peopled by political warfare, public diplomacy and propaganda specialists from the news media, US foreign service and the US military.

For our purpose, it is interesting to note that compared to humanitarian and development Ingos, which have often promoted US foreign-policy objectives, democratization and human-rights Ingos boast of a far greater preponderance of US government and intelligence operatives. This owes much to the fact that democratization is a sensitive political minefield with direct bearings on international relations. It is too important a foreign policy subject for the US government to hand over reins to the voluntary sector.

Armed with the luxury of a sea of democratization Gongos (governmental NGOs) and quangos (quasi-governmental NGOs), William DeMars: "The US government has a greater capacity than any other single actor in the world to keep track of them, channel them, thwart them, or ride them in a chosen direction."

Usaid's avowal that democracy can be promoted around the world without "being political" is totally fictional, because the onus of NED and its family is on altering the balance of political forces in the target country in the pretext of "civil society assistance."

Criticizing the brazen politicization of democratization Ingos, Elizabeth Cohn recommends: "Close consultation between the U.S. government and nongovernmental groups should stop. NGOs should set their own goals and not be servants of U.S. national interests, as NED is by congressional mandate."

That such relinquishment would appear foolhardy for the realists in US government goes without saying, for it is tantamount to killing the goose that lays golden eggs. To its supporters, the NED family has numerous successes to show off – interventions "to protect the integrity of elections in the Philippines, Pakistan, Taiwan, Chile, Nicaragua, Namibia, Eastern Europe and elsewhere."

Neutral assessments would rate these as electoral manipulations. Left out of the above count are victorious overthrows of democratically-elected governments in Bulgaria (1990), Albania (1992) and Haiti (late 1990s) and destabilization in Panama, Cuba and Venezuela. The next section will demonstrate that the latest feathers in NED's cap are the colour revolutions.

Ukraine’s operation orange

Ukraine epitomizes habitual American "instrumentalisation of value-based policies", thus "wrapping security goals in the language of democracy promotion and then confusing democracy promotion with the search for particular political outcomes that enhance those security goals."

Identified by the Clinton administration as a priority country for democratization and the lynchpin of US post-Soviet foreign policy, Ukraine’s importance for Nato's eastward expansion is second to none. Clinton’s special adviser on the former USSR, Richard Morningstar, confirmed during the 1997 Ukraine-Nato pact that "Ukraine’s security is a key element in the security policy of the United States. " For Zbigniew Brzezinski, the liberal hawk who influences the Democratic party’s foreign policy:

"Ukraine, a new and important space on the Eurasian chessboard, is a geopolitical pivot because its very existence as an independent country helps to transform Russia. Without Ukraine, Russia ceases to be a Eurasian empire ... if Moscow regains control over Ukraine, with its 52 million people and major resources, as well as access to the Black Sea, Russia automatically again regains the wherewithal to become a powerful imperial state."

With the accession of the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland to Nato by 1999, Ukraine remained the last frontier, the single largest buffer on the Russia-Nato "border". The orange revolution has to be viewed in the context of a defensive Russia attempting to hold on to its sphere of influence in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and an aggressive Euro-Atlantic eastward push by the European Union and Nato.

The line-up of foreign backing for the two presidential candidates on the eve of the revolution unambiguously unravels this background tug of war. Viktor Yanukovich, the candidate of outgoing president, Leonid Kuchma, received strong verbal and financial support from the Kremlin before, during and after the disputed 2004 election. In a personal meeting with Russian president, Vladimir Putin, just before the election, Yanukovich promised "that he would end Ukraine's policy of seeking membership in NATO." Viktor Yushchenko, the pro-market challenger who benefited from American diplomatic, intelligence and Ingo assistance for the orange revolution, put his eggs entirely in the EU and Nato basket.

Energy politics also figured in Washington's regime change calculus for Ukraine. In July 2004, much to the consternation of the Bush administration and Brussels, Kuchma's government reversed an earlier decision to extend the Odessa-Brody pipeline to Gdansk in Poland. Had the extension occurred, it would have carried enormous Caspian oil flows to the EU, independent of Russia, and weakened Ukraine's overwhelming dependence on Russia for its energy needs.

Jettisoning a project that would have cemented Kiev's westward trajectory, Kuchma decided to open an unused pipeline that would transport oil from the Russian Urals to Odessa. The fallout on US interests was not negligible, as W Engdahl reports: "Washington policy is aimed at direct control over the oil and gas flows from the Caspian, including Turkmenistan, and to counter Russian regional influence from Georgia to Ukraine to Azerbaijan and Iran. The background issue is Washington's unspoken recognition of the looming exhaustion of the world's major sources of cheap high-quality oil, the problem of global oil depletion."

The US ambassador to Ukraine, Carlos Pascual, repeatedly beseeched Kuchma to give up the reversal, arguing that the Polish plan would be more attractive for investors and more profitable for Ukraine in the long term, particularly by attenuating Russian monopoly control and diversifying Ukraine's energy inventory. It was no coincidence that Yushchenko's government, after the orange revolution, restored status quo ante on Odessa-Brody, announcing "positive talks with Chevron, the former company of US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, for the project."

The install-Yushchenko operation in Ukraine had several components. Important power-brokers like the Ukrainian army, the ministry of internal affairs, the security service and senior intelligence officials (silovki) worked against Kuchma's crackdown orders and passed critical inside information to Yushchenko's camp.

Though these Praetorians claimed to have disobeyed executive commands altruistically, there was a pro-US tilt in many vital state agencies. Their communication channel with Yushchenko's aide, Yevyen Marchuk, a Nato favourite and former defense minister who discussed the upcoming elections with US defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, in August 2004, suggests a well planned coup d'état. Yushchenko's wife, Kateryna Chumachenko, a former Reagan and George H Bush administration official and émigré Ukrainian heavyweight, is alleged to have played a key backdoor part.

None of the above machinations would have mattered without the disputed election result, the amassing of people power on the streets and the engineering of democracy through civil disobedience. It is here that NED and its family of Ingos were most needed.

Having penetrated Ukraine in 1990 at the behest of the George H Bush administration with the assent of the pro-American Leonid Kravchuk, the effective leader of the republic, these Ingos had the power to finance and create the local NGO sector from scratch, controlling its agenda and direction.

The neo-liberal Pora organization, for instance, was an offshoot of the groundwork done by the "Freedom of Choice Coalition" that was put together in 1999 by the US embassy, the World Bank, NED and the Soros Foundation. On the eve of the orange revolution, NED Gongos hired American pollsters and professional consultants to mine psephological data and unite the opposition under Yushchenko's electoral coalition, months before the poll; trained thousands of local and international election monitors partisan to Yushchenko; organised exit polls in collaboration with western embassies that predicted Yushchenko’s victory; and imported "consultants" who had experience in the Serbian overthrow of Milosevic and the Georgian rose revolution.

The mass mobilization in Kiev was handpicked from Yushchenko's western Ukraine bastions and did not reflect nationwide sentiments. "A few tens of thousands in central Kiev were proclaimed to be 'the people', notwithstanding the fact that many demonstrators nursed violent and anti-democratic viewpoints", writes John Laughland. The NGO monitors, teamed up with western media outlets, deliberately exaggerated electoral fraud involving Yanukovych's party, ignoring serious violations by Yushchenko's.

US government expenditure on the orange revolution has been put at $14 million, while the overall civil-society promotion budget set by Washington for Ukraine (2003-2004) was $57.8-$65 million. The Soros Foundation and Freedom House pumped in a steady flow of funds through Ingos and local NGOs for "elections-related projects."

Massing of pro-Yushchenko crowds in Kiev’s Independence Square was a meticulous operation of “careful, secret planning by Yushchenko's inner circle over a period of years” that oversaw distribution of thousands of cameras, backup teams of therapists and psychologists, transportation, heaters, sleeping bags, gas canisters, toilets, soup kitchens, tents, TV and radio coverage, all of which needed "large sums of cash, in this case, much of it American." (Daniel Wolf.)

Local oligarchs and US-based émigré Ukrainian businesspersons also chipped in with sizeable contributions to the neo-liberal Yuschchenko. The shadowy and fungible ties between the US government and democratization Gongos leave little doubt that the latter were purveyors of large amounts of money in Ukraine that will not appear in audits or annual reports. Public acknowledgements of spending are understatements akin to official casualty figures given by governments during counterinsurgencies.

According to Congressman Ron Paul, the US allocated $60 million for financing the orange revolution "through a series of cut-out NGOs – both American and Ukrainian – in support of Yushchenko." The figure happens to be "just the tip of the iceberg". Claims that "Russia gave Yanukovich far more money than the United States (gave to Yushchenko)" rest on the myth that US government financing through the NED family "is publicly accountable and transparent."

The NED family's role in first following the Bush administration’s lead and anointing Yushchenko's outfit as the only valid manifestation of "civil society" (at the expense of non-neoliberal, anti-authoritarian parties) and then consistently bolstering it with funds and regime-toppling expertise completely blurs lines between impartial democracy promotion and meddling in Ukraine’s political process.

It tinkers with Robert Dahl’s basic dimension of democratization – contestation, i.e. the playing-field of political competition and the relative strengths of contenders. Much that was done by the Ingos in the name of democratization in Ukraine was outright biased, including voter education that is supposed to neutrally inform citizens to make free choices rather than to campaign for a particular candidate: "Yushchenko got the western nod, and floods of money poured in to groups which support him, ranging from the youth organization, Pora, to various opposition websites." (Jonathan Steele.)

The sinuous route taken by western money can be illustrated with an example. The Poland-America-Ukraine Cooperation Initiative (Pauci), a prominent grantee of Usaid and Freedom House, funded NGOs active in the orange revolution like the International Centre for Policy Studies, which had Yushchenko on its supervisory board. In essence, American Ingos constricted the Ukrainian political space by plumping for the interests of the neo-liberal candidate before the 2004 elections, and partook in a multi-pronged regime-change operation orchestrated in Washington.

Kyrgyzstan’s tulip implantation

Central Asia has long been in the crosshairs of great-power competition games. After the fall of communism, the George H Bush and Clinton administrations defined a set of geo-strategic goals for this heavily meddled region: "To secure an alternative source for energy, help Central Asia gain autonomy from Russia’s hegemony, block Iran’s influence, and promote political and economic freedoms."

From 1993, goals of diversifying long-term energy reserves (finding alternatives to Persian Gulf sources) and pressures from the oil and gas private sectors "began to take centre stage" in Washington's policy toward Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. The Pentagon pressed for increasing US military presence in the region and succeeded in securing membership for four of the five central Asian states, including Kyrgyzstan, in Nato’s Partnership for Peace in 1994.

Frequent joint military exercises and "interoperability" training in the Clinton years were expected to yield American bases in the region from which to counter Russian and Chinese hegemonic ambitions. With limited oil and natural gas reserves, Kyrgyzstan’s weak economy was heavily dependent on Russia, a vulnerability that the Clinton administration sought to counteract by deepening the US defense interests and nudging the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank to lend voluminous amounts of development aid to Askar Akayev's relatively democratic government.

IMF technical assistance was critical to Kyrgyzstan becoming the first state in the region to leave the Russian ruble zone. Despite the 1999 extension of the CIS collective security treaty that boosted Russian military leverage in Kyrgyzstan, kidnappings and effortless incursions into Kyrgyz territory by the fundamentalist Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) exposed chinks in the security apparatus of Akayev's "Switzerland of central Asia". As Kyrgyzstan got dragged into central Asia's Islamist tangle by geography, the narcotics trade and border conflicts, the subterranean US-Russian race for military bases came into the open, paving the road to the tulip revolution.

After 11 September 2001, the Pentagon ventured on an epic journey: "The greatest shake-up in America's overseas military deployments since the end of the second World War to position U.S. forces along an 'arc of instability' that runs through the Caribbean, Africa, the middle east, the Caucasus, Central Asia and southern Asia."

The cash-strapped Akayev offered the largest American military base in the region at Manas, outside Bishkek, an installation that was not taken lightly in Moscow. China, which shares a border with Kyrgyzstan was equally alarmed and, together with Russia, steered the Shanghai Cooperation Organization toward opposing and ending US military bases in central Asia. The expectation that Manas base would "reduce Kyrgyz dependence on Russia", besides being a logistic hub for the war in Afghanistan, was belied when in 2003 President Putin negotiated with Akayev to open up a Russian airbase at Kant – thirty kilometres from the American "lily pad".

China was also reported to be engaged in secret parleys for its own base in Kyrgyzstan and for border adjustments; these kicked up a political storm against Akayev in March 2002. Russia's ministry of internal affairs, "Akayev’s new friends", helped defuse the demonstrations. Akayev’s moves to align Kyrgyzstan with China through "Silk Road diplomacy" and suppression of the Uighur guerrillas – explained mainly by his desperate need of finances to stem the tail-spinning domestic economy – upset Washington, which saw Beijing as a thorn in its strategic expansion agenda.

The American perspective on this dangerous development went as follows: "Given the 1,100-kilometer border between Kyrgyzstan and China – and Washington's already considerable foothold in nearby Uzbekistan and Tajikistan – the fall of the China-friendly government of disgraced president Askar Akayev would be no small victory for the 'containment policy'."

Prior to the Sino-Russian counteroffensive that found receptive ears in Bishkek, Akayev's progressively autocratic tendencies had not ruffled many feathers in Washington. His rigged presidential election in 2000 went largely unnoticed by the US government, even though NDI observers termed it unfair and laden with illegal subornment of the state machinery. In fact, Eric McGlinchey's study of the reasons for Akayev's slide into anti-democratic politics puts the blame squarely on US-inspired IMF doles that allowed him to "rein in political contestation and rebuild authoritarian rule."

Having cosseted Akayev for more than a decade, the volte-face done by the Bush administration before the tulip revolution was not an overnight realisation of how despotic he had become but a hard-nosed calculation that its vital interests were no longer being served. The visible consequences of Washington’s displeasure with "the news from Kant" (the opening of the Russian base) were recorded thus: "The IMF office in Bishkek has become tougher towards Kyrgyzstan. And the State Department has opened its own independent printing house – which means opposition newspapers will be back in full force." (P Escobar.)

Diplomatic sources are on record that as soon as the Kant deal fructified, Akayev was "on the American watch list" and "the U.S. began supporting all conceivable elements arrayed against him."

Democratisation of Kyrgyzstan, a footnote in American policy, suddenly acquired an aura and urgency. We should add that there was also a generic strategic rationale mooted in the Bush administration for democratization in central Asia after 11 September. Since anti-US popular feelings in the region are not as high as in other Muslim parts of the world, "the risk of democratization in the region is relatively small." Winning the hearts and minds of central Asian Muslims through democratization "will not only facilitate the process of liberalizing the economy, but also, as a by-product, increase support for the United States."

11 September opened a classic realist "window of opportunity through which an 'arc of stability' can be established in the strategically important area between the Caspian Sea and the northwestern border of China." Wildly inconsistent in application, the notion that democracy promotion can soften the Islamist challenge to pax Americana fitted well with rising discontent in Washington with Akayev's usefulness. Kyrgyzstan, with a population of barely 5 million (the fourth smallest in the region) received a sum total of $26.5 million for "democratic reform" from the state department in 2003-04, second only to the much more populous Uzbekistan. As with Ukraine, the official figures shroud a fortune.

From 2003, NED-family Ingos got into the act of securing regime change at the next parliamentary elections, turning against Akayev who had initially allowed them access to the country during the heyday of IMF and Usaid conditional lending. Even more than in Ukraine, American dominance of the local NGO sector is complete in Kyrgyzstan. P Escobar describes the monopolization of local civil society thus: "Practically everything that passes for civil society in Kyrgyzstan is financed by US foundations, or by the US Agency for International Development (USAID). At least 170 non-governmental organizations charged with development or promotion of democracy have been created or sponsored by the Americans."

The absolute control of Kyrgyz civil society by the NED family of Gongos is compounded by the donor-driven nature of "civil-society building" carried out in the region. Fiona Adamson's field research of democratization aid in Kyrgyzstan finds that: "Local NGOs receive almost 100 percent of their funds from international actors and can easily become almost 100 percent donor driven. International donors implicitly or explicitly expect local NGOs to administer programmes that do not necessarily match local needs."

Among the strategies adopted by the Ingos in the name of democratization was winning over local elites to western ideas and models, a time-tested cold-war tactic of psychological warfare. Irex organised conferences, seminars, "technical assistance" and exchange programmes with Kyrgyz elites, believing that domestic political change comes from exposure to western ideas.

That this tactic worked was evident by the trend among the Kyrgyz business and political elites to endorse a closer security and economic relationships with the US. Kurmanbek Bakiyev of the National Movement of Kyrgyzstan, the man who replaced Akayev as prime minister after the tulip revolution, was himself sent to the US on an exchange programme. Felix Kulov, the new head of security, and Omurbek Tekebayev, the new speaker of parliament after the tulip revolution, were also beneficiaries of state-department-sponsored visitors programmes.

Tekebayev disclosed what he learnt on the Washington jaunt candidly: "I found that the Americans know how to choose people, know how to make an accurate evaluation of what is happening and prognosticate the future development and political changes."

Top opposition leaders in the 2005 parliamentary elections like Roza Otunbayeva had reputations as "Washington’s favourite", though not as across-the-board as in Ukraine. They were quick to see potential in the NED's arsenal for regime change and utilised Ingo-funded projects for publishing anti-government newspapers, training youth "infected" with the democracy virus through US-financed trips to Kiev for a glimpse of the orange revolution, and mobilizing fairly large crowds in Bishkek that stormed Akayev's presidential palace and in the southern towns of Osh and Jalalabad.

Usaid "invested at least $2 million prior to the elections" for local activists to monitor government-sponsored malpractices but did not do anything to prohibit these "independent observers" from actually working for opposition candidates. The Coalition for Democracy and Civil Society (CDCS) and Civil Society Against Corruption (CSAC), key local NGO partners of the NED, worked in tandem with the anti-Akayev parties without any pretence of impartiality.

The US embassy in Bishkek, continuing the murky tradition of interventionist behaviour in crises, worked closely with Gongos like Freedom House and the Soros Foundation – supplying generators, printing presses and money to keep the protests boiling until Akayev fled. Information about where protesters should gather and what they should bring spread through state-department-funded radio and TV stations, especially in the southern region of Osh.

CDCS head, Edil Baisolov, admitted that the uprising would have been "absolutely impossible" without this coordinated American effort. On the utility of the NED Gongos to the entire exercise of the tulip revolution, Philip Shishkin noted: "To avoid provoking Russia and violating diplomatic norms, the US can't directly back opposition political parties. But it underwrites a web of influential NGOs."

It is important to note that the clan structure of Kyrgyz society, ethnic tensions with Uzbeks, and incipient Islamism in the Ferghana valley intervened on the ground to alter the revolutionary script charted in Washington. Russia too had learnt its lessons from Ukraine and cultivated some key opposition figures, making it impossible for the US to monopolize the opposition as was the case in the previous two colour revolutions.

The element of surprise, the slick media packaged proclamation of democracy’s relentless march, the legitimization by western capitals in lightning speed – all had become predictable by the time the democratization caravan reached Bishkek. The ambivalent attitude of the new order in Kyrgyzstan – in sharp contrast to the euphoric pro-western policies in Georgia and Ukraine – owes much to this variation between these two case studies.

"Good" vs "bad" authoritarians

Before drawing final lessons from this analysis, it is worth knowing why questionable elections by semi-dictatorial rulers in other post-communist states did not end up in colour revolutions. The main reason why Ilham Aliev, the heir to Heydar Aliev's autocracy in Azerbaijan, could fix the November 2005 parliamentary elections and not have to run the gauntlet from Washington's public-relations machinery and NED Gongos was his regime's loyalty to immense American (and British) energy interests in the Baku-Tiblisi-Ceyhan pipeline.

This was the second time Ilham Aliev grossly manipulated an election and got away without repercussions. His succession façade in the notorious October 2003 presidential election was not only condoned in Washington but met with congratulatory messages from the Pentagon.

Uzbekistan's Stalinist strongman, Islam Karimov, brutally clamped down on a mass demonstration in Andijan against corruption and arbitrary detentions in May 2005, killing 500 and wounding 2,000, but Washington echoed the Uzbek government's claim that it was the handiwork of "Islamic terrorists".

Karimov, at the time of the tulip-revolution-inspired stirrings, had been the US's staunchest ally in the war on terrorism in central Asia, an insurance policy against democratization pressures. His pre-emptive moves before the December 2004 parliamentary elections and after the tulip revolution to expel and constrict the activities of NED-family Ingos did not meet with any criticism from the US government. Comparing Uzbekistan to the other colour revolutions, the perceptive P Escobar wrote: "The former strongmen of colour-coded 'revolutionary' Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan were monsters who had to be removed for 'freedom and democracy' to prevail. So is the dictator of Belarus. Not Karimov. He's ‘our’ dictator."

The necessary causation of regime change

These case studies have upheld the realist paradigm by showing that American-democratization Gongos are necessary, but not sufficient, causes for the colour revolutions. Unless US foreign-policymakers decide to field the full panoply of their intelligence, economic and military resources alongside the Gongos, the spectacle of yet another orchestrated colour revolution is unimaginable. Lacking strong US condemnation and proactive directions, the NED Gongos cannot manage to stage regime changes on their own in conjunction with local activists. It is the push factor from Washington that galvanises the Gongos into a war footing for regime toppling.

The orange and tulip revolutions are cases of "regime change", not "regime-type change", for they did not democratize Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan. By their very nature, these episodes were replacements of anti-western elites with pro-western ones, not far-reaching changes that remodeled polities. Even a minimalist definition of democracy – free and fair elections – was not unambiguously achieved in the two cases.

So narrow was the base of these regime changes that it is a travesty to call them "revolutions", a term propagated by the US government and western media. The replacements of Kuchma by Yushchenko and of Akayev by Bakiyev are no more "revolutionary" than the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, which has been christened by the Bush administration as a "purple revolution". The difference in methods – Gongos and backroom intrigue in post-communist states and direct military occupation in Iraq – does not nullify the similarity of the independent variable: US strategic ambitions.

Predictions for future regime changes on the lines of the colour revolutions will need to carefully track how this independent variable evolves vis-à-vis undemocratic states in the post-Soviet space and how it shapes the concatenation of hard and soft power instruments. American strategy would also depend on domestic political peculiarities in individual states, factors that could not be fully covered in this essay due to the methodological problem of degrees of freedom.

American Gongos are highly effective in certain domestic milieus and moments and less so in others. Sabotage can suffice in some countries while full-scale military offensives may be needed in others. As Peter Gourevitch points out, purely international causation for domestic causes is "not totally convincing" except in the case of complete military occupation by a foreign power. A full range of necessary causation for regime change would have to include internal political and socio-economic variables, besides the NED brand of interposing.

Some additional information can be found at

A complex web of phony Ukrainian NGOs

UNITER stands for 'Ukraine National Initiatives to Enhance Reforms' and is also known as USAID/Ukraine's Strengthening Civil Society in Ukraine (SCSU). It is administered by Pact Inc. Pact Inc. is a nonprofit organization based in Washington D.C. that is directly funded by USAID:

USAID/Ukraine awarded Pact a 5-year cooperative agreement to implement the project, effective October 1, 2008. The agreement was extended in September 2013 for an additional year. Including modifications and the 1-year extension, the total amount awarded comes to $14.3 million. As of September 30, 2013, $13.7 million had been obligated and $12.7 million had been spent.1
UNITER also funds the Center UA, which was set up in 2009 by Pierre Omidyar as "a coalition of more than 50 civil society organizations that mobilizes civic participation in Ukraine and serves as the country's primary forum for government transparency and accountability." Omidyar is a French-born Iranian American entrepreneur and philanthropist, and the founder and chairman of the eBay auction site.

Oleh Rybachuk is named as the founder and chairman of Centre UA. In 2004, Rybachuk headed the staff and political campaign of the US-backed presidential candidate Victor Yushchenko in the 'Orange Revolution'. Speaking at a 2006 NATO forum, he said:

"The task of political forces [in Ukraine] is to compromise on when Ukraine will sign a NATO Membership Plan [...] Ukraine's leaders must now join their efforts to launch an information campaign promoting the country's Euro-Atlantic integration, so that Ukrainians freely and consciously choose their future."
Rybachuk went on to serve under Yushchenko and Tymoshenko as deputy prime minister in charge of integrating Ukraine into NATO and the European Union. With the creation of Centre UA in 2009, Rybachuk transformed himself into a "civil society activist" and began working covertly for the US government to prepare the ground for the overthrow of the established order in Ukraine through "civil unrest", which eventually included the violent overthrow of President Yanukovych.

After the election of President Yanukovych in February 2010, UNITER described how Centre UA was used to put pressure on the Yanukovych government:

The New Citizen Platform was a key player in ensuring the success of the legislation. Pact, through the USAID-funded Ukraine National Initiatives to Enhance Reforms (UNITER) project assists the NGO Center UA [New Citizen] since 2009. It was UNITER's contribution to create the network of prominent local and national level Ukrainian NGOs, to bring together leaders of public opinion and civil society activist.

Henceforth, Pact helped Center UA to emerge as the main convener of the need for access to public information for journalist work. This gave important boost to the success of the New Citizen platform. It included the facilitation and creation in summer 2010 of the Stop Censorship movement that unites media professionals in defending their rights for freedom of speech and access to information. The intensive collaboration New Citizen platform and Stop Censorship movement resulted in the reinforced media attention to the legislative struggle.2

On investigating these 'NGO networks' in Ukraine it quickly becomes clear that when Victoria Nuland said that Washington has spent $5 billion on "democracy promotion" in Ukraine over the past 20 years, she wasn't lying, at least not on the numbers. But that $5billion of US taxpayers' money has not gone towards "democracy promotion" but towards the infiltration and co-opting of Ukraine's political and social life for the purpose of thwarting Russia's natural influence on, and co-operation with, its neighbor. Between 2009 and 2014, through its complex web of fake NGOs, the US government engaged in a concerted effort to radically and definitively change the course of Ukraine's political and social life for the sole purpose of attacking Russia. In hindsight, a violent coup d'etat and the imposition of US-government-selected political leaders was a part of that plan.The farce that was and is USAID funding phony 'NGOs' to work for "access to public information for journalistic work" was fully exposed recently when the Kiev government banned more than 100 Russian media outlets from Ukraine.

Use of false flag operations to wipe up the protests

Here is one interesting take on EuroMaidan "snipergate" ( Euromaidan Anatomy of a Washington-backed coup d'etat)

US Snipers on EuroMaidan?

When he took up the post of US Ambassador to Ukraine on July 30th, 2013, Geoffrey Pyatt inherited this complex and well-established network of US-financed social activists and agitators. One of Pyatt's first tasks was to oversee the funding (about $50,000 in total) of a new television station in Ukraine, Hromadske TV. Unsurprisingly, Hromadske's first broadcast was on Nov. 22nd, 2013, the very first day of the Maidan protests. Indeed, the rallying cry for those protests was given by Mustafa Nayem, a Ukrainian journalist who founded Hromadske TV (with US taxpayers' money). Hromadske provided blanket coverage of the Maidan protest and since then has continued to receive generous funding from the US State Department and EU governments. To get an idea of the editorial line of the US State Dept. Hromadske, last year they hosted a journalist who called for the genocide of 1.5 million residents in the Donbass.

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McCain flanked by neo-nazi Tyahnybok

From the beginning of the protests until Yanukovych was forced to flee the country, the Euromaidan was the place to be if you wanted to press the flesh with US politicians. Pyatt and Nuland regularly handed out cookies and 'attaboys' to the protestors and police alike, while the US government's revolutionary envoy John McCain rallied the protestors in December 2013, telling them that "America stands with you" and "Ukraine will make Europe better". As the protests became increasingly violent through January 2014, the Ukrainian Prime Minister resigned on January 28th in a failed attempt to appease the protestors. By February 18th, President Yanukovych was in negotiations to draft a 'peace deal' with three members of the opposition - Yatzenyuk, the fascist Tyahnybok, and Klitschko, along with French, German and Polish foreign ministers. These were the same three people mentioned by Nuland and Pyatt in their infamous leaked phone call where they discussed the future make-up of the post-Yanukovych government.The agreement called for a drastic reduction in Yanukovych's presidential powers, a return to the 2004 constitution, the release of Tymoshenko from prison, early elections for later in 2014, the appointment of Yatzenyuk as prime minister and Klitschko as deputy prime minister, and the dismissal of the current government.

These measures amounted to a radical change in the power structure in Ukraine and should have meant an end to the protests, since they fulfilled all of the opposition demands. After all, the leaders of the opposition who had signed the agreement were the representatives of the protestors on the streets of Kiev, right? However, as the negotiations were ongoing, someone began a shooting spree in the streets around Kiev square over the three days of February 18th-20th. At least 15 policemen and 80 protestors and civilian bystanders were shot dead by what appears to have been a team of snipers firing from the tops and windows of buildings. The agreement was signed on the 21st, but the large death toll appears to have contributed to the almost immediate scrapping of the agreement, and the announcement by what was left of the Ukrainian parliament that Yanukovych would be impeached.

The image below shows the Maidan square in the top left corner.

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The yellow line shows the extent of the progress of the protestors on February 20th along Institutskaya Street as they tried to reach the central bank and the Ukrainian parliament (in red). All of the buildings surrounding Maidan square (off screen, top left), including the Ukraine hotel (in green), were occupied by protestors. The lobby of the Ukraine hotel had been turned into a makeshift triage center for the injured. The point being, everything behind and to the left and right of the protestors should have been safe territory. Ukrainian officials and protestors to this day claim that the police were responsible for the deaths. Yet the video segment below, taken from this video, shows a protestor (and the tree behind which he is hiding) being struck by a bullet from behind or from the side, most likely from the upper floors of the Ukraine hotel, as pointed out by this German news report (with English subtitles).


Throughout the day, dozens of other protestors were shot from behind, from buildings occupied by protestors, as outlined in this detailed report by Professor Ivan Katchanovski of the University of Ottawa.

The question of who was responsible for the large death toll among both protestors and policemen was brought into sharp focus by an intercepted telephone call, released on March 4th, 2014, between EU Foreign Affairs Chief Catherine Ashton and Estonian Foreign Affairs Minister Urmas Paet, who had just returned from Kiev. In the call, Paet tells Ashton:

There is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovych, but it was somebody from the new coalition. [...] all the evidence shows that the people who were killed by snipers from both sides, among policemen and then people from the streets, that they were the same snipers killing people from both sides ... and it's really disturbing that now the new coalition, that they don't want to investigate what exactly happened.
If you're wondering why you haven't heard much, or anything, about this phone call in the Western media, the reason is that it has been ignored. And as Paet says, apparently the new US/EU-installed 'interim' government in Ukraine is not too keen on investigating the allegations.

Along with the video evidence and eyewitness testimony, Paet's statement strongly suggests that within the 'Maidan' protestors, perhaps specifically the US-funded and Chechen Jihadi-linked 'Right Sector', there were individuals who were fighting on both sides of the barricades; their aim being to kill as many police and protestors as possible in an effort to turn the 'people's revolution' into a revolution of Ukrainian ultra-nationalists bent on kick-starting a 'civil war' to cleanse Ukraine of Russian influence. That agenda dovetails nicely with the broad, decades-long goal of the Anglo-American empire to neutralize Russia as a potential global power broker able to stand against US global hegemony through destabilization and proxy wars.

The expansion of NATO up to Russia's borders that was begun by the Clinton administration in 1992 was advised against by many because it would obviously provoke conflict with Russia, yet the plan went ahead anyway. Why? There are two interwoven benefits from the US point of view. The first is that expanding NATO eastwards served to physically and economically expand the US empire. The second is that provoking conflict with Russia was predicted to scare European states, especially the expanded-upon new NATO Baltic states, into believing that Russia was a threat.

NATO was designed to increase security in Europe, but it has achieved precisely the opposite today. What 'increase security in Europe' really means in Washington is 'increase of US control in Europe'. The US government has long-since understood that the best way to increase control is to increase fear, and to increase fear you need an enemy. In the case of Europe, Russia could be provoked into appearing as an enemy to Europe by threatening it through expansion of NATO, which was justified by the need to increase security in Europe. Basically, expansion of NATO to Russia's borders was designed to threaten Russia and, as a result, threaten Europe and push it further into the arms of the Empire.

Ukraine today is not just a 'failed state'. A 'failed state' is usually still in the hands of a national government. Ukraine today is fully in the hands of the US government and the IMF. That might not be such a bad thing (relatively) if it weren't for the fact that the only reason those two institutions have any interest in Ukraine is to use it as leverage in their futile attempt to thwart the inexorable strengthening of the Russian Federation.

Just take Natalie Jaresko as an example. A Chicago-born investment banker who received her Ukrainian citizenship in December 2014, she now controls Ukrainian financial policy. In the late '80s and early '90s, she just so happened to hold several positions at the US State Department before taking the position of Chief of the Economic Section of the US Embassy in Ukraine. She also managed the USAID-financed Western NIS Enterprise Fund, which kindly provided funds for 'pro-democracy' movements in Belarus, Moldova and, predictably, Ukraine.

One year ago today, there was an option to end the Maidan protests peacefully while also meeting the protestors' demands and reforming Ukrainian politics and society in a way that would have benefited the Ukrainian people. Instead, the US empire and their proxy agents chose to unleash bloody mayhem on Ukraine. In the process, Ukraine (and therefore NATO) lost Crimea and is so to lose the rich lands of Donetsk and Lugansk. Does the US government care? Of course not. The real goal of demonizing Russia as a threat to global stability has been achieved.

All other considerations, including the slaughter of tens of thousands of ragged Ukrainian troops and at least 5,000 eastern Ukrainian citizens, are a price the psychopaths in Washington were only too willing to pay.

There is no fortress that can't be captured by a donkey loaded with gold

It is now known that the USA agencies spend around one billion in cash to facilitate the dissolution of the USSR. Here is how Prince Shcherbatov, who was active participant of the events, recollected this CIA operation:

...the Americans, the CIA spent money through its Ambassador in Russia, Robert Strauss, using his connections to bribe military: Taman and Dzershinsk airborne division, which had moved to the side of Yeltsin.

Big sums were received by the son of the Marshal Shaposhnikov, Minister of defense Grachev. Shaposhnikov now have an estate in the South of France, and a house in Switzerland.

I heard from George Bailey, my old friend, who for many years worked for the CIA that cash allocated to the USSR amounted to more than one billion dollars.

Not many people knew that in 1991 special aircraft delivered cash under the disguise of diplomatic mail to the Sheremetyevo airport. Those money were distributed in packages of ten-, twenty- an fifty dollars bills to selected government officials and military leaders.

The first meeting of the representatives of the two countries, held in Jurmala showed Americans that some of "the Soviet people" can easily “agree” to bribes. The second meeting which was attended by both military and intelligence representatives of both countries was a trial balloon for the future events.

Former participants in Chachagua conference were active participants in the coup: General Chervov helped to distribute the money among the military, one of the Directors of "Banks Trust", John Crystal helped to channel CIA money via his bank.

It turned out that if you give Soviet officials a good bribe, it is not that difficult to destroy the Soviet Union.

Everything was calculated correctly. In this case, thanks to the joint conferences, mass media, the efforts of American and Soviet representatives of different levels public opinion was shaped in the necessary direction, psychological "brainwashing" of the Soviet people was quickly accomplished and the ideas about the necessity of the introduction of democracy in the country firmly took root.

Bombing country with dollar proved to be also very efficient during Iraq and Afghanistan campaign. It allowed to buy some key figured in the government, making resistance inefficient. Cash in suitcases was used during the dissolution of the USSR very effectively to buy key "intelligencia" and government officials. The technique was polished to perfection during Serbian color revolution (The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity)

Regime Change Blueprint The NED At Work

Mar 08, 2014 | The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity

Another resource was the 30,000-40,000 Serbs living in Austria. Serbia had established the military draft, and the CIA had many walk-in Serbs who gave it detailed assessments of troops, list of security and police officials and other valuable information. Other Serb deserters went by ratlines to Germany where they were debriefed at Westport, a former US military base turned intelligence center. Many Serbs returned to Belgrade to continue to report.

Milosevic was constantly passing draconian new laws to root out dissidents and make war on his own students, and the CIA, having learned from the attempts by the Soviets who tried to decapitate Polish union, Solidarity, using mass arrests, the Serbian rebel students, whose outfit was called Otpor, set up a brilliant horizontal structure exactly the opposite of Milosevic’s central structure. Otpor was made up of small cells, and to escape capture, its members constantly shifted to a complicated network of safe houses. Operations were launched from these. A safe house used signals such as a raised blind or a closed window or a raised flag on a mailbox to indicate that all was well.

In addition, the CIA, through NGO’s, supplied the rebel Serbian students with thousands of cell phones, radio transmitters, and fax machines. Calls and e-mails went out through servers outside Serbia to escape Belgrade’s magpie scrutiny. Otpor was also supplied with printing equipment and supplies, and the publications and leaflets began to have an impact.

But the most urgent priority had been to establish a money conduit to fund Otpor and other Serbian defectors in place. Much of the money was cash gathered in Hungary and smuggled in suitcases over the border into Serbia., preferably U.S. dollars or German deutsche marks that were widely used in Serbia and had a higher value than the worthless Serb dinar. To avoid detection, the money trail moved constantly. Very early Otpor received money to a tune of $3 million from NED. The money was transferred to accounts outside of Serbia, mainly in Hungary and Austria. Since Milosevic had nationalized the Serb banks, a lot more money came over the Serb border in suitcases from Hungary. The NED would not know where the money was going, and would receive a receipt signed by a dissident as to how the funds were used. For example, money going to underground publications would be acknowledged by a secret code on one of the pages.

Using its covert monies, the students began to buy t-shirts, stickers, leaflets that bore its emblem of a clenched fist. Soon the clenched fist of Otpor appeared on walls, postal boxes, cars, the sides of trucks and statues. The students painted red footsteps on the ground to symbolize Milosevic’s bloody exit from parliament and passersby found thrust into their hands cardboard telescopes that described a falling star called “Slobotea.” They also used public relations techniques including polling leafleting and paid advertising. As days went on recruitment was expanded and new assets acquired and in cities like Banja Luka in northern Bosnia in Pristina in Kosovo, and in the provincial cities of Serbia, activity was mounting to a climax All the beatings of crowds, the disbanding of political parties, the fixing of the 1997 elections, the dismissal of honest Serb officials, the snubbing, the humiliating defeats, the arrogant indifference of Milosevic had been piling up, generating a pent-up violence that was going to be discharged in one shattering explosion of revolt.

The money trail expanded. Regarding the funding of certain persons or groups, the agency took pains to use false flag recruitments – acting through intermediaries to get new agents while the CIA pretended that its own agents came from other countries. Clinton did not want the opposition derided as U.S. lackeys. A participant: me, "I don’t think a lot of our assets had a sense of working for the U.S. government. It’s a grey area letting them know where their monies are coming from.” In the end, they got over $70 million.

Communications gear came next. The dissidents had to be supplied advanced CIA equipment such as Inmarsat scrambler phones to organize a command, control and intelligence, (C3I) network so they could remain underground and stay a step ahead of capture. Training for specific opposition leaders and key individuals was given U.S. assets within Serbia whose purpose was to serve as the eyes and ears for key dissident as well as to provide funds and security.

By now Otpor had developed a crisis committee to coordinate resistance that enabled networks from different regions to keep in close touch. All branches of U.S. intelligence were going to provide an early warning system for the students. The NSA and the CIA Special Collections Elements in neighboring countries had hacked into Slobodan’s key security bureaucracies and were reading Ministry of Internal Affairs' orders for police raids against the demonstrators. This intelligence was passed to the dissidents who gave advance alerts to Otpor cells which allowed them to disperse and avoid arrest. By now the student group even had a committee to deal with administrative tasks such as lining up new safe houses, cars, fake IDs. As the campaign to dethrone Milosevic went on, the money and activities grew more and more quickly with more than $30 million from the U.S. alone.

There were now seventy thousand Otpor students in 130 groups with twelve regional offices, and the Otpor leaders had been schooled in non-violent techniques designed to undermine dictatorial authority. They were using a handbook, From Dictatorship to Democracy: A Conceptual Framework for Liberation,” written by Gene Sharp. Chapters were copied and handed from cell to cell throughout the country. He: an interview that his non-violent method “is not ethical. It is not pacifism. It is based on an analysis of power in dictatorship and how to break it by withdrawing the obedience of its citizens and the key institutions of society.”

