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Skepticism and critical thinking is not panacea, but can help to understand the world better

Trump version of gangster capitalism in foreign policy:
Shoot-first-ask-questions-later

Tomahawk salvo in Syria, deployment of anti-missile system in South Korea directed against China (under smoke screen of hysteria about North Korea rocket launches), and deployment of additional troops in Afghanistan is a strange start for former (at least during Presidential campaign)  isolationist;
Trump looks more and and more like Hillary in disguise...

News American Imperialism, Transnational Capitalist Class and Globalization of Capitalism Recommended Links Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Syria civil war Korea saber-rattling Reversal of planned detente with Russia Trump after his Colin Powell moment
New American Militarism Neoconservatism as an attack dog of neoliberalism History of American False Flag Operations Betrayal_of_Michael Flynn Ambush of Russian Su-24 over Syria Hillary Clinton and Obama created ISIS Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17? Hillary role in Syria bloodbath and first "sarin based" false flag attack
 Obama: a yet another Neocon Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak Machiavellism False flag operations as important part of demonization of the enemy strategy Civil war in Ukraine Leo Straus as the godfather of neocons Nulandgate Hillary role in Libya disaster
Torture as an instrument of social control US Presidential Elections of 2016  Hillary "Warmonger" Clinton Jingoism of the US neoliberal elite Anti-Russian hysteria Mayberry Machiavellians Politically Incorrect Humor Etc
  Trump isn’t just flirting with World War III, he’s inviting it. He wants everyone to know that he’s crazy enough to pull the trigger; thinks it’ll help him twist some arms, thinks he can force the big boys to negotiate.

Trump I told Chinese president about Syria airstrikes over dessert TheHill

"Making America first" without isolationalism is essentially the same as US-style "Deutschland Uber Alles" -- a neocon foreign policy with extreme version of nationalism instead of the idea of building global neoliberal empire led by the USA as the only difference. Even though the 1871 meaning of  "Deutschland Uber Alles" was of "Unity, not division, of German states" when the Nazi used it, they gave it the meaning of world domination by military conquest.   Similar things are now happening with "make America Great again" slogan.

The actual content of Trump foreign policy became the same as the dream of US neocons - an unending  and expensive fight for the global empire dominated by the USA as the sole superpower.  With the only difference that in Nazi interpretation that included exterminating certain Undermensch people because of their nationality (Slavs, Jews, Gypsies).  Add  to this Nikki Haley at UN (she is a typical neocon, no questions about it) and the differences with Obama administration by-and-large disappear. Moreover some minor differences that exist are in favor of Obama administrations.

After Trump's 180 degrees reversal and launching Syria rocket attack (which is attack of sovereign nation and as such represents a war crime) Trump positioned himself as typical neocon. The same is true about Trump position on Yemen, so this is not an accidental change of policy.  Not that different from Hillary Clinton.  trump actions were instantly lauded as bipartisan! The Neoliberal, Neocon, corporate alliance has come out of the closet, in a  show of war mongering solidarity.

Before he was elected, he has only one war hawk "point": Saber rattling against Iran. May be two (Iran+Korea). Now he is all over the place with essentially the same level of bellicosity as Hillary Clinton.  Here are signs of his 180  degrees  turn in foreign policy:

  1. Appeasing Israel
  2. Attack of Assad forces in Syria. There was no investigation, not even a hack job to frame Assad up like Bush II did in 2003 with Colin Powell UN address. Trump himself spoke out against the airstrikes in 2013. He demanded a formal declaration of war by congress “unconstitutional if not”. Pointed out just how stupid and destructive such a decision would be…
  3. Cooperation with KSA in Yemen war
  4. Implicit cooperation with al Qaeda in Syria.
  5. Saber rattling with North Korea.
  6. Troops increase of Afghanistan without clear policy goal ("kick the can down the road"). Rumors are that Trump wants to exploit Afghanistan mineral riches to offset the costs, but  rocks are heavy and roads are bad and controlled by  Taliban.
  7. Elimination from the administration people who were countervailing force against neocon influence (such as Bannon).

Here are a couple of comments from Asia Times

Maziar Khoshsima Apr 13, 2017 3:14pm
There are so many "petty dictators" in the Middle-East, I wander why all the concentration is on the removal of Assad by US and its allies. Is it not because:
  1. Although Saudi and (Persian) Gulf Arab dictators are worse than Assad in all aspects, it is of the interest of US to protect these dictators.
  2. US policy solidified by Bush II was articulated beautifully and honestly as “either you are with us or against us.” That means either you serve my interest or the consequence will be your destruction and removal.
  3. Arab dictators serve US interest so in return there will be a guarantee that they will be protected by mafia boss, namely US.
  4. Main US partner, Western Europe is also the share holder in this so called humanitarian endeavor to bring peace and stability in the Middle East. Whereas the truth is mafia boss and its Western gang are after exploitation of the neighborhood while they have traitors who work for them (Turkey and Arab dictators)
  5. Why Assad? Well, Assad is Nuisance to Israel’s expansion. He opposed Israel contrary to Turkish and Arab beggars who constantly lick the rear end’s hole of the Jewish State.
  6. Assad helped Iran to block Israel from further atrocities in Lebanon and hopefully in Palestine.
  7.  could go on and on. It is the story of Western domination and exploitation were it is being collaborated by Turk and Arab traitors so that like dogs, a loaf of bread somehow will be thrown at them by their master and owner, USA.
Mofakkerul Islam · Police Lines School & College, Rangpur
This bastard dog is one-eyed.He can only see the crime of ASAD not others in the ME.

The best analysis of Trump betrayal ("tuning of dime") in foreign policy  (which means betrayal of his voters in best style of the "king of bait and switch" Obama) was done by Justin Raymondo:

Behind Trump’s Syria Turnabout

Trump came into office touting his “America First agenda,” disdaining NATO, and asking “Why is it a bad thing to get along with Russia?” He told us he abjured “regime change” and held up Libya as an example of bad policy. Now he’s turned on a dime, bombing Syria, and welcoming tiny (and troubled) Montenegro into NATO. His intelligence agencies are even accusing Russia of having advance knowledge of the alleged chemical attack in Syria (although the White House disputed that after it got out). And all this in the first one hundred days!

How did this happen? It’s easy to explain, once you understand that there is no such thing as foreign policy: all policy is domestic.

That’s the core principle at the heart of what I call “libertarian realism,” the overarching theory – if such a grandiose term can be applied to what is simply common sense – that explains what is happening on the world stage at any particular moment. And there is no better confirmation of this principle than the recent statement by Eric Trump, the President’s son, who said: “If there was anything that Syria [strike] did, it was to validate the fact that there is no Russia tie.”

Oh yes, and Ivanka was “heartbroken” – and so it was incumbent upon the President to change course, break a major campaign promise, and declare via his Secretary of State that “Assad must go.”

Got it.

Trump’s Syrian turnabout is clearly a response to the coordinated attack launched on his presidency by the combined efforts of the Deep State, the media, the Democrats, and the McCain-Graham-neocon wing of the GOP – a campaign that still might destroy him, despite his capitulation to the War Party.

Vladimir Putin has likened the current Syria imbroglio to what happened in Iraq, with claims of “weapons of mass destruction” and a war fought on the basis of false intelligence, but there is one major difference: this time, the bombing came first, with the “evidence” an afterthought. You’ll recall that in the run up to the invasion of Iraq there was an extended and quite elaborate propaganda campaign designed to make the case for war. Now, however, that process has been reversed: bombing first, “evidence” later.

Speaking of which, Bloomberg national security reporter Eli Lake tells us that the US is about to release a “dossier” explaining the rationale for the Syria strike: it is “short on specific intelligence” but long on “its refutation of Russian disinformation.” As in the case of the “Russian interference in the election” narrative, we’ll doubtless be told that protecting “sources and methods” precludes us peons from seeing the actual “intelligence.” Ours is not to question why, ours is but to do and die, as the old saw goes: but is that – not to mention the moral imperative of safeguarding Ivanka’s fragile emotional state – really enough to justify a 180-degree shift in US foreign policy?

The real significance of this “dossier” has little to do with justifying the Syria strike insofar as actual evidence of Assad’s alleged crime is concerned, and more with signaling to the heretofore hostile “intelligence community’ and political actors in the US that the days of President Trump trying to achieve détente with Russia are over. As Lake points out:

“But it is really the report’s condemnation of the Russian response that is most striking. Trump has sought to reset the relationship with Moscow, as President Barack Obama hoped to do in 2009 and 2010. Now, one U.S. official tells me, Russian officials in phone calls with their Trump administration counterparts repeated in private the same propaganda lines their government was issuing in public. ‘That has led to a lot of frustration at the highest levels of the government,’ this official said.“

Translation: Forget getting along with Russia – just call off your bloodhounds.

We now have Putin warning that more “provocations” are in store, with some pretty specific details supplied. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least, but we’ll have to wait and see if that pans out. In the meantime, however, three factors are percolating in the mix:

  1. Our spooks, not content with having turn around of  the Trump administration on Syria policy, won’t let up on the alleged “Russian foreknowledge” angle. These guys mean business.
  2. The previously stalled effort to overthrow Assad by funding and arming the Islamist savages championed by McCain, Graham, & Co. will recommence, with some success, and
  3. The campaign to smear Trump as a Kremlin tool will continue, unabated, with both the House and Senate investigations barreling full speed ahead, with plenty of help from the “former intelligence officials.” They aren’t about to let Trump off the hook quite so easily.

What all this shows is how far removed the making of US foreign policy is from actual facts on the ground, and the rational calculation of American interests. What it all comes back to is how it serves the political interests of those in power – and those who aspire after power. Facts have nothing to do with it except insofar as they can be manipulated – or created – so as to fit a preexisting agenda.

There are very few good arguments for striking out at the Syrian government. One of the pseudo-credible ones is that the use of sarin and other similar weapons, if allowed to go unpunished, would hurt our legitimate interests, since their use would then become pandemic. The riposte is that anyone who would even consider using such weapons is not likely to be deterred by US retaliation, no matter how swift.

In any case, this raises the question: did Bashar al-Assad drop sarin gas on a bunch of civilians at Idlib? Despite the rush to judgment, we don’t know the answer to that question, but several factors make it unlikely. He was winning the civil war, and this, if you’ll pardon the expression, seems like overkill. Furthermore, for years the Syrian rebels have been doing their damnedest to frame Assad for just such a heinous crime in order to provoke US intervention on their behalf, to little avail – until now. Their record speaks for itself.

If indeed Assad is guilty, then it’s conceivable – although I would disagree – that one could make an argument for a one-off warning strike. Yet that is not what we’re seeing at all: already, Secretary of State Tillerson is echoing that old Obama-Clinton slogan, “Assad must go.” This isn’t a one-off: it’s a complete reversal of what candidate Trump said he’d do once in office.

As I said in my last column, the silver lining is that many of Trump’s prominent supporters – and former supporters – are waking up to the importance of non-interventionism as one of the pillars of “Trump_vs_deep_state.” Their former hero’s betrayal is putting them on a learning curve – and the best of them will come out the other side with a new awareness of what “America First” really means.

On the other hand, we are going to have to live with the consequences of this terrible turnabout – not all of which are readily apparent, and none of which redound to the benefit of the United States and its citizens. 

Here is a couple of comments from Guardian:

Robert Rudolph 12 Apr 2017 17:40

Instead, the western powers have followed the example cited by Machiavelli: "in order to prove their liberality, they allowed Pistoia to be destroyed."

... ... ...

Cedar

In late 2015, Eren Erdem, a Turkish MP, said in Parliament that the Turkish state was permitting Da'esh to send sarin precursors to Syria. He had a file of evidence, so was accused of treason for accessing and publicising confidential material. The investigation into the people responsible for the transfer of toxic chemicals was shut down.

That surely ought to make us at least ask evidence-seeking questions about the Idlib gas attack before yet again demanding regime change.

Al-Assad is certainly capable of murdering opponents, and not bothering too much about collateral damage, but strategically it makes no sense for him to do this now, when peace talks under the aegis of Russia and Iran have begun, and the world is watching. Also, Assad has been engaged in a reconciliation process, allowing members of the FSA to return to the Syrian army, and Aleppans remain in Damascus if they didn't wish to go to Idlib. At such a juncture, using chemical weapons would be counter-productive. If Sarin was used at his command, he should be properly prosecuted: but bombing a Syrian air base merely assists Da'esh and its cronies.

unsouthbank

I have just watched the press conference in which Trump labelled Assad a butcher, and went on again about dead babies. I just wish that someone at one of these conferences would have the guts to point out to Trump his own butchery. Anyone watching this performance would think that US forces had never been responsible for killing innocent civilians, men, women, children and babies. To listen to Trump, you wouldn't think that US forces had ever killed over 150 civilians in Mosul, dozens in Raqqa, or had bombed hospitals in Afghanistan, or schools in Iraq, or were supporting the Saudi blockade of Yemen resulting in the starvation of children and babies, or had destroyed wedding parties with drones,.....I could go on. If Assad is a butcher, he is only a junior, apprentice, corner-shop butcher. Trump is the real thing, the large-scale, wholesale, expert butcher.

The attack on Syrian airbase without any serious investigation, done purely as PR stunt (as somebody called it "military twit"). Which was probably dictated by desperation from unrelenting attacks of neocons and globalists along the lines "Trump is the Russian agent".  Trump witch hung became the pasture of Democratic Party, which during Hillary Clinton campaign successfully converted itself into the second War Party, competing with Republicans in jingoism "on equals"..

Now after Syria was hit with tomahawks neocons and subservant to them MSM like CNN and MCNBC (with this despicable military-industrial complex pressitute Rachel Maddow really excited about this attack) are happy and are less Trump problem.  But political calculation directed on making peace with neocon "at any cost" have consequences for Trump.

It is clear to everybody that Trump bowed to NeoCon pressure. He was supposed to be different. But then so was Obama. 300,000 people have died in Syria during Obama presidency. Were deaths of those killed by bombs and bullets any less tragic? Who is funding, arming and supporting ISIS? Are not those countries America allies?

So it is logical to assume that Trump "retaliation" was not about dead children. It was a signal to allies such as Turkey and KSA that the course is unchanged and  the USA will continue to pursue anti Assad/Iran/Russia policy in the region, no matter what will be the costs.  Again, 300,000 have died already under Novel Peace winner who initiated this Syrian quagmire and destabilized yet another ME country. All according to PNAC plan. 

First of all Trump voters have memory. On April 6 he might completely lost anti-war right, which was an important part of his base. As well as a large part of paleoconservatives. To say nothing that his administration demonstrated absolute, utter incompetence dealing with Obamacare. 

Russians also have memory. They still remember the stunts the US pulled under Reagan, Bush I and Clinton. Especially attempts to dismember the country and convert it into vassal state under Clinton,  using corrupt puppet regime of drunken Yeltsin and his neoliberal "advisors" from Harvard  as a tool (aka economic rape of Russia).  Of course after being weakened to the standard of living dropped to $1 a day per person -- the level of object poverty.  all due to Harvard "friends" like Sachs ( see Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia.)  Russia needs time to recuperate and restore its economics. So it is not interested is premature skirmishes with Uncle Sam.

This is the age of disinformation. Even facts prevented via video can be false as vidio now id often staged. As in all similar recent events there are more questions then answers in this story. http://www.dw.com/en/is-assad-to-blame-for-the-chemical-weapons-attack-in-syria/a-38330217

General context:

Only few undisputed facts are know about Khan Sheikhoun attack

The "known unknown" area is much larger.  Even basic facts are disputed  (was it "sarin"; was it air attack of munitions depot explosion? what is staged event (aka false flag operation) or a blunder by Assad forces which accidentally hit chemical depot in a school or close to a school.  Here is attempt to collect the most interesting questions about this event that I have found in various forums (collected from foreign sources, mostly from British and German): 

  1. Is not unilateral military intervention in a sovereign country that does not threaten the USA constituting an act of aggression, a war crime by the UN statute? Or, as an exceptional nation, the USA is above the UN...

  2. How can journalists and Western diplomats be so lacking in the desire or ability to question what they are told? http://hitchensblog.mailonsunday.co.uk/2017/04/its-wmd-all-over-again-why-dont-you-see-it-.html, The Kremlin issued a statement saying that Russian President Vladimir Putin found it "unacceptable to make groundless accusations against anyone without conducting a detailed and unbiased investigation."

  3. Cue bono?  Effectively the USA acted as Al Nustra (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Nusra_Front) air force. Which promptly initiated an attack on government forces in Palmira.  Does this means that the USA foreign policy in Syria is now aligned with Gulf monarchies policy and Israeli policies of dismembering this country and establishing a permanent Al Nusra Caliphate on the part of the territory as well as  possibly Kurdish enclave ?  The Syrian regime may not have had a compelling motive, believes Günther Meyer, the director of the Research Center for the Arab World at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz. "Only armed opposition groups could profit from an attack with chemical weapons," he told DW. "With their backs against the wall, they have next to no chance of opposing the regime militarily. As President [Donald] Trump's recent statements show, such actions make it possible for anti-Assad groups to receive further support."http://www.dw.com/en/is-assad-to-blame-for-the-chemical-weapons-attack-in-syria/a-38330217 Is not Israel the major beneficiary of this bombing? Syrians shot down an Israeli jet a week before using this airbase. Now this airbase is destroyed.

  4. On April 3, the USA government announced that the US is no longer insisting that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has to step aside. The attack happened on April 4th, a day after.  On April 6 after the attack, but before any investigation, the USA goverment  changed its mind. Did Trump reneg on his promises to fight ISIS and establishing détente with Russia after unprecedented attack by neocons in Washington and folded?   Removal of Bannon might be connected. Does this mean that Trump metamorphosed into Hillary Clinton in around 100 days in office? Or does that mean that the president does not matter and deep state rules the country?

  5. Previous sarin attack was a false flag: The attack took place while UN weapons inspectors were in the country, on Assad's invitation, said Meyer. Assad had asked them to investigate a chemical weapons attack from March 2013 outside Aleppo, which killed Syrian soldiers. Former weapons inspector Richard Lloyd and MIT professor Theodore Postol cast further doubt on Assad's role in the Ghouta attack. They reported in 2014 that the chemical weapons could have only been fired from rebel-held territory, with a range of up to 2.5 kilometers (1.6 miles).

  6. The Nusra Front's weapons include chemical weapons and they inflicted casualties on Syrian army.  This Al Qaeda affiliate is today the most significant rebel group in the northern Syrian province of Idlib. Along with other jihadi groups, it has turned itself into the "de facto ruler of Idlib." Syrian government reiterated the claim, echoed by Moscow, that the tragedy occurred because the rebels had been stockpiling sarin gas, and the Syrian army had no way of knowing it was there.

  7. What will be consequences (other then deserved Nobel Peace Price for Trump) for the USA if the investigation implicated the rebels? BTW none of "volunteers" treating victims died from poisoning, despite working without HASMAT suits, which suggest that at least "sarin" version is bogus. 

  8. What was the function of the buildings hit by air strike (hitting a depot of chemical weapons is the Russian version of events)?  it is clear they they were in or close to residential area were those private residences or not is unclear. What was exact time of Assad forces attack? Rebels are known to store munitions in schools and mosques to protect them from air strikes. Why so many children were affected if only two houses were hit. Outside school,  in Syria  children are usually accompanied by women. There were  less victims among adults.

  9. Are we one step closer to the hot conventional war with Russia instead of promised by Trump to voters "détente"? Will Russia retaliates or not ?  It did not retaliated military when Turkish air forces shot down its bomber which was on mission without fighters escort, so let’s hope it will not this time too.  Russia did suspend 2015 memorandum of understanding on the air operations ( https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/russia-condemns-us-missile-strike-on-syria/2017/04/07/c81ea12a-1b4e-11e7-8003-f55b4c1cfae2_story.html )

    Under the pact, the two countries have traded information about flights by a U.S.-led coalition targeting the Islamic State and Russian planes operating in Syria in support of the Assad government. Moscow was taking its action, the Defense Ministry said, because it sees the U.S. strike “as a grave violation of the memorandum.”


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[Sep 17, 2020] Military desperados and Mattis "military messiah syndrome" by Scott Ritter

Highly recommended!
I always assumed that Trump was the candidate of MIC in 2016 elections, while Hillary was the candidate of "Intelligence community." But it looks like US military is infected with desperados like Mattis and Trump was unable fully please them despite all his efforts.
But it looks like US military is infected with desperados like Mattis and Trump was unable fully please them despite all his efforts. Military desperados are not interested in how many American they deprived of decent standard of living due to outside military expenses. All they want is to dominate the word and maintain the "Full Spectrum Dominance" whatever it costs.
Sep 16, 2020 | www.rt.com

... ... ...

It is Trump's tortured relationship with the military that stands out the most, especially as told through the eyes of former Secretary of Defense Jim 'Mad Dog' Mattis, a retired marine general. It is clear that Bob Woodward spent hours speaking with Mattis -- the insights, emotions and internal voice captured in the book show a level of intimacy that could only be reached through in-depth interviews, and Woodward has a well-earned reputation for getting people to speak to him.

The book makes it clear that Mattis viewed Trump as a threat to the US' standing as the defender of a rules-based order -- built on the back of decades-old alliances -- that had been in place since the end of the Second World War.

It also makes it clear that Mattis and the military officers he oversaw placed defending this order above implementing the will of the American people, as expressed through the free and fair election that elevated Donald Trump to the position of commander-in-chief. In short, Mattis and his coterie of generals knew best, and when the president dared issue an order or instruction that conflicted with their vision of how the world should work, they would do their best to undermine this order, all the while confirming to the president that it was being followed.

This trend was on display in Woodward's telling of Trump's efforts to forge better relations with North Korea. At every turn, Mattis and his military commanders sought to isolate the president from the reality on the ground, briefing him only on what they thought he needed to know, and keeping him in the dark about what was really going on.

In a telling passage, Woodward takes us into the mind of Jim Mattis as he contemplates the horrors of a nuclear war with North Korea, and the responsibility he believed he shouldered when it came to making the hard decision as to whether nuclear weapons should be used or not. Constitutionally, the decision was the president's alone to make, something Mattis begrudgingly acknowledges. But in Mattis' world, he, as secretary of defense, would be the one who influenced that decision.

Mattis, along with the other general officers described by Woodward, is clearly gripped with what can only be described as the 'Military Messiah Syndrome'.

What defines this 'syndrome' is perhaps best captured in the words of Emma Sky, the female peace activist-turned adviser to General Ray Odierno, the one-time commander of US forces in Iraq. In a frank give-and-take captured by Ms. Sky in her book 'The Unravelling', Odierno spoke of the value he placed on the military's willingness to defend "freedom" anywhere in the world. " There is, " he said, " no one who understands more the importance of liberty and freedom in all its forms than those who travel the world to defend it ."

Ms. Sky responded in typically direct fashion: " One day, I will have you admit that the [Iraq] war was a bad idea, that the administration was led by a radical neocon program, that the US's standing in the world has gone down greatly, and that we are far less safe than we were before 9/11. "

Odierno would have nothing of it. " It will never happen while I'm the commander of soldiers in Iraq ."

" To lead soldiers in battle ," Ms. Sky noted, " a commander had to believe in the cause. " Left unsaid was the obvious: even if the cause was morally and intellectually unsound.

his, more than anything, is the most dangerous thing about the 'Military Messiah Syndrome' as captured by Bob Woodward -- the fact that the military is trapped in an inherited reality divorced from the present, driven by precepts which have nothing to with what is, but rather by what the military commanders believe should be. The unyielding notion that the US military is a force for good becomes little more than meaningless drivel when juxtaposed with the reality that the mission being executed is inherently wrong.

The 'Military Messiah Syndrome' lends itself to dishonesty and, worse, to self-delusion. It is one thing to lie; it is another altogether to believe the lie as truth.

No single general had the courage to tell Trump allegations against Syria were a hoax

The cruise missile attack on Syria in early April 2017 stands out as a case in point. The attack was ordered in response to allegations that Syria had dropped a bomb containing the sarin nerve agent on a town -- Khan Shaykhun -- that was controlled by Al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic militants.

Trump was led to believe that the 59 cruise missiles launched against Shayrat Airbase -- where the Su-22 aircraft alleged to have dropped the bombs were based -- destroyed Syria's capability to carry out a similar attack in the future. When shown post-strike imagery in which the runways were clearly untouched, Trump was outraged, lashing out at Secretary of Defense Mattis in a conference call. " I can't believe you didn't destroy the runway !", Woodward reports the president shouting.

" Mr. President ," Mattis responds in the text, " they would rebuild the runway in 24 hours, and it would have little effect on their ability to deploy weapons. We destroyed the capability to deploy weapons " for months, Mattis said.

" That was the mission the president had approved, " Woodward writes, clearly channeling Mattis, " and they had succeeded ."

The problem with this passage is that it is a lie. There is no doubt that Bob Woodward has the audio tape of Jim Mattis saying these things. But none of it is true. Mattis knew it when he spoke to Woodward, and Woodward knew it when he wrote the book.

There was no confirmed use of chemical weapons by Syria at Khan Shaykhun. Indeed, the forensic evidence available about the attack points to the incident being a false flag effort -- a successful one, it turns out -- on the part of the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamists to provoke a US military strike against Syria. No targets related to either the production, storage or handling of chemical weapons were hit by the US cruise missiles, if for no other reason than no such targets could exist if Syria did not possess and/or use a chemical weapon against Khan Shaykhun.

Moreover, the US failed to produce a narrative of causality which provided some underlying logic to the targets that were struck at Khan Shaykhun -- "Here is where the chemical weapons were stored, here is where the chemical weapons were filled, here is where the chemical weapons were loaded onto the aircraft." Instead, 59 cruise missiles struck empty aircraft hangars, destroying derelict aircraft, and killing at least four Syrian soldiers and up to nine civilians.

The next morning, the same Su-22 aircraft that were alleged to have bombed Khan Shaykhun were once again taking off from Shayrat Air Base -- less than 24 hours after the US cruise missiles struck that facility. President Trump had every reason to be outraged by the results.

But the President should have been outraged by the processes behind the attack, where military commanders, fully afflicted by 'Military Messiah Syndrome', offered up solutions that solved nothing for problems that did not exist. Not a single general (or admiral) had the courage to tell the president that the allegations against Syria were a hoax, and that a military response was not only not needed, but would be singularly counterproductive.

But that's not how generals and admirals -- or colonels and lieutenant colonels -- are wired. That kind of introspective honesty cannot happen while they are in command.

Bob Woodward knows this truth, but he chose not to give it a voice in his book, because to do so would disrupt the pre-scripted narrative that he had constructed, around which he bent and twisted the words of those he interviewed -- including the president and Jim Mattis. As such, 'Rage' is, in effect, a lie built on a lie. It is one thing for politicians and those in power to manipulate the truth to their advantage. It's something altogether different for journalists to report something as true that they know to be a lie.

On the back cover of 'Rage', the Pulitzer prize-winning historian Robert Caro is quoted from a speech he gave about Bob Woodward. " Bob Woodward ," Caro notes, " a great reporter. What is a great reporter? Someone who never stops trying to get as close to the truth as possible ."

After reading 'Rage', one cannot help but conclude the opposite -- that Bob Woodward has written a volume which pointedly ignores the truth. Instead, he gives voice to a lie of his own construct, predicated on the flawed accounts of sources inflicted with 'Military Messiah Syndrome', whose words embrace a fantasy world populated by military members fulfilling missions far removed from the common good of their fellow citizens -- and often at conflict with the stated intent and instruction of the civilian leadership they ostensibly serve. In doing so, Woodward is as complicit as the generals and former generals he quotes in misleading the American public about issues of fundamental importance.

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Scott Ritter

is a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer and author of ' SCORPION KING : America's Suicidal Embrace of Nuclear Weapons from FDR to Trump.' He served in the Soviet Union as an inspector implementing the INF Treaty, in General Schwarzkopf’s staff during the Gulf War, and from 1991-1998 as a UN weapons inspector. Follow him on Twitter @RealScottRitter

See also:

Whose side are generals on? As Joint Chiefs chairman APOLOGIZES for standing by Trump, Biden confident of military support The military is trapped in an inherited reality divorced from the present

Caitlin Johnstone: Tens of millions of people displaced by the 'War On Terror', the greatest scam ever invented Misleading the American public


Jewel Gyn 21 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 12:23 AM

Whichever construct you want to believe, the fact remains that US has continued to sow instability around the world in the name of defending the liberty and freedom. Which brings to the question how the world can continue to allow a superpower to dictate what's good or bad for a sovereign country.
Johan le Roux Jewel Gyn 18 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 03:42 AM
The answer you seek is not in the US's proclaimed vision of 'democracy' ot 'rescuing populations from the clutches of vile dictators.' They just say that to validate their actions which in reality is using their military as a mercenary force to secure and steal the resources of countries.
Joaquin Montano 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 04:57 PM
Bob Woodward was enshrined as a great, heroic like journalist by the Hollywood propaganda machine, but reality is he is a US Security agent pretending to be a well informed/connected journalist. And indeed, he is well informed/connected, since he was a Naval intelligence man, part responsible of the demise of the Nixon administration when it fell out of grace with the powerful elites, and the Washington Post being well connected with the CIA, the rest is history. And as they say, once a CIA man, always a CIA man.
DukeLeo Joaquin Montano 22 hours ago 16 Sep, 2020 11:36 PM
That is correct. Woodward is a Naval intelligence man. The elite in the US was not happy about Nixon's foreign policy and his detante with the Soviet Union. Watergate was invented, and Nixon had nothing to do with it. However, it brought him down, thank's to Woodward.
NoJustice Joaquin Montano 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 06:48 PM
But he also exposed Trump's lies about Covid-19.
lectrodectus 17 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 04:45 AM
Another first class article by ....Scott .. The book makes it clear that Mattis viewed Trump as a threat to the Us' standing as the defender of a " rules -based order -built on the back of decades -old alliances-that had been in place since the end of the second World War". It also makes it clear that " Mattis and the Military officials he oversaw placed defending this order above the implementing the will of the American People " These old Military Dinosaurs simply can't let go of the past, unfortunately for the American people / the World I can't see anything ever changing, it will be business as usual ie, war after War after War.
Jonny247364 lectrodectus 5 minutes ago 17 Sep, 2020 09:53 PM
Just because donny signs a dictact it does not equate to the will of the americian people. The americian people did not ask donny to murder Assad.
neeon9 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 06:56 PM
"a threat to the US’ standing as the defender of a rules-based order –" Who made that a thing? who voted for the US to be the policeman of the planet? and who said their "rules" are right? I sure didn't, nor did anyone I know, even my american friends don't know whose idea it was!
fezzie035fezzm 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 06:29 PM
It's interesting to note that every president since J.F.K. has got America into a military conflict, or has turned a minor conflict into a major one. Trump is the exception. Trump inherited conflicts (Afghanistan, Syria etc) but has not started a new one, and he has spent his three years ending or winding down the conflicts he had inherited.
NoJustice fezzie035fezzm 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 06:34 PM
Trump increased military deployment to the Middle East. He increased military spending. He had a foreign general assassinated. He had missiles fired into Syria. He vetoed a bill that would limit his authority to wage war. Trump is not an exception.
T. Agee Kaye 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 05:59 PM
Good op ed. 'Rage is built on a lie' applies to many things.
E_Kaos T. Agee Kaye 7 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 02:46 PM
True, the beginning of a new narrative and the continuation of an old narrative.
PYCb988 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 07:25 PM
Something's amiss here. Mattis was openly telling the press that there was no evidence against Assad. Just Google: Mattis Newsweek Assad.
erniedouglas 12 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 09:14 AM
What was Watergate? Even bet says there were tapes of a private relationship between Nixon and BB Rebozo.
allan Kaplan 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 06:03 PM
Continuation of a highly organized and tightly controlled disinformation campaign to do one singularly the most significant and historically one of the most illegal act of American betrayal... overthrow American elections at any and all costs to install one of the most deranged, demoralized sold out brain dead Biden and his equally brown nosing Harris only to unseat a legally and democratically elected US president according to our Constitution! Will their evil acts against America work? I doubt it! But at a price that America has never before seen. Let's sit back and watch this Rose Bowl parade of America's dirtiest of the dirty politics!
E_Kaos allan Kaplan 7 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 02:49 PM
"brown nosing harris", how apropos with the play on words.
Bill Spence allan Kaplan 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 06:29 PM
Both parties and their politicians are totally corrupt. Why would anyone support one side over the other? Is that because you believe the promises and lies?
custos125 17 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 04:35 AM
Is there any evidence that both Mattis and Woodward knew that the allegations of a Syrian use of chemical weapons by plane were not true, a false flag? On the assumption of this use, the capacity to fly such attack and deploy such weapons was destroyed for some time. I recommend reading of Rage, it is quite interesting, even if some people will not like it and try to keep people away from the book.
E_Kaos custos125 7 hours ago 17 Sep, 2020 02:58 PM
My observations were: 1 - where were the bomb fragments 2 - why use rusted gas cylinders 3 - how do you attach a rusted gas cylinder to a plane 4 - were the rusted gas cylinders tossed out of a plane 5 - how did the rusted gas cylinders land so close to each other My conclusion - False Flag Incident
neeon9 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 06:58 PM
The is only one threat to peace in the world, and it's the US/Israeli M.I.C.. War mongering children, who actually believe, against all reason, that they are the most worthy and entitled race on earth! they are not. The US has been responsible for more misery in the world than any other state, which isn't surprising given how many Nazi's were resettled there by the Jews. They are also the only Ppl on the planet who think a nuclear war is winnable! How strange is that!
NoJustice 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 06:22 PM
So everything is a lie because Woodward didn't mention that there was no evidence found that linked the Syrian government to the chemical attack?
Strongbo50 6 minutes ago 17 Sep, 2020 09:58 PM
The left is firing up the Russian Interference narrative again, how Russia is trying to take the election. The real truth is in plain sight, The main stream media is trying to deliver Biden a win, along with google yahoo msn facebook and twitter. I say, come on Russia, if you can help stem that tide of lies please Mr Putin help. That's a joke but the media is real. And Woodward in his old age wants one more trophy on his mantle.
CuttySark 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 05:41 PM
Trump has become the great white whale. Seems like there are Ahab's everywhere willing to shoot their hearts upon the beast to bring it down whatever the cost. I think it was this kind of rage and attitude that got Adolf off to a good start.
NoJustice CuttySark 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 05:44 PM
He's an easy target because he keeps screwing up.
Gryphon_ 1 day ago 16 Sep, 2020 06:59 PM
The Washington Post is owned by Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon. Never in my life have I seen a newspaper that lies as much as the post. Bob Woodward works for the post.

[Jun 13, 2020] Surprise, surprise. The Trump/Kim Jong-un love affair was about as long as one of Elizabeth Taylor's romances.

This "chest-thumping" is what passes for US "diplomacy" those days
Jun 13, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
450.org , Jun 12 2020 18:31 utc | 9
Surprise, surprise. The Trump/Kim Jong-un love affair was about as long as one of Elizabeth Taylor's romances. Kim Jong-un wrote him beautiful letters and they fell in love, yet just as quickly they fell out of love. That's the way it is with Trump. He's a male version of Elizabeth Taylor. Melania was smart to renegotiate her prenup. It appears Kim Jong-un neglected to insist on a prenup.

They Were A Match Made In Heaven But Heaven Can Wait I Guess

[Jun 13, 2020] North Korea is likely to time the announced tests in a way that creates maximum damage for Trump's reelection campaign.

Jun 13, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jackrabbit , Jun 12 2020 19:04 utc | 13

North Korea is likely to time the announced tests in a way that creates maximum damage for Trump's reelection campaign.

It matter little which flavor of the establishment a US President hails from.

All Presidents are portrayed as 'peacemakers'. Only peacemakers can claim to fight 'just' wars.

USA is effectively at war with Syria (via dubious legality of occupying Syrian oilfields), Venezuela (having seized Venezuelan State assets with the pretense that Juan Guaidó is the true head of State), and Yemen (via support for Saudi and UAE war on Yemen). And USA leads/forces its allies in a Cold War with Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea. Then there is the backstabbing of the Palestinians and the US-backed coup in Peru. Trump is merely spokesperson for all this belligerence. When he's gone, whether that occurs in 4 months or 4 years, TPTB/Deep State will turn the page and start again.

!!


Sakineh Bagoom , Jun 12 2020 19:06 utc | 14

The Korean Armistice Agreement was a ceasefire, but no peace treaty was ever signed. In effect the Korean war never ended.

DPRK will not give up her nukes, but that's not where its strength lies. Japan and South Korea are within range of regular ballistic missiles, where US personnel are just sitting duck. All this talk about nukes is hooey.

Aside from China, let's not forget Russia, which has a skin in this game. It has an 11 mile border, and 15 mile maritime border with DPRK. It will do it's utmost for North not become South.

DannyC , Jun 12 2020 20:26 utc | 18
Here's my 2 cents. North Korea should never denuclearize. The US is never going to remove itself from South Korea. The only reason it won't ever be attacked, is if the cost of attacking it is too great to justify. Timing this announcement to damage Trump isn't smart. Yes, Trump gets sabotaged by Pompeo, Bolton when he was around and many others, but at the end of the day the attack order is still his call and it's been obvious Trump doesn't want a war with them. He's mostly just bluffing with his threats towards others. If you get Biden in there, he won't be running the show. Youll have the Pentagon and the neoliberals in charge. They will be less tough talk on Twitter, but definitely more of a threat to start a major war
vk , Jun 12 2020 20:59 utc | 22
It's important to speculate that the relations between the USA and South Korea have their contradictions.

The South Korean elite certainly would like a complete victory over the North under their terms (unconditional surrender to the South). That would allow the dream scenario for South Korea: ransacking their infrastructure (by the chaebols ) and absorbing their 25 million population as cheap workforce.

The South Korean military would also love this scenario, as an enlarged Korea, bordering both China (in a very favorable terrain for a terrestrial invasion in collaboration with the Americans) and Russia, with 75 million inhabitants, could rival Japan as the favorite vassal of the USA in the northwestern Pacific. This would embolden the nationalists at home, open space to crush the center-left (social-democrats) and add fuel to the melting pot of East Asia.

A unified Korea under capitalist hegemony would also enable the Korean military to charge the Americans for much more money, military equipment and other infrastructure in exchange for keeping their occupation. It would also absorb the North's nuclear weapon technology, know-how and infrastructure, so it would automatically be a nuclear power. It could even rise above Japan in geopolitical importance in the American eyes for this reason - it could essentially be an Israel in East Asia, directly threatening China in the name of the USA.

For that reason I think the USA doesn't want a unified and strengthened Korea - even one unified under the South's terms.

The American are already bleeding money and resources on Israel, NATO, Japan and the already existing South Korea. To have another emboldened vassal would bleed the American fiscus even more.

Besides, the Americans see themselves as the owners of South Korea, in the sense that South Korea owes their own existence to American occupation. If the North is to fall, I don't think the USA will allow the South Korean bourgeoisie to simply grab the North Korean resources and nuclear know-how. I don't think they will make the same mistake they did with Germany (by allowing the Western elite to absorb the East entirely, which opened the gates to the creation of the EU and then to the German conquest of Central Europe).

My bet is the North resources would mainly fall to American capital if it was to be conquered. Maybe the American won't even allow a unified Korea - at least not de facto .

uncle tungsten , Jun 12 2020 22:48 utc | 26
Kim Jong Un is more than a match for the dope Trump and his class of '86 wargamers. With this particular agreement the USA confirmed in everyone's eyes that it remains incapable of making and keeping a deal between nations. It would have been cheap and easy for Trump to walk away with a deal to give himself security in his second term runup. He cheated, he lied, and he bragged and so now that very agreement is a lance that the North Korean people can torment and bleed Trump with for the next six months and more.

Let's be clear about how important and sane the original deal was: relax the oppressive sanctions, diminish nuclear threats, remove invasion threats in exchange for repatriated human remains, and NK to destroy its nuclear production facility. That ignorant Pompeo nixed the deal on his very next visit and proved to Kim on his first round with the USA that the president was a puppet and the USA incapable of being trusted.

It was easy, it was inexpensive, it was painless and the USA could not do it.

And so Trump handed a weapon to Kim to stab at him throughout his own re-election. No brains in Kushner or Ivanka's heads as they too have handed a golden opportunity to the North Korean fox. Fools all.


The North Koreans have only their liberty and nation to lose and they would not lose it back in the 1950's and they sure wont lose it now. All the more so to a scabrous pack of greedy Chaebol mafia from the south. Do not forget that the USA bombed the North Koreans continuously, almost every village was bombed in a free fire zone approach that was repeated in Vietnam a decade or so later. Koreans were slaughtered in their millions by this grubby little USA mendacity and it is remembered through the generations. Korea had only just repulsed the Japanese occupation. They remember - and they wont be suckered by some clown nation in the Pacific.

Don Bacon , Jun 12 2020 23:27 utc | 28
DPRK is an ally of both China and Russia, US enemies which are currently besting the US by undermining its influence. .. from the Senate 2021 proposed budget summary:
Two years ago, the National Defense Strategy (NDS) outlined our nation's preeminent challenge: strategic competition with authoritarian adversaries that stand firmly against our shared American values of freedom, democracy, and peace -- namely, China and Russia.These adversaries seek to shift the global order in their favor, at our expense. In pursuit of this goal, these nations have increased military and economic aggression, worked to develop advanced technologies, expanded their influence around the world, and undermined our own influence. . . here
Richard Steven Hack , Jun 12 2020 23:38 utc | 30
Posted by: vk | Jun 12 2020 17:54 utc | 7 use its 25 million inhabitants as a brand-new cheap labor resources with which the chaebols could start a new cycle of capitalist accumulation is closing.

Not to mention the estimated *6-10 trillion dollars* in natural resources that North Korea has.

North Korea Has Trillions of Dollars in Mineral Wealth

From another article: "An estimate from 2012 by a South Korean research institute values the North's mineral wealth at $10 trillion, 20-odd times larger than that of the South."

It's always about the money (and power).

/div>

/div

[Jun 01, 2020] Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov "We Have No Trust, No Confidence Whatsoever" in America by Jacob Heilbrunn

May 29, 2020 | nationalinterest.org

TNI editor Jacob Heilbrunn interviews Russian deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov about the New START Treaty and the state of U.S.-Russia relations.

Jacob Heilbrunn : What is your assessment of the state of U.S.-Russia relations?

Sergei Ryabkov : The current state of our bilateral relations is probably worse than we have experienced for decades preceding this current moment. I don't want to compare this with Cold War times because that era was different from what we have now -- in some ways, more predictable; in some ways, more dangerous. From Moscow's perspective, the Trump era is worrying because we move from one low point to another, and as the famous Polish thinker Jerzy Lec said once, "We thought we had reached the ground, and then someone knocked from beneath."

This is exactly how things happen today. We try hard to improve the situation through different proposals in practically all areas that pull Moscow and Washington apart. It doesn't happen. We recognize that everything that is associated with Russia policy is now quite problematic, to put it mildly -- quite toxic for the U.S. mainstream in the broader sense of the word. But the only answer to this, we believe, is to intensify dialogue and search for ways that both governments, businesses -- structures that impact the general mood of the public -- maintain and probably deepen their interaction and discourse so as to remove possible misunderstandings or grounds for miscalculations.

One of the most troubling areas in this very dark and dull picture is of course arms control. There we see a downward spiral that is being systematically enhanced and intensified by the U.S. government. It looks like America doesn't believe in arms control as a concept altogether. Instead, it tries to find pretexts to depart from as many arms control treaties, agreements, and arrangements that Russia is also a party to. This is very regrettable. But make no mistake: we will not pay any price higher than the one we would pay for our own security in order to save something or keep the U.S. within this system. It's squarely and straightforwardly the choice that the American government may or, in our view, even should make -- because we still think that the maintenance of these agreements ultimately serves American national interests.

Heilbrunn : What is your view of the Trump administration's approach to the START Treaty?

Ryabkov : I can easily say that the Trump administration's approach to the START Treaty is quite strange. Number one: we understand the reasons why the Trump administration wants China to become a party to any future arms control talks or arrangements -- although we equally understand the reasons why China doesn't want to be part of these agreements, and thus we believe that it's up to Washington to deal with Beijing on this issue. And in the absence of a very clear and open and considered consent from the other side -- that is, from China -- there would be no talks with China or with China's participation. That's an obvious reality that we face.

So the next element of this logic brings us to the natural conclusion that it would be in everyone's interest just to extend what we have now -- that is, a new START in the form as it was signed and subsequently ratified -- and then defer contentious issues and unresolved problems, including the one that is associated with U.S. non-compliance with this treaty, to a later point. An eventual extension of the treaty for five more years would give sufficient time to both Washington and Moscow, and eventually for others, to consider the situation and make decisions not in a hurry but with due regard to all aspects and to the gravity of the challenges before us, including those associated with new military technologies. But again, we are not there to trade this approach for anything on the U.S. side, to get something from the U.S. side in return. I think it's quite logical and natural as it stands, so we invite the U.S. to consider what we are telling them at face value.

Heilbrunn: Traditionally, Russia has worked well with Republican administrations starting with Nixon. Is that era at an end?

Ryabkov: I don't know. It completely depends on the U.S. We do believe that irrespective of what party is in the government in the U.S., there are choices; there are opportunities; and there are possibilities that at least should be explored with Russia. I don't know if this administration regards Russia as a party worth having a serious dialogue with. I tend to believe it's not because of domestic political reasons, because of different approaches to matters that are quite obvious at least for us, including the international system of treaties and international law in general.

But then again, it may well be so that the current Republican administration will in effect become a line in history in which a considerable number of useful international instruments were abrogated and that America exited them in the anticipation that this approach would serve U.S. interests better. Having said that, I will never say or never suggest that it was for us -- at least in the mid-2010s -- better with the previous administration.

It was under the previous Obama administration that endless rounds of sanctions were imposed upon Russia. That was continued under Trump. The pretext for that policy is totally rejected by Russia as an invalid and illegal one. The previous administration, weeks before it departed, stole Russian property that was protected by diplomatic immunity, and we are still deprived of this property by the Trump administration. We have sent 350 diplomatic notes to both the Obama and the Trump administrations demanding the return of this property, only to see an endless series of rejections. It is one of the most vivid and obvious examples of where we are in our relationship.

There is no such thing as "which administration is better for Russia in the U.S.?" Both are bad, and this is our conclusion after more than a decade of talking to Washington on different topics.

Heilbrunn: Given the dire situation you portray, do you believe that America has become a rogue state?

Ryabkov: I wouldn't say so, that's not our conclusion. But the U.S. is clearly an entity that stands for itself, one that creates uncertainty for the world. America is a source of trouble for many international actors. They are trying to find ways to protect and defend themselves from this malign and malicious policy of America that many of the people around the world believe should come to an end, hopefully in the near future.

Heilbrunn : If President Trump were to respond to your last point, he might say, "What's wrong with uncertainty from the American perspective? What's wrong with keeping your adversaries off balance? Why should the U.S. be a predictable power?" What would your response be to that?

Ryabkov : My response to this would be that we are not asking the U.S. to be a responsible and predictable partner because we don't believe it would be possible any time soon. We are saying that this is a reality that we all face, and thus we only adjust our own reaction and our own response to it trying the best way possible to protect our own interests.

Heilbrunn : Related to that, and on the START Treaty, a Trump administration State Department official recently announced that the U.S. was ready, essentially, to bury Russia, to spend it into the ground in a new arms race just as it had in the 1980s.

Ryabkov : To bring it into oblivion.

Heilbrunn : Right. What is your response to those kinds of threats?

Ryabkov : There is no response. We just take note of it, and we draw our lessons from the past. We will never, ever allow anyone to draw us into an arms race that would exceed our own capabilities. But we will find ways how to sustain this pressure, both in terms of rhetoric and also in terms of possible action.

Heilbrunn : What does this kind of rhetoric imply for the future of an extension of the START Treaty? Doesn't it suggest that the treaty may in fact already be doomed and that the Trump administration is using China as a poison pill to kill the treaty altogether?

Ryabkov : On China, I think the U.S. administration is obsessed with the issue, and it tries to introduce "Chinese discourse" into every single international issue at the table. So it's not about the START Treaty. It's much broader, deeper, and it's by far more multifaceted than anything that relates to arms control as such. My view on this is that chances for the new START Treaty to be sustained are rapidly moving close to zero, and I think that on February 5, 2021, this treaty will just lapse, and it will end. We will have no START as of February 6, 2021.

Heilbrunn : Do you feel the American stance toward Russia is inadvertently helping to promote a Russia-China rapprochement that is actually not in Washington's interest?

Ryabkov : We don't think we can operate on the premise that because of some pressure or some external impact on us, something happens in terms of the evolution of priorities or approaches to China or to anyone else. We don't believe the U.S. in its current shape is a counterpart that is reliable, so we have no confidence, no trust whatsoever. So our own calculations and conclusions are less related to what America is doing than to many, many other things. And we cherish our close and friendly relations with China. We do regard this as a comprehensive strategic partnership in different areas, and we intend to develop it further. Heilbrunn : The U.S. is pushing very hard against China right now, at least rhetorically. China has vowed to smash any Taiwanese move toward independence and looks to be cracking down in Hong Kong as well. Do you see this as another instance where American overt bellicosity ends up boomeranging and pushing its adversaries to take more drastic measures?

Ryabkov : Of course, it's not possible for me to judge what China will do in those cases or in those instances, but I do think that every single area where the U.S. believes there is an opportunity to pressure China is being currently used in a most energetic and most forceful manner. I think it clearly entails a further growth of uncertainty in international relations. I still hope though that at some point, the natural instinct to talk and agree and conclude deals will prevail rather than this ongoing effort to squeeze something out of others -- not only China, but Russia and others who tend to follow their independent policy from America.

Heilbrunn : In this regard, when it comes to Russia -- because you see the U.S. as trying to increase the pressure on Russia as well -- do you draw a distinction between President Trump and his administration, or do you see them as aligned in their approach toward Russia? Because during the 2016 election campaign, Trump was explicit about trying to revive the U.S.-Russia relationship.

Ryabkov : No, I see no lines anywhere. I see no distinction, as you have described. Moreover, I see no distinction between the previous administration and this one.

Heilbrunn : Let me put it another way: what about differences between Trump and his own advisers? Do you think Trump himself is inclined to take a more diplomatic route, or do you think that U.S.-Russia policy is being driven by him?

Ryabkov : I don't know who drives U.S. policy toward Russia. We welcome any signal from the Americans, including from the President himself in favor of improvement, in favor of going along, and we are prepared to bear our share in this. But unfortunately, it doesn't work. And I suspect to some extent that it's also my own fear that in my modest position, I was not able to offer anything to my bosses that may help to change things for the better.

Heilbrunn : Final question: do you think that matters, at least in the area of arms control, would change under a Biden presidency? Because the Democrats are much more sympathetic to arms control agreements than Republicans currently appear to be. What's your take?

Ryabkov : I have no idea how things will unfold in relation to the forthcoming election in the U.S. No predictions, no expectations. I do think, though, that it would be very late in the process for any administration -- including the second Trump administration if he is reelected -- to deal with the issue of a new START extension after the day of elections in America. I think more broadly that the current, almost one-hundred percent watertight anti-Russian bipartisan consensus in the U.S. doesn't promise much good for this relationship for the future, irrespective of who wins the next election. So we will see. We will continuously work hard to try to devise alternative paths forward, but we have no partner on the American side.

Sergei Ryabkov is Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation.

[May 01, 2020] Antiwar and anto0interialsim voters who voted for Trump in 2016 are up to a cold shower: it is Trump driving US hostility and escalation in the world, and not only those around him. He is the biggest US imperialist for the last 30 years.

May 01, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Passer by , May 1 2020 15:58 utc | 37

Just as i said many times, it is Trump driving US hostility and escalation in the world, and not only those around him. He is the biggest US imperialist for the last 30 years.

A racist white man goes crazy the moment he understands he does not have the "biggest dick" anymore, and is humiliated due to that, since this wasn't supposed to happen to the people who ruled the world for 500 years.

What will happen is that american white male right wingers will start going crazy. Lashing out in hatred against the world, after understanding they are no longer "number 1", and that their fate will not be pretty.

You should expect US right wingers to go crazy as the US further declines. These people thought they would rule the world. Instead they started to decline. This wasn't supposed to happen to such superior people.

US elite will simply go crazy as the "best country in the world" loses its power.

Expect anglo craziness, outbursts of hate and hysteria. The US elite will become a mental institution. If not for nukes, they would have started a world war already.

[Feb 24, 2020] Creating the Corporate Coup

Notable quotes:
"... Although corporations are legally a person (see history below), they are in fact an entity. The sole goal of that entity is profit. There is no corporate conscience. ..."
"... Perhaps it would be useful to look at the nature of our global expansion. The global expanse of US military bases is well-known, but its actual territorial empire is largely hidden. The true map of America is not taught in our schools. Abby Martin interviews history Professor Daniel Immerwahr about his new book, ' How To Hide An Empire ,' where he documents the story of our "Greater United States." This is worth the 40 minute watch...I learned several new things. One more long clip. However this one is fine to just listen to as you do things. This is a wonderful interview with Noam Chomsky. The man exudes wisdom. ..."
"... The oligarchy has been with us since perhaps the tribal origins of our species, but the corporation is a newer phenomenon. A faceless, soulless profit machine. Ironically it is the 14th amendment which is used to justify corporate person-hood. ..."
"... Corporations aren't specifically mentioned in the 14th Amendment, or anywhere else in the Constitution. But going back to the earliest years of the republic, when the Bank of the United States brought the first corporate rights case before the Supreme Court, U.S. corporations have sought many of the same rights guaranteed to individuals, including the rights to own property, enter into contracts, and to sue and be sued just like individuals. ..."
"... But it wasn't until the 1886 case Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Rail Road that the Court appeared to grant a corporation the same rights as an individual under the 14th Amendment ..."
"... The United States is home to five of the world's 10 largest defense contractors, and American companies account for 57 percent of total arms sales by the world's 100 largest defense contractors, based on SIPRI data. Maryland-based Lockheed Martin, the largest defense contractor in the world, is estimated to have had $44.9 billion in arms sales in 2017 through deals with governments all over the world. The company drew public scrutiny after a bomb it sold to Saudi Arabia was dropped on a school bus in Yemen, killing 40 boys and 11 adults. Lockheed's revenue from the U.S. government alone is well more than the total annual budgets of the IRS and the Environmental Protection Agency, combined. ..."
"... http://news.nidokidos.org/military-spending-20-companies-profiting-the-m... For a list of the 20 companies profiting most off war... https://themindunleashed.com/2019/03/20-companies-profiting-war.html ..."
"... Capitalism, militarism and imperialism are disastrously intertwined ..."
"... Corporations are Religions Yes they are. They have ethics, goals, and priests. They have a god who determines everything "The Invisible Hand". They believe themselves to be superior to the state. They have cult garb, or are we not going to pretend that there's corporate dress codes, right down to the things you can wear on special days of the week. They determine what you can eat, drink and read. If you say something wrong, they feel within their rights to punish you because they OWN the medium that you used to spread ideas. OF course they don't own your thoughts... those belong to the OTHER god. ..."
Dec 09, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

Chris Hedges often says "The corporate coup is complete". Sadly I think he is correct. So this week I thought it might be interesting to explore the techniques which are used here at home and abroad. The oligarchs' corporate control is global, but different strategies are employed in various scenarios. Just thinking about the recent regime changes promoted by the US in this hemisphere...

The US doesn't even lie about past coups. They recently released a report about the 1953 CIA led coup against Iran detailing the strategies. Here at home it is a compliant media and a new array of corporate laws designed to protect and further enrich that spell the corporate capture of our culture and society. So let's begin by looking at the nature of corporations...

The following 2.5 hour documentary from 2004 features commentary from Chris, Noam, Naomi, and many others you know. It has some great old footage. It is best watched on a television so you have a bigger screen. (This clip is on the encore+ youtube channel and does have commercials which you can skip after 5 seconds)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpQYsk-8dWg

Based on Joel Bakan's bestseller The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power , this 26-award-winning documentary explores a corporation's inner workings, curious history, controversial impacts and possible futures.

One hundred and fifty years ago, a corporation was a relatively insignificant entity. Today, it is a vivid, dramatic, and pervasive presence in all our lives. Like the Church, the Monarchy and the Communist Party in other times and places, a corporation is today's dominant institution.

Charting the rise of such an institution aimed at achieving specific economic goals, the documentary also recounts victories against this apparently invincible force.

Although corporations are legally a person (see history below), they are in fact an entity. The sole goal of that entity is profit. There is no corporate conscience. Some of the CEO's in the film discuss how all the people in the corporations are against pollution and so on, but by law stockholder profit must be the objective. Now these entities are global operations with no loyalty to their country of origin.

Perhaps it would be useful to look at the nature of our global expansion. The global expanse of US military bases is well-known, but its actual territorial empire is largely hidden. The true map of America is not taught in our schools. Abby Martin interviews history Professor Daniel Immerwahr about his new book, ' How To Hide An Empire ,' where he documents the story of our "Greater United States." This is worth the 40 minute watch...I learned several new things. One more long clip. However this one is fine to just listen to as you do things. This is a wonderful interview with Noam Chomsky. The man exudes wisdom.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yuVqfKYbGvE (2 hour 5 min)

So much of this conversation touches on today's topic of our corporate capture. Amy interviewed Ed Snowden this week... (video or text)

This is a system, the first system in history, that bore witness to everything. Every border you crossed, every purchase you make, every call you dial, every cell phone tower you pass, friends you keep, article you write, site you visit and subject line you type was now in the hands of a system whose reach is unlimited but whose safeguards were not. And I felt, despite what the law said, that this was something that the public ought to know.

https://www.democracynow.org/2019/12/5/edward_snowden_amy_goodman_interv...

The oligarchy has been with us since perhaps the tribal origins of our species, but the corporation is a newer phenomenon. A faceless, soulless profit machine. Ironically it is the 14th amendment which is used to justify corporate person-hood.

Corporations aren't specifically mentioned in the 14th Amendment, or anywhere else in the Constitution. But going back to the earliest years of the republic, when the Bank of the United States brought the first corporate rights case before the Supreme Court, U.S. corporations have sought many of the same rights guaranteed to individuals, including the rights to own property, enter into contracts, and to sue and be sued just like individuals.

But it wasn't until the 1886 case Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Rail Road that the Court appeared to grant a corporation the same rights as an individual under the 14th Amendment

https://www.history.com/news/14th-amendment-corporate-personhood-made-co...

More recently in 2010 (Citizens United v. FEC): In the run up to the 2008 election, the Federal Elections Commission blocked the conservative nonprofit Citizens United from airing a film about Hillary Clinton based on a law barring companies from using their funds for "electioneering communications" within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of a general election. The organization sued, arguing that, because people's campaign donations are a protected form of speech (see Buckley v. Valeo) and corporations and people enjoy the same legal rights, the government can't limit a corporation's independent political donations. The Supreme Court agreed. The Citizens United ruling may be the most sweeping expansion of corporate personhood to date.
https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/07/how-supreme-court-turned-co...

Do they really believe this is how we think?

More than just using the courts, corporations are knee deep in creating favorable laws, not just by lobbying, but by actually writing legislation to feed the politicians that they own and control, especially at the state level.

Through ALEC, Global Corporations Are Scheming to Rewrite YOUR Rights and Boost THEIR Revenue. Through the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council, global corporations and state politicians vote behind closed doors to try to rewrite state laws that govern your rights. These so-called "model bills" reach into almost every area of American life and often directly benefit huge corporations.

In ALEC's own words, corporations have "a VOICE and a VOTE" on specific changes to the law that are then proposed in your state. DO YOU? Numerous resources to help us expose ALEC are provided below. We have also created links to detailed discussions of key issues...

https://www.alecexposed.org/wiki/ALEC_Exposed

Here's an attempt by a local station to tell the story of a Georgia session of legislators and ALEC lobbyists. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3yIbxydlHY (6 min)

There is very little effort to hide the blatant corruption. People seem to accept this behavior as business as usual, after all it is.

Part of the current ALEC legislative agenda involves stifling protests.

