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Paleoconservatism

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Introduction

Paleoconservatism is a neologism created by those following within that movement to distinguish their so-called "traditional" values from the neoconservatives. While the “paleo” in paleoconservatism leaves the impression that it arose earlier than other conservatisms, the suggestion is misleading. It is mainly a reaction to Neoconservatism. And as such is pretty new movement and political philosophy.  Although Neoconservatism was born in 1965, in the pages of Irving Kristol’s journal the Public Interest, it was not until editor Norman Podhoretz used Commentary in June 1970 to state his opposition to the New Left that the movement began to attract attention (Commentary in American Life by Murray Friedman , Temple University Press, 2005 )

Most neoconservatives are Jewish and are often closely related by blood or long friendships. Indeed, as its adherents are the best-known Jewish conservatives, neoconservatism might fairly be described as the conservatism of the Jews—those few Jews who become prominent on the Right almost invariably identify with it. Recalling their early struggles against fascist and communist totalitarianism, the neoconservatives continue to view external opponents of the United States as threats not simply to American interests but to civilization itself. They also remain intellectuals, not politicians, and are most comfortable as thinkers and writers who, unlike candidates for office, can express their views without reservation. Those who have served in government—with the exception of Moynihan—have done so as appointees and have developed impressive bureaucratic skills that they have used effectively in high-level positions. In one important way, however, neoconservatism has changed. The left-wing experiences that marked the youths of many older neoconservatives do not characterize the current generation—some came from the relatively conservative Jackson wing of the 1970s Democratic Party, but most of the new generation have been conservatives their entire adult lives.

However, paleoconservatism should not be seen as a simple resurrection of these earlier themes. It fuses notions associated with the anti-war, anti-empire, isolationist traditions with other strains and concepts drawn from both the social sciences and different conservative traditions. They are reconfigured so as to form a theoretically developed and structured world view informed by a particular representation of American ethnicity, elite theory, and notions of republicanism derived from southern conservatism. In other words this is an ideology, much like Neoconservatism is.  And as such a competing ideology.  

Many prominent paleoconservatives publish their views in The American Conservative, the leading publication exposing paleoconservative ideology. Buchanan, leading spokesman of paleoconservatism has adopted the slogan "America First” as part of a conscious attempt to evoke pre-war sentiments about keeping the United States out of “foreign wars.”

"Today we call for a new patriotism, where Americans begin to put the needs of Americans first, for a new nationalism where in every negotiation, be it arms control or trade, the American side seeks advantage or victory for the United States." With these words, columnist, television personality, and former presidential speechwriter Patrick J. Buchanan announced his candidacy for president in a New Hampshire hotel conference room. He had prefigured his slogan in an article the previous year for the National Interest: "America First--and Second, and Third." ...

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America First was Buchanan's gambit, his bid to mobilize conservatives now that the old call to slash the federal government no longer resounded successfully. With it he hoped to attract America's nationalist hard core, people who felt aggrieved and abused not so much by foreigners as by alien elements within their own country--to unite conservatism and populism together in an ideology that could impose itself on the country more effectively than Reagan's business-oriented conservatism had ever succeeded in doing. It was not Buchanan's gambit alone, of course. Over the five years since he had quit his White House staff job in 1987, an intellectual coterie had assembled around Buchanan, made up of writers and activists who had broken off from the main mass of conservatism over the course of the 1980s, disgusted with President Reagan's weak-willed acceptance of a Martin Luther King holiday and sanctions against South Africa, with President Bush's knuckling under to the 1991 civil rights laws and his upping legal immigration levels by 200,000 a year. They complained that their conservative movement--the conservative movement of Robert Alfonso Taft and Barry Goldwater--had been hijacked. "Before true conservatives can ever take back their country," Buchanan had written in May 1991, "they are first going to have to take back their movement." From whom? From "the neoconservatives . . . the ex-liberals, socialists and Trotskyists who signed on in the name of anti-communism and now control our foundations and set the limits of permissible dissent." As one of the conservatives who would later back the Buchanan campaign lamented, "We have simply been crowded out by overwhelming numbers. The offensives of radicalism have driven vast herds of liberals across the borders into our territories. These refugees speak in our name, but the language they speak is the same one they always spoke." 1

Paleoconservatism also has  a marked hostility to the “east coast establishment", echoing Huey Long’s attacks on the wealthy and Father Charles Coughlin's pleas on behalf of the local community against what he saw as the arrogance and self-interested indifference of metropolitan financial interests. They are suspicious about big finance, especially TBTF banks.

Paleoconservatism also shares the sense of exclusion from the government apparatus by neoconservatives, who now dominate the Washington political scene, and especially the Department of State. Along with Neoconservatism, they reject neoliberal globalization and multiculturalism (three horseman of Neoliberal Apocalypse):

Although Scotchie does not put it quite this way, contemporary paleoconservatism developed as a reaction against three trends in the American Right during the Reagan administration. First, it reacted against the bid for dominance by the neoconservatives, former liberals who insisted not only that their version of conservative ideology and rhetoric prevail over those of older conservatives, but also that their team should get the rewards of office and patronage and that the other team of the older Right receive virtually nothing.

The politics of this conflict, as those involved in it will recall, was often vicious and personal, the most notorious case being the backstabbing treatment of the late M.E. Bradford by his neoconservative rivals over the appointment to the chairmanship of the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1981. The bitterness of the NEH controversy was due not to the neocons pushing their own nominee, the totally unknown and laughably under-qualified William Bennett but to their complete lack of hesitation in smearing, lying about, and undermining Bradford at every opportunity.

Scotchie deals briefly with the Bradford controversy, but I have to say, as one closely involved in supporting Bradford at the time, that he does not dwell sufficiently on the sheer evil and meanness of neoconservative conduct in it. But he also notes the firing, calculated vilification, or effective ostracism of several paleos or paleo fellow travelers by the neocon cabal in the following years as well as the deliberate campaign to strip the Rockford Institute of funding by neoconservative-controlled foundations.

Most paleoconservatives are against immigration, neoclassical economics (which is pseudoscience anyway, so any rational person is against it ;-) and any military intervention by the US anywhere. They have little regard for any benefits of an egalitarian society. Their economic views are more likely to tend toward New Deal than modern neoliberalism, although there is a contingent of  Austrian scholars within paleoconservative movement. 

The most notable living paleoconservative is Patrick Buchanan, who recently (welcomed Donald Trump foreign policy views):

With Democrats howling that Vladimir Putin hacked into and leaked those 19,000 DNC emails to help Trump, the Donald had a brainstorm: Maybe the Russians can retrieve Hillary Clinton's lost emails. Not funny, and close to "treasonous," came the shocked cry. Trump then told the New York Times that a Russian incursion into Estonia need not trigger a U.S. military response.

Even more shocking. By suggesting the U.S. might not honor its NATO commitment, under Article 5, to fight Russia for Estonia, our foreign policy elites declaimed, Trump has undermined the security architecture that has kept the peace for 65 years. More interesting, however, was the reaction of Middle America. Or, to be more exact, the nonreaction. Americans seem neither shocked nor horrified. What does this suggest?

Behind the war guarantees America has issued to scores of nations in Europe, the Mideast and Asia since 1949, the bedrock of public support that existed during the Cold War has crumbled. We got a hint of this in 2013. Barack Obama, claiming his "red line" against any use of poison gas in Syria had been crossed, found he had no public backing for air and missile strikes on the Assad regime. The country rose up as one and told him to forget it. He did. We have been at war since 2001. And as one looks on the ruins of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen, and adds up the thousands dead and wounded and trillions sunk and lost, can anyone say our War Party has served us well?

On bringing Estonia into NATO, no Cold War president would have dreamed of issuing so insane a war guarantee. Eisenhower refused to intervene to save the Hungarian rebels. JFK refused to halt the building of the Berlin Wall. LBJ did nothing to impede the Warsaw Pact's crushing of the Prague Spring. Reagan never considered moving militarily to halt the smashing of Solidarity.

Were all these presidents cringing isolationists? Rather, they were realists who recognized that, though we prayed the captive nations would one day be free, we were not going to risk a world war, or a nuclear war, to achieve it. Period. In 1991, President Bush told Ukrainians that any declaration of independence from Moscow would be an act of "suicidal nationalism."

Today, Beltway hawks want to bring Ukraine into NATO. This would mean that America would go to war with Russia, if necessary, to preserve an independence Bush I regarded as "suicidal."

Have we lost our minds?

The first NATO supreme commander, General Eisenhower, said that if U.S. troops were still in Europe in 10 years, NATO would be a failure. In 1961, he urged JFK to start pulling U.S. troops out, lest Europeans become military dependencies of the United States. Was Ike not right? Even Barack Obama today riffs about the "free riders" on America's defense. Is it really so outrageous for Trump to ask how long the U.S. is to be responsible for defending rich Europeans who refuse to conscript the soldiers or pay the cost of their own defense, when Eisenhower was asking that same question 55 years ago?

In 1997, geostrategist George Kennan warned that moving NATO into Eastern Europe "would be the most fateful error of American policy in the post-Cold War era." He predicted a fierce nationalistic Russian response. Was Kennan not right? NATO and Russia are today building up forces in the eastern Baltic where no vital U.S. interests exist, and where we have never fought before - for that very reason. There is no evidence Russia intends to march into Estonia, and no reason for her to do so. But if she did, how would NATO expel Russian troops without air and missile strikes that would devastate that tiny country? And if we killed Russians inside Russia, are we confident Moscow would not resort to tactical atomic weapons to prevail? After all, Russia cannot back up any further. We are right in her face.

On this issue Trump seems to be speaking for the silent majority and certainly raising issues that need to be debated.

Needed now is diplomacy. The trade-off: Russia ensures the independence of the Baltic republics that she let go. And NATO gets out of Russia's face. Should Russia dishonor its commitment, economic sanctions are the answer, not another European war.

Daniel Larison  is probably the second important paleoconservative thinker. Antiwar.com founder and editor Justin Raimondo is probably the third. Also important is Phyllis Schlafly.

Paleoconservatism claims its roots in the "Old Right", a loose grouping of people, many of them former liberals, who emerged during the Great Depression and World War II as opponents of Franklin D. Roosevelt's domestic and foreign policy. As the Cold War got underway after WWII, these people remained isolationist and opposed the Cold War, grouping post-war foreign and domestic policy together as two sides of the same coin, the "welfare-warfare state."

Early examples include journalists John T. Flynn, Garet Garrett, Rose Wilder Lane, Isabel Paterson, and Albert Jay Nock, revisionist historians Harry Elmer Barnes (one of the first major Holocaust deniers) and George Morgenstern (who claimed that FDR had dragged America into WWII by deliberately goading the Japanese to attack), libertarian Murray Rothbard, and U.S. Senator Robert A. Taft.

With militant anti-communism in vogue on the American right, they found themselves marginalized within the conservative movement and shut out from outlets like William F. Buckley's National Review, their continued isolationism getting them accused of being "useful idiots" for Moscow.

However, they continued as an outside tendency through such groups as Leonard Read's Foundation for Economic Education and an emerging Austrian school of economics led by Ludwig von Mises and Henry Hazlitt, who later became libertarian icons. It was not until the fall of the Berlin Wall that isolationism re-emerged on the right (outside of the libertarians, who had become a distinct movement from conservatism), led by people like Pat Buchanan who had been interventionist during the Cold War. 

Promotions of local manufacturing and tariffs

From The Paleo Persuasion The American Conservative

Politically, the leadership of the Right evolved from Robert Taft in the 1940s and ’50s, who, as Scotchie writes, “cared more … about the survival of the shoe-making industry in America than whether American consumers could someday buy $125 sneakers made by twenty-five cents an hour labor in Indonesia,” to Newt Gingrich, who babbled about a laptop computer for every school child and doted credulously on the most bizarre New Age banalities. Culturally and intellectually, the Right moved from the radical conservative cultural criticism of men like Donald Davidson, Richard Weaver, Russell Kirk, and Bernard I. Bell to the post-Reagan triumphalism that chortled over the “end of history” and the arrival of the world democratic imperium.

Rejection of neoliberal interventionism and wars

Anti war position make Paleoconservatism is similar to libertarianism. They reject neoconservatism with its Trotskyite "Permanent war" mentality. Paloconservatism anti-war postion like is the case with libertarians as well is based on Non-Interventionism:

Libertarianism and war are not compatible. One reason why should be obvious: In war, governments commit legalized mass murder. In modern warfare especially, war is not just waged among voluntary combatants, but kills, maims, and otherwise harms innocent people. Then, of course, wars must be funded through taxes, which are extracted from U.S. citizens by force—a form of legalized theft, as far as libertarians are concerned. And, historically, the United States has used conscription—legalized slavery—to force people to fight and die. In addition, an interventionist foreign policy makes civilians targets for retaliation, so governments indirectly cause more violence against their own people when they become involved in other countries’ affairs. In addition, war is always accompanied by many other new restrictions on liberty, many of which are sold as supposedly temporary wartime measures but then never go away.

In the article The Paleo Persuasion Samuel Francis wrote ( The American Conservative, December 16, 2002): 

While some (Scotchie mentions Pat Buchanan and me) were anti-communist interventionists during the Cold War, all have come to reject the reckless military interventionism and globalism of its aftermath. A critical point of development was the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990 and the U.S. and conservative response to it. Paleos and those who soon identified with them almost spontaneously rejected U.S. military intervention against Iraq. It was a moment, falling only a year after the neoconservative onslaught on the Rockford Institute, that solidified the paleoconservative identity.

“The US, as paleos have claimed for decades, was only meant to be a constitutional republic, not an empire—as Buchanan’s 1999 foreign policy tome A Republic, Not an Empire nostalgically states,” Scotchie explains. “Republics mind their own business. Their governments have very limited powers, and their people are too busy practicing self-government to worry about problems in other countries. Empires not only bully smaller, defenseless nations, they also can’t leave their own, hapless subjects alone…. Empires and the tenth amendment aren’t friends…. Empires and small government aren’t compatible, either.

If anti-interventionism and a commitment to the Old Republic defined by strict-construction constitutionalism and highly localized and independent social and political institutions defined one major dimension of paleoconservatism, its antipathy to the mass immigration that began to flood the country in the 1980s defined another. Indeed, it was ostensibly and mainly Chronicles’ declaration of opposition to immigration that incited the neoconservative attack on Rockford and its subsequent defunding. Scotchie devotes a special but short chapter to paleoconservative thought on immigration and makes clear that to paleos, America was an extension of Western civilization. It was intended by the Founding Fathers to be an Anglo-Saxon-Celtic nation also influenced by Athens, Rome, and Jerusalem. Large-scale immigration from non-Western nations would, as Fleming (and most other paleos) maintained, forever spoil a distinct American civilization.

The implication of this passage is that paleoconservatives, unlike libertarians, most neoconservatives, and many contemporary mainstream conservatives, do not consider America to be an “idea,” a “proposition,” or a “creed.” It is instead a concrete and particular culture, rooted in a particular historical experience, a set of particular institutions as well as particular beliefs and values, and a particular ethnic-racial identity, and, cut off from those roots, it cannot survive. Indeed, it is not surviving now, for all the glint and glitter of empire.

While Scotchie is quite clear and well-informed about the paleos’ thought on immigration and its meaning, he fails to discuss at all their views on race. This is unfortunate, as not a few of them have been accused of simple-minded “racism,” “white supremacy,” and other ill-defined bugaboos. I, for one, like to think that what they believe about race, while definitely not in the liberal-neocon mainstream, is rather more nuanced and considerably more sophisticated than their enemies (and not a few of their friends) want to think.

If Scotchie’s book has any great flaw, it is that it is simply too short. Paleoconservatism is worth a much longer and deeper look than his volume can give, though Scotchie himself is both so thoroughly familiar with his subject and so sympathetic to it that he could have produced a much more extended treatment. He might also have revealed more of the personalities of the leading paleoconservative writers, interviewed them, and discussed several writers he omits, for example, Claes Ryn of Catholic University or E. Christian Kopff of the University of Colorado at Boulder, and he might have explored why the Chronicles school has not been more successful at defining the American Right.

Have the paleos indeed failed, and if they have, is the neocon stab-in-the-back theory the only reason? Are there perhaps either large historical trends or even mere personality differences among the paleos that made their own crack-up eventually inevitable, and can such trends or conflicts be overcome? Or are the paleos really only dinosaurs, whining nostalgically for a world they have lost and unable or cantankerously unwilling to adapt to the Shining Imperial City on the Hill the neoconservatives claim to be constructing? Scotchie might have explored these questions and problems more extensively than he did, and one hopes he will do so in a bigger book in the future, but what he has given us in the meantime is an essential and valuable contribution to American intellectual history in the last decade of the last century
 

Paleoconservatives are strongly critical of neoliberalism

In a 1988 lecture, Russell Kirk quoted a letter that showed, he said, how hot the bitterness burned: "I believe," wrote his correspondent, "that the chief enemy of American conservatism has not been the Marxists, nor even the socialist liberals in the Democratic Party, but the Neo-conservatives, who have sabotaged the movement from within and exploited it for their own selfish purposes." 2

Paleoconservatism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

They are also strongly critical of neoconservatives and their sympathizers in print media, talk radio and cable TV news.[26] Paleocons often say they are not conservatives in the sense that they necessarily wish to preserve existing institutions or seek merely to slow the growth of modern big-government conservatism.[27] They do not wish to be closely identified with the U.S. Republican Party.[26] Rather, they seek the renewal of "small 'r'" republican society in the context of the Western heritage, customs and civilization.[28] Joseph Scotchie wrote:

Republics mind their own business. Their governments have very limited powers, and their people are too busy practicing self-government to worry about problems in other countries. Empires not only bully smaller, defenseless nations, they also can’t leave their own, hapless subjects alone.... Empires and small government aren’t compatible, either.[29]

By contrast, paleocons see neoconservatives as empire-builders and themselves as defenders of the republic, pointing to Rome as an example of how an ongoing campaign of military expansionism can destroy a republic.[30]

As paleoconservatism germinated as a reaction to neoconservatism, most of its development as a distinct political tendency under that name has been in the United States, although there are parallels in the traditional Old Right of other Western nations. French conservatives such as Jean Raspail,[135] and British conservatives such as Enoch Powell,[136] Peter Hitchens,[137] Antony Flew (whom the Rockford Institute awarded the Ingersoll Prize),[138] John Betjeman,[139] and Roger Scruton[140] as well as Scruton's Salisbury Review and Derek Turner's Quarterly Review,[141] as well as Australia's Sydney Traditionalist Forum[142] all emphasize skepticism, stability, and the Burkean inheritance, and may be considered broadly sympathetic to paleo values. For example, Hitchens wrote, in opposition to the Iraq War,

There is nothing conservative about war. For at least the last century war has been the herald and handmaid of socialism and state control. It is the excuse for censorship, organized lying, regulation and taxation. It is paradise for the busybody and the nark. It damages family life and wounds the Church. It is, in short, the ally of everything summed up by the ugly word ‘progress.’[143]

Note the One Nation movement in 1990s Australia,[144] Germany's Junge Freiheit,[145] and Italy's Lega Nord.[146]  Also paleoconservatism has some analogies with the Russian dissidents such as Andrei Navrozov[147] and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.[148]

Anti-immigration sentiments: save our jobs

Paleoconservative attitudes toward the issue of illegal immigration to the United States and the problem of multiculturalism and assimilation on American soil are mostly negative.  They view these phenomena as a significant threat to the American way of life. Their words are filled with anxiety for the future of American society, which is instilled with the positive meaning of the idea of open borders, and which is becoming permeated with alien cultures and losing its own cultural identity. Starting with an explanation of the essence of the American nation’s homogeneity, this article presents the threats which come with the ‘mixing’ of cultures and liberal immigration as well as phenomena directly linked to such immigration, namely the problem of terrorism and Islam.

Most Americans at least professed to be unalarmed about this gradual transformation of the country. They claimed that America was a nation founded upon a "proposition"; anyone who assented to the American proposition could become an American (Dead Right, by David Frum):

To Buchanan and his friends, this universalism was just sentimental flim-flam. American civilization was the product of a particular people. To preserve that civilization, it was necessary to preserve the people that had created it. The Declaration of Independence and the Constitution had not created America; the Declaration and the Constitution were created by Americans. Bolivar wrote constitutions every bit as noble as that composed in Philadelphia; it was the Anglo-American character that made the Philadelphia constitution a success and the Caracas constitution a failure. History had demonstrated that non- British Isles immigrants from Europe had made good enough citizens, but why run the awful risk of cultural suicide...

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His conservatism was a nationalist conservatism above all--a conservatism that attached far more importance to cultural and security issues than to maximizing growth and efficiency. Buchanan was slow to absorb all the implications of his nationalism. In his 1988 memoir, he still thought that "among the great American achievements of the twentieth century is free Asia, democratic and capitalist." "To squander that in an absurd 'trade war' because we cannot compete with Korean cars or Japanese computer chips would be an act of almost terminal stupidity for the West." 9 He also confessed that he had inwardly believed, at the time they took place, that the civil rights movement's civil disobedience campaigns were justified by natural law, even though he would later write editorials for the Globe-Democrat attacking them. But his thinking was jogged along by a new set of friends: the writers who published in Chronicles magazine.

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Sympathy for the economic plight of blue-collar workers in New Hampshire was not just bleeding-heart sentimentalism: it propelled Buchanan toward accepting an active federal responsibility for promoting industry--and protecting it from foreign competition. Buchanan's standard stump speech told an anecdote about a visit to a lumber mill on the Canadian border. Shaking hands with the workers, the candidate found himself face to face with a burly giant of a man. The man stood silent for a moment, staring at the floor, and then looked up to say only, "Save our jobs." As a story, it is as kitschy as Steinbeck at his most gooey, but it led to a serious point:

I see Mr. Bush, and excuse me, some of my conservative friends, by their willingness to allow the ruthless destruction of so many of the industries vital to our defenses, as engaged in the unilateral disarmament of our country. I can't understand it. On the grounds of national interest, I favor policies that won't let certain defense-related industries go under.

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Do we want to keep the textile manufacturing base in the United States? Do we want to keep GM and Chrysler and Ford? Do we want to keep Boeing and McDonnell-Douglas? . . . We have got to address the fact that the Asian countries and European countries are practising a form of protectionism and adversarial trade. They are capturing markets by undercutting and dumping and by targeted trade, and they have been doing this to make their countries No. 1. 12

 The Economist stringer who followed Buchanan to Mississippi reported that

Mr. Buchanan has greater ideas still for the nationalist state than merely dishing out credits to any industry (oil and gas, aerospace, textiles, ship-building) that suffers from foreign competition. For instance, he privately admits he is tempted by the idea of paying for those credits--and much more--by. throwing up a wall of tariffs around the American economy.

Buchanan understood that many conservatives saw trade not as an economic issue, but as an issue of sovereignty and group loyalty. Protectionism is a way for conservatives to show solidarity with their fellow-Americans, especially blue-collar fellow-Americans, without explicitly endorsing the redistribution of wealth. Which is why so many would-be populists of the Right have been drawn to the protectionist cause. Barry Goldwater had been one of just eight senators to vote against the 1962 law that gave President Kennedy the authority to engage in the Kennedy round of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade negotiations. Pat Robertson campaigned as a protectionist in 1988. So did George Wallace, in both 1968 and 1972. Richard Viguerie, the direct-mail whiz who in his heyday had his stethoscope pressed as close to the chest of the American conservative as anyone, argued as long ago as 1983 that "the official trade policy of the United States should be 'fair trade'--that is, no imports produced with slave labor, no imports from foreign plants built by the U.S. taxpayer and no imports from countries which don't allow our products into their country." 15

And in November 1991, just before the beginning of campaigning in New Hampshire, a group of conservative activists called a press conference in Washington to announce their repudiation of free trade. Among them was Paul Weyrich, president of the Free Congress Foundation, the stablest of the new right-wing organizations that had come to life in the late 1970s, and one of the founders of the Heritage Foundation. "We are here," Weyrich said, "to warn the Republican Party that they had better take this issue seriously."

Weyrich was not just blowing hot air. While the congressional Republican Party overwhelmingly endorsed the North American Free Trade Agreement, the endorsement was not quite unanimous. North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms voted against NAFTA as did his protégé Senator Lauch Faircloth. And many of the Republicans who voted in favor of the treaty were swung not by the ambiguous pact's free-trade aspects but by its protectionist subthemes. Suggestively, the manager of the Republican pro-NAFTA forces in the House of Representatives, Newt Gingrich, is by no means a believer in free trade. In conversation, he praises Henry Cabot Lodge and the protectionist Republicans of the 1920s, and warns that in the absence of trade controls, world industrial wages will be determined by the pay scale of South China. 17

Rejection of Israel first crowd

WELL DONE MR. TRUMP!!! Israel-First, Neocons to join Hillary, all America’s enemies in one party Non-Intervention.com

The disloyal Israel-First/Neoconservative (IF/NC) crowd seems to be having a collective and hopefully fatal seizure over Mr. Trump’s pledge to be strictly even-handed and neutral in the ongoing war between Israel and the Arabs — a war both sides clearly intend to fight to the death.

Now, many past presidential candidates have said much the same thing, but they have always added that silly, ahistorical mantra that the United States will defend Israel’s “right to exist”. But Trump did not add that mantra of the brain-dead, and so has markedly distressed the Israel-Firsters and Neocons. Indeed, they always have opposed Trump because, it seems, they sense that he will always put America first and let those individuals, nations, and groups irrelevant to the republic’s security and economic prosperity swing in the wind. I think — or at least hope — they are right.

What makes the current Israel First/Neocon seizure so hearteningly severe are not only Trump’s words and apparent America-First foreign policy inclinations, but the fact that he is getting so very many votes. “Could it possibly be,” ponder the likes of Bill Kristol, George Will, Charles Krauthammer, Max Boot, Eliot Cohen, Robert Kagan, Michael Bloomberg, Peter King, Elliott Abrams, Eric Edelman, Michael Chertoff, Mitt Romney, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and John Bolton, “that Americans are not genuinely happy, proud, and eager to have their fellow citizens and soldier-children dying uselessly in wars motivated in large part by the U.S. interventionism we advocate and by America’s subservience to a country that does nothing but degrade the republic’s security and drain its treasury?” “Could it be,” the IF/NC’ers are wondering, “that Trump and the increasing number of voters supporting him know that we Israel-Firsters and Neocons have played them for fools, corrupted their political system and media, and done our best to keep their kids dying in wars meant to serve a foreign nation’s interests at the cost of their own?” Well, it is too soon to tell, but the words of the Israel Firsters and Neocons and their fierce hatred of Trump surely suggest that they fear their war-causing disloyalty has been identified and — at long last — their jig is about up.

Facing the next-to-last last ditch, the disloyal are nearly frantic in their support for Senator Marco Rubio. And why not? Rubio is a thorough-going IF/NC, and — as he has little money of his own — is on the payroll, according to the media, of two pro-Israel, Jewish-American billionaires. Rubio also has denounced the Founders’ approach to foreign policy, expressing his belief that the IF/NC approach to U.S. foreign policy — that is, America at war everywhere, all the time, to protect Israel — is superior to John Quincy Adams’ republic-preserving advice that the United States must never go abroad “in search of monsters to destroy.”

But Rubio, after his Super Tuesday shellacking, is circling the drain until the Florida primary sends him barreling toward the sewer, and the Neocons and Israel Firsters, as Jacob Heilbrunn has written in the National Interest, have only one place to go, and that is to Hillary Clinton, who already has few of both detestable species on her team, but, the media says, only one pro-Israel, Jewish-American billionaire.

Mr. Heilbrunn’s excellent article notes that the IF/NC was originally based in the Democratic Party and so in a sense would be going home if they side with Clinton. That they were once aligned with the Democrats is clearly true, but being aligned with is much different than being part of, and I would argue that the IF/NC have never been anything but a one-issue party of their own.

Their party — best identified as the Disloyal Party or perhaps just as Copperheads — has never had any goal other than protecting the interests of Israel and keeping the United States steadily involved in the Israel-Arab war by promoting and purchasing a U.S. foreign policy that results in wars to install “democracy” abroad, but which are, in reality, only wars that are intended to annihilate Israel’s enemies, while unnecessarily making Israel’s enemies America’s. Can any clear thinking person really believe, for example, that “Foundation for Defense of Democracies” is anything but an IF/NC tool for fomenting war against Muslims in order to protect what they describe as “the only democracy” in the Middle East?

The use of the democracy angle by the IF/NC crowd is amply demonstrated in a recent article by one of its leading lights, Max Boot, titled “The GOP’s Apologists for Tyrants”. In this piece, Mr. Boot denounces Republican presidential candidates Trump, Cruz, and Kasich for “their support for dictators” and their clear lack of enthusiasm for unnecessary overseas democracy mongering and interventionist wars. Mr. Boot lauds the usual Copperhead line and insists that overthrowing Saddam, Gaddafi, and others was the correct thing to do. The only problem, he says, is that the U.S. government did not go far enough in waging those useless and massively counterproductive wars. Only the Israel First-owned Marco Rubio, Boot declares, refuses to “embrace genocidal tyrants”, which means the Copperheads were betting that they could count on Rubio for more war.

Well, Mr. Boot, no, Trump, Cruz, and Kasich are not seeking to “embrace genocidal tyrants”, but rather are looking out for America first. They know that neither Saddam nor Gaddafi was ever a serious national-security threat to the United States; indeed, both were key and extraordinarily lethal allies — and ones we did not have to pay — in the war against the Islamists.

Saddam kept Iraq’s door locked tight and so prevented the Islamists located east of Iraq from moving westward in large numbers, and he made the Iranians little more than marginal players in the Levant. How are things looking in that area now, Mr. Boot? Gaddafi kept the Islamists at bay in much of North Africa and murdered or incarcerated every Islamist that Libya’s military and security services could get their hands on, but IF/NC wanted a pro-democracy war in Libya and got it. How are affairs in the Maghreb going these days, Mr. Boot?

And do not forget, Mr. Boot, that you and your IF/NC sidekicks insisted that the U.S. government go democracy mongering in the Middle East in the name of the Arab Spring, and then you supported the military coup in Egypt that destroyed a democratically elected regime. Now, Mr. Boot, how is all of that working out? Finally, what about that clever IF/NC plan to build a new, pro-Western democracy in Afghanistan, how is that doing? Could you check on the progress of democracy there and get back to me?

What I think Mr. Trump is saying, Mr. Boot, is that it is too bad/so sad that there are murderous dictators loose in the world, but as long as they pose no life-and-death threat to the United States there is no reason for America to militarily intervene and give them — as the saying goes — the boot. After all, if the dictators are not killing Americans and/or threatening genuine U.S. national interests, who cares? Humans are hard-wired for war, so let them fight. The U.S. government exists only to defend the republic, its commerce, and its citizens and their liberties; it is under precisely zero obligation — legal, moral, or one dreamed up by disloyal U.S. citizens — to defend any set of foreigners against the murderous machinations of the dictators who rule them or the enemies who threaten them.

The wars that disloyal IF/NC Copperheads like you champion, Mr. Boot, have invariably been greatly counterproductive for U.S. national security, the national debt, and, especially, for those you and your colleagues care the least about; namely, the parents, wives, husbands, and children who suffered the loss or maiming of their loved ones in the military while they were fighting in the unnecessary wars you and your kind demand that America fight for only one reason, to make the world safe for Israel.

So, Mr. Boot, if you and the rest of your wretched and disloyal IF/NC associates want to go to the Democratic Party and side with IF/NC’er Hillary Clinton, please go immediately and trumpet your departure from the roof tops. After all, what could be more appropriate than today’s Copperheads — a kind of snake that sneaks and strikes without warning — joining the Democratic Party, the original incubator and home of the Civil War’s Copperheads? In the decade before that war, Massachusetts’s Senator Charles Sumner was speaking when he saw one of his pro-slavery foes enter the Senate Chamber and walk toward his seat. Sumner stopped and asked, I paraphrase here, the other senators to witness that a slug was slithering across the chamber’s floor looking for a chair to adhere to. For the Republican Party, the movement of the entire IF/NC crowd to the Democratic Party would be a Godsend, a veritable slithering slug migration that would find no shortage of fellow slugs waiting for them in Hillary’s camp, and there probably would be enough chairs for all of them to adhere to.

There is, then, nothing that could strengthen the Republican Party more and attract more voters to its side than to be shed of you, Mr. Boot, and your disloyal fellow Copperheads. Be gone, good riddance, and praise God for cutting out the festering IF/NC malignancy from the Republican Party so that it can once again stand for something more than endless war and Israel First.

 

Anti-Federalism, the stress of decentralization and local governance

The paleoconservative emphasis upon localism is reflected in their search for international co-think- ers. They have constructed ties with those who think in terms of small-scale, decentralized and localist structures structured around shared com- mon ethnic roots, rather than those who seek to construct a centralized state apparatus. Italy has been of particular interest. Chronicles rejects the commercial conservatism of Forza Italia and the quasi-fascism of Alleanza Nazionale. It looks instead towards the Lega Nord, its leader, Umberto Bossi, and its demands for a confederate state. It has similarly associ- ated itself with the Bosnian Serbs' efforts to create an autonomous republic, and opposed the attempts to es- tablish Bosnia as a viable multiethnic state. The hostility of the European right to American mass culture may however prevent closer collaboration.

Anti-Federalism is another key aspect of paleoconservatism, which adherents see as an antitype to the managerial state. The paleocon flavor urges honoring the principle of subsidiarity, that is, decentralized government, local rule, private property and minimal bureaucracy.[54] In an international context, this view would be known as federalism and paleocons often look to John C. Calhoun for inspiration.[55]

As to the role of statecraft in society, Thomas Fleming says it should not be confused with soulcraft. He gives his summary of the paleocon position:

Our basic position on the state has always been twofold: 1) a recognition that man is a social and political animal who cannot be treated as an "individual" without doing damage to human nature. In this sense libertarian theory is as wrong and as potentially harmful as communism. The commonwealth is therefore a natural and necessary expression of human nature that provides for the fulfillment of human needs, and 2) the modern state is a cancerous form of polity that has metastasized and poisoned the natural institutions from which the state derives all legitimacy — family, church, corporation (in the broadest sense), and neighborhood. Thus, it is almost always a mistake to try to use the modern state to accomplish moral or social ends.[56]

Russell Kirk, for example, argued that most government tasks should be performed at the local or state level. This is intended to ward off centralization and protect community sentiment by putting the decision-making power closer to the populace. He rooted this in the Christian notion of original sin; since humanity is flawed, society should not put too much power in a few hands. Gerald J. Russello concluded that this involved "a different way of thinking about government, one based on an understanding of political society as beginning in place and sentiment, which in turn supports written laws."[57]

This anti-federalism extends to culture too. In general, this means that different regional groups should be able to maintain their own distinct identity. For example, Thomas Fleming and Michael Hill argue that the American South and every other region have the right to "preserve their authentic cultural traditions and demand the same respect from others." In their Southern context they call on citizens to "take control of their own governments, their own institutions, their own culture, their own communities and their own lives" and "wean themselves from dependence on federal largesse." They say that:

A concern for states' rights, local self-government and regional identity used to be taken for granted everywhere in America. But the United States is no longer, as it once was, a federal union of diverse states and regions. National uniformity is being imposed by the political class that runs Washington, the economic class that owns Wall Street and the cultural class in charge of Hollywood and the Ivy League.[58]

In a similar fashion, Pat Buchanan argued during the 1996 campaign that the social welfare should be left to the control of individual states. He also called for abolishing the U.S. Department of Education and handing decision-making over to parents, teachers and districts. Controversies such as evolution, busing and curriculum standards would be settled on a local basis.[59] In addition, he opposed a 1998 Puerto Rican statehood plan on the grounds that the island would be ripped from its cultural and linguistic roots: "Let Puerto Rico remain Puerto Rico, and let the United States remain the United States and not try to absorb, assimilate and Americanize a people whose hearts will forever belong to that island."[60]

Focus of family and moral values

Like most conservatives, paleoconservatives  believe that hard work, self-discipline, and adherence to religious faith were the means by which a virtuous life was earned and a moral order was established and maintained (The Paleo Persuasion The American Conservative):

Third, paleoconservatism emerged also as a reaction against what was taking place in American culture itself in the 1980s and ’90s, trends that the mainstream Right warmly embraced. Not only the increasing secularism, hedonism, and carnal and material self-indulgence of the dominant culture but also its shallowness and artificiality, its proclivity to being manipulated by media and political elites, its passivity in the face of more and more usurpation of social and civic functions by big government, big business, and big media, and the happy chatter from the contemporary political Right that celebrated this transformation and identified public morality almost exclusively with flag-waving, prayer in schools, invoking saccharine and platitude about “family values,” and constant ranting about any and all movies that contained sex.

The paleoconservative vews on the subject are well expressed in By Samuel Goldman  review of  the book It's Dangerous to Believe: Religious Freedom and Its Enemies, Mary Eberstadt, Harper (\The American Conservative June 10, 2016 ):

On April 27, 1979, Jerry Falwell addressed thousands of conservative Christians from the steps of the Capitol. Asserting that the “vast majority” of Americans were opposed to pornography, abortion, and homosexuality, he announced the establishment of a new organization to promote “pro-family, pro-life, and pro-morality” policies. In a statement before the rally, Falwell explained the motive behind what he called the Moral Majority: “We’ve had enough and we want America cleaned up.”

Times have changed. Formerly confident in their numbers and clout, conservative Christians are now on the defensive. Falwell dreamed of cleaning up America. Nearly two generations later, his heirs are reduced to pleading for exemptions from sweeping anti-discrimination policies. Although popular with voters in some states, these pleas have not survived national scrutiny—even where Republicans hold power. In Indiana, a law that might have allowed bakers and photographers to decline service to gay weddings endured just a few months before it was “fixed” by the legislature. In Georgia, a similar bill was vetoed by the governor under intense pressure from big business.

The cultural transformation has been even more dramatic than the political one. Especially among highly educated people, beliefs that gender has a physiological basis or that procreation is a central purpose of marriage are proceeding from outré to unacceptable. In an ironic reversal, conservative Christians have adopted an idiom of concealment from a minority they once demonized: until recently, it was gays who spoke of being “in the closet.” Now they are joined by followers of traditional orthodoxy.

Mary Eberstadt is horrified by this development. In It’s Dangerous to Believe, she describes religious traditionalists as targets of a distinctly modern brand of intolerance that mirrors the history of religious fanaticism.

To support this interpretation, Eberstadt offers a parade of horribles drawn from around the English-speaking world. The incidents she cites range from the ouster of Brendan Eich as CEO of Mozilla to penalties imposed on teachers who defended Catholic doctrines on sexuality to the withdrawal of recognition from religious clubs at several universities. Eberstadt acknowledges that her examples are “disparate.” But she insists that they add up to a “widespread and growing effort to shame, punish, and ostracize people because of what they believe.”

There is nothing inherently novel about such campaigns, which have occurred with some frequency since the emergence of Biblical religion. What’s different is the issue at stake. This is not a dispute about the nature of God, proper form of worship, or correct rendering of revelation. Instead, “every act committed in the name of this new intolerance has a single, common denominator, which is the protection of the perceived prerogatives of the sexual revolution at all costs. The new intolerance is a wholly owned subsidiary of that revolution. No revolution, no new intolerance.”

Eberstadt offers a compelling analysis of the ideology that developed to justify the sexual revolution. Rather than a libertarian demand to leave people alone, it functions as an ersatz theology with its own its dogmas, theory of history, and canon of saints and martyrs. This parallel structure may be rooted in a process of secularization, as religious concepts were drained of their religious meaning. More likely, it reflects a basic human inclination to form systems, to make sense of the world.

Whatever its source, the internal coherence of moral progressivism explains the bitterness with which it responds to challenges. Critics of the new dispensation aren’t harmless dissenters. They are heretics whose denial of the truth threatens the possibility of a virtuous community.

In this respect, Eberstadt argues, the guardians of the sexual revolution can be understood as successors to the Puritans. Contrary to their reputation in some quarters as defenders of religious liberty, the Puritans were mostly interested in the freedom to do things their way. Error, concluded the divines of New England, had no rights. That is why they were so bitterly opposed to allowing members of other denominations to dwell among them.

When it came to Baptists and Catholics, this suspicion was not altogether irrational. But the Puritans’ fear of subversion did not stop with actual rivals. The logic of their theology turned them against adversaries that did not even exist. The witch trials were no aberration but a consequence of systematic intolerance.

Eberstadt contends that a similar logic is being turned against religious traditionalists today. The Moral Majority posed a plausible challenge to the sexual revolution. Today’s dissenters from the sexual revolution, by contrast, are symbolic sacrifices at the altar of progress. According to Eberstadt, “the notion that the religious counterculture” can enforce its vision of righteousness on a majority is “downright absurd.” In her judgment, it is because they have so little real influence that recalcitrant bakers or photographers have to be publicly shamed by progressives.

Eberstadt’s description of the bewildered faithful, caught up in rapid social change, is deeply affecting. She is an acute critic of the way some Christian institutions have distanced themselves from their own teachings at the expense of low-level employees, who didn’t get the memo about what’s now politically acceptable in time. Eberstadt also discusses shocking incidents in which the mere expression of religious beliefs has led to denial of educational and job opportunities. This is prejudice pure and simple. One hopes liberals and progressives will accept her call to reject it—particularly in institutions of higher learning whose leaders speak ceaselessly of their commitment to diversity.    

Yet many of the cases Eberstadt discusses are more complicated than the Manichean struggle she depicts. More than attacks on unpopular ideas, they are disputes about the discharge of political office or participation in government programs.

Take the hapless Kim Davis, who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Rowan County, Ky. What provoked Davis’s more thoughtful critics was not the refusal in itself. Instead, it was her expectation that she could reject the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges while keeping her job. This was not the conventional understanding of conscientious objection that allows believers to avoid otherwise compulsory duties—most prominently, military service. Instead, it looked like an attempt by a sworn public servant to have it both ways by choosing which responsibilities of her office she was willing to discharge.

After several months of wrangling, the state of Kentucky reached a compromise that removes county clerks’ names from the marriage licenses they issue. This seems a reasonable policy that protects the rights and dignity of all involved. It was necessary, however, because the connection between traditional religious belief and civil authority is not as dead as Eberstadt suggests.

The challenges to the Obamacare contraception mandate recently argued before the Supreme Court also defy Eberstadt’s depiction of a war on traditional belief. Rather than targets of an “ideological power play,” for-profit corporations such as Hobby Lobby and religious institutions like the Little Sisters of the Poor were collateral damage of a massive expansion of the administrative state. The underlying problem here is not the pseudo-theology of the sexual revolution but the cooptation of private enterprises and associations to supply a public benefit.  

Eberstadt is too quick to attribute controversies about the political role of religion to irrational animus on the part of progressives. She also tends to reduce religion to Christianity and Christianity to its more traditionalist currents. This reduction makes it easier to treat religious belief as such as the target of hostility from a monolithic secular consensus.

But the American religious scene is more varied than Eberstadt acknowledges. In addition to the conservative Christians on whom she focuses, many believers have made their peace with the sexual revolution and the world it has made—or at least figured out how to live alongside it. That includes American Jews, including many who hold politically incorrect views on sexuality.

Why do Jews escape the opprobrium to which traditionalist Catholics or Baptists are subjected? Partly because they have never been more than a tiny minority, but also because they make few claims on political and cultural authority. Apart from a few neighborhoods in and around New York City, no one fears that religious Jews will attempt to dictate how they live their own lives. As a result, they are able to avoid most forms of interference with their communities.

There is a lesson here for the Christian traditionalists for whom Eberstadt speaks. They are more likely to win space to live according to their consciences to the extent that they are able to convince a majority that includes more liberal Christians and non-Christian believers, as well as outright secularists, that they are not simply biding their time until they are able to storm the public square. In addition, they will have to develop institutions of community life that are relatively low-visibility and that can survive without many forms of official support. The price of inclusion in an increasingly pluralistic society may be some degree of voluntary exclusion from the dominant culture.    

There is no doubt that this will be a hard bargain for adherents of traditions that enjoyed such immense authority until recently. As Eberstadt points out, however, it will also be difficult for progressives who resemble Falwell in their moral majoritarianism. The basis for coexistence must be a shared understanding that the Christian America for which some long and that others fear isn’t coming back—not only because it was Christian but also because it involved a level of consensus that is no longer available to us. There are opportunities for believers and nonbelievers alike in this absence.

Samuel Goldman is an assistant professor of political science and director of the Loeb Institute for Religious Freedom at George Washington University.

 


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[Apr 17, 2018] John Bolton In Search of Carthage by By Michael Shindler

Looks like Iran is Carnage for Bolton and neocon fellow travelers in Trump administration such as Haley and Pompeo.
Notable quotes:
"... Wall Street Journal ..."
"... In that vein, it is Bolton who merits historical comparison: to Cato the Elder, a conservative-yet-eccentric Roman statesman who, according to Plutarch, would often and invariably call for the destruction of Carthage, even though the Carthaginian threat was neither imminent nor apparent. Eventually, Cato's words wended their way into the ears of power and hundreds of thousands of Carthaginians were pointlessly slaughtered. According to the Greek historian Polybius, Scipio Aemilianus, the young Roman General who led the attack, at seeing the carnage of a great people, "shed tears and wept openly." ..."
"... Michael Shindler is an Advocate with Young Voices and a writer living in Washington, D.C. Follow him @MichaelShindler . ..."
Apr 17, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Last week, John Bolton ascended to the office of National Security Advisor, following in the hurried footsteps of Michael Flynn and H.R. McMaster. Two peculiar characteristics set Bolton apart from most folks in D.C.: an unabashedly luxurious mustache and an unmatched penchant for unjustified preemptive violence.

At the University of Chicago in 2009, Bolton warned , "Unless Israel is prepared to use nuclear weapons against Iran's program, Iran will have nuclear weapons in the very near future." Thankfully, Israel didn't take Bolton's advice and, as most predicted, Iran never lived up to his expectations. Similarly, in a 2015 op-ed in the New York Times , Bolton opined , "The inescapable conclusion is that Iran will not negotiate away its nuclear program. Nor will sanctions block its building a broad and deep weapons infrastructure . Time is terribly short, but a strike can still succeed." Three short months later, a non-proliferation deal wherein Iran agreed to a 98 percent reduction in its enriched uranium stockpile and a 15-year pause in the development of key weapons infrastructure was negotiated.

More recently in February, Bolton advised in the Wall Street Journal that "Given the gaps in U.S. intelligence about North Korea, we should not wait until the very last minute . It is perfectly legitimate for the United States to respond to the current 'necessity' posed by North Korea's nuclear weapons by striking first."

By this point Bolton's record of calling for war in every possible situation had lost the ability to shock. Still, the Founding Fathers would probably be appalled.

A comparatively irenic vision pervades the philosophy of the founders. James Wilson, in his Lectures on Law, wrote that when a nation "is under an obligation to preserve itself and its members; it has a right to do everything" that it can "without injuring others." In Federalist 4, John Jay advised that the American people ought to support steps that would "put and keep them in such a situation as, instead of inviting war, will tend to repress and discourage it." And in his Farewell Address, George Washington asserted that the United States should be "always guided by an exalted justice and benevolence."

A preemptive nuclear strike justified on the flimsy basis of "gaps in U.S. intelligence" hardly seems concordant with such military restraint and "exalted justice." And lest it be thought these ideals were mere lofty notions, consider how, as American history proceeded, they became enshrined in American diplomacy.

In 1837, Canadian rebels sailing aboard the Caroline fled to an island in the Niagara River with the help of a few American citizens. British forces boarded their ship, killed an American member of the crew, and then set the Caroline ablaze before forcing it over Niagara Falls. Enraged, American and Canadian raiders destroyed a British ship. Several attacks followed until the crisis was at last ended in 1842 by the Webster-Ashburton Treaty. In the aftermath, the Caroline test was established, which stipulates that an attack made in self-defense is justifiable only when, in the words of Daniel Webster, the necessity is "instant, overwhelming, and leaving no choice of means, and no moment for deliberation." This principle remains the international standard, though some like Bolton think it's outdated.

With the Caroline test in mind, Bolton wrote while arguing in favor of a preemptive strike against North Korea, "The case against preemption rests on the misinterpretation of a standard that derives from prenuclear, pre-ballistic-missile times." In other words, Bolton believes that we can no longer afford to wait for the situation to be "instant" and "overwhelming," and makes an offense out of abstaining from immediate preemptive action, regardless of the potential costs involved.

Relatedly, one of Bolton's most colorful jabs at President Obama involved likening him to Æthelred the Unready, a medieval Anglo-Saxon king remembered for his tragic indecisiveness. Yet given the costs of groundless preemption, indecisiveness is often a midwife to careful contemplation and peace. Had Prime Minister Netanyahu or Obama been persuaded by Bolton's retrospectively warrantless calls for preemption in Iran, tragedy would have followed.

In that vein, it is Bolton who merits historical comparison: to Cato the Elder, a conservative-yet-eccentric Roman statesman who, according to Plutarch, would often and invariably call for the destruction of Carthage, even though the Carthaginian threat was neither imminent nor apparent. Eventually, Cato's words wended their way into the ears of power and hundreds of thousands of Carthaginians were pointlessly slaughtered. According to the Greek historian Polybius, Scipio Aemilianus, the young Roman General who led the attack, at seeing the carnage of a great people, "shed tears and wept openly."

In order that we never find ourselves standing alongside Scipio knee-deep in unjustly spilt blood, Bolton should reconsider whether the flimsy merits of rash preemption truly outweigh the durable wisdom of the Founding Fathers and the lessons of history.

Michael Shindler is an Advocate with Young Voices and a writer living in Washington, D.C. Follow him @MichaelShindler .


Janwaar Bibi April 17, 2018 at 4:28 pm

From the Wikipedia article for Bolton:

During the 1969 Vietnam War draft lottery, Bolton drew number 185. (Draft numbers corresponded to birth dates.) As a result of the Johnson and Nixon administrations' decisions to rely largely on the draft rather than on the reserve forces, joining a Guard or Reserve unit became a way to avoid service in the Vietnam War. Before graduating from Yale in 1970, Bolton enlisted in the Maryland Army National Guard rather than wait to find out if his draft number would be called. (The highest number called to military service was 195.) He saw active duty for 18 weeks of training at Fort Polk, Louisiana, from July to November 1970.

After serving in the National Guard for four years, he served in the United States Army Reserve until the end of his enlistment two years later.[1]

He wrote in his Yale 25th reunion book "I confess I had no desire to die in a Southeast Asian rice paddy. I considered the war in Vietnam already lost." In an interview, Bolton discussed his comment in the reunion book, explaining that he decided to avoid service in Vietnam because "by the time I was about to graduate in 1970, it was clear to me that opponents of the Vietnam War had made it certain we could not prevail, and that I had no great interest in going there to have Teddy Kennedy give it back to the people I might die to take it away from."

Why is it that the US leads the world in production of chicken-hawks? Even these mangy ex-colonial countries like the UK and France do not have as many chicken-hawks as we do.

connecticut farmer , says: April 17, 2018 at 4:53 pm
Cato the Elder: "Carthago dalenda est!" ("Carthage Must Be Destroyed!")

John Bolton: "Syria dalenda est!" "Iran dalenda est!" Russia dalenda est!" And etc etc.

Connecticut Farmer: "Bolton dalenda est!"

Kent , says: April 17, 2018 at 5:02 pm
"In order that we never find ourselves standing alongside Scipio knee-deep in unjustly spilt blood,"

That ship sailed awhile back.

JonF , says: April 17, 2018 at 5:08 pm
Comparing Obama to Athelred is absurd. Athelred's problem was not that he was indecisive, but rather that he refused to listen to advice from anyone (the moniker "Unready" actually meant "Uncounseled" in Old English) and that he was extremely impulsive and deeply bigoted. Hence he ordered a general massacre of the Danes in England. Luckily it was only carried out in a limited region, unluckily the victims included the King of Denmark's sister and her children, leading to an open blood feud war, and also cost Aethelred any support he might have had from his wife's kinsman, the Duke of Normandy. If anyone is a good match for old Aethelred, it's Donald Trump.

[Apr 17, 2018] Trump Prisoner of the War Party by Patrick J. Buchanan

Trump became a despicable warmonger. That true. And undisputable after the recent attack on Syria ("operation Stormy Daniels"). But was it War Party that coerced him or were other processes involved?
The main weakness of Buchanan hypothecs is that it is unclear wether Trump was coerced by War Party, or he was "Republican Obama" from the very beginning performing classic "bait and switch" operation on gullible electorate (as in "change we can believe in") . The second hypothesis is now strong then the fist and supported by more fact. just look at the "troika" of Haley-Bolton-Pompeo -- all three were voluntarily selected by the President and all three are rabid neocons. So it looks liek no or little coercion from the War Party was necessary.
Notable quotes:
"... Wall Street Journal ..."
"... Defense Secretary James Mattis called the U.S.-British-French attack a "one-shot" deal. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson appears to agree: "The rest of the Syrian war must proceed as it will." ..."
"... Clearly, with the U.S. fighting in six countries, Commander in Chief Trump does not want any new wars, or to widen any existing wars in the Middle East. But he is being pushed into becoming a war president to advance the agenda of foreign policy elites who, almost to a man, opposed his election. ..."
"... We have a reluctant president being pushed into a war he does not want to fight. This is a formula for a strategic disaster not unlike Vietnam or George W. Bush's war to strip Iraq of nonexistent WMDs. ..."
"... The assumption of the War Party seems to be that if we launch larger and more lethal strikes in Syria, inflicting casualties on Russians, Iranians, Hezbollah, and the Syrian army, they will yield to our demands. ..."
"... As for Trump's statement Friday, "No amount of American blood and treasure can produce lasting peace in the Middle East," the Washington Post ..."
Apr 17, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
April 16, 2018, 9:55 PM "Ten days ago, President Trump was saying 'the United States should withdraw from Syria.' We convinced him it was necessary to stay."

Thus boasted French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday, adding, "We convinced him it was necessary to stay for the long term."

Is the U.S. indeed in the Syrian Civil War "for the long term"?

If so, who made that fateful decision for this republic?

U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley confirmed Sunday there would be no drawdown of the 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria, until three objectives were reached. We must fully defeat ISIS, ensure chemical weapons will not again be used by Bashar al-Assad and maintain the ability to watch Iran.

Translation: whatever Trump says, America is not coming out of Syria. We are going deeper in. Trump's commitment to extricate us from these bankrupting and blood-soaked Middle East wars and to seek a new rapprochement with Russia is "inoperative."

The War Party that Trump routed in the primaries is capturing and crafting his foreign policy. Monday's Wall Street Journal editorial page fairly blossomed with war plans:

The better U.S. strategy is to turn Syria into the Ayatollah's Vietnam. Only when Russia and Iran began to pay a larger price in Syria will they have any incentive to negotiate an end to the war or even contemplate a peace based on dividing the country into ethnic-based enclaves.

Apparently, we are to bleed Syria, Russia, Hezbollah, and Iran until they cannot stand the pain and submit to subdividing Syria the way we want.

But suppose that, as in our Civil War of 1861-1865, the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939, and the Chinese Civil War of 1945-1949, Assad and his Russian, Iranian, and Shiite militia allies go all out to win and reunite the nation.

Suppose they choose to fight to consolidate the victory they have won after seven years of war. Where do we find the troops to take back the territory our rebels lost? Or do we just bomb mercilessly?

The British and French say they will back us in future attacks if chemical weapons are used, but they are not plunging into Syria.

Defense Secretary James Mattis called the U.S.-British-French attack a "one-shot" deal. British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson appears to agree: "The rest of the Syrian war must proceed as it will."

The Journal 's op-ed page Monday was turned over to former U.S. ambassador to Syria Ryan Crocker and Brookings Institute senior fellow Michael O'Hanlon: "Next time the U.S. could up the ante, going after military command and control, political leadership, and perhaps even Assad himself. The U.S. could also pledge to take out much of his air force. Targets within Iran should not be off limits."

And when did Congress authorize U.S. acts of war against Syria, its air force, or political leadership? When did Congress authorize the killing of the president of Syria whose country has not attacked us?

Can the U.S. also attack Iran and kill the ayatollah without consulting Congress?