The same tactic in less overt form is used during Russian "white revolution" of 2012 and EuroMaidan 2014. Average pay for "protester" in xUSSR space is $30 a day. If we add equipment and food necessary for sustained Maidan style protest it is probably closer to $100 a day. Assuming 3000 paid professional protester (which will attract some volunteers, lumpens and simply spectators probably doubling the total doubling the amount in day hours ) that means that one day of protest costs as little as $300K a day which is nothing in comparison with the cost of direct military intervention. 30 days often is enough to topple the government so for less then 30 million you can achieve a spectacular result and "open the can" for multinationals. Here is some consideration on this account from establishment rag Foreign Policy.

The article Dollars, Not Bombs Can we bribe our way to peace in Syria? (FP, Sept 4, 2013) suggests:

How much is peace worth in Syria? If the United States attacks, cruise missiles worth tens of millions of dollars will wing their way toward the war-torn country, adding to the millions already spent on mobilization. There's no guarantee this costly exercise would quicken the end of the conflict. What's more, there's a potentially cheaper way to promote peace in Syria and anywhere else: Buy it.

The United States already spends money on foreign aid and peacekeeping that are supposed to stem conflict and encourage economic growth around the world. But we tend to avoid sending money to countries bogged down by war, since we're afraid it might be wasted. This is a big gap in our foreign policy, and to fill it, we need be more direct. We need to pay for peace explicitly.

There's a market for peace. The seller's price is how much you have to pay for it, and the buyer's price is how much you should be willing to pay. We need to know both of these numbers and ultimately try to balance them.

Why should Americans be buying? It's pretty simple. Peaceful countries are moneymakers for the United States. Most peaceful countries in the world import American goods and services, helping our economy create jobs and putting tax revenue in Washington's coffers. And the more these countries grow, the more they buy.

... ... ...

Other countries could sweeten the deal. Major economies in Europe would probably benefit from peace in Syria, too. Right now, none of them are among Syria's top trading partners, despite the European Union's policy of economic engagement in the Mediterranean region. If Europe participated, the annual peace bounty could rise to a billion dollars or more. And if the Syrian people knew that so much money awaited a peaceful and legitimate government, all sides might try harder to find a negotiated settlement.

... ... ...

The Syrian people might feel as though they were being robbed again by what has by many accounts been a thoroughly corrupt regime. But negotiating about money is much better than continuing the violence, and surely the Assads would want to haggle for their share. Ending the killing on both sides could be a condition for talks that might be worth tens of millions to them every year.

If peace bounties showed promise, there'd be no need to stop with Syria. From prison states like North Korea to countries hamstrung by civil conflict like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, peace bounties could help to tip the scales away from violence. The best part is that since the bounties would depend partly on population size, bigger bounties would free more people from war and oppression. (To be sure, they would also depend on people's incomes, which is a less attractive attribute.)

One catch here is that the World Trade Organization might see a bounty as an illegal subsidy to a country's imports. To get around the rules, the payments might have to be fixed as lump sums rather than varying annually according to import volumes. Alternatively, if all the WTO's members got together to pay the bounties, there would be no issue. In either case, such technicalities needn't stand in the way of the overall concept.

Back in the 1990s, the peace dividend created by the end of the Cold War brought the United States within a whisker of paying off its entire national debt. Today, thanks to tax cuts and ironically to a couple of new wars, that peace dividend has evaporated. But there's another one ripe for the taking -- as long as we're brave enough to put emotion on hold while we talk about cold, hard cash.

Use in xUSSR space

As the article by Sreeram Chaulia reproduced above had shown this technology proved to be especially effective in xUSSR space as governments in those state still remember communist dictatorship methods and are vary to resort to brutal methods of suppression of protestors common is the USA, GB as other Western countries.

It's pretty funny that Trotsky idea of permanent revolution returns to the xUSSR space in new packaging and will be directed even against neoliberal government which came to power after dissolution of the USSR when they are consider by the West no enough neo-liberal and hesitate to the wholesale the country to western banks. Or worse are resource nationalist as in Russia and Byelorussia. Expansion to this space has distinct neofascist small and essentially reminds and attempt to reestablish the Third Reich in a new neoliberal form with Western European population as a new Arian nation.

Track record of successful color revolutions in xUSSR space includes Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, and Kyrgyzstan. Non successful was only White revolution in Russia in 2012.

Ukrainian Orange Revolution is a classic color revolution, stages on the accusations of election fraud.

Recent unsuccessful (but pretty destabilizing) attempt to stage a color revolution was "white revolution" in Russia in 2011-2012. It produced many new and useful materials for understanding the mechanics of undermining the state using the Fifth column of Compradors & lumpenelite.

Euro Maidan of 2013 is another interesting and educational example. Here the pretext of staging color revolution of non-signing of the association EU treaty by Yanukovich government, the treaty which in present form serves well EU but does not serve Ukrainian economic interests.

I think it is unwise to underestimate the tremendous power of this new menace to the independent governments even if they are neoliberal government (as governments of Ukraine and Russia were at the time). One step in wrong direction and West might try to depose it with more agreeable sock puppets. With the dominance of neoliberalism the term compradors bourgeoisie has reentered the lexicon to denote new fifth column of globalization, trading groups and social strata in the subordinate but mutually advantageous relationships with metropolitan capital, which are ready to betray national interest for a scraps from the table of multinationals.

So any non-suicidal government should restrict the activity of Western NGO, penetration of western intelligence services into their own security services and dominance of oligarchs or western financial played in mass media (NGO actually spend large amount of money training "independent" journalist who under the disguise of critique of corruption of the current government and "freedom of the press" serve as a important part of fifth column and help to subdue the country to transnational corporations.

Democracy Uber Alles (But Only When It Goes Our Way)

Export of democracy is another stated goal of color revolution. Like other goals it is fake. In reality it is mainly a pretext for converting state into vassal on Washington. In other word this is neocolonial policy. In other words as William Blum noted in his book Americas Deadliest Export Democracy - The Truth about US Foreign Policy and Everything Else we can say that in fact The deadlest export of the USA is export of democracy:

In activist-author-publisher William Blum's new book, America's Deadliest Export: Democracy, he tells the story of how he got his 15 minutes of fame back in 2006. Osama bin Laden had released an audiotape, declaring:

"If you [Americans] are sincere in your desire for peace and security... and if Bush decides to carry on with his lies and oppression, then it would be useful for you to read the book Rogue State."

Bin Laden then quoted from the Foreword of Blum's 2000 book, Rogue State: A Guide to the World's Only Superpower, in which he had mused:

"If I were... president, I could stop terrorist attacks [on us] in a few days. Permanently. I would first apologize... to all the widows and the orphans, the impoverished and the tortured, and all the many millions of other victims of American imperialism. I would then announce that America's global interventions... have come to an end. And I would inform Israel that it is no longer the 51st state of the union but... a foreign country. I would then reduce the military budget by at least 90% and use the savings to pay reparations to the victims. ... That's what I'd do on my first three days in the White House. On the fourth day, I'd be assassinated."

... fortunately, for those who have read his books or follow his "Anti-Empire Reports" on the Web, he was not assassinated! And now he has collected his reports and essays of the last dozen years or so into a 352-page volume that will not only stand the test of time, but will help to define this disillusioned, morose, violent and unraveling Age.

... ... ...

Reading this scrupulously documented book, I lost count of the times I uttered, "unbelievable!" concerning some nefarious act committed by the US Empire in the name of freedom, democracy and fighting communism or terrorism. Reading Blum's book with an open mind, weighing the evidence, will bleach out any pride in the flag we have planted in so many corpses around the world. The book is a diuretic and emetic!

Blum's style is common sense raised to its highest level. The wonder of America's Deadliest ... is that it covers so much of the sodden, bloody ground of America's march across our post-Second-World-War world, yet tells the story with such deftness and grace-under-fire that the reader is enticed--not moralized, not disquisitionally badgered--, but enticed to consider our globe from a promontory of higher understanding.

Some of the themes Blum covers (and often eviscerates) include:

  1. Why they hate us;
  2. America means well;
  3. We cannot permit a successful alternative to the capitalist model to develop anywhere in the world;
  4. We will use whatever means necessary -- including, lies, deception, sabotage, bribery, torture and war--to achieve the above idea.

...A note "About the Author" tells us that, "He left the State Department in 1967, abandoning his aspiration of becoming a Foreign Service Officer because of his opposition to what the US was doing in Vietnam. He then became a founder and editor of the Washington Free Press, the first "alternative" newspaper in the capital."

In his chapter on "Patriotism," Blum relates how, after a talk, he was asked: "Do you love America?" He responded with what we may take for his credo: "I don't love any country. I'm a citizen of the world. I love certain principles, like human rights, civil liberties, meaningful democracy, an economy which puts people before profits."

America's Deadliest... is a book of wisdom and wit that ponders "how this world became so unbearably cruel, corrupt, unjust, and stupid?" In a pointillistic approach, sowing aphoristic seeds for thought, Blum enumerates instances of that cruelty, often with wry, pained commentary. "War can be seen as America's religion," he tells us. Reflecting on Obama's octupling Bush's number of drones used to assassinate, collaterally kill and terrorize, he affirms:

"Obama is one of the worst things that has ever happened to the American left." And, he avers, "Capitalism is the theory that the worst people, acting from their worst motives, will somehow produce the most good." And then turns around and reminds us--lest we forget--how the mass media have invaded our lives, with memes about patriotism, democracy, God, the "good life": "Can it be imagined that an American president would openly implore America's young people to fight a foreign war to defend `capitalism'?" he wonders.

"The word itself has largely gone out of fashion. The approved references now are to the market economy, free market, free enterprise, or private enterprise."

Cynthia McKinney writes that the book is "corruscating, eye-opening, and essential." Oliver Stone calls it a "fireball of terse information."
Like Howard Zinn, Ralph Nader, Paul Craig Roberts, Cindy Sheehan and Bradley Manning, Blum is committed to setting the historical record straight. His book is dangerous. Steadfast, immutable "truths" one has taken for granted--often since childhood--are exposed as hollow baubles to entertain the un/mis/and dis-informed. One such Blumism recollects Lt. General Ricardo Sanchez's account of a videotape with a very undiplomatic Secretary of State, Colin Powell, and cowboy George Bush: "`We've got to smash somebody's ass quickly,'" Powell said. "`We must have a brute demonstration of power.'

Then Bush spoke: `Kick ass! If somebody tries to stop the march to democracy, we will seek them out and kill them! ... Stay strong! ... Kill them! ... We are going to wipe them out!'"

It is well-known that Saddam Hussein gassed thousands of Iraqis, but usually left unmentioned is that those victims were in armed revolt against his regime. What would any U.S. President do if American citizens took up armed revolt against the U.S. Government? We have a clue in what took place in Waco, Texas a few years ago. There was no armed revolt, just some citizens with unregistered firearms. The U.S. government considered those armed citizens to be such a risk that the government sent in tanks and military personnel, ultimately using military personnel to set a conflagration which burned scores of women and children alive. Imagine if those people had actually been involved in revolt against the government!

The U.S. stresses "freedom and democracy" as a goal for a reconstituted Iraq. Of course some of the nations providing military support in the "coalition of the willing" are already democracies, and while their citizenry is voicing 90% disapproval of the preemptive war of aggression and conquest, the democratically-elected leadership of Britain, Australia, and Turkey adopt policies directly contrary to the loudly expressed will of their populations. So much for democracy, but proof the coercion and bribery of leadership for corporate interests is what Western-style "democracy" is usually all about.

The U.S. wants to spread democracy and freedom, but their latest attempt at nation building in Afghanistan has resulted in a puppet president Karzai (a former Chevron official) who is afraid to leave his own offices, while brutal warlords remain in control of the county. No democracy yet, while the U.S. military pussy-foots around the warlords and tries not to get in their way.

So, America bravely presses forward towards "liberating" Iraq. But don't mention it to the Kurds up north, who are dreading the recent arrival of a thousand and a half Turkish troops (with more likely to come) for the purpose of preventing the establishment of a Kurdish independent republic, or to prevent an unacceptable refugee burden. A Kurdish Democratic Republic would be too unsettling to the region for the Bush administration (or any American administration) to ever allow or promote THAT much democracy!

What really counts in Iraq is military firepower and corporate economic power. Dick Cheney, American Vice-President has been more or less totally absent from the American public's view, but only because he has basically reverted to his pre-election corporate role of lining up contracts for his old company and others to come in and mop up Iraq with billions of dollars' worth of reconstruction and infrastructure and oilfield repair contracts.[1] Forget democracy, and bring on the corporate bureaucracy and lets get that Iraqi oil flowing to pay the American debts for liberating her! Maybe American corporations will be democratically elected or appointed to do a little "nation building" which seemed very distasteful to Bush when Clinton was President, but seems like a fine idea now.

Was it all necessary? Or was any of it necessary? Well, the U.N. was making great strides in disarming Iraq and would have done so in reasonable time frames without warfare. But Bush needed war like like a cruise missile needs propellant. His presidency didn't even take off and begin flying until 9/11 pushed his military/industrial complex ambitions onto the front burner. No wonder Bush wouldn't allow the U.S. military to shoot down any of the four hijacked planes on 9/11, even after one World Trade Center tower was struck and even though the Pentagon lies under the most heavily defended airspace in the world. The hits had to occur to get the ball rolling for the Bush agenda, and so the military was stood down that day and thousands of Americans, including Pentagon personnel had to die so the Bush agenda could come to life.

From a Bush perspective, which is limited in scope, narrowly focused and myopic as a house mouse's eyesight, the situation looks very good and very promising. Baghdad is burning. Saddam is squirming. Congressional support is firming.

But the rest of the world, and many, many Americans see the hypocrisy of pseudo-democracy. Some of us see a regime change ahead in Washington at the time of the next election. And we see war crimes trials as Perle and Rumsfeld fail to bring down the U.N. and Rumsfeld and maybe even Bush and Powell get charged with crimes against humanity.

At least, there is room for hope.

Corruption as a battle cry for regime change

Corruption is probably the most common, the most universal and most convenient pretext for color revolutions. It's value is first of all in its universality: there is no neoliberal state, which would not be vulnerable to corruption. For example if somebody wants to organize "regime change" in the USA corruption charge would work perfectly well as there many instances of corruption of various state structures. In a way lobbyism used in the USA is nothing but institutalized corruption. The only thing needed in this case is dominance in MSM so that you can "carpet bomb" the society with those charges and rose indignation of population to the level when people will become ready for the "regime change",

Corruption is a consequence of dominance of neoliberal regime with its cult of greed. It is connected with the the decline of the moral level of population, and fiorst of the the elite to an all-time low. Young rebels in many countries are reacting to a instilled by the USA neoliberal regimes not understanding that as a result they will get the same kleptocratic regime, only more cruel and experience drastic drop of standard of living. The reason of improvising is conversion of many countries into West debt slaves can't be resolved by street protests. The extreme concentration of wealth in a few hands thanks to neoliberal policies of deregulation and union busting is a feature not an exception due to some over-corrupt overload, that should be deposed. It is an immanent feature on neoliberal regimes everywhere. But young people, with gracious financial help from some embassies and NGOs can take over the streets, parks, plazas and squares to protest against the resulting corruption, the way politicians can be bought and sold, and the impunity of the current "bad" regime. Resulting regime change will make many of them more sober, it it will be too late. The train already left the station.

It goes without saying the neoliberalism creates fertile ground for widespread corruption. And when we talk about corruption, we need to understand the cause of it is systemic. It not connected with particular criminals -- replace them and new criminals will take power and continue the same policies. I repeat, it is sharp drop of the moral level of general population and the elite under neoliberalism. And corruption in third world countries and the xUSSR area is supported by the West which serves as receiving party for all the stolen from people money. London is now full of Russian oligarch who escaped from criminal prosecution and who are now protected by GB government out of geopolitical interest of weakening of Russia as well as nice opportunity to get some stolen money in London banks. Of course Russia is in hearlines of neoliberals now, but out of opportunity to get those money is irresistible too. It is one of the way of capital accumulation for GB elite.

In a way corruption as a three-headed dragon, with one head being the USA, the second head EU (especially GB) and the third head -- corruption on other countries. Cur one head and it will re-grow soon as other heads are intact. And this situation continues for many years and serves as a powerful pipe of redistribution of wealth to the top -- the key idea of neoliberalism.

Corruption also helps demobilization of the society which is another goal of neoliberal transformation of society, as power under neoliberalism belongs to tiny "top 0.01%". Corruption and state repression have their roots in the policy regime of "neoliberalisation" and corporate plunder.

yalensis, June 3, 2015 at 2:35 am
CNN has the usual agenda. “Corruption” is one of the key issues in the Gene Sharpe colour-revolution handbook. Of all the possible things that can be wrong with a given society, the Americans decided that “corruption” should be the main issue in all of these revolutions. At their Yale course in revolution, which Navalny studied, they teach how to use corruption as a battle-cry to overthrow the government.

Saakashvili is considered the very model of a pro-American colour revolutionary who comes to power spouting anti-corruption slogans. (Once in power, he did get rid of some rival mob bosses and then concentrated all the corruption in his own greedy hands!)

In conclusion, when pointing out corruption in Russian aerospace industry, CNN is probably trying, not so much to be a helpful friend to Russia (in pointing out some problems), but more likely providing fuel to the colour revolutionaries, who still have not given up hope of overthrowing Putin.

The network of corruption usually includes "the pork barrel" corruption that involves government officials. This is especially typical for xUSSR area and third world countries and is a source of significant discontent which can be played for destabilizing the government. The funny thing that color revolution leads to more corruption, not less, because again corruption (aka redistribution of wealth to the top) is the essence of neoliberalism. For example level of corruption of Yeltsin regime was simply legendary.

In Ukraine Yanukovich regime was notorious for its "pork barrel" corruption. This is exactly how initial stage of EuroMaydan was launched. And the result is more corruption, not less, which naive participants which were used start to realize only now when current dropped 50% and Ukraine was plunged into another Great Depression with tremendous drop of standard of living form 99% of population.

It's almost exhilarating, when Western MSM talk about the "pervasive corruption of the government in Ukraine:" Western versions that are pre-electoral, post-electoral, straightforward theft, and "pork-barrel" politics are just more sophisticated and simultaneously are more widespread.

Neoliberals chanted the mantra that everyone would benefit if the public sector were privatized, businesses deregulated and market mechanisms allowed to distribute wealth. But as economist David Harvey argues, from the beginning it was a doctrine that primarily benefited the wealthy, its adoption allowing the top one per cent in any neoliberal society to capture a disproportionate share of whatever wealth was generated.

Bu the model is pretty much universal (How corruption became a global problem in an age of neoliberalism )

Economist Prabhat Patnaik, speaking recently at York, said neoliberalism (corporate global rights, privatization, deregulation) leads to corruption because governments give away their national wealth "for a song," then impose an informal tax on the giveaways so they can maintain power, which sounds like what happened here: the strangest element of gasplantgate is why they paid out so much for the cancellations. But maybe the flowback would have stopped otherwise. Corruption was part of the tale in India's electoral upheaval as it was in Quebec's surprise Liberal victory. Voters despair. You can't turn them out of office fast enough to avoid returning them almost instantly.

... ... ...

You wouldn't have those CEO pig-outs absent neo-liberalism's moral model: get rich not just quick but hugely. As Kevin O'Leary loves saying, and CBC plasters on its promos: God put us here to get rich. Note it's a public broadcaster where he barks that and no one contests it. (I consider Amanda Lang's ripostes pro forma.)

Since there's no counter model (excluding, maybe, the pope) it becomes almost embarrassing not to grab for all you can get, legality be damned. The mentality seeps into areas like pro sports and the World Cup, with PED corruption, game fixing -- and trickles down to kids. There's also a sort of pre-emptive political corruption, where leaders like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have their eye on the vast returns available after they leave office, through their own foundations, etc., as long as they don't offend the corporate titans who are the donors. But none of it would thrive without the grotesque, tantalizing wealth inequalities that equate with neoliberalism.

Why anyone thought privatizing huge chunks of public wealth and letting the profit motive slither all over them would mean less corruption evades me, along with thinking Ontario's Liberals are the beginning and end of the problem. Corruption may always be with us but it comes in different forms. We're currently driving the globalization-privatization model right off a cliff.

Usage of corruption of current government of a wedge

The government in oligarchic republics like Russia or Ukraine always has a high degree of distrust from people as it is well known that it is corrupted like any government serving oligarchy. So as soon it try to move to "resource nationalism" that threatens multinationals. or try to use "balancing between two camps" path (Ukraine) it became a pretty easy target, as the discontent is present and need only to be enhanced by NGO, bombing country with dollars and other tried and true methods.

That why classic in “color revolutions” moment for challenging “power that be” is when the election results in the election of the incumbent president annoced, especially when the winning margin for the ruling party majority is slim. A very plausible claim that “old guard does not want to turn over the power voluntarily” and resorts to election fraud to maintain status quo is used. Actual fraud in not necessary, just a rumor is sufficient.

While the "revolutionaries" themselves can use any dirty tricks to win. We saw similar tactic by Bush camp in the USA in 2000 when they violate each and every rule of conduct in Florida to get Bush win by 537 votes, and still manage to enforce their illegitimate win. "Election violations" is a favorite tactic developed by Karl Rove is other Mayberry Machiavellians and now reused in color revolutions.

This method of wiping up discontent into active phase in which some square is occupied by protesters (let's call it Maidan phase) proved to be very efficient in xUSSR space.

Allegations of authorities misconduct do not need to be true. They can be completely bogus, but plausible "manufactured news". The idea is that when truth will be discovered it will be too late. They can be false flag operation by moles within the current government (the supposed role of Lyovochkin during EuroMaydan). In other words any dirty trick is permissible, as in "the end justified the means" Jesuit motto.

False flag of manufactured news operation can destabilize situation to the extent that new possibilities are opened for the initiators of this process. Also supporters of the “old regime” among local oligarchy might jump the ship, especially if promised a pack of $100 bills in return for this courtesy (remember that in most cases they are also players in country privatization schemes, owning directly or indirectly assets; and their family accounts and often families are often already living at the West) or at least bet of both horses.

Economic difficulties in addition to elections make a perfect combination.

Even legitimate, legal decisions, played hostile to Washington interests, can be skillfully played that way. In this respect Putin’s decision to be the candidate for the next president of Russia probably did served as a fuel in this particular episode. Because this does smell with the CPSU "permanent First Secretary" staff.

In this respect dual party system is much more advanced and much more suitable for the oligarchic republic (and architects can rely on rich, century old USA experience of fooling the population about the level of their participation in election and decision-making).

All this led to a paradoxical situation: Washington hegemony de legitimized any popular protest in countries where the USA is interested in "regime change". this was probably the case in Hong Cong "Umbrellas" Color Revolution of 2014

In any case using color revolutions for regime change by the USA discredited ingenious protests movements in countries like China and Russia, to the extent that now the first natural reaction is crying "color revolution, watch out the USA machinations!" even at movements that are chiefly based on real grievances.

Any modern "pro-democracy movement" now is embedded in a complex matrix of money, subterfuge, foreign influence, oligarchic clans war, propaganda, and manipulation by foreign actors. It can be easily hijacked and misused by color revolution strategists at NED and similar organizations (who are actually very good at their craft).

Here are a couple of pretty telling comments:

Guest77 | Oct 5, 2014 6:52:31 PM | 84

I don't see what any personal sympathies with the protestors even matters. Sure, we all want people to be able to fight for their rights and have the government they want, but right now there is a larger priority, and that is making sure that the world maintains a multipolar political structure. The importance of a multipolar world outweighs even our desire to see vocal minorities to take to the streets, I think. (And these are vocal minorites, no doubt).

I think, as "westerners" we have to support the group that will insure the independence of the state in question. We cannot support any group that looks to the US as a model or a hope, because we here know better than anyone that this is a sham. And any group that panders to the US and it's citizens via social media has to immediately be suspect.

Sloppy always comes to crow about how much b hates America. I don't think b "hates" the USA, but he is certainly right to make the USAs aggressive moves toward hegemony the key focus of all of his posts, and right to make a stand against this issue over all others because it is truly the gravest threat the world faces today.

- if the emergence of liberal freedom in every corner of the world means it's sure evaporation from all parts very soon after (which will surely occur if the USA achieves total global domination) we cannot support this. We will only see real opportunities for peace, political expression, and true democracy only after the US is prevented from perverting these good things into instruments of its domination. But until then, the independence of foreign governments is far more important for world peace, stability, and prosperity than the rights of a few minorities to threaten their governments in Russia, China, or Iran.

guest77 | Oct 5, 2014 7:23:42 PM | 86

@84 And of course for inside "the west" the exact opposite holds true. We should support any protests, any movement that attempts to degrade the aggressive capabilities of the US Empire, because this will allow real democracy and prosperity to flourish in more places around the world.

No one can claim that countries like Russia, China, Brazil, India and Iran - where standards of living are rising and the governments have the broad support of the people - are "dictatorships".

Just like no one of any honesty should call the banker dominated oligarchy like the United States, where cash determines every election down to the lowest rungs on the political ladder - a "democracy".

Demian | Oct 6, 2014 3:14:41 AM | 100

@brian #95:

Gee, you seem to follow Project pretty closely. I have no such inclination.

As I said before, all one needs to do is watch the Maidan girl video and then the Occupy central video, both of which you directed us to, to see that what is going on in Hong Kong is just another attempted color revolution.

Another link, obtained from the link guest77 gave at #89:

US State Dept Funding and Occupy Central, the Ties that Bind

This is the most through demonstration of how Occupy Central is just the US State Department being up to its usual tricks that I have seen so far. The post the Saker put up today, in which a Hong Konger explains why he does not support Occupy Central, is also worth reading.

Analogy of Hong cong event with Ukrainian EuroMaidan events run so deep that sometimes it looks like the same blueprint was used in Hong Cong as in Kiev.

Key component of color revolution is a split society and strong presence of comprador elite in the capital

I see the following key ingredients of “color revolutions” in action in Orange, Revolution, Russian White Revolution and Euro Maidan of 2013.

The society should be split with some part of nation, typical comprador olitachs and several other segments of society closely connected to multinationals, already taking anti-government positions

This was and extremely easy part in Ukraine, which along with compradors in Kiev, has Western part of the country with different religion and history, so called Catholic part of the country. This part of the country proved to be a national ally of comprador oligarchy in staging neoliberal revolution, despite the fact that they will suffer from it in equal degree as Eastern, Orthodox part of the country.

Moreover enforcing equality of homosexual marriages with traditional marriages is directly against Catholic doctrine. But gastarbeiters orientation of this region with majority of adult population working in near-by countries (Poland, Russia, Germany) as well as the fact that the region which does not have any significant industrial base helps to raise relatively cheap ($30 a day or less) and reliable "cannon fodder" for the color revolution. People were transported to Kiev by buses paid with cash supplied by oligarchs or "embassy cash". Sift work on Maydan was source of revenue for some villagers in Western Ukraine for more then six months.

Muslim fundamentalists (Muslim brotherhood in Egypt) were successfully used in Arab spring revolutions. As my understanding of those countries is very limited I can't provide any details.

Initial point can be arbitrary but most often is based on accusations of election fraud

The whole process is often staged around election fraud (the best conditions are if two opposing candidate get around 50% of votes, but can be used with different percentages as well). In case of election fraud it works in two main phases:

  1. Attempt of de-legitimating of elections and forcing a new elections that supposal should rectify falsifications of the previous one. Gorbachov’s “two cents” about the necessity of new elections are pretty telling move in this respect if we are talking about Russia. Old fox knows how best to serve his masters.
  2. Parallel de-legitimatization of existing government and its candidates via charge of election fraud and subsequent overthrow of the weakened opponent “by peaceful means” via second round of elections. Here is one Amazon comment from The Time of the Rebels- Youth Resistance Movements and 21st Century R…

    I regularly screen Bringing Down a Dictator in my courses at Swarthmore College. This film does an excellent job of introducing students to the fundamentals of nonviolent power. Students come to understand that authoritarian regimes, while formidable, are often more fragile than we imagine. Milosevic’s regime, like others, relied on a mixture of apathy, fear, and cynicism that the students of Otpor fought to dispel through humor, appeals to nationalism, and tireless public outreach. Like any large institution, Milosevic’s regime depended on the loyalty of its functionaries (such as the police) and at least a veneer of public credibility. Otpor students carefully undermined both through its broad grassroots organizing, popular nonviolent resistance, and by awakening a multi-party political opposition.

  3. The starting point is always the immediate and well coordinated campaign in captured mass media and NGOs of forceful denunciation of “mass falsifications” no matter what actually happened at the elections. Statements of influential figures (like Hillary Clinton’s recent statement), etc in support of the claims about mass falsifications. This is followed by creating of “artificial reality” around this claim via well coordinated press campaign with the direct and prominent support of major Western MSM. Direct forgery of video and other documents can be used pretty successfully. Medvedev understands this but the real question is does he has the political will to prosecute perpetrators ? Use of “nonpartisan exit polls” as a pressure cooker for questioning the results. Falsifications and exaggeration of ballot fraud, especially “ballot staffing” via selectively interpreted exit pool data. Here is important to achieve some level of demoralization of authorizes to avoid prosecution of people involved or the whole scheme will fall like a house of cards. The Teflon cover of “fighters for democracy” is used to prevent prosecution. Same trick as with Khodorkovsky.
    See http://lass.calumet.purdue.edu/cca/gmj/sp07/graduate/gmj-sp07-grad-venger.htm

Police brutality incident is needed and can be staged to put petrol into fire

In cases other then election fraud even serve as a starting point of protest active phase requires "police brutality" provocation. For example recent Euro Maidan started as an action against non signing of treaty of association with EU (note no EU membership) without mass support. But it became real protest event when carefully planned police brutality provocation materialized. In this particular case there were fifth column even within the government. So the assumption that the government is monolithic is incorrect. It often contains elements that are ready to betray. Or such elements can be bought.

Attempt to provoke police brutality so that “public demonstrations” help to turn demonstrations no matter how they started into definitely anti-government and anti status quo. The goal is to undermining police loyalty through carefully stage campaign about police brutality. Older methods of “befriending policemen” to neutralize them no longer work. But media campaign against police brutality is very demoralizing and still words very effectively as Euro Maidan 2013 had shown. The goal is to allow “free hands” in undermining the current government. See NONVIOLENT STRUGGLE - Community Labor News

Direct interference in the sovereignty of the state under attack. Cutting the space for maneuvering of existing government by stressing that this not a direct interference into country affairs but just a support of democratic forces

Authoritarian government has much more breezing space of dealing with the situation that democratic government, so the more democratic is the target government is, the easier for a color revolution to institute a "regime change".

As long as democracy is considered to be a “sacred cow” for the government under attack, it is essentially doomed. If Western democracy is the only legitimate form/model to which you need to progress from the current “wild”, unlawful, criminal and authoritarian state of total darkness, the Western powers are by definition the arbiters of this progress. There is no defense from this claim in you have foreign observers on the ground. This way the current government itself betray its own legitimacy by delegating it to foreign powers, who can abuse their role at will for benign or not so benign motives: without leaving hotel, the western elections observers will state about mass violation during elections, playing the role of Trojan horse of the “color revolution”. The government is caught is zugzwang as foreign observers are by definition the arbiters of the legitimacy of elections. Any move makes the situation worse.

Breathtaking hypocrisy and double standards

Former colonial powers such as USA, GB, France, Germany, Holland, and Denmark are master of hypocrisy in the direction to people they want to colonize via neoliberal revolution.

Using NGOs for distribution of cash to protesters and as a headquarters and coordination center of uprising against the government

The organizing force of color revolution are NGOs which are often nothing more that legalized parts of Western intelligence community. That why several countries, such as Russia, Israel, etc limited the activity of foreign NGOs. In country where this was not done, the ruling elite might soon regret this criminal negligence.

They are engaged in systematic, long term attempts to build and maintain student/youth based and heavily financed (60% in case of Ukraine) fifth column of “professional protesters”, the move that actually mirrors Bolshevik’s reliance on “professional revolutionaries”.

Students are the most suitable target as they are more easily brainwashed, are excitable, often dream about emigration to Western countries, always need money. Perfect “canon fodder” of the “color revolutions”. Creation of set of martyrs “for the course”, especially among young journalists who were arrested during protests and, even better, mistreated, is a part of this tactic. As emigration is considered as desirable future by considerable percent of young people, we have a pool from which it is easy to recruit fighters for the “democratic future” of the nation with the hope that after reaching critical mass the process become self-sustainable. And often it is. Also after being arrested and/or expelled from the university those people have nowhere to go but to became “professional color revolutionaries”. Some of then are pretty talented and can do a lot of damage. This was pre-emptive creation of a well-organized “anti-fraud front” tremendously helps to create legitimacy problem for the government as initiative is instantly lost to government opponents. The government is too bureaucratized, unprepared and is taken by surprise the strength of the response. They try to convince that election process was completely legitimate people who does not want to be convinced and just laugh at their efforts. As in any revolution loss of initiative is half of the defeat: the “democratizers” have plan, have hard currency, have hopes about their future in the West and the will to achieve their goals. In Ukraine the “anti-fraud” front has worked under the succinct slogan Pora— “It’s Time”.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orange_Revolution#Involvement_of_outside_forces

Activists in each of these movements were funded and trained in tactics of political organization and nonviolent resistance by a coalition of Western pollsters and professional consultants funded by a range of Western government and non-government agencies. According to The Guardian, these include the U.S. State Department and US AID along with the National Democratic Institute, the International Republican Institute, NGO Freedom House and billionaire George Soros’s Open Society Institute. The National Endowment for Democracy, a U.S. Government funded foundation, has supported non-governmental democracy-building efforts in Ukraine since 1988. Writings on nonviolent struggle by Gene Sharp formed the strategic basis of the student campaigns.

Capture of mass media space

Creation of "fifth column press" under the protection of "freedom of press" slogan and full scale "take not prisoners" approach to use of press influence as the most vulnerable forth branch of government to undermine the other three. If this part works for color revolution, and press turns against the government, the government is doomed. Under the cover of “freedom of the press” systematic use of all controllable media, Internet, web sites, social media, mobile communications for spreading the “truth” about mass falsifications. As Goebbels used to say

“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State.”

Substitute “State” for “color revolution”. Press also serves for coordination and maintaining the direction and unity of the movement. Heavy use of well-financed NGO as a brain trust for the movement:

Throughout the demonstrations, Ukraine’s emerging Internet usage (facilitated by news sites which began to disseminate the Kuchma tapes) was an integral part of the orange revolutionary process. It has even been suggested that the Orange Revolution was the first example of an Internet-organized mass protest. [31] Analysts believe that the Internet and mobile phones allowed an alternative media to flourish that was not subject to self-censorship or overt control by President Kuchma and his allies and pro-democracy activists (such as Pora!) were able to use mobile phones and the Internet to coordinate election monitoring and mass protests.[32][33]

The use of “end justifies the means” politic at all stages of color revolution until the victory

Promiscuity in building coalition and seeking allies. Nationalist and gay rights mixture is perfectly OK ;-). Any neofascist party is a best friend of Western democratizers. Muslim fundamentalists are also a valuable ally.

Anybody opposed to “brutal and dishonest current regime” is welcomed to join “anti-fraud front”. No "inconvenient questions" about agenda of particular group and they relationship to the "democracy" smokescreen are asked

Are ultra-nationalists now best friends of democracy? There was never such a good friends. Are communist now best friends of democracy? No question about it.

Coercing "rebel" oligarchs to join fifth column

Oligarchs are important part of fifth column first of all because as any comprador bourgeoisie they are not an independent players. They are pretty much puppets of the West and an important force of staging color revolutions.

Their capitals, often their family and property are in the West. So they are easy target of blackmail, even if color revolution is not in their interests and they can suffer from considerable financial losses as a result (due to destruction of local industries, which is the national effect of neoliberal revolution).

Another important thing about oligarchs is that they control considerable (is some countries like Ukraine dominant) part of media space. This provides easy and bloodless media coup d'état when country MSM go against government and government simply can't make its voice heard. This was the situation during Euro Maidan 2013 in Ukraine. Actually acting Ukrainian Prime Minister directly complained about this situation in December 2013.

Here is an interesting quote from http://los-oxuenos.livejournal.com/636710.html (slightly edited Google translation):

Why Putin tyrannized officials with the necessity to close foreign accounts

Journalist Yuri Butusov on his Facebook page says that Tsenzor.Net source close to diplomatic circles,:tails of the negotiations between Newland and Akhmetov held in Kiev.

Nuland informed that in case of police enforced clearing of EuroMaidan, U.S. and EU leaders agreed on a common position - immediate sanctions against leading politicians and oligarchs close to President Yanukovich. And the list will be continually updated so as to cut off all contacts with the EU and the United States not only for those figures authorities who participated in the police initiated dispersal of protesters, but also for those who did not defend peaceful continuation of protests scenario. This is a very important addition that will not allow anyone to shirk responsibility in the leadership of the Party of Regions and its sponsors.

Akhmetov: the meeting that on Monday he was trying to keep President Yanukovych from using force against EuroMaidan, but Yanukovych refused to accept it. Nuland demanded organize a round table with the opposition and civil society from the leadership of the PR directly - even in defiance of Yanukovych. Forced dispersal of EuroMaidan should out of possible options.

Nuland promised not only sanctions - she also has clarified this threat, presenting the list of people who get together with their families will be target of the sanctions in the first place .

These are:

  1. Rinat Akhmetov .
  2. Vadim Novinsky .
  3. Andrei and Sergei Klyuyev.

Why them? Because Akhmetov controls 55 PR MPs and Klyuyev has a mandate from the "young team" to manage the rest of the faction.

U.S. expects that the Party of Regions faction will support all four of the opposition's demands , after which can be initiated peace talks :

  1. Announcement of early presidential elections.
  2. Early parliamentary elections.
  3. Tymoshenko liberation and complete recovery of her civil rights.
  4. Criminal cases against all members of the MUP and "Berkut" , who took part in the crackdown on "peaceful demonstrations".

Nuland categorically stated that the failure to meet those conditions will put a big question every company's operating performance and DTEK "Metinvest " which Akhmetov owns abroad. Nuland clearly noted : these companies have placed assets in Europe , the U.S. and Europe are for them the major markets, the top brass of those companies have a property abroad and Akhmetov's family are tax residents of the UK. Metinvest and DTEK has major liabilities to international investors in the form of foreign currency bonds .

Thus, not just the first time the U.S. announced an ultimatum oligarchs surrounded by Yanukovych , but this time they are described in detail, in what form and at what level these sanctions will be applied.

Review of Literature

There are several films and books that document this new strategy. Among them I would highlight works by MacKinnon, Sharp and CANSAS ( Serbia's Centre for Applied Non Violent Action and Strategies):

America's Coup Machine Destroying Democracy Since 1953 Alternet

The New Cold War Revolutions, Rigged Elections, and Pipeline Politics in the Former Soviet Union by Mark A. MacKinnon

Gene Sharp books

Serbian color revolution

Books about Orange revolution in Ukraine

Role of Western bankers in Bolsheviks revolution in Russia

and even religious heritage, and is enduring.


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[Mar 28, 2020] This Pandemic Is Exposing The Futility Of The National Security State by Andrew Bacevich

Mar 28, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Andrew Bacevich via TomDispatch.com,

Americans are facing "A Spring Unlike Any Before." So warned a front-page headline in the March 13th New York Times .

That headline, however hyperbolic, was all too apt. The coming of spring has always promised relief from the discomforts of winter. Yet, far too often, it also brings its own calamities and afflictions.

According to the poet T.S. Eliot, "April is the cruelest month." Yet while April has certainly delivered its share of cataclysms , March and May haven't lagged far behind. In fact, cruelty has seldom been a respecter of seasons. The infamous influenza epidemic of 1918 , frequently cited as a possible analogue to our current crisis, began in the spring of that year, but lasted well into 1919.

That said, something about the coronavirus pandemic does seem to set this particular spring apart. At one level, that something is the collective panic now sweeping virtually the entire country. President Trump's grotesque ineptitude and tone-deafness have only fed that panic. And in their eagerness to hold Trump himself responsible for the pandemic, as if he were the bat that first transmitted the disease to a human being, his critics magnify further a growing sense of events spinning out of control.

Yet to heap the blame for this crisis on Trump alone (though he certainly deserves plenty of blame) is to miss its deeper significance. Deferred for far too long, Judgment Day may at long last have arrived for the national security state.

ORIGINS OF A COLOSSUS

That state within a state's origins date from the early days of the Cold War. Its ostensible purpose has been to keep Americans safe and so, by extension, to guarantee our freedoms. From the 1950s through the 1980s, keeping us safe provided a seemingly adequate justification for maintaining a sprawling military establishment along with a panoply of "intelligence" agencies -- the CIA, the DIA, the NRO, the NSA -- all engaged in secret activities hidden from public view. From time to time, the scope, prerogatives, and actions of that conglomeration of agencies attracted brief critical attention -- the Cuban Bay of Pigs fiasco in 1961, the Vietnam War of the 1960s and early 1970s, and the Iran-Contra affair during the presidency of Ronald Reagan being prime examples. Yet at no time did such failures come anywhere close to jeopardizing its existence.

