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Neoliberal war on reality

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false" ~ CIA Director William Casey (attributed)

"Empire of illusions": The  triumph of entertainment and fake news under neoliberalism

News Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite Recommended Links Media as a weapon of mass deception Lewis Powell Memo Deception as an art form
Groupthink Disciplined Minds Belief-coercion in high demand cults Fake News scare and US NeoMcCartyism Conspiracy theory label as a subtle form of censorship Discrediting the opponent as favorite tactic of neoliberals
Neoliberal newspeak US and British media are servants of security apparatus British elite hypocrisy Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak Anti Trump Hysteria Pathological Russophobia of the US elite
Corruption of the language Doublespeak Patterns of Propaganda Diplomacy by deception War propaganda Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle
Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Patterns of Propaganda Bullshit as MSM communication method Manipulation of the term "freedom of press" Identity politics as divide and conquer The Guardian Slips Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment
Color revolutions Co-opting of the Human Rights to embarrass governments who oppose neoliberalism Democracy as a universal opener for access to natural resources What's the Matter with Kansas Understanding Mayberry Machiavellians  
Neo-fascism Nation under attack meme Nineteen Eighty-Four Manufactured consent Groupthink Big Uncle is Watching You
Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17? Ukraine: From EuroMaidan to EuroAnschluss Pussy Riot Provocation and "Deranged Pussy Worship Syndrome" MSM Sochi Bashing Rampage Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ? Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law
Soft propaganda Classic Papers Media Ownership Propaganda Quotes Humor Etc

"The truth is that the newspaper is not a place for information to be given, rather it is just hollow content, or more than that, a provoker of content. If it prints lies about atrocities, real atrocities are the result."

Karl Kraus, 1914

WAR IS PEACE. FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

1984

We are the world, we are exceptional, we cannot fail. The elite will lie, and the people will pretend to believe them. Heck about 20 percent of the American public will believe almost anything if it is wrapped with the right prejudice and appeal to passion. Have a pleasant evening.

jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com, Feb 04, 2015


Introduction

Controlling the narrative is how  society operate -- it preserves the society cohesion. Which  is a good thing, unless price is too high. If the question of controlling the narrative arise, that means  that elite became too detached from the regular people (let then eat cakes situation), and there are cracks in the society facade, line now there are cracks in neoliberals facade today. They are patched with lies and distortions. And it work until it does not.

In such cases the elite usually resort to policies which in the USA are called McCarthyism: attempt to smear and suppress dissidents claiming that they are associated with the particular (presented as hostile like Russia today, or really hostile like the USSR was) power.

While MSM supporting the "Party line" are masquerading as impendent new outlets.

Correlation with the foreign power policies might  be actually accidental if this particular power " see future deeper" as unforgettable  Madeline "Not So Bright" Allbright quipped. For example now correlation with RT policies does undermine the US foreign policy. We need only decide whether this is a good or bad thing and whether the US imperial policies are good for American people, or only for large transnational corporations. I think Tucker Carlson also undermines the US foreign policy and as such you can find a correlation between his positions and RT position. Now what ?

In such case elite presents association with the foreign power as a "politically correct" reason for suppression. So the only new moment is blatant hypocrisy. But that's how all societies work and in this sense there is nothing special in the fact that dissident voices are suppressed. In middle ages heretics were burned at the stake.  If you are a dissident you fate in most societies  are far from rosy.

The current situation in the USA is interesting because neoliberalism is definitely on the decline and as such represent now (unlike say 10 year ago) a rich target of attacks. And as the USA acquired since WWII, expanded after collapse of the USSR and try to preserve its neoliberal empire such attacks usually attack the US foreign policy. The real question is what alternative the particular outlet proposes -- the return to the New Deal Capitalism in some form or shape, or new socialist experiment is some form of shape.

Does the cocoon of lies spread by MSM protects the society, or undermines  it, or it does both

In many respects, the media creates reality, so perhaps the most effective route toward changing reality runs through the media.  "Controlling the narrative" is the major form of neoliberal MSM war on reality. By providing "prepackaged" narrative for a particular world event and selectively suppressing alternative information channels that contradict the official narrative, neoliberals control and channel emotions of people in the direction they want.  Often in the direction of yet another war for the expansion of the global neoliberal empire led from Washington, DC.

libezkova said in reply to Fred C. Dobbs...  January 29, 2017 at 08:31 AM  

Neoliberal MSM want to control the narrative. That's why "alternative facts" should be called an "alternative narrative". https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/06/09/controlling-the-narrative/?_r=0

== quote ==

Maybe this is the same kind of clinical detachment doctors have to cultivate, a way of distancing oneself from the subject, protecting yourself against a crippling empathy. I won’t say that writers or artists are more sensitive than other people, but it may be that they’re less able to handle their own emotions.

It may be that art, like drugs, is a way of dulling or controlling pain. Eloquently articulating a feeling is one way to avoid actually experiencing it.

Words are only symbols, noises or marks on paper, and turning the messy, ugly stuff of life into language renders it inert and manageable for the author, even as it intensifies it for the reader.

It’s a nerdy, sensitive kid’s way of turning suffering into something safely abstract, an object of contemplation.

I suspect most of the people who write all that furious invective on the Internet, professional polemicists and semiliterate commenters alike, are lashing out because they’ve been hurt — their sense of fairness or decency has been outraged, or they feel personally wounded or threatened.

It is hard to disagree with the notion which was put by several authors that American society is living  in a cocoon of illusion which conveniently isolates them from reality: entertainment and escapism infuse our society, economy, and political system with severe consequences. Among such authors are Aldous Huxley, C. Wright Mills, Sheldon Wolin, Ralph Nader, Karl Polanyi, Jared Diamond, Paul Craig Roberts, Chris Hedge and several others. If we compare dystopias of Huxley and Orwell, and it clear that Huxley in his famous  New Brave World predicted the future much better:

"Huxley feared was that would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one... the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance."

The central idea here is that we now live as a society in which citizens become so distracted (and by extension detached) from reality that they lost any ability to influence their political or economic destiny. It is the same phenomenon that is described under the label of Inverted Totalitarism

This is one of the truly malevolent aspects of today's modern neoliberal world order and we need to confront it. It allows the old game of blaming the weak and the marginal, a staple of neo-fascist and despotic regimes; this illusion empower the dark undercurrents of sadism and violence in American society and deflect attention from the neoliberal financial vampires who have drained the blood of the country

"The tragedy is that we have become a screen culture, televisions, computers, phones, tablets, etc. Our electronic hallucinations have produced a society that has little time or patience for introspection or deep thinking. It reinforced my decision to maintain a television free life. For some, what Chris has to say may cut to close to the bone. But those with the courage to do so are usually the ones that care the most."

The biggest and most invisible elephant in the American psyche is this: our government has long since abandoned the goal of managing this nation as a nation. Instead, America as a nation is managed as a means to global empire.

For example the loss of the critical skills of literacy (seven million total illiterates, another 27 million unable to read well enough to complete a job application, and still another 50 million who read at a 4th-5th-grade level)  have led large part of the US population to become incapable of thinking for ourselves.

In fact they have become as malleable as children. 80% of U.S. families did not buy or read a single book in a year.  Despite technology and internet access we are becoming a society of functionally ignorant and illiterate people.

For example there is widespread illusion of inclusion. This is the illusion that we are or will be included among the fortunate few because misfortune happens only to those who deserve it. There are plenty of people who understand that the corporate model is one in which there are squeezers and those who are to be squeezed. So the illusion of inclusion provides what can be called "a plantation morality" that exalts the insiders and denigrates the outsiders. Those content with this arrangement obviously view themselves as insiders even when they work for companies that are actively shedding employees. Many of these people are happy to be making good money for digging graves for others, never stopping to wonder if maybe someday one of those graves might be their own.

One of the first recorded metaphors which explained this phenomenon of substitution of reality with  illusion was Plato's tale about cave dwellers, who thought the shadows on the wall were the actual reality. Illusion can also serve as a deliberate distraction, isolation layer that protects form unpleasant reality. The point is that now it is illusions that dominate American life; both for those that succumb to them, and for those that promote and sustains them. It is the use of illusions in the US  society that become  prevalent today, converting like into the cinema or theater, where primary goal is entertainment.

Modern MSM are driven by postmodernism which includes among other things substitution of reality with artificial reality, fragmentation of history and push for historical amnesia, substitution of the subject with emotions,  and juxtaposition of opposites. But the key feature is controlling the narrative.

Controlling the narrative means control and deliberate selection of the issues which can be discussed

The Journalist Udo Ulfkotte ashamed today that he spent 17 years in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. ...he reveals why opinion leaders produce tendentious reports and serve as the extended Arm of the NATO press office. ...the author also was admitted into the networks of American elite organizations, received in return for positive coverage in the US even a certificate of honorary citizenship.

In this book you will learn about industry lobby organisations. The author calls hundreds of names and looks behind the Scenes of those organizations, which exert bias into media, such as: Atlantic bridge, Trilateral Commission, the German Marshall Fund, American Council on Germany, American Academy, Aspen Institute, and the Institute for European politics. Also revealed are the intelligence backgrounds of those lobby groups, the methods and forms of propaganda and financing used, for example, by the US Embassy. Which funds  projects for the targeted influencing of public opinion in Germany 

...You realize how you are being manipulated - and you know from whom and why. At the end it becomes clear that diversity of opinion will now only be simulated. Because our "messages" are often pure brainwashing.

Gekaufte Journalisten - Medienwelt Enthüllungen Bücher - Kopp Verlag

Controlling the narrative means control and deliberate selection of the issues which can be discussed (and by extension which are not)  in MSM. It represents real war on reality.  Non-stop, 24 by 7 character of modern media help with this greatly (The Unending Anxiety of an ICYMI World - NYTimes.com):

We used to receive media cyclically. Newspapers were published once (or sometimes twice) a day, magazines weekly or monthly. Nightly news was broadcast, well, each night. Television programs were broadcast on one of the major networks one night a week at a specific time, never to return until a rerun or syndication. Movies were shown first in theaters and on video much later (or, before the advent of VCRs, not until a revival). There were not many interstices, just discrete units — and a smaller number of them.

Now we’re in the midst of the streaming era, when the news industry distributes material on a 24-hour cycle, entire seasons of TV shows are dumped on viewers instantaneously, most movies are available at any time and the flow of the Internet and social media is ceaseless. We are nearly all interstitial space, with comparatively few singularities.

Media became out windows to the world and this window is broken. The notion of 'controlling the narrative' points to dirty games played by PR gurus and spin merchants with event coverage (especially foreign event coverage) to ensure the rule of elite.  A good part of the White House budget and resources is spent on controlling the narrative. Creation of the narrative and "talking points" for MSM is the task of State Department. Former State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki was a pretty telling "incarnation"  of the trend. 

And MSM are doing an exemplary job controlling the political narrative. This way they demonstrate their faithful service to the state and the ruling political class. Nowhere is more evident then in coverage of wars.

Only social media can smash the official version of events. And in some case that has happened. The USA MSM honchos are now scratching heads trying to understand  how to control their version of events despite Twitter, Facebook and other social networks.

On Ukraine, despite the most coordinated propaganda offensive of Western MSMs, the Western elite failed to fully control the narrative:  a sizable number of Europeans are still clinging to the notion that this story had two sides. You can see this trend from analysis of Guardian comments (The Guardian Presstitutes Slip Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment ). More importantly the EU political establishment has failed to maintain a central lie inside official narrative -- that the EU is benign and a force for good / peace / prosperity. EU elite has shown its ugly face supporting Ukrainian far right.

Another example were initially MSM totally controlled the narrative (the first two-three weeks) and then when the narrative start slipping away they need to silence the subject  Shooting down Malaysian flight MH17

The thing is, once you've lost control of the narrative, as happened with coverage MH17 tragedy, there's no way back. Once Western MSM lost it, no-one any longer believed  a word they said about the tragedy.

And little can be done to win back that credibility on the particular subject. Moreover, due to this Europeans are becoming more and more receptive of a drip of alternative media stories that completely destroy official EU narrative. They came from a multitude of little sources, including this site and they collectively  cements the loss of trust to the EU elite. 

More subtle nuances of controlling the narrative: the role of the scapegoat

 There also more subtle nuances of controlling the narrative. Actually controlling the narrative does not mean that you need to suppress all the negative news (like propagandists in the USSR often did -- leading to complete discreditation of official propaganda in minds of the USSR people -- it simply became the subject of jokes). As John V. Walsh noted:

There is a simple rule that is followed scrupulously by U.S. commentators of every stripe on world affairs and war – with a very few notable exceptions, Paul Craig Roberts and Pepe Escobar among them.

This rule allows strong criticism of the U.S. But major official adversaries of the U.S., Iran, Russia and China, must never, ever be presented as better than the US in any significant way. The US may be depicted as equally bad (or better) than these enemies, but never worse.

In other words, any strong criticism of the US presuppose scapegoating and vicious propaganda campaign against  major official adversaries of the US such as Russia. It  must never, ever be presented in a better light then the US in any significant way. In selected cases, the US may be depicted as equally bad, but never worse.

The most recent incarnation of this rule was during Hillary Clinton campaign for POTUS in 2016.

Chris Hedge book Empire of Illusion

 
The informational function of the media would be this to help us forget, to serve as the very agents and mechanism for our historical amnesia.

But in that cast of two features of postmodernism on which I have dwelt here -- the transformation of reality into images, the fragmentation of 'me' into a series of perpetual presents -- are bother extraordinary consolant with this process.

... We have seen that there is a way in which postmodernism replicates or reproduces -- reinforces -- the logic of consumer capitalism.

Frederic Jameson “Postmodernism and Consumer Society

Chris Hedge Empire of Illusion  is a penetrating analysis of this effort of "entertainment society" and converting everything including politics into entertainment. It was published in 2010. Hedges discuss  complex issues and a clear, succinct way. You might agree with him, you might disagree with him but you will enjoy his brilliant prose. 

Those who manipulate  from the shadows our lives are the agents, publicists, marketing departments, promoters, script writers, television and movie producers, advertisers, video technicians, photographers, bodyguards, wardrobe consultants, fitness trainers, pollsters, public announcers, and television news personalities who create the vast stage for the Empire of Illusion. They are the puppet masters. No one achieves celebrity status, without the approval of cultural enablers and intermediaries. The sole object is to hold attention and satisfy an audience. These techniques of theater leeched into politics, religion, education, literature, news, commerce, warfare, and even crime. It converts that society into wrestling ring mesh with the ongoing dramas on television, in movies, and in the news, where "real-life" stories, especially those involving celebrities, allow news reports to become mini-dramas complete with a star, a villain, a supporting cast, a good-looking host, and a neat, if often unexpected, conclusion (p. 15-16).

The first big achievement of Empire of Illusion was "glorification of war" after WWIII. As the veterans of WW II saw with great surprise their bitter, brutal wartime experience were skillfully transformed into an illusion, the mythic narrative of heroism and patriotic glory sold to the public by the Pentagon's public relations machine and Hollywood. The extreme brutality and meaninglessness of war could not compete against the power of the illusion, the fantasy of war as a ticket to glory, honor, and manhood. It was what the government and the military wanted to promote. It worked because it had the power to simulate experience for most viewers who were never at Iwo Jima or in a war. Few people understood that this illusion was a lie. p. 21-22.

Media evolved into branch of entertainment. He gives great insight on American society. Several chapters should be a required read for all sociology, film, journalism students, or government leaders. Much like Paul Craig Robert's How America Was Lost you might feel unplugged from the matrix after reading this book. This is the book that corporate America, as well as the neoliberal elite, do not want you to read. It's a scathing indictment against everything that's wrong with the system and those that continue to perpetuate the lie in the name of the almighty dollar. In a way the USA as the rest of the world are amusing itself into a post apocalyptic state, without an apocalypse. It is simply cannibalizing itself.

That books also contains succinct, and damning condemnation of globalization (and, specifically, the USA's role in it). You can compare it with Klein's 'Shock Doctrine', but it cuts a wider swath. 

The discussion the follows was by-and-large adapted from  D. Benor  Amazon review of the book

We consume countless lies daily, false promises that if we buy this brand or that product, if we vote for this candidate, we will be respected, envied, powerful, loved, and protected. The flamboyant lives of celebrities and the outrageous characters on television, movies,  and sensational talk shows are peddled to us, promising to fill up the emptiness in our own lives. Celebrity culture encourages everyone to think of themselves as potential celebrities, as possession unique if unacknowledged gifts. p. 26-7. Celebrity is the vehicle used by a corporate society to sell us these branded commodities, most of which we do not need. Celebrities humanize commercial commodities. They present the familiar and comforting face of the corporate state. p. 37.

Reporters, especially those on television, no longer ask whether the message is true but rather whether the pseudo-event worked or did not work as political theater for supporting particular (usually State Department in case of foreign events) talking points.  Pseudo-events are judged on how effectively we have been manipulated by illusion. Those events that appear real are relished and lauded. Those that fail to create a believable illusion are deemed failures. Truth is irrelevant. Those who succeed in politics, as in most of the culture, are those who create the most convincing fantasies. This is the real danger of pseudo-events and why pseudo-events are far more pernicious than stereotypes. They do not explain reality, as stereotypes attempt to, but replace reality. Pseudo-events redefines reality by the parameters set by their creators. These creators, who make massive profits selling illusions, have a vested interest in maintaining the power structures they control. p. 50-1.

A couple quotes: "When a nation becomes unmoored from reality, it retreats into a world of magic. Facts are accepted or discarded according to the dictates of a preordained cosmology. The search for truth becomes irrelevant." (p. 50) "The specialized dialect and narrow education of doctors, academics, economists, social scientists, military officers, investment bankers, and government bureaucrats keeps each sector locked in its narrow role. The overarching structure of the corporate state and the idea of the common good are irrelevant to specialists. They exist to make the system work, not to examine it." (p. 98) I could go on and on citing terrific passages.

The flight into illusion sweeps away the core values of the open society. It corrodes the ability to think for oneself, to draw independent conclusions, to express dissent when judgment and common sense tell you something is wrong, to be self-critical, to challenge authority, to grasp historical facts, to advocate for change, and to acknowledge that there are other views, different ways, and structures of being that are morally and socially acceptable. A populace deprived of the ability to separate lies from truth, that has become hostage to the fictional semblance of reality put forth by pseudo-events, is no longer capable of sustaining a free society.

Those who slip into this illusion ignore the signs of impending disaster. The physical degradation of the planet, the cruelty of global capitalism, the looming oil crisis, the collapse of financial markets, and the danger of overpopulation rarely impinge to prick the illusions that warp our consciousness. The words, images, stories, and phrases used to describe the world in pseudo-events have no relation to what is happening around us. The advances of technology and science, rather than obliterating the world of myth, have enhanced its power to deceive. We live in imaginary, virtual worlds created by corporations that profit from our deception. Products and experiences - indeed, experience as a product - offered up for sale, sanctified by celebrities, are mirages. They promise us a new personality. They promise us success and fame. They promise to mend our brokenness. p. 52-3.

We have all seen the growth of a culture of lies and deception in politics, banking, commerce and education. Hodges points out how this has been facilitated by our abandoning the teaching of values and analysis in our schools.

The flight from the humanities has become a flight from conscience. It has created an elite class of experts who seldom look beyond their tasks and disciplines to put what they do in a wider, social context. And by absenting themselves from the moral and social questions raised by the humanities, they have opted to serve a corporate structure that has destroyed the culture around them.

Our elites - the ones in Congress, the ones on Wall Street, and the ones being produced at prestigious universities and business schools - do not have the capacity to fix our financial mess. Indeed, they will make it worse. They have no concept, thanks to the educations they have received, of how to replace a failed system with a new one. They are petty, timid, and uncreative bureaucrats superbly trained to carry our systems management. They see only piecemeal solutions that will satisfy the corporate structure. Their entire focus is numbers, profits, and personal advancement. They lack a moral and intellectual core. They are as able to deny gravely ill people medical coverage to increase company profits as they are to use taxpayer dollars to peddle costly weapons systems to blood-soaked dictatorships. The human consequences never figure into their balance sheets. The democratic system, they believe, is a secondary product of the free market - which they slavishly serve. p. 111.

I quote Hodges at some length because of his cogent, clear summaries of the problems leading us to self-destruction and to ways we might someday restructure society to be supportive and healing to the individual - rather than exploiting people and viewing them only as valuable as they can be manipulated into being gullible consumers.

This is one of the clearest and best focused discussions I have seen on the problems of modern society that are leading us to societal suicide

Hedges points out how a cycle sustains itself between elite educational institutions (Harvard, Yale, Princeton, etc.), the Government (think Congress in particular) and Corporations. Ivy league schools basically turn-out lackeys that do whatever is necessary to maintain their elite, self-absorbed status. The last chapter is entitled, "The Illusion of America," and this is where Hedges does a fantastic job of pulling together all the elements of this dysfunctional society. Other books touch the same themes, sometimes more forcefully but in this book most important elements of this picture put together.

Among the booksHedges cites:

Gekaufte Journalisten by Udo Ulfkotte

The book Gekaufte Journalisten by Udo Ulfkotte was a revelation. Of cause, we suspected many things he  described, but now we know detailed methods and mechanisms of suppressing alterative opinion in German society, methods that are probably more effective that anything propagandists in the DDR and the USSR ever attempted.  One of the central concept here is the concept of "Noble Lie".

Guardian became neoliberal as soon as Tony Blaire became Prime minister. As any neoliberal publication is subscribes to the notion of "noble lie". The latter actually came from neocons playbook.   No they knowingly try to dumb down their reader substituting important topic with celebrity gossip and hate speech. Even political issue now are "served" to the public as dishes under heavy sauce of personalities involved, which is a perfect way to obscure the subject and distract the readers.

geronimo -> MurkyFogsFutureLogs 14 Mar 2015 12:31

Indeed...

Under the retiring editor, all politics seems to have been reduced to 'identity' politics. Forget about class, war, class war and so on... If it can't be reduced to Hillary's gender or Putin's, er... transcendental evil... then it's barely worth a comment above the line.

As I've said before, for the Guardian 'the personal is the political' - or rather, for the Guardian as for Hillary, the political reduces to the personal.

A marriage made, not so much in heaven, but somewhere in political-fashionista North London.

In reality most prominent journalists are on tight leash of "'deep state". As Udo Ulfkotte book attests this is a rule, not an exception. While this was known since Operation Mockingbird  was revealed, nothing changed. As revealed by Senator Frank Church investigations (Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities) in 1975. In his Congress report published in 1976 the authors stated:

"The CIA currently maintains a network of several hundred foreign individuals around the world who provide intelligence for the CIA and at times attempt to influence opinion through the use of covert propaganda. These individuals provide the CIA with direct access to a large number of newspapers and periodicals, scores of press services and news agencies, radio and television stations, commercial book publishers, and other foreign media outlets."

According to the "Family Jewels" report, released by the National Security Archive on June 26, 2007, during the period from March 12, 1963, and June 15, 1963, the CIA installed telephone taps on two Washington-based news reporters. Church argued that misinforming the world cost American taxpayers an estimated $265 million a year.[20]

In February 1976, George H. W. Bush, the recently appointed Director of the CIA, announced a new policy:

"Effective immediately, the CIA will not enter into any paid or contract relationship with any full-time or part-time news correspondent accredited by any U.S. news service, newspaper, periodical, radio or television network or station." He added that the CIA would continue to "welcome" the voluntary, unpaid cooperation of journalists.[21]

But at this point only handlers and methods changed, not the policy. They are still all controlled by deep state. The most recent revelations of this fact were published by Udo Ulfkotte’s in his bestseller book  Bought Journalists. Here is one Amazon review of the book: 

Unicorns & Kittenson May 1, 2015

I've managed to read a bit of the German version ...
 
I've managed to read a bit of the German version and now I think I understand why this is still not available in English although it was supposed to be released in this and other languages seven months ago. I will be very surprised if this shocking and destabilizing book (which names names) is made available to Americans ... even though it's primarily about the abusive tactics of American intelligence agencies. Please keep asking why it isn't published - despite being a best-seller in Germany -- and how we can get it here on Kindle.

As one Amazon reviewer said "This book will change for ever the way you read and watch the mainstream media! " Here is some additional information from russia-insider:

... ... ...

Ironically, however, it’s likely that one of the biggest threats (especially in Europe) to Anglo-American media credibility about Ukraine and other issues is coming from a very old-fashioned medium – a book.

Udo Ulfkotte’s bestseller Bought Journalists has been a sensation in Germany since its publication last autumn. The journalist and former editor of one of Germany’s largest newspapers, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, revealed that he was for years secretly on the payroll of the CIA and was spinning the news to favour U.S. interests. Moreover he alleges that some major media are nothing more than propaganda outlets for international think-tanks, intelligence agencies, and corporate high-finance.

“We’re talking about puppets on a string,” he says, “journalists who write or say whatever their masters tell them to say or write. If you see how the mainstream media is reporting about the Ukraine conflict and if you know what’s really going on, you get the picture. The masters in the background are pushing for war with Russia and western journalists are putting on their helmets.” [8]

In another interview, Ulfkotte said:

“The German and American media tries to bring war to the people in Europe, to bring war to Russia. This is a point of no return, and I am going to stand up and say…it is not right what I have done in the past, to manipulate people, to make propaganda against Russia, and it is not right what my colleagues do, and have done in the past, because they are bribed to betray the people not only in Germany, all over Europe.” [9]

... ... ...

Apparently, Pomeranzev has forgotten that important October 2004 article by Ron Suskind published in the New York Times Magazine during the second war in Iraq (which, like the first, was based on a widely disseminated lie). Suskind quoted one of George W. Bush’s aides (probably Karl Rove): “The aide said that guys like me [journalists, writers, historians] were ‘in what we call the reality-based community,’ which he defined as people who ‘believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality…That’s not the way the world really works anymore,’ he continued. ‘We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do’.” [12]

It’s a rather succinct description of Orwellian spin and secrecy in a media-saturated Empire, where discerning the truth becomes ever more difficult.

That is why people believe someone like Udo Ulfkotte, who is physically ill, says he has only a few years left to live, and told an interviewer,

 “I am very fearful of a new war in Europe, and I don’t like to have this situation again, because war is never coming from itself, there is always people who push for war, and this is not only politicians, it is journalists too… We have betrayed our readers, just to push for war…I don’t want this anymore, I’m fed up with this propaganda. We live in a banana republic and not in a democratic country where we have press freedom…” [13]

Recently, as Mike Whitney has pointed out in CounterPunch (March 10), Germany’s newsmagazine Der Spiegel dared to challenge the fabrications of NATO’s top commander in Europe, General Philip Breedlove, for spreading “dangerous propaganda” that is misleading the public about Russian “troop advances” and making “flat-out inaccurate statements” about Russian aggression.

Whitney asks, “Why this sudden willingness to share the truth? It’s because they no longer support Washington’s policy, that’s why. No one in Europe wants the US to arm and train the Ukrainian army. No wants them to deploy 600 paratroopers to Kiev and increase U.S. logistical support. No one wants further escalation, because no wants a war with Russia. It’s that simple.” [14] Whitney argued that “the real purpose of the Spiegel piece is to warn Washington that EU leaders will not support a policy of military confrontation with Moscow.”

So now we know the reason for the timing of the April 15 U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, “Confronting Russia’s Weaponization of Information.” Literally while U.S. paratroopers were en route to Kiev, the hawks in Washington (and London) knew it was time to crank up the rhetoric. The three witnesses were most eager to oblige.


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Alongside and consistent with other privilege- and power-serving missions, so-called mainstream corporate media's role is to keep the populace focused as best it can on relatively trivial matters and diverted from the most urgent topics of our time.

Kamala Harris Wants to Kill Your Health Insurance

Two Sundays ago, in a fit of masochistic media research, I watched some cable news talking heads do their weekly news roundups. CNN had a panel of know-it-all neoliberals who reflected on the Democratic Party's first two presidential debates. Everyone agreed that Kamala Harris had been the big winner but had erred badly by embracing "the abolition of private health insurance."

That's how CNN's "expert commentators" describe Medicare for All – not as high quality and low-cost health care as a human right with great direct and collateral benefits resulting from the eviction of corporate profit from coverage. Not as a great potential social and human rights victory, but as destruction : the "abolition" of (unmentionably parasitic, classist, exclusionary, inferior, and expensive, for-profit) health insurance.

Not that Senator Harris would seriously fight for Single Payer. She wouldn't. She's a corporate Democrat .

But I digress.

The chattering CNN craniums shifted to the United States Women's World Cup soccer team that was triumphing in Paris. The panelists applauded the team's star, Megan Rapione, a lesbian who refuses to visit the Donald Trump White House. (Good for her, but why not visit and spit in the Malignant One's eye?).

Joy Reid Blames Russia for Anti-Kamala Birtherism

Over on the openly partisan-Democratic cable network MSNBC (hereafter "MSDNC"), morning host Joy Reid was going off about the Huxwellian idiocy of Donald Trump's DMZ handshake with Kim Jong-Un and the strange kind of love Trump has for the North Korean dictator and other authoritarian heads-of-state. As usual with MSDNC, it was hard to detect the line separating the network's proper criticism of Trump from its deep investment in U.S. imperialism .

Consistent with the investment, Reid turned to the noxious racist vulgarity of online rightists who claim that Kamala Harris isn't a "real African-American." Reid showed viewers a copy of the Mueller Report and claimed without a hint of proof that the neo-Birther Internet campaign against Harris was directed by the Russians? Her evidence? The Mueller Report, completed prior to the Harris smear.

... ... ...

[Jul 14, 2019] Putin as an old fashioned liberal who opposes neoliberalism

Notable quotes:
"... Israel Shamir can be reached at adam@israelshamir.net ..."
Jul 14, 2019 | www.unz.com

If you have ever traveled in Russia outside of Moscow, you certainly have some horrible stories to tell about its atrocious roads, food and lodging or rather lack thereof. Things have changed greatly, and they keep changing. Now there are modern highways, plenty of cafés and restaurants, a lot of small hotels; plumbing has risen to Western standards; the old pearls of architecture have been lavishly restored; people live better than they ever did. They still complain a lot, but that is human nature. Young and middle-aged Russians own or charter motor boats and sail their plentiful rivers; they own country houses ("dachas") more than anywhere else. They travel abroad for their vacations, pay enormous sums of money for concerts of visiting celebrities, ride bikes in the cities – in short, Russia has become as prosperous as any European country.

This hard-earned prosperity and political longevity allows President Putin to hold his own in the international affairs. He is one of a few experienced leaders on the planet with twenty years at the top job. He has met with three Popes of Rome, four US Presidents, and many other rulers. This is important: 93-years old Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad who ruled his Malaysia for 40 years and has been elected again said the first ten years of a ruler are usually wasted in learning the ropes, and only after first twenty does he becomes proficient in the art of government. The first enemy a ruler must fight is his own establishment: media, army, intelligence and judges. While Trump is still losing in this conflict, Putin is doing fine – by his Judoka evasive action.

Recently a small tempest has risen in the Russian media, when a young journalist was detained by police, and a small quantity of drugs was allegedly discovered on his body. The police made many mistakes in handling the case. Perhaps they planted the evidence to frame the young man; perhaps they had made the obvious mistakes to frame the government. The response has been tremendous, as if the whole case had been prepared well in advance by the opposition hell-bent to annoy and wake up the people's ire against the police and administration. Instead of supporting the police, as Putin usually does, in this case he had the journalist released and senior police officers arrested. This prompt evasive action undid the opposition's build-up by one masterly stroke.

Recently he openly declared his distaste for liberalism in the interview for the FT . This is a major heresy, like Luther's Ninety-five Theses. "The liberals cannot dictate Their diktat can be seen everywhere: both in the media and in real life. It is deemed unbecoming even to mention some topics The liberal idea has become obsolete. It has come into conflict with the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population." Putin condemned liberals' drive for more immigration. He called Angela Merkel's decision to admit millions of immigrants a "cardinal mistake"; he "understood" Trump's attempt to stop the flow of migrants and drugs from Mexico.

Putin is not an enemy of liberalism. He is rather an old-fashionable liberal of the 19 th century style. Not a current 'liberal', but a true liberal, rejecting totalitarian dogma of gender, immigration, multiculturalism and R2P wars. "The liberal idea cannot be destroyed; it has the right to exist and it should even be supported in some things. But it has no right to be the absolute dominating factor."

In Putin's Russia liberalism is non-exclusive, but presents just one possible line of development. Homosexuals are not discriminated against nor promoted. There are no gay parades, no persecution of gays, either. Russian children aren't being brainwashed to hate their fathers, taken away from their families and given to same-sex maniacs, as it happened in the recent Italian case . Kids aren't being introduced to joys of sex in primary schools. People are not requested to swear love to transgenders and immigrants. You can do whatever you wish, just do not force others to follow you – this is Putin's first rule, and this is true liberalism in my book.

There is very little immigration into Russia despite millions of requests: foreigners can come in as guest workers, but this does not lead to permanent residency or citizenship. The Police frequently check foreign-looking people and rapidly deport them if found in breach of visa rules. Russian nationalists would want even more action, but Putin is a true liberal.

... ... ...

Why does Putin care about the US? Why can't he just stop taking dollars? This means he is an American stooge! – an eager-for-action hothead zealot would exclaim. The answer is, the US has gained a lot of power; much more than it had in 1988, when Reagan negotiated with Gorbachev. The years of being the sole superpower weren't wasted. American might is not to be trifled with.

New York Times insinuated.

True, Russia is big enough to survive even that treatment, but Russians have got used to a good life, and they won't cherish being returned to the year 1956. They took action to prevent these worst-case scenarios; for instance, they sold much of their US debt and moved out of Microsoft , but these things are time-consuming and expensive. Putin hopes that eventually the US will abandon its quest for dominance and assume a live-and-let-live attitude as demanded by the international law. Until it happens, he is forced to play by Washington rules and try to limit antagonism.

An experienced broker came in, promising to deliver the deal. It is the Jewish state, claiming to have the means to navigate the US in the desired direction. This is a traditional Jewish claim, used in the days of the WWI to convince the UK to enter the deal: you give us Palestine; we shall bring the US into the European war on your side. Then it worked: the Brits and their Aussie allies stormed Gaza, eventually took over the Holy Land, issued the Balfour declaration promising to pass Palestine to the Jews, and in return, fresh American troops poured into the European theatre of war, causing German surrender.

This time, the Jewish state proposed that Putin should give up his ties with Iran; in return, they promised to assist in general warming of Russo-American relations. Putin had a bigger counter-proposal: Let the US lift its Iran sanctions and withdraw its armed forces from Syria, and Russia will try to usher Iranian armed forces out of Syria, too. The ensuing negotiations around Iran-Syria deal would lead to recognition of the US and Israel interests in Syria, and further on it could lead to negotiations in other spheres.

This was a clear win-win proposal. Iran would emerge free of sanctions; Israel and the US would have their interests recognised in Syria; the much-needed dialogue between Russia and the US will get a jump-start. But Israel does not like win-win proposals. The Jewish state wants clear victories, preferably with their enemy defeated, humiliated, hanged. Israel rejected the proposal, for it wanted Iran to suffer under sanctions.

... ... ...

Russia certainly wants to live in peace with the US, but not at the price Mr Netanyahu suggested. Mr Patrushev condemned the US sanctions against Iran. He said that Iran shot down the giant American drone RQ-4A Global Hawk worth more than a hundred million dollars over Iranian territory, not in the international airspace as the Pentagon claimed. He stated that American "evidence" that Iran had sabotaged tankers in the Persian Gulf was inconclusive. Russia demanded that the United States stop its economic war against Iran, recognize the legitimate authorities of Syria, led by President Bashar Assad, and withdraw its troops from Syria. Russia expressed its support for the legitimate government in Venezuela. Thus, Russia showed itself at this difficult moment as a reliable ally and partner, and at the same time assured the staggering Israeli leadership of its friendship.

The problem is that the drive for war with Iran is not gone. A few days ago, the Brits seized an Iranian super-tanker in the Straits of Gibraltar. The tanker was on its way to deliver oil to Syria. Before that, the United States had almost launched a missile attack on Iran. At the last moment, when the planes were already in the air, Trump stopped the operation. It is particularly disturbing that he himself unambiguously hinted that the operation was launched without his knowledge . That is, the chain of commands in the US is now torn, and it is not clear who can start a war. This has to be taken into account both in Moscow and in Tehran.

... ... ...

Russia wants to help Iran, not out of sheer love to the Islamic Republic, but as a part of its struggle for multi-polar world, where independent states carry on the way they like. Iran, North Korea, Venezuela – their fight for survival is a part and parcel of Russia's struggle. If these states will be taken over, Russia can become the next victim, Putin feels.

... ... ...

In this situation, Putin tries to build bridges to the new forces in Europe and the US, to work with nationalist right. It is not the most obvious partner for this old-fashioned liberal, but they fit into his idea of multi-polarity, of supremacy of national sovereignty and of resistance to the world hegemony of Atlantic powers. His recent visit to Italy, a country with strong nationalist political forces, had been successful; so was his meeting with the Pope.

In the aftermath of the audience with the Pope, Putin strongly defended the Catholic Church, saying that "There are problems, but they cannot be over-exaggerated and used for destroying the Roman Catholic Church itself. I get the feeling that these liberal circles are beginning to use certain problems of the Catholic Church as a tool for destroying the Church itself. This is what I consider to be incorrect and dangerous. After all, we live in a world based on Biblical values and traditional values are more stable and more important for millions of people than this liberal idea, which, in my opinion, is really ceasing to exist". For years, the Europeans haven't heard this message. Perhaps this is the right time to listen.

Israel Shamir can be reached at adam@israelshamir.net


anonymous [340] Disclaimer , says: July 6, 2019 at 1:16 pm GMT

"President Trump seems to have some positive ideas, but his hands are tied up."

Pitifully naive.

Al Moanee , says: July 6, 2019 at 8:27 pm GMT
@Per/Norway

The author is referring to WWI and the Balfour Declaration of Nov 1917 which indeed was drafted on behalf of Jewish Zionist interests who in return did their level best in bringing Wilson, who was long backed by NYC banking interests (hence the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 enacted on his watch), into the war which materially changed its dynamics and outcome.

A123 , says: July 6, 2019 at 10:32 pm GMT

The Ukraine in all this? I would think it a far bigger concern for Russia in any trilateral meeting.

Do not expect anything on the Ukraine in the near future. Trump wants the DNC to nominate guaranteed loser Biden. Then he can beat him senseless using 'Ukrainian tampering with U.S. elections' via Biden's family business interests (1).
_____

Now that the Mueller exoneration is complete, the door is open to improved U.S. – Russia relations. The important thing is looking at Putin's and Trump's actions , more so than their words.

Trump's words sound 'officially concerned' about Crimea. However, this is primarily for EU consumption. What actions has the Trump administration taken about Crimea? Little or nothing depending on how you score the matter. So tacit acknowledgement pending a quid pro quo .

Putin administration words (but not Putin himself) have said strong sounding things about Iran. However, there are no actions that support a deep relationship.
-- Russia sells munitions to Iran on a 'cash & carry' basis along with many other nations including Turkey. Russia and Israel have much stronger ties on the military equipment basis. Look at their recent joint sale of AWACS to India (2).
-- Russia continues to let the Israeli air force freely strike Iranian al'Hezbollah and al'Quds targets in Syria.

It looks like the quid pro quo arrangement will be Crimea for an Iranian exit from Syria. It's a deal that would help peace throughout the region.

PEACE
______

(1) https://www.thenation.com/article/joe-biden-ukraine-burisma-holdings/

(2) https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/india-to-buy-2-more-awacs-worth-rs-5-7k-crore-from-israel/articleshow/67765253.cms

Priss Factor , says: July 6, 2019 at 10:33 pm GMT

Was Pat Robertson right about World War I?

https://israelpalestinenews.org/rothschild-reveals-crucial-role-ancestors-played-balfour-declaration-creation-israel/

A123 , says: July 6, 2019 at 11:08 pm GMT

But he is hampered by his "deep state", by Pompeo and Bolton; about the latter, Trump himself said that he wants to fight with the whole world. Presidents can't always remove the ministers from whom they want to get rid of – even the absolute monarchs of the past did not always succeed.

Actually, Trump is using Bolton against the deep state.

First and foremost, it is and advanced and skillful form of ' Good Cop – Bad Cop '. When Bolton says something and Trump openly disagrees, it places the Fake Steam Media complex in an untenable position. If they treat the story fairly, they embrace the anathema of saying positive things about Trump. But they do not have any options to twist the facts into their desired anti-American propaganda.

Secondarily, it also cleverly drives a wedge between two DNC factions:

-1- The true Clintonista believer, stricken by Trump Derangement Syndrome [TDS], will not accept anything less than Impeachment. Preferably followed by turning him over to the Fascist Stormtroopers of Antifa.
-2- Those with a less deranged view realise that a successful Impeachment process would generate President Pence. And, he would be much more likely to accept Bolton's advice. Perhaps Pence would pick Bolton to be Vice President.

Look at the circular firing squad that is forming up in the DNC nomination process to see how Trump's deliberate agitation of various factions is working in his favor. The TDS faction is winning and as a result the eventual DNC candidate will be unelectable.

PEACE

Rabbitnexus , says: July 7, 2019 at 2:49 am GMT
@AghaHussain sts plans have failed to materialise in Syria. The author here does a very good job of explaining Russia's position and between his and Saker's analyses your argument is kaput and only fools would buy it.

The Zionists went away empty handed with their visits to Russia and President Putin and if anything Russia's resistance to the Zionists has hardened lately.

People who have two dimensional thinking and a limited box of clues seem to think it is as simple as just saying no and digging their heels in but that way makes wars. Russia does not have the sort of power nor an insane leadership that it would take for that.

A123 , says: July 7, 2019 at 2:39 pm GMT
@animalogic to be rebuilt.

The best hope for an internal Iranian solution is IRGC enlightened self interest. A fairly bloodless replacement of Khameni with a general from the IRGC. It worked in Egypt and the world welcomed that military solution. One can be 99% certain that replacing Khameni would be just as welcome.

The new 'General Ayatollah in Chief' would have a free hand to disengage from Khameni's extremism. The economic recovery from ending sanctions would guarantee internal popularity. Think of it as MIGA, Make Iran Great Again , though they are unlikely to use that exact phrase.

PEACE

iendly Neighbourhood Terrorist , says: Website July 13, 2019 at 1:48 pm GMT

It's ludicrous to imagine that Russians are so wedded to the good life that they do not dare antagonise Amerikastan. What "good life" is this? Ask the pensioners struggling on a few thousand rubles a month how the hell they are supposed to manage. The luxuries enjoyed by the yuppies in Moscow (most of whom, fluently English speaking and firmly pro-Amerikastani, are a fifth column of Quislings) are not the life that the factory worker in Volgograd or the farmer outside St Petersburg will recognise.

Che Guava , says: July 13, 2019 at 3:42 pm GMT

Pres. Putin seems to be a pretty good person.

I want to sidetrack the thread to the matter of Edward Snowden.

Putin made a comment early on 'a strange young man'.

I understand exactly what he was saying. I am the same. No leaks. ht is a matter of honour.

OTOH, confronted by wall-to-wal evil bullshit as he was, I think he was not in the wrong (but have a little internal conflict on that, since the secrets 4 have to keep now are ooly technical and at times commercial, such a dilemna never arises.

In no situation would such be ethical.

he was sorry for Sowden's girlfriend, he dumped her. but, not long after, she was with him. Very romantic. Doubtless, Russian secret services had some role.

I like the happy ending there, it is very romantic.

Would make a great movie, but not possible from Hollywood, perhaps Russia could revive its moribund film industry?

Republic , says: July 13, 2019 at 3:44 pm GMT
@Malacaay

http://www.unz.com/akarlin/10-ways-russia-better-than-usa/

Anatoly Karlin published this two years ago:

10 ways Russia is better than the US

Agent76 , says: July 13, 2019 at 4:29 pm GMT

Oct 20, 2018 Putin: Russia Getting Rid Of US Dollar Matter Of National Security

Russian president Vladimir Putin: "That's what our American friends are doing. They're undermining trust in the dollar as a universal payment instrument and the main reserve currency."

https://www.youtube.com/embed/4fECrSQ9ifM?feature=oembed

Jun 8, 2018 Putin hints at end of dollar system – Direct Line 2018

Vladimir Putin has held his 16th Direct Line Q&A on June 7th.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/z01S7lOq-qI?feature=oembed

AnonFromTN , says: July 13, 2019 at 6:28 pm GMT
@AmRusDebate t in 2014, and had gone so deep that there is no light at the end of the tunnel now. It is still used by the Empire as an annoying sore right next to Russia, but that's all it can be. It did not and could not deliver what the Empire was hoping for. The imperial planners never take into account the critical condition for their "color revolutions" to bring US-friendly compradores to power anywhere: the country in question must be rotten through and through. Thus, instead of useful sharp tools they get worthless pieces of shit. They are still trying to use an inevitable stink for their purposes, but that's the only use shit is good for.
AnonFromTN , says: July 13, 2019 at 6:56 pm GMT
@Fiendly Neighbourhood Terrorist

It's not just Moscow yuppies. Visit any provincial city in Russia today and you'd see that it looks way better than it ever did in the USSR. There are cafes everywhere and lots of people in them spending serious money, because they can afford that. Drive on any road, in or between the cities, and you can see that the roads are in a better shape than they ever were, and there are lots of gas stations, cafes, and hotels along them, all doing brisk business. Russians have ten times more cars now than they had in the USSR, and they drive a lot.

RadicalCenter , says: July 13, 2019 at 7:04 pm GMT
@A123 be deployed right on Russia's border on yet another side. Russia would be readily bottled up and be denied the freedom to navigate through the surrounding waters. And it would be more vulnerable to land invasion from more points.

Russia should continue disentangling itself from US and US-Controller financial systems and institutions. Keep becoming more able to sustain its people without so many imports of foodstuffs and manufactured goods alike.

Far from giving up Crimea, Russia should bide its time and wait to retake the Donbass region or more when Ukraine collapses, breaks up, and/or is outright occupied by the US.

Ace , says: July 13, 2019 at 7:19 pm GMT
@A123

I rather doubt you're in any position to judge whether Khameni is a sociopath.

And your fixation on regime change is noted. The ultimate expression of Western arrogance: You, you benighted, retrograde, sociopathic worm, are not a fit chief executive of your nation so we have decided you must go. If we have to kill hundreds of thousands of your people that's just an unavoidable cost of our being the excellent people we are.

RadicalCenter , says: July 13, 2019 at 7:25 pm GMT
@Twodees Partain

Trump should put the warmongering establishment on the back foot by firing Bolton and hiring Tulsi Gabbard.

Watch the media contort itself deciding how to slander and attack a partly nonwhite "progressive" "pro-choice" woman who is also a veteran, LOL.

What if trump did this a month BEFORE the election?

Beefcake the Mighty , says: July 13, 2019 at 9:55 pm GMT
@Harbinger

Liberalism in the West today is similar to communism in the SU in the late 80's: a decrepit ideology that offers nothing to ordinary people and whose adherents are incapable of anything but mouthing the same rubbish over and over. It will similarly die a well-deserved death.