I think it started in Texas...

A bill making its way through the Texas legislature would make protesting pipelines a third-degree felony, the same as attempted murder.
H.B. 3557, which is under consideration in the state Senate after passing the state House earlier this month, ups penalties for interfering in energy infrastructure construction by making the protests a felony. Sentences would range from two to 10 years.

https://www.ecowatch.com/texas-bill-pipeline-protests-felony-2637605986....
It is now law. Other states are following suit...

Lawmakers in Wisconsin introduced a bill on September 5 designed to chill protests around oil and gas pipelines and other energy infrastructure in the state by imposing harsh criminal penalties for trespassing on or damaging the property of a broad range of "energy providers."

Senate Bill 386 echoes similar "critical infrastructure protection" model bills pushed out by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and the Council of State Governments over the last two years to prevent future protests like the one against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

https://www.exposedbycmd.org/2019/09/16/wisconsin-legislators-seek-crimi...

These activities are taking place in most states...especially red ones like mine.

When TPTB use government to play chess with the countries of the world havoc ensues...

Abby and Mike were on Chris' show yesterday talking about Gaza and the US/Israeli effort at genocide. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcsEYRt_jGY (28 min)

And Chris was on the evening RT news this week discussing how the US empire is striking back against leaders who help their own people rather than our global corporations.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1P5G9S8flnY (6.5 min)

Lee Camp and Ben Norton also discussed how the US wants to own South America. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLETst107M0 (1st 22 min)

This excellent article tells the story well...

Financially, the cost of these wars is immense: more than $6 trillion dollars. The cost of these wars is just one element of the $1.2 trillion the US government spends annually on wars and war making. Half of each dollar paid in federal income tax goes towards some form or consequence of war . While the results of such spending are not hard to foresee or understand: a cyclical and dependent relationship between the Pentagon, weapons industry and Congress, the creation of a whole new class of worker and wealth distribution is not so understood or noticed, but exists and is especially malignant.

This is a ghastly redistribution of wealth, perhaps unlike any known in modern human history, certainly not in American history. As taxpayers send trillions to Washington. DC, that money flows to the men and women that remotely oversee, manage and staff the wars that kill and destroy millions of lives overseas and at home. Hundreds of thousands of federal employees and civilian contractors servicing the wars take home six figure annual salaries allowing them second homes, luxury cars and plastic surgery, while veterans put guns in their mouths, refugees die in capsized boats and as many as four million nameless souls scream silently in death.

These AUMFs (Authorization for Use of Military Force) and the wars have provided tens of thousands of recruits to international terror groups; mass profits to the weapons industry and those that service it; promotions to generals and admirals, with corporate board seats upon retirement ; and a perpetual and endless supply of bloody shirts for politicians to wave via an unquestioning and obsequious corporate media to stoke compliant anger and malleable fear. What is hard to imagine, impossible even, is anyone else who has benefited from these wars.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/12/06/authorizations-for-madness-the-e...

The United States is home to five of the world's 10 largest defense contractors, and American companies account for 57 percent of total arms sales by the world's 100 largest defense contractors, based on SIPRI data. Maryland-based Lockheed Martin, the largest defense contractor in the world, is estimated to have had $44.9 billion in arms sales in 2017 through deals with governments all over the world. The company drew public scrutiny after a bomb it sold to Saudi Arabia was dropped on a school bus in Yemen, killing 40 boys and 11 adults. Lockheed's revenue from the U.S. government alone is well more than the total annual budgets of the IRS and the Environmental Protection Agency, combined.

http://news.nidokidos.org/military-spending-20-companies-profiting-the-m... For a list of the 20 companies profiting most off war... https://themindunleashed.com/2019/03/20-companies-profiting-war.html

The obvious industry which was not included nor considered is the fossil fuel industry. Here's another example of mutual corporate interests.

"Capitalism, militarism and imperialism are disastrously intertwined with the fossil fuel economy .A globalized economy predicated on growth at any social or environmental costs, carbon dependent international trade, the limitless extraction of natural resources, and a view of citizens as nothing more than consumers cannot be the basis for tackling climate change .Little wonder then that the elites have nothing to offer beyond continued militarisation and trust in techno-fixes."

-- Nick Buxton and Ben Hayes
https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/07/05/doubling-down-the-military-big-b...

The US military is one of the largest consumers and emitters of carbon-dioxide equivalent (CO2e) in history, according to an independent analysis of global fuel-buying practices of a "virtually unresearched" government agency.
If the US military were its own country, it would rank 47th between Peru and Portugal in terms of annual fuel purchases, totaling almost 270,000 barrels of oil bought every day in 2017. In particular, the Air Force is the largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions and bought $4.9 billion of fuel in 2017 – nearly double that of the Navy ($2.8 billion).

https://www.iflscience.com/environment/us-military-ranks-higher-in-green...

The fossil fuel giants even try to control the climate talks...

Oil and gas groups were accused Saturday of seeking to influence climate talks in Madrid by paying millions in sponsorship and sending dozens of lobbyists to delay what scientists say is a necessary and rapid cut in fossil fuel use.

https://www.rawstory.com/2019/12/fossil-fuel-groups-destroying-climate-t...

The corporations are so entwined that it is difficult to tell where they begin and end. There's the unity of private prisons and the war machine. And it's a global scheme...this example from the UK.

One thing is clear: the prison industrial complex and the global war machine are intimately connected. This summer's prison strike that began in the United States and spread to other countries was the largest in history. It shows more than ever that prisoners are resisting this penal regime, often at great risk to themselves. The battle to end prison slavery continues.

https://corporatewatch.org/poppies-prison-labour-and-the-war-machine/

Then there was the corporate tax give away...

The 2017 tax bill cut taxes for most Americans, including the middle class, but it heavily benefits the wealthy and corporations . It slashed the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent, and its treatment of "pass-through" entities -- companies organized as sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLCs, or S corporations -- will translate to an estimated $17 billion in tax savings for millionaires this year. American corporations are showering their shareholders with stock buybacks, thanks in part to their tax savings.

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/12/18/18146253/tax-cuts-and...

Even Robert Jackson Jr., commissioner at the Securities and Exchange Commission. Appointed to the SEC in 2017 by President Donald Trump. Confirmed in January 2018 sees the corporate cuts as absurd.

"We have been to the movie of tax cuts and buybacks before, in the Republican administration during the George W. Bush era. We enacted a quite substantial tax cut during that period. And studies after that showed very clearly that most corporations use the funds from that tax cut for buybacks. And here's the kicker. That particular tax cut actually required that companies deploy the capital for capital expenditures, wage increases and investments in their people. Yet studies showed that, in fact, the companies use them for buybacks. So we've been to this movie before. And what you're describing to me, that corporations turned around and took the Trump tax cut and didn't use it in investing in their people or in infrastructure, but instead for other purposes, shouldn't surprise anybody at all."

https://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2019/11/18/corporations-stock-buybacks-sec-...

So the corporations grow larger, wealthier, more powerful, buying evermore legislative influence along the way. They have crept into almost every aspect of our lives. Some doctors are beginning to see the influence of big pharma and other corporate interests are effecting the current practice of medicine.

Gary Fettke is a doctor from Tasmania who has been targeted for promoting a high fat low carb diet...threatened with losing his medical qualifications. He doesn't pull punches in this presentation discussing the corporate control of big ag/food and big pharma on medical practice and education. (27 min)

Comments

detroitmechworks on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 8:28am

Corporations are Religions Yes they are. They have ethics, goals, and priests. They have a god who determines everything "The Invisible Hand". They believe themselves to be superior to the state. They have cult garb, or are we not going to pretend that there's corporate dress codes, right down to the things you can wear on special days of the week. They determine what you can eat, drink and read. If you say something wrong, they feel within their rights to punish you because they OWN the medium that you used to spread ideas. OF course they don't own your thoughts... those belong to the OTHER god.

At least the crazy made up gods that I listen to don't usually fuck over other human beings for a goddamn percentage. ON the other hand, if a corporation can make a profit, it's REQUIRED to fuck you over. To do otherwise would be against it's morals. Which it does have, trust us... OH, and corporations get to make fun of your beliefs, but you CANNOT make fun of theirs. Because that would be heresy against logic and reason.

www.youtube.com/embed/uGDA0Hecw1k?modestbranding=0&html5=1&rel=0&autoplay=0&wmode=opaque&loop=0&controls=1&autohide=0&showinfo=0&theme=dark&color=red&enablejsapi=0

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 8:37am
yes indeed, they are superior to the state...

@detroitmechworks

In the film Secret State they (fossil fuel) admit it. Here's the trailer...(1.5 min)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCYjbux_dCM

You can watch the series if anyone has an interest. Start here...there are about 6 episodes.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3aeZT6IXCUg (42 min)

Good spy thriller.

Nice to see you around the site again. Thanks for visiting this piece.

QMS on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 8:39am
A recent front page item

In a local newspaper showed a couple coming out of a Wal-Mart with their carts piled high with big boxed foreign junk, then shown cramming their SUV full of said junk. The headline read "Crazy Busy". It pretty much summed up what is wrong with the American consumer culture. The next day's big headline spotlighted our senator's picture affixed to a LARGE headline boasting "$22 Billion Submarine Contract Awarded". A good example of of what is wrong with the american war economy.

Thank you for your compilation Lookout! If we can get beyond the headlines, working at grass root and local solutions, maybe even underground revolution, there may be hope for us. Barter for a better future.

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 9:06am
Let's hope we trade up for something better

@QMS

My buddies always say about their mayor..."There's no way we will trade down after this election...but then we do." Perhaps it is true for more than just their town.

The line running in my head is..."What if they gave a war and nobody came". I want to expand it to..."What if they made cheap junk no one really wanted and nobody bought it". Or substitute junk food for cheap junk, or...

My point in today's conclusion is much as I try to walk away from corporate culture/control, I really can't totally escape...but at least I spend most of my time in the open, breathing clean air, surrounded by forest. We do what we can.

Onward through the fog...

Raggedy Ann on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 8:58am
Good Sunday morning, Lookout ~~

Consumerism in our society is a plague, a disease perpetrated upon us by our corporate lords. It has taken over everything about being an American.

I think the youth are catching on, as they are thrifting more, but they don't understand about food, and that's the rub. Our youth will be more unhealthy until they understand what corporations are doing to us through food addictions.

We're expecting rain today for most of the day and actually it's just started. The person who will drill our well came by yesterday and figured out some details. We are behind two other wells, so it will probably be the holiday week when it happens - we'll see. I can wait til January and hope we do.

Have a lovely Sunday, everyone!

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 9:10am
best of luck with your well!

@Raggedy Ann

That's an exciting project. Keep us posted. I hope y'all have a great holiday break. Enjoy your time....the most valuable thing we have!

davidgmillsatty on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 9:09am
The main reason I am not enamored with Sander's economic

Ideas is that new deal of FDR's day had corporate opponents far different than those of today. Sanders does not seem to understand that the corporations of yesterday, and what worked against them, will not work against the corporations of today. In the early part of the 20th century, corporations were still primarily domestic and local often with charters from the state where they conducted their primary business, many times all of their business.

Regulation and unions were reasonable anti-dotes to the abuses of these local and domestic corporations. The state still had some semblance of control over them.

But today corporations are global. They have no allegiance to, or concern for the domestic economy or local people. They do not fear of any anti-dotes that worked for years against domestic or local corporations. Global corporations just leave and go elsewhere if they don't like the domestic or local situation if they have not managed to completely take over the government.

There is only one reason to incorporate in the first place. That is for the owner(s) of the business to avoid personal liability or responsibility. The majority of people never understand this idea. Corporate owners are the people who are the genuine personal responsibility avoiders. Not the poor. The only antidote to corporations these days is the total demise of the corporation and its similar business entities that dodge personal responsibility. And the state must refuse to allow any such entities to do business. It is the only way forward. Otherwise nation states will give way to corporate states. Corporate governance is the new feudalism from which the old feudalism morphed.

Sanders isn't going to advocate doing away with corporate entities or other similar business entities. Nor will any of the Democratic contenders. They all require corporations to rail against as the basis for their political policy.

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 9:19am
corporate power is formative

@davidgmillsatty

...and I've always wondered just how Bernie would dismantle them. However like the impotence of the impeachment, is the impotence of the primary process.

When the DNC was sued after 2016, they were exonerated based on the ruling they were a private entity entitled to make rules as the wanted. The primary is so obviously rigged I can almost guarantee Bernie will not be allowed the nomination, so the question to how he would change corporate control is really moot.

Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

davidgmillsatty on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 10:56am
Sanders Winning the Nomination

@Lookout I probably could get on board with a Sanders campaign if he would run as an Independent. But it is really hard to get on board with him as a Democrat. If he loses the nomination, he will probably not run as an Independent once again. Once he bailed on an Independent run last time, I and many others bailed on him. I would support his Independent candidacy just to screw with the Electoral College. I thought last time an independent candidacy might have thrown the election to the House of Representatives. I could see a Democratically controlled House voting for him over Trump in a three way EC split if the Democratic candidate took low EC numbers.

But he is so afraid of being tarred with the Nader moniker.

What I said many times on websites last election is that an EC vote is very similar to a Parliamentary Election. And that would be an interesting change for sure. It would also be a means of having the popular vote winner restored if there is a big enough margin in the House. And what would be equally cool is that the Senate picks the VP. So you could have President and VP from different parties.

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 10:32am
in some alternate universe...

@davidgmillsatty

if Bernie got the nomination, I would vote for him, especially in this imaginary world, if Tulsi was his running mate. Then there the question about your vote being counted? We'll just have to see what we see and make judgements based on outcomes, IMO.

#4.1 I probably could get on board with a Sanders campaign if he would run as an Independent. But it is really hard to get on board with him as a Democrat. If he loses the nomination, he will probably not run as an Independent once again. Once he bailed on an Independent run last time, I and many others bailed on him. I would support his Independent candidacy just to screw with the Electoral College. I thought last time an independent candidacy might have thrown the election to the House of Representatives. I could see a Democratically controlled House voting for him over Trump in a three way EC split if the Democratic candidate took low EC numbers.

But he is so afraid of being tarred with the Nader moniker.

What I said many times on websites last election is that an EC vote is very similar to a Parliamentary Election. And that would be an interesting change for sure. It would also be a means of having the popular vote winner restored if there is a big enough margin in the House. And what would be equally cool is that the Senate picks the VP. So you could have President and VP from different parties.

davidgmillsatty on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 11:01am
The more I think about this

@Lookout The only way the Democrats might beat Trump is to have Sanders run as an Independent and prevent Trump from reaching 270. That is a far better way to beat Trump than impeachment. Would the house vote for the Democrat or an Independent? I guess it would depend on how Sanders did in the popular vote and EC against his Democratic rival.

#4.1.1
if Bernie got the nomination, I would vote for him, especially in this imaginary world, if Tulsi was his running mate. Then there the question about your vote being counted? We'll just have to see what we see and make judgements based on outcomes, IMO.

TheOtherMaven on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 2:06pm
And who that rival was!

@davidgmillsatty @davidgmillsatty

If it was Hillary "Dewey Cheatem & Howe" Clinton, all bets are off.

#4.1.1.1 The only way the Democrats might beat Trump is to have Sanders run as an Independent and prevent Trump from reaching 270. That is a far better way to beat Trump than impeachment. Would the house vote for the Democrat or an Independent? I guess it would depend on how Sanders did in the popular vote and EC against his Democratic rival.

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 2:48pm
The $hill was on Howard Stern this week...

@TheOtherMaven

//www.youtube.com/embed/LhxMvmX9WlA?modestbranding=0&html5=1&rel=0&autoplay=0&wmode=opaque&loop=0&controls=1&autohide=0&showinfo=0&theme=dark&color=red&enablejsapi=0

snoopydawg on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 3:18pm
Howard effin Stern indeed

@Lookout

Good lord.that she did that is unbelievable. Great point. Boycott Fox News, but go on Stern's show. It's going to be fun to watch how much lower she falls.

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 3:30pm
The depth of her corruption is unfathomable

@snoopydawg

AE maybe be correct that they will pull her from behind the curtain and anoint her to run again. But I sure hope not!

snoopydawg on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 3:31pm
More lying about Bernie not supporting Hillary

@Lookout

MSNBC invited on two former Hillary Clinton aides to criticize Bernie Sanders for taking a "long time to get out of the race" and that he didn't do "enough" campaigning for her in 2016. pic.twitter.com/6Vsqo0DKZI

-- Ibrahim (@ibrahimpols) December 8, 2019

Come on Bernie call this crap out.

davidgmillsatty on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 6:08pm
The Way that would work in the House of Reps

@TheOtherMaven They have to choose from actual EC vote getters. So if she is not the candidate she could not win.

Having Sanders run as an Independent and Warren or Biden run as a Democrat would be a much better strategy to ensure a Trump loss in the House. Of course it might take some coordination as in asking the voters to vote for the candidate who has the best chance of beating Trump in certain states. But voters could probably figure that out.

Or a candidate could just withdraw from a state in which the other candidate had a better chance of beating Trump.

QMS on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 9:27am
Dig it

@irishking @irishking
What to do?Dance in the streets! //www.youtube.com/embed/9KhbM2mqhCQ

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 9:27am
Do you think the bear went over the mountain...

@irishking

refers to RUSSIA!!! (Just joking) Thanks for the song. Here's one from 1929 back atcha! Thanks for the visit. //www.youtube.com/embed/pDOwDi2jlk0

jakkalbessie on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 10:15am
So much to think about

Lookout as usual you have done an excellent job of giving me a lot of articles to read and think about this next week.

Of course I need to be loading my car and shutting this place down as I head to the Texas hill country. Will look for an article about Kinder Morgan and small communities that are fighting the pipeline through their towns. The read was a little hopeful.

Watching the weather and it looks like sunshine and clear skies as I travel. Thanks for all your work in putting this together.

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 10:27am
My buddy JU Lee wrote a song...

@jakkalbessie

I like to travel on the old roads.

There's not a youtube, but the chorus goes:

I like to travel on the old roads
I like the way it makes me feel
No destination just the old roads
Somehow it helps the heart to heal.

I hope your road trip is a good one. The less busy tracks are almost meditative....soaking in scenery as the world passes by.

Have fun and be careful.

Lookout as usual you have done an excellent job of giving me a lot of articles to read and think about this next week.

Of course I need to be loading my car and shutting this place down as I head to the Texas hill country. Will look for an article about Kinder Morgan and small communities that are fighting the pipeline through their towns. The read was a little hopeful.

Watching the weather and it looks like sunshine and clear skies as I travel. Thanks for all your work in putting this together.

ggersh on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 11:06am
Nice work Lookout

Here are a couple of links to how free markets help in the corporate takeover. Amazon a corp that has only made a profit by never paying taxes and accounting fraud. It became a trillion dollar corp through the use of monopoly money(stock) it's nothing but the perfect example of todays "unicorn" corp, i.e. worth what it is w/out ever making a penny

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 11:26am
The free market created the private prison industry too

@ggersh

Not so free really is it? Amazon is certainly a monster...now hosting the CIA/MIC cloud as well as owning the WaPo.

Snode on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 11:45am
Corporations are not people

Corporations can live far beyond a persons lifespan. Corporations can commit homicide and escape execution and justice. Unfortunately, unions are just as likely to be on the corporations side to get jobs and wages, and bust heads if anything interferes with that.

If we protest we've seen the police ready to use deadly force at the drop of a hat, and get away with it. We get to vote on candidates that some political club chose for us, and have little incentive to work for the 99%. The gov. has amassed so much information on us we can't even fathom its depth. We have nowhere left, no unexplored lands out of reach of the government. We think we own things, but if you think you own a home, see how long it is before the gov. confiscates it if you don't pay your property taxes.

If I were younger, or a young person asked what to do, I would say.... learn some skill that would make you attractive for emigrating to another country, because the US looks like it's over. It's people are only here to be exploited. And if Bernie were to become president I hope he gets a food taster.

Lily O Lady on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 1:27pm
Corporations are worldwide entities now. No where to

@Snode

run to. No where to hide. As in the U.K., corporations are seeking to to dismantle the NHS and turn it into a for-profit system like ours. Even as the gilllet-jaune protesters risk life and limb, Macron seeks to install true neoliberalism in France. And the beat goes on.

snoopydawg on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 5:41pm
Yep you nailed it

@Snode

Corporations can live far beyond a persons lifespan. Corporations can commit homicide and escape execution and justice.

Look at what chevron did to people in Borapol. I'm sure I spelled this wrong but hopefully people will know what I'm talking about. They killed lots of people and poisoned their land for decades and the fight over it is still going on. How many decades more will chevron get to skirt justice? Banks continue to commit fraud and they only get little fines that don't do jack to keep them from doing it again. Even cities are screwing people. Owe a few dollars on your property taxes and they will take your home and sell it for pennies on the dollar. How in hell can it be legal to charge people over 600% interest? What happened to usury rules if that's the correct term.

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 5:51pm
They've done it all over the world...

@snoopydawg

The International Court of Justice at The Hague ruled last week that a prior ruling by an Ecuadorean court that fined Chevron $9.5 billion in 2011 should be upheld, according to teleSUR, a Latin American news agency. Texaco, which is currently a part of Chevron, is responsible for what is considered one of the world's largest environmental disasters while it drilled for oil in the Ecuadorian rainforest from 1964 to 1990.
https://www.ecowatch.com/will-chevron-and-exxon-ever-be-held-responsible...

snoopydawg on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 7:13pm
It's just unbelievable that they can still dodge responsibilit

@Lookout

for decades of polluting and killing.

The legal battle has been tied up in the courts for years. Ecuador's highest court finally upheld the ruling in January 2014, but Chevron refused to pay.

This is another thing that corporations get away with. Contaminating land and then just walking away from it. How many superfund sites have we had to pay for instead of the ones who created the mess. Just declared bankruptcy and walked away. Corporations are people? Fine then they should be held as accountable as the people in the lower classes. Fat chance though right?

Lily O Lady on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 6:01pm
Union Carbide India was responsible for the Bopal disaster.
snoopydawg on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 7:16pm
Thanks for the save

@Lily O Lady

Weren't people killed by a gas cloud released from the plant? I read something recently that said the case is still going through the courts. How much money have they spent trying not to spend more?

snoopydawg on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 12:27pm
7 year old concerned about the Uighers

//www.youtube.com/embed/wGq0xVh6UJw?modestbranding=0&html5=1&rel=0&autoplay=0&wmode=opaque&loop=0&controls=1&autohide=0&showinfo=0&theme=dark&color=red&enablejsapi=0

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 12:36pm
The comments are supportive of Tulsi

@snoopydawg

....and no I had not seen that clip. Tulsi impresses me in many ways and the manner in which she treats this child is an example.

Especially as compared to Joe ByeDone's adolescent behavior...

//www.youtube.com/embed/mKV0oAPENdg?modestbranding=0&html5=1&rel=0&autoplay=0&wmode=opaque&loop=0&controls=1&autohide=0&showinfo=0&theme=dark&color=red&enablejsapi=0

snoopydawg on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 1:09pm
Ugh

@Lookout @Lookout

Byedone just needs to pack it in and drop out already. Today he was defending the republican party after someone said something about them needing to go away. Joe said that we need another party so one does not get more power than the other. Yeah right, Joe. It's not like the Pubs are already weilding power they don't have and them dems cowering and supporting them.

Newsweek reporter quit after being censored on the OPCW story.

I have collected evidence of how they suppressed the story in addition to evidence from another case where info inconvenient to US govt was removed, though it was factually correct.

-- Tareq Haddad (@Tareq_Haddad) December 7, 2019

ANd great news for Max Bluementhal!!

BREAKING: The US government has DROPPED ITS BOGUS CASE against me and @NotConq .

I was hauled out of my house by a team of cops, jailed for two days, and maliciously defamed due to the lies of the US-backed Venezuelan opposition.

I plan to seek justice. https://t.co/Wm7Yl8cL2T

-- Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) December 7, 2019

Thanks for the wound up, LO. Lots of great stuff here to go back and digest.

#9

....and no I had not seen that clip. Tulsi impresses me in many ways and the manner in which she treats this child is an example.

Especially as compared to Joe ByeDone's adolescent behavior...

data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 1:22pm
Glad to see Max vindicated

@snoopydawg

...thanks for the news.

Caity had a nice piece on Consortiumnews on the newsweek story...
https://consortiumnews.com/2019/12/08/journalist-newsweek-suppressed-opc...

Lily O Lady on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 1:44pm
Bipartisanship is big now. It's how politicians hide their dirty dealings.

@snoopydawg

First frustrate us with gridlock. Then pass bills benefiting the corporate overlords. Then leading up to elections pass bills like the one against animal cruelty (who doesn't love kitties and puppies?), or propose a bill to consider regulating cosmetics. This second bipartisan effort is glaringly cynical since no one apparently knows what is in beauty products. Sanders must have politicians worried for them to attempt something which has managed to go unregulated for so long.

All this bipartisanship is not even up to the level of rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. It's more like wiping at them with a dirty rag while the ship of state continues to sink. While animal cruelty and cosmetic safety are important issues, they pale in comparison to the systemic ills America suffers. Our fearless leaders will continue to scratch the surface while corruption and business as usual continue to fester. These bipartisan laws may look good on a politician's resume, but they won't really help the 99%.

CB on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 5:35pm
Looks like the PTB are starting to crank up

@snoopydawg
the propaganda to give NATO a raison d'être for a pivot to China. This will be doomed to complete failure just as the Russian pivot has.

But Putin and Xi Jinping are both much too skilled and intelligent to defeat. American WWE trash talkers are completely outclassed by an 8th dan in judo paired with a Sun Tzu scholar.

Tomoe nage - use your opponent's weight and aggression against him.

"If your enemy is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him. If your opponent is temperamental, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them. If sovereign and subject are in accord, put division between them. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected ."
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

Thank you Barack and Hillary...

CB on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 9:39pm
Neither Russia nor China want the US or US$ to collapse too quickly. It would be devastating for the entire world if it happened suddenly.

@Lookout
What they want is a controlled collapse. If they can get the US to continue to overspend on war mongering rather than programs of social uplift the country will rot from the inside.

"A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death." - Martin Luther King, Jr.

Meanwhile, back in the Motherland: //www.youtube.com/embed/acPgB_rhdfA

Lookout on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 3:25pm
corporate corruption is low fanging fruit

@Pluto's Republic

So much more to say really. Had to stop somewhere but as you know the corruption runs deep and is intermixed with the CIA/FBI/MIC corporate government under which we live.

On we go as best we can!

There is great dignity in the objective truth. Perhaps because it never flows through the contaminated minds of the unworthy.

smiley7 on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 7:43pm
Excellent Watch, Lookout,

Corporate charters were initially meant to be for the public good if i'm not mistaken in recall, it was a trade-off for their privilege to exist. Maybe a movement political leader could highlight this and move the pendulum back to accountability.

Had a conversation with good friend today, a 3M rep, and he was griping about his competitor's shady marketing product practices apparently lying to manufacturers about the grades and contents of their competing products.

smiley7 on Sun, 12/08/2019 - 7:53pm
A timely piece to go with your conversation of today:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/dec/07/kochland-review-koch-bro...

Battle of Blair... on Mon, 12/09/2019 - 8:37am
I want that flag.

Where can I buy that flag? I will raise it and sing the corporate anthem

"God bless Generica.
Land that is owned.
By the wealthy, unhealthy
As that might be for those being pwnd.

From the Walmart to McDonalds to the corner Dominooooos.
God Bless Generica
My high rent home.

[Feb 09, 2020] As someone born in Latin America, we never saw the US as anything but a brutal predator, whose honeyed words were belied by their deeds

Aug 05, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The essential facts are these. In April 1898, the United States went to war with Spain. The war's nominal purpose was to liberate Cuba from oppressive colonial rule. The war's subsequent conduct found the United States not only invading and occupying Cuba, but also seizing Puerto Rico, completing a deferred annexation of Hawaii, scarfing up various other small properties in the Pacific, and, not least of all, replacing Spain as colonial masters of the Philippine Archipelago, located across the Pacific.

That the true theme of the war with Spain turned out to be not liberation but expansion should not come as a terrible surprise. From the very founding of the first British colonies in North America, expansion has constituted an enduring theme of the American project. Separation from the British Empire after 1776 only reinforced the urge to grow. Yet prior to 1898, that project had been a continental one. The events of that year signaled the transition from continental to extra-continental expansion. American leaders were no longer content to preside over a republic stretching from sea to shining sea.

In that regard, the decision to annex the Philippines stands out as especially instructive. If you try hard enough -- and some politicians at the time did -- you can talk yourself into believing that U.S. actions in the Caribbean in 1898 represented something other than naked European-style imperialism with all its brute force to keep the natives in line. After all, the United States did refrain from converting Cuba into a formal colony and by 1902 had even granted Cubans a sort of ersatz independence. Moreover, both Cuba and Puerto Rico fell within "our backyard," as did various other Caribbean republics soon to undergo U.S. military occupation. Geographically, all were located within the American orbit.

Yet the Philippines represented an altogether different case. By no stretch of the imagination did the archipelago fall within "our backyard." Furthermore, the Filipinos had no desire to trade Spanish rule for American rule and violently resisted occupation by U.S. forces. The notably dirty Philippine-American War that followed from 1899 to 1902 -- a conflict almost entirely expunged from American memory today -- resulted in something like 200,000 Filipino deaths and ended in a U.S. victory not yet memorialized on the National Mall in Washington.

Why Do We Still Have War Booty From the Philippines? Time to Break Up With the Philippines

So the Philippine Archipelago had become ours. In short order, however, authorities in Washington changed their mind about the wisdom of accepting responsibility for several thousand islands located nearly 7,000 miles from San Francisco.

The sprawling American colony turned out to be the ultimate impulse purchase. And as with most impulse purchases, enthusiasm soon enough gave way to second thoughts and even regret. By 1907, President Theodore Roosevelt was privately referring to the Philippines as America's "Achilles heel." The United States had paid Spain $20 million for an acquisition that didn't turn a profit and couldn't be defended given the limited capabilities of the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy. To complicate matters further, from Tokyo's perspective, the Philippines fell within its backyard. So far as Imperial Japan was concerned, imperial America was intruding on its turf.

Thus was the sequence of events leading to the Pacific War of 1941-1945 set in motion. I am not suggesting that Pearl Harbor was an inevitable consequence of the United States annexing the Philippines. I am suggesting that it put two rival imperial powers on a collision course.

One can, of course, find in the ensuing sequence of events matters worth celebrating -- great military victories at places like Midway, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa, culminating after 1945 in a period of American dominion. But the legacy of our flirtation with empire in the Western Pacific also includes much that is lamentable -- the wars in Korea and Vietnam, for example, and now an intensifying rivalry with China destined to lead we know not where.

If history could be reduced to a balance sheet, the U.S. purchase of the Philippines would rate as a pretty bad bargain. That first $20 million turned out to be only a down payment.


Eliseo Art Silva Mark Thomason 6 hours ago

No. Absolutely not. We would have been much better off had the US not violently dismantled the first Republic of the Philippines.

The canard that our greatest generation of Filipinos (Generation of 1898) was not fit to govern us was a product of US Assimilation Schools designed to rid the Philippines of Filipinos- by wiring them to automatically think anything non-Filipino will always be better (intenalized racism) and to train the primarily to leave and work abroad and blend -in as Americans (objectification) and never stand out as self-respecting Filipinos who aspire to be the best they can be propelled by the Filipino story.

Our multiple Golden Ages only occurred prior to US invasion and colonization.

YES, the USA owes us. We are every American's 2nd original sin.

Eliseo Art Silva Mark Thomason 5 hours ago
We do not owe US anything. The USA owes us a great big deal, More than any other country on earth.

THEY (USA) owes us:
1) For violently dismantling the first Republic of the Philippines at the cost of over a million martyrs from the greatest generation of Filipinos.

2) For US Assimilation Schools denying us the intensity of our golden ages prior to their invasion as our drivers for PH civilization, turning us into a country that trains its people to leave and assimilate in US culture and become workers for Americans and foreigners abroad. This results in a Philippines WITHOUT Filipinos.

3) For US bombs turning Intramuros into dust- the centerpiece of the Paris of the East, with treasures, publications and art much older that the US- without consent from any Filipino leader. And for dismantling our train system from La Union to Bicol.

4) For the US Rescission Act which denied Filipino veterans due recognition, dignity and honor- vets who fought THEIR war against Japan on our soil.

5) For the canard that Aguinaldo, our 29-year old father and liberator of the Republic of the Philippines, is a villain and a traitor, even inventing the heroism of Andres Bonifacio which ultimately resulted in "Toxic Nationalism" which Rizal warned us about in the persona of Simoun in El Filibusterismo who will drive our nation to self-destruction and turn a paradise into a desert by being automatically wired to think anything non-Filipino will and always be better.

The core of colonial mentality is the misguided belief that we cannot have been a greater country had the US not destroyed the first Republic of the Philippines- a lie that was embedded in our minds by the US discrediting Aguinaldo and the Generation of 1896/1898- the greatest generation of Filipinos.

bob balkas 18 hours ago
It does seem to me that every country which was able and could afford to expand its territory did so. In Europe, exceptions to that a wish were Switzerland, Slovakia, Finland, Ireland, Norway, Slovenia, Ukraine, ?Romania and Chechia.
So, US had company!
Romulus 11 hours ago
President William McKinley defends his decision to support the annexation of the Philippines in the wake of the U.S. war in that country:

"When I next realized that the Philippines had dropped into our laps I confess I did not know what to do with them. . . And one night late it came to me this way. . .1) That we could not give them back to Spain- that would be cowardly and dishonorable; 2) that we could not turn them over to France and Germany-our commercial rivals in the Orient-that would be bad business and discreditable; 3) that we not leave them to themselves-they are unfit for self-government-and they would soon have anarchy and misrule over there worse than Spain's wars; and 4) that there was nothing left for us to do but to take them all, and to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them, and by God's grace do the very best we could by them, as our fellow-men for whom Christ also died."

Making Christians of a country that had its first Catholic diocese 9 years before the Spanish Armada sailed for England, with 4 dioceses in place years before the English sailed for Jamestown.

Tommy Matic IV Romulus 6 hours ago
Not to mention a full fledged university older than Harvard.
Michael Brand 7 hours ago • edited
Dan Carlin did an outstanding podcast on the choices America faced after acquiring the Philippines. McKinley was anti-empire, but the industrialists in his administration hungered to thwart the British, French and Dutch empires in the Pacific by establishing a colony all of our own.

Worth a listen

Adriana Pena 7 hours ago
As someone born in Latin America, we never saw the US as anything but a brutal predator, whose honeyed words were belied by their deeds. I wonder if it began with the Philippines. There was the Mexican war first, which wrested a lot of territory from Mexico. And then there was the invasion of Canada to bring the blessings of democracy to Canadians (it ended with the White House in flames). I suspect that the beliefe that you are exceptional and blessed by God can lead to want to straighten up other people "for their own good", and make a profit besides - a LOT of profit.

[Dec 07, 2019] We've turned our attention to Latin America again. That's bad for Latin America.

Notable quotes:
"... As Bolivian soldiers were firing tear gas at a funeral for slain protesters recently, the US State Department issued a statement saluting "Bolivia's political transition to democracy" and declaring that the military leaders who had just overthrown the elected government were "standing up for their constitution." It was the latest example of intensifying US support for violently oppressive regimes south of our border. We are paying attention to Latin America again. That's bad news for Latin America. ..."
Dec 07, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Fred C. Dobbs , December 01, 2019 at 07:12 AM

We've turned our attention to Latin America again. That's bad for Latin America.
https://www.bostonglobe.com/2019/11/27/opinion/weve-turned-our-attention-latin-america-again-thats-bad-latin-america/?event=event25 via @BostonGlobe

Stephen Kinzer - November 27

As Bolivian soldiers were firing tear gas at a funeral for slain protesters recently, the US State Department issued a statement saluting "Bolivia's political transition to democracy" and declaring that the military leaders who had just overthrown the elected government were "standing up for their constitution." It was the latest example of intensifying US support for violently oppressive regimes south of our border. We are paying attention to Latin America again. That's bad news for Latin America.

The US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan nearly 20 years ago are sometimes described as wars in which everyone lost. In an odd way, though, Latin America won those wars. For more than a decade, the US government focused so obsessively on the Middle East that it forgot about Latin America. Free of intervention from Washington, voters in several countries elected progressive or leftist leaders whom the United States would never have tolerated in an earlier era. That cycle is now ending. The United States is returning to its traditional role in Latin America, embracing retrograde regimes just as we did during the dark days of military dictatorship in the 1970s and 1980s.

In Bolivia, the landlocked heart of South America, the military deposed President Evo Morales on Nov. 10 after opponents charged that he had used fraud to secure his re-election three weeks earlier. Morales was Bolivia's first indigenous president and an outspoken socialist. He had nationalized the oil and gas industries. Some feared that he was preparing to limit foreign exploitation of his country's rich lithium deposits. His indigenous identity was a permanent affront to the white ruling class. The little-known politician who has installed herself as provisional president, Jeanine Añez, once tweeted: "I dream of a Bolivia free of satanic indigenous rituals."

Morales may have -- manipulated election laws to give himself an extra presidential term. But in its first days, the new regime has shown little democratic impulse. Morales has been forced to flee the country. Senior members of his party have been attacked or arrested. If his masses of indigenous followers are pushed back into political isolation despite constituting the country's majority, many will feel disenfranchised and angry.

Their cousins in Honduras would know the feeling. Late one night in 2009, the elected Honduran president, Manuel Zelaya, who like Morales had alienated both the United States and his own ruling elite, was pulled out of bed and put on a plane out of the country while still in his pajamas. In the decade since then, the new regime in Honduras has eagerly handed out mining and hydroelectric contracts to foreign corporations. It has abolished term limits for presidents -- the very sin for which we denounced President Morales in Bolivia. Mass protests have been harshly suppressed. Environmental activists are killed with impunity.

Last month in a New York court, the brother of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez was convicted on charges of large-scale drug trafficking. A witness testified that the drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman had contributed $1 million to Hernandez's presidential campaign. Yet just a couple of days after the trial ended, the senior American diplomat in Honduras was photographed partying with President Hernandez. Hondurans who saw those pictures could hardly miss the message: the United States happily supports a Latin American government that holds power unconstitutionally, allows political killers to rampage freely, and is widely reported to be infiltrated by drug traffickers -- as long as it is friendly to the United States. How has Honduras showed that friendship? By keeping leftists out of power and agreeing to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

The other Latin American country in which the United States is most assiduously wrecking prospects for democracy is Guatemala. Like neighboring Honduras, it has long been dominated by a clique of lavishly corrupt oligarchs. But over the last decade, a force has emerged that for the first time mounted a serious challenge to drug traffickers, larcenous politicians, organized-crime kingpins, and death squad leaders. In 2006, the government invited a squad of investigators and prosecutors assembled by the United Nations to come to Guatemala and build cases against powerful criminals. Since then the squad, known by the Spanish acronym CICIG, has secured more than 400 convictions and deeply shaken the political elite. Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama recognized that this process might help stabilize Guatemala, and provided moral support and funding for CICIG.

This year, at the request of senior Guatemalan officials who seemed likely to be indicted for corruption, the State Department agreed to stop backing CICIG. That crippled the first serious effort in generations to confront the violent corruption that throttles civic life in Guatemala. What did President Trump ask in return? That Guatemala open an embassy in Jerusalem and agree to serve as a "safe haven" for Honduran and Salvadoran immigrants the United States doesn't want to accept -- a sick joke considering that Guatemala is plagued by violence and has one of the world's highest murder rates.

Bashing leftists in Latin America and embracing their quasi-fascist enemies is one of Washington's oldest habits. It feels good and pays electoral dividends in Florida. Bolivians, Hondurans, and Guatemalans might be forgiven for wishing that United States would once again plunge into all-consuming war somewhere far away. That might allow them to try shaping their societies as they see fit.

anne -> Fred C. Dobbs... , December 01, 2019 at 09:51 AM
Important and appreciated post.
Paine -> anne... , December 01, 2019 at 06:25 PM
Wait

The uncle LA policy
has nothing but continuity

Going back to 1979

Review moves made under Barry

joe , December 01, 2019 at 09:24 AM
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2019-09-25/boise-homeless-encampment-amicus-brief-supreme-court-appeal-cities

In addition to L.A., others in California submitting briefs include Sacramento, San Diego, Fresno, Riverside and Orange counties, as well as a slew of cities, including Sacramento, Fullerton, Torrance and Newport Beach. Several states including Idaho, Texas and Alaska have as well. Their reasons for doing so vary.

"We're saying that we agree with the central tenet of Boise that no one should be susceptible to punishment for sleeping on a sidewalk at night if there's no alternative shelter at that point," said Los Angeles City Atty. Mike Feuer. "But the rationale sweeps too broadly ... It makes the opinion unclear and, therefore, the opinion raises more issues than are resolved. And so it leaves jurisdictions like us without the certainty that we need."
---
The ninth curt ruling specified that without enough shelters, public camping cannot be banned.

LA is spewing horse manure, claiming they want a humane solution, but they are filing to have the ruling overturned. LA wants to ban homeless camping and they make up a bunch of irrational horse manure because they had already invited the homeless to California with promises of shelter that does not exits. They re caught in a contradiction and end up talking out of the side of their mouth.

And no, more national debt to promise apartments for everyone just make inequality worse because we end up doing bad deals with the primary dealers. The evidence is in on that. Our ten year experiment of the '50 little hoovers' crowd has been proven fraudulent.

[Dec 02, 2019] US No doubt That Villain-Of-The-Day Has Banned Weapons

Notable quotes:
"... "There can be no doubt in the international community's mind that Syria has retained chemical weapons in violation of its agreement and its statement that it had removed them all. There is no longer any doubt ," Mattis told reporters. ..."
"... there's absolutely No Doubt that the Outlaw US Empire's mouthpieces are lying yet again. ..."
"... Perhaps the more disturbing alternative is Mattis is fully aware of everything surrounding the run up to the 2003 Iraq war and is thinking to himself: "Declaring there is no doubt worked last time..." ..."
"... The particular genius of our oppressors has been to erode the public's collective memory. With a dumbed-down educational system, a 24-hour propaganda, and an utterly vacuous popular culture, we are deprived of precisely that faculty on which following Burke's admonition depends. With our "post-literate" reliance on the Internet, it's a wonder any of us can remember what happened last week. ..."
"... If the Syrians used them, then clearly they have them. Did the Syrians use them? The US does not recognize that as a valid question. That is where Mattis goes astray. It is a valid question. We were fooled by false flag use before. There are signs it may have happened again. It is not clear enough to be sure, but it is not clear enough to be sure the other way either. ..."
"... That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history. ~Aldous Huxley ..."
Apr 30, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

U.S.: 'No doubt' That Villain-Of-The-Day Has Banned Weapons

Mattis: ' No doubt ' Syrian regime has chemical weapons , April 21, 2017

"There can be no doubt in the international community's mind that Syria has retained chemical weapons in violation of its agreement and its statement that it had removed them all. There is no longer any doubt ," Mattis told reporters.

Full text of Dick Cheney's speech , August 27, 2002

Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us. And there is no doubt that his aggressive regional ambitions will lead him into future confrontations with his neighbors ...

"Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it."

― Edmund Burke

karlof1 | Apr 21, 2017 1:46:09 PM | 1

And there's absolutely No Doubt that the Outlaw US Empire's mouthpieces are lying yet again. Makes me even more curious as to what Putin said to Tillerson, as both Putin's and Lavrov's remarks about the global situation are blunter and more accusatory than ever before. Given the info provided by Lavrov at the press conference following the meeting of their Foreign Ministers Astana, I must assume the SCO nations are on the same page regarding the entire International Situation. In June in Astana, the SCO Summit will admit India and Pakistan as full members and begin the process to enroll Iran. Here, again, is the link to that press release, http://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/2734712
WG | Apr 21, 2017 1:47:24 PM | 2
Perhaps the more disturbing alternative is Mattis is fully aware of everything surrounding the run up to the 2003 Iraq war and is thinking to himself: "Declaring there is no doubt worked last time..."
Harry | Apr 21, 2017 1:56:09 PM | 3
The particular genius of our oppressors has been to erode the public's collective memory. With a dumbed-down educational system, a 24-hour propaganda, and an utterly vacuous popular culture, we are deprived of precisely that faculty on which following Burke's admonition depends. With our "post-literate" reliance on the Internet, it's a wonder any of us can remember what happened last week.
Mark Thomason | Apr 21, 2017 1:58:45 PM | 4
If the Syrians used them, then clearly they have them. Did the Syrians use them? The US does not recognize that as a valid question. That is where Mattis goes astray. It is a valid question. We were fooled by false flag use before. There are signs it may have happened again. It is not clear enough to be sure, but it is not clear enough to be sure the other way either.

Therefore, Mattis is wrong to conclude anything either way. However, given the official position of the US, he can hardly say anything different in public.

We ought to be looking at this very closely, but we vetoed such a close look by the international body that would do it. That would put into question the missile strikes we launched based on assumptions.

karlof1 | Apr 21, 2017 2:09:35 PM | 5
Pepe Escobar evokes T.S. Eliot's Hollow Men in his latest enumeration of Russia & China's strategic relationship. Oh, and I forgot to mention in #1 that BRICS also stands with Russia regarding all events Syria and Ukraine; and despite many efforts to destabilize it, BRICS still stands in solidarity and continues its work to economically counter the Outlaw US Empire, which Pepe also reminds us about, https://sputniknews.com/columnists/201704211052866086-washington-terrified-of-russia-china/

SmoothieX12 | Apr 21, 2017 2:10:55 PM | 6
@2, WG

Perhaps the more disturbing alternative is Mattis is fully aware of everything surrounding the run up to the 2003 Iraq war and is thinking to himself:

"Declaring there is no doubt worked last time..."

Mattis' motivation is completely different.

Mina | Apr 21, 2017 2:11:30 PM | 7
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/265369/World/Region/Syria-evacuees-on-move-again-after-hour-delay.aspx
De Mistura admits that someone lured the children with some sweets
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/265361/World/Region/Iraqi-officials--hostages,-including-Qatari-royals.aspx
Does he admit it may have something to do with Qataris in iraq?

laserlurk | Apr 21, 2017 2:16:33 PM | 8
Why would insignificant village be intentionally "gassed by Assad" while he has an absolute upper hand on the field? - is the question nobody in the Western media asks, nor has an answer to it.

Bio-chem weapons would be last resort to use on the battlefield in a desperate situation - was an original thought of making and having them.

Me and probably all of us here have no doubt that it is just a false flag perpetrated, oversaturated and pathetically served to us to validate continuation to oust Assad for Saudi's concessions, oil and money. Pure con and a rather amateurish one.
As expected, no doubt. :)

chet380 | Apr 21, 2017 2:20:39 PM | 9
Which state is Iran's greatest enemy? - Israel .. Where was the statement made? .. Who are the greatest financial political contributors in America? Res Ipsa Loquitur.

ruralito | Apr 21, 2017 2:21:37 PM | 10
Their lies are pitched to induce psychosis.

Mike Maloney | Apr 21, 2017 2:21:38 PM | 11
The importance of Mattis's pronouncement, as well as some " tilling of the soil " in the prestige press, is that another false flag attack is coming. The Hillary-McCain directive to take out Syrian airfields is going to be implemented.

MadMax2 | Apr 21, 2017 2:27:09 PM | 12
@1 karlof1
Talking Lavrov, talking history... The comprehensive history lesson Lavrov delivers to Tillerson is worth watching a number of times. It is an absolute shut down, in Tillersons face...rolling straight off the tongue.
Tillerson: 'trust us, we are sure, beyond doubt, Assad has chemical weapons'
Lavrov: 'here have this 5 minute history lesson you cabbage. '

The Mattis/Cheney comparison reminds me of the statements of the Canadian & Australian Prime Ministers prior to the Iraq 2003.

Eugene | Apr 21, 2017 2:30:06 PM | 13
And then when Mattis is dumped, he'll do the same as Colin Powell did. Welcome to the show. Bring your own popcorn.

Marko | Apr 21, 2017 2:36:44 PM | 14
@10

"Their lies are pitched to induce psychosis."

Speaking for myself , I think it's working.

harrylaw | Apr 21, 2017 2:38:55 PM | 15
SmoothieX12 Difference this time is Syria has Russian backing and the BRICS [almost half the population of the World].Russia knows Syria is the key to the Middle East, if Syria fell, Hezbollah could not resist the head choppers from the North and East and attacks from the aparthied state from the South. Iran would then be exposed and attacked financially and militarily. Of course its a huge gamble, will those nutcases in Washington take it? These are existential stakes for many states in the region.

Perimetr | Apr 21, 2017 2:46:14 PM | 16
https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201704211052869570-israel-warplanes-syria-army/
Israeli aviation launched a missile attack on Syrian army's positions in the province of Quneitra bordering Israeli-controlled Golan Heights, a Syrian military source told Sputnik.

wwinsti | Apr 21, 2017 3:05:38 PM | 17
@harrylaw #15

Assad's recent announcement about wanting to buy more Russian air defense systems comes close to addmiting that the Russians will not be defending Syrian airspace.

To paraphrase tRump:

...the submarines, even more powerful than the carriers...

So, all the assets are in place. We're starting to see the accusation swarm against Assad occur at a rate that's too fast to refute individual charges against the Syrian president.

Don't be surprised if the decapitation strikes against Syria and N.Korea happen simultaneously.


Mina | Apr 21, 2017 3:30:35 PM | 18
Macron gave a martial speech explaining that he would defend France from more terror and that would imply out of the borders...

dh | Apr 21, 2017 4:05:30 PM | 19
@18 This probably won't appear in the MSM so I'll post it here...

"Emmanuel Macron fears this as well. The 39-year-old presidential candidate – an unknown quantity here just two years ago– is campaigning for the Jewish vote, keenly aware of the threat. But when France goes to the polls on Sunday, its Jews will face a unique choice: To vote in the spirit of Jewish Americans, prioritizing principles of welfare and liberal democratic values, or in the Israeli posture, with security first in mind.

Macron is betting on the former, appealing to Jewish community values shared with the French Republic of liberty, equality and fraternity.

"He knows there is a real danger from a double extremism – from the far-Right with Marine Le Pen, and from the far-Left," said Gilles Taieb, a prominent member of the French Jewish community who joined Macron's En Marche! campaign in August. "He understands the specific needs of the Jewish community.""


http://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/Macron-fights-for-Frances-Jewish-vote-488269

Yul | Apr 21, 2017 4:11:51 PM | 20
@ dh #19

He does not have to worry - he used to work for the Edmond de Rothschild Bank (Jewish family -closed ties to Israel)

SmoothieX12 | Apr 21, 2017 4:15:37 PM | 21
@17

Assad's recent announcement about wanting to buy more Russian air defense systems comes close to addmiting that the Russians will not be defending Syrian airspace.

This is rather a confusing (in BBC's or NYT vein) statement, since Russia, through a number of her high ranking representatives openly stated that she will upgrade Syria's AD. Syria IS NOT going to buy them, since has very little precious money, but what Syria is doing already is letting a truck load of Russia's extracting and construction companies on her market. Google Translate will do the job (link is in Russian)

https://vz.ru/news/2017/4/21/867336.html

SmoothieX12 | Apr 21, 2017 4:22:12 PM | 22
@15, Harrylaw

Iran would then be exposed and attacked financially and militarily.

I have a different opinion about this dynamics and I will not be surprised if Iran "suddenly" will become a full member of ODKB. At least for a little while.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collective_Security_Treaty_Organization

wwinsti | Apr 21, 2017 4:28:15 PM | 23
@SmoothieX12

Fog of war warning and all, but Assad definitely mentioned price as a factor in getting New AD systems in a sputniknews interview.

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201704211052845528-russia-syria-assad-air-defense/

SmoothieX12 | Apr 21, 2017 4:49:15 PM | 24
@23

Fog of war warning and all, but Assad definitely mentioned price as a factor in getting New AD systems in a sputniknews interview.

Of course, mechanism of what in Russian is called vzaimoraschety (mutual "payments" or "coverage") is always established. The price of military technology may be compensated through other means, such as contractual preferences or any other privileges. I think Russia's oil companies will be quite happy and so will be weapons' manufacturers. Come to think about it--they already are.

harrylaw | Apr 21, 2017 5:17:08 PM | 25
The question of Russian air defence missiles to Syria should not even be asked, Israel has nuclear weapons, the US don't care, the US supplies Israel with the latest OFFENSIVE weaponry and aircraft [f35, f16 ect]plus Iron Dome. It would be the height of folly for Russia not to give Syria the means to defend themselves.

harrylaw | Apr 21, 2017 5:31:08 PM | 26
I forgot nuclear capable submarines from Germany [with a discount thrown in].

Alaric | Apr 21, 2017 5:37:17 PM | 27
The Russians and Iranians need to end this already. The US clearly wants to try regime change again.

Information_Agent | Apr 21, 2017 5:38:24 PM | 28
Just as an FYI, I'm unable to access this site when I use a VPN server based in Canada, however VPN servers located elsewhere connect without issue. Anyone else experience this?

jfl | Apr 21, 2017 5:55:59 PM | 29
what's the sound of one mad dog jarhead barking? if it sounds off in the media echo-chamber, does it make a noise? it only echoes in the tnc msm. every american knows he's howling at the moon. it may well be that there's plenty of energy among those clipping coupons on american war bonds for more war, and no energy among those who fruitlessly opposed empire in the face of those same coupon-clippers.

its all-war, all-the-time with tee-rump just as it was with obama, bush, and clinton before him. people who are surprised at this are no more acute than those who might salute the flag the mad dogs have again run up the flag pole.

speaking of russia 'extracting' and 'constructing' in syria, the us of a is doing same in iraq : US approves nearly $300 million weapons deal to Kurdish Peshmerga . hi ho, you owe.

it would be exceptionally keen if all those cruise missiles unleashed on syria and/or north korea not only turned around, but struck their origin. wouldn't that be the end?

ben | Apr 21, 2017 5:56:34 PM | 30
The American public has to be the most ignorant and gullible group of ass-hats on the planet, if they fall for this BS being shoveled at them again. God-almighty this crap gets old!!!

All for the sake of global hegemony, and more wealth for the Trumps of the world.

peter | Apr 21, 2017 6:16:39 PM | 31
@12 madmax

First of all, I don't know how you can tell those speeches are the same though I heard them both mention WMDs. But here's the kicker, that's not the Canadian PM, not on that date, he was the Leader of the Opposition at that time. Harper became PM later.

Jean Chretien was the PM and he kept Canada out of Iraq. End of story.

likklemore | Apr 21, 2017 6:19:02 PM | 32
b cites Edmund Burke "Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it."

There is also this little ditty:

"If at first you don't succeed try and try and try again. Never stop trying."

It works very well for TPTB who hold the sheeples are too dumbed down and will never recall moving lips.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

@ Perimetr 16

Israel needs to take the other side of the Golan - that's where the oil bubbles bigly. Ask Genie HQ NJ and while at it check out their Board of Directors, Strategic Advisory Board.
Hint, it's the gang and No One dares to spank
[Alert: page may load slowly but a worthy wait].

So forget about it. The op word is Strategic

Israel can strike Syria with 10 MOABs per second 24hr/7 and lips will be festiviously sealed tighter than a crabs rear-end.

A long essay by Robert Kennedy Jr Feb 2016:


"[W]e may want to look beyond the convenient explanations of religion and ideology and focus on the more complex rationales of history and oil, which mostly point the finger of blame for terrorism back at the champions of militarism, imperialism and petroleum here on our own shores," Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., intoned in an April editorial for Ecowatch

Peter AU | Apr 21, 2017 6:26:21 PM | 33
US Embassey Syria twitter acount is worth a read through. Reality has ceased to exist for the US admin.
https://twitter.com/USEmbassySyria

woogs | Apr 21, 2017 7:24:19 PM | 34
Also from Edmund Burke:

When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.

Not from Edmund Burke, but a favorite if mine:

The mightiest oak is just a little nut that wouldn't give up.

james | Apr 21, 2017 7:37:56 PM | 35
thanks b... waiting for the exceptional empire to collapse.. not holding my breathe here.. the same game is being played and the same folks are hoping for the same results.. they are already getting them when it comes to money thrown into war and prep for war.. they are winning regardless if they can convince everyone to go deeper..

@17 wwinsti.. could be a head fake... no one knows for sure other then assad and russia.. welcome to the world of endless speculation..


@28 ia... this canuck is not having any issues accessing moa.. who nose.. maybe trudeau and freeland have set up a firewall to protect us from a different perspective then the 'rah, rah, rah - war 24/7 we support twitter mans agenda'..

@34 woogs.. good quote on the bottom. thanks.

MadMax2 | Apr 21, 2017 8:06:30 PM | 36
@31 peter
Indeed you're correct re: Chretien - and fair play to him. Though, the transcripts are fairly damning, as is the resignation of the plagiarist:
http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/harper-staffer-quits-over-plagiarized-2003-speech-on-iraq-1.756590

ALberto | Apr 21, 2017 8:19:17 PM | 37
When WWIII commences I wonder which side Switzerland will throw their lot in with?

iegee | Apr 21, 2017 9:23:52 PM | 38
The verdict on the chemical attack was swift and certain. When it comes to the recent bus bombing, somehow it is so different:
We are investigating, but I don't have any specific ... But we think it's exaggerated .
Inqury on Syria. Security Council Stakeout, 21 April, 2017

Those people have no shame. They are not going to investigate the Khan Sheikhoun chemical attack. All the want is the flight plans from the Syrian government to finish their "work".

x | Apr 21, 2017 10:10:23 PM | 39
"No doubt" is not a statement about an objective reality out there (in country x); it is a statement about the subjective reality in the mind of the speaker (observer). A cunning ploy to speak a non-falsehood (about the mental conditioning of speaker and audience) that is merely opinion implying it is fact about a situation lacking empirical evidence.

Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 21, 2017 10:42:45 PM | 40
This hype is getting so tedious.
The WMD crap from The International (Christian Colonial) Community isn't about 'manufacturing consent'. It's about manufacturing CONSENSUS within the Christian Colonial Community itself. The Jew-controlled MSM takes care of the brainwashing. We already know that bribed politicians are paid to disregard the Will Of The People.

stumpy | Apr 21, 2017 11:24:26 PM | 41
@40, HW, the power of their glory...

Marko | Apr 22, 2017 12:14:53 AM | 42
@38

"Those people have no shame. They are not going to investigate the Khan Sheikhoun chemical attack."

They're just plugging stuff into the dossier so that historians will be able to look back and see how reasonable and restrained the U.S. was before deciding to bomb the crap out of Assad and his country.

Here's how they can do that : They say " Look , we admit that proving guilt absolutely is next to impossible in these events , and that we may have been a bit hasty in bombing Syria's airfield before the investigation was done. We'll even concede the odds in Assad's favor , say 3:1 , or only a 25% chance he was guilty for any given sarin attack , even though we're pretty sure he's been the culprit. Just know this , when we're sure - let's set a higher standard here and say 90% certainty - when we're sure about his culpability for just one use of sarin , big or small , that's our red line, after that he gets the full Gaddafi , no questions asked. OK ? Understand ? "

Everyone nods , probably including some here. When there's any uncertainty , which there always is , he gives Assad the benefit of the doubt , and then requires a higher threshold to hold him accountable. You can't get more reasonable than that.

Well , maybe somewhat predictably , false-flag activity picks up - two sarin attacks per month over the following two months , always with the typical doubts about who dunnit. The U.S. keeps their word , with no significant escalation. With the next event , as soon as sarin is confirmed but well before we think we know who was guilty , the U.S. announces breach of the red line and launches a full-scale attack on Assad and his partners , demanding that he step down immediately or watch as his country is turned to rubble. Why ?

Counting the three sarin attacks to date , and the five more that follow , the probability that the rebels committed all eight attacks is .75^8 , or 10%. That means there's a 90% chance that Assad was responsible for at least one attack - i.e. , he crossed the red line.