Indeed, even when the implosion of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War removed the original justification for its creation, the entire apparatus persisted. With the Soviet Empire gone, Russia in a state of disarray, and communism having lost its appeal as an alternative to democratic capitalism, the managers of the national security state wasted no time in identifying new threats and new missions.

The new threats included autocrats like Panama's Manuel Noriega and Iraq's Saddam Hussein, once deemed valuable American assets, but now, their usefulness gone, classified as dangers to be eliminated. Prominent among the new missions was a sudden urge to repair broken places like the Balkans, Haiti, and Somalia, with American power deployed under the aegis of "humanitarian intervention" and pursuant to a "responsibility to protect." In this way, in the first decade of the post-Cold War era, the national security state kept itself busy. While the results achieved, to put it politely, were mixed at best, the costs incurred appeared tolerable. In sum, the entire apparatus remained impervious to serious scrutiny.

During that decade, however, both the organs of national security and the American public began taking increased notice of what was called "anti-American terrorism" -- and not without reason. In 1993, Islamic fundamentalists detonated a bomb in a parking garage of New York's World Trade Center . In 1996, terrorists obliterated an apartment building used to house US military personnel in Saudi Arabia. Two years later, the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were blown up and, in 2000, suicide bombers nearly sank the USS Cole , a Navy destroyer making a port call in Aden at the tip of the Arabian peninsula. To each of these increasingly brazen attacks, all occurring during the administration of President Bill Clinton, the national security state responded ineffectually .

Then, of course, came September 11, 2001. Orchestrated by Osama bin Laden and carried out by 19 suicidal al-Qaeda operatives, this act of mass murder inflicted incalculable harm on the United States. In its wake, it became common to say that "9/11 changed everything."

In fact, however, remarkably little changed. Despite its 17 intelligence agencies, the national security state failed utterly to anticipate and thwart that devastating attack on the nation's political and financial capitals. Yet apart from minor adjustments -- primarily expanding surveillance efforts at home and abroad -- those outfits mostly kept doing what they had been doing, even as their leaders evaded accountability. After Pearl Harbor, at least, one admiral and one general were fired . After 9/11, no one lost his or her job. At the upper echelons of the national security state, the wagons were circled and a consensus quickly formed: No one had screwed up.

Once President George W. Bush identified an " Axis of Evil " (Iraq, Iran, and North Korea), three nations that had had nothing whatsoever to do with the 9/11 attacks, as the primary target for his administration's "Global War on Terrorism," it became clear that no wholesale reevaluation of national security policy was going to occur. The Pentagon and the Intelligence Community, along with their sprawling support network of profit-minded contractors, could breathe easy. All of them would get ever more money. That went without saying. Meanwhile, the underlying premise of US policy since the immediate aftermath of World War II -- that projecting hard power globally would keep Americans safe -- remained sacrosanct.

Viewed from this perspective, the sequence of events that followed was probably overdetermined. In late 2001, US forces invaded Afghanistan, overthrew the Taliban regime, and set out to install a political order more agreeable to Washington. In early 2003, with the mission in Afghanistan still anything but complete, US forces set out to do the same in Iraq. Both of those undertakings have dragged on, in one fashion or another, without coming remotely close to success. Today, the military undertaking launched in 2001 continues, even if it no longer has a name or an agreed-upon purpose.

Nonetheless, at the upper echelons of the national security state, the consensus forged after 9/11 remains firmly in place: No one screws up. In Washington, the conviction that projecting hard power keeps Americans safe likewise remains sacrosanct.

In the nearly two decades since 9/11, willingness to challenge this paradigm has rarely extended beyond non-conforming publications like TomDispatch . Until Donald Trump came along, rare was the ambitious politician of either political party who dared say aloud what Trump himself has repeatedly said -- that, as he calls them, the " ridiculous endless wars " launched in response to 9/11 represent the height of folly.

Astonishingly enough, within the political establishment that point has still not sunk in. So, in 2020, as in 2016, the likely Democratic nominee for president will be someone who vigorously supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Imagine, if you will, Democrats in 1880 nominating not a former union general (as they did) but a former confederate who, 20 years before, had advocated secession. Back then, some sins were unforgivable. Today, politicians of both parties practice self-absolution and get away with it.

THE REAL THREAT

Note, however, the parallel narrative that has unfolded alongside those post-9/11 wars. Taken seriously, that narrative exposes the utter irrelevance of the national security state as currently constituted. The coronavirus pandemic will doubtless prove to be a significant learning experience. Here is one lesson that Americans cannot afford to overlook.

Presidents now routinely request and Congress routinely appropriates more than a trillion dollars annually to satisfy the national security state's supposed needs. Even so, Americans today do not feel safe and, to a degree without precedent, they are being denied the exercise of basic everyday freedoms. Judged by this standard, the apparatus created to keep them safe and free has failed. In the face of a pandemic, nature's version of an act of true terror, that failure, the consequences of which Americans will suffer through for months to come, should be seen as definitive.

But wait, some will object: Don't we find ourselves in uncharted waters? Is this really the moment to rush to judgment? In fact, judgment is long overdue.

While the menace posed by the coronavirus may differ in scope, it does not differ substantively from the myriad other perils that Americans have endured since the national security state wandered off on its quixotic quest to pacify Afghanistan and Iraq and purge the planet of terrorists. Since 9/11, a partial roster of those perils would include: Hurricane Katrina (2005), Hurricane Sandy (2012), Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria (2017), and massive wildfires that have devastated vast stretches of the West Coast on virtually an annual basis. The cumulative cost of such events exceeds a half-trillion dollars. Together, they have taken the lives of several thousand more people than were lost in the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Earlier generations might have written all of these off as acts of God. Today, we know better. As with blaming Trump, blaming God won't do. Human activities, ranging from the hubristic reengineering of rivers like the Mississippi to the effects of climate change stemming from the use of fossil fuels, have substantially exacerbated such "natural" catastrophes.

And unlike faraway autocrats or terrorist organizations, such phenomena, from extreme-weather events to pandemics, directly and immediately threaten the safety and wellbeing of the American people. Don't tell the Central Intelligence Agency or the Joint Chiefs of Staff but the principal threats to our collective wellbeing are right here where we live.

Apart from modest belated efforts at mitigation, the existing national security state is about as pertinent to addressing such threats as President Trump's cheery expectations that the coronavirus will simply evaporate once warmer weather appears. Terror has indeed arrived on our shores and it has nothing to do with al-Qaeda or ISIS or Iranian-backed militias. Americans are terrorized because it has now become apparent that our government, whether out of negligence or stupidity, has left them exposed to dangers that truly put life and liberty at risk. As it happens, all these years in which the national security state has been preoccupied with projecting hard power abroad have left us naked and vulnerable right here at home.

Protecting Americans where they live ought to be the national security priority of our time. The existing national security state is incapable of fulfilling that imperative, while its leaders, fixated on waging distant wars, have yet to even accept that they have a responsibility to do so.

Worst of all, even in this election year, no one on the national political scene appears to recognize the danger now fully at hand.

[Mar 22, 2020] Intelligence agencies and the virus

Highly recommended!
Mar 22, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

kiwiklown , Mar 22 2020 10:11 utc | 128

@Jackrabbit | Mar 21 2020 22:32 utc | 50

"These officials "failed us" in the same way that our media "fails us": they serve the interests of the EMPIRE-FIRST Deep State."

Yuppp. Our error is to assume all 17 intelligence agencies; the presstitudes; and US "leadership" exist to serve the American people. And so, yes, they "fail" the people. But, from the point of view of the controllers of those agencies and of those "leaders", they hardly ever fail !!!

While the people argue over virulent minutae, they are once again helping themselves to the US Treasury.... Trillions of USDs.... LOL

kiwiklown , Mar 22 2020 10:36 utc | 132

@Jackrabbit | Mar 21 2020 23:10 utc | 54

"Caitlin Johnstone also sees the response being manipulated to focus hate on China...."

Yuppp, blaming China, hating on China achieves several objectives:

Just look at how US leadership has been hating on Russia for the last 100 years, waiting to whack them with a sneak attack if feasible.

kiwiklown , Mar 22 2020 11:25 utc | 137
@Jackrabbit | Mar 22 2020 2:45 utc | 79

".... was then told to STOP TESTING...... A medical person would not try to suppress testing. That would be a "management decision" and its the Nation Security Council that was running the show (and which had classified all discussions related to virus preparations)...."

Thanks for reminding us of Dr Chu's story. What if the US leadership:

[Mar 21, 2020] Tucker Senator Burr sold shares after virus briefing - YouTube

Highly recommended!
Mar 21, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Bowhead31 , 5 hours ago

The problem is these people no longer see themselves as public servants.

Maria Summers , 6 hours ago

The Georgia Senator is just as guilty as the rest of them, regarding "Insider Trading".

shane passey , 3 hours ago

She's a crook just like the rest of the politicians. They say they be there for the people. But they're really there to make themselves rich

[Mar 21, 2020] Don't forget our congressritters

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... @supenau ..."
Mar 21, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

@supenau who make profits as well. I cannot remember exactly when insider trading for them became legal but it should be no surprise to anyone paying the slightest bit of attention that they're ALL doing it. That is one reason, at least in my semi-educated opinion, they did not go after Trump for emoluments during Shampeachment, because THEY ALL DO IT.

That goes all the way to the White House, no doubt.

up 10 users have voted. --

Only a fool lets someone else tell him who his enemy is. Assata Shakur

Marie on Sat, 03/21/2020 - 10:28am

Looks as if the crisis profiteers were on top of it:

Think about this:

Weeks before you had any inkling you were going to lose your job, Senator Kelly Loeffler was selling off millions of stocks -- and *buying* stock in a teleworking company.

-- Robert Reich (@RBReich) March 20, 2020

[Mar 21, 2020] Tulsi Gabbard says insider traders should be 'investigated prosecuted,' as Left and Right team up on profiteering senators --

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... "better prepared than ever ..."
"... "akin to the 1918 pandemic." ..."
"... "Congress/staff who dumped stocks after private briefings on impending coronavirus epidemic should be investigated and prosecuted for insider trading," ..."
"... "Members of Congress should not be allowed to own stocks." ..."
"... "stomach churning," ..."
"... "For a public servant it's pretty hard to imagine many things more immoral than doing this," ..."
"... "Richard Burr had critical information that might have helped the people he is sworn to protect. But he hid that information and helped only himself." ..."
"... "If you find out about a nation-threatening pandemic and your first move is to adjust your stock portfolio you should probably not be in a job that serves the public interest," ..."
"... "calling for immediate investigations" ..."
"... "for possible violations of the STOCK Act and insider trading laws." ..."
"... Think your friends would be interested? Share this story! ..."
Mar 21, 2020 | www.rt.com

Tulsi Gabbard says insider traders should be 'investigated & prosecuted,' as Left and Right team up on profiteering senators 21 Mar, 2020 21:19 Get short URL Tulsi Gabbard says insider traders should be 'investigated & prosecuted,' as Left and Right team up on profiteering senators FILE PHOTO: Tulsi Gabbard speaks during the US Democratic presidential debate in Atlanta, Georgia, November 20, 2019 © Reuters / Brendan McDermid Follow RT on RT In a rare moment of bipartisanship, commenters from all sides have demanded swift punishment for US senators who dumped stock after classified Covid-19 briefings. Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has called for criminal prosecution. As chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr (R-North Carolina) has received daily briefings on the threat posed by Covid-19 since January. Burr insisted to the public that America was ready to handle the virus, but sold up to $1.5 million in stocks on February 13, less than a week before the stock market nosedived, according to Senate filings . Immediately before the sale, Burr wrote an op-ed assuring Americans that their government is "better prepared than ever " to handle the virus.

Also on rt.com Liberal icon Sean Penn wants a 'compassionate' army deployment to fight Covid-19

After the sale, NPR reported that he told a closed-door meeting of North Carolina business leaders that the virus actually posed a threat "akin to the 1918 pandemic." Burr does not dispute the NPR report.

In a tweet on Saturday, former 2020 presidential candidate and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard called for criminal investigations. "Congress/staff who dumped stocks after private briefings on impending coronavirus epidemic should be investigated and prosecuted for insider trading," she wrote.

"Members of Congress should not be allowed to own stocks."

Congress/staff who dumped stocks after private briefings on impending coronavirus epidemic should be investigated & prosecuted for insider trading (the STOCK Act). It is illegal & abuse of power. Members of Congress should not be allowed to own stocks. https://t.co/rbVfJxrk3r

-- Tulsi Gabbard 🌺 (@TulsiGabbard) March 21, 2020

Burr was not the only lawmaker on Capitol Hill to take precautions, it was reported. Fellow Intelligence Committee member Dianne Feinstein (D-California) and her husband sold off more than a million dollars of shares in a biotech company five days later, while Oklahoma's Jim Inhofe (R) made a smaller sale around the same time. Both say their sales were routine.

Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Georgia) attended a Senate Health Committee briefing on the outbreak on January 24. The very same day, she began offloading stock, dropping between $1.2 and $3.1 million in shares over the following weeks. The companies whose stock she sold included airlines, retail outlets, and Chinese tech firm Tencent.

She did, however, invest in cloud technology company Oracle, and Citrix, a teleworking company whose value has increased by nearly a third last week, as social distancing measures forced more and more Americans to work from home. All of Loeffler's transactions were made with her husband, Jeff Sprecher, CEO of the New York Stock Exchange.

Meanwhile, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York) and Ilhan Omar (Minnesota) have joined the clamor of voices demanding punishment. Ocasio-Cortez described the sales as "stomach churning," while Omar reached across the aisle to side with Fox News' Tucker Carlson in calling for Burr's resignation.

I am 💯 with him on this 😱 https://t.co/Gbi3i2BagY

-- Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) March 20, 2020

"For a public servant it's pretty hard to imagine many things more immoral than doing this," Carlson said during a Friday night monolog. "Richard Burr had critical information that might have helped the people he is sworn to protect. But he hid that information and helped only himself."

As of Saturday, there are nearly 25,000 cases of Covid-19 in the US, with the death toll heading towards 300. Now both sides of the political aisle seem united in disgust at the apparent profiteering of Burr, Loeffler, and Feinstein.

Right-wing news outlet Breitbart savaged Burr for voting against the STOCK Act in 2012, a piece of legislation that would have barred members of Congress from using non-public information to profit on the stock market. At the same time, a host of Democratic figures - including former presidential candidates Andrew Yang and Kirsten Gillibrand - weighed in with their own criticism too.

"If you find out about a nation-threatening pandemic and your first move is to adjust your stock portfolio you should probably not be in a job that serves the public interest," Yang tweeted on Friday.

If you find out about a nation-threatening pandemic and your first move is to adjust your stock portfolio you should probably not be in a job that serves the public interest.

-- Andrew Yang🧢 (@AndrewYang) March 20, 2020

Watchdog group Common Cause has filed complaints with the Justice Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Senate Ethics Committee "calling for immediate investigations" of Burr, Loeffler, Feinstein and Inhofe "for possible violations of the STOCK Act and insider trading laws."

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

[Mar 20, 2020] On the psychology of Full Spectrum Dominance

Mar 20, 2020 | www.unz.com

Richard B says: Show Comment March 20, 2020 at 2:06 am GMT 700 Words @Kevin Barrett Does anyone ever really win a trade war?

I don't mean Argentina vs China, or anything like that.

I mean where both sides have a lot of money, or power, or both.

Today's coronavirus black swan, like 9/11, has all the characteristics of a trauma-based mass-mind-control op.

Not only do I agree, but I think it's so obvious that it's exasperating that, after all we've been through, it even needs to be pointed out. But it does.

It has already been used to demonize China in the same way 9/11 was used to demonize Islam: Just as we were supposed to hate the crazy suicidal Muslims yearning for harems of afterlife virgins, we are now supposed to feel disgust for Chinese slurpers of bat soup.

Here I respectfully disagree.

What Jewish Supremacy Inc. did after September 11th was,

1. Blame Islam
2. Shame Americans* for Blaming Islam

A better example of control through crazy-making would be impossible to imagine.

And it's exactly what they're doing now.

1. Blame China
2. Shame Americans for Blaming China

*or anyone else who refused or refuses to bow before the alter of Politically Correct Identity Politics (two tools essential to Full Spectrum Dominance).

As we have already seen, the consequences are immense.

Because if that kind of crazy-making is effective it's totally demoralizing. As learned helplessness sets in people won't even defend themselves. As happened in Italy, and not just Italy.

But there are other discernible patterns well worth pointing out.

1. Destroy The Evidence
2. Control The Narrative
3. Enforce The Law (on anyone looking for evidence to question the narrative)

Victimize – Blame Victim – Play Victim

Demonize Dissent and Pathologize Opposition

And all ending in what I've come to call the Supremacist Waltz

What makes a supremacist is not just making claims ("Our Superiority Is Absolute", or "We are the Chosen") or demands. No. It's that they have the power to effectuate the demands that support their claims.

And what are the demands they have the power to effectuate?

1. to be placed above criticism
2. loved unconditionally
3. blindly obeyed

It's The Rule of Man over The Rule of Law

It's a Culture of Blind Obedience over a Culture of Individual Conscience

It's Tyranny over Freedom

Hence The Great Replacement, accompanied by chants and taunts like "We Will Replace You!"

In other words, Full Spectrum Dominance.

But, there's a snake in this garden.

The kind of power they're interested in is fundamentally destablizing.

All top down authoritarian power destablizes social-institutions.

From the point of view of cultural history this is exactly why cultures emerged in the Western world that promoted democratic forms of governance. Because authoritarians cultures are ultimately so extraordinarily destructive and unsustainable. Like this one is. Isn't it obvious?

And, from the point of view of the bottom line, prolonged and profound social instability disrupts and even halts economic activity.

When that happens there's no alternative.

This is why civilization itself was created. Because any civilization's primary objective is and must be the circumnavigation of the use of force.

This is why what we're really witnessing is nothing less than

The Pyrrhic Victory of Jewish Supremacy Inc.

Because JSI's rise to power has been in direct proportion to the collapse of the very social-institutions that power controls. Pride Before The Fall, indeed.

And the reason is easy to see and devoid of any complexity or glamour.

JSI is no good at social-management.

And make no mistake about it, social-management is at its core an adaptational strategy, as are our social-institutions.

So, if we blow this, we're in no position to laugh at the dinosaurs for getting themselves extinct.

After all, they lasted a lot longer than we have so far.

Assuming the human race has a chance (in itself rather doubtful) perhaps its time to turn their words against them and say,

Treason Against Jewish Supremacy Inc. Is Loyalty To Humanity

Do we really need to ask them for permission to care about our children's future?

[Mar 17, 2020] Russia Strikes Back Where It Hurts American Oil by Scott Ritter

Mar 17, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

R ussia and Saudi Arabia are engaged in an oil price war that has sent shockwaves around the world, causing the price of oil to tumble and threatening the financial stability, and even viability, of major international oil companies.

On the surface, this conflict appears to be a fight between two of the world's largest producers of oil over market share. This may, in fact, be the motive driving Saudi Arabia, which reacted to Russia's refusal to reduce its level of oil production by slashing the price it charged per barrel of oil and threatening to increase its oil production, thereby flooding the global market with cheap oil in an effort to attract customers away from competitors.

Russia's motives appear to be far different -- its target isn't Saudi Arabia, but rather American shale oil. After absorbing American sanctions that targeted the Russian energy sector, and working with global partners (including Saudi Arabia) to keep oil prices stable by reducing oil production even as the United States increased the amount of shale oil it sold on the world market, Russia had had enough. The advent of the Coronavirus global pandemic had significantly reduced the demand for oil around the world, stressing the American shale producers. Russia had been preparing for the eventuality of oil-based economic warfare with the United States. With U.S. shale producers knocked back on their heels, Russia viewed the time as being ripe to strike back. Russia's goal is simple: to make American shale oil producers " share the pain ".

The United States has been slapping sanctions on Russia for more than six years, ever since Russia took control (and later annexed) the Crimean Peninsula and threw its weight behind Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. The first sanctions were issued on March 6, 2014, through Executive Order 13660 , targeting "persons who have asserted governmental authority in the Crimean region without the authorization of the Government of Ukraine that undermine democratic processes and institutions in Ukraine; threaten its peace, security, stability, sovereignty, and territorial integrity; and contribute to the misappropriation of its assets."

The most recent round of sanctions was announced by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on February 18, 2020, by sanctioning Rosneft Trading S.A., a Swiss-incorporated, Russian-owned oil brokerage firm, for operating in Venezuela's oil sector. The U.S. also recently targeted the Russian Nord Stream 2 and Turk Stream gas pipeline projects.

Russia had been signaling its displeasure over U.S. sanctions from the very beginning. In July 2014, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that U.S. sanctions were "driving into a corner" relations between the two countries, threatening the "the long-term national interests of the U.S. government and people." Russia opted to ride out U.S. sanctions, in hopes that there might be a change of administrations following the 2016 U.S. Presidential elections. Russian President Vladimir Putin made it clear that he hoped the U.S. might elect someone whose policies would be more friendly toward Russia, and that once the field of candidates narrowed down to a choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, Putin favored Trump .

"Yes, I did," Putin remarked after the election, during a joint press conference with President Trump following a summit in Helsinki in July 2018. "Yes, I did. Because he talked about bringing the U.S.-Russia relationship back to normal."

Putin's comments only reinforced the opinions of those who embraced allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election as fact and concluded that Putin had some sort of hold over Trump. Trump's continuous praise of Putin's leadership style only reinforced these concerns.

Even before he was inaugurated, Trump singled out Putin's refusal to respond in kind to President Obama's levying of sanctions based upon the assessment of the U.S. intelligence community that Russia had interfered in the election. "Great move on delay (by V. Putin) – I always knew he was very smart!" Trump Tweeted . Trump viewed the Obama sanctions as an effort to sabotage any chance of a Trump administration repairing relations with Russia, and interpreted Putin's refusal to engage, despite being pressured to do so by the Russian Parliament and Foreign Ministry, as a recognition of the same.

This sense of providing political space in the face of domestic pressure worked both ways. In January 2018, Putin tried to shield his relationship with President Trump by calling the release of a list containing some 200 names of persons close to the Russian government by the U.S. Treasury Department as a hostile and "stupid" move .

"Ordinary Russian citizens, employees and entire industries are behind each of those people and companies," Putin remarked. "So all 146 million people have essentially been put on this list. What is the point of this? I don't understand."

From the Russian perspective, the list highlighted the reality that the U.S. viewed the entire Russian government as an enemy and is a byproduct of the "political paranoia" on the part of U.S. lawmakers. The consequences of this, senior Russian officials warned, "will be toxic and undermine prospects for cooperation for years ahead."

While President Trump entered office fully intending to " get along with Russia ," including the possibility of relaxing the Obama-era sanctions , the reality of U.S.-Russian relations, especially as viewed from Congress, has been the strengthening of the Obama sanctions regime. These sanctions, strengthened over time by new measures signed off by Trump, have had a negative impact on the Russian economy, slowing growth and driving away foreign investment .

While Putin continued to show constraint in the face of these mounting sanctions, the recent targeting of Russia's energy sector represented a bridge too far. When Saudi pressure to cut oil production rates coincided with a global reduction in the demand for oil brought on by the Coronavirus crisis, Russia struck.

The timing of the Russian action is curious, especially given the amount of speculation that there was some sort of personal relationship between Trump and Putin that the Russian leader sought to preserve and carry over into a potential second term. But Putin had, for some time now, been signaling that his patience with Trump had run its course. When speaking to the press in June 2019 about the state of U.S.-Russian relations, Putin noted that "They (our relations) are going downhill, they are getting worse and worse," adding that "The current [i.e., Trump] administration has approved, in my opinion, several dozen decisions on sanctions against Russia in recent years."

By launching an oil price war on the eve of the American Presidential campaign season, Putin has sent as strong a signal as possible that he no longer views Trump as an asset, if in fact he ever did. Putin had hoped Trump could usher in positive change in the trajectory of relations between the two nations; this clearly had not happened. Instead, in the words of close Putin ally Igor Sechin , the chief executive of Russian oil giant Rosneft, the U.S. was using its considerable energy resources as a political weapon, ushering in an era of "power colonialism" that sought to expand U.S. oil production and market share at the expense of other nations.

From Russia's perspective, the growth in U.S. oil production -- which doubled in output from 2011 until 2019 -- and the emergence of the U.S. as a net exporter of oil, was directly linked to the suppression of oil export capability in nations such as Venezuela and Iran through the imposition of sanctions. While this could be tolerated when the target was a third party, once the U.S. set its sanctioning practices on Russian energy, the die was cast.

If the goal of the Russian-driven price war is to make U.S. shale companies "share the pain," they have already succeeded. A similar price war, initiated by Saudi Arabia in 2014 for the express purpose of suppressing U.S. shale oil production, failed, but only because investors were willing to prop up the stricken shale producers with massive loans and infusion of capital. For shale oil producers, who use an expensive methodology of extraction known as "fracking," to be economically viable, the breakeven price of oil per barrel needs to be between $40 and $60 dollars. This was the price range the Saudi's were hoping to sustain when they proposed the cuts in oil production that Russia rejected.

The U.S. shale oil producers, saddled by massive debt and high operational expenses, will suffer greatly in any sustained oil price war. Already, with the price of oil down to below $35 per barrel, there is talk of bankruptcy and massive job layoffs -- none of which bode well for Trump in the coming election.

It's clear that Russia has no intention of backing off anytime soon. According to the Russian Finance Ministry , said on Russia could weather oil prices of $25-30 per barrel for between six and ten years. One thing is for certain -- U.S. shale oil companies cannot.

In a sign that the Trump administration might be waking up to the reality of the predicament it faces, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin quietly met with Russia's Ambassador to the U.S., Anatoly Antonov. According to a read out from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the two discussed economic sanctions, the Venezuelan economy, and the potential for "trade and investment." Mnuchin, the Russians noted, emphasized the "importance of orderly energy markets."

Russia is unlikely to fold anytime soon. As Admiral Josh Painter, a character in Tom Clancy's "The Hunt for Red October," famously said , "Russians don't take a dump without a plan."

Russia didn't enter its current course of action on a whim. Its goals are clearly stated -- to defeat U.S. shale oil -- and the costs of this effort, both economically and politically (up to and including having Trump lose the 2020 Presidential election) have all been calculated and considered in advance. The Russian Bear can only be toyed with for so long without generating a response. We now know what that response is; when the Empire strikes back, it hits hard.

Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD. He is the author of several books, including his forthcoming, Scorpion King: America's Embrace of Nuclear Weapons From FDR to Trump (2020).

[Mar 15, 2020] US seeking to carve out Sunni state as its influence in Iraq wanes: Wehrmacht occupying Ukraine vs US occupying Iraq.

Mar 15, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Kali , Mar 14 2020 18:26 utc | 18

The neocons trying to control Trump are going to have a hard time this year because of the election. Trump knows his people voted for him because of his promises to get the troops back home. Of course the neocons want to build up more and more troops in Iraq or even split Iraq into 3 different countries. The Iraqi and Iranian leaders with the Syrians to a lesser degree will try to take advantage of Trump's dilemma. The Kurds are involved also. This is all explored by Pam Ho How Much Do You Suck (To lose a popularity contest with Saddam Hussein)

Willy2 , Mar 14 2020 18:32 utc | 19

- The US knows it "influence" is waning and tries to "carve out" a sunni "rump state" in North-West Iraq. First the US fights ISIS in that same area/region from the year 2014 onwards and now they are supposed to fight in FAVOUR of the sunnis/ISIS ?

"US seeking to carve out Sunni state as its influence in Iraq wanes"

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/us-seeking-carve-out-sunni-state-its-influence-iraq-wanes

- Some politicians are recognizing that the killing of Qassam Sulemani has weakened the US position in the Middle East.

"Killing Soleimani made US 'weaker' in Middle East, US senator says".

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/killing-soleimani-made-us-weaker-middle-east-us-senator-says

arata , Mar 14 2020 19:37 utc | 29
General McKenzie said they have bombed a civilian air port in Karbala was a right decision, Iraqi police force who were killed, they shouldn't be there!
See the video 13:00 onward.
Peter AU1 , Mar 14 2020 19:50 utc | 32
arata 29
Rueters had a piece on it which I linked in the last Iraq thread. Total yank arrogance and exceptionalism.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iraq-security-usa-iran-retaliation-mi/iraq-condemns-u-s-air-strikes-warns-of-consequences-idUSKBN2101AD?il=0
""These locations that we struck are clear locations of terrorist bases," said Marine General Kenneth McKenzie, head of the U.S. military's Central Command.

"If Iraqis were there and if Iraqi military forces were there, I would say it's probably not a good idea to position yourself with Kataib Hezbollah in the wake of a strike that killed Americans and coalition members," he told a Pentagon news briefing."

dltravers , Mar 14 2020 21:40 utc | 40
Despite Trump the Iraq policy transcends his administration and will continue in some form in the future. There will be a continued presence in some form and in some part of the country. Our beloved ally in the region demands our presence.

They smartly keep the presence small with no draft remembering that is what took them out of Nam. An angry draft worthy populace, a counter culture disillusioned with the murder of their liberal anti war leadership by the state, and ample media coverage of the war carnage.

All of that is long gone, and even with the age of internet reporting the populace has been bought off with entertainment, amazon, porn, and bullshit.

Abe , Mar 15 2020 0:39 utc | 54
@43

Parallel is IMO very interesting, Wehrmacht occupying Ukraine and US occupying Iraq. In both cases there was minority that welcomed occupier with open arms, wanting to oppress majority of own country folks due to earlier grievances. In both cases, invader didn't want to bother with using that minority to own goals, as they saw them all as inferior race. And invader was in both cases more interested in conquering more powerful neighbor to the east.

Irony is that, if Nazi Germany/US didn't look at Ukraine/Iraq people as inferior race they could use them for own goal to fight Russia/Iran. But, dumb as they are, they stuck all those Ukrainians into camps(lot of them sympathizers to Germany/rabidly against Russia)/ disbanding ex. Saddam's army and made kernel of future anti US force into region, not to mention Kurdish question.


Peter AU1 , Mar 15 2020 0:39 utc | 55
53 Snake put up a link back up the thread.
https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2020/03/14/620858/Iraq-military-demands-foreign-forces-swiftly-withdraw-following-US-air-raids
"Iraqi lawmakers unanimously approved a bill on January 5, demanding the withdrawal of all foreign military forces..."

"Later on January 9, former Iraqi prime minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi called on the United States to dispatch a delegation to Baghdad tasked with formulating a mechanism for the move.

According to a statement released by his office at the time, Abdul-Mahdi "requested that delegates be sent to Iraq to set the mechanisms to implement the parliament's decision for the secure withdrawal of (foreign) forces from Iraq" in a phone call with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo."

US in response moved to a few bases they intended to occupy and give the two finger salute to Iraq. Trump threatened sanctions and theft of Iraq's oil money which is in the US. Pentagon now moving patriots in.

Jackrabbit , Mar 15 2020 2:43 utc | 69
Question to b @53: ... it was a non-binding resolution.

It's "non-binding" on USA only because the Prime Minister conducts foreign policy and there's no current written basing agreement between Iraq and USA that can be terminated. The resolution demands that the Prime Minister arrange for the departure of US troops.

The resolution is binding on the Prime Minister because it was a valid vote in accordance with Iraqi Parliamentary procedure.

USA refused to discuss leaving Iraq and claimed that the Parliamentary vote was "non-binding" because it was unrepresentative (USA got their Sunni and Kurd sympathizers to boycott the vote). But Parliament still had a quorum, so the vote is legal and binding.

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

Is it enforceable?

USA/NATO are very unlikely to leaving willingly. We are seeing the start of a civil war in Iraq because most Sunnis and Kurds support USA/NATO remaining while Shia want USA/NATO to leave.

!!

james , Mar 15 2020 2:36 utc | 67
just start with the first lie and go from their... usa / uk lied the world into going to war on iraq... and from their the lies just keep on getting stacked.. if you can't acknowledge the first lie, you probably are incapable of recognizing all the other lies that have been thrown on the same bullshit pile... one big pile of lies and bullshite - a specialty of the exceptional country..
james , Mar 15 2020 2:25 utc | 65
@ 63 question.. you like this usa style bullshit that buys politicians in iraq and when that doesn't work, they go on to the next attempt at installing a politician willing to agree to their bullshite? interesting bullshit concept of democracy if you ask me... everything has a price tag and honour is something you can pick up at the grocery store... right..

[Mar 12, 2020] The Democratic Party Surrenders to Nostalgia by Bill Blum

Highly recommended!
Trump does not have a party with the program that at least pretends to pursue "socialism for a given ethnic group". He is more far right nationalist then national socialist. But to the extent neoliberalism can be viewed as neofascism Trump is neo-fascist, he definitly can be called a "national neoliberal."
Notable quotes:
"... I am nothing if not a realist. The idea that Sanders might have become the Democratic candidate was always a fantasy, not unlike my youthful dreams of one day becoming an NFL quarterback. Even after Sanders' triumph in the Nevada caucuses, I never thought the party establishment would ever allow a socialist -- even a mild social democratic one, such as Sanders -- to head its ticket. ..."
"... Of the two campaigns, Trump's will be decidedly more toxic. The "Make America Great Again" slogan that propelled Trump to victory in 2016 and the "Keep America Great" slogan he will try to sell this time around are neo-fascist in nature, designed to invoke an imaginary and false state of mythical past national glory ..."
"... The fascist designation is not a label I apply to Trump cavalierly. I use it, as I have before in this column , because Trump meets many of the standard and widely respected definitions of the term. ..."
"... Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion. ..."
"... An appeal to a frustrated middle class that is suffering from an economic crisis of humiliation and fear of the pressure exerted by lower social groups. ..."
"... Joe Biden is not a fascist. He is, instead, a standard-bearer of neoliberalism. As with fascism, there are different definitions of neoliberalism, prompting some exceptionally smug mainstream commentators like New York Magazine's Jonathan Chait to claim that the concept is little more than a left-wing insult. In truth, however, the concept describes an all-too-real set of governing principles. ..."
"... Neoliberalism , by contrast, deemphasizes federal economic intervention in favor of initiatives calling for deregulation, corporate tax cuts, private-public partnerships, and international trade agreements that augment the free flow of capital while undermining the power and influence of trade unions. ..."
"... Until the arrival of Trump and his brand of neo-fascism, both major parties since Reagan had embraced this ideology. And while neoliberals remain more benign on issues of race and gender than Trump and Trumpism ever will be, neoliberalism offers little to challenge hierarchies based on social class. Indeed, income inequality accelerated during the Obama years and today rivals that of the Gilded Age . ..."
Mar 11, 2020 | www.truthdig.com
Now that the Michigan Democratic primary is over and Joe Biden has been declared the winner , it's time to read the handwriting on the political wall: Biden will be the Democratic nominee for president, and Bernie Sanders will be the runner-up once again come the party's convention in July. Sanders might influence the party's platform, but platforms are never binding for the nominee. Sanders has lost, and so have his many progressive supporters, myself included.

I am nothing if not a realist. The idea that Sanders might have become the Democratic candidate was always a fantasy, not unlike my youthful dreams of one day becoming an NFL quarterback. Even after Sanders' triumph in the Nevada caucuses, I never thought the party establishment would ever allow a socialist -- even a mild social democratic one, such as Sanders -- to head its ticket.

Funded by wealthy donors, run by Beltway insiders and aided and abetted by a corporate media dedicated to promoting the notion that Sanders was " unelectable ," the Democratic Party never welcomed Sanders as a legitimate contender. Not in 2016 and not in 2020. In several instances, it even resorted to some good old-fashioned red-baiting to frighten voters; the party is, after all, a capitalist institution. Working and middle-class families support the Democrats largely because they have no other place to go on Election Day besides the completely corrupt and craven GOP.

Now we are left with Donald Trump and Biden to duke it out in the fall. Yes, it has come to that.

In terms of campaign rhetoric and party policies, the general election campaign will be a battle for America's past far more than it will be a contest for its future. The battle will be fueled on both sides by narratives and visions that are illusory, regressive and, in important respects, downright dangerous.

Of the two campaigns, Trump's will be decidedly more toxic. The "Make America Great Again" slogan that propelled Trump to victory in 2016 and the "Keep America Great" slogan he will try to sell this time around are neo-fascist in nature, designed to invoke an imaginary and false state of mythical past national glory that ignores our deeply entrenched history of patriarchal white supremacy and brutal class domination.

The fascist designation is not a label I apply to Trump cavalierly. I use it, as I have before in this column , because Trump meets many of the standard and widely respected definitions of the term.

As the celebrated Marxist playwright Bertolt Brecht wrote in 1935 , fascism "is a historic phase of capitalism the nakedest, most shameless, most oppressive and most treacherous form of capitalism." Trumpism, along with its international analogs in Brazil, India and Western Europe, neatly accords with Brecht's theory.

Trumpism similarly meets the definition of fascism offered by Robert Paxton in his classic 2004 study, " The Anatomy of Fascism ":

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

Trump and Trumpism similarly embody the 14 common factors of fascism identified by the great writer Umberto Eco in his 1995 essay, Ur Fascism :

Joe Biden is not a fascist. He is, instead, a standard-bearer of neoliberalism. As with fascism, there are different definitions of neoliberalism, prompting some exceptionally smug mainstream commentators like New York Magazine's Jonathan Chait to claim that the concept is little more than a left-wing insult. In truth, however, the concept describes an all-too-real set of governing principles.

To grasp what neoliberalism means, it's necessary to understand that it does not refer to a revival of the liberalism of the New Deal and New Society programs of the 1930s and 1960s. That brand of liberalism advocated the active intervention of the federal government in the economy to mitigate the harshest effects of private enterprise through such programs as Social Security, the National Labor Relations Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, Medicare, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That brand of liberalism imposed high taxes on the wealthy and significantly mitigated income inequality in America.

Neoliberalism , by contrast, deemphasizes federal economic intervention in favor of initiatives calling for deregulation, corporate tax cuts, private-public partnerships, and international trade agreements that augment the free flow of capital while undermining the power and influence of trade unions.

Until the arrival of Trump and his brand of neo-fascism, both major parties since Reagan had embraced this ideology. And while neoliberals remain more benign on issues of race and gender than Trump and Trumpism ever will be, neoliberalism offers little to challenge hierarchies based on social class. Indeed, income inequality accelerated during the Obama years and today rivals that of the Gilded Age .

As transformational a politician as Barack Obama was in terms of race, he too pursued a predominantly neoliberal agenda. The Affordable Care Act, Obama's singular domestic legislative achievement, is a perfect example of neoliberal private-public collaboration that left intact a health industry dominated by for-profit drug manufacturers and rapacious insurance companies, rather than setting the stage for Medicare for All, as championed by Sanders.

Biden never tires of reminding any audience willing to put up with his gaffes, verbal ticks and miscues that he served as Obama's vice president. Those ties are likely to remain the centerpiece of his campaign, as he promises a return to the civility of the Obama era and a restoration of America's standing in the world.

History, however, only moves forward. As charming and comforting as Biden's imagery of the past may be, it is, like Trump's darker outlook, a mirage. If Trump has taught us anything worthwhile, it is that the past cannot be replicated, no matter how much we might wish otherwise.

[Mar 12, 2020] How 'Bernie Bros' Were Invented, Then Smeared as Sexist, Racist and unAmerican as Borscht by Jonathan Cook

Looks like DNC run a pretty sophisticated smear campaign against Sanders ...
Notable quotes:
"... It really isn't about who the candidates are – hurtful as that may sound to some in our identity-saturated times. It is about what the candidate might try to do once in office. In truth, the very fact that nowadays we are allowed to focus on identity to our heart's content should be warning enough that the establishment is only too keen for us to exhaust our energies in promoting divisions based on those identities ..."
"... The Republican and Democratic leaderships are there to ensure that, before a candidate gets selected to compete in the parties' name, he or she has proven they are power-friendly. Two candidates, each vetted for obedience to power. ..."
Mar 12, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

The Democratic presidential nomination race is a fascinating case study in how power works – not least, because the Democratic party leaders are visibly contriving to impose one candidate, Joe Biden, as the party's nominee, even as it becomes clear that he is no longer mentally equipped to run a local table tennis club let alone the world's most powerful nation.