[Jul 13, 2019] Mueller Does Not Have Evidence That The IRA Was Part of Russian Government Meddling by Larry C Johnson

Highly recommended!
Looks like Mueller and his team were extremely sloppy and just milked the US government and try to feed rumors to the media.
Mueller emerged as a stooge of Clinton mafia.
Notable quotes:
"... In short, the US Government cannot come out and declare that Concord Management, for example, was acting on behalf or or in collaboration with the Russian Government without presenting actual evidence. A prosecutor cannot simply claim that Concord is a Putin Stooge. ..."
"... The lawyers for Concord Management read the Mueller report and noted significant discrepancies between what was alleged in the original complaint and what was asserted as "fact" in the Mueller report. ..."
"... On April 25, 2019, Concord filed the instant motion in which it argues that the Attorney General and Special Counsel violated Local Rule 57.7 by releasing information to the public that was not contained in the indictment. Concord's main contention is that the Special Counsel's Report, as released to the public, and the Attorney General's related public statements improperly suggested a link between the defendants and the Russian government and expressed an opinion about the defendants' guilt and the evidence against them. ..."
"... Concord's lawyers wanted Judge Friedrich to find Robert Mueller and Attorney General Barr in contempt for violating rule 57.7. ..."
"... the Court has entered an order limiting public statements about this case moving forward and cautions the government that any future violations of that order will trigger a range of potential sanctions. ..."
"... But the Judge did not stop there. She pointed out some glaring discrepancies between the Mueller Report and the actual indictment: ..."
"... By attributing IRA's conduct to "Russia" -- as opposed to Russian individuals or entities -- the Report suggests that the activities alleged in the indictment were undertaken on behalf of, if not at the direction of, the Russian government. ..."
"... But the activities of the IRA and Concord Management are not established. In fact, Mueller's own report undermines his claims, as noted in a recent article by Nation's Aaron Mate. ..."
"... Mate's article, as I mentioned in a previous piece, does an excellent job of showing that the Mueller Report is based on heartfelt beliefs but devoid of corroborating evidence. ..."
"... I think Mueller, Weissman, et al did not expect Concord to contest their indictment. They believed they could continue their PR effort that Russia changed the outcome of the election by sending out tweets and Facebook posts without anyone calling them out. ..."
"... The national security surveillance state is only going to get bigger and more powerful. I suppose that is the real competition between the CCP & the USA who can get more totalitarian sooner. ..."
"... a very valuable recent piece in the 'Epoch Times' about the questions that need to be put to Mueller, Jeff Carlson discusses some of the problems relating both to Christopher Steele's involvement with Oleg Deripaska, and the involvement of Fusion GPS with Natalia Veseltnitskaya which led to the Trump Tower meeting. (See https://www.theepochtimes.com/33-key-questions-for-robert-mueller_2988876.html .) ..."
"... Andrew McCarthy, in the 'National Review', picks up one of the most interesting, and puzzling, moments in the fascinating notes by Kathy Kavalec of the conversation she had with Steele when Jonathan Winer brought him to see on her in October 2016. (See https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/07/oleg-deripaska-fbi-russia-collusion-theory/ ) ..."
"... 'Moreover, by January 2017, F.B.I. agents had tracked down and interviewed one of Mr. Steele's main sources, a Russian speaker from a former Soviet republic who had spent time in the West, according to a Justice Department document obtained by The New York Times and three people familiar with the events. After questioning him, F.B.I. officials came to suspect that the man might have added his own interpretations to reports from his own sources that he passed on to Mr. Steele, calling into question the reliability of the information.' ..."
"... Without wanting to prejudge things, it seems to me quite likely that what Horowitz has been contemplating is a kind of 'limited hangout'. So, the idea could be to suggest that Steele did have sources, that however these were not as reliable as he thought they were, but everything was done in good faith etc etc. In the light of information coming out, including that in the Friedrich ruling, he may however have decided to 'hold his horses.' ..."
"... It is important that the general pattern of assuming that Putin is some kind of omnipotent Sauron-figure, which has clearly left Mueller open to a counter-attack by Concord, was given a classic expression in the testimony which Glenn Simpson gave to the House Intelligence Committee in November 2017. ..."
"... Litvinenko himself, as well as having been a key member of the late Boris Berezovsky's 'information operations team', was an agent, as distinct from an informant, of MI6: accounts differ as to whether Steele was his personal 'handler' (John Sipher), or had never met him (Luke Harding). ..."
"... Also relevant is the fact that Shvets, a fanatical Ukrainian nationalist, and an important figure in the original 'Orange Revolution', was also a key member of Berezovsky's 'information operations' team. ..."
"... The account of his career by the 'New York Times' journalist Barry Meier in his 2016 study 'Missing Man' is a tissue of sleazy evasions, not least in relation to the role of Levinson in 'investigating' the notorious mobster Semion Mogilevich, a key figure in 'information operations' against both Putin and Trump, and also the opponents of Yulia Tymoshenko. ..."
"... A large question involved is how co-operation between not simply elements in MI6 and the CIA, but also in the FBI, with the oligarchs who refused to accept Putin's terms goes back a very long way. ..."
Jul 13, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Mueller Does Not Have Evidence That The IRA Was Part of Russian Government Meddling by Larry C Johnson

In the criminal case against alleged Russian operatives--Internet Research Agency and Concord Management and Consulting LLC--a Federal judge has declared that Robert Mueller has not offered one piece of solid evidence that these defendants were involved in any way with the Government of Russia. I think this is a potential game changer.

The world of law as opposed to the world of intelligence is as different as Mercury and Mars. The intelligence community aka IC can traffic in rumor and speculation. IC "solid" intelligence may be nothing more than the strident assertion of a source who lacks actual first hand knowledge of an event. The legal world does not enjoy that kind of sloppiness. If a prosecutor makes a claim, i.e., Jack shot Jill, then said prosecutor must show that Jack owned a firearm that matches the bullets recovered from Jill's body. Then the prosecutor needs to show that Jack was with Jill when the shooting took place and that forensic evidence recovered from Jack showed he had fired a firearm. Keep this distinction in mind as you consider what has transpired in the case against the Internet Research Agency and Concord Management and Consulting.

To understand why Judge Friedrich ruled as she did you must understand Local Rule 57.7. That rule: restricts public dissemination of information by attorneys involved in criminal cases where

"there is a reasonable likelihood that such dissemination will interfere with a fair trial or otherwise prejudice the administration of justice." It also authorizes the court "[i]n a widely publicized or sensational criminal case" to issue a special order governing extrajudicial statements and other matters designed to limit publicity that might interfere with the conduct of a fair trial. . . .

The rule prohibits lawyers associated with the prosecution or defense from publishing, between the time of the indictment and the commencement of trial, "[a]ny opinion as to the accused's guilt or innocence or as to the merits of the case or the evidence in the case."

In short, the US Government cannot come out and declare that Concord Management, for example, was acting on behalf or or in collaboration with the Russian Government without presenting actual evidence. A prosecutor cannot simply claim that Concord is a Putin Stooge.

The lawyers for Concord Management read the Mueller report and noted significant discrepancies between what was alleged in the original complaint and what was asserted as "fact" in the Mueller report.

On April 25, 2019, Concord filed the instant motion in which it argues that the Attorney General and Special Counsel violated Local Rule 57.7 by releasing information to the public that was not contained in the indictment. Concord's main contention is that the Special Counsel's Report, as released to the public, and the Attorney General's related public statements improperly suggested a link between the defendants and the Russian government and expressed an opinion about the defendants' guilt and the evidence against them.

Concord's lawyers wanted Judge Friedrich to find Robert Mueller and Attorney General Barr in contempt for violating rule 57.7.

Judge Friedrich gave Concord a partial victory:

Although the Court agrees that the government violated Rule 57.7 , it disagrees that contempt proceedings are an appropriate response to that violation. Instead, the Court has entered an order limiting public statements about this case moving forward and cautions the government that any future violations of that order will trigger a range of potential sanctions.

But the Judge did not stop there. She pointed out some glaring discrepancies between the Mueller Report and the actual indictment:

The Special Counsel Report describes efforts by the Russian government to interfere with the 2016 presidential election. . . . But the indictment . . . does not link the defendants to the Russian government. Save for a single allegation that Concord and Concord Catering had several "government contracts" (with no further elaboration), id. ¶ 11, the indictment alleges only private conduct by private actors.

. . . the concluding paragraph of the section of the [Mueller] Report related to Concord states that the Special Counsel's "investigation established that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election through the 'active measures' social media campaign carried out by" Concord's co-defendant, the Internet Research Agency (IRA). By attributing IRA's conduct to "Russia" -- as opposed to Russian individuals or entities -- the Report suggests that the activities alleged in the indictment were undertaken on behalf of, if not at the direction of, the Russian government.

Similarly, the Attorney General drew a link between the Russian government and this case during a press conference in which he stated that "[t]he Special Counsel's report outlines two main efforts by the Russian government to influence the 2016 election." . . . The "[f]irst" involved "efforts by the Internet Research Agency, a Russian company with close ties to the Russian government, to sow social discord among American voters through disinformation and social media operations." Id. The "[s]econd" involved "efforts by Russian military officials associated with the GRU," a Russian intelligence agency, to hack and leak private documents and emails from the Democratic Party and the Clinton Campaign.

The Report explains that it used the term "established" whenever "substantial, credible evidence enabled the Office to reach a conclusion with confidence." . . . It then states in its conclusion that the Special Counsel's "investigation established that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election through the 'active measures' social media campaign carried out by the IRA." In context, this statement characterizes the evidence against the defendants as "substantial" and "credible," and it provides the Special Counsel's Office's "conclusion" about what actually occurred.

But the activities of the IRA and Concord Management are not established. In fact, Mueller's own report undermines his claims, as noted in a recent article by Nation's Aaron Mate. Although Mueller claims that it was "established that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election through the 'active measures' social media campaign carried out by" Concord's co-defendant, the Internet Research Agency (IRA), he provided no such evidence.

According to Mate :

After two years and $35 million, Mueller apparently failed to uncover any direct evidence linking the Prigozhin-controlled IRA's activities to the Kremlin. His best evidence is that "[n]umerous media sources have reported on Prigozhin's ties to Putin, and the two have appeared together in public photographs."

Mate's article, as I mentioned in a previous piece, does an excellent job of showing that the Mueller Report is based on heartfelt beliefs but devoid of corroborating evidence.

Some readers will insist that Mueller and his team have actual intelligence but cannot put that in an indictment. Well boys and girls, here is a simple truth--if you cannot produce evidence that can be presented in court then you do not have a case. There is that part of the Constitution that allows those accused of a crime to confront their accusers.

Posted at 11:09 PM in Larry Johnson , Russiagate | Permalink


Sonal Chawhan , 12 July 2019 at 05:38 AM

Impressive!Thanks for the post
SAS Base and Advance

Peter VE , 12 July 2019 at 09:14 AM

Minor quibble: Judge Friedrich is a woman. I expect that this will get no play from the MSM, since Judge Friedrich was appointed by Trump, and "everyone" knows she's just covering up for him.

Larry Johnson -> Peter VE... , 12 July 2019 at 11:37 AM

Thanks. Never heard of a chick named, "Dabney." I was thinking Dabney Coleman. Dating myself.

Peter VE -> Larry Johnson ... , 12 July 2019 at 02:17 PM

Maybe her name is misspelled reference to Dagney Taggart...

Flavius , 12 July 2019 at 10:33 AM

Under the conditions and in the environment that it was returned, this indictment was Mueller and his partisan team throwing raw meat fo the media so as to prolong their mission, nothing more. Once filed, no one involved ever expected to appear in a courtroom to prosecute anyone, or defend any part of it. It was an abuse of process, pure and simple.

Consider it as a count against Mueller, his competence or his integrity, maybe both. He let himself become a tool.

pretzelattack -> Flavius... , 12 July 2019 at 07:27 PM

Johnson refers to "heartfelt beliefs" but i doubt Mueller believes his own bs. in this i guess he distinguishes himself from earlier witch-hunters, who apparently sincerely believed their targets were minions of satan.

blue peacock , 12 July 2019 at 11:33 AM

I think Mueller, Weissman, et al did not expect Concord to contest their indictment. They believed they could continue their PR effort that Russia changed the outcome of the election by sending out tweets and Facebook posts without anyone calling them out.

It seems on the current trajectory both the Trump colluded with Russia and our law enforcement & IC attempted a soft-coup will die on the vine. The latter because Trump is unwilling to declassify. It seems for him it was all just another reality TV show and him tweeting "witch hunt" constantly was what the script called for.

The next time the IC & law enforcement who now must believe that they are the real power behind the throne decide to exercise that power it will be a doozie.

The national security surveillance state is only going to get bigger and more powerful. I suppose that is the real competition between the CCP & the USA who can get more totalitarian sooner.

https://theintercept.com/2019/07/11/china-surveillance-google-ibm-semptian/

David Habakkuk , 12 July 2019 at 12:39 PM

Larry,

A fine piece.

I think a large question is raised as to how far the kind of sloppiness in the handling of evidence which Judge Friedrich identified in the Mueller report may have characterised a great deal of the treatment of matters to do with the post-Soviet space by the FBI and others – including almost all MSM journalists – for a very long time.

Unfortunately, one also finds this among some of the most useful critics of 'Russiagate'. So, for example, in a very valuable recent piece in the 'Epoch Times' about the questions that need to be put to Mueller, Jeff Carlson discusses some of the problems relating both to Christopher Steele's involvement with Oleg Deripaska, and the involvement of Fusion GPS with Natalia Veseltnitskaya which led to the Trump Tower meeting. (See https://www.theepochtimes.com/33-key-questions-for-robert-mueller_2988876.html .)

He then however goes on to write: 'In other words, not only was the firm that hired Steele, Fusion GPS, hired by the Russians, but Steele himself was hired directly by the Russians.'

And Andrew McCarthy, in the 'National Review', picks up one of the most interesting, and puzzling, moments in the fascinating notes by Kathy Kavalec of the conversation she had with Steele when Jonathan Winer brought him to see on her in October 2016. (See https://www.nationalreview.com/2019/07/oleg-deripaska-fbi-russia-collusion-theory/ )

Commenting on the fact that, in her scribbled notes, beside the names of Vladislav Surkov and Vyacheslav Trubnikov, who are indeed a top Putin adviser and a former SVR chief respectively, Kavalec writes 'source', McCarthy simply concludes that she meant that he had said that these were his – indirect – sources, and that this was accurate. And he goes on to write:

'Deripaska, Surkov, and Trubnikov were not informing on the Kremlin. These are Putin's guys. They were peddling what the Kremlin wanted the world to believe, and what the Kremlin shrewdly calculated would sow division in the American body politic. So, the question is: Did they find the perfect patsy in Christopher Steele?'

If you look at Kavalec's typing up of the notes, among a good deal of what looks to me like pure 'horse manure' – including the claim that 'Manafort has been the go-between with the campaign' – the single reference to Surkov and Trubnikov is that they are said to be 'also involved.'

As it happens, Surkov is a very complex figure indeed. His talents as a 'political technologist' were first identified by Khodorkovsky, before he subsequently played that role for Putin. It would obviously be possible that he and Steele still had common contacts.

The suggestion in Kavalec's notes that Sergei Millian 'may be involved in some way,' and also that, 'Per Steele, Millian is connected Simon Kukes (who took over management of Yukos when Khodorkovsky was arrested)' is interesting, but would seem to suggest that he would not have been cited to Kavalec as an intermediary.

All this is obviously worth putting together with claims made in the 'New York Times' follow-up on 9 July to the Reuters report on the same day breaking the story of the interviews carried out with Steele by the Inspector General's team in early June.

(See https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/09/us/politics/ig-russia-investigation-steele.html?module=inline .)

According to this:

'Moreover, by January 2017, F.B.I. agents had tracked down and interviewed one of Mr. Steele's main sources, a Russian speaker from a former Soviet republic who had spent time in the West, according to a Justice Department document obtained by The New York Times and three people familiar with the events. After questioning him, F.B.I. officials came to suspect that the man might have added his own interpretations to reports from his own sources that he passed on to Mr. Steele, calling into question the reliability of the information.'

Some observations prompted by all this.

Without wanting to prejudge things, it seems to me quite likely that what Horowitz has been contemplating is a kind of 'limited hangout'. So, the idea could be to suggest that Steele did have sources, that however these were not as reliable as he thought they were, but everything was done in good faith etc etc. In the light of information coming out, including that in the Friedrich ruling, he may however have decided to 'hold his horses.'

In trying to put together the accumulating evidence, it is necessary to realise, as so many people seem to find it difficult to do, that in matters like these people commonly play double games – often for very good reasons.

To say as Carlson does that Fusion and Steele were hired by 'the Russians' implies that these are some kind of collective entity – and then, one is one step away from the assumption that Veselnitskaya and Deripaska, as well as 'Putin's Cook', are simply puppets controlled by the master manipulator in the Kremlin. (The fact that Friedrich applies serious standards for assessing evidence to Mueller's version of this is one of the reasons why her judgement is so important.)

As regards what McCarthy says, to lump Surkov and Deripaska together as 'Putin's guys' is unhelpful. Actually, it seems to me very unlikely, although perhaps not absolutely impossible, that, had he been implicated in any conspiracy to intervene in an American election, Surkov would have been talking candidly about his role to anyone liable to relay the information to Steele.

Likewise, however, the notion of a Machiachiavellian Surkov, feeding disinformation about a non-existent plot through an intermediary to Steele, who swallows it hook, line and sinker, does not seem particularly plausible.

A rather more obvious possibility is that the intermediaries who were supposed to have conveyed a whole lot of 'smoking gun' evidence to Steele were either 1. fabrications, 2. people whom without their knowledge he cast in this role, or 3. co-conspirators. It would, obviously, be possible that Millian, although one can say no more than that at this stage, was involved in either or both of roles 2. and 3.

It is important that the general pattern of assuming that Putin is some kind of omnipotent Sauron-figure, which has clearly left Mueller open to a counter-attack by Concord, was given a classic expression in the testimony which Glenn Simpson gave to the House Intelligence Committee in November 2017.

(See https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/House_Intelligence_Committee_Interview_of_Glenn_Simpson )

Providing his version of what was going on following his move from the Washington office of the 'Wall Street Journal' to its European headquarters in January 2005, Simpson told the Committee:

'And the oligarchs, during this period of consolidation of power by Vladimir Putin, when I was living in Brussels and doing all this work, was about him essentially taking control over both the oligarchs and the mafia groups. And so basically everyone in Russia works for Putin now. And that's true of the diaspora as well. So the Russian mafia in the United States is believed bylaw enforcement criminologists to have – to be under the influence of the Russian security services. And this is convenient for the security services because it gives them a level of deniability.'

A bit less than two years after Simpson's move to Brussels, a similar account featured in what appears to have been the first attempt by Christopher Steele and his confederates to provide a 'narrative' in terms of which could situate the supposed assassination by polonium poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko.

This came in a BBC Radio 4 programme, entitled 'The Litvinenko Mystery', in which a veteran presenter with the Corporation, Tom Mangold, produced an account by the former KGB Major Yuri Shvets, supported by the former FBI Agent Robert Levinson, and an 'Unidentified Informer', who is told by Mangold that he cannot be identified 'reasons of your own personal security'.

(A full transcript is on the 'Evidence' archived website of the Litvinenko Inquiry – one needs to search for the reference HMG000513 – at https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160613090333/https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/evidence ">https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/evidence">https://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160613090333/https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/evidence .)

This figure, whose credentials we have no means of assessing, explains:

'Well it's not well known to Western leaders or Western people but it is pretty well known in Russia. Because essentially it is common knowledge in Russia that by the end of Nineties the so called Russian organised crime had been destroyed by the Government and then the Russian security agencies, primarily the law enforcement and primarily the FSB, essentially assumes the functions and methods of Russian organised crime. And they became one of the most dangerous organised crime group because they are protected by law. They're protected by all power of the State. They have essentially the free hand in the country and this shadow establishment essentially includes the entire structure of the FSB from the very top people in Moscow going down to the low offices.'

The story Mangold told was a pathetic tale of how Litvinenko and Shvets, trying to turn an honest penny from 'due diligence' work, identified damning evidence about the links of a figure close to Putin to organised crime, who in return sent Andrei Lugovoi to poison the former with polonium.

A few problems with this version have, however, subsequently, emerged. Among them is the fact that, at the time, Litvinenko himself, as well as having been a key member of the late Boris Berezovsky's 'information operations team', was an agent, as distinct from an informant, of MI6: accounts differ as to whether Steele was his personal 'handler' (John Sipher), or had never met him (Luke Harding).

Also relevant is the fact that Shvets, a fanatical Ukrainian nationalist, and an important figure in the original 'Orange Revolution', was also a key member of Berezovsky's 'information operations' team.

Perhaps most interesting is the fact that the disappearance of Levinson, on the Iranian island of Kish, the following March, was not as was claimed for years related to his private sector work. His entrapment and imprisonment – from which we now know Deripaska was later involved in attempting to rescue him – related to an undercover mission on behalf of elements in the CIA.

The account of his career by the 'New York Times' journalist Barry Meier in his 2016 study 'Missing Man' is a tissue of sleazy evasions, not least in relation to the role of Levinson in 'investigating' the notorious mobster Semion Mogilevich, a key figure in 'information operations' against both Putin and Trump, and also the opponents of Yulia Tymoshenko.

A large question involved is how co-operation between not simply elements in MI6 and the CIA, but also in the FBI, with the oligarchs who refused to accept Putin's terms goes back a very long way.

And, among other things, that raises a whole range of questions about Mueller.

Dan -> David Habakkuk ... , 12 July 2019 at 04:36 PM

Great info, thanks. I admittedly don't watch the skeptics' comments closely enough, and can be susceptible to twisted observations from guys like Carlson and Solomon.

[Jul 05, 2019] Dying Augustus did say: curtain is closing, I hope I did act well

Jul 05, 2019 | www.unz.com

Ilyana_Rozumova, July 5, 2019 at 11:26 am GMT

Lets be a realistic a little bit here.
In politics the overwhelming power is in power of presentation.
The content with all the other details is of little consequence...

Dying Augustus did say: curtain is closing, I hope I did act well.

[Jul 05, 2019] Putin Speaks- Liberalism Has Lost the World -

Jul 05, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

In his interview with the FT' s Lionel Barber, Putin appeared as much an analyst of, as an advocate for, the nationalism and populism that seems to be succeeding the 20th-century liberalism of the West.

Why is liberalism failing? Several causes, said Putin. Among them, its failure to deal with the crisis of the age: mass and unchecked illegal migration. Putin praised Trump's efforts to secure the U.S. border:

"This liberal idea has become obsolete. It has come into conflict with the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population. This liberal idea presupposes that migrants can kill, plunder and rape with impunity because their rights as migrants have to be protected."

Putin deplored Chancellor Angela Merkel's 2015 decision to bring into Germany a million refugees from Syria's civil war.

His comments came as 10 Democratic candidates in the second presidential primary debate were raising their hands in support of the proposition that breaking into the USA should cease to be a crime and those who succeed in breaking in should be given free health care.

Putin also sees the social excesses of multiculturalism and secularism in the West as representing a failure of liberalism.

In a week where huge crowds celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall "uprising" in Greenwich Village, as it is now called, with parties and parades, Putin declared:

"Have we forgotten that all of us live in a world based on biblical values? I am not trying to insult anyone because we have been condemned for our alleged homophobia. But we have no problem with LGBT persons. God forbid, let them live as they wish."

He added, "But some things do appear excessive to us. They claim now that children can play five or six gender roles."

Elton John pronounced himself "deeply upset."

Putin did not back off: "Let everyone be happy But this must not be allowed to overshadow the culture, traditions and traditional family values of millions of people making up the core population."

Putin took power, two decades ago, as this 21st century began. In recent years, he has advanced himself not only as a foe of liberalism but a champion of populism, traditionalism and nationalism.

Nor is he hesitant to declare his views regarding U.S. politics.

Of Trump, Putin says, "He is a talented person (who) knows very well what his voters expect of him. Trump looked into his opponent's attitude toward him and saw changes in American society."

Recalling his own controversial comment that the collapse of the Soviet Union was the greatest tragedy of the 20th century, Putin said the tragedy was not the death of Communism but the shattering of the Russian Federation into 15 separate nations.

The tragedy was the "dispersal of ethnic Russians" across the newly independent successor states of the Soviet Union: "25 million ethnic Russians found themselves living outside the Russian Federation. Is this not a tragedy? A huge one! And family relations? Jobs? Travel? It was nothing but a disaster."

What may be said of Putin?

He is no Stalin, no Communist ideologue, but rather a Russian nationalist who seeks the return of her lost peoples to the Motherland, and, seeing his country as a great power, wants NATO out of his front yard.

While we have issues with him on arms control, Iran and Venezuela, we have a common interest in avoiding a war with this nuclear-armed nation as we did with the far more menacing Soviet Empire of the Cold War.

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


el_uro 3 days ago

Regardless of who is Mr Putin, he pointed out the problems created by modern "progressives" and "progressives" do not have any answer.

ebergerud 3 days ago

No quibbles at all. I hope more Americans see beyond superficial press coverage of the whole Ukraine issue and understand that the US was perceived by Moscow - correctly - as being deeply involved in the Ukraine 2014 debacle. James Brennan even came to call in April - very odd move by a CIA Chief. I'll go one step farther. I think it possible that Trump's association with Manafort was viewed by Brennan as threatening his narrative of Russia as an aggressive villain - and that was one idea Brennan could not allow into the public arena. For more on this line of thought, check some of the recent talks given by "realist" guru John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and his critique of liberal hegemony.

Brooke Smith 3 days ago

Putin is right. I have been impressed with several of Putin's speeches over the years. Glad to read commentary on his speech here at TAC - this is the first place where I even learned of this speech.

Brady 3 days ago

Vladimir Putin, leader of the free world...

JeffK from PA 3 days ago

"The two joked about how both are afflicted with a media that generates constant fake news." - Buchanan. In other words, we prefer the many lies mis-characterized as truth to fool the uninformed and massage the base.

"Negotiations on Kim's nuclear weapons may be back on track." - Buchanan. Who doubts Kim Jong Un is going to play Trump like a fiddle?

"This liberal idea presupposes that migrants can kill, plunder and rape with impunity because their rights as migrants have to be protected." - Putin. More right wing propaganda for the clueless.

"Putin declared: "Have we forgotten that all of us live in a world based on biblical values? " Yeah, sure. Putin and Trump. Two devout saints just trying to make the world a better place for all. Kumbaya, praise The Lord, and pass the wafers...

SatirevFlesti 3 days ago

Wish we could vote for Orban or Putin in 2020.

triaruis6@yahoo.com 3 days ago

I think of Putin as "Catherine the Great" working to make Russia as great and powerful as it can be. I think Pres. Trump probably could have greatly improved US-Russian relations had his first term not been poisoned by this ridiculous collusion scam. Perhaps next term.

John Sobieski 3 days ago

I am having some difficulty figuring out what is the point of this piece. Buchanan seems to support the cause of populism, nationalism, and traditionalism, while at the same time pointing out that the champions are imprisoning, oppressing, and killing innocents. Yay? Buchanan also seems to take at face value Putin's supposed analysis of the West to a Western journalist. Buchanan might wonder what Putin the Nationalist thinks of Ukrainian nationalism, or Chechen nationalism.

Buchanan might also question Putin the Populist's fraudulent elections, murder of journalists, and propaganda machine. He might also wonder what Putin the Anti-liberal meant when he stated, in his speech at the opening of the largest mosque in Europe, "Right from its creation, Russia has always been a multi-ethnic and multi-confessional country. This mutual enrichment of different cultures, traditions and religions has always been our country's distinguishing feature and strength."

For those of you who would like to read Putin's speech, which could have just as easily been delivered by Obama (just change the word "Russia" for "America"), here is the link:
http://en.kremlin.ru/events...

peter mcloughlin 3 days ago

Patrick J Buchanan is right when he says about Russia: "We have a common interest in avoiding a war with this nuclear-armed nation " But I would respectfully disagree that the Cold War was a "far more menacing" time. The Cold War was the peace, a post-world war environment: we now live in a pre-world war environment. Humanity has experienced long periods of peace (or relative peace) throughout history. The Thirty Years Peace between the two Peloponnesian Wars, Pax Romana, Europe in the 19th century after the Congress of Vienna, to name a few. The Congress System finally collapsed in 1914 with the start of World War One. That conflict was followed by the League of Nations. It did not stop World War Two.

That was followed by the United Nations and other post-war institutions. But all the indications are they will not prevent a third world war.
https://www.ghostsofhistory...

JEinCA 2 days ago

Of course Vladimir Putin is right on the money as he has been about many other things but he's been vilified and demonized in the Western media to the point that even if an average Westerner (much less a politician) agrees with him they will never admit as such in public.

Nelson 2 days ago

Conservatives should move to Russia where they can be happy and content.

tweets21 2 days ago

The west cannot allow themselves to ever admit, Putin is a very experienced well informed individual.

Luther Perez 2 days ago

"In the modern world, the decision is up to the woman herself," Russia's president said in his annual marathon press conference on Wednesday, which ran to just shy of four hours. Any attempt to suppress it, he added, would only push the practice underground, causing immense damage to women's health.

Putin also cautioned against tightening the country's historically liberal laws on abortion any further, saying that any decision on future regulation "must be careful, considered and based on the general mood in society and the moral and ethical norms that have developed in society."

[Jul 01, 2019] Putin: I hope that sanity will prevail in the end

Notable quotes:
"... "Question: Mr President, you have given an extensive overview of different topics. A short time after you last met with Donald Trump, the Americans introduced new sanctions against Russia. Could you tell if you received some reassurances from Donald Trump that no new sanctions will follow this time, or do you think sanctions may be imposed again? Or are you confident that there will no more sanctions? ..."
"... "Vladimir Putin: I have no idea. This is not our business; it is up to the United States to think about how they should build relations with Russia. I think we have mutual understanding that we should somehow get out of the situation that has emerged so far. But this is the same as with our colleagues and partners from the UK. It is an abnormal situation, it must be simply rectified; we must somehow find the strength to turn the page, to move on and to look to the future. It is the same in relations with the United States. ..."
"... "Let me reiterate, I meet with US businesspeople, including at the St Petersburg Economic Forum. 550 people went there. They want to work. That means jobs, that means goals the President of the United State is trying to achieve. I actually said in that interview that after the globalisation processes led to such big growth of the world economy, even the middle class in the United States felt they were left behind. While large corporation made huge profits, their management got a lot of advantages as did their partners, the middle class did not, not very much. Wages remained the same, and the standard of living began to grow a little. Jobs are needed and conditions to raise real incomes of US citizens. To achieve that they need to expand cooperation and work with everyone, including Russia. ..."
"... "They restricted the operation of their companies in the Russian market. We made calculations across some European countries, and it really amounts to lost profits. Cutting exports (our imports are their exports) amounts to tens of billions of euros. That means jobs, either job cuts or jobs that were not created. The same applies to the United States. I hope that sanity will prevail in the end." ..."
"... That is a polite way of saying that sanity is not prevailing at the moment. Putin pointing out that there is nothing Russia can do about the current relationship between the US and Russia leaves no illusions as to who the insane party is. It is not within Russia's power to make America sane. There are no magic words they can utter to fix what ails the US. ..."
"... Globalization is simply a neoliberal economic substitute for colonialism. ..."
"... Neoliberals contrary to popular opinion do not believe in self-regulating markets as autonomous entities. They do not see democracy as necessary for capitalism. ..."
"... The neoliberal globalist world is not a borderless market without nations but a doubled world (economic -global and social- national) . The global economic world is kept safe from democratic national demands for social justice and equality, and in return each nation enjoys cultural freedom. ..."
"... Neoliberals see democracy as a real problem. Democracy means the unwashed masses can threaten the so called market economy (in fact manipulated and protected markets) with worker demands for living wages and equality and consumer demands for competitive pricing and safe products. Controlling both parties with money prevents that. ..."
"... In fact, neoliberal thinking is comparable to that of John Maynard Keynes in one respect : "the market does not and cannot take care of itself". ..."
"... Neoliberals insulate the markets by providing safe harbor for capital, free from fear of infringement by policies of progressive taxation or redistribution. They do this by redesigning government, laws, and other institutions to protect the market. ..."
"... For example the stock market is propped up by the Feds purchases of futures, replacing the plunge protection teams intervention at an even more extreme level. Manipulation of economic statistics by the BLS also serve a similar purpose. ..."
"... What you described is precisely a symptom of falling profitability. Financialisation, for example, only increases when the "real economy" is not profiting enough anymore. ..."
"... "If you try to understand how so many jobs have disappeared, the answer that you come up with over and over again in the data is that it's not trade that caused that -- it's primarily technology," Eighty percent of lost jobs were not replaced by workers in China, but by machines and automation. That is the first problem if you slap on tariffs. What you discover is that American companies are likely to replace its more expensive workers with machines." ..."
"... More evidence for Marx's Law: the USA was a victim of its own success, not of its own failures, nor because of alien enemies. ..."
Jul 01, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Jun 30, 2019 4:46:37 PM | 39

In case there are others aside from myself interested in the G-20 outcomes, here are a few links to what IMO's important. Go here to get the links to the three main documents G-20 produced: "G20 Osaka Leaders Declaration," "Osaka declaration on digital economy," and "G20 Osaka leaders' statement on preventing exploitation of the internet for terrorism and violent extremism conductive to terrorism (VECT)." Pepe Escobar's recap . Transcript of Putin's post G20 news conference.

I hoped when I added the presser link to the Putin interview thread and hinted there were connections between them that another line of analysis would develop, but it seems participants were way to immersed/invested in the liberalism debate to bother.

From the press conference, I'd like to point-out one of the Q&As related to the illegal sanctions regime, economic development and how they interact with Trump's 2016 Campaign Pledges as we begin the 2020 election cycle:

"Question: Mr President, you have given an extensive overview of different topics. A short time after you last met with Donald Trump, the Americans introduced new sanctions against Russia. Could you tell if you received some reassurances from Donald Trump that no new sanctions will follow this time, or do you think sanctions may be imposed again? Or are you confident that there will no more sanctions?

"Vladimir Putin: I have no idea. This is not our business; it is up to the United States to think about how they should build relations with Russia. I think we have mutual understanding that we should somehow get out of the situation that has emerged so far. But this is the same as with our colleagues and partners from the UK. It is an abnormal situation, it must be simply rectified; we must somehow find the strength to turn the page, to move on and to look to the future. It is the same in relations with the United States.

"I told you that we reasserted our wish to support the business community's proposal regarding tools for the support of business initiatives. But it shows that the incumbent Administration has intentions to somehow continue with this abnormal situation. I spoke about our trade with the United States and with some other partners. Obviously, $25 billion in trade does not meet our interests and does not reflect our potential.

"That is why I have no idea if they will do anything or not. At any rate, one thing is sure – we are not going to ask for anything. No means no. And if there is interest, we will respond in kind and will do everything we can to turn the situation around.

"Let me reiterate, I meet with US businesspeople, including at the St Petersburg Economic Forum. 550 people went there. They want to work. That means jobs, that means goals the President of the United State is trying to achieve. I actually said in that interview that after the globalisation processes led to such big growth of the world economy, even the middle class in the United States felt they were left behind. While large corporation made huge profits, their management got a lot of advantages as did their partners, the middle class did not, not very much. Wages remained the same, and the standard of living began to grow a little. Jobs are needed and conditions to raise real incomes of US citizens. To achieve that they need to expand cooperation and work with everyone, including Russia.

"They restricted the operation of their companies in the Russian market. We made calculations across some European countries, and it really amounts to lost profits. Cutting exports (our imports are their exports) amounts to tens of billions of euros. That means jobs, either job cuts or jobs that were not created. The same applies to the United States. I hope that sanity will prevail in the end."

It appears that Trump needs to end his Trade and Sanctions Wars (although all the illegal sanctions aren't his doing) in order to bolster his reelection chances. The questions are, Will the sanction hawks like Mnuchin try to impede such a policy change since it seems to be required for domestic politics and How will D-Party candidates treat the issue, particularly as several are hooked on Russiagate Koolaid?

And do please note the question about the interview at the end, Putin's answer and how he put in within the context of the G20!

William Gruff , Jun 30, 2019 5:32:28 PM | 45

Great quote of Putin by karlof1 @39. That final sentence says much, though:

"I hope that sanity will prevail in the end"

That is a polite way of saying that sanity is not prevailing at the moment. Putin pointing out that there is nothing Russia can do about the current relationship between the US and Russia leaves no illusions as to who the insane party is. It is not within Russia's power to make America sane. There are no magic words they can utter to fix what ails the US.

William Gruff , Jun 30, 2019 8:47:27 PM | 82
A minor correction to dh-mtl @59 where it was claimed "[The globalists] lost power from the mid-1930s to 1980."

The globalists were never actually out of power in the US. Instead they were confronted with a massive upsurge in radical organized labor that threatened to remove them from power. The globalists had to make very significant concessions to buy time for that labor uprising to subside. That happened to take almost half a century, but throughout that period the globalists retained power, though in a somewhat weakened form. They are back at full strength now

Other than that dh-mtl's analysis seems accurate.

dh-mtl , Jun 30, 2019 9:13:22 PM | 86
donkeytale | Jun 30, 2019 8:14:48 PM | 79 says:

'But to say any one nation "produced" the current global market economic system is a bit like saying Yahweh created all the heavens and the earth in 6 days.'

I never suggested that 'one nation' produced this global system.

What I was suggesting is that perhaps the financial elites who benefit from, as you describe it, a 'financial system created by and for the wealthiest elites wherever they may call home', and who controlled Reagan and Clinton and W and Obama, Blair and Cameron and Macron and Merkel and Aznar in Spain, etc., etc., and hundreds of MEPs in the European parliament, and who created the U.S. Deep State, control virtually all of western main-stream media, and who place their people in control of institutions such as the World Bank, and IMF, and UN and WTO and BIS, and who decide the fate of the world every year at Davos and the Bilderberg conference, might have had something the do with creating the laws and treaties that created that system.

This sounds like a pretty effective political system to me, though definitely not democratic.

karlof1 , Jul 1 2019 4:06 utc | 104
pretzelattack @100--

Carter agreed to appoint Volker in order to save the bondholders by destroying the domestic economy with interest rates over 20% which is what actually cost him the 1980 election. In 1978, McNamara was sent off to the World Bank to work in tandem with IMF to begin the imposition of the euphemized Structural Adjustment Programs--the globalized version of Neoliberalism.

dh-mtl , Jul 1 2019 4:08 utc | 105
donkeytale | Jun 30, 2019 9:51:00 PM | 90 says:

'the Trump-nationalists and Brexiteers do not offer an effective solution to problem of wealth inequality which is your complaint'.


Wealth inequality is not my complaint. My point is that 'dictatorship', whether it be in the hands of 'wealthy global elites', military or other, cannot achieve acceptable outcomes for a large, complex, modern society, and that excessive wealth inequality is a sure indicator of dictatorship.

The Trump-nationalists and Brexiteers may not have an effective solution. But they are convinced that what has been going on in their societies over the past 30 plus years has definitely not worked for them either. My analysis is that they are trying to return to the conditions in which the outcomes were much better for them.

My own conviction is that acceptable outcomes for a society can only be achieved when the political leaders are working on behalf of the society as a whole, rather than for a narrow privileged group, and especially a group that has little or no allegiance to the nation-state, whose boundaries define the society.

When the political leaders are truly working on behalf of the population as a whole, there is a wide variety of policy options that can work. Trial and error over time will ensure that the policy options that are most appropriate for a particular society and its circumstances will eventually emerge.

Pft , Jul 1 2019 5:38 utc | 114

Globalization is simply a neoliberal economic substitute for colonialism.

Neoliberals contrary to popular opinion do not believe in self-regulating markets as autonomous entities. They do not see democracy as necessary for capitalism.

The neoliberal globalist world is not a borderless market without nations but a doubled world (economic -global and social- national) . The global economic world is kept safe from democratic national demands for social justice and equality, and in return each nation enjoys cultural freedom.

Neoliberals see democracy as a real problem. Democracy means the unwashed masses can threaten the so called market economy (in fact manipulated and protected markets) with worker demands for living wages and equality and consumer demands for competitive pricing and safe products. Controlling both parties with money prevents that.

In fact, neoliberal thinking is comparable to that of John Maynard Keynes in one respect : "the market does not and cannot take care of itself".

The neoliberal project did not liberate markets so much as protect them by protecting capitalism against the threat of democracy and to reorder the world where borders provide a captive market

Neoliberals insulate the markets by providing safe harbor for capital, free from fear of infringement by policies of progressive taxation or redistribution. They do this by redesigning government, laws, and other institutions to protect the market.

For example the stock market is propped up by the Feds purchases of futures, replacing the plunge protection teams intervention at an even more extreme level. Manipulation of economic statistics by the BLS also serve a similar purpose.

Another example is getting government to accept monopoly capitalism over competitive capitalism and have appointed judges who believe illegal collusion is nothing more than understandable and legal "conscious parallelism"

... ... ...

vk , Jul 1 2019 12:54 utc | 132
@ Posted by: Lochearn | Jun 30, 2019 9:33:07 PM | 89

What you described is precisely a symptom of falling profitability. Financialisation, for example, only increases when the "real economy" is not profiting enough anymore.

It's important to highlight that the tendency of the profit rate to fall doesn't necessarily means a company is losing money, but just that the profit rate is secularly decreasing. Since it's a tendency, it also doesn't mean this fall happens linearly: capital still operates in cycles. However, over the long term, profit rates will fall, no matter what.

vk , Jul 1 2019 13:22 utc | 135
About the deindustrialization process in the USA since the 1970s:

The G20 and the cold war in technology

The biggest reason Trump can't bring back home these manufacturing jobs is because they have been lost in large part to the success of 'efficiency' in the US Over the past three-and-a-half decades, manufacturers have shed more than seven million jobs while producing more stuff than ever. The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) reported in The Manufacturing Footprint and the Importance of U.S. Manufacturing Jobs that

"If you try to understand how so many jobs have disappeared, the answer that you come up with over and over again in the data is that it's not trade that caused that -- it's primarily technology," Eighty percent of lost jobs were not replaced by workers in China, but by machines and automation. That is the first problem if you slap on tariffs. What you discover is that American companies are likely to replace its more expensive workers with machines."

More evidence for Marx's Law: the USA was a victim of its own success, not of its own failures, nor because of alien enemies.

gzon , Jul 1 2019 21:32 utc | 168

Karlof 156 cont.

When we speak of unadulterated capitalism and capital, we start with the most basic capital we have, our hands. If I go and LABOUR by planting a tree and caring for it, the fruit I consider mine. I might give those away at choice, or exchange them for something else of value. That something eventually became known as money, a commonly recognised unit, it's strength being that it could not be replicated, and its worth accepted in a wider market by others. The fruit of a persons labour was transmitted to descendants and family in tradition, in a society that respected that tradition. The whole process is very very personal, including where extended business starts appearing.

Now, you want me to both accept taxation, where to not compete is a losing proposition, and to accept that finance is able to conjure up replica money using that taxation as basis, with which I have to compete with own earnings that are steadily purposefully diluted - I take it very very very personally. What are you going to offer me, subsidy from the pooled value now under your control ? Because it is a social and "fair" management of reality ? Communism and socialism do not work, they remove the most natural good incentives a person can have to actually go out and achieve anything, they dull what are otherwise lively common understandings, they diminish societies that otherwise have open appreciation for the effort of others. They try to own those, and they end up as dictatorships to try to impose an own ideological dream. The same can be said of crony capitalism, which approaches fascism.

That is why I subscribe to minarchic classical liberal notions of organisation, with hard money and transparency of finance, as compromise. You know Iran and Saudi are gold backed, don't you. You can figure out from that part of what is going on, maybe.

[Jun 30, 2019] Aggressive US Lies and Misleads to Justify War on Iran by William Boardman

Notable quotes:
"... The secretary of state delivered this appallingly Orwellian official assessment of the US government within hours of the five explosions on two tankers, well before any credible investigation establishing more than minimal facts could be carried out. As is his habit, Mike Pompeo flatly lied about whatever might be real in the Gulf of Oman, and most American media ran with the lies as if they were or might be true. There is almost no chance that Mike Pompeo and the US government are telling the truth about this event, as widespread domestic and international skepticism attests. ..."
"... Pompeo's official assessment was false even in its staging. For most of his four-minute appearance, Pompeo stood framed by two pictures behind him, each showing a tanker with a fire amidships. This was a deliberate visual lie. The two pictures showed the same tanker, the Norwegian-owned Front Altair , from different angles. The other tanker, Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous , did not catch fire and was not shown. ..."
"... Pompeo did not identify the unnamed intelligence entities, if any, within the government who made this assessment. He offered no evidence to support the assessment. He did offer something of an argument that began: ..."
"... He didn't say what intelligence. He didn't say whose intelligence. American intelligence assets and technology are all over the region generating reams of intelligence day in, day out. Then there are the intelligence agencies of the Arab police states bordering the Persian Gulf. They, too, are busy collecting intelligence 24/7, although they are sometimes loath to share. Pompeo didn't mention it, but according to CNN an unnamed US official admitted that the US had a Reaper Drone in the air near the two tankers before they were attacked. He also claimed that Iran had fired a missile at the drone, but missed. As CNN inanely spins it, "it is the first claim that the US has information of Iranian movements prior to the attack." As if the US doesn't have information on Iranian movements all the time . More accurately, this is the first admission that the US had operational weaponry in the area prior to the attack. ..."
"... Pompeo did not name a single weapon used. Early reporting claimed the attackers used torpedoes or mines, a claim that became inoperative as it became clear that all the damage to the tankers was well above the waterline. There is little reason to believe Pompeo had any actual knowledge of what weapons were used, unless one was a Reaper Drone. ..."
"... There are NO confirmed "recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping," and even if there were, they would prove nothing. Pompeo's embarrassingly irrelevant list that follows includes six examples, only one of which involved a shipping attack ..."
"... Instead of "recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping," Pompeo offers Iran's decades-old threat to close the Strait of Hormuz (which it's never done), together with three attacks by the Houthis on Saudi Arabia, an unattributed rocket attack on the US Embassy in Baghdad, and an unattributed car bomb in Afghanistan. Seriously, if that's all he's got, he's got nothing. But he's not done with the disinformation exercise: ..."
"... The US is stumbling down a path toward war with no justification ..."
Jun 26, 2019 | dissidentvoice.org

It is the assessment of the United States Government that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman today. This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication.

This is only the latest in a series of attacks instigated by the Islamic Republic of Iran and its surrogates against American and allied interests, and they should be understood in the context of 40 years of unprovoked aggression against freedom-loving nations.

-- US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announcement , June 13, 2013

The secretary of state delivered this appallingly Orwellian official assessment of the US government within hours of the five explosions on two tankers, well before any credible investigation establishing more than minimal facts could be carried out. As is his habit, Mike Pompeo flatly lied about whatever might be real in the Gulf of Oman, and most American media ran with the lies as if they were or might be true. There is almost no chance that Mike Pompeo and the US government are telling the truth about this event, as widespread domestic and international skepticism attests.

Pompeo's official assessment was false even in its staging. For most of his four-minute appearance, Pompeo stood framed by two pictures behind him, each showing a tanker with a fire amidships. This was a deliberate visual lie. The two pictures showed the same tanker, the Norwegian-owned Front Altair , from different angles. The other tanker, Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous , did not catch fire and was not shown.

First, what actually happened, as best we can tell five days later? In the early morning of June 13, two unrelated tankers were heading south out of the Strait of Hormuz, sailing in open water in the Gulf of Oman, roughly 20 miles off the south coast of Iran. The tankers were most likely outside Iran's territorial waters, but within Iran's contiguous zone as defined by the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea . At different times, some 30 miles apart, the two tankers were attacked by weapons unknown, launched by parties unknown, for reasons unknown. The first reported distress call was 6:12 a.m. local time. No one has yet claimed responsibility for either attack. The crew of each tanker abandoned ship soon after the explosions and were rescued by ships in the area, including Iranian naval vessels, who took the Front Altair crew to an Iranian port.

Even this much was not certain in the early afternoon of June 13 when Mike Pompeo came to the lectern at the State Department to deliver his verdict:

It is the assessment of the United States Government that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman today.

Pompeo did not identify the unnamed intelligence entities, if any, within the government who made this assessment. He offered no evidence to support the assessment. He did offer something of an argument that began:

This assessment is based on intelligence .

He didn't say what intelligence. He didn't say whose intelligence. American intelligence assets and technology are all over the region generating reams of intelligence day in, day out. Then there are the intelligence agencies of the Arab police states bordering the Persian Gulf. They, too, are busy collecting intelligence 24/7, although they are sometimes loath to share. Pompeo didn't mention it, but according to CNN an unnamed US official admitted that the US had a Reaper Drone in the air near the two tankers before they were attacked. He also claimed that Iran had fired a missile at the drone, but missed. As CNN inanely spins it, "it is the first claim that the US has information of Iranian movements prior to the attack." As if the US doesn't have information on Iranian movements all the time . More accurately, this is the first admission that the US had operational weaponry in the area prior to the attack. After intelligence, Pompeo continued:

This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used .