That's why the false-flags will continue , and why a regime-change war with Syria is inevitable , and why the buy-in by the public when it happens will be nearly unanimous.

lysander | Apr 22, 2017 12:49:39 AM | 43
@ 17, wwinsti,

That could just as easily be interpreted as Russia planning to intervene while claiming that "Syrian" air defenses have shot down US aircraft/tomohawaks. I certainly don't know for sure that Russia has actually decided to take it to that level. Perhaps the Russians will never do that, or perhaps they themselves have not yet decided but want to keep that option open to them if later they do. At any rate, there is no advantage at all to reassuring the Americans that they will NOT intervene. It is best to keep Mattis and McMaster guessing just like we are.

I do not know to what degree US planners are confident of easily overcoming serious air defenses. They probably feel that if they defeat the S400s then US military dominance will remain unchallenged for a very long time. I'm not sure if they've gamed the opposite outcome. If "Syria" shoots down a few F22s or 35s the US is in deep trouble and any victory (to the extent bringing jihadists to power can be called a victory) would be a Pyrhic one.

V. Arnold | Apr 22, 2017 1:30:21 AM | 44
Well, fuck! Here we go again; U.S. is blitzing the international airways with propaganda and lies.
Zieg heil, zeig heil, herr Trump...
You bloody, rotten, bastard!

guy | Apr 22, 2017 1:54:30 AM | 45
Karlof1 and Harrylaw: talking about BRICS'support to Russia, never trust Brazil. After Lula and Rousseff,the right-wing president Michel Temer has transformed the country in just another latin american lackey of Trump...

james | Apr 22, 2017 3:12:32 AM | 46
@42 hey marko.. your writing style reminds me of paveways..

wwinsti | Apr 22, 2017 3:24:45 AM | 47
@ lydander #42:

Of course, there's no way to predict the outcomes of certain actions or read minds of any of the various actors involved with this sarin drama, but the events in Syria since Sept. 2015 or even Sept. 2001 do allow us to lean our interpretations a certain way, don't you think?

At the end of the day, an increasingly desperate USA has available 4 Ohio class submarines that carry just short of 200 cruise missiles each. They are, with some quibbling, decapitation weapon systems designed to overwhelm nearly any defense. I can't see the US not making use of such a capacity if they are as hell bent on regime change as they claim.

wwinsti | Apr 22, 2017 3:27:00 AM | 48
I meant lysander@ 43. Apologies.

Marko | Apr 22, 2017 3:37:48 AM | 49
@46

"your writing style reminds me of paveways"

James,

My writing style reminds you of a laser-guided bomb ? Really ? Cool.

I've always thought of it more like a barrel bomb full of cluster munitions , with a dash of incendiary and a few cow pies.

michaelj72 | Apr 22, 2017 3:39:37 AM | 50
"no doubt" and "no longer any doubt" always means to me that there's plenty of good reasons to doubt everything they say.

in fact, I consider it to be an indicator that they are lying about whatever they are saying. and they "no doubt" know it....


harrylaw | Apr 22, 2017 4:07:12 AM | 51
Because the strike on Syrian territory was against International law http://www.dw.com/en/us-missile-strike-on-syria-a-violation-of-international-law/a-38389950 Putin has to make up his mind, if the US strike Syria again or repeatedly without harming Russial personnel or assets and without a military response, Russia should sue for peace and get the hell out of Syria, thereby acknowledging that the US are the only Nation that can decide the fate of Nations with regard to International affairs. In other words the unanimous agreement of the 5 veto wielding members of the UNSC will no longer be applicable and article 2 of the UN Charter is null and void.

Article 2. [3] UN Charter All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.

[4] All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.

Peter AU | Apr 22, 2017 4:25:43 AM | 52
51 "Russia should sue for peace and get the hell out of Syria"
??

col from oz | Apr 22, 2017 4:56:26 AM | 53
number 4

Are you the NEW York Times commentator. I really enjoy your comments their. I hardly drop by NYT however this week you were the only sane poster on North Korea. Your a jem keep it up. In fact I think cut and pasted you comment onto a Australian paper. Bravo.

lysander | Apr 22, 2017 5:19:47 AM | 54
@ 47 wwinsti,

Yes, the US has an enormous amount of cruise missiles. But judging by the damage done by the last 60 tomohawaks, it does not have enough to destroy Syrian air power with tomohawaks alone. In past invasions, they were used to destroy radars so that the subsequent air campaign can be conducted without contending with air defenses. They are not an end in and of themselves. In this case, that isn't possible unless the US plans on attacking Russian forces on both land and sea directly. The US is so far extremely reluctant to kill any Russian personnel and that is not likely to change. And this reluctance is not because of good sportsmanship.

Add to that, the Russians have shut down the deconfliction line. It means the US can't warn the Russians to get out of the way during the next attack. In other words, the Russians are prepared to be human shields to protect Syria. That does not scream "we are backing down" to me. There are also indications that US and allied sortie rates over Syria have dropped in number quite substantially since communication has been shut down.

While I agree the US is absolutely determined to destroy Syria, it is not at all clear that Russia plans to step aside while the US does it.

Pft | Apr 22, 2017 6:20:11 AM | 55
OT but LA, SF, NYC all experience power outages at the same and only RT makes the connection while MSM oblivious. Meanwhile exercises for an EMZ attack over a major US city ongoing. Strange

harrylaw | Apr 22, 2017 6:34:57 AM | 56
Peter AU @52. Sorry Peter I was being a little sarcastic. I think it has already been established that any US attack on Syria must be countered in the first instance by Syrian forces, since Russia was invited into Syria to help put down terrorism, it might not be in Russia's interest or anybody's [unless their forces are hit] to start WW3. Hence my point about arming Syria up the same way the US does with Israel and Saudi Arabia.All 5 veto wielding powers are of course above International law for all time, so that if the other members of the Security Council propose a Resolution condemning US aggression, the US simply uses its veto and that Resolution goes down the memory hole. Here is an excellent article on the veto.. http://www.david-morrison.org.uk/iraq/ags-legal-advice.pdf

Felicity | Apr 22, 2017 6:36:24 AM | 57

As you, remembering the last lies. Thank you for your peerless, ever spot on, shining pieces.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/legal-bombshell-former-iraqi-army-chief-of-staff-to-prosecute-tony-blair/5586196

ashley albanese | Apr 22, 2017 7:15:01 AM | 58
Lysander 54
The U S should keep in mind that the Russians did burn Moscow in 1812 .

Eric Zuesse | Apr 22, 2017 7:15:46 AM | 59
"Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it" does not appear in the complete 12-volume set of Works of Edmund Burke, and Bartlett's books of quotations have never included it, but the allegation nowadays is common that Burke said this, because many writers say things that are false. Anyone who trusts a mere allegation, like gossip, is not reliable and cannot be trusted in what that person alleges, because falsehoods mix in with truths for any such person. The person isn't necessarily fabricating, not necessarily intentionally falsifying; the person just doesn't care whether what he or she alleges to be true IS true. Any such person is untrustworthy to cite on anything.

Furthermore, that alleged Burke-quotation doesn't even sound like Burke's writing-style, which was a very distinctive style. So, anyone who has actually read Burke would suspect that this apocryphal statement from him was probably never said by him. Only pretentious people would allege that Burke said it -- people who pretend to have read Burke.

jfl | Apr 22, 2017 7:29:32 AM | 60
@54 lysander, 'In other words, the Russians are prepared to be human shields to protect Syria.'

i don't think that's the message sent or that it's indicative of the action to be taken in the event of another us attack on syria. as it stood pre-tee-rump-attack the us could call the russians and 'warn' them that the cruise missiles were theirs ... now they can no longer do that, and the russians have made a point of stating that an attacking aircraft/missile - and the originating vessel/station - are going to be shot down/taken down ... that the russians will not waste time in trying to figure out just whose attacking missiles/aircraft they are destroying.

i think it will be a cold day in hell before the russians 'sacrifice' themselves to make a point.

V. Arnold | Apr 22, 2017 7:38:51 AM | 61
Eric Zuesse | Apr 22, 2017 7:15:46 AM | 59
"Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it"

This from, of all places, Yahoo answers (blech); however it is referenced;
CITES: George Santayana, The Life of Reason or The Phases of Human Progress: Reason in Common Sense 284 (2nd ed., Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, New York 1924 (originally published 1905 Charles Scribner's Sons)(appears in chapter XII, "Flux and Constancy in Human Nature")). George Santayana, The Life of Reason or The Phases of Human Progress 82 (one-volume edition, Charles Scribner's Sons, New York, New York 1954)(appears in Book I, Reason in Common Sense, chapter 10, "Flux and Constancy in Human Nature").

This information was found at: http://members.aol.com/Santayana/gsguestbook.htm
``Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it,'' said Penton, echoing philosopher George Santayana's famous admonition.

http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/VA-news/VA-Pilot/issues/1995/vp951119/11170741.htm

In any event, I agree with your admonition...

Addendum; cannot access references, so maybe more garbage.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Apr 22, 2017 7:41:25 AM | 62

Addendum; cannot access references, so maybe more garbage.

Posted by: V. Arnold | Apr 22, 2017 7:41:25 AM | 62

Anon1 | Apr 22, 2017 7:42:55 AM | 63
All this lies, fake news, psyop by US, NATO and MSM is possibly just because they rule the world. They refuse any other views, parties, nations questioning their wars and propaganda. Its quite scary when you think about it.
Like, is there ANYONE condemning this in the MSM nowadays? No one.
Every journalist (MSM) from Germany, to US, to Spain, to Portugal, to Columbia, to Sweden, to South Korea etc, all western MSM peddle this same propaganda for the american empire and their endless wars.

1984?

@ 60, I don't think sacrifice is the word I would use. The US understands that killing openly Russian soldiers soldiers (vs indirectly by arming terrorist proxies) would mean Russian retaliation. And therefore will not do it.

Posted by: lysander | Apr 22, 2017 7:46:14 AM | 64

@ 60, I don't think sacrifice is the word I would use. The US understands that killing openly Russian soldiers soldiers (vs indirectly by arming terrorist proxies) would mean Russian retaliation. And therefore will not do it.

Posted by: lysander | Apr 22, 2017 7:46:14 AM | 64

V. Arnold | Apr 22, 2017 7:48:07 AM | 65
...and then there is this;
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." (George Santayana)

I've got news for Mr. Santayana: we're doomed to repeat the past no matter what. That's what it is to be alive."
― Kurt Vonnegut

john | Apr 22, 2017 7:50:16 AM | 66
Eric Zuesse

well, we're real impressed that you've memorized all 12 volumes of Edmund Burke, but for those of us who haven't, Google does credit him with this remark. a simple oversight, perhaps? so thanks for the lesson(even if you haven't cleared anything up), and the mini diatribe, teach, even though your scholarly footnotes have fuck all to do with b's intent.

Curtis | Apr 22, 2017 7:56:57 AM | 67
"no doubt"
Did they get this from Bush's speech to congress in March, 2003?
"Intelligence gathered by this and other governments leaves no doubt that the Iraq regime continues to possess and conceal some of the most lethal weapons ever devised."
Real intelligence left all kinds of doubt especially from the family members of Iraqi scientists who went into Iraq to ask. They risked their lives for this and were ignored.

"we assess" - recent prepeated mantra from USG declarations. I'm waiting for The Donald or his CIA minion to declare Syrian WMDs to be a "slam dunk." I think Cheney used to say "we have it on good authority." The rule for most politicians and media is if their lips move they're lying.

Curtis | Apr 22, 2017 7:59:29 AM | 68
Perhaps after another coalition of the willing has destroyed Syria will the US president joke about searching for WMDs like Bush did. An insult to us all.

Formerly T-Bear | Apr 22, 2017 8:41:31 AM | 69
@ 59 and ff commentary

The Oxford Concise Dictionary of Quotations has the quote "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" made by George Santayana (1863 - 1952) in The Life of Reason (1905) vol. 1, ch. 12

Oxford is fairly reliable sourcing for such questions, FWIW. As far as the western world and history another quote comes to mind from Dante Alighiere (1265-1321) that translates: Abandon all hope, you who enter! [with regard to history].

Curtis | Apr 22, 2017 10:34:43 AM | 70
We need a Jon Stewart style montage of all these people saying "no doubt" followed by the group No Doubt saying it. (like he did with the GOP/FNC meme of "It's A Trap")

Curtis | Apr 22, 2017 10:36:27 AM | 71
"The mightiest oak is just a little nut that wouldn't give up."
woogs 34

I am Groot.

james | Apr 22, 2017 12:22:11 PM | 72
@49 marko.. - good stuff either way, lol..

Piotr Berman | Apr 22, 2017 12:22:18 PM | 73
"Counting the three sarin attacks to date , and the five more that follow , the probability that the rebels committed all eight attacks is .75^8 , or 10%. That means there's a 90% chance that Assad was responsible for at least one attack - i.e. , he crossed the red line."

I understand that this was presented as an incorrect reasoning, but perhaps not all readers here see the mistakes. First, probability is used to describe random events and not historical events. The post that you see here could be written by Piotr Berman, an identifiable individual, or by an impostor. In itself the claim that it was written by Piotr Berman is true or false, it does not have probability. However, from the point of view of a reader, it is but one of a large number of comments posted on internet so one can apply some guessed estimates, like "10% of comments signed with uniquely identifiable names are written by impostors". This of course begs the question how we arrive at such estimates etc. In short, the probability assigned to a single sarin attack is an exhalation from someones terminal end of the digestive system and quite hazardous if used.

However, even if we form an abstract model in which a chemical attack is randomly perpetrated by X with probability p and not by X with probability 1-p, and we have 8 attacks, the probability that X perpetrated at least one attack is anywhere between 0 and 1. The formula (1-p)^8 applies only if the events are independent. For example, if X possesses the means to perpetrate an attack with probability q, then the probability that it perpetrated any of many attacks is never larger than q.

That said, probabilities have their place in war strategy. If a false flag attack has a random effect on a key decision maker, that repeating it many times may increase the probability that a desired decision will be made. And Trump's and Obama's behavior has (and had) a degree of randomness.

james | Apr 22, 2017 12:33:58 PM | 74
@73 piotr.. that logic is insane of course..

Marko | Apr 22, 2017 1:54:22 PM | 75
@73

piotr,

You're correct about the technical probability considerations , of course , but I think the real-life effect of each new false-flag may fall closer to the line drawn by the bad model than by the good. I think all parties involved know that each new false-flag has an incremental impact driving us closer to war ,in addition to the random one you mention , at least as long as there remains considerable doubt about the true culprit with each new event.

From Khan al-Assal to Ghouta to Khan Sheikhoun we've moved closer and closer to the real "red line". For the anti-Assad camp , the false-flag strategy is still working and they'll keep it up , though I'm sure they're getting impatient. For the Assad side , gaining territory has the opposite effect , moving us away from the red line. Had Assad and Putin doubled-down on battlefield intensity after Aleppo and made further gains , rather than pausing as they did , I think they'd be in much better shape today.

Dean | Apr 22, 2017 2:10:38 PM | 76
How close is the USA and Israel? Look at Mattis's lapel pin during his presser.

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/us-led-coalition-methodically-remove-defense-secretary/

Isn't that normally the country he represents?

IMO this shows that Israel foreign policy = USA foreign policy.

MusicofE | Apr 22, 2017 5:30:48 PM | 77
I I follow the link to the U.S. embassy Twitter page @33, unbelievable!. The Trump administration partying like it is 1984.

Piotr Berman | Apr 22, 2017 7:37:20 PM | 78
The usage of "there can be no doubt" is a bit different from what we could learn in English classes. First, "doubt" is a kind of thought-weed that is at times harmless, and at times seriously detrimental and thus subjected to eradication efforts. "There is no doubt" declares the success of the eradication campaign while "There can be no doubt" is more like "There should not be any doubt", i.e. an exhortation to continue and expand eradication campaign. Usually the large fields of major agribusiness companies are well tended with copious amounts of herbicides, while on the edges, meadows, smaller organically tended fields etc. the weeds can survive and in isolated places they can even thrive.

From that point of view excessive consumption of, say, NYT or TV news can make people positive for "symptoms of sarin or sarin-like chemicals" like Roundup when we take swabs from their mucosal surfaces and analyze with sensitive instruments. Smaller but proudly "mainstream" publications like New Yorker have no doubt either (in this case it is easy, because New Yorker is very compartmentalized, few individuals are allowed to write on the topic, this way they can keep doubt from showing without mass use of chemicals). The Nation has some articles written by doubt-free persons (like Katha Pollit) but doubt levels are significant -- kept down mostly by small number of articles on Syria. And Counterpunch is a weed in itself.

AKSA | Apr 22, 2017 7:56:06 PM | 79
@ Dean | Apr 22, 2017 2:10:38 PM | 76

No kidding!? How old are you?

How about this: The US is prime Nazi country/regime, and the Zionist state is modeled after the US, or the European racism. The settler states are known for its unprecedented violence. Unfortunately, still the phenomenon of extermination is connected with Germany and not the US.

http://warisacrime.org/content/how-us-race-laws-inspired-nazis

One of many U.S. state laws that Nazis examined was this from Maryland:

"All marriages between a white person and a Negro, or between a white person and a person of Negro descent, to the third generation, inclusive, or between a white person and a member of the Malay race or between a Negro and a member of the Malay race, or between a person of Negro descent to the third generation, inclusive, and a member of the Malay race . . . [skipping over many variations] . . . are forever prohibited . . . punished by imprisonment in the penitentiary for not less than eighteen months nor more than ten years."

jfl | Apr 22, 2017 8:31:15 PM | 80
@78 bp. 'From that point of view excessive consumption of, say, NYT or TV news can make people positive for "symptoms of sarin or sarin-like chemicals" like Roundup when we take swabs from their mucosal surfaces and analyze with sensitive instruments.'

very nice piotr berman. the metaphor is so well drawn, and in the following cases as well. One has a malady, here, a malady. One feels a malady.

the dysfunctions all swell from a common source, into a slum of bloom. the wigs despoiling the Satan ear.

karlof1 | Apr 22, 2017 10:24:15 PM | 81
guy @45--

Yes, I was apprehensive at first, but the new regime toed BRICS's lines, participated in its functions as usual, and has tried to use it in its national interest. Brazil's internal contradictions don't allow it to abandon its one big success story. And as I stated, BRICS policy declarations are all in line with Russia and China's in every area.

psychohistorian | Apr 23, 2017 2:32:49 AM | 82
@ karlof1 who writes about geopolitics

While many of the big brains go to Wall St. to front guess Mr. Market, there are others, "no doubt", that build geopolitical dashboards, models and simulations for the elite to monitor all the countries/governments/militaries/public.

In spite of their visibility of their universe, they are losing control and know it. The absurdity of the ongoing global debt situation is a tell.

All countries have evolving relationships with both the US and China as well as within the various groups of nations. China is talking growth and the US/private finance is talking austerity. It is not if but a matter of when growth wins out and global finance is put under public control.

Temporarily Sane | Apr 23, 2017 8:43:48 AM | 83
That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history. ~Aldous Huxley

Afghan officials have said nearly 100 militants and no civilians were killed, but the remoteness of the area, the presence of Islamic State fighters, and, more recently, American security forces, has left those claims unverified.

[Nov 24, 2019] 25 Times Trump Has Been Dangerously Hawkish On Russia by Caitlin Johnstone

From the point of view of election promise of detente with Russia, Trump clearly betrayed them. He was a neocon puppet from the beginning to the end, His policy was not that different from hypothetical policy of Hillary administration.
Notable quotes:
"... Caitlin Johnstone discredits a CNN listicle on Trump's "softness" towards Moscow. In fact, she writes, the U.S. president has actually been consistently reckless towards Moscow, with zero resistance from either party. ..."
"... It would be understandable if you were unaware that Trump has been escalating tensions with Moscow more than any other president since the fall of the Berlin Wall; it's a fact that neither of America's two mainstream political factions care about, so it tends to get lost in the shuffle. Trump's opposition is interested in painting him as a sycophantic Kremlin crony, and his supporters are interested in painting him as an antiwar hero of the people, but he is neither ..."
"... Anyone who has not read Orwell's 1984 should do so sooner rather than later. The official control of narrative in the novel is what we are presently drowning in. To watch it work so spectacularly is beyond depressing. ..."
"... The complete corruption of Western MSM is the reason many of us regularly read Caitlin and Consortium, all desperately trying to get some sort of a reality-check in an otherwise "Orwellian" media environment. ..."
"... The simple truth here is that in regard to the military (read 'military complex', which includes the deep state and shadow government [intelligence agencies] every president is a puppet. ..."
"... The coup in Ukraine was a major provocation to Russia, but was also a repeat of the Americans' rape and pillaging of Russia under Yeltsin, Clinton's puppet. The per capita median income of Ukrainians has dropped in half from 2013, despite pumping $billions in from the US. ..."
"... Failing impeachment, from the attempts by the Clinton Campaign, to the Congressional sanctions on Russia, to sabotage of Syria withdrawal to the Mueller hoax, to the State Dept hawks protests on Ukraine, the effort to prevent Trump from following through on his campaign promise has been the primary goal of the intelligence community. It is instructive to note that the phone call that has led to the current impeachment inquiry was made on July 26, the day following Robert Mueller's clownish testimony before Congress, effectively ending that line of impeachment. ..."
"... Also note that although the phone call was made in July, nothing was said about it until after John Bolton was fired in September, 2 months later. ..."
Nov 19, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

30 Comments

Caitlin Johnstone discredits a CNN listicle on Trump's "softness" towards Moscow. In fact, she writes, the U.S. president has actually been consistently reckless towards Moscow, with zero resistance from either party.

CaitlinJohnstone.com

CNN has published a fascinatingly manipulative and falsehood-laden article titled " 25 times Trump was soft on Russia ," in which a lot of strained effort is poured into building the case that the U.S. president is suspiciously loyal to the nation against which he has spent his administration escalating dangerous new cold war aggressions.

The items within the CNN article consist mostly of times in which Trump said some words or failed to say other words; "Trump has repeatedly praised Putin," "Trump refused to say Putin is a killer," "Trump denied that Russia interfered in 2016," "Trump made light of Russian hacking," etc. It also includes the completely false but oft-repeated narrative that "Trump's team softened the GOP platform on Ukraine", as well as the utterly ridiculous and thoroughly invalidated claim that "Since intervening in Syria in 2015, the Russian military has focused its airstrikes on anti-government rebels, not ISIS."

CNN's 25 items are made up almost entirely of narrative and words; Trump said a nice thing about Putin, Trump said offending things to NATO allies, Trump thought about visiting Putin in Russia, etc. In contrast, the 25 items which I am about to list do not consist of narrative at all, but rather the actual movement of actual concrete objects which can easily lead to an altercation from which there may be no re-emerging. These items show that when you ignore the words and narrative spin and look at what this administration has actually been doing , it's clear to anyone with a shred of intellectual honesty that, far from being "soft" on Russia, Trump has actually been consistently reckless in the one area where a US president must absolutely always maintain a steady hand. And he's been doing so with zero resistance from either party.

It would be understandable if you were unaware that Trump has been escalating tensions with Moscow more than any other president since the fall of the Berlin Wall; it's a fact that neither of America's two mainstream political factions care about, so it tends to get lost in the shuffle. Trump's opposition is interested in painting him as a sycophantic Kremlin crony, and his supporters are interested in painting him as an antiwar hero of the people, but he is neither. Observe:

1. Implementing a Nuclear Posture Review with a more aggressive stance toward Russia

Last year Trump's Department of Defense rolled out a Nuclear Posture Review which CNN itself called "its toughest line yet against Russia's resurgent nuclear forces."

"In its newly released Nuclear Posture Review, the Defense Department has focused much of its multibillion nuclear effort on an updated nuclear deterrence focused on Russia," CNN reported last year.

This revision of nuclear policy includes the new implementation of "low-yield" nuclear weapons , which, because they are designed to be more "usable" than conventional nuclear ordinances, have been called "the most dangerous weapon ever" by critics of this insane policy. These weapons, which can remove some of the inhibitions that mutually assured destruction would normally give military commanders, have already been rolled off the assembly line.

2. Arming Ukraine

Lost in the gibberish about Trump temporarily withholding military aide to supposedly pressure a Ukrainian government who was never even aware of being pressured is the fact that arming Ukraine against Russia is an entirely new policy that was introduced by the Trump administration in the first place. Even the Obama administration, which was plenty hawkish toward Russia in its own right, refused to implement this extremely provocative escalation against Moscow. It was not until Obama was replaced with the worst Putin puppet of all time that this policy was put in place.

3. Bombing Syria

Another escalation Trump took against Russia which Obama wasn't hawkish enough to also do was bombing the Syrian government, a longtime ally of Moscow. These airstrikes in April 2017 and April 2018 were perpetrated in retaliation for chemical weapons use allegations that there is no legitimate reason to trust at this point.

4. Staging coup attempts in Venezuela

Venezuela, another Russian ally, has been the subject of relentless coup attempts from the Trump administration which persist unsuccessfully to this very day . Trump's attempts to topple the Venezuelan government have been so violent and aggressive that the starvation sanctions which he has implemented are believed to have killed tens of thousands of Venezuelan civilians .

Trump has reportedly spoken frequently of a U.S. military invasion to oust Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro, provoking a forceful rebuke from Moscow .

"Signals coming from certain capitals indicating the possibility of external military interference look particularly disquieting," the Russian Foreign Ministry said. "We warn against such reckless actions, which threaten catastrophic consequences."

5. Withdrawing from the INF treaty

For a president who's "soft" on Russia, Trump has sure been eager to keep postures between the two nations extremely aggressive in nature. This administration has withdrawn from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, prompting UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to declare that "the world lost an invaluable brake on nuclear war." It appears entirely possible that Trump will continue to adhere to the John Bolton school of nuclear weapons treaties until they all lie in tatters, with the administration strongly criticizing the crucial New START Treaty which expires in early 2021.

Some particularly demented Russiagaters try to argue that Trump withdrawing from these treaties benefits Russia in some way. These people either (A) believe that treaties only go one way, (B) believe that a nation with an economy the size of South Korea can compete with the U.S. in an arms race, (C) believe that Russians are immune to nuclear radiation, or (D) all of the above. Withdrawing from these treaties benefits no one but the military-industrial complex.

6. Ending the Open Skies Treaty

"The Trump administration has taken steps toward leaving a nearly three-decade-old agreement designed to reduce the risk of war between Russia and the West by allowing both sides to conduct reconnaissance flights over one another's territories," The Wall Street Journal reported last month , adding that the administration has alleged that "Russia has interfered with American monitoring flights while using its missions to gather intelligence in the US."

Again, if you subscribe to the bizarre belief that withdrawing from this treaty benefits Russia, please think harder. Or ask the Russians themselves how they feel about it:

"US plans to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty lower the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons and multiply the risks for the whole world, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said," Sputnik reports .

"All this negatively affects the predictability of the military-strategic situation and lowers the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons, which drastically increases the risks for the whole humanity," Patrushev said.

"In general, it is becoming apparent that Washington intends to use its technological leadership in order to maintain strategic dominance in the information space by actually pursuing a policy of imposing its conditions on states that are lagging behind in digital development," he added.

7. Selling Patriot missiles to Poland

"Poland signed the largest arms procurement deal in its history on Wednesday, agreeing with the United States to buy Raytheon Co's Patriot missile defense system for $4.75 billion in a major step to modernize its forces against a bolder Russia," Reuters reported last year .

8. Occupying Syrian oil fields

The Trump administration has been open about the fact that it is not only maintaining a military presence in Syria to control the nation's oil, but that it is doing so in order to deprive the nation's government of that financial resource. Syria's ally Russia strongly opposes this, accusing the Trump administration of nothing short of "international state banditry".

"In a statement, Russia's defense ministry said Washington had no mandate under international or US law to increase its military presence in Syria and said its plan was not motivated by genuine security concerns in the region," Reuters reported last month.

"Therefore Washington's current actions – capturing and maintaining military control over oil fields in eastern Syria – is, simply put, international state banditry," Russia's defense ministry said.

9. Killing Russians in Syria

Reports have placed Russian casualties anywhere between a handful and hundreds , but whatever the exact number the U.S. military is known to have killed Russian citizens as part of the Trump administration's ongoing Syria occupation in an altercation last year.

exact number the U.S. military is known to have killed Russian citizens as part of the Trump administration's ongoing Syria occupation in an altercation last year.

10. Tanks in Estonia

Within weeks of taking office, Trump was already sending Abrams battle tanks, Bradley infantry fighting vehicles and other military hardware right up to Russia's border as part of a NATO operation.

"Atlantic Resolve is a demonstration of continued US commitment to collective security through a series of actions designed to reassure NATO allies and partners of America's dedication to enduring peace and stability in the region in light of the Russian intervention in Ukraine," the Defense Department said in a statement.

11. War ships in the Black Sea

12. Sanctions

Trump approved new sanctions against Russia on August 2017. CNN reports the following:

"US President Donald Trump approved fresh sanctions on Russia Wednesday after Congress showed overwhelming bipartisan support for the new measures," CNN reported at the time . "Congress passed the bill last week in response to Russia's interference in the 2016 US election, as well as its human rights violations, annexation of Crimea and military operations in eastern Ukraine. The bill's passage drew ire from Moscow -- which responded by stripping 755 staff members and two properties from US missions in the country -- all but crushing any hope for the reset in US-Russian relations that Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin had called for."

"A full-fledged trade war has been declared on Russia," said Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in response.

13. More sanctions

"The United States imposed sanctions on five Russian individuals on Wednesday, including the leader of the Republic of Chechnya, for alleged human rights abuses and involvement in criminal conspiracies, a sign that the Trump administration is ratcheting up pressure on Russia," The New York Times reported in December 2017 .

14. Still more sanctions

"Trump just hit Russian oligarchs with the most aggressive sanctions yet," reads a Vice headline from April of last year.

"The sanctions target seven oligarchs and 12 companies under their ownership or control, 17 senior Russian government officials, and a state-owned Russian weapons trading company and its subsidiary, a Russian bank," Vice reports. "While the move is aimed, in part, at Russia's role in the U.S. 2016 election, senior U.S. government officials also stressed that the new measures seek to penalize Russia's recent bout of international troublemaking more broadly, including its support for Syrian President Bashar Assad and military activity in eastern Ukraine."

15. Even more sanctions

The Trump administration hit Russia with more sanctions for the alleged Skripal poisoning in August of last year, then hit them with another round of sanctions for the same reason again in August of this year.

16. Guess what? MORE sanctions

"The Trump administration on Thursday imposed new sanctions on a dozen individuals and entities in response to Russia's annexation of Crimea," The Hill reported in November of last year. "The group includes a company linked to Bank Rossiya and Russian businessman Yuri Kovalchuk and others accused of operating in Crimea, which the U.S. says Russia seized illegally in 2014."

17. Oh hey, more sanctions

"Today, the United States continues to take action in response to Russian attempts to influence US democratic processes by imposing sanctions on four entities and seven individuals associated with the Internet Research Agency and its financier, Yevgeniy Prigozhin. This action increases pressure on Prigozhin by targeting his luxury assets, including three aircraft and a vessel," reads a statement by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from September of this year.

18. Secondary sanctions

Secondary sanctions are economic sanctions in which a third party is punished for breaching the primary sanctions of the sanctioning body. The U.S. has leveled sanctions against both China and Turkey for purchasing Russian S-400 air defense missiles, and it is threatening to do so to India as well.

19. Forcing Russian media to register as foreign agents

Both RT and Sputnik have been forced to register as "foreign agents" by the Trump administration. This classification forced the outlets to post a disclaimer on content, to report their activities and funding sources to the Department of Justice twice a year, and could arguably place an unrealistic burden on all their social media activities as it submits to DOJ micromanagement.

20. Throwing out Russian diplomats

The Trump administration joined some 20 other nations in casting out scores of Russian diplomats as an immediate response to the Skripal poisoning incident in the U.K.

21. Training Polish and Latvian fighters "to resist Russian aggression"

"US Army Special Forces soldiers completed the first irregular and unconventional warfare training iteration for members of the Polish Territorial Defense Forces and Latvian Zemmessardze as a part of the Ridge Runner program in West Virginia, according to service officials," Army Times reported this past July.

"U.S. special operations forces have been training more with allies from the Baltic states and other Eastern European nations in the wake of the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation in 2014," Army Times writes. "A low-level conflict continues to simmer in eastern Ukraine's Donbas region between Russian-backed separatists and government forces to this day. The conflict spurred the Baltics into action, as Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia embraced the concepts of total defense and unconventional warfare, combining active-duty, national guard and reserve-styled forces to each take on different missions to resist Russian aggression and even occupation."

22. Refusal to recognize Crimea as part of the Russian Federation

even while acknowledging Israel's illegal annexation of the Golan Heights as perfectly legal and legitimate.

23. Sending 1,000 troops to Poland

From the September article " 1000 US Troops Are Headed to Poland " by National Interest :

Key point: Trump agreed to send more forces to Poland to defend it against Russia.

What Happened: U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to deploy approximately 1,000 additional U.S. troops to Poland during a meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City, Reuters reported Sept. 23.

Why It Matters: The deal, which formalizes the United States' commitment to protecting Poland from Russia, provides a diplomatic victory to Duda and his governing Law and Justice ahead of November elections. The additional U.S. troops will likely prompt a reactive military buildup from Moscow in places like neighboring Kaliningrad and, potentially, Belarus.

24. Withdrawing from the Iran deal

Russia has been consistently opposed to Trump's destruction of the JCPOA. In a statement after Trump killed the deal, the Russian Foreign Ministry said it was "deeply disappointed by the decision of US President Donald Trump to unilaterally refuse to carry out commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action", adding that this administration's actions were "trampling on the norms of international law".

25. Attacking Russian gas interests

Trump has been threatening Germany with sanctions and troop withdrawal if it continues to support a gas pipeline from Russia called Nord Stream 2.

"Echoing previous threats about German support for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, Trump said he's looking at sanctions to block the project he's warned would leave Berlin 'captive' to Moscow," Bloomberg reports . "The US also hopes to export its own liquefied natural gas to Germany."

"We're protecting Germany from Russia, and Russia is getting billions and billions of dollars in money from Germany" for its gas, Trump told the press.

I could have kept going, but that's my 25. The only reason anyone still believes Trump is anything other than insanely hawkish toward Russia is because it doesn't benefit anyone's partisanship or profit margins to call it like it really is. The facts are right here as plain as can be, but there's a difference between facts and narrative. If they wanted to, the political/media class could very easily use the facts I just laid out to weave the narrative that this president is imperiling us all with dangerous new cold war provocations, but that's how different narrative is from fact; there's almost no connection. Instead they use a light sprinkling of fact to weave a narrative that has very little to do with reality. And meanwhile the insane escalations continue.

In a cold war, it only takes one miscommunication or one defective piece of equipment to set off a chain of events that can obliterate all life on earth. The more things escalate, the greater the probability of that happening. We're rolling the dice on Armageddon every single day, and with every escalation the number we need to beat gets a bit harder.

We should not be rolling the dice on this. This is very, very wrong, and the U.S. and Russia should stop and establish detente immediately. The fact that outlets like CNN would rather diddle made-up Russiagate narratives than point to this obvious fact with truthful reporting is in and of itself sufficient to discredit them all forever.

Caitlin Johnstone is a rogue journalist, poet, and utopia prepper who publishes regularly at Medium . Follow her work on Facebook , Twitter , or her website . She has a podcast and a new book " Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers ."

This article was re-published with permission. The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.


Roger D Owens , November 20, 2019 at 11:28

Our historians here seem to be forgetting the brutal takeover of Ukraine by the USSR in the 50's, in which millions of Ukrainians were shot, raped, beaten and starved out, while "ethnic Russians" moved in and took over. Kruschev didn't "give" Crimea away, he simply transferred the administration thereof to the Soviet Republic of "the" Ukraine (a term Ukranians have always decried as a way to make it seem as if Ukraine had always been a part of the USSR). The "ethnic Russians" wouldn't have been there at all if the Soviets hadn't put them there. That argument is the same one Hitler used as his excuse to annex Poland, and Polk used to annex Texas. It's true Russia's self-interest (and well-founded fears of foreign betrayal) have been largely ignored, but it's also disingenuous to ignore their murderous 20th-century imperialism. Just because we're not the good guys doesn't mean they are either.

anon4d2 , November 20, 2019 at 18:12

Perhaps you forgot that the USSR actions in eastern Europe after WWII were in direct response to the murder of 20 million Russians in WWII by the Nazi forces, attacking through E Europe just as Napoleon had done. All US casualties in all its wars are less than five percent of that, and 95 percent of Nazi division-months were spent in the USSR. On that front they had nearly all of the casualties and did nearly all of the fighting. No wonder they were a bit uncomfortable afterward with leaving open the favorite attack route of the west. What would the US have done if a hundred times its WWII casualties were caused by two invasions through (for example) Mexico? Would we have left the door open? Such circumstances cannot be ignored. Starting one's version of history after the world's greatest provocation cannot be said to clarify the history.

Toby McCrossin , November 21, 2019 at 02:56

"Our historians here seem to be forgetting the brutal takeover of Ukraine by the USSR in the 50's"

Nice alternative facts. Ukraine was one of the original constituent republics of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1922!

" Kruschev didn't "give" Crimea away"

Huh? Crimea had been part of Russia since 1783. You know you can check this stuff yourself using Google, right?

"The "ethnic Russians" wouldn't have been there at all if the Soviets hadn't put them there."

Right, so the Soviets put the Russians in Crimea in 1783, 139 years before it was in existence. I guess the Soviets mastered time travel.

I know reading's hard and all but you might wanna try it some time.

Jon Anderholm , November 20, 2019 at 02:22

An essential article by Caitlin .. Thanks so much .

Sam F , November 19, 2019 at 22:56

Another excellent article by Caitlin Johnstone.

Jeff G. , November 19, 2019 at 19:59

Given the laws of cause and effect, our nuclear missiles might as well be considered to be pointed straight at ourselves. Like shooting at one's image in a mirror or joining in a mutual suicide pact. Sheer insanity.

ranney , November 19, 2019 at 17:26

WONDERFUL article, Caitlin. You are so right! I agree with Alan Ross, you deserve an award for this, and I hope this gets passed around for a wide readership.

Antonio Costa , November 19, 2019 at 15:14

When elected POTUS you are elected, no matter the campaign rhetoric, to take the reins of the imperial empire.

Trump did that willingly, in fact to a fault given his "big mouth". He's no more nor less dangerous than his predecessors. And like them, his is a mass of rhetorical contradictions. Policy is all that should really matters. It is our only means of identifying some truth.

Trump knows what most here know regarding US invasions and assassinations. What he thinks about any leader is anyone's guess (including his). For him it's all deal making as if it's his private Trump Towers Enterprises. But in the end he's playing the chief gangsta role of his like. (If you've ever listened to Sinatra at the Sands (the full concert), you'll hear how Trump has mimicked the popular gangsta singer to the last "love ya baby ").

The media is not free. It is an arm of the national security state, with occasional outages of truth telling, all the more to tell the big lies. It's purpose is to pacify and repress any rebellions. Since the end of Vietnam it has succeeded. And here we are, never knowing truth from lie. (I think of Obama as deceitful to the max, while Trump just tells transparent lies so you don't know when he's actually telling a profound truth.)

"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."

-- Joseph Goebbels (was a German Nazi politician and Reich Minister of Propaganda of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945)

Mark Thomason , November 19, 2019 at 14:22

We can go one step further than to say that Trump was reckless toward Russia, "with zero resistance from either party."

Both parties demanded it. They approved it as "Presidential" whenever he did it, and attacked him for any effort to be less reckless. They'd done the same to Obama, but Trump proved weaker and more malleable.

Jeff Harrison , November 19, 2019 at 14:14

Verra nice peroration. I have two objections. One, I doubt that the people of the Donbass are Russian backed in the same sense that the "moderate" rebel scum in Syria is US backed with weapons, intelligence, and training but the people of the Donbass are ethnic Russians. With a steady stream of anti-Russian legislation coming out of Kiev, I imagine they're looking for an out. Putin is trying to get it for them without starting a war with Ukraine. The real question that Washington has yet to address is what are they going to do if the people of Ukraine notice that since they signed on to the neo-liberal dictates of Washington and Brussels they've become the poorest nation in Europe. I know that there are a number of Ukrainians who think wistfully of the days when they were part of Mother Russia. But you never know, the CIA is notorious for its subversion and the Ukrainians might prove to be spectacularly stupid. After all, they weren't doing badly until they let the US and EU foment a coup for them.

And, two, "We should not be rolling the dice on this. This is very, very wrong, and the U.S. and Russia should stop and establish detente immediately." While I agree with the sentiment, don't bring Russia into this. Everything that Russia has done has been a reaction to what is usually an American violation of international law. Putin has been very clear that he wants to back off this cold war but he has also been very clear that we started it and we're going to have to be the ones to start backing off.

David Hamilton , November 20, 2019 at 02:11

I absolutely agree with your number two reaction to Caitlin's suggestion that Russia and the U.S. should stop it and establish detente immediately. Everything Russia's leadership is doing is a reaction to American imperial dares to defy their law violations. They exhibit extreme and principled restraint to the Orwellian madness emanating from this place.

I think it is important that this be understood. Russians have been used and abused once before by American largesse in the form of Clinton's puppet's assistance in the rape of the former Soviet Union by the Harvard-sponsored project. That was the one during the nineties that privatized national industries and created a dozen neoliberal oligarchs. The cost was a huge increase in death rate that lowered life expectancy into the 50's from 70 years I think. Cynical foreign policy, isn't it?

Lois Gagnon , November 19, 2019 at 13:16

Anyone who has not read Orwell's 1984 should do so sooner rather than later. The official control of narrative in the novel is what we are presently drowning in. To watch it work so spectacularly is beyond depressing.

Many thanks to Caitlin Johnstone, Consortium News and all the others pushing back against this system of perception management. I keep repeating it because it rings true. It's like waking up in the Twilight Zone.

John Neal Spangler , November 19, 2019 at 12:44

She is right. CNN. MSNBC, NYT, and Wapo totally irresponsible. Fox not much better. So many anti-Russian bigots in US

Jimmy gates , November 19, 2019 at 12:37

Thank you Caitlin. The neoliberals and neocons both desperately want a greatly intensified cold war with Russia, but want it started by Trump ( because he is personally an outsider).

This gives the Democrat and Republican donors contracts for the war machine. Ever since Clinton administration moved NATO to the Russian border, the process has worked for the oligarchs who control all US policies, foreign and domestic.

Gary Weglarz , November 19, 2019 at 12:20

The complete corruption of Western MSM is the reason many of us regularly read Caitlin and Consortium, all desperately trying to get some sort of a reality-check in an otherwise "Orwellian" media environment.

For anyone who has been waiting for the publication of reporter Udo Ulfkotte's best selling book (in Germany), a book based on his experience as a well respected journalist whose reporting was completely compromised by Western intelligence services and business interests, it is finally available in an English language edition. The English language edition has been quite obviously suppressed for the last several years and the book was published in 9 languages BEFORE this English edition became available. It is a book that is well worth reading to better understand why literally NOTHING written by MSM should be believed at face value, ever:
See:

amazon.com/Presstitutes-Embedded-Pay-CIA-Confession/dp/1615770178/ref=pd_sbs_14_t_0/131-5128290-0014039

Skip Scott , November 19, 2019 at 15:34

I would urge anyone interested in buying this book to get it directly from the publisher- Progressive Press. Amazon and other mega monopolies are a big part of our problems. Take the time to make a few extra clicks and boycott Jeff Bezos.

Noah Way , November 19, 2019 at 10:58

The simple truth here is that in regard to the military (read 'military complex', which includes the deep state and shadow government [intelligence agencies] every president is a puppet. Nobel Peace Prize winner oBOMBa bombed 7 countries, overthrew Ukraine's democratic government, invaded Syria, armed terrorists as proxy armies, authorized drone assassinations, and bombed a Nobel Peace Prize winner.

The last president to resist the military complex? JFK

peter mcloughlin , November 19, 2019 at 10:19

Caitlin Johnstone's list points to growing tensions with Russia. Failure of the political and media establishment to see this makes the task of avoiding world war three all the more difficult. In the West the end of the Cold War was seen as the dawn of peace. But the Cold War was the peace, a post-world war environment: we are now in a pre-world war environment.

Jimmy gates , November 19, 2019 at 12:45

The Democratic Party members have not " missed" anything that Trump has done. They will not impeach him on those grounds, because they too are guilty of complicity in those war crimes. As Pelosi said regarding impeaching GWB for the torture program or invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan " it's off the table". Because she was complicit.

Lois Gagnon , November 19, 2019 at 13:23

Russia did not illegally annex Crimea. A referendum was held and 90% of the voters voted to rejoin Russia. Most people in Crimea are ethnic Russians and speak Russian. They were understandably scared to death of what their fate would be under the rule of the fascists the US installed in Ukraine.

And frankly, Russia had every right to protect its only warm water port in Sevastopol that would have been taken over by NATO if Crimea had remained part of Ukraine. Too many Americans have been indoctrinated in the belief that Russia has no legitimate self interest to defend.

michael , November 19, 2019 at 18:22

In addition to what Lois Gagnon points out, you have to realize that the re-patriation of Crimea to Russia in March 2014 was the direct result of Obama, Biden, Nuland et al overthrowing the democratically elected President of Ukraine, Yanukovych, in the Maidan coup in February, 2014, and replacing him with a neoNAZI regime. Russian speech was outlawed, which has been the language of the majority of Crimea since Catherine the Great.

The coup in Ukraine was a major provocation to Russia, but was also a repeat of the Americans' rape and pillaging of Russia under Yeltsin, Clinton's puppet. The per capita median income of Ukrainians has dropped in half from 2013, despite pumping $billions in from the US.

Jeff G. , November 19, 2019 at 20:25

Crimeans have an absolute right of self-determination as a fundamental human right under established international law, just as the Kosovars did when we were supporting the breakup of Serbia when Clinton was president. Ethnic Russians voted in an overwhelming majority in a free and fair plebiscite to rejoin Russia, which they had been part of for centuries, because the neo-Nazi US coup government allied with Azov battalions in Kyiv terrified them and they wanted nothing further to do with them. Crimea had every right to decide. Russia did nothing to interfere, not a bullet was fired. Russia's troops were already stationed in Crimea by treaty and did not invade. Russia warned NATO against the Kosovo precedent that it would come back to bite them someday, and it was ignored. NATO is unhappy because it was denied an illegitimate geostrategic advantage they thought they would gain. Crimea is happy, so what's the problem?

DH Fabian , November 19, 2019 at 21:08

"We," who? Regardless, the issues you raise can't be understood outside of their historical context, and Americans never try to understand the world within that historical context.

anon , November 19, 2019 at 22:54

Crimea was part of Russia for roughly 200 years before the USSR premier (Kruschev?) gave it to Ukraine, although its inhabitants were nearly all of Russian heritage and language, like E Ukraine. So not surprising that they wanted to go back to being part of Russia.

dean 1000 , November 20, 2019 at 19:26

Couldn't agree more Lois Gagnon. Washington did an illegal coup. Russia did a legal annexation.

btw – The Autonomous Republic of Sevastopol on SW Crimea is no longer the only ice-free port of the Russian Navy. Kaliningrad (on the Baltic sea) has been part of Russia since 1945. Its deep ice-free harbor is the home port of Russia's Baltic fleet according to the 2012 world book DVD.

Good one Caitlin. Again

jdd , November 19, 2019 at 09:51

This article properly puts to rest the absurd notion that President Trump is a "tool of Putin, " and correctly notes that it has created a potentially disastrous situation.

However, let's put the blame squarely where it belongs: on the Anglo/American led forces arrayed against Trump from the moment he announced his intention to run on a platform of "getting along" with Russia and joining with Putin to defeat ISIS.

Failing impeachment, from the attempts by the Clinton Campaign, to the Congressional sanctions on Russia, to sabotage of Syria withdrawal to the Mueller hoax, to the State Dept hawks protests on Ukraine, the effort to prevent Trump from following through on his campaign promise has been the primary goal of the intelligence community. It is instructive to note that the phone call that has led to the current impeachment inquiry was made on July 26, the day following Robert Mueller's clownish testimony before Congress, effectively ending that line of impeachment.

Nick , November 19, 2019 at 16:50

Also note that although the phone call was made in July, nothing was said about it until after John Bolton was fired in September, 2 months later.

Alan Ross , November 19, 2019 at 09:47

This article alone deserves an award for public service. And in a more sensibly run world Caitlin Johnstone would have gotten at least fifty such awards for past articles.

[Nov 14, 2019] The Inconsequential Nikki Haley

Notable quotes:
"... And, of course, it wouldn't be good, old-fashioned Washington gunslinging if she didn't pin the blame on somebody else. In this case, it was former secretary of state Rex Tillerson and former White House chief of staff John Kelly -- portrayed by Haley as duplicitous snakes who sought to undermine the president behind his back. ..."
Nov 14, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Her messaging confirms what many have long suspected: Nikki Haley is a human weathervane, trying to ingratiate herself to the boss (she knows Trump will remain a popular figure within Republican politics for years to come) while at the same time distancing herself from his most controversial actions.

And, of course, it wouldn't be good, old-fashioned Washington gunslinging if she didn't pin the blame on somebody else. In this case, it was former secretary of state Rex Tillerson and former White House chief of staff John Kelly -- portrayed by Haley as duplicitous snakes who sought to undermine the president behind his back.


Doug Wallis9 hours ago

She is a neocon and people arent going to vote for more war. She has no real accomplishments. I think she would make an interesting candidate. A republican woman is generally not as loopy left wing as the democratic women running just because their women. Personally Nikki does not represent my values and I wouldnt vote for her.
Fayez Abedaziz2 hours ago
Well, what does that tell ya about the continuing corruption and ruining of America's elections systems in this evolving, shallower society and the major 'news' media being 'neo-con' run or influenced as such?
It's ridiculous and I'm being kind, that people with no qualifications are seriously being given money and given media exposure such as- Buttgieg, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker and some others with low IQ's and only want the ego tripping and be one of the 'elites' all their non-productive lives.
So, Nikki Haley is seriously one of those to lead America?
You now what, people who vote for these clowns, clowns that never worked in their lives, are just plain shallow too. But...the big donors give these characters money so that they will continue the terrible neo-con foreign policy.
Now, may I ask, as a fella that was born in another nation:
how come I use my real name but Nikki Haley and others do not?
I laugh, as did others, over the years when I say-you would think, that a guy with my name, being a Palestinian/Arab/Moslem heritage, would be the last one to do that!
Well, how 'bout that question in our great big country America? Dig?
PeaceObserver2 hours ago • edited
Opportunism of this one is so sky high that it resembles a cartoonish psychopath. Even her name is not real. A pathological liar who took up barking as a profession because that is what sells these days. Tragedy of America is that snakes move high and up.

[Oct 15, 2019] Trump's selection of Pompeo to run the department put someone with a deep loathing for genuine diplomacy in charge of the administration's diplomatic efforts

That's by design, not by mistake
Oct 15, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

His extremely personalized approach to handling relationships with other governments has put U.S. foreign policy at the mercy of his whims and moods, and it has undermined U.S. officials whenever they have tried to make any progress in negotiations. His appointment of hard-liners to key positions has ensured that there is no one inside the administration to argue for mutually beneficial compromise, and that has resulted in one bankrupt, all-or-nothing policy after another.

Trump's selection of Pompeo to run the department put someone with a deep loathing for genuine diplomacy in charge of the administration's diplomatic efforts. In theory, having a Secretary of State with the president's confidence should be very good for the State Department, but when both the president and the Secretary have nothing but disdain for their work it has proved to be a nightmare instead.

It is no surprise that fewer people are interested in joining the Foreign Service when they see how its officers are sabotaged and maligned. It is understandable that so many career diplomats don't want to stay on in such a toxic, demoralizing environment. We need to remember that this isn't just a question of how one department of the federal government is being horribly mismanaged. This is something that affects the quality of U.S. foreign policy, and that affects American interests more broadly.

If we want to see a more responsible and restrained U.S. foreign policy, that will require spending more on diplomacy and development and less on an already exorbitant military budget. It means treating diplomacy as more than an afterthought or as a prelude to intervention. It will also require putting people in charge of the State Department that respect diplomats and value their work. Today we have just the opposite, and the results speak for themselves.

[Sep 25, 2019] Trump should be impeached not for his Ukrainian call but for Venezuela regime change efforts

Notable quotes:
"... Citing a "political and humanitarian crisis" committed by Caracas, the White House Office of the Press Secretary issued a "suspension of entry as immigrants and nonimmigrants of persons who threaten Venezuela's democratic institutions." ..."
"... The move comes as the latest effort from the Trump administration to oust Venezuela's president. ' ..."
Sep 25, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

brian , Sep 25 2019 22:01 utc | 70

He should be impeached. His latest outrage:

'US President Donald Trump has moved to suspend Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro's senior officials, relatives, and others who receive financial benefits from entering into the US in Wednesday press release from the White House.

Citing a "political and humanitarian crisis" committed by Caracas, the White House Office of the Press Secretary issued a "suspension of entry as immigrants and nonimmigrants of persons who threaten Venezuela's democratic institutions."

The move comes as the latest effort from the Trump administration to oust Venezuela's president. '

Trumps Suspends US Entry for Iranian, Venezuelan Government Officials - Sputnik International

[Sep 25, 2019] After Chavez took power, Venezuelans told me that he had found that a critical subsidiary of the Venezuelan oil company PDVSA was basically a CIA shop.

Notable quotes:
"... One of the reasons that I doubt Biden's version of the story stems from my experience in Venezuela. After Chavez took power, Venezuelans told me that he had found that a critical subsidiary of the Venezuelan oil company PDVSA was basically a CIA shop. The names of CIA on the Board of Directors were not just ordinary CIA, but were recognizable figures at the very top. ..."
"... To me this is entirely plausible. Control of oil is critical to US global hegemony. And what better way to control foreign oil than to have trusted American asset sit on the BOD? ..."
Sep 25, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

JohnH -> JohnH... , September 25, 2019 at 03:45 PM

One of the reasons that I doubt Biden's version of the story stems from my experience in Venezuela. After Chavez took power, Venezuelans told me that he had found that a critical subsidiary of the Venezuelan oil company PDVSA was basically a CIA shop. The names of CIA on the Board of Directors were not just ordinary CIA, but were recognizable figures at the very top.

To me this is entirely plausible. Control of oil is critical to US global hegemony. And what better way to control foreign oil than to have trusted American asset sit on the BOD?

This brings us to Hunter Biden's appointment to Ukrainian energy giant Burisma. After the coup in 2014, why wouldn't Biden want a trusted asset on the board of the biggest natural gas producer in Ukraine? IOW it was unpublicized standard operating procedure.

[Sep 23, 2019] Mig 15 was a huge leap in military technology and the Mig 17 was the best subsonic fighter ever fielded.

Sep 23, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Northern Star September 16, 2019 at 2:37 pm

An overlooked battle :

https://www.youtube.com/embed/mAmJUyHloTk?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Like Like

Northern Star September 16, 2019 at 2:55 pm
Wow Learn something new..at least to some!

https://www.youtube.com/embed/PlJOvUCrN30?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Like Like

Patient Observer September 20, 2019 at 4:10 am
Interesting and new to me as well. I do recall reading several articles that the Mig 15 was a huge leap in military technology and the Mig 17 was the best subsonic fighter ever fielded.
Moscow Exile September 20, 2019 at 4:26 am
Fancy a flight down MiG Alley , chaps?

The MiG Alley battles produced many fighter aces. The top aces were Russian. Nikolay Sutyagin claimed 21 kills, including nine F-86s, one F-84 and one Gloster Meteor in less than seven months. His first kill was the F-86A of Robert H. Laier on 19 June 1951 (listed by the Americans as missing in action), and his last was on 11 January 1952, when he shot down and killed Thiel M. Reeves, who was flying an F-86E (Reeves is also listed as MIA). Other famous Soviet aces include Yevgeni G. Pepelyayev, who was credited with 19 kills, and Lev Kirilovich Shchukin, who was credited with 17 kills, despite being shot down twice himself.

During the Korean War, NATO Allies wanted so badly to examine a MiG at close quarters that they offered a US$100,000 reward for any pilot who would defect and bring his MiG-15 with him. When a North Korean pilot, Lt. Ro Kun Suk, did defect in September of 1953, he was not aware of the reward, but was given it anyway.

Source: MiG-15

Like Like

Patient Observer September 20, 2019 at 5:51 pm
I had heard that the Mig 17 was deliberately kept out of the war as it would have decimated the US Air Force forcing them to do something really stupid like drop a nuke. Could be an urban legend.

[Sep 10, 2019] Neoliberal Capitalism at a Dead End by Utsa Patnaik and Prabhat Patnaik

Highly recommended!
This is a Marxist critique of neoliberalism. Not necessary right but they his some relevant points.
Notable quotes:
"... The ideology of neoliberal capitalism was the promise of growth. But with neoliberal capitalism reaching a dead end, this promise disappears and so does this ideological prop. ..."
"... The ex ante tendency toward overproduction arises because the vector of real wages across countries does not increase noticeably over time in the world economy, while the vector of labor productivities does, typically resulting in a rise in the share of surplus in world output. ..."
"... While the rise in the vector of labor productivities across countries, a ubiquitous phenomenon under capitalism that also characterizes neoliberal capitalism, scarcely requires an explanation, why does the vector of real wages remain virtually stagnant in the world economy? The answer lies in the sui generis character of contemporary globalization that, for the first time in the history of capitalism, has led to a relocation of activity from the metropolis to third world countries in order to take advantage of the lower wages prevailing in the latter and meet global demand. ..."
"... The current globalization broke with this. The movement of capital from the metropolis to the third world, especially to East, South, and Southeast Asia to relocate plants there and take advantage of their lower wages for meeting global demand, has led to a desegmentation of the world economy, subjecting metropolitan wages to the restraining effect exercised by the third world's labor reserves. Not surprisingly, as Joseph Stiglitz has pointed out, the real-wage rate of an average male U.S. worker in 2011 was no higher -- indeed, it was marginally lower -- than it had been in 1968. 5 ..."
"... This ever-present opposition becomes decisive within a regime of globalization. As long as finance capital remains national -- that is, nation-based -- and the state is a nation-state, the latter can override this opposition under certain circumstances, such as in the post-Second World War period when capitalism was facing an existential crisis. But when finance capital is globalized, meaning, when it is free to move across country borders while the state remains a nation-state, its opposition to fiscal deficits becomes decisive. If the state does run large fiscal deficits against its wishes, then it would simply leave that country en masse , causing a financial crisis. ..."
"... The state therefore capitulates to the demands of globalized finance capital and eschews direct fiscal intervention for increasing demand. It resorts to monetary policy instead since that operates through wealth holders' decisions, and hence does not undermine their social position. But, precisely for this reason, monetary policy is an ineffective instrument, as was evident in the United States in the aftermath of the 2007–09 crisis when even the pushing of interest rates down to zero scarcely revived activity. 6 ..."
"... If Trump's protectionism, which recalls the Smoot-Hawley tariff of 1931 and amounts to a beggar-my-neighbor policy, does lead to a significant export of unemployment from the United States, then it will invite retaliation and trigger a trade war that will only worsen the crisis for the world economy as a whole by dampening global investment. Indeed, since the United States has been targeting China in particular, some retaliatory measures have already appeared. But if U.S. protectionism does not invite generalized retaliation, it would only be because the export of unemployment from the United States is insubstantial, keeping unemployment everywhere, including in the United States, as precarious as it is now. However we look at it, the world would henceforth face higher levels of unemployment. ..."
"... The second implication of this dead end is that the era of export-led growth is by and large over for third world economies. The slowing down of world economic growth, together with protectionism in the United States against successful third world exporters, which could even spread to other metropolitan economies, suggests that the strategy of relying on the world market to generate domestic growth has run out of steam. Third world economies, including the ones that have been very successful at exporting, would now have to rely much more on their home market ..."
"... In other words, we shall now have an intensification of the imperialist stranglehold over third world economies, especially those pushed into unsustainable balance-of-payments deficits in the new situation. By imperialism , here we do not mean the imperialism of this or that major power, but the imperialism of international finance capital, with which even domestic big bourgeoisies are integrated, directed against their own working people ..."
"... In short, the ideology of neoliberal capitalism was the promise of growth. But with neoliberal capitalism reaching a dead end, this promise disappears and so does this ideological prop. To sustain itself, neoliberal capitalism starts looking for some other ideological prop and finds fascism. ..."
"... The first is the so-called spontaneous method of capital flight. Any political formation that seeks to take the country out of the neoliberal regime will witness capital flight even before it has been elected to office, bringing the country to a financial crisis and thereby denting its electoral prospects. And if perchance it still gets elected, the outflow will only increase, even before it assumes office. The inevitable difficulties faced by the people may well make the government back down at that stage. The sheer difficulty of transition away from a neoliberal regime could be enough to bring even a government based on the support of workers and peasants to its knees, precisely to save them short-term distress or to avoid losing their support. ..."
"... The third weapon consists in carrying out so-called democratic or parliamentary coups of the sort that Latin America has been experiencing. Coups in the old days were effected through the local armed forces and necessarily meant the imposition of military dictatorships in lieu of civilian, democratically elected governments. Now, taking advantage of the disaffection generated within countries by the hardships caused by capital flight and imposed sanctions, imperialism promotes coups through fascist or fascist-sympathizing middle-class political elements in the name of restoring democracy, which is synonymous with the pursuit of neoliberalism. ..."
"... And if all these measures fail, there is always the possibility of resorting to economic warfare (such as destroying Venezuela's electricity supply), and eventually to military warfare. Venezuela today provides a classic example of what imperialist intervention in a third world country is going to look like in the era of decline of neoliberal capitalism, when revolts are going to characterize such countries more and more. ..."
"... Despite this opposition, neoliberal capitalism cannot ward off the challenge it is facing for long. It has no vision for reinventing itself. Interestingly, in the period after the First World War, when capitalism was on the verge of sinking into a crisis, the idea of state intervention as a way of its revival had already been mooted, though its coming into vogue only occurred at the end of the Second World War. 11 Today, neoliberal capitalism does not even have an idea of how it can recover and revitalize itself. And weapons like domestic fascism in the third world and direct imperialist intervention cannot for long save it from the anger of the masses that is building up against it. ..."
Aug 25, 2019 | portside.org
Originally from: Monthly Review printer friendly
The ideology of neoliberal capitalism was the promise of growth. But with neoliberal capitalism reaching a dead end, this promise disappears and so does this ideological prop.