Biden's campaign is a reminder that power is indivisible. Donald Trump or Joe Biden for president – it doesn't matter to the power-establishment. An egomaniacal man-child (Trump), representing the billionaires, or an elder suffering rapid neurological degeneration (Biden), representing the billionaires, are equally useful to power. A woman will do too, or a person of colour. The establishment is no longer worried about who stands on stage – so long as that person is not a Bernie Sanders in the US, or a Jeremy Corbyn in the UK.

It really isn't about who the candidates are – hurtful as that may sound to some in our identity-saturated times. It is about what the candidate might try to do once in office. In truth, the very fact that nowadays we are allowed to focus on identity to our heart's content should be warning enough that the establishment is only too keen for us to exhaust our energies in promoting divisions based on those identities. What concerns it far more is that we might overcome those divisions and unify against it, withdrawing our consent from an establishment committed to endless asset-stripping of our societies and the planet.

Neither Biden nor Trump will obstruct the establishment, because they are at its very heart. The Republican and Democratic leaderships are there to ensure that, before a candidate gets selected to compete in the parties' name, he or she has proven they are power-friendly. Two candidates, each vetted for obedience to power.

Although a pretty face or a way with words are desirable, incapacity and incompetence are no barrier to qualifying, as the two white men groomed by their respective parties demonstrate. Both have proved they will favour the establishment, both will pursue near-enough the same policies , both are committed to the status quo, both have demonstrated their indifference to the future of life on Earth. What separates the candidates is not real substance, but presentation styles – the creation of the appearance of difference, of choice.

Policing the debate

The subtle dynamics of how the Democratic nomination race is being rigged are interesting. Especially revealing are the ways the Democratic leadership protects establishment power by policing the terms of debate: what can be said, and what can be thought; who gets to speak and whose voices are misrepresented or demonised. Manipulation of language is key.

As I pointed out in my previous post , the establishment's power derives from its invisibility. Scrutiny is kryptonite to power.

The only way we can interrogate power is through language, and the only way we can communicate our conclusions to others is through words – as I am doing right now. And therefore our strength – our ability to awaken ourselves from the trance of power – must be subverted by the establishment, transformed into our Achilles' heel, a weakness.

The treatment of Bernie Sanders and his supporters by the Democratic establishment – and those who eagerly repeat its talking points – neatly illustrates how this can be done in manifold ways.

Remember this all started back in 2016, when Sanders committed the unforgivable sin of challenging the Democratic leadership's right simply to anoint Hillary Clinton as the party's presidential candidate. In those days, the fault line was obvious and neat: Bernie was a man, Clinton a woman. She would be the first woman president. The only party members who might wish to deny her that historic moment, and back Sanders instead, had to be misogynist men. They were supposedly venting their anti-women grudge against Clinton, who in turn was presented to women as a symbol of their oppression by men.

And so was born a meme: the "Bernie Bros". It rapidly became shorthand for suggesting – contrary to all evidence – that Sanders' candidacy appealed chiefly to angry, entitled white men. In fact, as Sanders' 2020 run has amply demonstrated, support for him has been more diverse than for the many other Democratic candidates who sought the nomination.

So important what @ewarren is saying to @maddow about the dangerous, threatening, ugly faction among the Bernie supporters. Sanders either cannot or will not control them. pic.twitter.com/LYDXlLJ7bi

-- Mia Farrow (@MiaFarrow) March 6, 2020

How contrived the 2016 identity-fuelled contest was should have been clear, had anyone been allowed to point that fact out. This wasn't really about the Democratic leadership respecting Clinton's identity as a woman. It was about them paying lip service to her identity as a woman, while actually promoting her because she was a reliable warmonger and Wall Street functionary . She was useful to power.

If the debate had really been driven by identity politics, Sanders had a winning card too: he is Jewish. That meant he could be the United States' first Jewish president. In a fair identity fight, it would have been a draw between the two. The decision about who should represent the Democratic party would then have had to be decided based on policies, not identity. But party leaders did not want Clinton's actual policies, or her political history, being put under the microscope for very obvious reasons.

Weaponisation of identity

The weaponisation of identity politics is even more transparent in 2020. Sanders is still Jewish, but his main opponent, Joe Biden, really is simply a privileged white man. Were the Clinton format to be followed again by Democratic officials, Sanders would enjoy an identity politics trump card. And yet Sanders is still being presented as just another white male candidate , no different from Biden.

(We could take this argument even further and note that the other candidate who no one, least of all the Democratic leadership, ever mentions as still in the race is Tulsi Gabbard, a woman of colour. The Democratic party has worked hard to make her as invisible as possible in the primaries because, of all the candidates, she is the most vocal and articulate opponent of foreign wars. That has deprived her of the chance to raise funds and win delegates.)

. @DanaPerino I'm not quite sure why you're telling FOX viewers that Elizabeth Warren is the last female candidate in the Dem primary. Is it because you believe a fake indigenous woman of color is "real" and the real indigenous woman of color in this race is fake? pic.twitter.com/VKCxy2JzFe

-- Tulsi Gabbard 🌺 (@TulsiGabbard) March 3, 2020

Sanders' Jewish identity isn't celebrated because he isn't useful to the power-establishment. What's far more important to them – and should be to us too – are his policies, which might limit their power to wage war, exploit workers and trash the planet.

But it is not just that Democratic Party leaders are ignoring Sanders' Jewish identity. They are also again actively using identity politics against him, and in many different ways.

The 'black' establishment?

Bernie Sanders' supporters have been complaining for some time – based on mounting evidence – that the Democratic leadership is far from neutral between Sanders and Biden. Because it has a vested interest in the outcome, and because it is the part of the power-establishment, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is exercising its influence in favour of Biden. And because power prefers darkness, the DNC is doing its best to exercise that power behind the scenes, out of sight – at least, unseen by those who still rely on the "mainstream" corporate media, which is also part of the power-establishment. As should be clear to anyone watching, the nomination proceedings are being controlled to give Biden every advantage and to obstruct Sanders.

But the Democratic leadership is not only dismissing out of hand these very justified complaints from Bernie Sanders' supporters but also turning these complaints against them, as further evidence of their – and his – illegitimacy. A new way of doing this emerged in the immediate wake of Biden winning South Carolina on the back of strong support from older black voters – Biden's first state win and a launchpad for his Super Tuesday bid a few days later.

It was given perfect expression from Symone Sanders, who despite her surname is actually a senior adviser to Biden's campaign. She is also black. This is what she wrote: "People who keep referring to Black voters as 'the establishment' are tone deaf and have obviously learned nothing."

People who keep referring to Black voters as "the establishment" are tone deaf and have obviously learned nothing.

-- Symone D. Sanders (@SymoneDSanders) March 3, 2020

Her reference to generic "people" was understood precisely by both sides of the debate as code for those "Bernie Bros". Now, it seems, Bernie Sanders' supporters are not simply misogynists, they are potential recruits to the Ku Klux Klan.

The tweet went viral, even though in the fiercely contested back-and-forth below her tweet no one could produce a single example of anyone actually saying anything like the sentiment ascribed by Symone Sanders to "Bernie Bros". But then, tackling bigotry was not her real goal. This wasn't meant to be a reflection on a real-world talking-point by Bernie supporters. It was high-level gaslighting by a senior Democratic party official of the party's own voters.

Survival of the fittest smear

What Symone Sanders was really trying to do was conceal power – the fact that the DNC is seeking to impose its chosen candidate on party members. As occurred during the confected women-men, Clinton vs "Bernie Bros" confrontation, Symone Sanders was field-testing a similar narrative management tool as part of the establishment's efforts to hone it for improved effect. The establishment has learnt – through a kind of survival of the fittest smear – that divide-and-rule identity politics is the perfect way to shield its influence as it favours a status-quo candidate (Biden or Clinton) over a candidate seen as a threat to its power (Sanders).

In her tweet, Symone Sanders showed exactly how the power elite seeks to obscure its toxic role in our societies. She neatly conflated "the establishment" – of which she is a very small, but well-paid component – with ordinary "black voters". Her message is this: should you try to criticise the establishment (which has inordinate power to damage lives and destroy the planet) we will demonise you, making it seem that you are really attacking black people (who in the vast majority of cases – though Symone Sanders is a notable exception – wield no power at all).

Symone Sanders has recruited her own blackness and South Carolina's "black voters" as a ring of steel to protect the establishment. Cynically, she has turned poor black people, as well as the tens of thousands of people (presumably black and white) who liked her tweet, into human shields for the establishment.

It sounds a lot uglier put like that. But it has rapidly become a Biden talking-point, as we can see here:

NEW: @JoeBiden responds to @berniesanders saying the "establishment" is trying to defeat him.

"The establishment are all those hardworking, middle class people, those African Americans they are the establishment!" @CBSNews pic.twitter.com/43Q2Nci5sS

-- Bo Erickson CBS (@BoKnowsNews) March 4, 2020

The DNC's wider strategy is to confer on Biden exclusive rights to speak for black voters (despite his inglorious record on civil rights issues) and, further, to strip Sanders and his senior black advisers of any right to do so. When Sanders protests about this, or about racist behaviour from the Biden camp, Biden's supporters come out in force and often abusively, though of course no one is upbraiding them for their ugly, violent language. Here is the famous former tennis player Martina Navratilova showing that maybe we should be talking about "Biden Bros":

Sanders is starting to really piss me off. Just shut this kind of crap down and debate the issues. This is not it.

-- Martina Navratilova (@Martina) March 6, 2020

Being unkind to billionaires

This kind of special pleading by the establishment for the establishment – using those sections of it, such as Symone Sanders, that can tap into the identity politics zeitgeist – is far more common than you might imagine. The approach is being constantly refined, often using social media as the ultimate focus group. Symone Sanders' successful conflation of the establishment with "black voters" follows earlier, clumsier efforts by the establishment to protect its interests against Sanders that proved far less effective.

Billionaires should not exist. https://t.co/hgR6CeFvLa

-- Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) September 24, 2019

Remember how last autumn the billionaire-owned corporate media tried to tell us that it was unkind to criticise billionaires – that they had feelings too and that speaking harshly about them was "dehumanising". Again it was aimed at Sanders, who had just commented that in a properly ordered world billionaires simply wouldn't exist. It was an obvious point: allowing a handful of people to control almost all the planet's wealth was not only depriving the rest of us of that wealth (and harming the planet) but it gave those few billionaires way too much power. They could buy all the media, our channels of communication, and most of the politicians to ringfence their financial interests, gradually eroding even the most minimal democratic protections.

That campaign died a quick death because few of us are actually brainwashed enough to accept the idea that a handful of billionaires share an identity that needs protecting – from us! Most of us are still connected enough to the real world to understand that billionaires are more than capable of looking out for their own interests, without our helping them by imposing on ourselves a vow of silence.

But one cannot fault the power-establishment for being constantly inventive in the search for new ways to stifle our criticisms of the way it unilaterally exercises its power. The Democratic nomination race is testing such ingenuity to the limits. Here's a new rule against "hateful conduct" on Twitter, where Biden's neurological deficit is being subjected to much critical scrutiny through the sharing of dozens of videos of embarrassing Biden "senior moments".

Twitter expanding its hateful conduct rules "to include language that dehumanizes on the basis of age, disability or disease." https://t.co/KmWGaNAG9Z

-- Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) March 5, 2020

Yes, disability and age are identities too. And so, on the pretext of protecting and respecting those identities, social media can now be scrubbed of anything and anyone trying to highlight the mental deficiencies of an old man who might soon be given the nuclear codes and would be responsible for waging wars in the name of Americans. Twitter is full of comments denouncing as "ableist" anyone who tries to highlight how the Democratic leadership is foisting a cognitively challenged Biden on to the party.

Maybe the Dem insiders are all wrong, but it's true that they are saying it. Some are saying it out loud, including Castro at the debate and Booker here: https://t.co/0lbi7RFRqG

-- Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) March 6, 2020

Russian 'agents' and 'assets'

None of this is to overlook the fact that another variation of identity politics has been weaponised against Sanders: that of failing to be an "American" patriot. Again illustrating how closely the Democratic and Republican leaderships' interests align, the question of who is a patriot – and who is really working for the "Russians" – has been at the heart of both parties' campaigns, though for different reasons.

Trump has been subjected to endless, evidence-free claims that he is a secret "Russian agent" in a concerted effort to control his original isolationist foreign policy impulses that might have stripped the establishment – and its military-industrial wing – of the right to wage wars of aggression, and revive the Cold War, wherever it believes a profit can be made under cover of "humanitarian intervention". Trump partly inoculated himself against these criticisms, at least among supporters, with his "Make America Great Again" slogan, and partly by learning – painfully for such an egotist – that his presidential role was to rubber-stamp decisions made elsewhere about waging wars and projecting US power.

I'm just amazed by this tweet, which has been tweeted plenty. Did @_nalexander and all the people liking this not know that Mueller laid out in the indictments of a number of Russians and in his report their help on social media to Sanders and Trump. Help Sanders has acknowledged https://t.co/vuc0lmvvKP

-- Neera Tanden (@neeratanden) December 8, 2019

Bernie Sanders has faced similar smear efforts by the establishment, including by the DNC's last failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton – in his case, painting him as a "Russian asset". ("Asset" is a way to suggest collusion with the Kremlin based on even more flimsy evidence than is needed to accuse someone of being an agent.) In fact, in a world where identity politics wasn't simply a tool to be weaponised by the establishment, there would be real trepidation about engaging in this kind of invective against a Jewish socialist.

One of the far-right's favourite antisemitic tropes – promoted ever since the publication of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion more than 100 years ago – is that Jewish "Bolsheviks" are involved in an international conspiracy to subvert the countries they live in. We have reached the point now that the corporate media are happy to recycle evidence-free claims, cited by the Washington Post, from anonymous "US officials" and US intelligence agencies reinventing a US version of the Protocols against Sanders. And these smears have elicited not a word of criticism from the Democratic leadership nor from the usual antisemitism watchdogs that are so ready to let rip over the slightest signs of what they claim to be antisemitism on the left.

But the urgency of dealing with Sanders may be the reason normal conventions have been discarded. Sanders isn't a loud-mouth egotist like Trump. A vote for Trump is a vote for the establishment, if for one of its number who pretends to be against the establishment. Trump has been largely tamed in time for a second term. By contrast, Sanders, like Corbyn in the UK, is more dangerous because he may resist the efforts to domesticate him, and because if he is allowed any significant measure of political success – such as becoming a candidate for president – it may inspire others to follow in his footsteps. The system might start to throw up more anomalies, more AOCs and more Ilhan Omars.

So Sanders is now being cast, like Trump, as a puppet of the Kremlin, not a true American. And because he made the serious mistake of indulging the "Russiagate" smears when they were used against Trump, Sanders now has little defence against their redeployment against him. And given that, by the impoverished standards of US political culture, he is considered an extreme leftist, it has been easy to conflate his democratic socialism with Communism, and then conflate his supposed Communism with acting on behalf of the Kremlin (which, of course, ignores the fact that Russia long ago abandoned Communism).

Sen. Bernie Sanders: "Let me tell this to Putin -- the American people, whether Republicans, Democrats, independents are sick and tired of seeing Russia and other countries interfering in our elections." pic.twitter.com/ejcP7YVFlt

-- The Hill (@thehill) February 21, 2020

Antisemitism smear at the ready

There is a final use of weaponised identity politics that the Democratic establishment would dearly love to use against Sanders, if they need to and can get away with it. It is the most toxic brand – and therefore the most effective – of the identity-based smears, and it has been extensively field-tested in the UK against Jeremy Corbyn to great success. The DNC would like to denounce Sanders as an antisemite.

In fact, only one thing has held them back till now: the fact that Sanders is Jewish. That may not prove an insuperable obstacle, but it does make it much harder to make the accusation look credible. The other identity-based smears had been a second-best, a make-do until a way could be found to unleash the antisemitism smear.

The establishment has been testing the waters with implied accusations of antisemitism against Sanders for a while, but their chances were given a fillip recently when Sanders refused to participate in the annual jamboree of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a prominent lobby group whose primary mission is to ringfence Israel from criticism in the US. Both the Republican and Democratic establishments turn out in force to the AIPAC conference, and in the past the event has attracted keynote speeches from Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

But Sanders has refused to attend for decades and maintained that stance this month, even though he is a candidate for the Democratic nomination. In the last primaries debate, Sanders justified his decision by rightly calling Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu a "racist" and by describing AIPAC as providing a platform "for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights".

Trump's Vice-President, Mike Pence, responded that Sanders supported "Israel's enemies" and, if elected, would be the "most anti-Israel president in the history of this nation" – all coded suggestions that Sanders is antisemitic.

But that's Mike Pence. More useful criticism came from billionaire Mike Bloomberg, who is himself Jewish and was until last week posing as a Democrat to try to win the party's nomination. Bloomberg accused Sanders of using dehumanising language against a bunch of inclusive identities that, he improbably suggested, AIPAC represents. He claimed :

"This is a gathering of 20,000 Israel supporters of every religious denomination, ethnicity, faith, color, sexual identity and political party. Calling it a racist platform is an attempt to discredit those voices, intimidate people from coming here, and weaken the US-Israel relationship."

Where might this head? At the AIPAC conference last week we were given a foretaste. Ephraim Mirvis, the chief rabbi of the UK and a friend to Conservative government leader Boris Johnson, was warmly greeted by delegates, including leading members of the Democratic establishment. He boasted that he and other Jewish leaders in the UK had managed to damage Jeremy Corbyn's electoral chances by suggesting that he was an antisemite over his support, like Sanders, for Palestinian rights.

His own treatment of Corbyn, he argued, offered a model for US Jewish organisations to replicate against any leadership contender who might pose similar trouble for Israel, leaving it for his audience to pick up the not-so-subtle hint about who needed to be subjected to character assassination.

WATCH: "Today I issue a call to the Jews of America, please take a leaf out of our book and please speak with one voice."

The Chief Rabbi speaking to the 18,000 delegates gathered at the @AIPAC General Session at their Policy Conference in Washington DC pic.twitter.com/BOkan9RA2O

-- Chief Rabbi Mirvis (@chiefrabbi) March 3, 2020

Establishment playbook

For anyone who isn't wilfully blind, the last few months have exposed the establishment playbook: it will use identity politics to divide those who might otherwise find a united voice and a common cause.

There is nothing wrong with celebrating one's identity, especially if it is under threat, maligned or marginalised. But having an attachment to an identity is no excuse for allowing it to be coopted by billionaires, by the powerful, by nuclear-armed states oppressing other people, by political parties or by the corporate media, so that they can weaponise it to prevent the weak, the poor, the marginalised from being represented.

It is time for us to wake up to the tricks, the deceptions, the manipulations of the strong that exploit our weaknesses – and make us yet weaker still. It's time to stop being a patsy for the establishment. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Jonathan Cook

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are " Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East" (Pluto Press) and " Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair " (Zed Books). His website is http://www.jonathan-cook.net/

[Mar 12, 2020] The Democratic Party Surrenders to Nostalgia by Bill Blum

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion. ..."
Mar 12, 2020 | www.truthdig.com

Mar 11, 2020

Now that the Michigan Democratic primary is over and Joe Biden has been declared the winner , it's time to read the handwriting on the political wall: Biden will be the Democratic nominee for president, and Bernie Sanders will be the runner-up once again come the party's convention in July. Sanders might influence the party's platform, but platforms are never binding for the nominee. Sanders has lost, and so have his many progressive supporters, myself included.

I am nothing if not a realist. The idea that Sanders might have become the Democratic candidate was always a fantasy, not unlike my youthful dreams of one day becoming an NFL quarterback. Even after Sanders' triumph in the Nevada caucuses, I never thought the party establishment would ever allow a socialist -- even a mild social democratic one, such as Sanders -- to head its ticket.

Funded by wealthy donors, run by Beltway insiders and aided and abetted by a corporate media dedicated to promoting the notion that Sanders was " unelectable ," the Democratic Party never welcomed Sanders as a legitimate contender. Not in 2016 and not in 2020. In several instances, it even resorted to some good old-fashioned red-baiting to frighten voters; the party is, after all, a capitalist institution. Working and middle-class families support the Democrats largely because they have no other place to go on Election Day besides the completely corrupt and craven GOP.

Now we are left with Donald Trump and Biden to duke it out in the fall. Yes, it has come to that.

In terms of campaign rhetoric and party policies, the general election campaign will be a battle for America's past far more than it will be a contest for its future. The battle will be fueled on both sides by narratives and visions that are illusory, regressive and, in important respects, downright dangerous.

Of the two campaigns, Trump's will be decidedly more toxic. The "Make America Great Again" slogan that propelled Trump to victory in 2016 and the "Keep America Great" slogan he will try to sell this time around are neo-fascist in nature, designed to invoke an imaginary and false state of mythical past national glory that ignores our deeply entrenched history of patriarchal white supremacy and brutal class domination.

The fascist designation is not a label I apply to Trump cavalierly. I use it, as I have before in this column , because Trump meets many of the standard and widely respected definitions of the term.

As the celebrated Marxist playwright Bertolt Brecht wrote in 1935 , fascism "is a historic phase of capitalism the nakedest, most shameless, most oppressive and most treacherous form of capitalism." Trumpism, along with its international analogs in Brazil, India and Western Europe, neatly accords with Brecht's theory.

Trumpism similarly meets the definition of fascism offered by Robert Paxton in his classic 2004 study, " The Anatomy of Fascism ":

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

Trump and Trumpism similarly embody the 14 common factors of fascism identified by the great writer Umberto Eco in his 1995 essay, Ur Fascism :

Joe Biden is not a fascist. He is, instead, a standard-bearer of neoliberalism. As with fascism, there are different definitions of neoliberalism, prompting some exceptionally smug mainstream commentators like New York Magazine's Jonathan Chait to claim that the concept is little more than a left-wing insult. In truth, however, the concept describes an all-too-real set of governing principles.

To grasp what neoliberalism means, it's necessary to understand that it does not refer to a revival of the liberalism of the New Deal and New Society programs of the 1930s and 1960s. That brand of liberalism advocated the active intervention of the federal government in the economy to mitigate the harshest effects of private enterprise through such programs as Social Security, the National Labor Relations Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, Medicare, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That brand of liberalism imposed high taxes on the wealthy and significantly mitigated income inequality in America.

Neoliberalism , by contrast, deemphasizes federal economic intervention in favor of initiatives calling for deregulation, corporate tax cuts, private-public partnerships, and international trade agreements that augment the free flow of capital while undermining the power and influence of trade unions.

Until the arrival of Trump and his brand of neo-fascism, both major parties since Reagan had embraced this ideology. And while neoliberals remain more benign on issues of race and gender than Trump and Trumpism ever will be, neoliberalism offers little to challenge hierarchies based on social class. Indeed, income inequality accelerated during the Obama years and today rivals that of the Gilded Age .

As transformational a politician as Barack Obama was in terms of race, he too pursued a predominantly neoliberal agenda. The Affordable Care Act, Obama's singular domestic legislative achievement, is a perfect example of neoliberal private-public collaboration that left intact a health industry dominated by for-profit drug manufacturers and rapacious insurance companies, rather than setting the stage for Medicare for All, as championed by Sanders.

Biden never tires of reminding any audience willing to put up with his gaffes, verbal ticks and miscues that he served as Obama's vice president. Those ties are likely to remain the centerpiece of his campaign, as he promises a return to the civility of the Obama era and a restoration of America's standing in the world.

History, however, only moves forward. As charming and comforting as Biden's imagery of the past may be, it is, like Trump's darker outlook, a mirage. If Trump has taught us anything worthwhile, it is that the past cannot be replicated, no matter how much we might wish otherwise.

[Mar 09, 2020] "What's the difference between a cannibal and a neoliberal like Senator Warren?"

Mar 09, 2020 | nymag.com

"A cannibal doesn't eat his friends."

[Mar 08, 2020] The depth of Warren betrayal

Notable quotes:
"... How is it that Warren pulling out of the race is a victory for patriarchy and sexism, but Amy Klobuchar pulling out of the race is not causing grief and angst? We Midwesterners just don't get enough respect–and melodrama. ..."
"... She and her dead-end supporters are giving a good run at being the most pathetic story in a primary that includes Zombie Joe Biden ..."
Mar 08, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

XXYY , March 6, 2020 at 2:54 pm

"Why Elizabeth Warren lost" [Ryan Cooper, The Week].

In a press conference discussing her campaign's end, Warren said that she had not decided yet whether to endorse anyone. "I need some space around this," she said.

Astonishing and amazing that Warren, claiming to be a "progressive", did not immediately endorse Sanders, especially when the alternative is the hapless "Senator from MBNA", Joe Biden. Warren also repeatedly refused to endorse Bernie in 2016, a time when the early and enthusiastic support of a prominent woman with progressive credentials would have really helped and perhaps been decisive in the race against Hillary Clinton.

Sanders is the best shot at a progressive US president we have seen in a century, yet Warren apparently needs time to cogitate on the matter for some reason. I hope whatever she ultimately gets for herself is worth it.

False Solace , March 6, 2020 at 5:57 pm

Bernie held out on endorsing Hillary until she signed on to his free college plan. What concession will Warren demand? Something for the people or something for herself? Force Bernie to make his taxes more regressive? She's a joke.

Rory , March 6, 2020 at 9:12 pm

Let's suppose that the one unchangeable goal of the Democratic Party establishment is that Bernie Sanders must not be the party's 2020 nominee. Any other realistic candidate will do, but it must not be Bernie. Let's also suppose that by the time of the party's convention Vice President Bden's weaknesses and unfitness have become so evident that the party simply can't put him forward as its nominee.

Suppose that Senator Warren sees that and thinks of herself as a realistic choice for the party to replace Biden. A veneer of leftishness, but no real threat to Wall Street. I suspect that her entertaining that hope may explain why since suspending her campaign Senator Warren has criticized the idea of Vice President Biden being the party's nominee, but has had nothing favorable to say about Senator Sanders.

urblintz , March 6, 2020 at 3:47 pm

And here's the email I sent Warren:

"You cried yesterday because you can't be POTUS then went on CNN and trashed Bernie AGAIN (when has he ever trashed you?) by way of his supporters. BOO-HOO. You should have focused your attention on the factory floor (working women) not the glass ceiling.

Politics is a nasty game which you have proven to be expert at. You have earned every criticism in whatever form it comes, frankly. But because you can't be POTUS this time, you will take your ball and go home, so there! with the emotional maturity of a 5 year old.

DJG , March 6, 2020 at 4:26 pm

urblintz

A worker wonders:

Matthew , March 6, 2020 at 9:44 pm

She and her dead-end supporters are giving a good run at being the most pathetic story in a primary that includes Zombie Joe Biden.

Just mind-bogglingly entitled upper and upper middle class trash. I regret ever thinking of voting for her, I regret ever hearing her name, and I look forward to the day she endorses someone so I never have to think about her again.

Matthew , March 6, 2020 at 9:47 pm

The person who read her Twitter mentions for her was on Twitter begging for Venmo donations for, I guess, her emotional trauma. Christ I hate these people.

[Mar 07, 2020] Warren Urged by National Organization for Women Not to Endorse Sanders: He Has 'Done Next to Nothing for Women'

That art of betrail, demonstrated by notable ruthless female careerst.
Mar 07, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

jo6pac , March 6, 2020 at 2:26 pm

What did Anita Hill ever do warren or now?

"Warren Urged by National Organization for Women Not to Endorse Sanders: He Has 'Done Next to Nothing for Women'

Eureka Springs , March 6, 2020 at 2:58 pm

There's always a tweet rebuttal for what fails us )

https://twitter.com/KatQannayahu/status/1235986901741395968

In 1995, Gloria Steinem, spoke of making @BernieSanders an "honorary woman" because his advocacy for women was so strong then, and has continued strong over the decades.

curlydan , March 6, 2020 at 3:33 pm

exactly. Look at the prime examples of how Biden treats women in the public sphere: treating Anita Hill like crap and nuzzling random women. And N.O.W. wants Warren to endorse Biden? Sheesh.

Titus , March 6, 2020 at 4:06 pm

And Warren wonders why she didn't get the votes. Does Warren think being a women per se means only she is capable of going something for women. How childish.

Lambert Strether Post author , March 7, 2020 at 2:01 am

Because when Sanders jawboned Amazon into raising wages, none of the workers who got the raised were women.

That's because to the PMC feminists of NOW -- another NGO to euthanize given how poorly they have performed as measured by their stated goals -- only PMC women are truly women. The working class is an undifferentiated mass without individual identities. That is, in fact, what the Bernie Bro " meme conveys. No female supporter of Sanders can possibly be a real woman, and even more revealing, Sanders supporters are coded male by default, a patriarchal semiotic that would drive NOW and its ilk, er, bananas in any other context.

Rhondda , March 7, 2020 at 8:40 am

"Bernie Bros" = all Sanders supporters [coded male]. Wow, yes! -- Exactly! That's a penetrating insight, Lambert. Thank you!

[Mar 07, 2020] Democrat Establishment deliberatly hands control over the nomination to the political establisment in states they will never win in the general elections

So sellout by Clinton of the Democratic Party to Wall Street proved to be durable and sustainable...
Bernie again behaves like a sheep dog with no intention to win... "Let's be friends" is not a viable strategy...
Notable quotes:
"... the same character traits that make him an honorable politician also make him fundamentally unsuited for the difficult task of waging a successful outsider campaign for the nomination of a major political party. ..."
"... Why hasn't Sara Nelson, head of the Flight Attendants' Union, endorsed Bernie? (Personally I have always thought she'd be a good VP.) ..."
"... Robinson is dreaming if he thinks Non-Profit Industrial Complex entities like EMILY's List and Planned Parenthood will lift a finger to help Sanders, or busines unionists like Randi Weingarten. To his credit, though, Ady Barkan switched immediately. External support, though is correct: IIRC, there are plenty of union locals to be had; the Culinary Workers should be only the first. ..."
"... "Corporate Lobbyists Control the Rules at the DNC" [ ReadSludge ]. "Among the 447 total voting DNC members, who make up the majority of 771 superdelegates, there are scores of corporate lobbyists and consultants -- including many of the 75 at-large DNC members, who were not individually elected . ..."
"... The 32-member DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee contains the following 20 individuals: a health insurance board member co-chair, three surrogates for presidential campaigns (two for Bloomberg, one for Biden), four current corporate lobbyists, two former corporate lobbyists, six corporate consultants, and four corporate lawyers." ..."
"... "Joe Biden is a friend of mine" is the 2020-updated version of "enough about the damn e-mails, already". No amount of ground-level organizing can make up for a candidate willing to publicly overlook what should be high-office-disqualifying fundamental character traits in his opponents out of "niceness". ..."
"... It's easy to do a post Super Tuesday defeat analysis of Sanders but remember, everything seems to work before SC where I think the Democrats fixed the election and the same holds for Super Tuesday. ..."
"... post-dial-up-modem ..."
Mar 07, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Sanders (D)(1): "Bernie Sanders needs to find the killer instinct" [Matthew Walther, The Week ]. I've heard Useful Idiots, Dead Pundits, and the inimitable Jimmy Dore all make the same point, but Walther's prose makes the point most forcefully (as prose often does). The situation:

There is no greater contrast imaginable than the one between the popular (and frequently exaggerated) image of so-called "Bernie bros" and the almost painfully conciliatory instincts of the man they support.

This was fully in evidence on Wednesday afternoon when Sanders responded to arguably the worst defeat of his political career by chatting with journalists about how " disgusted " he is at unspecified online comments directed at Elizabeth Warren and her supporters and what a " decent guy " Joe Biden is.

He did this despite the fact that Warren, with the connivance of debate moderators, recently called him a sexist in front of an audience of millions, effectively announcing that she had no interest in making even a tacit alliance with the only other progressive candidate in the race and, one imagines, despite thinking that the former vice president's record on virtually everything -- finance, health care, race relations, the environment, foreign policy -- should render him ineligible for office.

It should go without saying that offering these pleasantries will do Sanders few if any favors.

Lambert here: This is a Presidential primary, not the Senate floor. There is no comity. Walther then gives a list of possible scorched earth tactics to use against Biden; we could all make such a list. But then:

Sanders's benevolent disposition does him credit. But the same character traits that make him an honorable politician also make him fundamentally unsuited for the difficult task of waging a successful outsider campaign for the nomination of a major political party.

Corbyn had the same problem...

Sanders really must not let Biden and the Democrat Establishment off the hook. He seems to have poor judgment about his friends. Warren was no "friend." And neither is Joe Biden.

If Sanders wants friends, he can buy a dog .

He should forget those false friends, go into the next debate, and slice Joe Biden off at the knees. Trump would. And will, if Sander loses.

His canvassers and more importantly his millions of small donors deserve no less. The race and the debate is now between two people, and only one can emerge the winner. Sanders needs to decide if he wants to be that person, and then do what it takes . (If the outcome of the Sanders campaign is a left that is a permanently institutionalized force, distinct from liberal Democrats, I would regard that as a net positive. If that is Sanders' ultimate goal, then fine. He's not going to achieve that goal by being nice to Joe Biden. Quite the reverse.)

UPDATE Sanders (D)(2): "Time To Fight Harder Than We've Ever Fought Before" [Nathan J. Robinson, Current Affairs ].

"Biden now has some formidable advantages going forward: Democrats who no longer see him as a failed or risky bet will finally endorse and campaign for him. He will find it easier to raise money. He will have "momentum." Bloomberg's exit will bring him new voters.

Sanders may find upcoming states even harder to win than the Super Tuesday contests. But the one thing that would guarantee a Sanders loss is giving up and going home, which is exactly what Joe Biden hopes we will now do."

Here follows a laundry list of tactics. Then: "The real thing Bernie needs in order to win, though, is external support. Labor unions, activists, lawmakers, anyone with a public platform: We need to be pressuring them to endorse Bernie.

Why hasn't Sara Nelson, head of the Flight Attendants' Union, endorsed Bernie? (Personally I have always thought she'd be a good VP.)

Now that Elizabeth Warren is clearly not going to win, will organizations like the Working Families Party and EMILY's List and people like AFT president Randi Weingarten and Medicare For All advocate Ady Barkan switch and endorse Sanders?

Where is the Sierra Club, SEIU (Bernie, after all, was one of the first national figures to push Fight for $15), the UAW, Planned Parenthood? Many progressive organizations have been sitting out the race because Warren was in it."

Good ideas in general, but Robinson is dreaming if he thinks Non-Profit Industrial Complex entities like EMILY's List and Planned Parenthood will lift a finger to help Sanders, or busines unionists like Randi Weingarten. To his credit, though, Ady Barkan switched immediately. External support, though is correct: IIRC, there are plenty of union locals to be had; the Culinary Workers should be only the first.

Warren (D)(1): "Why Elizabeth Warren lost" [Ryan Cooper, The Week ]. "Starting in November, however, she started a long decline that continued through January, when she started losing primaries . So what happened in November?

It is hard to pin down exactly what is happening in such a chaotic race, but Warren's campaign certainly made a number of strategic errors. One important factor was surely that Warren started backing away from Medicare-for-all, selling instead a bizarre two-step plan.

The idea supposedly was to pass universal Medicare with two different bills, one in her first year as president and one in the third year. Given how difficult it is to pass anything through Congress, and that there could easily be fewer Democrats in 2023 than in 2021, it was a baffling decision. Worse, Warren then released a plan for financing Medicare-for-all that was simply terrible.

Rather than levying a new progressive tax, she would turn existing employer contributions to private health insurance plans into a tax on employers, which would gradually converge to an average for all businesses but the smallest. The clear objective here was to claim that she would pay for it without levying any new taxes on the middle or working classes. But because those employer payments are still part of labor compensation, it is ultimately workers who pay them -- making Warren's plan a horribly regressive head tax (that is, an equal dollar tax on almost all workers regardless of income).

All that infuriated the left, and struck directly at Warren's branding as the candidate of technical competence. It suggested her commitment to universal Medicare was not as strong as she claimed, and that she would push classic centrist-style Rube Goldberg policies rather than clean, fair ones. (Her child care plan, with its complicated means-testing system, had a similar defect).

Claiming her plan was the only one not to raise taxes on the middle class was simply dishonest. In sum, this was a classic failed straddle that alienated the left but gained no support among anti-universal health care voters. More speculatively, this kind of hesitation and backtracking may have turned off many voters." • On #MedicareForAll, called it here on "pay for" ; and here on "transition." Warren's plans should not have been well-received, and they were not. I'm only amazed that these really technical arguments penetrated the media (let along the voters).

Warren (D)(2): "Warren Urged by National Organization for Women Not to Endorse Sanders: He Has 'Done Next to Nothing for Women'" [ Newsweek ]. • Establishment really pulling out all the stops.

* * *

"Why Southern Democrats Saved Biden" [Mara Gay, New York Times ]. (Gay was the lone member of the Times Editorial Board to endorse Sanders .) "Through Southern eyes, this election is not about policy or personality. It's about something much darker. Not long ago, these Americans lived under violent, anti-democratic governments. Now, many there say they see in President Trump and his supporters the same hostility and zeal for authoritarianism that marked life under Jim Crow .

They were deeply skeptical that a democratic socialist like Mr. Sanders could unseat Mr. Trump. They liked Ms. Warren, but, burned by Hillary Clinton's loss, were worried that too many of their fellow Americans wouldn't vote for a woman."

Well worth a read. At the same time, it's not clear why the Democrat Establishment hands control over the nomination to the political establishment in states they will never win in the general; the "firewall" in 2016 didn't work out all that well, after all. As for Jim Crow, we might do well to remember that Obama destroyed a generation of Black wealth his miserably inadequate response to the foreclosure crisis, and his pathetic stimulus package kept Black unemployment high for years longer than it should have been. And sowed the dragon's teeth of authoritarian reaction as well.

"Corporate Lobbyists Control the Rules at the DNC" [ ReadSludge ]. "Among the 447 total voting DNC members, who make up the majority of 771 superdelegates, there are scores of corporate lobbyists and consultants -- including many of the 75 at-large DNC members, who were not individually elected .

The 32-member DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee contains the following 20 individuals: a health insurance board member co-chair, three surrogates for presidential campaigns (two for Bloomberg, one for Biden), four current corporate lobbyists, two former corporate lobbyists, six corporate consultants, and four corporate lawyers."


ewmayer , March 6, 2020 at 6:03 pm

"Joe Biden is a friend of mine" is the 2020-updated version of "enough about the damn e-mails, already". No amount of ground-level organizing can make up for a candidate willing to publicly overlook what should be high-office-disqualifying fundamental character traits in his opponents out of "niceness".

Lambert Strether Post author , March 7, 2020 at 1:57 am

> Bernie is thinking like an organizer

That's fine, but if his organization is then put at the disposal of Joe Biden, I don't see how the organization survives. (That's why the DNC cheating meme* is important; it provides the moral cover to get out of that loyalty oath (which the Sanders campaign certainly should have had its lawyers take a look at)).

NOTE * Iowa, Texas, and California have all had major voting screw-ups, all of which impacted Sanders voters disproportionately. The campaign should sue. They have the money.)

dcblogger , March 6, 2020 at 2:15 pm

I once met an union organizer and he said he could go back to any site he had worked and be on friendly terms with everyone. Bernie is thinking like an organizer. I think that making this about Social Security is his best bet. It demolishes Biden in a way that makes the election about the American people.

pretzelattack , March 6, 2020 at 2:25 pm

he needs to go after biden on the issues in a much more forceful manner than he typically does, with lots and lots of specifics. did i mention lots of specifics? and lots of pointed references to biden's past positions, and a focus on pinning him down on his position now. he needs to ask questions biden will not be prepared for with easy scripted responses.

JohnnyGL , March 6, 2020 at 2:59 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7hcEljDeFEI

Well, he's baited Biden into a spat about SS for now, so that's a positive sign.

drumlin woodchuckles , March 6, 2020 at 7:10 pm

Perhaps if Sanders can keep successfully baiting Biden with hooks baited with Biden's own past statements over and over and over again, that Sanders can then go on to practice some very well disguised passive-aggressive pointing/not-pointing to Biden's mental condition by asking Biden at every opportunity: " don't you remember that, Joe? You remember saying that, don't you Joe? Don't you remember when you said that, Joe?"

Titus , March 6, 2020 at 3:31 pm

Except 70% of Women according to Stanford finding these kind of confrontations distressing to very distressing. Tricky. One changes emotions by using emotions so the trick here is "allowing" Biden to act deranged and expressing sorrow over it. For 70% of guys they won't get the emotional content, but will understand the logic of the questions and lack of answers. It can be done, Bill Clinton and Obama were very good at this. Look you want to be president you got to play the game at the highest level. Good practice for dealing with trump.

Oh , March 6, 2020 at 3:51 pm

Timing was right for both Obama and Clinton. After the GFC voters would have gone for any Democrat because Republicans were toxic. Similarly, it was fortuitous for Clinton because Perot was running and he quit the race a couple of months before the election.