Clearly, with the U.S. fighting in six countries, Commander in Chief Trump does not want any new wars, or to widen any existing wars in the Middle East. But he is being pushed into becoming a war president to advance the agenda of foreign policy elites who, almost to a man, opposed his election.

We have a reluctant president being pushed into a war he does not want to fight. This is a formula for a strategic disaster not unlike Vietnam or George W. Bush's war to strip Iraq of nonexistent WMDs.

The assumption of the War Party seems to be that if we launch larger and more lethal strikes in Syria, inflicting casualties on Russians, Iranians, Hezbollah, and the Syrian army, they will yield to our demands.

But where is the evidence for this?

What reason is there to believe these forces will surrender what they have paid in blood to win? And if they choose to fight and widen the war to the larger Middle East, are we prepared for that?

As for Trump's statement Friday, "No amount of American blood and treasure can produce lasting peace in the Middle East," the Washington Post on Sunday dismissed this as "fatalistic" and "misguided." We have a vital interest, says the Post , in preventing Iran from establishing a "land corridor" across Syria.

Yet consider how Iran acquired this "land corridor." The Shiites in 1979 overthrew a shah our CIA installed in 1953. The Shiites control Iraq because President Bush invaded and overthrew Saddam and his Sunni Baath Party, disbanded his Sunni-led army, and let the Shiite majority take control of the country. The Shiites are dominant in Lebanon because they rose up and ran out the Israelis, who invaded in 1982 to run out the PLO.

How many American dead will it take to reverse this history?

How long will we have to stay in the Middle East to assure the permanent hegemony of Sunni over Shiite?

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever. To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.

[Apr 16, 2018] America's Fling With the Kurds Could Cause Turkey and NATO to Split by Mark Perry

Notable quotes:
"... "This is clientism," the senior military officer with whom I spoke explains. "All of these guys have served together and trust each other. And, you know, this is the way it works. The U.S. Central Command has the Middle East as a client and the European Command has the Europeans and Turkey as clients. But if you take a look at Mattis and the people around him, well, you know, it's all Centcom. ..."
"... Erdogan emphasized three growing concerns he has that America's temporary and "transactional" support for the YPG is becoming permanent. This same official went on to note that, in his opinion, it's not a coincidence that Trump floated the idea of withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria ("I want to get out," he said. "I want to bring our troops home") -- a suggestion that did not go over well with Centcom partisans at the Pentagon. ..."
Apr 16, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

In fact, just how "ugly" the relationship has become is fast becoming a matter of public debate. During his March visit, Scaparrotti appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee to give testimony on the challenges facing his command. While most members focused on Russia and cyberwar issues, Virginia Senator Tim Kaine explored the U.S.-Turkey dust-up, hinting that it might be time for the U.S. to dampen its YPG ties. Scaparrotti didn't disagree, while soft-pedaling the disagreements over the issue that he's had with Votel and Centcom. "Where do we want to be in a year, two years and five years?" he asked. "With a close NATO ally like Turkey, we know that we want to maintain and strengthen our relationship. So that's the long-term objective and if we look at the long-term objective, it can begin to inform what we're doing today with respect to NATO." The senior military officer with whom I spoke proved a willing translator: "What Scaparrotti is saying is that the real marriage here is between the U.S. and Turkey. The YPG is just a fling."

But convincing James Mattis of that is proving difficult, in part because Scaparrotti is outgunned. Every defense secretary surrounds himself with people he can count on and who he listens to. But for Mattis almost all of them have had experience in the Middle East -- and at Centcom. There's Mattis himself (a former Centcom commander), JCS Chairman Joseph Dunford (who served with Mattis in Iraq), Joint Staff Director Lieutenant General Kenneth McKenzie, Jr. (a Marine who served in both Afghanistan and Iraq), retired Rear Admiral Kevin M. Sweeney (the former Centcom executive officer), Rear Admiral Craig S. Faller (a Mattis advisor, and a Navy commander during both the Afghan and Iraq wars), and current Centcom commander General Joseph Votel -- the former commander of the U.S. Special Operation Command ("a trigger puller," as he was described to me by a currently serving officer). Votel is the most outspoken YPG supporter of any of them, and because he's the combatant commander, his support carries weight.

"This is clientism," the senior military officer with whom I spoke explains. "All of these guys have served together and trust each other. And, you know, this is the way it works. The U.S. Central Command has the Middle East as a client and the European Command has the Europeans and Turkey as clients. But if you take a look at Mattis and the people around him, well, you know, it's all Centcom. So Scaparrotti is worried, and he ought to be. We don't want to be sitting around 30 years from now reading historical pieces with titles like 'Who Lost Turkey?'"

Even someone as careful in his public utterances as Admiral James Stavridis, who once held Scaparrotti's command and is now the dean of the Fletcher School at Tufts University, is raising concerns. While he waves off the "who lost Turkey" formulation as "a trope that is moving around the Internet," he told me in an email exchange that "it would be a mistake of epic proportions to allow Turkey to drift out of the transatlantic orbit" -- a repeat of the warning issued by Scaparrotti to Mattis in March. But like Scaparrotti, Staviridis is slow-rolling his disagreement. "This is a distinction without a difference," the senior officer and NATO partisan with whom we spoke says. "By drifting out of NATO, Stavridis means leaving. He's as worried as anyone else."

Concerns over Turkey are probably a surprise in the White House, given its almost daily crisis over the looming Russia-gate investigation, but they shouldn't be. The president has had extended telephone exchanges with Turkish President Tayyip Erodogan twice in the last three weeks. While the White House has refused to give details of these conversations, the Turkish official with whom we spoke told TAC that in both conversations (on March 23 and again on April 11), Erdogan emphasized three growing concerns he has that America's temporary and "transactional" support for the YPG is becoming permanent. This same official went on to note that, in his opinion, it's not a coincidence that Trump floated the idea of withdrawing U.S. troops from Syria ("I want to get out," he said. "I want to bring our troops home") -- a suggestion that did not go over well with Centcom partisans at the Pentagon.

On April 3, the same day Trump issued his let's-get-out statement, Joseph Votel and Brett McGurk appeared at the U.S. Institute of Peace, arguing that the U.S. needed to stay in. "The hard part, I think, is in front of us," Votel said, "and that is stabilizing these areas, consolidating our gains, getting back to their homes. There is a military role in this," he went on to say. "Certainly in the stabilization phase."

The Votel appearance was exasperating for those worried about NATO's future, and for those concerned that the endless conflicts in the region are draining the defense budget of badly needed funds to rebuild U.S. military readiness. For them, a group that now includes a growing number of very senior and influential military officers, "stabilization" is not only a codeword for "nation building," it signals support for a mission that is endangering the future of NATO, the institution that has guaranteed peace in Europe for three generations.

"It's not worth it," the senior military commander who spoke with TAC concludes. "On top of everything else, it puts us on the wrong side of the political equation. This whole thing about how the enemy of my enemy is my friend is a bunch of bullshit. The enemy of my enemy is now making an enemy of our friend. I don't know who we think we're fooling, but it sure as hell isn't Turkey. And it isn't the American people either."

Mark Perry is a foreign policy analyst, a contributing editor to The American Conservative, and the author of The Pentagon's Wars (2017).

[Apr 14, 2018] Airstrikes Against Syria Would Set Off a Powder Keg by Daniel Larison

"Monica styles"... Trump is fighting fore survival with Tomahawks trying to solve his problem with junfoism.
Notable quotes:
"... "[I]f this president can decide unilaterally to bomb Syria, I worry that he can make the same decision about North Korea or Iran or other nations. And these decisions are not supposed to be made without consultation and voting by Congress." Unfortunately, Congressional leaders have shown no signs of wanting to hold a debate or have a vote before the attack takes place. ..."
"... The Trump administration has not offered a public legal justification for last year's strikes, and it seems unlikely to offer one this time. That is probably because there is no plausible interpretation of the law that permits the president to initiate hostilities against foreign governments on his own when the U.S. has not been attacked. ..."
"... Daniel Larison is a senior editor at ..."
"... where he also keeps a solo blog . He has been published in the ..."
"... Front Porch Republic, and ..."
"... . He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago. Follow him on Twitter . ..."
Apr 14, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
It begins: Trump announces a series of joint air strikes on Syrian targets Friday. An explosion after an apparent US-led coalition airstrike on Kobane, Syria, as seen from the Turkish side of the border, near Suruc district, 24 October 2014, Sanliurfa, Turkey Shutterstock/orlok UPDATE 9 p.m.ET : President Trump announces joint air strikes with the UK and France against Syrian targets in retaliation for suspected chemical attack a week ago in Douma.

One year since the U.S. illegally launched 59 cruise missiles at Syrian government forces in response to an alleged chemical weapons attack, the Trump administration is preparing to take similar military action despite an increased risk of escalation that could lead to the start of a wider war.

The U.S., France, and Britain have been preparing to strike the Syrian government over the last several days, and Syria's Russian patron has threatened the "gravest consequences" in response to an attack. Russia didn't respond to last year's one-off airstrikes, but Moscow isn't likely to tolerate a larger U.S. attack carried out with other governments. Syria's government and its allies seem more willing to fight back than they were a year ago, and that should give the Trump administration and our European allies pause. There is a greater risk of great power conflict erupting in Syria than there has been at any time since the end of the Cold War, and if Russian military personnel are killed by U.S. or allied strikes there is no telling how quickly things could deteriorate there and in other parts of the world.

President Trump's public statements have strongly suggested that an attack will be happening soon, going so far as to taunt Russia on Twitter that they should "get ready" for the "new" and "smart" missiles that the U.S. would be using. Some members of Congress have insisted that the president lacks the legal authority to launch an attack on Syria without their authorization. As Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) put it , "[I]f this president can decide unilaterally to bomb Syria, I worry that he can make the same decision about North Korea or Iran or other nations. And these decisions are not supposed to be made without consultation and voting by Congress." Unfortunately, Congressional leaders have shown no signs of wanting to hold a debate or have a vote before the attack takes place.

The Trump administration has not offered a public legal justification for last year's strikes, and it seems unlikely to offer one this time. That is probably because there is no plausible interpretation of the law that permits the president to initiate hostilities against foreign governments on his own when the U.S. has not been attacked. There is no provision in international law that allows a U.S. attack on another government without explicit Security Council authorization, and we know that this authorization that will never be forthcoming in this case because of Russia's veto. While the attack is being sold as the enforcement of a norm against chemical weapons use, it isn't possible to uphold an international norm while violating the most fundamental rule of international law.

To date, the U.S. and its allies have presented no definitive evidence to support their claims against the Syrian government. It is entirely plausible that the Syrian government is guilty of using chlorine or sarin against its enemies and the civilian population, but there has been no real effort on the part of the U.S. and its allies to prove their accusation before deciding to act as executioners. Regardless, the U.S. and its allies have no authority to punish the Syrian government, and in doing so they may do significant harm to international peace and security.

A U.S.-led attack on the Syrian government could lead to war with Russia or Iran or both at once, and there is also a danger that it could help set off a war between Israel and Iran. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier this week that Israel would not "allow" an Iranian military presence to be established in Syria. The prime minister's threat came on the heels of Israeli strikes inside Syria that reportedly killed seven Iranians serving alongside the Syrian regime's forces. Iran has threatened retaliation for the attack, and it has the ability through Hizbullah to make good on that threat if Israel carries out additional strikes. Israel might use a U.S.-led attack on Iran's allies in Syria as an excuse to strike more Iranian targets, and Iran might then respond in kind with missile attacks on Israel. Lebanese, Syrian, and Israeli civilians would all suffer if that happened, and it would make an already chaotic international situation even worse.

It is a measure of how divorced from U.S. and allied security our Syria policy has become that our government is seriously preparing to launch another illegal attack on a government that hasn't attacked us and doesn't threaten us or our allies. Attacking the Syrian government won't make the U.S. or any other country more secure, and it will likely weaken the government just enough to prolong Syria's civil war and add to the suffering of the civilian population. It is a perfect example of a military intervention that is being done for its own sake with no connection to any discernible interests or strategy. No one stands to gain from such an attack except for the ideologues that have incessantly demanded deeper U.S. involvement in Syria for the last six years.

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog . He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, Front Porch Republic, and The Week . He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago. Follow him on Twitter .

[Apr 13, 2018] No, the FBI's Michael Cohen Raid Did Not Violate Attorney-Client Privilege by Bruce Fein

Notable quotes:
"... Cohen acknowledged that he paid porn star "Stormy Daniels" $130,000 two weeks before the 2016 election in exchange for her staying silent about her 2006 affair with Trump. No one pays for silence unless there is something to hide. The payment was made 10 years after the alleged dalliance. ..."
"... The obvious purpose was to influence the outcome of the election by concealing damaging information about Mr. Trump's character. That made Mr. Cohen's payment an undisclosed campaign "contribution" to Mr. Trump vastly exceeding the individual statutory limit of $2,700. ..."
"... Maybe you should have picked an example where the defendant wasn't acquitted. It's easy to see how an expansive definition of the term "campaign contribution" could be dangerous. ..."
Apr 13, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

So what of these charges against Cohen and could they really hurt the president?

Federal election laws define a campaign contribution as "anything of value given to influence a Federal election." It is common knowledge that Mr. Cohen acknowledged that he paid porn star "Stormy Daniels" $130,000 two weeks before the 2016 election in exchange for her staying silent about her 2006 affair with Trump. No one pays for silence unless there is something to hide. The payment was made 10 years after the alleged dalliance.

The obvious purpose was to influence the outcome of the election by concealing damaging information about Mr. Trump's character. That made Mr. Cohen's payment an undisclosed campaign "contribution" to Mr. Trump vastly exceeding the individual statutory limit of $2,700.

Similarly, Democrat John Edwards was prosecuted (later acquitted) for soliciting and spending nearly $1 million in his 2008 presidential campaign to conceal his affair with Rielle Hunter, so this is not a crime normally brushed under the rug. The public record also establishes probable cause to believe Cohen was behind the payment of $150,000 to Playboy Bunny Karen McDougall to kill her story about a protracted extramarital relationship with Mr. Trump that could have torpedoed his presidential ambitions. The question remains, of course, how much this will implicate and hurt Trump, who has denied the affair with Daniels and any other "wrongdoing." Cohen said he paid Daniels out of his own pocket and was not reimbursed by Trump or the campaign.

JK April 13, 2018 at 1:52 pm

John Edwards was acquited on one charge and a mistrial on five others w/o retrial. So there was no conviction there, these actions are not business as usual, and the DOJ lesson from that case should have been to cease such abusive prosecutorial misconduct, not to repeat it. These examples show why campaign finance restrictions are an unconstitutional burden on freedom of association. Trump is a rich man, so could afford to pay the hush money if he believed it necessary without it being a crime. As it appears, Cohen believed it important to pay w/o asking Trump, thinking he's helping a friend. Now what of Edwards? Maybe Edwards couldn't afford to pay hush money, so he needed and solicited help from friends. By making it a crime for friends to help him, the law favors rich candidates like Trump that can afford to do things others can't without breaking the law.

There is zero chance of a jury conviction here, so DOJ shouldn't have pursued it given the incendiary effect of conducting raids on someone's attorney. Furthermore, there's zero chance of Muller getting jury convictions on the pile of horse manure prosecutions he's pursuing. The only convictions Muller is getting is from people buckling under the fiduciary extortion inherent in his tactics and copping a plea even though a jury would never convict them.

curri , says: April 13, 2018 at 2:05 pm
So who do we believe, Dershowitz or Fein?

Similarly, Democrat John Edwards was prosecuted for soliciting and spending nearly $1 million in his 2008 presidential campaign to conceal his affair with Rielle Hunter, so this is not a crime normally brushed under the rug.

Maybe you should have picked an example where the defendant wasn't acquitted. It's easy to see how an expansive definition of the term "campaign contribution" could be dangerous.

[Apr 11, 2018] Trump's Rush to Judgment on Syria Chemical Attack by Scott Ritter

Apr 11, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
President Trump, Vice President Pence, and Defense Secretary Mattis. (DoD) On Sunday, President Trump announced his intention to make those responsible for an alleged chemical weapons attack on Douma, including the Syrian government and its Russian and Iranian allies, pay a "big price" for their continued disregard for international law. The next day U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley declared that "The United States is determined to see the monster who dropped chemical weapons on the Syrian people held to account."

President Trump reinforced his call for action on Monday, noting that the United States would not sit back in the face of the alleged use of chemical weapons by Syria. "It will be met, and it will be met forcefully," the president said, adding that those responsible for the attack will be held accountable, whether it was Syria, Russia, Iran or "all of them together." Trump noted that a decision to use military force would be made "over the next 24 to 48 hours."

The pronouncements of imminent military action by the United States are not made in a vacuum. Russia, which has considerable military forces deployed inside Syria, including advanced military aircraft and anti-aircraft missile batteries, has rejected the allegations of chemical weapons use by Syria as a "fabrication," and promised that any attack on Syria would result in "serious repercussions." Russian forces inside Syria have reportedly been placed on "full alert" as American naval vessels capable of launching cruise missiles have arrived off the Syrian coast.

The United States and Russia appear to be heading toward a direct military confrontation that, depending on the level of force used and the number, if any, casualties incurred by either side, carries with it the risk of a broader conflict. While Russian (and Syrian) claims of innocence regarding the alleged chemical weapons attack cannot be accepted at face value, the fact that the United States has not backed up its own claims with anything other than a recitation of accusations made by rebel groups opposed to the regime of Bashar al-Assad is problematic insofar as it shows a rush to judgement on matters of war. Given the potentially devastating consequences of any U.S.-Russian military clash over Syria, it would be better for all parties involved to wait for a full and thorough investigation of the alleged attack before any final decision on the use of force in response is made.

There are two versions of what happened in Douma, a suburb of Damascus home to between 80,000 and 150,000 people. The one relied upon by the United States is provided by rebel forces opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. According to the Violations Documentation Center (VDC), a non-profit organization comprised of various Syrian opposition groups funded by the Asfari Foundation and George Soros' Open Societies Foundation , at approximately 12 p.m. the Syrian Air Force attacked the vicinity of the Saada Bakery using munitions believed to contain "poisonous gas." The VDC cited eyewitness accounts from members of the Syrian Civil Defense, or "White Helmets," who described the smell of chlorine and the presence of numerous bodies assessed to have succumbed from gas sourced to a Syrian "rocket." Later, at 7 p.m., a second air strike struck an area near Martyr's Square, again using munitions assessed by eyewitnesses to contain "poisonous gas." Doctors from the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) described symptoms that indicated that a nerve agent had been used. Images of victims in the locations allegedly attacked were released by a rebel-affiliated social media entity known as the "Douma Revolution" and the "White Helmets."

Douma is part of a larger district known as Eastern Ghouta which has, since 2012, been under the control of various militant organizations opposed to the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. In early February 2018, the Syrian Army, supported by the Russian Air Force, began operations to recapture the Eastern Ghouta district. The joint Syrian-Russian offensive was as brutal as it was effective -- by March, Eastern Ghouta had been split into three pockets of resistance at a cost of more than 1,600 civilian dead. Two of the pockets capitulated under terms which had the opposition fighters and their families evacuated to rebel-held territory in the northern Syrian province of Idlib. Only Douma held out, where Salafist fighters from the "Army of Islam" (Jaish al-Islam) refused to surrender. On April 5, the situation had deteriorated inside Douma to the point that the rebel defenders had agreed to negotiations that would lead to their evacuation of Douma; the very next day, however, these discussions had broken down, and the Syrian military resumed its offensive. The air attacks described by the VDC occurred on the second day of the resumption of hostilities.

There is a competing narrative , however, provided by the Russian government and those sympathetic to its position. After the breakdown of negotiations between the Douma rebels and the Russian government on April 6, the story goes, the Syrian government offensive to liberate Douma resumed. The Douma rebels, faced with imminent defeat, fabricated the allegations of a chemical attack. Russia had warned of such a provocation back in March 2018, claiming the rebels were working in coordination with the United States to create the conditions for a massive American air attack against Syrian government infrastructure.

Shortly after the Syrian government resumed its offensive against Douma (and after the opposition forces publicized their allegations of Syrian government chemical weapons attacks), the rebel resistance inside Douma collapsed, with the fighters agreeing to be evacuated to Idlib. The Russian military was able to dispatch units to the sites of the alleged chemical weapons attacks and conduct a survey. According to the state-run Russian news, no evidence of a chemical weapons attack was discovered. Representatives of the Syrian Red Crescent who claim to have worked in Douma stated that they have seen no evidence of any chemical weapons use there, either.

Beyond providing a competing narrative, however, Russia has offered to open up Douma to inspectors from the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons , or OPCW, for a full investigation. This offer was echoed by the Syrian government , which extended an official invitation for the OPCW to come to Douma. On April 10, the OPCW announced that it would be dispatching an inspection team "shortly" to carry out this work. The forensic technical investigatory capabilities of an OPCW inspection team are such that it would be able to detect the presence of any chemical agent used in Douma. While the investigation itself would take days to conduct and weeks to process, its conclusions would, under these circumstances, be conclusive as to the presence of any prohibited substance.

One major drawback to any OPCW investigation is its inability to assess responsibility for the presence of any banned substances detected. In prior investigations inside Syria, the OPCW was able to operate as part of the United Nations Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) , an entity specifically empowered by Security Council resolution to make such determinations. The mandate of the JIM was not extended , however, after Russia expressed its displeasure over what it deemed to be the inaccurate and politicized findings regarding previous allegations of chemical weapons use by the Syrian government. The United States has submitted a resolution to the Security Council demanding that a new investigatory body be formed that would be able to provide attribution for any chemical weapons attack inside Syria; whether Russia would veto such a resolution or allow it to be passed has yet to be seen.

The bottom line, however, is that the United States is threatening to go to war in Syria over allegations of chemical weapons usage for which no factual evidence has been provided. This act is occurring even as the possibility remains that verifiable forensic investigations would, at a minimum, confirm the presence of chemical weapons (thereby contradicting the Russian claims that no such evidence was detected by its troops), and if the Security Council passes a resolution allowing for a properly mandated investigation team, actual attribution could be assigned.

Moreover, President Trump's rush to judgment on Syrian guilt is being done in a highly politicized environment, coming as it does on the heels of an FBI raid on the offices of the president's personal attorney . In times such as this, a president is often attracted by the prospect of "looking presidential" in order to offset personal problems (one only need to look at President Clinton's decision in August 1998 , at the height of the Lewinsky scandal, to launch cruise missile attacks on Afghanistan and Sudan.)

If America is to place its military in harm's way, it needs to be in support of a cause worthy of the sacrifice being asked of those who serve. Giving the OPCW time to carry out its investigation in Syria would allow a fact-based case to be made whether military force was justified or not, as well as support a determination of whether or not the risks associated with the use of force were warranted. Pulling the trigger void of such information, especially when Trump is distracted by personal political issues, is not something the American people, nor their representatives in Congress, should tolerate.

Scott Ritter is a former Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm, and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD. He is the author of Deal of the Century: How Iran Blocked the West's Road to War .

[Apr 09, 2018] ISIS is Finished So We Should Leave Syria Now by Gil Barndollar

Apr 06, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Instead Donald Trump's team is inflating the threat, worried he'll rush away from war.

President Trump's unexpected pledge last week to pull U.S. troops out of Syria "very soon" has occasioned predictable wailing in predictable places .

The president also faced unsurprising pushback from his national security team, forcing him to clarify this week that the 2,000 troops there now will stay only until the mission to defeat ISIS, which is "coming to a rapid end," is finished. Of course his military advisors and many of his aides disagree.

A Pentagon spokesman has warned that ISIS is looking for " any opportunity to regain momentum ." Anonymous military officers speak of fumbling the ball " on the two yard line ." Officials tell reporters that while the group is "almost completely defeated," a string of renewed ISIS attacks could signal a resurgence.

Regardless of the outcome in Washington, Trump's instincts on Syria deserve discussion.

Unlike Afghanistan and Iraq, the operation in Syria has cost us very little blood and treasure, at least so far. Special operations forces (SOF) and "other government agencies" ably partnered with our largely Kurdish proxies to break the back of ISIS's nascent state. The group's conventional military power has been destroyed. Howev er menacing officials make it sound, it's been estimated that the Islamic State has fewer than 1,000 fighters left on the battlefield. Mosul, its largest city, was retaken by Iraqi security forces, while its de facto capital Raqqa was conquered by the Kurds. Palmyra and Deir ez-Zor are back in government hands. Areas of ISIS control are tough to even find on a map of the Syrian conflict.

For all these successes, however, we have been walking a knife's edge in Syria ever since openly intervening there in 2014. Deconfliction with Russia has not been flawless: Turkey shot down a Russian plane in 2015 and U.S. firepower reportedly killed hundreds of Russian mercenaries earlier this year. That knife's edge has only gotten sharper over the past two months, as Turkish troops invaded the Afrin region of northern Syria. Turkey's "Operation Olive Branch" exposed the elephant in the room: America's only successful proxy, the Syrian Kurds, are linked to Turkey's PKK, which Turkey, the European Union, and the U.S. have declared a terrorist group. Our NATO ally is now openly at war with our Kurdish partner, as American advisors do their best to stay off the frontline. In 2008, Vice President-Elect Joe Biden bluntly told Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai: "Pakistan is 50 times more important for the United States than Afghanistan." The same obvious wisdom applies in spades to Turkey and Syria respectively.

What of the Kurds? If recent reports are to be believed, American Special Forces are incensed they are being told to abandon a valiant, reliable battlefield ally. Squeezed between a revanchist Turkey and a stabilized Syrian state, Syria's Kurds are not likely to keep their independent project of Rojava. The United States declined to intervene to protect Iraq's Kurds last year, when Iraqi forces quickly seized the Kurdish "Jerusalem," oil-rich Kirkuk, after an abortive independence referendum. To pretend we have a greater will or ability to protect Syria's Kurds is folly.

The Kurds should ask Vietnam's Montagnards how they fared as an American proxy, or question the Palestinians about what they've gained from an American mediator . Loathe though we may be to admit it, America has been a fickle friend for the majority of small nations and peoples that have looked to her as a protector. Even many of our Afghan interpreters who served in American uniforms and cashed American paychecks have been abandoned to their enemies . Like a serial philanderer we can pretend that this time will be different, but the reality is that America seldom has the patience or stomach for sustained non-existential military intervention outside our hemisphere, particularly when casualties mount. The victims of pretending otherwise are seldom Americans; they are Vietnamese, Somalis, Iraqi Marsh Arabs, and many others. The current state of political polarization in Washington and the primacy of the 24-hour news cycle have only hardened this long-standing reality.

Left to their own devices, Syria's Kurds can probably work out a modus vivendi with Assad's government, which has other battles to fight and foreign backers of its own who would like to draw down their commitments. Battles between the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces and Assad's Syrian Arab Army have been few. Turkey has tolerated a Kurdish autonomous region on its border with Iraq -- but it will not do so with Kurds who remain affiliated with the PKK.

Regardless of Rojava's fate, ISIS may well regenerate. It already has the local ties and financial network to thrive as an insurgency in western Iraq. That, however, is a governance and security problem for Iraqis and Syrians, not Americans. The United States maintains an unparalleled ability to project military power and destroy targets around the world, both with standoff firepower and by putting troops into battle via air and sea. Should ISIS or another Salafist successor build any real base of power again in the Levant we can rapidly deploy combat power to destroy it. But staying there any longer remains a fool's errand.

Gil Barndollar served as a Marine infantry officer from 2009 to 2016. His writing has appeared in the Marine Corps Gazette , the Journal of Military Operations , and the Michigan War Studies Review .

Wheeling philosophe April 7, 2018 at 7:46 pm

"I don't like "abandoning an ally" like this, but that alliance was never going to be long lasting, and the Kurds have to have known that."

Yes. As a parting gesture, we could round up some of the louder-mouthed neocons and ship them over to "independent Kurdistan" to spend a few quiet hours with their erstwhile heroes. Let the Kurds vent their entirely understandable anger out on those who lied to and manipulated them with the same glib ease that they once lied to America about Iraq's WMDs.

SteveK9 , says: April 8, 2018 at 9:02 am
'Mosul, its largest city, was retaken by Iraqi security forces, while its de facto capital Raqqa was conquered by the Kurds. Palmyra and Deir ez-Zor are back in government hands.'

I'd like to correct a couple of things, ISIS was destroyed in Syria, by the Syrian Arab Army, and by Russia, Iran and Hezbollah. Mosuls and Raqqa were not 'retaken' or 'conquered'. They were utterly destroyed by aerial bombardment, which is about the only thing we are good at doing.

[Apr 09, 2018] Trump's Saber-Rattling on Syria by Daniel Larison

Notable quotes:
"... Trump's statement is a particularly stupid piece of revisionism on his part. Trump was opposed to Obama's threatened attack in 2013 , and then as president Trump ordered an illegal military attack on the Syrian government one year ago to punish it for an alleged chemical weapons attack. ..."
"... The danger in having an ongoing illegal military presence in Syria is that it exposes U.S. forces to unacceptable and unnecessary risks and creates the possibility of escalation with the Syrian government and its allies. If Trump orders another illegal attack on the Syrian government or the forces of any of its supporters, it could easily trigger a larger conflict. Russia has given an explicit warning against a U.S. attack this time, saying that it could trigger "the gravest consequences." Even if it doesn't lead to a larger conflict with a nuclear-armed major power, it isn't worth taking the risk for the sake of policing the conduct of a foreign civil war. ..."
"... If Trump were really interested in extricating the U.S. from war in Syria, he would not be engaged in mindless saber-rattling against the Syrian government and its allies. Unfortunately, Trump's bellicosity always seems to take over in these situations. That is what we get from Trump's anti-restraint foreign policy. ..."
"... But the odd thing is, the most stable and invested country in the region is Iran. Crazy as it might sound to an Iran-hater-dead-ender, the country we should be chatting with about Syria is Iran. If we genuinely cared about anything humanitarian. The two countries with the most likely influence over Bashar with the aim of mitigating his violence would likely be Iran and Russia. If we wanted to actually accomplish something we could quietly and diplomatically arrange that chat and encourage some beneficial influence there. ..."
"... If Assad is really the brute that the West portrays him to be he would have been toppled by now. That the Syrian population by and large has stood by him in 6 years of war should tell you something. I make a point to get most of the news about Syria from Christian organisations who live there – and they are all unequivocal. They are now beyond livid of what the US and its allies has allowed and even facilitated to happen there. Tthankfully for them they still have the Syrian Arab Army and Russia to protect them unlike their brethren in Iraq, one of the oldest Christian communities in existence which has been practically wiped out thanks to America's intervention. ..."
"... Clinton ignored the Russian objections to the West's unilateral recognition of Balkan breakaways. Bush, Saakashvili and the usual entourage of the neocon meddler travelling circus that nowadays haunts the Ukraine dismissed both the Russian warnings and the Russian military response. The result was utter failure. ..."
"... Putin might never see an opportunity for a similarly deadly and promising "play" in the circle jerk of Syria free-for-all invasions – Gulf states, Turkey, US, Israel – but if he should ever see an opening, I would expect him to seek another object lesson. His hand might not be strong, but he appears to play it well. ..."
"... Meanwhile, the Kurdish YPG and Syrian government troops ally against NATO partner Turkey, and the US military has repeatedly attacked Syrian regular military and boasts – by leak – about massacring Russian "private military contractors". ..."
"... Iran demonstrated in Iraq that US ineptitude combined with impunitivism provides many openings to stabilize, in a sense, the region. ..."
Apr 09, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The president tweeted this out this morning in response to reports of a new chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government:

If President Obama had crossed his stated Red Line In The Sand, the Syrian disaster would have ended long ago! Animal Assad would have been history!

-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 8, 2018

Trump's statement is a particularly stupid piece of revisionism on his part. Trump was opposed to Obama's threatened attack in 2013 , and then as president Trump ordered an illegal military attack on the Syrian government one year ago to punish it for an alleged chemical weapons attack. He had no authority to do this, the attack was a flagrant breach of the U.N. Charter, and it apparently failed to discourage the Syrian government from carrying out similar attacks later on. The president ordered the "unbelievably small attack" that Obama administration threatened to launch in 2013, and it made no meaningful difference to the course of the war or the regime's behavior.

Trump tweeted out earlier in the day that "President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price to pay." He didn't say what that "big price" was or how it will be "paid," but the fact that he thinks it is a good idea to make threats against the Syrian government's patrons bodes ill for the future of U.S. policy in Syria. The foreign policy establishment was beside itself last week when they thought that Trump wanted to withdraw from Syria, but they should be much more worried that he will launch an illegal attack and plunge the U.S. in even deeper.

The danger in having an ongoing illegal military presence in Syria is that it exposes U.S. forces to unacceptable and unnecessary risks and creates the possibility of escalation with the Syrian government and its allies. If Trump orders another illegal attack on the Syrian government or the forces of any of its supporters, it could easily trigger a larger conflict. Russia has given an explicit warning against a U.S. attack this time, saying that it could trigger "the gravest consequences." Even if it doesn't lead to a larger conflict with a nuclear-armed major power, it isn't worth taking the risk for the sake of policing the conduct of a foreign civil war.

If Trump were really interested in extricating the U.S. from war in Syria, he would not be engaged in mindless saber-rattling against the Syrian government and its allies. Unfortunately, Trump's bellicosity always seems to take over in these situations. That is what we get from Trump's anti-restraint foreign policy.


rayray April 8, 2018 at 2:32 pm

It's true that I'm no genius, but after reading as much as I can and thinking it over I still don't know who is the right horse to back, or what is the right side to be on in Syria. Assad is a brute, Isis are brutes, the other parties of opposition are useless, and etc., and none of it has anything to do with us anyway. To Daniel's point, we're keeping an army hanging around in a volatile and illegal situation for no discernible point.

Except to hate Iran.

The longterm on Syria doesn't look good for anyone. I'm guessing, because of his long history of ignorance and incoherence, Trump has no plan.

But the odd thing is, the most stable and invested country in the region is Iran. Crazy as it might sound to an Iran-hater-dead-ender, the country we should be chatting with about Syria is Iran. If we genuinely cared about anything humanitarian. The two countries with the most likely influence over Bashar with the aim of mitigating his violence would likely be Iran and Russia. If we wanted to actually accomplish something we could quietly and diplomatically arrange that chat and encourage some beneficial influence there.

romegas , says: April 8, 2018 at 3:36 pm
@rayray

If Assad is really the brute that the West portrays him to be he would have been toppled by now. That the Syrian population by and large has stood by him in 6 years of war should tell you something. I make a point to get most of the news about Syria from Christian organisations who live there – and they are all unequivocal. They are now beyond livid of what the US and its allies has allowed and even facilitated to happen there. Tthankfully for them they still have the Syrian Arab Army and Russia to protect them unlike their brethren in Iraq, one of the oldest Christian communities in existence which has been practically wiped out thanks to America's intervention.

b. , says: April 8, 2018 at 3:42 pm
"If President Obama had crossed his stated Red Line "

Interesting view. Obama imagined he drew a "red line" that Assad was not to cross, and allegedly did. Trump's tongue apparently wore a Freudian slip when he rubi-conned this phrase into twitter.

To make this a turn worthy of Croesumpus, let us just say that if Trump crosses that red line of his own, a great war criminal will be destroyed.

b. , says: April 8, 2018 at 4:00 pm

"In early March 2008, Abkhazia and South Ossetia submitted formal requests for their recognition to Russia's parliament shortly after the West's recognition of Kosovo to which Russia was opposed. [The] Russian ambassador to NATO, warned that Georgia's NATO membership aspirations would cause Russia to support the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia."

Clinton ignored the Russian objections to the West's unilateral recognition of Balkan breakaways. Bush, Saakashvili and the usual entourage of the neocon meddler travelling circus that nowadays haunts the Ukraine dismissed both the Russian warnings and the Russian military response. The result was utter failure.

Putin might never see an opportunity for a similarly deadly and promising "play" in the circle jerk of Syria free-for-all invasions – Gulf states, Turkey, US, Israel – but if he should ever see an opening, I would expect him to seek another object lesson. His hand might not be strong, but he appears to play it well.

Meanwhile, the Kurdish YPG and Syrian government troops ally against NATO partner Turkey, and the US military has repeatedly attacked Syrian regular military and boasts – by leak – about massacring Russian "private military contractors".

Iran demonstrated in Iraq that US ineptitude combined with impunitivism provides many openings to stabilize, in a sense, the region.

[Apr 07, 2018] Syria Showdown Trump Versus the Generals

Apr 07, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

GOP is done April 6, 2018 at 12:20 am

Why are you giving trump so much credit ? Trump is Pro-Israel and will do their evil bidding
polistra , says: April 6, 2018 at 4:15 am
Trump doesn't have any instincts. He's just playing the old DC game. Pretend that you want to do something, then act shocked after you didn't do it. Each party plays the game against the other party, each house of Congress plays the game against the other house, Presidents play it against Congress and the "courts".

===

This game wouldn't work in real life.

Example:

I shout to everyone in the house, "I'm going to the store to get groceries."

One hour later, after sitting in the living room watching TV, making no move toward the car, I shout again:

"See what happens? I tried, but these evil other-party spirits wouldn't let me. You need to vote these evil other-party spirits out of the house so we can have food!"

balconesfault , says: April 6, 2018 at 6:14 am
Huh you elect someone who says his military strategy will always be "listen to the Generals", and are then surprised when the Generals want to keep fighting?

Of course Trump will accede. He has no coherent and consistent policy just Fox News buzzwords spinning in his head. Now add John Bolton as his guiding light.

Stephen J. , says: April 6, 2018 at 7:25 am
Mr. Buchanan is correct the U.S. is: "in a country where we have no right to be "
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -
The U.S. is in Syria illegally, and what is even worse it is reportedly supporting terrorists.
This is surely a crime, yet no charges have been laid. Why?

"Under U.S. law it is illegal for any American to provide money or assistance to al-Qaeda, ISIS or other terrorist groups. If you or I gave money, weapons or support to al-Qaeda or ISIS, we would be thrown in jail. Yet the U.S. government has been violating this law for years, quietly supporting allies and partners of al-Qaeda, ISIL, Jabhat Fateh al Sham and other terrorist groups with money, weapons, and intelligence support, in their fight to overthrow the Syrian government.[i] Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, December 8, 2016,Press Release.
https://gabbard.house.gov/news/press-releases/video-rep-tulsi-gabbard-introduces-legislation-stop-arming-terrorists
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -
Much more evidence on this and other matters at link below.
http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2016/10/the-evidence-of-planning-of-wars.html

Michael Kenny , says: April 6, 2018 at 8:41 am
The important point in Syria is that Putin is irreversibly bogged down there. He sinks or swims with Assad, which means, sooner or later, sinks. He's a sitting duck who can do nothing but sit there and wait until the US chooses to attack him. So there's no harm in leaving him to stew. John Bolton's bête noire has always been Iran, which is supposed to be Putin's ally. Going after Iran will put Putin on the spot. He has to decide whether to back his "ally" or leave Iran in the lurch. Thus, putting Syria on the back burner and concentrating on Iran forces Putin either to discredit himself by abandoning his "ally" or to bog himself down in yet another conflict. Heads, Ukraine wins, tails, Putin loses!
Dan Green , says: April 6, 2018 at 9:59 am
Our military complex is very key to our security. With that said they plan and like war.
b. , says: April 6, 2018 at 10:00 am
On such hollow reed the imperial presidency, uneasily, rests.

The triad's synthesis: ISIS will never be "defeated".

Hubris, catharsis over is.

Stephen J. , says: April 6, 2018 at 11:25 am
More info on the treachery and criminality being enacted in Syria
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- –

"Our ally Kuwait has become the epicenter of fundraising for terrorist groups in Syria."
http://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/jl2308.aspx
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -

"Yes, folks, your tax dollars are going to support Islamist crazies in Syria. The same people who attacked Paris are being aided and abetted by the US – and if that isn't a criminal act, then there is no justice in this world." Justin Raimondo, November 25, 2015
http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2015/11/24/turkeys-stab-in-the-back/
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

And much more info at the link below.
http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2017/05/the-war-gangs-and-war-criminals-of-nato.html

Anthony Ferrara , says: April 6, 2018 at 12:02 pm
The military industrial complex is nearly impossible to go up against in this country.
One Guy , says: April 6, 2018 at 1:03 pm
The USA has hundreds of military bases overseas. We should close most of them. Trump is saying the right thing, unfortunately, we all know he doesn't follow through (that NRA thing, that DACA thing, that wall thing, that coal thing, that lock-her-up thing, etc. etc).

Nothing will change.

Cynthia McLean , says: April 6, 2018 at 1:27 pm
The War Party is intent on building a permanent military base in Syria to fulfill US aspirations of full-spectrum dominance.
Fred Bowman , says: April 6, 2018 at 1:54 pm
Rest assure Pat that when "push comes to shove" that Trump will let the Generals have their way. To believe otherwise is foolishness.
Patrick , says: April 6, 2018 at 3:16 pm
It seems that the failure in Syria is related to the classical policy verse strategy conflict. The military is once again put in a difficult position when the civilian leadership tries to use a military solution to solve a diplomatic problem. The military was given the task to destroy ISIS but that goal will be impossible without Turkey's cooperation and the leader of that country has chosen a path toward appeasement by the United States or confrontation.

There seems to be credible evidence of Turkey's support for ISIS in the flow of combatants and military logistics into Syria as well as profiting from the sale and transport of ISIS controlled Syrian oil through Turkey. Now we are seeing Turkey invading Syria and ethnically cleansing our Kurdish allies from Syria's Northern Boarder. We still don't know what the Obama/Clinton CIA and State Department was up to in Benghazi, but it did seem to involve the flow of arms from Libya, and I have read reports that members of the Turkish government were meeting with the killed ambassador before the attack.

In Syria is appears that the Assad, Iranian and Russian alliance was more focused upon the rebels attempting to overthrow the government; rather than destroying ISIS. Once the United States leaves there may be greater tolerance for ISIS as long as the government is not threatened and ISIS may even be allowed to join that alliance to get some revenge against the Kurds who were allied with the U.S.

We saw the recent Russian test of US resolve using mercenaries with disastrous consequences. As long as the US remains in Syria there will be similar tests and what if is Turkey decides to test the resolve of US forces?

Our NATO partner Turkey seems to have become more of an enemy than a friend, and also more of a liability than an asset. Removing U.S. military assets from Turkey may be prudent, followed by its expulsion from NATO. Expelling Turkish citizens from other NATO countries and economic sanctions may be another strategy to make Turkey reconsider its continued belligerence.

JK , says: April 6, 2018 at 4:05 pm
I don't recall anyone forcing Trump to appoint to top positions people who flat out refuse his orders and block him from carrying out policy he campaigned on. There is a limit on how much sincerity you can attribute to a man who says one thing, does the exact opposite, and defend him as fighting some Don Quixotic struggle tilting at windmills.

[Apr 05, 2018] Steve Coll's Directorate S is Disturbing Account of U.S. Mistakes After 9/11 by Mark Perry

Notable quotes:
"... Directorate S: The C.I.A. and America's Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Steve Coll, Penguin Press, 784 pages ..."
Apr 05, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

'Ghost Wars' author on the secret war behind the war in Afghanistan

U.S-trained Afghan Army troops. Credit: USMC Cpl. John Scott Rafoss/public domain Directorate S: The C.I.A. and America's Secret Wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan, Steve Coll, Penguin Press, 784 pages

Twelve days after 9/11, on the night of September 23, 2001, the CIA's Islamabad station chief, Robert Grenier, received a telephone call from his boss, Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet. "Listen, Bob," Tenet said, "we're meeting tomorrow at Camp David to discuss our war strategy in Afghanistan. How should we begin? What targets do we hit? How do we sequence our actions?"

Grenier later wrote in his book, 88 Days to Kandahar , that while he was surprised by the call he'd been thinking about these same questions -- "mulling them over and over and over," as he later told me -- so he was ready. President George Bush's address to the U.S. Congress just a few days before, Grenier told Tenet, was a good start: demand that Afghanistan's Taliban ruler, Mullah Omar, turn bin Laden over to the United States. If he refused, the U.S. should launch a campaign to oust him. Grenier had thought through the plan, but before going into its details with Tenet he abruptly stopped the conversation. "Mr. Director," he said, "this isn't going to work. I need to write this all down clearly." Tenet agreed.

Grenier set to work, and over the next three hours he laid out the battle for Afghanistan. Included in the paper was a detailed program of how the CIA could deploy undercover teams to recruit bin Laden's enemies among Afghanistan's northern Tajik and Uzbek tribes (an uneasy coalition of ethnic militias operating as the Northern Alliance), supply them with cash and weapons, and use them in a rolling offensive that would oust the Taliban in Kabul. With U.S. help, which included deploying American Special Forces teams (under CIA leadership) coupled with American airpower, the Northern Alliance (more properly, the United Islamic Front for the Salvation of Afghanistan) would start from its Panjshir Valley enclave in Afghanistan's far northeast and, recruiting support from anti-Taliban forces along the way, roll all the way into Kabul.

Grenier gave the eight-page draft paper to his staff to review, then sent it to Tenet in Washington, who passed it through the deputies committee (the second-in-command of each of the major national security agencies), then presented it to Bush. "I regard that cable," Grenier wrote, "as the best three hours of work I ever did in my twenty-seven-year career."

Three days after the Tenet-Grenier telephone conversation, on September 26, the CIA landed a covert-operations team in Afghanistan to recruit local allies in the hunt for bin Laden. The quick action was impressive, but then events slowed to a crawl. It wasn't until October 20 that the first U.S. Special Forces team linked up with anti-Taliban rebels, and it took another week for U.S. units to land in strength. But by early November al Qaeda was on the run and the Taliban's grip on the country was slipping away. On November 13, militias of the Northern Alliance seized Kabul. The Taliban was defeated, its badly mauled units fleeing south and east (its last bastion, in the south, fell on December 6), and into nearby Pakistan, while what remained of al Qaeda holed up in a series of cave complexes in the Spin Ghar mountain range of eastern Afghanistan.

By almost any measure, the CIA-led anti-al Qaeda and anti-Taliban offensive (dubbed Operation Enduring Freedom by George Bush) marked a decisive victory in the war on terror. The U.S. had set out a plan, marshaled the forces to carry it out, and then seen it to completion.

But this triumph came with problems. The first was that the offensive was hampered by Washington infighting that pitted the CIA against a puzzlingly recalcitrant U.S. military and a carping Donald Rumsfeld, who questioned George Tenet's leadership of the effort. This bureaucratic squabbling, focused on just who was responsible for what (and who exactly was running the Afghanistan war), would remain a hallmark of American efforts well into the Obama administration. The second problem was that Afghanistan's southern Pashtun tribes were only marginally included in the effort, and they remained suspicious of their northern non-Pashtun counterparts. The mistrust, CIA officers believed, would almost certainly plant the seeds of an endless inter-tribal Afghan conflict, embroiling the United States in an effort to prop up an unpopular Kabul government. The third problem was Pakistan -- or, more precisely, Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency, the ISI, and the ISI's "Directorate S," responsible for covertly supplying, training, and arming Pakistan's Islamist allies, including the Pashtun-dominated Taliban.

♦♦♦

The intractability of these variables, and America's 17-year effort (sometimes focused but often feckless) to resolve them, form the basis of Steve Coll's Directorate S , a thick but eminently readable account of America's Afghanistan misadventure. While Directorate S stands alone as a comprehensive exposition of the Afghanistan conflict dating from 9/11, it's actually a follow-on of Ghost Wars , Coll's Pulitzer Prize-winning 2004 narrative of America's efforts to oust the Soviets from Afghanistan following their invasion in December 1979. Given the breadth of Coll's dual treatments and the depth of his research, it's likely that these books will remain the standard exposition of the period for years to come.

While the focus of Directorate S is on Pakistan and its shady intelligence services, each of the obstacles that confronted the United States in Afghanistan from the moment the Taliban abandoned Kabul is embraced in detail. These obstacles included America's post-9/11 attention deficit disorder (the pivot away from al Qaeda to Iraq was being considered in Washington even as the Northern Alliance cleared the Afghan capital) and the deeply embedded antipathy toward the new Kabul government among Pakistani-supported southern tribesman. Thus, after the United States ousted al Qaeda and its Taliban supporters, it embarked on a program to strengthen the new Kabul government, anointing Hamid Karzai as Afghanistan's president and pledging billions in reconstruction aid. And so, or so it seemed, everything had gone as planned. The Taliban was routed; al Qaeda was on the run; a new anti-terrorism government was in place in Kabul; and the United States had signed Pakistan on as a willing accomplice. On May 1, 2003, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld declared an end to major combat operations in Afghanistan. The war was over. Won.

But of course it wasn't.

Coll's account provides a disturbing catalogue of the U.S. mistakes in the wake of the Taliban defeat. Almost all of them are well known: Hamid Karzai, the consensus choice of a grand assembly (a loya jirga) as Afghanistan's interim president, proved to be a weak leader. The monies appropriated for Afghanistan's postwar reconstruction were woefully inadequate for the task -- "laughable," as one U.S. official put it. American soldiers responsible for countering the Taliban's return (and hunting al Qaeda terrorist cells) were thinly and poorly deployed (and, after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, of secondary importance in the Pentagon). Tentative Taliban efforts to engage the United States in political talks were summarily and unwisely spurned. Allegations of prisoner abuse at U.S. detention facilities consistently undermined U.S. legitimacy. American funds were funneled into Afghan ministries laced with corrupt officials. Afghani poppy production increased, despite faint-hearted U.S. eradication efforts. And U.S. counter-terrorism actions proved ham-handed and caused preventable civilian casualties, pushing Afghanis into a resurgent anti-Kabul resistance.

More crucially, Pakistan's unstinting support for America's Afghanistan efforts proved to be anything but unstinting. The reason for this was not only entirely predictable but was actually the unintended result of the American victory. When the Northern Alliance and U.S. airpower pushed what remained of the Taliban (along with the remnants of al Qaeda) out of Afghanistan, they pushed them into Pakistan, creating conditions that, as Coll tells us, "deepened resentment among Pakistan's generals, who would come to see their country's rising violence as a price of American folly . . ." Put simply, for the United States to seal the Operation Enduring Freedom victory, it had to ensure that its effects did not spill over into the one nation that could ensure that its victory would, in fact, be enduring. That didn't happen. The result was that the Taliban was able to rebuild and rearm its networks not only in Pakistan, and under the eyes of the ISI, but also in Afghanistan.

It might have been otherwise. During a series of discussions I had about America's intervention in Afghanistan in the months immediately following 9/11, a number of currently serving and former senior U.S. officials told me they believed that, given enough time, the Taliban might well have handed bin Laden over to the Americans, obviating the need for a full-on invasion. One of these officials was Milton Bearden, a famed CIA officer (his close friends refer to him as "Uncle Milty") who, during his time as a station chief in Pakistan, had helped to head up the CIA's war against the Soviets in the mid 1980s.

♦♦♦

After 9/11, Bearden recharged his Pakistan and Afghanistan networks in an effort to convince the Taliban that turning bin Laden over to the Americans was a better option than the one they were facing. All the while, Bearden kept senior U.S. officials apprised of what he was doing, even as he was attempting to head off their rush to war. Bearden told me that, while his efforts had not reached fruition by the time the Bush White House had decided on a course of action, he believes the United States had not fully explored all of its options -- or thought through the long-term impact of its intervention. "I don't know what would have happened, I don't know," he says wistfully, "but I think we have a handhold in history. We should have seen what was coming." He notes that Alexander the Great "took one look at Afghanistan's mountains and decided against it. He thought his whole army could get swallowed up in there, and he wasn't going to take that chance. So, well, you tell me if I'm wrong, but Alexander was no slouch, right?"

Not everyone agrees with this, of course. The dissenters include Robert Grenier, the first drafter of what became the American war plan. Taliban leader Mullah Omar, he told me, was committed to his pledge to protect Osama bin Laden; he viewed it as a blood oath that could not be broken. Moreover, argues Grenier, "Omar viewed himself as a kind of world historical figure, a person on whom the axis of history would turn." One result was that he believed his fight against the Americans would be epochal.

That said, Grenier believes America's foray into Afghanistan, and the mistakes that followed, might at least have been dampened by a more diligent focus on the inherent divisions of Afghan society. "We [at the CIA]," he told me several months ago, "were very aware that the march of the Northern Alliance into Kabul would likely create real difficulties in the south. And we tried to slow it, precisely for this reason. But events overtook us, and it just wasn't possible. So, yes, things might have been otherwise, but in truth we just don't know."

The value in Coll's Directorate S comes not from the elegant telling of a story not fully known, but from the dawning realization that Afghanistan is the kind of lock for which there is no key. There is no reason to believe that a different outcome would have ensued if other events had intruded -- for example, more personnel, money, focused diplomacy, or robust and disciplined enemy-defeating and nation building; or that our war there and the occupation that followed would have yielded the same results that we realized in, say, Japan after 1945. The real hubris here is not that we tried and failed but that we thought we could actually succeed. Afghanistan is simply not that kind of place.

There is a term of art for this in the military, which found its first usage in Iraq in 2009, when U.S. commanders adopted it as an appreciation of what could and could not be accomplished. Instead of focusing on defeating corruption, inefficiency, disunity, and poor leadership, the focus shifted almost exclusively to dampening violence, to keeping the doors to Iraq open even as its factions battled for its control. More importantly, the adoption of the phrase marked the abandonment of high expectations and an embrace of realism. The United States would have to yield the business of replicating a Western-style democracy on the banks of the Euphrates. That goal, if it was going to be accomplished at all, would have to be realized by the Iraqis.

Analyst Anthony Cordesman, one of America's premier military thinkers, adopted the phrase and applied to Afghanistan in 2012 in an essay he entitled, "Time to Focus on 'Afghan Good Enough.'" His plan was simply stated but had all the elegance of actually working: keep the Taliban out of Kabul and the major cities, preserve the central and provincial government even in the face of endemic corruption, and work to provide security to large numbers of Afghanis. Cordesman conceded that this was not the kind of victory that Americans had hoped for on September 12. And it was difficult to describe the outcome as even vaguely passable -- or "good." But it was far better than adopting goals that could not be realized or embracing an illusion that disappeared even as it was grasped. For the time being at least, it would have to be "good enough."

Mark Perry is a foreign policy analyst, a contributing editor to The American Conservative and the author of The Pentagon's Wars .

[Apr 05, 2018] Why the US Fails to Understand Its Adversaries

Apr 05, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Robert Jervis and Mira Rapp-Hooper warn about the dangers that come from misperception on both sides of the standoff with North Korea:

If any U.S. strategy toward North Korea is to have a chance of succeeding (or even of just averting catastrophe), it must be guided by an accurate sense of how Kim's regime thinks, what it values, and how it judges its options. Washington must understand not just North Korean objectives but also how North Korean officials understand U.S. objectives and whether they consider U.S. statements credible.

Unfortunately, the U.S. is remarkably bad at understanding these things accurately. This is not just a Trump administration failing. Most American politicians and policymakers routinely misjudge the intentions and goals of our adversaries, and they often invent a fantasy version of the regime in question that leads them astray again and again. One reason for this is that it is simply easier to project our assumptions about what a regime must want than it is to make the effort to see things as they do. Another reason is that many of our politicians and policymakers mistakenly think that if they try to understand an adversary's views that must somehow mean that they sympathize with the adversary or condone its behavior. Instead of trying to know their enemy, our leaders would prefer not to for fear of being "tainted" by the experience. This lack of knowledge is compounded in some cases by the absence of normal diplomatic relations with the adversary. Our leaders are encouraged to take this self-defeating approach to international problems by a political culture that rewards the people that strike tough-sounding-but-ignorant poses about a problem and marginalizes those that seek to understand it as fully as possible.

The first step in correcting these failings is to accept that some of these regimes regard the U.S. as an "existential threat" and therefore view all U.S. actions with at least much suspicion and fear as our government views theirs. The next step would be to recognize that the main goal of any regime is its own preservation. We should be very wary of any explanation of their actions that claims that an adversary is irrationally suicidal. Another step would be to acknowledge that regime behavior that we regard as purely aggressive is very often the result of the adversary's belief that it needs to deter our aggression against them. Our politicians often talk about North Korea threatening the entire world with its nuclear weapons, but this misses that in their relative isolation and paranoia the North Korean regime sees the rest of the world, and especially the U.S., as a threat that needs to be defended against. Recognizing these things doesn't make their acquisition of nuclear weapons desirable and it doesn't mean that we approve of it, but it does make it understandable.