Harry Magdoff's The Age of Imperialism is a classic work that shows how postwar political decolonization does not negate the phenomenon of imperialism. The book has two distinct aspects. On the one hand, it follows in V. I. Lenin's footsteps in providing a comprehensive account of how capitalism at the time operated globally. On the other hand, it raises a question that is less frequently discussed in Marxist literature -- namely, the need for imperialism. Here, Magdoff not only highlighted the crucial importance, among other things, of the third world's raw materials for metropolitan capital, but also refuted the argument that the declining share of raw-material value in gross manufacturing output somehow reduced this importance, making the simple point that there can be no manufacturing at all without raw materials. 1

Magdoff's focus was on a period when imperialism was severely resisting economic decolonization in the third world, with newly independent third world countries taking control over their own resources. He highlighted the entire armory of weapons used by imperialism. But he was writing in a period that predated the onset of neoliberalism. Today, we not only have decades of neoliberalism behind us, but the neoliberal regime itself has reached a dead end. Contemporary imperialism has to be discussed within this setting.

Globalization and Economic Crisis

There are two reasons why the regime of neoliberal globalization has run into a dead end. The first is an ex ante tendency toward global overproduction; the second is that the only possible counter to this tendency within the regime is the formation of asset-price bubbles, which cannot be conjured up at will and whose collapse, if they do appear, plunges the economy back into crisis. In short, to use the words of British economic historian Samuel Berrick Saul, there are no "markets on tap" for contemporary metropolitan capitalism, such as had been provided by colonialism prior to the First World War and by state expenditure in the post-Second World War period of dirigisme . 2

The ex ante tendency toward overproduction arises because the vector of real wages across countries does not increase noticeably over time in the world economy, while the vector of labor productivities does, typically resulting in a rise in the share of surplus in world output. As Paul Baran and Paul Sweezy argued in Monopoly Capital , following the lead of Michał Kalecki and Josef Steindl, such a rise in the share of economic surplus, or a shift from wages to surplus, has the effect of reducing aggregate demand since the ratio of consumption to income is higher on average for wage earners than for those living off the surplus. 3 Therefore, assuming a given level of investment associated with any period, such a shift would tend to reduce consumption demand and hence aggregate demand, output, and capacity utilization. In turn, reduced capacity utilization would lower investment over time, further aggravating the demand-reducing effect arising from the consumption side.

While the rise in the vector of labor productivities across countries, a ubiquitous phenomenon under capitalism that also characterizes neoliberal capitalism, scarcely requires an explanation, why does the vector of real wages remain virtually stagnant in the world economy? The answer lies in the sui generis character of contemporary globalization that, for the first time in the history of capitalism, has led to a relocation of activity from the metropolis to third world countries in order to take advantage of the lower wages prevailing in the latter and meet global demand.

Historically, while labor has not been, and is still not, free to migrate from the third world to the metropolis, capital, though juridically free to move from the latter to the former, did not actually do so , except to sectors like mines and plantations, which only strengthened, rather than broke, the colonial pattern of the international division of labor. 4 This segmentation of the world economy meant that wages in the metropolis increased with labor productivity, unrestrained by the vast labor reserves of the third world, which themselves had been caused by the displacement of manufactures through the twin processes of deindustrialization (competition from metropolitan goods) and the drain of surplus (the siphoning off of a large part of the economic surplus, through taxes on peasants that are no longer spent on local artisan products but finance gratis primary commodity exports to the metropolis instead).

The current globalization broke with this. The movement of capital from the metropolis to the third world, especially to East, South, and Southeast Asia to relocate plants there and take advantage of their lower wages for meeting global demand, has led to a desegmentation of the world economy, subjecting metropolitan wages to the restraining effect exercised by the third world's labor reserves. Not surprisingly, as Joseph Stiglitz has pointed out, the real-wage rate of an average male U.S. worker in 2011 was no higher -- indeed, it was marginally lower -- than it had been in 1968. 5

At the same time, such relocation of activities, despite causing impressive growth rates of gross domestic product (GDP) in many third world countries, does not lead to the exhaustion of the third world's labor reserves. This is because of another feature of contemporary globalization: the unleashing of a process of primitive accumulation of capital against petty producers, including peasant agriculturists in the third world, who had earlier been protected, to an extent, from the encroachment of big capital (both domestic and foreign) by the postcolonial dirigiste regimes in these countries. Under neoliberalism, such protection is withdrawn, causing an income squeeze on these producers and often their outright dispossession from their land, which is then used by big capital for its various so-called development projects. The increase in employment, even in countries with impressive GDP growth rates in the third world, falls way short of the natural growth of the workforce, let alone absorbing the additional job seekers coming from the ranks of displaced petty producers. The labor reserves therefore never get used up. Indeed, on the contrary, they are augmented further, because real wages continue to remain tied to a subsistence level, even as metropolitan wages too are restrained. The vector of real wages in the world economy as a whole therefore remains restrained.

Although contemporary globalization thus gives rise to an ex ante tendency toward overproduction, state expenditure that could provide a counter to this (and had provided a counter through military spending in the United States, according to Baran and Sweezy) can no longer do so under the current regime. Finance is usually opposed to direct state intervention through larger spending as a way of increasing employment. This opposition expresses itself through an opposition not just to larger taxes on capitalists, but also to a larger fiscal deficit for financing such spending. Obviously, if larger state spending is financed by taxes on workers, then it hardly adds to aggregate demand, for workers spend the bulk of their incomes anyway, so the state taking this income and spending it instead does not add any extra demand. Hence, larger state spending can increase employment only if it is financed either through a fiscal deficit or through taxes on capitalists who keep a part of their income unspent or saved. But these are precisely the two modes of financing state expenditure that finance capital opposes.

Its opposing larger taxes on capitalists is understandable, but why is it so opposed to a larger fiscal deficit? Even within a capitalist economy, there are no sound economic theoretical reasons that should preclude a fiscal deficit under all circumstances. The root of the opposition therefore lies in deeper social considerations: if the capitalist economic system becomes dependent on the state to promote employment directly , then this fact undermines the social legitimacy of capitalism. The need for the state to boost the animal spirits of the capitalists disappears and a perspective on the system that is epistemically exterior to it is provided to the people, making it possible for them to ask: If the state can do the job of providing employment, then why do we need the capitalists at all? It is an instinctive appreciation of this potential danger that underlies the opposition of capital, especially of finance, to any direct effort by the state to generate employment.

This ever-present opposition becomes decisive within a regime of globalization. As long as finance capital remains national -- that is, nation-based -- and the state is a nation-state, the latter can override this opposition under certain circumstances, such as in the post-Second World War period when capitalism was facing an existential crisis. But when finance capital is globalized, meaning, when it is free to move across country borders while the state remains a nation-state, its opposition to fiscal deficits becomes decisive. If the state does run large fiscal deficits against its wishes, then it would simply leave that country en masse , causing a financial crisis.

The state therefore capitulates to the demands of globalized finance capital and eschews direct fiscal intervention for increasing demand. It resorts to monetary policy instead since that operates through wealth holders' decisions, and hence does not undermine their social position. But, precisely for this reason, monetary policy is an ineffective instrument, as was evident in the United States in the aftermath of the 2007–09 crisis when even the pushing of interest rates down to zero scarcely revived activity. 6

It may be thought that this compulsion on the part of the state to accede to the demand of finance to eschew fiscal intervention for enlarging employment should not hold for the United States. Its currency being considered by the world's wealth holders to be "as good as gold" should make it immune to capital flight. But there is an additional factor operating in the case of the United States: that the demand generated by a bigger U.S. fiscal deficit would substantially leak abroad in a neoliberal setting, which would increase its external debt (since, unlike Britain in its heyday, it does not have access to any unrequited colonial transfers) for the sake of generating employment elsewhere. This fact deters any fiscal effort even in the United States to boost demand within a neoliberal setting. 7

Therefore, it follows that state spending cannot provide a counter to the ex ante tendency toward global overproduction within a regime of neoliberal globalization, which makes the world economy precariously dependent on occasional asset-price bubbles, primarily in the U.S. economy, for obtaining, at best, some temporary relief from the crisis. It is this fact that underlies the dead end that neoliberal capitalism has reached. Indeed, Donald Trump's resort to protectionism in the United States to alleviate unemployment is a clear recognition of the system having reached this cul-de-sac. The fact that the mightiest capitalist economy in the world has to move away from the rules of the neoliberal game in an attempt to alleviate its crisis of unemployment/underemployment -- while compensating capitalists adversely affected by this move through tax cuts, as well as carefully ensuring that no restraints are imposed on free cross-border financial flows -- shows that these rules are no longer viable in their pristine form.

Some Implications of This Dead End

There are at least four important implications of this dead end of neoliberalism. The first is that the world economy will now be afflicted by much higher levels of unemployment than it was in the last decade of the twentieth century and the early years of the twenty-first, when the dot-com and the housing bubbles in the United States had, sequentially, a pronounced impact. It is true that the U.S. unemployment rate today appears to be at a historic low, but this is misleading: the labor-force participation rate in the United States today is lower than it was in 2008, which reflects the discouraged-worker effect . Adjusting for this lower participation, the U.S. unemployment rate is considerable -- around 8 percent. Indeed, Trump would not be imposing protection in the United States if unemployment was actually as low as 4 percent, which is the official figure. Elsewhere in the world, of course, unemployment post-2008 continues to be evidently higher than before. Indeed, the severity of the current problem of below-full-employment production in the U.S. economy is best illustrated by capacity utilization figures in manufacturing. The weakness of the U.S. recovery from the Great Recession is indicated by the fact that the current extended recovery represents the first decade in the entire post-Second World War period in which capacity utilization in manufacturing has never risen as high as 80 percent in a single quarter, with the resulting stagnation of investment. 8

If Trump's protectionism, which recalls the Smoot-Hawley tariff of 1931 and amounts to a beggar-my-neighbor policy, does lead to a significant export of unemployment from the United States, then it will invite retaliation and trigger a trade war that will only worsen the crisis for the world economy as a whole by dampening global investment. Indeed, since the United States has been targeting China in particular, some retaliatory measures have already appeared. But if U.S. protectionism does not invite generalized retaliation, it would only be because the export of unemployment from the United States is insubstantial, keeping unemployment everywhere, including in the United States, as precarious as it is now. However we look at it, the world would henceforth face higher levels of unemployment.

There has been some discussion on how global value chains would be affected by Trump's protectionism. But the fact that global macroeconomics in the early twenty-first century will look altogether different compared to earlier has not been much discussed.

In light of the preceding discussion, one could say that if, instead of individual nation-states whose writ cannot possibly run against globalized finance capital, there was a global state or a set of major nation-states acting in unison to override the objections of globalized finance and provide a coordinated fiscal stimulus to the world economy, then perhaps there could be recovery. Such a coordinated fiscal stimulus was suggested by a group of German trade unionists, as well as by John Maynard Keynes during the Great Depression in the 1930s. 9 While it was turned down then, in the present context it has not even been discussed.

The second implication of this dead end is that the era of export-led growth is by and large over for third world economies. The slowing down of world economic growth, together with protectionism in the United States against successful third world exporters, which could even spread to other metropolitan economies, suggests that the strategy of relying on the world market to generate domestic growth has run out of steam. Third world economies, including the ones that have been very successful at exporting, would now have to rely much more on their home market.

Such a transition will not be easy; it will require promoting domestic peasant agriculture, defending petty production, moving toward cooperative forms of production, and ensuring greater equality in income distribution, all of which need major structural shifts. For smaller economies, it would also require their coming together with other economies to provide a minimum size to the domestic market. In short, the dead end of neoliberalism also means the need for a shift away from the so-called neoliberal development strategy that has held sway until now.

The third implication is the imminent engulfing of a whole range of third world economies in serious balance-of-payments difficulties. This is because, while their exports will be sluggish in the new situation, this very fact will also discourage financial inflows into their economies, whose easy availability had enabled them to maintain current account deficits on their balance of payments earlier. In such a situation, within the existing neoliberal paradigm, they would be forced to adopt austerity measures that would impose income deflation on their people, make the conditions of their people significantly worse, lead to a further handing over of their national assets and resources to international capital, and prevent precisely any possible transition to an alternative strategy of home market-based growth.

In other words, we shall now have an intensification of the imperialist stranglehold over third world economies, especially those pushed into unsustainable balance-of-payments deficits in the new situation. By imperialism , here we do not mean the imperialism of this or that major power, but the imperialism of international finance capital, with which even domestic big bourgeoisies are integrated, directed against their own working people.

The fourth implication is the worldwide upsurge of fascism. Neoliberal capitalism even before it reached a dead end, even in the period when it achieved reasonable growth and employment rates, had pushed the world into greater hunger and poverty. For instance, the world per-capita cereal output was 355 kilograms for 1980 (triennium average for 1979–81 divided by mid–triennium population) and fell to 343 in 2000, leveling at 344.9 in 2016 -- and a substantial amount of this last figure went into ethanol production. Clearly, in a period of growth of the world economy, per-capita cereal absorption should be expanding, especially since we are talking here not just of direct absorption but of direct and indirect absorption, the latter through processed foods and feed grains in animal products. The fact that there was an absolute decline in per-capita output, which no doubt caused a decline in per-capita absorption, suggests an absolute worsening in the nutritional level of a substantial segment of the world's population.

But this growing hunger and nutritional poverty did not immediately arouse any significant resistance, both because such resistance itself becomes more difficult under neoliberalism (since the very globalization of capital makes it an elusive target) and also because higher GDP growth rates provided a hope that distress might be overcome in the course of time. Peasants in distress, for instance, entertained the hope that their children would live better in the years to come if given a modicum of education and accepted their fate.

In short, the ideology of neoliberal capitalism was the promise of growth. But with neoliberal capitalism reaching a dead end, this promise disappears and so does this ideological prop. To sustain itself, neoliberal capitalism starts looking for some other ideological prop and finds fascism. This changes the discourse away from the material conditions of people's lives to the so-called threat to the nation, placing the blame for people's distress not on the failure of the system, but on ethnic, linguistic, and religious minority groups, the other that is portrayed as an enemy. It projects a so-called messiah whose sheer muscularity can somehow magically overcome all problems; it promotes a culture of unreason so that both the vilification of the other and the magical powers of the supposed leader can be placed beyond any intellectual questioning; it uses a combination of state repression and street-level vigilantism by fascist thugs to terrorize opponents; and it forges a close relationship with big business, or, in Kalecki's words, "a partnership of big business and fascist upstarts." 10

Fascist groups of one kind or another exist in all modern societies. They move center stage and even into power only on certain occasions when they get the backing of big business. And these occasions arise when three conditions are satisfied: when there is an economic crisis so the system cannot simply go on as before; when the usual liberal establishment is manifestly incapable of resolving the crisis; and when the left is not strong enough to provide an alternative to the people in order to move out of the conjuncture.

This last point may appear odd at first, since many see the big bourgeoisie's recourse to fascism as a counter to the growth of the left's strength in the context of a capitalist crisis. But when the left poses a serious threat, the response of the big bourgeoisie typically is to attempt to split it by offering concessions. It uses fascism to prop itself up only when the left is weakened. Walter Benjamin's remark that "behind every fascism there is a failed revolution" points in this direction.

Fascism Then and Now

Contemporary fascism, however, differs in crucial respects from its 1930s counterpart, which is why many are reluctant to call the current phenomenon a fascist upsurge. But historical parallels, if carefully drawn, can be useful. While in some aforementioned respects contemporary fascism does resemble the phenomenon of the 1930s, there are serious differences between the two that must also be noted.

First, we must note that while the current fascist upsurge has put fascist elements in power in many countries, there are no fascist states of the 1930s kind as of yet. Even if the fascist elements in power try to push the country toward a fascist state, it is not clear that they will succeed. There are many reasons for this, but an important one is that fascists in power today cannot overcome the crisis of neoliberalism, since they accept the regime of globalization of finance. This includes Trump, despite his protectionism. In the 1930s, however, this was not the case. The horrors associated with the institution of a fascist state in the 1930s had been camouflaged to an extent by the ability of the fascists in power to overcome mass unemployment and end the Depression through larger military spending, financed by government borrowing. Contemporary fascism, by contrast, lacks the ability to overcome the opposition of international finance capital to fiscal activism on the part of the government to generate larger demand, output, and employment, even via military spending.

Such activism, as discussed earlier, required larger government spending financed either through taxes on capitalists or through a fiscal deficit. Finance capital was opposed to both of these measures and it being globalized made this opposition decisive . The decisiveness of this opposition remains even if the government happens to be one composed of fascist elements. Hence, contemporary fascism, straitjacketed by "fiscal rectitude," cannot possibly alleviate even temporarily the economic crises facing people and cannot provide any cover for a transition to a fascist state akin to the ones of the 1930s, which makes such a transition that much more unlikely.

Another difference is also related to the phenomenon of the globalization of finance. The 1930s were marked by what Lenin had earlier called "interimperialist rivalry." The military expenditures incurred by fascist governments, even though they pulled countries out of the Depression and unemployment, inevitably led to wars for "repartitioning an already partitioned world." Fascism was the progenitor of war and burned itself out through war at, needless to say, great cost to humankind.

Contemporary fascism, however, operates in a world where interimperialist rivalry is far more muted. Some have seen in this muting a vindication of Karl Kautsky's vision of an "ultraimperialism" as against Lenin's emphasis on the permanence of interimperialist rivalry, but this is wrong. Both Kautsky and Lenin were talking about a world where finance capital and the financial oligarchy were essentially national -- that is, German, French, or British. And while Kautsky talked about the possibility of truces among the rival oligarchies, Lenin saw such truces only as transient phenomena punctuating the ubiquity of rivalry.

In contrast, what we have today is not nation-based finance capitals, but international finance capital into whose corpus the finance capitals drawn from particular countries are integrated. This globalized finance capital does not want the world to be partitioned into economic territories of rival powers ; on the contrary, it wants the entire globe to be open to its own unrestricted movement. The muting of rivalry between major powers, therefore, is not because they prefer truce to war, or peaceful partitioning of the world to forcible repartitioning, but because the material conditions themselves have changed so that it is no longer a matter of such choices. The world has gone beyond both Lenin and Kautsky, as well as their debates.

Not only are we not going to have wars between major powers in this era of fascist upsurge (of course, as will be discussed, we shall have other wars), but, by the same token, this fascist upsurge will not burn out through any cataclysmic war. What we are likely to see is a lingering fascism of less murderous intensity , which, when in power, does not necessarily do away with all the forms of bourgeois democracy, does not necessarily physically annihilate the opposition, and may even allow itself to get voted out of power occasionally. But since its successor government, as long as it remains within the confines of the neoliberal strategy, will also be incapable of alleviating the crisis, the fascist elements are likely to return to power as well. And whether the fascist elements are in or out of power, they will remain a potent force working toward the fascification of the society and the polity, even while promoting corporate interests within a regime of globalization of finance, and hence permanently maintaining the "partnership between big business and fascist upstarts."

Put differently, since the contemporary fascist upsurge is not likely to burn itself out as the earlier one did, it has to be overcome by transcending the very conjuncture that produced it: neoliberal capitalism at a dead end. A class mobilization of working people around an alternative set of transitional demands that do not necessarily directly target neoliberal capitalism, but which are immanently unrealizable within the regime of neoliberal capitalism, can provide an initial way out of this conjuncture and lead to its eventual transcendence.

Such a class mobilization in the third world context would not mean making no truces with liberal bourgeois elements against the fascists. On the contrary, since the liberal bourgeois elements too are getting marginalized through a discourse of jingoistic nationalism typically manufactured by the fascists, they too would like to shift the discourse toward the material conditions of people's lives, no doubt claiming that an improvement in these conditions is possible within the neoliberal economic regime itself. Such a shift in discourse is in itself a major antifascist act . Experience will teach that the agenda advanced as part of this changed discourse is unrealizable under neoliberalism, providing the scope for dialectical intervention by the left to transcend neoliberal capitalism.

Imperialist Interventions

Even though fascism will have a lingering presence in this conjuncture of "neoliberalism at a dead end," with the backing of domestic corporate-financial interests that are themselves integrated into the corpus of international finance capital, the working people in the third world will increasingly demand better material conditions of life and thereby rupture the fascist discourse of jingoistic nationalism (that ironically in a third world context is not anti-imperialist).

In fact, neoliberalism reaching a dead end and having to rely on fascist elements revives meaningful political activity, which the heyday of neoliberalism had precluded, because most political formations then had been trapped within an identical neoliberal agenda that appeared promising. (Latin America had a somewhat different history because neoliberalism arrived in that continent through military dictatorships, not through its more or less tacit acceptance by most political formations.)

Such revived political activity will necessarily throw up challenges to neoliberal capitalism in particular countries. Imperialism, by which we mean the entire economic and political arrangement sustaining the hegemony of international finance capital, will deal with these challenges in at least four different ways.

The first is the so-called spontaneous method of capital flight. Any political formation that seeks to take the country out of the neoliberal regime will witness capital flight even before it has been elected to office, bringing the country to a financial crisis and thereby denting its electoral prospects. And if perchance it still gets elected, the outflow will only increase, even before it assumes office. The inevitable difficulties faced by the people may well make the government back down at that stage. The sheer difficulty of transition away from a neoliberal regime could be enough to bring even a government based on the support of workers and peasants to its knees, precisely to save them short-term distress or to avoid losing their support.

Even if capital controls are put in place, where there are current account deficits, financing such deficits would pose a problem, necessitating some trade controls. But this is where the second instrument of imperialism comes into play: the imposition of trade sanctions by the metropolitan states, which then cajole other countries to stop buying from the sanctioned country that is trying to break away from thralldom to globalized finance capital. Even if the latter would have otherwise succeeded in stabilizing its economy despite its attempt to break away, the imposition of sanctions becomes an additional blow.

The third weapon consists in carrying out so-called democratic or parliamentary coups of the sort that Latin America has been experiencing. Coups in the old days were effected through the local armed forces and necessarily meant the imposition of military dictatorships in lieu of civilian, democratically elected governments. Now, taking advantage of the disaffection generated within countries by the hardships caused by capital flight and imposed sanctions, imperialism promotes coups through fascist or fascist-sympathizing middle-class political elements in the name of restoring democracy, which is synonymous with the pursuit of neoliberalism.

And if all these measures fail, there is always the possibility of resorting to economic warfare (such as destroying Venezuela's electricity supply), and eventually to military warfare. Venezuela today provides a classic example of what imperialist intervention in a third world country is going to look like in the era of decline of neoliberal capitalism, when revolts are going to characterize such countries more and more.

Two aspects of such intervention are striking. One is the virtual unanimity among the metropolitan states, which only underscores the muting of interimperialist rivalry in the era of hegemony of global finance capital. The other is the extent of support that such intervention commands within metropolitan countries, from the right to even the liberal segments.

Despite this opposition, neoliberal capitalism cannot ward off the challenge it is facing for long. It has no vision for reinventing itself. Interestingly, in the period after the First World War, when capitalism was on the verge of sinking into a crisis, the idea of state intervention as a way of its revival had already been mooted, though its coming into vogue only occurred at the end of the Second World War. 11 Today, neoliberal capitalism does not even have an idea of how it can recover and revitalize itself. And weapons like domestic fascism in the third world and direct imperialist intervention cannot for long save it from the anger of the masses that is building up against it.

Notes
  1. Harry Magdoff, The Age of Imperialism (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1969).
  2. Samuel Berrick Saul, Studies in British Overseas Trade, 1870–1914 (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1960).
  3. Paul A. Baran and Paul M. Sweezy, Monopoly Capital (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1966).
  4. One of the first authors to recognize this fact and its significance was Paul Baran in The Political Economy of Growth (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1957).
  5. Joseph E. Stiglitz, " Inequality is Holding Back the Recovery ," New York Times , January 19, 2013.
  6. For a discussion of how even the recent euphoria about U.S. growth is vanishing, see C. P. Chandrasekhar and Jayati Ghosh, " Vanishing Green Shoots and the Possibility of Another Crisis ," The Hindu Business Line , April 8, 2019.
  7. For the role of such colonial transfers in sustaining the British balance of payments and the long Victorian and Edwardian boom, see Utsa Patnaik, "Revisiting the 'Drain,' or Transfers from India to Britain in the Context of Global Diffusion of Capitalism," in Agrarian and Other Histories: Essays for Binay Bhushan Chaudhuri , ed. Shubhra Chakrabarti and Utsa Patnaik (Delhi: Tulika, 2017), 277-317.
  8. Federal Reserve Board of Saint Louis Economic Research, FRED, "Capacity Utilization: Manufacturing," February 2019 (updated March 27, 2019), http://fred.stlouisfed.org .
  9. This issue is discussed by Charles P. Kindleberger in The World in Depression, 1929–1939 , 40th anniversary ed. (Oakland: University of California Press, 2013).
  10. Michał Kalecki, " Political Aspects of Full Employment ," Political Quarterly (1943), available at mronline.org.
  11. Joseph Schumpeter had seen Keynes's The Economic Consequences of the Peace as essentially advocating such state intervention in the new situation. See his essay, "John Maynard Keynes (1883–1946)," in Ten Great Economists (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1952).

Utsa Patnaik is Professor Emerita at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Her books include Peasant Class Differentiation (1987), The Long Transition (1999), and The Republic of Hunger and Other Essays (2007). Prabhat Patnaik is Professor Emeritus at the Centre for Economic Studies and Planning, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. His books include Accumulation and Stability Under Capitalism (1997), The Value of Money(2009), and Re-envisioning Socialism(2011).

[Sep 10, 2019] Since the president's performance is so utterly out of character and against America's overseas economic interests

After the ideology is discredited, foreign policy became less coherent and more aggressive then nessesry. That speeds the demise of the empire. Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad
Sep 10, 2019 | www.unz.com

DanFromCT , says: Next New Comment September 10, 2019 at 12:43 pm GMT

@A123 Consider that DJT himself, you'd think, would dump Bolton, Pompeo, Pence, Berkowitz, et al if he could inasmuch as, if he'd hired them to put up a skyscraper and their performance was like their work in foreign policy, they'd be gone. From his work in the real world building complex stuff he'd see right off that what marks government experts from the "best schools" isn't their expertise, but their preternaturally lousy judgment. They look and sound like goofballs because that's what they are, not because their geniuses. Altho Boot's apparently out of favor, consider that Israel's costumed automatons in the Pentagon allowed themselves to be swayed by this slobberlipped moron with drool coming out of the side of his mouth, and he's supposedly one of the neocons' finest minds.

Since the president's performance is so utterly out of character and against America's overseas economic interests, it follows he's being handled, and if he's being handled, it can only be by Israel. The implication is that a parasite, which also owns the public forum in America and through its ownership of the msm the formation of men's minds, is directing our foreign policy. It's analogous to the way certain insect parasites like Ampulex sp take command of their much larger prey's antenna and in so doing can direct the prey to do its bidding by processing the prey's contact with the external world.

In his Logic of Failure Dietrich Doerner cites his research that supposed experts have no more judgment or ability to respond to unfamiliar feedback loops in scenarios of increasing complexity than students do. Unfolding events of increasing complexity become increasingly opaque to these block heads in the State Dept and the president's inner circle because they continue to follow a fairytale situational model of the ME constructed for them by Israeli intelligence and neocon "experts."

Incredibly, they assume it correctly models outcomes despite a known 100% failure rate that'll be compounded a hundredfold if another "call walk" breaks out with a military powerhouse like Iran. Overall I can't believe they can be that stupid, and if they're not that stupid, it follows they are intentionally wasting and destroying both the US economy and its military to establish Eretz Israel as the new world empire. After that the president's good friend Netanyahu has supposedly promised he'll toss the US on the ash heap of history.

Si1ver1ock , says: Next New Comment September 10, 2019 at 2:42 pm GMT
It's the Theater of the Absurd . I'm waiting for Mr. Pompeo to come out and tell us that our new, duly elected president is Juan Guaidó. Or maybe Juan Valdez.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/hoiO6Ln83SQ?feature=oembed

[Aug 25, 2019] Think about who gets rich off of the Venezuela regime-change agenda. It's the same people that said we had to invade Iraq in order to prevent nuclear apocalypse. by Kei Pritsker

Notable quotes:
"... The trojan horse for the return of neoliberalism in Venezuela, Juan Guaidó, stated that he's going to borrow money from the IMF to fund his government, which would make all Venezuelans indebted to this predatory institution. Guaidó spends the money, the poor and working people work to pay taxes that pay off the principal and the interest. ..."
"... The IMF was created in New Hampshire in 1945 to internationalize and standardize capitalism and its rules in an increasingly globalized and U.S.-dominated world. ..."
"... Its primary function is acting as an international lender-of-last-resort to indebted countries. IMF member states decide which countries will receive loans, but the member states with the largest say are the ones that own the largest share of the IMF's funds, which have always been the United States and its allies. ..."
"... This is why the IMF's standard "structural adjustment program" is based on the so-called Washington Consensus, a set of 10 economic policies entirely concocted by U.S. think tanks, the IMF, the World Bank and the Treasury Department. The Washington Consensus is as follows: ..."
Apr 15, 2019 | www.mintpressnews.com

Think about who gets rich off of the Venezuela regime-change agenda. It's the same people that said we had to invade Iraq in order to prevent nuclear apocalypse. It's the same people who said the world would stop turning on its axis if we didn't carpet bomb Libya and Syria.

By Kei Pritsker @keipritsker

9 Comments

https://cdn.jwplayer.com/players/ufxBptWt-YuKiCfZc.html

Transcript -- This video was produced as part of a MintPress News and Grayzone collaboration -- Of all the reasons to plot an elaborate and risky coup, there's one reason that always stands out: profit. Money makes the world go around and in far more ways than we might think. Here are the top five special interest groups and institutions that seek to benefit from the U.S. backed coup in Venezuela.

Number 1: The International Monetary Fund (IMF), which wants to saddle the Venezuelan people with enormous debt to the IMF

The trojan horse for the return of neoliberalism in Venezuela, Juan Guaidó, stated that he's going to borrow money from the IMF to fund his government, which would make all Venezuelans indebted to this predatory institution. Guaidó spends the money, the poor and working people work to pay taxes that pay off the principal and the interest.

The IMF was created in New Hampshire in 1945 to internationalize and standardize capitalism and its rules in an increasingly globalized and U.S.-dominated world.

Its primary function is acting as an international lender-of-last-resort to indebted countries. IMF member states decide which countries will receive loans, but the member states with the largest say are the ones that own the largest share of the IMF's funds, which have always been the United States and its allies.

This is why the IMF's standard "structural adjustment program" is based on the so-called Washington Consensus, a set of 10 economic policies entirely concocted by U.S. think tanks, the IMF, the World Bank and the Treasury Department. The Washington Consensus is as follows:

In exchange for a loan, often with a high-interest rate that many would call predatory, the IMF overhauls the protective and redistributive policies of a country for neoliberal policies, making the target country ripe for finance capital investment and profit-making.

Number 2: The Oil Industry, out to control the oil reserves

There's little doubt that the oil industry is pushing the U.S. to overthrow the Maduro government, especially when National Security Advisor John Bolton openly states this on national television.

Bolton was himself once part of the oil industry, serving as the director of Diamond Offshore Drilling, Inc. in 2007. He's no stranger to advocating for the interests of the fossil-fuel industry.

Venezuela has the world's largest oil reserves by far and Washington won't let that wealth go unexploited, or worse, be shared among its enemies like the Maduro government, Russia, China, or Iran.

And with so many politicians, Republican and Democratic, bought off by industry players -- companies like ExxonMobil, Koch Industries, and Chevron -- it's impossible to imagine anyone in Washington successfully advocating for Venezuela maintaining ownership over its own sovereign natural resources.

Number 3: The Military-Industrial Complex, working to military dominance and arm another U.S. puppet

One of the most bizarre things about America is that we've created one of the world's largest private industries around arms dealing. And like any industry, whether it be JDAM bombs or beef, private businesses often resort to lobbying Congress to squeeze political favors out of the government in the form of subsidies -- or in the case of the military industrial complex, a foreign policy of endless war, one based on elusive ideas like combating terrorism or defending democracy.

You can see that wherever the U.S. goes, expensive construction projects follow. Behind every multi-billion dollar base construction, some private contractor is there reaping the profits.

Once our military presence is firmly established, the weapons sales begin. And we all know no U.S. ally or puppet state is complete without a full fleet of Lockheed Martin F-16s -- then they'll be able to fend off all of those pesky leftist rebels with freedom missiles.

With Venezuela's neighbors, Colombia and Brazil, growing closer to NATO and accepting U.S. military presence in their countries, we can only assume Venezuela is Washington's next target.

As the strategic approach of regime change evolves, new industries arise to meet these needs.

After the massive anti-war protests following the invasion of Iraq, outright invasion and occupation are no longer viable strategies, owing to negative public opinion. So Washington sought to disguise war propaganda using humanitarian rhetoric.

Number 4: "Humanitarian" NGOs to create and implement the alibi

Privately owned NGOs dedicated to human rights and promoting "American style" democracy have played a much larger role in regime-change operations in recent years. They serve as soft-power institutions that attempt to subtly sway a population against its own government through propaganda laced with words like freedom, democracy, and human rights.

These NGOs are given the full blessing of the U.S. government and the two often work in tandem. Don't believe me? Take it from former CIA case officer Phillip Agee.

The US Agency for International Development's (USAID) regime-change arm, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), funded opposition groups in Nicaragua, Venezuela (during the 2002 coup), Haiti, Ukraine, and most recently China and North Korea. And whenever U.S. foreign policy sets its sights on a certain target, private industries usually develop to help meet that goal as well as make a quick buck along the way.

For example, Thor Halvorssen -- the first cousin of Leopoldo Lopez, the founder of Juan Guaidó's party, Popular Will -- calls himself a human-rights activist. He founded the notorious Human Rights Foundation (HRF) and makes a living giving speeches and TV appearances talking about why the governments of Venezuela or North Korea are not legitimate and need to be overthrown.

Unsurprisingly, HRF is funded by the conservative Sarah Scaife Foundation, which is itself funded by think tanks like the top neoconservative think tank, the American Enterprise Institute, as well as the Heritage Foundation. HRF is also funded by the Donors Capital Fund and the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation, which are also funded by the American Enterprise Institute. It's one big web of moving money that all leads back to the same cast of characters.

The crisis in Venezuela has been a huge gift for people like Halvorssen, who use the U.S.'s war on Venezuela to promote themselves and their organizations.

Number 5: Think Tanks selling reports that tell the MIC what it wants to hear

Like NGOs, think tanks also play an important role in giving regime change a sense of legitimacy -- in their case, intellectual legitimacy. Think tanks rely on donations to operate and many find willing donors among the capitalist class. These fat cats pay for fancy looking reports meant to justify their desired goal, the delegitimization of socialist governments and the legitimization of coup governments that uphold the Washington Consensus.

The Cato Institute has been deeply involved in overthrowing the Venezuelan government. In 2008, Cato awarded Venezuelan opposition leader, Yon Goicoechea, the Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty and $500,000 for his role in disrupting a constitutional referendum in Venezuela. That money was used to finance the political rise of Juan Guaidó, and his clique known as Generation 2007.

These seemingly independent research groups have intimate networks that they leverage to amplify the message their donors have given them. Here's an article in the Washington Post written by a fellow at the American Enterprise Institute saying the U.S.'s failure to intervene in Venezuela has caused the Maduro government to destabilize the region.

Whether it was the bank bailouts following the 2008 crisis, or the lack of action on climate disaster, in America it seems the government always puts the interests of the rich ahead of the poor and working class, and the situation in Venezuela is no exception.

As the U.S. continues to attack the Maduro government, keep these special interests in mind. Think about who gets rich off of the regime-change agenda. It's the same people that said we had to invade Iraq in order to prevent nuclear apocalypse. It's the same people who said the world would stop turning on its axis if we didn't carpet bomb Libya and Syria.

Now they're trying to get us to support war in Venezuela. You won't be any freer or more prosperous after the Maduro government is toppled. It's just war propaganda.

Top photo | A worker counts Venezuelan bolivar notes at a parking lot in Caracas, Venezuela May 29, 2018. Marco Bello | Reuters

Kei Pritsker is a journalist and activist located in Washington DC. Kei focuses on international politics and economics. He previously worked as a producer at RT America.

[Aug 20, 2019] Trump administration hostlity to Russia

Aug 20, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Passer by , Aug 20 2019 16:54 utc | 97

Posted by: Arioch | Aug 20 2019 14:22 utc | 83

>Problem then is, Russia does not care that much about nominal GDP and even about PPP GDP

GDP does matter, lowering the GDP of certain country weakens the country. Other factors matter too, such as demographics or landmass and natural resources.

>targetting EU and Russia economically was perhaps a mis-aiming

I would not call it misaiming, Europe has one of the largest economies in the world and the Euro is the second most important currency in the World. As long as Russia and the EU attack each other - it is a win for the US.

>Also, take a single line - "congress obliges Trump to enlist russian officials for sanctions"

It is not simply Congress, the Trump Admin is hawkish on Russia by itself. Pompeo and Bolton are anti-russian and were instrumental in the US leaving the INF. The pressure against Nord Sream is greater than during the Obama Admin, Second Fleet was activated for containing Russia, a russian consulate was captured in pretty brutal manner, etc. Recently, another set of sanctions were enacted by the Trump Admin.

>Estimations are just that, estimations. Guesses into the future mixed with propaganda.

I'm not dismissive of growth estimates and forecasts, this is the job of various companies, organisations and universities. Overall things could be predicted roughly, for example via demographics, median age of population, labour force growth, total factor productivity. The OECD for example is an international organisation working on such forecasts. They can get the rough shapes of growth patterns right - for example it is pretty clear that India or China would be growing faster than, let say, Germany or the US. And this is what their forecasts show. So these are not guestimates.

>Pro-American Modi in power of India was a definite win for USA. But i do not think Trump did it in 2016. Such events are grown for years and years of undercover works.

This is not what i had in mind. While this is true, you did not take into account the prefidy of the US Government, which is working to retard indian economic growth via tarrifs and by trying to remove the WTO perks for developing countries. Even when Modi is frendly to the US, this is still not enough, because the growth of Asia, including India, threatens the dollar.

>Well, maybe. However does it boost much US the hegemon position today?

Iranian economy was booming after the JCPOA was signed. If the Plan remained, Iran would be stronger than today. The whole point is to retard iranian economic growth, which would be far stronger without the sanctions.

>Also notice how this pushes Iran back to Russian bucket

Even back in 2015, Iran did not stop being an israeli adversary, which means that the US would have targeted it one way or another. Plus the US was not in position to gain much from the iranian market, due to their still strained relations caused by the israeli lobby in the US, which caused all types of sabotage in the Iran - US trade relations, the process of removal of sanctions, etc. A big beneficiary from the JCPOA was the EU, and the main losses from the sactions (outside from Iran) were for the EU again. Retarding the EU economy via blocking its trade with Iran (or Russia) is a benefit for the US.

>Venezueala in deep recession. True, and this is again fitting the isolationist bill, to a degree.True, and this is again fitting the isolationist bill, to a degree.

This isn't about isolationism, but about retarding the economy of the rest of the world, and especially of still uncontrolled countries. The point is to preserve the share of relative power the US has, or to slow down its decline as much as possible.

>Now Venezuela can adjust to the new brave world

The point is that Venezuela would be growing far faster without sanctions, thus the US is weakening the independent multipolar world and slowing down its rise.

>Did it really made USA position better in 2018 than it was in 2014?

Obviously. Venezuela today, vis a vis the US, is weaker in relative power terms than in 2014. For the US its better to wreck Venezuela's economy than to allow it to flourish and expand its influence.

>Basically turning EU elites against USA and splitting "Western Hegemony" into rivaling factions.

They are not turning them against the US, that's the point. Europe is too much of a puppet of the US. The US causes various conficts on Europe's perifery in order to turn it against Russia and make it dependent on itself. Divide and Rule.

>would it be much difference for, say, Russia or China or Iran, whether USD or EUR

Yes, Europe is less hawkish than the US overall. If it was up to Europe JCPOA will still be here and there would be no trade wars with China.

>Also, didn't he kind of forced EU elites into Chinese OBOR camp

Its more about economic weakness. Those in Europe with poor economy signed up for BRI - such as eastern Europe and Italy. The big 3 - Germany, France and the UK refuse to join BRI (which is different than AIIB) as of now. I do not see greater western european - China cooperation today than before 5 years. The EU commission declared China a european rival.

>EU was in with US in looting Libya, EU was in with US in looting Serbia, now US calls for EU to join in "patrolling" Persian Gulf and response is... like the one about invading Venezuela. Hegemon became stronger?

The iranian issue has always been a red card for Europe as it fears a really big war in the Gulf. There is nothing new in that. If you are going to talk about "now", the EU did join the US against Syria, its sanctions against Syria still remain, and it does support removing Maduro from power. It did put sanctions against Venezuela, although not at the same level as the US. It is no friend of the Maduro Government.

>And i wish to see more of those wars not less. Won't you?

Currently the result of them is weakeing multipolarity by retarding growth in most of the world. They have negative impact on the global economy.

>EU is the power, that took part in creating narco-haven in Kosovo, murdering children of Iraq, building sex slaves markets in Libya, destroying what was left of democracy in Ukraine. EU power is diminishing? Let it crash and burn if you ask me.

Yes, but the US does not want to crush and burn the EU, it simply wants to make it weak and dependent on itself. A colony.

>Wasn't in 2012 Turkey part of Hegemon entourage neck-deep in bloody ISIS affair?

The more players around, the better. Strong Turkey will be more independent from the US, the US understand that, this is why it want weak Turkey

>Trump could smash Turkey and instate Kudistan.

Trump can not directly smash Turkey, the moment an attempt like this is made is the moment Turkey will invite Russia and China into the country. Rather, a hybrid war is being waged on Turkey, with the aim of weakening Erdogan and replacing him with a reliable puppet.

> Overall situation - the US share in the world economy is declining at slower rates than before Won't this mean Trump's economic policy is if limited success?

No. There is nothing better than this that could be done to stop the US relative decline, it depends on the cards one has to play. Economic convergence process and technological diffusion, driven by globalisation, means that it is impossible the fully stop the rise of the developing world. But if the US did not react like it reacted, and just stayed on its hands, i think its power would have been gone in 2 - 3 years.

>Uni-polarity is not about economic growth.

It is also about the economy and growth. You can't have unipolarity if you don't have the largest economic, as well as military power. One needs to have the largest economy to rule the world (among other things), or they will fail. You can't have it without the dollar dominance as well.

[Aug 20, 2019] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States Venezuela_relations by making that idiotic wannabe-coup. The sh*t that previously USA did silently pretending whitegloved "shining beacon", Trump exposed.

Notable quotes:
"... EU is the power, that took part in creating narco-haven in Kosovo, murdering children of Iraq, building sex slaves markets in Libya, destroying what was left of democracy in Ukraine. EU power is diminishing? Let it crash and burn if you ask me. ..."
Aug 20, 2019 | en.wikipedia.org

Did it really made USA position better in 2018 than it was in 2014? I doubt. To me it seemes more like T.T. accelerated things and "threw it all on the table" making Venezuela "hit the rock bottom". Now Venezuela can adjust to the new brave world, while USA would probably not be in position to tighten its grip - it already burned all the reserves and in so clumsy way, that Bolton and Co became a laughing stock. If anything, it exposed that while most gov't there would be paying lip service to USA, none would go with something material. France invaded with USA Libya, Germany invaded with USA Serbia, but none enlisted to invade Venezuela with USA.

> In Latin America most governments are now US puppet governments.

Brazil was indeed a huge blow into the BRICS dream. But i see it more of that indirect, covert "soft power" that USA secret services prepared and rushed to implement before Trump.

> Weakened the EU, via support for Brexit and other ways - it means that the euro will not be a viable alternative for replacing the dollar

Basically turning EU elites against USA and splitting "Western Hegemony" into rivaling factions.

From multipolar view circa 2010, would it be much difference for, say, Russia or China or Iran, whether USD or EUR would be "reserve currency"?

After Alexander of Macedonia died his empire split to pieces, and some of those pieces soon started warring. Did this enhance Greek hegemony or reduced it?

When COMECOM and Warsaw Pact disbanded did it enhanced Soviet hegemony over Eastern Europe or reduced it? But it slashed exports of those lands, Bulgaria is not more agriculture super-power it used to be, "Ikarus" bus is still often meet in Moscow street but in the "remnants of old times still able to run" kind, Poland is no more producing ocean-grade ships. So, was it enhancing USSR share of world economy then?

Also, didn't he kind of forced EU elites into Chinese OBOR camp? That said, similarly Russia was forced towards China in 2013-2014 by Western lunacy, so i would not say it was Trump's novelty to push EU eastwards.

EU was in with US in looting Libya, EU was in with US in looting Serbia, now US calls for EU to join in "patrolling" Persian Gulf and response is... like the one about invading Venezuela. Hegemon became stronger?

> Trade wars seem to be hitting EU's export dependent economy pretty hard.

And i wish to see more of those wars not less. Won't you? EU is the power, that took part in creating narco-haven in Kosovo, murdering children of Iraq, building sex slaves markets in Libya, destroying what was left of democracy in Ukraine. EU power is diminishing? Let it crash and burn if you ask me.

> Turkey has serious economic problems - partly due to the US again - which again means slowing down multipolarity

Wasn't in 2012 Turkey part of Hegemon entourage neck-deep in bloody ISIS affair?
Wasn't Turkey for decades be knockign into closed EU membership doors?
Wasn't Turkey send their poeple into Germany to intertwine and cross-influence?

Turkey as part of multipolarity? Maybe. But exactly because it was prohibited from what they see their place in global western world. However i am not very sure that would West offer "larger piece" to Turkey in their crippling hegemony, turkey would not turn back yet again. Goog thing, it would be hard to do as few believe western promises today, but again, didn't Trump (but other western politicians too, and including many pre-Trump) invested into making West glaringly "not agreement-capable" in but everyone's view?

Trump could smash Turkey and instate Kudistan.
Trump could smash Kurds and make amends with Erdo.
Instead Trump is breaking pots with both. Neither Kurds not Turks no trust "the shining beacon".

> Overall situation - the US share in the world economy is declining at slower rates than before

Won't this mean Trump's economic policy is if limited success?

> the retarding of growth of everyone else, which means defacto slowing down multipolarity and the replacement of the US dollar

That may be what some faction of Team Trump counting upon. But i have reservations.
Uni-polarity is not about economic growth. It is about trading on One True Market, hegemon's one.
And when everything goes down, another factors start to weigh in. Like elasticity of demand and replacement with cheaper substitutes. Like, if i need a tooling for my house, i would perhaps want to purchase Japanese Makita or German Bosh. Those are famous brands with decades of well earned reputation. But if i only can salivate on them, then perhaps i can go with some cheaper Chinese knock-off? Or perhaps to blow the dust from my grandpa's old tool and purchase nothing at all? If i can buy genuine American Levi's it is a fad, but if i can, then perhaps i will make it in Turkey-made or China-made or Philipinnes-made or even Syria-made jeans? You know, their cut is not that fitting as European or American, but perhaps we can deal with it for the price? If in Russia i can no more buy Czech or German beer as before 2014, then perhaps i can sooth myself with apple cidre from semi-eastern Altai region of Russia? And then, will my gov't still had the same need for USD for those adjusted trade transactions, as it used to?

Posted by: Arioch | Aug 20 2019 14:22 utc | 83

[Aug 20, 2019] For the US its better to wreck Venezuela's economy than to allow it to flourish and expand its influence

Aug 20, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

bevin , Aug 20 2019 18:26 utc | 107

"For the US its better to wreck Venezuela's economy than to allow it to flourish and expand its influence.."
Not necessarily. The US is gambling that it will beat Venezuela. But if it doesn't, if Venezuela simply outlasts the imperialist sanctions, it will emerge much stronger.
In recent years there has been a drift towards compromise with the US in Venezuela. Chavez was always very generous towards his opponents and this has continued. As a result the old Creole ruling class has been relatively undisturbed. It has retained its power over the media, for example and left in a position to sabotage the economy through its control of supermarkets, banks and commerce. It has retained its landholdings and maintained its agribusiness.

And now, in cahoots with the imperialists, it has come out against the government and chavismo. Its racist, neo fascist propensities and its contempt for its own countrymen and women- the poor and the working class- have been revealed. While the people are fighting to defend themselves against imperialism, Guido and the Venezuelan right, the capitalist class have made their positions very obvious. Given any sort of opportunity they will smash the social security and food security networks that keep the poor from starvation. They will privatise- Honduras style- and death squads will roam the working class districts torturing and killing.
In short the people of Venezuela have been shown exactly what to expect if the US wins. And the allies of the US have been revealed to be the country's worst enemies: traitors and Quislings.

In the end, if the US does not replace the Maduro government, it will find itself much worse off. All its Fifth Columnist friends will be in exile or hiding. All their wealth will have been distributed to the poor or nationalised.


And the US will have one more sworn and permanent enemy, the people of Venezuela.

[Aug 19, 2019] 'Hawk Policy' in Financialised Garb -- Strategic Culture

Aug 19, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org

The 'max pressure', Make America Great Again formula is not going to work, for the simple reason that it is consuming America's 'capital stock' at a torrential rate. It will neither restore America's manufacturing base, nor will it recover to America it's political hegemony. It polarises widely. All the world now understands that MAGA is about gaining whatever advantage there is that can be accrued to the US, whilst making everyone else pay the price – and pick up the loss. Even the Europeans have 'got that' now. Trumpism lacks 'dimension' beyond the mercantile. Yet, if it could narrate cultural 'sovereignty-ism' as something more than being mere 'anti-identity politics', and narrow advantage, it might find some wider sustainability.

As it is, the narrowly defined MAGA policy, simply is eating both into America's political capital – and, is eating away at America's unparalleled privilege of being able to consume at a higher standard of living than others on the US reserve currency, 'credit card', which requires no settlement by the US of its debit dollar balances. By sanctioning 'the world' and playing so loose with dollar hegemony and the Bretton Woods system, the US ultimately will lose it all. It will then face the unpleasant experience of having to pay – with something of real value – for all that it consumes. It will shock.

It is true that the global system sorely needed a shake-up, and Trump's iconoclasm has been, as it were, to that extent, a creative-destructive force that opens the path to seeding something new. But the 'disrupter' impulse can become an unmitigated train-wreck, absent any balancing fecundity which might bring some synthesis or ultimate harmony.

For now, there is no sight of any figure around President Trump that has either the insight, or the political ' savoir fare ', to lead the US President out from his 'corner'. On the contrary, a train-wreck in foreign policy – and ultimately – in monetary policy too (as the 'Fed' keeps fuelling the financial bubble, while the real economy moulders) – seems ahead. Maximum pressure has not harvested its anticipated political dividends – instead it is dangerously escalating global tensions.

Trump's foreign policy both has been centred around – and blighted by – his deep-seated antipathy towards Iran. It lies at the apex of his Greater Israel policy, and his 2018 tweet that "Anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States. I am asking for WORLD PEACE, nothing less!" (capitalisation is Trump's).

The collateral damage cascading from the obsession that Iran represents 'cosmic evil', and if defeated, WORLD PEACE is somehow assured, is spreading: Russia's refusal to pivot against Iran represents the principal reason for the souring of Trump's relations with President Putin. Iran policy is dividing Europe from America. It has become a substantive impediment in the China relationship (as China requires energy security, and is not prepared to join the boycott). And the US Iran policy may yet result in global economic damage (should the oil risk heighten). The Middle East already is roiling, and Iran has become the universal US bureaucratic pretext for why American forces must be kept in place in place across regional conflicts. (They are required there 'to contain Iran').

As Daniel Larison writes in The American Conservative , Trump's Iran "policy is one of regime change in all but name, and Trump has signed off on everything that has made it so. He has no problem waging economic war on Iran, and he has given the hawks virtually everything they want. Trump's Iran policy is "the hawkish policy" in action, and if it is a disaster, that is because the "hawkish policy" was guaranteed to be one The president is fixated on nuclear weapons because his National Security Advisor has been running around for months promoting the lie that Iran seeks nuclear weapons, and he and other advisers have managed to convince (dupe) Trump of another lie: that the JCPOA "permits" Iran to acquire nuclear weapons".

And here is why, Larison observes :

"Iran hawks [have long] opposed the deal because they [never] wanted Iran to benefit from sanctions relief Iran hawks [keep] up the pretense that they want a "better deal" [because they] spent the previous 15 years before the JCPOA, hyperventilating about a potential Iranian nuclear weapon, often absurdly describing it as an "existential threat." For most of this century, many Iran hawks wouldn't shut up about the need for preventive military action against Iran's nuclear facilities. The nuclear issue was their pretext for conflict, and they hated it when the nuclear deal took that pretext away So instead we get the endless carping about the "flaws" in the deal that aren't really flaws, and the shameless goalpost-moving, that requires a non-proliferation agreement to solve all regional problems [all] at the same time.

"Trump has embraced these lies [and] has repeated them several times. Iran can't negotiate with an administration that claims that the nuclear deal "permits" them to have nuclear weapons. They know that it doesn't, and so they have to assume that there is no agreement they would be willing to make that would be acceptable to the administration. Sure enough, the administration's latest talking point that Iran must agree to give up all enrichment confirms that the US is insisting on a concession that Iran is never going to make. Trump doesn't want to talk to Iran as his predecessor did. He wants Iran to capitulate. That has always been the goal of "maximum pressure." Trump's Iran policy is definitely a hawkish policy, and that is why it is producing such awful results for the US and Iran."

So, why have the hawks been so vehement in opposing the normalising of relations with Iran? It is because normalisation would shift the strategic balance away from those states favouring accommodation with Israel – towards the so-called resistance states who never have (in their view). PM Netanyahu has been adamant throughout that sanctions relief must never be offered to Iran – he sees US sanctions as the leverage to force Iran's expulsion from Syria.

It is this intransigent stance that lay behind the failure of the tri-partite meeting of national security advisers of US Israel and Russia in late June. Netanyahu earlier had proposed to Putin that he (i.e Israel) represented the 'gateway' to opening doors in DC; that with Israeli endorsement, Netanyahu could bring the ending to US sanctions on Russia, but only were Mr Putin to agree to end Russia's ties with Iran, and to isolate Tehran.

President Putin had countered with the offer that – were the US to lift sanctions on Iran, and withdraw its forces from Syria – then Russia would use its best endeavours to have Iran exit Syria. American and Israeli interests additionally, then would be 'accommodated' in a Syrian political settlement.

The Jerusalem trilateral, in short, was expected by Netanyahu to lay the ground work for a clear commitment by Russia to sever relations with Iran – and that this would be unveiled as the 'grand outcome' for Trump at the Osaka G20, following his one-on-one with Putin. It didn't happen.

In the event, Netanyahu blankly refused any lifting of sanctions on Iran (arguing that sanctions represented real leverage over Iran's presence in Syria), and the trilateral not only failed in its strategic objective, but the Russian representative at the trilateral, Nikolai Patrushev, while being friendly to Israel, did not abjure Iran. Quite the opposite: He denied Tehran is a threat to regional security. "Russia sides with Iran, against Israel and US. A senior Russian official stands by Tehran's claim that US drone was shot down in Iranian airspace, defends rights of foreign troops to remain in Syria despite Israeli opposition", concluded one Israeli journal.

And in consequence, the Osaka summit between Trump and Putin did not go well either: Trump merely handed Putin a list of US demands. Putin smiled sphinx-like, but did not answer.

But look: The White House's Iran policy is but the lead 'chariot' heading towards a tight bend at Circo Massimo (Circus Maximus), and to a potential 'pile up'. Close behind is US-Russia relations; the chariot of trade war with China, and in the tail, the laggard of trade war with Europe. Far more grave – for us all – would be if US-Russia relations slams into the stadium wall. And we are close to that happening: The incident with the Russian submersible that led to the loss of fourteen lives (whose details the parties prefer to keep quiet), and the letter from NATO insisting that Russia's 9M729 ground-launched cruise missile systems breach the INF treaty and must be destroyed, all set a scene of gravely deteriorating relations.

Why would Trump risk so much on an ancient Middle Eastern quarrel? Why snub Putin over Iran? Maybe Trump has convinced himself of the narrative that Iran is indeed a cosmic evil, in the biblical sense. But his conversion to this ideology also happens to sit comfortably with his immediate interests:

Last week the summit of Christians United for Israel , took place in DC. Thousands of evangelical Christians from across the country attended the event, at which Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo (both evangelicals), as well as, John Bolton, Jason Greenblatt, and his ambassador to Israel, David Friedman all spoke. The theme, of course, was the Iranian threat.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz notes :

"Evangelicals, the backbone of Christians United for Israel, are a key voting bloc for Trump and the Republicans. Around 80 percent of white evangelicals voted for Trump in 2016, helping him secure victories in several swing states. The consensus among US political analysts is that the president will need similar or greater support among evangelicals to win a second term next year.

"Last week, the news website Axios reported that Trump's re-election campaign "is developing an aggressive, state-by-state plan to mobilize even more evangelical voters than supported him last time." This will include, according to the report, "voter registration drives at churches in battleground states such as Ohio, Nevada and Florida," which will promote Trump's record on issues important to evangelical voters."

And the primordial interest for these Evangelical voters? Moving toward actualising (Biblical) Greater Israel as a prophesy fulfilled. And here is the unsolved question – as Iran escalates its counter-pressures, in response, and as America's strangulation hold tightens – what will Trump do?

"At the moment", Ben Caspit, a leading Israel commentator notes , "Trump is influenced by his close advisers (mainly John Bolton and Mike Pompeo) who have adopted a hawkish stance and are not deterred at the thought of military involvement (at least aerial involvement) vis-a-vis Tehran. But the US president also has other mentors (some political and some from the media world) who claim that getting involved in a military adventure on the eve of elections would greatly reduce Trump's chances of reelection to a second term of office."