Obama got loads and loads of money from Wall Street. Neither of these guys would stand a chance in an election year when the economy was doing well.

It's easy to do a post Super Tuesday defeat analysis of Sanders but remember, everything seems to work before SC where I think the Democrats fixed the election and the same holds for Super Tuesday.

I didn't see anyone pointing out that Bernie had to be confrontational when he seems to be winning.

Mo's Bike Shop , March 6, 2020 at 8:59 pm

Wait. How many days ago was the field of candidates wide open?

If Bernard does not roast Biden on Social Security I will be disappointed. If Smokin' Joe doesn't lash out with his typical aplomb, I'll be disappointed. I'm saving myself up for bigger disappointments.

I'll be happy with the Vermont interpretation of Huey Long. I'm glad that people are finally noticing we have one Socialist Senator.

Idea for an 'own the slur' bumper sticker: "I'm tickled pink by Bernie" -- Although I don't know how the post-dial-up-modem crowd might misinterpret that?

foghorn longhorn , March 6, 2020 at 2:56 pm

This is such bs.
Trump insulted the f*ck out of mccain, mittens, jeb, cruz, pelosi, schumer and the rest of the clown posse and what did they do?

Passed every gd thing he sent to them.

Are we gonna fight or dance, it's past time to get it on.

Zagonostra , March 6, 2020 at 6:01 pm

"I admittedly don't even know what to call Pelosi and Schumer at this point, besides a simple "past their sell date".

How about corrupt, immoral dishonest, greedy, sociopaths for starters (for more accurate adjectives I recommend viewing Jimmy Dore)

Glen , March 6, 2020 at 5:22 pm

Bernie cannot say it, but I can.

I support Bernie because Bernie supports the polices I think we need to save the country: M4A, GND,$15/hr min, free college, etc. To me, being an FDR Dem like Bernie is the moderate position, we've done it before, we know it works. Biden's support of neoliberal polices that have wrecked America is the extreme position.

But the DNC does not support FDR's Democracy. They have ended up to the right of Ronald Reagan. Pelosi could have pushed a M4A bill but did not. Pelosi could have pushed any number of polices to show how Trump is failing the working and middle class, but she did not.

So if Bernie is not picked for the general, I no longer have a reason to support the Dems, and will stay home. Actually, I will probably not stay home, I will work to get Dems out of office, and in general, work to burn the party to the ground. Why? Because it is in the way, and does not support the working class or the middle class.

The Dem party has to decide – do they really support the working and middle class or not. Because only Bernie supports those polices, and the rest of the Dems running for President do not.

[Mar 06, 2020] Warren presidential campaign postmortem

Notable quotes:
"... The Pow Wow Chow Native American Cookbook ..."
Mar 06, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

. In the spirit of charity, we should give credit where it's due: Warren really did become the " unity candidate " that she always proclaimed herself to be. She displayed an astounding capacity to bring together a polarized country around their shared distaste for her candidacy.

Compiling a complete discography of Warren's detractors would be an impossible feat, but for the sake of partisan schadenfreude, we should briefly revisit the greatest hits. These include the Native American tribal leaders who weren't particularly fond of a wealthy white Harvard professor claiming their ethnicity for personal gain (even co-authoring a cooking guide titled The Pow Wow Chow Native American Cookbook ), the Bernie Sanders supporters infuriated by Warren's cynical attempts to paint their candidate as a woman-hating misogynist, police unions offended by Warren's open dishonesty about violence in law enforcement, religious conservatives who found her contemptuous dismissal of anyone with traditionalist views of sexual morality to be in profoundly bad taste, and pro-lifers (who still comprise 34 percent of the Democratic electorate ) for whom Warren's radically pro-abortion policy objectives were unconscionable.

It's worth noting, of course, that this is just a small slice of the groups that found Warren enormously unlikeable. The senator's casual-at-best relationship with the truth ( listing herself as as "woman of color" in Harvard's faculty listing, claiming that she was fired from a teaching position for being pregnant, refusing to admit that her various spending plans would require raising taxes on the middle class, and so on) probably didn't help. And shockingly, her painfully contrived attempts at catering to the woke activist base (vocal support for reparations, pledging to let a transgender child pick her secretary of education, endorsing affirmative action for non-binary people) paired with her technocratically manicured professorial wonkiness -- she's got a plan for that! -- never caught fire in the blue-collar neighborhoods in the Midwest and South.

... ... ...

Senator Warren, we hardly knew ye.

Nate Hochman is an undergraduate student at Colorado College and a Young Voices contributor. You can follow him at Twitter @njhochman .

[Mar 05, 2020] Warren as Biden's Trojan horse

Notable quotes:
"... She can attack him from "the left" if she's on the debate stage. I've always thought she's in cahoots with Biden. We'll see soon. ..."
"... poor showing in the first 3 contests made it clear she had no substantial and broad enough base. ..."
Mar 05, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

@wokkamile

She can attack him from "the left" if she's on the debate stage. I've always thought she's in cahoots with Biden. We'll see soon.

wokkamile on Wed, 03/04/2020 - 11:23am

She already hurt Bernie

@Wally by not dropping out and endorsing him b/f ST, after poor showing in the first 3 contests made it clear she had no substantial and broad enough base.

My sense this morning is that Bernie might need her to get the nomination, and Biden might need her as VP to win the election.

[Mar 05, 2020] Season of the Switch Dissident Voice

Notable quotes:
"... If you are holding out hope that Bernie can slay the dragon of the existing system at its belladonna roots, then be my guest. I see too many people spending their hope on Elizabeth Warren, which will only serve to suck power away from Bernie, who is the ONLY Democratic candidate movie that has the potential to actually INSPIRE voters, just as Trump does. Bernie deserves credit too for actually CHANGING the nature of the campaign conversation and who just MIGHT even begin to change it at the national level, assuming that time, tide and tyranny allow him four years safe passage to reach his pending retirement. ..."
"... In any case, after a year of endless media barrage, it is rather late now for the gods to intervene. All I would hope is that a few more of us can open our eyes to see past the silly "lesser of two evils" and "#votebluenomatterwho" memes, to the reality of how every one of these candidates serve as puppets to SOME specific mix of master control forces and thus make our choice in THAT more realistic light, rather than thinking that any of them offer "real" independent solutions or that any of their "heroic" feet are NOT already embedded knee, waist or neck-deep in the Big Muddy river of our dissolute illusions of Democracy. ..."
Mar 05, 2020 | dissidentvoice.org

Season of the Switch

Revising History Before It Happens

by Mark Petrakis / March 3rd, 2020

As people march off to the polls today to pick their favorite political actor of the year, I hear precious few voices openly asking what seem to me to be obvious questions, like WHO produced the movie that is their candidacy? Who directed it? Who wrote the script? Who are the investors that will be expecting to see returns on their investment, if their movie and their best actor should somehow win? And how far do the networks of wealth, influence and control extend beyond those public faces inside the campaign? None of these questions strike me as tangential; rather they are all essential.

Let's imagine for a moment that one of these actors can somehow out-thespian Trump once on stage which is HIGHLY unlikely – even for folksy Bernie – UNLESS he can somehow win himself 100% DNC buy-in and 24/7 mainstream "BLUE" media support. But assuming that he (or some "brokered" candidate) wins, it will still be their production teams (along with their extended networks) who will be making their presence felt on Day One of any new presidency. These are the people who will be calling in the favors and calling the shots.

I recall how moved I was by Obama's 2008 election. I was buoyed with hope, because I did not understand then what I understand now – that NO candidate can exist as an independent entity, disconnected from the apparatus and networks that support and produce the narratives that advance them and their agendas. I also recall the day that Obama entered the White House and instantly handed the keys to the economy (and the recovery) back to Geithner, Summers and Rubin – the same trio that had helped destroy it just a year earlier. And he did this at the same moment he was filling his cabinet with the very people "suggested" in that famous leaked letter from the CEO of Citibank. My hope departed in genie smoke at that moment, to be followed by eight years of spineless smooth talk and wobbly action, except where the agendas of Wall Street and pompous Empire were concerned.

Do you see how this works? The game is essentially rigged from the start by virtue of who is allowed to enter the race, what can and what can't be said by them and by who the media is told to shine their light on, and who to avoid. Candidates can, of course, say pretty much anything they want (short of "Building 7, WTF!!" of course) in hopes it will spark a reaction that the media can seize upon.

But just based on words, we know that NONE of these happy belief clowns will forcefully oppose existing "Regime Change" plans for Venezuela, Bolivia and Syria. We know that NONE of them will stand up to Israel – or to a Congress that is, almost to a person, in the pocket of Israel. We know too that NONE of them will bring more than an angry flyswatter to the battle with Wall Street or the corporations. We further know that NONE of them will do more than make modest cuts to military spending or god forbid, call out the secret state's fiscally unaccountable black budget operations, which by now reach into at least the 30 trillions.

Personally, I'm not FOR any candidate simply because I cannot UNSEE what it has taken me 12 years to get into focus; namely, how everyone of them are compromised by a SYSTEM that talks a lot about FIXING what's broken, but which is simply INCAPABLE of delivering anything other than what has been pre-ordained and decreed by the global order of oligarchs, which exists as the "ghost in the machine" that ultimately controls every part of the political "STATE" – at high, middle, low and especially at DEEP levels.

I will say in defense of Bernie that his production team early-on made the very unique decision to crowd-source the campaign's costs. That was a PROFOUND decision, which has paid off for him and which may well buy him a certain level of lubricated control over what is to come, even though the significance of that decision is not well appreciated because the DNC and the MSM simply refuse to discuss it in any depth.

Warren was TRYING to play the populist "people's campaign" game too, until last week when she must have been startled awake by the "Ghost of Reagan's Past" and decided to take the money and run as a Hillary proxy which (big surprise) was what she was all along anyway.

Let me just say this about Joe Biden. From his initial announcement, I never felt he was in his right mind. He seems rather to be teetering on the edge of senility and fast on his way into dementia. Also, the man has openly sold his soul so many times in his career that we shouldn't at this point expect any unbought (or even lucid) thought to ever again escape his remarkably loose lips. Joe might have run with the old skool Dems when he was a big deal on the Delaware streets, but now, like Bloomberg and Romney, he's just another Republican in a pricey blue suit.

I understand how people are feeling stressed, obsessed and desperate to get rid of Donald Trump. It's just that until we take a collective step back and see things at the level from which they actually operate and NOT at the level from which we are TOLD they operate, then we will never be successful in turning our public discourse around or in beginning to identify and eliminate the fascist and anti-human agendas that we associate with Trump, but which actually lie behind the subservient to power policies and preferences of BOTH parties.

If you are holding out hope that Bernie can slay the dragon of the existing system at its belladonna roots, then be my guest. I see too many people spending their hope on Elizabeth Warren, which will only serve to suck power away from Bernie, who is the ONLY Democratic candidate movie that has the potential to actually INSPIRE voters, just as Trump does. Bernie deserves credit too for actually CHANGING the nature of the campaign conversation and who just MIGHT even begin to change it at the national level, assuming that time, tide and tyranny allow him four years safe passage to reach his pending retirement.

In any case, after a year of endless media barrage, it is rather late now for the gods to intervene. All I would hope is that a few more of us can open our eyes to see past the silly "lesser of two evils" and "#votebluenomatterwho" memes, to the reality of how every one of these candidates serve as puppets to SOME specific mix of master control forces and thus make our choice in THAT more realistic light, rather than thinking that any of them offer "real" independent solutions or that any of their "heroic" feet are NOT already embedded knee, waist or neck-deep in the Big Muddy river of our dissolute illusions of Democracy.

– Yet Another Useful Idiot.

Mark Petrakis is a long-time theater, event and media producer based in San Francisco. He first broke molds with his Cobra Lounge vaudeville shows of the 90's, hosted by his alter-ego, Spoonman. Concurrently, he took to tech when the scent was still utopian, building the first official websites for Burning Man, the Residents and multiple other local arts groups of the era. He worked as a consultant to a variety of corps and orgs, including 10 years with the Institute for the Future. He is co-founder of both long-running Anon Salon monthly gatherings and Sea of Dream NYE spectacles. Read other articles by Mark .

This article was posted on Tuesday, March 3rd, 2020 at 8:34pm and is filed under Barack Obama , Bernie Sanders , Deep State , Democrats , Donald Trump , Elections , Joe Biden , Presidential Debates , United States .

[Mar 04, 2020] From now on Warren is a Biden's Trojan horse. Warren staying in through Super Tuesday certainly hurt Sanders, while disappearance of Klobuchar, Buttigieg, and Steyer helped Biden; that smells like the return of the smoke fills room deals

The art of backstabbing, textbook example...
Mar 04, 2020 | www.truthdig.com

... Although it cannot be assumed that all her voters would have gravitated to Sanders, certainly some would have, and with an extra ten points Bernie would have won some states he lost. If she departs after coming in third in her home state, that will help Sanders going forward.

Sanders performed well below the polling. Polls had him competitive in Virginia, where he was crushed by Biden. Polls showed him winning Texas, whereas that turned into a close race.

[Mar 04, 2020] May the Best Man Win

Mar 04, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

Cant Stop the M... on Wed, 03/04/2020 - 8:28am We base our entire politics on the idea that we're living in a meritocracy. In other words, like the knights of old at a joust, we find out who is best through competition, a competition assumed to be both fair and honest. In the old days, the joust was assumed to be fair and honest because God was both omnipotent and just and therefore, obviously, would not allow a bad man to win. Nowadays, even most of us who believe in God don't believe that God controls the outcome of competitions in that way. Yet the assumption of a fair and honest competition persists, despite blatant evidence to the contrary.

In the case of U.S. elections, it is assumed, not that the will of God controls the outcome of competitions, but that the will of the people does. Voter suppression and election fraud are hand-waved away on the dubious grounds that any candidate strong enough could overcome such things. Or maybe the people are to blame. The supporters of the defeated candidate must not have worked hard enough, or maybe the people generally are to blame for not voting in large enough numbers. Those who challenge any of these assumptions are defeated, either by institutional inertia or by gaslighting.

Nothing happens, so nothing happened

Here's what I mean by institutional inertia.

In 2000, there was ample evidence that George W. Bush had committed fraud in the presidential election, with the help of his brother, the governor of Florida. In 2004, there was ample evidence that George W. Bush had committed fraud once again, famously in Ohio, and less famously in Florida for a second time. However, in the first case, Gore stopped fighting after an obviously partisan and corrupt Supreme Court decision, and not a single member of the U.S. Senate was willing to help the Congressional Black Caucus challenge the election. In the second case, Kerry refused to challenge the election in Congress, and the legal case he brought about election fraud, after the fact, did not even make it to the Supreme Court.

In 2016, when New Yorkers brought a case that there had been election fraud and voter suppression in the Democratic primaries, the case was thrown out on the grounds that each county in New York had to file such cases separately, and, by then, the election would be over. Pleas to delay the vote count, or to delay declaring a winner, until the voting rights of the people could be secured, were brushed aside. Much later, when a civil lawsuit was brought against the DNC, the case was once again thrown out for lack of standing, but not before the DNC lawyers had defended their client on the grounds that the DNC didn't have to provide a fair competition, or any competition at all, really, and certainly didn't have to care what the people thought.

The effect of this institutional inertia is not simply that cheaters win the day, or that the people, whose will is being suppressed, lose morale and give up. The complaint itself begins to fade from people's minds. People begin to make excuses for what happened, to justify it, to act as if there never were cheating to begin with. Even many of those who dissent find that, over time, the injustice they remember mellows: no less a person than Jimmy Dore, hardly a weak-minded hack for the establishment, talks now about Gore's "loss" in 2000 as an evil caused by the electoral college. While the electoral college is obviously a tool for elites to control American politics (and never has that been so obvious as over the past two election cycles), such a narrative ignores and erases the police checkpoints that were set up in 2000 near predominantly African American polling places in Leon county, Florida. It ignores the Republican Speaker of the House, Tom DeLay, sending Republican staffers to Dade County to break up Miami's vote count by marching into the Supervisor of Elections office and screaming at the top of their lungs so that no accurate count could take place. It ignores and erases the digital Jim Crow that purged the voter lists of African American Democrats by claiming, falsely, that they were felons. It ignores the fact that emails between the State of Florida and the company that created the Jim Crow software revealed that the company had warned that their software would draw too many false positives, and that the State of Florida had replied "That's just what we want."

Similarly, the DNC's perfidy in 2016 has been reduced to the following: 1) that they had pre-selected their candidate, and didn't provide a real or fair competition, 2) that they gave debate questions ahead of time to Hillary Clinton, 3)that they used the electoral college, most particularly superdelegates, to overwhelm the Sanders movement, and that 4) the party primaries were often closed, not allowing independents the right to vote. Left out, or forgotten, are the multiple polling places closed in states from Arizona to New York (in New York, sometimes even the open polling places had no staff or broken machines), the media calling California for Clinton before the votes were counted, the 136,000 voters purged off Brooklyn's voter rolls (no doubt because Bernie Sanders was born and grew up in Brooklyn and that might have given him an advantage there), and the much larger multi-state purge of the Democratic party through changing people's voter registration without their knowledge and consent.

I'm not bringing this up to attack Jimmy Dore, who is one of the most reliable truth-tellers in the media today, but rather to point out what people's minds do under the stress of watching the establishment normalize corruption again and again. If there is no power to challenge institutional corruption, most people, over time, make of the corruption something less unjust and outrageous. Simply smothering objections to injustice with institutional inertia, will, over time, allow the victors to erase the evidence of their crime.

Sore Loserman

Since we believe, with the faith of fanatics, that competition must be honest and fair, it's easy to gaslight the losers (or the apparent losers). The Republicans in 2000 did not need to disprove the fact that George W. Bush had committed fraud and contravened the will of the people when he climbed up a staircase of disenfranchised Black faces to become President. All the Republicans needed to do was issue tens of thousands of bumper stickers that replaced the words "Gore/Lieberman" with "Sore Loserman." The RNC was using the same argument that was bruited about in the 1980s about poverty and employment. Unemployed poor people had lost the economic competition. Therefore, there must be something wrong with them. Maybe they weren't educated enough, smart enough, clean enough, hard-working enough; maybe they were people of bad character. Bloomberg's racial profiling worked much the same way. Black people are losers in the judicial game because they commit more crimes. That's why we put more police in their neighborhoods, because there are more criminals among young Black men than anywhere else. Corruption can't bring down a meritorious man. If you're good, you'll win. If you complain about cheating or any other form of injustice, you must be a Sore Loserman, attempting to cover up your own inadequacies by whining.

It's pretty obvious that this way of thinking makes it literally impossible to stop even the most outrageous injustice, as long as the perpetrators of that injustice have enough power to spread their "Sore Loser" messaging far and wide. So if I commit identity theft today and access one of your bank accounts, I can be brought to account. But if Wall St cheats homeowners, there was probably something wrong with the homeowners, or with the government for suggesting that those homeowners should get loans. If George W. Bush cheats in an election, there was probably something wrong with the other candidate, or with the voters.

People tend to get upset when I bring this up, because they think that talking about the corruption of the system will demoralize voters, making such discussions their own form of voter suppression. But I bring this up because the worst damage that can come out of Bernie Sanders losing contests in a highly compromised electoral process is that the idea of meritocracy be preserved. There are valid reasons for voting even in a corrupted system (of the "make 'em sweat" variety). There are valid reasons for not voting in a corrupted system. But whatever a citizen chooses to do on Election Day, the idea of meritocracy must die.

Despite all the truly horrendous policies, from both the Democrats and the Republicans, that have laid our society, our people, and the world to waste, the most poisonous effect of the tyranny we live under is its fraudulence: its pretense of being a fair, accurate, and reasonable expression of the will of the people. Even the Democrats' attacks on Trump, who is supposed to be a Manchurian candidate placed in office by Russian intelligence operatives and an existential threat to our democracy, have, in the past two years, increasingly focused on the people who support Trump. It's the voters fault for supporting the bad man. So even when we are supposedly in a situation of foreign powers changing the outcome of a presidential election, it's still the people's fault. Why? Well, there was a competition, and somebody won, so the person who won must be there by the will of the people. It has to be the people's fault.

Corruption among the powerful isn't a thing.

System-wide corruption in all the various infrastructures of our country, especially the political ones, isn't a thing.

Or, if it is, you just didn't do enough lifting at the political gym to be able to fend it off.

[Mar 04, 2020] Warren was the henchwoman of the right-wing takeover to destroy the left-wing curriculum a the University of Pennsylvania

Mar 04, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

S , Mar 3 2020 8:00 utc | 107

Philosopher Drucilla Cornell on Elizabeth Warren at the University of Pennsylvania (vid, 3:21):
I knew Elizabeth Warren when I was a professor at the University of Pennsylvania. She was a right-wing Reaganite. And the University of Pennsylvania had the most progressive law school curriculum in the country. And this is Elizabeth Warren.

And I taught a first year class called income security. Elizabeth Warren said "there is no more ridiculous idea than national healthcare". That's the Elizabeth Warren I knew. She was in her 30s at this time.

She was the henchwoman of the right-wing takeover to destroy the left-wing curriculum. I taught Worker's Rights, I taught the National Labor Rights Act, which doesn't exist anymore, for the most part, it's not taught in any law school in the United States, I taught Income Security, and I taught Jurisprudence. Elizabeth was against all those things. I don't really know Elizabeth Warren personally, I just know her as a right-wing Republican. And somehow or another, God came out of the heavens and turned her into a Democrat, probably at the very moment that Derrick Bell stepped down from Harvard because he would not work anymore until they hired an African-American woman.

Now she couldn't pretend she was Black, so she pretended she was African. She was Native American. That's not what we call people who are Native Americans, because they're First Nations people. Apaches and Cherokees were nations. There's no such thing as a Native American. Elizabeth checked that box just as Derrick Bell was stepping down. She goes to Massachusetts and she becomes a Democrat.

There is no more [of a] relentless, ruthless, nihilist that I have ever met in my entire life. Not Elizabeth Warren. She's right up there with Donald Trump. So I can't really support her. She did succeed in destroying that progressive curriculum. And that progressive curriculum is, you know, it's one of those life things that you hold onto, right? So I don't trust Elizabeth Warren as far as I can throw her.

She has no policy, she doesn't understand imperialism, and she has said she's a capitalist. What she really is is a technocrat who clawed her way to Harvard. I mean, that's where you want to end up, right? If you're a law professor, you want to be at Harvard. Ok, she did that. She succeeded.

But as President of the United States I wouldn't even dream of supporting her. Because Bernie Sanders, whatever you think of him, like me, was chaining himself to schools to [de]segregate them. Was protesting against the Vietnam war. There are people who have held onto values for a lifetime, and those, Slavoj, are the people I trust.

Russ , Mar 3 2020 8:22 utc | 109

S 124

Presumably Sanders always has known about Warren's record (it's never been obscure for anyone who took a few minutes to look; years ago when I focused on Wall Street and participated at the econoblogs I always knew she was a fraud), yet he's always helped propagate the fraud that she's some kind of "progressive". Same as he's always lied about Russiagate (he certainly knows it's a lie).

So according to the party line, Sanders wanted Warren to run in 2016 and only ran himself after she demurred. This can only mean he preferred for her to act as the sheepdog for Hillary, since he certainly knew she was no "progressive".

[Mar 04, 2020] Trump Slams 'SPOILER' Elizabeth Warren For Sinking Sanders

A pretty sharp political thinking from the President
Mar 04, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

The Democrat establishment came together and crushed Bernie Sanders, AGAIN! Even the fact that Elizabeth Warren stayed in the race was devastating to Bernie and allowed Sleepy Joe to unthinkably win Massachusetts. It was a perfect storm, with many good states remaining for Joe!

-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2020

20 minutes later, Trump tweeted that it was " So selfish for Elizabeth Warren to stay in the race ," as she has "Zero chance of even coming close to winning, but hurts Bernie badly."

"So much for their wonderful liberal friendship. Will he ever speak to her again? She cost him Massachusetts (and came in third), he shouldn't!"

So selfish for Elizabeth Warren to stay in the race. She has Zero chance of even coming close to winning, but hurts Bernie badly. So much for their wonderful liberal friendship. Will he ever speak to her again? She cost him Massachusetts (and came in third), he shouldn't!

-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2020

Three hours later, Trump tweeted: " Wow! If Elizabeth Warren wasn't in the race, Bernie Sanders would have EASILY won Massachusetts, Minnesota and Texas , not to mention various other states. Our modern day Pocahontas won't go down in history as a winner, but she may very well go down as the all time great SPOILER! "

Wow! If Elizabeth Warren wasn't in the race, Bernie Sanders would have EASILY won Massachusetts, Minnesota and Texas, not to mention various other states. Our modern day Pocahontas won't go down in history as a winner, but she may very well go down as the all time great SPOILER!

-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2020

[Mar 04, 2020] Warren is a Reagan Republican, a neoliberal. She only switched in the middle of the 1990s when she was 47 and the GOP had gone so far off the deep end that Clinton's center-right New Democrats better represented her neoliberal views.

Notable quotes:
"... On Sanders etc I just read this excellent piece at Greanville Post . Dated March 2. ..."
Mar 04, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Benjamin , Mar 4 2020 3:04 utc | 100

@94

Warren is a Reagan Republican. She was a Republican until she was 47 years old, which means she lived through the Reagan years thinking 'this is fine'. She only switched in the middle of the 1990s when the GOP had gone so far off the deep end that Clinton's center-right New Democrats better represented her Reaganite views. She claims it was because of abuse by banks, which doesn't make sense, since by that point it was the Democrats leading the charge on bank deregulation.

She isn't a leftist, by any definition.

She built a reputation because of the very narrow range of finance issues she's actually good on (the CFPB is the cornerstone of her entire progressive reputation). And in this election she hasn't been a candidate of the left. She's run on the veneer that she is, but like a snake she's been shedding that pretense over time, backing away from any and every progressive policy position. Her base is white suburbanite professionals, especially women who want to see one of their own be president.

The Warren-Sanders divide perfectly illustrates everything Marx ever wrote about the dangers of Liberals. They aren't the Left's friend. When the revolution comes, they'll be the first to be shot.

uncle tungsten , Mar 4 2020 3:07 utc | 101

Warren is a detestable, lying, hypocrite and probably a scumbag to boot.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvdrkSUVn70

Jimmy Dore and Stef Zamorano do a great job here.

S , Mar 4 2020 3:56 utc | 108
@uncle tungsten #100:
Warren is a detestable, lying, hypocrite and probably a scumbag to boot.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvdrkSUVn70

A scumbag or a Sumerian bag?

S , Mar 4 2020 4:02 utc | 109
Jokes aside, here's the correct link to the latest The Jimmy Dore Show episode on Warren: Chris Hayes Calls Out Warren On Super-Pac B.S.
Sunny Runny Burger , Mar 4 2020 4:25 utc | 116
Benjamin: Ronald Reagan famously used to be a Democrat, lots of people forget that. He went Republican in 1962.

Lots of people also don't know or realize how extremely likeable Reagan was as a person when he was young, much more so for most people than Kennedy ever was or could ever be (the Kennedy family was/is as nasty as any).

I got this link a few US election ago, Reagan was still a Democrat at this point in time: "What's My Line - Ronald Reagan (1953)" , it's only three and a half minutes long.

Circe , Mar 4 2020 5:00 utc | 121
Elizabeth Warren really hurt Sanders tonight and she's getting no delegates cause her percentages are under 15% (except in her own state that she's losing IN 3RD PLACE)! If she had gotten out of the race Bernie would be sweeping everything for Progressives!

It's like Warren took a sledgehammer to the Progressive Movement and said: If I can't lead it to the White House, then neither will YOU Bernie Sanders!

That's how selfish she was this week.

Thank goodness Sanders might still be able to get a majority, because BIDEN IS THE TITANIC. Biden cannot be the Nominee, he's a walking disaster and Trump will crush him!

Ugh. What a stupid Party.

uncle tungsten , Mar 4 2020 9:51 utc | 153
S #107
A scumbag or a Sumerian bag?

Thats a good one. The anunaki wouldn't even shit on Warren. The ancient south American Indians would have found a fitting sacrifice for her type of lying, sleaze.

I have seen that video and watch most of his posts as he has a sharp enquiring mind. Most importantly he is comfortable to be challenged.

I discovered Robert Temple and the science of geopolymers through one of his references.

On Sanders etc I just read this excellent piece at Greanville Post . Dated March 2.

[Mar 04, 2020] I just can't be sympathetic with Bernie and his voters tonight. Remember how Bernie came out to support Tulsi Gabbard when she was having such a hard time with the establishment? Neither do I

Mar 04, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

SharonM , Mar 4 2020 3:34 utc | 104

I just can't be sympathetic with Bernie and his voters tonight. Remember how Bernie came out to support Tulsi Gabbard when she was having such a hard time with the establishment? Neither do I. Remember how Bernie's supporters made sure Bernie would speak the truth about russiagate, or they weren't going to support him? Neither do I. Remember how Bernie made it clear in every debate and every interview that the choice is endless war or medicare for all? He didn't. Watching someone with a few leftist atoms in him being defeated in State after State by a warmongering sociopath who belongs in a hospice with bars on the windows, is like watching what he deserves.

Jackrabbit , Mar 4 2020 6:10 utc | 129

Copeland @122
People who casually tell you that Bernie is for the Empire--and not for the repair of society-- are people trafficking in lies.
I encourage everyone to look at Bernie with a critical eye and decide for yourself. Anyone in political life for any length of time (like Bernie) must know that USA is EMPIRE-FIRST. Empire priorities (military and intelligence focus; 'weaponized' liberalism; neoliberal graft; dollar hegemony; Jihadis as a proxy army; etc.) dictate the limits of domestic politics.

Bernie's quixotic insurgency was doomed to fail unless Bernie attacked the Democratic Party's connection to Empire and use of identity politics to divide and conquer. Oh, and Bernie would have to threaten to leave the Democratic Party -- but then would become the independent Movement that Bernie and the Democratic Party have tried so hard to prevent!

!!

[Mar 04, 2020] Why Are We Being Charged? Surprise Bills From Coronavirus Testing Spark Calls for Government to Cover All Costs by Jake Johnson

Highly recommended!
Notes of disaster capitalism in action...
Notable quotes:
"... The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is not billing patients for coronavirus testing, according to Business Insider . "But there are other charges you might have to pay, depending on your insurance plan, or lack thereof," Business Insider noted. "A hospital stay in itself could be costly and you would likely have to pay for tests for other viruses or conditions." ..."
"... Congress needs to immediately pass a bill appropriating funding to cover 100% of the cost of all coronavirus testing & care within the United States. We will not have a chance at containing it otherwise. @tedlieu - as my rep, can you please ensure this is brought up? ..."
"... In the case of the Wucinskis, Kliff reported that "the ambulance company that transported [them] charged the family $2,598 for taking them to the hospital." ..."
"... Last week, the Miami Herald reported that Osmel Martinez Azcue "received a notice from his insurance company about a claim for $3,270" after he visited a local hospital fearing that he contracted coronavirus during a work trip to China. ..."
"... Did anyone expect the unconscionable greed of capitalism to cease when a public health crisis emerges? This is just testing for the virus, wait until a vaccine has been developed so expensive that the majority of the US populace can not afford it at all and people are dropping like flies. Wall Street, never-the-less, will continue to have its heydays ..."
"... The very idea that the defense and "Homeland" security budgets are bloated and additional funding approved year after year but the citizens of this country are not afforded 100% health coverage In a time of global health crisis that could become a pandemic. ..."
Mar 03, 2020 | www.commondreams.org

"Huge surprise medical bills [are] going to make sure people with symptoms don't get tested. That is bad for everyone." by Jake Johnson, staff writer Public health advocates, experts, and others are demanding that the federal government cover coronavirus testing and all related costs after several reports detailed how Americans in recent weeks have been saddled with exorbitant bills following medical evaluations.

Sarah Kliff of the New York Times reported Saturday that Pennsylvania native Frank Wucinski "found a pile of medical bills" totaling $3,918 waiting for him and his three-year-old daughter after they were released from government-mandated quarantine at Marine Corps Air Station in Miramar, California.

"My question is why are we being charged for these stays, if they were mandatory and we had no choice in the matter?" asked Wucinski, who was evacuated by the U.S. government last month from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.

"I assumed it was all being paid for," Wucinski told the Times . "We didn't have a choice. When the bills showed up, it was just a pit in my stomach, like, 'How do I pay for this?'"

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is not billing patients for coronavirus testing, according to Business Insider . "But there are other charges you might have to pay, depending on your insurance plan, or lack thereof," Business Insider noted. "A hospital stay in itself could be costly and you would likely have to pay for tests for other viruses or conditions."

Lawrence Gostin, a professor of global health law at Georgetown University, told the Times that

"the most important rule of public health is to gain the cooperation of the population."

"There are legal, moral, and public health reasons not to charge the patients,"

Gostin said.

Congress needs to immediately pass a bill appropriating funding to cover 100% of the cost of all coronavirus testing & care within the United States. We will not have a chance at containing it otherwise. @tedlieu - as my rep, can you please ensure this is brought up?

-- William LeGate (@williamlegate) March 2, 2020

In the case of the Wucinskis, Kliff reported that "the ambulance company that transported [them] charged the family $2,598 for taking them to the hospital."

"An additional $90 in charges came from radiologists who read the patients' X-ray scans and do not work for the hospital," Kliff noted.

The CDC declined to respond when Kliff asked whether the federal government would cover the costs for patients like the Wucinskis.

The Intercept 's Robert Mackey wrote last Friday that the Wucinskis' situation spotlights "how the American government's response to a public health emergency, like trying to contain a potential coronavirus epidemic, could be handicapped by relying on a system built around private hospitals and for-profit health insurance providers."

We should be doing everything we can to encourage people with #COVIDー19 symptoms to come forward. Huge surprise medical bills is going to make sure people with symptoms don't get tested. That is bad for everyone, regardless of if you are insured. https://t.co/KOUKTSFVzD

-- Saikat Chakrabarti (@saikatc) March 1, 2020

Play this tape to the end and you find people not going to the hospital even if they're really sick. The federal government needs to announce that they'll pay for all of these bills https://t.co/HfyBFBXhja

Last week, the Miami Herald reported that Osmel Martinez Azcue "received a notice from his insurance company about a claim for $3,270" after he visited a local hospital fearing that he contracted coronavirus during a work trip to China.

"He went to Jackson Memorial Hospital, where he said he was placed in a closed-off room," according to the Herald . "Nurses in protective white suits sprayed some kind of disinfectant smoke under the door before entering, Azcue said. Then hospital staff members told him he'd need a CT scan to screen for coronavirus, but Azcue said he asked for a flu test first."

Azcue tested positive for the flu and was discharged. "Azcue's experience shows the potential cost of testing for a disease that epidemiologists fear may develop into a public health crisis in the U.S.," the Herald noted.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, highlighted Azcue's case in a tweet last Friday.

"The coronavirus reminds us that we are all in this together," Sanders wrote. "We cannot allow Americans to skip doctor's visits over outrageous bills. Everyone should get the medical care they need without opening their wallet -- as a matter of justice and public health."

Last week, as Common Dreams reported , Sanders argued that the coronavirus outbreak demonstrates the urgent need for Medicare for All.

The coronavirus reminds us that we are all in this together. We cannot allow Americans to skip doctor's visits over outrageous bills.

Everyone should get the medical care they need without opening their wallet -- as a matter of justice and public health. https://t.co/c4WQMDESHU

-- Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) February 28, 2020

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. surged by more than two dozen over the weekend, bringing the total to 89 as the Trump administration continues to publicly downplay the severity of the outbreak.

Dr. Matt McCarthy, a staff physician at NewYork–Presbyterian Hospital, said in an appearance on CNBC 's "Squawk Box" Monday morning that testing for the coronavirus is still not widely available.

"Before I came here this morning, I was in the emergency room seeing patients," McCarthy said. "I still do not have a rapid diagnostic test available to me."

"I'm here to tell you, right now, at one of the busiest hospitals in the country, I don't have it at my finger tips," added McCarthy. "I still have to make my case, plead to test people. This is not good. We know that there are 88 cases in the United States. There are going to be hundreds by middle of week. There's going to be thousands by next week. And this is a testing issue."

Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.


Harry_Pjotr 13h

Did anyone expect the unconscionable greed of capitalism to cease when a public health crisis emerges? This is just testing for the virus, wait until a vaccine has been developed so expensive that the majority of the US populace can not afford it at all and people are dropping like flies. Wall Street, never-the-less, will continue to have its heydays

Smerl fern 12h

A wall street bank or private predator may own your emergency room. A surprise bill may await your emergency treatment above insurance payments or in some instances all of the bill.

An effort was made recently in congress to stop surprise billings but enough dems joined repubs to kill it. More important to keep campaign dollars flowing than keep people alive. fern Smerl 12h I know emergency rooms are being purchased by organizations like Tenet (because they are some of the most expensive levels of care) and M.D.s provided by large agencies. I'm not as up on this as I should be but a friend of mine tells me that some of this is illegal. I have received bills that were later discharged by challenge. This is worth investigating further. Atlas oldie 11h Hmmmm A virus that overwhelmingly kills the elderly and/or those with pre-exisitng conditions.

Sounds like a medical insurance companies wet dream. As well as .gov social security/medicare wet dream.

Just sayin'

Ticki 11h

The very idea that the defense and "Homeland" security budgets are bloated and additional funding approved year after year but the citizens of this country are not afforded 100% health coverage In a time of global health crisis that could become a pandemic. And as has been stated, the unconscionable idea suggested that a possible vaccine (a long way away or perhaps not developed at all) might not be affordable to the workers who pay the taxes that fund the government? That's insane.

leftonadoorstep 11h

Another example of "American Exceptionalism." China doesn't charge its coronavirus patients, neither does South Korea. I guess they are simply backward countries.

Barton 11h

I own my own home after years of hard work paying it off. It's the only thing of value, besides my old truck, that I have. If I get the virus, I will stay home and try to treat it the best I can. I can't afford to go to the hospital and pay thousands in medical bills, with the chance that they'll come after my possessions. America, the land of the _______. Fill in the blank. (Hint: it's no longer free).

fern 1 Barton 11h

There are other ways to protect your home. Homesteading or living trust. I'm not good at this but I know there are ways to do it. Hopefully, it would never come to that but outcomes are not certain even with treatment in this case.

Giovanna-Lepore oldie 11h

As someone who lost a mother at 5 years old I can sympathize with your grief in losing a daughter-in-law and especially seeing her four children orphaned. However, I think you miss the point here: This is about we becoming a society invested in each others welfare and not a company town that commodifies everything including the health and well being of us all.

fern 1 Giovanna-Lepore 11h

I'm going by: https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/1129/text

As a revision it is better but flawed. It is a cost containment bill based on the same research as the republican plan with global budgets and block grants.

Edited: I encourage you to read this:
-ttps://www.rand.org/blog/2018/10/misconceptions-about-medicare-for-all.html Giovanna-Lepore 10h oldie:

Part D

Higher education is not free but they do need to become free for the students and payed by us as a society.

Part D is a scam, a Republican scam also supported by corporate democrats because of its profit motive and its privatization

Medicare only covers 80% and does not cover eye and dental care and older folks especially need these services. Medicaid helps but there are limits and one cannot necessarily use it where one needs to go. Expanded, Improved Medicare For All is a vast improvement. because it covers everyone in one big pool and, therefore, much more dignified than the rob Paul to pay peter system we have.

Social Security too can be improved. Why should it simply be based on the income of the person which means that a person working in a low paying job in a capitalist system gone wild with greed will often work until they die.

Pell grants can be eliminated when we have what the French have: publicly supported education for everyone.

The demise of unions certainly did not help but it was part of the long strategy of the Right to privatize everything to the enrichment of the few.

Yunzer SuspiraDeProfundis 10h

Thank goodness for the "/s". Poe's Law you know

The overall competence that Canada is handling this outbreak, compared to the USA, is stark. First world (Canada) versus third-world (USA). Testing is practically available for free, to any suspect person, sick or not, as Toronto alone can run 1000 tests a day and have results in 4 hours. That is far more than all the US's capacity for 330 million people.