Our government's frequent inability to understand how an adversary thinks and what an adversary wants is usually bound up with our government's overestimation of its own power and a denial of the other state's agency. If many of our policymakers invent a fantasy version of the regime to serve as a foil, they come up with unrealistic demands that they think the U.S. can force the adversary to accept. Because we fail to understand what the adversary is trying to do, we make demands that we ought to know will never be accepted. Because our government fails to take the other side's agency into account, our policies are often crafted solely to punish and compel and rarely to give them an incentive to cooperate or compromise. We then claim to be surprised when this approach yields only intransigence and more of the behavior that we want the other state to stop.


Fran Macadam April 5, 2018 at 11:40 am

As long as official policy is Full Spectrum Dominance, nothing can change.
Kent , says: April 5, 2018 at 11:47 am
I really believe it would be absurd to think our highest government officials are that ignorant.
Will Harrington , says: April 5, 2018 at 1:07 pm
Kent

Why do you think it would be absurd to think our highest government officials are that ignorant? Did our Presidents, who never have to prove merit, only popularity, ever appoint people based on reliably tested knowledge of their field? No. They tend to appoint their cabinet based on political calculation. Sometimes political calculation will raise up knowledgeable people, more often not.

grumpy realist , says: April 5, 2018 at 1:20 pm
Welp, this is certainly a different kettle of fish from WWII, where the US government hired ethnologists like Ruth Benedict to analyze Japanese culture and thought patterns (resulting in her book "The Chrysanthemum and the Sword.")

We HAVE turned into a country of lazy bastards.

Tyro , says: April 5, 2018 at 1:47 pm
I really believe it would be absurd to think our highest government officials are that ignorant

Our highest officials are by design more ignorant than the rank and file. During the Iraq war aftermath, Arabic speakers were actively rejected from jobs within the Coalition Provisional Authority, because it was assumed their knowledge of the region would prejudice them against the W adninistration's vision for the Middle East, and they didn't want nay sayers telling them what they didn't want to hear.

This mindset is persistent, especially in republican administrations, and mirrors the Soviet Union -- people are selected on the basis of their willingness to toe the ideological line rather than their expertise.

Dee , says: April 5, 2018 at 2:54 pm
They are not ignorant, the politicians support these policies because their donors benefit.. They have sold out to greed over country.. I assume that some do it for the easy wealth that can be had, some of the wealthy ones for fame and never losing elections, but they have their reasons, our country is not high on that list.
KXB , says: April 5, 2018 at 3:39 pm
The one exception to this would be Obama's approach to Iran. He had no illusions about the mullahs and IRGC, but he knew that it was simply impossible to perpetually diplomatically isolate and militarily surround a nation of 80 million in its own region. The nuke deal was a tradeoff – Iran gives up its nukes in exchange for being reintegrated with the world. Of course, this is the last thing that Israel or Saudi Arabia want.
Fran Macadam , says: April 5, 2018 at 4:09 pm
"The nuke deal was a tradeoff – Iran gives up its nukes in exchange for being reintegrated with the world."

It must have been a bad deal, since the benefits to the other side never actually happened.

It was de facto over from the moment it was signed.

Fran Macadam , says: April 5, 2018 at 4:11 pm
"The nuke deal was a tradeoff – Iran gives up its nukes in exchange for being reintegrated with the world."

Which nukes were those? Unlike North Korea, they didn't actually have any.

They didn't give anything up, and we didn't remove the sanctions. Sounds about equitable, nothing for nothing.

Cynthia McLean , says: April 5, 2018 at 6:14 pm
Knowledge of History and Language would help enormously, but the US is so arrogant it expects other countries to merely accept US assertions and to speak in English, on the basis of its supposed Exceptionalism.

[Apr 02, 2018] The Third Bush Presidency

Notable quotes:
"... whatever crony wants, crony gets. ..."
"... Ron Maxwell wrote and directed the Civil War motion-pictures ..."
Apr 02, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The Never Trump cabal can now claim total victory. Unsuccessful at preventing Trump from winning the nomination or the general election, they have instead co-opted his presidency for their own policies and programs.

With the nomination of John Bolton, Never Trump interventionists have installed one of the unrepentant architects of the catastrophic Iraq War to head the National Security Council.

In recent months, ignoring and rejecting his own party's convention platform, Trump has agreed to send lethal weapons to Ukraine. Besides accelerating the deaths of Ukrainians and ethnic Russians while laying waste to the civilian population of the Donbas, what advantage to the people of the United States does this military escalation provide?

Last summer, in one of the strangest speeches in American history, President Trump announced he would surge troop levels in Afghanistan -- and then in the same breath admitted it was a mistake and something he didn't really want to do. That should show the conflict here: Trump's instincts versus the establishment sorts around him.

Never Trumpers are not so secretly celebrating. They got the president they thought they didn't want. And now, pretending they still don't want him, they can hardly believe their good fortune.

Achieving their foreign policy goals is just the icing on the cake. They also got the president to implement the entire Wall Street agenda: lowering taxes on the super rich; advancing huge subsidies to the medical insurance industry; keeping the Export-Import Bank funded; re-authorizing the ivory trade; shrinking the size of national monuments so that multi-national corporations can turn our wilderness areas into strip mines and clear-cut wastelands.

Then, just this week, in a reckless act of generational theft, Trump endorsed the second biggest budget in U.S. history, caving in to every demand and desire of the UniParty and the K Street lobbyists whom they serve.

In the 18th century, the cry went "Millions for defense, but not one penny for tribute!" Trump's cry is "Billions for defense, but not one penny for a wall!"

Trump justifies his signature on the omnibus bill by claiming it was necessary for national security. But that claim rings hollow when comparatively little is allocated for the protection of America's own borders and the defense of its homeland. Americans intuitively know that the real danger to their safety is not along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border; it's along the U.S.-Mexico border. But Trump's own laudable instincts have been neutered by the globalist, interventionist generals and policy wonks who now populate powerful positions at the White House and the departments of State and Defense.

Many reading this might now protest: what's wrong with passing the omnibus? Isn't it providing the funds necessary for making America great again? But Donald Trump did not run for office on a platform of bloating spending; he ran on opposition to massive debt increases and specifically to many of the programs they pay for. The budget can be summed up in a paraphrase of a Broadway musical hit tune: whatever crony wants, crony gets.

Has there been a fiercer critic of the Iraq war than Donald Trump? Yet he promotes to the head of the NSC perhaps that conflict's most vociferous apologist. Trump promised he would end the wars of choice, that he would refrain from taking sides in other nation's internal conflicts. He called for a reasonable rapprochement with Russia with the goal of making America and Americans safer. He specifically said he would wind down the military commitment in Afghanistan as quickly and safely as possible.

His only bellicose pledge concerned ISIS, which he promised to destroy. As we have seen, that was one of the few promises he kept. In most other policy areas he has reversed his campaign pledges. His foreign policy is no longer America First; it's evolved into the same, old, dangerous, meddling, interventionist program of the last quarter century. Trump has deepened U.S. involvement in Yemen, Syria, Ukraine, and Afghanistan without clearly defining the missions, the goals, and the risks. If voters had wanted this, they would have elected Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump.

Yet of all the betrayals, the war on nature is the most grievous and shocking. As someone who supported Trump from day one in June 2015, who has seen virtually every one of his speeches, interviews, and tweets, I cannot recall a single word about the national parks or monuments.

Had Trump forecast during the campaign how he would govern on environmental issues, would he have been elected? Could those narrow margins of victory in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa have gone the other way? With his appointment of Ryan Zinke to the Department of the Interior, Trump needlessly and recklessly alienated tens of thousands of voters who might otherwise have supported him and who may indeed have voted for him in 2016. Although its hard to discern exactly why the president's poll numbers are as low as they are, it would be a mistake to discount the animus engendered by the unexpected assault on wilderness, open space, endangered species, and America's magnificent national monuments.

The only national monument that Trump has failed to shrink is the Beltway swamp. In fact, judging from the continuing spread of McMansions in Potomac, Maryland and Falls Church, Virginia, he has effectively widened its borders. It's as if the chants from all those packed stadiums during that long ago presidential campaign were "Fill that swamp! Fill that swamp!"

It is now abundantly clear why the Never Trumpers are tittering over their cocktails. Trump has staffed most departments of his government with establishment cronies and neoconservative zealots. He now presides over the implementation of their agenda. In effect, we're getting a variation on what could be called the third Bush presidency -- minus the decorum.

Trump's is also the all-talk presidency: talk tough on illegal immigration, but fail to build the wall; talk tough on sanctuary cities, but fail to cut federal subsidies; talk tough on illegal immigration, then push for the biggest amnesty since 1986; talk tough against the Export-Import Bank, then fund it; talk tough on Obamacare, then fund big insurance to keep the subsidies flowing; talk tough on reducing taxes, then screw millions of homeowners across America by actually raising their taxes; talk tough on trade, then tiptoe around Mexico and Canada on everything that really matters; talk tough on the deficit, then sign the second biggest boondoggle spending bill in U.S. history.

Still, it cannot be denied: President Trump has accomplished much -- for the establishment and their K Street lobbyists. They write the bills, Paul Ryan guides them through the House amendment-free, and Trump signs them in to law.

For those who packed those campaign rallies, who wore those red "Make America Great Again" caps, and for the rest of us mere plebs, Donald Trump's presidency is best summed up by The Bard: "Full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

Ron Maxwell wrote and directed the Civil War motion-pictures Gettysburg , Gods & Generals , and Copperhead .

[Mar 30, 2018] Bolton Is the Opposite of an 'Honest Broker' The American Conservative

Mar 30, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Sebastian Rotella reports on how many of the people that worked with Bolton remember his tendency to distort intelligence and ignore facts that contradicted his assumptions:

"Anyone who is so cavalier not just with intelligence, but with facts, and so ideologically driven, is unfit to be national security adviser," said Robert Hutchings, who dealt extensively with Bolton as head of the National Intelligence Council, a high-level agency that synthesizes analysis from across the intelligence community to produce strategic assessments for policymakers. "He's impervious to information that goes against his preconceived ideological views." [bold mine-DL]

That assessment lines up with what I understood about Bolton, and it points to one of the biggest problems with his appointment. I wrote this shortly before Trump announced that he was choosing Bolton:

The real danger is that he is such an ideologue that he would keep information from the president that contradicts his views and prevent Trump from getting the best available advice. Trump is poorly informed to begin with, and having Bolton as his main adviser on matters of national security and foreign policy would make sure that he stays that way.

Trump is especially susceptible to being manipulated by his advisers into endorsing the policies they want because he knows so little and responds so favorably to flattery, and he has shown that he is already more than willing to select a more aggressive option when he is told that it is the "presidential" thing to do. We should expect that Bolton will feed Trump bad or incomplete information, present aggressive options in the most favorable light while dismissing alternatives, and praise Trump's leadership to get him to go along with the hard-line policies Bolton wants. Bolton will run a very distorted policy process and he will be the opposite of an honest broker. That won't serve Trump well, and it will be terrible for our foreign policy.

[Mar 29, 2018] The Anti-Liberty Boomerang of US Militarism

Notable quotes:
"... Tyranny Comes Home: The Domestic Fate of U.S. Militarism, Christopher J. Coyne and Abigail R. Hall, Stanford University Press 2018, 280 pages ..."
Mar 29, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Chad Zuber/Shutterstock Tyranny Comes Home: The Domestic Fate of U.S. Militarism, Christopher J. Coyne and Abigail R. Hall, Stanford University Press 2018, 280 pages

Millennials and members of Generation Z have spent much of if not their entire lives at war. As I've noted in these pages and elsewhere , the Afghan conflict is now in its 17th year, with more than 6,000 days having gone by, making it the longest war in American history. I was 12 years old when that war began in 2001; I'm now a month out from my 29th birthday. Beginning next year, the newly enlisted 18-year-olds who are deployed to Afghanistan will be younger than the war they are fighting.

The Iraq war began in 2003, saw a major troop withdrawal in 2011, and then was re-escalated by former President Obama in 2014. American forces remain there today to aid in the fight against the Islamic State, despite an agreement with the Iraqis that was supposed to begin a troop drawdown. An American-led regime change intervention turned Libya into a failed state. And we have blanketed countries such as Pakistan and Yemen with drone warfare, so much so that drones now haunt their citizens' dreams . U.S. Special Forces were on the ground conducting activities in 149 countries as of 2017.

This kind of foreign policy adventurism is hardly unique to the present day. America has been aggressively deploying its military on foreign soil since the late 19th century. As Stephen Kinzer shows in his book Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq , we got our foot in the door of the regime change business all the way back in 1893 with our acquisition of Hawaii.

Living in a post-9/11 world has shattered any inclination to view domestic life as separate from and unaffected by foreign policy, particularly since the 2013 publication of classified NSA documents leaked to the press by Edward Snowden. Snowden's revelations threw back the curtain on an omnipresent surveillance apparatus under which very few aspects of our digital lives were left unmonitored -- all in the name of national security and the global war on terror.

The Snowden leaks demonstrate how an adventurous foreign policy can have negative consequences for liberty at home. Now, political economists Christopher Coyne and Abigail Hall have documented this phenomenon in their important new book, Tyranny Comes Home: The Domestic Fate of U.S. Militarism . In their words, "coercive foreign intervention creates opportunities to develop and refine methods and technologies of social control."

Coyne and Hall, economists at George Mason University and the University of Tampa respectively, introduce a concept for understanding this phenomenon called the "boomerang effect." It works like this: the constraints on the activities of the U.S. government in the realm of foreign policy are generally weak, which enables those involved in foreign interventions to engage in practices abroad that would meet some institutional resistance on the home front. Eventually, though, interventions end, the interveners come home, and the practices employed on foreign soil are imported for use against the domestic population.

This importation happens along three separate channels. First, there is the development of human capital -- the skills, knowledge, and other characteristics that contribute to one's productive capacity. All companies, organizations, and agencies have goals they seek to accomplish, so they hire people with the right kind of human capital to execute said goals. Foreign intervention is no different.

Among the characteristics necessary for interveners include extreme confidence in their ability to solve complex problems in other countries, a sense of superiority and righteousness, comfort with pushing the ethical envelope, limited compassion and sympathy for the targeted population, and the association of state order with control. Interventionists, as Coyne and Hall put it, treat "society as a grand science project that can be rationalized and improved on by enlightened and well-intentioned engineers."

The second phase occurs when the interventionists come home. Some may retire, but many go to work in various public- and private-sector jobs. The skills and mentalities that served them well abroad don't disappear, so they begin employing their unique human capital domestically. Those who land in the public sector are able to influence domestic policy, where they see threats to liberty becoming manifest. Because of the relative lack of constraints when operating in a foreign theater, tactics that would otherwise cross the line domestically are seen as standard operating procedure.

Finally, physical capital plays a significant role in bringing methods of foreign intervention back home. Technological innovation "allows governments to use lower-cost methods of social control with a greater reach." The federal government spends billions annually on research and development, which buys a variety of different capabilities. These technologies, many originally intended for foreign populations, can be used domestically. One example the authors point to are the surveillance methods originally used in the Iraq war that found their way to the Baltimore Police Department for routine use.

The implication of the boomerang effect for policing doesn't end with surveillance. It can also help explain police militarization, the origins of which lie in the foreign interventions of the Progressive Era, specifically in the Philippines.

In the wake of the Spanish-American War, Spain ceded its colonial territories to the United States. This led to the Philippine-American War, a bloody conflict that directly and indirectly caused the deaths of 200,000 Filipino civilians, and which ended in 1902.

As veterans returned home from the Philippines, many sought careers in law enforcement where they were able to implement practices inspired by their days in the military. The effect of this was to "establish precedents whereby military personnel and tactics not only would be considered legitimate but welcomed" by police administrations. Police militarization wouldn't kick into high gear until the latter half of the 20th century, with the introduction of SWAT teams and the federalization of law enforcement during the LBJ and Nixon years. The men behind the development of SWAT were veterans of the Vietnam War.

What ultimately creates the conditions for this boomerang effect to take place? One factor, Coyne and Hall argue, is fear. Fear and crisis, both perceived and real, creates "space for government to expand the scope of its powers and adopt the techniques of state-produced social control that it has developed and honed abroad." Fear can lead people to seek assurances from authorities, which goads them into tolerating and even demanding expansions of state powers -- powers that in less fearful times they would not accept.

Once accumulated, that power becomes a normal part of life, and isn't easily given up, as the great economic historian Robert Higgs shows in his classic work Crisis and Leviathan . Anyone who has gone through airport security over the last 17 years understands this, as the fear of terror attacks after 9/11 has led to ratcheted up airline security measures by the TSA. This has resulted in some fairly egregious violations of person and privacy, despite very little evidence that they work.

Coyne's and Hall's book is a great, conceptually holistic investigation into how the state can threaten our liberty. Economists regularly recognize the unintended consequences of domestic policy; Coyne and Hall have explained the unintended consequences of foreign policy, and their costs. It's particularly timely, as President Trump's tenure has seen decision-making authority at the Pentagon pushed down the chain of command, leaving the United States' war-making capabilities even less accountable and transparent. This book is an incisive elucidation of what writer Randolph Bourne recognized a century ago and of which we could use a perpetual reminder: war truly is the health of the state.

Jerrod A. Laber is a writer and Free Society Fellow with Young Voices. He is a contributor to the Washington Examiner , and his work has appeared in Real Clear Defense , Quillette , and the Columbus Dispatch , among others.

[Mar 29, 2018] Giving Up the Ghost of Objective Journalism by Telly Davidson

Highly recommended!
Journalists are always "soldiers of the party". You just need to understand what party.
Notable quotes:
"... 'Fair and balanced' was a mid-20th century marketing tool and really, a confabulation of the times. ..."
"... The great Joseph Pulitzer largely founded his namesake prize for the same motives as Alfred Nobel, when the latter tried to make up for the incalculable injuries and deaths caused by the explosives he invented by endowing a Peace Prize. Pulitzer was attempting to atone for the "yellow journalism" sins of his own papers -- and even more, those of his arch rival, William Randolph "Citizen Kane" Hearst -- when he launched the prize that bears his name. ..."
"... To put it bluntly, as Frances McDormand's professor-mother in Almost Famous might have said, "Objective Journalism" was as much a marketing tool as anything else. It took off not because news neutrality was always enshrined in American journalistic ethics, but because of how rare it actually was. ..."
"... the Ochs-Sulzbergers of New York, the Meyer-Grahams of Washington, and the Chandlers of Los Angeles -- made a conscious decision to brand their newspapers as being truly fair and balanced to differentiate them from the competition. ..."
"... And even then, "objectivity" only went as far as the eyes and ears of the beholder. ..."
"... National Review ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... Whether it's MSNBC on the left or Fox News on the right, the editorial decisions of how to spin a piece, where and how often to broadcast it, what kind of panelists you invite to "debate" a story, which anchors should be promoted and which ones will forever remain mere worker bees -- all these decisions are anything but "objective" or "unbiased." ..."
Mar 29, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

'Fair and balanced' was a mid-20th century marketing tool and really, a confabulation of the times.

"The Yellow Press", by L. M. Glackens, portrays newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst as a jester distributing sensational stories in 1910. (Library of Congress/Public Domain) What the Greatest, Silent, and Boomer generations always regarded as the ideal of "objective journalism" was actually the exception, not the rule. That was true from the time of Gutenberg until that of Franklin Roosevelt.

The great Joseph Pulitzer largely founded his namesake prize for the same motives as Alfred Nobel, when the latter tried to make up for the incalculable injuries and deaths caused by the explosives he invented by endowing a Peace Prize. Pulitzer was attempting to atone for the "yellow journalism" sins of his own papers -- and even more, those of his arch rival, William Randolph "Citizen Kane" Hearst -- when he launched the prize that bears his name.

And if Pulitzer repented of his past, Hearst never did -- he went full speed ahead well into the 1920s and beyond, normalizing Nazi science, openly endorsing eugenics and white superiority, and promoting "Birth of a Nation"-like racism against African Americans, Latinos, and Native Americans. His dehumanizing attacks against so-called sneaking and treacherous "Japs" and "Chinks" -- well before Pearl Harbor, the Korean War, and communist China -- were even uglier.

To put it bluntly, as Frances McDormand's professor-mother in Almost Famous might have said, "Objective Journalism" was as much a marketing tool as anything else. It took off not because news neutrality was always enshrined in American journalistic ethics, but because of how rare it actually was. High-minded notions of "fairness" and "objective journalism" came to the print media largely because the visionary first families of the papers that finally succeeded the Hearsts and Pulitzers in clout and cache -- the Ochs-Sulzbergers of New York, the Meyer-Grahams of Washington, and the Chandlers of Los Angeles -- made a conscious decision to brand their newspapers as being truly fair and balanced to differentiate them from the competition.

Meanwhile, the broadcast media (which didn't exist until the rise of radio and "talking pictures" in the late 1920s, followed by TV after World War II) labored under the New Deal's famed Fairness Doctrine.

And even then, "objectivity" only went as far as the eyes and ears of the beholder. The fairness flag was fraying when Spiro Agnew and Pat Buchanan took "liberal media elites" to task a generation ago during the Vietnam and civil rights era, while Tom Wolfe made good, unclean fun out of the "radical chic" conceits of Manhattan and Hollywood limousine liberals.

What today's controversies illustrate is that a so-called "Fairness Doctrine" and "objective" newspaper reporting could only have existed in a conformist Mad Men world where societal norms of what was (and wasn't) acceptable in the postwar Great Society operated by consensus. That is to say, an America where moderate, respectable, white male centrist Republicans like Thomas Dewey, Dwight Eisenhower, Nelson Rockefeller, and Gerald Ford "debated" moderate, respectable, white male centrist Democrats like Harry Truman, Adlai Stevenson, Hubert Humphrey, and Jimmy Carter.

Now contrast that with today. On November 25, the New York Times made a now-notorious attempt to understand the Nazi next door, running a profile of young suburban white supremacist, Tony Hovater. Transgender social media superstar Charlotte Clymer spoke for her fellow liberals when she savagely satirized the Times with a tweet-storm that included things like:

Bob is a vegan. He believes we should protect the environment. He likes "Big Bang Theory". He pays taxes. He served in the military.

He's a serial killer who has tortured and murdered 14 people. He dissolved their bodies in acid at a remote site. He made them beg for their lives as he tortured them.

He attends PTA meetings. He DVR's episodes of his wife's fave shows when she's late at work.

The moral of the fable being (as Miss Clymer put it): "Bob is a mass-murdering f***head. STOP GIVING BOB NUANCE!"

When the Times followed their neo-Nazi profile by turning an entire op-ed column over to Donald Trump supporters in mid-January, the Resistance went to red alert. And after Ross Douthat penned a column in defense of (Jewish) anti-immigration hardliner Stephen Miller on Holocaust Memorial Day in January, they went full DEFCON.

"F*** you @nytimes for publishing this article on #HolocaustMemorialDay from me & from those in my family whose voices were silenced during the Holocaust. Shame on you!" said Nadine Vander Velde on Twitter. London left-wing journalist Sarah Kendzior agreed that "The NYT is now a white supremacist paper. The multiple Nazi puff pieces, constant pro-Trump PR, and praise for Miller on today of all days is not exceptional – it's [now] the guiding ideology of the paper."

And the current furor over The Atlantic 's hiring of National Review firebrand Kevin D. Williamson only underscores that it isn't just campus leftists or Tea Partiers who are hitting the censor button.

But revealingly, it wasn't just the usual left-wing snowflakes who have needed a trigger warning of late. Just six weeks into the new year, the Washington Post and CNN ran a series of tabloidy, Inside Edition -style stories glamorizing Kim Yo-jong, the sister of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. The Washington Post even went so far as to call Ms. Yo-jong North Korea's answer to Ivanka Trump (just ignore the fact she is the DPRK's assistant head of the Ministry of Propaganda and Agitation). That led Bethany Mandel of the New York Post to wonder what was up with all the "perverse fawning over brutal Kim Jong-un's sister at the Olympics?"

Additionally, some of the most provocative critiques of "journalistic objectivity" have come from liberal polemicists like Matt Taibbi and Sam Adler-Bell, who argue that before we go on blathering about untrammeled First Amendment freedom and "objectivity," the first question that must be asked is who has the balance of power and whose hands are on deck in the editing room. (And they're not wrong to ask that question -- it was the same one that Pat Buchanan asked 50 years ago and Ann Coulter asked 20 years ago from the opposite side of the newsroom.)

Whether it's MSNBC on the left or Fox News on the right, the editorial decisions of how to spin a piece, where and how often to broadcast it, what kind of panelists you invite to "debate" a story, which anchors should be promoted and which ones will forever remain mere worker bees -- all these decisions are anything but "objective" or "unbiased."

Let's face it: the supposedly more civilized, serious ecosystem of the pre-social media past would come across to identity-conscious Millennials today as nothing more than stale white bread dominated by stale white men. Even among the campus leftists who protest and violently riot to shut down and silence "hate speech," most of them would probably rather live in a world where Steve Bannon and Richard Spencer anchored the nightly news on one channel -- so long as there was a hijab-wearing Muslim or a transgendered man on another, equally highly-rated one.

What would be totally unacceptable to today's young consumer is any kind of return to the mid-century world where "the news" was whatever Ben Bradlee, Johnny Apple, Robert Novak, and The Chancellor/Brinkley Nightly News said it was -- in essence, the world where Punch Sulzberger, Otis Chandler, Dan Rather, Peter Jennings, and Tom Brokaw white-mansplained "facts" through their own elite establishment filters, de facto ignoring everyone else.

Meanwhile, the beat goes on. From the left, conservative Sinclair Media is accused of "forcing" its local anchors to read "pro-Trump propaganda." The Nation stalwart Eric Alterman says that "When one side is fascist, there's no need to show Both Sides." As for the right -- just ask your Fox-watching or Limbaugh-listening friends and families what they think of the "mainstream media," the "Communist News Network," or the "opinion cartel."

The great Joan Didion once said "We tell ourselves stories in order to live." Maybe "objective journalism" was always just a little social white lie we in the media told ourselves to make ourselves feel better -- fairer, kinder, gentler, more "professional." But if there's one lesson that Barack Obama, the Tea Party, Bernie Sanders, Antifa, Donald Trump, and the Great Recession have taught us over the past decade, it isn't just that the mythical "center" will no longer hold. It's that there may no longer be a center for any of us to hold on to.

Telly Davidson is the author of a new book on the politics and pop culture of the '90s, Culture War : How the 90's Made Us Who We Are Today (Like it Or Not) . He has written on culture for ATTN, FrumForum, All About Jazz, FilmStew, and Guitar Player , and worked on the Emmy-nominated PBS series "Pioneers of Television."

[Mar 28, 2018] The Consequences of Blowing Up the Nuclear Deal

Mar 28, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz spells out what the nuclear deal with Iran does and what withdrawing from it would mean:

Conversely, if Trump withdraws the United States from the agreement, with Iran complying and with our allies clearly committed to its continuation, he will have compromised the most stringent nuclear verification standard ever achieved, with no credible prospect for restoring or improving it [bold mine-DL]. Such a move would hand Iran a political "wedge" dividing the international community, and undercut vital arguments for verification of any agreement reached with North Korea.

Opponents of the deal often claim to be against it because it isn't "tough" enough, but as Moniz explains the deal contains the "most robust verification measures the world has ever known." Withdrawing from the deal means throwing that away for no good reason. If Trump follows through on his threat to withdraw, he will confirm that his complaints about the agreement were made in bad faith. Reneging on the deal just because some of its restrictions expire after a decade or more gives the game away. It gives Iran the excuse to ignore some or all of the deal's restrictions immediately instead of having some of them lifted in the 2020s or 2030s. We're supposed to believe that the gradual expiration of some restrictions is so intolerable that we should throw away all of the restrictions right away. It's a completely irrational position, and so it's obviously just a bad excuse for killing an agreement that Iran hawks never wanted.

If Iran is supposed to ratify the Additional Protocol that it is currently implementing voluntarily. Ratification will make these verification measures permanent, and that will make ensuring that Iran abides by its NPT obligations much easier. Blowing up the deal now would give Iran an excuse to stop voluntarily complying with the Additional Protocol years before they have to ratify it. Sina Azodi suggests that this is how Iran might respond to a U.S. withdrawal:

One possible response to a US withdrawal would be for Iran to declare that it will no longer implement the Additional Protocol of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. This supplementary protocol significantly enhances the ability of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to monitor and verify Iran's compliance with the JCPOA.

Under the agreement, Iran is required to implement the protocol and to ratify it within eight years of the January 2016 implementation of the JCPOA. If the deal collapses, Iran will no longer feel obliged to allow the intrusive inspections required by the protocol or to ratify it. This would significantly reduce the IAEA's ability to monitor Iran's nuclear activities. However, this seems to be a relatively safe option for Iran, since implementation of the protocol is on a voluntary basis.

As Azodi explains, this is the least provocative response available to Iran, and it allows Iran to further divide the U.S. and our European allies, who remain committed to honoring the agreement. It's also quite possible that Iran will follow the U.S. out of the deal to protest the resumption of U.S. sanctions. Either way, the verification measures that make the JCPOA such a strong nonproliferation agreement will be lost.

The verification measures in the deal were so stringent because of the fear that Iran wouldn't keep its side of the bargain, but if the deal dies it won't be because of Iranian cheating. Opponents of the deal have shown that the one truly fatal flaw of the deal was that it contained no provision to make sure that the U.S. fulfills its obligations. Posted in foreign policy , politics . Tagged Iran , IAEA , Donald Trump , JCPOA , Sina Azodi , Ernest Moniz .

[Mar 25, 2018] Trump impulsive, ignorant incompetence can be just as dangerous as sinister purpose -- but it represents a different set of threats

Notable quotes:
"... The Right Man ..."
Mar 25, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

For the time being, Trump's lack of impulse control and self-discipline may frustrate his strongman tendencies at home, but that's cold comfort, given the damage he can do with U.S. military might. In "the most powerful office in the world," impulsive, ignorant incompetence can be just as dangerous as sinister purpose -- but it represents a different set of threats than the ones that most concern Frum.

"Trumpocracy has left Americans less safe against foreign dangers," Frum charges, by which he seems to mean mainly Russian cybermeddling. He spends an order of magnitude more time on that subject than on the foreign dangers Trump has gratuitously stoked with brinksmanship on North Korea.

In the near term, what's to be most feared is the president lumbering into a major conflict with either (or both?) of the two remaining "Axis of Evil" members. Uncertain plans for a North Korean summit aside, that risk may be increasing. As the New York Times 's Maggie Haberman recently explained , Trump "was terrified of the job the first six months, and now feels like he has a command of it" -- a terrifying thought in itself. Newly emboldened, the president wants unrepentant uber-hawks John Bolton and Mike Pompeo for national security advisor and secretary of state, respectively. "Let Trump be Trump" looks a lot like letting Trump be Bush-era Frum .

In fairness, Frum does seem queasy about all this, but he's awkwardly positioned to sound the alarm. The author who declared that it's "victory or holocaust" in the war on terror and lauded George W. Bush as The Right Man may not be the right man to guide us through the particular dangers of this moment in history.

We may yet avoid a disaster on the scale of the Iraq war, aided by what Frum terms "the surge in civic spirit that has moved Americans since the ominous night of November 8, 2016" -- or God's special affection for fools, drunks, and the United States of America. Perhaps, in hindsight, the Trump years will look more like a Great Beclowning than a Long National Nightmare. If so, we may look back on this period and say, as "43" apparently did of Trump's First Inaugural: "that was some weird shit " -- and give thanks that Trump wasn't as competent as Bush.

Gene Healy is a vice president of the Cato Institute and the author of The Cult of the Presidency .

[Mar 25, 2018] Hawks Always Fail Upwards by Daniel Larison

This is about American Imperialism and MIC. Neocons are just well-laid MIC lobbyists. Some like Bolton are pretty talented guys. Some like Max Boot are simply stupid.
Notable quotes:
"... What sort of political system allows someone with his views to serve in high office, where he helps talk the country into a disastrous war, never expresses a moment's regret for his errors, continues to advocate for more of the same for the next decade, and then gets a second chance to make the same mistakes again? [bold mine-DL] ..."
"... So by all means worry. But the real problem isn't Bolton -- it's a system that permits people like him to screw up and move up again and again. ..."
"... National Review ..."
Mar 25, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The conclusion of Stephen Walt's column on John Bolton is exactly right:

Don't get me wrong: I'm not trying to "normalize" this appointment or suggest that it shouldn't concern you. Rather, I'm suggesting that if you are worried about Bolton, you should ask yourself the following question: What sort of political system allows someone with his views to serve in high office, where he helps talk the country into a disastrous war, never expresses a moment's regret for his errors, continues to advocate for more of the same for the next decade, and then gets a second chance to make the same mistakes again? [bold mine-DL]

So by all means worry. But the real problem isn't Bolton -- it's a system that permits people like him to screw up and move up again and again.

There is a strong bias in our foreign policy debates in favor of "action," no matter how stupid or destructive that action proves to be. That is one reason why reflexive supporters of an activist foreign policy will never have to face the consequences of the policies they support. Bolton has thrived as an advocate of hard-line policies precisely because he fills the assigned role of the fanatical warmonger, and there is always a demand for someone to fill that role. His fanaticism doesn't discredit him, because it is eminently useful to his somewhat less fanatical colleagues. That is how he can hang around long enough until there is a president ignorant enough to think that he is qualified to be a top adviser.

Bolton will also have reliable supporters in the conservative movement that will make excuses for the inexcusable. National Review recently published an article by David French in defense of Bolton whose conclusion was that we should "give a hawk a chance." Besides being evasive and dishonest about just how fanatical Bolton is, the article was an effort to pretend that Iraq war supporters should be given another chance to wreck U.S. foreign policy again. It may be true that Bolton's views are "in the mainstream of conservative foreign-policy thought," but that is an indictment of the so-called "mainstream" that is being represented. Bolton has been wrong about every major foreign policy issue of the last twenty years. If that doesn't disqualify you from holding a high-ranking government position, what does?

Hawks have been given a chance to run our foreign policy every day for decades on end, and they have failed numerous times at exorbitant cost. Generic hawks don't deserve a second chance after the last sixteen-plus years of failure and disaster, and fanatical hard-liners like Bolton never deserved a first chance.

French asserts that Bolton is "not extreme," but that raises the obvious question: compared to what?Bolton has publicly, repeatedly urged the U.S. government to launch illegal preventive wars against Iran and North Korea, and that just scratches the surface of his fanaticism. That strikes me as rather extreme, and that is why so many people are disturbed by the Bolton appointment. If he isn't "extreme" even by contemporary movement conservative standards, who is? How psychopathic would one need to be to be considered extreme in French's eyes? If movement conservatives can't see why Bolton is an unacceptable and outrageous choice for National Security Advisor, they are so far gone that there is nothing to be done for them and no point in listening to anything they have to say.

[Mar 23, 2018] Was Destructive 'Slingshot' Malware Deployed by the Pentagon

The rule No.1: do not buy cheap routers. Do not use routers which are supplied for free by your ISP. Buy only from proven companies with good security record. To use your own firewall (a small linux server is OK) is a must in the current circumstances
There is no special value in Kaspersky anti-virus software. all such products can be used as a backdoor in your computer (for example via update mechanism). Using complex and opaque software actually makes Windows less secure not more secure. Periodic (say, daily) reinstallation from trusted image is probably a better way, especially if Windows is really minimized and does not contain third party software that has it's own update mechanisms or such mechanism are blocked.
But attacks on routers is a new fashion and should be taken very seriously as most people pay no attention to this crucial part of their business or home network. In any case a separate firmware is needed after Internet router which now is not that expensive (a decent box can be bought for around $300. For those who know Unix/Linux see for example Firewall Micro Appliance or QOTOM (both can be used of pfSense or your custom Linux solution) For those who don't see, for example, Zyxel [USG40] ZyWALL (USG) UTM Firewall
Notable quotes:
"... Further findings suggest that Slingshot had common code with only two other known pieces of software, both malwares, which were attributed to the NSA and CIA, respectively, by analysts. Though various U.S. agencies are all denying comment, things are clearly pointing uncomfortably in their direction. ..."
"... Malware is not a precision munition, it hits wide targets and spreads out to bystanders. This is particularly disturbing to note if, as some reports are indicating, this malware was Pentagon in origin. ..."
Mar 23, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Slingshot . The malware targeted Latvian-made Internet routers popular in the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia.

Kaspersky's reports reveal that the malware had been active since at least 2012, and speculates that it was government-made, owing to its sophistication and its use of novel techniques rarely seen elsewhere.

Those investigating the matter further have drawn the conclusion that Slingshot was developed by the U.S. government, with some reports quoting former officials as connecting it to the Pentagon's JSOC special forces. For those following the cyber security and malware sphere, this is a huge revelation, putting the U.S. government in the hot seat for deploying cyber attacks that harm a much greater range of innocent users beyond their intended targets.

Kaspersky's own findings note that the code was written in English, using a driver flaw to allow the implanting of various types of spyware. Among those mentioned by Moscow-based Kaspersky was an implant named "GOLLUM," which notably was mentioned in one of the leaked Edward Snowden documents .

Further findings suggest that Slingshot had common code with only two other known pieces of software, both malwares, which were attributed to the NSA and CIA, respectively, by analysts. Though various U.S. agencies are all denying comment, things are clearly pointing uncomfortably in their direction.

Cyberscoop , one of the first news outlets to break the story, reported a mixed reaction among officials. Some noted that Kaspersky Labs was simply doing what a security company is supposed to do. Others, however, were less agreeable, suggesting it was an intentional attempt by Kaspersky to undermine U.S. security.

The argument, as far as it goes, is that given the ostensible target areas -- the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan -- Kaspersky should have concluded it was related to the War on Terror and sat on their findings. The Trump administration already views Kaspersky as a sort of hostile actor -- banning the use of Kaspersky products by any government or civilian federal contractor in December, citing Kremlin influence (a charge that has been vehemently denied by the company). This just gives them more justification for seeing Kaspersky as an adversary in the space.

Unfortunately for the Russian company, some American retailers have even followed suit, pulling the software from the shelves on the grounds that it's Russian, and that therefore suspect.

There has been no clear evidence that Kaspersky's software was serving as a backdoor for Russian intelligence, though it was reported last fall that sensitive documents were stolen from a National Security Agency (NSA) contractor's laptop via its Kaspersky-made antivirus software . In a statement at the time, the company said, "Kaspersky Lab has never helped, nor will help, any government in the world with its cyberespionage efforts." Turns out that Israeli spies, spying on the Russian spies, disclosed the intrusion to U.S. officials.

Kaspersky has consistently ranked near the top of antivirus ratings from virtually all third-party reviewers. The company has sold its products to nearly 400 million users worldwide, with 60 percent in the U.S. and Western Europe. Until now, Kaspersky was being used by several major agencies in the federal government, including the State Department and Department of Defense.

Ironically, this new Slingshot issue itself appears just to be a testament to how well the company's security works at digging up extremely dangerous malware. It also underscores the uneasy reality that the U.S. has been engaging in its own brand of cyber warfare all along.

Any claims that a specific piece of U.S. malware -- in this case, Slingshot -- was targeting only al-Qaeda or ISIS bad guys is disingenuous as well. The exploit on routers is hitting an entire region, infecting an untold number of innocent people . Internet cafés are said to have been hit in this, meaning everyone going into the cafes is at risk.

Malware is not a precision munition, it hits wide targets and spreads out to bystanders. This is particularly disturbing to note if, as some reports are indicating, this malware was Pentagon in origin.

U.S. civilian government surveillance is already doing great harm to general Internet security, and does so by remaining in denial about the balance of good to harm that is being done. The U.S. military, by contrast, has shown its willingness to inflict major harm on innocents in pursuit of any war goal. As they start hitting regions with malware, all bets are off on how far it will spread.

Security companies like Kaspersky Labs only afford the private user limited protection from all of this malware, because they're constantly playing catch-up, finding new variants and new exploits that the various pieces of software are using. Slingshot, for instance, went undetected for six solid years .

The discovery means fixes can finally be implemented for the routers and the computers. Novel exploits like this are rarely a one-time fix, however, as a slew of similar exploits from other sources tend to crop up after one gets taken out. It's a never-ending battle.

In August, President Trump made U.S. Cyber Command a formal military command , reflecting the growing view of the Internet as a military objective. Much as America's other battlefields result in collateral damage on the ground, the cyberwar is going to have a deleterious impact on day-to-day life in cyberspace. The big questions are how bad things will get, and how quickly.

Jason Ditz is news editor at Antiwar.com , a nonprofit organization dedicated to the cause of non-interventionism. In addition to TAC, his work has appeared in Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Daily Caller, Washington Times and Detroit Free Press.

[Mar 23, 2018] Will the Deep State Break Trump The American Conservative

Notable quotes:
"... Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, ..."
"... . To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com. ..."
Mar 23, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

... ... ...

Consider. To cut through the Russophobia rampant here, Trump decided to make a direct phone call to Vladimir Putin. And in that call, Trump, like Angela Merkel, congratulated Putin on his re-election victory.

Instantly, the briefing paper for the president's call was leaked to the Post . In bold letters it read "DO NOT CONGRATULATE."

Whereupon the Beltway went ballistic.

How could Trump congratulate Putin, whose election was a sham? Why did he not charge Putin with the Salisbury poisoning? Why did he not denounce Putin for interfering with "our democracy"?

Amazing. A disloyal White House staffer betrays his trust and leaks a confidential paper to sabotage the foreign policy of a duly elected president, and he is celebrated in this capital city.

If you wish to see the deep state at work, this is it: anti-Trump journalists using First Amendment immunities to collude with and cover up the identities of bureaucratic snakes out to damage or destroy a president they despise. No wonder democracy is a declining stock worldwide.

And, yes, they give out Pulitzers for criminal collusion like this.

The New York Times got a Pulitzer and the Post got a Hollywood movie starring Meryl Streep for publishing stolen secret papers from the Pentagon of JFK and LBJ -- to sabotage the Vietnam War policy of Richard Nixon.

Why? Because the hated Nixon was succeeding in extricating us with honor from a war that the presidents for whom the Times and Post hauled water could not win or end.

Not only have journalists given up any pretense of neutrality in this campaign to bring down the president, ex-national security officers of the highest rank are starting to sound like resisters.

Ex-CIA director John Brennan openly speculated Tuesday that the president may have been compromised by Moscow and become an asset of the Kremlin.

"I think he's afraid of the president of Russia," Brennan said of Trump and Putin. "The Russians, I think, have had long experience with Mr. Trump and may have things they could expose."

If Brennan has evidence Trump is compromised, he should relay it to Robert Mueller. If he does not, this is speculation of an especially ugly variety for someone once entrusted with America's highest secrets.

What's going on in this city is an American version of the "color revolutions" we have employed to knock over governments in places like Georgia and Ukraine.

The goal is to break Trump's presidency, remove him, discredit his election as contaminated by Kremlin collusion, upend the democratic verdict of 2016, and ash-can Trump's agenda of populist conservatism. Then America can return to the open borders, free trade, democracy-crusading Bushite globalism beloved by our Beltway elites.

Trump, in a way, is the indispensable man of the populist right.

In the 2016 primaries, no other Republican candidate shared his determination to secure the border, bring back manufacturing, or end the endless wars in the Middle East that have so bled and bankrupted our nation.

Whether the Assads rule in Damascus, the Chinese fortify Scarborough Shoal, or the Taliban return to Kabul, none are existential threats to the United States.

But if the borders of our country are not secured, as Reagan warned, in a generation, America will not even be a country.

Trump seems now to recognize that the special counsel's office of Robert Mueller, which this city sees as the instrument of its deliverance, is a mortal threat to his presidency.

Mueller's team wishes to do to Trump what Archibald Cox's team sought to do to Nixon: drive him out of office or set him up for the kill by a Democratic Congress in 2019.

Trump appears to recognize that the struggle with Mueller is now a political struggle -- to the death.

Hence Trump's hiring of Joe diGenova and the departure of John Dowd from his legal team. In the elegant phrase of Michael Corleone, diGenova is a wartime consigliere.

He believes Trump is the target of a conspiracy, under which Jim Comey's FBI put in the fix to prevent Hillary's prosecution and then fabricated a crime of collusion with Russia to take down the new president the American people had elected.

The Trump White House is behaving as if it were the prospective target of a coup d'etat. And it is not wrong for them to think so.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever . To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators website at www.creators.com.

[Mar 22, 2018] The Untold Story of John Bolton's Campaign for War With Iran by Gareth Porter

Another chickenhawk in Trump administration. Sad...
Notable quotes:
"... Bolton's high-profile advocacy of war with Iran is well known. What is not at all well known is that, when he was under secretary of state for arms control and international security, he executed a complex and devious strategy aimed at creating the justification for a U.S. attack on Iran. Bolton sought to convict the Islamic Republic in the court of international public opinion of having a covert nuclear weapons program using a combination of diplomatic pressure, crude propaganda, and fabricated evidence. ..."
"... Despite the fact that Bolton was technically under the supervision of Secretary of State Colin Powell, his actual boss in devising and carrying out that strategy was Vice President Dick Cheney. Bolton was also the administration's main point of contact with the Israeli government, and with Cheney's backing, he was able to flout normal State Department rules by taking a series of trips to Israel in 2003 and 2004 without having the required clearance from the State Department's Bureau for Near Eastern Affairs. ..."
"... During multiple trips to Israel, Bolton had unannounced meetings, including with the head of Mossad, Meir Dagan, without the usual reporting cable to the secretary of state and other relevant offices. Judging from that report on an early Bolton visit, those meetings clearly dealt with a joint strategy on how to bring about political conditions for an eventual U.S. strike against Iran. ..."
"... Unfortunately, John Bolton is not just your typical neocon pathological liar and warmonger. Even by their abysmal standards he's pretty unhinged. He is one of the most dangerous people around these days. ..."
"... Bolton, Gen. Jack Keane, Lt. Col. Ralph Peters and the whole warmongering crowd that frequent the air waves at FOX will not rest until they have us at war with Iran and Russia. ..."
"... So Trump is thinking of hiring a loudmouthed incompetent who is a known conduit for botched Israeli spy service forgeries used to gin up war with Iran. What a sick farce. ..."
"... Bolton is a cancer for the US. As a warmonger, he thrives in hostile environnements so no wonder Bolton wants to create them with no regards for consequences. ..."
"... I doubt anyone will be surprised to learn that Bolton was duped by Israeli forgers (very droll story, by the way). You'd think that no serious person would consider giving him a National Security Council post, particularly given the current level of concern about "foreign meddling". ..."
"... I do not agree that Iran could prevent a conventional bombing/invasion of their country. But they could make it sooo expensive, the dollar ceases to be the world reserve currency, and if they do that, they will have done mankind a favor. ..."
"... But after the conquest, imagine the guerrilla war! The US basically had to fight an insurgency from amongst 5 million Sunni Arabs in Iraq. Iran is much more ethnically homogeneous. So even if you get some minorities to turncoat and work for the occupiers, you are still left with about 60 million ethnically Persian Shiites. That is a 12 times larger insurgency than what you had in Iraq. ..."
"... Bolton and Cheney must have been livid about Stuxnet, for all the wrong reasons ..."
"... Hiring a ghoul like Bolton will mark a new low even for the Trump administration. And that's saying something. These chickenhawk bastards should all be required to fight on the front lines of the wars they push. That was true, I'll guarantee you Bolton would shut up in a hurry. ..."
"... Gareth Porter is an investigative reporter and regular contributor to ..."
"... . He is also the author of ..."
"... Follow him on Twitter @GarethPorter . ..."
Mar 22, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Everyone knows Bolton is a hawk. Less understood is how he labored in secret to drive Washington and Tehran apart. By Gareth Porter March 22, 2018

John Bolton (Gage Skidmore/Flikr) In my reporting on U.S.-Israeli policy, I have tracked numerous episodes in which the United States and/or Israel made moves that seemed to indicate preparations for war against Iran. Each time -- in 2007 , in 2008, and again in 2011 -- those moves, presented in corporate media as presaging attacks on Tehran, were actually bluffs aimed at putting pressure on the Iranian government.

But the strong likelihood that Donald Trump will now choose John Bolton as his next national security advisor creates a prospect of war with Iran that is very real. Bolton is no ordinary neoconservative hawk. He has been obsessed for many years with going to war against the Islamic Republic, calling repeatedly for bombing Iran in his regular appearances on Fox News, without the slightest indication that he understands the consequences of such a policy.

His is not merely a rhetorical stance: Bolton actively conspired during his tenure as the Bush administration's policymaker on Iran from 2002 through 2004 to establish the political conditions necessary for the administration to carry out military action.

More than anyone else inside or outside the Trump administration, Bolton has already influenced Trump to tear up the Iran nuclear deal. Bolton parlayed his connection with the primary financier behind both Benjamin Netanyahu and Donald Trump himself -- the militantly Zionist casino magnate Sheldon Adelson -- to get Trump's ear last October, just as the president was preparing to announce his policy on the Iran nuclear agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). He spoke with Trump by phone from Las Vegas after meeting with Adelson .

It was Bolton who persuaded Trump to commit to specific language pledging to pull out of the JCPOA if Congress and America's European allies did not go along with demands for major changes that were clearly calculated to ensure the deal would fall apart.

Although Bolton was passed over for the job of secretary of state, he now appears to have had the inside track for national security advisor. Trump met with Bolton on March 6 and told him, "We need you here, John," according to a Bolton associate. Bolton said he would only take secretary of state or national security advisor, whereupon Trump promised, "I'll call you really soon." Trump then replaced Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with former CIA director Mike Pompeo, after which White House sources leaked to the media Trump's intention to replace H.R. McMaster within a matter of weeks.

The only other possible candidate for the position mentioned in media accounts is Keith Kellogg, a retired lieutenant general who was acting national security advisor after General Michael Flynn was ousted in February 2017.

Bolton's high-profile advocacy of war with Iran is well known. What is not at all well known is that, when he was under secretary of state for arms control and international security, he executed a complex and devious strategy aimed at creating the justification for a U.S. attack on Iran. Bolton sought to convict the Islamic Republic in the court of international public opinion of having a covert nuclear weapons program using a combination of diplomatic pressure, crude propaganda, and fabricated evidence.

Despite the fact that Bolton was technically under the supervision of Secretary of State Colin Powell, his actual boss in devising and carrying out that strategy was Vice President Dick Cheney. Bolton was also the administration's main point of contact with the Israeli government, and with Cheney's backing, he was able to flout normal State Department rules by taking a series of trips to Israel in 2003 and 2004 without having the required clearance from the State Department's Bureau for Near Eastern Affairs.

Thus, at the very moment that Powell was saying administration policy was not to attack Iran, Bolton was working with the Israelis to lay the groundwork for just such a war. During a February 2003 visit, Bolton assured Israeli officials in private meetings that he had no doubt the United States would attack Iraq, and that after taking down Saddam, it would deal with Iran, too, as well as Syria.

During multiple trips to Israel, Bolton had unannounced meetings, including with the head of Mossad, Meir Dagan, without the usual reporting cable to the secretary of state and other relevant offices. Judging from that report on an early Bolton visit, those meetings clearly dealt with a joint strategy on how to bring about political conditions for an eventual U.S. strike against Iran.

Mossad played a very aggressive role in influencing world opinion on the Iranian nuclear program. In the summer of 2003, according to journalists Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins in their book The Nuclear Jihadist , Meir Dagan created a new Mossad office tasked with briefing the world's press on alleged Iranian efforts to achieve a nuclear weapons capability. The new unit's responsibilities included circulating documents from inside Iran as well from outside, according to Frantz and Collins.

Bolton's role in a joint U.S.-Israeli strategy, as he outlines in his own 2007 memoir , was to ensure that the Iran nuclear issue would be moved out of the International Atomic Energy Agency and into the United Nations Security Council. He was determined to prevent IAEA director general Mohamed ElBaradei from reaching an agreement with Iran that would make it more difficult for the Bush administration to demonize Tehran as posing a nuclear weapons threat. Bolton began accusing Iran of having a covert nuclear weapons program in mid-2003, but encountered resistance not only from ElBaradei and non-aligned states, but from Britain, France, and Germany as well.

Bolton's strategy was based on the claim that Iran was hiding its military nuclear program from the IAEA, and in early 2004, he came up with a dramatic propaganda ploy: he sent a set of satellite images to the IAEA showing sites at the Iranian military reservation at Parchin that he claimed were being used for tests to simulate nuclear weapons. Bolton demanded that the IAEA request access to inspect those sites and leaked his demand to the Associated Press in September 2004. In fact, the satellite images showed nothing more than bunkers and buildings for conventional explosives testing.

Bolton was apparently hoping the Iranian military would not agree to any IAEA inspections based on such bogus claims, thus playing into his propaganda theme of Iran's "intransigence" in refusing to answer questions about its nuclear program. But in 2005 Iran allowed the inspectors into those sites and even let them choose several more sites to inspect. The inspectors found no evidence of any nuclear-related activities.

The U.S.-Israeli strategy would later hit the jackpot, however, when a large cache of documents supposedly from a covert source within Iran's nuclear weapons program surfaced in autumn 2004. The documents, allegedly found on the laptop computer of one of the participants, included technical drawings of a series of efforts to redesign Iran's Shahab-3 missile to carry what appeared to be a nuclear weapon.

But the whole story of the so-called "laptop documents" was a fabrication. In 2013, a former senior German official revealed the true story to this writer: the documents had been given to German intelligence by the Mujahedin E Khalq, the anti-Iran armed group that was well known to have been used by Mossad to "launder" information the Israelis did not want attributed to themselves. Furthermore, the drawings showing the redesign that were cited as proof of a nuclear weapons program were clearly done by someone who didn't know that Iran had already abandoned the Shahab-3's nose cone for an entirely different design.

Mossad had clearly been working on those documents in 2003 and 2004 when Bolton was meeting with Meir Dagan. Whether Bolton knew the Israelis were preparing fake documents or not, it was the Israeli contribution towards establishing the political basis for an American attack on Iran for which he was the point man. Bolton reveals in his memoirs that this Cheney-directed strategy took its cues from the Israelis, who told Bolton that the Iranians were getting close to "the point of no return." That was point, Bolton wrote, at which "we could not stop their progress without using force."

Cheney and Bolton based their war strategy on the premise that the U.S. military would be able to consolidate control over Iraq quickly. Instead the U.S. occupation bogged down and never fully recovered. Cheney proposed taking advantage of a high-casualty event in Iraq that could be blamed on Iran to attack an IRGC base in Iran in the summer of 2007. But the risk that pro-Iranian Shiite militias in Iraq would retaliate against U.S. troops was a key argument against the proposal.

The Pentagon and the Joint Chiefs of Staff were also well aware that Iran had the capability to retaliate directly against U.S. forces in the region, including against warships in the Strait of Hormuz. They had no patience for Cheney's wild ideas about more war.

That Pentagon caution remains unchanged. But two minds in the White House unhinged from reality could challenge that wariness -- and push the United States closer towards a dangerous war with Iran.



Stephen J. March 21, 2018 at 10:37 pm

I believe "War With Iran" is on the agenda. I wrote the article below some time ago. "Will There Be War With Iran"? Is it now Iran's turn to be subjected to the planned and hellish wars that have already engulfed Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan and other countries? Will, the gates of hell be further opened to include an attack on Iran?

[read more at link below]

http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2017/02/will-there-be-war-with-iran.html

See also: Will the War Agenda of the War Criminals Result in Nuclear War? http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2017/02/will-war-agenda-of-war-criminals-result.html

Clyde Schechter , , says: March 21, 2018 at 11:37 pm
Unfortunately, John Bolton is not just your typical neocon pathological liar and warmonger. Even by their abysmal standards he's pretty unhinged. He is one of the most dangerous people around these days.
Procivic , , says: March 22, 2018 at 12:35 am
The re-emergence of Bolton is the result of Trump's electoral victory, a phenomenon that resembles the upheavals that followed when an unhinged hereditary ruler would take the reins of power in bygone empires.
Duglarri , , says: March 22, 2018 at 1:16 am
There's a big difference between the wars with Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and Somalia, and a war with Iran. The difference is, this is a war the United States could lose. And lose very, very badly. As Pompeo remarked, it would take "only" 2000 airstrikes to eliminate the Iranian nuclear facilities. But what will it take to land 20,000 marines on the northern coast of the Persian Gulf to secure the straits, and there fend off 1.7 million Iranian regulars and militia on the ground? How will the navy cope with hundreds and hundreds of supersonic cruise missiles fired in volleys? What about the S-300 missiles that are by now fully operational in Iran?