Caspit however, does 'nod' towards the weight of the Evangelicals: "Israel has transformed this evangelical repository into a tremendous electoral-diplomatic-strategic asset over the last three years, vis-a-vis Trump's administration. Netanyahu and his ambassador to Washington, Ron Dermer, have great influence over the evangelical preachers. The relationship between Israel and this American Christian-messianic faction has been deepening [even to the point of rivalling AIPAC]"

"One thing is sure", concludes Caspit: "The considerations and analyses in Israel surrounding the Iran issue at this point in time are completely different than what prevailed in the summer of 2012 One way or another, anyone who thought that the issue of a possible Israeli attack on Iran has long since been removed from the agenda is welcome to catch up: It is returning".

[Aug 19, 2019] Trump's Foreign Policy All Coercion, No Diplomacy

Aug 19, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Trump's Foreign Policy: All Coercion, No Diplomacy By Daniel Larison August 19, 2019, 1:54 PM

U.S. Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo, President Trump and National Security Advisor John Bolton at the NATO Foreign Ministerial in Brussels, Belgium on July 12, 2018. [State Department photo/ Public Domain] Matt Lee reports on the Trump administration obsessive use of sanctions:

Call it the diplomacy of coercion.

The Trump administration is aggressively pursuing economic sanctions as a primary foreign policy tool to an extent unseen in decades, or perhaps ever. Many are questioning the results even as officials insist the penalties are achieving their aims.

It is true that the Trump administration is using economic coercion as its default approach to almost everything, but there doesn't appear to be any diplomacy involved. There is such a thing as "coercive diplomacy," but there is no evidence that Trump and his officials understand the first thing about it. An administration that genuinely wanted to secure lasting diplomatic agreements with other states would apply pressure only as a means to a specific, achievable goal, but with this administration they are waging purely destructive economic wars that the targeted states cannot end without capitulating. The "maximum pressure" description implies an unwillingness to relieve pressure short of the other side's surrender.

It is not just that it is a "combination of more sticks and fewer carrots." The Trump administration's policies are all punishment and no reward. In the case of Iran, it could hardly be otherwise when the administration chose to penalize Iran with sanctions for daring to comply with a multilateral nonproliferation agreement. Iran behaved constructively and acceded to the demands of the P5+1 four years ago, and in return for their cooperation they have been subjected to a grueling economic war despite fully complying with their commitments. When our government punishes another state for doing what previous administrations wanted them to do, no amount of punishment could force that state to trust our government a second time.

The administration approaches each case in the same way: they impose penalties, they make threats, they offer no incentives, and they make outrageous, far-fetched demands that no government would ever accept. Trump handles the trade wars in much the same way that he handles the "maximum pressure" campaigns against intransigent governments, and he fails every time because he can't conceive of a mutually beneficial agreement and therefore refuses to compromise. Trump's "diplomacy" is no diplomacy at all, but a series of insults, sanctions, tariffs, and threats that achieve nothing except to cause disruption and pain. Unsurprisingly, a pressure campaign that is aimed at toppling a government or forcing it to give up everything it has cannot be successful on its own terms as long as the targeted government chooses to resist, and the stakes for the targeted government will always higher than they are for the administration. In a contest of wills, the party that is fighting to preserve itself has the advantage.

[Aug 13, 2019] Our Overly Militarized Foreign Policy Gets Even Worse

Aug 13, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Daniel Benaim and Michael Walid Hanna explain that the U.S. military presence in the Middle East hasn't changed much at all under Trump, but there has been a reduction in diplomatic engagement:

For all the headlines, the U.S. military presence in the Middle East is fairly consistent. Despite the administration's intention, laid out in the 2018 National Defense Strategy, to refocus the U.S. military on great-power competition, the U.S. footprint in the Middle East remains relatively constant, and seemingly permanent. Instead, what has changed is the scale of civilian effort that, in most previous administrations, would have accompanied such a military presence. The Trump administration has left numerous vacancies for key civilian positions unfilled for long stretches, slashed aid programs, and focused on high-level personal relations at the expense of broader ties. Altogether, its approach has not been typified by either retrenchment or interventionism but by what Barry Posen, writing in Foreign Affairs, has called "illiberal hegemony" -- military superiority shorn of diplomatic stewardship.

Benaim and Hanna are right about this, and their article is a welcome corrective to the many false claims that Trump is "retreating" from the region. The administration's disdain for diplomacy and aid has been impossible to miss over the last two and a half years, and they have combined that with more or less continuing the military deployments and missions that they inherited. What that means in practice is that the U.S. remains entangled in the affairs of the region, but our government's involvement leans even more heavily towards the military. That leaves every other kind of engagement underfunded, understaffed, and neglected. Since our foreign policy is already excessively militarized, this makes a bad problem worse. Benaim and Hanna note this later in the article:

This approach also exacerbates the long-standing problem of overreliance on the military as the central tool of U.S. Middle East policy. Even on a diplomat's best days, regional leaders are well aware of the "consul effect" -- the contrast between well-resourced American military commanders and their relatively impoverished diplomatic colleagues. Further marginalizing diplomats costs them influence, access, and bargaining power, while positioning the military and intelligence communities as the only effective U.S. institutional actors in the region.

Given the reality that the U.S. military presence hasn't been reduced, and has actually increased in some places over the last two years, how is it that we keep hearing about U.S. "retreat" and "withdrawal" as if these were happening? Client states have an incentive to whine about possible "abandonment" no matter what the U.S. does. Either they complain about an "abandonment" that has supposedly already happened, or they warn against a possible "abandonment" that might take place in the future. The whining serves the purpose of putting pressure on every administration to maintain existing commitments and then to add more. Then there are pundits and analysts at home that constantly fret about U.S. "withdrawal" as a way of agitating for increased involvement. Then there are the supporters of the president that want to pretend that the "withdrawal" is really happening in order to credit the president for doing something he hasn't done. Add them all up, and you get an unfounded consensus that the U.S. is "retreating" when virtually nothing has changed. In the case of Trump, there is an additional factor of taking the president's rhetoric at face value while ignoring what his administration is doing. Trump boasts about some things that never happened and never will happen, and for some reason he is blamed/credited for things he never does while his real policies often escape close scrutiny.

Put simply, U.S. military engagement in the Middle East is largely unchanged and has even escalated to some degree under Trump, but all other kinds of engagement get short shrift. Far from disentangling the U.S. from its excessive commitments in the region, Trump has embraced our worst clients and deepened our government's involvement in the worst way for the sake of arms sales and whipping up anti-Iranian sentiment. This is the exact opposite of what should be happening, and it is antithetical to a foreign policy that extricates U.S. forces from the region.

[Aug 07, 2019] Neoliberals are promising to privatize garbage collection and sewer system! Which will huge help to Venezuela. After that, setting up slave markets, just like in Tripoli!

Notable quotes:
"... Cute – immediate goal, humanitarian aid so everybody gets a couple of free meals and some medicine. Next job, roll back socialism. At which time all the poor will not be able to afford to eat or get medicine. But who'll give a fuck then, right? Because corporate America will already be in charge by then, kicking ass and taking names and privatizing everything so that even Guaido will not be able to say he owns anything in Venezuela but his house. And of course, the equation for Venezuelans has not changed a bit: Captain America really wants to help, but it has to be under Guaido – they're really, really stuck on him for some reason. So it's Guaido or starvation. What's it gonna be, Venezuela? ..."
Aug 07, 2019 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Northern Star August 2, 2019 at 7:14 am

Mega corrupt economic cockroach/ghoul/scavenger:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilbur_Ross
.
Pontificates on Venezuela's future

Northern Star August 2, 2019 at 7:18 am
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-08-01/u-s-commerce-secretary-lays-out-sweeping-plan-to-help-venezuela
yalensis August 2, 2019 at 12:36 pm
"In a post-Maduro Venezuela, the U.S. will remove sanctions, foster pro-market and pro-business reforms and help rebuild confidence, Ross said. An immediate priority will be providing humanitarian aid, while a medium-term focus will be rolling back socialism, Ross said."

They are even promising to privatize garbage collection and sewer system! In the medium-term focus, of course. Immediate focus on reign of terror, while handing out tins of spam to the swarming masses. After that, setting up slave markets, just like in Tripoli!

Mark Chapman August 2, 2019 at 6:59 pm
Cute – immediate goal, humanitarian aid so everybody gets a couple of free meals and some medicine. Next job, roll back socialism. At which time all the poor will not be able to afford to eat or get medicine. But who'll give a fuck then, right? Because corporate America will already be in charge by then, kicking ass and taking names and privatizing everything so that even Guaido will not be able to say he owns anything in Venezuela but his house. And of course, the equation for Venezuelans has not changed a bit: Captain America really wants to help, but it has to be under Guaido – they're really, really stuck on him for some reason. So it's Guaido or starvation. What's it gonna be, Venezuela?

I hope somebody else will help them out. I'd dearly love to see Venezuela get on its feet without American assistance, and then tell the entire Yoo Ess of Aye to kiss its ass. No more heavy crude for your refineries, maybe you can turn them into basket shops, what say? No thanks; we'll buy our food elsewhere, if it's all the same to you. Oh, and Bolsonaro? Eat a bag of shit. Invite your Colombian buddy over for dinner

Northern Star August 2, 2019 at 10:19 pm
IMF loan for Venezuela will make things 'all better' ? Really?
https://www.publicfinanceinternational.org/news/2018/08/imf-loans-can-be-debt-trap
Northern Star August 2, 2019 at 10:32 pm
What would more than likely be the outcome of the IMF solution for Venezuela according to the clown referenced in the link I posted (supra)
https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/08/greece-bailout-imf-europe/567892/
Mark Chapman August 3, 2019 at 4:29 am
Pertinent, bitter and frightening – thanks for posting it. A useful reference.
Mark Chapman August 3, 2019 at 4:21 am
Yes, I meant to remark on that as well. It's funny that the western regime-change model relies on countries loaned huge amounts of money to be enslaved by their honesty, and actually pay it back.

[Aug 06, 2019] Trump Imposes Economic Embargo on Venezuela by Jason Ditz

Notable quotes:
"... This is the first major expansion of sanctions against a western hemisphere nation by the US in over 30 years, and is intended to put Venezuela into the same level of economic isolation as similarly restricted Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria. ..."
Aug 05, 2019 | news.antiwar.com

US will freeze all Venezuelan assets

President Trump signed an executive order late Monday imposing a full economic embargo against Venezuela , freezing all government assets in the US and forbidding all transactions of any Venezuelan officials.

This is the first major expansion of sanctions against a western hemisphere nation by the US in over 30 years, and is intended to put Venezuela into the same level of economic isolation as similarly restricted Cuba, Iran, North Korea, and Syria.

The order cites human rights abuses, and the fact that President Maduro is still in power in Venezuela, even though the US recognized opposition leader Guaido as the rightful ruler of the country.

This is the latest US effort to try to impose regime change in Venezuela, after a failed military coup earlier this year. It's not clear how broadly the US intends to enforce the sanctions, for example if they intend to use military force to prohibit naval trade from the Venezuelan coast

[Aug 03, 2019] Officials Say US Headed Toward Blockade of Venezuela

Aug 03, 2019 | news.antiwar.com

US sees 'quarantine' as another path to imposing regime change

Jason Ditz Posted on August 2, 2019 August 2, 2019 Categories News Tags Trump , Venezuela An unnamed senior administration official says that the Trump Administration is seriously considering imposing a naval blockade on Venezuela , saying President Maduro has a "short window" to voluntarily resign before the US makes such a move.

Trump had recently told reporters he was considering a naval blockade or full "quarantine" of Venezuela as the latest effort to try to impose regime change, something the US announced it had recognized month ago but which so far hasn't happened.

President Maduro denounced the comments , and called on his ambassador to complain to the UN Security Council about the "illegal" US threat to blockade the Venezuelan coastline. Maduro added it was "clearly illegal."

Clearly illegal as a practical matter is likely to be very much beside the point for US policy. Previous indications were that Trump had become bored with Venezuela because of the lack of progress, and it's likely he'll only try to impose a regime change in this manner if he believes it will work.

[Jul 29, 2019] Michael Hudson Trump s Brilliant Strategy to Dismember US Dollar Hegemony by Michael Hudson

Highly recommended!
Looks like the world order established after WWIII crumbed with the USSR and now it is again the law if jungles with the US as the biggest predator.
Notable quotes:
"... The root cause is clear: After the crescendo of pretenses and deceptions over Iraq, Libya and Syria, along with our absolution of the lawless regime of Saudi Arabia, foreign political leaders are coming to recognize what world-wide public opinion polls reported even before the Iraq/Iran-Contra boys turned their attention to the world's largest oil reserves in Venezuela: The United States is now the greatest threat to peace on the planet. ..."
"... Calling the U.S. coup being sponsored in Venezuela a defense of democracy reveals the Doublethink underlying U.S. foreign policy. It defines "democracy" to mean supporting U.S. foreign policy, pursuing neoliberal privatization of public infrastructure, dismantling government regulation and following the direction of U.S.-dominated global institutions, from the IMF and World Bank to NATO. For decades, the resulting foreign wars, domestic austerity programs and military interventions have brought more violence, not democracy ..."
"... A point had to come where this policy collided with the self-interest of other nations, finally breaking through the public relations rhetoric of empire. Other countries are proceeding to de-dollarize and replace what U.S. diplomacy calls "internationalism" (meaning U.S. nationalism imposed on the rest of the world) with their own national self-interest. ..."
"... For the past half-century, U.S. strategists, the State Department and National Endowment for Democracy (NED) worried that opposition to U.S. financial imperialism would come from left-wing parties. It therefore spent enormous resources manipulating parties that called themselves socialist (Tony Blair's British Labour Party, France's Socialist Party, Germany's Social Democrats, etc.) to adopt neoliberal policies that were the diametric opposite to what social democracy meant a century ago. But U.S. political planners and Great Wurlitzer organists neglected the right wing, imagining that it would instinctively support U.S. thuggishness. ..."
"... Perhaps the problem had to erupt as a result of the inner dynamics of U.S.-sponsored globalism becoming impossible to impose when the result is financial austerity, waves of population flight from U.S.-sponsored wars, and most of all, U.S. refusal to adhere to the rules and international laws that it itself sponsored seventy years ago in the wake of World War II. ..."
"... Here's the first legal contradiction in U.S. global diplomacy: The United States always has resisted letting any other country have any voice in U.S. domestic policies, law-making or diplomacy. That is what makes America "the exceptional nation." But for seventy years its diplomats have pretended that its superior judgment promoted a peaceful world (as the Roman Empire claimed to be), which let other countries share in prosperity and rising living standards. ..."
"... Inevitably, U.S. nationalism had to break up the mirage of One World internationalism, and with it any thought of an international court. Without veto power over the judges, the U.S. never accepted the authority of any court, in particular the United Nations' International Court in The Hague. Recently that court undertook an investigation into U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan, from its torture policies to bombing of civilian targets such as hospitals, weddings and infrastructure. "That investigation ultimately found 'a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes and crimes against humanity." ..."
"... This showed that international finance was an arm of the U.S. State Department and Pentagon. But that was a generation ago, and only recently did foreign countries begin to feel queasy about leaving their gold holdings in the United States, where they might be grabbed at will to punish any country that might act in ways that U.S. diplomacy found offensive. So last year, Germany finally got up the courage to ask that some of its gold be flown back to Germany. U.S. officials pretended to feel shocked at the insult that it might do to a civilized Christian country what it had done to Iran, and Germany agreed to slow down the transfer. ..."
"... England refused to honor the official request, following the direction of Bolton and U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo. As Bloomberg reported: "The U.S. officials are trying to steer Venezuela's overseas assets to [Chicago Boy Juan] Guaido to help bolster his chances of effectively taking control of the government. The $1.2 billion of gold is a big chunk of the $8 billion in foreign reserves held by the Venezuelan central bank." ..."
"... But now, cyber warfare has become a way of pulling out the connections of any economy. And the major cyber connections are financial money-transfer ones, headed by SWIFT, the acronym for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, which is centered in Belgium. ..."
"... On January 31 the dam broke with the announcement that Europe had created its own bypass payments system for use with Iran and other countries targeted by U.S. diplomats. Germany, France and even the U.S. poodle Britain joined to create INSTEX -- Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges. The promise is that this will be used only for "humanitarian" aid to save Iran from a U.S.-sponsored Venezuela-type devastation. But in view of increasingly passionate U.S. opposition to the Nord Stream pipeline to carry Russian gas, this alternative bank clearing system will be ready and able to become operative if the United States tries to direct a sanctions attack on Europe ..."
"... The U.S. overplaying its position is leading to the Mackinder-Kissinger-Brzezinski Eurasian nightmare that I mentioned above. In addition to driving Russia and China together, U.S. diplomacy is adding Europe to the heartland, independent of U.S. ability to bully into the state of dependency toward which American diplomacy has aimed to achieve since 1945. ..."
"... By following U.S. advice, countries have left themselves open to food blackmail – sanctions against providing them with grain and other food, in case they step out of line with U.S. diplomatic demands. ..."
"... It is worthwhile to note that our global imposition of the mythical "efficiencies" of forcing Latin American countries to become plantations for export crops like coffee and bananas rather than growing their own wheat and corn has failed catastrophically to deliver better lives, especially for those living in Central America. The "spread" between the export crops and cheaper food imports from the U.S. that was supposed to materialize for countries following our playbook failed miserably – witness the caravans and refugees across Mexico. Of course, our backing of the most brutal military dictators and crime lords has not helped either. ..."
"... But a few years ago Ukraine defaulted on $3 billion owed to Russia. The IMF said, in effect, that Ukraine and other countries did not have to pay Russia or any other country deemed to be acting too independently of the United States. The IMF has been extending credit to the bottomless it of Ukrainian corruption to encourage its anti-Russian policy rather than standing up for the principle that inter-government debts must be paid. ..."
"... It is as if the IMF now operates out of a small room in the basement of the Pentagon in Washington. ..."
"... Anticipating just such a double-cross, President Chavez acted already in 2011 to repatriate 160 tons of gold to Caracas from the United States and Europe. ..."
"... It would be good for Americans, but the wrong kind of Americans. For the Americans that would populate the Global Executive Suite, a strong US$ means that the stipends they would pay would be worth more to the lackeys, and command more influence. ..."
"... Dumping the industrial base really ruined things. America is now in a position where it can shout orders, and drop bombs, but doesn't have the capacity to do anything helpful. They have to give up being what Toynbee called a creative minority, and settle for being a dominant minority. ..."
"... Having watched the 2016 election closely from afar, I was left with the impression that many of the swing voters who cast their vote for Trump did so under the assumption that he would act as a catalyst for systemic change. ..."
"... Now we know. He has ripped the already transparent mask of altruism off what is referred to as the U.S.-led liberal international order and revealed its true nature for all to see, and has managed to do it in spite of the liberal international establishment desperately trying to hold it in place in the hope of effecting a seamless post-Trump return to what they refer to as "norms". Interesting times. ..."
"... Exactly. He hasn't exactly lived up to advanced billing so far in all respects, but I suspect there's great deal of skulduggery going on behind the scenes that has prevented that. ..."
"... To paraphrase the infamous Rummy, you don't go to war with the change agent and policies you wished you had, you go to war with the ones you have. That might be the best thing we can say about Trump after the historic dust of his administration finally settles. ..."
"... Yet we find out that Venezuela didn't managed to do what they wanted to do, the Europeans, the Turks, etc bent over yet again. Nothing to see here, actually. ..."
"... So what I'm saying is he didn't make his point. I wish it were true. But a bit of grumbling and (a tiny amount of) foot-dragging by some pygmy leaders (Merkel) does not signal a global change. ..."
"... Currency regime change can take decades, and small percentage differences are enormous because of the flows involved. USD as reserve for 61% of global sovereigns versus 64% 15 years ago is a massive move. ..."
"... I discovered his Super Imperialism while looking for an explanation for the pending 2003 US invasion of Iraq. If you haven't read it yet, move it to the top of your queue if you want to have any idea of how the world really works. ..."
"... If it isn't clear to the rest of the world by now, it never will be. The US is incapable of changing on its own a corrupt status quo dominated by a coalition of its military industrial complex, Wall Street bankers and fossil fuels industries. As long as the world continues to chase the debt created on the keyboards of Wall Street banks and 'deficits don't matter' Washington neocons – as long as the world's 1% think they are getting 'richer' by adding more "debts that can't be repaid (and) won't be" to their portfolios, the global economy can never be put on a sustainable footing. ..."
"... In other words, after 2 World Wars that produced the current world order, it is still in a state of insanity with the same pretensions to superiority by the same people, to get number 3. ..."
"... Few among Washington's foreign policy elite seem to fully grasp the complex system that made U.S. global power what it now is, particularly its all-important geopolitical foundations. As Trump travels the globe, tweeting and trashing away, he's inadvertently showing us the essential structure of that power, the same way a devastating wildfire leaves the steel beams of a ruined building standing starkly above the smoking rubble." ..."
"... He's draining the swamp in an unpredicted way, a swamp that's founded on the money interest. I don't care what NYT and WaPo have to say, they are not reporting events but promoting agendas. ..."
"... The financial elites are only concerned about shaping society as they see fit, side of self serving is just a historical foot note, Trumps past indicates a strong preference for even more of the same through authoritarian memes or have some missed the OT WH reference to dawg both choosing and then compelling him to run. ..."
"... Highly doubt Trump is a "witting agent", most likely is that he is just as ignorant as he almost daily shows on twitter. On US role in global affairs he says the same today as he did as a media celebrity in the late 80s. Simplistic household "logics" on macroeconomics. If US have trade deficit it loses. Countries with surplus are the winners. ..."
"... Anyhow frightening, the US hegemony have its severe dark sides. But there is absolutely nothing better on the horizon, a crash will throw the world in turmoil for decades or even a century. A lot of bad forces will see their chance to elevate their influence. There will be fierce competition to fill the gap. ..."
"... On could the insane economic model of EU/Germany being on top of global affairs, a horribly frightening thought. Misery and austerity for all globally, a permanent recession. Probably not much better with the Chinese on top. I'll take the USD hegemony any day compared to that prospect. ..."
"... Former US ambassador, Chas Freeman, gets to the nub of the problem. "The US preference for governance by elected and appointed officials, uncontaminated by experience in statecraft and diplomacy, or knowledge of geography, history and foreign affairs" https://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_882041135&feature=iv&src_vid=Ge1ozuXN7iI&v=gkf2MQdqz-o ..."
"... Michael Hudson, in Super Imperialism, went into how the US could just create the money to run a large trade deficit with the rest of the world. It would get all these imports effectively for nothing, the US's exorbitant privilege. I tied this in with this graph from MMT. ..."
"... The Government was running a surplus as the economy blew up in the early 1990s. It's the positive and negative, zero sum, nature of the monetary system. A big trade deficit needs a big Government deficit to cover it. A big trade deficit, with a balanced budget, drives the private sector into debt and blows up the economy. ..."
Feb 01, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

The end of America's unchallenged global economic dominance has arrived sooner than expected, thanks to the very same Neocons who gave the world the Iraq, Syria and the dirty wars in Latin America. Just as the Vietnam War drove the United States off gold by 1971, its sponsorship and funding of violent regime change wars against Venezuela and Syria – and threatening other countries with sanctions if they do not join this crusade – is now driving European and other nations to create their alternative financial institutions.

This break has been building for quite some time, and was bound to occur. But who would have thought that Donald Trump would become the catalytic agent? No left-wing party, no socialist, anarchist or foreign nationalist leader anywhere in the world could have achieved what he is doing to break up the American Empire. The Deep State is reacting with shock at how this right-wing real estate grifter has been able to drive other countries to defend themselves by dismantling the U.S.-centered world order. To rub it in, he is using Bush and Reagan-era Neocon arsonists, John Bolton and now Elliott Abrams, to fan the flames in Venezuela. It is almost like a black political comedy. The world of international diplomacy is being turned inside-out. A world where there is no longer even a pretense that we might adhere to international norms, let alone laws or treaties.

The Neocons who Trump has appointed are accomplishing what seemed unthinkable not long ago: Driving China and Russia together – the great nightmare of Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski. They also are driving Germany and other European countries into the Eurasian orbit, the "Heartland" nightmare of Halford Mackinder a century ago.

The root cause is clear: After the crescendo of pretenses and deceptions over Iraq, Libya and Syria, along with our absolution of the lawless regime of Saudi Arabia, foreign political leaders are coming to recognize what world-wide public opinion polls reported even before the Iraq/Iran-Contra boys turned their attention to the world's largest oil reserves in Venezuela: The United States is now the greatest threat to peace on the planet.

Calling the U.S. coup being sponsored in Venezuela a defense of democracy reveals the Doublethink underlying U.S. foreign policy. It defines "democracy" to mean supporting U.S. foreign policy, pursuing neoliberal privatization of public infrastructure, dismantling government regulation and following the direction of U.S.-dominated global institutions, from the IMF and World Bank to NATO. For decades, the resulting foreign wars, domestic austerity programs and military interventions have brought more violence, not democracy.

In the Devil's Dictionary that U.S. diplomats are taught to use as their "Elements of Style" guidelines for Doublethink, a "democratic" country is one that follows U.S. leadership and opens its economy to U.S. investment, and IMF- and World Bank-sponsored privatization. The Ukraine is deemed democratic, along with Saudi Arabia, Israel and other countries that act as U.S. financial and military protectorates and are willing to treat America's enemies are theirs too.

A point had to come where this policy collided with the self-interest of other nations, finally breaking through the public relations rhetoric of empire. Other countries are proceeding to de-dollarize and replace what U.S. diplomacy calls "internationalism" (meaning U.S. nationalism imposed on the rest of the world) with their own national self-interest.

This trajectory could be seen 50 years ago (I described it in Super Imperialism [1972] and Global Fracture [1978].) It had to happen. But nobody thought that the end would come in quite the way that is happening. History has turned into comedy, or at least irony as its dialectical path unfolds.

For the past half-century, U.S. strategists, the State Department and National Endowment for Democracy (NED) worried that opposition to U.S. financial imperialism would come from left-wing parties. It therefore spent enormous resources manipulating parties that called themselves socialist (Tony Blair's British Labour Party, France's Socialist Party, Germany's Social Democrats, etc.) to adopt neoliberal policies that were the diametric opposite to what social democracy meant a century ago. But U.S. political planners and Great Wurlitzer organists neglected the right wing, imagining that it would instinctively support U.S. thuggishness.

The reality is that right-wing parties want to get elected, and a populist nationalism is today's road to election victory in Europe and other countries just as it was for Donald Trump in 2016.

Trump's agenda may really be to break up the American Empire, using the old Uncle Sucker isolationist rhetoric of half a century ago. He certainly is going for the Empire's most vital organs. But it he a witting anti-American agent? He might as well be – but it would be a false mental leap to use "quo bono" to assume that he is a witting agent.

After all, if no U.S. contractor, supplier, labor union or bank will deal with him, would Vladimir Putin, China or Iran be any more naïve? Perhaps the problem had to erupt as a result of the inner dynamics of U.S.-sponsored globalism becoming impossible to impose when the result is financial austerity, waves of population flight from U.S.-sponsored wars, and most of all, U.S. refusal to adhere to the rules and international laws that it itself sponsored seventy years ago in the wake of World War II.

Dismantling International Law and Its Courts

Any international system of control requires the rule of law. It may be a morally lawless exercise of ruthless power imposing predatory exploitation, but it is still The Law. And it needs courts to apply it (backed by police power to enforce it and punish violators).

Here's the first legal contradiction in U.S. global diplomacy: The United States always has resisted letting any other country have any voice in U.S. domestic policies, law-making or diplomacy. That is what makes America "the exceptional nation." But for seventy years its diplomats have pretended that its superior judgment promoted a peaceful world (as the Roman Empire claimed to be), which let other countries share in prosperity and rising living standards.

At the United Nations, U.S. diplomats insisted on veto power. At the World Bank and IMF they also made sure that their equity share was large enough to give them veto power over any loan or other policy. Without such power, the United States would not join any international organization. Yet at the same time, it depicted its nationalism as protecting globalization and internationalism. It was all a euphemism for what really was unilateral U.S. decision-making.

Inevitably, U.S. nationalism had to break up the mirage of One World internationalism, and with it any thought of an international court. Without veto power over the judges, the U.S. never accepted the authority of any court, in particular the United Nations' International Court in The Hague. Recently that court undertook an investigation into U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan, from its torture policies to bombing of civilian targets such as hospitals, weddings and infrastructure. "That investigation ultimately found 'a reasonable basis to believe that war crimes and crimes against humanity." [1]

Donald Trump's National Security Adviser John Bolton erupted in fury, warning in September that: "The United States will use any means necessary to protect our citizens and those of our allies from unjust prosecution by this illegitimate court," adding that the UN International Court must not be so bold as to investigate "Israel or other U.S. allies."

That prompted a senior judge, Christoph Flügge from Germany, to resign in protest. Indeed, Bolton told the court to keep out of any affairs involving the United States, promising to ban the Court's "judges and prosecutors from entering the United States." As Bolton spelled out the U.S. threat: "We will sanction their funds in the U.S. financial system, and we will prosecute them in the U.S. criminal system. We will not cooperate with the ICC. We will provide no assistance to the ICC. We will not join the ICC. We will let the ICC die on its own. After all, for all intents and purposes, the ICC is already dead to us."

What this meant, the German judge spelled out was that: "If these judges ever interfere in the domestic concerns of the U.S. or investigate an American citizen, [Bolton] said the American government would do all it could to ensure that these judges would no longer be allowed to travel to the United States – and that they would perhaps even be criminally prosecuted."

The original inspiration of the Court – to use the Nuremburg laws that were applied against German Nazis to bring similar prosecution against any country or officials found guilty of committing war crimes – had already fallen into disuse with the failure to indict the authors of the Chilean coup, Iran-Contra or the U.S. invasion of Iraq for war crimes.

Dismantling Dollar Hegemony from the IMF to SWIFT

Of all areas of global power politics today, international finance and foreign investment have become the key flashpoint. International monetary reserves were supposed to be the most sacrosanct, and international debt enforcement closely associated.

Central banks have long held their gold and other monetary reserves in the United States and London. Back in 1945 this seemed reasonable, because the New York Federal Reserve Bank (in whose basement foreign central bank gold was kept) was militarily safe, and because the London Gold Pool was the vehicle by which the U.S. Treasury kept the dollar "as good as gold" at $35 an ounce. Foreign reserves over and above gold were kept in the form of U.S. Treasury securities, to be bought and sold on the New York and London foreign-exchange markets to stabilize exchange rates. Most foreign loans to governments were denominated in U.S. dollars, so Wall Street banks were normally name as paying agents.

That was the case with Iran under the Shah, whom the United States had installed after sponsoring the 1953 coup against Mohammed Mosaddegh when he sought to nationalize Anglo-Iranian Oil (now British Petroleum) or at least tax it. After the Shah was overthrown, the Khomeini regime asked its paying agent, the Chase Manhattan bank, to use its deposits to pay its bondholders. At the direction of the U.S. Government Chase refused to do so. U.S. courts then declared Iran to be in default, and froze all its assets in the United States and anywhere else they were able.

This showed that international finance was an arm of the U.S. State Department and Pentagon. But that was a generation ago, and only recently did foreign countries begin to feel queasy about leaving their gold holdings in the United States, where they might be grabbed at will to punish any country that might act in ways that U.S. diplomacy found offensive. So last year, Germany finally got up the courage to ask that some of its gold be flown back to Germany. U.S. officials pretended to feel shocked at the insult that it might do to a civilized Christian country what it had done to Iran, and Germany agreed to slow down the transfer.

But then came Venezuela. Desperate to spend its gold reserves to provide imports for its economy devastated by U.S. sanctions – a crisis that U.S. diplomats blame on "socialism," not on U.S. political attempts to "make the economy scream" (as Nixon officials said of Chile under Salvador Allende) – Venezuela directed the Bank of England to transfer some of its $11 billion in gold held in its vaults and those of other central banks in December 2018. This was just like a bank depositor would expect a bank to pay a check that the depositor had written.

England refused to honor the official request, following the direction of Bolton and U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo. As Bloomberg reported: "The U.S. officials are trying to steer Venezuela's overseas assets to [Chicago Boy Juan] Guaido to help bolster his chances of effectively taking control of the government. The $1.2 billion of gold is a big chunk of the $8 billion in foreign reserves held by the Venezuelan central bank."

Turkey seemed to be a likely destination, prompting Bolton and Pompeo to warn it to desist from helping Venezuela, threatening sanctions against it or any other country helping Venezuela cope with its economic crisis. As for the Bank of England and other European countries, the Bloomberg report concluded: "Central bank officials in Caracas have been ordered to no longer try contacting the Bank of England. These central bankers have been told that Bank of England staffers will not respond to them."

This led to rumors that Venezuela was selling 20 tons of gold via a Russian Boeing 777 – some $840 million. The money probably would have ended up paying Russian and Chinese bondholders as well as buying food to relieve the local famine. [4] Russia denied this report, but Reuters has confirmed is that Venezuela has sold 3 tons of a planned 29 tones of gold to the United Arab Emirates, with another 15 tones are to be shipped on Friday, February 1. [5] The U.S. Senate's Batista-Cuban hardliner Rubio accused this of being "theft," as if feeding the people to alleviate the U.S.-sponsored crisis was a crime against U.S. diplomatic leverage.

If there is any country that U.S. diplomats hate more than a recalcitrant Latin American country, it is Iran. President Trump's breaking of the 2015 nuclear agreements negotiated by European and Obama Administration diplomats has escalated to the point of threatening Germany and other European countries with punitive sanctions if they do not also break the agreements they have signed. Coming on top of U.S. opposition to German and other European importing of Russian gas, the U.S. threat finally prompted Europe to find a way to defend itself.

Imperial threats are no longer military. No country (including Russia or China) can mount a military invasion of another major country. Since the Vietnam Era, the only kind of war a democratically elected country can wage is atomic, or at least heavy bombing such as the United States has inflicted on Iraq, Libya and Syria. But now, cyber warfare has become a way of pulling out the connections of any economy. And the major cyber connections are financial money-transfer ones, headed by SWIFT, the acronym for the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, which is centered in Belgium.

Russia and China have already moved to create a shadow bank-transfer system in case the United States unplugs them from SWIFT. But now, European countries have come to realize that threats by Bolton and Pompeo may lead to heavy fines and asset grabs if they seek to continue trading with Iran as called for in the treaties they have negotiated.

On January 31 the dam broke with the announcement that Europe had created its own bypass payments system for use with Iran and other countries targeted by U.S. diplomats. Germany, France and even the U.S. poodle Britain joined to create INSTEX -- Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges. The promise is that this will be used only for "humanitarian" aid to save Iran from a U.S.-sponsored Venezuela-type devastation. But in view of increasingly passionate U.S. opposition to the Nord Stream pipeline to carry Russian gas, this alternative bank clearing system will be ready and able to become operative if the United States tries to direct a sanctions attack on Europe.

I have just returned from Germany and seen a remarkable split between that nation's industrialists and their political leadership. For years, major companies have seen Russia as a natural market, a complementary economy needing to modernize its manufacturing and able to supply Europe with natural gas and other raw materials. America's New Cold War stance is trying to block this commercial complementarity. Warning Europe against "dependence" on low-price Russian gas, it has offered to sell high-priced LNG from the United States (via port facilities that do not yet exist in anywhere near the volume required). President Trump also is insisting that NATO members spend a full 2 percent of their GDP on arms – preferably bought from the United States, not from German or French merchants of death.

The U.S. overplaying its position is leading to the Mackinder-Kissinger-Brzezinski Eurasian nightmare that I mentioned above. In addition to driving Russia and China together, U.S. diplomacy is adding Europe to the heartland, independent of U.S. ability to bully into the state of dependency toward which American diplomacy has aimed to achieve since 1945.

The World Bank, for instance, traditionally has been headed by a U.S. Secretary of Defense. Its steady policy since its inception is to provide loans for countries to devote their land to export crops instead of giving priority to feeding themselves. That is why its loans are only in foreign currency, not in the domestic currency needed to provide price supports and agricultural extension services such as have made U.S. agriculture so productive. By following U.S. advice, countries have left themselves open to food blackmail – sanctions against providing them with grain and other food, in case they step out of line with U.S. diplomatic demands.

It is worthwhile to note that our global imposition of the mythical "efficiencies" of forcing Latin American countries to become plantations for export crops like coffee and bananas rather than growing their own wheat and corn has failed catastrophically to deliver better lives, especially for those living in Central America. The "spread" between the export crops and cheaper food imports from the U.S. that was supposed to materialize for countries following our playbook failed miserably – witness the caravans and refugees across Mexico. Of course, our backing of the most brutal military dictators and crime lords has not helped either.

Likewise, the IMF has been forced to admit that its basic guidelines were fictitious from the beginning. A central core has been to enforce payment of official inter-government debt by withholding IMF credit from countries under default. This rule was instituted at a time when most official inter-government debt was owed to the United States. But a few years ago Ukraine defaulted on $3 billion owed to Russia. The IMF said, in effect, that Ukraine and other countries did not have to pay Russia or any other country deemed to be acting too independently of the United States. The IMF has been extending credit to the bottomless it of Ukrainian corruption to encourage its anti-Russian policy rather than standing up for the principle that inter-government debts must be paid.

It is as if the IMF now operates out of a small room in the basement of the Pentagon in Washington. Europe has taken notice that its own international monetary trade and financial linkages are in danger of attracting U.S. anger. This became clear last autumn at the funeral for George H. W. Bush, when the EU's diplomat found himself downgraded to the end of the list to be called to his seat. He was told that the U.S. no longer considers the EU an entity in good standing. In December, "Mike Pompeo gave a speech on Europe in Brussels -- his first, and eagerly awaited -- in which he extolled the virtues of nationalism, criticised multilateralism and the EU, and said that "international bodies" which constrain national sovereignty "must be reformed or eliminated." [5]

Most of the above events have made the news in just one day, January 31, 2019. The conjunction of U.S. moves on so many fronts, against Venezuela, Iran and Europe (not to mention China and the trade threats and moves against Huawei also erupting today) looks like this will be a year of global fracture.

It is not all President Trump's doing, of course. We see the Democratic Party showing the same colors. Instead of applauding democracy when foreign countries do not elect a leader approved by U.S. diplomats (whether it is Allende or Maduro), they've let the mask fall and shown themselves to be the leading New Cold War imperialists. It's now out in the open. They would make Venezuela the new Pinochet-era Chile. Trump is not alone in supporting Saudi Arabia and its Wahabi terrorists acting, as Lyndon Johnson put it, "Bastards, but they're our bastards."

Where is the left in all this? That is the question with which I opened this article. How remarkable it is that it is only right-wing parties, Alternative for Deutschland (AFD), or Marine le Pen's French nationalists and those of other countries that are opposing NATO militarization and seeking to revive trade and economic links with the rest of Eurasia.

The end of our monetary imperialism, about which I first wrote in 1972 in Super Imperialism, stuns even an informed observer like me. It took a colossal level of arrogance, short-sightedness and lawlessness to hasten its decline -- something that only crazed Neocons like John Bolton, Elliot Abrams and Mike Pompeo could deliver for Donald Trump.

Footnotes

[1] "It Can't be Fixed: Senior ICC Judge Quits in Protest of US, Turkish Meddling," January 31, 2019.

[2] Patricia Laya, Ethan Bronner and Tim Ross, "Maduro Stymied in Bid to Pull $1.2 Billion of Gold From U.K.," Bloomberg, January 25, 2019. Anticipating just such a double-cross, President Chavez acted already in 2011 to repatriate 160 tons of gold to Caracas from the United States and Europe.

[3] ibid

[4] Corina Pons, Mayela Armas, "Exclusive: Venezuela plans to fly central bank gold reserves to UAE – source," Reuters, January 31, 2019.

[5] Constanze Stelzenmüller, "America's policy on Europe takes a nationalist turn," Financial Times, January 31, 2019.

By Michael Hudson, a research professor of Economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City, and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. His latest book is "and forgive them their debts": Lending, Foreclosure and Redemption from Bronze Age Finance to the Jubilee Year< Jointly posted with Hudson's website


doug , February 1, 2019 at 8:03 am

We see the Democratic Party showing the same colors. Yes we do. no escape? that I see

drumlin woodchuckles , February 1, 2019 at 9:43 am

Well, if the StormTrumpers can tear down all the levers and institutions of international US dollar strength, perhaps they can also tear down all the institutions of Corporate Globalonial Forced Free Trade. That itself may BE our escape . . . if there are enough millions of Americans who have turned their regionalocal zones of habitation into economically and politically armor-plated Transition Towns, Power-Down Zones, etc. People and places like that may be able to crawl up out of the rubble and grow and defend little zones of semi-subsistence survival-economics.

If enough millions of Americans have created enough such zones, they might be able to link up with eachother to offer hope of a movement to make America in general a semi-autarchik, semi-secluded and isolated National Survival Economy . . . . much smaller than today, perhaps likelier to survive the various coming ecosystemic crash-cramdowns, and no longer interested in leading or dominating a world that we would no longer have the power to lead or dominate.

We could put an end to American Exceptionalism. We could lay this burden down. We could become American Okayness Ordinarians. Make America an okay place for ordinary Americans to live in.

drumlin woodchuckles , February 1, 2019 at 2:27 pm

I read somewhere that the Czarist Imperial Army had a saying . . . "Quantity has a Quality all its own".

... ... ...

Cal2 , February 1, 2019 at 2:54 pm

Drumlin,

If Populists, I assume that's what you mean by "Storm Troopers", offer me M4A and revitalized local economies, and deliver them, they have my support and more power to them.

That's why Trump was elected, his promises, not yet delivered, were closer to that then the Democrats' promises. If the Democrats promised those things and delivered, then they would have my support.

If the Democrats run a candidate, who has a no track record of delivering such things, we stay home on election day. Trump can have it, because it won't be any worse.

I don't give a damn about "social issues." Economics, health care and avoiding WWIII are what motivates my votes, and I think more and more people are going to vote the same way.

drumlin woodchuckles , February 1, 2019 at 8:56 pm

Good point about Populist versus StormTrumper. ( And by the way, I said StormTRUMper, not StormTROOper). I wasn't thinking of the Populists. I was thinking of the neo-etc. vandals and arsonists who want us to invade Venezuela, leave the JCPOA with Iran, etc. Those are the people who will finally drive the other-country governments into creating their own parallel payment systems, etc.

And the midpoint of those efforts will leave wreckage and rubble for us to crawl up out of. But we will have a chance to crawl up out of it.

My reason for voting for Trump was mainly to stop the Evil Clinton from getting elected and to reduce the chance of near immediate thermonuclear war with Russia and to save the Assad regime in Syria from Clintonian overthrow and replacement with an Islamic Emirate of Jihadistan.

Much of what will be attempted " in Trump's name" will be de-regulationism of all kinds delivered by the sorts of basic Republicans selected for the various agencies and departments by Pence and Moore and the Koch Brothers. I doubt the Populist Voters wanted the Koch-Pence agenda. But that was a risky tradeoff in return for keeping Clinton out of office.

The only Dems who would seek what you want are Sanders or maybe Gabbard or just barely Warren. The others would all be Clinton or Obama all over again.

Quanka , February 1, 2019 at 8:29 am

I couldn't really find any details about the new INSTEX system – have you got any good links to brush up on? I know they made an announcement yesterday but how long until the new payment system is operational?

The Rev Kev , February 1, 2019 at 8:43 am

Here is a bit more info on it but Trump is already threatening Europe if they use it. That should cause them to respect him more:

https://www.dw.com/en/instex-europe-sets-up-transactions-channel-with-iran/a-47303580

LP , February 1, 2019 at 9:14 am

The NYT and other have coverage.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.nytimes.com/2019/01/31/world/europe/europe-trade-iran-nuclear-deal.amp.html

Louis Fyne , February 1, 2019 at 8:37 am

arguably wouldn't it be better if for USD hegemony to be dismantled? A strong USD hurts US exports, subsidizes American consumption (by making commodities cheaper in relative terms), makes international trade (aka a 8,000-mile+ supply chain) easier.

For the sake of the environment, you want less of all three. Though obviously I don't like the idea of expensive gasoline, natural gas or tube socks either.

Mel , February 1, 2019 at 9:18 am

It would be good for Americans, but the wrong kind of Americans. For the Americans that would populate the Global Executive Suite, a strong US$ means that the stipends they would pay would be worth more to the lackeys, and command more influence.

Dumping the industrial base really ruined things. America is now in a position where it can shout orders, and drop bombs, but doesn't have the capacity to do anything helpful. They have to give up being what Toynbee called a creative minority, and settle for being a dominant minority.

integer , February 1, 2019 at 8:43 am

Having watched the 2016 election closely from afar, I was left with the impression that many of the swing voters who cast their vote for Trump did so under the assumption that he would act as a catalyst for systemic change.

What this change would consist of, and how it would manifest, remained an open question. Would he pursue rapprochement with Russia and pull troops out of the Middle East as he claimed to want to do during his 2016 campaign, would he doggedly pursue corruption charges against Clinton and attempt to reform the FBI and CIA, or would he do both, neither, or something else entirely?

Now we know. He has ripped the already transparent mask of altruism off what is referred to as the U.S.-led liberal international order and revealed its true nature for all to see, and has managed to do it in spite of the liberal international establishment desperately trying to hold it in place in the hope of effecting a seamless post-Trump return to what they refer to as "norms". Interesting times.

James , February 1, 2019 at 10:34 am

Exactly. He hasn't exactly lived up to advanced billing so far in all respects, but I suspect there's great deal of skulduggery going on behind the scenes that has prevented that. Whether or not he ever had or has a coherent plan for the havoc he has wrought, he has certainly been the agent for change many of us hoped he would be, in stark contrast to the criminal duopoly parties who continue to oppose him, where the daily no news is always bad news all the same. To paraphrase the infamous Rummy, you don't go to war with the change agent and policies you wished you had, you go to war with the ones you have. That might be the best thing we can say about Trump after the historic dust of his administration finally settles.

drumlin woodchuckles , February 1, 2019 at 2:39 pm

Look on some bright sides. Here is just one bright side to look on. President Trump has delayed and denied the Clinton Plan to topple Assad just long enough that Russia has been able to help Assad preserve legitimate government in most of Syria and defeat the Clinton's-choice jihadis.

That is a positive good. Unless you are pro-jihadi.

integer , February 1, 2019 at 8:09 pm

Clinton wasn't going to "benefit the greater good" either, and a very strong argument, based on her past behavior, can be made that she represented the greater threat. Given that the choice was between her and Trump, I think voters made the right decision.

Stephen Gardner , February 1, 2019 at 9:02 am

Excellent article but I believe the expression is "cui bono": who benefits.

hemeantwell , February 1, 2019 at 9:09 am

Hudson's done us a service in pulling these threads together. I'd missed the threats against the ICC judges. One question: is it possible for INSTEX-like arrangements to function secretly? What is to be gained by announcing them publicly and drawing the expected attacks? Does that help sharpen conflicts, and to what end?

Oregoncharles , February 1, 2019 at 3:23 pm

Maybe they're done in secret already – who knows? The point of doing it publicly is to make a foreign-policy impact, in this case withdrawing power from the US. It's a Declaration of Independence.

whine country , February 1, 2019 at 9:15 am

It certainly seems as though the 90 percent (plus) are an afterthought in this journey to who knows where? Like George C.Scott said while playing Patton, "The whole world at economic war and I'm not part of it. God will not let this happen." Looks like we're on the Brexit track (without the vote). The elite argue with themselves and we just sit and watch. It appears to me that the elite just do not have the ability to contemplate things beyond their own narrow self interest. We are all deplorables now.

a different chris , February 1, 2019 at 9:30 am

Unfortunately this

The end of America's unchallenged global economic dominance has arrived sooner than expected

Is not supported by this (or really the rest of the article). The past tense here, for example, is unwarranted:

At the United Nations, U.S. diplomats insisted on veto power. At the World Bank and IMF they also made sure that their equity share was large enough to give them veto power over any loan or other policy.

And this

So last year, Germany finally got up the courage to ask that some of its gold be flown back to Germany. Germany agreed to slow down the transfer.

Doesn't show Germany as breaking free at all, and worse it is followed by the pregnant

But then came Venezuela.

Yet we find out that Venezuela didn't managed to do what they wanted to do, the Europeans, the Turks, etc bent over yet again. Nothing to see here, actually.

So what I'm saying is he didn't make his point. I wish it were true. But a bit of grumbling and (a tiny amount of) foot-dragging by some pygmy leaders (Merkel) does not signal a global change.

orange cats , February 1, 2019 at 11:22 am

"So what I'm saying is he didn't make his point. I wish it were true. But a bit of grumbling and (a tiny amount of) foot-dragging by some pygmy leaders (Merkel) does not signal a global change."

I'm surprised more people aren't recognizing this. I read the article waiting in vain for some evidence of "the end of our monetary imperialism" besides some 'grumbling and foot dragging' as you aptly put it. There was some glimmer of a buried lede with INTEX, created to get around U.S. sanctions against Iran ─ hardly a 'dam-breaking'. Washington is on record as being annoyed.

OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL , February 1, 2019 at 1:41 pm

Currency regime change can take decades, and small percentage differences are enormous because of the flows involved. USD as reserve for 61% of global sovereigns versus 64% 15 years ago is a massive move. World bond market flows are 10X the size of world stock market flows even though the price of the Dow and Facebook shares etc get all of the headlines.

And foreign exchange flows are 10-50X the flows of bond markets, they're currently on the order of $5 *trillion* per day. And since forex is almost completely unregulated it's quite difficult to get the data and spot reserve currency trends. Oh, and buy gold. It's the only currency that requires no counterparty and is no one's debt obligation.

orange cats , February 1, 2019 at 3:47 pm

That's not what Hudson claims in his swaggering final sentence:

"The end of our monetary imperialism, about which I first wrote in 1972 in Super Imperialism, stuns even an informed observer like me."

Which is risible as not only did he fail to show anything of the kind, his opening sentence stated a completely different reality: "The end of America's unchallenged global economic dominance has arrived sooner than expected" So if we hold him to his first declaration, his evidence is feeble, as I mentioned. As a scholar, his hyperbole is untrustworthy.

No, gold is pretty enough lying on the bosom of a lady-friend but that's about its only usefulness in the real world.

skippy , February 1, 2019 at 8:09 pm

Always bemusing that gold bugs never talk about gold being in a bubble . yet when it goes south of its purchase price speak in tongues about ev'bal forces.

timbers , February 1, 2019 at 12:26 pm

I don't agree, and do agree. The distinction is this:

If you fix a few of Hudson's errors, and take him as making the point that USD is losing it's hegemony, IMO he is basically correct.

Brian (another one they call) , February 1, 2019 at 9:56 am

thanks Mr. Hudson. One has to wonder what has happened when the government (for decades) has been shown to be morally and otherwise corrupt and self serving. It doesn't seem to bother anyone but the people, and precious few of them. Was it our financial and legal bankruptcy that sent us over the cliff?

Steven , February 1, 2019 at 10:23 am

Great stuff!

Indeed! It is to say the least encouraging to see Dr. Hudson return so forcefully to the theme of 'monetary imperialism'. I discovered his Super Imperialism while looking for an explanation for the pending 2003 US invasion of Iraq. If you haven't read it yet, move it to the top of your queue if you want to have any idea of how the world really works. You can find any number of articles on his web site that return periodically to the theme of monetary imperialism. I remember one in particular that described how the rest of the world was brought on board to help pay for its good old-fashioned military imperialism.

If it isn't clear to the rest of the world by now, it never will be. The US is incapable of changing on its own a corrupt status quo dominated by a coalition of its military industrial complex, Wall Street bankers and fossil fuels industries. As long as the world continues to chase the debt created on the keyboards of Wall Street banks and 'deficits don't matter' Washington neocons – as long as the world's 1% think they are getting 'richer' by adding more "debts that can't be repaid (and) won't be" to their portfolios, the global economy can never be put on a sustainable footing.

Until the US returns to the path of genuine wealth creation, it is past time for the rest of the world to go its own way with its banking and financial institutions.

Oh , February 1, 2019 at 3:52 pm

The use of the stick will only go so far. What's the USG going to do if they refuse?

Summer , February 1, 2019 at 10:46 am

In other words, after 2 World Wars that produced the current world order, it is still in a state of insanity with the same pretensions to superiority by the same people, to get number 3.

Yikes , February 1, 2019 at 12:07 pm

UK withholding Gold may start another Brexit? IE: funds/gold held by BOE for other countries in Africa, Asian, South America, and the "stans" with start to depart, slowly at first, perhaps for Switzerland?

Ian Perkins , February 1, 2019 at 12:21 pm

Where is the left in all this? Pretty much the same place as Michael Hudson, I'd say. Where is the US Democratic Party in all this? Quite a different question, and quite a different answer. So far as I can see, the Democrats for years have bombed, invaded and plundered other countries 'for their own good'. Republicans do it 'for the good of America', by which the ignoramuses mean the USA. If you're on the receiving end, it doesn't make much difference.

Michael A Gualario , February 1, 2019 at 12:49 pm

Agreed! South America intervention and regime change, Syria ( Trump is pulling out), Iraq, Middle East meddling, all predate Trump. Bush, Clinton and Obama have nothing to do with any of this.

Oregoncharles , February 1, 2019 at 2:12 pm

" So last year, Germany finally got up the courage to ask that some of its gold be flown back to Germany. "

What proof is there that the gold is still there? Chances are it's notional. All Germany, Venezuela, or the others have is an IOU – and gold cannot be printed. Incidentally, this whole discussion means that gold is still money and the gold standard still exists.

Oregoncharles , February 1, 2019 at 3:41 pm

Wukchumni beat me to the suspicion that the gold isn't there.

The Rev Kev , February 1, 2019 at 7:40 pm

What makes you think that the gold in Fort Knox is still there? If I remember right, there was a Potemkin visit back in the 70s to assure everyone that the gold was still there but not since then. Wait, I tell a lie. There was another visit about two years ago but look who was involved in that visit-

https://www.whas11.com/article/news/local/after-40-years-fort-knox-opens-vault-to-civilians/466441331

And I should mention that it was in the 90s that between 1.3 and 1.5 million 400 oz tungsten blanks were manufactured in the US under Clinton. Since then gold-coated tungsten bars have turned up in places like Germany, China, Ethiopia, the UK, etc so who is to say if those gold bars in Fort Knox are gold all the way through either. More on this at -- http://viewzone2.com/fakegoldx.html

Summer , February 1, 2019 at 5:44 pm

A non-accountable standard. It's more obvious BS than what is going on now.

jochen , February 2, 2019 at 6:46 am

It wasn't last year that Germany brought back its Gold. It has been ongoing since 2013, after some political and popular pressure build up. They finished the transaction in 2017. According to an article in Handelblatt (but it was widely reported back then) they brought back pretty much everything they had in Paris (347t), left what they had in London (perhaps they should have done it in reverse) and took home another 300t from the NY Fed. That still leaves 1236t in NY. But half of their Gold (1710t) is now in Frankfurt. That is 50% of the Bundesbanks holdings.

They made a point in saying that every bar was checked and weighed and presented some bars in Frankfurt. I guess they didn't melt them for assaying, but I'd expect them to be smart enough to check the density.

Their reason to keep Gold in NY and London is to quickly buy USD in case of a crisis. That's pretty much a cold war plan, but that's what they do right now.

Regarding Michal Hudsons piece, I enjoyed reading through this one. He tends to write ridiculously long articles and in the last few years with less time and motivation at hand I've skipped most of his texts on NC as they just drag on.

When I'm truly fascinated I like well written, long articles but somehow he lost me at some point. But I noticed that some long original articles in US magazines, probably research for a long time by the journalist, can just drag on for ever as well I just tune out.

Susan the Other , February 1, 2019 at 2:19 pm

This is making sense. I would guess that tearing up the old system is totally deliberate. It wasn't working so well for us because we had to practice too much social austerity, which we have tried to impose on the EU as well, just to stabilize "king dollar" – otherwise spread so thin it was a pending catastrophe.

Now we can get out from under being the reserve currency – the currency that maintains its value by financial manipulation and military bullying domestic deprivation. To replace this old power trip we are now going to mainline oil. The dollar will become a true petro dollar because we are going to commandeer every oil resource not already nailed down.

When we partnered with SA in Aramco and the then petro dollar the dollar was only backed by our military. If we start monopolizing oil, the actual commodity, the dollar will be an apex competitor currency without all the foreign military obligations which will allow greater competitive advantages.

No? I'm looking at PdVSA, PEMEX and the new "Energy Hub for the Eastern Mediterranean" and other places not yet made public. It looks like a power play to me, not a hapless goofball president at all.

skippy , February 2, 2019 at 2:44 am

So sand people with sociological attachment to the OT is a compelling argument based on antiquarian preferences with authoritarian patriarchal tendencies for their non renewable resource . after I might add it was deemed a strategic concern after WWII .

Considering the broader geopolitical realities I would drain all the gold reserves to zero if it was on offer . here natives have some shiny beads for allowing us to resource extract we call this a good trade you maximize your utility as I do mine .

Hay its like not having to run C-corp compounds with western 60s – 70s esthetics and letting the locals play serf, blow back pay back, and now the installed local chiefs can own the risk and refocus the attention away from the real antagonists.

ChrisAtRU , February 1, 2019 at 6:02 pm

Indeed. Thanks so much for this. Maybe the RICS will get serious now – can no longer include Brazil with Bolsonaro. There needs to be an alternate system or systems in place, and to see US Imperialism so so blatantly and bluntly by Trump admin – "US gives Juan Guaido control over some Venezuelan assets" – should sound sirens on every continent and especially in the developing world. I too hope there will be fracture to the point of breakage. Countries of the world outside the US/EU/UK/Canada/Australia confraternity must now unite to provide a permanent framework outside the control of imperial interests. The be clear, this must not default to alternative forms of imperialism germinating by the likes of China.

mikef , February 1, 2019 at 6:07 pm

" such criticism can't begin to take in the full scope of the damage the Trump White House is inflicting on the system of global power Washington built and carefully maintained over those 70 years. Indeed, American leaders have been on top of the world for so long that they no longer remember how they got there.

Few among Washington's foreign policy elite seem to fully grasp the complex system that made U.S. global power what it now is, particularly its all-important geopolitical foundations. As Trump travels the globe, tweeting and trashing away, he's inadvertently showing us the essential structure of that power, the same way a devastating wildfire leaves the steel beams of a ruined building standing starkly above the smoking rubble."

http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/176373/tomgram%3A_alfred_mccoy%2C_tweeting_while_rome_burns

Rajesh K , February 1, 2019 at 7:23 pm

I read something like this and I am like, some of these statements need to be qualified. Like: "Driving China and Russia together". Like where's the proof? Is Xi playing telephone games more often now with Putin? I look at those two and all I see are two egocentric people who might sometimes say the right things but in general do not like the share the spotlight. Let's say they get together to face America and for some reason the later gets "defeated", it's not as if they'll kumbaya together into the night.

This website often points out the difficulties in implementing new banking IT initiatives. Ok, so Europe has a new "payment system". Has it been tested thoroughly? I would expect a couple of weeks or even months of chaos if it's not been tested, and if it's thorough that probably just means that it's in use right i.e. all the kinks have been worked out. In that case the transition is already happening anyway. But then the next crisis arrives and then everyone would need their dollar swap lines again which probably needs to cleared through SWIFT or something.

Anyway, does this all mean that one day we'll wake up and a slice of bacon is 50 bucks as opposed to the usual 1 dollar?

Keith Newman , February 2, 2019 at 1:12 am

Driving Russia and China together is correct. I recall them signing a variety of economic and military agreement a few years ago. It was covered in the media. You should at least google an issue before making silly comments. You might start with the report of Russia and China signing 30 cooperation agreements three years ago. See https://www.rbth.com/international/2016/06/27/russia-china-sign-30-cooperation-agreements_606505 . There are lots and lots of others.