Pompeo did not name a single weapon used. Early reporting claimed the attackers used torpedoes or mines, a claim that became inoperative as it became clear that all the damage to the tankers was well above the waterline. There is little reason to believe Pompeo had any actual knowledge of what weapons were used, unless one was a Reaper Drone. He went on:

This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation

The "level of expertise needed" to carry out these attacks on a pair of sitting duck tankers does not appear to be that great. Yes, the Iranian military probably has the expertise, as do the militaries of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Iraq, Israel, or others with a stake in provoking a crisis in the region. And those who lack the expertise still have the money with which to hire expert surrogates. The number of credible suspects, known and unknown, with an interest in doing harm to Iran is easily in double figures. Leading any serious list should be the US. That's perfectly logical, so Pompeo tried to divert attention from the obvious:

This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping .

There are NO confirmed "recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping," and even if there were, they would prove nothing. Pompeo's embarrassingly irrelevant list that follows includes six examples, only one of which involved a shipping attack. The one example was the May 12, 2019, attack on four ships at anchor in the deep water port of Fujairah. Even the multinational investigation organized by the UAE could not determine who did it. The UAE reported to the UN Security Council that the perpetrator was likely some unnamed "state actor." The logical suspects and their surrogates are the same as those for the most recent attack.

Instead of "recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping," Pompeo offers Iran's decades-old threat to close the Strait of Hormuz (which it's never done), together with three attacks by the Houthis on Saudi Arabia, an unattributed rocket attack on the US Embassy in Baghdad, and an unattributed car bomb in Afghanistan. Seriously, if that's all he's got, he's got nothing. But he's not done with the disinformation exercise:

This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high degree of sophistication.

The whole proxy group thing is redundant, covered by "the level of expertise needed" mentioned earlier. Pompeo doesn't name any proxy group here, he doesn't explain how he could know there's no proxy group that could carry out such an attack, and he just throws word garbage at the wall and hopes something sticks that will make you believe – no evidence necessary – that Iran is evil beyond redemption:

Taken as a whole, these unprovoked attacks present a clear threat to international peace and security, a blatant assault on the freedom of navigation, and an unacceptable campaign of escalating tension by Iran.

The attacks in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Afghanistan have all been provoked by the US and its allies. The US has long been a clear threat to international peace and security, except when the US was actually trashing peace and security, as it did in Iraq, as it seems to want to do in Iran. There is, indeed, "an unacceptable campaign of escalating tension," but it's a campaign by the US. The current phase began when the Trump administration pulled out of the multinational nuclear deal with Iran. The US wages economic warfare on Iran even though Iran continues to abide by the Trump-trashed treaty. All the other signatories and inspectors confirm that Iran has abided by the agreement. But Iran is approaching a point of violation, which it has been warning about for some time. The other signatories allow the US to bully them into enforcing US sanctions at their own cost against a country in compliance with its promises. China, Russia, France, GB, Germany, and the EU are all craven in the face of US threats. That's what the US wants from Iran.

Lately, Trump and Pompeo and their ilk have been whining about not wanting war and claiming they want to negotiate, while doing nothing to make negotiation more possible. Iran has observed US actions and has rejected negotiating with an imperial power with a decades-long record of bad faith. Lacking any serious act of good faith by the US, does Iran have any other rational choice? Pompeo makes absolutely clear just how irrational, how dishonest, how implacable and untrustworthy the US is when he accuses Iran of:

40 years of unprovoked aggression against freedom-loving nations.

This is Big Lie country. Forty years ago, the Iranians committed their original sin – they overthrew one of the world's most brutal dictatorships, imposed on them by the US. Then they took Americans hostage, and the US has been playing the victim ever since, out of all proportion to reality or justice. But the Pompeos of this world still milk it for all it's worth. What about "unprovoked aggression," who does that? The US list is long and criminal, including its support of Saddam Hussein's war of aggression against Iran. Iran's list of "unprovoked aggressions" is pretty much zero, unless you go back to the Persian Empire. No wonder Pompeo took no question on his statement. The Big Lie is supposed to be enough.

The US is stumbling down a path toward war with no justification. Democrats should have objected forcefully and continuously long since. Democrats in the House should have put peace with Iran on the table as soon as they came into the majority. They should do it now. Democratic presidential candidates should join Tulsi Gabbard and Elizabeth Warren in forthrightly opposing war with Iran. Leading a huge public outcry may not keep the president from lying us into war with Iran any more than it kept the president from lying us into war with Iraq. But an absence of outcry will just make it easier for this rogue nation to commit a whole new set of war crimes.

Intellectually, the case for normal relations with Iran is easy. There is literally no good reason to maintain hostility, not even the possibility, remote as it is, of an Iranian nuclear weapon (especially now that Trump is helping the Saudis go nuclear). But politically, the case for normal relations with Iran is hard, especially because forty years of propaganda demonizing Iran has deep roots. To make a sane case on Iran takes real courage: one has to speak truth to a nation that believes its lies to itself.

William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. This article was first published in Reader Supported News . Read other articles by William .

[Jun 30, 2019] "Cognitive dissonance" is supressed by most people, which makes deception by MSM very effective

This is true to a centran limita at which trust is lost and after that even truthful coverage of events by the MSM is viewed with high suspection...
Notable quotes:
"... So, if people become emotional and angry during an academic debate then it is obvious -- following Festinger's research -- that they don't really think that what they're saying is true; they simply want it to be true so that everything makes sense and so that their "sense of self" remains positive. ..."
Jun 30, 2019 | www.unz.com

One of the more useful concepts to come out of psychology has been "cognitive dissonance," an idea developed by the Jewish-American scholar Leon Festinger (1919-1989). According to Festinger, we all require, to varying degrees, "cognitive consonance" -- a clear, structured worldview in which reality makes sense. This makes us feel secure; we feel less stressed if everything's clear cut.

But, of course, there's much we don't know; a lot of which we cannot be certain. And this makes us feel anxious. Many people deal with this via comforting illusion: by creating a clearly structured world-view, and related sense of self, and successfully suppressing the doubts they unconsciously harbour about its accuracy.

When people are confronted with the inconsistencies in their thought system and model of who they are, they will experience "cognitive dissonance," and all the feelings of insecurity and helplessness that come with it. This will "trigger" profound negative emotions and, depending on individual personality, they may run away and hide or lash out, perceiving the messenger of their "cognitive dissonance" as an existential threat.

So, if people become emotional and angry during an academic debate then it is obvious -- following Festinger's research -- that they don't really think that what they're saying is true; they simply want it to be true so that everything makes sense and so that their "sense of self" remains positive.

[Jun 29, 2019] There maybe a process in place in Russia where oligarchs forced to repatriate thier money. But claiming that there are no longer oligarchs in Russia is an alternative universe

Moscow Times is a neoliberal rag with small circulation and zero influence on public opinion and essentially NED controlled/influenced content
Notable quotes:
"... The commitment of the inner circle often goes unquestioned, as the future of their massive business empires requires staying in Putin's good graces. But oligarchs coming from the intelligence services owe no particular allegiance and may be more interested in ensuring that the defense-industrial complex receives special treatment from the state. ..."
Jun 29, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

somebody , Jun 29, 2019 6:10:10 AM | 119

@Jen | Jun 29, 2019 1:29:51 AM | 104

"In any case, it seems that any person who meets with Putin to discuss a possible business venture that might require funding from the Russian government (or the Russian government to assist in financing and building the necessary infrastructure for the venture to go through) automatically becomes a favoured crony of his, in the eyes of Western mainstream news media. "

Yes. You are not supposed to have to TALK to the president about this. It should have to go through the Dóuma, the budget, there should be a process how to apply and guidelines how to grant and if there is a public tender it should be regulated and the best bid get it.

Your Wikipedia link goes to nowhere by the way. You are sure the Rotenberg Law did not pass the Douma? First read seams to have been successful.

This here is Moscow Times from 2017

Understanding how these oligarchs built their wealth goes a long way in predicting their future loyalty to Putin.

The commitment of the inner circle often goes unquestioned, as the future of their massive business empires requires staying in Putin's good graces. But oligarchs coming from the intelligence services owe no particular allegiance and may be more interested in ensuring that the defense-industrial complex receives special treatment from the state.

Same for the holdovers from previous eras, who have suffered some attacks from the Putin government over the years, mainly in the form of expropriation through politically motivated court cases -- the state's main tool against the oligarchs.

They may be tiring of the uncertainty surrounding their property rights and have an incentive to demand different political institutions to protect their assets. Coaxing these groups to remain loyal requires the strategic use of rewards and repression.
...
First, the Russian government has spent incredible resources to directly compensate oligarchs for their financial losses.

Massive infrastructure contracts such as bridges and pipelines find their way into the hands of the connected elite, while import substitution policies in sectors such as agriculture help create enormous profits for investors. Government bailouts to the tune of tens of billions of dollars have stabilized balance sheets, while the state has also taken over toxic assets such as those gone unused after the Sochi Olympics."

There maybe a process in Russia where oligarchs forced to repatriate get more interested in regulations and a court system that protects their assets when they can no longer go to London. But claiming that there are no longer oligarchs in Russia is an alternative universe.

[Jun 28, 2019] How Russia's President Putin Explains The End Of The '[neo]liberal' Order

You can read the transcript without firewall at: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/60836
From Unz comment: "Tangentially related, but check out this great interview with Putin: https://www.ft.com/content/878d2344-98f0-11e9-9573-ee5cbb98ed36 The man's intelligence and seriousness is always impressive. The contrast with the nauseating rubbish that comes out of Western politicians could not be more striking, no wonder they hate the guy."
Notable quotes:
"... "One of the things we must do in Russia is never to forget that the purpose of the operation and existence of any government is to create a stable, normal, safe and predictable life for the people and to work towards a better future ." ..."
"... Putin has recognized the influence of our "regime change" wars on the immigrant problem in Europe. He addressed it forcefully in his UN General Assembly speech in 2015 where he asks NATO "Do you know what you've done?" with regards to creating the immigration problems in Europe. Watch here https://youtu.be/q13yzl6k6w0. ..."
"... From Putin's 2007 Munich speech to this 2015 UN speech and many interviews along the way, I've learned to pay attention to what Putin says. He seems to have an extremely good handle on world events and where they are leading. ..."
"... The neoliberal economic plan is to suck the wealth out of the working class and funnel it up to the top 10%, especially the 1%. How to keep the working class from noticing the theft? ..."
"... neo-liberalism (aka "crony capitalism") is about compromising the state and the society that it protects in favor of wealthy, powerful interests. Thus, at it's core, it's against the people. ..."
"... Look at the whine ass, crying, warmongering. narcissist psychopathic bullies we get. I am envious of the Russians having a leader they can be proud of. ..."
"... Been about 60 years since I have had a president to be proud of, back when America WAS great,,, and they killed him. ..."
Jun 28, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

How Russia's President Putin Explains The End Of The '[neo]Liberal' Order

Today the Financial Times published a long and wide ranging interview with the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin.

A full transcript is currently available through this link .

The talk is making some waves:

From the last link:

Putin said in an interview with the Financial Times Friday that the "[neo]liberal idea has become obsolete," and referred to Germany's decision to welcome more than one million refugees -- many fleeing savage urban warfare in Syria -- as a "cardinal mistake."

It is only the last part of the very long interview, where Putin indeed speaks of the 'obsolesce' of the '[neo]liberal idea', that seems to be of interest to the media. Most of the interview is in fact about other issues. The media also do not capture how his 'obsolete' argument is ingrained in the worldview Putin developed, and how it reflects in many of his answers.

Here are excerpts that show that the gist of Putin's 'obsolete' argument is not against the '[neo]liberal idea', but against what may be best called 'international (neo-)[liberalism'.

Putin explains why U.S. President Donald Trump was elected:

Has anyone ever given a thought to who actually benefited and what benefits were gained from globalisation, the development of which we have been observing and participating in over the past 25 years, since the 1990s?

China has made use of globalisation, in particular, to pull millions of Chinese out of poverty.

What happened in the US, and how did it happen? In the US, the leading US companies -- the companies, their managers, shareholders and partners -- made use of these benefits. [..] The middle class in the US has not benefited from globalisation; it was left out when this pie was divided up.

The Trump team sensed this very keenly and clearly, and they used this in the election campaign. It is where you should look for reasons behind Trump's victory, rather than in any alleged foreign interference.

On Syria:

Primarily, this concerns Syria, we have managed to preserve Syrian statehood, no matter what, and we have prevented Libya-style chaos there. And a worst-case scenario would spell out negative consequences for Russia.
...
I believe that the Syrian people should be free to choose their own future.
...
When we discussed this matter only recently with the previous US administration, we said, suppose Assad steps down today, what will happen tomorrow?

Your colleague did well to laugh, because the answer we got was very amusing. You cannot even imagine how funny it was. They said, "We don't know." But when you do not know what happens tomorrow, why shoot from the hip today? This may sound primitive, but this is how it is.

On 'western' interventionism and 'democracy promotion':

Incidentally, the president of France said recently that the American democratic model differs greatly from the European model. So there are no common democratic standards. And do you, well, not you, but our Western partners, want a region such as Libya to have the same democratic standards as Europe and the US? The region has only monarchies or countries with a system similar to the one that existed in Libya.

But I am sure that, as a historian, you will agree with me at heart. I do not know whether you will publicly agree with this or not, but it is impossible to impose current and viable French or Swiss democratic standards on North African residents who have never lived in conditions of French or Swiss democratic institutions. Impossible, isn't it? And they tried to impose something like that on them. Or they tried to impose something that they had never known or even heard of. All this led to conflict and intertribal discord. In fact, a war continues in Libya.

So why should we do the same in Venezuela? ...

Asked about the turn towards nationalism and more rightwing policies in the U.S. and many European countries, Putin names immigration as the primary problem:

What is happening in the West? What is the reason for the Trump phenomenon, as you said, in the US? What is happening in Europe as well? The ruling elites have broken away from the people. The obvious problem is the gap between the interests of the elites and the overwhelming majority of the people .

Of course, we must always bear this in mind. One of the things we must do in Russia is never to forget that the purpose of the operation and existence of any government is to create a stable, normal, safe and predictable life for the people and to work towards a better future.

There is also the so-called [neo]liberal idea, which has outlived its purpose. Our Western partners have admitted that some elements of the [neo]liberal idea, such as multiculturalism, are no longer tenable.

When the migration problem came to a head, many people admitted that the policy of multiculturalism is not effective and that the interests of the core population should be considered. Although those who have run into difficulties because of political problems in their home countries need our assistance as well. That is great, but what about the interests of their own population when the number of migrants heading to Western Europe is not just a handful of people but thousands or hundreds of thousands?
...
What am I driving at? Those who are concerned about this, ordinary Americans, they look at this and say, Good for [Trump], at least he is doing something, suggesting ideas and looking for a solution.

As for the [neo]liberal idea, its proponents are not doing anything. They say that all is well, that everything is as it should be. But is it? They are sitting in their cosy offices, while those who are facing the problem every day in Texas or Florida are not happy, they will soon have problems of their own. Does anyone think about them?

The same is happening in Europe. I discussed this with many of my colleagues, but nobody has the answer. The say they cannot pursue a hardline policy for various reasons. Why exactly? Just because. We have the law, they say. Well, then change the law!

We have quite a few problems of our own in this sphere as well.
...
In other words, the situation is not simple in Russia either, but we have started working to improve it. Whereas the [neo]liberal idea presupposes that nothing needs to be done. The migrants can kill, plunder and rape with impunity because their rights as migrants must be protected. What rights are these? Every crime must have its punishment.

So, the [neo]liberal idea has become obsolete. It has come into conflict with the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population. Or take the traditional values. I am not trying to insult anyone, because we have been condemned for our alleged homophobia as it is. But we have no problems with LGBT persons. God forbid, let them live as they wish. But some things do appear excessive to us.

They claim now that children can play five or six gender roles. I cannot even say exactly what genders these are, I have no notion. Let everyone be happy, we have no problem with that. But this must not be allowed to overshadow the culture, traditions and traditional family values of millions of people making up the core population.

While Putin says that [neo]liberalism is 'obsolete' he does not declare it dead. He sees it as part of a spectrum, but says that it should not have a leading role:

You know, it seems to me that purely [neo]liberal or purely traditional ideas have never existed. Probably, they did once exist in the history of humankind, but everything very quickly ends in a deadlock if there is no diversity. Everything starts to become extreme one way or another.

Various ideas and various opinions should have a chance to exist and manifest themselves, but at the same time interests of the general public, those millions of people and their lives, should never be forgotten. This is something that should not be overlooked.

Then, it seems to me, we would be able to avoid major political upheavals and troubles. This applies to the [neo]liberal idea as well. It does not mean (I think, this is ceasing to be a dominating factor) that it must be immediately destroyed. This point of view, this position should also be treated with respect.

They cannot simply dictate anything to anyone just like they have been attempting to do over the recent decades. Diktat can be seen everywhere: both in the media and in real life. It is deemed unbecoming even to mention some topics. But why?

For this reason, I am not a fan of quickly shutting, tying, closing, disbanding everything, arresting everybody or dispersing everybody. Of course, not. The [neo]liberal idea cannot be destroyed either; it has the right to exist and it should even be supported in some things. But you should not think that it has the right to be the absolute dominating factor. That is the point. Please.

There is much more in the interview - about Russia's relations with China, North Korea, the Skripal incident, the Russian economy, orthodoxy and the [neo]liberal attack on the Catholic church, multilateralism, arms control and the G-20 summit happening today.

But most '[neo]liberal' media will only point to the 'obsolete' part and condemn Putin for his rallying against immigration. They will paint him as being in an alt-right corner. But even the Dalai Lama, held up as an icon by many [neo]liberals, says that "Europe is for Europeans" and that immigrants should go back to their own countries.

Moreover, as Leonid Bershidsky points out , Putin himself is, with regards to the economy and immigration, a staunch [neo]liberal:

Putin's cultural conservatism is consistent and sincere.
...
On immigration, however, Putin is, in practice, more [neo]liberal than most European leaders. He has consistently resisted calls to impose visa requirements on Central Asian countries, an important source of migrant labor. Given Russia's shrinking working-age population and shortage of manual workers, Putin isn't about to stem that flow, even though Central Asians are Muslims – the kind of immigrants Merkel's opponents, including Trump, distrust and fear the most.

What Putin is aiming at, says Bershidsky, is the larger picture:

[W]hat Putin believes has outlived its usefulness isn't the [neo]liberal approach to migration or gender, nor is it [neo]liberal economics – even though Russia has, in recent months, seen something of a shift toward central planning. It is the [neo]liberal world order. Putin wants to keep any talk of values out of international politics and forge pragmatic relationships based on specific interests.
...
Putin's drive to put global politics on a more transactional basis isn't easy to defeat; it's a siren song, and the anti-immigrant, culturally conservative rhetoric is merely part of the music.

There is in my view no 'siren-song' there and nothing that has to be defeated. It is just that Putin is more willing to listen to the people than most of the western wannabe 'elite'.

The people's interest is simply not served well by globalization, [neo]liberal internationalism and interventionism. A transactional approach to international policies, with respect for basic human decency, is in almost every case better for them.

Politicians who want the people's votes should listen to them, and to Vladimir Putin.

Posted by b on June 28, 2019 at 01:50 PM | Permalink


pretzelattack , Jun 28, 2019 2:05:48 PM | 1

he makes a lot of sense on neo]liberalism. i guess this makes me a Russian agent.
ROBERT SYKES , Jun 28, 2019 2:15:18 PM | 2
It is hard to exaggerate Putin's accomplishments. He almost single-handedly saved Russia from the chaos of the Yeltsin era and near collapse. He has reestablished Russia as a major power. In the face of the American world rampage, he has helped stabilize MENA. By merging Russia's Eurasian Union with China's OBOR, he has helped to set Eurasia on a road to peaceful economic development. He has even managed to get China, India, and Pakistan talking to one another and cooperating in a variety of Eurasian projects.

I doubt he has more than 10 years left as a Russian leader, and maybe not even that. When he finally passes, he will be remembered as another Churchill or Bismarck.

Barovsky , Jun 28, 2019 2:16:21 PM | 3
Hmmm... Putin says the problem is 'multi-culturalism', 'migrants'? What kind of bullshit is this?

Putin doesn't mention that the migrant crisis was caused by Western resource wars, in Syria, Libya and elsewhere. That neoliberalism's impact on the poor countries has led to the vast exodus into Europe and N. America.

I have a feeling that Putin is playing the 'RT game', targeting those disaffected people, who have, in turn been the target of racist, islamaphobic propaganda by Western states, states that for obvious reasons (self-incrimination) won't state the real reasons for the exodus.

Alexander P , Jun 28, 2019 2:17:47 PM | 4
The page on [neo]liberalism in the classic sense the way it was envisioned in the late 18th and 19th century has long been passed. [neo]liberalism as in nurturing the human soul and intellect and allowing each individual to draw on their qualities and contribute to society with their fullest potential has been supplanted by material and physical liberties alone (Gender, Sexuality, Free Trade, Free Migration aka Free Movement of Slave Labor etc). What today is called [neo]liberalism, which I like to equate with neo-[neo]liberalism and social 'progressivism', are both parts of post-modernism, a societal model that is falling and failing under its own weight of hubris and inconsistencies.

The 'Do as thou wilt' mindset pushed on the people by the elites is deliberate with the only end goal of creating their 'ideal' world. A world not based on morality, spirituality and absolute truths, but relativism, materialism, loss of basic notions such as gender, family, belonging, in short loss of identity and purpose for mankind to obtain ever greater control over the masses. People are beginning to notice it, however, even if only subconsciously and start to push back against it. Putin knows this, and that is what he is laying out in his interview.

robjira , Jun 28, 2019 2:20:55 PM | 5
It is just that Putin is more willing to listen to the people than most of the western wannabe 'elite'.
Right on target, b; many thanks again. I'll be sure to read the entire transcript.
Joe Nobody , Jun 28, 2019 2:23:07 PM | 6
"They claim now that children can play five or six gender roles. I cannot even say exactly what genders these are, I have no notion. Let everyone be happy, we have no problem with that. But this must not be allowed to overshadow the culture, traditions and traditional family values of millions of people making up the core population.'

It has become la la land in the West in regards to gender...if a person wants to be gay, be gay, but let's not force everyone else to pretend reality is not reality..nature choose (dichotomy) for you to be male or female, sucks if that doesn't match your preferences but better luck next life...accept the reality you are in and let's not force everyone one else to pander to your delusions..

See also:

'Sex change' is biologically impossible," said McHugh. "People who undergo sex-reassignment surgery do not change from men to women or vice versa. Rather, they become feminized men or masculinized women. Claiming that this is civil-rights matter and encouraging surgical intervention is in reality to collaborate with and promote a mental disorder."

https://newspunch.com/john-hopkins-transgenderism-mental-illness/

karlof1 , Jun 28, 2019 2:27:19 PM | 7
I'm reading the Kremlin's transcript I linked to at the Gabbard thread where I posted a very short excerpt. I continue to read it but stopped to post another very short excerpt IMO is very important:

"One of the things we must do in Russia is never to forget that the purpose of the operation and existence of any government is to create a stable, normal, safe and predictable life for the people and to work towards a better future ." [My Emphasis]

Back to reading!

pretzelattack , Jun 28, 2019 2:27:47 PM | 8
@ 3--remind me who was fighting the west in syria, again?
vk , Jun 28, 2019 2:30:47 PM | 9
Here are excerpts that show that the gist of Putin's 'obsolete' argument is not against the '[neo]liberal idea', but against what may be best called 'international (neo-)liberalism'.

Just a matter of academic rigour: liberalism is extinct; neoliberalism is literally the "new liberalism", it's successor doctrine. Therefore, when we speak of "liberalism" after 1945, we're automatically referring to neoliberalism.

neoliberalism was created at Mont Pelerin in the 1930s, and its founding narrative states that everything that happened between/since the death of liberalism (1914-1918) and their own hegemony (1974-75) was an abortion of History and should've never happened. Hence the name "neoliberalism": the new liberalism (adapted to the system of fiat currency instead of the gold standard); the revival of liberalism; the return of liberalism (the [neo]liberals).

It's also important to highlight that neoliberalism is not an ideology, but a doctrine (which encompass mainly policies, but may also encompass ideals). It is wrong, for example, to compare socialism with neoliberalism (socialism as anti-neoliberalism): socialism is a scientific theory, and, as a social theory, encompasses a new socioeconomic system, a new set of ideologies, a new set of cultures and a new set of political doctrines.

Neoliberalism, therefore, is just one aspect with which the capitalist elites engage against socialism historically (in the doctrinal "front").

Zachary Smith , Jun 28, 2019 2:40:29 PM | 10
Generic question: How many of the 2020 candidates for US President could hold up their end of an interview with such knowledge and style?

Personally I was impressed by Putin's bluntness in stating Merkel had made a "cardinal mistake" when she opened the borders to the hundreds of thousands of illegals. And also this:

And we set ourselves a goal, a task -- which, I am certain, will be achieved -- to adjust pensions by a percentage that is above the inflation rate.

Compare that to the deliberate US policy if doing the exact opposite.

Alan McLemore , Jun 28, 2019 2:44:48 PM | 11
Can you imagine Trump writing like this? Or Obama, for that matter? Or Bush the Dimmer, or Clinton, or Bush the Spook, or Reagan, or Carter...Hell, you'd have to go back to JFK to find this sort of skill with language and deep analysis. And maybe not then. "They" say you get the leaders you deserve. In that case the Russians have been nice and we Americans have been very, very naughty.
dh , Jun 28, 2019 2:45:31 PM | 12
So now we wait for MSM 'analysts' to accuse Putin of disrupting the status quo and fomenting revolution.
lgfocus , Jun 28, 2019 2:47:56 PM | 13
Barovsky @3

Putin has recognized the influence of our "regime change" wars on the immigrant problem in Europe. He addressed it forcefully in his UN General Assembly speech in 2015 where he asks NATO "Do you know what you've done?" with regards to creating the immigration problems in Europe. Watch here https://youtu.be/q13yzl6k6w0.

From Putin's 2007 Munich speech to this 2015 UN speech and many interviews along the way, I've learned to pay attention to what Putin says. He seems to have an extremely good handle on world events and where they are leading.

Sally Snyder , Jun 28, 2019 2:48:51 PM | 14
If we really want to know who is interfering in the world's politics, particularly in Russia, we need look no further than this:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2019/06/the-national-endowment-for-democracy.html

American-style bought-and-paid-for democracy is not what the world needs.

JDL , Jun 28, 2019 2:53:21 PM | 15
In the west our governments call Mr Putin a thug, a gangster. But, I've never seen any of our politicians sit down and frankly and comprehensively lay out there views, goals, thoughts and musings. To be a good leader or politician you have do have vision, but in the west here i just see talking heads and soundbites, no soul.
wagelaborer , Jun 28, 2019 3:00:50 PM | 16
Oh, yeah, the "[neo]liberals" are indignant over his pointing out that mass migration causes social disruption.

He racist!

The neoliberal economic plan is to suck the wealth out of the working class and funnel it up to the top 10%, especially the 1%. How to keep the working class from noticing the theft?

How about divide and conquer? That seems to work. Take the native working class and divide it any way that works in that society. In the US, traditionally, it was race, but they added sex a couple of decades ago, then opened the doors to immigration and threw in national origin, and now, just for kicks and giggles, everybody gets to define their own gender and sexual preferences. Awesome. The US is now divided into 243,000,000 separate categories of specialness. And if you don't accept everything someone else tells you as gospel, you are a bigot of some sort (depending on their self identification. It varies.)

They divided up Yemen and Libya by tribes, Iraq and Yugoslavia by religion, it works the same in every country. When the US blows, it's going to be spectacular.

Norbert Salamon , Jun 28, 2019 3:03:51 PM | 17
You can read the transcript without firewall at: http://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/60836
karlof1 , Jun 28, 2019 3:08:13 PM | 18
I'm always impressed with Putin's grasp and breadth a la Chirac, whom he admires and emulates.

I posted a few excerpts I felt very important to this and the Gabbard threads; and at the latter I now insist this interview be read, not just suggested. That BigLie Media chose to pounce on Putin's critique of the [neo]liberal Idea displays its agenda and its extremely sorry attempt to discredit/smear Putin yet again. IMO, such media smeared itself. The give-and-take was very productive and informative, containing many lessons, a few of which I pointed to.

Putin's now at the G-20 and has already had one bilateral meeting with TrumpCo.

Sputnik offers this recap that includes links to its additional articles published during the day. Much has occurred, and Trump has yet to storm out. Some of the photos are priceless, the May/Putin handshake perhaps being the most telling.

AriusArmenian , Jun 28, 2019 3:10:18 PM | 19
That there is a Putin that today leads a great country like Russia seems like a miracle and he appeared at the very moment that Russia needed him.

Part of the West elite hate of Putin is that compared to them he gives off an aura of honesty and truthfulness that is absent from leaders in the West.

anon , Jun 28, 2019 3:17:57 PM | 20
The "multi-cultural" issue, to the extent that it is an issue, is only an issue as an effect of the actual problem. It is effectively a scapegoat. No one would care about "multiculturalism" if there was a fair economic order in which living standards were increasing.

The problem is that western capitalism wants it both ways, it sees the demographic problem it faces and it wants the labor of migrants but it does not want to improve society, it wants to keep its slice of the pie. Hence things will get economically worse while migrants will be an easy "cause" at which to point for the unthinking person. In that sense it becomes a problem insofar as it contributes to fascism, nothing else changing.

Putin is right about China utilizing globalization to the benefit of society while the west is only interested in globalization insofar as it opens markets and creates profit for those who own social production. But of course Marx predicted this all long ago, so it is not perhaps surprising that the Chinese Communist Party would be more intelligent here. There is nothing more symptomatic or demonstrative here than the fact that, while western countries debate over a few tens of thousands of immigrants being "too many", China is capable of such feats as eradicating poverty and building incredible and modern infrastructure while being a land of over a billion people.

wagelaborer , Jun 28, 2019 3:18:53 PM | 21
Reading over the Gabbard comments, I was reminded of another big divide in the US by party. Americans treat their parties like their tribes and viciously attack heretics of other tribes. The media fans the flames and keeps the "elections" going for years, without a break.

Meanwhile, our ruling overlords pick their next puppet, let us all "vote" on computerized machines, and then the talking heads announce the "winner".
And it all starts over.

Jackrabbit , Jun 28, 2019 3:26:44 PM | 22
neo-liberalism (aka "crony capitalism") is about compromising the state and the society that it protects in favor of wealthy, powerful interests. Thus, at it's core, it's against the people.

To compensate and distract from this corruption, the people are presented with the 'fruits' of a [neo]liberal society: quasi"-freedoms" like gender rights, civil rights, and human rights. I say "quasi-" because these rights are abridged by the powerful elite as they see fit (witness rendition and torture, pervasive surveillance, and Assange).

We fight among ourselves about walls and bathrooms as elites destroy the Commons. In this way, they pick our pockets and kneecap our ability to fight back at the same time.

DM , Jun 28, 2019 3:28:20 PM | 23
Generic question: How many of the 2020 candidates for US President could hold up their end of an interview with such knowledge and style?

You beat me to the punch. And the answer to your rhetorical question is, of course, NONE! Luckily for Americans, Ignorance is Bliss.

ken , Jun 28, 2019 3:31:05 PM | 24
Boy did Russia luck out. Yeltsin was smart picking this man.... Look at the whine ass, crying, warmongering. narcissist psychopathic bullies we get. I am envious of the Russians having a leader they can be proud of.

Been about 60 years since I have had a president to be proud of, back when America WAS great,,, and they killed him.

[Jun 27, 2019] Western News Agencies Mistranslate Iran's President Speech - It Is Not The First Time Such 'Error' Happens

Highly recommended!
Jun 27, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Western News Agencies Mistranslate Iran's President Speech - It Is Not The First Time Such 'Error' Happens JOHN CHUCKMAN , Jun 26, 2019 2:10:12 PM | 23

Yesterday the news agencies Associated Press and Reuters mistranslated a speech by Iran's President Hassan Rouhani. They made it sound as if Rouhani insulted U.S. President Donald Trump as 'mentally retarded'. Rouhani never said that.

The agencies previously made a similar 'mistake'.

A 2005 speech by then President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmedinejad was famously misquoted. Israel should be wiped off map, says Iran's president headlined the Guardian at that time. Others used similar headlines. The New York Times wrote :

Iran's conservative new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said Wednesday that Israel must be "wiped off the map" and that attacks by Palestinians would destroy it, the ISNA press agency reported.
...
Referring to comments by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the leader of the Islamic revolution, Ahmadinejad said, "As the imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map."

The statement was used by the G.W. Bush administration and others to whip up hostility against Iran :

Ever since he spoke at an anti-Zionism conference in Tehran last October, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran has been known for one statement above all. As translated by news agencies at the time, it was that Israel "should be wiped off the map." Iran's nuclear program and sponsorship of militant Muslim groups are rarely mentioned without reference to the infamous map remark.

Here, for example, is R. Nicholas Burns, the under secretary of state for political affairs, recently: "Given the radical nature of Iran under Ahmadinejad and its stated wish to wipe Israel off the map of the world, it is entirely unconvincing that we could or should live with a nuclear Iran."

However Ahmedinejad never used those words :

"Ahmadinejad did not say he was going to wipe Israel off the map because no such idiom exists in Persian," remarked Juan Cole, a Middle East specialist at the University of Michigan and critic of American policy who has argued that the Iranian president was misquoted. "He did say he hoped its regime, i.e., a Jewish-Zionist state occupying Jerusalem, would collapse." Since Iran has not "attacked another country aggressively for over a century," he said in an e-mail exchange, "I smell the whiff of war propaganda."

Jonathan Steele, a columnist for the left-leaning Guardian newspaper in London, recently laid out the case this way: "The Iranian president was quoting an ancient statement by Iran's first Islamist leader, the late Ayatollah Khomeini, that 'this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time,' just as the Shah's regime in Iran had vanished. He was not making a military threat. He was calling for an end to the occupation of Jerusalem at some point in the future. The 'page of time' phrase suggests he did not expect it to happen soon."

Despite the above and other explanations the false "wipe Israel off the map" translation never died. Years later it still reappeared in Guardian pieces which required it to issue multiple corrections and clarifications.

Now, as the Trump administration is pushing for war on Iran, a similar mistranslation miraculously happened. It were again 'western' news agencies who lightened the fire:

The Associated Press @AP - 7:52 utc - 25 Jun 2019

BREAKING: Iran's President Rouhani mocks President Trump, says the White House is "afflicted by mental retardation."

Farsi speakers pointed out that the Rouhani never used the Farsi word for "retarded":

Sina Toossi @SinaToossi - 13:49 utc - 25 Jun 2019

A lot of Western media is reporting that Iranian President Rouhani called Trump "mentally retarded." This is inaccurate.
Regarding Trump, he just said "no wise person would take such an action [the new sanctions imposed]."

Reza H. Akbari @rezahakbari - 15:58 utc - 25 Jun 2019

Absolutely incorrect. There is a word for "retarded" in Persian & Rouhani didn't use it. Prior to him saying "mental disability" he even prefaced his comment by saying "mental weakness." Those who speak Persian can listen & judge for themselves. Here is a video clip of Rouhani's comment: link

But the damage was already done:

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump - 14:42 utc - 25 Jun 2019

Iran leadership doesn't understand the words "nice" or "compassion," they never have. Sadly, the thing they do understand is Strength and Power, and the USA is by far the most powerful Military Force in the world, with 1.5 Trillion Dollars invested over the last two years alone..

....The wonderful Iranian people are suffering, and for no reason at all. Their leadership spends all of its money on Terror, and little on anything else. The U.S. has not forgotten Iran's use of IED's & EFP's (bombs), which killed 2000 Americans, and wounded many more...

.... Iran's very ignorant and insulting statement , put out today, only shows that they do not understand reality. Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force. In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration. No more John Kerry & Obama!

Reuters , which also peddled the mistranslation, gleefully connected the dots :

Cont. reading: Western News Agencies Mistranslate Iran's President Speech - It Is Not The First Time Such 'Error' Happens

Excellent summary of how malevolence works in many subtle ways.

Jonathan Gillispie , Jun 26, 2019 1:11:48 PM | 4

Trump was right more than he realizes that the press is the enemy of the people. They goad nations into unnecessary and bloody war.

Don Wiscacho , Jun 26, 2019 1:32:54 PM | 13
This follows in the footsteps of a rich history of mistranslating and obfuscating which is rarely, if ever, corrected by our Guardians of Truth. I will not hold my breath for AP to pull its tweet out issue any sort of correction. The war machine is revving up, truth be damned.

To add a few obfuscations to the list of mistranslations: the Palestinian intifada. Sounds scary, no? Violence against the benevolent Israelis. Because what does intifada actually mean? Uprising, which by its nature suggests oppression, something which just 'can't' be happening in Palestine, hence the need for intifada.
Or take jihad, 'a pillor' of Islam. Again, very scary, as jihad 'means' suicide bombs and killing infidels. What the Guardians of Truth never mention is that jihad in Islam is a very, very broad term that includes such things as helping the poor or less fortunate, educating oneself, quiet reflection, and prayer. Jihad as meaning 'holy war' was a sense meaning derived much later than the founding of the religion, as a reaction to very real threats to believers of the time, the Crusades and Mongol invasions. That this specific sense meaning was essentially confined to history afterward, only to be revived by Wahhabists and takfiris, and one not believed in by the vast majority of Muslims, is never explained. 'Cause all them crazy Muslims believe in jihad!

In all cases where the boogeyman of the day needs concocting, rest assured the 'mainstream' press, with AP in the lead, will be there to build a gleaming edifice mistruths, omissions, and lies.

Uncle Jon , Jun 26, 2019 1:36:27 PM | 14
Ahmadinejad's true and correct translation reads: "Zionism should be wiped from the pages of history."

Now who can argue with that.

jared , Jun 26, 2019 1:43:18 PM | 17
In approximately 17 months, the american public can make strides to fix this mess.
I guess that is a long time for the iranians, but still maybe best option.
dh , Jun 26, 2019 1:51:03 PM | 18
Just in case there is any doubt in American minds here is the Israeli Ambassador to the UN. He thinks the sanctions are working well. Iran is panicking.

Good job guys. Keep squeezing.

https://www.foxnews.com/world/israeli-ambassador-iran-panicking-increased-us-sanctions

wagelaborer , Jun 26, 2019 2:43:01 PM | 31
They mistranslate Trump all the time, or they spin what he says. It is amazing to watch.

For instance, at the Helsinki meeting, where he met with Putin and they discussed multiple topics, but the press ignored any topic but demanding that Trump denounce Putin and "admit" that Putin helped him steal the election, and that he was therefore not the legitimate president.

Obviously, Trump was not going to say that, so he said that he was the legitimate president, and the mockingbird media spun that into "the president is a traitor to America because he said that 17 national intelligence agencies are lying".

michaelj72 , Jun 26, 2019 4:02:36 PM | 40
.....The ministers lie, the professors lie, the television lies,
the priests lie .
These lies mean that the country wants to die.
Lie after lie starts out into the prairie grass,
like enormous caravans of Conestoga wagons .

And a long desire for death flows out, guiding the
enormous caravans from beneath,
stringing together the vague and foolish words.
It is a desire to eat death,
to gobble it down,
to rush on it like a cobra with mouth open
It's a desire to take death inside,
to feel it burning inside, pushing out velvety hairs,
like a clothes brush in the intestines --
This is the thrill that leads the President on to lie....


Robert Bly, The Teeth Mother Naked at Last, originally published by City Lights books 1970

Virgile , Jun 26, 2019 5:10:59 PM | 48
Maybe the translation is inacurate but the message had the expected reaction from Trump: Tweet furor.
It is good that Trump realizes that he does not have the monopole of insulting leaders.
The USA is a country that since WWII has never won any war. How could it give a lesson to Iran who won a 8 years war against Iraq despite the support that the USA, the Gulf countries and Western countries gave to Iraq.
Loud noise and indecisive actions: The disaster of the USA foreign policy
Abx , Jun 26, 2019 5:20:42 PM | 49
I remember watching CNN translate Khamenei's "Nuclear Power" to "Nuclear Weapons" right on live TV in 2013. This is not new.
/div> Virgile "The USA is a country that since WWII has never won any war". The US won a war against Grenada [population 95,000] I would go so far as to say they whupped ass. True there were only 64 Cuban soldiers there [security guards] All members of the US armed forces were involved and 5,000 medals were given out. Ra Ra USA.

Posted by: Harry Law , Jun 26, 2019 5:29:37 PM | 50

Virgile "The USA is a country that since WWII has never won any war". The US won a war against Grenada [population 95,000] I would go so far as to say they whupped ass. True there were only 64 Cuban soldiers there [security guards] All members of the US armed forces were involved and 5,000 medals were given out. Ra Ra USA.

Posted by: Harry Law | Jun 26, 2019 5:29:37 PM | 50

Kooshy , Jun 26, 2019 5:45:20 PM | 53
b-
I am a Persian speaker and is true that president Rouhani never said Trump is retarded, we now have way passed the point that insults can matte. Nevertheless it was better if President Rouhani would have called Trump and the rest of the ruling US regime like what the whole world has now come to understand, a true and unique collection of retards on a shining hill.
0use4msm , Jun 26, 2019 6:24:08 PM | 57
Reminds me of when Nikita Khruschev attempted to explain in 1956 his view that that capitalism would destroy itself from within by quoting Marx: "What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers." This was notoriously mistranslated into English as "We will bury you", as if the Soviets were out to kill all westerners themselves. Of course this mistranslated was quoted time and time again in western media, fueling Cold War paranoia for years to come.
juandonjuan , Jun 26, 2019 6:31:20 PM | 59
blue @ 19 The news media are wedded to the state which is wedded to the banking system which are all subsidiaries of global capitalism. They don't need to correct themselves. They may have the occasional family feud, but they're all on the same team. They will admit to "mistakes" being made, but only long after it makes no difference.
We have a FREE PRESS in America-Pravda on the Potomac, Izvestia on the Hudson.
Have a look sometime at the Venn Diagrams that portray the overlapping/interlocking memberships of the regulatory/financial/corporate leadership class.
But more than that, whatever the idea of a free press once meant, with the rise of digital corporate networking "platforms", not subject to any accountability, the barriers to entry of any competing narratives to the mainstream discourse are nearly insurmountable. Except maybe through subversion?
What is missing is a true public 'Marketplace of Ideas'
ADKC , Jun 26, 2019 7:00:39 PM | 63
The deliberate mis-translations of non-english speaking "adversaries" of the US is common in the msm. Putin is frequently and deliberately mis-translated to make him appear dictatorial and aggressive.
pj , Jun 26, 2019 7:11:03 PM | 65
I listened to Rohani's speech. He said that if JCPOA is bad, it is bad for all parties; and if it is good, it is good for all parties. They cannot expect for JCPOA to be bad for them and good for us. They withdrew from the JCPOA and expect us to stay with the agreement. This is what he meant when he said: White house has been affected by mental inability and mental disability.
Peter AU 1 , Jun 26, 2019 7:26:38 PM | 72
ADKC
Iran is at war. US and gang are trying to destroy Iran as a nation. The biggest asset in times of war is deception. Used by both the attacker and the attacked.
karlof1 , Jun 26, 2019 7:39:51 PM | 75
Khamenei has Tweeted a series of tweets, and his scribe has posted what he tweeted along with other words at his website in English so there's no mistranslation. Here's one of the series of 6:

"The graceful Iranian nation has been accused & insulted by world's most vicious regime, the U.S., which is a source of wars, conflicts & plunder. Iranian nation won't give up over such insults. Iranians have been wronged by oppressive sanctions but not weakened & remain powerful."

They were made 14+ hours ago, yet I'm the first to post notice of them here?!

goldhoarder , Jun 26, 2019 8:39:33 PM | 80
The USA government excels at propaganda. It always has. Doesn't matter if it babies and incubators, mistranslated leaders of targeted countries, or supposed mass graves. BTW... what ever happened to all those mass graves in Iraq? HRW was going to dig them all up and document them. Hundreds of thousands. Most Americans I talk to still believe in this. Was it true? Saddam himself had claimed it wasn't true. That it was Kurdish propaganda to gain sympathy. He claimed the Anfal campaign was only to push the Kurds off the border so he could control arms smuggling and that casualties were minimal. Looking into the search. They are graves with a few hundred here and there but where are the rest of the bodies? If you google Iraq mass graves there are more articles about ISIS mass graves than the Anfal campaign. There were people killed in the South during the Shia uprising after the first gulf war than there was for the Anfal campaign. Was that a lie too? Nearly every American believes it still.

PM admits graves claim 'untrue'
Peter Beaumont, foreign affairs editor

Sat 17 Jul 2004 19.35 EDT First published on Sat 17 Jul 2004 19.35 EDT
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2004/jul/18/iraq.iraq1

Downing Street has admitted to The Observer that repeated claims by Tony Blair that '400,000 bodies had been found in Iraqi mass graves' is untrue, and only about 5,000 corpses have so far been uncovered.
The claims by Blair in November and December of last year, were given widespread credence, quoted by MPs and widely published, including in the introduction to a US government pamphlet on Iraq's mass graves.

In that publication - Iraq's Legacy of Terror: Mass Graves produced by USAID, the US government aid distribution agency, Blair is quoted from 20 November last year: 'We've already discovered, just so far, the remains of 400,000 people in mass graves.'

Arata , Jun 26, 2019 10:40:53 PM | 98
Anyone who can undestand Farsi ( Persian language) can litsen Rouhani's speech. He did not name "Trump", he said " White House".
I have been watching CNN news channel who said that Rouhani made a personal attack on Trump! That was not true.

There was no personal attack on Rouhani's speech.
Importantly, the context of the speech and conclusion is diffent from western media reports and western translations.

I would like give few links of some Iranian news agencies, reporting Rouhani's speech for International use, as reference here:

1) FrasNews Agency

Rouhani said:

"These days, we see the White House in confusion and we are witnessing undue and ridiculous words and adoption of a scandalous policy,"

..."The US sanctions are crime against humanity. The US recent measures indicate their ultimate failure. The new US measures are the result of their frustration and confusion over Iran. The White House has mental disability,"


http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980405000859

2) ISNA English

"They are having mental problems and today, the White House has become mentally paralysed and don't know what to do".
https://en.isna.ir/news/98040402431/Sanctioning-Supreme-leader-of-Iran-ridiculous-President-Rouhani

ISAN French

Le président iranien, affirmant que les États-Unis, malgré de nombreuses tentatives de pression exercées par divers leviers sur l'Iran, ont échoué dans leurs objectifs, a poursuivi : "Une étrange frustration et une grande confusion règnent au sein du Corps dirigeant de la Maison Blanche. Ils se sentent déçus car ils n'ont obtenu aucun résultat, ils s'attendaient à voir l'Iran brisé dans l'espace de quelques mois, mais ils ont fini par constater que les Iraniens agissent de plus en plus fermement, de manière plus créative que jamais ".

https://fr.isna.ir/news/98040402385/Les-actions-américaines-sont-inhumaines-Rohani

3) TasnimNews

The president also decried the new US sanctions against Iran, saying the White House has been thrown into confusion as its officials are making "inappropriate and ridiculous" comments and adopting the policy of disgrace.

https://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/2019/06/26/2041386/iran-urges-us-europe-to-return-to-jcpoa

Paora , Jun 26, 2019 11:18:41 PM | 101
0use4msm @54

Wow that's amazing! Probably the best known Khrushchev 'quote', presented as evidence of his boorish nature, is an intentional mistranslation. And the Marx quote is not exactly obscure, it's from Chapter 1 of the Communist Manifesto for eff sake! At least it makes a change from the 'lets just make things up' cottage industry of Lenin & Stalin 'quotes'.

Hoarsewhisperer , Jun 26, 2019 11:23:51 PM | 102
"A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes."
Mark Twain (or some other student of wisdom)
...
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/26/books/famous-misquotations.html
Apr 26, 2017 - Mark Twain is one of many who gets credit for famous quotations he never wrote or said. ... credited with saying "a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes" ... Proverbial wisdom, in which a quotation is elevated to the status of a proverb because its source is unknown;.
Circe , Jun 27, 2019 10:19:52 AM | 136 Noirette , Jun 27, 2019 10:50:17 AM | 137
Mistranslations are a classical cheap n easy way to sway opinion.