A look at the map shows that this is a war that the US simply cannot win.

Unless it uses nuclear weapons and simply sets out to kill every last man, woman, and child in Iran, all 80 million of them.

Which I suppose is not out of the question. As all options are sure to be on the table.

Minnesota Mary , , says: March 22, 2018 at 1:54 am
"Everyone worshipped the dragon because he had given his authority to the beast. They worshipped the beast also, saying, 'Who is like the beast? Who can fight against it?'" Revelation 13:4

Who can fight against the U.S/NATO? Bolton, Gen. Jack Keane, Lt. Col. Ralph Peters and the whole warmongering crowd that frequent the air waves at FOX will not rest until they have us at war with Iran and Russia.

wrap , , says: March 22, 2018 at 3:43 am
So Trump is thinking of hiring a loudmouthed incompetent who is a known conduit for botched Israeli spy service forgeries used to gin up war with Iran. What a sick farce.
Hanson , , says: March 22, 2018 at 4:58 am
The Boltons, Frums, and Boots of the world never have to fight the wars they start.
Julien , , says: March 22, 2018 at 5:54 am
Bolton is a cancer for the US. As a warmonger, he thrives in hostile environnements so no wonder Bolton wants to create them with no regards for consequences.
EliteCommInc. , , says: March 22, 2018 at 9:03 am
Well, we need the John Bolton's of this world for times in which a uncompromising use of force is required. But I don't need background to know that advocating for wars that serve little in the way of US interests because we simply are not in any "clear and present danger".

Odd that so many "old schoolers" have abandoned some general cliche's that serve as sound guide.

the freakshow (cont'd) , , says: March 22, 2018 at 9:41 am
Just when you think you've heard the last of the various catastrophes, blunders, and odd capering about involving Bolton, you hear that voice from the old late night gadget commercials barking "wait, there's more !!"

I doubt anyone will be surprised to learn that Bolton was duped by Israeli forgers (very droll story, by the way). You'd think that no serious person would consider giving him a National Security Council post, particularly given the current level of concern about "foreign meddling".

rta , , says: March 22, 2018 at 10:25 am
I wonder if people will finally realize that Trump was only draining the swamp so he could replace it with a cesspool.
Chris Mallory , , says: March 22, 2018 at 11:16 am
"The Boltons, Frums, and Boots of the world never have to fight the wars they start."

Hey now, Bolton's service in the Maryland National Guard made sure the North Vietnamese never landed in Baltimore. Can you imagine the horror if the Russians had captured our supply of soft shell crab?

Esther Haman , , says: March 22, 2018 at 11:27 am
John Bolton a 75 year old loser, a has Never-been, which is the mouth piece of the Zionists who keep him on the pay roll. He likes to hear his own voice and to feel important because he wants war with Iran or all the Middle East. He's actions and speeches are all emotional and lack logic and reasoning. So, what is he good for?!
Egypt Steve , , says: March 22, 2018 at 11:29 am
Re: "Well, we need the John Bolton's of this world for times in which a uncompromising use of force is required."

Not sure about that. We definitely need Roosevelts and Lincolns, Grants and Shermans and Eisenhowers and Pattons. I'm not clear on what function the likes of Bolton serve.

Kent , , says: March 22, 2018 at 12:16 pm
This article fails to address the why. Why does Bolton want war with Iran?
Steve , , says: March 22, 2018 at 12:38 pm
I do not agree that Iran could prevent a conventional bombing/invasion of their country. But they could make it sooo expensive, the dollar ceases to be the world reserve currency, and if they do that, they will have done mankind a favor.

But after the conquest, imagine the guerrilla war! The US basically had to fight an insurgency from amongst 5 million Sunni Arabs in Iraq. Iran is much more ethnically homogeneous. So even if you get some minorities to turncoat and work for the occupiers, you are still left with about 60 million ethnically Persian Shiites. That is a 12 times larger insurgency than what you had in Iraq.

And if the Iranians had any sense RIGHT NOW, they would make sure every family had a stock of 10 powerful anti-vehicle mines, REALLY powerful mines. Make sure all are safely buried with locations memorized. And make sure everyone had the training to use them, even older children (who will be the front-line guerrillas in 5 years).

So if that devil Bolton gets his way, his own country will pay a price too, and deservedly too. I want my country to be peaceful and friendly to the world like the Germans are now. But it may take the same type of "WWII treatment" to get my hateful war-loving countrymen to walk away from their sin.

Steve , , says: March 22, 2018 at 12:47 pm
The guerrilla war in Iraq was fought against only 5 million Sunni Arabs, the US occupiers having successfully pealed away the Kurds and Shia to be collaborators, or at least stay uninvolved with the insurgency.

But Iran is not just bigger than Iraq, but much more ethnically and religiously homogeneous. Imagine what kind of insurgency you might get from 60 million ethnically Persian Shiites?

My advice to the Iranians RIGHT NOW is to mass-produce the most lethal anti-vehicle mines possible and distribute them to the entire civilian population. Train everyone how to use them, then once trained, bury maybe 20 mines per family, all in known but hidden locations.

THAT will stop the Bolton/Zionist plan dead in its tracks.

b. , , says: March 22, 2018 at 1:46 pm
"Why does Bolton want war with Iran?"

Maybe it was a career-enhancing move. It is a legitimate question, along with "follow the money"? Regardless of why sociopaths like Keith Payne or John Bolton become obsessed with "winning nuclear war" or "bombing Iran" . How do they make a living? Who would bankroll somebody – over many decades – to not just consider or plan, but actively provoke illegal acts of aggressive war, against declared policy of the government and the demands of the Constitution they have sworn an oath to uphold?

It is also educational to see that the fabrications and other "war-program related activities" in regards to Iran resemble the same stovepipelines that provide the Iraq 2003 pretexts – with Powell reprising his role as useful idiot – which clashes badly with the "blunder" narrative that anybody in the US government actually believed Iraq had WMD – was beyond "the point of no return".

This also bodes ill for a Bolton-formulated policy on Korea, and any "National Security Advice" he would see fit to fabricate and feed to the Bomber In Chief.

Furthermore, we learn just how unhinged Cheney et.al. really were – expecting Iraq to be a mere stepping stone along their adventures on the "Axis of Evil" trail. If these are our gamblers, nobody would suspect them of counting cards.

b. , , says: March 22, 2018 at 2:04 pm
Bolton and Cheney must have been livid about Stuxnet, for all the wrong reasons
PAX , , says: March 22, 2018 at 2:49 pm
We must look into our very national soul and ask why are we entertaining a war with Iran? The answer is clear. It is to further the goals of a fanatical, right-wing, group of Zionists. When a truthful history is written about this era of endless wars, the errant and disgraceful behavior of this group will be clearly identified and they will not have anywhere to hide. You may fool some of the folks, some of the time, but not all the folks, all of the time.
Buzz Man , , says: March 22, 2018 at 3:21 pm
Hiring a ghoul like Bolton will mark a new low even for the Trump administration. And that's saying something. These chickenhawk bastards should all be required to fight on the front lines of the wars they push. That was true, I'll guarantee you Bolton would shut up in a hurry.
marvin , , says: March 22, 2018 at 3:32 pm
John "FIVE DEFERMENTS" Bolton is a filthy yellow bellied coward. Drag her/him to Afghanistan amd make IT serve in the Front Lines for the duration.
Tulsa Ron , , says: March 22, 2018 at 3:43 pm
Israel and the Zionists are exactly the "foreign entanglements" that George Washington warned us about. Bolton is a neocon-Zionist who wants the United States blood and taxes to ensure Israel's dominance of the Middle East.
Jeeves , , says: March 22, 2018 at 5:14 pm
So Gareth Porter cites his own Truthout article as authority for the assertion that the "laptop documents" are fabrications. Most of the cited article seems to be devoted to "Curveball", the impeached source of Iraqi intelligence, in order to prop up the bona fides of the German who claims the Iranian intelligence is a forgery. Any other sourcing for this allegation available?

Judging from a quick look at what else Truthout has on offer, I'm not sure about the credibility of Mr. Porter.

pirouz moghaddam , , says: March 22, 2018 at 7:41 pm
Thank you Mr. Porter for your insightful and intelligent articles, being that I am from Iran Originally brings tears to my eyes to even imagine such tragedy, I pray this will never happen. Having lived in America more than half of my life and having children that are Americans makes these thoughts even more horrifying . I am however thankful to read all the comments from so many intelligent , decent and true Americans and that gives me hope that such disaster will not take place. The people of Iran are decent and kind and cultured , I am hopeful that they will find their way and bring about a true democracy soon and again become a positive force to the humanity.
Gareth Porter is an investigative reporter and regular contributor to TAC . He is also the author of Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare . Follow him on Twitter @GarethPorter .

[Mar 21, 2018] It's strange that British police did not find balalaika on the scene. Replay of Iraq WDM hoax on a new level

First of all British did have the poison they detected. Otherwise they would be unable to detect "Novichok" (if there was such substance and this is not just a myth).
Notable quotes:
"... Pat asks, Cui bono? I would say rogue players in the deep state right here in the US along with their brethren in the military/industrial/intelligence complex. ..."
"... Of course, that makes me a conspiracy theorist. But I actually saw war as a young man based upon lies. By the way, in the lead-up to the illegal invasion of Iraq, I told people at work that this war would eventually rival the military blunder in Vietnam. The propaganda reminded me so much of the Gulf of Tonkin resolution. They all laughed at me and essentially said I was an old Vietnam veteran living in the past. They aren't laughing now. ..."
Mar 21, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

g e hoeflinger March 20, 2018 at 6:40 pm

"We went to war in Iraq in 2003 to disarm it of weapons of mass destruction we later discovered Saddam Hussein did not really have."

Which was known at the time, but was trumped up to give GWB and excuse foir a fast war at election time.

George Hoffman , , March 21, 2018 at 8:27 am
I served as a medical corpsman in Vietnam and ever since then I have been a card-carrying skeptic of my own country. But I saw the human face of a war based upon lies and propaganda that became the worst foreign policy debacle in our nation's history. If we would get into a shooting war over this affair, we would have to bring back the draft to prosecute this war against Russia. Then the proverbial "merde" would definitely hit the fan.

And when Kim Sung Un assassinated his half-brother in Malaysia, the VX nerve agent was used. The UK invented this agent in the 1950s at its government laboratory. But not one nation blamed Great Britain as the culprit.

Pat asks, Cui bono? I would say rogue players in the deep state right here in the US along with their brethren in the military/industrial/intelligence complex.

Of course, that makes me a conspiracy theorist. But I actually saw war as a young man based upon lies. By the way, in the lead-up to the illegal invasion of Iraq, I told people at work that this war would eventually rival the military blunder in Vietnam. The propaganda reminded me so much of the Gulf of Tonkin resolution. They all laughed at me and essentially said I was an old Vietnam veteran living in the past. They aren't laughing now.

[Mar 20, 2018] American Exceptionalism is perhaps the most toxic ideology since Nazism and Stalinism.

Notable quotes:
"... It says that the United States is always virtuous even when it tortures, when it bombs towns, villages, cities in the name of "freedom or installs dictators, military governments, trains torturers, and, yes, rapes and loots in the name of "democracy." ..."
Mar 20, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Banger , March 19, 2018 at 9:09 am

American Exceptionalism is perhaps the most toxic ideology since Nazism and Stalinism. It says that the United States is always virtuous even when it tortures, when it bombs towns, villages, cities in the name of "freedom or installs dictators, military governments, trains torturers, and, yes, rapes and loots in the name of "democracy."

At least this appointment along with the election of Trump shows the true face of the United States in international affairs. When we face the fact we are (a) an oligarchy and (b) a brutal Empire we might have a chance to return to something more human. Few readers, even of TAC, will want to look at our recent history of stunning brutality and lack of interest in even being in the neighborhood of following international law.

[Mar 19, 2018] Gina Haspel As If Nuremberg Never Happened

Notable quotes:
"... I was not in the least surprised at reports that a known torturer was slated to head the CIA, and I expected quick confirmation. Such is my opinion of our ruling classes. ..."
"... Whatever Haspel may be, we can be sure the CIA will continue to torture, detain people without charge, assassinate and terrorize with its own drone force, and cause mayhem around the world and at home. No one can be trusted with the Ring of Power. ..."
"... American Exceptionalism is perhaps the most toxic ideology since Nazism and Stalinism. It says that the United States is always virtuous even when it tortures, when it bombs towns, villages, cities in the name of "freedom or installs dictators, military governments, trains torturers, and, yes, rapes and loots in the name of "democracy." ..."
"... Fast forward to January, 2017 and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer telling MSNBC's Rachael Maddow that President-elect Donald Trump is "being really dumb" by criticizing the intelligence community and its assessments on Russia's cyber activities: Shumer: "Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you, So even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he's being really dumb to do this." No, Shumer wasn't joking. He was serious. ..."
"... There won't be a 'Nuremberg' tribunal because Al Qaida didn't defeat the United States, and you'd have to convict not just Ms. Haspel, but a sizeable portion of the U.S. Government. ..."
"... If nothing else, the appointment of Bloody Gina as CIA head finally drives a wooden stake through the heart of the myth that "we're The Good Guys(tm)!" or its cousin "all we gotta do is elect Team D and we can be The Good Guys(R) again!" ..."
"... I do not know whether to admire Mr. van Buren's idealism or be astonished at his naivete. Has he never heard of the School of the Americas, of sinister reputation, or the Condor Plan, aided and abetted by U.S. intelligence? People in Latin America know better than to believe the U.S. protestations of virtue. They know about torturers, and the U.S. support for them. ..."
"... She was put in charge there not long after and oversaw the waterboarding of at least one prisoner, and later followed orders to destroy the tapes of waterboarding at that site. Your claim that " She had nothing to do with torture anywhere" is incorrect. ..."
"... furbo: your contention that " US extreme interrogation techniques are not equivalent to forcible sodomy, beating the genitals, pounding the kidneys, or breaking bones" is wrong. The UN Convention against Torture, to which the US is a signatory, states " For the purposes of this Convention, the term "torture" means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person " Ask anyone who has been waterboarded whether that fits the official definition? ..."
"... Ceterum censeo: given that the Iraq invasion and occupation was an act of aggressive war in violation of the UN Charter and thus illegal under US law, it is not just torturers but also war criminals in government and general staff that have to be considered in the contexts of these words. ..."
Mar 19, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Nothing will say more about who we are, across three American administrations -- one that demanded torture, one that covered it up, and one that seeks to promote its bloody participants -- than whether Gina Haspel becomes director of the CIA.

Haspel oversaw the torture of human beings in Thailand as the chief of a CIA black site in 2002. Since then, she's worked her way up to deputy director at the CIA. With current director Mike Pompeo slated to move to Foggy Bottom, President Donald Trump has proposed Haspel as the Agency's new head.

Haspel's victims waiting for death in Guantanamo cannot speak to us, though they no doubt remember their own screams as they were waterboarded. And we can still hear former CIA officer John Kiriakou say : "We did call her Bloody Gina. Gina was always very quick and very willing to use force. Gina and people like Gina did it, I think, because they enjoyed doing it. They tortured just for the sake of torture, not for the sake of gathering information."

It was Kiriakou who exposed the obsessive debate over the effectiveness of torture as false. The real purpose of torture conducted by those like Gina Haspel was to seek vengeance, humiliation, and power. We're just slapping you now, she would have said in that Thai prison, but we control you, and who knows what will happen next, what we're capable of? The torture victim is left to imagine what form the hurt will take and just how severe it will be, creating his own terror.

Haspel won't be asked at her confirmation hearing to explain how torture works, but those who were waterboarded under her stewardship certainly could.

I met my first torture victim in Korea, where I was adjudicating visas for the State Department. Persons with serious criminal records are ineligible to travel to the United States, with an exception for dissidents who have committed political crimes. The man I spoke with said that under the U.S.-supported military dictatorship of Park Chung Hee he was tortured for writing anti-government verse. He was taken to a small underground cell. Two men arrived and beat him repeatedly on his testicles and sodomized him with one of the tools they had used for the beating. They asked no questions. They barely spoke to him at all.

Though the pain was beyond his ability to describe, he said the subsequent humiliation of being left so utterly helpless was what really affected his life. It destroyed his marriage, sent him to the repeated empty comfort of alcohol, and kept him from ever putting pen to paper again. The men who destroyed him, he told me, did their work, and then departed, as if they had others to visit and needed to get on with things. He was released a few days later and driven back to his apartment by the police. A forward-looking gesture.

The second torture victim I met was while I was stationed in Iraq. The prison that had held him was under the control of shadowy U.S.-trained Iraqi security forces. Inside, masked men bound him at the wrists and ankles and hung him upside-down. He said they neither asked him questions nor demanded information. They did whip his testicles with a leather strap, then beat the bottoms of his feet and the area around his kidneys. They slapped him. They broke the bones in his right foot with a steel rod, a piece of rebar ordinarily used to reinforce concrete.

It was painful, he told me, but he had felt pain before. What destroyed him was the feeling of utter helplessness, the inability to control things around him as he once had. He showed me the caved-in portion of his foot, which still bore a rod-like indentation with faint signs of metal grooves.

Gina Haspel is the same as those who were in the room with the Korean. She is no different than those who tormented the Iraqi.

As head of a black site, Haspel had sole authority to halt the questioning of suspects, but she allowed torture to continue. New information and a redaction of earlier reporting that said Haspel was present for the waterboarding and torture of Abu Zubaydah (she was actually the station chief at the black site after those sessions) makes it less clear whether Haspel oversaw the torture of all of the prisoners there, but pay it little mind. The confusion arises from the government's refusal to tell us what Haspel actually did as a torturer. So many records have yet to be released and those that have been are heavily redacted. Then there are the tapes of Zubaydah's waterboarding, which Haspel later pushed to have destroyed.

Arguing over just how much blood she has in her hands is a distraction from the fact that she indeed has blood on her hands.

Gina Haspel is now eligible for the CIA directorship because Barack Obama did not prosecute anyone for torture; he merely signed an executive order banning it in the future. He did not hold any truth commissions, and ensured that almost all government documents on the torture program remained classified. He did not prosecute the CIA officials who destroyed videotapes of the torture scenes.

Obama ignored the truth that sees former Nazis continue to be hunted some 70 years after the Holocaust: that those who do evil on behalf of a government are individually responsible. "I was only following orders" is not a defense of inhuman acts. The purpose of tracking down the guilty is to punish them, to discourage the next person from doing evil, and to morally immunize a nation-state.

To punish Gina Haspel "more than 15 years later for doing what her country asked her to do, and in response to what she was told were lawful orders, would be a travesty and a disgrace," claims one of her supporters. "Haspel did nothing more and nothing less than what the nation and the agency asked her to do, and she did it well," said Michael Hayden, who headed the CIA during the height of the Iraq war from 2006-2009.

Influential people in Congress agree. Senator Richard Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which will soon review Haspel's nomination, said , "I know Gina personally and she has the right skill set, experience, and judgment to lead one of our nation's most critical agencies."

"She'll have to answer for that period of time, but I think she's a highly qualified person," offered Senator Lindsey Graham. Democratic Senator Bill Nelson defended Haspel's actions, saying they were "the accepted practice of the day" and shouldn't disqualify her.

His fellow Democrat Senator Dianne Feinstein, ranking member on the Intelligence Committee, signaled her likely acceptance, saying , "Since my concerns were raised over the torture situation, I have met with her extensively, talked with her She has been, I believe, a good deputy director." Senator Susan Collins added that Haspel "certainly has the expertise and experience as a 30-year employee of the agency." John McCain, a victim of torture during the Vietnam War, mumbled only that Haspel would have to explain her role.

Nearly alone at present, Republican Senator Rand Paul says he will oppose Haspel's nomination. Senators Ron Wyden and Martin Heinrich, both Democrats, have told Trump she is unsuitable and will likely also vote no.

Following World War II, the United States could have easily executed those Nazis responsible for the Holocaust, or thrown them into some forever jail on an island military base. It would have been hard to find anyone who wouldn't have supported brutally torturing them at a black site. Instead, they were put on public trial at Nuremberg and made to defend their actions as the evidence against them was laid bare. The point was to demonstrate that We were better than Them.

Today we refuse to understand what Haspel's victims, and the Korean writer, and the Iraqi insurgent, already know on our behalf: unless Congress awakens to confront this nightmare and deny Gina Haspel's nomination as director of the CIA, torture will have transformed us and so it will consume us. Gina Haspel is a torturer. We are torturers. It is as if Nuremberg never happened.

Peter Van Buren, a 24-year State Department veteran, is the author of We Meant Well : How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People and Hooper's War : A Novel of WWII Japan. He tweets @WeMeantWell.


Douglas K. March 19, 2018 at 3:19 am

Covering up torture is quite possibly the worst thing Obama did. (I'd put it neck-and-neck with targeted killing.) This nation desperately needs a president who will expose all of these horrors, and appoint an attorney general who will prosecute these acts as war crimes.
I Don't Matter , says: March 19, 2018 at 4:49 am
Trump likes waterboarding. He said so himself. One assumes he meant, being a whimpering coward himself, when someone else does it to someone else. But who knows? Enjoy judge Gorsuch.
Mark Thomason , says: March 19, 2018 at 4:49 am
"doing what her country asked her to do, and in response to what she was told were lawful orders"

To complete the parallel, we would need to prosecute and punish those who asked her to do it, and those who told her those orders were lawful. Instead, some are doing paintings of their toes, some are promoted to be Federal judges, and some are influential professors at "liberal" law schools. Why punish *only* her?

Peter Hopkins , says: March 19, 2018 at 6:52 am
Those who forget the past are destined to repeat it.
Ian , says: March 19, 2018 at 7:10 am
As we've proved, we're not better than them. Any of them.
Bagby , says: March 19, 2018 at 8:00 am
I was not in the least surprised at reports that a known torturer was slated to head the CIA, and I expected quick confirmation. Such is my opinion of our ruling classes. I am in full support of Mr. Van Buren's thesis. However, Pro Publica, which seems to have been the source of much reporting of Haspel's torture record, has retracted the claim that Haspel had tortured in Thailand. Mr. Van Buren quotes another source from his blog that supports the thesis that Haspel is a torturer. How does one know what to believe? Whatever Haspel may be, we can be sure the CIA will continue to torture, detain people without charge, assassinate and terrorize with its own drone force, and cause mayhem around the world and at home. No one can be trusted with the Ring of Power.
Centralist , says: March 19, 2018 at 8:19 am
Its because we lost our sense of what makes us who we are. We are an empire that dances for private interests. In Rome they were called families and led by patricians, they had money private guards, gladiators, and even street people supporting them. In the Modern USA they are called Interest Groups and/or Corporations. They are lead by CEOs and instead of gladiators they have Lawyers. Our being better matters less then their own squabbles which is why a torturer could reach the highest seat in intel. The majority of Americans have lost their sense of being Americans instead they are Republicans, Democrats, etc, etc. Things that once use to be part of an American have come to define us.
Banger , says: March 19, 2018 at 9:09 am
American Exceptionalism is perhaps the most toxic ideology since Nazism and Stalinism. It says that the United States is always virtuous even when it tortures, when it bombs towns, villages, cities in the name of "freedom or installs dictators, military governments, trains torturers, and, yes, rapes and loots in the name of "democracy."

At least this appointment along with the election of Trump shows the true face of the United States in international affairs. When we face the fact we are (a) an oligarchy and (b) a brutal Empire we might have a chance to return to something more human. Few readers, even of TAC, will want to look at our recent history of stunning brutality and lack of interest in even being in the neighborhood of following international law.

Peter Van Buren , says: March 19, 2018 at 9:31 am
CIA has purposefully refused to disclose Haspel's role for a decade+ They have selectively released information last week to discredit those criticizing her. I don't think we should play their game, letting them set the agenda. Instead, I declaim torture itself and any role she played in it, whether she poured the water or kept the books.
Kurt Gayle , says: March 19, 2018 at 9:34 am
Does Peter Van Buren's criticism of the CIA's Haspel put him at risk?

In the 2003 film "Love Actually" the British Prime Minister (played by Hugh Grant) jokes with a Downing Street employee Natalie (Martine McCutcheon):

"PM: You live with your husband? Boyfriend, three illegitimate but charming children? –
"NATALIE: No, I've just split up with my boyfriend, so I'm back with my mum and dad for a while.
"PM: Oh. I'm sorry.
"NATALIE: No, it's fine. I'm well shot of him. He said I was getting fat.
"PM: I beg your pardon?
"NATALIE: He said no one's going to fancy a girl with thighs the size of big tree trunks. Not a nice guy, actually, in the end.
"PM: Right You know, being Prime Minister, I could just have him murdered.
"NATALIE: Thank you, sir. I'll think about it.
"PM: Do – the SAS are absolutely charming – ruthless, trained killers are just a phone call away."

It's just a film. It's just a joke. But the joke works because the public knows that – in reality – the security services have the skills-sets and the abilities, to do damage anyone they want to do damage to -- and to probably get away with it.

Fast forward to January, 2017 and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer telling MSNBC's Rachael Maddow that President-elect Donald Trump is "being really dumb" by criticizing the intelligence community and its assessments on Russia's cyber activities: Shumer: "Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you, So even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he's being really dumb to do this." No, Shumer wasn't joking. He was serious.

Fast forward again to yesterday, March 17, 2018: Former CIA Director John Brennan wasn't joking when he reacted to the firing of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe -- and President Donald Trump's tweeted celebration of it -- by tweeting this attack against Trump:

"When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America America will triumph over you."

Obama UN Representative Samantha Power followed up on the Brennan tweet with this:

"Not a good idea to piss off John Brennan."

When public officials and former public officials -- like Shumer, Brennan and Power -- make such public statements it must necessarily have a chilling effect on public criticism of the security services.

After all, none of the three are joking. They're serious. And the American people know that they're serious.

Does Peter Van Buren's criticism of CIA operative Haspel put him at risk?

Peter Van Buren , says: March 19, 2018 at 9:35 am
New information makes it less clear whether Haspel oversaw the torture of all of the prisoners at her black site, but pay it little mind. The confusion is because the government refuses to tell us what Haspel actually did as a torturer. Arguing over just how much blood she has on her hands is a distraction when she indeed has blood on her hands.

The idea is her participation on any level at the black site is sufficient to disqualify her from heading the Agency. If the Agency wishes to clarify her role, as was done via trial for the various Nazis at Nuremberg, we can deal with her actions more granularly.

Wilfred , says: March 19, 2018 at 10:25 am
Since we have not had any more successful attacks on the scale of 9-11, it is very easy to be scrupulous regarding rough treatment of terrorists.

But if we had suffered a dozen or more such attacks, of increasing magnitude and maybe involving nuclear weapons, how many of you would still be condemning Mrs Haspel et al.? Or would you then be complaining they had not used water-boarding enough?

The 20th hijacker, Zacarias Moussaoui, was caught weeks before 9-11. Investigators figured out he was up to no good, tried to get permission to search his computer, but were denied. The U.S. Government carefully protected his privacy rights. So are you pleased with the outcome, Mr van Buren?

furbo , says: March 19, 2018 at 10:45 am
I'm sorry – this whole piece is a massive non sequitur. Ms. Haspel has no 'blood' on her hands as US extreme interrogation techniques (sleep deprivation, uncomfortable positions, waterboarding) didn't draw any. They are not equivalent to forcible sodomy, beating the genitals, pounding the kidneys, or breaking bones. US techniques might have been bad policy – won't argue – but lets not fall for a false equivalency.

Ms. Haspel was an agent of her government, acting on it's orders under it's policies and guidelines. Which leads to

Nuremberg. The Nuremberg tribunals (they were military tribunals – not trials) were conducted by a victorious military force against a defeated military force. They were widely criticized as vengeance even by such august people as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Stone and associate Justice Douglas. There won't be a 'Nuremberg' tribunal because Al Qaida didn't defeat the United States, and you'd have to convict not just Ms. Haspel, but a sizeable portion of the U.S. Government.

And lastly there's this from a comment of the authors: "The idea is her participation on any level at the black site is sufficient to disqualify her from heading the Agency." Utter nonsense. That was the mission of the Agency at that time. It's like saying a 33yr old Drone Pilot who takes out an ISIS/Al Qaida operative as well as 15 civilians is disqualified to be the Sec Def 2 decades later.

Just stop.

Sid Finster , says: March 19, 2018 at 10:59 am

If nothing else, the appointment of Bloody Gina as CIA head finally drives a wooden stake through the heart of the myth that "we're The Good Guys(tm)!" or its cousin "all we gotta do is elect Team D and we can be The Good Guys(R) again!"

We demonize Russia at every opportunity, but I don't see Russia rewarding torturers by appointing them to high office.

Sally Stewart , says: March 19, 2018 at 11:11 am
Douglas K. What are you talking about? Covered up? You mean Bush http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/obameter/promise/175/end-the-use-of-torture/
Stephen J. , says: March 19, 2018 at 11:12 am
A lot of info below on the War criminals at large.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- –
May 26, 2015 Do We Need Present Day Nuremberg Trials? http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2015/05/do-we-need-present-day-nuremberg-trials.html

And

March 9, 2018 Are We Seeing Government By Gangsters? http://graysinfo.blogspot.ca/2018/03/are-we-seeing-government-by-gangsters.html

connecticut farmer , says: March 19, 2018 at 11:49 am
I didn't know too much about this woman's background until I read that Rand Paul opposes her nomination. I tend to take notice whenever Rand Paul holds forth on any subject. All I can say is that if her actual record even approximates what has been alleged, then this woman is unfit for the post–Nuremberg or no Nuremberg.
Winston , says: March 19, 2018 at 11:54 am
"As we've proved, we're not better than them. Any of them." Oh, -PLEASE-, spare us the hyperbole! WE burn alive captives held in cages? WE saw off their heads?

Thousands of US Navy and Air Force pilots have been waterboarded as part of their Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (S.E.R.E.) training programs.

Lex Talionis , says: March 19, 2018 at 12:00 pm
All of the torturers should be brought to justice. So should all of the officials who ordered or authorized torture.

There is no statute of limitations on capital Federal crimes. For a U.S. citizen to kill via torture is a capital Federal crime, no matter where the torture took place. If statutes of limitations make it too late to prosecute some acts of torture, it is not too late to bring about some measure of justice by making torturers pariahs. As many sexual harassers have recently learned, there is no statute of limitations in the court of public opinion.

bob sykes , says: March 19, 2018 at 12:16 pm
The story linking her to torture has been formally retracted. She had nothing to do with torture anywhere. How about a retraction of this story and an apology.
Youknowho , says: March 19, 2018 at 12:30 pm
I do not know whether to admire Mr. van Buren's idealism or be astonished at his naivete. Has he never heard of the School of the Americas, of sinister reputation, or the Condor Plan, aided and abetted by U.S. intelligence? People in Latin America know better than to believe the U.S. protestations of virtue. They know about torturers, and the U.S. support for them.

Personally, I prefer that the cruelty should be, as Lincoln once put it, "unalloyed by the base metal of hypocrisy"

Tyrone Slothrop , says: March 19, 2018 at 1:07 pm
bob sykes: you should read Pro Publica's retraction ( https://www.propublica.org/article/cia-cables-detail-its-new-deputy-directors-role-in-torture ) of the claim that Haspel was in charge of the Thai black site when Abu Zubaydeh was tortured. She was put in charge there not long after and oversaw the waterboarding of at least one prisoner, and later followed orders to destroy the tapes of waterboarding at that site. Your claim that " She had nothing to do with torture anywhere" is incorrect.

Winston: why do you suppose "thousands of US Navy and Air Force pilots have been waterboarded as part of their Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (S.E.R.E.) training programs"? Is it not to prepare them for the possibility of what we call torture when used by our adversaries?

furbo: your contention that " US extreme interrogation techniques are not equivalent to forcible sodomy, beating the genitals, pounding the kidneys, or breaking bones" is wrong. The UN Convention against Torture, to which the US is a signatory, states " For the purposes of this Convention, the term "torture" means any act by which severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, is intentionally inflicted on a person " Ask anyone who has been waterboarded whether that fits the official definition?

Near Rockaway , says: March 19, 2018 at 1:31 pm
"Has he never heard of the School of the Americas, of sinister reputation, or the Condor Plan, aided and abetted by U.S. intelligence?"

Evil stuff. And we're still paying for it. Keeping Haspel out of the Director's chair is a basic step toward avoiding more such needless, stupid evil.

Chris Mallory , says: March 19, 2018 at 1:47 pm
Wilfred, the problem was not that the Feds protected Zacarias Moussaoui's right to privacy. The problem is that it let any of the 20 Arab Muslims into the US in the first place. Closing our borders and mass deportations would have been the best thing to do in the aftermath of 9/11, not torture and invasions.
b. , says: March 19, 2018 at 1:58 pm
Very well put. Lest we forget: Bush also delivered the stern warning that "war crimes will be prosecuted, war criminals will be punished, and it will be no defense to say, 'I was just following orders'."

Ceterum censeo: given that the Iraq invasion and occupation was an act of aggressive war in violation of the UN Charter and thus illegal under US law, it is not just torturers but also war criminals in government and general staff that have to be considered in the contexts of these words.

Wilfred , says: March 19, 2018 at 4:28 pm
Chris Mallory (Mar 19 @1:47 p.m.), I agree with you. We shouldn't be letting them in.

But if someone had sneaked-a-peek at Moussaoui's laptop during the 3 weeks they had him before 9-11, we might have been able to thwart the attack altogether. (And the Press has been strangely incurious about investigating whoever it was who issued the injunction protecting Moussie's precious computer). This type of hand-wringing cost us 3,000 lives. Even more, considering the Afghan & 2nd Iraq wars would never have been launched, were it not for 9-11.

[Mar 18, 2018] Pompeo's All-or-Nothing View of Diplomacy by Daniel Larison

Notable quotes:
"... Iran yielded a great deal, but they were never going to give up their entire nuclear program. That is not just because Iran is permitted to have such a program under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), but also because Iran had already invested so many resources at significant cost that retaining some part of it was a matter of national pride. ..."
Mar 18, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Uri Friedman reviews Mike Pompeo's hard-line foreign policy views. Here he quotes Pompeo's criticism of the negotiations leading up to the nuclear deal with Iran:

The Obama administration failed to take "advantage of crushing economic sanctions to end Iran's nuclear program," he declared when the deal was struck. "That's not foreign policy; it's surrender."

Pompeo's statement is ridiculous, but it does provide us with a useful window into how he understands foreign policy issues. Like many other Iran hawks, he opposes the nuclear deal because it "failed" to bring an end to Iran's nuclear program. He dubs Iran's major concessions on the nuclear issue as "surrender" by the U.S. because they were not forced to give up absolutely everything. That reflects the absurd all-or-nothing view of diplomacy that prevails among hard-line critics of the JCPOA.

Iran yielded a great deal, but they were never going to give up their entire nuclear program. That is not just because Iran is permitted to have such a program under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), but also because Iran had already invested so many resources at significant cost that retaining some part of it was a matter of national pride. If the Obama administration had insisted on the elimination of Iran's nuclear program, the negotiations would have failed and the restrictions on that problem that are now in place would not exist. There would have been no nuclear deal if the U.S. had insisted on maximalist demands. What Pompeo calls surrender is what sane people call compromise. Putting someone so inflexible and allergic to compromise in charge of the State Department is the act of a president who has nothing but disdain for diplomacy, and Pompeo's all-or-nothing view of the nuclear deal bodes ill for talks with North Korea.

Procivic March 18, 2018 at 3:10 pm

Zero sum games are for the infantile and the Trump administration is infested with them.

[Mar 18, 2018] Mattis' Weak Case for Supporting the War on Yemen by Daniel Larison

Notable quotes:
"... "Mattis' Weak Case for Supporting the War on Yemen" ..."
Mar 18, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The Secretary of Defense has written to Congressional leaders to express his opposition to S.J.Res. 54, the resolution that would end U.S. involvement in the war on Yemen:

In a letter sent to congressional leaders Wednesday and obtained by The Washington Post, Mattis wrote that restricting military support the United States is providing to the Saudi-led coalition "could increase civilian casualties, jeopardize cooperation with our partners on counterterrorism, and reduce our influence with the Saudis -- all of which would further exacerbate the situation and humanitarian crisis."

He urged Congress not to impose restrictions on the "noncombat," "limited U.S. military support" being provided to Saudi Arabia, which is "engaging in operations in its legitimate exercise of self-defense."

The Pentagon has been putting forward very weak legal arguments against S.J.Res. 54, and Mattis' statement of the policy arguments against the resolution are not any better. The Saudi-led coalition would have great difficulty continuing their war without U.S. military assistance. U.S. refueling allows coalition planes to carry out more attacks than they otherwise could, so it is extremely unlikely that ending it could possibly result in more civilian casualties than the bombing campaign causes now. Mattis is taking for granted that U.S. military assistance somehow makes coalition bombing more accurate and less likely to result in civilian casualties, but that is hard to credit when coalition forces routinely target civilian structures on purpose and when the military admits that it doesn't keep track of what happens after it refuels coalition planes.

Secretary Mattis says that cutting off support could jeopardize cooperation on counter-terrorism, but the flip side of this is that continuing to enable the Saudi-led war creates the conditions for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and the local ISIS affiliate to flourish. The coalition's war has made AQAP stronger than it was before, and AQAP members have sometimes even fought alongside coalition forces on the ground. Instead of worrying about whether the U.S. is jeopardizing cooperation with these states, we should be asking whether that cooperation is worth very much in Yemen.

He claims that the Saudis and their allies are engaged in "a legitimate exercise of self-defense," and this is simply not true. The Saudis and their allies were not attacked and were not threatened with attack prior to their intervention. Saudi territory now comes under attack because the coalition has been bombing Yemen for years, but that doesn't make continuing the war self-defense. If an aggressor launches an attack against a neighboring country, it is the neighbor that is engaged in self-defense against the state(s) attacking them.

Mattis also warns that ending support for the Saudi-led coalition would have other undesirable consequences:

As Mattis put it in his letter to congressional leaders Wednesday, "withdrawing U.S. support would embolden Iran to increase its support to the Houthis, enabling further ballistic missile strikes on Saudi Arabia and threatening vital shipping lanes in the Red Sea, thereby raising the risk of a regional conflict."

These claims also don't hold water. Iranian support for the Houthis remains limited, but it has increased as a direct result of the war. The longer that the war goes on, the greater the incentive the Houthis and Iran will have to cooperate. The absurdity of this intervention is that it was dishonestly sold as a war against Iranian "expansionism" and yet it has done more to aid Iran than anything Iran's government could have done on its own. Missile strikes on Saudi Arabia wouldn't be happening if the Saudis and their allies weren't regularly bombing Yemeni cities. If the coalition halted its bombing, the missile strikes would almost certainly cease as well. Continuing the war is a guarantee that those attacks will continue, and U.S. military assistance ensures that the war will continue. Every reason Mattis gives here for continuing U.S. support for the war is actually a reason to end it.

Shipping lanes weren't threatened before the intervention and won't be threatened after it ends. Yemenis have every incentive to leave shipping lanes alone, since these are their country's lifeline. Meanwhile, the cruel coalition blockade is slowly starving millions of Yemenis to death by keeping out essential commercial goods from the main ports that serve the vast majority of the population. Mattis is warning about potential threats to shipping from Yemen while completely ignoring that the main cause of the humanitarian disaster is the interruption of commercial shipping into Yemen by the Saudi-led blockade. The regional conflict that Mattis warns about is already here. It is called the Saudi-led war on Yemen. If one wants to prevent the region from being destabilized further, one would want to put an end to that war as quickly as possible.

Mattis mentions that the U.S. role in the war is a "noncombat" and "limited" one, but for the purposes of the debate on Sanders-Lee resolution that is irrelevant. It doesn't matter that the military assistance the U.S. is providing doesn't put Americans in combat. That is not the only way that U.S. forces can be introduced into hostilities. According to the War Powers Resolution , the U.S. has introduced its armed forces into hostilities under these circumstances:

For purposes of this joint resolution, the term "introduction of United States Armed Forces" includes the assignment of member of such armed forces to command, coordinate, participate in the movement of, or accompany [bold mine-DL] the regular or irregular military forces of any foreign country or government when such military forces are engaged, or there exists an imminent threat that such forces will become engaged, in hostilities.

Any fair reading of this definition has to apply to the regular U.S. refueling of coalition planes that are engaged in an ongoing bombing campaign. The U.S. is obviously participating in the "movement" of coalition forces when it provides their planes with fuel. Indeed, our forces are making the movement of their forces possible through refueling. U.S. involvement in the war on Yemen clearly counts as introducing U.S. forces into hostilities under the WPR, and neither administration has sought or received authorization to do this. No president is permitted to do this unless there is "(1) a declaration of war, (2) specific statutory authorization, or (3) a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces." There has obviously been no action from Congress that authorizes this, and there is certainly no emergency or attack that justifies it. U.S. involvement in the war on Yemen is illegal, and the Senate should pass S.J.Res. 54 to end it.


so it's blackmail March 15, 2018 at 11:00 am

"Mattis wrote that restricting military support the United States is providing to the Saudi-led coalition "could increase civilian casualties, jeopardize cooperation with our partners on counterterrorism, and reduce our influence with the Saudis -- all of which would further exacerbate the situation and humanitarian crisis.""

Wow. So MBS is blackmailing us. He's threatening to kill more civilians, to stop anti-terror cooperation, and to shut us out of other Saudi regional security decisions if we don't help him starve and wreck Yemen.

Maybe the situation is a little clearer, but how can anyone take Trump seriously after this embarrassing confession by Mattis?

We may assume that Trump has no self-respect, but doesn't he have any respect for his office? Is he really going to let this disgusting little torture freak jerk him around like this? When it implicates all Americans in Saudi war crimes?

SteveM , says: March 15, 2018 at 2:14 pm
Re: "Mattis' Weak Case for Supporting the War on Yemen"

Unfortunately, in this day of warped Military Exceptionalism as the civic religion, a 4-Star pedigree fronting weak arguments makes them essentially unassailable. No matter how immoral, idiotic or costly to the taxpayers.

Mad Dog Mattis got a free ride with his logically incoherent, hyper-belligerent pronouncements related to the National Security Strategy. Expect no different response to his perverse rationalizations of the Yemen catastrophe.

Generals and Admirals now pop off stupid and dangerous opinions right and left and are never challenged by an MSM that is bedazzled by anyone wearing stars on their shoulders.

Mattis' case for Yemen is not only weak, it's pathetic. Too bad the co-opted and seduced MSM will never suggest that to the public at large deluded by the omnipresent propaganda of the National Security State.

Nothing will change until the undeserved fawning adoration of the War Machine Elite is substantially attenuated.

Alex Ingrum , says: March 15, 2018 at 3:12 pm
The neocons will stop at nothing to bring down anyone they suspect of threatening Israel or U.S. military hegemony in the Middle East.

First, they lied about WMDs in Iraq and started a completely illegal war, killing millions and devastating that country for generations. That led directly to the creation of ISIS and the havoc it has wrought on both Iraq and Syria (and increasingly in other countries).

Then under Obama and Sec. Clinton, they allowed the military takeover of Egypt by the murderous and oppressive El-Sisi and launched an aggressive war of regime change in Libya, throwing both North African countries into turmoil.

Then they supported the brutal and savage ongoing Saudi war against Yemen to curb non-existent Iranian influence, followed by politically isolating Qatar for its supposed chumminess with Iran.

The neocons will do absolutely anything to bring down the Iranian regime, no matter how many foreign and American lives and destroyed to achieve that end.

b. , says: March 15, 2018 at 3:38 pm
The details of Mattis' letter of indulgence do not matter as much as the fact that he is willing to defend the indefensible. Even if his professed concerns were not only genuine, but actually reflected reality, he also has to know better than anybody else within the administration about the consequences of the US-backed Saudi/UAE invasion of Yemen.

Mattis has joined Graham and Albright in the "worth it" campaign to sustain and extend perfectly predictable atrocities.

If he wants to make the case that we cannot accept uncertainty with respect to an alleged Iranian aggression towards Saudi Arabia – and with even more unlikely acquiescence by the Houthi to let Iran use them the way the US uses the Kurds – or even assuming that Mattis wants to misrepresent possible Houthi blowback against Saudi Arabia as "Iranian" just for convenience – then it should be clear that he is claimng we can easily accept uncertainty with respect to Yemeni blowback against the US – blowback that he also uses to justify the US campaign inside Yemen, and that fueled Obama's pathological obsession with ideological cleansing in Yemen and other prospective "safe harbors".

Mattis is proving the validity of the actual Powell Doctrine – if you join it, you own it – both with respect to US co-belligerence in Yemen, and with respect to Mattis personally. He is also proving the observation that anybody who is willing to join an administration as criminal as that of Bush, Obama or Trump is unlikely to do any good – by their voluntary association they have irredeemably tainted themselves.

Uncle Billy , says: March 15, 2018 at 7:54 pm
We do not want to get in the middle of this Sunni vs. Shiite war. The Saudis want to destroy the Shiites in Yemen and we are fools at best and criminals at worst to help them. The people of Yemen are no threat to the US and for theAmerican Government to cooperate with the Saudis in the murderof Yemeni women and children is revolting.
Sisera , says: March 16, 2018 at 6:06 pm
Americans have heard for years that supporting "democracy" and popular uprisings throughout the Middle East are in our national interests, the basis being that oppressed people are more likely to resort to terrorism.

Yet in the cases of Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and now Yemen popular revolutions of Shias demanding equal rights are actually deemed a threat to our national security.

The neocons have gotten so deep in the Gulf/Israel v. Iran conflict that they're not even keeping to the ostensible reasons for interventionism.

[Mar 02, 2018] Fatal Delusions of Western Man by Pat Buchanan

Highly recommended!
At the core of Trumpism is the rejection of neoliberalism
Pat Buchanan does not understand neoliberalism well and mixes apples with oranges, but the key idea expressed here stands: " Consider this crazed ideology of free trade globalism with its roots in the scribblings of 19th-century idiot savants, not one of whom ever built a great nation. Adhering religiously to free trade dogma, we have run up $12 trillion in trade deficits since Bush I. Our cities have been gutted by the loss of plants and factories. Workers' wages have stagnated. The economic independence Hamilton sought and Republican presidents from Lincoln to McKinley achieved is history."
Notable quotes:
"... Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, "Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever." ..."
Mar 02, 2018 | www.unz.com

At Yalta, Churchill rose to toast the butcher:

"I walk through this world with greater courage and hope when I find myself in a relation of friendship and intimacy with this great man, whose fame has gone out not only over all Russia, but the world. We regard Marshal Stalin's life as most precious to the hopes and hearts of all of us."

Returning home, Churchill assured a skeptical Parliament, "I know of no Government which stands to its obligations, even in its own despite, more solidly than the Russian Soviet Government."

George W. Bush, with the U.S. establishment united behind him, invaded Iraq with the goal of creating a Vermont in the Middle East that would be a beacon of democracy to the Arab and Islamic world.

Ex-Director of the NSA Gen. William Odom correctly called the U.S. invasion the greatest strategic blunder in American history. But Bush, un-chastened, went on to preach a crusade for democracy with the goal of "ending tyranny in our world."

... ... ...

After our victory in the Cold War, we not only plunged into the Middle East to remake it in our image, we issued war guarantees to every ex-member state of the Warsaw Pact, and threatened Russia with war if she ever intervened again in the Baltic Republics.

No Cold War president would have dreamed of issuing such an in-your-face challenge to a great nuclear power like Russia. If Putin's Russia does not become the pacifist nation it has never been, these guarantees will one day be called. And America will either back down -- or face a nuclear confrontation. Why would we risk something like this?

Consider this crazed ideology of free trade globalism with its roots in the scribblings of 19th-century idiot savants, not one of whom ever built a great nation. Adhering religiously to free trade dogma, we have run up $12 trillion in trade deficits since Bush I. Our cities have been gutted by the loss of plants and factories. Workers' wages have stagnated. The economic independence Hamilton sought and Republican presidents from Lincoln to McKinley achieved is history.

But the greatest risk we are taking, based on utopianism, is the annual importation of well over a million legal and illegal immigrants, many from the failed states of the Third World, in the belief we can create a united, peaceful and harmonious land of 400 million, composed of every race, religion, ethnicity, tribe, creed, culture and language on earth.

Where is the historic evidence for the success of this experiment, the failure of which could mean the end of America as one nation and one people?

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of a new book, "Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever."

likbez , March 2, 2018 at 6:47 am GMT

Pat Buchanan does not understand neoliberalism well and mixes apples with oranges, but the key idea expressed here stands:

" Consider this crazed ideology of free trade globalism with its roots in the scribblings of 19th-century idiot savants, not one of whom ever built a great nation. Adhering religiously to free trade dogma, we have run up $12 trillion in trade deficits since Bush I. Our cities have been gutted by the loss of plants and factories. Workers' wages have stagnated. The economic independence Hamilton sought and Republican presidents from Lincoln to McKinley achieved is history."

The truth is that now Trump does not represent "Trumpism" -- the movement that he created which includes the following:

– rejection of neoliberal globalization;
– rejection of unrestricted immigration;
– fight against suppression of wages by multinationals via cheap imported labor;
– fight against the elimination of meaningful, well-paying jobs via outsourcing and offshoring of manufacturing;
– rejection of wars for enlargement and sustaining of neoliberal empire, especially NATO role as global policemen and wars for Washington client Israel in the Middle East;
– détente with Russia;
– more pragmatic relations with Israel and suppression of Israeli agents of influence;
– revision of relations with China and addressing the problem of trade deficit.
– rejection of total surveillance on all citizens;
– the cut of military expenses to one third or less of the current level and concentrating on revival on national infrastructure, education, and science.
– abandonment of maintenance of the "sole superpower" status and global neoliberal empire for more practical and less costly "semi-isolationist" foreign policy; closing of unnecessary foreign military bases and cutting aid to the current clients.

Of course, the notion of "Trumpism" is fuzzy and different people might include some additional issues and disagree with some listed here, but the core probably remains.

Of course, Trump is under relentless attack (coup d'état or, more precisely, a color revolution) of neoliberal fifth column, which includes Clinton gang, fifth column elements within his administration (Rosenstein, etc) as well from remnants of Obama administration (Brennan, Comey, Clapper) and associated elements within corresponding intelligence agencies. He probably was forced into some compromises just to survive. He also has members of the neoliberal fifth column within his family (Ivanka and Kushner).

So the movement now is in deep need of a new leader.

Miro23, March 3, 2018 at 7:55 am GMT
@likbez

That's a good summary of what the public voted for and didn't get.

And whether Trump has sold out, or was blackmailed or was a cynical manipulative liar for the beginning is really irrelevant. The fact is that he is not doing it – so he is just blocking the way.

At some point the US public are going to have to forget about their "representatives" (Trump and Congress and the rest of them) and get out onto the street to make themselves heard. The population of the US is 323 million people and if just 1/2 of 1% (1,6 million) of them decided to visit Congress directly the US administration might get the message.

pyrrhus, March 3, 2018 at 2:15 am GMT

@anon

Finally, Pat understands that the American [Neoliberal] Empire and habit of intervention all over the world is a disaster.

[Mar 02, 2018] Si>nce 1980th, very little has been done by US Federal Government for the benefit of the common citizen. A great deal has been done to facilitate the degradation of the standard of living of common citizen by the global one percent and by the costs of maintaining global neoliberal empire

Notable quotes:
"... Based on historical evidence, to believe that Trump (with his party - Republican control of House and Senate) will change our course is naive. By contrast, Obama D had both houses also - we got WAR, cash for clunkers, foreclosures, bank bailouts and health care by AHIP with runaway costs. ..."
Aug 20, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

fast freddy | Aug 20, 2017 3:12:28 PM | 133

In fifty years, very little has been done by US Federal Government which benefits the common citizen. A great deal has been done to facilitate the degradation of the common citizen by the global one percent. We have a new world order as called for by GHW Bush.

Based on historical evidence, to believe that Trump (with his party - Republican control of House and Senate) will change our course is naive. By contrast, Obama D had both houses also - we got WAR, cash for clunkers, foreclosures, bank bailouts and health care by AHIP with runaway costs.

Rodger | Aug 20, 2017 3:37:22 PM | 137
ANON

Trump is and has been carrying out his own policies to enrich those that already have everything and to repeal any regulations that were put into place to protect the people. Have you not noticed that he lined his cabinet with Goldman Sachs (which he blasted HRC for associating her self with.

Like I said he and his gang are doing what they want to help enrich themselves on the backs of the rest of us. Wake up and quit upholding these lying pieces of excrement they are no different than the ones before them.

Trump is a dirty businessman the things that he is doing are to benefit him and his family and to screw the rest of us and tell us how great it is for us. You my man have drank from the Trump cup and think that anything that speaks against him is "fake news" when in reality Trump and the likes of Breitbart are the "fake news" a little truth but a bunch of spin

[Mar 02, 2018] Trump_vs_deep_state as bastard neoliberalism vs classic neoliberalism

In this state the current war between factions of the US elite reminds Stalin fight against "globalists" like Trotsky, who were hell-bent of the idea of world revolution.
Notable quotes:
"... I would define Trump_vs_deep_state as "bastard neoliberalism" which tries to combine domestic "100% pure" neoliberalism with the rejection of neoliberal globalization as well as partial rejection of expensive effort for expansion of US led neoliberal empire via color revolutions and military invasions, especially in the Middle East. ..."
"... That makes screams of "soft neoliberals" from Democratic Party at "hard neoliberals" at Republican Party really funny indeed. Both are essentially "latter-day Trotskyites", yet they scream at each other, especially Obama/Clinton supporters ;-) ..."
"... But in reality Democratic sheeple are just a different type of wolfs -- wolfs in sheep clothing. And Hillary was an old, worn "classic neoliberal" shoe, which nobody really wants to wear. ..."
"... Trump does not intend to change the neoliberal consensus of what government should do domestically, and what should be the relationship between US government and business community. ..."
Dec 27, 2016 | economistsview.typepad.com

likbez -> likbez... December 26, 2016 at 08:08 PM

I would define Trump_vs_deep_state as "bastard neoliberalism" which tries to combine domestic "100% pure" neoliberalism with the rejection of neoliberal globalization as well as partial rejection of expensive effort for expansion of US led neoliberal empire via color revolutions and military invasions, especially in the Middle East.

That's what seems to be the key difference of Trump_vs_deep_state from "classic neoliberalism" or as Sklar called it "corporate liberalism".

From Reagan to Obama all US governments pray to the altar of classic neoliberalism. Now we have a slight deviation.

That makes screams of "soft neoliberals" from Democratic Party at "hard neoliberals" at Republican Party really funny indeed. Both are essentially "latter-day Trotskyites", yet they scream at each other, especially Obama/Clinton supporters ;-)

In this sense Krugman recent writings are really pathetic and signify his complete detachment from reality, or more correctly attempt to create an "artificial reality" in which bad wolf Trump is going to eat Democratic sheeple. And in which media, FBI, and Putin are responsible entirely for Hillary's loss.

But in reality Democratic sheeple are just a different type of wolfs -- wolfs in sheep clothing. And Hillary was an old, worn "classic neoliberal" shoe, which nobody really wants to wear.

Trump does not intend to change the neoliberal consensus of what government should do domestically, and what should be the relationship between US government and business community.

But the far right movement that he created and led has different ideas.

So it might be an interesting period to watch.