RBHoughton , February 1, 2019 at 9:16 pm

He's draining the swamp in an unpredicted way, a swamp that's founded on the money interest. I don't care what NYT and WaPo have to say, they are not reporting events but promoting agendas.

skippy , February 2, 2019 at 1:11 am

The financial elites are only concerned about shaping society as they see fit, side of self serving is just a historical foot note, Trumps past indicates a strong preference for even more of the same through authoritarian memes or have some missed the OT WH reference to dawg both choosing and then compelling him to run.

Whilst the far right factions fight over the rudder the only new game in town is AOC, Sanders, Warren, et al which Trumps supporters hate with Ideological purity.

/lasse , February 2, 2019 at 7:50 am

Highly doubt Trump is a "witting agent", most likely is that he is just as ignorant as he almost daily shows on twitter. On US role in global affairs he says the same today as he did as a media celebrity in the late 80s. Simplistic household "logics" on macroeconomics. If US have trade deficit it loses. Countries with surplus are the winners.

On a household level it fits, but there no "loser" household that in infinity can print money that the "winners" can accumulate in exchange for their resources and fruits of labor.

One wonder what are Trumps idea of US being a winner in trade (surplus)? I.e. sending away their resources and fruits of labor overseas in exchange for what? A pile of USD? That US in the first place created out of thin air. Or Chinese Yuan, Euros, Turkish liras? Also fiat-money. Or does he think US trade surplus should be paid in gold?

When the US political and economic hegemony will unravel it will come "unexpected". Trump for sure are undermining it with his megalomaniac ignorance. But not sure it's imminent.

Anyhow frightening, the US hegemony have its severe dark sides. But there is absolutely nothing better on the horizon, a crash will throw the world in turmoil for decades or even a century. A lot of bad forces will see their chance to elevate their influence. There will be fierce competition to fill the gap.

On could the insane economic model of EU/Germany being on top of global affairs, a horribly frightening thought. Misery and austerity for all globally, a permanent recession. Probably not much better with the Chinese on top. I'll take the USD hegemony any day compared to that prospect.

Sound of the Suburbs , February 2, 2019 at 10:26 am

Former US ambassador, Chas Freeman, gets to the nub of the problem. "The US preference for governance by elected and appointed officials, uncontaminated by experience in statecraft and diplomacy, or knowledge of geography, history and foreign affairs" https://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_882041135&feature=iv&src_vid=Ge1ozuXN7iI&v=gkf2MQdqz-o

Sound of the Suburbs , February 2, 2019 at 10:29 am

When the delusion takes hold, it is the beginning of the end.

The British Empire will last forever
The thousand year Reich
American exceptionalism

As soon as the bankers thought they thought they were "Master of the Universe" you knew 2008 was coming. The delusion had taken hold.

Sound of the Suburbs , February 2, 2019 at 10:45 am

Michael Hudson, in Super Imperialism, went into how the US could just create the money to run a large trade deficit with the rest of the world. It would get all these imports effectively for nothing, the US's exorbitant privilege. I tied this in with this graph from MMT.

This is the US (46.30 mins.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ba8XdDqZ-Jg

The trade deficit required a large Government deficit to cover it and the US government could just create the money to cover it.

Then ideological neoliberals came in wanting balanced budgets and not realising the Government deficit covered the trade deficit.

The US has been destabilising its own economy by reducing the Government deficit. Bill Clinton didn't realize a Government surplus is an indicator a financial crisis is about to hit. The last US Government surplus occurred in 1927 – 1930, they go hand-in-hand with financial crises.

Richard Koo shows the graph central bankers use and it's the flow of funds within the economy, which sums to zero (32-34 mins.).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YTyJzmiHGk

The Government was running a surplus as the economy blew up in the early 1990s. It's the positive and negative, zero sum, nature of the monetary system. A big trade deficit needs a big Government deficit to cover it. A big trade deficit, with a balanced budget, drives the private sector into debt and blows up the economy.

skippy , February 2, 2019 at 5:28 pm

It should be remembered Bill Clinton's early meeting with Rubin, where in he was informed that wages and productivity had diverged – Rubin did not blink an eye.

[Jul 20, 2019] America s Economic Blockades and International Law by Jeffrey D. Sachs

US unilitarism is the attempt to leverage the advantages obtained when the USSR collapsed. Those advantages will gradually expire.
Jul 20, 2019 | www.project-syndicate.org

Jeffrey D. Sachs Trump is often called an isolationist, but he is as interventionist as his predecessors. His strategy is simply to rely more heavily on US economic power than military might to coerce adversaries, which creates its own kind of cruelty and destabilization – and embodies its own brand of illegality.

NEW YORK – US President Donald Trump has based his foreign policy on a series of harsh economic blockades, each designed to frighten, coerce, and even starve the target country into submitting to American demands. While the practice is less violent than a military attack, and the blockade is through financial means rather than the navy, the consequences are often dire for civilian populations. As such, economic blockades by the United States should be scrutinized by the United Nations Security Council under international law and the UN Charter.

When Trump campaigned for office in 2016, he rejected the frequent US resort to war in the Middle East. During the years 1990-2016, the US launched two major wars with Iraq (1990 and 2003), as well as wars in Afghanistan (2001), Libya (2011), and Syria (2012). It also participated in many smaller military interventions (Mali, Somalia, and Yemen, among others). While the Syrian War is often described as a civil war, it was in a fact a war of regime change led by the US and Saudi Arabia under a US presidential directive called Timber Sycamore .

None of these US-led wars (and others in recent history) achieved their political objectives, and the major conflicts have been followed by chronic violence and instability. The attempt to force Syria's Bashar al-Assad from power led to a proxy war – eventually involving the US, Syria, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran, Turkey, Israel, and the United Arab Emirates – that displaced over ten million Syrians and caused around a half-million violent deaths.

While Trump has so far eschewed a new war, he has continued US regime-change efforts by other means. Trump is often called an isolationist, but he is as interventionist as his predecessors. His strategy, at least so far, has been to rely more heavily on US economic power than military might to coerce adversaries, which creates its own kind of cruelty and destabilization. And it constantly risks flaring into outright war, as occurred with Iran this month.

The Trump administration currently is engaged in three attempts at comprehensive economic blockades, against North Korea, Venezuela, and Iran, as well as several lesser blockades against countries such as Cuba and Nicaragua, and an intensifying effort to cut off China's access to technology. The blockade against North Korea is sanctioned, at least in part, by the UN Security Council. The blockade against Iran is in direct opposition to the Security Council. And the blockade against Venezuela is so far without Security Council engagement for or against. The US is attempting to isolate the three countries from almost all international trade, causing shortages of food, medicines, energy, and spare parts for basic infrastructure, including the water supply and power grid.

The North Korean blockade operates mainly through UN-mandated sanctions, and includes a comprehensive list of exports to North Korea, imports from North Korea, and financial relations with North Korean entities. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization reports that ten million North Koreans are at risk of hunger, partly owing to sanctions. "[T]he unintended negative impact sanctions can have on agricultural production, through both direct and indirect impacts, cannot be ignored," the FAO warns. "The most obvious are restrictions on the importation of certain items that are necessary for agricultural production, in particular fuel, machinery and spare parts for equipment."

The draconian US sanctions on Venezuela have come in two phases. The first, beginning in August 2017, was mainly directed at the state oil company PDVSA, the country's main earner of foreign exchange; the second round of sanctions, imposed in January 2019, was more comprehensive, targeting the Venezuelan government. A recent detailed analysis of the first round of sanctions shows their devastating impact. The US sanctions gravely exacerbated previous economic mismanagement, contributing to a catastrophic fall in oil production, hyperinflation, economic collapse (output is down by half since 2016), hunger, and rising mortality.

US sanctions against Iran have been in place more or less continuously since 1979. The most recent and by far most draconian measures, introduced in August 2018 and intensified in the first half of this year, aim to cut Iran off from foreign trade. The US sanctions are in direct contravention of UN Security Council Resolution 2231 , which endorsed the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran. The effects have been devastating. The International Monetary Fund forecasts that Iran's economy will shrink by 10% between 2017 and 2019, with inflation reaching 30% this year. Medicines are in short supply .

One might expect that other countries would easily circumvent US sanctions. But the US has threatened to punish foreign companies that violate the sanctions and has used the dollar's global clout as a bludgeon, threatening to sanction foreign banks that finance trade with Iran. European companies have fallen into line, despite the European Union's express desire to engage economically with Iran. Over the longer term, it is likely that more ways will be found to circumvent the sanctions, using renminbi, ruble, or euro financing, yet the erosion of US sanctions will only be gradual.

Despite the intense economic pain – indeed calamity – inflicted on North Korea, Venezuela, and Iran, none of them has succumbed to US demands. In this sense, sanctions have proved to be no more successful than military intervention. North Korea has maintained, and most likely is expanding, its nuclear arsenal. The Iranian regime rejects US demands concerning its missile program and foreign policies. And Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro remains in power.

The US blockades have been carried out by presidential decree, with almost no public debate and no systematic oversight by Congress. This has been a one-man show, even more so than in the case of president-led wars, which trigger vastly more public scrutiny. Trump realizes that he can impose crippling sanctions abroad with almost no direct costs to the US public or budget, and with virtually no political accountability.

Military blockades are acts of war, and therefore subject to international law, including UN Security Council oversight. America's economic blockades are similar in function and outcome to military blockades, with devastating consequences for civilian populations, and risk provoking war. It is time for the Security Council to take up the US sanctions regimes and weigh them against the requirements of international law and peacekeeping. Jeffrey D. Sachs , Professor of Sustainable Development and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University, is Director of Columbia's Center for Sustainable Development and of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. His books include The End of Poverty , Common Wealth , The Age of Sustainable Development , Building the New American Economy , and most recently, A New Foreign Policy: Beyond American Exceptionalism .

Nico Lau Jul 8, 2019
As long as a country neither conducts a genocide, nor attacks other countries, nobody should interfere in its internal affairs. If a country like Venezuela or Cuba goes broke due to its incompetent leadership, it should get help from the IMF etc. in exchange for reforms as happens with any other country. Other than that it is their business whether they want to be socialist, capitalist or whatever. That whole ideological crusade against leftist countries has to stop, it has cost millions of lives already.

And there is a simple way to stop Iran's activities in the Middle East: let's finally solve the conflict there after decades during which the West simply looked the other way when land, water and oil were stolen from the Palestinians and others.

In my view the US has long turned into a rogue state. The rest of the world has to prune that country by working together and isolating it. For instance, let's create a new global currency for commodities, the Com, in order to drive the dollar out.

Let's move the UN out of the US to a neutral, peaceful country, Switzerland for instance.

vivek iyer Jul 1, 2019
Sanctions are legal and based on national sovereignty and not a proper subject of scrutiny by an international body. Blockades are subject to international law. By calling something which is legal by another term which may involve illegality one is guilty of shedding false light.

Sachs thinks that if sanctions have the same effect as a blockade then sanctions are blockades. This is foolish. It is like saying 'since a woman can get pregnant either through consensual sex or through rape, it follows that all fathers are rapists'.

Trump is carrying on policies previously applied. He has made no great innovation. It appears likely that no 'regime change' will occur. That is why there is no real 'geopolitical' risk here. The effect of sanctions is to create a widening chasm between regime 'insiders' and the great mass of the people. This has a demoralizing effect and reduces the ability of the regime to use its brain-washed subjects for an aggressive purpose. In other words, sanctions reduce, not increase, the threat potential of a bitter adversary.

Petey Bee Jul 1, 2019
Current sanctions attempt to effectively have jurisdiction over third parties, i.e. not the US, who would trade with Iran. ( that, in full compliance with international law and a binding prior agreement to which the US is a party.) I am curious how you square that with "national sovereignty", unless that is something over which the US has a higher priority than third parties.
Robert Wolff Jun 30, 2019
As in all other times that are precursors to War, the laws of disparate nations mean nothing. We all have our own laws, to rule our own geopolitical nations, which disserve the interests of other geopolitical nations.

Most recently, the WTO admits it is insufficient to resolve trade disputes among nations, and must change its hypotheses. This is only another precursor admission that binding international laws are becoming irrelevant, and that we must "Start all over again", i.e. the rule of the strongest, which means one state must conquer another before we can reestablish "Common Rule."

... ... ...

Paul Daley Jun 29, 2019

Economic sanctions are not tantamount to acts of war and should not be treated that way at the UN Security Council or anywhere else. To do that would just leave acts of war as the only alternative in the case of serious disputes. But neither should nations necessarily cooperate with sanctions they see as poorly motivated or poorly designed. In those cases, the best response is usually technical -- new institutional arrangements that raise the costs or limit the effects of poorly justified unilateral sanctions.
Petey Bee Jun 28, 2019
The Trump administration is using sanctions like a resource that will soon expire.
Mirek Fatyga Jun 28, 2019
it is the beginning of the end for the special role of the US$ in the world economy. Dethroning the US$ has now become a matter of national security for 95% of the planet. Not that this would not have happened anyway, nothing lasts forever, but present events accelerate the process.

This can be good for the US in the long run, if painful at first. One sometimes quips about the curse of natural resources. US suffers from the similar curse of the Dollar, which is a natural resource of sorts, as it can be printed out of thin air, seemingly without consequences. The dethroning of the US$ will cause a pretty significant, perhaps shocking, drop in living standards given US social inequalities, but it may be beneficial in the long run by imposing some sobriety and discipline upon the political system. Then, it could also break up the country for good. May you live in interesting times, as the saying goes.

Paul Friesen Jun 28, 2019

Fortunately, the ability of the U.S. to do this is fading fast, as it loses its economic domination to China. So far, China has shown rather less tendency to meddle in the affairs of other countries, with the notable exceptions of certain territories which it regards as part of its territory. The world is slowly becoming fairer.

[Jul 12, 2019] WH probably will use both Epsteins and Iranians, to tilt outcome of the 2020 outcome

Notable quotes:
"... Timing is indeed everything. Russiagate set the precedent for lawfare to become a normal part of the political process and I'd fully expect Trump to maximize it to his own advantage in the run up to 2020. ..."
"... Lolitagate may be targeting the Clintons and you are probably right that the Clintons need not drag down someone like Warren simply because of party association. ..."
"... It will be interesting to see who will be the ultimate targets. It was a travesty that in the original case Epstein was the only person charged, unless I missed something. It's obvious that there had been a facilitating organization that he was running and boatloads of cash coming and going. No curiosity about that? ..."
Jul 12, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

PRC90 , 09 July 2019 at 12:07 PM

Timing is (just about) everything, including within the art of public swamp draining.
I'm not familiar with the pace of legal proceedings of this nature through the US Court system, however Trump will be in an advantageous position if Barr's processes are timed to result in convictions and penalties being handed out to various well known DNC and IC luminaries immediately before the 2020 election date.

The mistake would be to rely on any convictions of the 2016 players to discredit the DNC candidate of 2020. The Clintons, et al, are current era irrelevancies or indeed parodies, and they and proof of long gone conspiracies would be seen as separate issues to whatever the Democrat candidate, eg., Elizabeth Warren, can credibly promise for 2020-24. Trump will still have to fight 2020, not re run 2016.

I think the answer to the above question is 'yes' within the context that ever action the WH takes from now on in, be it relating to Epsteins or Iranians, will be with the 2020 outcome as the prime determinant.

Barbara Ann -> PRC90... , 09 July 2019 at 02:44 PM

Timing is indeed everything. Russiagate set the precedent for lawfare to become a normal part of the political process and I'd fully expect Trump to maximize it to his own advantage in the run up to 2020.

Lolitagate may be targeting the Clintons and you are probably right that the Clintons need not drag down someone like Warren simply because of party association.

However, I'd bet Barr can be relied upon to do plenty of damage to the Dems which will affect voters next year. It depends how high up the Russiagate blowback goes. I'd not expect any Dem candidate to beat Trump if the guts of the coup plot spill out in public, especially if St. Obama is implicated - that would be a dagger to the heart.

This is why I found it interesting to see the Strzok-Page texts info the Favored Fox News Channel had, referred to in Larry's last post. I'd expect more of the same building to a crescendo at the most opportune time. Trump is a ruthless SOB and I expect his revenge will be sweet.

PRC90 -> Barbara Ann... , 11 July 2019 at 02:00 PM

Trump is a very smart and ruthless SOB, but his ill fated Inaugural Address declaration of war on the Swamp demonstrated that his sense of time and timing was off at least at the start of his Presidency. By now, years later, his enemies will have taught him well and he will return the favor.

Lawfare ? It sounds good, until the voters figure out that some of it is nothing more than abuse of the legal system in the pursuit of the corrupt by the corrupt, or until African National Congress lawyers begin offering their services pro bono.

Certainly whatever Barr produces will be levered against the DNC to the last ounce of weight by the pro Trump media, although to be effective it must be configured to match the attributes of the eventual candidate - the best will be saved until last. Dear old Joe, on his merits, need not worry about that.

I think the DNC will have a clean out of anyone who has ever stood within a mile of even possible witnesses in Barr's proceedings. Changing their brand will prove far harder - there will be no New DNC copy of Blair's 1990's era New Labour, and the GOP's intent will be , as you say, to hit the Dem's brand as much as hit the final candidate.

The idiocy of the Strzok-Page texts illustrates once again the throwing of caution to the wind when victory is assured - I suspect neither had ever in their pasts received a hit big enough to foster instinctive caution against the speed at which the world can unravel around them. Well, they do now !

LG -> Eric Newhill... , 11 July 2019 at 12:35 AM

...The sleazy guy didn't use the girls for his own pleasure alone. Instead, I think the girls were being groomed for entrapping imp figures for blackmail. The money and the billionaire lifestyle (with no known source of income) provided the context in which he could meet the powerful and the famous. He was set up by the Wexner and others in mega group.

Why else should wexner entrust his money to a college dropout maths school teacher, who was later thrown out of a minor job at a hedge fund for malpractice?

Sometimes things are as obvious as they seem. If you have a bunch of openly pro-Izzie types (Wexner, maxwell) associated with such a setup, then you can safely conclude what they are after.

Flavius , 10 July 2019 at 03:32 PM

We haven't seen anything yet of which I'm aware to allow for a determination of what led to Epstein's serial abuses getting revisited. I very much doubt that it was a political appointee new to the system who came into the job while harboring a determination to right a wrong if given the chance. I think it more likely that it's a bottom up initiative, a witness having developed as a result of having gotten jammed up in another case and offering up a bigger fish, a newspaper story, new victims coming to light as a result of civil process, the review process prior to releasing the disclosure materials triggering outrage, something along these orders. Whatever it was, once the case was underway, in the era of #MeToo and with new political appointees in place, there would be no stopping it.

It will be interesting to see who will be the ultimate targets. It was a travesty that in the original case Epstein was the only person charged, unless I missed something. It's obvious that there had been a facilitating organization that he was running and boatloads of cash coming and going. No curiosity about that?

The prediction here is that Epstein will offer to cooperate sooner rather than later. It would not surprise me at all if hasn't already been given the opportunity and wanted to wait to see what cards the government was holding, try to figure out who from his old team had turned and were witnesses against him.

A big question now is that if and when he does cooperate, what kind of corroborative materials he would be able to bring along with him to bolster the victim testimony which will be recollections of abuse from women when they were adolescents that happened quite a while ago.
The indictment forecloses on any opportunity to use Epstein actively; and what kind of deal do you offer to this guy anyway who right now appears to be the principal malefactor in order to get to others, culpable users of his scheme surely, but not integral to his organization per se, largely because they are newsworthy figures of one sort or another. Not an easy call, but I would argue Epstein should take a major hit even if it means risking not getting his cooperation.

LG -> Flavius... , 11 July 2019 at 12:27 AM

"We haven't seen anything yet of which I'm aware to allow for a determination of what led to Epstein's serial abuses getting revisited."

An important figure pushing for the re-opening of the case is Mike Cernovich. He along with Breitbart are the main cheerleaders for the conviction- the draining of the swamp. They are Trump's mouthpieces who talk directly to his base. I believe the Trump admin is completely supporting the re-trial. AG Barr's father had to leave the posh school where he had worked asa principal for a decade, soon after he employed college dropout Epstein as a Math teacher. The guy who replaced barr Sr was a pedo (perhaps appointed with Epstein) and left under a cloud. I think there is some personal revenge angle here as well.

Barbara Ann -> Outrage Beyond... , 11 July 2019 at 07:30 AM

Outrage Beyond

The link optimax provides below (and reproduced here ) to an EIR (LaRouche) piece on "Mega" is very interesting. It pulls a lot of this together and seems to be the main source for your linked article. The title quote; "'Mega' was not an agent, Mega was the boss" refers to the NYC-based Mega Group of Jewish billionaires (incl. Wexner) who actually run the show. Epstein's operation looks to me like an subsidiary SPV to manufacture kompromat, as you say.

The EIR piece is frustratingly lacking in links/citations, but the crucial one backing up this quote does check out (link below). I have taken the liberty of saving it into the Internet Archive in case it now 'disappears' due to the publicity. The author refers to Mega Group as "the Megabucks" and describes an interesting twist on the traditional Mossad-run Z0G narrative. He asserts that they are actually out for themselves and influence/buy politics in Israeli every bit as much as in the US to further their own ends. Israel to them is merely a useful tool. From the article:

" Israel for them is only a means to Jewish unity, on a par with the Holocaust propaganda. The idea is to keep Jews together, away from hanging with other folks. The heads of the American Jewish community need it, as they have a fair chance to find themselves without soldiers, all chiefs, and no Indians. "

EIR quotes the WSJ article (paywall) saying Wexner and Charles Bronfman founded the Mega Group in 1991. Charles' brother; Edgar Bronfman is also listed as a member. I came across someone on reddit ) saying that Hillary basically handed over Libya to the Bronfmans. Edgar's daughter Sara and her husband; Basit Igtet ( http://basitigtet.com) appear to have run the coup (see their wikis on Libya). Basit is coincidentally chairman of an energy co. now looking to exploit Libyan oil and apparently had/has ambitions to become president.

It may be antisemitic to characterize Jews as power-hungry money-obsessed world dominators, but this group sure seem to fit the characterization rather well.

https://www.mediamonitors.net/kugel-eaters/

[Jun 24, 2019] Foreign policy triumphs of Trump administration

Notable quotes:
"... Real men go to Teheran! ..."
"... Trump treats int'l matters like acrid biz negotiations (see art of the deal) - you pressure your carpet installer for your mega hotels with nasty e-mails, bellowing threats on the phone, rustling up the competition, getting a bunch of staff on your side to shore up da ego, etc. When the carpet-seller makes some bigly concessions on price (all understand the game that is played) you relent and make nicey, and the wives get together for tennis and a ruccola crab lunch and later some mega bash with smiling faces is pictured. ..."
Jun 24, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Noirette , Jun 23, 2019 11:16:27 AM | 10

Trump strove for some foreign policy triumphs. The art of the deal!

Real men go to Teheran!

Except Trump and US forces aren't going anywhere at all and most certainly not to Iran. A real war in that theatre cannot be fought and won by the US. Nor can it be instigated and subsequently 'let drop' or 'become unimportant, trivial, with some claims of victory' for ex. Afghanistan. (very costly btw)

Iran has made it clear that economic sanctions are part of hybrid war, rightly so (but not, as I still claim, by making some minor attacks on tankers round about, to provoke a reaction, NO) -- at some point, one engages, if not: backing down is the only option.

Trump treats int'l matters like acrid biz negotiations (see art of the deal) - you pressure your carpet installer for your mega hotels with nasty e-mails, bellowing threats on the phone, rustling up the competition, getting a bunch of staff on your side to shore up da ego, etc. When the carpet-seller makes some bigly concessions on price (all understand the game that is played) you relent and make nicey, and the wives get together for tennis and a ruccola crab lunch and later some mega bash with smiling faces is pictured.

I think he got on super well with Kim (NK) who understood all this.

Leaves begging what-who-why is the projected aim, potential hoped result of the hybrid attack on Iran, and which parties (USA MIC, Fin. Trade Cos., Banking, FF industry, many other industries; Israel, KSA) support it (again, for what precise aim?) Or are against sanctions...

[Jun 20, 2019] Frustrated Donald Trump 'Chewed Out' Staff for Failed Venezuela Coup, Thought His Officials 'Got Played' Report

Jun 20, 2019 | www.newsweek.com

However, when virtually no one in the upper circles of power in Caracas ended up backing Guaidó, Trump thought that his national security adviser John Bolton and his director for Latin American policy, Mauricio Claver-Carone, "got played" by the opposition and key Maduro officials, The Post reported.

Two senior White House officials told The Post that the president "chewed out the staff" after the failure on April 30 to shift Maduro from power and that now Trump's administration has no fixed strategy to remove him.

Trump had "always thought of" Venezuela "as low-hanging fruit" on which he "could get a win and tout it as a major foreign policy victory," the former official said. "Five or six months later . . . it's not coming together," the unnamed official added.

However, this was rejected by National Security Council spokesman Garrett Marquis who described the official's claims as, "patently false."

[Jun 09, 2019] Trump's Venezuela Hallucination The American Conservative

Jun 09, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Trump was eager to boast about Moscow's withdrawal of its troops from Venezuela, but it turned out that he or someone else in the administration just made it up:

The Kremlin said on Tuesday it didn't know where U.S. President Donald Trump had got the idea Moscow had removed most of its military specialists from Venezuela, who it said continued to work there.

Trump tweeted on Monday that Russia had told the United States it had removed "most of their people" from Venezuela, where Moscow has maintained close military and economic ties with socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

Trump's Venezuela policy is a shambles, and Russia previously brushed off his ultimatum to remove their forces from the country. It isn't surprising that he would try to spin any development in his favor, but in this case it seems that he just invented something out of thin air so that his Venezuela policy wouldn't look quite so feckless. He has no genuine successes that he can talk about, so he has to have pretend victories instead. The original tweet is still up:

Claiming that "Russia informed" him of this thing that didn't happen makes it even sillier, because it immediately prompted the Russian government to announce that they couldn't have informed Trump about something that hadn't occurred. Now that Russia has corrected the record, the president looks even more ridiculous than usual.

This episode isn't that important by itself, but it shows how easily Trump can be convinced of the reality of things that haven't happened and how readily he will accept any story, no matter how unfounded it may be, if it flatters him and bolsters his agenda. That makes him unusually easy to manipulate and provoke, and it makes him an exceptionally easy mark for misinformation. That puts the president's decision-making completely at the mercy of the advisers that control what he sees and hears.


Collin, says: June 4, 2019 at 3:30 pm

that his Venezuela policy wouldn't look quite so feckless.

Not a Trump fan, but is Trump's Venezuela policy feckless? Or just Trump somehow understands that it is not our problem and/or military intervention is just a bad investment. For the life of me, I don't understand why Russia desires to part of the Venezuelan mess, but most of their interference is minimal in nature and really has little impact on the situation. I get the Bay Of Bolton was half assed coup that probably did more damage to Guaido chances for new elections. (Guaido is being painted as the Trump Imperialism candidate which is not popular.)

The big question is why this is not China's problem? At this point, Venezuela is completely with them.

EliteCommInc. , says: June 4, 2019 at 3:42 pm
"That puts the president's decision-making completely at the mercy of the advisers that control what he sees and hears."

Hmmmm . . . hard to challenge that.

rayray , says: June 4, 2019 at 3:51 pm
White House staff may have just taken Putin's name off the ship to make Trump feel better.
SteveM , says: June 4, 2019 at 4:01 pm
Re: "Trump's Venezuela policy is a shambles, and Russia previously brushed off his ultimatum to remove their forces from the country."

Agree. But the larger subtext is that the U.S. now has zero credibility with anything . The assumption by every country on the planet has to be that the U.S. word is not worth squat.

Fat Pompeo with his big mouth, "We lie, cheat and steal" mind-dump says it all. The Russians are anything but saints, but they knew that the U.S. planned on having Russia ejected from its Crimean Naval Base in Sevastopol after the coup that Nitwit Nuland and her barrel of CIA monkeys engineered.

Similarly, the Russians know that if/when the U.S. puts sock puppet Guaido in power, they will ensure he stiffs the Russians out of all of their claims and assets in Venezuela.

The Russians don't want to wrestle with the Gorilla, but they have no other choice.

Myron K Hudson , says: June 4, 2019 at 6:14 pm
This new normal is frightening. The man has a tenuous grip on reality at best. Those profiting by it maintain that the Emperor has clothes.
Clyde Schechter , says: June 4, 2019 at 7:11 pm
Given the way the dealings with North Korea have gone, I expect that Trump will soon be announcing that Kim Jong-Un has destroyed all his nuclear weapons and pledged not to build any more. Needless to say, it will not have happened.

But, as they say, fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice shame on me. The question really becomes why so many of Trump's followers continue to believe everything he says when he lies so blatantly so often.

Carnie Barquer , says: June 4, 2019 at 8:10 pm
"That puts the president's decision-making completely at the mercy of the advisers that control what he sees and hears. "

And what a bunch those "advisers" are! Wackjobs, liars, convicted criminals, foreign agents and some are more than one of those things!

Mark Thomason , says: June 5, 2019 at 8:25 am
My guess is that Bolton lied to Trump, in order to make himself look better to Trump when pressed on his failures.

By the time that is known, events will have moved on so far even Trump doesn't care.

Kent , says: June 5, 2019 at 8:25 am
@Clyde Schechter,

"The question really becomes why so many of Trump's followers continue to believe everything he says when he lies so blatantly so often."

I don't know that they do. I tend to think that they just hate what has happened to the country since Reagan and Clinton so much that they just want Trump to keep bashing Congress over the head, even with stupidity.

Not to mention that humans have an innate exploitable weakness: the desire to transfer someone else's perceived greatness on to themselves. Hence the inclination of sports fans and adoration of the military.

So "Team America" is great, therefore I am great, and Trump represents us, therefore Trump is great.

Bannerman , says: June 5, 2019 at 1:45 pm
One should not wish ill on any other human being, even though i have contemplated several slapstick scenarios involving certain politicians, however

Donald Trump is in the process of discovering that one cannot ignore Reality, since it Bites, that live is not a reality TV show (the most unreal thing on television), and that chickens do indeed come home to roost.

Unfortunately, it's been a difficult learning curve, and pathetic boasts to the contrary, he has managed to turn both the Conservative Movement and the Republican Party into a pile of smoking rubble.

It conservatism can be rebuilt in a score of years, it would be a miracle. More like, a generation.

Kevin Zeese , says: June 7, 2019 at 11:04 am
Trump's Venezuelan policy is a series of hallucination's. This article just describes the most recent. It begins with the hallucination that Maduro is a dictator, when in reality he won an election in May 2018 with 67% of the vote in an election that more than 150 international election observers unanimously agreed met all international standards for democratic elections. It follows with the hallucination that the Venezuelan military would join the US in rising up against their elected president rather than support the constitutional government. It continues with the hallucination that the people of Venezuela would join a US-inspired coup against the president they had just re-elected rather than join a 2 million person plus civilian militia to defend against a US attack. And, it continues with the hallucination that Juan Guaido is the interim president when his self-appointment violated the Venezuelan Constitution and the United Nations and Venezuelan law recognize Nicolas Maduro as the legitimate president of Venezuela.

The antidote of these ongoing hallucinatory experiences is for Trump to no longer trust his advisors and end the US coup attempt, which has already failed multiple times in Venezuela. John Bolton, Mike Pompeo, and Elliot Abrams have made Trump see hallucinations that are complete falsehoods. They have led the president into an embarrassing trap that he now needs to get out of. They have made Trump look like a fool.

It is time for Trump to take steps to normalize relations with Venezuela. That begins with a mutual Protecting Power Agreement between the US and Venezuela for Switzerland to be a Protecting Power of the US Embassy in Caracas and Turkey to be a Protecting of the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, DC. Following from that the US and Venezuela should negotiate the sale of Venezuelan resources, primarily oil, in return for the end of the illegal unilateral coercive measures (inaccurately called sanctions) against Venezuela. Negotiating with Venezuela will be less expensive than a war that will become a quagmire that will end in failure after costing more than $1 trillion and causing chaos in the region. Then, Trump and Maduro should meet to chart a course that begins with mutual respect for the independence and sovereignty of each nation and then determines where the two nations interests are consistent with each other. It is time to leave the hallucinations behind and come back to reality.

delia ruhe , says: June 7, 2019 at 11:49 am
The ease with which Trump is manipulated and provoked can be added to the explanation of why Bibi is now in possession of Jerusalem and war against Iran is a high probability. That should terrify Americans.

[Jun 05, 2019] Opposing Trump's Repeated Abuses of Power

Notable quotes:
"... The latest threat to impose new tariffs on imports from Mexico shows that Trump is interested in using economic threats and punishment mainly to pick fights, and then once he has picked the fight he cites the conflict he started as proof of how "tough" he is. He sets conditions that other governments cannot or will not meet, and then seeks to penalize them for "failing" to agree to unrealistic terms. The problem isn't just that Trump is liable to reverse course and sabotage his own agreements once they are made, but that other governments have absolutely no incentive to make an agreement with him in the first place. Trump never offers positive incentives for cooperation, but relies instead on inflicting economic pain in an attempt to bully the other government into submission. Of course, bullying tactics tend to backfire, especially when the bully's demands seem impossible or unreasonable. ..."
Jun 05, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Kimberly Ann Elliott warns about the consequences of the president's latest tantrum-cum-threat, this time against Mexico:

Even if there is a deal, and the tariffs are averted, American negotiators will have to deal with the consequences of Trump's bullying around the world. China, the European Union and Japan are all in the midst of trade negotiations with the Trump administration, and their leaders are warily watching what is going on. Under these circumstances, why would any of them sign an agreement with the United States that Trump could undo with a tweet? [bold mine-DL] The chances of successfully concluding trade negotiations with China, in particular, just got a lot harder. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer reportedly wants to keep some of the tariffs on Chinese exports and reserve the option to reimpose others as part of an enforcement mechanism in any deal. Beijing was already resisting that demand and is now likely to harden its opposition.

In the meantime, there is the other constant question of the Trump era: Where is Congress? The Constitution delegates authority to regulate trade to Congress. For good reasons, Congress began delegating some of that authority to the executive branch after its passage of the Smoot-Hawley tariff legislation helped deepen and lengthen the Great Depression. Congress also recognized that the executive branch needed flexibility to respond to international emergencies and national security threats, and it has provided broad authority over the years allowing the president to impose economic sanctions. But Trump has stretched that authority beyond all recognition, while Congress has done nearly nothing in response.

The latest threat to impose new tariffs on imports from Mexico shows that Trump is interested in using economic threats and punishment mainly to pick fights, and then once he has picked the fight he cites the conflict he started as proof of how "tough" he is. He sets conditions that other governments cannot or will not meet, and then seeks to penalize them for "failing" to agree to unrealistic terms. The problem isn't just that Trump is liable to reverse course and sabotage his own agreements once they are made, but that other governments have absolutely no incentive to make an agreement with him in the first place. Trump never offers positive incentives for cooperation, but relies instead on inflicting economic pain in an attempt to bully the other government into submission. Of course, bullying tactics tend to backfire, especially when the bully's demands seem impossible or unreasonable.

Congress' abdication of its responsibilities is an ongoing problem, but Trump's abuses of power may be starting to wake them from their torpor. Trump keeps exploiting loopholes and exceptions in existing laws that he can use to push through pointless, destructive tariffs or outrageous arms sales to despotic governments. So far Congress has failed to push back and has taken no action to close the loopholes that he has repeatedly abused, but between the bogus arms sale "emergency" and this latest tariff threat that could be about to change. It certainly needs to change before Trump's preference for waging economic war against everyone else throws the economy into a recession.

There are at least some signs that members of the Senate are serious about fighting Trump's bogus arms sale "emergency." Al-Monitor reports :

During the interview in his office, Van Hollen said he "will be working through the appropriations process" on the Senate foreign aid panel to place new restrictions on US support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

He also vowed to close a loophole that the Trump administration recently used to bypass a congressional hold on arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates by citing an emergency threat posed by Iran. The Maryland Democrat argued that Trump has not provided "good evidence" to justify the claim.

Opposing Trump on this bogus "emergency" will be a good start, and more members of Congress need to do the same in response to these arbitrary and unnecessary tariffs. The president is not just pushing through bad policies, but he is doing so by committing repeated abuses of power. It is Congress' responsibility to check those abuses and rein in an executive that has been out of control for far too long.


BD June 4, 2019 at 2:05 pm

Another problem with his negotiating tactics is that they require the counterparty to accept public humiliation. Imagine you had to represent a democratically elected government, or some supreme council, and explain to your constituents why America's president bullied you and you responded with concessions. How would that be tenable, even if the agreement had otherwise good aspects for you? Countries will even spite themselves to avoid humiliation. This is central to why Trump is really bad at making actual deals.

Add to that the whole point of trade agreements is to help commerce–but no one in business can make long term plans when the tariff and regulatory regime is so erratic. You can't make a deal based on expecting a 10% tariff on your goods when you have good reason the tariff can be much higher or lower a month from now.

SteveM , says: June 4, 2019 at 2:57 pm
The problem is not limited to Trump. The problem is that the U.S. governance model is busted in several dimensions. One being that Congressional transfer of power and authority to the President is a one-way ratchet because of the requirement to overturn a certain veto for any powers the Congress wants to rescind.

And the requirements to amend the Constitution amount to poison pills that can't be effectively neutralized.

There are a lot of interdependent, even synergistic political pathologies happening right now and I'm not sure that they can be fixed.

Sid Finster , says: June 4, 2019 at 3:10 pm
If Trump makes some of our vassals stand up for themselves and makes our Congress actually do its job, then that will be some of the few good things to come from this Administration.
Myron K Hudson , says: June 4, 2019 at 6:22 pm
Trump's MO, as described above, has been in plain sight since his days as a developer in NYC and NJ in the 80s. He's poison. Nobody in their right minds would deal with him.
HankP , says: June 4, 2019 at 7:03 pm
The Democratic Congress is trying to do all kinds of things to stop or hinder trump. The Republican Senate, on the other hand, is the body that has abdicated its responsibilities. It's important to point out this difference and realize that there is no conservative party in the US any more.
georgina davenport , says: June 4, 2019 at 10:49 pm
Yes, any clear minded American patriots should be talking about abuse of power by Trump, not just obstruction of justice.

His primary method and strategy is to be thuggish and bullish, then lie his way out of the consequences. The fact that he can continue to behave as he did is because he has yet to experience the consequences of his actions.

His 90s or 80s percentile of favorable rating among the Republican base is his shield and the leash that allows him to keep the Republican Congress docile.

As much as this scenario is scary it may be too kind. The thought that really scares me is that he has the support of Republican base and Congress because Trump is embodiment of their true nature. Trump is the true color of Republicans. Such is half our country, among our families, neighbors, work places .

Mother124 , says: June 5, 2019 at 7:49 am
Government by Twitter is absolutely appalling.

[May 13, 2019] Crappy little countries

This was true about Iraq war. This is true about Venezuela and Syria.
Notable quotes:
"... In a rather odd article in the London Review of Books , Perry Anderson argued that there wasn't, and wondered aloud why the U.S. war on Iraq had excited such unprecedented worldwide opposition - even, in all places, within the U.S. - when earlier episodes of imperial violence hadn't. ..."
"... Lots of people, in the U.S. and abroad, recognize that and are alarmed. And lots also recognize that the Bush regime represents an intensification of imperial ambition. ..."
"... Why? The answers aren't self-evident. Certainly the war on Iraq had little to do with its public justifications. Iraq was clearly a threat to no one, and the weapons of mass destruction have proved elusive. The war did nothing for the fight against terrorism. Only ideologues believe that Baghdad had anything to do with al Qaeda - and if the Bush administration were really worried about "homeland security," it'd be funding the defense of ports, nuclear reactors, and chemical plants rather than starting imperial wars and alienating people by the billions. Sure, Saddam's regime was monstrous - which is one of the reasons Washington supported it up until the invasion of Kuwait. The Ba'ath Party loved to kill Communists - as many as 150,000 according to some estimates - and the CIA's relationship with Saddam goes back to 1959 . ..."
"... Iraq has lots of oil , and there's little doubt that that's why it was at the first pole of the axis of evil to get hit. (Iran does too, but it's a much tougher nut to crack - four times as big, and not weakened by war and sanctions.) ..."
Apr 30, 2003 | www.leftbusinessobserver.com

Every ten years or so, the United States needs to pick up some small c rappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.
- Michael Ledeen , holder of the Freedom Chair at the American Enterprise Institute

Actually, the U.S. had been beating Iraq's head against the wall for a dozen years, with sanctions and bombing. The sanctions alone killed over a million Iraqis, far more than have been done in by weapons of mass destruction throughout history. But Ledeen's indiscreet remark, delivered at an AEI conference and reported by Jonah Goldberg in National Review Online , does capture some of what the war on Iraq is about.

And what is this "business" Ledeen says we mean? Oil, of course, of which more in a bit. Ditto construction contracts for Bechtel. But it's more than that - nothing less than the desire, often expressed with little shame nor euphemism, to run the world. Is there anything new about that?

The answer is, of course, yes and no. In a rather odd article in the London Review of Books , Perry Anderson argued that there wasn't, and wondered aloud why the U.S. war on Iraq had excited such unprecedented worldwide opposition - even, in all places, within the U.S. - when earlier episodes of imperial violence hadn't. Anderson, who's edited New Left Review for years, but who has almost no connection to actual politics attributed this strange explosion not to a popular outburst of anti-imperialism, but to a cultural antipathy to the Bush administration.

Presumably that antipathy belongs to the realm of the " merely cultural ," and is of no great political significance to Anderson. But it should be. U.S. culture has long been afflicted with a brutally reactionary and self-righteous version of Christian fundamentalism, but it's never had such influence over the state. The president thinks himself on a mission from God, the Attorney General opens the business day with a prayer meeting, and the Pentagon's idea of a Good Friday service is to invite Franklin Graham , who's pronounced Islam a "wicked and evil religion," to deliver the homily, in which he promised that Jesus was returning soon. For the hard core, the Iraq war is a sign of the end times, and the hard core are in power.

Lots of people, in the U.S. and abroad, recognize that and are alarmed. And lots also recognize that the Bush regime represents an intensification of imperial ambition. Though the administration has been discreet, many of its private sector intellectuals have been using the words "imperialism" and " empire " openly and with glee. Not everyone of the millions who marched against the war in the months before it started was a conscious anti-imperialist, but they all sensed the intensification, and were further alarmed.

While itself avoiding the difficult word "empire," the Bush administration has been rather clear about its long-term aims. According to their official national security strategy and the documents published by the Project for a New American Century (which served as an administration-in-waiting during the Clinton years) their goal is to assure U.S. dominance and prevent the emergence of any rival powers. First step in that agenda is the remaking of the Middle East - and they're quite open about this as well. We all know the countries that are on the list; the only remaining issues are sequence and strategy. But that's not the whole of the agenda. They're essentially promising a permanent state of war, some overt, some covert, but one that could take decades.

Imperial returns?

Why? The answers aren't self-evident. Certainly the war on Iraq had little to do with its public justifications. Iraq was clearly a threat to no one, and the weapons of mass destruction have proved elusive. The war did nothing for the fight against terrorism. Only ideologues believe that Baghdad had anything to do with al Qaeda - and if the Bush administration were really worried about "homeland security," it'd be funding the defense of ports, nuclear reactors, and chemical plants rather than starting imperial wars and alienating people by the billions. Sure, Saddam's regime was monstrous - which is one of the reasons Washington supported it up until the invasion of Kuwait. The Ba'ath Party loved to kill Communists - as many as 150,000 according to some estimates - and the CIA's relationship with Saddam goes back to 1959 .

Iraq has lots of oil , and there's little doubt that that's why it was at the first pole of the axis of evil to get hit. (Iran does too, but it's a much tougher nut to crack - four times as big, and not weakened by war and sanctions.)

It now looks fairly certain that the U.S. will, in some form, claim some large piece of Iraq's oil. The details need to be worked out; clarifying the legal situation could be very complicated, given the rampantly illegal nature of the regime change. Rebuilding Iraq's oil industry will be very expensive and could take years. There could be some nice profits down the line for big oil companies - billions a year - but the broader economic benefits for the U.S. aren't so clear. A U.S.-dominated Iraq could pump heavily and undermine OPEC, but too low an oil price would wreck the domestic U.S. oil industry, something the Bush gang presumably cares about. Mexico would be driven into penury, which could mean another debt crisis and lots of human traffic heading north over the Rio Grande. Lower oil prices would be a boon to most industrial economies, but they'd give the U.S. no special advantage over its principal economic rivals.

It's sometimes said that U.S. dominance of the Middle East gives Washington a chokehold over oil supplies to Europe and Japan. But how might that work? Deep production cutbacks and price spikes would hurt everyone. Targeted sales restrictions would be the equivalent of acts of war, and if the U.S. is willing to take that route, a blockade would be a lot more efficient. The world oil market is gigantic and complex, and it's not clear how a tap could be turned in Kirkuk that would shut down the gas pumps in Kyoto or Milan.

Writers like David Harvey argue that the U.S. is trying to compensate for its eroding economic power by asserting its military dominance. Maybe. It's certainly fascinating that Bush's unilateralism has to be financed by gobs of foreign money - and he gets his tax cuts, he'll have to order up even bigger gobs. But it's hard to see what rival threatens the U.S. economically; neither the EU nor Japan is thriving. Nor is there any evidence that the Bush administration is thinking seriously about economic policy, domestic or international, or even thinking at all. The economic staff is mostly dim and marginal. What really seems to excite this gang of supposed conservatives is the exercise of raw state power.

Jealous rivals

And while the Bushies want to prevent the emergence of imperial rivals , they may only be encouraging that. Sure, the EU is badly divided within itself; it has a hard enough time picking a top central banker , let alone deciding on a common foreign policy. German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder is already semi-apologizing to Bush for his intemperate language in criticizing the war - not that Bush has started taking his calls. But over the longer term, some kind of political unification is Europe's only hope for acting like a remotely credible world power. It's tempting to read French and German objections to the Iraq war as emerging not from principle, but from the wounded narcissism of former imperial powers rendered marginal by American might. Separately, they'll surely hang. But a politically united Europe could, with time, come to challenge U.S. power, just as the euro is beginning to look like a credible rival to the dollar.

(Speaking of the euro, there's a theory circulating on the net that the U.S. went to war because Iraq wanted to price its oil in euros, not dollars. That's grossly overheated speculation. More on this and related issues when LBO begins an investigation of the political economy of oil in the next issue.)

An even more interesting rivalry scenario would involve an alliance of the EU and Russia. Russia is no longer the wreck it was for most of the 1990s. The economy has been growing and the mildly authoritarian Putin has imposed political stability. Russia, which has substantial oil interests in Iraq that are threatened by U.S. control, strongly opposed the war, and at least factions within the Russian intelligence agency were reportedly feeding information unfriendly to the U.S. to the website Iraqwar.ru . There's a lot recommending an EU-Russia alliance; Europe could supply technology and finance, and Russia could supply energy, and together they could constitute at least an embryonic counterweight to U.S. power.

So the U.S. may not get out of Iraq what the Bush administration is hoping for. It certainly can't want democracy in Iraq or the rest of the region, since free votes could well lead to nationalist and Islamist governments who don't view ExxonMobil as the divine agent that Bush seems to. A New York Times piece celebrated the outbreak of democracy in Basra, while conceding that the mayor is a former Iraqi admiral appointed by the British. The lead writers of the new constitution are likely to be American law professors; Iraqis, of course, aren't up to the task themselves.

Certainly the appointment of Lt. Gen. Jay M. Garner (Ret.) - one of the few superannuated brass not to have enjoyed a consulting contract with a major TV network - to be the top civilian official guiding the postwar reconstruction of Iraq speaks volumes. A retired general is barely a civilian, and Garner's most recent job was as president of SY Technology , a military contractor that worked with Israeli security in developing the Arrow antimissile system. He loves antimissile systems; after the first Gulf War, he enthused about the Patriot's performance with claims that turned out to be nonsense. He's on record as having praised Israel's handling of the intifada. If that's his model of how to handle restive subject populations, there's lots of trouble ahead.

lightness

In the early days of the war, when things weren't going so well for the "coalition," it was said that the force was too light. But after the sandstorm cleared and the snipers were mowed down, that alleged lightness became a widely praised virtue. But that force was light only by American standards: 300,000 troops; an endless rain of Tomahawks, JDAMs, and MOABs; thousands of vehicles, from Humvees to Abrams tanks; hundreds of aircraft, from Apaches to B-1s; several flotillas of naval support - and enormous quantities of expensive petroleum products. It takes five gallons of fuel just to start an Abrams tank, and after that it gets a mile per gallon. And filling one up is no bargain. Though the military buys fuel at a wholesale price of 84¢ a gallon, after all the expenses of getting it to the front lines are added in, the final cost is about $150 a gallon. That's a steal compared to Afghanistan, where fuel is helicoptered in, pushing the cost to $600/gallon. Rummy's "lightness" is of the sort that only a $10 trillion economy can afford.

The Bush gang doesn't even try to keep up appearances, handing out contracts for Iraq's reconstruction to U.S. firms even before the shooting stopped, and guarding only the oil and interior ministries against looters. If Washington gets its way, Iraq will be rebuilt according to the fondest dreams of the Heritage Foundation staff, with the educational system reworked by an American contractor, the TV programmed by the Pentagon, the ports run by a rabidly antiunion firm, the police run by the Texas-based military contractor Dyncorp , and the oil taken out of state hands and appropriately privatized.

That's the way they'd like it to be. But the sailing may not be so smooth. It looks like Iraqis are viewing the Americans as occupiers, not liberators. It's going to be hard enough to remake Iraq that taking on Syria or Iran may be a bit premature. But that doesn't mean they won't try. It's a cliché of trade negotiations that liberalization is like riding a bicycle - you have to keep riding forward or else you'll fall over. The same could be said of an imperial agenda: if you want to remake the world, or a big chunk of it, there's little time to pause and catch your breath, since doubt or opposition could gain the upper hand. Which makes stoking that opposition more urgent than ever.

Losing it all

There's a feeling around that Bush is now politically invulnerable . Certainly the atmosphere is one of almost coercive patriotism. That mood was nicely illustrated by an incident in Houston in mid-March. A teenager attending a rodeo failed to stand along with the rest of the crowd during a playing of Lee Greenwood's "Proud to be an American," a dreadful country song that has become a kind of private-sector national anthem for the yahoo demographic, thanks to its truculent unthinking jingoism. A patriot standing behind the defiantly seated teen started taunting him, tugging on his ear as an additional provocation. The two ended up in a fight, and then under arrest.

There's a lot of that going around, for sure. Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins get disinvited from events, websites nominate traitors for trial by military tribunal, and talk radio hosts organize CD-smashings. But things aren't hopeless. A close analysis of Greenwood's text might suggest why. The song's core argument is contained in its two most famous lines: "I'm proud to be an American/where at least I know I'm free." But the oft-overlooked opening reads: "If tomorrow all the things were gone/I'd worked for all my life," the singer would still be a grateful patriot. That's precisely the condition lots of Americans find themselves in. More than two million jobs have disappeared in the last two years. Millions of Americans have seen their retirement savings wiped out by the bear market, and over a million filed for bankruptcy last year. Most states and cities are experiencing their worst fiscal crises since the 1930s, with massive service cuts and layoffs imminent. In the song, such loss doesn't matter, but reality is often less accommodating than a song.

As the nearby graphs show, W's ratings are much lower than his father's at the end of Gulf War I, and his disapproval ratings much higher. Their theocratic and repressive agenda is deeply unpopular with large parts of the U.S. population. Spending scores of billions on destroying and rebuilding Iraq while at home health clinics are closing and teachers working without pay is potentially incendiary. Foreign adventures have never been popular with the American public (much to the distress of the ruling elite). An peace movement that could draw the links among warmongering, austerity, and repression has great political potential. Just a month or two ago, hundreds of thousands were marching in American streets to protest the imminent war. Though that movement now looks a bit dispirited and demobilized, it's unlikely that that kind of energy will just disappear into the ether.

[May 11, 2019] From Russiagate to Gunboat Diplomacy by Branko Marcetic

Notable quotes:
"... Particularly shameless was Florida Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart, who went on Tucker Carlson's show to peddle half-baked innuendo as brazen as anything claimed in the lead up to the Iraq War. If Maduro's government survived, he claimed, it would be "a green light, an open door for the Russians and for the Chinese and for others to increase their activity against our national security interest right here in our hemisphere." ..."
May 11, 2019 | jacobinmag.com

Russiagate hysteria is already being used to push Trump into an act of armed aggression against Venezuela. It's a disastrous result of a pointless delusion.

One of the things Russiagate skeptics found unsettling about the frenzy over supposed "collusion" was that it made war more likely. Not only did the now-debunked conspiracy theories and resulting political climate push officials into a more aggressive posture toward Russia, but once the Kremlin was returned to its status as the foreign policy elite's Big Bad, it was easy to imagine a situation where the threat of a Russian bogeyman could be used to justify any number of unrelated foreign adventures. This appears to be exactly what's happening with Venezuela right now.

First there was Fareed Zakaria, who two months ago tried to goad Trump into attacking Venezuela by pointing to Russia's support for Maduro. "Putin's efforts seem designed to taunt the United States," he said (it might also have something to do with the billions of dollars Russia sank into the country), making reference to the Monroe Doctrine. He asked if Washington would "allow Moscow to make a mockery of another American red line," warning that "if Washington does not back its words with deeds" the country could become another Syria. Zakaria concluded: "will Venezuela finally be the moment when Trump finally ends his appeasement?"

More recently, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo charged that Russia had "invaded" Venezuela before claiming the Kremlin had dissuaded Maduro from fleeing the country at the last moment, something Pompeo has provided no evidence for but much of the media has treated as fact since.

National Security Advisor John Bolton has said that "this is our hemisphere" and "not where the Russians ought to be interfering." Democratic Sen. Doug Jones echoed this sentiment on CNN, praising the Trump administration for saying "all options are on the table" to deal with Venezuela, something he suggested may have to be acted on "if there is some more intervention [by] Russia."

The national press, taking a break from warning about Trump being a dangerous authoritarian, has been demanding to know why he hasn't been more aggressive toward the country over this.

Particularly shameless was Florida Rep. Mario Díaz-Balart, who went on Tucker Carlson's show to peddle half-baked innuendo as brazen as anything claimed in the lead up to the Iraq War. If Maduro's government survived, he claimed, it would be "a green light, an open door for the Russians and for the Chinese and for others to increase their activity against our national security interest right here in our hemisphere."

He went on to claim that Russia had already placed nuclear missiles in the country, and that it could lead to a Cuban missile crisis-like conflict. There is no evidence this is true, and Díaz-Balart didn't provide any.

Of course, no coverage of the Trump administration's relations with Russia would be complete without a trip into Rachel Maddow's fractured psyche. After Trump repeated Putin's personal assurances that he wasn't interested in getting involved in Venezuela -- contradicting Pompeo and Bolton -- Maddow addressed the two officials :

Hey John Bolton, hey Mike Pompeo, are you guys enjoying your jobs right now? You each thought your job this week was to name and shame and threaten and counter Russian government involvement in Venezuela while saber-rattling about how everybody else better get out of the way because the US is really mad about it. Guys, turns out your actual job is figuring out how and why you work for a president who says whatever Vladimir Putin tells him.

Maddow went on to express her sympathy for one of the most unhinged warmongers in a city teeming with them ("I mean, John Bolton, God bless you"), and again seemed to suggest that Bolton's "job" of "push[ing] Russia back because of what they're doing in Venezuela" was the correct course of action.

It's now clear there is nothing -- not Trump's years-long belligerence toward Russia's Venezuelan ally, not his near-constant bellicosity toward Russia since taking office, not Robert Mueller's failure to indict a single person for conspiring with Russia, not even his report's explicit and implicit denial that any such conspiracy existed -- that will make these people give up the talking point that Trump is secretly in bed with Putin. If Mueller himself denied it, they would claim he was a Russian in disguise. It's simply too convenient an attack line, and too professionally embarrassing to admit otherwise.

There is also an Orwellian level of doublethink going on here. Russia, a Venezuelan ally, has sent personnel and equipment to the country with the consent of its government at a time when it's being threatened by multiple hostile regional powers. Meanwhile the US, one of those hostile powers, has for years been laying siege to the country and killing its people, trying to destabilize and oust its leadership, and even threatening to invade it.

Yet according to the media and political class, it's Russia's actions that are an unacceptable intrusion into another country's affairs -- an "invasion," even. They are holding up four fingers to your face and telling you you're seeing five.

Meanwhile, these same quarters, after spending close to three years hyperventilating about Russia's meddling in domestic US affairs -- an "act of war," in some minds -- have now seamlessly pivoted to cheering Trump as he attempts to engineer a change of Venezuela's government, even calling for him to possibly attack the country. This is glaringly hypocritical, but the Russiagate frenzy was never about principled outrage or any sort of moral consistency.

Lastly and most significantly, the rhetoric around Venezuela is now taking on an explicitly imperialistic character, in the most literal sense of that word. Zakaria invoked the Monroe Doctrine to urge Trump to intervene in Venezuela; National Security Advisor John Bolton "proudly proclaim[ed]" upon launching a fresh round of sanctions that "the Monroe Doctrine is alive and well," and one MSNBC guest insisted the Trump administration was "right in being completely flabbergasted" at Russia's presence in the country because "this is our hemisphere," echoing Bolton .

When these figures talk about "our hemisphere," they don't mean the hemisphere in which the US happens to be located; they mean this is literally their hemisphere. The US is the imperial power with dominion over this part of the world, and only it has the right to interfere in the countries that populate it.

Their objection is not that an outside power is involving itself in a Latin American country's business, but that this outside power isn't the one in Washington. The fact that the US has been doing this very thing for years in Russia's part of the world -- expanding NATO right up to its border, sending weapons to Ukraine -- goes conveniently unmentioned.

Russiagate skeptics were criticized for being hyperbolic in comparing that scandal to the bogus WMD tale that led to the Iraq War; the latter, after all, killed hundreds of thousands and destabilized an entire region. But the full consequences of Russiagate will not be felt immediately; they will unfold over time. And while floating the specter of Russia might not work this time, expect it to be used over and over in the coming years to justify all manner of military aggression .

[May 08, 2019] Reporter INSIDE Venezuelan Embassy Under Siege! w/Anya Parampil

May 08, 2019 | www.youtube.com

The Invisible Man , 18 hours ago

Funny how a comedian is the truth teller here. This is literally clown world

samslog , 17 hours ago

Brave woman. Solidarity from France. Thank you Jimmy!

crownretro , 17 hours ago (edited)

"They want to play government they way I used to play house as a little girl" Brilliant description of these puppets Stay strong Anya!

david august , 18 hours ago

Another day, another coup. Keep up the good work Jimmy.

Steve Warwick , 16 hours ago (edited)

Anya you're doing great journalism work on Venezuela, stay safe!

SFx , 17 hours ago

Uprising? The only uprising is the small one in Marco Rubio's pants.

MexicanosDelMundo , 17 hours ago

This is getting out of hand and increasingly dangerous...

Dave Saenz , 17 hours ago

They are trying to "WMD's" us into another war with their blatant lies.

RP McMurphy , 18 hours ago

50+ years of Allegiance to the Petrodollar...

luke maxwell , 16 hours ago

In a Time of Universal Deceit, Telling the Truth Is a Revolutionary Act - George Orwell.

Katalin McCune , 18 hours ago

I think your videos are remarkable.

Otaku Senpai , 17 hours ago

Good job Dore. MSM sucks. Dont expect them to rreport this.

Gail Doyle , 16 hours ago

Not one other news source is reporting this! Thank you, Jimmy and Anya.

Z ZZ , 16 hours ago

Mike Pompeo. The fat and sweaty face of US faux humanitarianism.

vinm300 , 17 hours ago

23:21 look at Jimmy's face, he is 100% sympathetic to the protestors. That face is the definition of empathy.