Interesting that the examples b quotes, and most of those promoted currently by the US-uk-eu, afaik, understand, are intended to project into the voice of Iranians, Russians, Syrians, utterances, declarations, to be labelled insults, slander, threats, impropriety, even rage, coming from these parties, as

there is nothing much else to display!

(Spanish is too comprehensible > does not apply to Mexico, Cuba, S. America.)

Often cultural matters play a role, but are ignored. Ahmadinejad was endlessly vilified and mocked by the W-MSM for saying what was translated as there are no homosexuals in Iran (no idea what the original formulation was) - which 'obviously' can't be 'true.'

Besides homosexuality being unacceptable in conservative rule-books, Iran is, or was (to 2010) above (or with) Thailand the no. 1. practitioner / destination for sex change operations. Iran had super educated docs, great hospitals, etc.

Ahmadinejad was relying on a kind of fundamentalist principle where the 'soul' or the 'essential quality' of a person is what is tantamount, what counts above all. The physical manifestation, here the human body, can be transformed to be in harmony with the deep-felt or 'innately' ascribed orientation or 'spirit.' So, no homosexuals in Iran, or only a few who are in 'transition.' (Not denying real suffering of gays in Iran, other story.)

The W, in first place the US, is doing precisely the same with its 'gender change' promotion, as applied to children and young teens. Here too, 'feelings' and 'identity' override 'nature' : the physical can be overturned, overcome, fixed.

Such cultural issues play a role in mis-translations, deliberate or not. It may appear that I wandered far off topic, I just picked a topical comprehensible ex. Sharia law is more complex..

[Jun 27, 2019] Putin Eviscerates [neo]liberalism, Calling It Obsolete, In Wide-Ranging Interview Ahead Of G-20

Notable quotes:
"... Putin said: "[neo]liberals] cannot simply dictate anything to anyone just like they have been attempting to do over the recent decades." ..."
"... Putin said: "What happened in the US, and how did it happen? In the US, the leading US companies -- the companies, their managers, shareholders and partners -- made use of these benefits. The middle class hardly benefited from globalization. The Trump team sensed this very keenly and clearly, and they used this in the election campaign. It is where you should look for reasons behind Trump's victory, rather than in any alleged foreign interference." ..."
Jun 27, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

In an exclusive interview with FT on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin touted the growth of national populism in Europe and America while saying that [neo]liberalism is "spent" as an ideology. He spoke on numerous issues at length, which we have broken down here by topic.

[neo]liberal Governments

On the eve of the G20 summit, Putin said that the "[neo]liberal idea" had "outlived its purpose" as the public has turned against immigration and multiculturalism. His push back on [neo]liberalism aligns Putin with leaders like US president Donald Trump, Hungary's Viktor Orban, Matteo Salvini in Italy, and the Brexit insurgency in the UK.

Putin said: "[neo]liberals] cannot simply dictate anything to anyone just like they have been attempting to do over the recent decades."

Immigration and Refugees

He said that Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to admit over 1 million refugees to German was a "cardinal mistake" and praised President Trump for trying to stop migrants and drugs from Mexico.

Putin said: "This [neo]liberal idea presupposes that nothing needs to be done. That migrants can kill, plunder and rape with impunity because their rights as migrants have to be protected. Every crime must have its punishment. The [neo]liberal idea has become obsolete. It has come into conflict with the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population."

On Election Interference

While Putin has been targeted in the U.S., namely for attempting to intervene in the country's elections, Putin denied it and called the idea "mythical interference".

Putin said: "What happened in the US, and how did it happen? In the US, the leading US companies -- the companies, their managers, shareholders and partners -- made use of these benefits. The middle class hardly benefited from globalization. The Trump team sensed this very keenly and clearly, and they used this in the election campaign. It is where you should look for reasons behind Trump's victory, rather than in any alleged foreign interference."

The China/U.S. Trade War

With regard to the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China, Putin called the situation "explosive", blaming the issue on American unilateralism.

"Our relations with China are not motivated by timeserving political or any other considerations. China is showing loyalty and flexibility to both its partners and opponents. Maybe this is related to the historical features of Chinese philosophy, their approach to building relations," Putin said.

A New Nuclear Arms Race

He also expressed concern about a new nuclear arms race.

"The cold war was a bad thing . . . but there were at least some rules that all participants in international communication more or less adhered to or tried to follow. Now, it seems that there are no rules at all," Putin said.

... ... ...

The Russian Economy

Speaking about his own country, Putin said: "Real wages are not in decline in Russia. On the contrary, they are starting to pick up. The macroeconomic situation in the country is stable. As for the central bank, yes, it is engaged in a gradual improvement of our financial system: inefficient and small-capacity companies, as well as semi-criminal financial organizations are leaving the market, and this is large-scale and complicated work."

... ...

[Jun 27, 2019] Russia stands in full solidarity with the friendly people of Iran and its government. The US government should consider where such a reckless course of action might lead. Not only could it destabilise the Middle East, it threatens to undermine the entire system of international security

Jun 27, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Jun 26, 2019 7:16:58 PM | 70

Verbal electronic arrows have increased the amount of overall use of bandwidth but Trump's King's still I check and must be protected, his "no boots on ground" is woefully insufficient. As was discussed toward the end of the "Seeking Coalition" thread, how will Iran respond to what now seems likely as a limited strike? Will it lash out at Trump's King and take hostages beforehand either in Iraq, Kuwait or Afghanistan? Will Trump refrain from acting until or during the G-20. Will Iran wait until the targets cross into its airspace? As you can see the possibilities and their variables are as Pft @44 alludes to--almost infinite.

What was the substance of Bolton's report to Trump from Jerusalem and was it truthful? Does Trump understand what it means for Iran to be considered under the aegis of Russia and China, or does it matter since they remain the ultimate targets?

Sigh... Too many questions and not enough information to even provide an educated WAG. For those that missed it, here's the statement issued yesterday by Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs after the Jerusalem talks with Patrushev ended. It concludes:

"Russia stands in full solidarity with the friendly people of Iran and its government. The US government should consider where such a reckless course of action might lead. Not only could it destabilise the Middle East, it threatens to undermine the entire system of international security."

I note Patrushev's absence from the meeting earlier today of Russia's Security Council . Surely his report from Jerusalem was the primary topic.

[Jun 26, 2019] The first rule of political hypocrisy: Justify your actions by the need to protect the weak and vulnerable

Highly recommended!
Jun 26, 2019 | www.unz.com

...If you bomb Syria, do not admit you did it to install your puppet regime or to lay a pipeline. Say you did it to save the Aleppo kids gassed by Assad the Butcher. If you occupy Afghanistan, do not admit you make a handsome profit smuggling heroin; say you came to protect the women. If you want to put your people under total surveillance, say you did it to prevent hate groups target the powerless and diverse.

Remember: you do not need to ask children, women or immigrants whether they want your protection. If pushed, you can always find a few suitable profiles to look at the cameras and repeat a short text. With all my dislike for R2P (Responsibility to Protect) hypocrisy, I can't possibly blame the allegedly protected for the disaster caused by the unwanted protectors.

[Jun 25, 2019] 'Wars not diminishing' Putin's iconic 2007 Munich speech (FULL VIDEO)

It is interesting to listen to this speech again in view of Iran crisis, attempt to launch a regime change in Venezuela and trade war with Chins lunched by Trump.
Notable quotes:
"... McCain and some other Western officials could barely contain themselves in there. They never forgive Putin for that speech. This was the decisive moment relations between the US. and Russia started to deteriorate. ..."
"... The Wikileaks cables showed how aggressively NATO was working to bring in Georgia and Ukraine into the alliance despite what was being said in public during that time. ..."
"... Look at the dirty bitch Victoria Nuland smirking at 11:43 . She knew what the US was about to do in Ukraine. ..."
"... this was the best anti NWO speech ever. The moment I saw it back then I knew Russia will have many problems coming for the NWO scum. You know what happened right? ..."
Feb 10, 2017 | www.youtube.com

On February 10, 2007, Vladimir Putin delivered his keynote speech at the Munich Security Conference, challenging the post-Cold War establishment. RT looks back a decade to see how accurate his ideas were.


Gerry Hiles , 2 years ago

Greetings from Australia. Viva Vladimir Vladimirovich, the only World leader I have ever truly admired ... I am not alone in this by any means.

Ryan Synyxh , 2 years ago

McCain and some other Western officials could barely contain themselves in there. They never forgive Putin for that speech. This was the decisive moment relations between the US. and Russia started to deteriorate.

The Wikileaks cables showed how aggressively NATO was working to bring in Georgia and Ukraine into the alliance despite what was being said in public during that time.

Wutang Clan , 2 years ago

Putin is no saint, but he is the only world leader that gets sincere admiration from the people all over the globe including me.

Nettythe1st , 1 year ago

'The Putin Interviews', where Putin is interviewed by Oliver Stone from 2015 - 2017, brought me here. This iconic speech was referred to by Oliver Stone in the interviews. The speech was certainly worth watching and I highly recommend watching 'The Putin Interviews'. You won't regret it.

Coleen StarlightPH , 2 years ago (edited)

I'm not Russian but he is my hero, my President and my dad!!! ^_^ And proud of him. This memorable speech was one of my favorites! He stood for what he believes in and he stayed true to it.


Doggy Dog Doggy , 2 years ago

wow amazing speech. the fact that he said it all right to the nwo satanic minions faces is heroic at its least and legendary at its most.

Zaki Aminu , 1 year ago (edited)

Hahahahahahahahaha! You can see the Western leaders here were in a state of profound SHOCK as they listened to this speech. They thought he was going to kow-tow to the West - and he did the EXACT OPPOSITE! Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

Stud Baird , 2 years ago div class="com

ment-renderer-text-content expanded"> wow awesome speech. words from a outstanding leader. Acting and standing for true Peace and prosperity. Unlike the UN and NWO whos only goal is to continue to create terrorism. create fear and drain any communities from being independent and free from there False saftey taxes and sanctions. not using the world currency exchange means there unable to falsely influence the world markets

John Schmit , 3 weeks ago

Apartheid Israel and warmongering US political elites are the primary existential threats to all of humanity.🤮😩

Don Sonny , 2 years ago div cl

American people should be highly alarmed at NATO actions , they are inching closer to Russia's borders trying to encircle Russia with military bases and missiles , this is done in preparation of an attack of the country being encircled, nato is lying and misleading its citizens and they dont worry about consequence of such a scenario which surely would trigger the third world war, American people and all nato member citizens should strongly push back against this , we need to consider the outcome of a nuclear power attacking and invading another nuclear power

Russia would surely use nuclear weapons to defend its country if overwhelmed, millions could perish in a day, we have to condemn and protest Nato plans for another world war before its too late, it will be our families suffering and dying not the elite that is pushing this conflict

GERRARD2083 , 2 years ago

Great speech from a great man, a man who truly loves fairness and democracy not the sugar coated type offered by the west. Did anyone notice that by 9:50 into his speech, a good number of them wanted out? McCain at some point couldn't even bring himself to look at Putin, What a pitiful fellow McCain is!!!!!

Sali Mall , 1 month ago
This speech needs to be re-posted . and disseminated .. it is very very current , more than ever... there is a section of world who simply do not know .
ED- Bitcoin SV Channel , 2 years ago div tabindex="0" role="ar

10 years passed and what Putin said back then is exactly what's happened and is still happening. I have great respect for Russia and I have no respect for US and their allies. Whole NATO sucks, is obsolete and is acting exactly like world's terrorists!

I have no respect for the majority of the American people as they are as responsible for the wars their corrupt capitalism controlled US government has done. American people went along with it for all these decades and they fought these wars for them anyway, they did not care if they bully other nations, kill innocent people...

daddymoon666 , 2 years ago

This guy has a better understanding of American history than that of Trump...

M S , 2 years ago

Look at the dirty bitch Victoria Nuland smirking at 11:43 . She knew what the US was about to do in Ukraine.

GANEVMUSIC , 2 years ago

this was the best anti NWO speech ever. The moment I saw it back then I knew Russia will have many problems coming for the NWO scum. You know what happened right?

[Jun 23, 2019] Neoliberalism promised freedom instead it delivers stifling control by George Monbiot

Notable quotes:
"... By rolling back the state, neoliberalism was supposed to have allowed autonomy and creativity to flourish. Instead, it has delivered a semi-privatised authoritarianism more oppressive than the system it replaced. ..."
"... Workers find themselves enmeshed in a Kafkaesque bureaucracy , centrally controlled and micromanaged. Organisations that depend on a cooperative ethic – such as schools and hospitals – are stripped down, hectored and forced to conform to suffocating diktats. The introduction of private capital into public services – that would herald a glorious new age of choice and openness – is brutally enforced. The doctrine promises diversity and freedom but demands conformity and silence. ..."
"... Their problem is that neoliberal theology, as well as seeking to roll back the state, insists that collective bargaining and other forms of worker power be eliminated (in the name of freedom, of course). So the marketisation and semi-privatisation of public services became not so much a means of pursuing efficiency as an instrument of control. ..."
"... Public-service workers are now subjected to a panoptical regime of monitoring and assessment, using the benchmarks von Mises rightly warned were inapplicable and absurd. The bureaucratic quantification of public administration goes far beyond an attempt at discerning efficacy. It has become an end in itself. ..."
Apr 10, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

Thousands of people march through London to protest against underfunding and privatisation of the NHS. Photograph: Wiktor Szymanowicz/Barcroft Images M y life was saved last year by the Churchill Hospital in Oxford, through a skilful procedure to remove a cancer from my body . Now I will need another operation, to remove my jaw from the floor. I've just learned what was happening at the hospital while I was being treated. On the surface, it ran smoothly. Underneath, unknown to me, was fury and tumult. Many of the staff had objected to a decision by the National Health Service to privatise the hospital's cancer scanning . They complained that the scanners the private company was offering were less sensitive than the hospital's own machines. Privatisation, they said, would put patients at risk. In response, as the Guardian revealed last week , NHS England threatened to sue the hospital for libel if its staff continued to criticise the decision.

The dominant system of political thought in this country, which produced both the creeping privatisation of public health services and this astonishing attempt to stifle free speech, promised to save us from dehumanising bureaucracy. By rolling back the state, neoliberalism was supposed to have allowed autonomy and creativity to flourish. Instead, it has delivered a semi-privatised authoritarianism more oppressive than the system it replaced.

Workers find themselves enmeshed in a Kafkaesque bureaucracy , centrally controlled and micromanaged. Organisations that depend on a cooperative ethic – such as schools and hospitals – are stripped down, hectored and forced to conform to suffocating diktats. The introduction of private capital into public services – that would herald a glorious new age of choice and openness – is brutally enforced. The doctrine promises diversity and freedom but demands conformity and silence.

Much of the theory behind these transformations arises from the work of Ludwig von Mises. In his book Bureaucracy , published in 1944, he argued that there could be no accommodation between capitalism and socialism. The creation of the National Health Service in the UK, the New Deal in the US and other experiments in social democracy would lead inexorably to the bureaucratic totalitarianism of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.

He recognised that some state bureaucracy was inevitable; there were certain functions that could not be discharged without it. But unless the role of the state is minimised – confined to defence, security, taxation, customs and not much else – workers would be reduced to cogs "in a vast bureaucratic machine", deprived of initiative and free will.

By contrast, those who labour within an "unhampered capitalist system" are "free men", whose liberty is guaranteed by "an economic democracy in which every penny gives a right to vote". He forgot to add that some people, in his capitalist utopia, have more votes than others. And those votes become a source of power.

His ideas, alongside the writings of Friedrich Hayek , Milton Friedman and other neoliberal thinkers, have been applied in this country by Margaret Thatcher, David Cameron, Theresa May and, to an alarming extent, Tony Blair. All of those have attempted to privatise or marketise public services in the name of freedom and efficiency, but they keep hitting the same snag: democracy. People want essential services to remain public, and they are right to do so.

If you hand public services to private companies, either you create a private monopoly, which can use its dominance to extract wealth and shape the system to serve its own needs – or you introduce competition, creating an incoherent, fragmented service characterised by the institutional failure you can see every day on our railways. We're not idiots, even if we are treated as such. We know what the profit motive does to public services.

The Amazon warehouse in Swansea – the company has patented a wristband that can track workers' movements.

Photograph: Matt Cardy/Getty Images

So successive governments decided that if they could not privatise our core services outright, they would subject them to "market discipline". Von Mises repeatedly warned against this approach. "No reform could transform a public office into a sort of private enterprise," he cautioned. The value of public administration "cannot be expressed in terms of money". "Government efficiency and industrial efficiency are entirely different things."

"Intellectual work cannot be measured and valued by mechanical devices." "You cannot 'measure' a doctor according to the time he employs in examining one case." They ignored his warnings.

Their problem is that neoliberal theology, as well as seeking to roll back the state, insists that collective bargaining and other forms of worker power be eliminated (in the name of freedom, of course). So the marketisation and semi-privatisation of public services became not so much a means of pursuing efficiency as an instrument of control.

Public-service workers are now subjected to a panoptical regime of monitoring and assessment, using the benchmarks von Mises rightly warned were inapplicable and absurd. The bureaucratic quantification of public administration goes far beyond an attempt at discerning efficacy. It has become an end in itself.

Its perversities afflict all public services. Schools teach to the test , depriving children of a rounded and useful education. Hospitals manipulate waiting times, shuffling patients from one list to another. Police forces ignore some crimes, reclassify others, and persuade suspects to admit to extra offences to improve their statistics . Universities urge their researchers to write quick and superficial papers , instead of deep monographs, to maximise their scores under the research excellence framework.

As a result, public services become highly inefficient for an obvious reason: the destruction of staff morale. Skilled people, including surgeons whose training costs hundreds of thousands of pounds, resign or retire early because of the stress and misery the system causes. The leakage of talent is a far greater waste than any inefficiencies this quantomania claims to address.

New extremes in the surveillance and control of workers are not, of course, confined to the public sector. Amazon has patented a wristband that can track workers' movements and detect the slightest deviation from protocol. Technologies are used to monitor peoples' keystrokes, language, moods and tone of voice. Some companies have begun to experiment with the micro-chipping of their staff . As the philosopher Byung-Chul Han points out , neoliberal work practices, epitomised by the gig economy, that reclassifies workers as independent contractors, internalise exploitation. "Everyone is a self-exploiting worker in their own enterprise."

The freedom we were promised turns out to be freedom for capital , gained at the expense of human liberty. The system neoliberalism has created is a bureaucracy that tends towards absolutism, produced in the public services by managers mimicking corporate executives, imposing inappropriate and self-defeating efficiency measures, and in the private sector by subjection to faceless technologies that can brook no argument or complaint.

Attempts to resist are met by ever more extreme methods, such as the threatened lawsuit at the Churchill Hospital. Such instruments of control crush autonomy and creativity. It is true that the Soviet bureaucracy von Mises rightly denounced reduced its workers to subjugated drones. But the system his disciples have created is heading the same way.

George Monbiot is a Guardian columnist

[Jun 22, 2019] Use of science by the US politicians

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... "the administrator uses social science the way the drunk uses a lamppost, for support rather than illumination." Scholars' disinclination to be used in this way helps explain more of the distance. ..."
Jun 16, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The evidence suggests that foreign policymakers do not seek insight from scholars, but rather support for what they already want to do.

As Desch quotes a World War II U.S. Navy anthropologist, "the administrator uses social science the way the drunk uses a lamppost, for support rather than illumination." Scholars' disinclination to be used in this way helps explain more of the distance.

[Jun 22, 2019] Putin about the economic war being waged against Russia after the Ukraine Coup in 2014.

Notable quotes:
"... "Let's go back to economic issues. Many people link these difficulties with the Western sanctions. By the way, the European Union again extended them today. Sometimes, there are appeals to make peace with everyone. If Russia complied with the West's demands and agreed to everything, would this benefit our economy in any way?" ..."
"... "Second, what would this give us and what would it not give us, and what would we lose? Look, according to expert analyses, Russia fell short by about $50 billion as a result of these restrictions during these years, starting in 2014. The European Union lost $240 billion, the US $17 billion (we have a small volume of trade with them) and Japan $27 billion. All this affects employment in these countries, including the EU: they are losing our market... ..."
"... "Now, the attack on Huawei: where does it come from and what is its objective? The objective is to hold back the development of China, the country that has become a global rival of another power, the United States. The same is happening with Russia, and will continue to happen , so if we want to occupy a worthy place under the sun, we must become stronger, including, and above all, in the economy." [My Emphasis] ..."
"... Dealing with Putin's bolded remark is a question not just for Russia, China and Iran; it's a question for the entire world and harkens back to the words of George Kennan I cited a few days ago about the USA needing a policy to continue its economic dominance of the planet he uttered in 1947, the policy that became The Anti-Communist Crusade covering for its actual Super Imperialism policy to retain that dominance. ..."
"... What's happening is a titanic struggle to make the Outlaw US Empire cease pursuing that policy. ..."
Jun 22, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Jun 21, 2019 6:34:03 PM | 189

I'd like barflies to ponder the following thought/probability: Radar Saturated Environment--radiation not from just individual, discreet, identifiable points, but from such a vast multitude that no single point can be discerned.

To further my brainstorming de-escalation, I'd like to point out what Putin said in his Direct Line yesterday about the economic war being waged against Russia in accordance with the Ukraine Coup in 2014. Pavel Zarubin asks:

"Let's go back to economic issues. Many people link these difficulties with the Western sanctions. By the way, the European Union again extended them today. Sometimes, there are appeals to make peace with everyone. If Russia complied with the West's demands and agreed to everything, would this benefit our economy in any way?"

I thought this a capital question very similar to Iran's dilemma. Putin's response is quite long, so I won't cite it all. Rather, I'll limit it to his initial reply and conclusion as they both deal with the Big Picture:

"First, what does it mean 'to make peace'? We have not fought with anyone and have no desire to fight with anyone.

"Second, what would this give us and what would it not give us, and what would we lose? Look, according to expert analyses, Russia fell short by about $50 billion as a result of these restrictions during these years, starting in 2014. The European Union lost $240 billion, the US $17 billion (we have a small volume of trade with them) and Japan $27 billion. All this affects employment in these countries, including the EU: they are losing our market....

"Now to the question of whether some things would be different if we give in and abandon our fundamental national interests. We are not talking about reconciliation here. Perhaps there will be some external signals, but no drastic change. Look, the People's Republic of China has nothing to do with Crimea and Donbass, does it? We are accused of occupying Donbass, which is nonsense and a lie.

But China has nothing to do with it, and yet the tariffs for Chinese goods are rising, which is almost the same as sanctions.

"Now, the attack on Huawei: where does it come from and what is its objective? The objective is to hold back the development of China, the country that has become a global rival of another power, the United States. The same is happening with Russia, and will continue to happen , so if we want to occupy a worthy place under the sun, we must become stronger, including, and above all, in the economy." [My Emphasis]

This year's Direct Line was as usual filled with domestic issues some that lead to foreign policy issues. The overall scope and distinctness of the minutia are as vast as Russia. I've followed these over the years and note they reveal Russia's strengths and fragilities. I'm tempted to cite more but will leave it to the reader to pursue, but after 90 minutes you still won't be finished because the transcript isn't yet complete, which while frustrating is also amazing.

Dealing with Putin's bolded remark is a question not just for Russia, China and Iran; it's a question for the entire world and harkens back to the words of George Kennan I cited a few days ago about the USA needing a policy to continue its economic dominance of the planet he uttered in 1947, the policy that became The Anti-Communist Crusade covering for its actual Super Imperialism policy to retain that dominance.

What's happening is a titanic struggle to make the Outlaw US Empire cease pursuing that policy.

[Jun 21, 2019] Putin marathon Q A session

Occasionally, a sharp question found a way through. About three hours in, one young man raised the issue of inflated military spending. "Who are you preparing us for war against?" he asked. The calibrated answer mixed belligerence with fiscal caution. Russian remained committed to nuclear parity, Mr Putin said, but it would do so with falling budgets.
Notable quotes:
"... Mr Putin's other rare forays into foreign policy centered on his traditional adversary, the United States. Washington was at the forefront of disrupting the world order and fanning tensions with Iran, he said. The prospect of armed conflict with Tehran was, he said, a "catastrophe" waiting to happen and risked an unpredictable "spike in violence". ..."
"... "Iran is a Shiite nation ready to defend their country to the hilt," he said. "It's very difficult to assess what will happen if military forces are engaged." ..."
Jun 21, 2019 | independent.co.uk

Wanting peace meant preparing for war, he added, saying: "Whoever doesn't want to feed his own army will end up feeding someone else's."

Mr Putin's other rare forays into foreign policy centered on his traditional adversary, the United States. Washington was at the forefront of disrupting the world order and fanning tensions with Iran, he said. The prospect of armed conflict with Tehran was, he said, a "catastrophe" waiting to happen and risked an unpredictable "spike in violence".

"Iran is a Shiite nation ready to defend their country to the hilt," he said. "It's very difficult to assess what will happen if military forces are engaged."

[Jun 21, 2019] Guilty or Not, Iran's Fate Is in Trump's Hands

Jun 21, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org

From the standpoint of Information Warfare, it is very critical when a new event happens to put forward one's version of the "truth" first before any other possible competing theories can arise. This could be why Pompeo or someone like him would chose to immediately come out with accusations thrown around as facts with no evidence to support them and no respect for the great Western concepts of "innocence until proven guilty" or the "right to a fair trial".

Pompeo's objective here is not the truth but to take that virgin intellectual territory regarding the interpretation of this issue before anyone else can, because once a concept has become normalized in the minds of the masses it is very difficult to change it and many people in Washington cannot risk blowing the chance to waste thousands of American lives invading Iran based on an ultimately false but widely accepted/believed narrative.

Not surprisingly foreign and especially Russian media has quickly attempted to counter the "Iran obviously did it" narrative before it becomes an accepted fact. Shockingly Slavic infowarriors actually decided to speak to the captain of a tanker that was hit to get his opinion rather than simply assert that Iran didn't do it because they are a long time buddy of Moscow. The captain's testimony of what happened strongly contradicts the version of reality that Washington is pushing. And over all Russia as usual takes the reasonable position of "let's gather the evidence and then see who did it", which is good PR for itself as a nation beyond this single issue.

In terms of finding the actual guilty party the media on both sides has thus far ignored the simple fact that if Iran wanted to sink a tanker it would be sunk. No civilian vessel is going to withstand an attack from a 21st century navy by having a particularly thick hull and the idea that the Iranians need to physically attach bombs to boats is mental. Physically planting bombs is for goofball inept terrorists, not a professional military. After all, even the West acknowledges that the Iranians use the best Russian goodies that they can afford and Russian 21 st century arms will sink civilian ship guaranteed. The Iranians have everything they need to smoke any civilian vessel on the planet guaranteed from much farther away than 3 feet.

If Iran's goal was to scare or intimidate the tanker they could have just shot at it with rifles or done something else to spook the crew and get a media response. When looked at from the standpoint of military logic, these "attacks" seem baffling as Iran could have just destroyed the boats or directly tried to terrorize them to make a statement.

[Jun 20, 2019] Bias, Lies Videotape Doubts Dog Confirmed Syria Chemical Attacks

Jun 20, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Bias, Lies & Videotape: Doubts Dog 'Confirmed' Syria Chemical Attacks Disturbing new evidence suggests 2018 incident might've been staged, putting everything else, including U.S. retaliation, into question. By Scott Ritter June 20, 2019

(By Mikhail Semenov /Shutterstock) Thanks to an explosive internal memo, there is no reason to believe the claims put forward by the Syrian opposition that President Bashar al-Assad's government used chemical weapons against innocent civilians in Douma back in April. This is a scenario I have questioned from the beginning.

It also calls into question all the other conclusions and reports by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) , which was assigned in 2014 "to establish facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals, reportedly chlorine, for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic."

As you recall, the Trump administration initiated a coordinated bombing of Syrian government facilities with the UK and France within days of the Douma incident and before a full investigation of the scene could be completed, charging Assad with the "barbaric act" of using "banned chemical weapons" to kill dozens of people on the scene. Bomb first, ask questions later.

The OPCW began their investigation days after the strikes . The group drew on witness testimonies, environmental and biomedical sample analysis results, and additional digital information from witnesses (i.e. video and still photography), as well as toxicological and ballistic analyses. In July 2018, the OPCW released an interim report on Douma that said "no organophosphorus nerve agents or their degradation products were detected, either in the environmental samples or in plasma samples from the alleged casualties," but that chlorine, which is not a banned chemical weapon, was detected there.

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The report cited ballistic tests that indicated that the canisters found at two locations on the scene were dropped from the air (witnesses blamed Assad's forces), but investigations were ongoing. The final report in March reiterated the ballistics data, and the conclusions were just as underwhelming, saying that all of the evidence gathered there provides "reasonable grounds that the use of a toxic chemical as a weapon took place," due in part to traces of chlorine and explosives at the impact sites.

Now, the leaked internal report apparently suppressed by the OPCW says there is a "high probability" that a pair of chlorine gas cylinders that had been claimed as the source of the toxic chemical had been planted there by hand and not dropped by aircraft. This was based on extensive engineering assessments and computer modeling as well as all of the evidence previously afforded to the OPCW.

What does this mean? To my mind, the canisters were planted by the opposition in an effort to frame the Syrian government.

The OPCW has confirmed with the validity of this shocking document and has offered statements to reporters, including Peter Hitchens, who published the organization's response to him on May 16.

The ramifications of this turn of events extend far beyond simply disproving the allegations concerning the events in April 2018. The credibility of the OPCW itself and every report and conclusion it has released concerning allegations of chemical weapons use by the Syrian government are now suspect. The extent to which the OPCW has, almost exclusively, relied upon the same Syrian opposition sources who are now suspected of fabricating the Douma events raises serious questions about both the methodology and motivation of an organization that had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013 for "its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons."

In a response to Agence France-Presse (AFP) , OPCW director general Fernando Arias acknowledged there is an internal probe into the memo leak but that he continues to "stand by the impartial and professional conclusions" of the group's original report. He played down the role of the memo's author, Ian Henderson, and said his alternative hypotheses were not included in the final OPCW report because they "pointed at possible attribution" and were therefore outside the scope of the OPCW's fact finding mission in Syria.

Self-produced videos and witness statements provided by the pro-opposition Violations Documentation Center, Syrian Civil Defense (also known as the White Helmets), and the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) , a non-profit organization that operates hospitals in opposition-controlled Syria, represented the heart and soul of the case against the Syrian government regarding the events in Douma. To my mind, the internal memo now suggests that these actors were engaging in a systemic effort to disseminate disinformation that would facilitate Western military intervention with the goal of removing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power.

This theory has been advanced by pro-Assad forces and their Russian partners for some time. But independent reporting on the ground since the Douma incident has sussed out many of the same concerns. From James Harkin, director of the Center for Investigative Journalism and a fellow at Harvard University's Shorenstein Center, who traveled to the site of the attacks and reported for The Intercept in February of this year:

The imperative to grab the fleeting attention of an international audience certainly seems to have influenced the presentation of the evidence. In the videos and photos that appeared that evening, most analysts and observers agree that there were some signs that the bodies and gas canisters had been moved or tampered with after the event for maximum impact. The Syrian media activists who'd arrived at the apartment block with the dead people weren't the first to arrive on the scene; they'd heard about the deaths from White Helmet workers and doctors at the hospital.

The relationship between the OPCW and the Syrian opposition can be traced back to 2013. That was when the OPCW was given the responsibility of eliminating Syria's declared arsenal of chemical weapons; this task was largely completed by 2014. However, the Syrian opposition began making persistent allegations of chemical weapon attacks by the Syrian government in which chlorine, a substance not covered by Syria's obligation to be disarmed of chemical weapons, was used. In response, the OPCW established the Fact Finding Mission (FFM) in 2014 "to establish facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals, reportedly chlorine, for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic."

The priority of effort for the FFM early on was to investigate allegations of the use of chlorine as a weapon. Since, according to its May 2014 summary, "all reported incidents took place at locations that the Syrian Government considers to be outside its effective control," the FFM determined that the success of its mission was contingent upon "identification of key actors, such as local authorities and/or representatives of armed opposition groups in charge of the territories in which these locations are situated; the establishment of contacts with these groups in an atmosphere of mutual trust and confidence that allows the mandate and objectives of the FFM to be communicated."

So from its very inception, the FFM had to rely on the anti-Assad opposition and its supporters for nearly everything. The document that governed the conduct of the FFM's work in Syria was premised on the fact that the mission would be dependent in part upon "opposition representatives" to coordinate, along with the United Nations, the "security, logistical and operational aspects of the OPCW FFM," including liaising "for the purposes of making available persons for interviews."

One could sense the bias resulting from such an arrangement when, acting on information provided to it by the opposition regarding an "alleged attack with chlorine" on the towns of Kafr Zeyta and Al-Lataminah, the FFM changed its original plans to investigate an alleged chlorine attack on the town of Harasta. This decision, the FFM reported, "was welcomed by the opposition." When the FFM attempted to inspect Kafr Zeyta, however, it was attacked by opposition forces, with one of its vehicles destroyed by a roadside bomb, one inspector wounded, and several inspectors detained by opposition fighters.

The inability to go to Kafr Zeyta precluded the group from "presenting definitive conclusions," according to the report. But that did not stop the FFM from saying that the information given to them from these opposition sources, "including treating physicians with whom the FFM was able to establish contact," and public domain material, "lends credence to the view that toxic chemicals, most likely pulmonary irritating agents such as chlorine, have been used in a systematic manner in a number of attacks" against Kafr Zeyta.

So the conclusion/non-conclusion was based not on any onsite investigation, but rather videos produced by the opposition and subsequently released via social media and interviews also likely set up by opposition groups (White Helmets, SAMS, etc.), which we know, according to their own documents, served as the key liaisons for the FFM on the ground.

All of this is worrisome. It is unclear at this point how many Syrian chemical attacks have been truly confirmed since the start of the war. In February of this year, the Global Policy Institute released a report saying there were 336 such reports, but they were broken down into "confirmed," "credibly substantiated," and "comprehensively confirmed." Out of the total, 111 were given the rigorous "comprehensively confirmed" tag, which, according to the group, meant the incidents were "were investigated and confirmed by competent international bodies or backed up by at least three highly reliable independent sources of evidence."

They do not go into further detail about those bodies and sources, but are sure to thank the White Helmets and their "implementing partner" Mayday Rescue and Violations Documentation Center, among other groups, as "friends and partners" in the study. So it becomes clear, looking at the Kafr Zeytan inspection and beyond, that the same opposition sources that are informing the now-dubious OPCW reports are also delivering data and "assistance" to outside groups reaching international audiences, too.

The role of the OPCW in sustaining the claims made by the obviously biased Syrian opposition sources cannot be understated -- by confirming the allegations of chemical weapons use in Douma, the OPCW lent credibility to claims that otherwise should not -- and indeed would not -- have been granted, and in doing so violated the very operating procedures that had been put in place by the OPCW to protect the credibility of the organization and its findings.

There is an old prosecutorial rule -- one lie, all lies -- that comes into play in this case. With the leaked internal report out there, suggesting that the sources in the Douma investigation were agenda-driven and dishonest, all information ever provided to the OPCW by the White Helmets, SAMS, and other Syrian opposition groups must now, in my mind, be viewed as tainted and therefore unusable.

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.

JPH 8 hours ago

The OPCW reaction clearly considering the investigation into the leak instead of apologizing for not publishing this report is revealing its bias.

There has been a push from 'the West' to have the OPCW also attributing responsibility. Given the bias already on display this will further politicize the OPCW.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk...

As soon as such organizations become propaganda tools their credibility goes into the wind.

Given what we know of the Skripal hoax and the Tories attitude to the truth with their government funded 'Integrity Initiative' through the Institute of Statecraft' that exactly what the British Intelligence intended.

https://medium.com/@tomseck...

One may note the specific personal links through Orbis/Steele/Miller between the 'Integrity Initiative' and the fake 'Trump Dossier' and one ought to be alarmed by 'services' of a British intelligence out of control, but given the FBI/CIA involvement and exploitation of that fake 'Trump Dossier' it looks that the US has a quite similar problem.

john 11 hours ago
Our government lied to start a war! When has that always happened.

[Jun 20, 2019] The difference between old and new schools of jounalism: old-school journalism was like being assigned the task of finding out what "1+1 =?" and the task was to report the answer was "1." Now the task would be to report that "Some say it is 1, some say it is 2, some say it is 3."

Highly recommended!
Jun 20, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

A way to capture this change was thinking in terms of the traditional task of journalists to interview or consult a variety of sources to determine was is truth or true. The shift gradually became one of now interviewing or consulting various sources and reporting those opinions.

Old-school journalism was like being assigned the task of finding out what "1+1 =?" and the task was to report the answer was "1."

Now the task would be to report that "Some say it is 1, some say it is 2, some say it is 3."

[Jun 20, 2019] Denial of Truth and the Rise of Alternative Facts

A philosophical-journalist line of scholarship that disassembled a belief in objective truth emerged well before Donald Trump became president
Notable quotes:
"... As I argued elsewhere, this merger of for-profit journalism along with politics produced politainment–a combination of politics and entertainment. Politainment premiumed the celebrity aspect of politics, giving an advantage to candidates and personalities who best could master the new pop culture trends affecting news. Ronald Reagan a former actor is one example, as was Bill Clinton's famous 1992 saxophone appearance on the Arsenio Hall show another in terms of how politainers could take advantage of a shift not just in what is reported but the overall focus of where people got their news and what was considered news. ..."
"... If one can consult a different television station or news source and get a different perspective on what is truth, the concept of objective facts collapses. ..."
"... It becomes easy to discount news that is disagreeable as simply alternative facts or fake news. Unlike during the presidency of Lyndon Johnson where the difference between what his administration was saying about the war in Vietnam and the reality that reporters saw produced the credibility gap that helped undermine his legitimacy, this is no longer the case with Donald Trump. ..."
Jun 20, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

Originally from: The Intellectual Origins of the Trump Presidency and the Construction of Contemporary American Politics

... ... ...

Denial of Truth and the Rise of Alternative Facts

The third intellectual trend enabling Trumpism is the questioning of truth and the rise of alternative facts and allegations of fake news. The Washington Post and other journalism outlets have documented more than 10,000 lies Trump has told since becoming president. His presidency to large part is rooted in a denial of truth, a questioning of the orthodoxy of the traditional establishment, especially the mainstream media and official sources of government knowledge, including the intelligence community.

Clearly there is an institutional basis to the rise of alternative facts and the capacity of the Trumpistas to deny truth. The fragmentation of the media market and the attendant knowledge bubbles consumers live in, the rise and dominance of the social media, and the emergence of Fox national news as a de facto state media for Trump and the Republican party are just some of the institutional basis for the ability of the president and his supporters to obscure truth. Moreover, as historian Richard Hofstadter described in his 1963 Anti-Intellectualism in American Life or as captured in Arthur Miller's 1953 play The Crucible which used the Salem witch hunts as a backdrop to criticize the McCarthyism of the 1950s, there is a deep seated distrust for knowledge and intellectuals in the US. No doubt all this has played into the rise of Trumpism.

Yet there too is an intellectual source for this questioning of objective truth. More deeply, one can trace it to a trend in modern philosophy that perhaps starts with Rene Descartes' seventeenth century skepticism that became a major pillar of one wing of how to think about knowledge. Eighteenth century philosopher David Hume similarly questioned the empirical certainty of our perceptions. But Friedrich Nietzsche's concept of all knowledge as perspectival, rooted in the notion of the will to power, is the most direct influence upon a group of thinkers in the 1970s and 1980s who came to question the concept of objective truth.

The Postmodern movement raised legitimate questions about what constitutes truth and knowledge and how both are formed. These postmodern philosophers were Jean Baudrillard, Jean-François Lyotard, and Jacques Derrida. In the field of science, Paul Feyerabend's name can be added to the list, as well as Michel Foucault. Foucault asserted that knowledge is produced through the operations of power, suggesting a relativity and contending basis for knowledge and truth.

It is not clear that abstract and complex philosophy directly provides the intellectual foundations for Trumpism. Where it does play out is in terms of journalism. While much has been written about the history of journalism in America and how traditionally it was partisan, there was a golden era post-World War II until perhaps the 1980s when at least the belief in seeking the truth was the basis guiding the gathering dissemination of the news. Walter Cronkite, the long-term famous anchor or the nightly CBS news, signed off with his "And that's the way it is" moniker every night, reinforcing the idea that he was reporting just the facts. Similarly, the premise of Bob Woodward's and Carl Bernstein's 1974 All the President's Men was the pursuit of a second source to corroborate allegations of Richard Nixon's role in Watergate. Truth existed, and the task of journalists, the media, or the news establishment was to find and report it. Truth stood in juxtaposition to bias.

Journalism schools and pedagogy at that time emphasized this belief in objectivity. All the President's Men was an inspiration for many who went to journalism school, as were the role models of Walter Cronkite, Chet Huntley, David Brinkley, and many other professional journalists at the time. Don Gillmor, professor the University of Minnesota established the field of journalism that emphasized the need for objectivity, source corroboration, and the elimination of bias as means of enhancing the status of the profession and its pursuit of truth. What best captures this golden age of journalism are the movies The Post (2017) and Spotlight (2015), respectively depicting the Washington Post under Katharine Graham and Ben Bradlee in its pursuit of Nixon and the Boston Globe uncovering the sex abuse and cover up in the Catholic Church. Old-line journalists get teary-eyed watching these movies because it captured the press at its best, but also recognizing that those days of such zealous reporting were gone.

Media scholars such as Juan Ramon Munôz-Torres noted how journalism too was impacted by the Postmodern questioning of objectivity. Gradually, reporting objective facts or truth came to be questioned. Of course this questioning of truth was reinforced by the fragmentation of the media market and audiences and a drive toward for-profit journalism that placed greater emphasis on market share and appealing to viewers than telling them what they needed or should know.

A way to capture this change was thinking in terms of the traditional task of journalists to interview or consult a variety of sources to determine was is truth or true. The shift gradually became one of now interviewing or consulting various sources and reporting those opinions. Old-school journalism was like being assigned the task of finding out what "1+1 =?" and the task was to report the answer was "1." Now the task would be to report that "Some say it is 1, some say it is 2, some say it is 3." Reporting came to reflect perspectivalism, objectivity required reporting all sides of the debate, not finding the truth.

As I argued elsewhere, this merger of for-profit journalism along with politics produced politainment–a combination of politics and entertainment. Politainment premiumed the celebrity aspect of politics, giving an advantage to candidates and personalities who best could master the new pop culture trends affecting news. Ronald Reagan a former actor is one example, as was Bill Clinton's famous 1992 saxophone appearance on the Arsenio Hall show another in terms of how politainers could take advantage of a shift not just in what is reported but the overall focus of where people got their news and what was considered news.

This shift in journalism standards meant reporting opinion or contrasting views, or simply one side of the issue. If one can consult a different television station or news source and get a different perspective on what is truth, the concept of objective facts collapses.

It becomes easy to discount news that is disagreeable as simply alternative facts or fake news. Unlike during the presidency of Lyndon Johnson where the difference between what his administration was saying about the war in Vietnam and the reality that reporters saw produced the credibility gap that helped undermine his legitimacy, this is no longer the case with Donald Trump.

The collapse in the belief in truth, at least from a journalistic or media perspective, gives Trump free license to lie, claim, or deny anything he wants, and his partisan base seems unmoved by this. Governing by falsehood, or the big lie, empowers the presidency to act without fear that its actions will be checked by an aggressive media watchdog.

David Schultz is a professor of political science at Hamline University. He is the author of Presidential Swing States: Why Only Ten Matter .

[Jun 19, 2019] The Warm War Russiamania at the Boiling Point by Jim Kavanagh

Notable quotes:
"... Theresa May's immediate conclusion that the Russian government bears certain and sole responsibility for the nerve-agent poisoning of the Skripals is logically, scientifically, and forensically impossible. ..."
"... Teresa May is lying, everyone who seconds her assertion of false certainty is lying, they all know they are lying, and the Russians know that they know they are lying. ..."
"... "War" is what they seem to want it to be. For the past 18 to 24 months, we've also been inundated with Morgan Freeman and Rob Reiner's ominous "We have been attacked. We are at war," video, as well as the bipartisan ( Hillary Clinton , John McCain ) insistence that alleged Russian election meddling should be considered an "act of war" equivalent to Pearl Harbor . Indeed, Trump's new National Security advisor, the warmongering lunatic John Bolton, calls it , explicitly "a casus belli , a true act of war." ..."
"... Even the military is getting in on the act. The nerve-agent accusation has been followed up by General John Nicholson, the commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, accusing Russia of arming the Taliban! It's noteworthy that this senior American military general casually refers to Russia as "the enemy": "We've had stories written by the Taliban that have appeared in the media about financial support provided by the enemy." ..."
"... The economic war against Russian is being waged through a series of sanctions that seem impossible to reverse, because their expressed goal is to extract confession, repentance, and restitution for crimes ascribed to Russia that Russia has not committed, or has not been proven to have committed, or are entirely fictional and have not been committed by anyone at all. We will only stop taking your bank accounts and consulates and let you play games with us if you confess and repent every crime we accuse you of. No questions permitted. ..."
Apr 02, 2018 | www.counterpunch.org
Is it war yet?

Yes, in too many respects.

It's a relentless economic, diplomatic, and ideological war, spiced with (so far) just a dash of military war, and the strong scent of more to come.

I mean war with Russia, of course, although Russia is the point target for a constellation of emerging adversaries the US is desperate to entame before any one or combination of them becomes too strong to defeat. These include countries like Iran and China, which are developing forces capable of resisting American military aggression against their own territory and on a regional level, and have shown quite too much uppitiness about staying in their previously-assigned geopolitical cages.

But Russia is the only country that has put its military forces in the way of a U.S. program of regime change -- indirectly in Ukraine, where Russia would not get out of the way, and directly in Syria, where Russia actively got in the way. So Russia is the focus of attack, the prime target for an exemplary comeuppance.

Is it, then, a new Cold War, even more dangerous than the old one, as Stephen F. Cohen says ?

That terminology was apt even a few months ago, but the speed, ferocity, and coordination of the West/NATO's reaction to the alleged nerve-agent poisoning of the Skripals, as well as the formation of a War Cabinet in Washington, indicates to me that we've moved to another level of aggression.

It's beyond Cold. Call it the Warm War. And the temperature's rising.

The Nerve of Them

There are two underlying presumptions that, combined, make present situation more dangerous than a Cold War.

One is the presumption of guilt -- or, more precisely, the presumption that the presumption of Russian guilt can always be made, and made to stick in the Western mind.

The confected furor over the alleged nerve-agent poisoning of the Skripals demonstrates this dramatically.

Theresa May's immediate conclusion that the Russian government bears certain and sole responsibility for the nerve-agent poisoning of the Skripals is logically, scientifically, and forensically impossible.

False certainty is the ultimate fake news. It is just not true that, as she says: "There is no alternative conclusion other than the Russian state is culpable." This falsity of this statement has been demonstrated by a slew of sources -- including the developers of the alleged "Novichok" agent themselves, a thorough analysis by a former UN inspector in Iraq who worked on the destruction of chemical weapons, establishment Western scientific outlets like New Scientist (" Other countries could have made 'Russian' nerve agent "), and the British government's own mealy-mouthed, effective-but-unacknowledged disavowal of that conclusion. In its own words, The British government found: "a nerve agent or related compound," " of a type developed by Russia." So, it's absolutely, positively, certainly, without a doubt, Russian-government-produced "Novichok" .or something else.

Teresa May is lying, everyone who seconds her assertion of false certainty is lying, they all know they are lying, and the Russians know that they know they are lying. It's a

https://www.youtube.com/embed/lErlHLCNM_s?autoplay=0list=WL

It boggles the -- or at least, my -- mind how, in the face of all this, anyone could take seriously her ultimatum, ignoring the procedures of the Chemical Weapons Convention , gave Russia 24 hours to "explain" -- i.e., confess and beg forgiveness for -- this alleged crime.

Indeed, it's noteworthy that France initially, and rather sharply, refused to assume Russian guilt, with a government spokesman saying, "We don't do fantasy politics. Once the elements are proven, then the time will come for decisions to be made." But the whip was cracked -- and surely not by the weak hand of Whitehall -- demanding EU/NATO unity in the condemnation of Russia. So, in an extraordinary show of discipline that could only be ordered and orchestrated by the imperial center, France joined the United States and 20 other countries in the largest mass expulsion of Russian diplomats ever.