[Mar 02, 2018] The main reason much of the highest echelons of American power are united against Trump might be that they're terrified that -- unlike Obama -- he's a really bad salesman for the US led neoliberal empire. This threatens the continuance of their well oiled and exceedingly corrupt gravy train

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... he Dems disgust me with their neo-McCarthyism and the Repubs disgust me because of the way they are playing out their hand right now as well. Games within corrupt games, and yet normal behavior especially in waning empires (or other types of polities, including powerful int'l corporations). ..."
"... Chapter 14 of Guns, Germs and Steel is titled "From Egalitarianism to Kleptocracy" and it used to be available online but my old link is dead and I couldn't find a new one. But a basic definition should suffice: "Kleptocracy, alternatively cleptocracy or kleptarchy, is a form of political and government corruption where the government exists to increase the personal wealth and political power of its officials and the ruling class at the expense of the wider population, often without pretense of honest service." I have no idea how one turns this around and I doubt it's even possible. ..."
"... The Real Reason Establishment Frauds Hate Trump and Obsess About Russia https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2018/02/20/the-real-reason-establishment-frauds-hate-trump-and-obsess-about-russia/ ..."
"... Blaming Russia for all the nation's problems serves several key purposes for various defenders of the status quo. For discredited neocons and neoliberals who never met a failed war based on lies they didn't support, it provides an opportunity to rehabilitate their torched reputations by masquerading as fierce patriots against the latest existential enemy. Similarly, for those who lived in denial about who Obama really was for eight years, latching on to the Russia narrative allows them to reassure themselves that everything really was fine before Trump and Russia came along and ruined the party. ..."
"... he doesn't provide the same feel good quality to empire that Obama did. He's simply not the warm and fuzzy salesman for oligarchy and empire Obama was, thus his inability to sugarcoat state-sanctioned murder forces a lot of people to confront the uncomfortable hypocrisies in our society that many would prefer not to admit. ..."
"... I can't stand Kushner's smirky face and got a good chuckle from this prince's fall as I am not a fan of his passion for Israel. But I don't think he's a stupid idiot either. He's probably very smart in business, but he seems to have no feel for politics. Trump is much better at it than Kushner. Of course they are going after Kushner as a way to attack and disadvantage Trump. Politics is a form of warfare after all. ..."
"... My take is that Trump survives but mostly contained by the Borg ..."
Mar 02, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Originally from discussion at Sic Semper Tyrannis Another SIGINT compromise ...

Valissa -> jsn... 01 March 2018 at 07:44 PM

jsn @16 & 40, in complete agreement with you. Great comments! T he Dems disgust me with their neo-McCarthyism and the Repubs disgust me because of the way they are playing out their hand right now as well. Games within corrupt games, and yet normal behavior especially in waning empires (or other types of polities, including powerful int'l corporations).

Chapter 14 of Guns, Germs and Steel is titled "From Egalitarianism to Kleptocracy" and it used to be available online but my old link is dead and I couldn't find a new one. But a basic definition should suffice: "Kleptocracy, alternatively cleptocracy or kleptarchy, is a form of political and government corruption where the government exists to increase the personal wealth and political power of its officials and the ruling class at the expense of the wider population, often without pretense of honest service." I have no idea how one turns this around and I doubt it's even possible.

Back when I used to subscribe to STRATFOR, founder George Friedman always made a point of evaluating the elites of whatever country he was analyzing and how they operated amongst themselves and relative to the people and how effective they were or were not in governing a country. But he never did that for the US. I would have paid extra for that report! But of course he could not stay in business if he did such a thing as those people are his clients.

I think Mike Krieger over at Liberty Blitzkrieg nails it from another perspective with this post:

The Real Reason Establishment Frauds Hate Trump and Obsess About Russia https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2018/02/20/the-real-reason-establishment-frauds-hate-trump-and-obsess-about-russia/

Blaming Russia for all the nation's problems serves several key purposes for various defenders of the status quo. For discredited neocons and neoliberals who never met a failed war based on lies they didn't support, it provides an opportunity to rehabilitate their torched reputations by masquerading as fierce patriots against the latest existential enemy. Similarly, for those who lived in denial about who Obama really was for eight years, latching on to the Russia narrative allows them to reassure themselves that everything really was fine before Trump and Russia came along and ruined the party.

By throwing every problem in Putin's lap, the entrenched bipartisan status quo can tell themselves (and everybody else) that it wasn't really them and their policies that voters rejected in 2016, rather, the American public was tricked by cunning, nefarious Russians. Ridiculous for sure, but never underestimate the instinctive human desire to deny accountability for one's own failures. It's always easier to blame than to accept responsibility.

That said, there's a much bigger game afoot beyond the motivations of individuals looking to save face. The main reason much of the highest echelons of American power are united against Trump has nothing to do with his actual policies. Instead, they're terrified that -- unlike Obama -- he's a really bad salesman for empire. This sort of Presidential instability threatens the continuance of their well oiled and exceedingly corrupt gravy train. Hillary Clinton was a sure thing, Donald Trump remains an unpredictable wildcard.

... Obama said all the right things while methodically doing the bidding of oligarchy. He captured the imagination of millions, if not billions, around the world with his soaring rhetoric, yet rarely skipped a beat when it came to the advancement of imperial policies. He made bailing out Wall Street, droning civilians and cracking down on journalists seem progressive. He said one thing, did another, and people ate it up. This is an extraordinarily valuable quality when it comes to a vicious and unelected deep state that wants to keep a corrupt empire together.

Trump has the exact opposite effect. Sure, he also frequently says one thing and then does another, but he doesn't provide the same feel good quality to empire that Obama did. He's simply not the warm and fuzzy salesman for oligarchy and empire Obama was, thus his inability to sugarcoat state-sanctioned murder forces a lot of people to confront the uncomfortable hypocrisies in our society that many would prefer not to admit.
------------

I can't stand Kushner's smirky face and got a good chuckle from this prince's fall as I am not a fan of his passion for Israel. But I don't think he's a stupid idiot either. He's probably very smart in business, but he seems to have no feel for politics. Trump is much better at it than Kushner. Of course they are going after Kushner as a way to attack and disadvantage Trump. Politics is a form of warfare after all.

My take is that Trump survives but mostly contained by the Borg

[Mar 02, 2018] Trump betrayal of Trumpism

But Trump himself was quickly neutered (in just three month) and now does not represents "Trumpism" (rejection of neoliberal globalization, unrestricted immigration for suppression of wages, rejection of elimination of jobs via outsourcing and offshoring of manufacturing, rejection of wars for enlargement and sustaining of neoliberal empire, especially NATO role as global policemen and wars for Washington client Israel in Middle east, detente with Russia etc) in any meaningful way. He is just an aging Narcissist in power.
Looks like Trump became a variant of Hillary minus sex change operation.
Notable quotes:
"... He supports same sex relations and marriage of the same. ..."
"... He is by nature a situational leader -- not typically a conservatives methodology of leadership ..."
"... . He mistakes support and loyalty for agreement. ..."
"... He seems too weak to stand his ground on key issues. Syria, (missile attack) ..."
"... His willingness to ignore -- Israel-US problematic relationship. ..."
"... I am leary of anyone who says tough things about immigration, but quietly backpedals or openly does the same -- DACA. ..."
Mar 02, 2018 | www.unz.com

EliteCommInc. , March 1, 2018 at 3:38 pm GMT

it's easy to come away from CPAC energy and enthusiasm thinking your headline is an accurate description of what is happening in the GOP. I am more conservative thankfully in my views than most members at CPAC. And while I may not be the typical voter. I can say categorically, that :trumoing" is not in my blood. Let's look what a consevative had to consider when evaluating Pres Trump:

3. He supports same sex relations and marriage of the same.

... ... ...

5. He is by nature a situational leader -- not typically a conservatives methodology of leadership

... ... ...

8 . He mistakes support and loyalty for agreement.

9. He seems too weak to stand his ground on key issues. Syria, (missile attack)

10. His willingness to ignore -- Israel-US problematic relationship.

11. He thinks that Keynesian policy is a substitute for economic growth. monetary policy.

12. I am leary of anyone who says tough things about immigration, but quietly backpedals or openly does the same -- DACA.

[Mar 02, 2018] The deplorables, having found one another, need to hang together until we find real leadership. Trump, whatever he is, is not a leader.

"Note about Miss Mona Charin: the two agree on so many points on foreign policy, especially Israel, it's hard to see her disdain. I think she rejects his troublesome demeanor and attitude. Presidential decorum is a big deal to many."
Notable quotes:
"... The sixty plus millions of people who voted Trump are politically diverse. They have one thing in common. They were not persuaded by the loud, continuous and shameless lying of the corporate media. Rather they were motivated by it. ..."
Mar 02, 2018 | www.unz.com

WorkingClass , March 2, 2018 at 2:14 am GMT

@EliteCommInc.

Now his other supporters might say, considered against all the other candidates -- he's better. Hmmmm, well, that's why I voted for him.

Thank you. My bullet points would differ from yours but in the end I also voted for Trump. The sixty plus millions of people who voted Trump are politically diverse. They have one thing in common. They were not persuaded by the loud, continuous and shameless lying of the corporate media. Rather they were motivated by it.

The deplorables, having found one another, need to hang together until we find real leadership. Trump, whatever he is, is not a leader.

[Feb 11, 2018] Whodunit Who "Meddled" With "Our Democracy" by Ilana Mercer

Feb 10, 2018 | www.unz.com

Republicans have revealed that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) treats Americans not as citizens, but as subjects to spy on. I'd expect nothing less from a Court created and perpetuated by George W. Bush and his Republicans.

But, what do you know? Following Barack Obama's lead, President Donald Trump and his Republicans have renewed FISA Section 702, which, in fact, has facilitated the usurpations the same representatives are currently denouncing.

Also in contravention of a quaint constitutional relic called the Fourth Amendment is Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Mueller has taken possession of "many tens of thousands of emails from President Donald Trump's transition team." There is no limit, seemingly, to the power of the special counsel.

Look, we're living in a post-Constitutional America. Complaints about the damage done to our "democracy" by outsiders are worse than silly. Such damage pales compared to what we Americans have done to a compact rooted in the consent of the governed and the drastically limited and delimited powers of those who govern.

In other words, a republic. Ours was never a country conceived as a democracy.

To arrive at a democracy, we Americans destroyed a republic.

The destruction is on display daily.

Pray tell where-oh-where in the US Constitution does it say that anyone crossing over into the US may demand and get an abortion? But apparently, this is settled law -- a universally upheld right, irrespective of whose property and territory it impinges.

The only aspect our clodhopper media -- left and right -- deign to debate in such abortion-tourism cases is the interloper's global reproductive rights. So, if abortion is a service Americans must render to the world, why not the right to a colonoscopy or a facelift?

Cannabis: The reason it's notin the Constitution is because letting states and individuals decide is in the Constitution. That thing of beauty is called the Tenth Amendment:

" The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

That's right. In American federalism, the rights of the individual were meant to be secured through strict limits imposed on the power of the central government by a Bill of Rights and the division of authority between autonomous states and a federal government. Yet on cannabis, the meager constitutional devolution of power away from the Federales and to states and individuals Republicans have reversed. Some are even prattling about a constitutional cannabis amendment, as if there's a need for further "constitutional" centralization of authority.

After 230 years of just such "constitutional" consolidation, it's safe to say that the original Constitution is a dead letter; that the natural- and common law traditions, once lodestars for lawmakers, have been buried under the rubble of legislation and statute that would fill an entire building floor. However much one shovels the muck of lawmaking aside, natural justice and the Founders' original intent remain buried too deep to exhume.

Consider: America's Constitution makers bequeathed a central government of delegated and enumerated powers. The Constitution gives Congress only some eighteen specific legislative powers. Nowhere among these powers is Social Security, civil rights (predicated as they are on grotesque violations of property rights), Medicare, Medicaid, and the elaborate public works sprung from the General Welfare and Interstate Commerce Clauses.

The welfare clause stipulates that "Congress will have the power to provide for the general welfare." And even though the general clause is followed by a detailed enumeration of the limited powers so delegated; our overlords, over decades of dirigisme , have taken Article I, Section 8 to mean that government can pick The People's pockets for any perceivable purpose and project. Witness a judiciary of scurrilous statists that had even found in the Constitution a mandate to compel commerce by forcing individual Americans to purchase health insurance on pains of a fine, an act of force President Trump has mercifully repealed.

anonymous Disclaimer , February 9, 2018 at 10:30 am GMT

A few more observations, with which Ms. Mercer should agree:

The invertebrate Congress has been a weak link in the Constitutional system, deferring in the last 50 years to the judiciary in matters of domestic policy and to the executive in matters of foreign policy, most obviously war.

Turning the Constitution into a mystical, living document speaking through robed priests has served to trash it.

The loss of the States' authority was gradual, but amending the Constitution to have voters directly elect senators looks in retrospect like a key step in the national government's arrogation of authority.

The world's gaudiest whorehouse is also wide open for business with foreign interests. And why not? If Uncle Sam is trying to run the world, then shouldn't everyone in the Empire be allowed to participate in the democracy?

The Alarmist , February 10, 2018 at 8:22 pm GMT

" treats Americans not as citizens, but as subjects to spy on."

To be correct, the US government considers its subjects to be chattels property. For my part, the US is my crazy ex-girlfriend, who always wants to know where I'm going, who I'm seeing, what I'm doing, and who annually wants a full accounting of every Dollar, Pound, Euro and ounce I earn, spend or hold.

[Jan 22, 2018] Ivanka Trump Told by Steve Bannon: 'You're Just Another Staffer Who Doesn't Know What You're Doing,' New Book Claims by Melina Delkic

Jan 22, 2018 | www.yahoo.com

January 22, 2018

Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon once told Ivanka Trump: "You're just another staffer who doesn't know what you're doing," according to a new book.

Related: Ivanka Trump's "special place in hell" for child predators comment trolls Roy Moore rally

Bannon, who has long critiqued and clashed with Ivanka's and her husband Jared Kushner's roles in the White House, tried to put the president's daughter in her place in one instance detailed in the book.

"My daughter loves me as a dad...You love your dad. I get that. But you're just another staffer who doesn't know what you're doing," Bannon said, The Washington Post reported when it published excerpts on Monday.


The revelation is part of the latest book about life inside the White House. Howard Kurtz, host of the Fox News show Media Buzz, wrote the book Media Madness: Donald Trump, The Press, And The War Over The Truth, set to be released on January 29.

The new book, though perhaps not as sensational as the explosive tell-all Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House, contains several new alleged revelations about the administration. Along with reports of the turbulent relationship between Ivanka Trump and Bannon, are claims that the president himself leaked information to journalists, that his aides referred to his behavior as "defiance disorder" and that his staff was "blindsided" when he accused former President Barack Obama of wiretapping his phones.

[Jan 20, 2018] Will Steve Bannon s Testimony Bring Down Jared by Abigail Tracy

A more interesting question is how those testimonies might affect Bannon -- he is in a very hot water now. If he thought that the meeting was so incriminating why he did not contact FBI and just decided to feed juicy gossip to Wolff?
Also he was not present at the meeting and was not a member of Trump team until two months later. From who he got all this information ? Was is just a slander by disgruntled employee?
Notable quotes:
"... To reiterate, those comments were not aimed at Don Jr. ..."
"... Bannon has denied that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government during the election ..."
"... Wolff also quotes the former White House strategist as saying, "This is all about money laundering. [Robert] Mueller chose [senior prosecutor Andrew] Weissmann first and he is a money-laundering guy. Their path to fucking Trump goes right through Paul Manafort, Don Jr., and Jared Kushner . . . It's as plain as a hair on your face." ..."
"... Bannon then zeroed in on Kushner specifically, adding that "[i]t goes through Deutsche Bank and all the Kushner shit. The Kushner shit is greasy. They're going to go right through that. They're going to roll those two guys up and say play me or trade me." ..."
Jan 16, 2018 | www.vanityfair.com

"The three senior guys in the campaign thought it was a good idea to meet with a foreign government inside Trump Tower in the conference room on the 25th floor -- with no lawyers. They didn't have any lawyers," Bannon is quoted as saying in Fire and Fury. "Even if you thought that this was not treasonous, or unpatriotic, or bad shit, and I happen to think it's all of that, you should have called the F.B.I. immediately." Bannon reportedly speculated that the chance the eldest Trump son did not involve his father in the meeting "is zero."

When Bannon's comments became public, Trump excoriated his former strategist, whom he accused of having "lost his mind." But while Bannon has since apologized for the remarks and sought to walk back a number of the quotes, he's stopped short of denying that he viewed the Trump Tower meeting as treasonous. Instead, he's merely shifted the blame away from Trump Jr. and onto Manafort. "My comments were aimed at Paul Manafort, a seasoned campaign professional with experience and knowledge of how the Russians operate. He should have known they are duplicitous, cunning, and not our friends. To reiterate, those comments were not aimed at Don Jr. ," Bannon said in a statement to Axios. ( Bannon has denied that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian government during the election .)

... ... ...

Though the Trump Tower meeting took place before Bannon joined the Trump campaign, Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House panel, told CNN last week that he plans to question Bannon about "why this meeting at Trump Tower represented his treason and certainly unpatriotic at a minimum."

Jared Kushner's "greasy shit"

Wolff also quotes the former White House strategist as saying, "This is all about money laundering. [Robert] Mueller chose [senior prosecutor Andrew] Weissmann first and he is a money-laundering guy. Their path to fucking Trump goes right through Paul Manafort, Don Jr., and Jared Kushner . . . It's as plain as a hair on your face." (Trump Jr., Kushner, and Manafort have all denied wrongdoing.) Bannon then zeroed in on Kushner specifically, adding that "[i]t goes through Deutsche Bank and all the Kushner shit. The Kushner shit is greasy. They're going to go right through that. They're going to roll those two guys up and say play me or trade me."

He and Trump's son-in-law have never seen eye to eye; their White House feuds were a poorly kept secret, and following his ouster, Bannon has given numerous interviews knocking Kushner, including one to my colleague Gabriel Sherman in which he questioned Kushner's maturity level. If Bannon has dirt on Kushner, he will likely get his chance to reveal it; Schiff also declared his intent to question Bannon on "the basis of his concern over money laundering."

[Jan 14, 2018] Trump Stumped As Bannon-Backed Roy Moore Wins Alabama Republican Primary By Landslide

Bannon backed candidate later lost. So much for this Bannon "success".
This idea of Trump playing 6 dimensional chess is a joke. It's the same explanation that was pushed for Obama disastrous neocon foreign policy. Here is one very apt quote: "What Trump has done are disasters, and equates to treason. Selling billions of dollars of weapons the our enemies the terrorists/Saudis, killing innocent people in Syria, and Yemen, sending more troops to Afghanistan..." What 6-dimetional chess?
According to Occam razor principle the simplest explanation of Trump behaviour is probably the most correct. He does not control foright policy, outsourcing it to "generals" and be does not pursue domestic policy of creating jobs as he promised his electorate. In other words, both in foreign policy and domestic policy, he became a turncoat, betraying his electorate, much like Obama. kind of Republican Obama.
And as time goes by, Trump looks more and more like Hillary II or Republican Obama. So he might have problems with the candidates he supports in midterm elections. His isolationism, if it ever existed, is gone. Promise of jobs is gone. Detente with Russia is gone. What's left?
Note the level disappointment of what used to be Trump base in this site comment section...
Notable quotes:
"... In a serious rebuke for President Trump (and perhaps moreso for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell), ousted judge and alt-right favorite Roy Moore has won the Alabama Republican Primary by a landslide ..."
"... The Steve Bannon-backed candidate, who defied court orders to remove the Ten Commandments from his courtroom and refused to recognize gay marriage after the Supreme Court's June 2015 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, is leading by 9.6 points with 92% of the votes counted... ..."
"... These attacks on Bannon were one of the most prominent news stories in the first week following Trump's election victory. It didn't take long, however, for a counter-attack to emerge - from the right-wing elements of the Jewish community. ..."
"... Bannon is a true fucking patriot trying to pull this once great country from the sinkhole. ..."
"... I think the reality is that this was a message to McConnell much more than Trump. That message is simple: I'm coming to kill your career. Bannon went out of his way to say he fully supports Trump (despite backing the opposite candidate). And, let's face it, if Bannon buries McConnell, he's doing everyone a service, Trump included. ..."
"... The echo chamber media "is so surprised" that in Germany and the US we are seeing a rising tide of pissed off people, well imagine fucking that? Leaving the echo chamber and not intellectually trying to understand the anger, but living the anger. ..."
"... Well, we can only hope that Trump gets the message. He was elected to be President of the USA, not Emperor of the World. Quote from that Monty Python film: "He's not the Messiah; he's a very naughty boy!" ..."
"... A cursory background reading on Roy Moore tells me that he is one of the worst types for public office. And he might just turn out to be like Trump -- act like an anti-swarm cowboy and promise a path to heaven, then show his real colors as an Establishment puppet once the braindead voters put him in office. ..."
"... When Trump won the Republican nomination, and then the Presidency it was because people were rebelling against the establishment rulers. There is considerable disgust with these big government rulers that are working for themselves and their corporate cronies, but not for the US population. ..."
"... Trump seems to have been compromised at this point, and his support of the establishment favourite, Luther Strange is evidence that he isn't really the outsider he claimed to be. Moore's victory in Alabama says the rebellion still has wheels, so there is some hope. ..."
"... In Missouri where I live, the anti-establishment Republican contender for the upcoming US Senatorial 2018 race is Austin Peterson. It will be interesting to see how he, and his counterparts in other states do in the primaries. Both of the current Missouri Senators are worthless. ..."
"... I remember well the last "3-Dimensional Chess master" Obama while he too was always out maneuvering his apponents, per the media reports... ..."
"... Every now and then Trump tends to make huge blunders, and sometimes betrayals without knowing what he is doing. "Champions"- (great leaders) do not do that. ..."
"... What Trump has done are disasters, and equates to treason. Selling billions of dollars of weapons the our enemies the terrorists/Saudis, killing innocent people in Syria, and Yemen, sending more troops to Afghanistan... ..."
"... It is epitome of self-delusion to see people twisting themselves into pretzels, trying to justify/rationalize Trump's continuing display of disloyalty to America ..."
"... YOU CAN'T BE A ZIONIST AND AN AMERICAN FIRSTER, IT IS ONE OR THE OTHER. ..."
Sep 27, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

Congratulations to Roy Moore on his Republican Primary win in Alabama. Luther Strange started way back & ran a good race. Roy, WIN in Dec!

In a serious rebuke for President Trump (and perhaps moreso for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell), ousted judge and alt-right favorite Roy Moore has won the Alabama Republican Primary by a landslide

The Steve Bannon-backed candidate, who defied court orders to remove the Ten Commandments from his courtroom and refused to recognize gay marriage after the Supreme Court's June 2015 ruling legalizing same-sex marriage, is leading by 9.6 points with 92% of the votes counted...

... ... ...

However, as Politco reported this evening, President Donald Trump began distancing himself from a Luther Strange loss before ballots were even cast, telling conservative activists Monday night the candidate he's backing in Alabama's GOP Senate primary was likely to lose ! and suggesting he'd done everything he could do given the circumstances.

Trump told conservative activists who visited the White House for dinner on Monday night that he'd underestimated the political power of Roy Moore, the firebrand populist and former judge who's supported by Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon, according to three people who were there.

And Trump gave a less-than full-throated endorsement during Friday's rally.

While he called Strange "a real fighter and a real good guy," he also mused on stage about whether he made a "mistake" by backing Strange and committed to campaign "like hell" for Moore if he won.

Trump was encouraged to pick Strange before the August primary by son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner as well as other aides, White House officials said. He was never going to endorse Alabama Republican Rep. Mo Brooks, who has at times opposed Trump's agenda, and knew little about Moore, officials said.

... ... ...

Déjà view -> Sanity Bear •Sep 26, 2017 11:19 PM

AIPAC HAS ALL BASES COVERED...MIGA !

On Sept. 11, the Alabama Daughters for Zion organization circulated a statement on Israel by Moore, which started by saying the U.S. and Israel "share not only a common Biblical heritage but also institutions of representative government and respect for religious freedom." He traced Israel's origin to God's promise to Abram and the 1948 creation of modern Israel as "a fulfillment of the Scriptures that foretold the regathering of the Jewish people to Israel."

Moore's statement includes five policy positions, including support for U.S. military assistance to Israel, protecting Israel from "Iranian aggression," opposing boycotts of Israel, supporting Israel at the United Nations, and supporting direct Israeli-Palestinian negotiations without outside pressure. He added, "as long as Hamas and the Palestinian Authority wrongly refuse to recognize Israel's right to exist, such negotiations have scant chance of success."

While those views would give Moore common ground with much of the Jewish community regarding Israel, most of the state's Jewish community has been at odds with Moore over church-state issues, such as his displays of the Ten Commandments in courthouses, and his outspoken stance against homosexuality, both of which led to him being ousted as chief justice.

http://www.sjlmag.com/2017/09/alabama-senate-candidates-express.html?m=1

justa minute -> Déjà view •Sep 27, 2017 2:53 AM

moore misreads the Bible as most socalled christians do. they have been deceived, they have confused the Israel of God( those who have been given belief in Christ) with israel of the flesh. They cant hear Christs own words, woe is unto them. they are living in their own selfrighteousness, not good. they are going to have a big surprise for not following the Word of God instead following the tradition of men.

They were warned over and over in the Bible but they cant hear.

I Claudius -> VinceFostersGhost •Sep 27, 2017 6:27 AM

Forgive? Maybe. Forget? NEVER!! He tried to sell "US" out on this one. We now need to focus on bringing "Moore" candidates to the podium to run against the RINO's and take out McConnell and Ryan. It's time for Jared and Ivanka to go back to NYC so Jared can shore up his family's failing empire. However, if his business acumen is as accurate as his political then it's no wonder the family needed taxpayer funded visas to sell the property. Then on to ridding the White House of Gen Kelly and McMaster - two holdover generals from the Obama administration - after Obama forced out the real ones.

Clashfan -> Mycroft Holmes IV •Sep 26, 2017 11:33 PM

Rump has hoodwinked his supoprt base and turned on them almost immediately. Some refuse to acknowledge this.

"Ha! Your vote went to the Israel first swamp!"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Gdw_MVY1Vo

Déjà view -> Clashfan •Sep 27, 2017 1:00 AM

MIGA !

These attacks on Bannon were one of the most prominent news stories in the first week following Trump's election victory. It didn't take long, however, for a counter-attack to emerge - from the right-wing elements of the Jewish community. The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) came to Bannon's defense and accused the ADL of a "character assassination" against Bannon.

http://www.haaretz.com/us-news/.premium-1.807776

The Wizard -> Oh regional Indian •Sep 26, 2017 10:12 PM

Trump should figure out the Deep State elites he has surrounded himself with, don't have control of the states Trump won. Trump thought he had to negotiate with these guys and his ego got the best of him. Bannon was trying to convince him he should have stayed the course and not give in.


Theosebes Goodfellow -> Oh regional Indian •Sep 26, 2017 10:35 PM

~"American politics gets moore strange by the day..."~

Technically speaking OhRI, with Moore's win politics became less Strange, or "Strange less", or "Sans Luther", depending on how one chose to phrase it [SMIRK]

Adullam -> Gaius Frakkin' Baltar •Sep 26, 2017 11:05 PM

Trump needs to fire Jared! Some news outlets are saying that it was his son in law who advised him to back Strange. He has to quit listening to those who want to destroy him or ... they will.

overbet -> Killtruck •Sep 26, 2017 9:41 PM

Bannon is a true fucking patriot trying to pull this once great country from the sinkhole.

Juggernaut x2 -> overbet •Sep 26, 2017 10:07 PM

Trump better pull his head out of his ass and quit being a wishy-washy populist on BS like Iran- the farther right he goes the greater his odds of reelection because he has pissed off a lot of the far-righters that put him in- getting rid of Kushner, Cohn and his daughter and negotiating w/Assad and distancing us from Israhell would be a huge help.

opport.knocks -> Juggernaut x2 •Sep 26, 2017 11:19 PM

Distancing us from Israel... LOLOLOLOL

https://youtu.be/tm5Je73bYOY

The whole Russiagate ploy was a diversion from (((them)))

NoDebt -> Killtruck •Sep 26, 2017 9:42 PM

I think the reality is that this was a message to McConnell much more than Trump. That message is simple: I'm coming to kill your career. Bannon went out of his way to say he fully supports Trump (despite backing the opposite candidate). And, let's face it, if Bannon buries McConnell, he's doing everyone a service, Trump included.

Oldwood -> NoDebt •Sep 26, 2017 10:08 PM

I think it was a setup.

Bannon would not oppose Trump that directly unless there was a wink and a nod involved.

Trump is still walking a tightrope, trying to appease his base AND keep as many establishment republicans at his side (even for only optics). By Trump supporting Strange while knowing he was an underdog AND completely apposed by Bannon/his base he was able to LOOK like he was supporting the establishment, while NOT really. Trump seldom backs losers which makes me think it was deliberate. Strange never made sense anyway.

But what do I know?

Urahara -> NoDebt •Sep 27, 2017 12:20 AM

Bannon is hardcore Isreal first. Why are you supporting the zionist? It's an obvious play.

general ambivalent -> Urahara •Sep 27, 2017 2:23 AM

People are desperate to rationalise their failure into a victory. They cannot give up on Hope so they have to use hyperbole in everything and pretend this is all leading to something great in 2020 or 2024.

None of these fools learned a damn thing and they are desperate to make the same mistake again. The swamp is full, so full that it has breached the banks and taken over all of society. Trump is a swamp monster, and you simply cannot reform the swamp when both sides are monsters. In other words, the inside is not an option, so it has to be done the hard way. But people would prefer to keep voting in the swamp.

Al Gophilia -> NoDebt •Sep 27, 2017 3:58 AM

Bannon as president would really have those swamp creatures squirming. There wouldn't be this Trump crap about surrounding himself with likeminded friends, such as Goldman Sachs turnstile workers and his good pals in the MIC.

Don't tell me he didn't choose them because if he didn't, then they were placed. That means he doesn't have the clout he pretends to have or control of the agenda that the people asked him to deliver. His backing of Stange is telling.

Lanka -> LindseyNarratesWordress •Sep 26, 2017 11:07 PM

McMaster and Kelly have Trump under house arrest.

Bobbyrib -> LindseyNarratesWordress •Sep 27, 2017 5:38 AM

He will not fire Kushner or Ivanka who have become part of the swamp. I'm so sick of these 'Trump is a genius and planned this all along.'

To me Trump is a Mr. Bean type character that has been very fortunate and just goes with the flow. He has nearly no diplomacy, or strategic skills.

NoWayJose •Sep 26, 2017 10:35 PM

Dear President Trump - if you like your job, listen to these voters. Borders, Walls, limited immigrants (including all those that Ryan and McConnell are sneaking through under your very nose), trade agreements to keep American jobs, and respect for our flag, our country, and the unborn!

nevertheless -> loveyajimbo •Sep 26, 2017 11:19 PM

I had hope for Trump, but as someone who reads ZH often, and does not suffer from amnesia (like much of America), I knew he was way too good to be true.

We all know his back tracking, his flip flops...and while the media and many paid bloggers like to spin it as "not his fault", it actually is.

His sending DACA to Congress was the last straw. Obama enacted DACA with a stroke of his pen, but Trump "needed to send it to Congress so they could "get it right". The only thing Congress does with immigration is try and get amnesty passed.

Of course while Trump sends DACA to Congress, he does not mind using the military without Congress, which he actually should do.

Why is it when it's something American's want, it has to go through the "correct channels", but when its something the Zionists want, he does it with the wave of his pen? We saw the same bull shit games with Obama...

Dilluminati •Sep 26, 2017 11:02 PM

Anybody surprised by this is pretending the civility at the workplace isn't masking anger at corporate America and Government. I'll go in and put in the 8 hours, I'm an adult that is part of the job. However I'm actually fed up with allot of the stupid shit and want the establishment to work, problem is that we are witnessing failed nations, failed schools, failed healthcare, even failed employment contracts, conditions, and wages.

The echo chamber media "is so surprised" that in Germany and the US we are seeing a rising tide of pissed off people, well imagine fucking that? Leaving the echo chamber and not intellectually trying to understand the anger, but living the anger.

You haven't seen anything yet in Catalonia/Spain etc, Brexit, or so..

This is what failure looks like: That moment the Romanovs and Louis XVI looked around the room seeking an understanding eye, there was none.

Pascal1967 •Sep 26, 2017 11:19 PM

Dear Trump:

Quit listening to your moron son-in-law, swamp creature, Goldman Sachs douchebag son-in-law Kushner. HE SUCKS!! If you truly had BALLS, you would FIRE his fucking ass. HE is The Swamp, He Is Nepotism! THE AMERICAN PEOPLE HATE HIM.

MAGA! LISTEN TO BANNON, DONALD.

DO NOT FUCK THIS UP!

ROY MOORE, 100%!!!!

You lost, Trump ... get your shit together before it is too late!

ElTerco •Sep 26, 2017 11:28 PM

Bannon was always the smarts behind the whole operation. Now we are just left with a complete idiot in office.

Also, unlike Trump, Bannon actually gives a shit about what happens to the American people rather than the American tax system. At the end of the day, all Trump really cares about is himself.

samsara •Sep 26, 2017 11:25 PM
I think most people get it backwards about Trump and the Deplorables.

I believed in pulling troops a from all the war zones and Trump said he felt the same

I believed in Legal immigration, sending people back if here illegal especially if involved in crime, Trump said he felt the same.

I believed in America first in negotiating treaties, Trump said he felt the same.

I didn't 'vote' for Trump per se, he was the proxy.

We didn't leave Him, He left us.

BarnacleBill •Sep 26, 2017 11:31 PM

Well, we can only hope that Trump gets the message. He was elected to be President of the USA, not Emperor of the World. Quote from that Monty Python film: "He's not the Messiah; he's a very naughty boy!" It's high time he turned back to the job he promised to do, and drain that swamp.

napper •Sep 26, 2017 11:47 PM

A cursory background reading on Roy Moore tells me that he is one of the worst types for public office. And he might just turn out to be like Trump -- act like an anti-swarm cowboy and promise a path to heaven, then show his real colors as an Establishment puppet once the braindead voters put him in office.

America is doomed from top (the swarm) to bottom (the brainless voters).

Sid Davis •Sep 27, 2017 1:40 AM

When Trump won the Republican nomination, and then the Presidency it was because people were rebelling against the establishment rulers. There is considerable disgust with these big government rulers that are working for themselves and their corporate cronies, but not for the US population.

Trump seems to have been compromised at this point, and his support of the establishment favourite, Luther Strange is evidence that he isn't really the outsider he claimed to be. Moore's victory in Alabama says the rebellion still has wheels, so there is some hope.

In Missouri where I live, the anti-establishment Republican contender for the upcoming US Senatorial 2018 race is Austin Peterson. It will be interesting to see how he, and his counterparts in other states do in the primaries. Both of the current Missouri Senators are worthless.

nevertheless -> pfwed •Sep 27, 2017 7:33 AM

I remember well the last "3-Dimensional Chess master" Obama while he too was always out maneuvering his apponents, per the media reports...

LoveTruth •Sep 27, 2017 2:56 AM

Every now and then Trump tends to make huge blunders, and sometimes betrayals without knowing what he is doing. "Champions"- (great leaders) do not do that.

nevertheless -> LoveTruth •Sep 27, 2017 7:16 AM

What Trump has done are disasters, and equates to treason. Selling billions of dollars of weapons the our enemies the terrorists/Saudis, killing innocent people in Syria, and Yemen, sending more troops to Afghanistan...

But most treasonous of all was his sending DACA to "get it right", really? Congress has only one goal with immigration, amnesty, and Chump knows dam well they will send him legislation that will clearly or covertly grant amnesty for millions and millions of illegals, dressed up as "security".

Obama enacted DACA with the stroke of a pen, and while TRUMP promised to end it, he did NOT. Why is it when it's something Americans want, it has to be "Constitutional", but when it comes form his banker pals, like starting a war, he can do that unilaterally.

archie bird -> nevertheless •Sep 27, 2017 7:45 AM

Bernie wants to cut aid to Israel https://townhall.com/tipsheet/mattvespa/2017/09/25/bernie-sanders-yeah-i...

nevertheless •Sep 27, 2017 8:04 AM

It is epitome of self-delusion to see people twisting themselves into pretzels, trying to justify/rationalize Trump's continuing display of disloyalty to America, and loyalty to Zionism.

Trump should always have been seen as a likely Zionist shill. He comes form Jew York City, owes everything he is to Zionist Jewish bankers, is a self proclaimed Zionist...

YOU CAN'T BE A ZIONIST AND AN AMERICAN FIRSTER, IT IS ONE OR THE OTHER.

Either Zero Hedge is over run with Zionist hasbara, giving cover to their boy Chump, or Americans on the "right" have become as gullible as those who supported Obama on the "left".

[Jan 14, 2018] Bannonism Will Live On by Matt Purple

Notable quotes:
"... The Constitution of Liberty ..."
"... The Camp of the Saints ..."
"... As for Bannon himself, his downfall has been fast and unceremonious: trashed by the president after he gossiped to Michael Wolff, abandoned by his deep-pocketed Mercer family funders, sacked by Breitbart, and then forced to watch as Trump indicated in a meeting earlier this week that he could sign a comprehensive immigration reform bill. Marat's downfall saw him elevated into a revolutionary martyr; Bannon has been banished into exile. ..."
"... But revolutions don't die with their figureheads. Bannonism won't either because, unlike the ethereal ideas behind liberalism and conservatism, it's found visceral real-world resonance -- among blue collars who see economic nationalism as a glimmer of hope among boarded-up plants, service-members frustrated with fruitless wars, young men flummoxed by modern feminism, right-wing activists frustrated with their political party's perceived impotence. Taunt Bannon all you like, but the imprint he leaves behind will be far larger than one spurious tell-all. ..."
"... The last blast of paleconservatism was Perot and the strong late 1990s economy halted that movement. ..."
"... The biggest thing lacking of the Bannon/Trump movement is how push back against the economic elite. Trump is governing exactly like an establishment Republican. Look at Trump/Perry ideas on saving coal which was properly turned down. This plan was unbelievably awful and not the right way for a better electric system and was simply handing Murray and First Energy a bunch money. ..."
"... Conservatism stands for stability and community. The accretions of "limited government" and "lower taxes", charming they may be as mantras, are more libertarian (Classic Liberal) than they are conservative ..."
"... A bomb-throwing Bolshevik like Bannon truly belongs on The Left, but in these days of abysmal ignorance of civics, it doesn't matter. "Bannonism" may live on, but thanks to the crackpot nature of its cobbled-together ideology, will remain a niche religion much like hard-core anarcho-libertarianism. ..."
"... Given the current atmosphere of outrage porn, willful ignorance and gleeful brutality, I do not have much hope for a Burkean conservatism to thrive, at least until after the pending social collapse ..."
"... Bannon will likely fade into oblivion via the Bourbon barrel, and the name Trump may become synonymous with "traitor" (but not like the media elite would hope). These men did not create a movement nor inspire anything. They were both savvy enough to see the political reality in this country and to give it voice. They will go, but the reality will remain. Ironically, but predictably, both men will likely be laid low by their own egos. But, so it goes ..."
"... The reality that supersedes these egotistical, narcissistic men is the fact that the traditional core of the American people have "woke" to the fact of their betrayal by the elite class to whom they have entrusted the leadership of this country for decades. They have awakened to find decay and rot throughout every American institution and to discover that these elites have enriched themselves beyond measure with the wealth of the nation at the cost of the workers and taxpayers who make that wealth possible. They have awakened to their own replacement and now realize the disdain with which they are viewed by those who would be their "masters." ..."
"... These Deplorables, white, working, taxpaying, Bible-believing, gun-owning MEN(!), are not going back into the opioid sleep of blissed out suburbia. They are now aware of the ill-hidden hatred which the elite class has for them and the future of serfdom to which these elites have fated them and their children. Gentlemen, a beast is being born out here in the hinterlands. It will not be put back in the cage ..."
Jan 12, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Bannon is an imperfect ideologue. He has a gargantuan ego that often leads him astray, perhaps lately towards the delusion that he himself would be a better populist messenger than the man he helped elect. But he's also hit on a paradox at the core of today's American conservatism. Conservatives, in theory at least, look with skepticism upon grand projects and giant leaps, which too often end up rupturing with the societal traditions they hold dear. Yet much of what conservatives support today is actually quite radical: banning all or most abortions, rolling back the regulatory state, rejecting decades of orthodoxy on the issue of climate change, a massive downshift of power from the federal government to states and localities, a moral ethic rooted in Christianity rather than identity politics -- and lately questioning the "liberal international order" in favor of something more nationalist and protectionist. The enactment of such an agenda would cause a good deal of upheaval and uncertainty, exactly the sort of void conservatives' forebears feared most.

Some have wrangled with this contradiction by scaling back their proposals, claiming great problems can be addressed with light-touch solutions, like child tax credits to arrest sagging birth rates. Others, much of Conservative Inc. it seems, are fine pretending this tension doesn't exist at all. Bannon's approach has been to gleefully embrace conservatism's radical side. Disagree with him all you like (and I do), but his is a perfectly logical position. His ascent -- some would say his transformation -- is a predictable consequence of conservatives yearning for something increasingly distant from the modern world, just as did young people in the quietly simmering 1950s. Indeed, there are many stylistic similarities between the radicals of today and those half a century ago: the "for the lulz" performance art of a Milo Yiannopoulos contains an echo of the prankster Yippies, for example. Those who lack cultural power can sell out, they can evolve, they can retreat to the catacombs -- or they can take Bannon's approach, they can transgress and pump their fists and try to burn it all down.

Bannon's digestible binaries -- establishment versus the people, globalists versus Americans -- are easily superimposed on an electorate that's itself divided both economically and culturally. Red states and the Rust Belt have for decades been the victims of bad federal policy; Bannonism gives them an abstract enemy to blame, a valve for their fury. The algorithmic and library-voiced Mitt Romney and the earnest Paul Ryan seem woefully inadequate by comparison: have those praying they run for higher office again learned nothing? In The Constitution of Liberty , F.A. Hayek critiques conservatism by defining it as "a brake on the vehicle of progress" and observing that a mere decrease in speed "cannot offer an alternative to the direction in which we are moving." Likewise, while conventional taxes-and-terrorism Republican rhetoric doesn't feel like much of a heave on the ship's wheel, Bannonism furnishes a clear vision, a real change, swords to wield, dragons to slay. Guess which one has greater appeal right now?

The modern right has always had a whiff of radicalism about it, with origins in pushback against the 60s counterculture, a second wind in Newt Gingrich's legislative reformation, and late-life vitality in the Saul Alinsky-invoking tea party. But it's with Bannon that the odor has become most pungent. He is an unlikely revolutionary. An early profile from Bloomberg Businessweek in 2015 portrays him as more of an operative than anything, determined to professionalize a conservative movement that had made too many unforced errors. Other pre-Trump appearances found Bannon worrying about the national debt and extolling his Catholic faith. It's a windy road from there to storming the barricades under Donald Trump's sigil, but it's one many conservatives have traveled in recent years. The challenge for more traditional Republicans will be fashioning a new politics that quenches voters' burning thirst for change -- a position they've arrived at themselves, not been brainwashed into by Fox News -- while circumventing Bannonism's conflagrations and The Camp of the Saints ugliness.

As for Bannon himself, his downfall has been fast and unceremonious: trashed by the president after he gossiped to Michael Wolff, abandoned by his deep-pocketed Mercer family funders, sacked by Breitbart, and then forced to watch as Trump indicated in a meeting earlier this week that he could sign a comprehensive immigration reform bill. Marat's downfall saw him elevated into a revolutionary martyr; Bannon has been banished into exile.

But revolutions don't die with their figureheads. Bannonism won't either because, unlike the ethereal ideas behind liberalism and conservatism, it's found visceral real-world resonance -- among blue collars who see economic nationalism as a glimmer of hope among boarded-up plants, service-members frustrated with fruitless wars, young men flummoxed by modern feminism, right-wing activists frustrated with their political party's perceived impotence. Taunt Bannon all you like, but the imprint he leaves behind will be far larger than one spurious tell-all.

Matt Purple is the managing editor of The American Conservative

collin January 11, 2018 at 8:50 am

There is always a level of Bannonism /Paleoconservatism in the US politics but who knows how impactful it will be.
  1. Probably the biggest issue for Bannon was Trump was elected in 2016 and our nation did not want or need a Leninist. (It wasn't 2008 anymore)
    Frankly most conservatives were satisfied that HRC and Obama were not President and did not want massive changes.
  2. The whole the people and globalist division is too simplistic and there are a lot 'People' that support free trade or relatively open borders. (For instance I don't see the economic benefit of steel tariffs at all.)
  3. The last blast of paleconservatism was Perot and the strong late 1990s economy halted that movement.
  4. We still don't know how much a pushback on Trump/Bannonism will be. Trump is not popular and the House is endangered.

5) The biggest thing lacking of the Bannon/Trump movement is how push back against the economic elite. Trump is governing exactly like an establishment Republican. Look at Trump/Perry ideas on saving coal which was properly turned down. This plan was unbelievably awful and not the right way for a better electric system and was simply handing Murray and First Energy a bunch money.

David Nash , says: January 11, 2018 at 9:12 am
It is a cardinal error to confuse conservatism with The Right, as much as it is to conflate liberalism with The Left.

Conservatism stands for stability and community. The accretions of "limited government" and "lower taxes", charming they may be as mantras, are more libertarian (Classic Liberal) than they are conservative. (Thanks loads, Frank Meyer.)

A bomb-throwing Bolshevik like Bannon truly belongs on The Left, but in these days of abysmal ignorance of civics, it doesn't matter. "Bannonism" may live on, but thanks to the crackpot nature of its cobbled-together ideology, will remain a niche religion much like hard-core anarcho-libertarianism.

Given the current atmosphere of outrage porn, willful ignorance and gleeful brutality, I do not have much hope for a Burkean conservatism to thrive, at least until after the pending social collapse.

Navy Jack , says: January 11, 2018 at 12:14 pm
Bannon will likely fade into oblivion via the Bourbon barrel, and the name Trump may become synonymous with "traitor" (but not like the media elite would hope). These men did not create a movement nor inspire anything. They were both savvy enough to see the political reality in this country and to give it voice. They will go, but the reality will remain. Ironically, but predictably, both men will likely be laid low by their own egos. But, so it goes.

The reality that supersedes these egotistical, narcissistic men is the fact that the traditional core of the American people have "woke" to the fact of their betrayal by the elite class to whom they have entrusted the leadership of this country for decades. They have awakened to find decay and rot throughout every American institution and to discover that these elites have enriched themselves beyond measure with the wealth of the nation at the cost of the workers and taxpayers who make that wealth possible. They have awakened to their own replacement and now realize the disdain with which they are viewed by those who would be their "masters."

These Deplorables, white, working, taxpaying, Bible-believing, gun-owning MEN(!), are not going back into the opioid sleep of blissed out suburbia. They are now aware of the ill-hidden hatred which the elite class has for them and the future of serfdom to which these elites have fated them and their children. Gentlemen, a beast is being born out here in the hinterlands. It will not be put back in the cage.

The writer's allusion to the French Revolution is somewhat telling. The history of the West is replete with moments of savagery and destruction directed inwardly. It will be so again. When these Deplorables turn on their keepers, it will not be pretty. The Progressive elites who believe that they can control and shape "narratives" to harness that power are fools. The cloistered intellectuals who believe that they can "opt" out of the coming clash are dreaming.

The traditional core of the American people are no different than their ancestors. They just don't live as close to the edge as those folks did. But when they are backed up to that edge, when betrayal has been made clear and the institutions are revealed for the Oz that they have become, they will recall that old hatred that still courses in the Western man's veins and will react in ways that will chill the blood. The imaginary "crimes" with which "privileged whites" are damned by the rioting Cultural Marxists will escape imagination and leap into reality. God help us.

JonF , says: January 11, 2018 at 1:30 pm
Re: The last blast of paleconservatism was Perot and the strong late 1990s economy halted that movement.

Perot, for whom I voted in 1992 but not 1996, was not a paleoconservative, but rather a pragmatic centrist. Compare his position on social issues with Pat Buchanan's (Buchanan being Mr. Paleoconservative -- and who ran in 1992 too)

[Jan 13, 2018] Remarks of Stephen Bannon at a Conference at the Vatican

Looks like Bannon is really weak in political economy. He does not even use the term neoliberalism. Go here to read the full transcript of his speech.
One very interesting quote is ""I believe we've come partly off-track in the years since the fall of the Soviet Union and we're starting now in the 21st century, which I believe, strongly, is a crisis both of our church, a crisis of our faith, a crisis of the West, a crisis of capitalism."
Notable quotes:
"... That war triggered a century of barbaric -- unparalleled in mankind's history -- virtually 180 to 200 million people were killed in the 20th century, and I believe that, you know, hundreds of years from now when they look back, we're children of that: We're children of that barbarity. This will be looked at almost as a new Dark Age. ..."
"... I believe we've come partly offtrack in the years since the fall of the Soviet Union and we're starting now in the 21st century, which I believe, strongly, is a crisis both of our church, a crisis of our faith, a crisis of the West, a crisis of capitalism. ..."
"... I see that every day. I'm a very practical, pragmatic capitalist. I was trained at Goldman Sachs, I went to Harvard Business School, I was as hard-nosed a capitalist as you get. I specialized in media, in investing in media companies, and it's a very, very tough environment. And you've had a fairly good track record. So I don't want this to kinda sound namby-pamby, "Let's all hold hands and sing 'Kumbaya' around capitalism." ..."
"... One is state-sponsored capitalism. And that's the capitalism you see in China and Russia. I believe it's what Holy Father [Pope Francis] has seen for most of his life in places like Argentina, where you have this kind of crony capitalism of people that are involved with these military powers-that-be in the government, and it forms a brutal form of capitalism that is really about creating wealth and creating value for a very small subset of people. And it doesn't spread the tremendous value creation throughout broader distribution patterns that were seen really in the 20th century. ..."
"... The second form of capitalism that I feel is almost as disturbing, is what I call the Ayn Rand or the Objectivist School of libertarian capitalism. And, look, I'm a big believer in a lot of libertarianism. I have many many friends that's a very big part of the conservative movement -- whether it's the UKIP movement in England, it's many of the underpinnings of the populist movement in Europe, and particularly in the United States. However, that form of capitalism is quite different when you really look at it to what I call the "enlightened capitalism" of the Judeo-Christian West. It is a capitalism that really looks to make people commodities, and to objectify people, and to use them almost -- as many of the precepts of Marx -- and that is a form of capitalism, particularly to a younger generation [that] they're really finding quite attractive. And if they don't see another alternative, it's going to be an alternative that they gravitate to under this kind of rubric of "personal freedom." ..."
Jan 13, 2018 | the-american-catholic.com

Buzzfeed has the remarks of Stephen Bannon, former CEO of Breitbart News , and currently appointed by President Elect Trump to be his chief advisor, at a conference at the Vatican in the summer of 2014:

Steve Bannon:

Thank you very much Benjamin, and I appreciate you guys including us in this. We're speaking from Los Angeles today, right across the street from our headquarters in Los Angeles. Um. I want to talk about wealth creation and what wealth creation really can achieve and maybe take it in a slightly different direction, because I believe the world, and particularly the Judeo-Christian west, is in a crisis. And it's really the organizing principle of how we built Breitbart News to really be a platform to bring news and information to people throughout the world. Principally in the west, but we're expanding internationally to let people understand the depths of this crisis, and it is a crisis both of capitalism but really of the underpinnings of the Judeo-Christian west in our beliefs.

It's ironic, I think, that we're talking today at exactly, tomorrow, 100 years ago, at the exact moment we're talking, the assassination took place in Sarajevo of Archduke Franz Ferdinand that led to the end of the Victorian era and the beginning of the bloodiest century in mankind's history. Just to put it in perspective, with the assassination that took place 100 years ago tomorrow in Sarajevo, the world was at total peace. There was trade, there was globalization, there was technological transfer, the High Church of England and the Catholic Church and the Christian faith was predominant throughout Europe of practicing Christians. Seven weeks later, I think there were 5 million men in uniform and within 30 days there were over a million casualties.

That war triggered a century of barbaric -- unparalleled in mankind's history -- virtually 180 to 200 million people were killed in the 20th century, and I believe that, you know, hundreds of years from now when they look back, we're children of that: We're children of that barbarity. This will be looked at almost as a new Dark Age.

But the thing that got us out of it, the organizing principle that met this, was not just the heroism of our people -- whether it was French resistance fighters, whether it was the Polish resistance fighters, or it's the young men from Kansas City or the Midwest who stormed the beaches of Normandy, commandos in England that fought with the Royal Air Force, that fought this great war, really the Judeo-Christian West versus atheists, right? The underlying principle is an enlightened form of capitalism, that capitalism really gave us the wherewithal. It kind of organized and built the materials needed to support, whether it's the Soviet Union, England, the United States, and eventually to take back continental Europe and to beat back a barbaric empire in the Far East.

That capitalism really generated tremendous wealth. And that wealth was really distributed among a middle class, a rising middle class, people who come from really working-class environments and created what we really call a Pax Americana. It was many, many years and decades of peace. And I believe we've come partly offtrack in the years since the fall of the Soviet Union and we're starting now in the 21st century, which I believe, strongly, is a crisis both of our church, a crisis of our faith, a crisis of the West, a crisis of capitalism.

And we're at the very beginning stages of a very brutal and bloody conflict, of which if the people in this room, the people in the church, do not bind together and really form what I feel is an aspect of the church militant, to really be able to not just stand with our beliefs, but to fight for our beliefs against this new barbarity that's starting, that will completely eradicate everything that we've been bequeathed over the last 2,000, 2,500 years.

Now, what I mean by that specifically: I think that you're seeing three kinds of converging tendencies: One is a form of capitalism that is taken away from the underlying spiritual and moral foundations of Christianity and, really, Judeo-Christian belief.

I see that every day. I'm a very practical, pragmatic capitalist. I was trained at Goldman Sachs, I went to Harvard Business School, I was as hard-nosed a capitalist as you get. I specialized in media, in investing in media companies, and it's a very, very tough environment. And you've had a fairly good track record. So I don't want this to kinda sound namby-pamby, "Let's all hold hands and sing 'Kumbaya' around capitalism."

But there's a strand of capitalism today -- two strands of it, that are very disturbing.

  1. One is state-sponsored capitalism. And that's the capitalism you see in China and Russia. I believe it's what Holy Father [Pope Francis] has seen for most of his life in places like Argentina, where you have this kind of crony capitalism of people that are involved with these military powers-that-be in the government, and it forms a brutal form of capitalism that is really about creating wealth and creating value for a very small subset of people. And it doesn't spread the tremendous value creation throughout broader distribution patterns that were seen really in the 20th century.
  2. The second form of capitalism that I feel is almost as disturbing, is what I call the Ayn Rand or the Objectivist School of libertarian capitalism. And, look, I'm a big believer in a lot of libertarianism. I have many many friends that's a very big part of the conservative movement -- whether it's the UKIP movement in England, it's many of the underpinnings of the populist movement in Europe, and particularly in the United States.

    However, that form of capitalism is quite different when you really look at it to what I call the "enlightened capitalism" of the Judeo-Christian West. It is a capitalism that really looks to make people commodities, and to objectify people, and to use them almost -- as many of the precepts of Marx -- and that is a form of capitalism, particularly to a younger generation [that] they're really finding quite attractive. And if they don't see another alternative, it's going to be an alternative that they gravitate to under this kind of rubric of "personal freedom."

The other tendency is an immense secularization of the West. And I know we've talked about secularization for a long time, but if you look at younger people, especially millennials under 30, the overwhelming drive of popular culture is to absolutely secularize this rising iteration.

... ... ...

[Jan 13, 2018] Steve Bannon on white nationalism, Donald Trump agenda - CBS News

Notable quotes:
"... "I'm not a white nationalist, I'm a nationalist. I'm an economic nationalist," Bannon told the news outlet earlier this week. "The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia. The issue now is about Americans looking to not get f -- ed over." ..."
"... "Look, are there some people that are white nationalists that are attracted to some of the philosophies of the alt-right? Maybe," Bannon told Mother Jones in August. "Are there some people that are anti-Semitic that are attracted? Maybe. Right? Maybe some people are attracted to the alt-right that are homophobes, right? But that's just like, there are certain elements of the progressive left and the hard left that attract certain elements." ..."
"... "It's everything related to jobs," Bannon said and seemingly bragged about how he was going to drive conservatives "crazy" with his "trillion-dollar infrastructure plan." ..."
"... "With negative interest rates throughout the world, it's the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything. Ship yards, iron works, get them all jacked up," he proposed. "We're just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks. It will be as exciting as the 1930s, greater than the Reagan revolution -- conservatives, plus populists, in an economic nationalist movement." ..."
"... Bannon, in the Reporter interview, also gave some insight into how he viewed his political foes (presumably, liberals and the media) -- and the "darkness" he touts in fighting against them. ..."
Jan 13, 2018 | www.cbsnews.com

Steve Bannon, the chief strategist and right-hand man to President-elect Donald Trump, denied in an interview that he was an advocate of white nationalism -- and gave hints instead about how his brand of "economic" nationalism will shake up Washington.