R. Scott MacLeod , 17 hours ago

There is only one reason the media goes along with the military lap dogs....$$$$

Chris Petryk , 17 hours ago

can you have Anya on once a week, please? thank you

Johnny Espinal , 15 hours ago

its truly disgraceful how evil our government IS

Esen B. , 17 hours ago

US did the same to Russian consulate and embassies since launch of Russiagate.

Frank Cardoza , 17 hours ago

They wrote the book on corporate media lapdog-ism. in Venezuela years ago!

SNAKEPIT359 , 18 hours ago

As usual. When it suits, the rule book goes out the window. But equally when it suits they will quote rule after rule from the very same book when it suits their agenda.

david Urrea , 18 hours ago

Blowhorns can cause seizures the people inside need ear protection asap

[May 07, 2019] Venezuela and Binary Choice - Craig Murray

May 07, 2019 | craigmurray.org.uk

When a CIA-backed military coup is attempted by a long term CIA puppet, roared on by John Bolton and backed with the offer of Blackwater mercenaries, in the country with the world's largest oil reserves, I have no difficulty whatsoever in knowing which side I am on.

Juan Guaido has been groomed for 15 years as a long-term CIA project. His coup attempt yesterday, which so far appears to have stalled, was the culmination of these efforts to return Venezuela's oil reserves to US hegemony.

It is strange how the urgent installation of liberal democracy by force correlates so often with oil reserves not aligned to the USA, as in Libya, Iraq or Venezuela, while countries with massive oil reserves which permit US military domination and align with the West and Israel can be as undemocratic as they wish, eg Saudi Arabia. Venezuela is an imperfect democracy but it is far, far more of a democracy than Saudi Arabia and with a much better human rights record. The hypocrisy of Western media and politicians is breathtaking.

Hypocrisy and irony are soulmates, and there are multiple levels of irony in seeing the "liberal" commentators who were cheering on an undisguised military coup, then complaining loudly that people are being injured or killed now their side is losing. Yesterday the MSM had no difficulty in calling the attempted coup what anybody with eyes and ears could see it plainly was, an attempted military coup. Today, miraculously, the MSM line is no coup attempt happened at all, it was just a spontaneous unarmed protest, and it is the evil government of Venezuela which attempts to portray it as a coup. BBC Breakfast this morning had the headline "President Maduro has accused the opposition of mounting a coup attempt" Yet there is no doubt at all that, as a matter of plain fact, that is what happened.

The MSM today is full of video of water cannons against "protestors" and a horrible video of a military vehicle ramming a group. But it has all been very carefully edited to exclude hours of footage of the same military vehicles being pelted and set alight with molotov cocktails, and shot at. The presentation has been truly shocking.

In any civilised country, attempting to mount a military coup would lead to incarceration for life, and that is what should now happen to Juan Guaido. The attempt by the West to protect their puppet by pretending the failed military coup never happened, must be resisted, if only in the cause of intellectual honesty.

The resort to violence forces binary choice. I have been and am a critic of Maduro in many respects. I believe the constitutional changes to bypass Parliament were wrong, and the indirectly elected Constituent Assembly is not a good form of democracy. Venezuela does have a rampant corruption problem. US sanctions exacerbate but are not the root cause of economic mismanagement. There are human rights failings. But Chavez made revolutionary changes in educating and empowering the poor, and it is a far better governed country for the mass of its population than it would ever be under a US installed CIA puppet regime. Maduro was legitimately elected. The attempt at violence forces a binary choice.

I know which side I am on. It is not Guaido and the CIA.

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[May 05, 2019] Viva to another jolly little war by Eric Margolis

May 05, 2019 | www.unz.com

Sure. Let's invade Venezuela. Another jolly little war. It's full of commies and has a sea of oil. The only thing those Cuban-loving Venezuelans lack are weapons of mass destruction.

... ... ...

Venezuela is in a huge economic mess thanks to the crackpot economic policies of the Chavez and Maduro governments – and US economic sabotage. But my first law of international affairs is: 'Every nation has the absolute god-given right to mismanage its own affairs and elect its own crooks or idiots.'

[May 05, 2019] Another Jolly Little War by Eric Margolis

Notable quotes:
"... We absolutely have won most of those little wars it's just that majority of the population doesn't have the same definition of victory that our Neocon masters do. As long as we leave a county in ruins so it's development is set back for decades and there are multiple factions fighting for power, the Neocons cobble together a wonderful democratic election and call it a victory. ..."
"... Stay as long as it takes to make sure no major faction is strong enough to set nationwide policy, bomb everything that's required for a 20th Century society, then leave. If one faction plays nice by scraping and bowing to the US, fine, let them have a bit of electricity and running water. Otherwise, leave the factions to fight one another in the rubble and enjoying their new found freedom and democracy. ..."
"... Considering all the oil Venezuela has, they're just begging for some freedom and democracy. ..."
May 05, 2019 | www.unz.com

Sure. Let's invade Venezuela. Another jolly little war. It's full of commies and has a sea of oil. The only thing those Cuban-loving Venezuelans lack are weapons of mass destruction.

This week, leading US neocons openly threatened that if the CIA's latest attempts to stage a coup to overthrow Venezuela's Maduro government failed, Washington might send in the Marines.

Well, the coup was a big fiasco and the Venezuelan army didn't overthrow President Maduro. The CIA also failed to overthrow governments in Moscow, Tehran and Damascus. Its only 'success' to date has been in overthrowing Ukraine's pro-Moscow government and putting a bunch of corrupt clowns in its place at a cost near $10 billion.

The US has not waged a major successful war since World War II – unless you count invading Grenada, Panama and Haiti, or bombing the hell out of Iraq, Syria, Somalia and Libya. That's a sobering thought given the Pentagon's recent announcement that it is cutting back on little colonial wars (aka 'the war on terror') to get ready for real big wars against Russia and China, or even North Korea.

Venezuela is in a huge economic mess thanks to the crackpot economic policies of the Chavez and Maduro governments – and US economic sabotage. But my first law of international affairs is: 'Every nation has the absolute god-given right to mismanage its own affairs and elect its own crooks or idiots.'

Now, however, the administration's frenzied neocons want to start a war against Venezuela, a large, developed nation of 32.7 million, at the same time we are threatening war against Iran, interfering all around Africa, and confronting Russia, China and perhaps North Korea. Large parts of the Mideast and Afghanistan lie in ruins thanks to our 'liberation' campaigns.

Invading Venezuela would not be much of a problem for the US military: half the population hates the current government and might welcome the Americans. Venezuela's military has only limited combat value. Right-wing regimes in neighboring Colombia and Brazil might join the invasion.

But what then? Recall Iraq. The US punched through the feeble Iraqi Army whose strength had been wildly exaggerated by the media. Once US and British forces settled in to occupation duties, guerilla forces made their life difficult and bloody. Iraqi resistance continues today, sixteen years later. The same would likely happen in Venezuela.

There is deep anti-American sentiment in Latin America that existed long before Col. Chavez. Recall, for example, the large anti-American riots that greeted Vice President Nixon's visit to Caracas in 1958.

'Yankees Go Home' is a rallying cry for much of Latin America. Blundering into Venezuela, another nation about which the Trump administration knows or understands little, would stir up a hornet's next. Their ham-handed efforts to punish Cuba and whip up the far right Cuban-American vote in Florida would galvanize anti-American anger across Latin America. Beware the ghost of Fidel.

ORDER IT NOW

Talks over Venezuela are underway between Washington and Moscow. Neither country has any major interest in Venezuela. Moscow is stirring the pot there to retaliate for growing US involvement in Russia's backyard and Syria. Both the US and Russia should get the hell out of Venezuela and mind their own business.

Instead, we hear crazy proposals to send 5,000 mercenaries to overthrow the Maduro regime. How well did the wide-scale use of US-financed mercenaries work in Iraq and Afghanistan? A complete flop. The only thing they did competently was wash dishes at our bases, murder civilians, and play junior Rambos.

For those who don't like the American Raj, a US invasion of Venezuela would mark a step forward in the crumbling of the empire. More aimless imperial over-reach, more lack of strategy, more enemies generated.
The big winner would, of course, be the Pentagon and military industrial complex. More billions spent on a nation most Americans could not find on a map if their lives depended on it, more orders for 'counter-insurgency' weapons, more military promotions, and cheers from Fox News and wrestling fans.

Worst of all, the US could end up feeding and caring for wrecked Venezuela. How did we do with storm-ravaged Puerto Rico? It's still in semi-ruin. Few want Venezuela's thick, heavy oil these days.

Venezuela could turn out to be a big, fat Tar Baby.


mijj , says: May 4, 2019 at 12:47 pm GMT

> "half the population hates the current government and might welcome the Americans"

.. what? .. like in Lybia and Syria?

Verity , says: May 4, 2019 at 4:15 pm GMT
The "crackpot economic policies" of Chavez and Madero increased the health of the people through access to medical care, improved housing, brought the literacy rate to one of the highest in Latin Americs, added years to average lifespan among other things by emphasizing that the country's resources should improve the lives of Venezuela's citizens. This was accomplished by selling resources in the capitalistic market -crackpot I grant you. The American sanctions and the seizure of Venezuelan assets are all illegal under American law and Constitution given the treaties we have signed, but then if you want to know what those laws mean all you have to do is ask any Native American tribe.
Walter Duranty , says: May 4, 2019 at 4:23 pm GMT
Venezuela is a trillion dollar low-hanging fruit which the neo-cons lust after. It would finance another entire war in the middle east.
Walter Duranty , says: May 4, 2019 at 4:27 pm GMT
Who would pay Eric Prince's 5000 Blackwater hired assassins? Would the cash come from the pirate booty war chest or would the citizens of America be stuck with the tab, once again?
The Scalpel , says: Website May 4, 2019 at 6:39 pm GMT
@Walter Duranty Something seems different. With Russian and Chinese intelligence help, the Guaido coup was a laughable joke. It made the US look like bozos. I think Venezuela and allies tipped their hand there, and it is a strong one. I fear the US may be walking into a trap
Galearis , says: May 4, 2019 at 7:50 pm GMT
It is interesting but several Pentagon/military officers are saying the Pentagon is not enthusiastic about invading Venezuela. It is a rugged, jungle cloaked, country that is quite large and an American effort may end up being like the one in Vietnam.

Even Trump is not enthusiastic.
L.

peterAUS , says: May 4, 2019 at 9:56 pm GMT
@Walter Duranty You could be onto something here.

Or controlling Venezuela oil would help in a scenario where Teheran closes Hormuz.

It appears that for the current TPTBs in West Iran is what Carthage was to Rome.

Which points, again, to "them".

Weird times.

Bill Pilgrim , says: May 5, 2019 at 6:31 am GMT
I wonder how many are aware that Venezuela owns a majority of the oil company Citgo?
I wonder how many Americans know that for many years during Winter Citgo gave free heating oil to a large number of low income households in the US northeast? while our own government was cutting back on low income heating oil subsidies.
Dwayne Thundergrit , says: May 5, 2019 at 6:37 am GMT
We absolutely have won most of those little wars it's just that majority of the population doesn't have the same definition of victory that our Neocon masters do. As long as we leave a county in ruins so it's development is set back for decades and there are multiple factions fighting for power, the Neocons cobble together a wonderful democratic election and call it a victory. Stay as long as it takes to make sure no major faction is strong enough to set nationwide policy, bomb everything that's required for a 20th Century society, then leave. If one faction plays nice by scraping and bowing to the US, fine, let them have a bit of electricity and running water. Otherwise, leave the factions to fight one another in the rubble and enjoying their new found freedom and democracy. Considering all the oil Venezuela has, they're just begging for some freedom and democracy.
peter mcloughlin , says: May 5, 2019 at 9:53 am GMT
It may be true that neither the US or Russia 'has any major interest in Venezuela', and that Putin may be 'stirring the pot'. The real danger is, and globally the evidence points to this, an eventual clash between the major nuclear powers (world war). It is ominous if Washington is getting for 'ready for real big wars against Russia and China, or even North Korea.'
https://www.ghostsofhistory.wordpress.com/

[May 04, 2019] The art of provocation and Sacral victims of Maidan

Color revolution is a military operation in which protesters are just a tip of the iceberg. the key players are Embassy staff, three letter agencies, NGOs, bought and foreign owned neoliberal press, some oligarchs (who might be pressed into submission with the threat of confiscating their assets), compradors and bought players within the government.
The initial crash with police was organized by one of such players (supposedly Lyovochkin). One of the key instruments were huge cash flows in diplomatic mail that feed the protest ("bombing country with dollars"). In a sense in any neoliberal republic color revolution is designed to be a success, the fact which EuroMaidan proved quite convincingly.
Ukraine actually was a very easy target. Yanukovich was essentially neutralized and paralyzed by threats from Biden. Security services were infiltrated and partially work for Americans. Several bought members of the government (Lyovochkon?) did their dirty job in organizing the necessity clashes with policy to feed the protest.
Notable quotes:
"... The script writers of the Maidan, in his opinion, were Americans. ..."
Feb 21, 2015 | vesti-ukr.com

Former Prime Minister Azarov explained his version of events on the Maidan. The script writers of the Maidan, in his opinion, were Americans.

Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov told the NTV about how coup d'état of February of the last year was organized. According to him, the script of the coup d'état was written at the U.S. Embassy.

"The main puppeteers were not on the Maidan," Azarov said. The protests started because of the decision of Ukrainian authorities to suspend the signing of the Association agreement with the EU.

"There was, of course, the enormous pressure from the leaders of the European Union, from several European countries. The meaning of this pressure was the fact that we must put aside all doubts and to sign this agreement," said the former Prime Minister. "They just needed an excuse, a reason to overthrow our government. Because we were frankly told: "If you do not you sign this agreement, it will sign another government, another President,"

In this regard, according to Azarov, they needed a provocation to start protest and such a provocation became the use of force on Independence square in Kiev, where supporters of European integration were staying for several nights. "The action was slow. The organizers understood that without the sacred victims they will be unable to ignite the crowd. Suddenly around 3 am several TV crews arrive, set lights, camera. What to shoot? This ordinary situation, when people spend the night at the square?" - said Azarov.

Ukrainian people were cynically played. According to Azarov at this moment "prepared by gunmen in masks" arrived to the square. They started beating on duty policemen with metal sticks. When police called reinforcements instigators quickly disappeared. And when riot police began detention, "they detain generally innocent people who spend night at the square as a part of peaceful protest."

Speaking about the negotiations Yanukovich with the opposition, Azarov noted that the current Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk "every day spend most of his time in the American Embassy and following their instructions to the letter."

In the end, an agreement was signed between the President and opposition leaders on the peaceful resolution of the conflict, the guarantor which were several European countries, but no one except the Yanukovich, fulfilled their obligations. "I still do not understand, how foreign Ministers of Poland, Germany, France, which signed an agreement on February 21 feel themselves. In the history of diplomacy this agreement will be included as an example of the utmost degree of cynicism and deceit," said Azarov.

See also

[May 04, 2019] That nonsense about a plane waiting to shuffle him off to Cuba was complete American lie.

Notable quotes:
"... "What I am saying is that I am confident that the people of Venezuela know a thing or two about what happened in Chile." ..."
"... They also know what happened when the "militares" took over in Argentina (Videla), Paraguay (Stroessner), Brazil (1964-1985), Nicaragua (Somoza), Dominican Republic (Trujillo), Guatemala (1954), Honduras (2009) Panama 1983 (Noriega – see Confessions of an Economic Hit Man on plane crash of Omar Torrijos), and on and on. ..."
"... If there is a US military attack on Venezuela one thing's for sure; many, many young men and women will be making their way from all over Latin America to take on the Gringos. ..."
"... I'm sure the Venezuelan govt knows all about Operation Condor and how that lost the entire South American continent a generation of its best people and degraded its progress and development. ..."
"... Bolton and Abraham are senile. They are totally out of touch with the new realities of the new millenium. they stupidly think that their old tricks still work... in my view both and also Pompeo are near the door out of the White House for good... they won't survive the summer. ..."
"... Clearly, Venezuelans take their oaths of allegiance far more seriously. By comparison, the Outlaw US Empire's entire Neocon and Neoliberal cabal are traitors to their nation and their oaths of office. And it's that very major distinction that's known by the vast majority of Venezuelans that's the real difference maker whereas the US public's mostly illiterate. ..."
"... One curious aspect of the recent events in Venezuela is the lack of signs of wider support for Guaido compared with "energetic" demonstrations and riots few years ago. ..."
"... Initially, some thugs were mobilized to support "humanitarian relief", but it was a smallish crowd and their most spectacular achievement was torching a "relief truck". ..."
"... Then there were "electricity protests", I have no data about their scope. I would theorize that electricity issue decreased the support for Guaido ..."
"... Seems that Russia acted in a characteristically minimalist fashion. Security of power system was improved, gasoline supplies* were improved, and a subtle security operation was launched. Bear in mind that when dealing with domestic opposition Putin is highly flexible, no "one hammer fits all", similarly with "near abroad". Letting Guaido walk around and repetitively make idiot of himself has a resemblance of handling Navalny and similar folks in Russia. ..."
May 04, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jane , May 3, 2019 6:22:50 PM | link

Maduro needs to man up. He needs to recognize that this is ideological battle, not just a battle for his personal survival.


arby , May 3, 2019 6:31:16 PM | link

Jane @45

Where do you come up with the idea that Maduro is about his personal survival?

IMO, Maduro is quite genuine in taking his position and job very seriously and in no way is this about him.

That nonsense about a plane waiting to shuffle him off to Cuba was complete American lie.

Lochearn , May 3, 2019 6:35:01 PM | link
@ 36 William Gruff
"What I am saying is that I am confident that the people of Venezuela know a thing or two about what happened in Chile."

They also know what happened when the "militares" took over in Argentina (Videla), Paraguay (Stroessner), Brazil (1964-1985), Nicaragua (Somoza), Dominican Republic (Trujillo), Guatemala (1954), Honduras (2009) Panama 1983 (Noriega – see Confessions of an Economic Hit Man on plane crash of Omar Torrijos), and on and on.

If there is a US military attack on Venezuela one thing's for sure; many, many young men and women will be making their way from all over Latin America to take on the Gringos.

Jane , May 3, 2019 6:41:36 PM | link
@arby 46

I really do not know Maduro. I do not know how ideologically grounded he is. But I heard stories about corruption and connections with drug syndicates. I hope that is not true. Otherwise, his apparent weakness will be exploited to the hilt by his ideological enemies.

Jen , May 3, 2019 6:50:02 PM | link
William Gruff @ 36, Lochearn @ 47:

I'm sure the Venezuelan govt knows all about Operation Condor and how that lost the entire South American continent a generation of its best people and degraded its progress and development.

virgile , May 3, 2019 6:51:23 PM | link
Bolton and Abraham are senile. They are totally out of touch with the new realities of the new millenium. they stupidly think that their old tricks still work...
in my view both and also Pompeo are near the door out of the White House for good... they won't survive the summer.
karlof1 , May 3, 2019 7:26:19 PM | link
Jen @49--

Yes, most certainly wasn't lost on Chavez. The changes he made after 2002 to the military and other security-related areas of government are now serving Maduro well. If there was the sort of 5th Column anti-government feelings required of a coup, they would have manifested themselves when the armed demonstrations first began to beset Maduro in 2014, a year after Chavez's passing, which in essence is when the slow moving coup began. Condor and other operations were certainly used in educating higher level officers about the importance of loyalty to Constitutional methods and that one owes their allegiance to the Constitution not the individual just as it's supposed to be within the USA

Clearly, Venezuelans take their oaths of allegiance far more seriously. By comparison, the Outlaw US Empire's entire Neocon and Neoliberal cabal are traitors to their nation and their oaths of office. And it's that very major distinction that's known by the vast majority of Venezuelans that's the real difference maker whereas the US public's mostly illiterate.

Piotr Berman , May 3, 2019 8:22:04 PM | link
One curious aspect of the recent events in Venezuela is the lack of signs of wider support for Guaido compared with "energetic" demonstrations and riots few years ago.

Initially, some thugs were mobilized to support "humanitarian relief", but it was a smallish crowd and their most spectacular achievement was torching a "relief truck".

Then there were "electricity protests", I have no data about their scope. I would theorize that electricity issue decreased the support for Guaido . First, the tales that the troubles were due to mismanagement and neglect look not so probable if you look at the timing of incidents: a wave of incidents at the time "convenient" for the "cause of Guaido" preceeded and followed by rather normal situation. Government surely spend effort to explain the incidents with transmission lines and transformer stations as vile sabotage, ruthlessly inflicting severe hardships on the entire population (including the middle class that should be the social base of Guaido).

Seems that Russia acted in a characteristically minimalist fashion. Security of power system was improved, gasoline supplies* were improved, and a subtle security operation was launched. Bear in mind that when dealing with domestic opposition Putin is highly flexible, no "one hammer fits all", similarly with "near abroad". Letting Guaido walk around and repetitively make idiot of himself has a resemblance of handling Navalny and similar folks in Russia.

Who supported 12 hours of revolution? Videos showed a motorcycle gang, few hundred of energetic young men who blocked a highway bridge and a smallish crowd of housewives and other non-violent type -- I must stress that I wholly approve non-violent types, but in part because this is not a coup material. Why so little? (a) Guaido was never popular, he was in a most histrionic of several opposition parties, popular mobilization without support of the rest of the opposition was a flop. (b) The first two episodes of his "revolution" did not approve his support, to the contrary. (c) On the gangland front that could provide armed muscle and provoke bloody incidents Maidan style, the government probably did some preparatory homework.

[May 04, 2019] Venezuela - Forensics Of A Clownish Coup

Notable quotes:
"... I know the Venezuelan military; I've trained some of them .... The majority of them, if the U.S. military arrives in Venezuela, will take to the hills – very formidable hills, with jungle-like backdrops – and they will harass, kill, take prisoner from time to time, and generally hold out forever or until the "gringos" leave. We might remember how the North Vietnamese and the Taliban accomplished this; well, so will the Venezuelans. ..."
May 04, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Venezuela is not an easy target. Colonel (ret.) Larry Wilkerson, the former Chief of Staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell, writes :

I know the Venezuelan military; I've trained some of them .... The majority of them, if the U.S. military arrives in Venezuela, will take to the hills – very formidable hills, with jungle-like backdrops – and they will harass, kill, take prisoner from time to time, and generally hold out forever or until the "gringos" leave. We might remember how the North Vietnamese and the Taliban accomplished this; well, so will the Venezuelans.

The opposition is warry of a U.S. intervention :

Many believe U.S. troops could ignite internal conflicts within the military, irregular forces linked to Maduro and criminal cartels. Intervention would also undermine Guaidó's claim to be a grass roots Venezuelan leader by seeming to confirm that he's exactly what Maduro has claimed: A puppet of the United States.

A U.S. military intervention would "bring more problems than solutions, " said Carlos Valero, a Guaidó supporter in the National Assembly.
...
Political analyst Felix Seijas, director of the Delphos polling agency in Caracas, says fewer than a fifth of the Venezuelans he has surveyed this year support a military intervention. The numbers have gone up only slightly since the beginning of the year.

There were more warnings from Russia during a Trump-Putin phone call today :

While exchanging views on the situation around Venezuela, the President of Russia underscored that only the Venezuelans themselves have the right to determine the future of their country, whereas outside interference in the country's internal affairs and attempts to change the government in Caracas by force undermine prospects for a political settlement of the crisis.

The planning and decision making for the next phase of the U.S. attack on Venezuela will take time.

Meanwhile we can continue to analyze why the U.S. coup plan failed so devastatingly.

Cont. reading: Venezuela - Forensics Of A Clownish Coup

[May 03, 2019] Trump lost anti-war right. Forever.

Notable quotes:
"... Trump *escalated* US-Iran and US-Venezuela conflicts and intensified the sabre rattling towards both countries, according to all analysts. For the first time a POTUS openly said direct US invasion to Venezuela "is on the table" and his Adelson bought appointment for USNSA Bolton publicly showed in a notebook the writing "5000 troops to Colombia" openly suggesting a direct invasion was imminent. For the first time the White House asked the Pentagon to draw up options for military strikes against Iran. ..."
"... Trump's administration declared a whole branch of the Iran armed forces (IRGC) as a terrorist organisation. This is an escalation and according to most analysts, considered an act of war. ..."
"... Trump administration heavily increased sanctions to Iran, Russia and Venezuela and in the latter case even instigated a failed uprising and coup d'etat, going as far as to declare a virtual political Venezuelan nobody the "official" president of the country, which is in itself unbelievable and has no historic precedent. Another act of war actually. ..."
"... Trump administration also escalated the tensions with China, ordered the arrest and de facto kidnapping of Chinese corporate executives and openly used the US legal apparatus to attack and hinder a foreign corporation. ..."
"... Trump has been, objectively, the most neocon Israel-firster POTUS in US history. ..."
"... Friendly reminder that voting for Republicans and expecting US Jewish lobby/Corporate America promoted policies such as open borders and US imperialist interventions to stop is moronic beyond belief. Republicans are the most pro corporate pro US Jewish lobby of the two parties by far. At least there is talk and critique about how the Israel Lobby owns the USG in the Dem party. Nothing of the sort going on in the GOP. ..."
May 03, 2019 | www.unz.com

Scalper , says: May 3, 2019 at 9:45 am GMT

@A123 You Trump shills are chutzpah personified:

The U.S. missile strike on Shayrat Airbase on 7 April 2017 was the first time the U.S. became a deliberate, direct combatant against the Syrian government and marked the start of a series of deliberate direct military actions by U.S. forces against the Syrian government and its allies in May -- June 2017 and February 2018.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/06/trump-syria-missiles-assad-chemical-weapons

Trump *escalated* the war from covert support to insurgents to direct intervention and official *invasion* in Syria. This is the equivalent of going from financing and supporting a faction in a so called proxy war in say Vietnam to leading the US to go full Iraq WMD and become a warring and invading faction in the conflict. Again, this is an escalation.

The number of boots on the ground vs Obama's is data you just took out of your bottom. Sources for your cheap PR shilling? You don't have any because this statement of yours is a blatant lie.

Trump *escalated* US-Iran and US-Venezuela conflicts and intensified the sabre rattling towards both countries, according to all analysts. For the first time a POTUS openly said direct US invasion to Venezuela "is on the table" and his Adelson bought appointment for USNSA Bolton publicly showed in a notebook the writing "5000 troops to Colombia" openly suggesting a direct invasion was imminent. For the first time the White House asked the Pentagon to draw up options for military strikes against Iran.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/13/white-house-asked-pentagon-plans-strike-iran

Trump's administration declared a whole branch of the Iran armed forces (IRGC) as a terrorist organisation. This is an escalation and according to most analysts, considered an act of war.

Trump's administration ended the Iran deal without any objective reasons, ie Obama's effort to deescalate the Israel firsters driven Iran-US conflict

Trump administration heavily increased sanctions to Iran, Russia and Venezuela and in the latter case even instigated a failed uprising and coup d'etat, going as far as to declare a virtual political Venezuelan nobody the "official" president of the country, which is in itself unbelievable and has no historic precedent. Another act of war actually.

Trump administration declared Golan Heights part of Israel brought US embassy to Jerusalem, increasing the tensions and animosity towards the US in the ME.

Trump administration will declare Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation, increasing the animosity from Arab countries in the ME to unbelievable levels. This includes non Arab country Turkey also, a traditional ally until neocon Trump took power.

Trump administration also escalated the tensions with China, ordered the arrest and de facto kidnapping of Chinese corporate executives and openly used the US legal apparatus to attack and hinder a foreign corporation.

Trump has been, objectively, the most neocon Israel-firster POTUS in US history.

Friendly reminder that voting for Republicans and expecting US Jewish lobby/Corporate America promoted policies such as open borders and US imperialist interventions to stop is moronic beyond belief. Republicans are the most pro corporate pro US Jewish lobby of the two parties by far. At least there is talk and critique about how the Israel Lobby owns the USG in the Dem party. Nothing of the sort going on in the GOP.

Immigration restrictionism is a traditional pro working class, leftist policy.

Non intervention and "pacifist" policies the same. How many GOP supporters were against the Vietnam and Iraq war? Not many yeah.

Johnny Walker Read , says: May 3, 2019 at 1:20 pm GMT
@A123 Here's your numbers TROLL.

Trump has dropped more bombs and missiles on Middle Eastern countries in a comparable period of time than any modern U.S. President. Presidents Bush, Obama and now [2017] Trump have dropped nearly 200,000 bombs and missiles on Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Trump's rate of bombing eclipses both Bush and Obama; and Trump is on a pace to drop over 100,000 [180,000 to be precise] bombs and missiles on Middle Eastern countries during his first term of office -- which would equal the number of bombs and missiles dropped by Obama during his entire eight-year presidency.

Here's more perspective:

The United States Government, under the Trump administration, reportedly drops a bomb every 12 minutes, which means that 121 bombs are dropped in a day, and 44,096 bombs per year. The Pentagon's data show that during George W. Bush's eight years he averaged 24 bombs dropped per day, that is, 8,750 per year. Over the course of Obama's time in office, his military dropped 34 bombs per day, 12,500 per year. This shows that even though American presidents are all war criminals, Trump is the most vicious of them all.

Yes, Trump is dropping almost FOUR TIMES MORE BOMBS than Barack Obama and over FIVE TIMES MORE BOMBS than G.W. Bush -- which included military invasions of two countries.

We also know that Trump expanded America's wars in Afghanistan and Syria (and, no, he is NOT bringing U.S. troops home from Syria) and is ramping up America's war machine against Venezuela, Iran, China and Russia. And this does not even take into account the way Trump has given Benjamin Netanyahu's raunchy racist regime the green light to expand its wars against the Palestinians, Lebanon, Syria and Iran or the U.S./Israeli proxy war (with Saudi Arabia taking the lead) in Yemen.

Then there is Somalia:

In the age of Donald Trump, wasn't that [the Battle of Mogadishu -- Black Hawk Down] a million presidencies ago? Honestly, can you even tell me anymore what in the world it was all about? I couldn't have, not without looking it up again. A warlord, starvation, U.S. intervention, 18 dead American soldiers (and hundreds of dead Somalis, but that hardly mattered) in a country that was shattering. President Clinton did, however, pull out those troops and end the disastrous mission -- and that was that, right? I mean, lessons learned. Somalia? Africa? What in the world did it all have to do with us? So Washington washed its hands of the whole thing.

And now, on a planet of outrageous tweets and murderously angry white men, you probably didn't even notice, but more than two years into the era of Donald Trump, a quarter-century after that incident, American airstrikes in yep, Somalia, are precipitously on the rise.

Last year's 47 strikes, aimed at the leaders and fighters of al-Shabaab, an Islamist terror outfit, more than tripled the ones carried out by the Obama administration in 2016 (themselves a modest increase from previous years). And in 2019, they're already on pace to double again, while Somali civilians -- not that anyone (other than Somali civilians) notices or cares -- are dying in significant and rising numbers.

And with 500 troops back on the ground there and Pentagon estimates that they will remain for at least another seven years, the U.S. military is increasingly Somalia-bound, Congress hasn't uttered a peep on the subject, and few in this country are paying the slightest attention.

So consider this a simple fact of the never-ending Global War on Terror (as it was once called): the U.S. military just can't get enough of Somalia. And if that isn't off the charts, what is? Maybe it's even worth a future book (with a very small print run) called not Black Hawk Down II but U.S. Down Forever and a Day.

And now that I've started on the subject (if you still happen to be reading), when it comes to the U.S. military, it's not faintly just Somalia. It's all of Africa.

After all, this country's military uniquely has a continent-wide Africa Command (aka AFRICOM), founded in 2007. As Nick Turse has often written for TomDispatch, that command now has its troops, thousands of them, its planes, and other equipment spread across the continent, north to south, east to west -- air bases, drone bases, garrisons, outposts, staging areas, you name it. Meanwhile, AFRICOM's outgoing commanding general, Thomas Waldhauser, only recently told Congress why it's bound to be a forever outfit -- because, shades of the Cold War, the Ruskies are coming! ("Russia is also a growing challenge and has taken a more militaristic approach in Africa.")

And honestly, 600-odd words in, this wasn't meant to be a piece about either Somalia or Africa. It was meant to be about those U.S. wars being off the charts, about how the Pentagon now feeds eternally at the terror trough, al-Shabaab being only a tiny part of the slop it regularly digests.

And, while America's wars are way up, according to Gallup, church attendance in America is way down:

As Christian and Jewish Americans prepare to celebrate Easter and Passover, respectively, Gallup finds the percentage of Americans who report belonging to a church, synagogue or mosque at an all-time low, averaging 50% in 2018.

U.S. church membership was 70% or higher from 1937 through 1976, falling modestly to an average of 68% in the 1970s through the 1990s. The past 20 years have seen an acceleration in the drop-off, with a 20-percentage-point decline since 1999 and more than half of that change occurring since the start of the current decade.

Most interesting is this Gallup observation:

Although the United States is one of the more religious countries, particularly among Western nations, it is far less religious than it used to be. Barely three-quarters of Americans now identify with a religion and only about half claim membership in a church, synagogue or mosque.

The rate of U.S. church membership has declined sharply in the past two decades after being relatively stable in the six decades before that. A sharp increase in the proportion of the population with no religious affiliation, a decline in church membership among those who do have a religious preference, and low levels of church membership among millennials are all contributing to the accelerating trend.

Obviously, America's Jewish and Muslim populations pale compared to its Christian population. The vast decline of attendance to religious services, therefore, primarily means church attendance. Notice, also, that this steep decline commenced at the beginning of this century (2000) -- when G.W. Bush became President of the United States.

I tried to warn readers -- and listeners to my nationwide radio talk show -- that due to his insatiable war fever, G.W. Bush was going to forever warp the perception in people's minds of Christianity. And, sadly, I was absolutely right. After eight years of the warmongering G.W. Bush in the White House, millions of Americans came to associate Christianity with wars of aggression. As a result, the exodus out of America's churches began in earnest.

Enter Donald Trump.

As noted above, Trump has expanded Bush's war fever exponentially. But Trump has done more than that: He has aggressively put the United States smack dab in the middle of Israel's wars. It could even be argued that Donald Trump has turned the U.S. military into a proxy army for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

Don't get me wrong: I am very cognizant of the fact that G.W. Bush's "war on terror" was nothing more than a proxy war for Israel. But the Israeli connection was covert and completely covered up. Not anymore. Donald Trump is unabashedly and explicitly partnering the mission of the U.S. military with that of the IDF. No wonder Benjamin Netanyahu promises to name a community in the Israel-seized, Israel-occupied Golan Heights after Donald Trump. (Trumplinka would fit Netanyahu's concentration-style occupation nicely.)

So, not only are millions of Americans now associating Christianity with G.W. Bush's wars of aggression, they are associating Christianity with Donald Trump's wars of aggression for the racist apartheid State of Israel. The result: the steepest decline in church attendance and church affiliation in U.S. history.

The longer evangelical Christians continue to support Donald Trump's radical pro-Israel, pro-war agenda, the deeper America will plunge into an anti-Christian country.

The good news is that all over America, people are waking up to the Israel deception. Support for the erroneous doctrine of dispensational eschatology is in a giant free fall; the myth of Zionist Israel being a resurrected Old Testament Israel is being repeatedly exposed; the attempts by Israel's toadies to characterize people whose eyes are open to the truth of Zionism as being "anti-Semitic" is losing more and more credibility by the day; and more and more people are becoming aware of the utter wickedness of the Zionist government in Israel. Plus, more and more people are beginning to understand the plight of the persecuted people (including Christian people) in the Israeli-occupied territories of Palestine.

Ron, maybe your shipmates on the USS LIBERTY didn't die in vain after all.

From an historical perspective, overextended wars are the downfall of any empire; from a financial perspective, warfarism is the precursor to an economically depressed middle class; and from a Scriptural/spiritual perspective, God cannot and will not bless a warmongering nation.

Let's be clear: God is not building a "Greater Israel." God is not building a third Jewish temple. God is not speaking through phony prophets who are attributing some sort of divine calling to Trump's pro-Israel warmongering. God is not blessing America because we are blessing Zionist Israel. Just the opposite: The more America aligns itself with Israel's belligerence, bullying and bombing of innocent people, the more God will deliver us over to becoming an antichrist country. After all, one cannot idolize and partner with antichrists without becoming one himself.

After Trump finishes this term in office, two-thirds of this young century will have seen a "Christian" warmonger in the White House. It is no coincidence that during this same period of time, wars are way up and church attendance is way down.
https://chuckbaldwinlive.com/Articles/tabid/109/ID/3866/Americas-Wars-Are-Way-Up-Church-Attendance-Is-Way-Down.aspx

Anonymous [102] Disclaimer , says: May 3, 2019 at 1:23 pm GMT
Burning down the house. Driving like a madman on the road to nowhere has put the nation on a path to its own demise. Our foreign policy is a disaster that does nothing to promote democracy anywhere in the world. Our military has provided nothing but instability in the world since the end of world war 2. Ask yourself, why are we involved in so many useless wars that don't make the world a better place?
Don't you feel like we are being used by war hawks who see every skirmish as a threat to our national security? Why can't we cut out all the military BS and just trade with with nations that want to trade, and ignore those who want to kill each other. Let them figure it out on their own. Social Capitalism is the only policy we should be supporting.
Johnny Walker Read , says: May 3, 2019 at 1:36 pm GMT
America's foreign policy since the end of WWII. End of story.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/O66UKjCwmTw?feature=oembed

EliteCommInc. , says: May 3, 2019 at 2:50 pm GMT
"All statements of Trump do not count. All Trump statements are results from stress of torture by Democrats, and deep state."

When this president stated during the campaign,

that christians don't have to forgive their enemies, I rolled my eyes stated he wrong, and understood well he doesn't know what christianity means and supported him anyway

that he supported same sex marriage, I rolled my eyes, rebuffed the the silliness of his comments and understood, he is not a conservative and beyond that he doesn't know what christianity means

when it was uncovered that he had in fact had relations outside of marriage, I rolled my eyes, and understood that alone could be a disqualifying factor in light of the competition and supported him anyway

when some of the most respected departments of government leaders said he colluded with Russians, based on the evidence, I said "poppycock" and supported him anyway

when media swirled with tales of Russian bath houses and carousings abounded, I thought nonsense and supported hum anyway

when the rumors of underage girls and same sex parties and orgies seped into the main, I rolled my eyes and supported him anyway . . .

when he spouted off about Charlottesville prematurely, I supported him anyway . . .

when became clear he actually advocated torture, I choked, spat and supported him anyway, afterall he's not schooled in international relations and the consequences for our service personnel, much less apparently the basics of tortures effectiveness, especially in large scale strategies such as the US is engaged in

when it came to light he was completely ignorant of how our criminal justice system gets it wrong as exampled by the Cen 5 case, I supported him anyway . . .

I supported him in spite of his comments about the poor and people like me who supported him

There's a long list of tolerance is support of this president based on his advocacy regarding turning the attention to the US welfare . . .

And when he actually agreed that the Russians had sabotaged the US elections and even engaged in murder in the states of our European allies -- I knew, that in all liklihood the turn inward was dead.

Here' a man who beat all the odds because of stalwart support of people like me, who repeatedly bit the sides of our cheeks in the understanding that the returns would exceed the price only to discover that the man who beat the odds doesn't seem to have a spine to stand on ideologically which were the foundations of my advocacy: national security, less reckless spending, holding business and financial organizations accountable for misbehavior, investing in the US citizen, restructuring our trade deals to benefit the US, not merely shooting up tarrifs that would in turn be priced to the citizens the supposed tarrifs were intended to protect, tax cuts that actually gave middle americans less, no evidence of a draw down in our careless ME behaviors, i even gave him some room to deal with israel as perhaps a new way forward -- it's a new way alright – no pretense of acting as honest brokers – that's new, Immigration is worse and by worse he might as well be serving tea and crumpets at the border welcoming illegals . . .

If the man you elected to turn the corner actually becomes the vehicle for of what you elected him to reject and change, eventually one has to acknowledge that fact. he beat the deep state, he just either had not the courage, the integrity, or the ability, perhaps all three to withstand the victory and do the work. Of course he had opposition and not much of it very fair and nearly all of it damaging to the country. But he had support to stand against it -- he chose an easier path.

And while I support him still, I have no intention of pretending that he is fulfilling the mandate for which he was elected. I would be lying to myself and doing a disservice to him.

I have not changed, I knew he was a situational leader, I knew what that meant, but I voted for a particular agenda, he left the reservation on his own accord and the "deep state", the establishment", the democrats, the liberals, the libertarians, can only be held to blame for so much --

But several weeks ago, on top of a complete failure to ensure US order security, the armed forces paid homage to Mexicans on US territory by relinquishing their weapons and surrendering -- and given the tenure thus far -- - it devastatingly fitting that this occurred under this admin.

And in the midst of all this, he is pandering to those engaged in same sex behavior -- – deep state my eye . . .

the path of least resistance. I cling to the belief that having voting for any of the other candidates -- matters would have been far worse.

I make no apologies for being a conservative and Christian and holding a loyalty to the US.

I reject your whine, it had legs and even some salience still, but at this stage, very little.

Now he is bed with Sen. Rubio, Sen. Cruz and others on mucking around in SA -- I can only consider your comments as an attempt at humor.

[May 03, 2019] Tucker Carlson Takes On Venezuela Intervention by Brad Griffin

Notable quotes:
"... As much as Trump has proven to be a disaster with his appointments of Bolton/Pompeo/E Abrams, things could still be worse. We could have wound up with Little Marco, the John McCain of his generation. All praise to Tucker for having the guts to go against the grain. ..."
"... The answer here is simple. When the President of of the US stated that he believed Russia under the instructions of Pres. Putin attempted to sabotage the democratic process, and from the mouths many of our leadership -- was successful he made a major power on the world stage a targeted enemy of the US. When that same president accused Pres. Putin of plotting the same in Europe and ordered the murders inside those sovereign states -- ..."
"... He essentially stated that our global strategic interests include challenging the Russian influence anywhere and everywhere on the planet as they are active enemies of the US and our European allies. What ever democratic global strategic ambitions previous to the least election were stifled until that moment. ..."
"... Sanctions and blockades are acts of war. Try doing it to Washington or one of its vassals, and watch the guns come out. ..."
"... Historically, sanctions are not an alternative to war; they are a prelude to it. Sanctions are how Uncle Scam generally softens up foreign countries in preparation for an invasion or some sort of 'régime-change' operation. ..."
"... All of this is smoke in mirrors. The real story is that Washington is headed for default on it's 22 trillion dollar debt and the Beltway Elites are losing it. They are desperate to start a conflict anywhere, but especially with an oil rich nation like Venezuela or Iran install their own puppets and keep this petro-dollar scam running a little while longer. ..."
"... Syria, Iraq and Libya were not destroyed for oil. Oil provided cover for the real reason. In fact, oil companies opposed war for oil. It doesn't benefit the US or those companies. Those three countries were and are Israel's primary enemies and neighbors and that is why they were destroyed. Only if you stick your head in the sand and ignore the enormous power of Israel and their Jewish supporters which is constantly on full display constantly can someone not see that. ..."
"... Venezuela has one of the highest murder rates in the world. I'm pretty sure there are still lots of guns around. They're not using rocks to kill one another. The U.S. military richly deserves to get itself trapped in a Gaza type situation of house to house fighting in the favellas above Caracas. ..."
"... Trump is a Trojan horse under zionist control who had 5 draft deferments but now is the zionists war lord sending Americans to fight and die in the mideast for Israel just like obama and bush jr. , same bullshit different puppet! ..."
"... America is Oceania , war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength and I would add to what Orwell said, war in the zio/US is perpetual for our zionist overlords. ..."
"... Imperialists always see themselves as spreading good things to people who will benefit from them. And imperialists necessarily always dilute their own culture. ..."
"... If the imperialist culture is already rootless cosmopolitan, it will see no downside to the above. If the Elites of a culture have become cosmopolitans divorced from any meaningful contact with their own people (i.e. those of their own blood and history), then they will lead their people into ever more cultural pollution and perversion. ..."
"... Remember. The choice was between Trump and Clinton. Not Trump and Jesus. ..."
"... The funny thing is, the Alt-Right or the 2.0 movement is united to a man on opposing the Trump administration's military interventions in Syria, Iran and Venezuela, but has failed at articulating its own ardent opposition to imperialism and its commitment to humanity and international peace. No one in American politics is more opposed to destructive regime change wars. ..."
"... I'm not sure what "Alt-Right" or "2.0 movement" really means in the current shills-vs-people wars but all the best and the brightest in our ranks are clearly against the globalists. ..."
May 03, 2019 | www.unz.com

H/T Daily Stormer

Venezuela illustrates why a 3.0 movement is necessary.

The funny thing is, the Alt-Right or the 2.0 movement is united to a man on opposing the Trump administration's military interventions in Syria, Iran and Venezuela, but has failed at articulating its own ardent opposition to imperialism and its commitment to humanity and international peace. No one in American politics is more opposed to destructive regime change wars.

The Trump administration's interventions in Syria and Venezuela are victimizing mainly poor brown people in Third World countries. And yet, the Alt-Right or the 2.0 movement is extremely animated and stirred up in a rage at the neocons who are currently running Blompf's foreign policy. Similarly, it has cheered on the peace talks between North Korea and South Korea.

Isn't it the supreme irony that the "racists" in American politics are the real humanitarians while the so-called "humanitarians" like Sen. Marco Rubio and Bill Kristol are less adverse to bloodshed and destructive wars in which hundreds of thousands of people die than the "racists"?


Endgame Napoleon , says: May 2, 2019 at 4:48 am GMT

It is ironic. There is also the issue of economic-based US interventionism, particularly in the oil-gifted nations mentioned. It's their oil. Since the US economy is oil-dependent -- and since fracking is a short-lived "miracle" of unprofitable companies that have already extracted the easy pickings -- it is the role of US leaders to make sure that we can buy oil from nations like Venezuela, keeping relations as good as possible for those means. But US leaders have no business telling them who should rule their country, much less stirring up trouble that can end up in bloodshed.

There's a comment on here about US forces and the Kurds in Syria, helping themselves to oil, while Syrians wait in long lines for gas in a country that is an oil fountain. I have no idea whether or not it is true, and since the US press would rather gossip than report, we'll probably never know. But since oil prices have gone up recently in the USA, it might be true, especially since politicians always want to pacify the serfs facing other unaffordable expenses, like rent. If true you can see how that would make the people in an oil-rich country mad.

lavoisier , says: Website May 2, 2019 at 12:44 pm GMT

Isn't it the supreme irony that the "racists" in American politics are the real humanitarians while the so-called "humanitarians" like Sen. Marco Rubio and Bill Kristol are less adverse to bloodshed and destructive wars in which hundreds of thousands of people die than the "racists"?

There is nothing ironic about your simple statement of fact. The humanitarians you mention are about as much interested in human rights as John Wayne Gacy. There is gold in them there hills, and their "friends" no longer control that gold. So we must go to war.

Rubio is running neck and neck in my mind as one of the most disgusting political whores of all time.

No simple accomplishment that.

follyofwar , says: May 2, 2019 at 2:01 pm GMT
@lavoisier

As much as Trump has proven to be a disaster with his appointments of Bolton/Pompeo/E Abrams, things could still be worse. We could have wound up with Little Marco, the John McCain of his generation. All praise to Tucker for having the guts to go against the grain.

Joe Stalin , says: May 2, 2019 at 4:31 pm GMT
V.I. Kydor Kropotkin: "Look, you want to save the world? You're the great humanitarian? Take the gun!"

[Hands James Coburn full-auto AR-15]

Dr. Sidney Schaefer: [firing machine gun] " Take that you hostile son of a bitch! " " The President's Analyst" (1967)

https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062153/

https://www.youtube.com/embed/mHQYPZqZ_kI?feature=oembed

conatus , says: May 2, 2019 at 5:21 pm GMT
Why not ship some AR-15s and and few million rounds with some 20 round clips?.Venezuela seized all private guns in 2012 to 'keep the people safe'
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-18288430

How is that working out now? Those are rocks those guys are throwing..right? Why not let THEM do the fighting and keep the guys from Ohio and Alabama here?

lavoisier , says: Website May 2, 2019 at 6:34 pm GMT
@follyofwar Yeah, McCain immediately comes to mind as the front runner.
A123 , says: May 2, 2019 at 8:37 pm GMT

The funny thing is, the Alt-Right or the 2.0 movement is united to a man on opposing the Trump administration's military interventions in Syria, Iran and Venezuela

What Trump administration military intervention? Number of Boots on the ground:

It is quite amazing that Trump Derangement Syndrome [TDS] can take ZERO troops and falsely portray that as military intervention. In the real, non-deranged world -- Rational thought shows ZERO troops as the absence of military intervention.

Trying to use non-military sanctions to convince nations to behave better is indeed the exact opposite of military intervention. If the NeoConDem Hillary Clinton was President. Would the U.S. have boots on the ground in Iran And Venezuela?

Why is the Trump Derangement Syndrome [TDS] crowd so willing to go to war for Hillary while misrepresenting TRUMP's non-intervention?

Those who pathologicially hate Trump are simply not rational.

PEACE

EliteCommInc. , says: May 2, 2019 at 9:05 pm GMT
The answer here is simple. When the President of of the US stated that he believed Russia under the instructions of Pres. Putin attempted to sabotage the democratic process, and from the mouths many of our leadership -- was successful he made a major power on the world stage a targeted enemy of the US. When that same president accused Pres. Putin of plotting the same in Europe and ordered the murders inside those sovereign states --

He essentially stated that our global strategic interests include challenging the Russian influence anywhere and everywhere on the planet as they are active enemies of the US and our European allies. What ever democratic global strategic ambitions previous to the least election were stifled until that moment.

Until that moment foreign policy could have been shifted, but after that moment

-- fo'ge'd abou'd it.

Fidelios Automata , says: May 3, 2019 at 1:50 am GMT
Don't forget the genocide in Yemen. Wanting to exclude Yemenis from the USA means you're an evil racist, but turning a blind eye to mass murder is A-OK.
Biff , says: May 3, 2019 at 4:14 am GMT
@A123 Sanctions and blockades are acts of war. Try doing it to Washington or one of its vassals, and watch the guns come out.
wayfarer , says: May 3, 2019 at 4:28 am GMT
"Guiado Attempts a Coup in Venezuela."

https://www.youtube.com/embed/WAvbX3A7igk?feature=oembed

"Venezuela Uprising Day Two."

https://www.youtube.com/embed/edvjV0HfRRo?feature=oembed

xwray-specs , says: May 3, 2019 at 5:52 am GMT
Gold, Black Gold and Pirates : all about wealth and people getting in the way of the 21st Century Privateers who will stop at nothing including overthrowing governments in Syria, Libya, Iraq and elsewhere.
Anon [358] Disclaimer , says: May 3, 2019 at 6:11 am GMT
Our deep state sure hates losing elections don't they? The lengths they will go to nullify voter will is a sight.
Digital Samizdat , says: May 3, 2019 at 6:32 am GMT
@A123 Historically, sanctions are not an alternative to war; they are a prelude to it. Sanctions are how Uncle Scam generally softens up foreign countries in preparation for an invasion or some sort of 'régime-change' operation.

I appreciate the fact that Team Trump has not actually sent in the tanks yet, whereas Hellary probably would have by now. Believe me, that is probably one of the very few good arguments in favor of Trump at this point. But if we want to make sure that he never does attack, then now is the time to make some noise– before the war starts.

Paul , says: May 3, 2019 at 8:20 am GMT
We do not need yet another U.S. imperialist adventure in Latin America.
JEinCA , says: May 3, 2019 at 8:26 am GMT
All of this is smoke in mirrors. The real story is that Washington is headed for default on it's 22 trillion dollar debt and the Beltway Elites are losing it. They are desperate to start a conflict anywhere, but especially with an oil rich nation like Venezuela or Iran install their own puppets and keep this petro-dollar scam running a little while longer.

If we weren't on the brink of economic collapse I could never see the Washington Elites risking it all with a game of nuclear chicken with Russia and China over Ukraine and Taiwan.

Anonymous [578] Disclaimer , says: May 3, 2019 at 8:49 am GMT
This commentator lost me when he decided Guaido was as socialist as Maduro. Nope. He would not have US backing were that the case. I checked out Telesur on Youtube on April 30 – its continued functioning was one sign the coup attempt had failed. The comments section was full of Guaido supporters ranting about how much they hated Chavistas and socialists and some were asking where Maduro was, probably trying to sustain the myth that he had fled.
PeterMX , says: May 3, 2019 at 9:05 am GMT
"When was the last time we successfully meddled in the political life of another country" The answer to that, Tucker, depends on who you ask. While Syria, Iraq and Libya were "failures" because we were told we would bring peace and prosperity to those countries, that was not the goal of the architects of those wars, neither was it oil. The primary goal was to pacify these countries and neuter them so they would not stand up to their neighbor and enemy Israel. And if they had to be destroyed to accomplish that, that's fine. Minus Egypt, those three countries were Israel's primary enemies in the three Arab-Israeli wars. Venezuela is not "another" war for oil, but it might be the first.
PeterMX , says: May 3, 2019 at 9:19 am GMT
@Endgame Napoleon

Syria, Iraq and Libya were not destroyed for oil. Oil provided cover for the real reason. In fact, oil companies opposed war for oil. It doesn't benefit the US or those companies. Those three countries were and are Israel's primary enemies and neighbors and that is why they were destroyed. Only if you stick your head in the sand and ignore the enormous power of Israel and their Jewish supporters which is constantly on full display constantly can someone not see that.

Anon [424] Disclaimer , says: May 3, 2019 at 9:20 am GMT
@EliteCommInc. The russians are not the ennemies of the europeans , the russians are europeans , the yankees are nor european .

If the yankees were the allies of the europeans , why they should need hundreds of military occupation bases in Europe ? why they should impose on europeans self defeating trade sanctions against Russia ? , strange " allies " .

Anon [424] Disclaimer , says: May 3, 2019 at 9:28 am GMT
@conatus you are late conatus , the russians are building in Venezuela a factory of Kalasnikov rifles , and Maduro is traing a militia of two million men , to help the army .

https://www.defensa.com/venezuela/fabricacion-venezuela-fusil-ruso-ak-103-comenzara-2019

War for Blair Mountain , says: May 3, 2019 at 11:52 am GMT
If JFK were alive ..and POTUS in 2019 he would give the order to overthrow the Maduro Goverment .
Johnny Smoggins , says: May 3, 2019 at 12:13 pm GMT
@conatus Venezuela has one of the highest murder rates in the world. I'm pretty sure there are still lots of guns around. They're not using rocks to kill one another. The U.S. military richly deserves to get itself trapped in a Gaza type situation of house to house fighting in the favellas above Caracas.
Avery , says: May 3, 2019 at 12:25 pm GMT
@War for Blair Mountain {If JFK were alive ..and POTUS in 2019 he would give the order to overthrow the Maduro Goverment .}

JFK was alive way back then, when he gave the order to overthrow Castro and the result was the Bay of Pigs disaster. And – for better or worse – Cubans are still running their own country, not some foreign installed puppet.

'The order to overthrow Maduro' today would have the same disasterous end.
It should be obvious by now, that despite all the hardships, majority of Venezuelans don't want a foreign installed puppet.

Z-man , says: May 3, 2019 at 12:28 pm GMT
Tucker ' Iz Da Man' ! Unfortunately he has to skate a fine line to dodge the arrows* of the Cabal of the right and the Cabal of the left .

*Arrows? No, BULLETS.

War for Blair Mountain , says: May 3, 2019 at 12:37 pm GMT
US Military Intervention in Venazuela .
Mick Jagger gathers no Mosque , says: May 3, 2019 at 12:52 pm GMT
What is really going on in Venezuela was anticipated long ago

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Z1QVthvDhPo?feature=oembed

DESERT FOX , says: May 3, 2019 at 12:52 pm GMT
Carlson is right on Venezuela but was wrong on 911 truthers which he said back in September 2017, that 911 truthers were nuts! 911 which was done by Israel and the zionist controlled deep state lead to the destruction of the mideast for Israel and the zionist NWO!

Trump is a Trojan horse under zionist control who had 5 draft deferments but now is the zionists war lord sending Americans to fight and die in the mideast for Israel just like obama and bush jr. , same bullshit different puppet!

America is Oceania , war is peace, freedom is slavery, ignorance is strength and I would add to what Orwell said, war in the zio/US is perpetual for our zionist overlords.

One more thing, if Venezuela did not have oil the zio/US would not give a damn about it!

Jake , says: May 3, 2019 at 1:15 pm GMT
Imperialists always see themselves as spreading good things to people who will benefit from them. And imperialists necessarily always dilute their own culture.

If the imperialist culture is already rootless cosmopolitan, it will see no downside to the above. If the Elites of a culture have become cosmopolitans divorced from any meaningful contact with their own people (i.e. those of their own blood and history), then they will lead their people into ever more cultural pollution and perversion.

Jews are a people who fit the opening sentence of the preceding paragraph. The WASP Elites fit the second sentence.

Fool's Paradise , says: May 3, 2019 at 1:19 pm GMT
If "no one is more opposed to destructive regime-change wars than the Alt-Right", it means that the Alt-Right are traditional conservatives, paleo-(as opposed to neo)conservatives. Real conservatives have always opposed getting into foreign wars that posed no threat to the U.S. They opposed Wilson lying us into WW1, Roosevelt lying us into WW2. When the neo-conservatives (American Jews loyal to Israel) got Washington under their thumb, we started our decades of disastrous regime-change wars based on lies, starting with the invasion of Iraq. Those neocon mf ers are still in charge.
DESERT FOX , says: May 3, 2019 at 1:46 pm GMT
@Johnny Walker Read Agree, the great zio/warlord got 5 deferments, but he will bomb any country the zionists put the hit on at the drop of a maga hat!

Trump is a zionist judas goat leading America to destruction for his zionist masters, and by the way his son-inlaw is mossad!

War is peace, ie the peace of the dead!

friendofanimals , says: May 3, 2019 at 1:52 pm GMT
Maduro was trading oil in non-Fed Reserve, Jew-Dollar just like Iran, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and Syria. can't have that .
Anonymous [392] Disclaimer , says: May 3, 2019 at 2:02 pm GMT
An Alt Right 2.0 concept that is compassionate with the damage done by US war and economic exploitation against the poorest people of the world who are mostly brown people is an interesting concept.

But I think it will ultimately fail, since so many of the white people who make up the Alt Right are angry with minorities and see them as a lower race. And these white people are more interested in playing the victim card anyways.

TKK , says: May 3, 2019 at 2:07 pm GMT
@A123 You speak truth and cite facts, these loons go bananas.

Thank God they have no real power.

Hopefully they don't even own a hamster . probably would make the little fella read Mien Kempf.

Because a hamster reading is just as cogent and linear as their arguments.

They are frustrated they cannot find a way to blame the Jews! for Maduro being a greedy murdering sweathog who lets zoo animals starve while he looks like animated male cellulite.

Funny- in their prostrations to dictators ( these retards actually defend and admire Jong-Un) they conveniently have omitted Putin is cutting Russia from the WWW- the Internet.

They will have a Russia intranet.

Pointing out to the obtuse daily commenters that under the tyrants that practically fellate- they would be arrested and tortured for their Unz hissy fits and word diarrhea

-Does not compute.

TKK , says: May 3, 2019 at 2:16 pm GMT
@Johnny Walker Read All those words, and nary a coherent point made.

Nationwide radio talk show? Wow! What's the station name, number and air time?

If you listen to people with actual media shows, they don't call people TROLL just because they have a different opinion. They don't engage in female hysterical ranting because someone has a different idea about the mechanics of the world.