I wonder how long before Canada closes its borders to USAns? Me and my wife (both in a vulnerable age/medical group) should seriously consider fleeing to my brother's place in Toronto as the first announced cases in Pittsburgh are probably only days away. What about our poor cat though? We could try to smuggle her across the border, but she is a loud and talkative kitty

Greenwich 10h

Don't want to discourage anyone from any protective measures – but the "low down" from my veggie store today was that a lot of health professionals shop there and they think it's being hyped by media. Did get this from my NJ Sen. Menendez –

Center for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC)

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, everyday preventive actions can help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases:

  • Wash your hands often
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • For more information : htps://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention-treatment.html
  • How it spreads : The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. [Read more.]
    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/transmission.html )
  • Symptoms : For confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases, reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death. Symptoms can include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
Seeker 9h Greenwich:

Don't want to discourage anyone from any protective measures – but the "low down" from my veggie store today was that a lot of health professionals shop there and they think it's being hyped by media.

I agree it is being hyped by the media to the point of being fear mongering. At the same time it is being ignored by the administration to such an extent that really little almost nothing is being done. At some point the two together will create an even bigger problem.

It is like the old adage: "Just because you are paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you." Each over/under reach in considering the reality of the situation has its own problem, which multiply when combined. Every morning when I wake up I say a little atheistic prayer to myself before I get out of bed: "Another day and for better or worse...".

Seeker 8h

Well, two reported here in Florida tonight. One in my county, one in the county next door. And more of the "we already knew, but told you late". One person checked into the hospital on Wednesday. We hear it Monday night. Both were ignored far a long time it seems, and 84 in particular are being watched (roommates, friends, hospital workers not alerted for several days, the usual). But no one knows every place they had been since becoming infected.

Oh, and they have tested a handful of people. No worry?

I can't see anyway that this level of incompetency is an accident. Spring break is just starting usually a 100's of thousand tourist bonanza.

So the question is do they want to kill us, or just keep us in fear?

I think the later. But the end result is a crap shoot. So once again, it is a gamble with our lives.

Archie1954 7h

The business of America is business. Sometimes that can go too far and this is one of those times. Making money from the loss, distress, harm and suffering of others is perverse beyond belief.

[Mar 04, 2020] Donna Brazile who among other things gave Hillary the question for presidential debate in advance just told the @GOPChairwoman to "go to hell" for suggesting that the Democratic establishment was once again worked to manipulate a nominee into frontrunner status

Mar 04, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Former DNC chairman who gave Hillary Clinton debate questions in advance during the 2016 election, exclaimed on Fox News that Biden's victory was "the most impressive 72 hours I've ever seen in U.S. politics," and told another analyst to " go to hell " for suggesting that the Democratic establishment was once again working to manipulate a nominee into frontrunner status.

The Democrats are in chaos and melting down on live TV.

Donna Brazile just told the @GOPChairwoman to "go to hell" when asked about the chaos.

Best of luck, Donna! Meanwhile, Republicans are more unified than ever! pic.twitter.com/hCwotuF9tx

-- Trump War Room - Text EMPOWER to 88022 (@TrumpWarRoom) March 3, 2020

[Mar 03, 2020] Elizabeth Warren's Foreign Policy Team is Stacked With neocons which would also shine in Hillary team

Mar 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

AntiSpin , Mar 3 2020 21:09 utc | 51

For everyone puzzling over Warren's actions and intentions, this should help -- a lot.

Woke Wonk Elizabeth Warren's Foreign Policy Team is Stacked With Pro-War Swamp Creatures
Alexander Rubinstein and Max Blumenthal – 2-26-20

"With her new list of foreign policy advisors, Warren unveiled a cast of pro-war think tankers, Cold Warriors and corporate careerists united in support of the Beltway consensus. So much for 'big, structural change'."

https://thegrayzone.com/2020/01/26/elizabeth-warren-foreign-policy-team-pro-war-regime-change/

[Mar 03, 2020] Why is Tulsi Gabbard Still In The Race by Pam Ho

Notable quotes:
"... Biden and Warren are both enthusiastic supporters of neocon foreign policy which is in line with their phony support for the working class. What happened to Warren's glittering M4A plan? It turned back into a pumpkin didn't it? It was all smoke and mirrors. No surprise if you know her history. ..."
"... Imperial Borg Assimilation ..."
"... The Foreign Policy Establishment ..."
"... Warren is an establishment social climber. She took off the mask and her true colors shone through when she viciously attacked Bernie Sanders as a misogynist. Yet still many people surrounding the Sander's campaign support Warren. Why is that? Big money on the left supports her, that's why. That big money also pays a lot of salaries in the liberal political job market. Have you heard of the The Democracy Alliance ? ..."
"... Why do so many liberals or even progressives dislike Tulsi and are so eager to see her gone? Propaganda from the media. The media for a year has relentlessly promoted Red Baiting towards Tulsi because Tulsi challenges the "Washington Consensus" (unfettered elite rule over America and the world with an iron fist). ..."
"... Everyone in the pro-Israel lobby (myself included) is already talking about how to make sure that Tulsi Gabbard's campaign is over before it even gets off the ground -- If you're going to bet on a Dem candidate, look elsewhere. ..."
"... There are many reasons behind that. The main reason though is Tulsi trying to stop war. The Neocons and Saudis have been pushing American politicians, celebrities, media owners, think tanks, foundations and so on for years -- to destroy Syria. Supposedly because Syria is close allies with Iran. ..."
Mar 03, 2020 | medium.com

As I was checking the news earlier today I noticed that the coronavirus had killed another top government official in Iran, bringing the total to 3. Or at least the 3 they have released info on. There's a chance it's worse among the Iranian leadership but they don't want to cause a panic. I checked the Twitterverse after that for my daily dose of madness and surprisingly kept seeing people ask rhetorically:

Why is Tulsi Gabbard still in the primary race?

Turns out that Amy "She Hulk" Klobuchar had dropped out of the primary race apparently to suck up to Joe Biden for a VP slot. And so had Pete "Honestly I'm Not Annoying" Buttigigieididisjjd. This of course should surprise no one since the threat of Bernie Sanders to the financial criminal syndicates greasing the palms of practically all politicians and media to do their bidding have seen the writing on the wall. They realize they need candidates to drop out in order to coalesce centrist votes around one or two to stop what they perceive to be a huge problem for them in Bernie Sanders.

... ... ...

Biden and Warren are both enthusiastic supporters of neocon foreign policy which is in line with their phony support for the working class. What happened to Warren's glittering M4A plan? It turned back into a pumpkin didn't it? It was all smoke and mirrors. No surprise if you know her history. Did you see her on Pod Save America regaling us with how much she believes in crippling countries by sanctions if they dare to resist the racist Imperial Borg Assimilation Machine aka The Foreign Policy Establishment ? That doesn't sound woke to me Miss Thang .

https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fembed%2FC79AV_22NPg%3Ffeature%3Doembed&display_name=YouTube&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DC79AV_22NPg&image=https%3A%2F%2Fi.ytimg.com%2Fvi%2FC79AV_22NPg%2Fhqdefault.jpg&key=a19fcc184b9711e1b4764040d3dc5c07&type=text%2Fhtml&schema=youtube

Warren is an establishment social climber. She took off the mask and her true colors shone through when she viciously attacked Bernie Sanders as a misogynist. Yet still many people surrounding the Sander's campaign support Warren. Why is that? Big money on the left supports her, that's why. That big money also pays a lot of salaries in the liberal political job market. Have you heard of the The Democracy Alliance ?

The Democracy Alliance is a semi-anonymous donor network funded primarily by none other than Democratic mega-donor George Soros. Since its inception in 2005, it is estimated the Alliance has injected over $500 million to Democratic causes. While it isn't typical that they would endorse a candidate outright, they focus more on formulating a catalog of organizations and PACs that they recommend the network of about 100 or so millionaires and billionaires invest in. Democracy Alliance almost literally have their hands in every major left-leaning institution you have (and haven't) heard of -- John Podesta and Neera Tanden's Center for American Progress, David Brock's Media Matters, Center for Popular Democracy, Demos (we'll come back to this one), and the Working Families Party. All of these organizations are listed on the Alliance's website as recommended investments for it's members; and invest they do. Here's the rub: Democracy Alliance's membership isn't made entirely public -- but we know enough that alot of the people that have sat in the highest levels of that organization have an affinity for Elizabeth Warren.


... ... ...

Why do so many liberals or even progressives dislike Tulsi and are so eager to see her gone? Propaganda from the media. The media for a year has relentlessly promoted Red Baiting towards Tulsi because Tulsi challenges the "Washington Consensus" (unfettered elite rule over America and the world with an iron fist).

That is why we got this from Jacob Wohl after Tulsi declared her candidacy last year:

Everyone in the pro-Israel lobby (myself included) is already talking about how to make sure that Tulsi Gabbard's campaign is over before it even gets off the ground -- If you're going to bet on a Dem candidate, look elsewhere.

There are many reasons behind that. The main reason though is Tulsi trying to stop war. The Neocons and Saudis have been pushing American politicians, celebrities, media owners, think tanks, foundations and so on for years -- to destroy Syria. Supposedly because Syria is close allies with Iran.

But they are not the only ones who want Syria destroyed. Other reasons may have to do with massive profits at stake. A natural gas survey team from Norway some years ago discovered that Syria has the largest untapped deposits of natural gas in the world . After that secret discovery became known by various powerful people plans were drawn up to split up the profits after the destruction of the Syrian government. But after Syria asked Russia for help that changed their plans.

Tulsi meanwhile kept going on CNN to tell the American people that our government was waging a secret war in Syria by giving advanced weapons to Al-Qaeda in order to help them topple the government. America, Israel , and the Saudis weren't the only ones with a plan for Syria. Turkey and Qatar had their own plans. The UK and other leading EU nations had a plan as well . And the only politician in any of those countries telling the public the truth of what was going on -- was Tulsi.

... ... ...

She is not having our country become a plaything for rich a-holes who use the lives and limbs of service members for their greedy scams. Because of that the idle rich sociopaths ruling America with their political and media henchmen went after Tulsi with a full barrage of lies , media blackouts, and massive amounts of propaganda -- all to stop her message from getting out so they can create a false image of her in people's minds. Everything and anything they can throw at her, they do.

https://cdn.embedly.com/widgets/media.html?src=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fembed%2FOBArkIbMybU%3Ffeature%3Doembed&display_name=YouTube&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DOBArkIbMybU&image=https%3A%2F%2Fi.ytimg.com%2Fvi%2FOBArkIbMybU%2Fhqdefault.jpg&key=a19fcc184b9711e1b4764040d3dc5c07&type=text%2Fhtml&schema=youtube

There are two politicians whom they fear. Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard. Which is why Bernie Sanders has unsurprisingly been trying to stay out of the foreign policy debate, or he even goes along with the establishment for the most part. He saw what they unleashed against Tulsi. He knows from long experience that propaganda works on a lot of people. The financial elites are not naive though, they probably believe he is going along with their ridiculous foreign policy as a political strategy -- until he gains more power. They fear that if he gains that power he will, like Tulsi, not go along with their imperial stormtrooper agenda.

[Mar 03, 2020] Super Tuesday Bernie vs The DNC Round Two

Highly recommended!
Mar 03, 2020 | off-guardian.org

No matter who comes away with the nomination, it has to be asked "was any of this process legitimate?". We know from a plethora of examples that US elections are not fair. They border on meaningless most of the time. The DNC's doubly so, having argued in court they have no duty to be fair.

Any result, then, you could safely assume was contrived, for one reason or another.

If the Buttigieg-Klobuchar-Biden gambit works, we end up with Trump vs. Biden. And, realistically, that means a second Trump term.

Biden is possibly senile and definitely creepy . Watching him shuffle and stutter through a Presidential campaign would be almost cruel.

Politically, he has all of Hillary's weaknesses, being a big-time establishment type with a pro-war record, without even the "I have a vagina" card to play.

He'll get massacred.

Is that the plan?

There's more than enough signs that Trump has abandoned all the policies that made him any kind of threat to the political establishment. Four years on: no wars ended, no walls built, no swamp drained. Just more of the same. He's an idiot who talked big and got co-opted. It happens.

The Senate and other institutions might talk about Trump being a criminal or an idiot or a "Nazi", but the reality is he's barely perceptibly different from any other POTUS this side of JFK.

#TheResistance was a puppet show. A weak game played for toy money. When it really counts, they're all in it together. Biden getting on the ticket would be a public admittance of that. It would mean the DNC is effectively throwing the fight. Trump is a son of a bitch, but he's their son of a bitch. And that's much better than even the idea of President Bernie.

... ... ...

falcemartello ,

Does it really matter?
Empire of kaos will never move one inch to change the status quo.
The quaisi fascist state that most western /antlantacist nations have become it will make no difference
Gianbattista Vico"Their will always be an elite class" Punto e basta.
Name me one politico that made any difference to we the sheeple in the modern era.
If someone were to mention FDR I will scream.
Aldo Moro got murdered by the deep state for only suggesting to make a pact with Berlinguer the head of Il Partito Communista Italiano.

[Mar 03, 2020] "Predatory capitalism", which clearly describes what neoliberalism is.

Highly recommended!
Mar 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

chu teh , Mar 4 2020 0:50 utc | 80

Tonymike | Mar 3 2020 18:08 utc | 26

re ... Your house foreclosed upon by shady bank: naked capitalism, .0001% paid on interest savings: naked capitalism, poor wages: naked capitalism, dangerous workplace: naked capitalism, etc. ...

"naked capitalism" is not a clear description. Consider using "predatory capitalism", which clearly describes what it is.

Here's the Wiki dictionary definition:

Predatory--

1. relating to or denoting an animal or animals preying naturally on others.
synonyms: predacious, carnivorous, hunting, raptorial, ravening;
Example: "predatory birds".

2. seeking to exploit or oppress others.
synonyms: exploitative, wolfish, rapacious, greedy, acquisitive, avaricious
Example: "I could see a predatory gleam in his eyes"

Note where the word comes from:
The Latin "praedator", in English meaning "plunderer".

And "plunderer" helps the reader understand and perhaps recognize what is happening.

Every plunderer understands.

[Mar 03, 2020] Neoliberals curse

Mar 03, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

It took a rabid nationalist like Donald Trump to end the war in Afghanistan , whereas faithful neoliberal Barack Obama kept the war around because it provided "markets" for weapons corporations.

[Mar 03, 2020] The USA policy is to destroy Iran for the crime of existence.

Mar 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Trailer Trash , Mar 2 2020 17:53 utc | 97

>Bernie Sanders will also restore the JCPOA

This is like a new gangster who takes control of a neighborhood and reduces the required weekly protection payment. Hurray For Less Extortion!

Hey Bernie, how about throw away the JCPOA, restore normal diplomatic and commercial relations, and apologize for 40 years of economic warfare?

But that will never happen, because the Dummycrat policy is to destroy Iran for the crime of existence. How is it the Bernie people don't notice that Bernie always caucuses with the Dummycrats in Congress and is running on the Dummycrat ticket? We are supposed to believe that someone elected on the Dummycrat ticket won't follow Dummycrat party polices?


Russ , Mar 2 2020 17:59 utc | 99

"Bernie Sanders will also restore the JCPOA"

He must think the Iranians are really stupid if he thinks he can get them to fall for that one again.

fnord , Mar 2 2020 18:18 utc | 101
@Trailer Trash, 97
We are supposed to believe that someone elected on the Dummycrat ticket won't follow Dummycrat party polices?

The way American electoral politics works, Sanders doesn't really have a choice except to try and steal the Democratic party's ballot line. An independent bid would split the left vote and make it impossible to win the general election, which is winner take all.

At least that's what his supporters say. I think there's a grain of truth there. If Bernie wants to win, and not merely be a protest candidate, he has to take the ballot line of the party with the most left-wing voters, and that's not the Republican party.

[Mar 02, 2020] Truthdig

Mar 02, 2020 | www.truthdig.com

Feb 24, 2020 Print Bookmark Opinion | TD originals The Zionist Colonization of Palestine comments

Mr. Fish / Truthdig
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not the product of ancient ethnic hatreds. It is the tragic clash between two peoples with claims to the same land. It is a manufactured conflict, the outcome of a 100-year-old colonial occupation by Zionists and later Israel, backed by the British, the United States and other major imperial powers. This project is about the ongoing seizure of Palestinian land by the colonizers. It is about the rendering of the Palestinians as non-people, writing them out of the historical narrative as if they never existed and denying them basic human rights. Yet to state these incontrovertible facts of Jewish colonization -- supported by innumerable official reports and public and private communiques and statements, along with historical records and events -- sees Israel's defenders level charges of anti-Semitism and racism.

Rashid Khalidi , the Edward Said professor of modern Arab studies at Columbia University, in his book " The Hundred Years' War on Palestine : A History of Settler Colonization and Resistance, 1917-2017" has meticulously documented this long project of colonization of Palestine. His exhaustive research, which includes internal, private communications between the early Zionists and Israeli leadership, leaves no doubt that the Jewish colonizers were acutely aware from the start that the Palestinian people had to be subjugated and removed to create the Jewish state. The Jewish leadership was also acutely aware that its intentions had to be masked behind euphemisms, the patina of biblical legitimacy by Jews to a land that had been Muslim since the seventh century, platitudes about human and democratic rights, the supposed benefits of colonization to the colonized and a mendacious call for democracy and peaceful co-existence with those targeted for destruction.

"This is a unique colonialism that we've been subjected to where they have no use for us," Khalidi quotes Said as having written. "The best Palestinian for them," Said wrote, "is either dead or gone. It's not that they want to exploit us, or that they need to keep us there in the way of Algeria or South Africa as a subclass."

Zionism was birthed from the evils of anti-Semitism. It was a response to the discrimination and violence inflicted on Jews, especially during the savage pogroms in Russia and Eastern Europe in the late 19th century and early 20th century that left thousands dead. The Zionist leader Theodor Herzl in 1896 published "Der Judenstaat," or "The Jewish State," in which he warned that Jews were not safe in Europe, a warning that within a few decades proved terrifyingly prescient with the rise of German fascism.

Britain's support of a Jewish homeland was always colored by anti-Semitism. The 1917 decision by the British Cabinet, as stated in the Balfour Declaration , to support "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people" was a principal part of a misguided endeavor based on anti-Semitic tropes. It was undertaken by the ruling British elites to unite "international Jewry" -- including officials of Jewish descent in senior positions in the new Bolshevik state in Russia -- behind Britain's flagging military campaign in World War I. The British leaders were convinced that Jews secretly controlled the U.S. financial system. American Jews, once promised a homeland in Palestine, would, they thought, bring the United States into the war and help finance the war effort. To add to these bizarre anti-Semitic canards, the British believed that Jews and Dönmes -- or "crypto-Jews" whose ancestors had converted to Christianity but who continued to practice the rituals of Judaism in secret -- controlled the Turkish government. If the Zionists were given a homeland in Palestine, the British believed, the Jews and Dönmes would turn on the Turkish regime, which was allied with Germany in the war, and the Turkish government would collapse. World Jewry, the British were convinced, was the key to winning the war.

"With 'Great Jewry' against us," warned Britain's Sir Mark Sykes , who with the French diplomat François Georges-Picot created the secret treaty that carved up the Ottoman Empire between Britain and France, there would be no possibility of victory. Zionism, Sykes said, was a powerful global subterranean force that was "atmospheric, international, cosmopolitan, subconscious and unwritten, nay often unspoken."

The British elites, including Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour , also believed that Jews could never be assimilated in British society and it was better for them to emigrate. It is telling that the only Jewish member of Prime Minister David Lloyd George's government, Edwin Montagu, vehemently opposed the Balfour Declaration. He argued that it would encourage states to expel its Jews. "Palestine will become the world's ghetto," he warned.

This turned out to be the case after World War II when hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees, many rendered stateless, had nowhere to go but Palestine. Often, their communities had been destroyed during the war or their homes and land had been confiscated. Those Jews who returned to countries like Poland found they had nowhere to live and were often victims of discrimination as well as postwar anti-Semitic attacks and even massacres.

The European powers dealt with the Jewish refugee crisis by shipping victims of the Holocaust to the Middle East. So, while leading Zionists understood that they had to uproot and displace Arabs to establish a homeland, they were also acutely aware that they were not wanted in the countries from which they had fled or been expelled. The Zionists and their supporters may have mouthed slogans such as "a land without a people for a people without a land" in speaking of Palestine, but, as the political philosopher Hannah Arendt observed, European powers were attempting to deal with the crime carried out against Jews in Europe by committing another crime, one against Palestinians. It was a recipe for endless conflict, especially since giving the Palestinians under occupation full democratic rights would risk loss of control of Israel by the Jews.

Ze'ev Jabotinsky, the godfather of the right-wing ideology that has dominated Israel since 1977, an ideology openly embraced by Prime Ministers Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir, Ariel Sharon, Ehud Olmert and Benjamin Netanyahu, wrote bluntly in 1923: "Every native population in the world resists colonists as long as it has the slightest hope of being able to rid itself of the danger of being colonized. That is what the Arabs in Palestine are doing, and what they will persist in doing as long as there remains a solitary spark of hope that they will be able to prevent the transformation of 'Palestine' into the 'Land of Israel.' "

This kind of public honesty, Khalidi notes, was rare among leading Zionists. Most of the Zionist leaders "protested the innocent purity of their aims and deceived their Western listeners, and perhaps themselves, with fairy tales about their benign intentions toward the Arab inhabitants of Palestine," he writes. The Zionists -- in a situation similar to that of today's supporters of Israel -- were aware it would be fatal to acknowledge that the creation of a Jewish homeland required the expulsion of the Arab majority. Such an admission would cause the colonizers to lose the world's sympathy. But among themselves the Zionists clearly understood that the use of armed force against the Arab majority was essential for the colonial project to succeed. "Zionist colonization can proceed and develop only under the protection of a power that is independent of the native population -- behind an iron wall, which the native population cannot breach," Jabotinsky wrote.

The Jewish colonizers knew they needed an imperial patron to succeed and survive. Their first patron was Britain, which sent 100,000 troops to crush the Palestinian revolt of the 1930s and armed and trained Jewish militias known as the Haganah. The savage repression of that revolt included wholesale executions and aerial bombardment and left 10% of the adult male Arab population killed, wounded, imprisoned or exiled. The Zionists' second patron became the United States, which now, generations later, provides more than $3 billion a year to Israel. Israel, despite the myth of self-reliance it peddles about itself, would not be able to maintain its Palestinian colonies but for its imperial benefactors. This is why the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement frightens Israel. It is also why I support the BDS movement.

The early Zionists bought up huge tracts of fertile Palestinian land and drove out the indigenous inhabitants. They subsidized European Jewish settlers sent to Palestine, where 94% of the inhabitants were Arabs. They created organizations such as the Jewish Colonization Association, later called the Palestine Jewish Colonization Association, to administer the Zionist project.

But, as Khalidi writes, "once colonialism took on a bad odor in the post-World War II era of decolonization, the colonial origins and practice of Zionism and Israel were whitewashed and conveniently forgotten in Israel and the West. In fact, Zionism -- for two decades the coddled step-child of British colonialism -- rebranded itself as an anticolonial movement."

"Today, the conflict that was engendered by this classic nineteenth-century European colonial venture in a non-European land, supported from 1917 onward by the greatest Western imperial power of its age, is rarely described in such unvarnished terms," Khalidi writes. "Indeed, those who analyze not only Israeli settlement efforts in Jerusalem, the West Bank, and the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, but the entire Zionist enterprise from the perspective of its colonial settler origins and nature are often vilified. Many cannot accept the contradiction inherent in the idea that although Zionism undoubtedly succeeded in creating a thriving national entity in Israel, its roots are as a colonial settler project (as are those of other modern countries: the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand). Nor can they accept that it would not have succeeded but for the support of the great imperial powers, Britain and later the United States. Zionism, therefore, could be and was both a national and a colonial settler movement at one and the same time."

One of the central tenets of the Zionist and Israeli colonization is the denial of an authentic, independent Palestinian identity. During the British control of Palestine, the population was officially divided between Jews and "non-Jews." "There were no such thing as Palestinians they did not exist," onetime Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir quipped. This erasure, which requires an egregious act of historical amnesia, is what the Israeli sociologist Baruch Kimmerling called the "politicide" of the Palestinian people. Khalidi writes, "The surest way to eradicate a people's right to their land is to deny their historical connection to it."

The creation of the state of Israel on May 15, 1948, was achieved by the Haganah and other Jewish groups through the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians and massacres that spread terror among the Palestinian population. The Haganah, trained and armed by the British, swiftly seized most of Palestine. It emptied West Jerusalem and cities such as Haifa and Jaffa, along with numerous towns and villages, of their Arab inhabitants. Palestinians call this moment in their history the Nakba, or the Catastrophe.

"By the summer of 1949, the Palestinian polity had been devastated and most of its society uprooted," Khalidi writes. "Some 80 percent of the Arab population of the territory that at war's end became the new state of Israel had been forced from their homes and lost their lands and property. At least 720,000 of the 1.3 million Palestinians were made refugees. Thanks to this violent transformation, Israel controlled 78 percent of the territory of former Mandatory Palestine, and now ruled over the 160,000 Palestinian Arabs who had been able to remain, barely one-fifth of the prewar Arab population."

Since 1948, Palestinians have heroically mounted one resistance effort after another, all unleashing disproportionate Israeli reprisals and a demonization of the Palestinians as terrorists. But this resistance has also forced the world to recognize the presence of Palestinians, despite the feverish efforts of Israel, the United States and many Arab regimes to remove them from historical consciousness. The repeated revolts, as Said noted, gave the Palestinians the right to tell their own story, the "permission to narrate."

The colonial project has poisoned Israel, as feared by its most prescient leaders, including Moshe Dayan and Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated by a right-wing Jewish extremist in 1995. Israel is an apartheid state that rivals and often surpasses the onetime savagery and racism of apartheid South Africa. Its democracy -- which was always exclusively for Jews -- has been hijacked by extremists, including current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who have implemented racial laws that were once championed mainly by marginalized fanatics such as Meir Kahane . The Israeli public is infected with racism. "Death to Arabs" is a popular chant at Israeli soccer matches. Jewish mobs and vigilantes, including thugs from right-wing youth groups such as Im Tirtzu, carry out indiscriminate acts of vandalism and violence against dissidents, Palestinians, Israeli Arabs and the hapless African immigrants who live crammed into the slums of Tel Aviv. Israel has promulgated a series of discriminatory laws against non-Jews that eerily resemble the racist Nuremberg Laws that disenfranchised Jews in Nazi Germany. The Communities Acceptance Law permits exclusively Jewish towns in Israel's Galilee region to bar applicants for residency on the basis of "suitability to the community's fundamental outlook." The late Uri Avnery, a left-wing politician and journalist, wrote that "Israel's very existence is threatened by fascism."

In recent years, up to 1 million Israelis have left to live in the United States , many of them among Israel's most enlightened and educated citizens. Within Israel, human rights campaigners, intellectuals and journalists -- Israeli and Palestinian -- have found themselves vilified as traitors in government-sponsored smear campaigns, placed under state surveillance and subjected to arbitrary arrests. The Israeli educational system, starting in primary school, is an indoctrination machine for the military. The Israeli army periodically unleashes massive assaults with its air force, artillery and mechanized units on the largely defenseless 1.85 million Palestinians in Gaza, resulting in thousands of Palestinian dead and wounded. Israel runs the Saharonim detention camp in the Negev Desert, one of the largest detention centers in the world, where African immigrants can be held for up to three years without trial.

The great Jewish scholar Yeshayahu Leibowitz, whom Isaiah Berlin called "the conscience of Israel," saw the mortal danger to Israel of its colonial project. He warned that if Israel did not separate church and state and end its colonial occupation of the Palestinians it would give rise to a corrupt rabbinate that would warp Judaism into a fascistic cult. "Religious nationalism is to religion what National Socialism was to socialism," said Leibowitz, who died in 1994. He saw that the blind veneration of the military, especially after the 1967 war in which Israel captured the West Bank and East Jerusalem, would result in the degeneration of the Jewish society and the death of democracy.

"Our situation will deteriorate to that of a second Vietnam [a reference to the war waged by the United States in the 1970s], to a war in constant escalation without prospect of ultimate resolution," Leibowitz wrote. He foresaw that "the Arabs would be the working people and the Jews the administrators, inspectors, officials, and police -- mainly secret police. A state ruling a hostile population of 1.5 million to 2 million foreigners would necessarily become a secret-police state, with all that this implies for education, free speech and democratic institutions. The corruption characteristic of every colonial regime would also prevail in the State of Israel. The administration would have to suppress Arab insurgency on the one hand and acquire Arab Quislings on the other. There is also good reason to fear that the Israel Defense Force, which has been until now a people's army, would, as a result of being transformed into an army of occupation, degenerate, and its commanders, who will have become military governors, resemble their colleagues in other nations."

The Zionists could never have colonized the Palestinians without the backing of Western imperial powers whose motives were tainted by anti-Semitism. Many of the Jews who fled to Israel would not have done so but for the virulent European anti-Semitism that by the end of World War II saw 6 million Jews murdered. Israel was all that many impoverished and stateless survivors, robbed of their national rights, communities, homes and often most of their relatives, had left. It became the tragic fate of the Palestinians, who had no role in the European pogroms or the Holocaust, to be sacrificed on the altar of hate.

[Mar 02, 2020] It appears the US-Taliban interim peace arrangement has hit a snag:

Mar 02, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Likklemore , Mar 1 2020 20:58 utc | 30

appears the US-Taliban interim peace arrangement has hit a snag:

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani rejects Taliban prisoner release under U.S deal


Afghan President Ashraf Ghani rejected on Sunday a Taliban demand for the release of 5,000 prisoners as a condition for talks with Afghanistan's government and civilians – included in a deal between the United States and the Islamist militants.

"The government of Afghanistan has made no commitment to free 5,000 Taliban prisoners," Ghani told reporters in Kabul, a day after the deal was signed in Qatar to start a political settlement aimed at ending the United States' longest war.[.]

was the Afghan government not a party to the negotiations? Strange!

[Mar 02, 2020] The myth of the mujaheddin victory over the Soviets

It was a stalemate, in which Afghan government held power over central towns and mujahidins over part of provinces. Neither can defeat each other. This stalemate was ruptured by the collapse of the USSR.
Mar 02, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Ghost Ship , Mar 1 2020 18:54 utc | 17
Afghanistan
Now that the Americans have been defeated in Afghanistan perhaps they'll go back with a more critical eye to look at what happened in the Afghan-Soviet war against the mujaheddin. The Soviet Union decided to withdraw because it had reached a stalemate but the communist government managed to soldier on for three more years, and it was the collapse of the Soviet Union for financial reasons that resulted in funds being cutoff to the communist government that in turn led to the collapse of the government, so the Soviet Union was not brought down/defeated by the mujaheddin.
Will coronavirus lead to the collapse of the Washington establishment? I don't know if it will but the descendants of the mujaheddin will no doubt claim responsibility for the defeat of the United States if it occurs.
Yet again, Washington demonstrates that it doesn't really understand war.

[Mar 01, 2020] It was her waffling, insincerity, and attacks on Sanders that caused voters to realize not only that she was not committed to solving the most important issue dacing the nation and would likely accommodate to powerful interests in Obama-esque fashion.

Notable quotes:
"... not only did Warren botch the rollout, her plans were bad, and were seen as bad. ..."
"... "Elizabeth Warren cries and tries to regain ground with voters" [Joan Vennochi, Boston Globe ]. The deck: "Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders, her ideological soulmate, rolls along, tears-free." Ouch. ..."
"... IMO it was her later waffling, insincerity, and backtracking on M4A that caused progressives to realize not only that she was not committed to solving the most important issue identified by Dem voters, but that she may not have a fire in her belly to address the nation's other urgent crises and would likely accommodate to powerful interests in Obama-esque fashion. ..."
"... Trump as the not-Democrat has such an edge among the disaffected who are still angry enough to vote ..."
"... I think that I can answer that. Jimmy Dore put out a 5-minute video showing her in action. A protestor heckled her in front of a meeting and she went into deer-in-spotlight mode and shut down. In the end she had to be rescued by Ayanna Pressley and I was thinking – "She really wants to debate Trump? Will she shut down then too?". (Some language) ..."
Dec 04, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Warren (D)(1): "What is happening with Elizabeth Warren?" [Chris Cilizza, CNN ].

"Less than two months ago, it looked as though Elizabeth Warren might just run away with the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination . Then that Warren wave hit a wall. Starting right around mid-October, Warren's numbers not only stopped moving upward but also began trending down

Add it all up and there's plenty of reason to believe that Warren's full-fledged support for Medicare for All -- coupled with her less-than-successful attempts to defend that position in the last two debates -- led to her current reduced status in the race."

If this were true, Sanders should drop as well. I think Cilizza should give consideration to the idea that not only did Warren botch the rollout, her plans were bad, and were seen as bad.

"Elizabeth Warren cries and tries to regain ground with voters" [Joan Vennochi, Boston Globe ]. The deck: "Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders, her ideological soulmate, rolls along, tears-free." Ouch.

More: "According to the Des Moines Register, "after a long pause and with tears in her eyes, the senator from Massachusetts said 'yeah,' before telling the story of the divorce from her first husband," and how painful it was to tell her mother that her marriage was over.

To showcase the significance of the encounter, Warren tweeted out a clip."

Dead Lord. You don't tweet out your own tears to show sincerity. Have somebody else do it! Isn't anybody on her staff protecting her?

XXYY , December 3, 2019 at 3:40 pm

I think Cilizza should give consideration to the idea that not only did Warren botch the rollout, her plans were bad, and were seen as bad.

The establishment is trying mightily to salvage something useful from Warren's surprisingly rapid decline in the polls, constantly pushing the refrain that M4A was somehow the kiss of death for her.

In fact, she rose to prominence by riding on Sanders policies like Medicare for All, canceling student debt, and free college. "I'm with Bernie" was her frequent reply on several policy issues, and she co-sponsored Sanders' Medicare for All Senate bill to great effect on her own "progressive" cred.

IMO it was her later waffling, insincerity, and backtracking on M4A that caused progressives to realize not only that she was not committed to solving the most important issue identified by Dem voters, but that she may not have a fire in her belly to address the nation's other urgent crises and would likely accommodate to powerful interests in Obama-esque fashion.

Mo's Bike Shop , December 3, 2019 at 8:23 pm

Six years wait for the ACA to piss almost everyone off.

Trump as the not-Democrat has such an edge among the disaffected who are still angry enough to vote. Especially since the whole and only DNC message will be 'you can't possibly vote for Trump!!!'

The Rev Kev , December 3, 2019 at 6:38 pm

"What is happening with Elizabeth Warren?"

I think that I can answer that. Jimmy Dore put out a 5-minute video showing her in action. A protestor heckled her in front of a meeting and she went into deer-in-spotlight mode and shut down. In the end she had to be rescued by Ayanna Pressley and I was thinking – "She really wants to debate Trump? Will she shut down then too?". (Some language)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8CeRiG9jdF0

flora , December 3, 2019 at 7:34 pm

Warren seems to have a tin ear when it comes to political give and take. IMO.

[Feb 29, 2020] Meghan McCain Has To Ask Warren Three Times To Admit Soleimani Was A Terrorist

So the person who saves Syria from occupation by IGIL is a terrorist ? Just a few years ago, CNN praised # Iran 's Qassem # Soleimani for defeating ISIS.
Jan 08, 2020 | t.co
Sarah Abdallah ‏ @ sahouraxo 16h 16 hours ago More

Just a few years ago, CNN was praising Qassem # Soleimani for being the driving force behind the defeat of ISIS. Today they call him a "terrorist" and expect you to believe them.

[Feb 29, 2020] Secret Wars, Forgotten Betrayals, Global Tyranny. Who s Really In Charge Of The US Military by Cynthia Chung

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Thus, it should be no surprise to anyone in the world at this point in history, that the CIA holds no allegiance to any country. And it can be hardly expected that a President, who is actively under attack from all sides within his own country, is in a position to hold the CIA accountable for its past and future crimes ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Cynthia Chung via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

"There is a kind of character in thy life, That to the observer doth thy history, fully unfold."

– William Shakespeare

Once again we find ourselves in a situation of crisis, where the entire world holds its breath all at once and can only wait to see whether this volatile black cloud floating amongst us will breakout into a thunderstorm of nuclear war or harmlessly pass us by. The majority in the world seem to have the impression that this destructive fate totters back and forth at the whim of one man. It is only normal then, that during such times of crisis, we find ourselves trying to analyze and predict the thoughts and motives of just this one person. The assassination of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, a true hero for his fellow countrymen and undeniably an essential key figure in combating terrorism in Southwest Asia, was a terrible crime, an abhorrently repugnant provocation. It was meant to cause an apoplectic fervour, it was meant to make us who desire peace, lose our minds in indignation. And therefore, that is exactly what we should not do.

In order to assess such situations, we cannot lose sight of the whole picture, and righteous indignation unfortunately causes the opposite to occur. Our focus becomes narrower and narrower to the point where we can only see or react moment to moment with what is right in front of our face. We are reduced to an obsession of twitter feeds, news blips and the doublespeak of 'official government statements'.

Thus, before we may find firm ground to stand on regarding the situation of today, we must first have an understanding as to what caused the United States to enter into an endless campaign of regime-change warfare after WWII, or as former Chief of Special Operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff Col. Prouty stated, three decades of the Indochina war.

An Internal Shifting of Chess Pieces in the Shadows

It is interesting timing that on Sept 2, 1945, the very day that WWII ended, Ho Chi Minh would announce the independence of Indochina. That on the very day that one of the most destructive wars to ever occur in history ended, another long war was declared at its doorstep. Churchill would announce his "Iron Curtain" against communism on March 5th, 1946, and there was no turning back at that point. The world had a mere 6 months to recover before it would be embroiled in another terrible war, except for the French, who would go to war against the Viet Minh opponents in French Indochina only days after WWII was over.

In a previous paper I wrote titled "On Churchill's Sinews of Peace" , I went over a major re-organisation of the American government and its foreign intelligence bureau on the onset of Truman's de facto presidency. Recall that there was an attempted military coup d'état, which was exposed by General Butler in a public address in 1933, against the Presidency of FDR who was only inaugurated that year. One could say that there was a very marked disapproval from shadowy corners for how Roosevelt would organise the government.

One key element to this reorganisation under Truman was the dismantling of the previously existing foreign intelligence bureau that was formed by FDR, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) on Sept 20, 1945 only two weeks after WWII was officially declared over. The OSS would be replaced by the CIA officially on Sept 18, 1947, with two years of an American intelligence purge and the internal shifting of chess pieces in the shadows. In addition, de-facto President Truman would also found the United States National Security Council on Sept 18, 1947, the same day he founded the CIA. The NSC was a council whose intended function was to serve as the President's principal arm for coordinating national security, foreign policies and policies among various government agencies.

In Col. Prouty's book he states,

" In 1955, I was designated to establish an office of special operations in compliance with National Security Council (NSC) Directive #5412 of March 15, 1954. This NSC Directive for the first time in the history of the United States defined covert operations and assigned that role to the Central Intelligence Agency to perform such missions , provided they had been directed to do so by the NSC, and further ordered active-duty Armed Forces personnel to avoid such operations. At the same time, the Armed Forces were directed to "provide the military support of the clandestine operations of the CIA" as an official function . "

What this meant, was that there was to be an intermarriage of the foreign intelligence bureau with the military, and that the foreign intelligence bureau would act as top dog in the relationship, only taking orders from the NSC. Though the NSC includes the President, as we will see, the President is very far from being in the position of determining the NSC's policies.

An Inheritance of Secret Wars

" There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare. "

– Sun Tzu

On January 20th, 1961, John F. Kennedy was inaugurated as President of the United States. Along with inheriting the responsibility of the welfare of the country and its people, he was to also inherit a secret war with communist Cuba run by the CIA.

JFK was disliked from the onset by the CIA and certain corridors of the Pentagon, they knew where he stood on foreign matters and that it would be in direct conflict for what they had been working towards for nearly 15 years. Kennedy would inherit the CIA secret operation against Cuba, which Prouty confirms in his book, was quietly upgraded by the CIA from the Eisenhower administration's March 1960 approval of a modest Cuban-exile support program (which included small air drop and over-the-beach operations) to a 3,000 man invasion brigade just before Kennedy entered office.

This was a massive change in plans that was determined by neither President Eisenhower, who warned at the end of his term of the military industrial complex as a loose cannon, nor President Kennedy, but rather the foreign intelligence bureau who has never been subject to election or judgement by the people. It shows the level of hostility that Kennedy encountered as soon as he entered office, and the limitations of a President's power when he does not hold support from these intelligence and military quarters.

Within three months into JFK's term, Operation Bay of Pigs (April 17th to 20th 1961) was scheduled. As the popular revisionist history goes; JFK refused to provide air cover for the exiled Cuban brigade and the land invasion was a calamitous failure and a decisive victory for Castro's Cuba. It was indeed an embarrassment for President Kennedy who had to take public responsibility for the failure, however, it was not an embarrassment because of his questionable competence as a leader. It was an embarrassment because, had he not taken public responsibility, he would have had to explain the real reason why it failed. That the CIA and military were against him and that he did not have control over them. If Kennedy were to admit such a thing, he would have lost all credibility as a President in his own country and internationally, and would have put the people of the United States in immediate danger amidst a Cold War.