Western governments and their compliant media have mandated that Russian government guilt for the " first offensive use of a nerve agent " in Europe since World War II is to be taken as flat fact. Anyone -- like Jeremy Corbyn or Craig Murray -- who dares to interrupt the "Sentence first! Verdict afterwards!" chorus to ask for, uh, evidence, is treated to a storm of obloquy .

At this point, Western accusers don't seem to care how blatantly unfounded, if not ludicrous, an accusation is. The presumption of Russian guilt, along with the shaming of anyone who questions it, has become an unquestionable standard of Western/American political and media discourse.

Old Cold War McCarthyism has become new Warm War fantasy politics.

Helled in Contempt

This declaration of diplomatic war over the Skripal incident is the culmination of an ongoing drumbeat of ideological warfare, demonizing Russia and Putin personally in the most predictable and inflammatory terms.

For the past couple of years, we've been told by Hillary Clinton, John McCain, Marco Rubio, and Boris Johnson that Putin is the new Hitler. That's a particularly galling analogy for the Russians. Soviet Russia, after all, was Hitler's main enemy, that defeated the Nazi army at the cost of 20+ million of its people -- while the British Royal Family was not un-smitten with the charms of Hitlerian fascism , and British footballers had a poignant moment in 1938 Berlin saluting the Fuhre.:

"War" is what they seem to want it to be. For the past 18 to 24 months, we've also been inundated with Morgan Freeman and Rob Reiner's ominous "We have been attacked. We are at war," video, as well as the bipartisan ( Hillary Clinton , John McCain ) insistence that alleged Russian election meddling should be considered an "act of war" equivalent to Pearl Harbor . Indeed, Trump's new National Security advisor, the warmongering lunatic John Bolton, calls it , explicitly "a casus belli , a true act of war."

Even the military is getting in on the act. The nerve-agent accusation has been followed up by General John Nicholson, the commander of U.S. Forces in Afghanistan, accusing Russia of arming the Taliban! It's noteworthy that this senior American military general casually refers to Russia as "the enemy": "We've had stories written by the Taliban that have appeared in the media about financial support provided by the enemy."

Which is strange, because, since the Taliban emerged from the American-jihadi war against Soviet forces in Afghanistan, and the Taliban and Russia have "enduring enmity" towards each other, as Kate Clark of the Afghanistan Analysts Network puts it . Furthermore, the sixteen-year-long American war against the Taliban has depended on Russia allowing the U.S. to move supplies through its territory, and being "the principal source of fuel for the alliance's needs in Afghanistan."

So the general has to admit that this alleged Russian "destabilising activity" is a new thing: "This activity really picked up in the last 18 to 24 months When you look at the timing it roughly correlates to when things started to heat up in Syria. So it's interesting to note the timing of the whole thing."

Yes, it is.

The economic war against Russian is being waged through a series of sanctions that seem impossible to reverse, because their expressed goal is to extract confession, repentance, and restitution for crimes ascribed to Russia that Russia has not committed, or has not been proven to have committed, or are entirely fictional and have not been committed by anyone at all. We will only stop taking your bank accounts and consulates and let you play games with us if you confess and repent every crime we accuse you of. No questions permitted.

This is not a serious framework for respectful international relations between two sovereign nations. It's downright childish. It paints everyone, including the party trying to impose it, into an impossible corner. Is Russia ever going to abandon Crimea, confess that it shot down the Malaysian jet, tricked us into electing Donald Trump, murdered the Skripals, is secretly arming the Taliban, et. al .? Is the U.S. ever going to say: "Never mind"? What's the next step? It's the predicament of the bully.

This is not, either, an approach that really seeks to address any of the "crimes" charged. As Victoria Nuland (a Clintonite John Bolton) put it on NPR, it's about, "sending a message" to Russia. Well, as Russia's ambassador to Washington, Anatoly Antonov said , with this latest mass expulsion of diplomats, the United States is, "Destroying what little remained of US-Russian ties." He got the message.

All of this looks like a coordinated campaign that began in response to Russia's interruption of American regime-change projects in Ukraine and especially Syria, that was harmonized -- over the last 18 to 24 months -- with various elite and popular motifs of discontent over the 2016 election, and that has reached a crescendo in the last few weeks with ubiquitous and unconstrained " enemization " [1] of Russia. It's hard to describe it as anything other than war propaganda -- manufacturing the citizenry's consent for a military confrontation.

Destroying the possibility of normal, non-conflictual, state-to-state relations and constituting Russia as "the enemy" is exactly what this campaign is about. That is its "message" and its effect -- for the American people as much as for the Russia government. The heightened danger, I think, is that Russia, which has for a long time been reluctant to accept that America wasn't interested in "partnership", has now heard and understood this message, while the American people have only heard but do not understand it.

It's hard to see where this can go that doesn't involve military conflict. This is especially the case with the appointments of Mike Pompeo, Gina Haspel, and John Bolton -- a veritable murderers' row that many see as the core of a Trump War Cabinet. Bolton, who does not need Senate confirmation, is a particularly dangerous fanatic, who tried to get the Israelis to attack Iran before even they wanted to, and has promised regime change in Iran by 2019. As mentioned, he considers that Russia has already given him a " casus belli. " Even the staid New York Times warns that, with these appointments, "the odds of taking military action will rise dramatically."

The second presumption in the American mindset today makes military confrontation more likely than it was during the Cold War: Not only is there a presumption of guilt, there is a presumption of weakness . The presumption of guilt is something the American imperial managers are confident they can induce and maintain in the Western world; the presumption of weakness is one they -- or, I fear, too many of them -- have all-too blithely internalized.

This is an aspect of the American self-image among policymakers whose careers matured in a post-Soviet world. During the Cold War, Americans held themselves in check by the assumption, that, militarily, the Soviet Union was a peer adversary, a country that could and would defend certain territories and interests against direct American military aggression -- "spheres of interest" that should not be attacked. The fundamental antagonism was managed with grudging mutual respect.

There was, after all, a shared recent history of alliance against fascism. And there was an awareness that the Soviet Union, in however distorted a way, both represented the possibility of a post-capitalist future and supported post-colonial national liberation movements, which gave it considerable stature in the world.

American leadership might have hated the Soviet Union, but it was not contemptuous of it. No American leader would have called the Soviet Union, as John McCain called Russia, just "a gas station masquerading as a country." And no senior American or British leader would have told the Soviet Union what British Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson told Russia last week: to "go away and shut up."

This is a discourse that assumes its own righteousness, authority, and superior power, even as it betrays its own weakness. It's the discourse of a frustrated child. Or bully. Russia isn't shutting up and going away, and the British are not -- and know they're not -- going to make it. But they may think the Big Daddy backing them up can and will. And daddy may think so himself.

Like all bullies, the people enmeshed in this arrogant discourse don't seem to understand that it is not frightening Russia. It's only insulting the country, and leading it to conclude that there is indeed nothing remaining of productive, non-conflictual, US-Russian "partnership" ties. The post-Skripal worldwide diplomatic expulsions, which seem deliberately and desperately excessive, may have finally convinced Russia that there is no longer any use trying. Those who should be frightened of this are the American people.

The enemy of my enemy is me.

The United States is only succeeding in turning itself into an enemy for Russians. Americans would do well to understand how thoroughly their hypocritical and contemptuous stance has alienated the Russian people and strengthened Vladimir Putin's leadership -- as many of Putin's critics warned them it would. The fantasy of stoking a "liberal" movement in Russia that will install some nouveau-Yeltsin-ish figure is dissipated in the cold light of a 77% election day. Putin is widely and firmly supported in Russia because he represents the resistance to any such scheme.

Americans who want to understand that dynamic, and what America itself has wrought in Russia, should heed the passion, anger, and disappointment in this statement about Putin's election from a self-described "liberal" (using the word, I think, in the intellectual tradition, not the American political, sense), Margarita Simonyan, editor-in-chief of RT TV (errors in translation by another person):

Essentially, the West should be horrified not because 76% of Russians voted for Putin, but because this elections have demonstrated that 95% of Russia's population supports conservative-patriotic, communist and nationalist ideas. That means that liberal ideas are barely surviving among measly 5% of population.

And that's your fault, my Western friends. It was you who pushed us into "Russians never surrender" mode

[W]ith all your injustice and cruelty, inquisitorial hypocrisy and lies you forced us to stop respecting you. You and your so called "values."

We don't want to live like you live, anymore. For fifty years, secretly and openly, we wanted to live like you, but not any longer.

We have no more respect for you, and for those amongst us that you support, and for all those people who support you.

For that you only have yourself to blame.

In meantime, you've pushed us to rally around your enemy. Immediately, after you declared him an enemy, we united around him .

It was you who imposed an opposition between patriotism and liberalism. Although, they shouldn't be mutually exclusive notions. This false dilemma, created by you, made us to chose patriotism.

Even though, many of us are really liberals, myself included.

Get cleaned up, now. You don't have much time left.

In fact, the whole "uprising"/color revolution strategy throughout the world is over. It's been fatally discredited by its own purported successes. Everybody in the Middle East has seen how that worked out for Iraq, Libya, and Syria, and the Russians have seen how it worked out for Ukraine and for Russia itself . In neither Russia nor Iran (nor anywhere else of importance) are the Americans, with their sanctions and their NGOs and their cookies ,going to stoke a popular uprising that turns a country into a fractured client of the Washington Consensus. More fantasy politics.

The old new world Washington wants won't be born without a military midwife. The U.S. wants a compliant Russia ( and "international community") back, and it thinks it can force it into being.

Fear Knot

Consider this quote from The Saker , a defense analyst who was born in Switzerland to a Russian military family, "studied Russian and Soviet military affairs all [his] life," and lived for 20 years in the United States. He's been one of the sharpest analysts of Russia and Syria over the last few years. This was his take a year ago, after Trump's cruise missile attack on Syria's Al Shayrat airfield -- another instant punishment for an absolutely, positively, proven-in-a day, chemical crime:

For one thing, there is no US policy on anything.

The Russians expressed their total disgust and outrage at this attack and openly began saying that the Americans were "недоговороспособны". What that word means is literally "not-agreement-capable" or unable to make and then abide by an agreement. While polite, this expression is also extremely strong as it implies not so much a deliberate deception as the lack of the very ability to make a deal and abide by it. But to say that a nuclear world superpower is "not-agreement-capable" is a terrible and extreme diagnostic.

This means that the Russians have basically given up on the notion of having an adult, sober and mentally sane partner to have a dialog with.

In all my years of training and work as a military analyst I have always had to assume that everybody involved was what we called a "rational actor". The Soviets sure where. As were the Americans.

Not only do I find the Trump administration "not agreement-capable", I find it completely detached from reality. Delusional in other words.

Alas, just like Obama before him, Trump seems to think that he can win a game of nuclear chicken against Russia. But he can't. Let me be clear here: if pushed into a corner the Russian will fight, even if that means nuclear war.

There is a reason for this American delusion. The present generation of American leadership was spoiled and addled by the blissful post-Soviet decades of American impunity.

The problem is not exactly that the U.S. wants full-on war with Russia, it's that America does not fear it. [2]

Why should it? It hasn't had to for twenty years during which the US assumed it could bully Russia to stay out of its imperial way anywhere it wanted to intervene.

After the Soviet Union broke up (and only because the Soviet Union disappeared) the United States was free to use its military power with impunity. For some time, the U.S. had its drunken stooge, Yeltsin, running Russia and keeping it out of America's military way. There was nary a peep when Bill Clinton effectively conferred on NATO (meaning the U.S. itself) the authority to decide what military interventions were necessary and legitimate. For about twenty years -- from the Yugoslavia through the Libya intervention -- no nation had the military power or politico-diplomatic will to resist this.

But that situation has changed. Even the Pentagon recognizes that the American Empire is in a "post-primacy" phase -- certainly "fraying," and maybe even "collapsing." The world has seen America's social and economic strength dissipate, and its pretense of legitimacy disappear entirely. The world has seen American military overreach everywhere while winning nothing of stable value anywhere. Sixteen years, and the mighty U.S. Army cannot defeat the Taliban. Now, that's Russia's fault!

Meanwhile, a number of countries in key areas have gained the military confidence and political will to refuse the presumptions of American arrogance -- China in the Pacific, Iran in the Middle East, and Russia in Europe and, surprisingly, the Middle East as well. In a familiar pattern, America's resultant anxiety about waning power increases its compensatory aggression. And, as mentioned, since it was Russia that most effectively demonstrated that new military confidence, it's Russia that has to be dealt with first.

The incessant wave of sanctions and expulsions is the bully in the schoolyard clenching his fist to scare the new kid away. OK, everyone's got the message now. Unclench or punch?

Let's be clear about who is the world's bully. As is evident to any half-conscious person, Russia is not going to attack the United States or Europe. Russia doesn't have scores of military bases, combat ships and aircraft up on America's borders. It doesn't have almost a thousand military bases around the world. Russia does not have the military forces to rampage around the world as America does, and it doesn't want or need to. That's not because of Russia's or Vladimir Putin's pacifism, but because Russia, as presently situated in the political economy of the world, has nothing to gain from it.

Nor does Russia need some huge troll-farm offensive to "destabilize" and sow division in Western Europe and the United States. Inequality, austerity, waves of immigrants from regime-change wars, and trigger-happy cops are doing a fine job of that. Russia isn't responsible for American problems with Black Lives Matter or with the Taliban.

All of this is fantasy politics.

It's the United States, with its fraying empire, that has a problem requiring military aggression. What other tools does the U.S. have left to put the upstarts, Russia first, back in their places?

It must be hard for folks who have had their way with country after country for twenty years not to think they can push Russia out of the way with some really, really scary threats, or maybe one or two "bloody nose" punches. Some finite number of discrete little escalations. There's already been some shoving -- that cruise missile attack, Turkey's downing of a Russian jet, American attacks on Russian personnel (ostensibly private mercenaries) in Syria -- and, look, Ma, no big war. But sometimes you learn the hard way the truth of the reverse Mike Tyson rule: "Everyone has a game plan until they smack the other guy in the face."

Consider one concrete risk of escalation that every informed observer is, and every American should be, aware of.

The place where the United States and Russia are literally, geographically, closest to confrontation is Syria. As mentioned, the U.S. and its NATO ally, Turkey, have already attacked and killed Russians in Syria, and the U.S. and its NATO allies have a far larger military force than Russia in Syria and the surrounding area. On the other hand, Russia has made very effective use of its forces, including what Reuters calls "advanced cruise missiles" launched from planes, ships , and submarines that hit ISIS targets with high precision from 1000 kilometers.

Russia is also operating in accordance with international law, while the U.S. is not. Russia is fighting with Syria for the defeat of jihadi forces and the unification of the Syrian state. The United States is fighting with its jihadi clients for the overthrow of the Syrian government and the division of the country. Russia intervened in Syria after Obama announced that the U.S. would attack Syrian army troops, effectively declaring war. If neither side accepts defeat and goes home, it is quite possible there will be some direct confrontation over this. In fact, it's hard to imagine that there won't.

A couple of weeks ago Syria and Russia said the U.S. was planning a major offensive against the Syrian government, including bombing the government quarter in Damascus. Valery Gerasimov, head of Russia's General Staff, warned: "In the event of a threat to the lives of our servicemen, Russia's armed forces will take retaliatory measures against the missiles and launchers used." In this context, "launchers" means American ships in the Mediterranean.

Also a couple of weeks ago, Russia announced a number of new, highly-advanced weapons systems. There's discussion about whether some of the yet-to-be-deployed weapons announced may or may not be a bluff, but one that has already been deployed, called Dagger ( Kinzhal, not the missiles mentioned above), is an air-launched hypersonic cruise missile that files at 5-7,000 miles per hour, with a range of 1200 miles. Analyst Andrei Martyanov claims that: "no modern or perspective air-defense system deployed today by any NATO fleet can intercept even a single missile with such characteristics. A salvo of 5-6 such missiles guarantees the destruction of any Carrier Battle Group or any other surface group, for that matter." Air-launched. From anywhere.

The U.S. attack has not (yet) happened, for whatever reason (Sputnik reporter Suliman Mulhem, citing "a military monitor," claims that's because of the Russian warnings). Great. But given the current state of America's anxiously aggressive "post-primacy" policy -- including the Russiamania, the Zionist-driven need to destroy Syria and Iran, and the War Cabinet -- how unlikely is that the U.S. will, in the near future, make some such attack on some such target that Russia considers crucial to defend?

And Syria is just one theater where, unless one side accepts defeat and goes home, military conflict with Russia is highly likely. Is Russia going to abandon the Russian-speaking people of the Donbass if they're attacked by fascist Kiev forces backed by the U.S.? Is it going to sit back and watch passively if American and Israeli forces attack Iran? Which one is going to give up and accept a loss: John Bolton or Vladimir Putin?

Which brings us to the pointed question: What will the U.S. do if Russia sinks an American ship? How many steps before that goes full-scale, even nuclear? Or maybe American planners (and you, dear reader) are absolutely, positively sure that will never happen, because the U.S. has cool weapons, too, and a lot more of them, and the Russians will probably lose all their ships in the Mediterranean immediately, if not something worse, and they'll put up with anything rather than go one more step. The Russians, like everybody, must know the Americans always win.

Happy with that, are we? Snug in our homeland rug? 'Cause Russians won't fight, but the Taliban will.

This is exactly what is meant by Americans not fearing war with Russia (or war in general for that matter). Nothing but contempt.

The Skripal opera, directed by the United States, with the whole of Europe and the entire Western media apparatus singing in harmony, makes it clear that the American producers have no speaking role for Russia in their staging of the world. And that contempt makes war much more likely. Here's The Saker again, on how dangerous the isolation the U.S. and its European clients are so carelessly imposing on Russia and themselves is for everybody:

Right now they are expelling Russian diplomats en mass e and they are feeling very strong and manly.

The truth is that this is only the tip of a much bigger iceberg. In reality, crucial expert-level consultations, which are so vitally important between nuclear superpowers, have all but stopped a long time ago. We are down to top level telephone calls. That kind of stuff happens when two sides are about to go to war. For many months now Russia and NATO have made preparations for war in Europe. Very rapidly the real action will be left to the USA and Russia. Thus any conflict will go nuclear very fast. And, for the first time in history, the USA will be hit very, very hard, not only in Europe, the Middle-East or Asia, but also on the continental US.

Mass diplomatic expulsions, economic warfare, lockstep propaganda, no interest whatsoever in respectfully addressing or hearing from the other side. What we've been seeing over the past few months is the "kind of stuff that happens when two sides are about to go to war."

The less Americans fear war, the less they respect the possibility of it, the more likely they are to get it.

Ready or Not

The Saker makes a diptych of a point that gets to the heart of the matter. We'd do well to read and think on it carefully:

1/ The Russians are afraid of war. The Americans are not.

2/ The Russians are ready for war. The Americans are not.

Russia is afraid of war. More than twenty million Soviet citizens were killed in WWII, about half of them civilians. That was more than twenty times the number of Americans and British casualties combined. The entire country was devastated. Millions died in the 872-day siege of Leningrad alone, including Vladimir Putin's brother. The city's population was decimated by disease and starvation, with some reduced to cannibalism. Wikileaks calls it "one of the longest and most destructive sieges in history [and] possibly the costliest in casualties." Another million-plus died in the nine-month siege of Stalingrad.

Every Russian knows this history. Millions of Russian families have suffered from it. Of course, there was mythification of the struggle and its heroes, but the Russians, viscerally, know war and know it can happen to them . They do not want to go through it again. They will do almost anything to avoid it. Russians are not flippant about war. They fear it. They respect it.

The Americans are not (afraid of war). Americans have never experienced anything remotely as devastating as this. About 620,000 Americans died in the Civil War, 150 years ago. (And we're still entangled in that!) The American mainland has not been attacked by a significant military force since the War of 1812. Since then, the worst attacks on American territory are two one-off incidents (Pearl Harbor and 9/11), separated by seventy years, totaling about six-thousand casualties. These are the iconic moments of America Under Siege.

For the American populace, wars are "over there," fought by a small group of Americans who go away and either come back or don't. The death, destruction, and aroma of warfare -- which the United States visits on people around the world incessantly -- is unseen and unexperienced at home. Americans do not, cannot, believe, in any but the most abstract intellectual sense, that war can happen here , to them. For the general populace, talk of war is just more political background noise, Morgan Freeman competing for attention with Stormy Daniels and the Kardashians.

Americans are supremely insouciant about war: They threaten countries with it incessantly, the government routinely sells it with lies, and the political parties promote it opportunistically to defeat their opponents -- and nobody cares. For Americans, war is part of a game. They do not fear it. They do not respect it.

The Russians are ready for war. The Nazi onslaught was defeated -- in Soviet Russia, by Soviet Citizens and the Red Army -- because the mass of people stood and fought together for a victory they understood was important. They could not have withstood horrific sieges and defeated the Nazis any other way. Russians understand, in other words, that war is a crisis of death and destruction visited on the whole of society, which can only be won by a massive and difficult effort grounded in social solidarity. If the Russians feel they have to fight, if they feel besieged, they know they will have to stand together, take the hits that come, and fight to the finish. They will not again permit war to be brought to their cities while their attacker stays snug. There will be a world of hurt. They will develop and use any weapon they can. And their toughest weapon is not a hypersonic missile; it's that solidarity, implied by that 77%. (Did you read that Simonyan statement?) They may not be seeking it, but, insofar as anybody can be, they are ready to fight.

Americans are not (ready for war): Americans experience the horror of wars as a series of discrete tragedies visited upon families of fallen soldiers, reported in human-interest vignettes at the end of the nightly news. Individual tragedies, not a social disaster.

It's hard to imagine the social devastation of war in any case, but American culture wants no part of thinking about that concretely. The social imagination of war is deflected into fantastic scenarios of a super-hero universe or a zombie apocalypse. The alien death-ray may blow up the Empire State Building, but the hero and his family (now including his or her gender-ambivalent teenager, and, of course, the dog) will survive and triumph. Cartoon villains, cartoon heroes, and a cartoon society.

One reason for this, we have to recognize, is the victory of the Thatcherite/libertarian-capitalist "no such thing as society" ideology. Congratulations, Ayn Rand, there is no such thing as American society now. It's every incipient entrepreneur for him or herself. This does not a comradely, fighting band of brothers and sisters make.

Furthermore, though America is constantly at war, nobody understands the purpose of it. That's because the real purpose can never be explained, and must be hidden behind some facile abstraction -- "democracy," "our freedoms," etc. This kind of discourse can get some of the people motivated for some of the time, but it loses its charm the minute someone gets smacked in the face.

Once they take a moment, everybody can see that there is nobody with an army threatening to attack and destroy the United States, and if they take a few moments, everybody can see how phony the "democracy and freedom" stuff is and remember how often they've been lied to before. There's just too much information out there. (Which is why the Imperial High Command wants to control the internet.) Why the hell am I fighting? What in hell are we fighting for? These are questions everybody will ask after, and too many people are now asking before, they get smacked in the face.

This lack of social understanding and lack of political support translates into the impossibility of fighting a major, sustained war that requires taking heavy casualties -- even "over there," but certainly in the snug. American culture might be all gung-ho about Seal Team Six kicking ass, but the minute American homes start blowing up and American bodies start falling, Hoo-hah becomes Uh-oh , and it's going to be Outta here .

Americans are ready for Hoo-hah and the Shark Tank and the Zombie Apocalypse. They are not ready for war.

You Get What You Play For

"Russiagate," which started quite banally in the presidential campaign as a Democratic arrow to take down Trump, is now Russiamania -- a battery of weapons wielded by various sectors of the state, aimed at an array of targets deemed even potentially resistant to imperial militarism. Trump himself -- still, and for as long as he's deemed unreliable -- is targeted by a legal prosecution of infinite reach (whose likeliest threat is to take him down for something that has nothing to do with Russia). Russia itself is now targeted in full force by economic, diplomatic, ideological -- and, tentatively, military -- weapons of the state. Perhaps most importantly, American and European people, especially dissidents, are targeted by a unified media barrage that attacks any expression of radical critique, anything that "sows division" -- from Black Lives Matter, to the Sanders campaign, to "But other countries could have made it" -- as Russian treachery.

The stunning success of that last offensive is crucial to making a war more likely, and must be fought. To increase the risk of war with a nuclear power in order to score points against Donald Trump or Jill Stein -- well, only those who neither respect, fear, nor are ready for war would do such a stupid and dangerous thing.

It's impossible to predict with certainty whether, when, or with whom a major hot war will be started. The same chaotic disarray and impulsiveness of the Trump administration that increases the danger of war might also work to prevent it. John Bolton may be fired before he trims his moustache. But it's a pressure-cooker, and the temperature has spiked drastically.

In a previous essay , I said that Venezuela was a likely first target for military attack, precisely because it would make for an easy victory that didn't risk military confrontation with Russia. That's still a good possibility. As we saw with Iraq Wars 1 (which helped to end the "Vietnam Syndrome") and 2 (which somewhat resurrected it), the imperial high command needs to inure the American public with a virtually American-casualty-free victory and in order to lure them into taking on a war that's going to hurt.

But the new War Cabinet may be pumped for the main event -- an attack on Iran. Trump, Pompeo, and Bolton are all rabid proponents of regime-change in Iran. We can be certain that the Iran nuclear deal will be scrapped, and everyone will work hard to implement the secret agreement the Trump administration already has with Israel to "to deal with Iran's nuclear drive, its missile programs and its other threatening activities" -- or, as Trump himself expresses it: "cripple the [Iranian] regime and bring it to collapse." (That agreement, by the way, was negotiated and signed by the previous, supposedly not-so-belligerent National Security Advisor, H. R. McMaster.)

Still, as I also said in the previous essay, an attack on Iran means the Americans must either make sure Russia doesn't get in the way or make clear that they don't care if it does. So, threatening moves -- not excluding probing military moves -- against Russia will increase, whether Russia is the preferred direct target or not.

The siege is on.

Americans who want to continue playing with this fire would do well to pay some respectful attention to the target whose face they want to smack. Russia did not boast or brag or threaten or Hoo-Hah about sending military forces to Syria. When it was deemed necessary -- when the United States declared its intention to attack the Syrian Army -- it just did it. And American10-dimensional-chess players have been squirming around trying to deal with the implications of that ever since. They're working hard on finding the right mix of threats, bluffs, sanctions, expulsions, "Shut up and go away!" insults, military forces on the border, and "bloody nose" attacks to force a capitulation. They should be listening to their target, who has not tired of asking for a "partnership," who has clearly stated what his country would do in reaction to previous moves (e.g., the abrogation of the ABM Treaty and stationing of ABM bases in Eastern Europe), whose country and family have suffered from wartime devastation Americans cannot imagine, who therefore respects, fears, and is ready for war in ways Americans are not, and who is not playing their game:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/9QxWYIAtCMU

Notes.

[1] Ironically, given current drivers of Russiamania, this is a reference to remarks by Janet Napolitano. " The Enemization of Everything or an American Story of Empathy & Healing? "

[2] Though it's ridiculous that it needs to be said: I'm not talking here about the phony fear engendered by the media presentation of the "strongman," "brutal dictator" Vladimir Putin. This is part and parcel of comic-book politics -- conjuring a super-villain, who, we all know, is destined to be defeated. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Jim Kavanagh

Jim Kavanagh edits The Polemicist .

[Jun 19, 2019] The Advent of Truth-Destroying Technology by Paul Craig Roberts

Notable quotes:
"... Tyler Durden on Zero Hedge reports that the ability to falsify reality is growing by leaps and bounds. Thoughtless geeks have now developed technology that makes fake reality indistinguishable from real reality ..."
"... This new artificial intelligence capability allows competent programmers to create audio and video of anyone, saying absolutely anything. ..."
"... The creations are called “deepfakes” and however outrageous they may be, they’re virtually indistinguishable from the real thing. No sooner had we adjusted to a world where our reality seemed fake, then things that are fake became our reality. ..."
"... “We’re outgunned,” said a UC Berkeley digital-forensics expert, “The number of people now working on video-synthesis outnumber those working on detecting deepfakes by 100-1.” . . . Already two-thirds of Americans say altered images and videos have become a major problem for understanding the basic facts of current events. ..."
"... Misinformation researchers warn of growing “reality apathy” whereby it takes so much effort to distinguish between what’s real and fake that we simply give up and rely on our base instincts, tribal biases, impulses. Immersed in our leader’s deceits, we come to believe in nothing. Two oil tankers burst into flames, billowing smoke. ..."
"... Without truth there is no liberty, no freedom, no independent thought, and no awareness. There is only The Matrix. ..."
"... The most difficult thing in the world today is to ascertain the truth. It is what I attempt to do for readers. Those who rely on this website should support it. This site has very loyal supporters, which is why it exists. But it has far more users than supporters. The cavalier attitude toward truth on the part of so many readers is not encouraging of the survival of truth. ..."
Jun 18, 2019 | www.unz.com

Tyler Durden on Zero Hedge reports that the ability to falsify reality is growing by leaps and bounds. Thoughtless geeks have now developed technology that makes fake reality indistinguishable from real reality :

"I don't think we're well prepared at all. And I don't think the public is aware of what's coming," said the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. He was discussing the rapid advance of synthesis technology. This new artificial intelligence capability allows competent programmers to create audio and video of anyone, saying absolutely anything.

The creations are called “deepfakes” and however outrageous they may be, they’re virtually indistinguishable from the real thing. No sooner had we adjusted to a world where our reality seemed fake, then things that are fake became our reality.

“We’re outgunned,” said a UC Berkeley digital-forensics expert, “The number of people now working on video-synthesis outnumber those working on detecting deepfakes by 100-1.” . . . Already two-thirds of Americans say altered images and videos have become a major problem for understanding the basic facts of current events.

Misinformation researchers warn of growing “reality apathy” whereby it takes so much effort to distinguish between what’s real and fake that we simply give up and rely on our base instincts, tribal biases, impulses. Immersed in our leader’s deceits, we come to believe in nothing. Two oil tankers burst into flames, billowing smoke.

On cue, a suspicious Iranian Revolutionary Guard boat appeared on grainy video. Viral images flooded earth’s nine billion screens. Each side told a different story. No one quite knew who to trust. Conspiracy theories filled the void, as we each clung to what we most want to believe.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-06-16/hedge-fund-cio-i-dont-think-public-aware-whats-coming

Why is it that tech geeks take pride in developing technology that makes truth even harder to find? What is wrong with their character as humans that they create methods of destroying the ability to know truth? How is this different from releasing an undetectable substance into the air that wipes out life?

The only use of this technology is to allow the police state complete control. It is now possible to put words and deeds into the mouths and actions of anyone and use the faked evidence to convict them of the simulated crime.

Without truth there is no liberty, no freedom, no independent thought, and no awareness. There is only The Matrix.

How has America so lost the way that corporations, investors, and scientists are motivated to develop truth-destroying technology? Aren’t these mindless idiots our real enemies?

The most difficult thing in the world today is to ascertain the truth. It is what I attempt to do for readers. Those who rely on this website should support it. This site has very loyal supporters, which is why it exists. But it has far more users than supporters. The cavalier attitude toward truth on the part of so many readers is not encouraging of the survival of truth.

[Jun 18, 2019] 7 times Putin apparently trounced US at St. Petersburg Forum

Notable quotes:
"... 'US hegemony contradicts aims of humanity's future' ..."
"... 'US dollar used as a pressure tool' ..."
"... 'Arms twisting and intimidation' ..."
"... "Waging first technological war of digital era" ..."
"... The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is also under fire from the US, despite being in line with the national interests of Russia and all participating European nations. "But it doesn't fit the logic and the interests of those, who got used to [their] own exceptionalism and permissiveness; who got used to their bills being paid by others." ..."
"... 'Unjust system will never be stable' ..."
"... Any system based on obvious injustice will never be stable and balanced. ..."
Jun 07, 2019 | www.rt.com

Vladimir Putin had a lot to say about the US at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, warning that Washington's policies may turn global economy into battle royal and suggesting that dollar's role should be revised.

Even though the Russian president didn't always identify the US or the Donald Trump administration by name, he didn't mince words about America's aggressive economic policies either.

  1. 'US hegemony contradicts aims of humanity's future'

    Washington's desperate attempts to maintain its hegemony on the international arena put the current globalist model of the world at risk of "turning into a spoof, a parody of itself," the Russian president pointed out.

    When universal international rules are replaced by laws; administrative and judicial mechanisms of a single country or a group of influential states, like the US is now doing by extending its jurisdiction on the whole world – such model contradicts not only the logic of international communications and the realities of the emerging multipolar world, but more importantly – it doesn't fit the tasks of humanity's future.

  2. 'US dollar used as a pressure tool'

    "Deep changes require adaptation of international financial organizations, reconsidering the role of the US dollar, which after it became international reserve currency, turned into the tool of pressure of the country, which issues it, on the rest of the world today," Putin said.

    The US authorities "are themselves undermining their advantages, created by the Bretton Woods system. The trust in the dollar is declining."

    Another negative outcome of the policy of sanction and pressure pursued by the US could be "the fragmentation of the global economic space; unrestricted economic egoism and attempts to push own interests forward through force."

    This is the way to endless conflicts; to trade wars and maybe not only trade ones. Figuratively speaking, a fight without rules – a battle royal.

  3. 'Arms twisting and intimidation'

    The Americans and their allies got used to being privileged, but "when this comfortable system started shaking, when their competitors grew some muscle, the ambitions and the desire to maintain its dominance at all cost got the better" of the West.

    "States that previously advocated the principles of freedom of trade, fair and open competition, started speaking the language of trade wars and sanctions, blatant economic raiding, arm twisting, intimidation, eliminating competitors by so-called non-market methods."

  4. "Waging first technological war of digital era"

    Putin delved into "the situation around the company Huawei," which saw its products and services banned in the US over unsubstantiated claims of spying for the Chinese government.

    There are attempts being made not just to put it under pressure, but to brazenly force it out of the global market. In some circles, this is even called the first technological war of the coming digital era.

    The rapid digital transformation was seemingly aimed at "opening new horizons for everyone, who is ready for the change," but the moves by Washington show that "barriers are being erected here too" and it's a reason for serious concern.

    The Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline is also under fire from the US, despite being in line with the national interests of Russia and all participating European nations. "But it doesn't fit the logic and the interests of those, who got used to [their] own exceptionalism and permissiveness; who got used to their bills being paid by others."

  5. 'Unjust system will never be stable'

    The US push for monopoly propels the problem of inequality to "a new level" both on state and individual level. "An attempt is being made to create two worlds, separated from each other by a constantly expanding abyss. When one has access to state-of-the-art systems of education and healthcare as well as modern technologies, while the others have no perspectives, no chance to even get out of poverty and the third – simply left fighting for survival."

  6. Any system based on obvious injustice will never be stable and balanced.

See also:

[Jun 18, 2019] The power of imperial narrative

That's exactly like propaganda in the USSR worked. You can't challenge it because it was supported by the raw power of the state. You need to accept it even you understood that the narrative is completely false, because there was not alternative narrative -- it was suppressed and available only to listeners of (jammed) BBC, Voice of America, DW (Die Deutsche Welle), Svoboda, etc. Which automatically made you a dissident in the eyes of Soviet authorities.
Jun 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

TomGard , Jun 18, 2019 9:39:06 AM | 104

Peter AU 96

Your narrative ignores the free hand imperial executives and their rivals provided themselves since 9/11, namely last year with the Skripal-affair, the Douma-attack and the Khashoggi-affair. Since then narratives don't require any plausibility any more, to the opposite, they intend to demonstrate a prerogative of the authors to impose them on their rivals, no matter how remote the tale, how absurd the construction.

The means are just the imperial aspirations of rival elites, their own ruling interests bind them to the actions of the US, because neither of them, nor together, could take the place of the US in the empire, because they rival each other. Abe, Macron, Maas (German FM) and Mogherinis second are unable to plainly reject the narrative of the Pentagon, as much as Trump is unable to reject it. At best they can demonstrate a humble disbelief ("'Iran' written all over the evidence") to hint at passive resistance.

When Donald Rumsfeld went to Germany 2002/3 trying to remove the German - French resistance to the Iraq war, the German FM showed off ostensive stubbornness in a televised dispute: "I am not convinced, Mr Secretary, I am not convinced", he squeaked like a bold pupil to the teacher.
At the time Rumsfeld was clearly irritated without wishing to show it. The German / French breakaway was clearly a defeat for the Bush jr-administration in it's War on Terra. They invaded iraq anyway, but eschewed to underline their demands with killings like in London and Madrid.

Those times are gone. "America" has arrived in "splendid isolation" and that's exactly the reason, why Donald Trump stays useful for his grimmest enemies at home.

Therefore your narrative is outdated, Peter. It poses, there had to be just enough leaders of the "free world" opposing Washingtons war strategies, like the Germans and French at the time, to make the Pentagon think twice. If this ever was true - which I doubt - it isn't any more.

The war will go on. But I suspect the attack in the Gulf will be used to render it viable for both sides. The US could perhaps bomb with redundant forces some Iranian coastal batteries that are easily restored and tolerate the loss of a frigate, or something of this format.

The bloodhounds of both sides will brag over the corpses - inevitably more Iranian, than US-corpses and be congratulated for their restraint. The yield will be to have shown the places to the rival elites, especially to the EU , India and the ASEAN states, but even to Israel, and on this newly prepared stage a new round of the old play can and will start.

[Jun 16, 2019] When false information is specifically political in nature, part of our political identity, it becomes almost impossible to correct lies.

Jun 16, 2019 | www.politico.com

Leda Cosmides at the University of California, Santa Barbara, points to her work with her colleague John Tooby on the use of outrage to mobilize people: "The campaign was more about outrage than about policies," she says. And when a politician can create a sense of moral outrage, truth ceases to matter. People will go along with the emotion, support the cause and retrench into their own core group identities. The actual substance stops being of any relevance.

Brendan Nyhan, a political scientist at Dartmouth University who studies false beliefs, has found that when false information is specifically political in nature, part of our political identity, it becomes almost impossible to correct lies.

... ... ...

As the 19th-century Scottish philosopher Alexander Bain put it, “The great master fallacy of the human mind is believing too much.” False beliefs, once established, are incredibly tricky to correct. A leader who lies constantly creates a new landscape, and a citizenry whose sense of reality may end up swaying far more than they think possible.

[Jun 16, 2019] Cover-Ups and Truth Tellers

Notable quotes:
"... Of course, being cover-ups by the government may make them appear acceptable, at least to a naive public. Many of them are rationalized as necessary for the sake of national "security." And, of course, everyone wants to be "secure," accepting the notion that "people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf." ..."
Jun 16, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

In a May, 22, 2019 appearance in the White House Rose Garden, President Donald Trump declared that "I don't do cover-ups ." Various news outlets immediately started to enumerate a long list of bona fide cover-ups associated with the president.

... ... ...

Unfortunately, Trump's behavior is but the tip of the iceberg when it comes to cover-ups. One can surmise that just by virtue of being the head of the U.S. government, the president -- any president -- must be directly or indirectly associated with hundreds of such evasions. That is because, it can be argued without much paranoia, that every major division of the government is hiding something -- particularly when it comes to foreign activities.

Of course, being cover-ups by the government may make them appear acceptable, at least to a naive public. Many of them are rationalized as necessary for the sake of national "security." And, of course, everyone wants to be "secure," accepting the notion that "people sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."

The fact that much of this violence is done to other innocent people trying to get a peaceful night's rest is "classified" information. So woe be it to the truth tellers who defy these rationalizations and sound off. For they shall be cast out of our democratic heaven into one of the pits of hell that pass for a U.S. prison -- or, if they are fleet-footed, chased into exile.

[Jun 16, 2019] Trump s Lies vs. Your Brain by Maria Konnikova

Notable quotes:
"... But Donald Trump is in a different category. The sheer frequency, spontaneity and seeming irrelevance of his lies have no precedent. ..."
"... Those who have followed Trump's career say his lying isn't just a tactic, but an ingrained habit. ..."
"... Our brains are particularly ill-equipped to deal with lies when they come not singly but in a constant stream ..."
"... In politics, false information has a special power. If false information comports with preexisting beliefs -- something that is often true in partisan arguments -- attempts to refute it can actually backfire , planting it even more firmly in a person's mind. ..."
"... Brendan Nyhan, a political scientist at Dartmouth University who studies false beliefs, has found that when false information is specifically political in nature, part of our political identity, it becomes almost impossible to correct lies. ..."
Jun 16, 2019 | www.politico.com

Maria Konnikova is a contributing writer at the New Yorker and author, most recently, of The Confidence Game: Why We Fall for It Every Time .

All presidents lie. Richard Nixon said he was not a crook, yet he orchestrated the most shamelessly crooked act in the modern presidency. Ronald Reagan said he wasn't aware of the Iran-Contra deal; there's evidence he was. Bill Clinton said he did not have sex with that woman; he did, or close enough. Lying in politics transcends political party and era. It is, in some ways, an inherent part of the profession of politicking.

But Donald Trump is in a different category. The sheer frequency, spontaneity and seeming irrelevance of his lies have no precedent. Nixon, Reagan and Clinton were protecting their reputations; Trump seems to lie for the pure joy of it. A whopping 70 percent of Trump's statements that PolitiFact checked during the campaign were false, while only 4 percent were completely true, and 11 percent mostly true. (Compare that to the politician Trump dubbed "crooked," Hillary Clinton: Just 26 percent of her statements were deemed false.)

Those who have followed Trump's career say his lying isn't just a tactic, but an ingrained habit. New York tabloid writers who covered Trump as a mogul on the rise in the 1980s and '90s found him categorically different from the other self-promoting celebrities in just how often, and pointlessly, he would lie to them. In his own autobiography, Trump used the phrase "truthful hyperbole," a term coined by his ghostwriter referring to the flagrant truth-stretching that Trump employed, over and over, to help close sales. Trump apparently loved the wording, and went on to adopt it as his own.

On January 20, Trump's truthful hyperboles will no longer be relegated to the world of dealmaking or campaigning. Donald Trump will become the chief executive of the most powerful nation in the world, the man charged with representing that nation globally -- and, most importantly, telling the story of America back to Americans. He has the megaphone of the White House press office, his popular Twitter account and a loyal new right-wing media army that will not just parrot his version of the truth but actively argue against attempts to knock it down with verifiable facts. Unless Trump dramatically transforms himself, Americans are going to start living in a new reality, one in which their leader is a manifestly unreliable source.

What does this mean for the country -- and for the Americans on the receiving end of Trump's constantly twisting version of reality? It's both a cultural question and a psychological one. For decades, researchers have been wrestling with the nature of falsehood: How does it arise? How does it affect our brains? Can we choose to combat it? The answers aren't encouraging for those who worry about the national impact of a reign of untruth over the next four, or eight, years. Lies are exhausting to fight, pernicious in their effects and, perhaps worst of all, almost impossible to correct if their content resonates strongly enough with people's sense of themselves, which Trump's clearly do.

***

What happens when a lie hits your brain? The now-standard model was first proposed by Harvard University psychologist Daniel Gilbert more than 20 years ago. Gilbert argues that people see the world in two steps. First, even just briefly, we hold the lie as true: We must accept something in order to understand it. For instance, if someone were to tell us -- hypothetically, of course -- that there had been serious voter fraud in Virginia during the presidential election, we must for a fraction of a second accept that fraud did, in fact, take place. Only then do we take the second step, either completing the mental certification process (yes, fraud!) or rejecting it (what? no way). Unfortunately, while the first step is a natural part of thinking -- it happens automatically and effortlessly -- the second step can be easily disrupted. It takes work: We must actively choose to accept or reject each statement we hear. In certain circumstances, that verification simply fails to take place.

As Gilbert writes, human minds, "when faced with shortages of time, energy, or conclusive evidence, may fail to unaccept the ideas that they involuntarily accept during comprehension."

When we are overwhelmed with false, or potentially false, statements, our brains pretty quickly become so overworked that we stop trying to sift through everything.

Our brains are particularly ill-equipped to deal with lies when they come not singly but in a constant stream...

... ... ...

In politics, false information has a special power. If false information comports with preexisting beliefs -- something that is often true in partisan arguments -- attempts to refute it can actually backfire , planting it even more firmly in a person's mind. Trump won over Republican voters, as well as alienated Democrats, by declaring himself opposed to "Washington," "the establishment" and "political correctness," and by stoking fears about the Islamic State, immigrants and crime. Leda Cosmides at the University of California, Santa Barbara, points to her work with her colleague John Tooby on the use of outrage to mobilize people:

"The campaign was more about outrage than about policies," she says. And when a politician can create a sense of moral outrage, truth ceases to matter. People will go along with the emotion, support the cause and retrench into their own core group identities. The actual substance stops being of any relevance.

Brendan Nyhan, a political scientist at Dartmouth University who studies false beliefs, has found that when false information is specifically political in nature, part of our political identity, it becomes almost impossible to correct lies. When people read an article beginning with George W. Bush's assertion that Iraq may pass weapons to terrorist networks, which later contained the fact that Iraq didn't actually possess any WMDs at the time of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the initial misperception persisted among Republicans -- and, indeed, was frequently strengthened.

In the face of a seeming assault on their identity, they didn't change their minds to conform with the truth: Instead, amazingly, they doubled down on the exact views that were explained to be wrong.

It's easy enough to correct minor false facts if they aren't crucial to your sense of self. Alas, nothing political fits into that bucket.

With regard to Trump specifically, Nyhan points out that claims related to ethno-nationalism -- Trump's declaration early in the campaign that Mexico was sending "rapists" across the border, for instance -- get at the very core of who we are as humans, which "may make people less willing or able to evaluate the statement empirically." If you already believe immigrants put your job at risk, who's to say the chastity of your daughters isn't in danger, too? Or as Harvard University psychologist Steven Pinker puts it, once Trump makes that emotional connection, "He could say what he wants, and they'll follow him."

... ... ...

[Jun 16, 2019] Cult of the Irrelevant -- National Security Eggheads Academics

Jun 16, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

It also explains the rise of think tanks, which are more pliant than academics but provide similar marketing support. As Benjamin Friedman and I wrote in a 2015 article on the subject, think tanks undertake research with an operational mindset: that is, "the approach of a passenger riding shotgun who studies the map to find the ideal route, adjusts the engine if need be, and always accepts the destination without protest."

As former senator Olympia Snowe once put it, "you can find a think tank to buttress any view or position, and then you give it the aura of legitimacy and credibility by referring to their report." Or consider the view of Rory Stewart, now a member of parliament in the UK, but once an expert on Afghanistan who was consulted on the Afghan surge but opposed it:

It's like they're coming in and saying to you, "I'm going to drive my car off a cliff. Should I or should I not wear a seatbelt?" And you say, "I don't think you should drive your car off the cliff." And they say, "No, no, that bit's already been decided -- the question is whether to wear a seatbelt." And you say, "Well, you might as well wear a seatbelt." And then they say, "We've consulted with policy expert Rory Stewart, and he says "

Or look at how policymakers themselves define relevance. Stephen Krasner, an academic who became a policymaker, lamented the uselessness of much academic security studies literature because "[e]ven the most convincing empirical findings may be of no practical use because they do not include factors that policy makers can manipulate."

The explicit claim here is that for scholarship to be of any practical use, it must include factors that policymakers can manipulate. This reflects a strong bias toward action, even in relatively restrained presidencies.

To take two recent examples, the Obama administration blew past voluminous academic literature suggesting the Libya intervention was likely to disappoint. President Barack Obama himself asked the CIA to analyze success in arming insurgencies before making a decision over what to do in Syria. The CIA replied with a study showing that arming and financing insurgencies rarely works. Shortly thereafter, Obama launched a billion-dollar effort to arm and finance insurgents in Syria.

♦♦♦

As Desch tracks the influence of scholars on foreign policy across the 20th century, a pattern becomes clear: where scholars agree with policy, they are relevant. Where they do not, they are not.

In several of the cases Desch identifies where scholars disagreed with policy, they were right and the policymakers were tragically, awfully wrong. In the instances where scholars differed with policy at high levels, Desch blames their "unrealistic expectations" for causing "wartime social scientists to overlook the more modest, but real, contribution they actually made" to policy. But why would we want scholars to trim their sails in this way? And why should social scientists want to be junior partners in doomed enterprises?