Who are your sponsors? I can't imagine you would not want the free publicity .

wayfarer , says: May 3, 2019 at 2:22 pm GMT
"Venezuela 'Coup Attempt' Footage They Don't Want You to See." https://www.youtube.com/embed/6OzF5ktFiCk?feature=oembed

"Massive Deception Coming From Corporate Media on Venezuela." https://www.youtube.com/embed/JjXzw51GZtc?feature=oembed

peter mcloughlin , says: May 3, 2019 at 2:37 pm GMT
I agree, there is irony in labels, in trying to tell who is more disposed towards 'bloodshed and destructive wars in which hundreds of thousands of people die'. Why do we fight? It is for power. Power (manifested as interest) has been present in every conflict of the past – no exception. It is the underlying motivation for war. Other cultural factors might change, but not power. Interest cuts across all apparently unifying principles: family, kin, nation, religion, ideology, politics – everything. We unite with the enemies of our principles, because that is what serves our interest. It is power, not any of the above concepts, that is the cause of war. And that is what is leading the world to nuclear Armageddon.
https://www.ghostsofhistory.wordpress.com/
Johnny Walker Read , says: May 3, 2019 at 2:42 pm GMT
@TKK My sponsors are truth and America first. All Zionist hucksters are on my hit list. Again, I suggest you and yours consider "making aliyah".
https://www.nbn.org.il/
HallParvey , says: May 3, 2019 at 2:47 pm GMT
@A123

What Trump administration military intervention?

Number of Boots on the ground:
-- Syria -- Reduced vs. Obama, at most a few thousand
-- Iran -- ZERO
-- Venezuela -- Again ZERO

We will see in the future. Trump has to stir the pot. The foaming at the mouth media and his political opposition, in both parties, need something to blather on about. Jus like rasslin'. Remember. The choice was between Trump and Clinton. Not Trump and Jesus.

Gapeseed , says: May 3, 2019 at 2:50 pm GMT
@TKK Oh, I see a point there, and it's an interesting one – openly Christian presidents discredit their Christianity by engaging in non-righteous wars. After contemplating the point, I don't think the foreign policy of W or Trump is anywhere close to being the primary factor in the decline in church attendance. After all, the Catholic Church and other denominations are mired in myriad sex scandals, the internet pulls people from God with private depravity, science offers compelling hows if not whys, entertainment options abound, and so on. Nonetheless, an orthodox and faithful Christian president committed to peace and not fighting for oil or foreign interests would be a thing to behold. With caveats relating to perceived sanity, that person would get my vote.
Anon [398] Disclaimer , says: Website May 3, 2019 at 2:52 pm GMT
But nothing seems to happen to the scumbags.
EliteCommInc. , says: May 3, 2019 at 3:00 pm GMT
"The russians are not the ennemies of the europeans , the russians are europeans , the yankees are nor european . "

These comments don't make any sense to me based on what I wrote. My comments have no bearing on whether the Russians are an actual threat or not. I see them as competitors with whom there are some places to come to some agreements. They doesn't mean I truth them.

Furthermore, my comments have no bearing on the territorial nature of Russian ethos. That's not the point. Europeans have been at each other since there were Europeans. From the Vikings and before to Serbia and Georgian conflicts. But none of that has anything to do with my comments.

You might want to read them for what they do say as opposed to what you would like them to say.

Agent76 , says: May 3, 2019 at 3:04 pm GMT
Jul 26, 2017 CIA director hints US is working to topple Venezuela's elected government

CIA Director Mike Pompeo indirectly admitted that the US is pushing for a new government in Venezuela, in collaboration with Colombia and Mexico.

Feb 22, 2019 An Ocean of Lies on Venezuela: Abby Martin & UN Rapporteur Expose Coup

On the eve of another US war for oil, Abby Martin debunks the most repeated myths about Venezuela and uncovers how US sanctions are crimes against humanity with UN investigator and human rights Rapporteur Alfred De Zayas.

EliteCommInc. , says: May 3, 2019 at 3:09 pm GMT
"After all, the Catholic Church and other denominations are mired in myriad sex scandals . . ."

Not even to the tune of 4%, and I am being generous. The liberals have managed to make the Church look a den of NAMBLA worshipers -- hardly. In the west the Churches are under pressure from the same sex practitioners to reject scriptural teachings on the behavior, but elsewhere around the world, Catholic institutions, such as in Africa -- reject the notion.

The scandal is more fiction that reality --

A123 , says: May 3, 2019 at 3:11 pm GMT
@TKK Thanks. Ignoring mindless trolls is a necessary skill for the site.
____

Given the end of the Mueller exoneration, both Trump and Putin are looking to strengthen ties. Thus it is:

-- Unlikely that Putin is heavily committed to helping Maduro. The numbers are too small for that. Also, what would Putin do with Maduro? The last thing Putin needs is a spoiler to the developing detente.

-- Much more likely the troops have a straightforward purpose. Brazilian military/aerospace technology would jump ahead 20 years if they could grab an intact S-300 system. Russia doesn't want a competitor in that market, so they have a deep interest in reclaiming or destroying S-300 equipment as Maduro goes down.

PEACE

Gapeseed , says: May 3, 2019 at 3:40 pm GMT
@EliteCommInc. You are certainly right. I have no doubt that the vast majority of priests are good men innocent of these charges, and that there are more public school sex scandals (by both raw numbers and percentage) then similar Church scandals. The scandals do have public currency and legs, though, and are one reason often cited as to why the pews are empty. I am at fault for helping to keep this ruinous perception alive with my online rhetoric, and thank you for pointing it out.
Wally , says: May 3, 2019 at 3:47 pm GMT
@PeterMX Bingo!

' It's the oil ' canard has always been the excuse cultivated for suckers, and boy do suckers fall for it.

US oil companies have not received the big oil deals in countries where the US, at the behest of "that shitty little country", have interfered militarily. However, Russia, China, & to a limited degree, a few European companies have.

follyofwar , says: May 3, 2019 at 4:06 pm GMT
@PeterMX Bibi's biggest enemy, his main prize, has always been Iran. He is afraid that, if Trump refuses to do his bidding now, it may well be too late in an election year. One way or another Bolton and Pompeo are going to convince their token boss to green light a massive bombing campaign, especially if Iran attempts to shut down the Straits of Hormuz. It will happen this year if Trump fails to come to his senses.
Digital Samizdat , says: May 3, 2019 at 4:33 pm GMT
@Scalper In the first place, your bizarre partisan rant is a little out of place. There aren't too many QAnons here at Unz, and there are probably a fair number of regulars here who wouldn't even identify as Republicans or 'conservatives' (whatever that term means today).

Secondly, some of your talking points aren't even accurate:

Trump administration will declare Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation, increasing the animosity from Arab countries in the ME to unbelievable levels. This includes non Arab country Turkey also, a traditional ally until neocon Trump took power.

If Trump were truly to declare the Brotherhood to be a terrorist organization, a lot of Arab rulers would actually thank him. You see, the Brotherhood is actually illegal in most Arab countries today, precisely because it has a history of collaborating with foreign intelligence services such as MI6, the CIA and Mossad. More recently, it was strongly associated with failed régime-change projects in countries like Egypt and Syria; so with a few exceptions (like Qatar), the Brotherhood is not well liked by Arab rulers.

Immigration restrictionism is a traditional pro working class, leftist policy.

Traditionally leftist? Sure up until the Hart-Celler Act of 1965! The sad fact is, we don't an anti-immigration party in the US at all today. Neither the Republicans nor the Democrats have any interest whatsoever in halting–or even just slowing down–immigration.

follyofwar , says: May 3, 2019 at 4:34 pm GMT
@PeterMX It's obvious that FOX is giving Tucker a lot of latitude. They continued to support him when advertisers left, and when accusations of racism emerged from a radio interview he'd done years ago with a shock jock. They dare not fire him as he has the largest and most fervent base of supporters on cable news. But Tucker knows that there is one big issue, the Elephant in the room, of which he dare not speak. It's that shitty little country calling the shots, whose name begins with an I.
Digital Samizdat , says: May 3, 2019 at 4:40 pm GMT
@Anonymous I think there may be more alt-righters opposed to foreign wars and exploitative 'free' trade treaties than you assume. Most of the alt-righters I know oppose the current régime's "invade the world, invite the world" policies (to borrow a phrase from our own Steve Sailer). But unlike the anti-imperialist left (with whom they often do ally), they usually argue against such policies based on popular self-interest rather than abstract universal morality. They usually choose to argue that being a mighty world empire has worked to the detriment of the majority of people in America; that the whole thing is just a scam to enrich and empower a small, corrupt élite.
joe webb , says: May 3, 2019 at 4:45 pm GMT
what goes unremarked here and elsewhere is the ethnic composition of Venezuela. From a few searches, Whites are only about one-third of V.

The Tipping Point for chaos is clear. Brazil is half White, Argentina is near 100 % White, ditto Chile. (Argentina ca. 1900 exterminated a large number its "Indigenous." ) The most stable of Latin America is Costa Rica, which is apparently about three quarters White.

Meanwhile the jewyorktimes reports the narco-traffickers in the Maduro administration.

Hopeless. Any Brown or Black Country is doomed. Brazil works cuz Whites know how to control the 45% mulattos and 5 % Blacks. For now anyway. Mexico is a narco-state with the only 9% Whites able to control the half breeds and Indigenous thru co-option. Wait for Mexico to blow up.

Joe Webb

Republic , says: May 3, 2019 at 4:46 pm GMT
Tucker's viewpoints seem to indicate a split in the US ruling class. US Bipartisan Unity on Venezuela Starting to Crumble. which is very good news!
DESERT FOX , says: May 3, 2019 at 6:02 pm GMT
@joe webb The major drug runners in the world are the cia and the mossad and mi6.
twocalves , says: May 3, 2019 at 6:31 pm GMT
@Endgame Napoleon https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-04-30/us-troops-syria-long-haul-atop-lot-oil-resources-top-pentagon-official
tldr ; Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East says us occupying syria, because we much stronger
DESERT FOX , says: May 3, 2019 at 6:49 pm GMT
@anonymous Agree, and the same can be said of Hannity, who is another warmonger for his zionist masters.
Mike P , says: May 3, 2019 at 7:11 pm GMT
@follyofwar

It's that shitty little country calling the shots, whose name begins with an I.

Yes, those gosh-darn Icelanders.

Anonymous [173] Disclaimer , says: May 3, 2019 at 7:35 pm GMT

The funny thing is, the Alt-Right or the 2.0 movement is united to a man on opposing the Trump administration's military interventions in Syria, Iran and Venezuela, but has failed at articulating its own ardent opposition to imperialism and its commitment to humanity and international peace. No one in American politics is more opposed to destructive regime change wars.

That's an amazing point. I'm not sure what "Alt-Right" or "2.0 movement" really means in the current shills-vs-people wars but all the best and the brightest in our ranks are clearly against the globalists.

Robjil , says: May 3, 2019 at 9:59 pm GMT
@Avery The Deep state/CIA did the Bay of Pigs. JFK was not informed about it before it happened. JFK was fighting the CIA and deep state throughout his presidency. He wanted to shatter the CIA into a million pieces. Read "JFK and the Unspeakable" by James W. Douglass. His peace speech on June 10, 1963 was too much for our deep state. That speech was the biggest triggers that set the motion for his assassination.
Realist , says: May 3, 2019 at 10:24 pm GMT
@War for Blair Mountain

US Military Intervention in Venazuela .

=

Unending Wounded Warrior Project Infomercials

Why do the naive people have to beg for donations ..make the warmongers pay.

Realist , says: May 3, 2019 at 10:26 pm GMT
@Jake

Imperialists always see themselves as spreading good things to people who will benefit from them.

No they don't .They see power and wealth.

Acknowledging Gravity , says: May 3, 2019 at 10:45 pm GMT
Whatever anyone thinks about the Alt-Right it did expose a lot of things about our current era, our history, our politics, and power paradigms that once seen can not be unseen.

And what are you going to do about it? What can anyone really do, honestly?

Not too much at least in America. Eastern Europe still has a good chance.

In America, the trajectory and machinations of power have been set for a long time and revolutionary romanticism tends to work better for the Left than the Right. A quick look at the data easily reveals this.

So what do you do when you realize how so much of everything that's presented as real and true isn't real or true? And there are so many truly bad human beings with major power over our culture, politics, and society?

Well, when has that not been the case in human history? At some point, acknowledging all the black pills is sort of like accepting your human limits, your finitude, your genetics, the unanswered mysteries of existence, the nothingness of Earth in the grand scheme, and just basic gravity.

You could become a courageous online revolutionary and eventually trigger some unstable person to get things shut down and deplatformed.

Or you could organize with socially and psychologically healthy and mature adults who try to prioritize attainable and realistic goals and gain some moralizing victories that can buffer against the demoralizing defeats.

Luckily, out of the winter of our discontent have emerged many healthy tendrils of new growth.

[May 03, 2019] Tucker Carlson: Before The Bombers Take Off, Let's Ask A Few Questions About Venezuela

Notable quotes:
"... Will the overthrow of disputed President Nicolas Maduro make Venezuela a more stable and prosperous country? More to the point, would it be good for the United States? Lots of people claim to know the answer to that, but they don't. They have no idea. If recent history is any guide, nothing will turn out as expected. Few things ever do. ..."
"... Are we prepared for the refugees a Venezuelan war would inevitably produce? A study by the Brookings Institution found that the collapse of the Venezuelan government could force eight million people to leave the country. Many of them would come here. Lawmakers in this country propose giving them temporary protected status that would let even illegal arrivals live and work here, in effect, permanently, as many have before, with no fear of deportation. Are we prepared for that? ..."
May 02, 2019 | www.realclearpolitics.com

TUCKER CARLSON: There is much we don't know about the situation in Venezuela. What we do know is that Venezuela's current government has done a poor job of providing for its own people. Venezuela has the world's largest oil reserves, yet it remains one of the most impoverished and the most dangerous places on the planet. That is beyond dispute.

Everything else is up for debate. Will the overthrow of disputed President Nicolas Maduro make Venezuela a more stable and prosperous country? More to the point, would it be good for the United States? Lots of people claim to know the answer to that, but they don't. They have no idea. If recent history is any guide, nothing will turn out as expected. Few things ever do.

But that has not stopped the geniuses in Washington. It has not even slowed them down. On Tuesday afternoon, on a bipartisan basis, they agreed that the United States ought to jump immediately, face-first, into the Venezuelan mess. When asked whether U.S. presence in Venezuela would make any difference, Sen. Rick Scott of Florida told Neil Cavuto the following: "Absolutely. I was down at the Venezuelan border last Wednesday. This is just pure genocide. Maduro is killing his own citizens."

When asked whether Venezuela was worth risking American troops' lives, Scott said, "Here is what is going to happen. We are in the process, if we don't win today, we are going to have Syria in this hemisphere. So, we can make sure something happens now, or we can deal with this for decades to come. If we care about families, if we care about the human race, if we care about fellow worldwide citizens, then we've got to step up and stop this genocide."

All right, I just want to make sure that it is clear. If you care about families and you care about the human race -- if you want to stop genocide -- you will send your children to Venezuela to fight right now, without even thinking about it, without even weighing the consequences. You will just do it. Assuming you are a good person, of course.

If you don't care about families or the human race -- if for some reason you despise human happiness and support genocide -- then you will want to join Satan's team and embrace isolationism, the single most immoral of all worldviews. That is what they're telling you. That is what they are demanding you believe.

Message received. We've heard it before. But before the bombers take off, let's just answer a few quick questions, starting with the most obvious: When was the last time we successfully meddled in the political life of another country? Has it ever worked? How are the democracies we set up in Iraq, in Libya, in Syria, and Afghanistan right now? How would Venezuela be different? Please explain -- and take your time.

Are we prepared for the refugees a Venezuelan war would inevitably produce? A study by the Brookings Institution found that the collapse of the Venezuelan government could force eight million people to leave the country. Many of them would come here. Lawmakers in this country propose giving them temporary protected status that would let even illegal arrivals live and work here, in effect, permanently, as many have before, with no fear of deportation. Are we prepared for that?

Are we prepared to absorb millions of new Venezuelan migrants? All of them great people, no question, But many would have little education or skills or would not speak English.

Finally, how, exactly, is any of this good for the United States? Our sanctions on Venezuela have already spiked our gas prices. That hurts our struggling middle class more than virtually anything we could do. So what's is the point of doing that? So our lawmakers can feel like good people?

And if they are, indeed, good people, why do they care more about Venezuela than they care about this country, the one that they run? They are happy to send our military to South America at the first sign of chaos. But send U.S. troops to our own border to stem the tide of a hundred thousand uninvited arrivals a month? "No way," they tell us. "That is crazy talk!"

So, what is the thinking here?

[May 01, 2019] India and Europe stopped buying iranian oil. 1 billion $ of iranian oil stays blocked in China, no one wants to touch it. Even Khamenei admitted that Europe left the JCPOA in practise.

Notable quotes:
"... The Empire is not weak, this is poor analysis. India and Europe stopped buying Iranian oil. 1 billion $ of Iranian oil stays blocked in China, no one wants to touch it. Even Khamenei admitted that Europe left the JCPOA in practice. ..."
"... Iran is in deep recession. Venezuela is in deep recession and is surrounded. ..."
"... Iraq? US troops are staying there. Syria? US troops are staying there long term. 1 third of the country containing the biggest oil fields is under US control. There is fuel shortage crisis due to sanctions. Europe is not stopping its sanctions either. ..."
May 01, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Passer by , May 1, 2019 8:19:31 PM | link

"The Empire only appears to be strong. In reality it is weak, confused, clueless"

The Empire is not weak, this is poor analysis. India and Europe stopped buying Iranian oil. 1 billion $ of Iranian oil stays blocked in China, no one wants to touch it. Even Khamenei admitted that Europe left the JCPOA in practice.

Iran is in deep recession. Venezuela is in deep recession and is surrounded. Almost all of Latin America now has pro-US governments. CIA linked Bolsonaro took over in Brazil. Turkey is in deep recession and Erdogan lost the big cities.

India is moving closer to the US. Europe remains a vassal. Russian economic growth is weak. The US won the trade war against China as Andrei Martyanov himself admitted.

Iraq? US troops are staying there. Syria? US troops are staying there long term. 1 third of the country containing the biggest oil fields is under US control. There is fuel shortage crisis due to sanctions. Europe is not stopping its sanctions either.

There is no doubt that they will be weaker in the future, but they will fight hard to stop this and gain time.

[May 01, 2019] Does Juan Guaido realize what comes next

Notable quotes:
"... The opposition's hoped-for split in the military didn't emerge, a plane that the United States claimed was standing by to ferry Maduro into exile never took off and by nightfall one of the government's bravest opponents, who defied house arrest to join the insurrection, had quietly sought refuge with his family in a foreign embassy. ..."
"... Those that didn't take explicit positions nonetheless wrote articles blaming all or most of Venezuela's woes on Maduro and Chávez. Economics wiz Paul Krugman (New York Times, 1/29/19) gave his spiel: ..."
"... Hugo Chávez got into power because of rage against the nation's elite, but used the power badly. He seized the oil sector, which you only do if you can run it honestly and efficiently; instead, he turned it over to corrupt cronies, who degraded its performance. Then, when oil prices fell, his successor tried to cover the income gap by printing money. Hence the crisis. ..."
"... Note that Krugman failed to mention the 57 percent reduction in extreme poverty that followed Chávez's replacement of management of the state-owned oil industry ..."
"... The total failure of the coup is obvious when one looks at what happened to Leopoldo López, the mentor of Juan Guaidó. He was under house arrest for leading the violent demonstrations and deadly riots in 2014 ..."
"... The generals in the Pentagon will not like the rhetorical build-up at all. They will look at their maps and find that Venezuela is twice the size of Iraq and 30% larger than Afghanistan. ..."
"... It is unlikely that Trump wants to launch a war on Venezuela. He likely knows that it would not be a cake walk, and that it would be a severe risk for his reelection. But who knows what Bolton or Pompeo might tell him to get their way. They just got snookered by the Maduro government. Why would they not snooker Trump? ..."
May 01, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

gjohnsit on Wed, 05/01/2019 - 12:50pm Juan Guaido's U.S.-backed coup failed pitifully yesterday.

He called it the moment for Venezuelans to reclaim their democracy once and for all. But as the hours dragged on, opposition leader Juan Guaidó stood alone on a highway overpass with the same small cadre of soldiers with whom he launched a bold effort to spark a military uprising and settle Venezuela's agonizing power struggle...

The opposition's hoped-for split in the military didn't emerge, a plane that the United States claimed was standing by to ferry Maduro into exile never took off and by nightfall one of the government's bravest opponents, who defied house arrest to join the insurrection, had quietly sought refuge with his family in a foreign embassy.

Guaido's mentor Leopoldo Lopez sought refuge in Chile's embassy in Caracas, while at least 25 pro-Juan Guaido troops asked Brazil for refuge. President Nicolas Maduro is actually in a stronger position now than a week ago. So does the U.S. give up this imperialist project? Nope.

We simply take it to the next level. Juan Guaido must die .

He has been a kind of a hapless figure so far. He calls for mass protests and no one shows up. I don't think he realizes right now that he is actually now worth more dead than alive not only to the CIA, but also to his own opposition people. A shot in the crowd or something like that to take Guaido out. It might shock you, Dr. Paul, but the CIA is pretty good at this kind of things.

Juan Guaido probably only has days or weeks to live.
I wonder if he realizes the danger he is in?

It's unlikely that the Trump Administration will wait long before putting a bullet in their CIA puppet.

"The President has been crystal clear and incredibly consistent. Military action is possible. If that's what's required, that's what the United States will do," Pompeo said on Fox Business Network. "We're trying to do everything we can to avoid violence. We've asked all the parties involved not to engage in the kind of activity. We'd prefer a peaceful transition of government there, where Maduro leaves and a new election is held.

But the President has made clear, in the event that there comes a moment -- and we'll all have to make decisions about when that moment is -- and the President will have to ultimately make that decision. He is prepared to do that if that's what's required."

You don't think that

Maduro would imprison Guaido first?

Is Maduro not able to capture Guaido? Or is he protected by the US and unreachable?

Lookout on Wed, 05/01/2019 - 1:08pm
My guess is Maduro

@dfarrah
Thinks arresting Guaido triggers a US military invasion. Eric Prince is trying to put together a mercenary force if the US troops don't go in.

aliasalias on Wed, 05/01/2019 - 1:48pm
Right wing nuts are joined by faux 'liberals'

calling for the same results that Pompous, Bolton, tRump etc. advocate, the 'liberals' just use nicer language. (highlights are mine)

"...Francisco Rodríguez and Jeffrey D. Sachs (New York Times, 2/2/19) envision similar efforts for a "peaceful and negotiated transition of power," and (Ro) Khanna made sure to characterize Maduro as "an authoritarian leader who has presided over unfair elections, failed economic policies, extrajudicial killings by police, food shortages and cronyism with military leaders."

In other words, Maduro the Dictator must be overthrown -- but don't worry, the US would be diplomatic about it.

Those that didn't take explicit positions nonetheless wrote articles blaming all or most of Venezuela's woes on Maduro and Chávez. Economics wiz Paul Krugman (New York Times, 1/29/19) gave his spiel:

Hugo Chávez got into power because of rage against the nation's elite, but used the power badly. He seized the oil sector, which you only do if you can run it honestly and efficiently; instead, he turned it over to corrupt cronies, who degraded its performance. Then, when oil prices fell, his successor tried to cover the income gap by printing money. Hence the crisis.

Note that Krugman failed to mention the 57 percent reduction in extreme poverty that followed Chávez's replacement of management of the state-owned oil industry (.

I picked the examples above from the article above but it would be a mistake to not point out that this is about all of the media but the NY Tool really stands out, of course Wapoop is never far behind.

However to not make this post too long I'll put up just two of the opening paragraphs and it gets a lot better...

"A FAIR survey of US opinion journalism on Venezuela found no voices in elite corporate media that opposed regime change in that country. Over a three-month period (1/15/19–4/15/19), zero opinion pieces in the New York Times and Washington Post took an anti–regime change or pro-Maduro/Chavista position. Not a single commentator on the big three Sunday morning talkshows or PBS NewsHour came out against President Nicolás Maduro stepping down from the Venezuelan government.

Of the 76 total articles, opinion videos or TV commentator segments that centered on or gave more than passing attention to Venezuela, 54 (72 percent) expressed explicit support for the Maduro administration's ouster. Eleven (14 percent) were ambiguous, but were only classified as such for lack of explicit language. Reading between the lines, most of these were clearly also pro–regime change. Another 11 (14 percent) took no position, but many similarly offered ideological ammo for those in support.

"

https://fair.org/home/zero-percent-of-elite-commentators-oppose-regime-c...

dfarrah on Wed, 05/01/2019 - 2:59pm
So people are stuck with

@aliasalias a choice between corrupt socialists and corrupt capitalists. Yay.

So now I'm watching tv, and oh noes, some guy says that Caracas is a war zone! But all I see is a bunch of people and some sort of smoke bombs going off. But no one yet is shooting. People are throwing rocks at some military vehicles.

The Aspie Corner on Wed, 05/01/2019 - 3:06pm
Krugman is a capitalist stooge.

@aliasalias I'm also willing to bet he was perfectly fine with the US ordering its client states in the Middle East to ramp up oil production to manipulate prices.

What I find particularly laughable is the fact that so many idiots on and offline think Venezuela is socialist despite the fact that their economy is 70 percent private, or mixed, like ours used to be before the capitalist pigs sold off the commons to the highest bidders piece by god damn piece.

Liberals and conservatives are just 2 sides of the same fascist coin at this point.

Battle of Blair... on Wed, 05/01/2019 - 2:04pm
Fight fire with fire

Whats good for the goose is good for the gander.

leveymg on Wed, 05/01/2019 - 3:35pm
Most pathetic CIA coup attempt, yet.

Even after an effective multi-year economic embargo that's caused hyperinflation in Venezuela, and despite a plague of Stuxnet-like viruses that took down most of the country's electrical and communications grid, all the CIA has managed to do is make itself look ineffectual at what really matters. Same in Iran.

All we really still do well is wreck stuff, cause starvation, and cut down the supply of oil going to the world market.

The Agency doesn't really confuse and intimidate anyone, anymore, except The New York Times.

Cassiodorus on Wed, 05/01/2019 - 3:47pm
Is it just me?

Or is the American public missing the obvious? All I see from the folks advocating for a coup in Venezuela is that

1) people are starving,

2) Maduro is a "dictator" (supported by what evidence I don't know) and

3) something must be done. They have no evidence for the counter argument that

4) they are comprador elites who want nothing more than

5) to get their hands on PdVSA's oil after 6) their American sponsors take the lion's share and that

7) it's perfectly obvious that, apart from the end of the US-led embargo, nothing is going to get any better for the vast majority of Venezuelans if the comprador elites are allowed to take over the country. This is because their methods are

9) at least as dictatorial as those they accuse Maduro of employing. And then we have the undemocratic idea that

10) the United States government should somehow have a "say" in who rules Venezuela, a proposition that appears to have the open assent of most of the world's governments.

DonMidwest on Wed, 05/01/2019 - 3:43pm
Guaido got snookered

Venezuela - Guaidó Got Snookered - White House Starts Beating War Drums

Moon of Alabama has an excellent article.

Generals promised him that they were with him, but they were not.

US failed again. And the world knows it.

The total failure of the coup is obvious when one looks at what happened to Leopoldo López, the mentor of Juan Guaidó. He was under house arrest for leading the violent demonstrations and deadly riots in 2014. Yesterday morning the guards let him go. While the circumstances are not clear, the police chief responsible for the guards has been fired. López promised his followers that he would go to the Miraflores Presidential Palace. But he wasn't even able to leave eastern Caracas.

Yesterday evening López, with his wife and daughter, fled into the Chilean embassy. They seem to have disliked the accommodations. Two hours later they moved into the Spanish embassy.

While the embassy food may be good, it will be a quite different life than in their own comfortable mansion. A few of the soldiers who supported Guaidó took refuge in the Brazilian embassy. Guaidó is still free.

The generals in the Pentagon will not like the rhetorical build-up at all. They will look at their maps and find that Venezuela is twice the size of Iraq and 30% larger than Afghanistan. It has impenetrable jungles, mountains and slums that even Venezuelan troops do not dare to enter. It has a functioning army and halfway decent air defenses which were recently upgraded by Russian specialists.

It is unlikely that Trump wants to launch a war on Venezuela. He likely knows that it would not be a cake walk, and that it would be a severe risk for his reelection. But who knows what Bolton or Pompeo might tell him to get their way. They just got snookered by the Maduro government. Why would they not snooker Trump?

[May 01, 2019] War with Venezuela Is Unnecessary, Illegal, and Wrong by Daniel Larison

May 01, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

There are absolutely no vital U.S. interests at stake in Venezuela, and the Venezuelan government poses no threat to the United States. There is no way under these circumstances that military action could be "required," so when Pompeo suggests that it could happen we are clearly talking about a war of choice divorced from any U.S. security interests. It would be a war fought solely for the purpose of achieving regime change, and the only reason why the U.S. would do that is to vindicate the Trump administration's reckless blunder of taking sides in an internal political dispute. No Americans should die for the sake of Trump's ego or for the ambitions of hawkish senators.

Attacking the Venezuelan government would be a terrible error and a violation of international law. It would be a calamity for the people of Venezuela, who would bear many of the costs of turning their internal crisis into an international war, and it would likely cause more displacement and increase the number of people fleeing the country in the short term. I suspect it would also be a more difficult and costly war than most of us expect, and it would be a massive waste of U.S. resources and American lives in an unjustified and unnecessary war. If all that isn't enough, an unauthorized Venezuelan war would also be completely illegal under U.S. law. The American people have no appetite for a new war for regime change anywhere in the world, and there is not much support for it even in Congress. If Trump tries to take the U.S. to war in Venezuela, he will be in clear violation of the Constitution and should be impeached for it.


Collin , says: May 1, 2019 at 11:48 am

The thing I really don't understand about Venezuela here is why is this not China's problem while the US and Russia doing old cold war dance here? They are in debt to their eyeballs here with them.

At this point, Bolton and Pompeo are doing everything to suck President Trump into the battle for Venezuela and we must be not support military action. (I fear the talking heads at Fox News here.) Because it appears the people, or majority, of Venezuela are generally tiring of Maduro government but they do not want US military assistance. (Note any truth the CIA dropped weapons to the Guiadro forces? They do have US guns but this stuff get trade fairly easily without US government doing.)

Allen , says: May 1, 2019 at 12:34 pm
If America goes to war in Venezuela, Trump loses my vote in 2020. If we don't get out of at least one more unnecessary war like Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, etc, he's on thin ice. Getting OUT of foreign wars was one of his major campaign promises.
james , says: May 1, 2019 at 1:39 pm
It seems that wars of opportunity are the only kind we engage in over the past few decades. If we don't have a war with either Venezuela or Iran, I will be shocked and very relieved.
However, I am not optimistic. Our foreign policy seems to be completely controlled by NeoCons, arms merchants, and Saudi / Israeli interests, with no honest benefits to our own nation's security or strategic interests.

[May 01, 2019] Bay of piglets

May 01, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Hoarsewhisperer , Apr 30, 2019 2:09:11 PM | link

Apologies to b, but today's Xymphora post really tickled my fancy.>

Bay of piglets, Tuesday, April 30, 2019

"Venezuelan coup attempt 'directly planned in Washington' – FM". Guido's cute little coup-let. If you stage a coup and nobody notices as it is so half-assed, is it really a coup? "Venezuela: Military Uprising in Caracas (in Development)".

"Venezuela - Bay of Pigs Redux?" (Lang). Obviously, the government can no longer tolerate Guido's shenanigans, which have become a public safety matter.

Emily Dickinson , Apr 30, 2019 4:53:38 PM | link

Apparently, both López and Guaidó have sought asylum in the Chilean embassy.

https://www.chiletoday.cl/breaking-venezuelan-opposition-leader-escapes-to-chilean-embassy/

I look forward to the embassy video showing them skateboarding in their quarters. I don't, however, believe any self-respecting cat will befriend either one of these tools.

Emily Dickinson , Apr 30, 2019 5:00:30 PM | link
Correction to 114 above. The Venezuela Analysis tweet linking to the Chile Today story claiming that both Guaidó and López had taken refuge in the Chilean embassy has been removed, and the story only claims that López is there. Miscommunication in a rapidly developing situation? In any case, surely Guaidó is seeking refuge SOMEplace.
wendy davis , Apr 30, 2019 5:10:07 PM | link
multiple sources are reporting similar information to telesur's update:

UPDATE: 3:11

pm Chile's Foreign Affairs Minister Roberto Ampuero confirmed that Venezuelan opposition politician Leopoldo Lopez and his family requested asylum at the Chilean embassy in Caracas.

"Lilian Tintori and her daughter entered as guests of our diplomatic mission in Caracas. A few minutes ago her spouse, Leopoldo Lopez, joined his family in that place. Chile reaffirms commitment with Venezuelan democrats," Minister Ampuero tweeted.

that seems that this iteration of the coup has fizzled. stay tuned for what comes next.

[May 01, 2019] It seems Guaido and even L pez were used as pawns in this scheme by US intelligence

The difference with EuroMaydan is that there is no distinct region of the country which supports the opposition.
Notable quotes:
"... US media will milk this to increase sanctions and economic blockade on the country. ..."
"... The show will go on produced and directed by US intelligence. They are using psychological warfare not only on Venezuelans but on American and European citizens. ..."
May 01, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Comandante , May 1, 2019 8:46:35 PM | 67 ">link

So called "coup" attempt was just a show for American and European audience consumption. You can easily tell by watching the Western coverage the last couple of days(CNN, fox, European news) and compare it to actual reality on the ground seen through interviews with Venezuelans and social media videos.

US media will milk this to increase sanctions and economic blockade on the country.

It seems Guaido and even López were used as pawns in this scheme by US intelligence and/,or Venezuelan and Russian intelligence. You can tell by looking at their faces on photos taken that early morning and by the fact that López immediately ran to the Chilean embassy. They knew they'd been duped and used as pawns.

The show will go on produced and directed by US intelligence. They are using psychological warfare not only on Venezuelans but on American and European citizens.

Be aware US intelligence is running the show they don't spend 100 billion in Intelligence to let an idiot like Guaido run the show. Guaido is their dancing monkey. Watch the monkey dance. Dance monkey! Dance!

[May 01, 2019] Is the time for Washington-sponsored snipers on roooftops near?

Is Maduro put in Yanukovich situation by Washington. If so he is doomed...
Notable quotes:
"... Cue the snipers on rooftops. Not wishing for this, but that's what history suggests. Naturally, Maduro would then be blamed. ..."
"... The carnage was blamed on Yanukovich and the Berkut, but the actual killers were from the rebels. ..."
"... All that's needed are a few snipers killing some actually innocent protestors, and blame for the carnage would be pinned on Maduro. Like others in this blog, I think that Maduro should immediately arrest Guaido et al., and not allow the situation to progress further. He should be wary of repeating Yanukovich' mistake. ..."
"... That said, I agree with previous commenters that Guaidó and his clique have gone beyond seditious "baiting" and advocating violent rebellion to engaging in armed insurrection-- however staged and phony. ..."
"... My guess - the CIA want Guaido out of the way to start a serious run at Madura. Sacrifice Guaido and blame Madura (he'll be dead in a week I guess) ..."
May 01, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Blue | Apr 30, 2019 3:16:56 PM | 89

Beware of snipers on the roof alla the Takism massacre in Turkey 1977 May Day with the Ecevit (leftist) gov't in power.
Of course Bengazi and Kiev come to mind as well.

Jackrabbit | Apr 30, 2019 12:00:05 PM | 37

Cue the snipers on rooftops. Not wishing for this, but that's what history suggests. Naturally, Maduro would then be blamed.
William Gruff , Apr 30, 2019 1:57:37 PM | link

Chevrus @44

Absolutely correct, Prince's mercs could not actually win territory and hold it. Their attack would just be a "bloody their nose" sort of thing that American psychos are so fond of. Basically Prince's attack dogs create chaos as long as they can get away with and when the Venezuelan military begins a methodical counterattack they retreat to Colombia. Beyond destabilizing the government somewhat I don't see what it could accomplish, though.

I think the concern raised by others is much more likely; that is snipers killing dozens or hundreds of people celebrating May Day in such a way that the mass media can spin it as the government's doing. Most Americans do not know what May Day is and will assume that any Venezuelan crowds their TVs show them will be Random Guaido's faithful flock protesting against Maduro. Guaranteed that's how the New York Langley Times will spin it tomorrow. If mystery snipers (CIA death squads) shoot up the festival-goers it will not be difficult to fool Americans into thinking that the mystery snipers are pro-Maduro forces trying to kill a few Guaidog supporters for some reason.

What further suggests this possibility is that the US State Department's astroturf Twitter army has been trying to force the meme that Random Guaido is actually a socialist and is more left than Maduro. This is to seed the idea among people who actually do know what May Day is about that Maduro would oppose May Day celebrations and thus reinforce the forced meme that Maduro loyalists are responsible for tomorrow's sniper attacks.

Still, selling it to the gullible American public is one thing. It is another entirely to fool the Venezuelans since many of them will be seeing this happen firsthand. If the Venezuelan people don't buy that the government is behind the sniper attacks then they will close up ranks around Maduro rather than throw their lot in with Guaidog's coup attempt.

Rob , Apr 30, 2019 2:05:04 PM | link

@jayc (68) Are the coup planners and advisors smart or dumb? In one sense, they are smart, because they can reason from some basic assumption and reach a conclusion that seemingly flows from the rules of logic. OTOH, they are dumb, because the basic assumption from which their reasoning begins is a steaming pile of crap. So, I vote for DUMB.
cassandra , Apr 30, 2019 2:17:21 PM | link
This is a very dangerous situation. Recall the leaked conversation between Cathering Ashton and Umas Paet, indicating that Maidan sniping was coming from the hotel occupied by the protestors.

https://thesantosrepublic.com/2014/03/06/kiev-snipers-estonia-confirms-leaked-nuland-call-yanukovych-innocent/

The carnage was blamed on Yanukovich and the Berkut, but the actual killers were from the rebels.

All that's needed are a few snipers killing some actually innocent protestors, and blame for the carnage would be pinned on Maduro. Like others in this blog, I think that Maduro should immediately arrest Guaido et al., and not allow the situation to progress further. He should be wary of repeating Yanukovich' mistake.

Ort , Apr 30, 2019 2:35:42 PM | link
This is just to further confirm that this stunt is being hyped by US mass-media as if it is "the big one", i.e. that Guaidó and his "revolutionary" forces are practically storming the presidential palace.

I listen to the local all-news radio station at the top of the hour. It's a reliable indicator of the tune du jour being played on the mass-media Mighty Wurlitzer.

This morning, as noted, it was the "top story"-- and presented as if the long-anticipated nation-wide coup was raging. Despite the usual overwrought sensationalism, I suspected that there was less than met the ear: this local station didn't throw over to their parent network for a Special Report, as it typically would if the conflict had actually escalated into open rebellion.

"Special Report" mode is announced with dramatic theme music, and Team Coverage featuring the Usual Suspect celebrity network correspondents and a gaggle of house "experts".

So I correctly concluded that despite the breathless tone, this was much ado about little.
____________________________________________________

That said, I agree with previous commenters that Guaidó and his clique have gone beyond seditious "baiting" and advocating violent rebellion to engaging in armed insurrection-- however staged and phony.

It seems to have intentionally crossed a line to further test the Maduro government's patience and resolve.

I'm not one of those who finds fault with embattled statesmen for refusing to act precipitously in response to obvious provocations. Maduro and loyal Venezuelans know perfectly well that even a reasonable response to blatant illegal and illicit provocations may be used by the golpistas (which includes the US/Western sponsors and enablers) as a pretext for foreign intervention.

But the prudent policy of tolerance and forbearance cannot continue indefinitely in the face of outright treasonous provocations, since this will eventually be perceived as the government turning a blind eye, or winking at, the rule of law upon which it relies for legitimacy.

It's a difficult dilemma.

William Gruff | Apr 30, 2019 3:25:23 PM | 93

psychohistorian @87 said

"...with very few shots being fired."

This is an important point. The Russians and Chinese seem to have the psycho empire psychoanalyzed and are offering good guidance to Venezuela, assuming Venezuelans themselves are not also clued into how the psycho empire works.

In essence, America needs a pretext to attack. Americans need to maintain the delusion that they are the victims, and that it was their victims who forced America to attack against America's bogus peace-loving will.

The pretext doesn't need to be very convincing, but it needs to exist. For this reason it could be wiser to just leave Random Guaido alone, but arrest and court martial the military personnel who took part in this little stunt. Lopez should also be re-arrested and tried for violating the terms of his detention.

This arresting should be done by regular police for Lopez and military police for the military personnel who violated the chain of command. No shooting or even guns drawn. Just calmly take them into custody and let the legal process work on them.

NOBTS | Apr 30, 2019 3:34:39 PM | 96

Now that CIA poster boy Leopoldo is available to take charge Juan Doe is prime sniper fodder!

Tobin Paz | Apr 30, 2019 3:58:20 PM | 101

US Unconventional Warfare Manual - Plain Text

The Unconventional Warfare Manual sets out the techniques of subversion the US uses in targeting nation states that don't toe the line.

Although the document is of recent date, the policy has clearly existed for a long time. Based on Church Committee hearings, it has been estimated that the US has carried out tens of thousands of covert operations since WW2.

Michael Droy | Apr 30, 2019 6:06:43 PM | 133

Guaido is just an opportunity for Bolton to stir up trouble.

He has never been part of a CIA long term regime change plan. If he was then his wikipedia page would not have been created just 2 weeks before Trump recognised him as President (or at least it would have been manipulated to appear a lot older).

And he would have been mentioned in WaPo a hundred times in the last 2 years instead of only a week before Trump recognition.

My guess - the CIA want Guaido out of the way to start a serious run at Madura. Sacrifice Guaido and blame Madura (he'll be dead in a week I guess).

[May 01, 2019] On Venezuela, America Should Check Its Regime Change Impulses at the Door

Notable quotes:
"... it was Russia that attacked Iraq on the basis of lies? ..."
"... It must have been Russia that turned Libya into a failed state, complete with slave markets? ..."
"... Instead of spinning fantasies about Maduro going into exile or being overthrown by some kind of joint (and illegal) Latin American task force, how's about we consider the very reasonable idea of Guaidó being arrested and tried for treason? ..."
May 01, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Kurt Gayle, says: May 1, 2019 at 1:23 pm

"Tulsi Gabbard: Say NO to the costly interventionist wars that have cost us trillions of dollars" March 12, 2019:

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

Kouros , says: May 1, 2019 at 1:51 pm
Please refrain in using the term "democracy" so easily. US is a republic with the surface of elected representative system, and we know exactly how that works. See the election of Truman as VP instead of Wallace in 1944 or so or very recently the election of Hillary Clinton as democratic representative.

A true democracy is done via a sortition system that selects randomly from the roster of eligible citizens to represent the will of the people.

Imagine that in the Second Amendment instead of "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed" we would have: "A well educated Citizenry, being necessary to the security and well-being of a free, moral, and ethically sound State, the right of the people to get a sound Education in Philosophy, Ethics, Civics, Logic, Finance, and Health, shall not be infringed".

Bah, Utopia

Sid Finster , says: May 1, 2019 at 2:38 pm
Javier:

let me guess,

  1. it was Russia that attacked Iraq on the basis of lies?
  2. It is China that is gleefully assisting the Saudi tyrants to commit genocide?
  3. It must have been Russia that turned Libya into a failed state, complete with slave markets?
  4. Is China now that is frantically threatening war on Iran?
  5. Russia must have been responsible for supporting jihadists to turn Syria into another failed state, right?
  6. For that matter, is it Russia and China that are threatening war on the elected and UN recognized government of Venezuela?

Seriously, after America's long and bloody track record of failed and bloody interventions, it baffles me that anyone could say something so ridiculous.

cka2nd , says: May 1, 2019 at 3:57 pm
" fearmongering about the "Yankee" empire to the north."

What, this isn't justified?

Instead of spinning fantasies about Maduro going into exile or being overthrown by some kind of joint (and illegal) Latin American task force, how's about we consider the very reasonable idea of Guaidó being arrested and tried for treason?

[May 01, 2019] Random Guyaid 's New Coup Attempt Turns Out to Be A Dangerous Joke

May 01, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Chevrus , Apr 30, 2019 8:53:36 AM | link

Guaidó seems to have neither a base nor large scale military support nor access to significant military equipment. If that does not change this coup attempt is likely to fail within a few hours.

We may have jumped the shark in to the realm of the monthly coup attempt. Mostly a media event to see if they can get a buy-in. Didn't work? Not to worry we will try again next month!

Can you imagine a force of 5000 or so mercs staging a combat assault on a large and reasonably well armed country?

If it didn't involve so much killing and dying it would be amusing to watch the "private army" get pinned down and butchered.

Seriously without air cover it would turn into bloody squalor. Meanwhile Russia and perhaps China are likely providing signal intel fo the Venezuelan military and keeping a close eye on what the gringoes are up to. Much like the RAND document on destabilizing other nations it will probably be a slow bleed by sabotage and scarcity.


Geoff , Apr 30, 2019 8:59:52 AM | link

I can't see either Guaido, the US, or any other of the coup fomentors ceasing their attempts until they've achieved some kind of result. Guaido running around, and I can see the rationale behind allowing him to do so, is an ongoing problem. Too much is at stake for the powerful interests to let go of any of their global plans. People everywhere do not really matter all that much.
Kadath , Apr 30, 2019 9:07:34 AM | link
Looks like the Neo-Cons just replied with their unavoidable escalation, this smacks of desperation. I wouldn't be surprised if Abrams told Random Guy to announce a coup and even if it fails the US will protect him or use it as an excuse to invade. Once this coup fails Maduro should stick both of these traitors in a "real" prison and see if that loosens their tongues a bit, neither of these fools have experienced real hardship so just taking away their sliver spoons and private aircraft would convince them to rat out their fellow traitors
Sally Snyder , Apr 30, 2019 9:11:47 AM | link
As shown in this article, the New York Times has been highly biased in its coverage of the situation in Venezuela:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2019/04/the-new-york-times-its-anti-maduro-bias.html

While everyone is aware of the existence of fake news, we are less aware of how editorial conflicts of interest can be used to sway public opinion, particularly in the case of a highly influential and widely read newspaper like the New York Times.

Steve Keith , Apr 30, 2019 9:26:21 AM | link
Harvard Law School
Barack Obama, an alumni of Harvard Law School, was the United States President who ordered the destruction of Africa's richest, most literate and developed country, Libya, and reduced that country to rubble and a state of lawlessness. Thousands died.

The sovereign wealth fund of the oil rich country has disappeared without trace. Libya's premier medical facilities that were the envy of it's continent and it's neighbours in the Middle East have been destroyed, precisely at the time that it's citizens required them. Many of the doctors, nurses and ancillary staff, as highly trained as their counterparts in Europe, have also disappeared without trace, many presumed drowned in the waters of the Mediterranean trying to flee to save their lives. Libya is now the poorest state in Africa. The leader who had united it and raised the infrastructural standards to be on a par with the first world, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, never had his day in a court of any description, he was beaten, tortured and sodomised with a knife, before being murdered on the blood soaked streets by a mob.

We have to wonder what it is that they are teaching at the Harvard Law School? In the 1980's the tiny countries of Central America, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua suffered from their own brutal civil wars. Extreme, right wing governments and militias were either trying to hold onto power or to seize it for themselves from the impoverished indigenous citizenries who sought democracy and guarantees of their fundamental civil and human rights. The United States sent in Elliot Abrams, now to be found lurking in the jungles of Venezuela, to support the fascistic regimes in the brutal battle against their own civilians. Mr Abrams was another product of the esteemed Harvard Law School. By the end of his time there, hundreds of thousands of some of the world's poorest people and been murdered, their bodies tossed into mass graves if they were lucky. There was no rule of law, in spite of the fact that there were constitutions and courts, judges and the concept of jurisprudence.

The current Secretary of State of the United States, Mr Mike Pompeo, recently addressed an audience of American students and told them that his former department, the Central Intelligence Agency, of which he was the Director from 2017 until 2018, routinely "lied, cheated and stole" as and when it suited or the occasion demanded. Mike Pompeo is another American official who studied at and graduated from the Harvard Law School.

This Massachusetts institution has had scores of it's students graduate and pass through, onwards and upwards into positions of authority in the halls of power. It is difficult to see what ethical foundations were laid down in those formative years of studying the law in the seminars of that Cambridge campus. Three alumni of Harvard Law School who have recently served and continue to serve in some of the highest offices of the United States, have done irreparable damage to a number of countries and have done so by breaking every international law that existed to protect them. They did this unapologetically, in order, as Secretary of State Pompeo admitted in a rare moment of candour, to "cheat and steal" from defenceless nation states and their helpless populations.

Perhaps Harvard Law School is not the best place to send one's kids to learn about ethics, democracy and the rule of law.

EricT , Apr 30, 2019 9:27:59 AM | link
@ #3, for a second I thought you were describing the Bay of Pigs fiasco.
Zico , Apr 30, 2019 9:43:41 AM | link
IF this coup succeeds, Moduro had it coming. He let the wannabe gangster roam free - bad move!

Seems the grandchildren of the plantation owners will get their plantations back after all.

Hoarsewhisperer , Apr 30, 2019 9:44:30 AM | link
Couldn't help noticing that Guyaido looks like a frightened little bunny which just soiled its underwear or is about to. Lopez seems to be in a similar state of near-panic. I don't know why the govt doesn't just disappear them. They could be stuffed and embalmed and put on display in the National Museum as a reminder that abject stupidity isn't a virtue in Venezuela.
BM , Apr 30, 2019 10:11:45 AM | link
OK, both Random Guy and Lopez are openly committing armed insurrection and high treason. Now is the time to arrest both, try in the courts (public and televised) for high treason. Unlimited military force (as required) is fully justified in making the arrests. Not to do so is appeasing the criminal actions of a foreign force attempting to use violence to usurp the legitimate and democratically elected government of a sovereign state.

Until now there have been legitimate strategic grounds for holding off from arresting Random Guy. No longer. They must be crushed with the full force of the law backed by military power if necessary, and immediately prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Limit the prosecution in the first instance to Random Guy and Lopez, and to High Treason and military insurrection. All other charges and defendents can be tried later in a separate trial, but these two need a straightforward and legally watertight conviction as quickly as possible, so that there is then no rotting carcase of ambiguity left.

Cesare , Apr 30, 2019 10:27:16 AM | link
Trump won't be gaining any "wave" from attacking Venezuela. In fact, it stands to alienate a large part of his base and energize the meekly antiwar Democrats.

It might be moot since it looks like this putsch has failed to get more support, and if so Guadó will spend the next months in a cage.

Alaric , Apr 30, 2019 10:35:25 AM | link
Maduro didn't arrest random guy to deny the US an excuse to invade. The US was bluffing I think but simply ignoring random dudecwas wise at that point.

But things have changed now. Lopez and Guaidó must be arrested and tried now. Failure to do so would encourage additional coups.

This does indeed smack of desperation as a previous poster observed.

Cesare , Apr 30, 2019 11:22:37 AM | link
Remember the (if I remember correctly) supposed 1800+ Venezuelan soldiers being kept in hotels in Cucuta, Colombia across the border? This and the white house rejection of the Prince scheme show that some combination of the US, the Colombians, and Guaidó's people have had little faith in the route of using that as the core of a contra force. Now they might have to.

As for our boy Juan, presidente encargado, unless something drastic happens very soon, he'll be wishing for some black helicopters to show up and pluck him off that bridge. Unless, of course, being arrested is the plan. This may be a case of believing your own propaganda - the opposition claims it's 90% of Venezuela. Maybe Guaidó truly believed all he needed to do was orchestrate something like Prince's "dynamic" event and the army would rally to Altamira with the masses in tow.

About a month ago, when his motorcade went outside of his east Caracas haunts and got pelted by rocks, you had all the internet trolls denouncing it as staged.

You see, there are mafialike Chavista bosses, Cubans all, forcing the barrios to act like they hate their beloved interim president. Maybe instead of taking the hint and changing strategy, Juan believed his own spin.

Or maybe he did take the hint, and figures the struggle against Cuban oppression is better waged from the dock than the streets, where he can force action from his allies and supporters by claiming abuse. Time will tell.

Jackrabbit , Apr 30, 2019 12:00:05 PM | link
Cue the snipers on rooftops.

Not wishing for this, but that's what history suggests. Naturally, Maduro would then be blamed.

Kadath , Apr 30, 2019 12:04:40 PM | link
The US media is really talking up this latest coup attempt by random guy, but I still don't see the meat on it. successful coups are fast moving and depend on quickly seizing key targets like media centers, power generators and most importantly of all seizing high value government officials. Currently, it looks like Random Guy just found some more random guys to stand around him and pose while he declares a coup. so this looks doomed to failure within a few more hours (6-8), what really matters is what does the US do once it fails, realistically, there aren't anymore sanctions they can put on Venezuela and Colombia has made it clear they won't send their own army in to fight the US's war.

That basically leaves just Erik Prince's planned mercenary army or a direct US invasion, previously Prince's plan had faced a lot of opposition so it is interesting that this failure of a coup is launched right now. If Trump was ever serious about not starting anymore stupid wars (and thus won't invade Venezuela before the 2020 elections) I imagine he'll now be more supportive of the idea of loaning money to Random Guy's backers so that they can buy Erik Prince's mercenaries and use them. Even if they use Prince's troops I doubt that they will succeed, Prince's mercenaries might be good at massacring civilians, but Venezuela has a massive civilian militia made up of the poorest citizens they will know right away what Random Guy's mercenaries will do to them and their families if their coup succeeds. So they will fight very, very hard. This could setup another Bay of Pigs type situation for the US and their mercenaries.

Red Ryder , Apr 30, 2019 12:26:14 PM | link
Several thoughts to keep in mind:

Trump will be lied to by CIA and NSC and State, so if he okays this or really wants this, it does not matter. He was couped and the Deep State uses him. He's happy being POTUS. That is all that matters to Trump.

The uprising will depend on hundreds of thousands in the streets, not several thousand.

The goal is hundreds of dead protesters.

Maduro has to snatch Guaido and put him on trial.

Looks like they are massing the people successfully.

The question for the moment is will the US agents and officers on the ground turn this into a Venezuelan Tiananmen 2. They certainly know how.

JOHN CHUCKMAN , Apr 30, 2019 12:28:27 PM | link
Imagine trying to overthrow your elected government at the behest of John Bolton?

If anyone in the United States pulled a stunt like this - and, remember, the US is packed with armed extremist loons like militias and survivalists and Aryan churches - they would be stormed with federal agents and soldiers and either dragged away to prison in chains or shot.

I am not exaggerating in the least. He would be charged with treason, and I think we all know, from our memories of how the United States has treated prisoners at Guantanamo what kind of treatment he would receive in prison for treason.

But the same United States not only thinks this is just fine to do in another country, they encourage it.

Simply the most lawless of all advanced nations, that's America. Utter contempt for rule of law and blind belief that American laws should overrule everything else everywhere.

So, what is Canada's Foreign Minister, Ms Chrystia Freeland - someone who has shamed Canada with her fervent support for Washington's illegal activities in Venezuela - doing today to assist Bolton and his unelected, self-appointed "president?"

Ripe Fruit , Apr 30, 2019 12:49:55 PM | link
If I were a Russian or Chinese strategist, I would be salivating at the thought of the US willfully creating another Vietnam right on its own doorstep and throwing the only Continent connected to it by a landbridge into complete upheaval and stark class warfare.

Class-based Civil War could easily spread to Brazil, Colombia, and beyond, throwing the lives of hundreds of millions of people into upheaval, all on Uncle Sam's dollar.

After the failures of Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya and the Ukraine, the several million Latino refugees and the expenditure of another 6 trillion or so over the next decade should be enough to throw the US itself into Civil War and Coup territory and finish off its hegemony over EurAsia for good.

Don't give Maduro too much aid just yet. Sucker the US to commit its hand and go in, then, as elsewhere, give just enough aid to keep the US in perpetual zugzwang as it slowly bleeds itself to death.

Austerity and War for the Americas, OBOR and peaceful development for EurAsia.

This is too easy a call.

WJ , Apr 30, 2019 12:59:20 PM | link
Red Ryder @47

"Maduro has to snatch Guaido and put him on trial."

This might be exactly what the U.S. wants Maduro to do. The arrest and/or imprisonment of Guaido by the "repressive regime" could be the pretext for a sudden "popular uprising" to which the "Venezuelan State" (ie. CIA operatives and hired assassins) responds "violently." A small gathering in any city square suddenly disrupted by the gunfire death of a dozen or so innocents--all miraculously captured "live" on cell-phone video and streamed direct to social media--is all that it would take to give the US sufficient domestic support for any further action. I suspect this action would not take the form of direct US military action but rather the freeing of Erik Prince and his mercenaries upon the dirty brown socialist peasants.

Maduro surely has anticipated that his arrest of Guaido is likely to play into US hands. Guaido may be too stupid to know he is being used as live bait, or he may be simply being coerced by his handlers to undertake increasingly reckless actions until Maduro bites.

I think the best thing Maduro might do would be to arrange for a public meetin and reconciliation between him and Guaido away from his U.S. handlers. The US is not expecting that and would then have to explain why they are opposed to the peaceable reconciliation of the conflict. If Guaido feels he has become disposable to the US, he may not be disagreeable to some kind of pardon and face-saving but largely superficial compromise.

Noirette , Apr 30, 2019 1:20:22 PM | link
The Rovian dictat We make our own reality (mutter it in growling mafia accent) is shredded to confetti, or almost.

Look at Ukraine, a comedian who acts the part of a nobody guy propelled to a presidential position in a TV show, is elected as president in RL!

Coluche was a French comedian who stood for president, 1980. Polls showed 16 to 25% of the vote. (He was supported by Charlie Hebdo.. them again..)

His manager was murdered and Coluche withdrew.

He was then himself killed (1985) in mysterious, highly suspicious, circumstances. Won awards for Best Actor and died because.. a truck..

Beppe Grillo is another comedian who created a Pol Party, the 5 Star, Cinque Stelle, party in Italy (with another guy.) Grillo could not be elected, by law, because he has a conviction on his blotter, for manslaughter.

Random Guy-do is within this landscape a feeble contender - a clown who pretends to be serious! He has no acting credentials, nada. No self proclamation presence. A confused, hapless, manipulated placeholder.

No way that is going to end well. For him. Maybe night - school acting classes? Ouch.. Idk. Operation Freedom, anyone who takes that on is pushed offstage..

Better to be a real clown! One can live on (Grillo) or die an honorable death (Coluche)!

:) :)

carroll , Apr 30, 2019 1:20:29 PM | link
oil
WJ , Apr 30, 2019 1:21:48 PM | link
Venezuela's FM is wisely playing down the guilt of the thirty or so military personnel involved in the coup. Such personnel were first described as likely deceived or misled by Guaido and now the FM is explicitly claiming plan and execution of coup came from Washington. The military personnel were not involved in its planning and so can be treated mercifully. (Who knows if some of them weren't blackmailed to join in? We are dealing with the CIA after all.)
bevin , Apr 30, 2019 1:22:03 PM | link
MediaLens has this story today:
"A new report on April 25 by a respected think tank has estimated that US sanctions imposed on Venezuela in August 2017 have caused around 40,000 deaths."
The question for Canadians is whether Freeland and Trudeau are ready to take ownership for, say, 5,000 of those deaths..and counting. Toss them in with the thousands killed thanks to Canadian assistance in Ukraine and a share of the daily carnage in Yemen and the bloody nature of the Ottawa cabal begins to become clear.
RJPJR , Apr 30, 2019 1:28:41 PM | link
Posted by: Circe | Apr 30, 2019 11:50:18 AM | 33 wrote: "It sounds like Abrams connivance."

Abrams is NOT conniving. He is dead in the middle of it all, the planner, the string-puller, the manipulator.

Ghost Ship , Apr 30, 2019 1:28:55 PM | link
>>>> jsb | Apr 30, 2019 11:26:52 AM | 27
According to reports, a group from Venezuela's Sebin intelligence service freed Leopoldo Lopez from house arrest early Tuesday morning.

Lopez and Guaido could have been set up in a stunning black op. Get Lopez and Guaido to come out openly and claim they're running a coup which is treason. If they stayed out of jail previously will they stay out of jail now? Probably not.

BTW, it's interesting that today's events are being called a coup. The coupist, Guaid and Lopez, have maintained