What really occurred was that there was a cancellation of the essential pre-dawn airstrike, by the Cuban Exile Brigade bombers from Nicaragua, to destroy Castro's last three combat jets. This airstrike was ordered by Kennedy himself. Kennedy was always against an American invasion of Cuba, and striking Castro's last jets by the Cuban Exile Brigade would have limited Castro's threat, without the U.S. directly supporting a regime change operation within Cuba. This went fully against the CIA's plan for Cuba.

Kennedy's order for the airstrike on Castro's jets would be cancelled by Special Assistant for National Security Affairs McGeorge Bundy, four hours before the Exile Brigade's B-26s were to take off from Nicaragua, Kennedy was not brought into this decision. In addition, the Director of Central Intelligence Allen Dulles, the man in charge of the Bay of Pigs operation was unbelievably out of the country on the day of the landings.

Col. Prouty, who was Chief of Special Operations during this time, elaborates on this situation:

" Everyone connected with the planning of the Bay of Pigs invasion knew that the policy dictated by NSC 5412, positively prohibited the utilization of active-duty military personnel in covert operations. At no time was an "air cover" position written into the official invasion plan The "air cover" story that has been created is incorrect. "

As a result, JFK who well understood the source of this fiasco, set up a Cuban Study Group the day after and charged it with the responsibility of determining the cause for the failure of the operation. The study group, consisting of Allen Dulles, Gen. Maxwell Taylor, Adm. Arleigh Burke and Attorney General Robert Kennedy (the only member JFK could trust), concluded that the failure was due to Bundy's telephone call to General Cabell (who was also CIA Deputy Director) that cancelled the President's air strike order.

Kennedy had them.

Humiliatingly, CIA Director Allen Dulles was part of formulating the conclusion that the Bay of Pigs op was a failure because of the CIA's intervention into the President's orders. This allowed for Kennedy to issue the National Security Action Memorandum #55 on June 28th, 1961, which began the process of changing the responsibility from the CIA to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As Prouty states,

" When fully implemented, as Kennedy had planned, after his reelection in 1964, it would have taken the CIA out of the covert operation business. This proved to be one of the first nails in John F. Kennedy's coffin. "

If this was not enough of a slap in the face to the CIA, Kennedy forced the resignation of CIA Director Allen Dulles, CIA Deputy Director for Plans Richard M. Bissell Jr. and CIA Deputy Director Charles Cabell.

In Oct 1962, Kennedy was informed that Cuba had offensive Soviet missiles 90 miles from American shores. Soviet ships with more missiles were on their way towards Cuba but ended up turning around last minute. Rumours started to abound that JFK had cut a secret deal with Russian Premier Khrushchev, which was that the U.S. would not invade Cuba if the Soviets withdrew their missiles. Criticisms of JFK being soft on communism began to stir.

NSAM #263, closely overseen by Kennedy, was released on Oct 11th, 1963, and outlined a policy decision " to withdraw 1,000 military personnel [from Vietnam] by the end of 1963 " and further stated that " It should be possible to withdraw the bulk of U.S. personnel [including the CIA and military] by 1965. " The Armed Forces newspaper Stars and Stripes had the headline U.S. TROOPS SEEN OUT OF VIET BY '65. Kennedy was winning the game and the American people.

This was to be the final nail in Kennedy's coffin.

Kennedy was brutally shot down only one month later, on Nov, 22nd 1963. His death should not just be seen as a tragic loss but, more importantly, it should be recognised for the successful military coup d'état that it was and is . The CIA showed what lengths it was ready to go to if a President stood in its way. (For more information on this coup refer to District Attorney of New Orleans at the time, Jim Garrison's book . And the excellently researched Oliver Stone movie "JFK")

Through the Looking Glass

On Nov. 26th 1963, a full four days after Kennedy's murder, de facto President Johnson signed NSAM #273 to begin the change of Kennedy's policy under #263. And on March 4th, 1964, Johnson signed NSAM #288 that marked the full escalation of the Vietnam War and involved 2,709,918 Americans directly serving in Vietnam, with 9,087,000 serving with the U.S. Armed Forces during this period.

The Vietnam War, or more accurately the Indochina War, would continue for another 12 years after Kennedy's death, lasting a total of 20 years for Americans.

Scattered black ops wars continued, but the next large scale-never ending war that would involve the world would begin full force on Sept 11, 2001 under the laughable title War on Terror, which is basically another Iron Curtain, a continuation of a 74 year Cold War. A war that is not meant to end until the ultimate regime changes are accomplished and the world sees the toppling of Russia and China. Iraq was destined for invasion long before the vague Gulf War of 1990 and even before Saddam Hussein was being backed by the Americans in the Iraq-Iran war in the 1980s. Iran already suffered a CIA backed regime change in 1979.

It had been understood far in advance by the CIA and US military that the toppling of sovereignty in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Iran needed to occur before Russia and China could be taken over. Such war tactics were formulaic after 3 decades of counterinsurgency against the CIA fueled "communist-insurgency" of Indochina. This is how today's terrorist-inspired insurgency functions, as a perfect CIA formula for an endless bloodbath.

Former CIA Deputy Director (2010-2013) Michael Morell, who was supporting Hillary Clinton during the presidential election campaign and vehemently against the election of Trump, whom he claimed was being manipulated by Putin, said in a 2016 interview with Charlie Rose that Russians and Iranians in Syria should be killed covertly to 'pay the price' .

Therefore, when a drone stroke occurs assassinating an Iranian Maj. Gen., even if the U.S. President takes onus on it, I would not be so quick as to believe that that is necessarily the case, or the full story. Just as I would not take the statements of President Rouhani accepting responsibility for the Iranian military shooting down 'by accident' the Boeing 737-800 plane which contained 176 civilians, who were mostly Iranian, as something that can be relegated to criminal negligence, but rather that there is very likely something else going on here.

I would also not be quick to dismiss the timely release, or better described as leaked, draft letter from the US Command in Baghdad to the Iraqi government that suggests a removal of American forces from the country. Its timing certainly puts the President in a compromised situation. Though the decision to keep the American forces within Iraq or not is hardly a simple matter that the President alone can determine. In fact there is no reason why, after reviewing the case of JFK, we should think such a thing.

One could speculate that the President was set up, with the official designation of the IRGC as "terrorist" occurring in April 2019 by the US State Department, a decision that was strongly supported by both Bolton and Pompeo, who were both members of the NSC at the time. This made it legal for a US military drone strike to occur against Soleimani under the 2001 AUMF, where the US military can attack any armed group deemed to be a terrorist threat. Both Bolton and Pompeo made no secret that they were overjoyed by Soleimani's assassination and Bolton went so far as to tweet "Hope this is the first step to regime change in Tehran." Bolton has also made it no secret that he is eager to testify against Trump in his possible impeachment trial.

Former CIA Director Mike Pompeo was recorded at an unknown conference recently, but judging from the gross laughter of the audience it consists of wannabe CIA agents, where he admits that though West Points' cadet motto is "You will not lie, cheat, or steal, or tolerate those who do.", his training under the CIA was the very opposite, stating " I was the CIA Director. We lied, we cheated, we stole. It was like we had entire training courses. (long pause) It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment. "

Thus, it should be no surprise to anyone in the world at this point in history, that the CIA holds no allegiance to any country. And it can be hardly expected that a President, who is actively under attack from all sides within his own country, is in a position to hold the CIA accountable for its past and future crimes .

Tags Politics War Conflict


ThomasChase1776 , 3 minutes ago link

General Smedley Butler had an answer. Read his book.

https://www.americanswhotellthetruth.org/portraits/major-general-smedley-butler

Is-Be , 8 minutes ago link

Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, a true hero for his fellow countrymen

All his countrymen?

Element , 15 minutes ago link

Who's Really In Charge Of The US Military? - Cynthia Chung via The Strategic Culture Foundation

Donald Trump, you stupid time-wasting twat .

ThomasChase1776 , 5 minutes ago link

LOL. That's a good one.

Assuming Trump is doing what he said he would, why isn't our military guarding our border?
Why hasn't our military left the middle east already?

Who really runs our government?

InTheLandOfTheBlind , 1 hour ago link

As much as I hate the CIA, mi6 had more of hand in overthrowing iran than Langley did

ThomasChase1776 , 4 minutes ago link

Is that supposed to be an excuse?

GRDguy , 1 hour ago link

". . . the CIA holds no allegiance to any country." But they sure kiss the *** of the financial sociopaths who write their paychecks and finance the black ops.

ThomasChase1776 , 4 minutes ago link

and Mossad

Slaytheist , 1 hour ago link

Does this bitch not know that the CIA is the currency mafia police....ffs, that's a **** ton of words.

oneno , 1 hour ago link

She knows ...

SRV , 1 hour ago link

Fletcher Prouty's book The Secret Team is a must read... he was on the inside and watched the formation of the permanent team established in the late 50s that assumed the power of the president.

JFK fought that team...

cynicalskeptic , 1 hour ago link

Look at who the OSS recruited - Ivy League Skull and Bones types from rich families that made their fortunes in often questionable ventures.

If you're the patriarch of some super wealthy family wouldn't you be thrilled to have younger family members working for the nation's intelligence agencies? Sort of the ultimate in 'inside information'. Plus these families had experience in things like drug smuggling, human trafficking and anything else you can imagine..... While the Brits started the opium trade with China, Americans jumped right in bringing opium from Turkey.

Didn't take long before the now CIA became owned by the families whose members staffed it.

InTheLandOfTheBlind , 43 minutes ago link

Again ignoring the British influence. The CIA does not have a monopoly on intelligence

Spiritual Anunnaki , 2 hours ago link

One major aspect pertaining American involvment in Veitnam was something like 90% of the rubber produced Globally came from the region.

It is more diverse now, being 3rd, with the association revealing that in 2017, Vietnam earned US$2.3 billion from export of 1.4 million tonnes of natural rubber, up 36% in value and 11.4% in volume year on year.

Haboob , 2 hours ago link

Fighting for rubber monopoly in Vietnam,fighting for oil monopoly in the middle east.

That's life.

Benito_Camela , 1 hour ago link

Gunboat diplomacy is nothing new. War is and always has been a racket.

InTheLandOfTheBlind , 38 minutes ago link

Unfortunately it is a winning racket.

Art_Vandelay , 2 hours ago link

Betrayals, secrets, tyranny? Who's in charge? **** Cheney & Co.

Benito_Camela , 1 hour ago link

Mike Pimpeo. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPt-zXn05ac

InTheLandOfTheBlind , 36 minutes ago link

The British crown

Kan , 2 hours ago link

Rockfellers formed the OSS then the CIA which is the brute force for the CFR which they also run and own. The bankers run y our country and bought and blackmailed all your politicians... Only buttplug and pedo's get to be in charge now folks.... and some 9th circle witches of course...

TeethVillage88s , 1 hour ago link

OSS & CIA were formed from Ivy League Schools/Uni's... who turned out to be Traitors to England & USSR... Same today I

[Feb 29, 2020] Learning Nothing From the Ghost of Congress Past by Andrew J. Bacevich

The USA is an imperial country. And wars is how empire is sustained and expanded. Bacevich does not even mention this fact.
Notable quotes:
"... While perfunctory congressional hearings may yet occur, a meaningful response -- one that would demand accountability, for example -- is about as likely as a bipartisan resolution to the impeachment crisis. ..."
"... This implicit willingness to write off a costly, unwinnable, and arguably unnecessary war should itself prompt sober reflection. What we have here is a demonstration of how pervasive and deeply rooted American militarism has become. ..."
"... we have become a nation given to misusing military power, abusing American soldiers, and averting our gaze from the results. ..."
"... The impeachment hearings were probably the reason the WaPo published when it did. After all, the article tells us little that any semi-sentient observer hasn't known for over a decade now. ..."
"... Then, today, we have another American trooper killed in Afghanistan, with many Afghans. Then, we have Trump, jutting his jaw out, as usual, to show how tough he is and...by golly, how tough America is. How patriotic! Damn it! Rah rah. He pardons and receives a war criminal at the white house, one of those Seals that murdered Afghans. ..."
"... By military standards, there is supposed to be rules of engagement and punishment for outright breaking of such rules. But no, Trump is one ignorant, cold dude and the misery in numerous US invaded nations means nothing to this bum with a title and money ..."
"... Were our senior government leaders more familiar with military service, especially as front line soldiers, they might have been less inclined to dawdle in these matters, agree with obfuscated results for political reasons, and waste so much effort. ..."
Dec 23, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The Afghanistan Papers could have been the start of redemption, but it's all been subsumed by impeachment and an uninterested public.

....

While perfunctory congressional hearings may yet occur, a meaningful response -- one that would demand accountability, for example -- is about as likely as a bipartisan resolution to the impeachment crisis.

This implicit willingness to write off a costly, unwinnable, and arguably unnecessary war should itself prompt sober reflection. What we have here is a demonstration of how pervasive and deeply rooted American militarism has become.

Take seriously the speechifying heard on the floor of the House of Representatives in recent days and you'll be reassured that the United States remains a nation of laws, with Democrats and Republicans alike affirming their determination to defend our democracy and preserve the Constitution, even while disagreeing on what that might require at present.

Take seriously the contents of the Afghanistan Papers and you'll reach a different conclusion: we have become a nation given to misusing military power, abusing American soldiers, and averting our gaze from the results. U.S. military expenditures and the Pentagon's array of foreign bases far exceed those of any other nation on the planet. In our willingness to use force, we (along with Israel) lead the pack. Putative adversaries such as China and Russia are models of self-restraint by comparison. And when it comes to cumulative body count, the United States is in a league of its own.

Yet since the end of the Cold War and especially since 9/11, U.S. forces have rarely accomplished the purposes for which they are committed, the Pentagon concealing failure by downsizing its purposes. Afghanistan offers a good example. What began as Operation Enduring Freedom has become in all but name Operation Decent Interval, the aim being to disengage in a manner that will appear responsible, if only for a few years until the bottom falls out.

So the real significance of the Post 's Afghanistan Papers is this: t hey invite Americans to contemplate a particularly vivid example what our misplaced infatuation with military power produces. Sadly, it appears evident that we will refuse the invitation. Don't blame Trump for this particular example of Washington's egregious irresponsibility.

Andrew Bacevich is president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. His new book, The Age of Illusions: How America Squandered Its Cold War Victory , will be published next month.


Sid Finster a day ago
The impeachment hearings were probably the reason the WaPo published when it did. After all, the article tells us little that any semi-sentient observer hasn't known for over a decade now.

Anyway, nobody likes a bipartisan fiasco that cannot be neatly blamed on Team R (or Team D).

John Achterhof Sid Finster 12 hours ago
Just give credit where it is due: the Post's reporting on the Afghanistan Papers is journalism at its very best.
Fayez Abedaziz 21 hours ago
Then, today, we have another American trooper killed in Afghanistan, with many Afghans. Then, we have Trump, jutting his jaw out, as usual, to show how tough he is and...by golly, how tough America is. How patriotic! Damn it! Rah rah. He pardons and receives a war criminal at the white house, one of those Seals that murdered Afghans.

By military standards, there is supposed to be rules of engagement and punishment for outright breaking of such rules. But no, Trump is one ignorant, cold dude and the misery in numerous US invaded nations means nothing to this bum with a title and money. What a joke this nations foreign policy is and the ignorant, don't care American people have become. Like never before. There were years when people actually talked about subjects. Not now, if you mention the weather they cower and look pained. The old days really were better.

One example aside from the above: compare President Kennedy to Trump. What a riot...

polistra24 21 hours ago
Well, these documents are highly unsurprising. Everybody has known the facts for a long time. Everybody also knows that the US "government" will not change its ways. Its sole purpose and mission is to obliterate everything except Israel, and these documents are evidence of massive SUCCESS in its mission, not evidence of failure.
Richard 13 hours ago
When the troops start to mutiny, the war will end.
Marcus 9 hours ago
Were our senior government leaders more familiar with military service, especially as front line soldiers, they might have been less inclined to dawdle in these matters, agree with obfuscated results for political reasons, and waste so much effort.

This is also to say that misleading documents and briefings from the military about progress in Afghanistan, while contemptible, did not cause the strategic failure. Contemporary reports from the press and other agencies indicated the effort was not working out plainly to anyone who wanted to pay attention. Our political leaders chose to ignore the truth for political gain.

A more realistic temperament chastened by experience would have been more inclined to criticize and make corrections, and summon the courage to cut our losses rather than crow ignominiously about "cutting and running." Few such temperaments, it seems at least, make it to the top thee days.

[Feb 29, 2020] Pompeo lies and smokescreen

Pompeo has just four terms in the House of Representives befor getting postions of Director of CIA (whichsuggests previous involvement with CIA) and then paradoxically the head of the State Department, He retired from the alry in the rank of comptain and never participated in any battles. He serves only in Germany, and this can be classified as a chickenhawk. He never performed any dyplomatic duries in hs life and a large part of his adult life (1998-2006) was a greddy military contractor.
Jan 07, 2020 | www.truthdig.com

UN Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial Executions Agnes Callamard tweeted,

#Pentagon statement on targeted killing of #suleimani :

1. It mentions that it aimed at "deterring future Iranian attack plans". This however is very vague. Future is not the same as imminent which is the time based test required under international law. (1)

-- Agnes Callamard (@AgnesCallamard) January 3, 2020

2. Overall, the statement places far greater emphasis on past activities and violations allegedly commuted by Suleimani. As such the killing appears far more retaliatory for past acts than anticipatory for imminent self defense.

-- Agnes Callamard (@AgnesCallamard) January 3, 2020

3. The notion that Suleimani was "actively developing plans" is curious both from a semantic and military standpoint. Is it sufficient to meet the test of mecessity and proportionality?

-- Agnes Callamard (@AgnesCallamard) January 3, 2020

4. The statement fails to mention the other individuals killed alongside Suleimani. Collateral? Probably. Unlawful. Absolutely.

-- Agnes Callamard (@AgnesCallamard) January 3, 2020

[Feb 28, 2020] Russia s Relationship With China Is Growing Despite Setbacks by Lyle J. Goldstein ,

Highly recommended!
Feb 23, 2020 | nationalinterest.org

Russia has closed major border crossings with China across the Far East due to the rapid spread of coronavirus. That constitutes a significant blow to a trading relationship that had only just begun to fully blossom. The closures come just as new auto and rail bridges spanning the Amur River are finally reaching completion.

The primary line of debate among Russia-China relations analysts is whether the "rapprochement" is robust and tending toward even a genuine alliance or whether it is weak and has little to show for decades of cooperation other than a few rhetorical flourishes. After all, the skeptics note, if this bilateral relationship is so robust, then why did it take so long to get those bridges built?

The China-Russia trading relationship does indeed remain underdeveloped and will evidently face additional headwinds in the near future (along with all of China's trading relationships, so it seems). But the importance of security ties can hardly be disputed, especially if one takes the long view. Could China have fought the United States to a stalemate in the Korean War without Soviet military assistance? Not a chance. More recently, Russia's sale of high-tech air and naval weaponry during the 1990s and 2000s created a solid foundation for today's muscle-bound dragon with both claws (DF-26) and sharp fangs (e.g. YJ-18). But will it go further?

A tantalizing hint was offered by Russian president Vladimir Putin at the Valdai Conference in early October 2019. During his remarks, he dropped the following bombshell: "I probably won't open a big secret. It'll become clear anyhow. We are now helping our Chinese partners to create a missile attack warning system. This is a very serious thing, which will increase the defense capability of the People's Republic of China in a fundamental way. Because now only the USA and Russia have such a system [Большой тайны, наверно, не открою. Все равно это станет ясно. Мы сейчас помогаем нашим китайским партнерам создать систему СПРН – систему предупреждения о ракетном нападении. Это очень серьезная вещь, которая капитальным, кардинальным образом повысит обороноспособность Китайской Народной Республики. Потому что сейчас такую систему имеют только США и Россия]." This seemingly major step forward in Russia-China military cooperation demands greater scrutiny. It also provides an interesting opportunity to gauge opinion among Russian strategists regarding the long-term viability of a close military partnership with the Middle Kingdom.

One impressively comprehensive Russian appraisal begins by stating that "Russia had to look for various options for answering Washington's actions" to withdraw from the INF Treaty. The same article notes somewhat ominously that the United States is preparing in case of "accidental nuclear war with Russia." Employing the Russian acronym "SPRN" literally "warning systems against rocket attack [системы предупреждения о ракетном нападении]" for early warning system, this assessment also makes the important point that Russia's SPRN has only recently completed a long process of upgrades meant to fill "gaps [разрывы]" caused by the collapse of the Soviet Union, when key facilities for early warning were located in non-Russian parts of the USSR.

The article quotes one Moscow defense expert, Igor Korotchenko [Игор Коротченко], as offering the following assessment: "This is really a huge contribution of Russia to strategic stability, since China receives a powerful tool in order not to become a victim of the first disarming blow from the United States." Another Russian expert, Konstantin Sivkov [Константин Сивков], maintained that this move would enhance "global stability" but also articulated some concern with respect to Russia's long-term interests. "When China has at its disposal all the technologies that Russia has at its disposal, or creates similar ones, it will cease to need Russia as a defender," Sivkov said. "And this could adversely affect Russian-Chinese relations." Korotchenko, however, is more bullish on the long-term prospects for the defense relationship with Beijing. He underlined the commercial prospects for Russian companies, and added that the early warning initiative will "contribute to the further rapprochement of Russia and China, building a common security policy [поспособствует дальнейшему сближению России и Китая, выстраиванию общей политики в области безопасности]."

That's an interesting disagreement among Russian security specialists, for sure, but another rather significant observation regarding these developments was offered in this same article by the former deputy commander of Russia's air defense command, Alexander Luzan [Александр Лузан]. He contends that Russia will benefit from the enhanced cooperation with Beijing on an early warning. Luzan explains that the ground components of Russia's SPRN are comprised of []long range "Voronezh" [Воронеж] radars that can see out four thousand to six thousand kilometers to detect ICBM launches. Short-range "Sunflower [Подсолнухи]" radars are more suitable for warning of short-range launches, but also offer ship-detection capabilities. Directly reflecting on operational advantages for the Russian military, Luzan observes: "Vladivostok and Primorye are protected here, but there is nothing 'in depth.' We once tried to deploy our facilities in Mongolia, but it didn't work out very well. Therefore, if the Chinese close this 'tongue,' it will be very important for Russia [Владивосток и Приморье у нас защищены, а 'в глубину' там ничего нет. Мы когда-то в Монголии пытались разместить свои комплексы, но не очень получилось. Потому если китайцы этот 'язычок' закроют, то для России это будет очень важно]." Again citing this Russian general, the article states that "a unified information space is created and data is exchanged with Chinese radars, [and therefore] 'the security of our country from the east will be even better.'"

Such interpretations are generally in accord with the analysis of Vladimir Petrovsky [Владимир Петровский,], a senior fellow and military specialist at Moscow's Institute of the Far East of the Russian Academy of Sciences. This analyst writes that many believe that Putin's announcement of this strategic cooperation initiative at Valdai signals that "the military alliance between Russia and China . . . has finally become real." Petrovsky also notes that other specialists have begun to speculate on the meaning of a "retaliatory strike" under such circumstances, wherein the early warning is relayed by a third country. He quotes the Russian president (speaking at Valdai) further on the matter of motives for new missile deployments in the Asia-Pacific region: "we suddenly heard from the American military that the first step in this direction would be taken just in Asia. But that step also impacts on us, because we need to understand: where in Asia, will Russian territory be endangered or not? By the way, it's immediately clear what was the root cause of the exit: not Russia and not mythical violations of the [Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces] Treaty by us. If they are going to put [U.S. missiles] in Asia, then Asia is the primary reason for withdrawing from this Treaty [вдруг услышали от американских военных, что первый шаг в этом направлении будет сделан как раз в Азии. Но он и нас затрагивает, потому что надо понять: где в Азии, будет доставать это российскую территорию или нет? Кстати говоря, сразу понятно, что было первопричиной выхода: не Россия и не мифические нарушения нами Договора. Если они собираются ставить в Азии, то Азия и является первопричиной выхода из этого Договора]." In other words, Putin's announcement of this initiative to accelerate military cooperation with China is intended, in part, as a response to the United States' move to exit the INF accord.

Strongly hinting that Beijing might well gain access to Russian early-warning radars based in the Arctic, Petrovsky observes, "Taking into account geography, it is quite possible to develop protocols for the exchange of data between national SPRN." He further contends that this early warning cooperation will be "mutually beneficial and not without compensation [эта помощь -- взаимовыгодная и небезвозмездная]." This military expert explains that China still can learn from Russian radar proficiency, but also implies that the Russian side may gain some advantages from China's evident prowess in microelectronics, for example. Moreover, he suggests, "a possible Chinese satellite constellation could be a good addition to Russian orbital facilities." Still, Petrovsky concludes that Russia and China "are not creating a military-political alliance. It is rather a matter of coordinating the military policies." Playing down the significance of this new initiative, this specialist also notes that Russia and China have been holding annual ballistic missile defense command and staff exercises for about a decade already.

[Feb 27, 2020] Qasem Soleimani - Wikipedia

Jan 06, 2020 | en.wikipedia.org

Orchestration of military escalation in 2015 In 2015, Soleimani started to gather support from various sources in order to combat the newly resurgent ISIL and rebel groups which were both successful in taking large swathes of territory away from Assad's forces. He was reportedly the main architect of the joint intervention involving Russia as a new partner with Assad and Hezbollah. In 2015, Soleimani started to gather support from various sources in order to combat the newly resurgent ISIL and rebel groups which were both successful in taking large swathes of territory away from Assad's forces. He was reportedly the main architect of the joint intervention involving Russia as a new partner with Assad and Hezbollah. [47] [48] [49] [50]

According to Reuters, at a meeting in Moscow in July, Soleimani unfurled a map of Syria to explain to his Russian hosts how a series of defeats for President Bashar al-Assad could be turned into victory – with Russia's help. Qasem Soleimani's visit to Moscow was the first step in planning for a Russian military intervention that has reshaped the Syrian war and forged a new According to Reuters, at a meeting in Moscow in July, Soleimani unfurled a map of Syria to explain to his Russian hosts how a series of defeats for President Bashar al-Assad could be turned into victory – with Russia's help. Qasem Soleimani's visit to Moscow was the first step in planning for a Russian military intervention that has reshaped the Syrian war and forged a new According to Reuters, at a meeting in Moscow in July, Soleimani unfurled a map of Syria to explain to his Russian hosts how a series of defeats for President Bashar al-Assad could be turned into victory – with Russia's help.

Qasem Soleimani's visit to Moscow was the first step in planning for a Russian military intervention that has reshaped the Syrian war and forged a new Iran–Russia alliance in support of the Syrian (and Iraqi) governments. Iran's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei also sent a senior envoy to Moscow to meet President Vladimir Putin. "Putin reportedly told [a senior Iranian envoy] 'Okay we will intervene. Send Qassem Soleimani.'" General Soleimani went to explain the map of the theatre and coordinate the strategic escalation of military forces in Syria. [49]

Operations in Aleppo
Map of the 2015 Aleppo offensives. [51] [52] [53] [54] [55] [56]

Soleimani had a decisive impact on the theater of operations, which led to a strong advance in southern Aleppo with the government and allied forces re-capturing two military bases and dozens of towns and villages in a matter of weeks. There was also a series of major advances towards Kuweiris air-base to the north-east. [57] By mid-November, the Syrian army and its allies had gained ground in southern areas of Aleppo Governorate, capturing numerous rebel strongholds. Soleimani was reported to have personally led the drive deep into the southern Aleppo countryside where many towns and villages fell into government hands. He reportedly commanded the Syrian Arab Army's 4th Mechanized Division, Hezbollah, Harakat Al-Nujaba (Iraqi), Kata'ib Hezbollah (Iraqi), Liwaa Abu Fadl Al-Abbas (Iraqi), and Firqa Fatayyemoun (Afghan/Iranian volunteers). [58]

In early February 2016, backed by Russian and Syrian air force airstrikes, the 4th Mechanized Division – in close coordination with Hezbollah, the National Defense Forces (NDF), Kata'eb Hezbollah, and Harakat Al-Nujaba – launched an offensive in Aleppo Governorate's northern countryside, [59] which eventually broke the three-year siege of Nubl and Al-Zahraa and cut off the rebels' main supply route from Turkey. According to a senior, non-Syrian security source close to Damascus, Iranian fighters played a crucial role in the conflict. "Qassem Soleimani is there in the same area", he said. [60] In December 2016, new photos emerged of Soleimani at the Citadel of Aleppo , though the exact date of the photos is unknown. [61] [62]

... ... ...

In 2014, Qasem Soleimani was in the Iraqi city of Amirli , to work with the Iraqi forces to push back militants from ISIL. [68] [69] According to the Los Angeles Times , which reported that Amirli was the first town to successfully withstand an ISIS invasion, it was secured thanks to "an unusual partnership of Iraqi and Kurdish soldiers, Iranian-backed Shiite militias and U.S. warplanes". The U.S. acted as a force multiplier for a number of Iranian-backed armed groups – at the same time that was present on the battlefield. [70] [71] Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani prays in the Syrian desert during a local pro-government offensive in 2017

A senior Iraqi official told the BBC that when the city of Mosul fell, the rapid reaction of Iran, rather than American bombing, was what prevented a more widespread collapse. [11] Qasem Soleimani also seems to have been instrumental in planning the operation to relieve Amirli in Saladin Governorate, where ISIL had laid siege to an important city. [66] In fact the Quds force operatives under Soleimani's command seem to have been deeply involved with not only the Iraqi army and Shi'ite militias but also the Kurdish in the Battle of Amirli , [72] not only providing liaisons for intelligence-sharing but also the supply of arms and munitions in addition to "providing expertise". [73]

In the operation to liberate Jurf Al Sakhar , he was reportedly "present on the battlefield". Some Shia militia commanders described Soleimani as "fearless" – one pointing out that the Iranian general never wears a flak jacket , even on the front lines. [74]

In November 2014, Shi'ite and Kurdish forces under Soleimani's command pushed ISIS out of Iraqi villages of Jalawla and Saadia, in the Diyala Governorate . [67]

Soleimani was also intimately involved in the planning and execution of the operation to liberate Tikrit . [75] [76]

Soleimani played an integral role in the organisation and planning of the crucial operation to retake the city of Tikrit in Iraq from ISIS. The city of Tikrit rests on the left bank of the Tigris river and is the largest and most important city between Baghdad and Mosul, giving it a high strategic value. The city fell to ISIS during 2014 when ISIS made immense gains in northern and central Iraq. After its capture, ISIL's massacre at Camp Speicher led to 1,600 to 1,700 deaths of Iraqi Army cadets and soldiers. After months of careful preparation and intelligence gathering an offensive to encircle and capture Tikrit was launched in early March 2015. [76]

[Feb 27, 2020] An interesting view on Russian "intelligencia" by the scientist and writer Zinoviev expressed during "perestroika" in 1991

Highly recommended!
Feb 27, 2020 | en.wikipedia.org

If intellectuals replace the current professional politicians as the leaders of society the situation would become much worse. Because they have neither the sense of reality, nor common sense. For them, the words and speeches are more important than the actual social laws and the dominant trends, the dominant social dynamics of the society. The psychological principle of the intellectuals is that we could organize everything much better, but we are not allowed to do it.

But the actual situation is as following: they could organize the life of society as they wish and plan, in the way they view is the best only if under conditions that are not present now are not feasible in the future. Therefore they are not able to act even at the level of current leaders of the society, which they despise. The actual leaders are influenced by social pressures, by the current social situation, but at least they doing something. Intellectuals are unhappy that the real stream of life they are living in. They consider it wrong. that makes them very dangerous, because they look really smart, while in reality being sophisticated professional idiots.

[Feb 23, 2020] Welcome to the American Regime

Highly recommended!
Feb 23, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

4 hours ago

Is America a 'regime'?

In the language of the American Oligarchy and it's tame and owned presstitutes on the MSM, any country targeted for destabilisation, destruction and rape – either because it doesn't do what America tells it do (Russia), because it has rich natural resources or has a 'socialist' state (Venezuela) or because lunatic neo-cons and even more lunatic Christian Evangelicals (hoping to provoke The End Times ) want it to happen (Syria and Iran) – is first labelled as a 'regime'.

That's because the word 'regime' is associated with dictatorships and human rights abuses and establishing a non-compliant country as a 'regime' is the US government's and MSM's first step at manufacturing public consent for that country's destruction.

Unfortunately if you sit back and talk a cool-headed, factual look at actions and attitudes that we're told constitute a regime then you have to conclude that America itself is 'a regime'.

So, here's why America is a regime:

4 hours ago

America's Military is Killing – Americans!

In 2018, Republicans (AND Democrats) voted to cut $23 billion dollars from the budget for food stamps (42 million Americans currently receive them).

Fats forward to 21 December 2019 and Donald Trump signed off on a US defense budget of a mind boggling $738 billion dollars.

To put that in context  --  the annual US government Education budget is sround $68 billion dollars.

Did you get that  --  $738 billion on defense, $68 billion on education?

That means the government spends more than ten times on preparations to kill people than it does on preparing children for life in the adult world.

Wow!

How ******* psychotic and death-affirming is that? It gets even worse when you consider that that $716 billion dollars is only the headline figure – it doesn't include whatever the Deep State siphons away into black-ops and kick backs. And .America's military isn't even very good – it's hasn't 'won' a conflict since the second world war, it's proud (and horrifically expensive) aircraft carriers have been rendered obsolete by Chinese and Russian hypersonic missiles and its 'cutting edge' weapons are so good (not) that everyone wants to buy the cheaper and better Russian versions: classic example – the F-35 jet program will screw $1.5 TRILLION (yes, TRILLION) dollars out of US taxpayers but but it's a piece of **** plane that doesn't work properly which the Russians laughingly refer to as 'a flying piano'.

In contrast to America's free money for the military industrial complex defense budget, China spends $165 billion and Russia spends $61 billion on defense and I don't see anyone attacking them (well, except America, that is be it only by proxy for now).

Or, put things another way. The United Kingdom spent £110 billion on it's National Health Service in 2017. That means, if you get sick in England, you can see a doctor for free. If you need drugs you pay a prescription charge of around $11.50(nothing, if unemployed, a child or elderly), whatever the market price of the drugs. If you need to see a consultant or medical specialist, you'll see one for free. If you need an operation, you'll get one for free. If you need on-going care for a chronic illness, you'll get it for free.

Fully socialised, free at the point of access, healthcare for all. How good is that?

US citizens could have that, too.

Allowing for the US's larger population, the UK National Health Service transplanted to America could cost about $650 billion a year. That would still leave $66 billion dollars left over from the proposed defense budget of $716 billion to finance weapons of death and destruction   --  more than those 'evil Ruskies' spend.

The US has now been at war, somewhere in the world (i.e in someone elses' country where the US doesn't have any business being) continuously for 28 years. Those 28 years have coincided with (for the 'ordinary people', anyway) declining living standards, declining real wages, increased police violence, more repression and surveillance, declining lifespans, declining educational and health outcomes, more every day misery in other words, America's military is killing Americans. Oh, and millions of people in far away countries (although, obviously, those deaths are in far away countries and they are of brown-skinned people so they don't really count, do they?).

Time for a change, perhaps?

[Feb 23, 2020] Where Have You Gone, Smedley Butler The Last General To Criticize US Imperialism by Danny Sjursen

Here's a link to a free online copy of War is a Racket if anyone wants to read it. It's a short read. Pretty good too. https://www.ratical.org/ratville/CAH/warisaracket.html
From comments (Is the USA government now a "regime"): In 2018, Republicans (AND Democrats) voted to cut $23 billion dollars from the budget for food stamps (42 million Americans currently receive them). Regimes disobey international law. Like America's habit of blowing up wedding parties with drones or the illegal presence of its troops in Syria, Iraq and God knows where else. Regimes carry out illegal assassination programs – I need say no more here than Qasem Soleimani. Regimes use their economic power to bully and impose their will – sanctioning countries even when they know those sanctions will, for example, be responsible for the death of 500,000 Iraqi children (the 'price worth paying', remember?). Regimes renege on international treaties – like Iran nuclear treaty, for example. Regimes imprison and hound whistle-blowers – like Chelsea manning and Julian Assange. Regimes imprison people. America is the world leader in incarceration. It has 2.2 million people in its prisons (more than China which has 5 times the US's population), that's 25% of the world's prison population for 5% of the world's population, Why does America need so many prisoners? Because it has a massive, prison-based, slave labour business that is hugely profitable for the oligarchy.
Regimes censor free speech. Just recently, we've seen numerous non-narrative following journalists and organisations kicked off numerous social media platforms. I didn't see lots of US senators standing up and saying 'I disagree completely with what you say but I will fight to the death to preserve your right to say it'. Did you?
Regimes are ruled by cliques. I don't need to tell you that America is kakistocratic Oligarchy ruled by a tiny group of evil, rich, Old Men, do I?
Regimes keep bad company. Their allies are other 'regimes', and they're often lumped together by using another favourite presstitute term – 'axis of evil'. America has its own little axis of evil. It's two main allies are Saudi Arabia – a homophobic, women hating, head chopping, terrorist financing state currently engaged in a war of genocide (assisted by the US) in Yemen – and the racist, genocidal undeclared nuclear power state of Israel.
Regimes commit human rights abuses. Here we could talk about…ooh…let's think. Last year's treatment of child refugees from Latin America, the execution of African Americans for 'walking whilst black' by America's militarized, criminal police force or the millions of dollars in cash and property seized from entirely innocent Americans by that same police force under 'civil forfeiture' laws or maybe we could mention huge American corporations getting tax refunds whilst ordinary Americans can't afford decent, effective healthcare.
Regimes finance terrorism. Mmmm….just like America financed terrorists to help destroy Syria and Libya and invested $5 billion dollars to install another regime – the one of anti-Semites and Nazis in Ukraine…
Highly recommended!
Some comments edited for clarity...
Notable quotes:
"... But after retirement, Smedley Butler changed his tune. ..."
"... "I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service... And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street, and for the Bankers." ..."
"... Smedley Butler's Marine Corps and the military of his day was, in certain ways, a different sort of organization than today's highly professionalized armed forces. History rarely repeats itself, not in a literal sense anyway. Still, there are some disturbing similarities between the careers of Butler and today's generation of forever-war fighters. All of them served repeated tours of duty in (mostly) unsanctioned wars around the world. Butler's conflicts may have stretched west from Haiti across the oceans to China, whereas today's generals mostly lead missions from West Africa east to Central Asia, but both sets of conflicts seemed perpetual in their day and were motivated by barely concealed economic and imperial interests. ..."
"... When Smedley Butler retired in 1931, he was one of three Marine Corps major generals holding a rank just below that of only the Marine commandant and the Army chief of staff. Today, with about 900 generals and admirals currently serving on active duty, including 24 major generals in the Marine Corps alone, and with scores of flag officers retiring annually, not a single one has offered genuine public opposition to almost 19 years worth of ill-advised, remarkably unsuccessful American wars . As for the most senior officers, the 40 four-star generals and admirals whose vocal antimilitarism might make the biggest splash, there are more of them today than there were even at the height of the Vietnam War, although the active military is now about half the size it was then. Adulated as many of them may be, however, not one qualifies as a public critic of today's failing wars. ..."
"... The big three are Secretary of State Colin Powell's former chief of staff, retired Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson ; Vietnam veteran and onetime West Point history instructor, retired Colonel Andrew Bacevich ; and Iraq veteran and Afghan War whistleblower , retired Lieutenant Colonel Danny Davis . All three have proven to be genuine public servants, poignant voices, and -- on some level -- cherished personal mentors. For better or worse, however, none carry the potential clout of a retired senior theater commander or prominent four-star general offering the same critiques. ..."
"... Consider it an irony of sorts that this system first received criticism in our era of forever wars when General David Petraeus, then commanding the highly publicized " surge " in Iraq, had to leave that theater of war in 2007 to serve as the chair of that selection committee. The reason: he wanted to ensure that a twice passed-over colonel, a protégé of his -- future Trump National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster -- earned his star. ..."
"... At the roots of this system lay the obsession of the American officer corps with " professionalization " after the Vietnam War debacle. This first manifested itself in a decision to ditch the citizen-soldier tradition, end the draft, and create an "all-volunteer force." The elimination of conscription, as predicted by critics at the time, created an ever-growing civil-military divide, even as it increased public apathy regarding America's wars by erasing whatever " skin in the game " most citizens had. ..."
"... One group of generals, however, reportedly now does have it out for President Trump -- but not because they're opposed to endless war. Rather, they reportedly think that The Donald doesn't "listen enough to military advice" on, you know, how to wage war forever and a day. ..."
"... That beast, first identified by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, is now on steroids as American commanders in retirement regularly move directly from the military onto the boards of the giant defense contractors, a reality which only contributes to the dearth of Butlers in the military retiree community. For all the corruption of his time, the Pentagon didn't yet exist and the path from the military to, say, United Fruit Company, Standard Oil, or other typical corporate giants of that moment had yet to be normalized for retiring generals and admirals. Imagine what Butler would have had to say about the modern phenomenon of the " revolving door " in Washington. ..."
"... Today, generals don't seem to have a thought of their own even in retirement. And more's the pity... ..."
"... Am I the only one to notice that Hollywood and it's film distributors have gone full bore on "war" productions, glorifying these historical events while using poetic license to rewrite history. Prepping the numbheads. ..."
"... Forget rank. As Mr Sjursen implies, dissidents are no longer allowed in the higher ranks. "They" made sure to fix this as Mr Butler had too much of a mind of his own (US education system also programmed against creative, charismatic thinkers, btw). ..."
"... Today, the "Masters of the Permawars" refer to the international extortion, MIC, racket as "Defending American Interests"! .....With never any explanation to the public/American taxpayer just what "American Interests" the incredible expenditures of American lives, blood, and treasure are being defended! ..."
"... "The Americans follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous." - Jospeh Goebbels ..."
"... The greatest anti-imperialist of our times is Michael Parenti: ..."
"... The obvious types of American fascists are dealt with on the air and in the press. These demagogues and stooges are fronts for others. Dangerous as these people may be, they are not so significant as thousands of other people who have never been mentioned. The really dangerous American fascists are not those who are hooked up directly or indirectly with the Axis. The FBI has its finger on those. The dangerous American fascist is the man who wants to do in the United States in an American way what Hitler did in Germany in a Prussian way. The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power. ..."
"... If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists in the United States. There are probably several hundred thousand if we narrow the definition to include only those who in their search for money and power are ruthless and deceitful. Most American fascists are enthusiastically supporting the war effort. ..."
Feb 23, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Danny Sjursen via TomDispatch.com,

There once lived an odd little man - five feet nine inches tall and barely 140 pounds sopping wet - who rocked the lecture circuit and the nation itself. For all but a few activist insiders and scholars, U.S. Marine Corps Major General Smedley Darlington Butler is now lost to history. Yet more than a century ago, this strange contradiction of a man would become a national war hero, celebrated in pulp adventure novels, and then, 30 years later, as one of this country's most prominent antiwar and anti-imperialist dissidents.