Social scientists have produced reams of qualitative and historically focused research with direct relevance to policy. They publish blog posts, tweets, excerpts, op-eds, and video encapsulations of their work. The only thing left for them to do is to convey their findings via interpretive dance, and a plan for doing that is probably in the works already. In the meantime, it should be simultaneously heartening and discouraging for policy-inclined scholars to realize that It's Not Us, It's Them.

In a country as powerful and secure as the United States, elites can make policy built on shaky foundations. Eventually, the whole thing may collapse. Scholars should focus on pointing out these fundamental flaws -- and thinking about how they might help rebuild.

Justin Logan is director of programs and a research associate at the Center for the Study of Statesmanship at Catholic University.


Oleg Gark June 11, 2019 at 9:03 pm

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

Experts, shmexperts! Who needs realism when you're creating your own reality.

EliteCommInc. , says: June 12, 2019 at 3:56 am
I was thinking -- the academics involved in policy are in think tanks and then

"It also explains the rise of think tanks, which are more pliant than academics but provide similar marketing support."

but what I found intriguing is the assessment concerning most of the research being faulty or dead wrong in various ways.

Given that and the real world success of the think tank players who develop foreign policy Dr. Desch should consider the matter a wash --

Those on the field aren't scoring any big points. in fact they seem intend on handing the ball over to the opposing team repeatedly.

trying to predict and then replicate human behavior is a very dicey proposition.

enjoyed the reference to the ongoing debate quantative analysis verses qualitative.

EliteCommInc. , says: June 12, 2019 at 4:05 am
Sadly when the numbers quantative research ruled they could really be abusive in stating what the data meant.

Nowhere is this more evident than with crime stats.

polistra , says: June 12, 2019 at 8:23 am
Excellent article.

Another question occurs to me: Who are the executives or politicians trying to impress when they bring in captive consultants or scholars? Ordinary people (customers or voters) don't care. Customers just want a good product, and voters just want sane policies.

Competing leaders know the game and don't bother to listen.

So who's the audience for the "thinkers"?

JohnT , says: June 12, 2019 at 9:01 am
In so much of the world's leadership today it is not science that is being ignored and corrupted so much as rational thought and a personal insight mature enough to find indisputable the need for the opinion of others.
But, to this post's point, I once had a statistician with a doctorate in his profession casually state their numbers predicted Stalin would fail. In response, my thought was when in the history of the known galaxy did putting a soulless person in charge ever not fail? Compassion alone would predict that outcome.
Taras 77 , says: June 12, 2019 at 12:14 pm
The absolute most corrupting influence in current foreign policy discussion is the growth of the mis-named growth of "think" tanks. One can discern immediately the message when determining author and organization.

Moar war, russia, iran, et al are threats, moar military spending, support israel at all costs, etc, etc.

These 'think' tanks are extremely well funded by oligarchs and foreign money so the bottom line is directed towards pre-selected objectives. Even the state dept is getting into the act to atk pro-Iran activists.

Where is the level playing field?

Kouros , says: June 12, 2019 at 3:20 pm
While the academics might be deemed irrelevant when views differ, the government in-house analysts might even loose their jobs if their positions differ from those of the decision makers. I know I lost mine, and it wasn't even in foreign policy or national security
Christian J Chuba , says: June 13, 2019 at 7:13 am
It's the mentality of forever war that considers diversity subversive.

The purpose of Think Tanks and foreign policy experts (misnamed) is to rally the troops against our enemies list, not to improve our interaction with the rest of the world but to defeat them. To them, it is always WW2. Yemen must die because we can connect them to Iran; they are Dresden.

BTW I know the author was talking about actual experts. They have all been purged and dismissed as Arabist or enemy sympathizers. Track records don't matter, to them we are at war and will always be so.

C. L. H. Daniels , says: June 13, 2019 at 1:26 pm
President Barack Obama himself asked the CIA to analyze success in arming insurgencies before making a decision over what to do in Syria. The CIA replied with a study showing that arming and financing insurgencies rarely works. Shortly thereafter, Obama launched a billion-dollar effort to arm and finance insurgents in Syria.

*Silently screams in frustration*

And this is why I ended up ultimately disappointed with Obama. The man was utterly incapable of standing up to what passes for conventional wisdom inside the Beltway. "Hope and change," my butt. The hoped for change never did arrive in the end.

Say what you will about Trump, he surely doesn't give a flying fart about wisdom, conventional or otherwise. Instead of driving the car off a cliff, he just sets it on fire from the get go to save on gas.

Dr. Diprospan , says: June 14, 2019 at 4:06 pm
I liked the article.
A good reminder that if people did not heed the divine warning in Paradise,
but chose the disastrous advice of the serpent, then what can we expect
from modern politicians? Wrong, dangerous behavior seems to be inherent
in the human mentality, otherwise who would smelt metals, descend into mines,
discover America, study radiation?
Cult of the Irrelevant reminds me of the 80 and 20 statistical, empirical principle,
where out of 100 things, articles, words, recommendations, 20% are useful,
80% are useless. However for 20 useful percent to form, you need a statistical
pressure of 80 useless.
"Practice is the criterion of truth." Having eaten the forbidden apple, people were driven out of paradise, but instead they learned to distinguish between good and evil.
Without this property, it would be impossible to recognize "the effective treatments"significantly exaggerated by dishonest pharmacologists..

[Jun 14, 2019] Total control of narrative means total control of population

Notable quotes:
"... I agree with the premise, that the NARRATIVE is the means by which oligarchy rules the masses. ..."
"... As Mencken stated (approx) "the common man avoids the truth [because] it is dangerous, no good can come of it, and it doesn't pay." ..."
"... Americans are propagandized from childhood, and it's very hard for most to break free, even if they want to. In my case, a rather abusive childhood made me disinclined to accept conventional wisdom. ..."
"... The proverbial man in the street is well aware that capitalism/politics is a racket and openly say so. ..."
"... The falling numbers in the 'democracies' who now bother to vote is an indication of this, as is the growing political unrest in the heartlands of the Anglo-Zionist empire. It is not possible to 'fool all of the people all of the time'. Whether they do anything about it is another matter. ..."
"... These are dangerous times, but that is the usual condition when the structure of any social and political order is beginning to crumble. Ultimately, the Anglo-Zionist empire is, to use Lenin's description 'A colossus with feet of clay.' No empire lasts forever, and the US is not exceptional in this respect. The real problem is that the demise of the US hegemonic project will taken down the rest of the planet with it. ..."
Jun 14, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

AnneR , June 14, 2019 at 09:35

Thank you Caitlin for this piece. Depressing but not unexpectedly so. And if my late husband's FB friends (as I've mentioned on here before) are anything to go by, the overwhelmingly bourgeois crowd will continue to be *willingly* propagandized with the Russophobic, Sinophobic and Iranophobic lies of commission and omission that regale them via MSDNC, NPR, PBS, BBC and the so-called "progressive" press (e.g. The guardian, Jacobin, the NYT).

These friends post pro-Demrat, pro-Russiagate, consider the choice to be between Warren and Klobuchar (?), and concentrate their minds on *progressive* ideations: sexual preference/"gender" identity/racial/ethnic identity and now and then a little on climate change (especially via the "green ND" – saving capitalism being all consuming or ignored). Never a word about income inequality, about the ongoing slaughter in Yemen, of the ongoing, never-ending nightmare of Palestinian life, of what we have done to Libya, Iraq or Afghanistan or are doing to Syria. Not a word about the immorality, illegality of our economic sanctions against NK, VZ, Iran nooo. Nary a peep about what we (US-UK-AU) are doing to Assange .

These really existing realities as lived by "others" whether the poor within these borders or the darker hued folks far from these shores do *not* matter one iota, certainly not by comparison with being able to vacation in this or that place, buy a bigger house, more clothes, demonstrate one's *Progressiveness.*

Lee Anderson , June 14, 2019 at 09:30

I agree with the premise, that the NARRATIVE is the means by which oligarchy rules the masses.

For example, we are now being inundated with the NARRATIVE that Iran is attacking Japanese oil tankers. Pure nonsense, but the media is an adjunct of the bankster/military/oil industrial complex.

Politicians are merely puppets doing the bidding of their pay masters.

Sam F , June 14, 2019 at 05:46

Yes, money control of mass media is the problem. Such articles may help some with doubts to formulate an awareness that leads to admission of the problem. The major factor in admissions is the rare direct experience, which may include a story close to home, a personal loss due to narrative control. Of course the majority seek the mass media narrative because it directs them to safety and profit in their social and economic dependent relationships. Our unregulated market economy encourages the selfishness that enslaves the people to money power. As Mencken stated (approx) "the common man avoids the truth [because] it is dangerous, no good can come of it, and it doesn't pay."

I hope to set up a college of policy debate CPD constituted to protect all points of view, and to conduct moderated text-only debate among experts of several disciplines, of the status and possibilities of each world region, and the policy options. Debate summaries commented by all sides are to be made available for public study and comment. The CPD would bring the knowledge of society into public debate, educate the electorate, discourage propaganda, and expose the wrongs of society and the corruption of government that desperately needs reform.

The debates will require a higher standard of argument in foreign and domestic policy on both right and left, ensure that all points of view are heard, and require all challenges to be answered. This would have much reduced the group-think that led to our mad wars since WWII. Extreme and naïve politicians will be easier to expose, and media commentators will have a starting point and a standard for investigation and analysis.

Zhu , June 14, 2019 at 04:14

Americans are propagandized from childhood, and it's very hard for most to break free, even if they want to. In my case, a rather abusive childhood made me disinclined to accept conventional wisdom.

Donald Duck , June 14, 2019 at 03:18

"The mass of men live lives of quiet desperation." I have forgotten who actually said this but it seems appropriate for our age. I think the mass of people are very well aware of what is going on. The proverbial man in the street is well aware that capitalism/politics is a racket and openly say so.

The falling numbers in the 'democracies' who now bother to vote is an indication of this, as is the growing political unrest in the heartlands of the Anglo-Zionist empire. It is not possible to 'fool all of the people all of the time'. Whether they do anything about it is another matter.

If note is taken of the David Icke phenomenon it is possible to identify a growing awareness of the of ordinary people to the crimes of the rich and powerful.

These are dangerous times, but that is the usual condition when the structure of any social and political order is beginning to crumble. Ultimately, the Anglo-Zionist empire is, to use Lenin's description 'A colossus with feet of clay.' No empire lasts forever, and the US is not exceptional in this respect. The real problem is that the demise of the US hegemonic project will taken down the rest of the planet with it.

Zhu , June 14, 2019 at 04:21

"Quiet desperation" is ftom Thoreau. The colossus with the feet of clay is the Biblical book of Daniel, the dream of Nebuchadnezzar.

Neither Reptilans nor Zionists make us Americans commit the crimes and follies we do. We oirselves are responsible.

T.J , June 14, 2019 at 02:43

Caitlin Johnstone has concisely and precisely, in this article, provided a compendium of ideas and sources to explain how the powerful through it's control of propaganda corrupts democracy to the core. Laziness, ignorance and acceptance of the status quo prevents the vast majority from acknowledging this to be the case. As Caitlin states it takes courage to reject the "narrative control matrix " of the powerful and that can only be achieved by changing our relationship with that narrative. This, of course, takes time and effort but is liberating nonetheless.

[Jun 14, 2019] The propaganda model postulates five general classes of "filters" that determine the type of news that is presented in news media. These five classes are: Ownership of the medium, medium's Funding sources, Sourcing, Flak, and Fear Ideology

Notable quotes:
"... "U.S. ally and client Israel had from the start received active assistance developing its nuclear capability, and with the help of the United States, France, and Germany, it has built up a substantial arsenal since. This includes some 150-250 nuclear warheads (the exact number is unknown) plus delivery systems by land, sea, air, and ballistic missile. And throughout more than forty years of such unparalleled help, Israel refused to sign the NPT and subject itself to IAEA inspections and was never pressed to do so. ..."
"... "So thoroughly built-in is this double standard that when the IAEA's General Conference in Vienna in September 2009 voted forty-nine to forty-five to adopt a binding resolution that 'calls upon Israel to accede to the NPT and place all its nuclear facilities under comprehensive IAEA safeguards' – in other words, that Israel's nuclear weapons program was to be treated the same as Iran's civilian nuclear program – the English-language media observed near total silence about the event. The only major newspaper that reported it was the next-day's Irish Times, and nothing showed up in any major U.S. print media. ..."
Jun 14, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Abe , June 14, 2019 at 14:56

Ed Herman is probably best known for developing the propaganda model of media criticism (co-authored with Noam Chomsky) in Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (1988).

The propaganda model is a conceptual model in political economy advanced by Herman and Chomsky to explain how propaganda and systemic biases function in mass media. The model explains how populations are manipulated and how consent for economic, social, and political policies is "manufactured" in the public mind due to this propaganda.

According to the propaganda model, the way in which news is structured (e.g. through advertising, concentration of media ownership, government sourcing) creates an inherent conflict of interest that acts as propaganda for undemocratic forces.

The propaganda model postulates five general classes of "filters" that determine the type of news that is presented in news media. These five classes are: Ownership of the medium, medium's Funding sources, Sourcing, Flak, and Fear Ideology.

The Flak filter is conspicuous in the 2016 Washington Post / PropOrNot imbroglio and ongoing "Russia-gate" hysteria. Flak describes efforts to discredit organizations or individuals who disagree with or cast doubt on prevailing assumptions that are favorable to established power.

Flak is characterized by concerted efforts to manage public information in support of the political and economic Establishment, culminating in outright censorship.

The propaganda model views private media as businesses interested in the sale of a product -- readers and audiences -- to other businesses (advertisers) rather than that of quality news to the public.

In The Politics of Genocide (co-authored with David Peterson, foreword from Noam Chomsky, 2010), Herman has argued that some genocides have been heavily publicized in the West to advance a specific economic agenda, often leading to minority controlled governments of pro-Western and pro-business factions, while other genocides have been largely ignored for the same reason.

Of particular note is Herman and Peterson's article, "The Iran 'Threat' in a Kafkaesque World" (2012). The authors examine yet another conspicuous example of "extreme application of the double standard" by the United States:

"U.S. ally and client Israel had from the start received active assistance developing its nuclear capability, and with the help of the United States, France, and Germany, it has built up a substantial arsenal since. This includes some 150-250 nuclear warheads (the exact number is unknown) plus delivery systems by land, sea, air, and ballistic missile. And throughout more than forty years of such unparalleled help, Israel refused to sign the NPT and subject itself to IAEA inspections and was never pressed to do so. A secret agreement was even struck between U.S. President Richard Nixon and Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir in 1969 under which the United States agreed to accept – and remain silent about – Israel's nuclear weapons program. This agreement, often referred to as the "U.S.-Israeli nuclear understanding," was reaffirmed by U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in May 2009. Netanyahu boasted about it in September that same year after the UN General Assembly (UNGA) summit, telling Israel's Channel 2 television station that at his meeting with Obama in May, he 'asked to receive from him an itemized list of the strategic understandings that have existed for many years between Israel and the United States on that issue.' Obama had obliged. In effect, 'The president gave Israel an NPT treaty get out of jail free card,' one Senate staffer told the Washington Times.

"So thoroughly built-in is this double standard that when the IAEA's General Conference in Vienna in September 2009 voted forty-nine to forty-five to adopt a binding resolution that 'calls upon Israel to accede to the NPT and place all its nuclear facilities under comprehensive IAEA safeguards' – in other words, that Israel's nuclear weapons program was to be treated the same as Iran's civilian nuclear program – the English-language media observed near total silence about the event. The only major newspaper that reported it was the next-day's Irish Times, and nothing showed up in any major U.S. print media.

Similarly unmentioned is the fact that the United States is itself in violation of the NPT (as is every member of the Founding Five states – the United States, Russia, Britain, France, and China – that tested a nuclear weapon prior to 1 January 1967). Article VI of the NPT requires that all parties to the treaty 'pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to the cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.' But the Founding Five have not done this. The United States has openly striven to upgrade its nuclear weapons to make their use more practicable in conventional warfare settings, and both the United States and NATO have publicly declared the importance that the Alliance attaches to a 'credible' nuclear posture 'to preserve peace and prevent coercion and any kind of war.' Nevertheless, in a Kafkaesque moment, UNSC Resolution 1887, adopted with much fanfare during the opening week of the UNGA's 2009 session in September, called upon the 'Parties to the NPT' to live up to the treaty's 'nuclear arms reduction and disarmament' demands. Indicative of the depth of the institutionalized reality-denial was the fact that the rampant violations and double standards in no way tempered the indignation of the United States and its allies concerning Iran's alleged NPT violations."

http://cosmos.ucc.ie/cs1064/jabowen/IPSC/articles/JPS165_Herman_Final.pdf

Herman was professor emeritus of finance at the Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania. A distinguished scholar and peace champion, Herman was a media analyst with a specialty in corporate and regulatory issues as well as political economy. He also taught at Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. He passed away on 11 November 2017 at age 92.

O Society , June 14, 2019 at 14:18

Well done! My suggestion is instead of focusing so much on propaganda and narrative, out best use of time is to go deeper to the level of the Structure.

https://opensociet.org/2019/06/08/the-structure/

Pablo Diablo , June 14, 2019 at 13:20

Whoever controls the media, controls the dialogue.
Whoever controls the dialogue, controls the agenda.

Gary Weglarz , June 14, 2019 at 11:01

It is literally impossible to escape the 24/7 non-stop propaganda narratives of empire here in the U.S. I took my two young grandsons this week to see the kid's movie "The Secret Life of Pets 2." What qualities you might wonder characterized the villain in this brand new kid's movie? Well, how about an incredibly thick unmistakable Russian accent, stereotypical Russian facial features, a fur collar on his black trench coat, and a pack of evil wolves as henchmen that also spoke with thick evil sounding Russian accents.

Now I don't for a minute think this bit of almost subliminally placed anti-Russian propaganda was intended for my 2 and 4 year old grandsons. It was there for mom, dad, grandparents, and all the adults in the room. Did most adults even recognize they were being propagandized? I really doubt it. The creepy truly insidious nature of our full-spectrum Western propaganda apparatus is really quite breathtaking to behold. You can't even escape your required daily dose of the current hate narrative when watching a kid's movie for toddlers. No need for a barbed wire "gulag" when here in the West the gulag is now simply our own completely propagandized minds.

OlyaPola , June 14, 2019 at 10:48

"Propaganda Prospering Far and Wide"

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/51758.htm

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/51759.htm

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/51765.htm

Some read 1984 as "what is", some read 1984 as "how to", whilst some read 1984 as a description of complicity.

During 1984 there was a greater assay of complicity than in 1990, largely unperceived by some reading 1984 as "what is", and some reading 1984 as "how to", facilitated by some reading 1984 as a description of complicity and deriving/implementing strategies thereupon.

Not all "benefits" of dumbing down accrue to those immersed in practices of "dumbing down", particularly in lands of make believe and spectacle although often unperceived by "believers".

[Jun 13, 2019] Control of narrative is the essence of social control in modern society by Caitlin Johnstone

Jun 13, 2019 | caitlinjohnstone.com

... you see examples pop up every day:

I remember in the run-up to the Iraq War a friend I had known all my life suddenly said to me, 'We must do something about this monster in Iraq.' I said, 'When did you first think that?' He answered honestly, 'A month ago'. #Propaganda @medialens -- Malcolm Pryce (@exogamist) April 12, 2018
This is why I pay far more attention in my work to narrative control than to politics. Politics is downstream from narrative control, which is why the 2020 US presidential race is already a contest to see what level of Democratic corporatist warmonger will be running against the incumbent Republican corporatist warmonger. The narrative-controlling class does its level best to hide the fact that anything's fundamentally wrong with the system, then when people notice it's deeply broken they encourage them to use completely impotent tools to fix it. "Don't like how things are run? Here, vote for our other puppet!" The root of all our problems right now is the fact that human minds are very hackable with enough resources, combined with the fact that war, oppression, exploitation and ecocide are highly profitable. This dynamic has caused human collective consciousness to generally dead-end into a kind of propagandized, zombified state in which all our knowledge and all our thinking moves in alignment with the agendas of existing power structures. It's much easier to continue believing the official narratives than to sort through everything you've been told about your society, your nation and your world since grade school and work out what's true and what's false. Many don't have the time. Many more don't have the courage. We will remain in this collective dead-end, hurtling toward either Orwellian dystopia or extinction via climate collapse or nuclear armageddon, until we find a way out of it. It won't come from the tools our rulers have given us, and it won't come from repeating any of the old patterns which got us here. In order to escape from the increasingly adept narrative control matrix that is being built around our collective mind by the powerful, we're going to have to change our relationship with narrative altogether . We will either pass this great test or we will fail it, and we absolutely have the freedom to go either way.

_______________________

The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for my website , which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported , so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook , following my antics on Twitter , throwing some money into my hat on Patreon or Paypal , purchasing some of my sweet merchandise , buying my new book Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone , or my previous book Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers . For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I'm trying to do with this platform, click here . Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish or use any part of this work (or anything else I've written) in any way they like free of charge. Bitcoin donations:1Ac7PCQXoQoLA9Sh8fhAgiU3PHA2EX5Zm2 Liked it? Take a second to support Caitlin Johnstone on Patreon! Tags caitlin johnstone Crowdstrike democracy George Kurtz narrative propaganda Share


AriusArmenian / June 13, 2019

One way to protect yourself against the poison of propaganda narratives is to never automatically believe fear and hate propaganda which is the mind (thinking) killer.
O Society / June 13, 2019
Thank you for the excellent take on propaganda, Caitlin! Useful as always. That said, I disagree propaganda is "the root of all our problems" though. What I mean is propaganda comes from somewhere. This narrative you speak of, which is manipulated through our media, comes from somewhere.

There is a Structure in which we all swim in like goldfish in a bowl, never being aware of the water we are swimming in. Water actually has a smell to it if you are into chemistry

We can call it a meta-narrative or meta-structure, if you will, but I capitalize it, like the difference between truth and Truth or god and God. It is at the root of all our assumptions. American exceptionalism, neoliberalism, media, society's conventions, all of it. It is the water.

https://opensociet.org/2019/06/08/the-structure/

Charles Robinson / June 13, 2019
Very. very well said. The indoctrination has the masses hypnotized to the Oligarch's orchestrated narrative so well, that they are blind -- or -- in denial -- to the forces controlling and making their lives miserable.
PCPrincess / June 13, 2019
There is an elevated importance to 'keeping data' that we deem important, not only to ensure its safety, but to serve as a reminder to ourselves of what the human populace has done over the years, whether they be a member of the corporate elite or governmental institutions, or a propagandized member of the voting public.

This makes websites like the 'Wayback Machine' a very useful tool and one that should be maintained and safeguarded. ( https://archive.org/web/web.php ).

Not only that, but I'd like to think that I'm not the only person that has saved extremely important articles from useful resources over the years. I've got years of material saved (including articles related to Wikileaks and Assange). I continue to add to my collection every time I run into another important bit of information. One of my motivations for doing so, was to have the material for publication at some later date (again -- to serve as a reminder of where we came from). I felt really compelled to save material during the run up to 2016 as that was a moment in my life that was a major tipping point and a point from which I can never turn back. I'm all the more grateful now as I read about the work being done to 'erase' history. Caitlin is correct about the fallibility and gullibility of human beings.

Lloyd / June 13, 2019
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VF8DsIVWDcs

Great minds think alike kinda sorta.

CMW / June 13, 2019
Caitlin, Here is what you are looking for:
John McClain / June 13, 2019
Dear Caitlin,

The Bible tells us we lost "paradise" for accepting the opening to a lie, and having done so, began lying. I've lived around the world, a "navy brat", and two decades as a Marine, and every society with a future, finds lying evil, and truth the foundation for honest trade, which is the world's economic engine.

We've been able, the U.S., to exist in a constant, ever changing lie, because so few ever have any real duties, we've abdicated responsibility, and in doing so, transferred the authority we had as "Sovereign Citizens", to those we elect with barely a second thought.

We, Americans, as a "country" are not honest, while a great many of us are on a daily basis, we don't fully conduct our lives in truth, and we excuse it for ourselves, suggesting its a small thing, given the enormous lies which abound.

The fact is, the moment one begins living on a lie, it must ever be compounded, to keep up with natural change that ever occurs, and is the singular thing we always can expect, change. Once in a lie, one must continue, or stop and acknowledge, so one can begin where the truth was left behind, simply beginning, "here, when I quit" doesn't undo all the destruction in one's wake, and that is duty, if one is to get back to right".

No one can control my narrative, nor yours, only those who have none of their own, because they don't want to expend the effort, to find the facts, face the bastards who would abuse all of us, and refuse to lose the contest of wills.

One must have a culture, focused on principles, to turn to such, and live in them, or one must be a hermit, and hold their principles, outside society, if it will not accept them. Such hermits are left to themselves, unless they manage to gain sufficient audience, to be a threat to the power mongers.
Every "offshoot of an empire" is an opportunity for a People to choose their ways, their principles, from among any and all they admire, and make a new start. It requires people fed up with the empire, to be energetic enough, strong willed enough, to make it come to pass.

I expect when the U.S. empire fails, many Peoples will take the opportunity to turn around, and focus on their own well being, and seriously consider the long future.

Truth, as a principle, has existed far longer than history, and it's opposite, has always been the bane of common existence. There has never been a time when all the world couldn't eat well, live well, and do so in complete peace, except that Man is a fallen creature, and is inclined to evil, when we see benefit in the lie, outweighing the value of truth, ignoring "consequences".

There doesn't ever seem to have been a time when we, People the world over, haven't been at odds and war over right action, defending against invasion to steal. If we accept the fact we are "prone to lie", we can consciously decide not to, as a practice, and become fairly good at it. If we won't accept it, we have to decide, case by case, what is truth, and what is manipulation, and our decision is then often controlled by our own bias.

I was born into an atheist family, well raised, in Church, because our parents had no foundation for their "moral principles", those of basic, simple Christianity, in logic or reason, but they fully intended we three children realize them as our own, and we did. I've been delving in science from my earliest years, "the insatiably curious", and convinced of God from my earliest memories, back to age one.

I've studied the sciences and spend my time in quantum physics, both quantum mechanics, and astrophysics, and the incredible findings of each and everything in between only serves to bolster my belief in design, external action in our world, and by this, God.

Yes indeed, all evil begins with lying, and that is the beginning of "controlling the narrative".

Semper Fidelis,
John McClain
GySgt, USMC, ret.
Vanceboro, NC, USA

Robert Callaghan / June 13, 2019
Propaganda, feminism and socialism started right after private banks stole public credit. They're all 100 year old narratives.

A 100% private carbon wealth tax = 100% universal private income = 0% for governments, NGOs and corporations

Democratic socialists Republican capitalists hate that

Link: https://www.truthdig.com/articles/first-assange-then-us/

Chris Hedges was an inner city boxer and preacher, he was intensely aware of the hypocrisy of liberal elites.

Gore Vidal's interview with Timothy McVeigh also illuminated elite media hypocrisy.

YT is protected from liability to protect free speech, now they censor free speech.

It was journalists who called for censorship.

Google can swing more than 3 million presidential votes just by tweaking algos.

The media is all about control. Always has been. All US media makes 5 billion per year. Google news now makes 5 billion per year. Google AI knows more about you than you do. Data = Control

mike k / June 13, 2019
Dead on truth Caitlin. I love it! When more people understand your message, then the Emperor will stand before us stripped of his fancy clothing, and shivering with fear.
cutthecord / June 13, 2019
the emperor may, but alas, the Deep State that makes all the real decisions behind the curtain, will crush the people with financial and real weapons.
Ramdan / June 13, 2019
Yes, Propaganda is bad and it has to be debunked. Those currently leading these propaganda campaigns are ill-intentioned and need to be exposed, but

Propaganda and the Propagandists ARE NOT the root cause of all our problems. Admitting this, puts the responsibility outside ourselves, it pushes responsability away and creates and internal representation of an external 'bad guy' to be fought.

It gets closer when you say

'The root of all our problems right now is the fact that human minds are very hackable( )'

It is our mind and the way our mind works. But then It is in fact the basic tenets of our world/life perception.

As long as we perceive this world/life as a place to achieve something, to be someone, to get somewhere. As long as we keep considering materialistic 'values' paramount we will fall for any Propaganda, any narrative which intents to present a better way to achive something, to be someone -- be that a 'successful citizen', a 'patriot', an 'outstanding professional' or 'spiritual leader' -- is a narrative that plays with the unwarranted notion that has been instilled on us through socialization: 'life is a game, life is a competition' cause if there is a competition there will be 'winners' and 'loosers'.

Yes, Propaganda is not good and propagandists need to be exposed, but the root cause is within us. We, each of us, is responsible for him/herself, each of us has to SEE what is INSIDE that makes us fall prey of the Propaganda and the propagandists, that makes us accept current, past and any future propaganda.

Skoolafish / June 13, 2019
• "Atrocity propaganda is how we won the war. And we're only really beginning with it now! We will continue this atrocity propaganda, we will escalate it until nobody will accept even a good word from the Germans, until all the sympathy they may still have abroad will have been destroyed and they themselves will be so confused that they will no longer know what they are doing. Once that has been achieved, once they begin to run down their own country and their own people, not reluctantly but with eagerness to please the victors, only then will our victory be complete. It will never be final.

• Re-education needs careful tending, like an English lawn. Even one moment of negligence and the weeds crop up again -- those indestructible weeds of historical truth."

Sefton Delmer -- former British chief of 'Black propaganda' in a conversation with Dr Friedrich Grimm (German Professor of International Law)

P.Brooks / June 13, 2019
No More War
Ron Campbell / June 13, 2019
Are you ready for " wholesale extermination "? My government, and its genocidal partners, intend to " cull the herd " real soon. Poor people will be eliminated. No living wages. No socialized anything. No more free stuff. The " chaos " will have the middle class and the poor people at war with each other. The store shelves will be empty; there will not be gas at the pumps. When you call for the police no one will be coming. The " shitstorm " is just over the horizon; it will be a lulu!
Ron Campbell / June 13, 2019
Is world war 3 on tap?
https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/06/11/what-comes-after-trump-world-war-iii/
Palloy / June 13, 2019
You clearly know that the tools we currently have will not change the status quo. So why do you keep on suggesting we email our MHRs, sign e-petitions, go to rallies, protest (peacefully) in the streets, to "free Julian Assange", or end world poverty, or make world peace or whatever. You know none of this will work.

Maybe nothing will work, but maybe protesting violently in the streets will work. Last night there was video footage on SBS TV News of "the people" of Hong Kong (of course NOT influenced by the CIA behind the scenes) protesting violently in the streets. They were of course met with fierce police resistance as they attempted to get into government offices, but they could have gone elsewhere and found other government offices and burnt them to the ground. They could have burnt cars. They could have burnt Court buildings. Or done any number of other things that would have made the government quake with fear.

SBS told us that there were a million protesters, over and over again, like it was a fact. They also mentioned that the police had said there were only 250,000, but that obviously didn't count, because somebody (who?) had said a million. The narrative is , of course, that CHINA is BAD and US is GOOD. So off you go and sign up for a war on China.

My main concern is that when the people have been beaten down to the point of starvation, and must strike back to survive, that they won't know any better than to go on a peaceful protest rally, and get tear-gassed, beaten with night-sticks, shot with rubber bullets and bean-bags, bitten by trained attack-dogs and trampled by police horses. You are going to have to tell them precisely what to do, so why not start now?

LSJohn / June 13, 2019
It's a prisoners' dilemma. Everyone would be better off if everyone followed more-or-less your line of thinking. However, every one of us will be worse off if we go in that direction without a sufficient number of our fellow citizens beside us.
"Sufficient number" will surface about when?
Ron Campbell / June 13, 2019
I call them our " Owners " because they own us! The United States quagmires in South Korea and Vietnam really upset our owners. The " populace " taking to the streets everywhere was not to their liking at all. The owners were not going to change their objectives; the owners decided to block anything and everything that influence " their stupid subjects "!

The draft was eliminated. No more bad war reports on television. The United States is always the good guys in the white hats. Our enemies are everywhere. etc. etc. The year is 2019 but the reality is George Orwell's 1984. Big Brother has all of us by the short hairs now. Check this out:
https://www.fff.org/explore-freedom/article/the-omnipresent-surveillance-state/

We are being " hoodwinked " by our very rich and very evil owners that have us eating each other up while they just get richer! War Is Peace!

Joseph Olson / June 13, 2019
When the Romanian REAL Guccifer got Podesta password (password) by phishing, exposing his pizza and walnut sauce perversions, the US had him jailed. When WikiLeaks made a DNC dump, CrowdStrike concocted Guccifer 2.0, then more leaks Fancy Bear, and more leaks Cozy Bear. All these CrowdStrike fabrications used CIA Vault 7 fingerprints to frame Russia. It is time to execute our ruling demonic warlords.
Greg Felton / June 13, 2019
Thanks Caitlin. Clearly, "1984" is real. I have written on propaganda for more than 20 years and this piece of yours is valuable research.
Christine Valiquette / June 13, 2019
The Century of the Self is a great four-part documentary series about the effectiveness of propaganda. Please watch it, and share it on Facebook. It's a subtle way to get your MSM consuming/trusting friends and family to be more critical of the narrative they are being fed.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/DnPmg0R1M04

[Jun 10, 2019] The Arrival of the Anti-Christ, Delayed by Israel Shamir

Notable quotes:
"... It appears Israelis had tempted the Russians into the ambitious meeting by promising to take the US sanctions off Russian back. It is doubtful Israel can deliver on such a promise to start with. Putin is a very experienced statesman, and he won't accept a US promise in lieu of full delivery. Not after the Hanoi failure of Trump-Kim talks, and not before that, either. Anyway, Putin would like to be un-sanctioned, but not at the price the US asks. ..."
"... "Look, here's what I believe. It becomes obvious when you think about it. Judging by NATO's estimates, there won't be a large European war until about 2025. And by 2025, Ukraine, being a large anti-Russian foothold, will evolve into something that will begin dragging us into trouble, connected with various matters including transfer of power. It's not a coincidence that some of our neighbors are getting rid of the Russian inscriptions on their money in 2024. We see that and we should be ready. From where we get the approximate schedule of our actions." ..."
"... " Undoubtedly, the issue of de-Americanization of Europe is critical. There's no Soviet border anymore. I said that yesterday. And there's no line dividing Germany. We must get rid of it up to the Atlantic Ocean. The elimination of either the American presence or the NATO bloc in general. ..."
Jun 10, 2019 | www.unz.com

Last week, at 'Russian Davos', St Petersburg Economic Forum, President Putin reiterated the main points of his memorable Munich Speech . He voiced seven complaints leaving no doubt he is unhappy with American heavy-handedness, with the US attempts to weaponise the dollar, Google, Facebook and knowhow as in case of Huawei. "States that previously advocated the principles of freedom of trade, fair and open competition, started speaking the language of trade wars and sanctions, blatant economic raiding, arm twisting, intimidation, eliminating competitors by so-called non-market methods," – he said. This is not the language of a man who waits for a cue to join the US entourage.

Still, there are other, less pleasant signs.

The 'Russian Bolton', Mr Eugene Satanovsky, the head of pro-Israeli think tank, a former head of a Zionist Jewish body and a frequent commentator on Russian TV had been appointed an adviser to the Russian Defence Minister Mr Sergey Shoygu. His nomination came directly from Kremlin and surprised the ministry officials. A prominent Russian churchman, Fr Chaplin, expressed his satisfaction with Israeli control of Jerusalem, in a column in the Nezavisimaya Gazeta . At the same time, the Russian S-300 did not respond to Israeli bombing runs in Syria.

It appears Israelis had tempted the Russians into the ambitious meeting by promising to take the US sanctions off Russian back. It is doubtful Israel can deliver on such a promise to start with. Putin is a very experienced statesman, and he won't accept a US promise in lieu of full delivery. Not after the Hanoi failure of Trump-Kim talks, and not before that, either. Anyway, Putin would like to be un-sanctioned, but not at the price the US asks.

Israelis want to neutralise Iran, as the Islamic Republic is the only remaining defender of the al-Aqsa Mosque. Amman, ar-Riyad and other Arab capitals will not fight Israel, if Netanyahu were to destroy the Mosque. The Palestinians will fight, but they have no weapons. The last Jewish victim of a Palestinian attack had been wounded by scissors. Iran has weapons and cares for the Mosque. Can Netanyahu convince Putin to neutralise Iran, or pressure Iran to stay away from Palestine? It would be a major feat worthy of a magician.

And now we come to the important point. Instead of receiving two superpower envoys in splendour as [almost] the King of Jews, Bibi Netanyahu will meet them as the head of a transitional government facing new elections and a possible trial. In such a status, it is hard to convince your banker to give you a loan to buy a new car, let alone convincing Putin to switch alliance and Trump to deny Christ.

In the same time, the baby-faced son-in-law Kushner had planned to execute his (and Trump's) Deal of the Century. Even an impregnable Trump and unassailable Netanyahu would have a great difficulty to make this trick. Trump facing impeachment and Bibi facing elections and police investigation have no chance. Probably it is good, too. Russia and China decided to stay away. Mahmud Abbas, the PNA President, refused it, too, and this fraud's flop will preclude Palestine from being sanctioned.

The intended deal had not been officially disclosed; all we have is a leak in a newspaper close to Bibi Netanyahu and financed by Sheldon Adelson, saying it was leaked from the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Bear with me, gentle reader, and suspend your disbelieve! Though this piece of daydreaming looks like a project written by high school kids during summer vacation time, it is not particularly good-natured.

It says the US will kill (that's right, k_i_l_l) Palestinian leaders that won't accept it, but before, it will sanction Palestine to death and forbid all its allies to buy, sell, and donate or anything to Palestinians.

The deal envisages a permanently disarmed Palestinian entity that will pay Israel for its "protection". All Jewish settlements remain inviolable, and are considered a part of Israel. Israel will control every arrival and departure from the entity called "New Palestine". Jerusalem stays Jewish. Gaza will be connected to the West Bank by 30 km long bridge under Israeli control. This bridge will be paid for by China. Desalination plant for Gaza will be paid by Japan. If not for the threat to kill the disobedient Arabs, it would be plainly preposterous. So the demise of this bizarre 'deal' is not to be regretted.

President Trump understood that with Bibi facing trial and re-election there is no chance to advance on this project – or any other project. "Israel is all messed up in their election," Trump told reporters. "They have to get their act together." "Bibi got elected and now they have to go through the process again? We're not happy about that," Trump said .

Thus, the two great plans of Bibi: the trilateral meeting in Jerusalem and Deal of the Century went down when Bibi failed to form a government.


AnonStarter , says: June 9, 2019 at 5:14 am GMT

It says the US will kill (that's right, k_i_l_l) Palestinian leaders that won't accept it, but before, it will sanction Palestine to death and forbid all its allies to buy, sell, and donate or anything to Palestinians.

The deal envisages a permanently disarmed Palestinian entity that will pay Israel for its "protection". All Jewish settlements remain inviolable, and are considered a part of Israel. Israel will control every arrival and departure from the entity called "New Palestine". Jerusalem stays Jewish. Gaza will be connected to the West Bank by 30 km long bridge under Israeli control.

And so we've leaders that we deserve,
dumbed-down goybeans, ready to serve,
boiled in the same old kettle of fish,
cooked to perfection, a vomitous dish.

Colin Wright , says: Website June 9, 2019 at 6:18 am GMT
' They say Lieberman did it following wily Putin's orders. Putin was not keen to be pushed by Netanyahu and Trump to act against Iran; he didn't want to quarrel with these two leaders either. He activated Lieberman and torpedoed the new Netanyahu's government '

There's a theory that Russia has something on Lieberman; that willingly or unwillingly, he's effectively a Russian agent.

Digital Samizdat , says: June 9, 2019 at 6:57 am GMT

The deal envisages a permanently disarmed Palestinian entity that will pay Israel for its "protection". All Jewish settlements remain inviolable, and are considered a part of Israel. Israel will control every arrival and departure from the entity called "New Palestine". Jerusalem stays Jewish. Gaza will be connected to the West Bank by 30 km long bridge under Israeli control. This bridge will be paid for by China. Desalination plant for Gaza will be paid by Japan.

This is just hilarious. Did Kushner and Bolton think this one up with after an all-week meth-binge together?

'Hey, Beavis! Let's get the Palestinians to officially surrender and the Chinese and Japanese to pay for it. Heh, heh, heh!'

swamped , says: June 9, 2019 at 8:17 am GMT
"The 'Russian Bolton', Mr Eugene Satanovsky .... outlined in a media interview a few short weeks ago, where he asserted:

"Look, here's what I believe. It becomes obvious when you think about it. Judging by NATO's estimates, there won't be a large European war until about 2025. And by 2025, Ukraine, being a large anti-Russian foothold, will evolve into something that will begin dragging us into trouble, connected with various matters including transfer of power. It's not a coincidence that some of our neighbors are getting rid of the Russian inscriptions on their money in 2024. We see that and we should be ready. From where we get the approximate schedule of our actions."

" Undoubtedly, the issue of de-Americanization of Europe is critical. There's no Soviet border anymore. I said that yesterday. And there's no line dividing Germany. We must get rid of it up to the Atlantic Ocean. The elimination of either the American presence or the NATO bloc in general.

I'm talking about any forms of elimination, not just peaceful methods and negotiations. The issue remains."

" America will pay with its territory, its military facilities, and it will be lucky if not with its civilian population, for any anti-Russian activities in Europe. If America doesn't realize that, then you should replace the idiots that run your country. They'll bury it. We're talking on the eve of that. Can't you see that? Don't you realize that?"

What delay, the Satanic Anti-Christ has arrived (one of them, anyway).

TimeTraveller , says: June 9, 2019 at 9:03 am GMT

This unprecedented meeting was supposed to become Netanyahu's great achievement, crowning his nth re-election and confirming his international status.

It's really Russia's great achievement. They are supposed to be a failed state.

Alfred Barnes , says: June 9, 2019 at 10:56 am GMT
@sarz It seems he's spent considerable time on Trade and Immigration issues. Russiagate was a hoax from the outset, and considerable resources are being expended in an effort to deal with the criminal conduct of the previous administration. Jared has been given credit for some accomplishments, nothing extraordinary. Most Americans see him and Ivanka for what they are, an indulgement of The Donald, and as long as he keeps delivering for the American People, he will have their forbearance.

To claim Trump is a top Jew, is just a fabrication of what you want to believe. Jews aren't cause of the woes of the world, the Devil is. Swiss templars control the world's finances. The rothies are but one of their client banks, which includes the houses of saxe-coburg and saad, bolsheviks, chicoms, the vatican, and the deep state. Did I leave anything out?

Trump and the nationalist backlash against immigration in the EU and elsewhere are a pause in the banking cabals march to globalism. What is needed is a debt reset. There will be a reset of the global financial system, what remains to be seen is what takes it's place.

joeshittheragman , says: June 9, 2019 at 12:44 pm GMT
The jews are not a religion or a nationality. They are, and always have been a corporation of swindlers – nothing more. They always have a back door escape route for when the Gentiles finally wake up and tire of their constant cheating and overall immoral behavior.
Johnny Walker Read , says: June 9, 2019 at 1:01 pm GMT
What is important here is the what(Bibi and company's evil plans have been sidelined-for now). The who and the how is less important, but thanks to Israel Shamir for informing as it is good to know.

I'll bet John Hagee and his CUFI crowd are wiping their tears on their prayer shawls. LOL

[Jun 08, 2019] China-Russia Partnership Threatens US Global Hegemony

Treatment of Putin as pariah is closely connected with the attempt to isolate and weaken Russia. It is the part of the same strategy.
Notable quotes:
"... It seems to me the underlying issue here is is the U.S. oligarchy–and that's not monolithic by any means. There's very different interests within the most powerful circles, economic circles in the United States. ..."
"... So I think the Americans are, you might call it, ostrich-like. They don't think this challenge is going to be for real. ..."
"... The richest family in America, the WalMart Waltons, made most of their fortune as agents of communist China. They are allies of thé Chinese in destroying US productive capacity and impoverishing her workers. ..."
"... Richard Nixon must be rolling in his grave! Isn't this precisely why he 'went to China' and then worked out a détente with Russia? In order to prevent the US from having to fight both parties at once? Whose bright idea was this dual-containment strategy? ..."
"... Obama's. The pivot to Asia (which was code for China) combined with pressing Russia in Ukraine and Syria, along with the various sanctions was on his watch. In the end, Obama was a President who put the Libya intervention to a vote of his advisers instead of taking responsibility to make an informed position, right or wrong. ..."
Jun 08, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

PAUL JAY: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay.

Big power rivalry is heading into very dangerous waters. The rise of China as an economic and military superpower is threatening the global hegemony of the United States. Russia has been pushed into an increasingly tighter relationship with China to balance the attempts by the West to isolate it. President Trump, representing the most aggressive sections of American capital, is responding with a trade war, and an unparalleled massive peacetime military budget that was justified by his Secretary of Defense Shanahan with three words: China, China, and China. Christine Lagarde, the IMF's managing director, said in a briefing note that taxing all trade between the world's two largest economies would cause some $455 billion in gross domestic product to evaporate. The report said this would be a loss larger than South Africa's entire economy.

In a recent meeting between Russia's President Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, apparently the 29th such meeting in the last few years, it was announced with the two leaders looking on that the Chinese tech company Huawei has struck a deal to build Russia's first 5G wireless network. This is the same company that Trump has banned from developing the 5G network in the United States, and is pushing Europe to do the same.

This is clearly just the early stages of what is already the defining big power contention of the 21st century. When the two countries should be focused on the climate crisis, it's looking more like the years before World War I. Of course, there were no nuclear weapons in 1914.

Now joining us to discuss the Chinese, Russian, and American rivalry is Rob Johnson. Rob is the president of the Institute on New Economic Thinking. He was formerly a banking associate of George Soros, and he's now leading the Commission on Global Economic Transformation, a project of INET, co-chaired by Nobel Prize winners Joseph Stiglitz and Mike Spence. Thanks for joining us, Rob.

ROB JOHNSON: Pleasure.

PAUL JAY: So just how dangerous is this trade war? When you listen to the, sort of the business media, it goes anywhere from, well, they're all going to sort it out at a meeting in June, to this is just the beginning of something that's going to get extremely messy.

ROB JOHNSON: I would say we can't know whether things will be what you might call mended back together, or whether we're opening a very, very big and contentious hole in the design of the world system. I was recently at a conference run by a man named John Mallery at MIT, which was an outstanding collection of people from intellectual property rights, trade representatives, artificial intelligence, machine learning experts, and from the intelligence community.

... ... ...

PAUL JAY: It seems to me the underlying issue here is is the U.S. oligarchy–and that's not monolithic by any means. There's very different interests within the most powerful circles, economic circles in the United States. But are they willing to accept this is going to be a multi-superpower world, certainly at the very least China and the United States? I would say within a few decades it's not out of the question a country like India might even enter those kinds of circles, when you start having populations of a billion and you start having this technological evolution that's taking place in China. But there certainly seems to be circles within United States that do not accept the idea that this will be anything but a single-superpower world, and they're trying to do something about it.

ROB JOHNSON:

...And so this is a hard game. And the Chinese, circa 2001, were supposed to fall into line. They were supposed to become part of our trading system. And that's not–that's not the case. And with the advent of digital commerce, with the announcement of China 2025, they are replacing, what I'll call, as they move up the value chain, the more complex activities. They're not falling into line in a U.S.-led system where they make Nike tennis shoes or assemble iPhones with low-cost labor or low environmental protections. They're not moving into what I'll call changing their comparative advantage, because it's not based on what's buried in the ground. It's based on human capital and evolution and training and R&D.

The other final thing where I think the United States has some real concern is we have been talking about how the government doesn't play a role. We've been cutting government support to things like basic science very drastically over the last 20 years as a percentage of GDP.

The Chinese ultimately will have a population four to five times the size of America's. They continue to develop their science budgets. And what you might call the locus of innovation may shift from the United States in places like Silicon Valley to a place like Shenzhen in China.

So I think the Americans are, you might call it, ostrich-like. They don't think this challenge is going to be for real.