In The Hollywood Reporter, Bannon, the controversial former head of Breitbart News who went on to chair Mr. Trump's presidential campaign, discussed why he believed his candidate won the election.

"I'm not a white nationalist, I'm a nationalist. I'm an economic nationalist," Bannon told the news outlet earlier this week. "The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia. The issue now is about Americans looking to not get f -- ed over."

Bannon's appointment to the White House has drawn criticism from Democrats and several civil liberties groups, in part because of his (and Breitbart's) strong association with the alt-right , a political movement with strains of white supremacy.

In the past, the former Breitbart CEO has admitted the alt-right's connections to racist and anti-Semitic agendas.

"Look, are there some people that are white nationalists that are attracted to some of the philosophies of the alt-right? Maybe," Bannon told Mother Jones in August. "Are there some people that are anti-Semitic that are attracted? Maybe. Right? Maybe some people are attracted to the alt-right that are homophobes, right? But that's just like, there are certain elements of the progressive left and the hard left that attract certain elements."

In the Reporter interview, Bannon challenged the notion that racialized overtones dominated the Trump campaign on the trail. He predicted that if the administration delivered on its election promises, "we'll get 60 percent of the white vote, and 40 percent of the black and Hispanic vote and we'll govern for 50 years."

"It's everything related to jobs," Bannon said and seemingly bragged about how he was going to drive conservatives "crazy" with his "trillion-dollar infrastructure plan."

"With negative interest rates throughout the world, it's the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything. Ship yards, iron works, get them all jacked up," he proposed. "We're just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks. It will be as exciting as the 1930s, greater than the Reagan revolution -- conservatives, plus populists, in an economic nationalist movement."

Bannon, in the Reporter interview, also gave some insight into how he viewed his political foes (presumably, liberals and the media) -- and the "darkness" he touts in fighting against them.

"Darkness is good," Bannon said. "Dick Cheney. Darth Vader. Satan. That's power. It only helps us when they...get it wrong. When they're blind to who we are and what we're doing."

[Jan 09, 2018] Steve Bannon and Trump's Populist Victory by Jeremy Cooper

Notable quotes:
"... When Donald Trump burst onto the scene, Bannon had found what he is quoted describing as a "blunt instrument for us," a man who had "taken this nationalist movement and moved it up twenty years." ..."
"... the rise of Bannon and Trump holds lessons for the Dissident Right. One of them: despite how powerful the Establishment may appear, there are fatal disconnects between it and the people it rules -- for example, on social and identity issues. Thus, many members of this Ruling Class, such as the Republican strategists who predicted a Jeb or Rubio victory, have been more successful in deluding themselves than they have been in building any kind of effective base. Similarly, Clinton campaign operatives believed, without much evidence, that undecided voters would eventually break in their favor. Because the thought of a Trump presidency was too horrifying for them to contemplate, they refused to recognize polls showing a close race, ignored the Midwest and sauntered their candidate off to Arizona in the final days. ..."
"... Of course, currently the ideas that Bannon fought for appear to be on the wane, leading him to declare upon leaving the White House that the "Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over." [ Weekly Standard, August 18, 2017] ..."
"... But this is probably somewhat of an exaggeration. I doubt that Bannon laments the fact that the current president is Donald Trump rather than Hillary Clinton or Marco Rubio. But it has proved much more difficult to change government policy than to win an election. Unlike GOP strategists, the Deep State appears to know what it is doing. ..."
www.unz.com

Republished from VDare.com

Throughout 2016, I would occasionally turn on the television to see how the punditocracy was responding to the mounting Trump tsunami . If you get most of your news online, watching cable news is frustrating. The commentary is so dumbed down and painfully reflective of speaker's biases, you can always basically guess what's coming next. With a few exceptions -- above all Ann Coulter 's famous June 19, 2015 prediction of a Trump victory on Bill Maher -- these pundits again and again told us that Trump would eventually go away, first after he made this or that gaffe, then after he "failed" in a debate, then after people actually started voting in the primaries.

Finally, after having been wrong at every point during the primaries, they just as confidently predicted that the Republican primary voter had foolishly done nothing more than assure that Hillary Clinton would be the next president.

The most interesting cases to me: the " Republican strategists ," brought on to CNN and MSNBC to give the audience the illusion that they were hearing both sides: Nicole Wallace, Steve Schmidt, Ana Navarro, Rick Wilson, Margaret Hoover, Todd Harris. Mike Murphy even convinced donors to hand him over $100 million to make Jeb Bush the next president -- [ Jeb's 2016 departure draws out Mike Murphy critics , By Maeve Reston, February 22, 2016]

With campaigns and donors throwing money at these people, and the Main Stream Media touting them, it was easy to assume they must know what they were talking about. Significantly, each of these pundits was a national security hawk, center-right on economic issues, and just as horrified by " racism " and " sexism " as their Leftist counterparts . By a remarkable coincidence, the " strategic " advice that they gave to Republican candidates lined up perfectly with these positions. Their prominence was a mirage created by the fact that the MSM handed this token opposition the Megaphone because they did not challenge the core prejudices of the bipartisan Ruling Class.

And of course they were all humiliated in a spectacular fashion, November 8 being only the climax. Joshua Green begins his book Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency by giving us a view inside the Trump campaign on election night, before tracing Steve Bannon's path up to that point. Reliving the journey is one of the joys of Green's work, which is mostly an intellectual biography of Steve Bannon, with a special focus on his relationship with Trump and the election.

Bannon joined the Trump campaign in the summer of 2016 without any previous experience in electoral politics. But like the candidate himself, the Breitbart editor showed that he understood the nature of American politics and the GOP base better than Establishment Republicans. The "strategists'" supposed "expertise," "strategic advice," and "analysis" was in reality built on a house of cards. (In fact, the Bannon-Trump view of the electorate is closer to the consensus among political scientists that, unlike more nationalist and populist policies, Republican Establishment positions have relatively little popular support. [ Political Divisions in 2016 and Beyon d | Tensions Between and Within the Two Parties, Voter Study Group, June 2017]).

One key example: Green recounts how after Obama's re-election, the GOP Establishment was eager to surrender on immigration, supporting the bipartisan Amnesty/ Immigration Surge Gang of Eight bill . GOP leaders had neutralized Fox News, leaving Breitbart.com, talk radio and guerilla websites like VDARE.com as the only resistance. But the bill died due to a grass-roots revolt, partly inspired by Breitbart's reporting on the flood of Central American "child" refugees t he Obama Regime was allowing across the southern border. GOP House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his congressional seat in a shock upset in the primaries. And little over a year later, Donald Trump became a candidate for president with opposition to illegal immigration as his signature issue.

Bannon at Breitbart.com gave the Republican base what it wanted. Moral: in a democracy, you always have a chance at winning when public opinion (or at least intraparty opinion) is on your side.

Green traces Bannon's journey from his Irish-Catholic working-class roots and traditionalist upbringing, to his time in the Navy, at Harvard Business School and Goldman Sachs, and finally Breitbart.com and the pinnacle of American politics. The picture that emerges is of a man with principles and vigor, refusing to submit to the inertia that is part of the human condition, with enough confidence to realize that life is too short to not make major changes when staying on the current path is not going to allow him to accomplish his goals.

For example, Bannon originally wanted a career in defense policy, and took a job in the Pentagon during the Reagan administration. Yet he was off to Harvard Business School when he realized that the rigid bureaucracy that he was a part of would not let him move up to a high-level position until he was middle-aged. Decades later, after taking over his website upon the unexpected death of Andrew Breitbart in 2012, it would have been easy to go low-risk -- sticking to Establishment scripts, making life comfortable for Republican elites, implicitly submitting to the taboos of the Left. Instead , he helped turn Breitbart News into a major voice of the populist tide that has been remaking center-right politics across the globe.

When Donald Trump burst onto the scene, Bannon had found what he is quoted describing as a "blunt instrument for us," a man who had "taken this nationalist movement and moved it up twenty years."

From Green, we learn much about Bannon's intellectual influences. Surprisingly, although he was raised as a Roman Catholic and maintains that faith today, we find out that Bannon briefly practiced Zen Buddhism while in the Navy. There are other unusual influences that make appearances in the book, including Rightist philosopher Julius Evola and René Guénon, a French occultist who eventually became a Sufi Muslim. Although not exactly my cup of tea, such eccentric intellectual interests reflect a curious mind that refuses to restrict itself to fashionable influences.

It's incorrect to call Devil's Bargain a biography. There is practically no mention of Bannon's personal life -- wives, children. I had to Google to find out that he has three daughters. His childhood is only discussed in the context of how it may have influenced his beliefs and political development.

Rather, we get information on Bannon's intellectual and career pursuits and his relationships with consequential figures such as mega-donor Robert Mercer, Andrew Breitbart and Donald Trump.

As Bannon exits the White House and returns to Breitbart, we must hope that Bannon and the movement he's helped to create accomplish enough in the future to inspire more complete biographies.

But the rise of Bannon and Trump holds lessons for the Dissident Right. One of them: despite how powerful the Establishment may appear, there are fatal disconnects between it and the people it rules -- for example, on social and identity issues. Thus, many members of this Ruling Class, such as the Republican strategists who predicted a Jeb or Rubio victory, have been more successful in deluding themselves than they have been in building any kind of effective base. Similarly, Clinton campaign operatives believed, without much evidence, that undecided voters would eventually break in their favor. Because the thought of a Trump presidency was too horrifying for them to contemplate, they refused to recognize polls showing a close race, ignored the Midwest and sauntered their candidate off to Arizona in the final days.

Of course, currently the ideas that Bannon fought for appear to be on the wane, leading him to declare upon leaving the White House that the "Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over." [ Weekly Standard, August 18, 2017]

But this is probably somewhat of an exaggeration. I doubt that Bannon laments the fact that the current president is Donald Trump rather than Hillary Clinton or Marco Rubio. But it has proved much more difficult to change government policy than to win an election. Unlike GOP strategists, the Deep State appears to know what it is doing.

In his memoir Nixon's White House Wars , Pat Buchanan writes about how, despite playing a pivotal role in the election of 1968, the conservative movement was mostly shut out of high-level jobs:

Then there was the painful reality with which the right had to come to terms. Though our movement had exhibited real power in capturing the nomination for Barry Goldwater and helping Nixon crush the Rockefeller-Romney wing of the Republican Party, and though we were

playing a pivotal role in the election of 1968, the conservative movement was mostly shut out of high-level jobs:

Then there was the painful reality with which the right had to come to terms. Though our movement had exhibited real power in capturing the nomination for Barry Goldwater and helping Nixon crush the Rockefeller-Romney wing of the Republican Party, and though we were veterans of a victorious presidential campaign, few of us had served in the executive branch. We lacked titles, resumes, credentials Our pool of experienced public servants who could seamlessly move into top positions was miniscule compared to that of the liberal Democrats who had dominated the capital's politics since FDR arrived in 1933.

History repeated itself in 2016, when Donald Trump would win the presidency on a nationalist platform but find few qualified individuals who could reliably implement his agenda.

If nationalists want to ensure that their next generation of leaders is able to effectively implement the policies they run on, they are going to have to engage in the slow and tedious project of working their way up through powerful institutions.

Bannon may have been and remains an "outsider" to the political Establishment. But nonetheless, throughout his life he has leveraged elite institutions such as Harvard, Goldman Sachs, the Republican Party, and even Hollywood in order to become financially independent and free to pursue his political goals.

If enough of those on the Dissident Right forge a similar path, we can be sure that future nationalist political victories will be less hollow. Jeremy Cooper is a specialist in international politics and an observer of global trends. Follow him at @NeoNeoLiberal .

Clyde Wilson > , August 29, 2017 at 12:29 pm GMT

Is there any evidence that Trump even tried to find the right people to fill the offices?

Jobless > , August 30, 2017 at 6:52 pm GMT

@Clyde Wilson Is there any evidence that Trump even tried to find the right people to fill the offices? Having dabbled ever so slightly in this process in the spring, my impression is that there is a mechanism run largely by lawyers from the big DC law firms (presumably one for each party) who are the gatekeepers for applicants. The result of this system, which I have little doubt that the "Trump Team" did not try to take on (after all, they had only a couple of months to put together the beginnings of a team, and that left little or no time replacing The Swamp Machine ) is that the key positions throughout the administration are largely filled with lawyers from connected law firms. After all, who better to administer the government than lawyers -- ? -- ?

At any rate, my experience with the process was: on your marks, get set, nothing. 30 years experience in and around federal government, but not a lawyer. Don't call us, we don't want to talk to you. (I also made clear in my cover letter that the key motivator for my application -- and first ever political contributions -- was Trump and his agenda. In retrospect, this "admission" was probably a kiss of death. I was a Trumpite. Eeeewww -- -- -- (I may well not have been qualified for anything, but I'm SURE I was disqualified by my support for Trump )

The triumph of the Swamp.

Clyde Wilson > , August 30, 2017 at 9:08 pm GMT

We have here perhaps the key to Trump's tragic failure. It was our last shot.

Sep 03, 2017 | www.unz.com
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[Jan 08, 2018] Steve Bannon Backpedals On Comments In New Book On Trump by Igor Bobic

Too little, too late. Also Bannon by demonizing Russians has shown that his is a dangerous warmonger. And a weak politician.
Notable quotes:
"... Bannon added that his comments to Wolff were "aimed at Paul Manafort," the former Trump campaign manager who has been charged as part of an investigation into possible collusion between the Russian government and members of Trump's team. Manafort was also at the 2016 Trump Tower meeting. Manafort, Bannon said, "should have known how the Russians operate. He should have known they are duplicitous, cunning and not our friends. ..."
"... Bannon released the statement after a three-day barrage of criticism from Trump and his allies. The president dubbed Bannon "Sloppy Steve." Bannon's statement also followed a CNN appearance on Sunday by Stephen Miller, the president's senior policy adviser and former Bannon ally, who eviscerated his comments to Wolff as "grotesque." ..."
Jan 08, 2018 | www.huffingtonpost.com

The former White House aide said Donald Trump Jr. is a "patriot and a good man." Steve Bannon backpedaled on comments to journalist Michael Wolff, whose explosive new book sparked a backlash against the former top Donald Trump aide over his remarks about a meeting at Trump Tower in June 2016. According to the book, released a week early due to high demand, the former White House strategist called the infamous meeting in New York between Donald Trump Jr. and Russian operatives at Trump Tower "treasonous."

In a statement to Axios on Sunday, Bannon heaped praise on Trump and his agenda, and called Don Jr. a "patriot and a good man." "My comments about the meeting with Russian nationals came from my life experiences as a Naval officer stationed aboard a destroyer whose main mission was to hunt Soviet submarines to my time at the Pentagon during the Reagan years when our focus was the defeat of 'the evil empire' and to making films about Reagan's war against the Soviets and Hillary Clinton's involvement in selling uranium to them, " Bannon said in the statement.

Bannon added that his comments to Wolff were "aimed at Paul Manafort," the former Trump campaign manager who has been charged as part of an investigation into possible collusion between the Russian government and members of Trump's team. Manafort was also at the 2016 Trump Tower meeting. Manafort, Bannon said, "should have known how the Russians operate. He should have known they are duplicitous, cunning and not our friends.

To reiterate, those comments (about the meeting with the Russians) were not aimed at Don Jr." In the statement, Bannon again denied that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia. And though he did not deny any of the remarks that were attributed to him in the book, Bannon said he regretted "that my delay in responding to the inaccurate reporting regarding Don Jr has diverted attention from the president's historical accomplishments in the first year of his presidency."

Bannon released the statement after a three-day barrage of criticism from Trump and his allies. The president dubbed Bannon "Sloppy Steve." Bannon's statement also followed a CNN appearance on Sunday by Stephen Miller, the president's senior policy adviser and former Bannon ally, who eviscerated his comments to Wolff as "grotesque."

Earlier Sunday, Trump railed about what he called Wolff's "Fake Book" on Twitter:

[Jan 06, 2018] Bannon dismissed the far-right as irrelevant: Ethno-nationalism -- it's losers. It's a fringe element.

Notable quotes:
"... Economic nationalism is a term used to describe policies which are guided by the idea of protecting domestic consumption, labor and capital formation, even if this requires the imposition of tariffs and other restrictions on the movement of labour, goods and capital. It is in opposition to Globalisation in many cases, or at least on questions the unrestricted good of Free trade. It would include such doctrines as Protectionism, Import substitution, Mercantilism and planned economies. ..."
"... Examples of economic nationalism include Japan's use of MITI to "pick winners and losers", Malaysia's imposition of currency controls in the wake of the 1997 currency crisis, China's controlled exchange of the Yuan, Argentina's economic policy of tariffs and devaluation in the wake of the 2001 financial crisis and the United States' use of tariffs to protect domestic steel production. ..."
"... Think about what a trade war with China would do. It would crash the world economy as China tried to cash in on it US Treasury holdings with the US likely defaulting......just one possible scenario. ..."
"... Here is Bannon's latest: Bannon dismissed the far-right as irrelevant: "Ethno-nationalism!it's losers. It's a fringe element. I think the media plays it up too much, and we gotta help crush it, you know, uh, help crush it more." "These guys are a collection of clowns," he added. Bannon is no friend of White Nationalists. ..."
"... I think Bannon is an authentic economic nationalist, and one that Trump feels is good counsel on those matters. If this is so, then Bannon cannot be trying to provoke a trade war with China, since that would be an economic catastrophe for the US (and China and the rest of the world). I'm hoping he's playing bad cop and eventually Trump will play good cop in negotiations for more investment by China in the US and other goodies in exchange for 'well, not much' from the US. Similar to what the US dragged out of Japan in the 80s nd 90s. ..."
"... Bannon (and most of his followers) have no trust in the corporate sector as they are to a large degree Globalists - they used the US and then threw it aside in pursuit of profit elsewhere. For that, he would even call them traitors. So you could call him a Nationalist. ..."
"... Bannon does not seem himself as an "ethno-nationalist". Yet his slanderous contempt for the liberal ethos/values of many Americans would tend to make one question if he can be called a Nationalist. ..."
"... If Bannon was a Zionist, he would never make the comments he does against the financial sector ..."
"... Isn't exceptionalism the same as narcissism? ..."
"... At least the concern for 10 million in Seoul (mostly missing in the discussion of other leaders) show he is not a psychopath ..."
Aug 17, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org
psychohistorian | Aug 17, 2017 1:53:13 AM | 4
So lets start parsing this economic nationalism that Bannon is making happen with Trump.

Economic nationalism is a term used to describe policies which are guided by the idea of protecting domestic consumption, labor and capital formation, even if this requires the imposition of tariffs and other restrictions on the movement of labour, goods and capital. It is in opposition to Globalisation in many cases, or at least on questions the unrestricted good of Free trade. It would include such doctrines as Protectionism, Import substitution, Mercantilism and planned economies.

Examples of economic nationalism include Japan's use of MITI to "pick winners and losers", Malaysia's imposition of currency controls in the wake of the 1997 currency crisis, China's controlled exchange of the Yuan, Argentina's economic policy of tariffs and devaluation in the wake of the 2001 financial crisis and the United States' use of tariffs to protect domestic steel production.

Think about what a trade war with China would do. It would crash the world economy as China tried to cash in on it US Treasury holdings with the US likely defaulting......just one possible scenario.

At least now, IMO, the battle for a multi-polar (finance) world is out in the open.....let the side taking by nations begin. I hope Bannon is wrong about the timing of potential global power shifting and the US loses its empire status.

psychohistorian | Aug 17, 2017 2:19:03 AM | 5
I thought that maybe Bannon was being a bit too forthright in his recent comments and perhaps he has just painted a big bullseye on his back for the racist clowns he has used to aim at. Check this out: Bannons colleagues disturbed by interview with left wing publication
Realist | Aug 17, 2017 3:18:01 AM | 8
Here is Bannon's latest: Bannon dismissed the far-right as irrelevant: "Ethno-nationalism!it's losers. It's a fringe element. I think the media plays it up too much, and we gotta help crush it, you know, uh, help crush it more." "These guys are a collection of clowns," he added. Bannon is no friend of White Nationalists.

Clueless Joe | Aug 17, 2017 5:24:06 AM | 13

Bannon can be perfectly mature, adult and realist on some points and be totally blinded by biases on others - him wanting total economic war against China is proof enough. So I don't rule out that he has a blind spot over Iran and wants to get rid of the regime. I mean, even Trump is realist and adult in a few issues, yet is an oblivious fool on others.

Kind of hard to find someone who's always adult and realist, actually. You can only hope to pick someone who's more realist than most people. Or build a positronic robot and vote for him.

fairleft | Aug 17, 2017 6:35:17 AM | 15

I think Bannon is an authentic economic nationalist, and one that Trump feels is good counsel on those matters. If this is so, then Bannon cannot be trying to provoke a trade war with China, since that would be an economic catastrophe for the US (and China and the rest of the world). I'm hoping he's playing bad cop and eventually Trump will play good cop in negotiations for more investment by China in the US and other goodies in exchange for 'well, not much' from the US. Similar to what the US dragged out of Japan in the 80s nd 90s.

likklemore | Aug 17, 2017 10:51:54 AM | 28

@ Everybody who bought into the MSM Steve Bannon promoted white supremacy and through Breitbart. Suggested you read his world view expressed in remarks at Human Dignity Institute, Vatican Conference 2014

Progressives and Steve Bannon have something surprising in common: hating Wall Street

Pop quiz! Which major American political figure said the following:

  • "The 2008 crisis is really driven I believe by the greed, much of it driven by the greed of the investment banks."
  • "I think the bailouts in 2008 were wrong."
  • "[N]ot one criminal charge has ever been brought to any bank executive associated with 2008 crisis."
  • "The Republican Party "is really a collection of crony capitalists that feel that they have a different set of rules" and are "the reason that the United States' financial situation is so dire."

LINK

and here is BusinessInsider's analysis of Bannon's worldview:

LINK

In the Vatican talk, Bannon described in length and detail how he views the biggest issues of the day:

  • He wants to tear down "crony capitalism": "a brutal form of capitalism that is really about creating wealth and creating value for a very small subset of people.[.]
  • He is against Ayn Rand's version of libertarianism: "The second form of capitalism that I feel is almost as disturbing, is what I call the Ayn Rand or the Objectivist School of libertarian capitalism.[.]
  • He believes the West needs to wage "a global war against Islamic fascism": "They have a Twitter account up today, ISIS does, about turning the United States into a "river of blood" if it comes in and tries to defend the city of Baghdad. And trust me, that is going to come to Europe.[.]
  • He believes the capitalism of the "Judeo Christian West" is in crisis: "If you look at the leaders of capitalism at that time, when capitalism was I believe at its highest flower and spreading its benefits to most of mankind, almost all of those capitalists were strong believers in the Judeo-Christian West.[.]
  • He believes the racists that are attracted to Trump will become increasingly irrelevant: [.]

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

this recent Bannon interview with The American Prospect will now go viral. Drudgereport headlines the WAPO spin.

fastfreddy | Aug 17, 2017 11:05:47 AM | 31

Except for the selective Zion-flavored warmongering, Bannon appears to be an intelligent and thoughtful person. Also crafty. Is he not "Trump's Brain" in the way that Rove was Bush's Brain?

RUKidding | Aug 17, 2017 12:23:40 PM | 34

@30 Just Sayin'

Agree. I think Bannon's quite bright and very very clever and crafty.

However, if anyone believes the lies he spewed yesterday about white supremacists, let me enlighten you that that's what's called "good PR" or something. Bannon is someone whom I hold quite responsible for contributing to the rise of White Supremacy in the USA, which I consider a clear and present danger. Bannon's dismissive hand waving yesterday is meant to dissemble. Guess some are willing to buy what he was selling yesterday. Not me.

Caveat Emptor.

karlof1 | Aug 17, 2017 12:30:01 PM | 36

The first group to call themselves Progressives were the 19th century Populists. Their mantle was adopted by T. Roosevelt and other like-minded Republicans. Lafollette and Wallace are perhaps the best remembered Progressives--yes, FDR is portrayed as one, but when examined really isn't: Eleanor was far more Progressive and since she was people also thought he was too. Once Wallace was ousted from government, Democrats reverted to their old ways, although Truman did order the military to desegregate--perhaps his only Progressive act. JFK was in the process of becoming a Progressive in the months prior to his murder. LBJ very reluctantly made some Progressive noises in his War on Poverty that he was essentially forced into thanks to massive ethnic strife and related riots during the 60s. But essentially since the beginning of WW2, Progressives and their goals vanished from the political landscape. Nader brought it back to the fringe from the wilderness, but the so-called Progressive Caucus really isn't Progressive thanks to its war promotion.

Admittedly, I don't know much about Steve Bannon; he certainly isn't a Progressive, but he doesn't seem to be a Regressive either. The points he made at the Vatican Talk supplied by likklemore @28 are rather encouraging in an anti-Deep State manner. So, his interaction with The American Prospect I don't see as surprising--he's seeking allies: "'It's a great honor to finally track you [Robert Kuttner] down. I've followed your writing for years and I think you and I are in the same boat when it comes to China. You absolutely nailed it.'... Bannon explained that his strategy is to battle the trade doves inside the administration while building an outside coalition of trade hawks that includes left as well as right. Hence the phone call to me." I think Kuttner will discover Bannon will "still [be] there" after Labor Day, so he might as well make his travel plans.

likklemore | Aug 17, 2017 12:45:43 PM | 38
@ Just Sayin' 30

I won't give you a pass. Your bias and lack of intelligence is on great display.
Read and understand as Bannon is proven right on events.

The $28 - trillion (US dollar) global bailouts in 2008 is proven to have failed. A handful on Wall Street became trillionaires instead of being suited in special stripes.
Negative interest rates steal the retirement savings of seniors. Pensions and Insurance companies cannot meet promised payouts.

And all is fine. Corruption flourishes. Judeo-Christian moral values are not in crisis.

les7 | Aug 17, 2017 12:27:02 PM | 35

@12... "Bannon is a fascist" I'm not so sure. Mussolini defined fascism as being an alliance of corporate and state powers... but Bannon (and most of his followers) have no trust in the corporate sector as they are to a large degree Globalists - they used the US and then threw it aside in pursuit of profit elsewhere. For that, he would even call them traitors. So you could call him a Nationalist.

@ 8 as you say... Bannon does not seem himself as an "ethno-nationalist". Yet his slanderous contempt for the liberal ethos/values of many Americans would tend to make one question if he can be called a Nationalist.

@ 9 If Bannon was a Zionist, he would never make the comments he does against the financial sector (see @28).

@28 Bannon would never call himself a Socialist, but the most logical expression of his individualist views when applied to the business world are expressed by none other than Ayn Rand. The financial world simply got legal cover to act on the views that he rails against. Bannon does not like what he sees when the rules he claims for himself are given to the rest of the world. Which makes him an "Exceptionalist"??

Isn't exceptionalism the same as narcissism?

At least the concern for 10 million in Seoul (mostly missing in the discussion of other leaders) show he is not a psychopath.

[Jan 06, 2018] Washington Is Out to Get Steve Bannon

Looks like Bannon self-immolated himself by his cooperation with Wolff
Notable quotes:
"... Bannon is almost universally loathed by the Washington press corps, and not just for his politics. When he was the CEO of the pro-Trump Breitbart website, he competed with traditional media outlets, and he has often mercilessly attacked and ridiculed them. ..."
"... The animosity towards Bannon reached new heights last month, when he incautiously told the New York Times that "the media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while." He also said the media was "the opposition party" to the Trump administration. To the Washington media, those are truly fighting words. ..."
"... Bannon's comments were outrageous, but they are hardly new. In 2009, President Obama's White House communications director, Anita Dunn, sought to restrict Fox News' access to the White House. She even said, "We're going to treat them the way we would treat an opponent." The media's outrage over that remark was restrained, to say the least. ..."
"... Reporters and pundits are also stepping up the effort to portray Bannon as the puppet master in the White House. Last week, MSNBC's Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski said, "Legitimate media are getting word that Steve Bannon is the last guy in the room, in the evening especially, and he's pulling the strings." Her co-host, Joe Scarborough, agreed that Bannon's role should be "investigated." ..."
"... I'm all for figuring out who the powers behind the curtain are in the White House, but we saw precious little interest in that during the Obama administration. ..."
"... Liberal writer Steven Brill wrote a 2015 book, America's Bitter Pill , in which he slammed "incompetence in the White House" for the catastrophic launch of Obamacare. "Never [has there] been a group of people who more incompetently launched something," he told NPR's Terry Gross, who interviewed him about the book. He laid much of the blame at Jarrett's doorstep. "The people in the administration who knew it was going wrong went to the president directly with memos, in person, to his chief of staff," he said. "The president was protected, mostly by Valerie Jarrett, from doing anything. . . . He didn't know what was going on in the single most important initiative of his administration." How important was Jarrett inside the Obama White House? Brill interviewed the president about the struggles of Obamacare and reported Obama's conclusion: "At this point, I am not so interested in Monday-morning quarterbacking the past." ..."
"... five of the highest-ranking Obama officials had told him that "as a practical matter . . . Jarrett was the real chief of staff on any issues that she wanted to weigh in on, and she jealously protected that position by making sure the president never gave anyone else too much power." When Brill asked the president about these aides' assessment of Jarrett, Obama "declined comment," Brill wrote in his book. That, in and of itself, was an answer. Would that Jarrett had received as much media scrutiny of her role in eight years under Obama as Bannon has in less than four weeks. ..."
"... I've had my disagreements with Bannon, whose apocalyptic views on some issues I don't share. Ronald Reagan once said that if someone in Washington agrees with you 80 percent of the time, he is an ally, not an enemy. I'd guess Bannon wouldn't agree with that sentiment. ..."
Feb 15, 2017 | www.unz.com
... ... ..

Bannon is almost universally loathed by the Washington press corps, and not just for his politics. When he was the CEO of the pro-Trump Breitbart website, he competed with traditional media outlets, and he has often mercilessly attacked and ridiculed them.

The animosity towards Bannon reached new heights last month, when he incautiously told the New York Times that "the media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while." He also said the media was "the opposition party" to the Trump administration. To the Washington media, those are truly fighting words.

Joel Simon, of the Committee to Protect Journalists, told CNN that "this kind of speech not [only] undermines the work of the media in this country, it emboldens autocratic leaders around the world." Jacob Weisberg, the head of the Slate Group, tweeted that Bannon's comment was terrifying and "tyrannical."

Bannon's comments were outrageous, but they are hardly new. In 2009, President Obama's White House communications director, Anita Dunn, sought to restrict Fox News' access to the White House. She even said, "We're going to treat them the way we would treat an opponent." The media's outrage over that remark was restrained, to say the least.

Ever since Bannon's outburst, you can hear the media gears meshing in the effort to undermine him. In TV green rooms and at Washington parties, I've heard journalists say outright that it's time to get him. Time magazine put a sinister-looking Bannon on its cover, describing him as "The Great Manipulator." Walter Isaacson, a former managing editor of Time , boasted to MSNBC that the image was in keeping with a tradition of controversial covers that put leaders in their place. "Likewise, putting [former White House aide] Mike Deaver on the cover, the brains behind Ronald Reagan, that ended up bringing down Reagan," he told the hosts of Morning Joe . "So you've got to have these checks and balances, whether it's the judiciary or the press."

Reporters and pundits are also stepping up the effort to portray Bannon as the puppet master in the White House. Last week, MSNBC's Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski said, "Legitimate media are getting word that Steve Bannon is the last guy in the room, in the evening especially, and he's pulling the strings." Her co-host, Joe Scarborough, agreed that Bannon's role should be "investigated."

I'm all for figuring out who the powers behind the curtain are in the White House, but we saw precious little interest in that during the Obama administration.

It wasn't until four years after the passage of Obamacare that a journalist reported on just how powerful White House counselor Valerie Jarrett had been in its flawed implementation. Liberal writer Steven Brill wrote a 2015 book, America's Bitter Pill , in which he slammed "incompetence in the White House" for the catastrophic launch of Obamacare. "Never [has there] been a group of people who more incompetently launched something," he told NPR's Terry Gross, who interviewed him about the book. He laid much of the blame at Jarrett's doorstep. "The people in the administration who knew it was going wrong went to the president directly with memos, in person, to his chief of staff," he said. "The president was protected, mostly by Valerie Jarrett, from doing anything. . . . He didn't know what was going on in the single most important initiative of his administration." How important was Jarrett inside the Obama White House? Brill interviewed the president about the struggles of Obamacare and reported Obama's conclusion: "At this point, I am not so interested in Monday-morning quarterbacking the past."

Brill then bluntly told the president that five of the highest-ranking Obama officials had told him that "as a practical matter . . . Jarrett was the real chief of staff on any issues that she wanted to weigh in on, and she jealously protected that position by making sure the president never gave anyone else too much power." When Brill asked the president about these aides' assessment of Jarrett, Obama "declined comment," Brill wrote in his book. That, in and of itself, was an answer. Would that Jarrett had received as much media scrutiny of her role in eight years under Obama as Bannon has in less than four weeks.

I've had my disagreements with Bannon, whose apocalyptic views on some issues I don't share. Ronald Reagan once said that if someone in Washington agrees with you 80 percent of the time, he is an ally, not an enemy. I'd guess Bannon wouldn't agree with that sentiment.

But the media's effort to turn Bannon into an enemy of the people is veering into hysterical character assassination. The Sunday print edition of the New York Times ran an astonishing 1,500-word story headlined: "Fascists Too Lax for a Philosopher Cited by Bannon." (The online headline now reads, "Steve Bannon Cited Italian Thinker Who Inspired Fascists.") The Times based this headline on what it admits was "a passing reference" in a speech by Bannon at a Vatican conference in 2014 . In that speech, Bannon made a single mention of Julius Evola, an obscure Italian philosopher who opposed modernity and cozied up to Mussolini's Italian Fascists.

- John Fund is NRO's national-affairs correspondent . https://twitter.com/@JohnFund

[Dec 27, 2017] Bannon Puts Jared Through the Grinder - POLITICO Magazine

Notable quotes:
"... Informing Vanity Fair that Kushner's hunt for political smut led him to over-fraternize with the Russians might not be the best way for Bannon to throw special counsel Robert S. Mueller III off the collusion scent. ..."
"... Sherman's piece reveals the cognitive split that evolved between Bannon and others, specifically Trump, on how to handle the mess that had been created. "Goldman Sachs teaches one thing: don't invent shit. Take something that works and make it better," Bannon told Sherman. He said he consulted with Bill Clinton's former lawyer Lanny Davis about how the Clintons responded to Ken Starr's probe. "We were so disciplined. You guys don't have that," Bannon recalls Davis advising him. "That always haunted me when he said that," Bannon told Sherman. Bannon said the investigation was an attempt by the establishment to undo the election, but he took it seriously and warned Trump he was in danger of being impeached. ..."
"... There's even more hot Bannon on Kushner action. Bannon tells of an Oval Office meeting he attended with Trump, Kushner and Kushner's wife Ivanka Trump in which he called Ivanka "the queen of leaks." "You're a fucking liar!" Ivanka allegedly responded. Hard to know how to score this round, but shattering the public image of Ivanka as poised princess must have been satisfying for a guy who called Javanka "the Democrats." ..."
"... Although "people close to Kushner, who decline to be named" told the Times they don't think the Mueller investigation exposes him to legal jeopardy, the young prince isn't taking chances. The Washington Post reports that his lawyer, Abbe Lowell, has been shopping for a "crisis public relations firm" over the past two weeks. (Senator Robert Menendez, the recent beneficiary of a deadlocked corruption trial, is another Lowell client.) ..."
"... Why hire super flacks now? Does Kushner sense disaster? Another Bannon offensive? The Flynn plea bargain exposed him -- according to the press -- as the "very senior member" of the Trump transition team described in court documents who told former national security adviser Michael Flynn to lobby the Russian ambassador about a U.N. resolution on Israeli settlements. Maybe he's just buying reputation insurance. Or maybe he's taken to heart Chris Christie's scathing comments. Christie was squeezed out of the Trump transition early on, some say by Kushner who is said to hold a grudge against Christie who, when he was federal prosecutor, put Kushner's father in jail . This week Christie said that Kushner "deserves the scrutiny" he's been getting. It was almost as if Christie and Bannon were operating a twin-handled grinder, cranking out an extra helping of Kushner's tainted reputation. ..."
"... President Putin and President Trump occupied the same page about the scandal this week in what was either a matter of collusion or of great minds thinking alike. Speaking at a four-hour media event in Moscow, Putin blamed the scandal on the U.S. "deep state" and said, "This is all made up by people who oppose Trump to make his work look illegitimate." According to CNN , Trump took the opportunity this week to call the Russia investigation "bullshit" in private. In public, he told reporters, "There's absolutely no collusion. I didn't make a phone call to Russia. I have nothing to do with Russia. Everybody knows it." ..."
Dec 27, 2017 | www.politico.com

Former Trump chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon milled his former Oval Office colleague Jared Kushner into a bloody chunk of battle sausage this week and smeared him across the shiny pages of Vanity Fair . You've got to read Bannon's quote three or four times to fully savor the tang of its malice and cruelty. After scorning the Russia collusion theories as fiction, Bannon acknowledged the grisly reality that the Russia investigation poses for his former boss. And he blamed it all on Kushner, for having created the appearance that Putin had helped Trump. Dropping Kushner head first into the grinder, Bannon turned the crank.

"[Kushner was] taking meetings with Russians to get additional stuff. This tells you everything about Jared," Bannon told the magazine's Gabriel Sherman. "They were looking for the picture of Hillary Clinton taking the bag of cash from Putin. That's his maturity level."

Informing Vanity Fair that Kushner's hunt for political smut led him to over-fraternize with the Russians might not be the best way for Bannon to throw special counsel Robert S. Mueller III off the collusion scent. So what was the big man in the Barbour coat up to?

That Bannon and Kushner skirmished during their time together in the White House has been long established. Kushner advocated the sacking FBI Director James B. Comey, for example, and Bannon opposed it. He later told 60 Minutes that the firing was maybe the worst mistake in "modern political history" because it precipitated the hiring of the special counsel and had thereby expanded the investigation.

Sherman's piece reveals the cognitive split that evolved between Bannon and others, specifically Trump, on how to handle the mess that had been created. "Goldman Sachs teaches one thing: don't invent shit. Take something that works and make it better," Bannon told Sherman. He said he consulted with Bill Clinton's former lawyer Lanny Davis about how the Clintons responded to Ken Starr's probe. "We were so disciplined. You guys don't have that," Bannon recalls Davis advising him. "That always haunted me when he said that," Bannon told Sherman. Bannon said the investigation was an attempt by the establishment to undo the election, but he took it seriously and warned Trump he was in danger of being impeached.

Bannon's gripe against Kushner in Vanity Fair continues: He claims that Donald Trump's disparaging tweets about Attorney General Jeff Sessions were designed to provide "cover" for Kushner by steering negative media attention toward Sessions and away from Kushner as he was scheduled to testify before a Senate committee.

There's even more hot Bannon on Kushner action. Bannon tells of an Oval Office meeting he attended with Trump, Kushner and Kushner's wife Ivanka Trump in which he called Ivanka "the queen of leaks." "You're a fucking liar!" Ivanka allegedly responded. Hard to know how to score this round, but shattering the public image of Ivanka as poised princess must have been satisfying for a guy who called Javanka "the Democrats."

Getting mauled by Steve Bannon might not be the worst thing to happen to the president's son-in-law this week. He and Ivanka were sued by a private attorney for failing to disclose assets from 30 investment funds on their federal financial disclosure forms. Perhaps more ominous for Kushner, and according to the New York Times , federal prosecutors in Brooklyn have subpoenaed Deutsche Bank records about Kushner's family's real estate business. "There is no indication that the subpoena is related to the investigation being conducted by Robert S. Mueller III," the Times allowed. Yeah, but wouldn't you want to be there when Mueller's team invites Bannon in to talk to him about the Vanity Fair article, and they ask him, "What did you mean about Jared taking meetings with Russians to get additional stuff? Like, what stuff?"

Although "people close to Kushner, who decline to be named" told the Times they don't think the Mueller investigation exposes him to legal jeopardy, the young prince isn't taking chances. The Washington Post reports that his lawyer, Abbe Lowell, has been shopping for a "crisis public relations firm" over the past two weeks. (Senator Robert Menendez, the recent beneficiary of a deadlocked corruption trial, is another Lowell client.)

Why hire super flacks now? Does Kushner sense disaster? Another Bannon offensive? The Flynn plea bargain exposed him -- according to the press -- as the "very senior member" of the Trump transition team described in court documents who told former national security adviser Michael Flynn to lobby the Russian ambassador about a U.N. resolution on Israeli settlements. Maybe he's just buying reputation insurance. Or maybe he's taken to heart Chris Christie's scathing comments. Christie was squeezed out of the Trump transition early on, some say by Kushner who is said to hold a grudge against Christie who, when he was federal prosecutor, put Kushner's father in jail . This week Christie said that Kushner "deserves the scrutiny" he's been getting. It was almost as if Christie and Bannon were operating a twin-handled grinder, cranking out an extra helping of Kushner's tainted reputation.

President Putin and President Trump occupied the same page about the scandal this week in what was either a matter of collusion or of great minds thinking alike. Speaking at a four-hour media event in Moscow, Putin blamed the scandal on the U.S. "deep state" and said, "This is all made up by people who oppose Trump to make his work look illegitimate." According to CNN , Trump took the opportunity this week to call the Russia investigation "bullshit" in private. In public, he told reporters, "There's absolutely no collusion. I didn't make a phone call to Russia. I have nothing to do with Russia. Everybody knows it."

Everybody, perhaps, except former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Appearing on CNN , Clapper used direct language to bind former KGB officer Putin to Trump tighter than a girdle to a paunch. "[Putin] knows how to handle an asset, and that's what he's doing with the president," Clapper said. "I think some of that experience and instincts of Putin has come into play here in his managing of a pretty important account for him, if I could use that term, with our president."

Writing in Newsweek , Jeff Stein collected other tell-tale signs of Trump's cooptation: He refused to take Russian meddling in the election seriously. He responds favorably to Putin's praise and seems to crave more. He dismisses worries about his circle's connections to Kremlin agents before the election and during the transition -- and he tried to call off the Flynn investigation.

It's enough to make you wonder why Bannon thinks Kushner is the enemy, not Trump.

******

If you've read this far, you're probably disappointed that more didn't happen in the Trump Tower scandal this week. Sue me in small claims court via email to Shafer.Politico@gmail.com . My email alerts never believed in collusion, my Twitter feed is set to cut a plea deal with Mueller, and my RSS feed has several crisis PR firms on retainer.

[Dec 20, 2017] Trump's 'National Security Strategy' Is the Opposite of National Security by Thomas Knapp

Dec 20, 2017 | original.antiwar.com

The Goldwater-Nichols Act requires the president to submit a "National Security Strategy" report each year. Every president since Ronald Reagan has failed to comply with the law in one or more years of his administration, but on December 17 Donald Trump issued his report .

Unfortunately, Trump's offering is of a piece with his prior displays of economic illiteracy and foreign policy jingoism. It's a dog's breakfast of policy pronouncements that couldn't be more opposed to real "national security" if that had been the author's intention.

The document reiterates Trump's commitment to economic protectionism in the guise of "fair and reciprocal" trade, rattles sabers at Russia, China, and North Korea, and commits to extending decades of disastrous US military adventurism in the Middle East.

Trump's distant predecessors showed us what a real "National Security Strategy" would look like.

At the end of his two terms as president, George Washington warned in his farewell address that "[t]he great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible."

Thomas Jefferson echoed that sentiment in his first inaugural address, announcing a doctrine of "peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations – entangling alliances with none."

While serving as US Secretary of State, future president John Quincy Adams observed that America "goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own."

Those principles served the US well to the extent that they were followed – with a few exceptions, throughout the 19th century. But since the Spanish-American War of 1898, the US has increasingly styled itself an imperial power, attempting to dictate to the world at a cost of hundreds of thousands of American lives and millions more abroad, as well as trillions of dollars redirected from productive endeavors to paying the butcher's bill. The 20th century was a near-continuous orgy of bloodshed which, for the US, was entirely optional.

A real "National Security Strategy" comes down to two things: Free trade, and minding our own business.

Early in his presidential campaign, Trump hinted at the latter, but quickly reverted to business as usual. He's clearly never grasped the former at all. Unfortunate, as the two are also the elements of a great presidency, if such a thing is even possible.

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism . He lives and works in north central Florida. This article is reprinted with permission from William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism.

[Oct 16, 2017] Don't Be Afraid of Steve Bannon by David Atkins

Economic nationalism in key ideas is close to Mussolini version of corporatism. It is about the alliance of state with large corporation but of less favorable to large corporations terms then under neoliberalism, which is a flavor of corporatism as well, but extremely favorable to the interests of transactionals.
So grossly simplifying, this is Mussolini version of corporatism (Make Italy Great Again), minus foreign wars, minus ethnic component (replacing it with more modern "cultural nationalism" agenda).
Bannon is definitely overrated. It is jobs that matter and he has no real plan. Relying on tax cutting and deregulation is not a plan. In this sense, yes, he is a paper tiger. And not a real nationalist, but some kind of castrated variety.
One thing that plays into Bannon hands in the DemoRats (neoliberal Democrats led by Hillary Clinton) were completely discredited during the last elections.
Notable quotes:
"... But his statements show that it's all bluster and no real strategy. Democrats seem poised to take back Congress precisely because of Republican extremism, not because institutional Republicans are inadequately racist and nationalist. ..."
"... Like Karl Rove before him, Steven Bannon is a paper tiger. ..."
Oct 16, 2017 | washingtonmonthly.com

There is a tendency on the left to overestimate the abilities of conservative campaign gurus and spinmeisters after a bitter defeat. In the aughts, Karl Rove was seen as the Svengali mastermind of Republican politics, a nefarious force smarter and more cunning than all the left's braintrust put together. It turned out not to be true. Karl Rove didn't have "the math" and never really did: Rove mostly got lucky by a combination of butterfly ballots in Florida, and happening to hold power during a terrorist attack that saw Democrats cowed into submission rather than holding the president and his team accountable for their failure to protect the country.

Steve Bannon is taking on a similar mystique for some. But Bannon is no more special than Rove...

... ... ...

Bannon is going to war " with the GOP establishment, even going so far as to countermand Trump's own endorsement in the Alabama Senate race and force the president to back a loser.

But his statements show that it's all bluster and no real strategy. Democrats seem poised to take back Congress precisely because of Republican extremism, not because institutional Republicans are inadequately racist and nationalist.

And his prediction to the Values Voter Summit that Trump will win 400 electoral votes in 2020 is simply preposterous on its face. It's no better than even odds that Trump will even finish out his term, much less sweep to a Reaganesque landslide in three years. During the same speech, Bannon quipped a line destined to be fodder for the inevitable 2018 campaign commercials accusing Trump of actively blowing up the ACA exchanges and driving up premiums in a bid to kill the program.

Like Karl Rove before him, Steven Bannon is a paper tiger. Democrats need only muster courage, conviction and hard work to teach him the same lesson they taught Rove in 2006.

David Atkins is a writer, activist and research professional living in Santa Barbara. He is a contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal and president of The Pollux Group, a qualitative research firm.

[Oct 15, 2017] Is Trump the Heir to Reagan? by Patrick J. Buchanan

Bastard neoliberalism by Trump (and Bannon) are inconsistent. You can't be half pregnant -- to be a neoliberal (promote deregulation, regressive taxes) and be anti-immigration and anti-globalist. In this sense words Trump is doomed: neoliberal are determined to get rid of him.
Reagan was a former governor of California before becoming the President. hardly a complete outsider. Trump was an outsider more similar to Barak Obama in a sense that he has no political record and can ride on backlash against neoliberal globalization, especially outsourcing and offshoring and unlimited immigration, as well as ride anti-globalism sentiments and popular protest against foreign wars. Only quickly betraying those promised afterward. Much like king of "bait and switch" Obama .
Notable quotes:
"... Among the signature issues of Trumpian populism is economic nationalism, a new trade policy designed to prosper Americans first. ..."
"... Reagan preached free trade, but when Harley-Davidson was in danger of going under because of Japanese dumping of big bikes, he slammed a 50 percent tariff on Japanese motorcycles. Though a free trader by philosophy, Reagan was at heart an economic patriot. ..."
"... He accepted an amnesty written by Congress for 3 million people in the country illegally, but Reagan also warned prophetically that a country that can't control its borders isn't really a country any more. ..."
"... Reagan and Trump both embraced the Eisenhower doctrine of "peace through strength." And, like Ike, both built up the military. ..."
"... Both also believed in cutting tax rates to stimulate the economy and balance the federal budget through rising revenues rather than cutting programs like Medicare and Social Security. ..."
"... Both believed in engaging with the superpower rival of the day -- the Soviet Union in Reagan's day, Russia and China in Trump's time. ..."
"... As Ingraham writes, Trump_vs_deep_state is rooted as much in the populist-nationalist campaigns of the 1990s, and post-Cold War issues as economic patriotism, border security, immigration control and "America First," as it is in the Reaganite issues of the 1980s. ..."
"... Coming up on one year since his election, Trump is besieged by a hostile press and united Democratic Party. This city hates him. While his executive actions are impressive, his legislative accomplishments are not. His approval ratings have lingered in the mid-30s. He has lost half a dozen senior members of his original White House staff, clashed openly with his own Cabinet and is at war with GOP leaders on the Hill. ..."
"... And both are fans of the tinkle-down theory of economics, where the govt cuts taxes on the rich and increases them on the poor and middle class, since the rich will do a better job of spreading around the extra money they get to keep, thereby stoking the economy, supposedly. Or as 'Poppy' Bush called it, "voodoo economics." ..."
"... It's a failed regressive tax program that only creates more billionaires while the number of poor swells, due to an influx of the steadily declining middle-class. ..."
"... Bizarrely, comically ignorant of reality. Though the really bizarre thing is the degree to which the same obtusely ignorant world-view permeates the establishment media and the political establishment. ..."
"... There is arguably a fundamental difference here, that in Reagan's day there was a clear ideological threat from the Soviet Union, which was still (albeit increasingly nominally) in the grip of an aggressively destabilising universalist ideology, communism. Reagan's opposition to the Soviet Union was very much bound up in resistance to that ideology, even if that resistance was often as much a pretext as a real motive. ..."
"... Today neither Russia nor China subscribes to any such universalist ideology. It is the US, today, that seeks to impose its liberal democratic political correctness ideologies and its manufactured taboos upon the world and which harasses and menaces any country that tries to live differently. ..."
"... As for Trump supposedly being wrapped up in "America First", that's particularly comical this week as he demonstrates that his idea of "America First" is acting as Israel's bitch, and as he makes ever louder noises about undermining the Iran deal – a policy as clearly counterproductive to any interest plausibly attributable to the American nation (as opposed to the identity lobbies that run the US government politics and media) as it is self-evidently in the self-perceived interests of the Israel Lobby and the foreign country that lobby serves. ..."
"... Trump is an egotistical jackass, nothing else. A liar from the git-go, and a completely ineffective leader, ideologue and President. He's not going to last much longer. I will take note that he did, temporarily, save us from the madness of the Hillary moiety. But, he has molted into a complete fuckup. ..."
"... Goodbye, good riddance. Let's get ready to deal with the next wacko -- Pence. ..."
"... you're forgetting that Trump wasn't a war monger while on the campaign trail, far from it. Which is the only reason he won the election. In other words he fooled just enough people (like you and me) long enough to get elected. Same thing happened with peace candidate, and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Hussein Obama. It's clearly a rigged process. ..."
Oct 15, 2017 | www.unz.com

... ... ...

Both men were outsiders, and neither a career politician. Raised Democratic, Reagan had been a Hollywood actor, union leader and voice of GE, before running for governor of California.

Trump is out of Queens, a builder-businessman in a Democratic city whose Republican credentials were suspect at best when he rode down that elevator at Trump Tower. Both took on the Republican establishment of their day, and humiliated it.

Among the signature issues of Trumpian populism is economic nationalism, a new trade policy designed to prosper Americans first.

Reagan preached free trade, but when Harley-Davidson was in danger of going under because of Japanese dumping of big bikes, he slammed a 50 percent tariff on Japanese motorcycles. Though a free trader by philosophy, Reagan was at heart an economic patriot.

He accepted an amnesty written by Congress for 3 million people in the country illegally, but Reagan also warned prophetically that a country that can't control its borders isn't really a country any more.

Reagan and Trump both embraced the Eisenhower doctrine of "peace through strength." And, like Ike, both built up the military.

Both also believed in cutting tax rates to stimulate the economy and balance the federal budget through rising revenues rather than cutting programs like Medicare and Social Security.

Both believed in engaging with the superpower rival of the day -- the Soviet Union in Reagan's day, Russia and China in Trump's time.

And both were regarded in this capital city with a cosmopolitan condescension bordering on contempt. "An amiable dunce" said a Great Society Democrat of Reagan.

The awesome victories Reagan rolled up, a 44-state landslide in 1980 and a 49-state landslide in 1984, induced some second thoughts among Beltway elites about whether they truly spoke for America. Trump's sweep of the primaries and startling triumph in the Electoral College caused the same consternation.

However, as the Great Depression, New Deal and World War II represented a continental divide in history between what came before and what came after, so, too, did the end of the Cold War and the Reagan era.

As Ingraham writes, Trump_vs_deep_state is rooted as much in the populist-nationalist campaigns of the 1990s, and post-Cold War issues as economic patriotism, border security, immigration control and "America First," as it is in the Reaganite issues of the 1980s.

Which bring us to the present, with our billionaire president, indeed, at the barricades.

The differences between Trump in his first year and Reagan in 1981 are stark. Reagan had won a landslide. The attempt on his life in April and the grace with which he conducted himself had earned him a place in the hearts of his countrymen. He not only showed spine in giving the air traffic controllers 48 hours to get back to work, and then discharging them when they defied him, he enacted the largest tax cut in U.S. history with the aid of boll weevil Democrats in the House.

Coming up on one year since his election, Trump is besieged by a hostile press and united Democratic Party. This city hates him. While his executive actions are impressive, his legislative accomplishments are not. His approval ratings have lingered in the mid-30s. He has lost half a dozen senior members of his original White House staff, clashed openly with his own Cabinet and is at war with GOP leaders on the Hill.

Greg Bacon , Website October 13, 2017 at 10:24 am GMT

And both are fans of the tinkle-down theory of economics, where the govt cuts taxes on the rich and increases them on the poor and middle class, since the rich will do a better job of spreading around the extra money they get to keep, thereby stoking the economy, supposedly. Or as 'Poppy' Bush called it, "voodoo economics."

It's a failed regressive tax program that only creates more billionaires while the number of poor swells, due to an influx of the steadily declining middle-class.

The only parts of the economy it helps are the builders of luxury mansions, antique and pricey art dealers, and the makers of luxury autos and private jets.

Randal , October 13, 2017 at 12:24 pm GMT
@Mark James

when the US Government is trying to prevent alien forces from interfering in our electoral process

Bizarrely, comically ignorant of reality. Though the really bizarre thing is the degree to which the same obtusely ignorant world-view permeates the establishment media and the political establishment.

Two pieces here at Unz you ought to read, and fully take on board the implications of, if you want to even begin the process of grasping reality, rather than living in the manufactured fantasy you appear to inhabit at the moment:

Randal , October 13, 2017 at 12:53 pm GMT

Both believed in engaging with the superpower rival of the day -- the Soviet Union in Reagan's day, Russia and China in Trump's time.