Raised in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and educated in Quaker (pacifist) schools, the son of an influential congressman, he would end up serving in nearly all of America's " Banana Wars " from 1898 to 1931. Wounded in combat and a rare recipient of two Congressional Medals of Honor, he would retire as the youngest, most decorated major general in the Marines.

A teenage officer and a certified hero during an international intervention in the Chinese Boxer Rebellion of 1900, he would later become a constabulary leader of the Haitian gendarme, the police chief of Philadelphia (while on an approved absence from the military), and a proponent of Marine Corps football. In more standard fashion, he would serve in battle as well as in what might today be labeled peacekeeping , counterinsurgency , and advise-and-assist missions in Cuba, China, the Philippines, Panama, Nicaragua, Mexico, Haiti, France, and China (again). While he showed early signs of skepticism about some of those imperial campaigns or, as they were sardonically called by critics at the time, " Dollar Diplomacy " operations -- that is, military campaigns waged on behalf of U.S. corporate business interests -- until he retired he remained the prototypical loyal Marine.

But after retirement, Smedley Butler changed his tune. He began to blast the imperialist foreign policy and interventionist bullying in which he'd only recently played such a prominent part. Eventually, in 1935 during the Great Depression, in what became a classic passage in his memoir, which he titled "War Is a Racket," he wrote:

"I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service... And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street, and for the Bankers."

Seemingly overnight, the famous war hero transformed himself into an equally acclaimed antiwar speaker and activist in a politically turbulent era. Those were, admittedly, uncommonly anti-interventionist years, in which veterans and politicians alike promoted what (for America, at least) had been fringe ideas. This was, after all, the height of what later pro-war interventionists would pejoratively label American " isolationism ."

Nonetheless, Butler was unique (for that moment and certainly for our own) in his unapologetic amenability to left-wing domestic politics and materialist critiques of American militarism. In the last years of his life, he would face increasing criticism from his former admirer, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the military establishment, and the interventionist press. This was particularly true after Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany invaded Poland and later France. Given the severity of the Nazi threat to mankind, hindsight undoubtedly proved Butler's virulent opposition to U.S. intervention in World War II wrong.

Nevertheless, the long-term erasure of his decade of antiwar and anti-imperialist activism and the assumption that all his assertions were irrelevant has proven historically deeply misguided. In the wake of America's brief but bloody entry into the First World War, the skepticism of Butler (and a significant part of an entire generation of veterans) about intervention in a new European bloodbath should have been understandable. Above all, however, his critique of American militarism of an earlier imperial era in the Pacific and in Latin America remains prescient and all too timely today, especially coming as it did from one of the most decorated and high-ranking general officers of his time. (In the era of the never-ending war on terror, such a phenomenon is quite literally inconceivable.)

Smedley Butler's Marine Corps and the military of his day was, in certain ways, a different sort of organization than today's highly professionalized armed forces. History rarely repeats itself, not in a literal sense anyway. Still, there are some disturbing similarities between the careers of Butler and today's generation of forever-war fighters. All of them served repeated tours of duty in (mostly) unsanctioned wars around the world. Butler's conflicts may have stretched west from Haiti across the oceans to China, whereas today's generals mostly lead missions from West Africa east to Central Asia, but both sets of conflicts seemed perpetual in their day and were motivated by barely concealed economic and imperial interests.

Nonetheless, whereas this country's imperial campaigns of the first third of the twentieth century generated a Smedley Butler, the hyper-interventionism of the first decades of this century hasn't produced a single even faintly comparable figure. Not one. Zero. Zilch. Why that is matters and illustrates much about the U.S. military establishment and contemporary national culture, none of it particularly encouraging.

Why No Antiwar Generals

When Smedley Butler retired in 1931, he was one of three Marine Corps major generals holding a rank just below that of only the Marine commandant and the Army chief of staff. Today, with about 900 generals and admirals currently serving on active duty, including 24 major generals in the Marine Corps alone, and with scores of flag officers retiring annually, not a single one has offered genuine public opposition to almost 19 years worth of ill-advised, remarkably unsuccessful American wars . As for the most senior officers, the 40 four-star generals and admirals whose vocal antimilitarism might make the biggest splash, there are more of them today than there were even at the height of the Vietnam War, although the active military is now about half the size it was then. Adulated as many of them may be, however, not one qualifies as a public critic of today's failing wars.

Instead, the principal patriotic dissent against those terror wars has come from retired colonels, lieutenant colonels, and occasionally more junior officers (like me), as well as enlisted service members. Not that there are many of us to speak of either. I consider it disturbing (and so should you) that I personally know just about every one of the retired military figures who has spoken out against America's forever wars.

The big three are Secretary of State Colin Powell's former chief of staff, retired Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson ; Vietnam veteran and onetime West Point history instructor, retired Colonel Andrew Bacevich ; and Iraq veteran and Afghan War whistleblower , retired Lieutenant Colonel Danny Davis . All three have proven to be genuine public servants, poignant voices, and -- on some level -- cherished personal mentors. For better or worse, however, none carry the potential clout of a retired senior theater commander or prominent four-star general offering the same critiques.

Something must account for veteran dissenters topping out at the level of colonel. Obviously, there are personal reasons why individual officers chose early retirement or didn't make general or admiral. Still, the system for selecting flag officers should raise at least a few questions when it comes to the lack of antiwar voices among retired commanders. In fact, a selection committee of top generals and admirals is appointed each year to choose the next colonels to earn their first star. And perhaps you won't be surprised to learn that, according to numerous reports , "the members of this board are inclined, if not explicitly motivated, to seek candidates in their own image -- officers whose careers look like theirs." At a minimal level, such a system is hardly built to foster free thinkers, no less breed potential dissidents.

Consider it an irony of sorts that this system first received criticism in our era of forever wars when General David Petraeus, then commanding the highly publicized " surge " in Iraq, had to leave that theater of war in 2007 to serve as the chair of that selection committee. The reason: he wanted to ensure that a twice passed-over colonel, a protégé of his -- future Trump National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster -- earned his star.

Mainstream national security analysts reported on this affair at the time as if it were a major scandal, since most of them were convinced that Petraeus and his vaunted counterinsurgency or " COINdinista " protégés and their " new " war-fighting doctrine had the magic touch that would turn around the failing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In fact, Petraeus tried to apply those very tactics twice -- once in each country -- as did acolytes of his later, and you know the results of that.

But here's the point: it took an eleventh-hour intervention by America's most acclaimed general of that moment to get new stars handed out to prominent colonels who had, until then, been stonewalled by Cold War-bred flag officers because they were promoting different (but also strangely familiar) tactics in this country's wars. Imagine, then, how likely it would be for such a leadership system to produce genuine dissenters with stars of any serious sort, no less a crew of future Smedley Butlers.

At the roots of this system lay the obsession of the American officer corps with " professionalization " after the Vietnam War debacle. This first manifested itself in a decision to ditch the citizen-soldier tradition, end the draft, and create an "all-volunteer force." The elimination of conscription, as predicted by critics at the time, created an ever-growing civil-military divide, even as it increased public apathy regarding America's wars by erasing whatever " skin in the game " most citizens had.

More than just helping to squelch civilian antiwar activism, though, the professionalization of the military, and of the officer corps in particular, ensured that any future Smedley Butlers would be left in the dust (or in retirement at the level of lieutenant colonel or colonel) by a system geared to producing faux warrior-monks. Typical of such figures is current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army General Mark Milley. He may speak gruffly and look like a man with a head of his own, but typically he's turned out to be just another yes-man for another war-power -hungry president.

One group of generals, however, reportedly now does have it out for President Trump -- but not because they're opposed to endless war. Rather, they reportedly think that The Donald doesn't "listen enough to military advice" on, you know, how to wage war forever and a day.

What Would Smedley Butler Think Today?

In his years of retirement, Smedley Butler regularly focused on the economic component of America's imperial war policies. He saw clearly that the conflicts he had fought in, the elections he had helped rig, the coups he had supported, and the constabularies he had formed and empowered in faraway lands had all served the interests of U.S. corporate investors. Though less overtly the case today, this still remains a reality in America's post-9/11 conflicts, even on occasion embarrassingly so (as when the Iraqi ministry of oil was essentially the only public building protected by American troops as looters tore apart the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, in the post-invasion chaos of April 2003). Mostly, however, such influence plays out far more subtly than that, both abroad and here at home where those wars help maintain the record profits of the top weapons makers of the military-industrial complex.

That beast, first identified by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, is now on steroids as American commanders in retirement regularly move directly from the military onto the boards of the giant defense contractors, a reality which only contributes to the dearth of Butlers in the military retiree community. For all the corruption of his time, the Pentagon didn't yet exist and the path from the military to, say, United Fruit Company, Standard Oil, or other typical corporate giants of that moment had yet to be normalized for retiring generals and admirals. Imagine what Butler would have had to say about the modern phenomenon of the " revolving door " in Washington.

Of course, he served in a very different moment, one in which military funding and troop levels were still contested in Congress. As a longtime critic of capitalist excesses who wrote for leftist publications and supported the Socialist Party candidate in the 1936 presidential elections, Butler would have found today's nearly trillion-dollar annual defense budgets beyond belief. What the grizzled former Marine long ago identified as a treacherous nexus between warfare and capital "in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives" seems to have reached its natural end point in the twenty-first century. Case in point: the record (and still rising ) "defense" spending of the present moment, including -- to please a president -- the creation of a whole new military service aimed at the full-scale militarization of space .

Sadly enough, in the age of Trump, as numerous polls demonstrate, the U.S. military is the only public institution Americans still truly trust. Under the circumstances, how useful it would be to have a high-ranking, highly decorated, charismatic retired general in the Butler mold galvanize an apathetic public around those forever wars of ours. Unfortunately, the likelihood of that is practically nil, given the military system of our moment.

Of course, Butler didn't exactly end his life triumphantly. In late May 1940, having lost 25 pounds due to illness and exhaustion -- and demonized as a leftist, isolationist crank but still maintaining a whirlwind speaking schedule -- he checked himself into the Philadelphia Navy Yard Hospital for a "rest." He died there, probably of some sort of cancer, four weeks later. Working himself to death in his 10-year retirement and second career as a born-again antiwar activist, however, might just have constituted the very best service that the two-time Medal of Honor winner could have given the nation he loved to the very end.

Someone of his credibility, character, and candor is needed more than ever today. Unfortunately, this military generation is unlikely to produce such a figure. In retirement, Butler himself boldly confessed that, "like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical..."

Today, generals don't seem to have a thought of their own even in retirement. And more's the pity...

2 minutes ago
Am I the only one to notice that Hollywood and it's film distributors have gone full bore on "war" productions, glorifying these historical events while using poetic license to rewrite history. Prepping the numbheads.
14 minutes ago
TULSI GABBARD.

Forget rank. As Mr Sjursen implies, dissidents are no longer allowed in the higher ranks. "They" made sure to fix this as Mr Butler had too much of a mind of his own (US education system also programmed against creative, charismatic thinkers, btw).

The US Space Force has been created as part of a plan to disclose the deep state's Secret Space Program (SSP), which has been active for decades, and which has utilized, and repressed, advanced technologies that would provide free, unlimited renewable energy, and thus eliminate hunger and poverty on a planetary scale.

14 minutes ago
14 minutes ago

ALL wars are EVIL. Period .

29 minutes ago

Sadly enough, in the age of Trump, as numerous polls demonstrate, the U.S. military is the only public institution Americans still truly trust. Under the circumstances, how useful it would be to have a high-ranking, highly decorated, charismatic retired general in the Butler mold galvanize an apathetic public around those forever wars of ours. Unfortunately, the likelihood of that is practically nil, given the military system of our moment.

This is why I feel an oath keeping constitutionally oriented American general is what we need in power, clear out all 545 criminals in office now, review their finances (and most of them will roll over on the others) and punish accordingly, then the lobbyist, how many of them worked against the country? You know what we do with those.

And then, finally, Hollywood, oh yes I long to see that **** hole burn with everyone in it.

30 minutes ago
Republicrat: the two faces of the moar war whore.
32 minutes ago

Given the severity of the Nazi threat to mankind

Do tell, from what I've read the Nazis were really only a threat to a few groups, the rest of us didn't need to worry.

35 minutes ago
Today, the "Masters of the Permawars" refer to the international extortion, MIC, racket as "Defending American Interests"! .....With never any explanation to the public/American taxpayer just what "American Interests" the incredible expenditures of American lives, blood, and treasure are being defended!

Why are we sending our children out into the hellholes of the world to be maimed and killed in the fauxjew banksters' quest for world domination.

How stupid can we be!

41 minutes ago
(Edited) "Smedley Butler"... The last time the UCMJ was actually used before being permanently turned into a "door stop"!
49 minutes ago
He was correct about our staying out of WWII. Which, BTW, would have never happened if we had stayed out of WWI.
22 minutes ago
(Edited) Both wars were about the international fauxjew imposition of debt-money central bankstering.

Both wars were promulgated by the Financial oligarchyof New York. The communist Red Army of Russia was funded and supplied by the Financial oligarchyof New York. It was American Financial oligarchythat built the Russian Red Army that vexed the world and created the Cold War. How many hundreds of millions of goyim were sacrificed to create both the Russian and the Chinese Satanic behemoths.......and the communist horror that is now embedded in American academia, publishing, American politics, so-called news, entertainment, The worldwide Catholic religion, the Pentagon, and the American deep state.......and more!

How stupid can we be. Every generation has the be dragged, kicking and screaming, out of the eternal maw of historical ignorance to avoid falling back into the myriad dark hellholes of history. As we all should know, people who forget their own history are doomed to repeat it.

53 minutes ago
Today's General is a robot with with a DNA.
54 minutes ago
All the General Staff is a bunch of #asskissinglittlechickenshits
57 minutes ago
want to stop senseless Empire wars>>well do this

War = jobs and profit..we get work "THEY" get the profit.. If we taxed all war related profit at 99% how many wars would our rulers start? 1 hour ago

Here is a simple straightforward trading maxim that might apply here: if it works or is working keep doing it, but if it doesn't work or stops working, then STOP doing it. There are plenty of people, now poorer, for not adhering to that simple principle. Where is the Taxpayer's return on investment from the Combat taking place on their behalf around the globe? 'Nuff said - it isn't working. It is making a microscopic few richer & all others poorer so STOP doing it. 36 seconds ago We don't have to look far to figure out who they are that are getting rich off the fauxjew permawars.

How can we be so stupid???

1 hour ago

See also:

TULSI GABBARD

1 hour ago

The main reason you don't see the generals criticizing is that the current crop have not been in actual long term direct combat with the enemy and have mostly been bureaucratic paper pushers.

Take the Marine Major General who is the current commander of CENTCOM. By the time he got into the Iraq/Afghanistan war he was already a Lieutenant Colonel and far removed from direct action.

He was only there on and off for a few years. Here are some of his other career highlights aft as they appear on his official bio:

In short, these top guys aren't warriors they're bureaucrats so why would we expect them to be honest brokers of the truth?

51 minutes ago

are U saying Chesty Puller he's NOT? 1 hour ago
(Edited) The purpose of war is to ensure that the Federal Reserve Note remains the world reserve paper currency of choice by keeping it relevant and in demand across the globe by forcing pesky energy producing nations to trade with it exclusively.

It is a 49 year old policy created by the private owners of quasi public institutions called central banks to ensure they remain the Wizards of Oz doing gods work conjuring magic paper into existence with a secret spell known as issuing credit.

How else is a technologically advanced society of billions of people supposed to function w/out this divinely inspired paper?

1 hour ago

Goebbels in "Churchill's Lie Factory" where he said: "The Americans follow the principle that when one lies, one should lie big, and stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous." - Jospeh Goebbels, "Aus Churchills Lügenfabrik," 12. january 1941, Die Zeit ohne Beispiel

1 hour ago

The greatest anti-imperialist of our times is Michael Parenti:

Imperialism has been the most powerful force in world history over the last four or five centuries, carving up whole continents while oppressing indigenous peoples and obliterating entire civilizations. Yet, it is seldom accorded any serious attention by our academics, media commentators, and political leaders. When not ignored outright, the subject of imperialism has been sanitized, so that empires become "commonwealths," and colonies become "territories" or "dominions" (or, as in the case of Puerto Rico, "commonwealths" too). Imperialist military interventions become matters of "national defense," "national security," and maintaining "stability" in one or another region. In this book I want to look at imperialism for what it really is.

https://www.historyisaweapon.com/defcon1/imperialism.html

49 minutes ago
"Imperialism has been the most powerful force in world history over the last four or five centuries, carving up whole continents while oppressing indigenous peoples and obliterating entire civilizations. Yet, it is seldom accorded any serious attention by our academics, media commentators, and political leaders."

Why would it when they who control academia, media and most of our politicians are our enemies.

1 hour ago

"The big three are Secretary of State Colin Powell's former chief of staff, retired Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson ; ..."

Yep, Wilkerson, who leaked Valerie Plame's name, not that it was a leak, to Novak, and then stood by to watch the grand jury fry Scooter Libby. Wilkerson, that paragon of moral rectitude. Wilkerson the silent, that *******.

sheesh,

1 hour ago
(Edited)

" A standing military force, with an overgrown Executive will not long be safe companions to liberty. The means of defence against foreign danger, have been always the instruments of tyranny at home. Among the Romans it was a standing maxim to excite a war, whenever a revolt was apprehended. Throughout all Europe, the armies kept up under the pretext of defending, have enslaved the people."

James Madison Friday June 29, 1787

https://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/debates_629.asp

"What, Sir, is the use of a militia? It is to prevent the establishment of a standing army, the bane of liberty.... Whenever Governments mean to invade the rights and liberties of the people, they always attempt to destroy the militia, in order to raise an army upon their ruins." (Rep. Elbridge Gerry of Massachusetts, spoken during floor debate over the Second Amendment [I Annals of Congress at 750, August 17, 1789])

http://press-pubs.uchicago.edu/founders/documents/amendIIs6.html

1 hour ago

A particularly pernicious example of intra-European imperialism was the Nazi aggression during World War II, which gave the German business cartels and the Nazi state an opportunity to plunder the resources and exploit the labor of occupied Europe, including the slave labor of concentration camps. - M. PARENTI, Against empire

See Alexander Parvus

1 hour ago

Collapse is the cure. It's too far gone.

1 hour ago

Russia Wants to 'Jam' F-22 and F-35s in the Middle East: Report

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/russia-wants-jam-f-22-and-f-35s-middle-east-report-121041

1 hour ago

ZH retards think that the American mic is bad and all other mics are good or don't exist. That's the power of brainwashing. Humans understand that war in general is bad, but humans are becoming increasingly rare in this world.

1 hour ago

The obvious types of American fascists are dealt with on the air and in the press. These demagogues and stooges are fronts for others. Dangerous as these people may be, they are not so significant as thousands of other people who have never been mentioned. The really dangerous American fascists are not those who are hooked up directly or indirectly with the Axis. The FBI has its finger on those. The dangerous American fascist is the man who wants to do in the United States in an American way what Hitler did in Germany in a Prussian way. The American fascist would prefer not to use violence. His method is to poison the channels of public information. With a fascist the problem is never how best to present the truth to the public but how best to use the news to deceive the public into giving the fascist and his group more money or more power.

If we define an American fascist as one who in case of conflict puts money and power ahead of human beings, then there are undoubtedly several million fascists in the United States. There are probably several hundred thousand if we narrow the definition to include only those who in their search for money and power are ruthless and deceitful. Most American fascists are enthusiastically supporting the war effort.

https://truthout.org/articles/the-dangers-of-american-fascism/

2 hours ago
The swamp is bigger than the military alone. Substitute Bureaucrat, Statesman, or Beltway Bandit for General and Colonel in your writing above and you've got a whole new article to post that is just as true.
2 hours ago
(Edited) War = jobs and profit..we get work "THEY" get the profit..If we taxed all war related profit at 99% how many wars would our rulers start?
2 hours ago [edited for clarity]
War is a racket. And nobody loves a racket more than Financial oligarchy. Americans come close though, that's why Financial oligarchy use them to project their own rackets and provide protection reprisals.

[Feb 16, 2020] Understanding the Ukraine Story by Joe Lauria

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Imagine if we substitute the U.S. for Russia and the country "invaded" was Canada, rather than Ukraine, the government overthrown was in Ottawa and not Kiev, and the provinces embroiled in a foreign-backed civil war have been Nova Scotia and New Brunswick rather the provinces of Eastern Ukraine? This report, written in 2016, may make it easier to understand what has been really going on in Ukraine. Clicking on the links is key to understanding the real story. ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... Versions of this article first appeared on ..."
"... Consortium News ..."
Feb 14, 2020 | consortiumnews.com

The impeachment hearings and trial of Donald Trump were filled with talk of Russian aggression against Ukraine and threats to the United States. But what would it be like if we switched the roles of Russia and the U.S.?

Imagine if we substitute the U.S. for Russia and the country "invaded" was Canada, rather than Ukraine, the government overthrown was in Ottawa and not Kiev, and the provinces embroiled in a foreign-backed civil war have been Nova Scotia and New Brunswick rather the provinces of Eastern Ukraine? This report, written in 2016, may make it easier to understand what has been really going on in Ukraine. Clicking on the links is key to understanding the real story.

By Joe Lauria
Special to Consortium News

T he United States has "invaded" Canada to support the breakaway Maritime provinces that are resisting a Moscow-engineered violent coup d'etat against the democratically elected government in Ottawa.

The U.S. move is to protect separatists in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia after Washington annexed Prince Edwards Island in a quickly arranged referendum .

The Islanders voted over 90 percent in favor of joining the United States following the Russian-backed coup. Moscow has condemned the referendum as illega l.

Hard-liners in the U.S. want Washington to annex all three Maritime provinces, whose fighters are defying the coup in Ottawa after Moscow installed an unelected prime minister.

Russian-backed Canadian federal troops have launched so-called "anti-terrorist" operations in the breakaway region to crush the rebellion, shelling residential areas and killing hundreds of civilians.

The violent coup.

The Canadian army are joined by Russian-supported neofascist battalions that played a crucial role in the overthrow of the Canadian government. In Halifax, the extremists have burned alive at least 40 pro-U.S. civilians who had taken refugee in a trade union building.

Proof that Russia was behind the overthrow of the elected Canadian prime minister is contained in a leaked conversation between Georgiy Yevgenevich Borisenko, foreign ministry chief of Moscow's North America department, and Alexander Darchiev, the Russian ambassador to Canada.

According to a transcript of the leaked conversation, Borisenko discussed who the new Canadian leaders should be six weeks before the coup took place.

Russia moved to launch the coup when Canada decided to take a loan package from the IMF that had fewer strings attached than a loan from Russia.

Russia's Beijing ally was reluctant to back the coup. But this seemed of little concern to Borisenko who is heard on the tape saying, "Fuck China."

Minister handing out cookies in the square.

Weeks before the coup Borisenko was filmed visiting protestors who had camped out in Parliament Square in Ottawa demanding the ouster of the prime minister. Borisenko is seen giving out cakes to the demonstrators.

The foreign ministers of Russian-allied Belarus and Cuba also marched with the protestors through the streets of Ottawa against the government. Russian media has portrayed the unconstitutional change of government an act of "democracy." Russian senators have met in public with extreme right-wing Canadian coup leaders, praising their rebellion.

Borisenko said in a speech that Russia had spent $5 billion over the past decade to "bring democracy" to Canada.

Senator meeting far-right coup leaders.

The money was spent on training "civil society." The use of non-governmental organizations to overthrow foreign governments that stand in the way of Russia's economic and geo-strategic interests is well documented, especially in a 1991 Washington Post column, "Innocence Abroad: The New World of Spyless Coups ."

The United States has thus moved to ban Russian NGOs from operating in the country.

The coup took place as protestors violently clashed with police, breaking through barricades and killing a number of officers. Snipers fired on the police and the crowd from a nearby building in Parliament Square in which the Russian embassy had set up offices just a few floors above, according to Samantha Power, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N.

Son Gets Job After Coup

Russian lawmakers compared President Barack Obama to Adolph Hitler for allegedly sending U.S. troops into the breakaway provinces and for annexing Prince Edward Island in an act of "American aggression." The Maritimes have had long ties to the U.S. dating back to the American Revolution.

Russia says it has intelligence proving that U.S. tanks have crossed the Maine border into New Brunswick, but have failed to make the evidence public. They have revealed no satellite imagery. Russian news media only reports American-backed rebels fighting in the Maritimes, not American troops.

Washington denies it has invaded but says some American volunteers have entered the Canadian province to join the fight.

Russia's puppet prime minister now in charge in Ottawa has only offered as proof six American passports of U.S. soldiers found in New Brunswick.

Son gets job on energy company board after his father's government backs violent coup.

The Maritime Canadian rebels have secured anti-aircraft weapons enabling them to shoot down a number of Royal Canadian Air Force transport planes.

A Malaysian airlines passenger jet was also shot down over Nova Scotia killing all on board. Russia has accused President Obama of being behind the incident, charging that the U.S. provided the anti-aircraft weapon.

Moscow has refused to release any intelligence to support its claim, other than statements by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Canada's economy is near collapse and is dependent on infusions of Russian aid. This comes despite a former Russian foreign ministry official being installed as Canada's finance minister, only receiving Canadian citizenship on her first day on the job.

Despite installing a Russian to run Canada's economy, President Putin told the U.N. General Assembly that Russia had "few economic interests" in the country. But Russian agribusiness companies have already taken stakes in Albertan wheat fields. And Ilya Medvedev, son of Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev, as well as a Lavrov family friend joined the board of Canada's largest oil company just weeks after the coup.

Russia's ultimate aim, beginning with the imposition of sanctions on the U.S., appears to be a color revolution in Washington to overthrow Obama and install a Russian-friendly American president.

This is clear from numerous statements by Russian officials and academics. A former Russian national security advisor whom Putin consults on foreign policy said the United States should be broken into three countries.

He has also written that Canada is the stepping stone to the United States and that if the U.S. loses Canada it will fail to control North America.

Versions of this article first appeared on The Duran and Consortium News in 2016.

Joe Lauria is editor-in-chief of Consortium News and a former correspondent for T he Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe , Sunday Times of London and numerous other newspapers. He can be reached at joelauria@consortiumnews.com and followed on Twitter @unjoe .


mary floyd , February 15, 2020 at 13:20

The most important takeaway in this article for me was that the US should be broken into three separate entities!
That would work well for most Americans. All in all, this is a great piece, Mr. Lauria!

Dao Gen , February 15, 2020 at 02:28

Joe, you are The Truth. The only thing you left out, no doubt for reasons of space and time, was the immortal statement made by a leading member of the Russian Duma, who said during a stirring and well-received speech that, “Canada is our crucial first line of defense against the US. If Canada weren’t there to stop the Americans, we’d have to fight them right here on our own doorstep.”

Herman , February 14, 2020 at 18:52

A very creative way of making the point. Still do not understand the depth of what often appears to be heart felt hate for Russia by very powerful and smart people. Remember reading a comment by Phil Girardi early in the Trump tour when he remarked at the depth of dislike of Russia within the spook community. He wrote he was surprised and had, I think, been part of that community.

Eddie S , February 15, 2020 at 14:51

RE: “…depth of dislike of Russia within the spook community”.
While I have no ‘special knowledge’ of the so-called ‘intelligence community’, there’s a few reasons for this that come to-mind:
— Job preservation. The most obvious. The US wouldn’t need ~80% of those spooks if there
weren’t big scary Russians/Chinese/Iranians/N.Koreans constantly plotting against the
peaceful, benevolent US.

— Spooks believe in what is mainly a distractionary ploy by US oligarchs/plutocrats. These
wealthy interests don’t want to lose some of their wealth to social reforms, so they constantly
financially support scare-mongering, which some spooks unquestioningly accept.

— The profession tends to attract some of the more paranoid elements in our society, so
they’re inclined that way by nature/personality.

robert e williamson jr , February 14, 2020 at 17:51

Well one thing for sure we would not be seeing a female anchor on CNN bemoaning the fact the because of the coronavirus many popular kids toys might not be available here in the U.S. for the up coming holidays (?).

Yes it did happen, hell I couldn’t make that up.

DARYL , February 14, 2020 at 15:45

…or better yet, substitute Central America for Ukraine, and Panama(canal) for Crimea, then you have the makings of an even more salient parallel.

Realist , February 14, 2020 at 15:42

The difference is that under your scenario the world would be a smoking heap of radioactive ashes already as the exceptional nation, unlike the ever cautious Russians, would have immediately made bombastic threats and then launched military attacks to protect its “security interests.” (Warring to “protect” security interests has replaced invasion and occupation to save souls.) Things would have escalated from there to its predestined thermonuclear climax, as they will in the real world if Uncle Sam doesn’t get a grip on his uncontrolled aggression, demanding whatever he wants whenever he wants it at the point of a gun. The world seems to be circling the drain whether or not Washington is allowed to micromanage the affairs of Russia, China, Iran and every last duchy, principality and people’s republic in addition to its own monumental mess it calls domestic affairs. We’ve only got two political parties in this madhouse and they are both equally bent on destroying civilisation if they can’t rule it all, which seems to be the only point they agree on. Each party thinks it preferable to allow an obscenely rich oligarch (what else should we call Trump or Bloomberg?) from the other side to rule rather than a “communist” like Bernie Sanders or a “naive peacenik” like Tulsi Gabbard to be elected president. If the space aliens land tomorrow and start recruiting colonists to populate newly terraformed planets in other solar systems, sign me up. Yeah, it’s become that absurd down here.

JOHN CHUCKMAN , February 14, 2020 at 15:22

Simply imperial rot and corruption of power on all sides.

Neither Democrats nor Republicans have an exclusive on those qualities.

Mark Thomason , February 14, 2020 at 12:37

This is a useful approach. It needs added to it the language and culture element: as if the part that wants out of the Moscow coup shares our own language and culture, while the rest of Canada does not, and the rest of Canada had gone on a spree to suppress that language and culture. It is hard to find a parallel in Canada to those facts, but it is what happened in Ukraine.

It is important to understanding to put oneself in the shoes of the other guys. It was once called walking a mile in the other guy’s moccasins, and given a Native wisdom attribution.

David G Horsman , February 14, 2020 at 12:01

I do this exercise mentally fairly often. This is the first time I saw it done in print. I would like to do an automated process.

[Feb 14, 2020] Is Apartheid the Inevitable Outcome of Zionism? by Henry Siegman

Highly recommended!
Actually any supremacist ideology produces something like an apartheid regime for other nationalities.
The current situation looks like a dead end with little chances of reconciliation, especially after recent killing of protesters by Israel army/snipers. But in general, it is iether a two state solution of equal rights for Palestinians and Jews in the same state. The elements of theocratic state should be eliminated and right wing parties outlawed as neofascist parties which threatens democracy.
Notable quotes:
"... The peace process and the two-state solution failed because America -- the only country on which Israel could count on for generous diplomatic, military and economic support, and therefore the only country that has the necessary leverage to influence Israel's policies -- allowed it to fail. Consequently, most Israelis, including many belonging to the Blue/White party, headed by General Benny Gantz, oppose granting any future Palestinian entity the most basic features of sovereignty, including control of its own borders. Gantz refused to form a unity government with the Likud because of Netanyahu's indictment for multiple crimes, not because of differences over peace policy. What doubts anyone might have had on this subject were removed when Gantz just announced that he embraces Netanyahu's intention to annex the Jordan Valley to Israel. ..."
Jan 22, 2020 | responsiblestatecraft.org

The threat of a new war with Iran that might have replicated what has been the worst disaster in the history of America's international misadventures -- George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq based on fabricated lies -- sucked the air out of all other international diplomatic activity, not least of what used to be called the Middle East peace process.

Yet the failure of the peace process has not been the consequence of recent mindless and destructive actions by Donald Trump and of the clownish shenanigans of his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who was charged with helping Israeli hardliners in nailing down permanently the Palestinian occupation. For all the damage they caused (mainly to Palestinians), prospects for a two-state solution actually ended during President Barack Obama's administration, despite Secretary of State John Kerry's energetic efforts to renew the stalled negotiations. They were not resumed because Obama, like his predecessors, failed to take the tough measures that were necessary to overcome Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's determination to prevent the emergence of a Palestinian state, notwithstanding his pledge in his Bar-Ilan speech of 2009 to implement the agreements of the Oslo accords.

Yes, Obama and Kerry did warn that Israel's continued occupation might lead to an Israeli apartheid regime. But knowing how deeply the accusation of an incipient Israeli apartheid could anger right-wingers in Israel and in the U.S., they repeatedly followed that warning with the assurance that "America will always have Israel's back." It was the sequence of this two-part statement that convinced Netanyahu that AIPAC had succeeded in getting American presidents to protect Israel's impunity. Had Obama and Kerry reversed that sequence, first noting that the U.S. had always had Israel's back, and then warning that Israel is now on the verge of trading its democracy for apartheid, the warning might have had quite different implications for Israel's government.

The peace process and the two-state solution failed because America -- the only country on which Israel could count on for generous diplomatic, military and economic support, and therefore the only country that has the necessary leverage to influence Israel's policies -- allowed it to fail. Consequently, most Israelis, including many belonging to the Blue/White party, headed by General Benny Gantz, oppose granting any future Palestinian entity the most basic features of sovereignty, including control of its own borders. Gantz refused to form a unity government with the Likud because of Netanyahu's indictment for multiple crimes, not because of differences over peace policy. What doubts anyone might have had on this subject were removed when Gantz just announced that he embraces Netanyahu's intention to annex the Jordan Valley to Israel.

For the Palestinians, territory is the most critical of the final status issues. The current internationally recognized borders that separate Israel and the Occupied Territories reduced the territory originally assigned to Palestinians in the U.N. Partition Plan of 1947 from roughly half of Palestine to 22 percent. Israel, which was assigned originally roughly the other half of Palestine, now has 78 percent, not including Palestinian territory Israel has confiscated for its illegal settlements.

No present or prospective Palestinian leadership will accept any further reduction of territory from their promised state. Given the territory they already lost in 1947, and again in 1949, and given Israel's refusal to accept the return of Palestinian refugees to Israel, is it really reasonable to expect Palestinians to give up any further territory? Where else other than the West Bank could Palestine refugees return to?

The one-state solution that is preferred by many Israelis is essentially a continuation of the present de facto apartheid. It is not the one-state alternative any Palestinian would accept. Repeated polling has shown that a majority of Jewish Israelis are unprepared to grant equal rights to Palestinians in a one-state arrangement. This opposition is unsurprising, for the inclusion in Israel's body politic of West Bank and Gaza Palestinians would mean the end of Israel as a Jewish state, for Israel's non-Jewish citizens would then outnumber its Jewish ones, and may already do so. Of course, Israel could contrive a non-voting status for the West Bank's Palestinians, something many Jewish Israelis and political parties actually advocate, but that would not deceive anyone. It would mean the formal end of Israel's democracy.

The foregoing notwithstanding, I have long maintained that if Israel were compelled to choose between one state that grants full equality to Palestinians now under occupation and two states that conform substantially to existing agreements and international law, and no other options were available to it, the majority of Israelis would opt for two states. Why? Because as noted above, the overwhelming majority of Israelis oppose any arrangement that might produce a Palestinian majority with the same rights Israeli Jewish citizens enjoy. Of course, Israel has never been compelled to make such a choice, nor will they be compelled to do so by the international community.

However, they could be compelled to do so by the Palestinians, but only if Palestinians were finally to expel their current leadership and choose a more honest and courageous one. That new leadership would have to shut down the Palestinian Authority, which its present leaders allowed Israel to portray as an arrangement that places Palestinians on the path to statehood, of course in some undefined future. Israel has deliberately perpetuated that myth to conceal its real intention to keep the current occupation unchanged. The new Palestinian leadership would have to declare that since Israel has denied them their own state and established a one-state reality, Palestinians will no longer deny that reality. Consequently, the national struggle will now be for full citizenship in the one state that Israel has forced them into. I have argued for the past two decades that the one-state option is far more likely to open a path to a two-state solution, however counter intuitive that may seem to be. Palestinians rejected it categorically from the outset, but younger Palestinians have come around to accepting it -- even preferring it to the two-state model.

Unlike the struggle for a two-state solution, a goal that has so easily been manipulated by Israel to mean whatever serves their real goal of preventing such an outcome -- and also so easily allowed international actors to pretend they have not given up their efforts to achieve that outcome, an anti-apartheid struggle does not lend itself to such deceptions. South Africa has taught the world too well what apartheid looks like, as well as how the international community could deal with it. Of course, South Africa has also shown how long and bloody a struggle against apartheid can be, and the terrible price paid by the victims of such a regime. But Palestinians already live in such a regime, and have for long been paying a terrible price for their subjugation.

Yet deeper and more troubling questions are raised by the choices that now face Israel, including whether the original idea of the Zionist movement of a state that is both Jewish and democratic is not deeply oxymoronic, a question that not only Israelis but Jews outside of Israel must address. That question is underscored by the challenges to India's democracy posed by its prime minister's decision to turn his country into a Hindu nation. It is a question that did not escape some of the founders of the Zionist movement, who argued that Zionism should define the state as Jewish only in its ethnic and secular cultural dimensions. But that this is not how Jewish identity is treated in Israel is undeniable.

Imagine if Israel's laws defining national identity and citizenship, as recently reformulated by Israel's Knesset, were adopted by the U.S. Congress or by other Western democratic countries, and if Christianity in its "cultural dimensions" were declared to be their national identity, with citizenship also granted by conversion to the dominant religion, as is now the case in Israel, where arrangements for Jewish religious conversions are part of the Prime Minister's office.

Is this not what America's founders, and the waves of immigrants, including European Jews, sought to escape from? And how would Jews react today to legislation in the U.S. Congress that would explicitly seek to maintain the majority status of Christians in the U.S.? Are Jews to take pride in a Jewish state that adopts citizenship requirements that mirror those advocated by white Christian supremacists? Thes