PAUL JAY: The global trading system, as you said, led by the United States, and also in practice, is the various countries, part of it, play to some extent a subordinate role within that system. And China is clearly positioning itself to be a direct competitor in many markets. In Latin America and other places China has actually supplanted the United States as the major trading partner. It's a fact of life. This is–I don't see how this is going to change. But the way Trump's approaching this, the trade war and such, it's all being done in the name of being good for American workers. It's being–it's all about American jobs. Is it?

ROB JOHNSON: Well, this is my biggest concern. You hit the nail on the head, as far as I see. The problems were originally that American-based multinational corporations, and for that matter multinational corporations in Western Europe, moved in with foreign direct investment in China, and then sold things back to the United States, whether through Toys R Us, or Wal-Mart, or other things; consumer products or telephones. And that system imposed a real adjustment on a very large portion of the American workforce. So firms didn't go out of business, they responded by automating. But the pressure on labor intensive activity, the downward pressure on wages, is very real. But what a Chinese leader would tell you, and I go over there two, three times a year to meet with them, yes, those adjustments took place. But the responsibility to alleviate that suffering belongs with the American government. The transfers that–what I'll say, leaving orthodox economists probably said free trade is great, because you can compensate people and nobody's worse off and some people are better off. The problem is we don't have a political economy in America that's set up to make those transfers. So the losers lose bad and the winners lobby to get their own taxes cut and keep their money offshore.

... ... ...

PAUL JAY: And one of the sort of not real secrets, but sort of a dirty secret, because people don't talk about it very much, is one of the things that in fact has been subsidizing American workers as their jobs flee, both through going to China and such, and also through automation, has been such incredibly cheap products coming from China. I mean, you go to Wal-Mart and you can buy, you know, a dozen socks for, like, $3. That's a kind of subsidy from cheap Asian labor for American workers which, one, the tariffs are going to eliminate, and two, in the long term, American workers are going to be replaced by automation and they're going to lose the cheap products from China.

ROB JOHNSON: Yes. Well, what I would say is cheap products from China are fine as long as you have a trust fund. If you don't have a trust fund they can be as cheap as whatever; making zero income you still can't buy them. And I think in the United States what I've talked about transfers was income support and retraining support for people to evolve as, you might all it, the shock of the development of China reoriented the pattern of trade.

... ... ...

ObjectiveFunction , June 8, 2019 at 5:06 am

Good thoughtful points raised in the discussion here, but they largely center around the decline of the US-centered unipolar system. On the other hand, the conversation pretty much completely begs the question re the headline topic: "China-Russia-partnership-threatens-US-global-hegemony". That pretty much drops off the agenda after the first few paragraphs.

So Huawei is building a 5G network in Russia. So what? Does that arrest Russia's resource curse? aging population? underemployment and brain drain? public health and ecological crises? Or merely bind China closer to the resource-rich Siberian lands it missed the chance to claim and settle due to Western interference, starting in the 18th century? (part of that 'deep wounding' that's supposed to excuse all Chinese behaviour today, I suppose)

Also:

I would say we can't know whether things will be what you might call mended back together, or whether we're opening a very, very big and contentious hole in the design of the world system.

I find myself asking: should such a 'hole' be 'mended' at all? Should there still be a 'hegemon that provides global public goods'?

(huge Kindleberger fanboi since uni, btw)

Ignacio , June 8, 2019 at 6:08 am

Competition, threaten, hegemony, military. Stupidity comes back if it ever was gone

Divadab , June 8, 2019 at 6:14 am

The richest family in America, the WalMart Waltons, made most of their fortune as agents of communist China. They are allies of thé Chinese in destroying US productive capacity and impoverishing her workers.

With a traitorous ruling class such as this it is no wonder the US is in decline. And note Hillary Clinton was on the WalMart board for many years, aiding and abetting the sellout of American workers in favor of foreigners. The party of American workers has been utterly corrupted by these lying scum.

Seamus Padraig , June 8, 2019 at 7:19 am

Richard Nixon must be rolling in his grave! Isn't this precisely why he 'went to China' and then worked out a détente with Russia? In order to prevent the US from having to fight both parties at once? Whose bright idea was this dual-containment strategy?

NotTimothyGeithner , June 8, 2019 at 8:40 am

Obama's. The pivot to Asia (which was code for China) combined with pressing Russia in Ukraine and Syria, along with the various sanctions was on his watch. In the end, Obama was a President who put the Libya intervention to a vote of his advisers instead of taking responsibility to make an informed position, right or wrong.

The Rev Kev , June 8, 2019 at 8:44 am

You know, it was not all that long ago that there was talk among some elites about the US going into partnership with China in running the world. No, seriously.

This was back during the Bush era and was referred to as the G-2 or Chimerica. Washington would provide the all the strategic planning and China would provide the financial resources and maybe their military manpower as well where needed. Between the two of them nobody would be able to resist their power.

Not Russia, not the EU – nobody. Zbigniew Brzezinski was all for it but that was just because he was evil. The historian Niall Ferguson was also all for it which shows just how good a historian he is. And now look where we are-

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

[Jun 07, 2019] The power of neoliberal brainwashing by Jason Holland

Jun 01, 2019 | dissidentvoice.org

If man were wise, he would gauge the true worth of anything by its usefulness and appropriateness to his life.

-- Michel de Montaigne, Complete Book of Essays , Book 11, Essay 12, Page 543

For your consideration, the modern idiot in a habitat of prime viral fecundity; after centuries of western civilization spreading toxic oppressive imperialism through contrived financial schemes and brutish warfare the dream of global neoliberalism has come to full fruition where all personal responsibility for actions of selfish business interests has been discretely removed from the profiteers and accountability placed upon all powerful implacable nation states. As a result what has been set into motion is the perfect bewildering breeding ground for the whims of the idiot mind to thrive. Complexity is artificially created in financial systems, legalese, and bureaucratic nomenclature to obfuscate the deceptions and allow the idiots in charge to more deftly carry out their scams on the general public..

What is before us now are the death throes of capitalism, which is oddly enough also capitalism at its apogee with a precipitous descent ahead due to its profound unsustainability. A common analogy of our times is referencing going off a cliff of some kind to describe the present trajectory of this idiot society, e.g. an unstoppable train with no brakes going over a cliff, or Wile E. Coyote having already gone over the cliff and simply hasn't bothered to look down yet to notice he's run out of terra-firma. Whatever variation of the analogy chosen, the point is that we know the cliff is there, but the collective state of our idiocy doesn't seem to care too much. It has other idiot priorities it deems more necessary to care about, so it plows ahead despite knowing it has run out of track.

This state of being has of course been intentionally manufactured by the idiots in charge. The direct derivation of widespread capitalist ideology creates faux democracies run by political stooges who are sycophantic to corporate power amounting to an orchestrated production of bureaucratic theater where everyone affected by the reach of this system catches the virus of idiocy and finds themselves at various stages of recovery. Each person inculcated into the cult of the idiot via institutional systems is ensnared by the traps set by boardroom bandits who conspire to break the will of the people by attempting to normalize that which isn't normal, and comport the natural better intentions of the masses to enrich the loosely formed global capitalist state.

Their scheme is simplistic yet highly effective; engineer a society based on a need for money issued from a central source and then see to it that money is always in scarce supply for all but an elite class. The effect on the common person is a state of perpetual fear and desperation which allows for the masses to be easily controlled, always servile to the money. The idiotic mind is then molded by saturating the senses in a simulacrum overlay of reality which obscures our real values, uses our love against us, and reforms us into the idiot that the idiots in charge wish us to be so we may be easily exploited once the will is broken, hence the average human animal won't put up much resistance when they are asked to do the cruel and often ecologically ruinous labor for an elite class. After the institutional indoctrination the hope for a better world becomes a futile prospect with the specter of our own conscious/cognitive deficiencies looming large over our collective actions. And certainly any would-be paradise or substantially better world for all, which theoretically could come into being, will never emerge so long as the agenda of the idiot prevails over higher wisdom.

A melancholic realization of our predicament is to understand we are trapped in a death spiral under idiotic reign where some horrific form of collapse is nearly inevitable due to our own inability to change the compulsory-destructive- unsustainable-status quo. We are damned to this present state because the idiots learned long ago that all it takes to control a herd of humans to create a self reinforcing system of subservience. This system is instantiated by fostering dependency in a hierarchical social system where a cadre of idiots seize control and installs safeguards to protect their system making it intractable with feedback loops of rewards and punishments, and each time the people begin to wise up to the plots of the idiots in charge they are slapped back into depraved imbecility unless they want to endure more of the whip which power will see to it is all that lies before them if they attempt to stray too much from the desired course of the idiots in charge.

The idiot is inherently an idiot because they are motivated by idiotic whims. At the core of the idiot are misplaced values leading to misplaced priorities that lead them to take up activities and belief systems which are antithetical to their own contentment, and typically not only are these types of activities a path to nowhere for them but also have added externalities which make their actions corrosive to all life as well. Inevitably their facile search for greater pleasure, status, and legacy damns not only them to their own personal hell, but has the potential to damn all others impacted by their decisions chasing after shallow endeavors.

The idiot mind argues their positions with a barrage of overlapping nested logical fallacies couched in reductionism and baked down to simplistic one liners which buries the truth so far down it takes an hour to fully unpack a single sentence. "Everything is a cycle", "Communism has killed 100 million people", "Capitalism has led to the greatest increase in quality of life", "Guns don't kill people, people do" – twisted distractive arguments ignoring a compendium of logical antecedents all purposed to defend capitalist propaganda people have either conveniently or unwittingly absorbed and requires time and a calm dialectical conversation to break apart the conflated lies. However the conditioned idiot mind isn't really interested in hearing the counterarguments to these claims. They only want a simple reassurance that their previously held positions are correct because admitting one is wrong is painful and requires a degree of humility, a virtue which the idiot has in short supply. And if one attempts to fully explain the full breadth of the argument the more hardened idiots will proclaim that if one cannot manufacture the counterargument in an equally terse and trite statement it must be wrong. The idiot mind will ultimately dismiss the opposing arguments with laconic stupidity and they'll quickly come to rest on the premise that we can "agree to disagree", or they'll claim on any point in which they might potentially be wrong is simply that the truth may be in the middle somewhere, or they'll suddenly become spurious epistemological philosophers and question what can truly ever be known?

To be glib and facile is a common feature of the idiot and entails not thinking about arguments in proper scope or with valid supporting warrants, or to casually perhaps conveniently misattribute the root of a problem which in fact may be be a product of a deeper problem(s). The idiot sees before them only what they desire, and their desire so often blinds them. The idiot is jealous, competitive and desires material stuff and power while sometimes not even questioning why they want what they believe they want. Like why do idiots care so much about immigrants? If they had their border wall built and actually were able to keep out 100% of illegal immigration their lives would not appreciable improve in any manner, there would be no sudden spike in their pay or offering of jobs. There's a long line of issues people think they care about that if corrected would not make much of a difference, and some of them being symptoms of deeper problems.

A rich entitled idiot will spend countless hours trying to think of ways to make more money and for what? More sexual partners? A new boat? Bigger house? A private jet? What exactly is gained and why is that worthwhile? And a war-mongering bureaucrat like Trump's national security advisor John Bolton, does anyone think he actually cares so much about the security of the US that he feels it necessary to try to attack Iran and Venezuela, and what would be accomplished when they are toppled? Even if he admitted the true reason he wants to attack these countries, for economic neoliberal expansion and to plunder their resources, what is gained even then? What is the end game there? Why do any of these folk who already are much wealthier than the common person and also nearing the end of their lives feel it so absolutely necessary to impose their will violently on others? The results will only end like every military conflict does, with throngs of innocent people dead and the world no more peaceful or better off than it was when they started the conflict.

And what exactly is gained if an already wealthy US gains more wealth? What happens? Who is happier? Who is better off? Almost nobody. Why they do what they do is an insanity and spreads discord throughout the world, as Hans Koning stated in his book Columbus: His Enterprise regarding the Spanish empire's plundering of the Americas:

For all the gold and silver stolen and shipped to Spain did not make the Spanish people richer. It gave their kings an edge in the balance of power for a time, a chance to hire more mercenary soldiers for their wars. They ended up losing those wars anyway, and all that was left was a deadly inflation, a starving population, the rich richer, the poor poorer, and a ruined peasant class.

This is the typical result of imperialism. Always has been. Thus the elites imposing their selfish will on others doesn't do anything of value and never has. This realization doesn't stop the present idiots in charge from doing their nefarious deeds or cause a hint self introspection, the idiot mind is a busied mind supremely confident they are correct. And once they have a head of steam in a direction they will most always barrel on forward out of nothing more than foolish pride reassuring themselves that whatever minor gains they may receive from any heinous act they take up is worth it, while often taking the shortest, most brutish path, to acquire more of what they desire but don't need in any conceivable way. They don't bother to think of the ramifications or the pain they cause; they just do because they feel they have the power to do so, consequences be damned.

And the facile machinations of the modern idiot in western countries doesn't seem to want to stop doing even the most frivolous of activities in order to stop the bleeding of mother Gaia. Any capitalist desire is of utmost importance to be maintained to the idiots in charge. They feel like it's their right in their ostensibly free market to use their money to engage in whatever spectacle or peculiarity they wish no matter the consequence and won't budge or go without one less triviality, not one less light buzzing over Times Square. Not a single casino can be sacrificed. It would be a tragedy if there was one less assault rifle rolling off an assembly line. An impossibility to go with one less cruise ship, or one less all you can eat buffet, not one less computer server warehouse storing useless surveillance information, not one less gaming console, or Hollywood car crash scene, or all night convenience store or fast food restaurant Not a thing they will do to impede what their idiot facile minds believe is freedom. To the idiot it's somehow all a worthwhile endeavor despite if it means inducing abrupt climate change or killing off the majority of the flora and fauna on the planet. The idiots simply won't stop being idiots until some force greater than them makes them.

And to diminish the rapid onset of climate change the idiot mind speaks of the money needed to do so. As if human will was solely reliant on convincing the idiots in charge to create more currency for the most pressing issue humans have perhaps ever faced. The idiot ignores history of Native Americans who primarily used a gift economy for likely thousands of years in comparative peace and were more advanced than most modern idiots give them credit, certainly leaps and bounds more advanced socially. But in modernity and throughout the history of western civilization money has been a tool of power and created through loans and enslaving people into debt in the billions of dollars everyday for the most absurd reasons. But debate in the public sphere continually revolves around the idea of how can we afford to maintain our highly destructive system in the face of anthropogenic Armageddon. They insist it's an impossibility that a bunch of corrupt bankers can't create the money as they do all the time and an equally impossible idea that perhaps we free ourselves entirely from these shackles and abandon the concept of money altogether to do what is necessary through the bonds of trust and lessen the damage to our environment so we have a habitat to live in while also freeing ourselves from cycle of imperial idiocy created through the use of currency. Truly the reasons for which we are destroying this planet are idiotic, and the things that are stopping the people from fully revolting against the idiots in charge are also idiotic considering what is on the line.

Our cultural heritage in western civilization is rooted in idiocy, driven by elite idiots in charge with an agenda to make the inability to discern the difference between a higher truth and an outright lie a widespread epidemic so they can convince the masses to do the stupid things the idiots in charge desire. Through tyranny and manipulation the idiot powers that be have manufactured a world which has planted seeds of doubt in otherwise unassailable truths. And perhaps this is why so many people in the west have sought out wisdom within eastern philosophy and shamanistic societies. They seek to find truth that is shunned by the modern western mind, and to understand truth one must disengage from this toxic culture so they can remember once again what the truth looks like.

The idiocy is compounded by an ironic competitive pride in their intellectual abilities where one idiot proclaims to be smarter and more qualified than another based on idiotic criteria. Like the spurious intelligence in being able to out maneuver another capitalist through underhanded means, or exhibiting the callousness to exploit employees more than their competitors. Or the supposed craftiness in brown-nosing up to one's superiors in a place of work and appearing more subservient than coworkers as to be awarded a promotion. These are not acts of intelligence but acts of one who is making an obsequious race to the bottom and proclaiming themselves champions for their willingness to sink to lower levels of deception to achieve their so called success. However there is no success when the entire ecology of our world is recklessly destroyed so their ideas of success can be had. There is no success when needless wars and mass human suffering are imposed so their ill conceived goals can be achieved. The idiot's idea of success is in actuality grand treachery.

Examples of the idiot's falsely contrived ideas of success are everywhere. The unemployment rate is seemingly quite low at 3.6%, but what does this mean when so many are excluded out of the equation once they haven't had any employment for a long enough amount of time, and further, what is considered employment in many cases doesn't provide the ability to afford a roof over your head. And who cares if the unemployment number is low when the end product of these jobs also makes species extinction and climate change worse. What good are these jobs when they create so much human misery that lives have little value to all those who are stuck in the labor. And who cares if a metric like the GDP goes up if it is achieved through barbarous imperialism, or grossly overcharging for medical care/housing/education, or by creating slave like conditions for people thousands of miles away so corporations can glean more profits? This is again is not success, it is but the apex of disdainful human treachery.

The idiot is constantly seeking validation externally from others and never generates their own validation through self acceptance. Thus they are ravenous attention seekers, and will inevitably sniff out all things that garner attention for them so they create awards shows, diplomas with haughty ceremonies, important sounding titles of all sorts to manufacture the facade of their worth. If an action is harmful to others in their trek for external validation it's not of any great importance to the idiot, the worthiness of action is again determined by if it's beneficial to them and exclusionary society comprised of other idiots so it compliments their high sense of themselves which their ego assures them is valid.

The idiot believes all things are impossible except what currently exists. They are exceptional at meeting the criteria for the definition for insanity. They do the same thing over and over and expect different results. The idiot does not understand history even when they read it since cultural and self reinforced myopia has rotted away the plasticity of thought in their minds so what they take away from the reading of history is only what is convenient to their present system of thought. The idiot believes in social systems like representative democracies, centralized government in nation states, courts, and prisons that cannot cure the simplest of society's ailments over thousands of years of use, but to the idiot just one more election is going to make all the difference. One more go around the installed idiotic system with idiotic desires at the root is going to change course and suddenly become wise. They believe by just replacing the current idiots in charge they will be able to cause the change that is so desperately needed, but like a hiker refusing to admit they are lost and continuing down the trail out of hubris they are only further compounding the problem by insisting they aren't lost. And our society is most certainly lost, and it's a long way back to the trail that leads to redemption and a place we actually want to be, which we get further away from each day we stay on our present course.

And after all our idiotic overcomplicated plots and schemes, they are but to mask simple truths the idiot facade tries so desperately to avoid; the inner torments of being afraid of not being good enough, not measuring up to our peers, not meeting arbitrary expectations we either accept from others or set for ourselves, or quite simply feeling like we are not worthy of love. So we play these pointless high stakes games which have a rewards as meaningless and worthless as a plastic trophy just to prove our worth. The idiot is a temporal state of being, although many are finer long term examples of displaying the behaviors of the idiot; however none of us are the perfect idiot. To avoid the affectations of being in an idiotic state it takes conscious effort to live our lives moment to moment with authenticity, to be in a state of awareness of our actions, to always be willing to suffer for something worthwhile and to be consistently well reasoned examiners of what constitutes something worthwhile.

Jason Holland is a writer and a proponent of peaceful revolution. He can be reached at jason.holland@reasonbowl.com or follow him on twitter @ReasonBowl. Youtube content at Reason Bowl Radio. Read other articles by Jason , or visit Jason's website .

This article was posted on Saturday, June 1st, 2019 at 10:13pm and is filed under Capitalism , Classism , Imperialism , Neoliberalism .

[Jun 05, 2019] Gaslighting as propaganda method

Notable quotes:
"... It wasn't like this 15 years ago. The credibility of our establishment is at an end. ..."
"... A significant number of people are becoming aware of it. Enough to easily have a revolution succeed. We're well beyond the 15% threshold. ..."
"... Tried and true propaganda methods pioneered by Edward Bernays are no longer effective. If "Russian Collusion" was done in 1995, you'd be insane to believe it wasn't true. Now you're around 1/2 of the population. ..."
"... People forget, or are too young, to realize why the USSR collapsed in 1991. It wasn't because living conditions were intolerable, it's because the citizens of the USSR had no confidence or faith in their government and it hit a peak on December 26 of that year. ..."
"... You probably think people screaming expletives are real people, mostly they aren't, they are public relation systems – they are propagandists. They are designed to shut you up, you filthy anti-Semite, Assad loving, Communist, NeoNazi, Fascist ..."
"... Our ruling class has not changed, you have changed – for the better. ..."
"... Then Trump got elected, and it was pretty obvious that the standard channels of propaganda were no longer effective. ..."
"... They aren't titans. They are intelligence agency assets now and although they won't lose a single dime of market revenue, because they just lie about their market revenue and user base anyhow, they are becoming irrelevant and will become entirely irrelevant over time. ..."
"... You'd realize they are intelligence agency assets if you thought about it. How is it in the favor of Facebook or Twitter, to drive users off their platform, if they actually depended on actual users of their "service" to generate revenue? They don't make their money by peddling ads on their platforms. ..."
May 28, 2019 | www.unz.com

Fool's Paradise , says: May 23, 2019 at 2:59 pm GMT

"Power is what makes 'reality' reality." Exactly. Power can cram a lie, repeated over and over, down our throats, e.g. the holocaust, and it becomes a fact.
anonymous [340] Disclaimer , says: May 23, 2019 at 3:41 pm GMT
"I mean, come on you don't really believe that the global capitalist ruling classes are going to let Trump serve a second term, do you?"

Why not? They let him serve a first, didn't they?

Mr. Hopkins is one of my favorites here. But when it comes to President Trump, I'm afraid that he's not cynical enough. Washington politics -- including the supposedly emerging pursuit of those Swampsters who really did meddle in the 2016 election and since -- are a puppet show to channel and harmlessly blow off dissent, another part of the Official Reality.

Digital Samizdat , says: May 23, 2019 at 3:50 pm GMT

The powerful are not arguing with us. They are not attempting to win a debate about what is and isn't "true," or what did or didn't "really" happen. They are declaring what did or didn't happen. They are telling us what is and is not "reality," and demonstrating what happens to those who disagree.

Yup. In short, they are attempting to gas-light us.

Cyrano , says: May 23, 2019 at 7:07 pm GMT
The "reality" that the power elites are "creating" has another, more common name – it's called propaganda.

If anyone should be familiar with propaganda, it should be any western citizen, because that's all they have been hearing throughout their lives – incessant stream of propaganda.

The beauty of it is that they are not even aware of it. The great unwashed think that they have been told the truth. And that's the main difference between truth and propaganda.

If you accept some miserable, unimaginative 2 cents worth of fabrication as "truth", then it ceases to be a propaganda and becomes the "truth". And that's the main purpose of propaganda – to become the official "truth".

Truth – the way is understood in the west – is nothing more than propaganda that has succeeded.

WorkingClass , says: May 23, 2019 at 7:17 pm GMT
I'm a misanthrope. It's obvious to me that tyranny, poverty and war (unnecessary suffering) proceed directly from human nature. It's the "problem of evil" if you will. People are stupid and they suck. And they think they are so fucking smart and righteous. Have you heard this one? Man is God's highest creation. Well la tee da!

And the worst of the lot are the ruling class. They get to be the ruling class precisely by being the worst of the lot. Or did you think they just work harder than you? I'm not going to write a book. Why bother. But if I did the title would be The Scum Also Rises .

paraglider , says: May 23, 2019 at 8:04 pm GMT
Power is what makes "reality" "reality." Not facts. Not evidence. Not knowledge. Power.

Those in power, or aligned with those in power, or parroting the narratives of those in power, understand this (whether consciously or not). Those without power mostly do not, and thus we continue to "speak truth to power," as if those in power gave a shit. They don't.

The powerful are not arguing with us. They are not attempting to win a debate about what is and isn't "true," or what did or didn't "really" happen. They are declaring what did or didn't happen. They are telling us what is and is not "reality," and demonstrating what happens to those who disagree.

not really C J!!

power is not what makes reality.

if it was hillary would be president.

what makes social and ideological reality that is a reality without a physical form or mathematically measurable is the ..control of opinion .

without the control of opinion governments come and go. traditionally those in power also controlled opinion. now its a bit more involved than owning a newspaper or a network as those in power discovered to their great dismay when the clinton crime family was walloped at the polls in 2016.

they are doing all they can to ensure this does not happen in 2020. the jury is still out on that one.

gore vidal wrote many years that history is merely the agreed upon facts .another way of saying the control of opinion.

having raw power as used by our increasingly intellectually enfeebled ruling class just isn't enough anymore. the social media titans are trying furiously to use censorship in the run up to november 2020 to try ans get it right ..LOL this time.

the problem for rulers in advanced societies face is . the misdirection of the masses into approved channels is becoming harder to implement. yes, they don't give a damn what us proles think and now the same goes for us regarding them.

watching this farce is very entertaining, much better than the flotsam and jetsam hollywood spews forth to distract us.

Tusk , says: May 24, 2019 at 1:06 am GMT
Just think about the reaction to the "It's okay to be white" posters. Media, institutions and politicans are all condemning it as being white nationalist propoganda when it was a joke, but it doesn't matter the 'reality' or causation of the posters because they, as described by C.J, cram it down the unconscious class of people who just lap it up.

They have made it synonymous with propoganda just as the circle game as been turned into another dogwhistle. If you are not accepting and acceding to their ideals you are retrogressive, you must accept the truth as they profess as ultimate reality or you will be smeared, fired, harassed, assaulted and denied any place in the world. Looking at these people's reactions confirm that they are totally enthralled, subjectivity to the narrative is complete.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/XBtf0YeLoxY?feature=oembed

Richard Wicks , says: May 24, 2019 at 6:20 am GMT

It has become "reality."

No it hasn't. The result of this propaganda has been to entirely discredit our media, our intelligence agencies, our justice system, our political system, and the mafia that controls them all.

Repeat a lie a million times and it becomes truth, but only when people can only hear that lie and nothing else.

Who here believes Assad was gassing his people? Who here believes Qaddafi was about to cause a humanitarian crisis? Who here believes Hussein worked with bin Laden to take down the world trade centers, and had a secret weapons of mass destruction program?

Who here believes Juan Guaido is the legitimate ruler of Venezuela? Who here believes Iran just attacked a bunch of ships and is a threat to the United States? Who here believes Russia got Trump elected?

It wasn't like this 15 years ago. The credibility of our establishment is at an end.

What the author doesn't realize is that we've always had propaganda that we accepted as undisputed fact. We've always been lied to this way. What the author is actually complaining about, not realizing it, is that people are now becoming aware of it. A significant number of people are becoming aware of it. Enough to easily have a revolution succeed. We're well beyond the 15% threshold.

Tried and true propaganda methods pioneered by Edward Bernays are no longer effective. If "Russian Collusion" was done in 1995, you'd be insane to believe it wasn't true. Now you're around 1/2 of the population.

Trust me, it's a lot less scary now, than it was 20 years ago, when nearly everybody believed any ridiculous story handed out by the government. I wonder how many people actually realized the Bush administration was lying, while they were lying? I did, and it was pure misery to be in that position and it was astonishing and very frightening.

Power is what makes "reality" "reality." Not facts. Not evidence. Not knowledge. Power.

Knowledge is power. You have an infinite amount of knowledge in front of you right now. I am glad to see so many people make use of it.

People forget, or are too young, to realize why the USSR collapsed in 1991. It wasn't because living conditions were intolerable, it's because the citizens of the USSR had no confidence or faith in their government and it hit a peak on December 26 of that year.

Loosing confidence in your criminal oligarchy and it's minions? Wonderful, it's a step in the right direction.

This post-Orwellian, neo-McCarthyite mass hysteria is not going to stop

Yes it will. You just aren't aware of who will eventually end it. We all will, not the people producing it.

You probably think people screaming expletives are real people, mostly they aren't, they are public relation systems – they are propagandists. They are designed to shut you up, you filthy anti-Semite, Assad loving, Communist, NeoNazi, Fascist

There's a reason these "people" won't actually discuss anything with you in depth, it's because an AI assisted program can't really think. The purpose of the programs are to keep you silent, they don't represent the actual population in any form.

Our ruling class would not resort to this, if their position was solid and not threatened.

Our ruling class has not changed, you have changed – for the better.

Richard Wicks , says: May 24, 2019 at 6:56 am GMT
@paraglider

Those without power mostly do not, and thus we continue to "speak truth to power," as if those in power gave a shit. They don't.

Oh?

Why the censorship on Facebook and Twitter then?

They didn't care before, when they didn't think it made any difference for people to freely communicate. The Internet, after all, was just something a FEW people used, and they didn't use it to learn anything. What people said didn't matter, it didn't change anything.

Then Trump got elected, and it was pretty obvious that the standard channels of propaganda were no longer effective.

the social media titans are trying furiously to use censorship in the run up to november 2020

They aren't titans. They are intelligence agency assets now and although they won't lose a single dime of market revenue, because they just lie about their market revenue and user base anyhow, they are becoming irrelevant and will become entirely irrelevant over time.

You'd realize they are intelligence agency assets if you thought about it. How is it in the favor of Facebook or Twitter, to drive users off their platform, if they actually depended on actual users of their "service" to generate revenue? They don't make their money by peddling ads on their platforms.

Do you know what drug companies and defense contractors advertise on television "news"? It's not because they are trying to find buyers for their products, it's to keep the "news" from ever reporting negatively on them, it's a bribe. If you never see an advertisement on Facebook for, I dunno, Raytheon, does that mean they don't pay for "advertisement" there? Facebook's accounting ledger is opaque.

animalogic , says: May 24, 2019 at 8:59 am GMT
@paraglider

"the problem for rulers in advanced societies face is . the misdirection of the masses into approved channels is becoming harder to implement. "

Absolutely.

As CJ points out, there are two variations on reality -- the ideological & the material (ie his chair, your screen).
As you note, paraglider, these two realities are coming into ever sharper contradiction. At some point elite lies (ideology or propaganda) become so out of sync with lived, material reality that average people start to notice -- sometimes called a naked emperor moment.
Sadly, our elites are totally expert in "spinning" reality (they make the Nazis or USSR look like mere amateurs). It will probably take a massive breakdown in material reality (ie economic circumstances) for enough people to wake up.

Realist , says: May 24, 2019 at 9:38 am GMT
@anonymous

Mr. Hopkins is one of my favorites here. But when it comes to President Trump, I'm afraid that he's not cynical enough. Washington politics -- including the supposedly emerging pursuit of those Swampsters who really did meddle in the 2016 election and since -- are a puppet show to channel and harmlessly blow off dissent, another part of the Official Reality.

Exactly correct. This is internecine back biting, Kabuki theater or as you say puppet show. We'll see how many are brought to justice from the AG Barr investigations .my quess .none.

Anonymous [300] Disclaimer , says: May 24, 2019 at 3:38 pm GMT
From the fascism in Italy link: "populist glorification of Mussolini's WWII regime is contaminating Italy's culture and politic."

So populism CONTAMINATES. As written by ARIAL DAVID FROM TEL AVIV. How long did it take me to look that up? About 30 seconds. Because my mind is not CONTAMINATED by the Jewstream media, social media, video games, professional sports, and blind adherence to ideologies.

"'Putin-Nazis' narrative is our new 'reality.'" Just divorce yourself from the sick Western society that you are living in and you won't have to say "our." You can keep going to your Western job and live in your Western town, but mentally you can know that you are us and they are them. And teach your children this truth, too.

Anonymous [300] Disclaimer , says: May 24, 2019 at 3:50 pm GMT
@Richard Wicks Great post! But, back in March 2003, it wasn't "pure misery" for me. I just knew that I was an intellectual oasis in an intellectual desert. And apparently so were you.
The Alarmist , says: May 24, 2019 at 5:30 pm GMT

"Reality" is simply "the way it is."

Man, we need to get this guy into one of the camps to disabuse him of these foolish ideas.

Think of "reality" as an ideological tool a tool in the hands of those with the power to designate what is "real" and what isn't . Power is what makes "reality" "reality." Not facts. Not evidence. Not knowledge. Power.

Wait, he gets the real "reality." But that's not good, he's only supposed to buy the reality, not see it for what it is. Get him to the camp, tout de suite!

I mean, come on you don't really believe that the global capitalist ruling classes are going to let Trump serve a second term, do you?

I figured that sly Mr. Putin was going to work our electoral sytem into knots and get himself elected POTUS, because his puppet, Mr. Trump, has utterly failed in carrying out his mission.

Richard Wicks , says: May 24, 2019 at 8:35 pm GMT
@Anonymous

But, back in March 2003, it wasn't "pure misery" for me.

It was terrible, I thought we were going into a fascist society. It never occurred to me we were actually in one at the time and I was only just then becoming aware of it.

I just knew that I was an intellectual oasis in an intellectual desert.

I wouldn't go that far. I just had built up enough cognitive dissonance that I was forced to think about what was actually going on finally. It's a laborious process to go through all you think you know and when you run into two conflicting beliefs, eliminate at least one of them.

And here's the kicker, I was Silicon Valley, California at the time. I'm an electrical engineer. Lots of smart people here, supposedly. I was forced to question my very sanity when I found myself in disagreement with nearly everybody around me and I am by no means the most brilliant engineer in Silicon Valley.

Now millions of people are going through the process.

There's a desperate attempt to get us all back into our little cages and make us all trust whatever the official propaganda is again, but once you become aware of the situation, you never will go back. You've heard the saying there's nobody more fanatical than the converted? Anybody that has gone through the process to realize their government incessantly lies to them, they spread it, and there's too many people to just kill off or imprison to stop it.

Pissedoffalese , says: May 25, 2019 at 1:35 am GMT
@Richard Wicks Beautiful, Mr. Wicks. I don't believe you're correct, but I love the sentiment; usually the assholes win, and that's just how it unfortunately goes. Go it the other way–your way, and I'm totally on your side.

Pissy

Pissedoffalese , says: May 25, 2019 at 2:19 am GMT
@Richard Wicks You are so very correct; my disagreement with you, Sir, is the thought we little peeps can CHANGE anything.

Now, on 9/11, I was awake but groggy, dig? I remember telling someone that DAY that this will culminate in WWIII, and she said to me, AND I quote–"Good, and them little dot-headed MFers need to DIE!"

Facepalm. All is lost, thought I, and moved to Belize. Never had that dissonance problem cuz my dad was the domestic-terrorist type and never had ANY faith in this country (duly passed down), but I've watched people wake up, and they're not at ALL happy about it. Doesn't happen very often, but when it DOES, an axe-handle to the face would have done less damage.

Oddly, peeps in other countries got our number. MEMORIZED like no tomorrow and on speed-dial! Most Americans don't realize that, but it's a fact carved in solid granite and has been since I became aware of it in 1979. Mexico, Canada, Scotland, England, France, Guatemala, Belize. They hate us so bad that here I am, back in the good ol' US of A, mostly cuz I don't like being a TARGET for everybody else's righteous hatred.

Love it or leave it ain't really a viable option anymore and HASN'T been for some time.

Respect,

Pissy

obwandiyag , says: May 25, 2019 at 5:38 am GMT
You know, despite the inundation, I have never ever heard regular people talking about Russiagate. I think we have finally come to the point where the majority of regular people actually don't give a damn. Which is as it should be.
The Scalpel , says: Website May 25, 2019 at 2:33 pm GMT
@WorkingClass love it!
Quartermaster , says: May 25, 2019 at 9:25 pm GMT
@animalogic Spinning is easily detected by those with critical thinking skills.
paraglider , says: May 25, 2019 at 9:36 pm GMT
@WorkingClass sadly working class our society is intrinsically geared toward allowing sociopathic personalities rise to the top in every profession. though they constitute barely a few percent of any given population their lack of empathy, remorse and an ability to mimic healthy human behavior gives them an enormous advantage in climbing the corporate, military and political ladders.

once in control they become public symbols for those young to aspire to reinforcing the cycle.

its not that humans are evil per se, it is that human nature never changes from one millenium to another and in a system that rewards sociopathic behavior you wind up with a clinton (both), a bush junior, a cheney, bolton, pompeo, brennan, comey, zuckerberg and countless incompetent generals, politicans and corporate ceo's male and female and voila .

predatory capitalism where looking out for number 1 is the only goal.

fortunately these people are also myopic and in their greed and avarice for power they kill the goose that lays their eggs always thinking its they who are smarter than the game they play.

look east for the next great improvements in health, medicine, science of all kinds and a 1000 and 1 other achievements not yet born to the betterment of human kind.

the west is spent, it's finished, at least for the next few centuries as hope, vision, optimism, confidence and a can do attitude migrates to asia.

Anon [309] Disclaimer , says: May 28, 2019 at 4:27 am GMT
@WorkingClass It's more about being truthophiles than misanthropes.

Common human nature has the very same earmarks at all levels, the ones in the top echelon are a magnifying mirror of what's below, and there is no other way they would be up there doing what they do if most of the other people weren't akin.

In other words, the average mainstream account of either World War is to truth as either the average testimony of a divorcing wife to a divorce court or the reasons she'll give to her pleading husband when he asks why her resolution to break-up.
Just for one example.

Then since people hold beliefs about themselves far removed, if not opposite, to reality, they look at they élite and tbink: what a bad lot, 'tis people really aren' t the people I wan to be governed by. But then they are ever governed by people like that -- nor would they let any people unlike that govern.

SHAFAR NULLIFIDIAN , says: May 28, 2019 at 5:03 am GMT
@Cyrano They are propagandized the most who think they are propagandized the least. I came to this "reality" some 68+ years ago in my first year of Catholic high school!
anon [339] Disclaimer , says: May 28, 2019 at 6:02 am GMT
> a Black kid the cops shot for no reason.

Stop already with the Black Lives Matter propaganda. Blacks are 24% less likely than whites to be shot by officers. https://www.louderwithcrowder.com/report-whites-more-likely-shot-police/

Yet such BLM propaganda is psychological projection, as all negroes need exterminated, and for a good reason. There is no way to live peaceably with the pests, any more than you can live with an infestation of rattlesnakes in your house, as Paul Kersey well documents.

Ilyana_Rozumova , says: May 28, 2019 at 6:02 am GMT
Well?

I do agree to the certain extent. Ideology is introduced into population by a certain part of the population.

The ideology is successful if it becomes prevalent public opinion of the majority of the population.

But that is not a reality. it becomes reality if all population is acting in accordance with aims of that ideology. But still that ideology must go through o lengthy testing period in order to prove that acting accordingly with that ideology is beneficial to all people.

Very few ideologies survived the test of times.

Robert Dolan , says: May 28, 2019 at 6:21 am GMT
There are some great comments above.

jewish authoritarians believe that they can dictate "reality" to the goyim that reality is the collective will of the jewish people. And when they had complete control of the sources of information, they could spew endless propaganda and they were rarely called on it.

How times have changed!

Logos is rising, and TRUTH is leaking out. The Sanhedrin has lost control of the goyim and is feverishly trying to get it back.

There is no way they can win this battle.

Vianney , says: May 28, 2019 at 6:27 am GMT
@Anonymous "And teach your children the truth."

When do parents stop having the responsibility and right to "teach their children the truth?" When your children are self-supporting? Or have children of their own?

Part of the pernicious agenda of the destruction of the family is the total marginalization of elders. They may not be wise or even particularly virtuous, but they've been around the block a time or two.
Whether you child is 4 or 40, teach them the truth.

About that 4 – or 14- year old: teaching them lies in school is child abuse. Cramming holohoax ed. into your child is intentional infliction of emotional distress. Neither (((Randi Winegarten))) nor ADL nor US Congress has a greater right to decide what your child should be taught than do you, his parent.

If you love you children, skip the soccer game and raise your voice at the school board meeting.

sally , says: May 28, 2019 at 7:21 am GMT
The result of this propaganda has been to entirely discredit our media, our intelligence agencies, our justice system, our political system, and the mafia that controls them all. it was facts..

Things like Wikileaks and Julian Assange and all of the whistle blowers in jail or in graves throughout the world today who individually made the decision to risk their freedom, to give if they must, the balance of their lives and their own futures, in order to uphold in reality, the dreams and ideologies embodied, in the such as the 1688 glorious revolution, the human rights embodied, not in the Constitution of the USA [COUS, 1789], but in the Declaration of Independence by the British Colonist against British Colonial corporate rule, and in the French Revolution in (1790?), and in the UN declaration on human rights, that honesty, integrity, and adherence to human rights are the foremost consideration in the design and implementation of governments every_where and that humanity has the right to expect their governments to serve them equally, and not to become or to be used as conduits to make a very few wealthy at the expense of the balance of us .

These concepts, that those who are the governed, should govern those who are the governors.. were to these whistle blowers, elements, required and expected by the masses to be implicit in our constitutions, and in the operations of the governments such constitutions outlined and in the activities of those who have imposed on the public trust, to attain positions which allows them to lead and manage our societies. And when these concepts of duty to humanity were found [by those few, who because of their skill were hired and given privilege of access to perform for their nations leaders] to be lacking, such persons were by virtue of circumstance duty bound to an authority much greater than a nation state, its laws or its leaders, his duty was to humanity, and that duty required that the misdeeds of the few be revealed to the masses no matter the personal sacrifice.

And when these few talented persons of conscious, came upon evidence, they knew, the world out side of secret government did not know about, they became soldiers in the universal army of humanity, and like good soldiers they exposed the criminal, corrupt and illicit goings on in the civil governments and those tainted with the dirty filthy hands of such corrupt governments.

It was not just whistle blowers and misleading or highly wrongfully purposed propaganda that exposed them, it was the methods used: secret governments, secret government agencies to spy on us, secret courts, allowing private owned media and technology corporations to control the nation dialog and access to information, and requiring each member of the masses to carry personal, picture ids, reducing government agency access to a person-less website and the like. Nothing about government or those who use it, has been of benefit to the governed since 1913..in America and I suspect the people in every nation can identify when the bandits of the fruits of their societies were redirected to the bandits.

Jason Liu , says: May 28, 2019 at 7:32 am GMT
More like democracy vs civilization

The left isn't entirely wrong, democracy really is slipping away. The world is becoming more authoritarian with every election.

It's isn't because of Putin, it's because of democracy is founded on an outdated myth–that humans are or should be equals. That was never going to last. Good riddance.

PetrOldSack , says: May 28, 2019 at 8:17 am GMT
@paraglider

Straight on, and you are not the only one in this thread.

A reality show, as most of the mass humanoids can grasp. All of the elites beyond redemption, and society selected out any-one to replace them. Edward Dutton. The few bootstapped to the end of the graph, to the right at nil, zero, in less then a generation. Psychopathy has a group secondary effect.

No more cathedrals for now, just crowing on a pile of dung. Hopkins cannot shed his value system, his profession are as outdated as the horse in times of tractors and trucks.

Nonny , says: May 28, 2019 at 9:15 am GMT
@Jason Liu It was founded on the fake myth that election by voting is democracy. Only millionaires, usually supported by billionaires, can become congressmen with the rarest exceptions. Is that democracy?

The ancient Athenian Upper House was representative, but its members were elected by lot. No second term. Democracy.

The nearest we could conceivably come to that in the modern world is the dictatorship of the proletariat, i.e.the rule of the people. Never yet achieved.

Anon [309] Disclaimer , says: May 28, 2019 at 11:36 am GMT
@SHAFAR NULLIFIDIAN The ever too little seen Law of Inversion, most of the time, and the times, being true of human affairs.
marieinbethpage , says: May 28, 2019 at 11:57 am GMT
The powers that be want us off balance and they want us going down argumentative rabbit holes. Don't get angry with them or be frightened of them. Laughter is the best defense against their hateful and self-serving propaganda.
Johann , says: May 28, 2019 at 1:00 pm GMT
@WorkingClass How about human society is based on the rain barrel principle: the scum rises to the top.
sally , says: May 28, 2019 at 1:13 pm GMT
@Jason Liu Equality does not mean each person must throw the football 35 yards, no less and no more.. Democracy means everyone has an equal right to engage and equal right to access the place, knowledge and training needed to throw the football as far as he or she is capable and wishes.. so long as the toss of the football does not interfere with the life or activity of another. Rules that resolve conflicts must somehow accommodate all needs.

In-side of the nation state container, democracy means no ruler can claim by authority of the nation state that such ruler is empowered to make a rule (law) if such law infringes on the human rights of others.. and that every nation state and its rulers must stand guard and insist that the conditions of economics, sociability, cultural, language, and race are honored, keep safe, and adequately maintained, as if each such fraction were the majority or better. Equality is an obligation of government, it is different from democracy..
democracy is a government created by the governed, maintained for the benefit of the governed, and audited and regulated by the governed.

Democracy implies a rule making structure that collectively might become a government but government or whatever fails the test of democracy when it cuts out or denies the right of each element in its governed masses access to the same knowledge, provisions to get loans and to engage in enterprises as everyone else, Still the democratic structure (governments) fail the test of democracy if both the structure and the operation of the governing structure fails to include each element "within its governed masses" in the establishment of every law, in every decision and in every event. in other words a government with actors that operate behind closed doors cannot be democratic, governments that spy on its people can be democratic iff it exposes to everyone, all its spying discovers, but it cannot be democratic if it denies any information to anyone of those it governs or if it allows others within the democracy to lie with impunity.

Anon [122] Disclaimer , says: Website May 28, 2019 at 2:45 pm GMT
Here is one sane voice

https://www.youtube.com/embed/-wc94DRFCik?feature=oembed

Beckow , says: May 28, 2019 at 4:38 pm GMT
@obwandiyag

despite the inundation, I have never ever heard regular people talking about Russiagate.

Most people will not touch a sensitive subject. Russiagate with its security implications is too scary to discuss. So they don't.

At the height of Christian power, most people also didn't discuss how exactly did 'virgin' Mary' have a demigod baby – too sensitive. The fact that it is not discussed makes it into a convenient taboo subject – as C. Hopkins says 'immutable truth'. A few more years of this and the West will resemble a scared, docile, labor colony with ambitious people tripping over themselves to prove their loyalty.

annamaria , says: May 28, 2019 at 5:55 pm GMT
"The powers are preparing for a new Cold War" by Thierry Meyssan
https://www.voltairenet.org/article206600.html
simple_pseudonymic_handle , says: May 28, 2019 at 6:01 pm GMT
@Richard Wicks I saw a youtube by Thomas Sheridan from one of those goofy Alternative View conferences and he asked the audience (parallel to Reagan asking the voters in the 1980 president election debates "are you better off now than you were four years ago?"):

if you could go back to the world as it was in August of 2001 would you choose to do so?

Most of his presentation was forgettable but that little snip was not. What they call this in the head hoodlum strategy conferences is unintended consequences. The Be Powers had complete control of the narrative in August of 2001. Same in 2002. They have pissed it all away. Every milliliter of it.

Anon [424] Disclaimer , says: May 28, 2019 at 9:45 pm GMT
Western propaganda machine was better 20 -30 years ago . Now it is just a propagandistic and insulting machine , and it is so dumb and coarse that it has lost contact with reality . Most modern journalists in Europe and the US lack a mimimum of culture , dignity and good taste . They have lost so much prestige that many people interprets them the other way around , ex. if they insult say Putin , Trump etc that probably means that Putin and Trump are not too bad for their people , and if they praise someone , say Merkel that probably means that the old fat lady is a despot . So the " press " ( propaganda ) has abused so much , has lied so much that few people takes it very seriously .
Anon [424] Disclaimer , says: May 28, 2019 at 9:54 pm GMT
@Fool's Paradise to a point , a delusional , psychotic , out of reality " power " , goes crazy and self destroys . The loss of touch with reality is crazines , dementia .

Quod Jupiter vult perdere dementat prius
( Those who the gods want to destroy , first they make them mad )

MarkU , says: May 28, 2019 at 10:33 pm GMT
@Richard Wicks

Why the censorship on Facebook and Twitter then?

Psychological studies have shown that a group of people will go along with practically any old crap (even to the extent of disbelieving their own eyes) in the absence of any contradictory voices. Even one "rebel" in the group is usually enough to break the spell. The Facebook, Twitter and general media censorship is evidently intended to erase all the contradictory voices.

Unfortunately the herd instinct is still very strong in the human race and should not be under-estimated. It is easy for those with well developed critical faculties to overestimate those of the general population.

Whitewolf , says: May 28, 2019 at 11:14 pm GMT
The powerful ones trying to make people believe a false reality are really only fooling the very gullible these days. No amount of censorship is going to solve that problem for them. Since 911 their credibility has taken a nosedive and isn't going to recover before it crashes completely. Even flat Earthers have more credibility and they know it.