There is arguably a fundamental difference here, that in Reagan's day there was a clear ideological threat from the Soviet Union, which was still (albeit increasingly nominally) in the grip of an aggressively destabilising universalist ideology, communism. Reagan's opposition to the Soviet Union was very much bound up in resistance to that ideology, even if that resistance was often as much a pretext as a real motive.

Today neither Russia nor China subscribes to any such universalist ideology. It is the US, today, that seeks to impose its liberal democratic political correctness ideologies and its manufactured taboos upon the world and which harasses and menaces any country that tries to live differently.

As for Trump supposedly being wrapped up in "America First", that's particularly comical this week as he demonstrates that his idea of "America First" is acting as Israel's bitch, and as he makes ever louder noises about undermining the Iran deal – a policy as clearly counterproductive to any interest plausibly attributable to the American nation (as opposed to the identity lobbies that run the US government politics and media) as it is self-evidently in the self-perceived interests of the Israel Lobby and the foreign country that lobby serves.

Here's the German government being unusually blunt yesterday about the stupidity of the Trump regime's seeming plans in this regard:

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel on Thursday said that any move by US President Donald Trump's administration to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal would drive a wedge between Europe and the US.

"It's imperative that Europe sticks together on this issue," Gabriel told Germany's RND newspaper group. "We also have to tell the Americans that their behavior on the Iran issue will drive us Europeans into a common position with Russia and China against the USA."

http://www.dw.com/en/germany-warns-donald-trump-against-decertifying-iran-deal/a-40933703

It's difficult to know whether the likes of Gabriel actually believe all the boilerplate nonsense they talk about a supposed Iranian nuclear program – the real reason the European nations want the deal to continue is that it stopped them having to pretend to believe all the outright lies the US told about Iran, and having to kowtow t0 costly and counterproductive sanctions against Iran that did immense general harm for the benefit only of Israel and Saudi Arabia and their US stooges.

The US pulling out of the deal would at least bring that issue of US dishonesty on Iran and past European appeasement of it to a head, I suppose.

John Jeremiah Smith , October 13, 2017 at 4:10 pm GMT
Trump is an egotistical jackass, nothing else. A liar from the git-go, and a completely ineffective leader, ideologue and President. He's not going to last much longer. I will take note that he did, temporarily, save us from the madness of the Hillary moiety. But, he has molted into a complete fuckup.

Goodbye, good riddance. Let's get ready to deal with the next wacko -- Pence. Assuming they won't kill Pence with the same bomb.

YetAnotherAnon , October 13, 2017 at 4:40 pm GMT
@Mark James

"As for Trump I think it's crystal clear his campaign involved the Russians in our election. "

It's crystal clear that some people will believe any crap that The Media Formerly Known As Hillary's broadcast.

reiner Tor , October 13, 2017 at 4:48 pm GMT
@John Jeremiah Smith

I will take note that he did, temporarily, save us from the madness of the Hillary moiety.

Often I feel like it'd be better if Hillary did the same insane policies. It's always worse when our guy does something wrong, and better when the hated enemy does it.

Hillary was a danger that she would start WW3 in Syria, but I don't think we can be certain she'd have started it. Given how risk-averse women are in general, I think the only issue was whether the Russians could've made it clear that shooting at Russian soldiers would mean war with Russia. And I think even Hillary's advisers would've blinked.

On the other hand, I don't think Hillary would be nearly as insane on North Korea or Iran. As a bonus, she would be accelerating the demise of the US, by introducing ever more insane domestic policies, things like gay, transsexual and female quotas in US Special Forces. This would ultimately be a good thing, destroying or weakening US power which is currently only used to evil ends in the world.

reiner Tor , October 13, 2017 at 5:07 pm GMT
@Randal

Unfortunately I can see Orbán and the Poles torpedoing a common EU stance. I'm sure that will be the price for Netanyahu's meeting with the V4 leaders a few months ago.

reiner Tor , October 13, 2017 at 5:15 pm GMT
I think one good thing would be if US conservatives stopped their Reagan worship. He was certainly not a bad person, but he allowed the amnesty to happen, couldn't stop the sanctions on Apartheid South Africa, didn't (or couldn't?) do anything against the MLK cult becoming a state religion, and started the free trade and tax cuts cults, he's also responsible for promoting the neocons to positions of power. So overall he was a mixed bag from a nationalist conservative viewpoint.
Chris Mallory , October 13, 2017 at 5:19 pm GMT
@Mark James

Private citizens are forbidden to ask for help from a foreign country, when the US Government is trying to prevent alien forces from interfering in our electoral process.

You forgot the Clintons, Bush, McCain, Romney, and Obama. China and Israel worked on behalf of all five of them, even though three of them lost

Randal , October 13, 2017 at 5:33 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

Yes, that's quite possible, but a common EU stance is not really all that important. What really matters is how far the Germans, and to a lesser extent the less relevant but still big European nations such as France and Italy and the more subservient US tool, the UK, are prepared to continue to kowtow to US and Israeli dishonesty on Iran.

All the signs seem to be that repudiating the deal and trying to return to the days of the aggressive and counter-productive US-imposed sanctions will be a step too far for many of those players.

As a bonus, she would be accelerating the demise of the US, by introducing ever more insane domestic policies, things like gay, transsexual and female quotas in US Special Forces. This would ultimately be a good thing, destroying or weakening US power which is currently only used to evil ends in the world.

Actually I suspect that repudiating the JCPOA, whether openly or by de facto breach, will go immensely farther, and much faster, towards destroying practical US influence and therefore power globally than any of those domestic policies, at least in the short run.

You can see that Trump is at least dimly aware of that likelihood from the way he keeps bottling and postponing the decision, despite his clearly evident and desperate desire to please his pro-Israeli and anti-Iranian advisers and instincts.

John Jeremiah Smith , October 13, 2017 at 6:13 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

On the other hand, I don't think Hillary would be nearly as insane on North Korea or Iran.

An election of Hillary meant open borders. That is official, rapid and deliberate national suicide. All foreign policy issues pale before such a horror.

reiner Tor , October 13, 2017 at 6:43 pm GMT
@John Jeremiah Smith

1) There's a chance foreign policy insanity starts a nuclear war, in which case all domestic policy issues will pale before such horror.

2) The US already has de facto open borders. Why does it matter if it becomes majority nonwhite in 30 or just 20 years?

3) For non-American whites, it's better the earlier the US sphere disintegrates. I bet you it's better for American whites as well. As long as this political/cultural center holds, the rot cannot be stopped.

The Alarmist , October 13, 2017 at 6:55 pm GMT
I watched the movie Independence Day last night: Can we have that guy for President after Trump, or do we have to have an obligatory Democrat (Chelsea Clinton?) President for the next 8 years?
German_reader , October 13, 2017 at 6:57 pm GMT
@John Jeremiah Smith

An election of Hillary meant open borders. That is official, rapid and deliberate national suicide. All foreign policy issues pale before such a horror.

That's understandable, but obviously the calculation must be somewhat different from a non-US perspective. Given how strongly many white Americans are in favor of pro-war policies and mindless Israel worship (how many US blacks or Hispanics care about Israel or confronting Iran?), I'm not even sure nationalists in Europe should really lament the Hispanicization of the US. It might at least have a positive effect in restricting US interventionism and eroding US power. The sooner the US is unable to continue with its self-appointed role as a global redeemer nation, the better.

RadicalCenter , October 13, 2017 at 8:36 pm GMT
@Mark James

Glad you think it's "crystal clear." How about evidence?

nsa , October 13, 2017 at 9:10 pm GMT
History repeats first as tragedy (crushing the spoiled unionized mostly white air traffic controllers), then as farce (crushing the spoiled unionized mostly afro NFL jocks). Reagan was at least an American Firster. Trumpenstein is an obvious traitorous Izzie Firster, with little concern for the so-called deplorables except to convert them into deployables at the service of his jooie sponsors. Maybe Paddy should have titled his screed "Heir to Begin, not Reagan"?
Aren Haich , October 13, 2017 at 9:12 pm GMT
Pat Buchanan points out that " it is far more likely that a major war would do for the Trump presidency and his place in history what it did for Presidents Wilson, Truman, LBJ and George W. Bush."

As for President Trump; Let us hope that war DOES NOT BECOME "The Last Refuge Of This Scoundrel"!

John Gruskos , October 13, 2017 at 9:37 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

Orban has been critical of regime change wars.

John Gruskos , October 13, 2017 at 9:43 pm GMT
@German_reader

Rubio was far more of a war-monger than Trump, and he won the primaries in the majority non-White jurisdictions (Washington DC, Puerto Rico).

If only non-White votes were counted, Hillary Clinton would have been elected unanimously by the electoral college, and Hillary is more of a war-monger than Trump is.

The few reliable voices for foreign policy sanity in congress, such as Senator Rand Paul and Congressmen Walter Jones, John Duncan, Thomas Massie, and Justin Amash, represent overwhelmingly White, Protestant, old-stock American districts.

German_reader , October 13, 2017 at 10:39 pm GMT
@John Gruskos

Rubio was far more of a war-monger than Trump, and he won the primaries in the majority non-White jurisdictions (Washington DC, Puerto Rico).

Maybe, but is there any data indicating many blacks in Washington DC actually voted in the Republican primaries? Why would they when most of them are a solid Democrat voting block? I'd guess Rubio got his votes from white elites in DC.
As for Puerto Rico, I didn't know they actually have primaries, seems odd given they don't vote in US presidential elections.

Hillary is more of a war-monger than Trump is.

Hillary was horrible all around, and I agree she might well have been disastrous as president given her dangerous proposals for no-fly zones in Syria, and the potential of conflict with Russia this entailed. But I'm no longer sure Trump is really better regarding foreign policy. His behaviour on the North Korea issue is irresponsible imo, and his willingness to wreck the nuclear deal with Iran at the behest of neoconservatives and Zionist donors like Sheldon Adelson is a big fat minus in my view. Sorry, but I think you guys who hoped for something different have all been (neo-)conned.

Jonathan Mason , October 13, 2017 at 11:42 pm GMT
Reagan said: My fellow Americans, I'm pleased to tell you today that I've signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.

Trump said: We will totally destroy North Korea if the United States is forced to defend itself or its allies.

Reagan was a joker, Trump is a wildcard.

Carroll Price , October 14, 2017 at 1:51 am GMT
The only similarities I see between Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump is that both live (lived) in a sort of la-la land, totally out of touch with reality. The only difference between them is that Reagan had sensible people around him (like Pat Buchannan) who wrote good speeches and make good decisions which he took full credit for. Trump, on the other hand delivers abbreviated, one-sentence speeches via Twitter while surrounded by mental midgets with military minds.
Carroll Price , October 14, 2017 at 2:08 am GMT
@Randal

There is arguably a fundamental difference here, that in Reagan's day there was a clear ideological threat from the Soviet Union, which was still (albeit increasingly nominally) in the grip of an aggressively destabilising universalist ideology, communism

Not really Randal. The Cold War was an invented war like the War on Terror that replaced just in the nick of time, and for the same purpose, which is to justify unlimited defense budgets necessary to sustain a bloated MIC that would not otherwise exist.

Carroll Price , October 14, 2017 at 2:35 am GMT
@John Gruskos

Rubio was far more of a war-monger than Trump, and he won the primaries in the majority non-White jurisdictions (Washington DC, Puerto Rico).

but you're forgetting that Trump wasn't a war monger while on the campaign trail, far from it. Which is the only reason he won the election. In other words he fooled just enough people (like you and me) long enough to get elected. Same thing happened with peace candidate, and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Hussein Obama. It's clearly a rigged process.

Randal , October 14, 2017 at 7:48 am GMT
@Carroll Price

Not really Randal. The Cold War was an invented war like the War on Terror that replaced just in the nick of time, and for the same purpose, which is to justify unlimited defense budgets necessary to sustain a bloated MIC that would not otherwise exist.

Well, yes and no. In both cases. It really is more complicated than that.

KA , October 14, 2017 at 11:18 am GMT
Reagan didn't undo Arab Israel Camp David Peace Treaty He didn't keep the Israeli side and undo the Egyptian side of the American obligation . He kept both.

Trump is dangerous malevolent anti-American and anti- anything that hurts his ego or pocket . He has malcontent displaced sycophants as inner circle supporters who want a piece in the pie denied to them by the establishment .

Here is a quote from antiwar -"In other words, it's all about the war that Trump and his still-loyal lieutenant Steve Bannon, assisted by UN ambassador Nikki Haley, have declared on the "deep state."

Also, Trump and Bannon aren't really interested in draining the foreign policy swamp in DC. They simply want to install their own cronies who will ensure that war and globalization benefit them rather than Kissinger and his ilk. It's a shell game designed to fool Trump's base, but the rest of the world has kept its eye on the ball." http://original.antiwar.com/feffer/2017/10/13/trump-signaling-unprecedented-right-turn-foreign-policy/

This war between elites have been predicted by a CT professor in an article in 2016 , to get more serious and dangerous by 2020 . The fights among elites are not new but another pathway an empire takes additionally to the final fate of the destruction from within

KA , October 14, 2017 at 11:49 am GMT
@KA

"A large class of disgruntled elite-wannabes, often well-educated and highly capable, has been denied access to elite positions."

Another visible sign of increasing intra-elite competition and political polarization is the fragmentation of political parties

cliodynamic research on past societies demonstrates that elite overproduction is by far the most important of the three main historical drivers of social instability and political violence (see Secular Cycles for this analysis).

But the other two factors in the model, popular immiseration (the stagnation and decline of living standards) and declining fiscal health of the state (resulting from falling state revenues and rising expenses) are also important contributors.

: https://phys.org/news/2017-01-social-instability-lies.html#jCp

polskijoe , October 14, 2017 at 1:04 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

Ideally Europe would be strong together, without US and more sane policies on morals and immigration.

Yes v4 is connected to CC, Neocon, Zios.

While Polands stance on immigration, and trying to hold on to old values is good, problem is depending on US too much, and being stuck between Russia and Germany which would isolate it from Europe in some ways. Obviously Poles are not uniform, views on US, Russia, Germany, Ukraine are all over the place. I wish Poland was just European (in politics) but the US-EU connection is still strong.

polskijoe , October 14, 2017 at 1:16 pm GMT
Commenting on US presidents. Presidents are puppets. All of them. Modern leaders in Western world are unlikable. Reagan at least had some balance, had some Catholic and Paleocon involvement. It wasnt all Neocons and Zios. Im quite sure Reagan (and his dad), people like Buchanan had connections to groups like Knights Malta or Knights Colombus. Cant prove it though. Kennedy was KC.

Today Neocon/Zionist influence is even stronger. Trump policies on NK and Iran are nuts. At best a war is avoided.

On the other side you have Clintons, Obamas. They would destroy the US, and have similar policies because again they are puppets. Clinton would likely be involved in Syria, just like Obama was.

German_reader , October 14, 2017 at 3:02 pm GMT
@polskijoe

While Polands stance on immigration, and trying to hold on to old values is good, problem is depending on US too much

Yes, that's a problem, and I think Polish national conservatives are somewhat in denial about what the modern US stands for the "values" pushed by the US establishment today are incompatible with the Polish right's vision for Poland (e.g. conservative values in sexual morality – no homo-lobbyism and transgender nonsense -, strong public role of Catholicism, restrictive and selective immigration policies that keep out Muslims).

I can understand to some degree why the Polish right is so pro-US, given history and apprehensions about Germany and Russia, but they should at least be aware that alliance with the US could have a rather pernicious influence on Poland itself.

[Oct 01, 2017] Republican civil war looms as Steve Bannon takes aim at the establishment

Notable quotes:
"... Bardella said Bannon had helped villainise McConnell, making him a toxic symbol of the Republican establishment and an albatross around the necks of vulnerable Republicans such as Jeff Flake of Arizona and Dean Heller of Nevada. A seat in Tennessee following Senator Bob Corker's announcement that he would not seek re-election in 2018 could also be a target. ..."
"... Among the "establishment" donors likely to oppose Bannon in a series of running battles are the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch. Bannon himself has admitted there is not "a deep bench" of viable candidates to represent his agenda. ..."
"... "The floodgates are open. You'll see a lot of this, one after another, and Steve Bannon's going to be at the centre of it. He's one for one. It'll be a civil war; it has been for quite some time." ..."
"... Andrew Surabian, a political strategist who worked under Bannon at the White House, told USA Today: "Bannon is plotting a strategy to launch an all-out assault on the Republican establishment. I think it's fair to say that if you're tied to Mitch McConnell, any of his henchmen in the consulting class, or were a Never-Trumper during the campaign, you're not safe from a primary challenge." ..."
"... Additional reporting by Lauren Gambino and Ben Jacobs ..."
Oct 01, 2017 | www.theguardian.com

Already Bannon is touring the country and meeting with candidates who will carry forward such an agenda. He told the Bloomberg agency: "The populist-nationalist movement proved in Alabama that a candidate with the right ideas and a grassroots organization can win big. Now, our focus is on recruiting candidates to take over the Republican party."

The election eve rally in Alabama was a reunion of sorts of those in Bannon's political orbit. Two potential candidates, Chris McDaniel of Mississippi and Mark Green of Tennessee, attended along with Paul Nehlen, a primary challenger last year to the House speaker, Paul Ryan, whose campaign was heavily promoted by Breitbart.

McDaniel described Moore's win as "incredibly inspiring" for his own challenge to Senator Roger Wicker in 2018. "We know Mitch McConnell was rejected tonight and Roger Wicker is just another part of Mitch McConnell's leadership apparatus," McDaniel told the Associated Press.

"We supported Donald Trump because he was an agent of change, and he's still an agent of change. In this instance, he must have been given bad advice to retain this particular swamp creature."

On Thursday, Bannon spent two hours with Tom Tancredo, who worked on Nehlan's behalf and is considering a run for Colorado governor next year. Tancredo, a former congressman, told the Guardian: "He was encouraged by what happened in Alabama and was certainly hoping he can replicate it.

"He's trying to establish an awareness of the fact the Republican party should be standing for the values he and others have tried to articulate over the years. It's a hugely difficult undertaking when you consider the power of the establishment and the swamp. He just kept reiterating: 'I need to try to save the country.'"

Asked about the prospect of a Republican civil war, Tancredo replied: "A good philosophic blood letting is not necessarily a bad thing."

... ... ...

Bardella said Bannon had helped villainise McConnell, making him a toxic symbol of the Republican establishment and an albatross around the necks of vulnerable Republicans such as Jeff Flake of Arizona and Dean Heller of Nevada. A seat in Tennessee following Senator Bob Corker's announcement that he would not seek re-election in 2018 could also be a target.

"Every dollar that is spent on a candidate by Mitch McConnell and the Republican party is a dollar spent against them," Bardella added. "And that's because it plays right into the theme that they're bought and paid for by the establishment."

Among the "establishment" donors likely to oppose Bannon in a series of running battles are the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch. Bannon himself has admitted there is not "a deep bench" of viable candidates to represent his agenda.

But he can expect at least tacit backing from Trump, who was said to be furious about having backed the wrong horse in Alabama: the president even deleted three tweets that endorsed Strange. Bannon also has powerful benefactors in the shape of the billionaire hedge fund investor Robert Mercer and his daughter Rebekah Mercer. The New York Times reported that Bannon and Robert Mercer began working out a rough outline for a "shadow party" that would advance Trump's nationalist agenda during a five-hour meeting last month at the family's Long Island estate.

Bannon has also been consulting with Henry Kissinger and other foreign policy veterans, Bloomberg reported, and is preparing make the threat posed by China a central cause. "If we don't get our situation sorted with China, we'll be destroyed economically," he said.

Rick Tyler, a political analyst and former campaign spokesman for the Texas senator Ted Cruz, said: "Roy Moore has demonstrated that the establishment and all its money can be beaten. You can only spend so much money in Alabama before it becomes irritating: you can only stuff so much in people's mailboxes or run so many ads on TV.

"The floodgates are open. You'll see a lot of this, one after another, and Steve Bannon's going to be at the centre of it. He's one for one. It'll be a civil war; it has been for quite some time."

Republican memories are still raw from 2014, when the House majority leader, Eric Cantor, was beaten in a primary contest by Dave Brat, a little-known professor backed by the Tea Party. But Bannon could make the establishment versus Tea Party battle look like a mere skirmish.

Andrew Surabian, a political strategist who worked under Bannon at the White House, told USA Today: "Bannon is plotting a strategy to launch an all-out assault on the Republican establishment. I think it's fair to say that if you're tied to Mitch McConnell, any of his henchmen in the consulting class, or were a Never-Trumper during the campaign, you're not safe from a primary challenge."

Additional reporting by Lauren Gambino and Ben Jacobs

[Oct 01, 2017] Tea Party Patriots against Neoliberalism by Bhaskar Sunkara

Notable quotes:
"... The Tea Party recognizes that "one of the primary sort of marks of the triumph of neoliberalism in the US is a very high tolerance of illegal immigration, and that illegal immigration is the kind of one plus ultra of the labor mobility that neoliberalism requires." The rise of illegal immigration represents a new form of capitalism, as opposed to the old "meritorious" capitalism of the post-war period. When right-wing ideologues attack "communism," the argument goes, they are actually conceptualizing neoliberalism. ..."
"... Michaels concedes that the Tea Party is a disproportionately upper middle class movement, but argues that even segments of the top twenty percentile of Americans by income have been hit hard in recent decades. ..."
"... The top one percent have been the big winners of the neoliberal era, while the other 19 percent in that bracket anxiously see their position falter in comparison. ..."
"... people in the Tea Party movement have a problem that is realer than "White male status anxiety," that the economic shifts that are taking place, the more and more extreme inequality, the more and more going to the top, no doubt some people may be unhappy because of loss of status, but many millions more are going to be unhappy because of the loss of actual money. ..."
Oct 01, 2017 | www.jacobinmag.com

Ideas spread in all sorts of directions. I've heard Christian right "intellectuals" haphazardly invoke Gramsci and counter-hegemony and I myself have spent more of my youth than I'm willing to admit reading back issues of National Review . It's probably less of a stretch that some Tea Partiers have favorably nodded toward the ideas on their movement that our friend Walter Benn Michaels expresses in his interview in the inaugural Jacobin .

Here's my summary of Michaels's argument on the Tea Party and immigration, which brings up the question, a question that shouldn't really be a question at all, about the left and open borders. (My thoughts on the over-hyped and over-exposed Tea Party can be found over at New Politics .)

Michaels identifies the Tea Party as a reaction against neoliberalism. He doesn't view the challenge as a serious one, but also stresses that the movement, "is not simply a reaction against neoliberalism from the old racist right." Michaels contests the American left's desire to summarily reduce the Tea Party to racists: "They're thrilled when some Nazis come out and say 'Yeah, we support the Tea Party' or some member of the Tea Party says something racist, which is frequently enough." Michaels finds the subversive content of their political program in an opposition to illegal immigration.

The Tea Party recognizes that "one of the primary sort of marks of the triumph of neoliberalism in the US is a very high tolerance of illegal immigration, and that illegal immigration is the kind of one plus ultra of the labor mobility that neoliberalism requires." The rise of illegal immigration represents a new form of capitalism, as opposed to the old "meritorious" capitalism of the post-war period. When right-wing ideologues attack "communism," the argument goes, they are actually conceptualizing neoliberalism.

Michaels concedes that the Tea Party is a disproportionately upper middle class movement, but argues that even segments of the top twenty percentile of Americans by income have been hit hard in recent decades.

The top one percent have been the big winners of the neoliberal era, while the other 19 percent in that bracket anxiously see their position falter in comparison. Responding to those who place the roots of this angst in the growing diversification of the elite, Michaels says:

. . . people in the Tea Party movement have a problem that is realer than "White male status anxiety," that the economic shifts that are taking place, the more and more extreme inequality, the more and more going to the top, no doubt some people may be unhappy because of loss of status, but many millions more are going to be unhappy because of the loss of actual money. So my point isn't really to deny the phenomenon of status anxiety, it's just to point out the extraordinary eagerness of American liberals to identify racism as the problem, so that anti-racism (rather than anti-capitalism) can be the solution.

Michaels's conclusion is, in sum, that students of Friedrich Hayek and exalters of Ayn Rand are the most visible source of resistance to neoliberalism on the American scene. Such a view, I believe, is as contradictory as it appears...

Bhaskar Sunkara is the founding editor of Jacobin .

[Sep 27, 2017] Moore Victory Shows Populist Movement Bigger Than Trump by James Kirkpatrick

Notable quotes:
"... If Only The God-Emperor Knew: Using Trump_vs_deep_state Against The Trump Administration" ..."
"... Republican Sen. Corker announces he won't seek re-election ..."
"... Associated Press, ..."
"... Corker's departure is widely being interpreted as a sign of the Establishment's inability to control the GOP base, as the election of President Trump, the rise of nationalism and the emergence of alternative media outlets (such as Breitbart and VDARE.com) make it harder for cuckservatives to Republican primary voters in line [ Sen. Bob Corker's retirement is notable for when it's happening ..."
"... Washington Post, ..."
"... And now, we have the ultimate proof in Alabama. Judge Roy Moore, one of the most persistent targets of the Southern Poverty Law Center, is now the Republican nominee for the Senate. And he defeated incumbent Senator Luther Strange despite Strange being endorsed by President Donald J. Trump himself. ..."
"... Of course, Strange didn't just have Trump in his corner. He also had Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell using his PAC to run negative ads against Moore, ads which conservative websites called "defamatory" and which cost many millions of dollars [ McConnell's Super PAC accused of 'defaming ' Roy Moore ..."
"... McConnell's mortal enemy might soon be in his caucus ..."
"... Alabama rally: Trump campaigns in last-ditch effort for Senate candidate Luther Strange ..."
"... President Trump admits he doesn't 'know that much' about Alabama Senate contender Roy Moore, gets his name wrong in interview ..."
"... New York Daily News, ..."
"... During a debate with Strange, Moore suggested President Trump was being "redirected" by Mitch McConnell and others who "will not support his [Trump's] agenda" [ Alabama Senate debate erupts over whether McConnell is manipulating Trump ..."
"... Brexit Hero Farage in Alabama: Judge Roy Moore 'Not Going To Be Sucked Into The Swamp' ..."
"... Sarah Palin endorses Judge Roy Moore for US Senate ..."
"... Western Journalism, ..."
"... Ben Carson Splits With Trump, Basically Endorses Roy Moore in Alabama ..."
"... Talking Points Memo, ..."
"... Gorka: Trump Was Pressured to Endorse 'Swamp Dweller' Strange ..."
"... , Fox News, ..."
"... The Breitbart Universe Unites For Roy Moore ..."
"... The Atlantic, ..."
"... Trump's advisors seem to know this. In the Fox News ..."
"... Roy Moore Wins Senate G.O.P. Runoff in Alabama ..."
"... How Alabama Senate Election Results Could Trigger Trump's Impeachment ..."
"... Trump supports Strange, but says it may be "mistake," ..."
"... Washington Post, ..."
"... Roy Moore: 'I can't wait' for Trump to 'campaign like hell' for me ..."
"... Washington Examiner, ..."
"... Chamber of Commerce: 'Shut Down' Roy Moore & 'Remind Bannon Who's In Charge' ..."
"... Trump should seize on the narrative of his supposed opponents. He is unquestionably being given objectively poor political counsel by his aides!not surprising how utterly incompetent the Republican Establishment is when it comes to political strategy. [ Steve Bannon: We Need A Review After This Alabama Race To See How Trump Came To Endorse Someone Like Luther Strange ..."
"... Trump's N.F.L. Critique a Calculated Attempt to Shore Up His Base ..."
"... New York Times, ..."
"... Today, those who defeated Trump in the Republican army are still proclaiming their loyalty to their Commander-in-Chief. But Donald Trump, memes aside, is not a sovereign or just a symbol. He is a man who created a political movement!and that movement expects results. The movement he created, and which put him in office, is desperate for him to lead on an America First agenda. ..."
"... If Trump does not give it results, the movement will eventually find a new leader. Roy Moore is almost certainly not that leader on a national scale. But in Alabama tonight, Moore proved he is stronger than the president himself. ..."
"... James Kirkpatrick [ Email him] is a Beltway veteran and a refugee from Conservatism Inc. ..."
Sep 27, 2017 | www.unz.com

[See: If Only The God-Emperor Knew: Using Trump_vs_deep_state Against The Trump Administration" by James Kirkpatrick]

He must have known what was coming. Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, a pillar of the cowardly GOP Establishment , announced he would not be running for re-election on Tuesday [ Republican Sen. Corker announces he won't seek re-election , by Richard Lardner and Erik Schelzig, Associated Press, September 26, 2017]. Corker's departure is widely being interpreted as a sign of the Establishment's inability to control the GOP base, as the election of President Trump, the rise of nationalism and the emergence of alternative media outlets (such as Breitbart and VDARE.com) make it harder for cuckservatives to Republican primary voters in line [ Sen. Bob Corker's retirement is notable for when it's happening , by Amber Phillips, Washington Post, September 26, 2017]

And now, we have the ultimate proof in Alabama. Judge Roy Moore, one of the most persistent targets of the Southern Poverty Law Center, is now the Republican nominee for the Senate. And he defeated incumbent Senator Luther Strange despite Strange being endorsed by President Donald J. Trump himself.

Of course, Strange didn't just have Trump in his corner. He also had Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell using his PAC to run negative ads against Moore, ads which conservative websites called "defamatory" and which cost many millions of dollars [ McConnell's Super PAC accused of 'defaming ' Roy Moore , by Bob Unruh, WND, August 3, 2017] As a result, Judge Moore openly campaigned against his party's own Senate leader during the primary, claiming a victory for him would mean the end of McConnell's hapless leadership. [ McConnell's mortal enemy might soon be in his caucus , by Burgess Everett and Seung Min Kim, Politico, September 18, 2017]

However, and significantly, Moore never campaigned against President Trump himself. Yet Trump certainly gave Moore ample cause. He openly campaigned for Luther Strange, speaking with the incumbent Senator at a major rally, with Strange sporting a red MAGA hat [ Alabama rally: Trump campaigns in last-ditch effort for Senate candidate Luther Strange , by Alex Pappas, Fox News, September 22, 2017]. Trump also said Moore would have a hard time beating the Democrats because they would pour in so much money. He even called Moore by the wrong first name [ President Trump admits he doesn't 'know that much' about Alabama Senate contender Roy Moore, gets his name wrong in interview , by Jason Silverstein, New York Daily News, September 25, 2017]

And yet, revealingly, Moore and his allies framed their insurgency against Trump's wishes as an act of loyalty.

During a debate with Strange, Moore suggested President Trump was being "redirected" by Mitch McConnell and others who "will not support his [Trump's] agenda" [ Alabama Senate debate erupts over whether McConnell is manipulating Trump , by Alex Isenstadt and Daniel Strauss, Politico, September 21, 2017]

UKIP's former leader Nigel Farage said "absolutely" that "the point is to help the president" by electing Roy Moore and suggested The Judge would help deliver on President Trump's agenda [ Brexit Hero Farage in Alabama: Judge Roy Moore 'Not Going To Be Sucked Into The Swamp' by Ian Mason, Breitbart, September 25, 2017]

Sarah Palin channeled Trump's rhetoric by saying Moore would take on "DC's swamp monsters" and "help Make America Great Again" [ Sarah Palin endorses Judge Roy Moore for US Senate , by Randy DeSoto, Western Journalism, August 24, 2017]

Some of President Trump's best-known advisors also backed Moore.

Ben Carson, one of President Trump's own Cabinet secretaries, essentially endorsed Moore, saying he was "delighted" he was running and that he "wished him well" [ Ben Carson Splits With Trump, Basically Endorses Roy Moore in Alabama , by Cameron Joseph, Talking Points Memo, September 22, 2017]. Sebastian Gorka endorsed Moore, hinted the president was pressured into backing Strange, and said it would be a "very great day" for Trump if Strange was defeated [ Gorka: Trump Was Pressured to Endorse 'Swamp Dweller' Strange , Fox News, September 23, 2017]. And of course, Breitbart's Steve Bannon endorsed Moore, but said "we did not come here to defy Donald Trump, we came here to praise and honor him" [ The Breitbart Universe Unites For Roy Moore , by Rosie Gray, The Atlantic, September 26, 2017]

Even before Trump's inauguration, when there were troubling signs the new President was surrounding himself with the Republican Establishment, it was clear that the President's supporters would need to rise against Trump in his own name . The victory of Roy Moore is the best example so far of how this insurgency will play out.

And most importantly, it shows how the populist and nationalist movement is larger than Trump himself.

Trump's advisors seem to know this. In the Fox News interview referenced above, Dr. Gorka claimed "no one voted for Trump, we voted for his agenda." And during his speech in support of Moore, Bannon referenced Jeff Sessions, not Trump, as the "spiritual father of the populist and nationalist movement."

But does Trump himself know this? Already, the Main Stream Media is trying to present this as a devastating defeat for the president personally. The New York Times kvetched about Moore's social views and sneered that his victory "demonstrated in stark terms the limits of Mr. Trump's clout" [ Roy Moore Wins Senate G.O.P. Runoff in Alabama , by Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns, September 26, 2017]. Jason Le Miere at Newsweek suggested Trump had suffered his first major political defeat at the ballot box and hinted his political weakness could trigger his impeachment. [ How Alabama Senate Election Results Could Trigger Trump's Impeachment , September 26, 2017]

This wildly overstates the case. Trump had hedged his bets, suggesting at one point he made a "mistake" in endorsing Strange [ Trump supports Strange, but says it may be "mistake," Washington Post, September 25, 2017]. He also said he would "campaign like hell" for Moore if Moore won [ Roy Moore: 'I can't wait' for Trump to 'campaign like hell' for me , by Sean Langille, Washington Examiner, September 25, 2017].

It's hardly a devastating defeat for President Trump when his supposed enemies are fanatically loyal to him and his "allies" can't wait to stab him in the back.

But there is still a lesson for Trump. The Chamber of Commerce and Republican Establishment picked this fight to "shut down" Moore and show populists who was in charge. [ Chamber of Commerce: 'Shut Down' Roy Moore & 'Remind Bannon Who's In Charge' by Joel Pollak, Breitbart, September 24, 2017] They just got their answer. It's not them.

Trump should seize on the narrative of his supposed opponents. He is unquestionably being given objectively poor political counsel by his aides!not surprising how utterly incompetent the Republican Establishment is when it comes to political strategy. [ Steve Bannon: We Need A Review After This Alabama Race To See How Trump Came To Endorse Someone Like Luther Strange , by Allahpundit, Hot Air, September 26, 2017]

Tellingly, Trump in his messy intuitive way is already embarking on a movement to shore up his base by taking on the pro-Black Lives Matter and anti-American antics of the National Football League [ Trump's N.F.L. Critique a Calculated Attempt to Shore Up His Base , by Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman, New York Times, September 25, 2017]. But such symbolic fights are meaningless unless they are coupled with real action on trade and immigration policy.

Today, those who defeated Trump in the Republican army are still proclaiming their loyalty to their Commander-in-Chief. But Donald Trump, memes aside, is not a sovereign or just a symbol. He is a man who created a political movement!and that movement expects results. The movement he created, and which put him in office, is desperate for him to lead on an America First agenda.

If Trump does not give it results, the movement will eventually find a new leader. Roy Moore is almost certainly not that leader on a national scale. But in Alabama tonight, Moore proved he is stronger than the president himself.

Trump has given the Establishment Republicans their chance and they have failed him. It's time for him to return to the people who have supported him from the very beginning.

James Kirkpatrick [ Email him] is a Beltway veteran and a refugee from Conservatism Inc.

Parsifal > , September 27, 2017 at 7:44 am GMT

Look people, it's time to grasp some basic politics. The heart might have said Roy Moore but a leader can not think with his heart alone. Whatever happened in the GOP primary, Luther Strange was going to remain in the Senate until January. There are big, important votes coming up in Congress and Trump's margin of error in the Senate is virtually non-existent. What sense does it make to alienate, even slight, a sitting Senator that has always voted your way and has never trashed you in public?

Realist > , September 27, 2017 at 8:13 am GMT

Moore's victory means nothing. If Moore is elected it will change nothing. The Deep State rules .they will eat Moore for lunch.

"Trump has given the Establishment Republicans their chance and they have failed him."

Trump has caved to the Establishment Republicans. He will never return.

Randal > , September 27, 2017 at 9:20 am GMT

All seems pretty much directly on target.

It's hardly a devastating defeat for President Trump when his supposed enemies are fanatically loyal to him and his "allies" can't wait to stab him in the back.

As a man who supposedly highly values personal loyalty, does Trump really not understand that the men who pushed him to support Strange are also the men who will be first in line to vote for impeachment the moment it looks as though the leftist establishment has found a pretext that will succeed?

Greg Bacon > , Website September 27, 2017 at 9:28 am GMT

Like Bannon said, the Trump people voted for is gone. If he was ever around, or just being smart enough to know what to say to get votes.

President Kushner, er Trump will not be draining any Swamp anytime soon, not until he drags himself out of the Swamp and back onto sane, dry land.

WhiteWolf > , September 27, 2017 at 9:41 am GMT

The movement better start paying attention to the thoughtcrime laws being passed right now under the banner of "hatespeech". The first amendment isn't just a nice concept. People in other countries are jailed for speaking their mind in the way Americans take for granted.

[Sep 27, 2017] Bannon Roy Moore Is a Bannonite on Foreign Policy Too by Curt Mills

Notable quotes:
"... We should not be entangled in foreign wars merely at the whim and caprice of a President, Moore writes on his site. We must treat sovereign nations as we would want to be treated. ..."
"... It's too early to tell whether the nationalist hawks will be more or less interventionist overall than the internationalist, neocon hawks were, Daniel McCarthy, editor-at-large at the American Conservative ..."
Sep 27, 2017 | nationalinterest.org

...Steve Bannon told me Wednesday afternoon that he and Moore, who defeated Sen. Luther Strange (whom President Trump had backed) for the Republican primary nomination in Alabama on Tuesday, see eye to eye on global affairs, as well, and that, yes, he is every bit the Bannonite on foreign policy.

Moore, the twice-ousted Alabama Chief Justice, is likely headed to the United States Senate. Bannon and the Trump movement have often been depicted as essentially non-interventionist. My recent reporting indicates a caveat to that, however. While Bannon and his cohort might differ with the blob on confronting Kim Jong Un in North Korea or Bashar al-Assad in Syria or Vladimir Putin in Russia, they are much more suspicious of the government of Iran. ...

... ... ...

The judges website, Roymoore.org, features such language. We should not be entangled in foreign wars merely at the whim and caprice of a President, Moore writes on his site. We must treat sovereign nations as we would want to be treated.

But there are notable divergences from the paleocons. Like Bannon, Moore is a hawk for Israel. We should pass the Taylor Force Act and move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. His writing that the U.S. should not rely on nuclear reduction treaties which leave us vulnerable to foreign powers and that it should reject agreements or policies that undermine Israel's security clearly alludes to the Iran deal. The pair would part company with Buchanan on that.

And like President Trump, Moore, a graduate of West Point, wants a bigger military. More funding should be available to develop a missile defense system and to provide our Navy, Air Force, Army, Marines, and Coast Guard with the most modern technology including weapon systems. Respect for our strength is the best defense. Walk softly and carry a big stick is and should be our guide.

... ... ...

It's too early to tell whether the nationalist hawks will be more or less interventionist overall than the internationalist, neocon hawks were, Daniel McCarthy, editor-at-large at the American Conservative , tells me. My guess is that while the nationalists will speak more provocatively, abort diplomatic agreements, and ramp up `political warfare, they'll engage in fewer large-scale, nation-building interventions. McCarthy adds that religion is important here, as well. Moore and Bannon are both on record as deeply religious. Neoconservative foreign policy is sold as a scheme for secular salvation, bringing the blessings of liberalism and democracy and human rights to a world that eagerly awaits them, says McCarthy. Moore's religious convictions might help to immunize him against a belief in worldly salvation through American arms and advisers...

Curt Mills is a foreign-affairs reporter at the National Interest. Follow him on Twitter: @CurtMills.

[Sep 03, 2017] Steve Bannon and Trumps Populist Victory

Notable quotes:
"... over $100 million ..."
"... Jeb's 2016 departure draws out Mike Murphy critics , ..."
"... Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency ..."
"... Political Divisions in 2016 and Beyon ..."
"... Tensions Between and Within the Two Parties, ..."
"... When Donald Trump burst onto the scene, Bannon had found what he is quoted describing as a "blunt instrument for us," a man who had "taken this nationalist movement and moved it up twenty years." ..."
"... Devil's Bargain ..."
"... the rise of Bannon and Trump holds lessons for the Dissident Right. One of them: despite how powerful the Establishment may appear, there are fatal disconnects between it and the people it rules!for example, on social and identity issues. Thus, many members of this Ruling Class, such as the Republican strategists who predicted a Jeb or Rubio victory, have been more successful in deluding themselves than they have been in building any kind of effective base. Similarly, Clinton campaign operatives believed, without much evidence, that undecided voters would eventually break in their favor. Because the thought of a Trump presidency was too horrifying for them to contemplate, they refused to recognize polls showing a close race, ignored the Midwest and sauntered their candidate off to Arizona in the final days. ..."
"... Of course, currently the ideas that Bannon fought for appear to be on the wane, leading him to declare upon leaving the White House that the "Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over." [ Weekly Standard, August 18, 2017] ..."
"... But this is probably somewhat of an exaggeration. I doubt that Bannon laments the fact that the current president is Donald Trump rather than Hillary Clinton or Marco Rubio. But it has proved much more difficult to change government policy than to win an election. Unlike GOP strategists, the Deep State appears to know what it is doing. ..."
"... Nixon's White House Wars ..."
get=

Republished from VDare.com

Throughout 2016, I would occasionally turn on the television to see how the punditocracy was responding to the mounting Trump tsunami . If you get most of your news online, watching cable news is frustrating. The commentary is so dumbed down and painfully reflective of speaker's biases, you can always basically guess what's coming next. With a few exceptions!above all Ann Coulter 's famous June 19, 2015 prediction of a Trump victory on Bill Maher !these pundits again and again told us that Trump would eventually go away, first after he made this or that gaffe, then after he "failed" in a debate, then after people actually started voting in the primaries.

Finally, after having been wrong at every point during the primaries, they just as confidently predicted that the Republican primary voter had foolishly done nothing more than assure that Hillary Clinton would be the next president.

The most interesting cases to me: the " Republican strategists ," brought on to CNN and MSNBC to give the audience the illusion that they were hearing both sides: Nicole Wallace, Steve Schmidt, Ana Navarro, Rick Wilson, Margaret Hoover, Todd Harris. Mike Murphy even convinced donors to hand him over $100 million to make Jeb Bush the next president! [ Jeb's 2016 departure draws out Mike Murphy critics , By Maeve Reston, February 22, 2016]

With campaigns and donors throwing money at these people, and the Main Stream Media touting them, it was easy to assume they must know what they were talking about. Significantly, each of these pundits was a national security hawk, center-right on economic issues, and just as horrified by " racism " and " sexism " as their Leftist counterparts . By a remarkable coincidence, the " strategic " advice that they gave to Republican candidates lined up perfectly with these positions. Their prominence was a mirage created by the fact that the MSM handed this token opposition the Megaphone because they did not challenge the core prejudices of the bipartisan Ruling Class.

And of course they were all humiliated in a spectacular fashion, November 8 being only the climax. Joshua Green begins his book Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency by giving us a view inside the Trump campaign on election night, before tracing Steve Bannon's path up to that point. Reliving the journey is one of the joys of Green's work, which is mostly an intellectual biography of Steve Bannon, with a special focus on his relationship with Trump and the election.

Bannon joined the Trump campaign in the summer of 2016 without any previous experience in electoral politics. But like the candidate himself, the Breitbart editor showed that he understood the nature of American politics and the GOP base better than Establishment Republicans. The "strategists'" supposed "expertise," "strategic advice," and "analysis" was in reality built on a house of cards. (In fact, the Bannon-Trump view of the electorate is closer to the consensus among political scientists that, unlike more nationalist and populist policies, Republican Establishment positions have relatively little popular support. [ Political Divisions in 2016 and Beyon d | Tensions Between and Within the Two Parties, Voter Study Group, June 2017]).

One key example: Green recounts how after Obama's re-election, the GOP Establishment was eager to surrender on immigration, supporting the bipartisan Amnesty/ Immigration Surge Gang of Eight bill . GOP leaders had neutralized Fox News, leaving Breitbart.com, talk radio and guerilla websites like VDARE.com as the only resistance. But the bill died due to a grass-roots revolt, partly inspired by Breitbart's reporting on the flood of Central American "child" refugees t he Obama Regime was allowing across the southern border. GOP House Majority Leader Eric Cantor lost his congressional seat in a shock upset in the primaries. And little over a year later, Donald Trump became a candidate for president with opposition to illegal immigration as his signature issue.

Bannon at Breitbart.com gave the Republican base what it wanted. Moral: in a democracy, you always have a chance at winning when public opinion (or at least intraparty opinion) is on your side.

Green traces Bannon's journey from his Irish-Catholic working-class roots and traditionalist upbringing, to his time in the Navy, at Harvard Business School and Goldman Sachs, and finally Breitbart.com and the pinnacle of American politics. The picture that emerges is of a man with principles and vigor, refusing to submit to the inertia that is part of the human condition, with enough confidence to realize that life is too short to not make major changes when staying on the current path is not going to allow him to accomplish his goals.

For example, Bannon originally wanted a career in defense policy, and took a job in the Pentagon during the Reagan administration. Yet he was off to Harvard Business School when he realized that the rigid bureaucracy that he was a part of would not let him move up to a high-level position until he was middle-aged. Decades later, after taking over his website upon the unexpected death of Andrew Breitbart in 2012, it would have been easy to go low-risk!sticking to Establishment scripts, making life comfortable for Republican elites, implicitly submitting to the taboos of the Left. Instead , he helped turn Breitbart News into a major voice of the populist tide that has been remaking center-right politics across the globe.

When Donald Trump burst onto the scene, Bannon had found what he is quoted describing as a "blunt instrument for us," a man who had "taken this nationalist movement and moved it up twenty years."

From Green, we learn much about Bannon's intellectual influences. Surprisingly, although he was raised as a Roman Catholic and maintains that faith today, we find out that Bannon briefly practiced Zen Buddhism while in the Navy. There are other unusual influences that make appearances in the book, including Rightist philosopher Julius Evola and René Guénon, a French occultist who eventually became a Sufi Muslim. Although not exactly my cup of tea, such eccentric intellectual interests reflect a curious mind that refuses to restrict itself to fashionable influences.

It's incorrect to call Devil's Bargain a biography. There is practically no mention of Bannon's personal life!wives, children. I had to Google to find out that he has three daughters. His childhood is only discussed in the context of how it may have influenced his beliefs and political development.

Rather, we get information on Bannon's intellectual and career pursuits and his relationships with consequential figures such as mega-donor Robert Mercer, Andrew Breitbart and Donald Trump.

As Bannon exits the White House and returns to Breitbart, we must hope that Bannon and the movement he's helped to create accomplish enough in the future to inspire more complete biographies.

But the rise of Bannon and Trump holds lessons for the Dissident Right. One of them: despite how powerful the Establishment may appear, there are fatal disconnects between it and the people it rules!for example, on social and identity issues. Thus, many members of this Ruling Class, such as the Republican strategists who predicted a Jeb or Rubio victory, have been more successful in deluding themselves than they have been in building any kind of effective base. Similarly, Clinton campaign operatives believed, without much evidence, that undecided voters would eventually break in their favor. Because the thought of a Trump presidency was too horrifying for them to contemplate, they refused to recognize polls showing a close race, ignored the Midwest and sauntered their candidate off to Arizona in the final days.

Of course, currently the ideas that Bannon fought for appear to be on the wane, leading him to declare upon leaving the White House that the "Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over." [ Weekly Standard, August 18, 2017]

But this is probably somewhat of an exaggeration. I doubt that Bannon laments the fact that the current president is Donald Trump rather than Hillary Clinton or Marco Rubio. But it has proved much more difficult to change government policy than to win an election. Unlike GOP strategists, the Deep State appears to know what it is doing.

In his memoir Nixon's White House Wars , Pat Buchanan writes about how, despite playing a pivotal role in the election of 1968, the conservative movement was mostly shut out of high-level jobs:

Then there was the painful reality with which the right had to come to terms. Though our movement had exhibited real power in capturing the nomination for Barry Goldwater and helping Nixon crush the Rockefeller-Romney wing of the Republican Party, and though we were

playing a pivotal role in the election of 1968, the conservative movement was mostly shut out of high-level jobs:

Then there was the painful reality with which the right had to come to terms. Though our movement had exhibited real power in capturing the nomination for Barry Goldwater and helping Nixon crush the Rockefeller-Romney wing of the Republican Party, and though we were veterans of a victorious presidential campaign, few of us had served in the executive branch. We lacked titles, resumes, credentials Our pool of experienced public servants who could seamlessly move into top positions was miniscule compared to that of the liberal Democrats who had dominated the capital's politics since FDR arrived in 1933.

History repeated itself in 2016, when Donald Trump would win the presidency on a nationalist platform but find few qualified individuals who could reliably implement his agenda.

If nationalists want to ensure that their next generation of leaders is able to effectively implement the policies they run on, they are going to have to engage in the slow and tedious project of working their way up through powerful institutions.

Bannon may have been and remains an "outsider" to the political Establishment. But nonetheless, throughout his life he has leveraged elite institutions such as Harvard, Goldman Sachs, the Republican Party, and even Hollywood in order to become financially independent and free to pursue his political goals.

If enough of those on the Dissident Right forge a similar path, we can be sure that future nationalist political victories will be less hollow. Jeremy Cooper is a specialist in international politics and an observer of global trends. Follow him at @NeoNeoLiberal .

Clyde Wilson > , August 29, 2017 at 12:29 pm GMT

Is there any evidence that Trump even tried to find the right people to fill the offices?

Jobless > , August 30, 2017 at 6:52 pm GMT

@Clyde Wilson Is there any evidence that Trump even tried to find the right people to fill the offices? Having dabbled ever so slightly in this process in the spring, my impression is that there is a mechanism run largely by lawyers from the big DC law firms (presumably one for each party) who are the gatekeepers for applicants. The result of this system, which I have little doubt that the "Trump Team" did not try to take on (after all, they had only a couple of months to put together the beginnings of a team, and that left little or no time replacing The Swamp Machine ) is that the key positions throughout the administration are largely filled with lawyers from connected law firms. After all, who better to administer the government than lawyers!?!?

At any rate, my experience with the process was: on your marks, get set, nothing. 30 years experience in and around federal government, but not a lawyer. Don't call us, we don't want to talk to you. (I also made clear in my cover letter that the key motivator for my application -- and first ever political contributions -- was Trump and his agenda. In retrospect, this "admission" was probably a kiss of death. I was a Trumpite. Eeeewww!!! (I may well not have been qualified for anything, but I'm SURE I was disqualified by my support for Trump )

The triumph of the Swamp.

Clyde Wilson > , August 30, 2017 at 9:08 pm GMT

We have here perhaps the key to Trump's tragic failure. It was our last shot.

Sep 03, 2017 | www.unz.com

[Aug 30, 2017] Will the Real GOP Non-Interventionists Stand up

Aug 30, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Jonathan Tkachuk

Today's struggle for 'America First' foreign policy on Capitol Hill.

Before the tragic events in Charlottesville on August 12th, President Donald Trump had received a deserved amount of scrutiny for his heated rhetoric pertaining to the North Korean nuclear issue. This recent swing in media coverage is regrettable, given that Trump's foreign policy statements and actions matter more, or should matter more, to Americans.

More Americans (not to mention foreign civilians ) have been killed or wounded by American foreign policy interventionism since September 11, 2001, than by foreign-born terrorists white nationalists , and hate crimes combined. Sadly, underplaying the consequences of war overseas may be a good thing these days, since over-exposure has often yielded perverse incentives for interventionism, to which Trump has shown himself quite susceptible.

The need for new political incentives that reinforce President Trump's "America First" instincts has not been lost on his non-interventionist supporters. In an article for The American Conservative on June 26th, William Lind called for the creation of an "America First Caucus" to serve as a non-interventionist beachhead on Capitol Hill similar to how the "Military Reform Caucus" of the 1980s served as a congressional pressure point for effectiveness and efficiency in the defense budget. According to Lind, this caucus would provide support for the President when he took a non-interventionist course and criticize the President when he erred on the side of intervention. By adopting "America First" in its name, the caucus would insulate itself from neoconservative charges of being "weak" while simultaneously shielding itself ( in theory at least ) from criticism by the President.

So what would an America First Caucus on Capitol Hill look like? Unlike the "Military Reform Caucus" of the 1980s, which boasted a bipartisan membership of more than 130 at its height, Lind argues that an America First Caucus would need to be explicitly partisan (a "Republican anti-intervention caucus") and confined to non-interventionist conservatives on the grounds that a bipartisan caucus would be impractical in the current political climate. Although he did not identify specific congressmen, Lind presumably had Senator Rand Paul and Representatives Thomas Massie, Justin Amash, Walter Jones, and John "Jimmy" Duncan in mind as prime candidates for this caucus.

Which America First?

One immediate problem that the new America First Caucus would face would be how to define which brand of 'America First' anti-interventionism they would want to espouse. Would it mirror the philosophy of the namesake of the America First Committee (AFC) of 1940-1941? Or would it use the updated version used by the Trump Administration? Given that the current administration has adopted policies , and is considering additional policies that conflict with its own definition of 'America First,' it might be wiser for the new caucus to look to the original AFC for inspiration.

Founded on September 4,1940, the AFC was a bipartisan anti-interventionist movement opposed to American involvement in Europe during World War II which they saw as a continuation of the mindless bloodletting of World War I. In America First: The Battle Against Intervention 1940-1941 (1953), Wayne Cole identified four founding principles and four objectives of the AFC (listed below).

Principles:

The United States must build an impregnable defense for America. No foreign power, nor group of powers, can successfully attack a prepared America. American democracy can be preserved only by keeping out of the European war. "Aid short of war" weakens national defense at home and threatens to involve America in war abroad.

Objectives:

To bring together all Americans, regardless of possible differences on other matters, who see eye-to-eye on these principles. (This does not include Nazists, Fascists, Communists, or members of other groups that place the interest of any other nation above those of our own country.) To urge Americans to keep their heads amid rising hysteria in times of crisis. To provide sane national leadership for the majority of the American people who want to keep out of the European war. To register this opinion with the President and with the Congress.

What is perhaps most striking about the principles and objectives of the AFC is the extent to which it, with a minimal amount of updating, can be borrowed by non-interventionists today. Below is a modified list of these principles and objectives that an America First Caucus could use as a guiding charter.

Principles:

The United States must maintain an impregnable defense for America. No foreign power, nor group of powers, can successfully attack a prepared America without incurring an unacceptably high cost for such an attack on itself. American democracy can be preserved only by keeping out of the next undeclared war of choice. "Meddling short of war" weakens national defense at home and threatens to involve America in war abroad." The only way to neutralize the threat Al-Qaeda and Daesh (ISIL) pose to the United States is through smart and effective diplomacy. This diplomacy must contain the following features: A withdrawal of all U.S. military forces from Islamic countries over the next three years, prioritizing cooperation with all foreign governments in lawfully undermining these organizations, and aggressively promoting nuclear non-proliferation in accordance to international law (i.e. without resorting to the use of military force or implying the use of military force).

Objectives:

To bring together all Americans, regardless of possible differences on other matters, who see eye-to-eye on these principles. To urge Americans to keep their heads amid rising hysteria in times of crisis. To provide sane national leadership for the majority of the American people who want to keep out of the next undeclared war of choice. To register this opinion with the President and with the rest of our colleagues in Congress.

What can realistically be accomplished?

What could an America First Caucus realistically accomplish? At first glance, not much. Its small size (initially no more than five or so members expected), partisan make up (all Republicans), and declining membership (Rep. Jimmy Duncan will not seek re-election in 2018) would make it difficult for its voice to be heard amid the cacophony of voices on Capitol Hill.

That said there are reasons to be optimistic. It would contain a former presidential candidate and prominent conservative U.S. Senator who occupies a seat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (Sen. Rand Paul), two House members on the Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on National Security (Rep. Justin Amash and Rep. Jimmy Duncan), two House members with military service (Rep. Walter Jones and Rep. Jimmy Duncan), one House member on the Committee on Armed Services (Rep. Walter Jones), one House member that is not up for re-election and thus has nothing to lose (Rep. Jimmy Duncan), and one House member who is an all-around non-interventionist anchor (Rep. Thomas Massie).

Another reason for optimism is that it would be the only caucus of its kind on the Hill pushing this message. That message, that the lives of American service members are not cheap and that America should practice nation-building at home instead of intervening abroad, is popular. The voters who bore the human cost of American interventionism put Trump in the White House.

There are several courses of action the caucus could take that would stand a reasonable chance of succeeding. These actions could also create new political incentives in Washington that discourage interventionism.

The first would be to introduce or support existing legislation that would repeal both the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force and the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq (AUMFs). Support for repealing the 2001 AUMF is growing within the 115th Congress and the 2002 AUMF has its share of bipartisan critics . Yet these congressional misgivings have not translated into an organized opposition. An America First Caucus would provide this while also lending a distinctly non-interventionist voice to those who simply wish to replace these AUMFs with new ones that are not necessary to protect the country (i.e. let Syria, Iran, Russia, and Turkey fight ISIL in Syria and let Iraq and Iran fight ISIL in Iraq).

The second would be to introduce a resolution in the House re-establishing the tradition of reading George Washington's Farewell Address in the House at the beginning of every new session of Congress. Unlike the Senate, which currently holds to this tradition, the House discarded this tradition in 1979. Although a symbolic move, it would nevertheless bring attention to the broader non-interventionist message by making the America First Caucus the public voice responsible for bringing back this otherwise uncontroversial and bipartisan tradition.

A third course of action would be to introduce legislation amending the National Security Act of 1947 and renaming the Department of Defense as the Department of War. In his inaugural address Trump noted that the U.S. "defended other nation's borders while refusing to defend our own." By pushing for this name change, the America First Caucus would force a public conversation regarding whether our foreign and defense policy is really "defensive" in nature.

Lastly, the America First Caucus would provide a congressional forum where deviant foreign policy views such as non-interventionism and intelligent diplomacy can be heard, expressed, and debated. This would include providing a congressional audience to like-minded advocates, policy practitioners, and scholars.

Challenges

Carrying the non-interventionist banner and keeping Trump accountable would not be easy. Republicans railed against the Obama Administration's foreign policy for eight years on the grounds that it was not sufficiently belligerent in rhetoric or in action. Trump shares this sentiment and seems intent on conducting his foreign policy in a way that highlights the contrast in bellicosity between himself and Obama. Although this bellicosity has been largely confined to the diplomatic sphere, the president's announcement last week regarding Afghanistan, along with his ordered attacks on the Syrian government back in April, shows that he is willing to convert these sentiments into action.

Where this bellicosity could turn into a real shooting war would be with Iran. Trump seems intent on undermining the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama Administration. His hostility to the agreement, and to Iran in general, is shared by both parties, particularly his "never Trump" Republican detractors. Terminating the Iran deal would accomplish three things. First, it would immediately unite an otherwise fractured GOP in Congress behind the president. Second, it would immediately isolate the U.S. from the rest of the international community and expose American non-proliferation efforts as having been conducted in bad faith. Lastly, it would pave the way for a shooting war with Iran which a GOP-controlled Congress would support.

Compounding this problem further is that none of the individual members of an America First Caucus supported the Iran nuclear deal (albeit for different and less belligerent reasons). An America First Caucus might not be able to alter the political incentives for Trump regarding the Iran nuclear deal. Then again, it might not have to. If the caucus can highlight an issue where Trump can both secure a political "win" and pivot back to his domestic agenda!such as withdrawing U.S. military personnel from most of its overseas bases and using the savings to pass a Trump-endorsed transportation bill!it might be sufficient to redirect the president's attention away from Iran. This would give those who are more favorably disposed to the Iran nuclear deal in the administration Capitol Hill , and the Beltway time to convince the president that undoing the deal is more work than it is worth.

Given the lack of major legislative accomplishments, and the likelihood that tax and immigration reform proposals would meet the same fate as the recent healthcare bill, Trump is more likely to secure a political "win" in the realm that past presidents have retreated to when their domestic agendas are stymied by Congress: foreign policy. These perverse political incentives towards interventionism, particularly as they pertain to Iran, will be the most difficult challenge facing an America First Caucus.

With the departure of Steve Bannon from the White House and the administration opting to deploy more American forces to Afghanistan, the need for a new set of political incentives towards non-interventionism has never been greater. Trump was elected because the American electorate believed he, and not Hillary Clinton, would put the well-being of Americans first. It is time members of Congress stand up and hold him to that promise.

Jonathan Tkachuk is a former congressional staffer for a House Republican. He has a M.A. in Diplomacy (Counter-Terrorism) from Norwich University.

[Aug 26, 2017] Economic Nationalism Theory, History and Prospects

Aug 26, 2017 | www.globalpolicyjournal.com

In its aftermath, commentators warned of a resurgence of economic nationalism, that is, protectionism. Some states did increase tariff levels but this has not led to a generalised increase in barriers to trade in the pursuit of national economies for interrelated reasons: (1) the integration and therefore interdependency of economies; (2) the complexity of the global economy, making it all but impossible to separate by nationality; (3) the greater extensity of world markets compared to the mid-20th century; (4) the redundancy of the various models of economic nationalism.

Policy Implications

[Aug 26, 2017] What the Alternative Right is

Anti-globalism of alt-right is very important...
See discussion at "16 Points Of The Alt Right" That Invert The Alt Right Into Leftism
Notable quotes:
"... neocons are not Alt Right. National Socialists are not Alt Right. ..."
"... The Alt Right is anti-globalist. It opposes all groups who work for globalist ideals or globalist objectives. ..."
"... The Alt Right is opposed to the rule or domination of any native ethnic group by another, particularly in the sovereign homelands of the dominated peoples. The Alt Right is opposed to any non-native ethnic group obtaining excessive influence in any society through nepotism, tribalism, or any other means. ..."
"... The Alt Right does not believe in the general supremacy of any race, nation, people, or sub-species. Every race, nation, people, and human sub-species has its own unique strengths and weaknesses, and possesses the sovereign right to dwell unmolested in the native culture it prefers. ..."
"... The Alt Right is a philosophy that values peace among the various nations of the world and opposes wars to impose the values of one nation upon another ..."
Aug 26, 2017 | voxday.blogspot.com

  1. The Alt Right is of the political right in both the American and the European sense of the term. Socialists are not Alt Right. Progressives are not Alt Right. Liberals are not Alt Right. Communists, Marxists, Marxians, cultural Marxists, and neocons are not Alt Right. National Socialists are not Alt Right.
  2. The Alt Right is an ALTERNATIVE to the mainstream conservative movement in the USA that is nominally encapsulated by Russel Kirk's 10 Conservative Principles , but in reality has devolved towards progressivism. It is also an alternative to libertarianism.
  3. The Alt Right is not a defensive attitude and rejects the concept of noble and principled defeat. It is a forward-thinking philosophy of offense, in every sense of that term. The Alt Right believes in victory through persistence and remaining in harmony with science, reality, cultural tradition, and the lessons of history.
  4. The Alt Right believes Western civilization is the pinnacle of human achievement and supports its three foundational pillars: Christianity, the European nations, and the Graeco-Roman legacy.
  5. The Alt Right is openly and avowedly nationalist. It supports all nationalisms and the right of all nations to exist, homogeneous and unadulterated by foreign invasion and immigration.
  6. The Alt Right is anti-globalist. It opposes all groups who work for globalist ideals or globalist objectives.
  7. The Alt Right is anti-equalitarian. It rejects the idea of equality for the same reason it rejects the ideas of unicorns and leprechauns, noting that human equality does not exist in any observable scientific, legal, material, intellectual, sexual, or spiritual form.
  8. The Alt Right is scientodific. It presumptively accepts the current conclusions of the scientific method (scientody), while understanding a) these conclusions are liable to future revision, b) that scientistry is susceptible to corruption, and c) that the so-called scientific consensus is not based on scientody, but democracy, and is therefore intrinsically unscientific.
  9. The Alt Right believes identity > culture > politics.
  10. The Alt Right is opposed to the rule or domination of any native ethnic group by another, particularly in the sovereign homelands of the dominated peoples. The Alt Right is opposed to any non-native ethnic group obtaining excessive influence in any society through nepotism, tribalism, or any other means.
  11. The Alt Right understands that diversity + proximity = war.
  12. The Alt Right doesn't care what you think of it.
  13. The Alt Right rejects international free trade and the free movement of peoples that free trade requires. The benefits of intranational free trade is not evidence for the benefits of international free trade.
  14. The Alt Right believes we must secure the existence of white people and a future for white children.
  15. The Alt Right does not believe in the general supremacy of any race, nation, people, or sub-species. Every race, nation, people, and human sub-species has its own unique strengths and weaknesses, and possesses the sovereign right to dwell unmolested in the native culture it prefers.
  16. The Alt Right is a philosophy that values peace among the various nations of the world and opposes wars to impose the values of one nation upon another as well as efforts to exterminate individual nations through war, genocide, immigration, or genetic assimilation.
TL;DR: The Alt Right is a Western ideology that believes in science, history, reality, and the right of a genetic nation to exist and govern itself in its own interests.

The patron saint of conservatives, Russell Kirk, wrote: "The great line of demarcation in modern politics, Eric Voegelin used to point out, is not a division between liberals on one side and totalitarians on the other. No, on one side of that line are all those men and women who fancy that the temporal order is the only order, and that material needs are their only needs, and that they may do as they like with the human patrimony. On the other side of that line are all those people who recognize an enduring moral order in the universe, a constant human nature, and high duties toward the order spiritual and the order temporal."

This is no longer true, assuming it ever was. The great line of demarcation in modern politics is now a division between men and women who believe that they are ultimately defined by their momentary opinions and those who believe they are ultimately defined by their genetic heritage. The Alt Right understands that the former will always lose to the latter in the end, because the former is subject to change.

[Aug 26, 2017] The Alt-Right Is Not Who You Think They Are by George Hawley

Rejection of globalization by alt-right is very important. that's why make them economic nationalists. And that's why they are hated neocon and those forces of neoliberalism which are behind Neocon/Neolib Cultural Revolution -- promotion of LGBT, uni-gender bathrooms, transsexuals, etc, identity wedge in politics demonstrated by Hillary, etc. (modeled on Mao's cultural revolution, which also what launched when Mao started to lose his grip on political power).
Aug 26, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com
In my experience with the alt-right, I encountered a surprisingly common narrative: Alt-right supporters did not, for the most part, come from overtly racist families. Alt-right media platforms have actually been pushing this meme aggressively in recent months. Far from defending the ideas and institutions they inherited, the alt-right!which is overwhelmingly a movement of white millennials!forcefully condemns their parents' generation. They do so because they do not believe their parents are racist enough

In an inverse of the left-wing protest movements of the 1960s, the youthful alt-right bitterly lambast the "boomers" for their lack of explicit ethnocentrism, their rejection of patriarchy, and their failure to maintain America's old demographic characteristics and racial hierarchy. In the alt-right's vision, even older conservatives are useless "cucks" who focus on tax policies and forcefully deny that they are driven by racial animus.

... ... ...

To complicate matters further, many people in the alt-right were radicalized while in college. Not only that, but the efforts to inoculate the next generation of America's social and economic leaders against racism were, in some cases, a catalyst for racist radicalization. Although academic seminars that explain the reality of white privilege may reduce feelings of prejudice among most young whites exposed to them, they have the opposite effect on other young whites. At this point we do not know what percentage of white college students react in such a way, but the number is high enough to warrant additional study.

A final problem with contemporary discussions about racism is that they often remain rooted in outdated stereotypes. Our popular culture tends to define the racist as a toothless illiterate Klansman in rural Appalachia, or a bitter, angry urban skinhead reacting to limited social prospects. Thus, when a white nationalist movement arises that exhibits neither of these characteristics, people are taken by surprise.

George Hawley (@georgehawleyUA) is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Alabama. His books include Right-Wing Critics of American Conservatism , White Voters in 21st Century America , and Making Sense of the Alt-Right (forthcoming).

Nate J , says: August 24, 2017 at 10:35 pm

It boggles my mind that the left, who were so effective at dominating the culture wars basically from the late 60s, cannot see the type of counter-culture they are creating. Your point about alt-righters opposing their parents drives this home.

People have been left to drift in a sea of postmodernism without an anchor for far too long now, and they are grasping onto whatever seems sturdy. The alt-right, for its many faults, provides something compelling and firm to grab.

The left's big failure when all the dust settles will be seen as its inability to provide a coherent view of human nature and a positive, constructive, unifying message. They are now the side against everything – against reason, against tradition, against truth, against shared institutions and heritage and nationalism It's no wonder people are looking to be for something these days. People are sick of being atomized into smaller and smaller units, fostered by the left's new and now permanent quest to find new victim groups.

DonChi , says: August 25, 2017 at 5:17 am
I'm disappointed to read an article at The American Conservative that fails to address the reality behind these numbers. Liberal identity politics creates an inherently adversarial arena, wherein white people are depicted as the enemy. That young whites should respond by gravitating toward identity politics themselves in not surprising, and it's a bit offensive to attribute this trend to the eternal mysteries of inexplicable "racist" hate.

The young can see through the fake dynamic being depicted in the mainstream media, and unless The American Conservative wants to completely lose relevance, a light should be shone on the elephant in the room. For young white kids, The Culture Wars often present an existential threat, as Colin Flaherty shows in Don't Make the Black Kids Angry–endorsed and heralded as a troubling and important work by Thomas Sowell.

Nicholas , says: August 25, 2017 at 7:44 am
From the 16 Points of the Alt-Right:
5. The Alt Right is openly and avowedly nationalist. It supports all nationalisms and the right of all nations to exist, homogeneous and unadulterated by foreign invasion and immigration.
6. The Alt Right is anti-globalist. It opposes all groups who work for globalist ideals or globalist objectives.

It is important to remember that nations are people, not geography. The current American Union, enforced by imperial conquest, is a Multi-National empire. It has been held together by force and more recently by common, though not equal, material prosperity.

With the imposition of Globalism's exotic perversions and eroding economic prospects the American Union is heading for the same fate as all Multi-National empires before it.

Nation(Identity) > Culture > Politics.

KD , says: August 25, 2017 at 9:15 am
Mysteriously absent from the scholarly discussion seems to be the pioneer of sociology, Ludwig Gumplowicz. Incredibly so, as the same factors that led to the destruction of the Austro-Hungarian Empire abound in contemporary America.
Steve , says: August 25, 2017 at 9:25 am
I have two teenage sons – we live in Canada – and they tell that, no matter what they say, who they hang out with, what music they listen to, no matter how many times they demonstrate they are not racist, they are repeatedly called racist. They are automatically guilty because they are white. They are beaten over the head with this message in school and in the press and are sick and tired of it.
Todd Pierce , says: August 25, 2017 at 10:48 am
What might also be considered is the cultural effect upon a generation which has now matured through what the government calls "perpetual war," with the concomitant constant celebration of "warriors," hyper-patriotism as demanded of all public events such as shown in the fanaticism of baseball players engaged in "National Anthem standouts," such as were popular a couple years ago in MLB, the constant references in political campaigns to the "enemy," to include Russia as well now, and the "stab in the back" legend created to accuse anyone opposed to more war and occupation of "treason." We've "radicalized" our own youth, with Trump coming along with his links to Israel's ultra militarist, Benjamin Netanyahu and the Israeli "Right," and created a cultural condition much like this: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/04/conservative-revolutionaries-fascism/
Doc Broom , says: August 25, 2017 at 10:49 am
Odd, you write "How did the youngest white Americans respond to the most racially polarizing election in recent memory?" In reality it was less racially polarized than 2012, when 93 % of African Americans and 71% of Hispanics voted for Obama while in 2016 88% of Blacks and 65% of Hispanics voted from Hillary. So Trump won a higher percentage of African American votes and Hispanic votes than Mitt Romney. In 2008 Obama won 95% of Blacks and 67% of Hispanics, in 2004 the numbers were 88 and 53 for Kerry so the three elections between 2004 and and 2016 were all more polarizing than the 2016 race.
Eric Mader , says: August 25, 2017 at 10:55 am
Yes, you make many important points, Mr. Hawley, but that you feel the need to join the chorus of those who see our president's reaction to Charlottesville as somehow inappropriate or even itself racist–that is sad. I don't see what else you may be implying in your opening paragraphs, since you move directly from the number of "likes" Obama's bromide received to this: "[Obama's reaction] also offered a stark contrast to that of President Trump."

In spite of many liberals' frantic desire to read whatever they want into President Trump's words, he very clearly condemned the neo-Nazis and the evil of Heather Heyer's murderer. That he also condemned the violence coming from Antifa ranks does not lessen his condemnation of that coming from the alt right side. Rather, condemning the rising illiberalism on both sides of this growing conflict was both commendable and necessary.

Many Americans see these recent events in a context stretching back years. Myself, at fifty, having watched especially the steady empowerment of a demagogic left on our campuses, I'm not much surprised that a racist "white nationalist" movement should burst into flame at just this point. The kindling is right there in the anti-white, misandrous virulence of our SJW left.

Sane conservatives have strongly condemned the new alt-right racism. The problem is that we are not seeing anything similar from the left. Our left seems incapable of condemning, let alone even seeing , its own racist excesses. Which are everywhere in its discourse, especially in our humanities departments.

I would say that in the recent decades the American left has grown much more deeply invested in identity politics than the right has ever been during my lifetime. In my view, our left has grown more enamored of identity issues precisely because it has abandoned the bread and butter issues that really matter to most Americans.

I have many left-liberal friends and regularly read the left press. Surveying the reactions to Charlottesville and the rising conflict between alt-right extremists and a radicalized Antifa left, I see nowhere a step toward acknowledging the obvious: our rabid identity politics is by no means just a problem of the right.

Racial identity politics is a curse. Sadly, it seems we've been cursed by it well and and good. The poison's reaching down to the bone. Unless both smart moderates and people on the left start to recognize just how badly poisoned our left has been by this curse, no progress will be made. Identity politics needs to be condemned on both sides of this growing national street brawl, and it should start NOW.

But I'm afraid it's not going to happen. I see my friends on the left, and they're nowhere near acknowledging the problem. And I'm sad to see our president's attempt to call out both sides has gotten such negative reactions. I'm afraid this isn't going to end well.

Todd Pierce , says: August 25, 2017 at 11:21 am
Should read: "National Anthem standoffs," not "standouts."
Siarlys Jenkins , says: August 25, 2017 at 11:29 am
Liberal identity politics creates an inherently adversarial arena, wherein white people are depicted as the enemy. That young whites should respond by gravitating toward identity politics themselves in not surprising

One of many good reasons for rejecting "identity" politics generally.

CampNouidiote , says: August 25, 2017 at 11:34 am
A white friend attended a Cal State graduate program for counseling a couple of years ago; he left very bitter after all his classes told him that white men were the proximate cause of the world's misery. Then a mutual Latina friend from church invited him to coffee and told him that he was the white devil, the cause of her oppression. You can conclude how he felt.

The liberal universities' curricula has caused a storm of madness; they have unleashed their own form of oppressive thought on a significant portion on American society:white men. There is now an adverse reaction. Of course, even more opprobrium will be heaped upon on men who might question the illogicality of feminism and the left. How can all of this end well if the humanity of white men is denied in universities, public schools and universities?

G. K. , says: August 25, 2017 at 11:39 am
The Alt Right simply believes that Western nations have a right to preserve their culture and heritage. Every normal man in these United States agreed with that premise prior to the Marxist takeover of our institutions in the 1960's. And you know it's true.
Cornel Lencar , says: August 25, 2017 at 11:41 am
Maybe at the bottom of it is not racism as in they are the wrong colour, but about cultural traits and patterns of behaviour that are stirring resentment. Plus maybe the inclusion towards more social benefits not available before (Obamacare?).

The current rap music, as opposed to the initial one, that emphasized social injustice is such that one feels emptying his own stomach like sharks do.

The macho culture that black gangs, latin american gangs manifest is a bit antagonistic to white supremacists gangs and attitudes towards women. After all, vikings going raiding used to have shield maidens joining, and Celtic culture is full of women warriors. Northern European culture, harking back to pre-Christian times was more kinder to women than what women from southern Europe (Greece, Rome) experienced (total ownership by husbands, the veil, etc., all imported from the Middle East: but one must not judge too harshly, the book "Debt, the first 5000 years" could be an eye opener of the root causes of such attitudes).

Also, the lack of respect for human life expressed in these cultures is not that palatable, even for white supremacists (while one can point to Nazi Germany as an outlier – but there it was the state that promoted such attitudes, while in Japan the foreigner that is persecuted and ostracized could be the refugee from another village around Fukushima – see the Economist on that).

So I think there are many avenues to explore in identifying the rise in Alt right and white supremacists in the U.S. But colour is definitely not it.

Joe Beavers , says: August 25, 2017 at 11:50 am
Come now. There were the same types around me years ago at school, work, society. They just did not march around like Nazis in public, probably because the Greatest Generation would have kicked their butts.

Now, with the miracle of modern technology, a few hundred of them can get together and raise hell in one place. Plus they now get lots of encouraging internet press (and some discouraging).

A better article on this is:

http://www.heraldnet.com/opinion/keillor-my-advice-be-genial-dont-take-lunacy-too-seriously/

Jack V , says: August 25, 2017 at 12:17 pm
This article says virtually nothing.
The author fails to define his terms, beginning with Alt-Right.
And he seems to operate from a dislike of Trump underneath it all. This dislike is common among pundits, left and right, who consider themselves to be refined and cultured. So it was that the NYT's early condemnation of Trump led with complaints about his bearing and manners – "vulgar" was the word often used if memory serves.
This gets us nowhere. Many in the US are disturbed by the decline in their prospects with a decrease in share of wages in the national income ongoing since the 1970's – before Reagan who is blamed for it all. Add to that the 16 years of wars which have taken the lives of Trump supporters disproportionately and you have a real basis for grievances.
Racism seems to be a side show as does AntiFa.
KD , says: August 25, 2017 at 12:24 pm
Richard McEvoy writes:

"The accusation of being racist because you are white is a misunderstanding of structural racism."

I agree, but I notice that Jews have the same misunderstanding when you mention structural "Zionist Occupied Government" or "Jewish Privilege".

Perhaps because they are both conspiracy theories rooted in hatred and ignorance, which is where we descend when the concept of a statistical distribution or empirical data become "controversial", or "feelings" overtake "facts".

Alex (the one that likes Ike) , says: August 25, 2017 at 12:36 pm
And progressives still refer to KKK when they seek an example of a white supremacist group. Amazing. They are too lazy even to learn that the Klan lost its relevance long ago, and the most powerful white supremacist organization of today consists of entirely different people, who are very far from being illiterate.

***

Todd Pierce,

Israel's ultra militarist, Benjamin Netanyahu

I won't deny that Bibi is a controversial figure, but calling him an ultra militarist is quite a bit of a stretch.

haderondah , says: August 25, 2017 at 1:35 pm
Elite sports. After reading this article and it's underlying thesis, it occurs to me that the way sports have evolved in this country is very likely to be the experience that millennial whites have had that fosters their "out group" belief systems. It is very common, using soccer as my frame of reference, for wealthy suburban families to spend a fortune getting their children all the best training and access to all the best clubs. Their children are usually the best players in their community of origin and usually the top players all the way through the preadolescent years only to find all of that money and prestige gone to waste once their kids get to around sixteen at which point their children are invariably replaced on the roster by a recent immigrant -- mainly from Africa or south of our border and usually at a cut rate compared to the one they are bleeding the suburban families with. I'm assuming this is becoming more common across all sports as they move toward a pay to play corporate model. In soccer, the white kids are, seriously, the paying customers who fill out the roster that supports the truly talented kids (from countries who know how to develop soccer talent.)
sedric , says: August 25, 2017 at 8:20 pm
The thing is when blacks begin to feel power and a secure place in America then their true colors show-at least among many. Left unchecked they would become the biggest racists of all. You can see that now. So what it comes down to are white people going to give away their country? Until blacks become cooperative and productive things need to stay as they are. Sad maybe but that's just the way it has to be.
vato_loco_frisco , says: August 25, 2017 at 8:18 pm
There have always been fringe, rightwing groups in the US. Nothing new there. But the so-called alt-right, comprised of Nazi wannabes and assorted peckerwoods, is truly the spawn of the looney left, whose obsession with race has created the toxic environment we find ourselves in.

[Aug 24, 2017] The Economist Exclusive -- The Future of Bannonism 'The Judeo-Christian Liberal West Won'

Notable quotes:
"... Bannon openly acknowledged his animus for the "Party of Davos" editorial positions of The Economist ..."
"... For Mr Bannon, who went from a working-class Virginian family to careers in Wall Street and Hollywood, those agreements epitomised the folly of globalisation, which he considers disastrous for American workers and avoidable. He hardened this critique after returning to America from a spell in Hong Kong; China, whose gaming of WTO rules Mr Bannon considers tantamount to an "economic war" against America, remains at the heart of it. ..."
"... When some of Mr Bannon's early schemes failed -- including the shabbily planned travel ban, now snarled up in the courts -- Mr Trump turned increasingly to his more conventional advisers, including Mr Kushner and Mr McMaster. ..."
Aug 24, 2017 | www.breitbart.com
President Trump's former chief strategist and current Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen K. Bannon invited the editors of The Economist to his home for a candid discussion about the future of the populist economic nationalist movement and the civilizational challenges that will pit "the Judeo-Christian liberal West" against globalist "mercantilist" forces from China to Silicon Valley.

Bannon openly acknowledged his animus for the "Party of Davos" editorial positions of The Economist , referring to them as "the enemy" of economic nationalism for their "radical" obsession with free trade at all costs.

He also affirmed his loyalty to Trump and his desire to help him. Breitbart "will never turn on [Trump]," Bannon said, "But we are never going to let him take a decision that hurts him."

Bannon acknowledged that in the White House he had "influence," but outside at Breitbart he has "power." He said he intends to use that power to "rally the base" and "have [Trump's] back. The harder he pushes, the more we will be there for him."

The discussion soon turned to what Bannon sees as the inevitable civilizational struggle between the Judeo-Christian classical liberalism of the West -- which affirms human rights, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and self-governance -- versus the "mercantilist, Confucian system" of an ascendant China.

From The Economist :

Among the particular opponents he has in his sights, said Mr Bannon, seated in a dining-room decorated with Christian iconography and political mementos, are congressional Republicans ("Mitch McConnell, I'm going to light him up"), China ("Let's go screw up One Belt One Road") and "the elites in Silicon Valley and Wall Street -- they're a bunch of globalists who have forgotten their fellow Americans." Despite his departure -- voluntarily, he insists, though his resignation is reported to have been demanded of him -- Mr Bannon says he will never attack his former boss. Yet Breitbart will caution Mr Trump to stick to the populist nationalist course Mr Bannon charted. "We will never turn on him. But we are never going to let him take a decision that hurts him." The website offered an early taste of this in its disparaging coverage of Mr Trump's "flip-flop" decision to send more American troops to Afghanistan, which was announced on August 21st and Mr Bannon strongly opposes (see article ).

As Mr Trump's campaign chief (his third in two months, the campaign having been roiled by scandals) Mr Bannon urged him to redouble that effort [to campaign on as a populist economic nationalist taking on the politically correct establishment]. "The American people understood his foibles and understood his character flaws and they didn't care," he says. "The country was thirsting for change and [Barack] Obama didn't give them enough. I said, we are going for a nationalist message, we are going to go barbarian, and we will win."

For Mr Bannon, who went from a working-class Virginian family to careers in Wall Street and Hollywood, those agreements epitomised the folly of globalisation, which he considers disastrous for American workers and avoidable. He hardened this critique after returning to America from a spell in Hong Kong; China, whose gaming of WTO rules Mr Bannon considers tantamount to an "economic war" against America, remains at the heart of it.

A zealous Catholic who believes in the inevitability of civilizational conflict, he considers China's growth to be an additional, overarching threat to America, which it must therefore dial back. "I want the world to look back in 100 years and say, their mercantilist, Confucian system lost. The Judeo-Christian liberal West won."

The president has, if not fixed intellectual differences with Mr Bannon, different predilections, including his slavish regard for the military and business elites now stocking his cabinet, whom his former adviser derides. ("What did the elites do?" asks Mr Bannon. "These are the guys who gave us happy talk on Iraq, who let China into the WTO and said it would sign up to the rules-based order.")

When some of Mr Bannon's early schemes failed -- including the shabbily planned travel ban, now snarled up in the courts -- Mr Trump turned increasingly to his more conventional advisers, including Mr Kushner and Mr McMaster.

On trade and security in particular, they have edged him towards the mainstream. Whereas Mr Bannon urged the president to withdraw from NAFTA and Afghanistan, for example, he has launched a modest-looking review of the former and will send more troops to the latter. Increasingly isolated, Mr Bannon's departure from the White House was predicted.

Read the rest here .

[Aug 24, 2017] Civil War inside the US Far Right by Tamar Pileggi

www.defenddemocracy.press
'I'm not going to breathe the same air as that terrorist'
Bannon boycotted Trump meet with 'terrorist' Abbas -- report

Days after his ouster from the White House, the extent of the animosity between divisive strategist Steve Bannon and the president's son-in-law Jared Kushner is steadily emerging in US media reports, with an article in Vanity Fair detailing their disputes and asserting that Bannon is now planning his "revenge."

Bannon, a hero of the so-called "alt right" whose presence in the West Wing was controversial from the start, had become the nucleus of one of several competing power centers in a chaotic White House. During his six-month tenure as Trump's chief strategist, Bannon and Kushner reportedly clashed on numerous policy issues, including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

... ... ...

Hours after he was fired, Bannon returned to his previous job as editor of the ultra-conservative Breitbart News, where he declared war on Ivanka, Kushner and fellow "globalist" Gary Cohn.

The Vanity Fair article was headlined: "Steve Bannon readies his revenge: The war on Jared Kushner is about to go nuclear."

... ... ...

"Jared and Ivanka helped push him out. They were concerned about how they were being viewed by the Jewish community," The Mail reported on Sunday.

Read more http://www.timesofisrael.com/bannon-boycotted-trumps-meeting-with-terrorist-abbas-report

SOURCE www.timesofisrael.com

Commnets from Bannon boycotted Trump meet with 'terrorist' Abbas -- report The Times of Israel

Jossef Perl · Nahariyah, Hazafon, Israel Yes, this time it is Tamar Pileggi who gives us Time of Israel's typical Trump's blasting story quoting "Vanity Fair detailing their (i.e. Kushner vs. Bannon) disputes and asserting that Bannon is now planning his 'revenge."" If it comes from Vanity Fair that Bannon is planning a revenge (albeit without a single named source) it must be true right? But this is what the US fake news media has decended to, while the Israeli fake news media goes one step lower, just quoting the US fake media. Any 7 years old can see the that intent here continues to be to creat an impression that the Trump white is out of control and everything around Trum is falling apart. How can this kind of media continue to think the public believes a word from them? Tamar Pileggi, if all you do is quoting Vanity Fair, which is typical to the rest of the staff at TOI, why don't you all just include a link to the original articles in your TOI webpage? Who need all of you filling your paper by quoting other publications without any due diligence? How can you call yourselves journalists when all you do is cut and paste? Audrey Travis · Works at Music Teacher - Retired Perhaps, but 90% of the world knows nothing about the extreme violence of the ultra left Antifa and the fact the y brought and used weapons in Charlottesville. What Trump should have done was be explicit in the detailsof why he was condemning both side. His broadsided condemnation of both sides was the problem. Albert Reingewirtz · Works at Happily Retired He did not do any equivalence between two despicable gangs of mobsters. He talked about BOTH of their VIOLENCE. You listen too much to propaganda. The more they repeat the more people believe their lies. Steve Klein · Works at Self-Employed Albert Reingewirtz, do you believe there were "some very fine" people marching with the Nazis in Charlottesville? Like · Reply · 2 · Aug 21, 2017 5:17am Steve Klein · Works at Self-Employed 'Bannon: Mahmoud Abbas is a terrorist, I'd never meet with him'

Ousted WH strategist Steve Bannon reportedly lobbied hard for Jerusalem embassy move, tougher line against PA - but was opposed by Kushner.

David Rosenberg, 21/08/17 11:23 (Israel National News)

[Aug 24, 2017] Reports Globalists in White House Oppose Trumps Border Wall, Reforms

Notable quotes:
"... The "West Wing Democrats" in the White House are eager to sacrifice President Donald Trump's top campaign promise in exchange for Democratic approval of the tax cuts sought by wealthy donors and business interests, according to an article in Politico. In an August 23 article about Trump's push to get funding for an extended border wall, Politico described the lack of support for the wall among his business-affiliated aides: Few staff members in the West Wing are as concerned about it [as the President], senior administration officials said. Some in the White House have urged Trump not to focus as much on the wall, try to pass a clean debt-ceiling bill and move to tax reform. "You have barely anyone here saying, 'Wall, wall, we have to get the wall at all costs,'" one White House official said. Two people who have spoken to Trump said he sees not building the wall as a personal embarrassment -- and that he has shown more interest in building the wall than in other issues, like the upcoming budget negotiations. "You don't want a government shutdown," the White House official said. "He is told that. He says, 'I want money for the wall.'" The same emphasis on tax cuts for the elite before immigration reform for voters was also cited by Axios on August 20, in an article which claimed to explain why top staff chose to stay in the White House amid elite hatred of his populist, wage-boosting, pro-American priorities. Axios reported : We talked to a half dozen senior administration officials, who range from dismayed but certain to stay, to disgusted and likely soon to leave. They all work closely with Trump and his senior team so, of course, wouldn't talk on the record. Instead, they agreed to let us distill their thinking/rationale: "You have no idea how much crazy stuff we kill": The most common response centers on the urgent importance of having smart, sane people around Trump to fight his worst impulses. If they weren't there, they say, we would have a trade war with China, massive deportations, and a government shutdown to force construction of a Southern wall. "General Mattis needs us": Many talk about their reluctance to bolt on their friends and colleagues who are fighting the good fight to force better Trump behavior/decisions. They rightly point out that together, they have learned how to ignore Trump's rhetoric and, at times, collectively steer him to more conventional policy responses. This situation leaves Trump dependent on a few aides -- such as immigration reformer Steve Miller -- and his supporters at his rallies to help fend off the insistent demands by his globalist aides for a back-room surrender of his presidential goals. ..."
"... the pro-American immigration reformers who backed Trump in the election fear his globalist aides will push Trump to accept and establish former President Barack Obama's DACA amnesty in exchange for minor concessions, such as a modest amount of funds to build a short distance of border wall. ..."
Aug 24, 2017 | www.breitbart.com
The "West Wing Democrats" in the White House are eager to sacrifice President Donald Trump's top campaign promise in exchange for Democratic approval of the tax cuts sought by wealthy donors and business interests, according to an article in Politico.

In an August 23 article about Trump's push to get funding for an extended border wall, Politico described the lack of support for the wall among his business-affiliated aides:

Few staff members in the West Wing are as concerned about it [as the President], senior administration officials said.

Some in the White House have urged Trump not to focus as much on the wall, try to pass a clean debt-ceiling bill and move to tax reform. "You have barely anyone here saying, 'Wall, wall, we have to get the wall at all costs,'" one White House official said.

Two people who have spoken to Trump said he sees not building the wall as a personal embarrassment -- and that he has shown more interest in building the wall than in other issues, like the upcoming budget negotiations. "You don't want a government shutdown," the White House official said. "He is told that. He says, 'I want money for the wall.'"

The same emphasis on tax cuts for the elite before immigration reform for voters was also cited by Axios on August 20, in an article which claimed to explain why top staff chose to stay in the White House amid elite hatred of his populist, wage-boosting, pro-American priorities. Axios reported :

We talked to a half dozen senior administration officials, who range from dismayed but certain to stay, to disgusted and likely soon to leave. They all work closely with Trump and his senior team so, of course, wouldn't talk on the record. Instead, they agreed to let us distill their thinking/rationale:

"You have no idea how much crazy stuff we kill": The most common response centers on the urgent importance of having smart, sane people around Trump to fight his worst impulses. If they weren't there, they say, we would have a trade war with China, massive deportations, and a government shutdown to force construction of a Southern wall.

"General Mattis needs us": Many talk about their reluctance to bolt on their friends and colleagues who are fighting the good fight to force better Trump behavior/decisions. They rightly point out that together, they have learned how to ignore Trump's rhetoric and, at times, collectively steer him to more conventional policy responses.

This situation leaves Trump dependent on a few aides -- such as immigration reformer Steve Miller -- and his supporters at his rallies to help fend off the insistent demands by his globalist aides for a back-room surrender of his presidential goals.

That surrender would help his aides win Democratic support for their goals -- but it would leave Trump with few friends heading into the 2018 midterm elections and the crucial 2020 reelection, says D.C. insiders. For example, the pro-American immigration reformers who backed Trump in the election fear his globalist aides will push Trump to accept and establish former President Barack Obama's DACA amnesty in exchange for minor concessions, such as a modest amount of funds to build a short distance of border wall.

"If [Trump's aides] are left to their own devices, they would exchange this for a few trinkets," so violating Trump's campaign promise before the 2018 and 2020 elections, said Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for FAIR, the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

The suggested deal was outlined in a Tuesday article by Anita Kumar, a reporter for the McClatchy news service. She uses the Democrats' term -- 'dreamers' – to describe the 800,000 DACA illegals as she wrote:

White House officials want Trump to strike an ambitious deal with Congress that offers Dreamers protection in exchange for legislation that pays for a border wall and more detention facilities, curbs legal immigration and implements E-verify, an online system that allows businesses to check immigration status, according to a half-dozen people familiar with situation, most involved with the negotiations.

The group includes former and current White House chiefs of staff, Reince Priebus and John Kelly , the president's daughter, Ivanka Trump , and her husband, Jared Kushner , who both serve as presidential advisers, they said. Others who have not been as vocal publicly about their stance but are thought to agree include Vice President Mike Pence , who as a congressman worked on a failed immigration deal that called for citizenship, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and Gary Cohn, a Democrat who serves as director of the National Economic Council.

There is no evidence that Democrats will accept that ambitious deal before the 2018 election, and much evidence that Trump's aides will quickly give up wall funding and the popular RAISE Act to win Democratic support for tax cuts. So far, top Democrats have responded that they would not offer anything as they demand a permanent DACA amnesty.

However, Trump's determination to resist his aides is likely boosted by the cheering he gets at rallies when he promises to build the wall.

"We are building a wall on the southern border, which is absolutely necessary," he told roughly 30,000 cheering supporters at an August 22 rally in Phoenix, Ariz. "The obstructionist Democrats would like us not to do it, believe me, [but] if we have to close down our government, we are building that wall We're going to have our wall. We're going to get our wall."

There you have it, @realDonaldTrump -- Your own 30k focus-group. LIKE: deportations, a wall, jobs; DON'T LIKE: Media, Afghan War & tax cuts.

-- Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) August 23, 2017

Trump later thanked the crowd.

Phoenix crowd last night was amazing – a packed house. I love the Great State of Arizona. Not a fan of Jeff Flake, weak on crime & border --

-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 23, 2017

Read the Axios article here , and the Politico article here .

Under current immigration policy, the federal government accepts 1 million legal immigrants each year, even though 4 million young Americans enter the workforce to look for decent jobs. Each year, the government also hands out almost 3 million short-term work permits to foreign workers. These permits include roughly 330,000 one-year OPT permits for foreign graduates of U.S. colleges, roughly 200,000 three-year H-1B visas for foreign white-collar professionals, and 400,000 two-year permits to DACA illegals.

The current annual flood of foreign labor spikes profits and Wall Street values by cutting salaries for manual and skilled labor offered by blue-collar and white-collar employees. It also drives up r eal estate prices , widens wealth-gaps , reduces high-tech investment , increases state and local tax burdens , hurts kids' schools and college education , pushes Americans away from high-tech careers , and sidelines at least 5 million marginalized Americans and their families.

Many polls show that Americans are very generous, they do welcome individual immigrants, and they do want to like the idea of immigration. But the polls also show that most Americans are increasingly worried that large-scale legal immigration will change their country and disadvantage themselves and their children. Trump's "Buy American, Hire American" policies are also extremely popular , including among Democratic-leaning voters.

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[Aug 23, 2017] Good Riddance to Steve Bannon by Karl Rove

The fact that Karl rove is allowed to write for WSJ makes WSJ a yellow publication...
Aug 23, 2017 | www.wsj.com

The country is better off with him out of the West Wing, but now Trump has to step up.

After departing his post as White House chief strategist last week, Steve Bannon told the Weekly Standard that "the Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over." The clear suggestion is that Mr. Trump's chance at success had followed Mr. Bannon out the door.

Trying to recast his ouster as a personal choice, Mr. Bannon bragged "I can fight better on the outside." He promised "to crush the opposition," saying "I built a f! machine at Breitbart."

The former adviser also told a Bloomberg reporter he would be "going to war for Trump against his opponents!on Capitol Hill, in the media, and in corporate America."...

[Aug 22, 2017] Hawks Soaring After Bannons Departure by Michael Crowley

Notable quotes:
"... Stephen Bannon may have been a political adviser to President Donald Trump, but his firing Friday could have an impact on U.S. foreign policy from Europe to the Middle East and Asia. Bannon's exit clears an obstacle for backers of an active U.S. foreign policy in line with recent presidencies -- and is a resounding win for Bannon's internal rival, national security adviser H.R. McMaster. ..."
"... More generally, it will remove an internal brake on U.S. military action abroad. Bannon has argued greater U.S. intervention in Iraq and Syria and was among the few White House officials to oppose President Donald Trump's early-April missile strike in Syria. ..."
"... Tonight if Trump order more troops to Afghanistan, he'd put the last and hardest nail on his own coffin. I do not understand, how long Americans will let the Deep State win, making them sacrificial animals at the mercy of a perpetual power. ..."
Aug 21, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com

His exit is a win for backers of a more traditional -- and interventionist -- U.S. foreign policy.

Stephen Bannon may have been a political adviser to President Donald Trump, but his firing Friday could have an impact on U.S. foreign policy from Europe to the Middle East and Asia. Bannon's exit clears an obstacle for backers of an active U.S. foreign policy in line with recent presidencies -- and is a resounding win for Bannon's internal rival, national security adviser H.R. McMaster.

Bannon was a regular participant in national security debates, often as an opponent of military action and a harsh critic of international bodies like the United Nations and the European Union.

He has also been a withering critic of diplomatic, military and intelligence professionals -- "globalists" he says have repeatedly shown bad judgment, particularly when it comes to U.S. military interventions abroad. That put him at loggerheads with Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, as well as McMaster.

"If you look at the balance of power of isolationists versus internationalists in the White House now, it seems safe to say that the pendulum has swung towards the internationalists," said Danielle Pletka, senior vice president for foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute.

Though Bannon has not described himself as an "isolationist," he has proudly adopted Trump's "America First" motto, which he says argues for spending less blood and treasure overseas for anything less than America's most vital interests.

He has also alarmed European leaders with his criticism of the E.U. and his expressed support for some European nationalist movements. Bannon actively backed Great Britain's 2016 "Brexit" from the E.U. and introduced Trump to its chief political advocate, the populist British politician Nigel Farage.

"Our European allies are happy about Bannon's departure," said Jorge Benitez, a senior fellow with the Atlantic Council.

In the immediate term, foreign policy insiders agreed, Bannon's departure also could increase the chances of a U.S. troop increase in Afghanistan -- a plan championed by McMaster but strongly opposed by Bannon, who managed to draw out debate on the issue with direct appeals to Trump.

More generally, it will remove an internal brake on U.S. military action abroad. Bannon has argued greater U.S. intervention in Iraq and Syria and was among the few White House officials to oppose President Donald Trump's early-April missile strike in Syria.

Bannon is not totally conflict averse: He calls for a far stronger U.S. posture against China and has warned that war with Beijing could be inevitable. But he pressed Trump to take economic, not military action against Beijing.

And on Wednesday, Bannon told the American Prospect magazine that there is "no military solution" to Trump's standoff with North Korea -- undermining the president's recent military threats against that country, and echoing China's view of the situation.

Beyond the policy realm, Bannon's exit is a clear victory for national security adviser H.R. McMaster, who at times seemed to be in zero-sum struggle with the Trump adviser for power and influence in the White House.

Foreign policy veterans were startled when, in early February, Trump designated Bannon as a member of the National Security Council's elite principals committee -- calling it unprecedented for a White House political adviser to have a reserved seat at the table for life-and-death debates.

McMaster stripped Bannon of his official NSC position in April, after succeeding the ousted Michael Flynn -- a Bannon ally -- as national security adviser. Bannon continued to attend NSC meetings and debates about foreign policy in the Oval Office. But Bannon resented McMaster for demoting him, and for purging several Flynn allies from the NSC.

Bannon and McMaster also sharply differed on how Trump should discuss terrorist groups like ISIS and al Qaeda. Bannon favors using the phrase "radical Islamic extremism," but McMaster has largely prevented Trump from saying it in public on the grounds that it could alienate moderate Muslims who hear it as an attack on their religion.

McMaster's defenders have accused Bannon of spearheading a campaign of leaks meant to undermine the top national security aide.

"The campaign to get him out was clearly coming from Bannon or his allies," said Brian McKeon, a former NSC chief of staff and senior Pentagon policy official in the Obama administration. "The national security adviser's job is hard enough without having to always look over your shoulder to see who's trying to knife you.

"This will make McMaster's days a little easier," he added.

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Likely to share McMaster's satisfaction at Bannon's ouster is Tillerson, who chafed at Bannon's role in State Department personnel decisions. Speaking to the American Prospect this week, Bannon boasted that he was working to remove Tillerson's top official for China and East Asia.

"I'm getting Susan Thornton out at State," Bannon said in the interview.

In a pointed show of support the next morning, Tillerson shook Thornton's hand in front of television cameras.

And when Tillerson recommended in February that Trump nominate former Reagan and George W. Bush administration official Elliott Abrams to be his deputy, Bannon intervened to block the choice, according to Abrams.

"Bannon's departure probably means a return to normalcy, where the State and Defense Departments will have greater influence on foreign policy," Abrams said.

Bannon also told the Prospect that he was "changing out people" on the Pentagon's China desk. Mattis, too, has had personnel disputes with the White House.

"Anything that Tillerson and Mattis really push for will now have a better chance of winning out -- for better and for worse," Abrams added.

Abrams and others said that Bannon's exit makes it more likely that McMaster and Mattis will convince Trump to send more U.S. troops in Afghanistan, the subject of a meeting among Trump and his national security team at Camp David today.

Some sources downplayed the significance of Bannon's departure, however -- noting that, on military and diplomatic issues, Bannon was more dissenter than policy maker.

Ben Rhodes, a former top national security aide to former President Barack Obama, said Bannon's main contributions was his backing for Trump's early executive orders restricting travel from several Muslim-majority countries. Bannon was also a defender of his friend and ally Sebastian Gorka, a controversial White House adviser who often appears on television.

"On national security, it was hard to see Bannon's influence anywhere other than the Muslim ban and Gorka doing cable hits, so I don't think it changes that much," Rhodes said, adding: "It does suggest a greater likelihood of a troop increase in Afghanistan."

And several sources cautioned that while Bannon may not longer occupy the White House, his worldview is still frequently reflected in the words of the most powerful policymaker of all: President Trump.

European allies "will not be popping champagne corks because their main source of worry remains in the White House, Donald Trump," Benitez said. "Most Europeans blame Trump personally rather than Bannon or other subordinates for damaging transatlantic relations."

"The president gets the last vote," McKeon added. "And he has a different approach to foreign policy than all his predecessors."

Eliana Johnson contributed reporting

===

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Felix · 7 hours ago

As long as there is disagreement there is hope for compromise and moderation. If everyone in the Executive branch were in agreement, there would be no hope for moderation..
DrS · 6 hours ago
Our 'dear' leaders are NOT in control. North Korea ia a distraction as is Trump. Examine the military buildup by Nsto against Russia. Time for Germany, Russia and China to work together militarily for harmony/peace in our world.
andrewboston · 4 hours ago
God help us when Bannon is the voice of reason ......
Bill Malcolm · 4 hours ago
330 million people and a bunch of nutbars in charge of the place, very few of whom have ever had a vote cast for them in any election, Trump being the exception. Some guy like Bannon sits around formulating a wanker worldview and somehow gains power for seven months. I don't suppose the EU gives a tinker's damn that he dislikes it, it's none of his business. Fulminating on it just exposes his acceptance of Imperial America, muttering threats because in his blinkered mind that's not the way the US would have organized Europe - I am unaware that anyone with a brain regards Bannon as an intellectual, merely a weirdo. Then you have all these generals running around thinking they're political geniuses or something, all unelected bozos with little exposure to real life. Giving and taking orders and salutes all around, living a regimented life - just the thing for running the civilian part of the USA.

Why is it that in the US you vote for dogcatchers, sheriffs and judges which no other country bothers with, yet all these high cabinet posts are filled from unelected dorks out there who somehow got noticed, picked by the president, nominated and agreed to by the Senate? The argument has been, well because they're specialists. So what - they're not responsible to the electorate in any direct manner. There's a fat chance that they are managerial competents if they are from the military, a big chance they have developed some warped theory about the world, and few of them are in the slightest bit interested in domestic politics as it relates to the average citizen. 50% of the budget goes to running the armed forces, by nature always measuring foreign "threats" as if diplomacy was a competition or something. The business types picked as cabinet secretaries are invariably from the big business side of the ledger and find foreigners annoying when they don't hand over their natural resources for next to nothing royalties, leading to the government bashing these foreigners over the head until they put someone in charge who sees the "light" and becomes a US ally.

It's a formula for bad government for the domestic population from beginning to end. So up ramps the patriotism to make the people keep the faith which many are happy to do, and then they crap all over the way other countries are organized, their food, customs and "only in America can a hobo be elected President" and there's no opportunity anywhere but in the USA memes. Mesmerized by their own propaganda into thinking the US is the best there is. Cough.

GivingUpOnTrump · 4 hours ago
Tonight if Trump order more troops to Afghanistan, he'd put the last and hardest nail on his own coffin. I do not understand, how long Americans will let the Deep State win, making them sacrificial animals at the mercy of a perpetual power.

[Aug 21, 2017] Steve Bannon Plots Fox News Competitor As He Goes To War With Globalists, Report

Notable quotes:
"... Before his death in May, Roger Ailes had sent word to Bannon that he wanted to start a channel together. Bannon loved the idea: He believes Fox is heading in a squishy, globalist direction as the Murdoch sons assume more power. ..."
"... "That's a fight I fight every day here," he said. "We're still fighting. There's Treasury and [National Economic Council chair] Gary Cohn and Goldman Sachs lobbying." ..."
"... The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over I feel jacked up Now I'm free. I've got my hands back on my weapons ..."
Aug 21, 2017 | www.zerohedge.com
Axios: that part of that war effort might include a brand new cable news network to the right of Fox News.

Axios' Jonathan Swan hears Bannon has told friends he sees a massive opening to the right of Fox News , raising the possibility that he's going to start a network. Bannon's friends are speculating about whether it will be a standalone TV network, or online streaming only.

Before his death in May, Roger Ailes had sent word to Bannon that he wanted to start a channel together. Bannon loved the idea: He believes Fox is heading in a squishy, globalist direction as the Murdoch sons assume more power.

Now he has the means, motive and opportunity: His chief financial backer, Long Island hedge fund billionaire Bob Mercer, is ready to invest big in what's coming next, including a huge overseas expansion of Breitbart News. Of course, this new speculation comes after Bannon declared last Friday that he was " going to war" for Trump ...

" If there's any confusion out there, let me clear it up. I'm leaving the White House and going to war for Trump against his opponents... on Capitol Hill, in the media, and in corporate America,

Meanwhile, with regard his internal adversaries , at the departments of State and Defense, who think the United States can enlist Beijing's aid on the North Korean standoff, and at Treasury and the National Economic Council who don't want to mess with the trading system, Bannon was ever harsher...

"Oh, they're wetting themselves," he said, explaining that the Section 301 complaint, which was put on hold when the war of threats with North Korea broke out, was shelved only temporarily, and will be revived in three weeks. As for other cabinet departments, Bannon has big plans to marginalize their influence.

"That's a fight I fight every day here," he said. "We're still fighting. There's Treasury and [National Economic Council chair] Gary Cohn and Goldman Sachs lobbying."

Finally, perhaps no one can summarize what Bannon has planned for the future than Bannon himself:

"The Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over I feel jacked up Now I'm free. I've got my hands back on my weapons.

I am definitely going to crush the opposition. There's no doubt. I built a f***ing machine at Breitbart. And now we're about to rev that machine up."

[Aug 20, 2017] Bannon's interview with the American Prospect last week was his shot across the proverbial bow aimed directly at the globalists fomenting more wars

With Bannon Gone, Trump Loses Key Anti-War Aide Trump Loses Anti-War Aide In Bannon The Daily Caller
Notable quotes:
"... For the record, Mr. Bannon gave notice on 8/7 to POTUS. As well, Mr. Bannon, when appointed to Trump's cabinet, stated for any who bothered to read/listen that he would accept under one condition, which was he'd be leaving the WH in eight months. Eight months brings us to 8/7. No one fired him. He is back at Breitbart as its Chairman. ..."
"... Bannon's interview with the American Prospect last week was his shot across the proverbial bow aimed directly at the globalists who are determined to keep their march toward raping the world from all her resources aka the NWO/neocon/neolib mafia while fomenting more war(s). ..."
"... If you are unaware of the current round of NAFTA negotiations, now in its fourth day, w/Canada and Mexico OR if you are unaware that on Friday the Trump administration formally launched a Section 301 Trade investigation into China's trading practices, then you are not paying attention to what the right hand is doing. ..."
"... Oh, and btw, it was Kushner and his data operation who carried Trump over the finish line not Bannon and his policy positions. ..."
Aug 20, 2017 | t-room.us

h | Aug 20, 2017 12:52:39 PM | 122

Francis @68 - Refreshing to read a comment by someone who obviously has made it her/his business to understand Trump and Team from the conservative perspective. Great comment and spot on IMHO.

For the record, Mr. Bannon gave notice on 8/7 to POTUS. As well, Mr. Bannon, when appointed to Trump's cabinet, stated for any who bothered to read/listen that he would accept under one condition, which was he'd be leaving the WH in eight months. Eight months brings us to 8/7. No one fired him. He is back at Breitbart as its Chairman.

Bannon's interview with the American Prospect last week was his shot across the proverbial bow aimed directly at the globalists who are determined to keep their march toward raping the world from all her resources aka the NWO/neocon/neolib mafia while fomenting more war(s).

Bannon with Mercer and et al backing (and I can make a pretty solid educated guess that there are others) have been developing a new media platform of some kind which will be launched in weeks not months (another educated guess). Sinclair broadcasting has been mentioned on other conservative platforms as getting ready to make a move of some kind as well.

As Breitbart's editor wrote on Friday following the Bannon announcement - "WAR" - is unequivocally that sites way of saying the Swamp in DC is going to be drained. Indeed, Trump and Team have already begun to roll out their 2018 election strategy.

Any who hold the belief that Trump is stupid, naive, or whatever derogatory statement conjured up is just plain wrong and shouldn't be taken seriously by any here who know better.

Trump is a businessman. Trump is not a politician. And he certainly wasn't elected to serve as America's grandpa-he ain't gonna hold your hand...ever.

If you are unaware of the current round of NAFTA negotiations, now in its fourth day, w/Canada and Mexico OR if you are unaware that on Friday the Trump administration formally launched a Section 301 Trade investigation into China's trading practices, then you are not paying attention to what the right hand is doing.

There is always much going on behind all of the noise the insufferable Left makes on a daily basis. Apparently, they don't want you to know about any of the plethora of Executive Orders signed, the roll back of regulations zero and czars put in place, the trade negotiations and so, so much more.

On the other hand, conservative sites are all over the blogosphere report daily what this administration is doing and how it is succeeding. Bannon remains a phone call away.

Oh, and btw, it was Kushner and his data operation who carried Trump over the finish line not Bannon and his policy positions.

[Aug 20, 2017] Mr. Bannon's