[Jun 05, 2019] Taking a long view it was very astute and cleverly conceived plan to to present counter-revolution as revolution; progress as regress; the new order 1980- (i.e., neoliberalism) was cool, and the old order 1945-1975 (welfare-capitalism) was fuddy-duddy.

Highly recommended!
Jun 05, 2019 | off-guardian.org

Francis Lee says May 5, 2019

Taking a long view it was very astute and cleverly conceived plan to to present counter-revolution as revolution; progress as regress; the new order 1980- (i.e., neoliberalism) was cool, and the old order 1945-1975 (welfare-capitalism) was fuddy-duddy.

Thus:

Capital controls = fuddy duddy Capital Account liberalisation = cool Worker's Rights = fuddy duddy Flexible Labour markets = cool World Peace -- fuddy duddy War = Cool National Sovereignty = fuddy duddy Globalization = Cool Social Mobility = fuddy duddy Inequality = cool Respect for elections/referenda = fuddy-duddy Flexible referenda/elections = cool Social solidarity = fuddy-duddy Rampant nihilistic invidualism = cool Respect for human rights and the UN International Law = fuddy-duddy Blatant Imperialism = cool

And so the agenda goes on. Counter-revolution qua revolution

[Jun 02, 2019] Prospects for the emergence of a real opposition in Russia by The Saker

Notable quotes:
"... Second, it is equally obvious that the pension reform is profoundly unpopular and that Putin's personal credibility has never recovered from this political fiasco. ..."
May 30, 2019 | www.unz.com

As predicted, Putin's popularity takes a nosedive.

This fact is not often discussed in the West, but the popularity of Vladimir Putin is in decline and has been so ever since, following his reelection, he kept more or less the same (already unpopular) government while that government very clumsily attempted to "sneak by" undetected a pension reform. Now the latest numbers are in , and they are not good: only 31.7% of Russians trust Vladimir Putin, that is his worst score in 13 years! His score last year was 47.4% (by the way, Shoigu got only 14.8%, Lavrov got 13%, and Medvedev got 7.6%. These are terrible scores by any measure!)

I have been warning about this for a while now (see here , here , here , here , here , here and here ), and we now can try to understand what happened.

These are the faces most Russians are fed-up with

First, it is obvious that millions of Russians (including yours truly) were deeply disappointed that Putin did not substantially reorganize the Russian government following his triumphant reelection last year. Putin himself is on record saying two things about that: first, that he is generally happy with the performance of the government and, second, that he needs an experienced team to implement his very ambitious reform program (more about that in a moment).

Second, it is equally obvious that the pension reform is profoundly unpopular and that Putin's personal credibility has never recovered from this political fiasco.

Third, and this is the most overlooked and yet most interesting development – there is a real opposition gradually emerging in Russia. What do I mean by "real"? First, I mean not a "pretend opposition" as we see in the Russian Duma (which is a glorified rubber-stamping parliament). Second, I mean a patriotic opposition which is neither financed nor controlled by Mr. Soros nor the CIA nor any of their innumerable offshoots. The problem is that this opposition has many severe problems and that it completely fails to present an alternative to the current "Putinocracy."

Here we need to state something significant: Putin is indeed a "liberal," at least in terms of economic policies. When he says that he is happy ("on the whole") with the performance of the Medvedev government, it is because he probably is. Furthermore, while Putin apparently likes to listen to folks like Glaziev, he is clearly wary of implementing the more "social" (or even "socialist") measures advocated by Glaziev and his supporters.

But if Putin is a liberal, is there really a 5 th column acting behind the scenes?

This being said, it would be wrong to jump to the primitive conclusion that there is no 5th column (or no "Atlantic Integrationists") in the Kremlin or in the Staraya Square . In fact, it would be impossible for such a 5th column not to exist. How do we know that? For three very basic reasons

Putin's 2007 " Munich speech " should have acted like an urgent wake-up call to the leaders of the West, but they lacked the brains and courage to listen to what Putin was saying. The same thing happened during Putin's 2015 speech at the UNGA . To his internal Russian audience, Putin bluntly said, when asked if the West was trying to "humiliate" Russia: " They do not want to humiliate us, they want to subdue us, solve their problems at our expense ." Personally, I believe that Putin, as any other officer of the First Main Directorate (foreign intelligence) of the KGB always understood that the West was a mortal enemy of Russia and that this has been true for at least 1000 years. Thus I think that it would be naive to believe that Putin ever "trusted" the West. But did he deliberately give that impression for as long as it could serve his purposes? Yes, absolutely. Now, this period is clearly over.

The one thing which the Russian 5th column cannot really be is any type of "opposition." First, the 5th column is internal to the Kremlin, to the Presidential Administration, to the "United Russia" party and to all the other centers of power in Russia. This forces the opposition to pretend loyalty to Putin while sabotaging every effort at re-sovereignizing Russia (admittedly a tough task since Russia has been ruled by foreign elites since at least the times of Peter I).

I am often asked why Russia Today and Sputnik publish what can only be called "trash" or even anti-religious propaganda on their websites. The answer is simple: there are plenty of folks at RT and Sputnik (especially in the teams operating their websites as opposed to the actual broadcasts) who are pure products of the AngloZionist worldview and who love some sleazy sex story almost as much as they love to bash or ridicule the Orthodox church. While there are plenty of terrific people in both of these media, there are also plenty who secretly would love Russia to return to the 1990s or become a kind of "Poland" east of the Ukraine. This is also why these outlets make a strenuous effort not to discuss the Israel lobby in the West (not only the USA), but they also stay away from any discussion of 9/11. I know for a fact that any mention of the real events of 9/11 is strictly forbidden by some "bigshot" editors in Moscow as my own interviews were censored that way.

One word of caution here: there are millions of Russians abroad, and many of them are what are now called " вырусь " (vy-roos') in Russia: folks who might speak Russian, and even visit Russia from time to time, but who have completely lost their "Russian-ness" and whose worldview does not extend beyond wishing that Russia was more like the US or Germany. They think of Russia as "rashka," and they absolutely hate any genuine manifestation of Russian culture, spirituality, traditions or religion. Some of them will join the Alt-Right movement and pretend that the racist categories and ideology used by this movement have some traction in Russia (they don't). Some will try to impersonate Orthodox Christians. In truth – they are still a pure product of the AngloZionst Empire. Some of them have clearly found gainful employment in the Russian media where they keep a vigilant watch for any signs that the ideological dogma of the West (we all know what they are) are being debunked by Russian patriots. These "vyroos" are yet another manifestation of the Russian 5 th column.

What about the official opposition to Putin?

Ukie Defense Minister Poltorak photoshops himself before an exploding Kremlin Tower. This is the kind of nonsense that gets even Duma members angry.

Then there is the "official" Duma opposition, which is more or less a joke. Some Russian MPs are better than others, but even the comparatively better ones are entirely unable to present a real challenge to the Russian government (we saw that painfully illustrated by the Duma vote on the pension reform).

As for the ordinary people, most of them probably still trust Putin in foreign policy issues, but many are also getting genuinely fed-up with an arrogant and condescending ruling elite which couldn't care less about the plight of regular people and who live in an ivory tower of wealth, arrogance and power.

There is also a gradual realization that Putin in generally being "too soft" on the Empire and not proactive enough in defense of Novorussia against the Ukronazi junta in Kiev. Sadly, I have to agree with them. Yes, there has been some progress: the Russian ban on exporting energy to the Ukraine and the deliverance of Russian passports to the people of Novorussia. Furthermore, the Kremlin has expressed precisely zero approval of Zelenskii's election and, apparently, this was the correct move since even though the policies of Poroshenko were categorically rejected by an absolute majority of the Ukrainian people, all the signs are that Zelenskii has already wholly caved to the demands of the "collective West". Unless this trend towards "more of the same, only worse" is reversed, it is likely that the popular pressure in Russia to be far more proactive against the regime in Kiev will only increase. In recent months the Duma has been under pressure from the public to take a more forceful reaction to the events in the Ukraine, and this has had some, albeit limited, effect: the totally lame Duma has now become a little bit less lame, but not by much.

So what is this new opposition to Putin?

How our power structure is organized: This is the Kremlin. Putin is there. He issues decrees and ensures that the Constitution is upheld; This is the Government building. Medvedev is there and he loots the budget of our country; This is the Duma, Volodin is there and he adopts anti-popular laws; This is the Federation Council, Matvienko and she approves anti-popular laws..

The distinguishing characteristic of this new opposition to Putin is that it sees itself as the truly patriotic segment of Russian society. These are folks who blame Putin for being weak, indecisive and corrupt (including personally). They believe that Putin sits on the top of an oligarchic pyramid which only pays lip service to Russian national interests, but which in reality is interested only in wealth, power and influence. Frankly, much of their argumentation about Putin's alleged corruption is based on a mix of disinformation and personal hatred for Putin himself. In contrast, however, their arguments that Putin is too weak or indecisive are based on a completely rational and fact based analysis of the events which have marked Putin's presidency. After all, the man has been in power for 20 years or so, he has enjoyed tremendous bureaucratic power and the full support of the vast majority of the population. How then can he (or his supporters) blame it all on a "bad system" or the power of a 5 th column whose existence some don't believe in in the first place?

On the right is a typical opposition "Internet poster".

While I personally don't agree with this point of view, I have to recognize that it is not self-evidently absurd or solely based on propaganda. In other words, they do have a point, and much of their criticism is valid.

Alas, much of it is not, and that mix loses a lot in credibility when 50% of it is fact-based and logical, and 50% is not.

What is even worse is that these patriots regularly find themselves in the same camp as the Soros/CIA -funded folks whom the patriots claim to hate, but whose arguments they often recycle (about the personal corruption of Putin, for example).

The other major weakness of this new opposition is that it lacks any kind of leader. This is why I did not bother listing the names of the main representatives of this opposition: for most of those who will read this article, these names will mean nothing.

Finally, this new patriotic opposition seems to lack an original worldview: much of their argumentation boils down to "it was better in the Soviet era" (they typically tend to overlook how bad things indeed were, at least since the 1980s!).

So where do we go from here? Will Russia ever have a real, vibrant, opposition?

My short personal answer is, yes, Russia will have such an opposition. Here is why:

I hope that the newly emerging "patriotic" opposition will focus its wrath not on Putin as a person, but on the mistakes of the Russian government wherever they happen: President, Prime Minister, Minister or below – it should not matter. If the opposition succeeds in focusing on issues rather than venting its rage against specific individuals, then real changes become possible, including personnel changes.

The latest opinion polls show that all the members of the government are suffering from falling ratings, not just the Atlantic Integrationists. If this trend maintains itself, the Eurasian Sovereignists will have a powerful incentive to cut their ties with the Atlantic Integrationists. Who knows, maybe Medvedev and the so-called "economic block of the government" will be shown to the door? If not, then the plunge in the polls will most likely continue, and social unrest becomes a real possibility.


JOHN CHUCKMAN , says: Website May 30, 2019 at 7:13 am GMT

Talk about trash, this article is it.

Just full of unsupported assertions and with an overall lack of understanding about how countries, especially big ones, really work.

Citing some polling on individual figures is meaningless without context and without any details about the nature of the poll. Faked and/or incompetent polling happens regularly in the West."Push"polls are a constant gimmick used in the Western press to give authority to assertions.

Any poll which shows Shoigu getting only 14.8%, Lavrov getting 13%, is highly suspect on its face. These are genuinely super-capable individuals in their jobs, quite beyond any norms for performance.

When something smells as bad as this article, sharp reader knows something is going on beyond the mere speculations of an amateur affairs analyst.

Andrei Martyanov , says: Website May 30, 2019 at 2:12 pm GMT

A non-event, same ol', same ol'. Here is an original with Putin's approval rating–65.8%:

https://wciom.ru/index.php?id=236&uid=9707

Показатель одобрения деятельности Президента стабилен и находится в рамках сформировавшегося коридора: по среднему значению с 13 по 19 мая он составил 65,8%.

1. I wrote about this once:

https://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2019/03/south-front-say-what-ii.html .

2. Svobodnaya Pressa (SP) is not exactly unbiased (or competent) source. Enough to take a look at such odious figures as Boldyrev hanging out there as a "columnist";

3. Russia's so called opposition (mainly left) committed suicide when went with Grudinin. In general, they don't have anyone of required scale and competence to even approach a vicinity of Putin.

In many respects, SP's commentaries are merely a tempest in the cup.

Rob435 , says: May 30, 2019 at 2:55 pm GMT

I suspect if they distrust Putin the diabolical skripal RT interview with the "Russian Tourists" may have something to do with it.

Tens of Millions of Russians were ready to believe the false flag CIA / M16 setup explanation, then suddenly two idiots popup, on national tv who just scream military / security looking men to say they were there just to check out the cathedral spire of course!

I mean what a shot in the foot who authorised that interview to happen?

Digital Samizdat , says: May 30, 2019 at 3:00 pm GMT

Some believe that Putin sincerely wanted Russia to join NATO or/and the EU. I don't agree with that, but whether he was sincere or not, the fact is that Putin did initially try to court the West. The fact that the West was too stupid to see the fantastic opportunity this situation was offering is yet another powerful testimony of how incompetent western "area specialists" have become.

Washington would never allow Russia to join EU/NATO. Russia's too big for them to control, and might even end up partly or entirely co-opting these organizations. No, their original plan was to break Russia up into bite-sized pieces first, then induct those little statelets into NATO (or some other Washington-dominated 'alliance'), then use them to surround and harass China–all very similar to the way they're using Ukraine and the Caucasus to surround and harass Russia now.

FB , says: Website May 30, 2019 at 5:43 pm GMT
@JOHN CHUCKMAN finance infrastructure and vital technology that's what sovereign countries do but Russia is still acting like a banana republic

Neither Putin nor anyone in government has actual control of the central bank which 'independence' [read absolute dependence on the global finance cabal] is enshrined in the US-written Yeltsin era 'Constitution'

Now there are some that argue that Putin has done very well just to fend off the ongoing financial, economic and informational war on Russia and perhaps Russia cannot simply make a clean break with the western financial octopus with which it's entangled

I don't know there may be some truth to that a gradual weaning off may be the more prudent course and Putin is nothing if not that

Cyrano , says: May 30, 2019 at 6:04 pm GMT

When Putin gets too old to govern, the next leader will not come from some "vibrant" opposition. The next leader will be hand-picked by Putin, same way he was hand-picked by that fool Yeltsin – the best move he ever made.

There are people in Russia who still believe that trying to emulate the western "democratic practices" will win them approval and love from the west.

Leave the winning of love and approval by the west to the lesser Slavs like the Polaks and the Ukrainians.

The only time west "approved" of Russia was when they were doing self-harm to themselves – like in 1980's and 90's.

Listen carefully, my dear Russians – west will never love you, and it's not your fault. So don't worry about it. Choose your own path and forget about "democracy". The whole thing is a sham anyway.

macilrae , says: May 31, 2019 at 1:33 pm GMT

I am often asked why Russia Today and Sputnik publish what can only be called "trash"

Some of it is unbearable

these outlets make a strenuous effort not to discuss the Israel lobby in the West (not only the USA), but they also stay away from any discussion of 9/11.

Ordinance fired in that direction is likely to ricochet – they do a pretty good job of demolishing the Ukraine narrative; the "White Helmets" the Venezuelan coup etc as presented by MSM and they have taken a lot of punishment for that already. And, yes

there are plenty of folks at RT and Sputnik (especially in the teams operating their websites as opposed to the actual broadcasts) who are pure products of the AngloZionist worldview

Andrei Martyanov , says: Website May 31, 2019 at 1:33 pm GMT
@Cyrano

There are people in Russia who still believe that trying to emulate the western "democratic practices" will win them approval and love from the west.

Let's put it this way–the strata of these people is extremely narrow (thin) and consists mostly of human freaks such as kreakls and some parts of large urban centers office plankton. Majority of Russians have no illusions about the West anymore. The talk about new Iron Curtain (this time erected by Russia) is not just idle talk–Western degeneracy is an issue which needs to be dealt with.

The Scalpel , says: Website May 31, 2019 at 4:08 pm GMT
@JOHN CHUCKMAN

I agree. The "evidence" Saker bases this essay upon is extremely weak. He would have been better off just leaving it out and writing the article as an opinion piece. But then, he would have been subject to evidence based rebuttals . I generally look forward to his articles. This was disappointing

War for Blair Mountain , says: June 2, 2019 at 8:34 am GMT

Why does Putin go along with neo-liberal economic policies in Russia? Does Putin really believe in this bullshit? I don't believe Jeffrey Sachs with a very guilty conscience .. believes in this bullshit anymore.

Китайский дурак , says: June 2, 2019 at 12:04 pm GMT
@Yuritarasovych iet ( or maybe sarcastic Soviet nostalgic) opposition, are sanguine about the profound danger posed by China. As if not ironic enough, the right-wing Republicans in DC after two years jostling with Trump, also came to the same conclusion.

5) The traditionalist "racist" "white guard" "monarchist" "Russian soul" type of right wing romanticist patriotic opposition seems to suffer collective cognizance retardation when it comes to China. Saker has the same blindness. This is also interesting. They are more stupid than their ancestors back in 1916-1918. The White Guards were as responsible for Tsar's downfall as Miliukov or Kerensky. The cultural gene pool of Russia today will not permit the growing up of people such as Lenin and Trotsky, with corresponding political genius, resoluteness, or maniacal cruelty, whatever. Woe, tragedy of Russia.

padre , says: June 2, 2019 at 12:06 pm GMT

If the oposition is like the author, it is no wonder, why it is not "real"!

Mike P , says: June 2, 2019 at 12:18 pm GMT
@FB

Xi has been more effective than Putin

Difficult to say how much of that difference is due to the sort of human resources they have to work with though. Xi certainly had a much more functional country to start with. Overall, both of them are clearly among the most impressive leaders currently on the world stage.

DESERT FOX , says: June 2, 2019 at 1:21 pm GMT

The Russian people should thank God for Putin and as an American I thank God that Putin has checkmated the unholy trinity ie the US and Israel and Britain and their terrorists ie the CIA and the Mossad and MI6 the creators of AL CIADA aka ISIS and all the offshoots thereof.

Putin is the only zane head of state on the world stage and has saved Syria from the Christian killing terrorists created and supplied and supported by the unholy trinity.

God bless Putin and the Russian people.

MLK , says: June 2, 2019 at 1:52 pm GMT

The decline in Putin's approval rating/popularity is an emphatically positive indicator for Russia that the existential or at least catastrophic geopolitical threats to Russia have greatly lessened.

Putin has been The Indispensable Man since he came to power. He is (very) roughly akin to FDR. While Putin is a vigorous man, he strikes me as understanding that effecting the peaceful transition of power Russia-style, will seal his legacy as among the greatest Russian rulers.

Get ready, because you and your readers' heads are about to pop . . . . .

Israel and Netanyahu were and remain in a similar position. The Obama Administration attempted to regime change Netanyahu out. That's why Israelis engaged in a similar Better Safe Than Sorry the election previous to this most recent one. Netanyahu barely won last time because the external threat had passed with the passing of the Obama Administration. The only reason he got as close as he did to winning and being able to form a government is because of POTUS Trump.

The Saker lost his way due to what some call Trump Derangement Syndrome. I've never like that catchall term because the more intelligent suffering from it are really blinded by resentment toward the man.

Whether any of you wish to get your minds around it or not, he has become the most powerful POTUS in modern memory. He represents a sharp break from the increasingly Figurehead/Pitchman POTUSs of the post-Cold War period.

It's long past the time for you and many of your readers to knock it off with the folding table in front of the student union wackiness. What with all the shouting about "AngloZionists" and such.

The Post-Cold War quarter century is effectively over. China won it, hands down. Now POTUS Trump is sufficiently able to exercise his Article II powers for even those blinded by resentment toward him to see the US Sovereign is once again coherently pursuing its geopolitical and geo-economic objectives.

For Russia/Putin this is altogether positive. The US Sovereign is now "Deal Capable/Ready."

Agent76 , says: June 2, 2019 at 2:45 pm GMT

Apr 24, 2019 Rand Corporation: How to Destroy Russia

Force the adversary to expand recklessly in order to unbalance him, and then destroy him. This is not the description of a judo hold, but a plan against Russia elaborated by the Rand Corporation, the most influential think tank in the USA. With a staff of thousands of experts, Rand presents itself as the world's most reliable source for Intelligence and political analysis for the leaders of the United States and their allies.

Overextending and Unbalancing Russia

Assessing the Impact of Cost-Imposing Options

https://www.rand.org/pubs/research_briefs/RB10014.html

https://www.globalresearch.ca/rand-corp-how-destroy-russia/5678456

March 31, 2019 Russia is dumping US dollars and hoarding gold

Vladimir Putin's quest to break Russia's reliance on the U.S. dollar has set off a literal gold rush.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-03-29/russia-is-stocking-up-on-gold-as-putin-ditches-u-s-dollars

Nov 29, 2016 The Map That Shows Why Russia Fears War With US

https://www.youtube.com/embed/L6hIlfHWaGU?feature=oembed

Ole C G Olesen , says: June 2, 2019 at 5:20 pm GMT

In TASS BULLETIN dated 31.5.2019 the Approval Rating of President Putin

as Tested by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center is measured to 64.7 %

.. quite DIFFERENT from the 31-7 % stated in above Article .

So WHOM shall I believe ?

The difference is so big that it hardly can be explained away by Statistical Error !

APilgrim , says: June 2, 2019 at 5:30 pm GMT

This is a particularly well written paragraph:

I hope that the newly emerging "patriotic" opposition will focus its wrath not on Putin as a person, but on the mistakes of the Russian government wherever they happen: President, Prime Minister, Minister or below – it should not matter. If the opposition succeeds in focusing on issues rather than venting its rage against specific individuals, then real changes become possible , including personnel changes.

Constructive political processes & loyal opposition are also entirely missing in the USA.

APilgrim , says: June 2, 2019 at 5:37 pm GMT
@DESERT FOX

Mostly agree.

Vladimir Putin is the de facto head of Christendom.

US Sanctions against Putin & Russia are entirely without justification.

AnonFromTN , says: June 2, 2019 at 5:57 pm GMT

Putin did not save Russia single-handedly. He was and is just a front man for the forces that did. Even in the 1990s, when the traitors ruled the roost in Russia, a lot of people sabotaged traitorous actions of Yeltsin and associated oligarchs. Many ballistic missiles that were supposed to be destroyed were actually kept intact, as well as many production facilities. That's the only reason Russia came back from what appeared to be the ashes so quickly. It is very likely that Putin's rise to power was organized by those same forces. The most plausible scenario is that patriotic forces in the military, KGB, and police, seeing wholesale treason of Yeltsin and his cronies, presented Yeltsin with an ultimatum: either he resigns, promotes Putin, and gets off the hook, or he gets overthrown and prosecuted for his crimes. Remember, the first act of Putin as president was a wholesale pardon to Yeltsin and his family.

As to real opposition, Russia does need it. Not the traitorous scum like Navalny, Khodorkovsky, or late unlamented Nemtsov, but people with integrity, whose prime goal is to advance the interests of Russia, rather than just steal as much as possible. What the Saker ignores is the fact that many Russian oligarchs (I have no illusions about them: they are all mega-thieves, many are murderers, like Khodorkovsky) learned the lesson of Ukrainian oligarchs: unless you have a strong state behind you, other equally unscrupulous thieves will gladly steal your loot.

Realistically, serious patriotic opposition in Russia will emerge when smarter oligarchs join forces with those fighting for social justice. At that point leaders with savvy and charisma that makes them competitive with Putin have a chance of emerging. The opposition won't be knights in shining armor, but it will be a force capable of ruling the country, not just criticizing the rulers. The first task is really hard, whereas any moron can criticize any government making valid points. The policies of the opposition must be mostly middle-of-the-road: limit (but not eliminate) the opportunities for oligarchs' thievery, and use un-stolen resources to improve the life of ordinary people. In foreign policy, it must keep a strong stance against the crumbling Empire, joining tactical alliances with all other anti-imperial countries and forces.

Avery , says: June 2, 2019 at 6:07 pm GMT
@FB nd the loot ending up in England, Israel, and who knows where else.

The fundamental strength of Chinese is that the country is being run by some kind of patriotic committee, that is highly fault-tolerant and immune to Western interference. Xi, like his predecessors, is just a colorless bureaucrat: the Long March continues, no matter who the front man is. It is unthinkable that the Committee would allow someone like Yeltsin to run the country into the ground.

Putin & Co need to solve this fundamental weakness of Russia, while he is in power and can change things. Otherwise, another Yeltsin might come along and wreck everything.

AnonFromTN , says: June 2, 2019 at 6:23 pm GMT
@Avery

Russian people won't accept another traitor like Yeltsin. But things can be wrecked in more ways than one. Dumb patriot would be just as destructive.

DESERT FOX , says: June 2, 2019 at 6:27 pm GMT
@APilgrim

Russia under Putin is the largest grain exporter in the world and has been for the last 3 years and if anyone doubts how Russian farming has entered the modern world just go to youtube and watch the videos on Russian agriculture.

AnonFromTN , says: June 2, 2019 at 6:29 pm GMT
@Anatoly Karlin

Seeing how Ukies managed to turn Ukraine into a pile of shit, the only way to profit by their advice is this: listen to what they have to say and do exactly opposite.

FB , says: Website June 2, 2019 at 6:36 pm GMT
@Avery iullina just for a start then a number of banks and large private corporations need to be nationalized after 20 years of playing the capitalist game, it's clear that this is a losing game

Russia needs to make domestic capital available for things like massive infrastructure projects and big science and technology PCR, probably the most astute Russia 'hand', certainly on the subject of economics, has stated the obvious fact that these kinds of state investments [and printing the money to do that] are NOT inflationary I keep waiting for that to happen, but it never does I think Putin is just too cautious for big moves like that

The question is whether anyone else will do it ?

Russia needs an Uncle Joe but they just don't build them like that anymore

SeekerofthePresence , says: June 2, 2019 at 10:37 pm GMT

'Murka wants regime change in Russia,
CIA at play.
Russians are turning to God and Church,
Christ her King to stay.

Китайский дурак , says: June 2, 2019 at 11:27 pm GMT

None of the commentators seem to show the minimum awareness of the following, except for the gent from Tennessee: 1) the acute psychological and practical importance of social justice for basic Russian people; and 2) harder to define to basically totalitarian capitalistic essence of the Chinese model. This shows that A) you all live in the West, B) with good justification are obsessed with a burning hatred against Globalist empire and you throw out the baby of basic values of freedom and democracy with the dirty water western propaganda bubble, C) you guys don't realize how many Russians live on 30,000 rubles a month, and you project this rosy hope on them ( saving the west with "conservative Christian values and brave fight against globalism" ) 4) you guys have not the remotest ideas of how the petty Chinese traders and their large state corporations behave, when the other party happens to be not some tall Anglo-saxon / Jew whose white asses the Chinese want to lick. Many Russians on the other hand, have such first hand experience.

APilgrim , says: June 2, 2019 at 11:47 pm GMT
@DESERT FOX nt-text">

USA total grain exports are roughly twice that of Russia, and 3 times that of Brazil.

USA: https://www.statista.com/statistics/190348/total-us-grain-exports-from-2001/
Brazil: https://www.world-grain.com/articles/11371-focus-on-brazil
Russia: https://www.fas.usda.gov/data/russia-grain-and-feed-annual-2

Nevertheless, Russia is a large grain exporting nation.

AnonFromTN , says: June 3, 2019 at 1:09 am GMT
@APilgrim

Yeltsin was legitimate until 1993. Dismissing vice president and shooting, and then dismissing parliament was unconstitutional. He became even less legitimate when his goons falsified two rounds of the presidential elections in 1996, making him a winner of the vote he lost badly. In addition, he was an alcoholic, traitor, and mega-thief. End of story.

[May 31, 2019] Comments on Official Response by OPCW to the Engineering Assessment on Douma

OPSW proved to be a gang of a despicable, completely bought by the USA bottomfeeders. Looks like they are now a part of "Intergity Initiative"
At this point credibility of the USA and UK experts on the topic is not zero, it is negative: they systematically generate false flags.
Truth be told after Skripals affair the level of credibility of the UK government and expects is far below zero in any case. This is just a gang of despicable warmongers.
Notable quotes:
"... If SST readers are confused by OPCW's constantly shifting explanations for why the Final Report on the Douma incident excluded the Engineering Assessment, they're not the only ones. ..."
"... Unfortunately for whoever thought up this defence, it is explicitly contradicted by both the Interim Report (published last July) and the Final Report, which state that the objective of the engineering studies was to evaluate how the cylinders arrived in position. ..."
May 29, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Comments on official response to the release of the Engineering Assessment of the Douma cylinders Paul McKeigue, David Miller, Jake Mason, Piers Robinson

Members of Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media 1 Introduction

This post comments on the response to our release of the Executive Summary of the Engineering Assessment of the Douma cylinders on 13 May 2018. All emphases in quoted passages are added by us. After OPCW had confirmed the document to be genuine, the story was covered extensively by Russian media.

An informed commentary by Professor Hiroyuki Aoyama in Tokyo has been published on Yahoo News's Japanese site. The only coverage in western corporate media has been by Peter Hitchens in the Mail on Sunday , Robert Fisk in the Independent and Tucker Carlson on Fox .

Other journalists who have been in touch with us have told us that their stories were spiked by editors. As expected, the story has reached much larger numbers through websites and videos that have disseminated it.

2 OPCW's response to the release of the document

2.1 Official response

In an email dated 11 May and shown to us, Deepti Choubey, the head of OPCW Public Affairs, wrote:

Thank you for reaching out to us. It is exclusively through the Fact-Finding Mission, set up in 2014, that the OPCW establishes facts surrounding allegations of use of toxic chemicals for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic. On 1 March 2019, the OPCW has issued its final and only valid official report, signed by the Director-General, regarding the incident that took place in Douma, Syrian Arab Republic, on 7 April 2018. The document you shared with us is not part of any of the material produced by the FFM. The individual mentioned in the document has never been a member of the FFM .

A subsequent email on 16 May stated:

The OPCW establishes facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic through the Fact-Finding Mission (FFM), which was set up in 2014. The OPCW Technical Secretariat reaffirms that the FFM complies with established methodologies and practices to ensure the integrity of its findings. The FFM takes into account all available, relevant, and reliable information and analysis within the scope of its mandate to determine its findings. Per standard practice, the FFM draws expertise from different divisions across the Technical Secretariat as needed. All information was taken into account, deliberated, and weighed when formulating the final report regarding the incident in Douma, Syrian Arab Republic, on 7 April 2018. On 1 March 2019, the OPCW issued its final report on this incident, signed by the Director-General.

Per OPCW rules and regulations, and in order to ensure the privacy, safety, and security of personnel, the OPCW does not provide information about individual staff members of the Technical Secretariat. Pursuant to its established policies and practices, the OPCW Technical Secretariat is conducting an internal investigation about the unauthorised release of the document in question. At this time, there is no further public information on this matter and the OPCW is unable to accommodate requests for interviews.

This was taken as confirmation that the document was genuine.

2.2 Unofficial briefings

Following OPCW's confirmation on 16 May that the document we had released was genuine, two individuals in the UK whose communications have supported UK government policy on Syria favoring regime change – Professor Scott Lucas of Birmingham University, and the former Guardian journalist Brian Whitaker – began reporting that they had inside information on how the Engineering Assessment had been excluded from the Final Report.

2.2.1 Lucas

On 16 May Lucas reported that:

Henderson was writing what was, in effect, a dissenting assessment from that of most of the OPCW's team and consultant experts. His findings were considered but were a minority opinion as final report was written.

He followed this with a remarkably indiscreet tweet asserting that "I know how OPCW review process was conducted and what place Henderson's assessment had in it." When challenged to explain his connection to OPCW, Lucas did not answer. Hitchens reported on 24 May that OPCW Public Affairs had refused to comment on whether Lucas was receiving authorised briefings from OPCW.

2.2.2 Whitaker

Whitaker was at first more circumspect about his sources, reporting on 16 May that:

One story circulating in the chemical weapons community (though not confirmed) is that Henderson had wanted to join the FFM and got rebuffed but was then given permission to do some investigating on the sidelines of the FFM.

Eliot Higgins of Bellingcat extended Whitaker's version with:

This reporting by @Brian_Whit on the leaked Douma report that the conspiracy theorists and chemical weapon denialists are so excited about is consistent with what I'm hearing . Looks like they all got played by a disgruntled OPCW employee.

In an article posted on 24 May, Whitaker was more explicit in reporting the spin of "an informed source" on the Engineering Assessment.

an informed source has now shed some light on it. The key point here is the FFM's terms of reference. Its basic role was to establish facts about the alleged attack, and it was not allowed to apportion blame -- that is the job of the OPCW's newly-created Investigation and Identification Team (IIT). Although the FFM determined that the cylinders were probably dropped from the air, the published report (in line with its mandate) omitted any mention of the obvious implication that they had been dropped by regime aircraft. According to the informed source, when Henderson's assessment was reviewed there were concerns that it came too close to attributing responsibility, and thus fell outside the scope of the FFM's mandate. Whether or not that was the right decision, there was no doubt that Henderson's assessment did fall within the mandate of the new Investigation and Identification Team. For that reason, according to the source, he was advised to pass it to the IIT instead -- and he did so.

Unless this account was entirely fabricated, it could only have come from someone with close knowledge of how the Final Report had been prepared. A subsequent tweet from Whitaker on 25 May, presumably channelling the same source, confirmed that "Henderson and others" had been in Douma:

Henderson and others did go to Douma to provide temporary support to the FFM, but they were not official members of the FFM.

2.3 What the channelling of off-the-record briefings tells us

It is likely that (at least on this occasion) Lucas and Whitaker are telling the truth, and that they have been briefed by someone with close knowledge of how the FFM Final Report was prepared. If these briefings had not been authorised, OPCW Public Affairs could easily have responded to Hitchens's question with a standard statement reiterating that "there is no further public information on this matter" and that this extended to off-the-record briefings. We would expect OPCW press officers to be reluctant to issue further statements that could subsequently be shown to be false.

Like cellular biologists who perturb a complex system and measure its outputs, we can infer from these observations the existence of a pathway. This pathway connects the production of OPCW reports on alleged chemical attacks in Syria with a network of communicators in the UK who in different ways have promoted the cause of regime change in Syria since 2012. It is evident that Lucas and Whitaker are output nodes of this pathway. From August 2012, Whitaker as the Guardian's Middle East editor promoted Higgins from obscure beginnings as a blogger to become a widely-cited source on the Syrian conflict. Whitaker was the first journalist to devote an article to attacking the Working Group, in February 2018 when its only collective output had been a brief blog post.

It is of course possible that OPCW management for some procedural reason was unable to provide further information on the record, and sought to disseminate an accurate version of events via off-the-record briefings. But the choice of such highly partisan commentators as Lucas and Whitaker as channels inevitably calls into question the good faith of whoever provided these briefings, and undermines any remaining pretence to impartiality on the part of OPCW management.

2.4 Discrepancies between versions of OPCW's response

An established method in investigative journalism is to compare official versions and to infer from discrepancies what they are trying to hide. On 11 May OPCW Public Affairs stated that "The document you shared with us is not part of any of the material produced by the FFM. The individual mentioned in the document has never been a member of the FFM". After we pointed out that these two statements were provably false – the external collaboration on the engineering assessment of the Douma cylinders must have been authorised by OPCW, and Henderson could hardly have been in Damascus on a tourist visa – they were not repeated on the record. By 16 May OPCW Public Affairs had formulated a new policy: "Per OPCW rules and regulations the OPCW does not provide information about individual staff members of the Technical Secretariat." A more subtle version of Henderson's role was then channelled through Lucas and Whitaker: "minority opinion", "on the sidelines" and elaborated by Higgins as "disgruntled OPCW employee"'. Between 16 May and 25 May the story channelled through Whitaker changed from "Henderson had wanted to join the FFM and got rebuffed but was then given permission to do some investigating on the sidelines of the FFM." to admitting that "Henderson and others" were in Douma "to provide temporary support to the FFM".

On 24 May Whitaker's informed source admits that "Henderson's assessment was reviewed" for the Final Report, no longer attempting to maintain that the Engineering Assessment was not part of the FFM's process. If we strip away the flannel from this latest story, it appears to be accurate. The "informed source" tells us that the Engineering Assessment was excluded from the Final Report not because its technical analysis had been rebutted, but because the conclusion that the cylinders had been placed in position rather than dropped from the air would necessarily have attributed responsibility for the incident to the opposition .

The argument that the mandate of the FFM prevented it from endorsing the Engineering Assessment's conclusion is easily refuted as a matter of logic. Announcing the release of the Final Report, OPCW stated that "The FFM's mandate is to determine whether chemical weapons or toxic chemicals as weapons have been used in Syria." In Douma this could be reduced to deciding between two alternatives: (1) the gas cylinders were dropped from the air, implying that they were used as chemical weapons; (2) the cylinders were placed in position, implying that the incident was staged and that no chemical attack had occurred. Although to conclude that alternative (2) was correct would implicate the opposition, this would not be attribution of blame for a chemical attack but rather a determination that chemical weapons had not been used.

Clearly a verdict that the alleged chemical attack had been staged would have been unacceptable to the French government, which had joined in the US-led missile attack on 14 April 2018. We can surmise that the Chief of Cabinet of OPCW, Sébastien Braha, who (according to his Linkedin profile ) is still in post as a French diplomat, would have been in a difficult position if he had allowed the FFM to release a report that reached this conclusion. He would be in an even more difficult position if he were to allow the newly-established Investigation and Identification Team (IIT), which also reports to him, to overturn the conclusions of the Final Report and report that the alleged chemical attack was staged. Even if Braha's failure to update his online profile with the date of leaving his diplomatic post is an oversight, this would still be a conflict of interest based on the OECD definition of what "a reasonable person, knowing the relevant facts, would conclude". As we have noted, OPCW appears to have no arrangements for managing conflicts of interest. Until the governance and working practices of OPCW are radically reformed, it is hard to see how neutral observers can have confidence in the impartiality of the FFM or the IIT.

3 Government responses to an alleged chlorine attack on 19 May 3.1 Reports of the alleged attack

Possible allusions to the release of the Engineering Assessment on 13 May can be discerned in government responses to a report of an alleged chlorine attack in Idlib on 19 May. The earliest report , mentioning three missiles or shells loaded with chlorine was from an Arabic-language website named ebaa.news at 11.01 am Syrian time. The location was given as Kubina Hill in Kabbana village, on the border with Lattakia. At 12.46 am Syrian time Hamish de Bretton-Gordon (HdBG) tweeted

Appears to be a chlorine attack from Regime artillery shells in Jose Al Shugour village - 4 casualties being evacuated for treatment

"Jose Al Shugour village" is presumably the town of Jisr Al-Shughour. Rami Abdulrahman's Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported on 22 May that four fighters were treated in hospital after they "suffocated in the intense and violent shelling by the regime forces, within caves and trenches" but did not endorse the claims of a chlorine attack, noting that the source of this story was "the Media platform of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham". The story was elaborated in a Fox News report on 23 May that quoted a "Dr Ahmad" from Idlib, who reported that he had treated the casualties. Fox News also quoted Nidal Shikhani of the Chemical Violations Documentation Centre Syria (CVDCS).

A possible match for the identity of "Dr Ahmad" is Dr Ahmad al-Dbis, quoted by Reuters on 4 May 2019 as Safety and Security Manager for the Union of Medical Care and Relief Organisations (UOSSM), describing airstrikes on Idlib and northern Hama. Since 2016 both HdBG and the CBRN Task Force that he set up in 2013 have been affiliated to UOSSM. A report from 2014 quotes a "Dr Ahmad" described as a medic trained by HdBG for the CBRN Task Force. CVDCS is an NGO that has worked closely with the OPCW Fact-Finding Mission since 2015 to provide purported eyewitnesses for interview in Syria, originally established in 2012 as the Office of Documentation of the Chemical File in Syria , and later registered in Brussels as a non-profit company named Same Justice. This company never complied with the legal requirement to file accounts, and went into liquidation on 27 February 2019.

The ebaa.news site appears to be closely linked to Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), frequently quoting HTS spokesmen and sometimes reporting exclusive stories obtained from HTS. On 31 May 2018 HTS was designated by the US Department of State as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. The Coordinator for Counterterrorism noted that this designation "serves notice that the United States is not fooled by this al-Qa'ida affiliate's attempt to rebrand itself." In conclusion, the provenance of this story of a chemical attack on 19 May is dubious, and the extent to which the sources are independent of one another is not clear.

3.2 UK response

On 22 May John Woodcock MP asked at Prime Minister's Questions :

British experts are this morning investigating a suspected chlorine attack by al-Assad in Idlib. If it is proved, will she lead the international response against the return of this indiscriminate evil?

As expected, the Prime Minister gave a bellicose answer, but made no reference to OPCW.

We of course acted in Syria, with France and the United States, when we saw chemical weapons being used there. We are in close contact with the United States and are monitoring the situation closely, and if any use of chemical weapons is confirmed, we will respond appropriately.

Woodcock's "British experts" appear to have included HdBG, who had suggested in a tweet the day before that Woodcock should ask the Prime Minister about Idlib, though not about a chemical attack. In a subsequent tweet Woodcock stated that his experts were "on the ground in Syria".

3.3 French response

The daily press from the French foreign ministry on 22 May responded to a question on the alleged chemical attack on 19 May with:

We have noted with concern these allegations which must be investigated. We have full confidence in the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons .

3.4 US response

A press statement from State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus on 21 May dealt with the alleged chemical attack two days earlier:

Unfortunately, we continue to see signs that the Assad regime may be renewing its use of chemical weapons, including an alleged chlorine attack in northwest Syria on the morning of May 19, 2019. We are still gathering information on this incident, but we repeat our warning that if the Assad regime uses chemical weapons, the United States and our allies will respond quickly and appropriately.

She mentioned a " continuing disinformation campaign " to "create the false narrative that others are to blame for chemical weapons attacks that the Assad regime itself is conducting". The following day Mr James Jeffrey, the State Department's special representative to Syria, testified to the House Foreign Affairs Committee that "So far we cannot confirm [the reports of chemical weapons use] but we're watching it". The New York Times reported this to be a "carefully worded recalibration" of the announcement by Morgan Ortagus the day before, and that American military officials had "expressed surprise over the State Department's strong statement". 4 Comparison of the Engineering Assessment with the published Final Report

A comparison of the Engineering Assessment and the Final Report have been reported in outline form by McIntyre . As Larson has noted , there are indications in the Final Report that whoever drafted it had access to an earlier version of the Engineering Assessment (the released version dated 27 February 2019 is marked Rev 1) and was attempting to rebut it without overtly mentioning it. For instance the Engineering Assessment lists five points supporting the opinion of experts that the crater at location 2 had been created by a the explosion of a mortar round or artillery rocket rather than an impact from a falling object. These points included:

"an (unusually elevated, but possible) fragmentation pattern on upper walls"

"(whilst it was observed that a fire had been created in the corner of the room) black scorching on the crater underside and ceiling."

The Final Report states falsely that a fragmentation pattern, visible in open-source images, was absent:

The FFM analysed the damage on the rooftop terrace and below the crater in order to determine if it had been created by an explosive device. However, this hypothesis is unlikely given the absence of primary and secondary fragmentation characteristic of an explosion that may have created the crater and the damage surrounding it.

This is followed by a paragraph that notes the blackening of the ceiling and attributes it to the fire set in the room. The Final Report's allusion to the possibility of an explosive device, with mention of fragmentation pattern and the setting of a fire in the room appears to be an attempt to explain away the argument made in the Engineering Assessment.

We note that several of the key findings of the Engineering Assessment are based only on examination of the cylinders. For instance the Engineering Assessment reports that the cylinder at Location 2 bears no markings that would be consistent with the frame with fins (lying on the balcony) ever having been attached to it, let alone the markings that would be expected if the frame had been stripped off by impact. The Final Report records that the Syrian government insisted on retaining custody of the cylinders for criminal investigation purposes. Accordingly:

On 4 June, FFM team members tagged and sealed the cylinders from Locations 2 and 4, and documented the procedure.

A useful way to take forward the investigation of the Douma incident would now be for the Syrian government to invite an international team of neutral experts to examine the cylinders, to assess whether the observations support the findings of the Engineering Assessment or the conclusions of the published FFM Final Report, and to publish their findings in a form that allows peer review and reproducibility of results from data. The next step would be a criminal investigation of this incident, focusing on where, how and by whom were the 35 victims seen in images at Location 2 killed.

Posted at 02:37 AM in government , History , Syria , The Military Art , weapons | Permalink

Castellio , 29 May 2019 at 12:05 PM

Thank you for pursuing this issue in depth and with rigour.

Paul McKeigue , 29 May 2019 at 12:05 PM

If SST readers are confused by OPCW's constantly shifting explanations for why the Final Report on the Douma incident excluded the Engineering Assessment, they're not the only ones.

Yesterday OPCW released its official response (dated 21 May) to Russian criticisms (dated 26 April) of the Final Report of the Fact-Finding Mission on the Douma incident. In this response OPCW made, officially and on the record, the same argument as that made by Whitaker's "informed source: that to assess how the cylinders arrived in their positions was outside the mandate of the FFM.

Unfortunately for whoever thought up this defence, it is explicitly contradicted by both the Interim Report (published last July) and the Final Report, which state that the objective of the engineering studies was to evaluate how the cylinders arrived in position.

Peter Hitchens is on the case, and has listed these contradictions and requested an explanation from OPCW.

https://t.co/siF2D4yita

[May 28, 2019] Putin is not only fluent in German but is known to be something of a Germanophile

Notable quotes:
"... Merkel we shouldn't forget, grew up on the east side of Germany. She must have quite a understanding of her Russian counterparts. Putin on the other hand spent a portion of his KGB career in East Germany and both speak each other language. Both have little use for America. ..."
"... It’s good however to see it spelt out this clearly what’s the proper role for European countries in the world view of many Americans: obedient vassals. The mask keeps slipping. ..."
"... What if all political forces support pro-Russian sentiments, especially with regard to Ukraine? ..."
May 28, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Dan Green , says: May 23, 2019 at 8:50 am

Often wondered, aside from what folks are told about Russians and Germans, Merkel we shouldn't forget, grew up on the east side of Germany. She must have quite a understanding of her Russian counterparts. Putin on the other hand spent a portion of his KGB career in East Germany and both speak each other language. Both have little use for America.

Connecticut Farmer , says: May 23, 2019 at 9:07 am

The indirect link between Thomas Mann and "nationalism" is at variance with the historical fact that Mann left Germany in the early thirties in PROTEST to the virulent nationalism exhibited by the National Socialist regime.

And in reading this piece one can't help but chuckle at the notion that Putin is not only fluent in German but is known to be something of a Germanophile.

German_reader, May 23, 2019 at 2:05 pm

“Europe, if it knows what’s good for itself, will continue to do well following the American lead.”

This self-righteousness and complete lack of self-awareness is absolutely bizarre given the American foreign policy record of the last 30 years.

It’s good however to see it spelt out this clearly what’s the proper role for European countries in the world view of many Americans: obedient vassals. The mask keeps slipping.

romegas, May 23, 2019 at 2:52 pm

MarkVA

what a poorly informed typically American centric view. One could easily pass you for a troll. sorry but I have no other word. Please note that Russia (and the Soviet Union) was the VICTIM of repetitive invasions – Polish, French, German etc – You would be hard pressed to find episodes where Russia ever threatened the West. After WWII in which the soviet union for with which I have no ideological sympathy whatsoever, it was to expected after the USSR suffered 29,0000,000 deaths and total devastation that they would enforced a buffer area – everyone would have done the same- it was the USSR that defeated Hitler irrespective of the myths you choose to believe – but that is history.

The Russians have been allied with the French, the British, the Austrians and indeed the Prussians – Alliances shifted – it was the consequence of a geopolitics called the balance of power. Indeed perhaps the Russians were the most naive of the lot – being screwed by the British and the Austrians against the Ottomans, the Czar lost his crown and an empire to honour his treaty with Britain and France in WWI when logic stated that he should have sued for a separate peace etc etc etc and why after all should not Germans and Russians not feel greater affinity to each other (when not slaughtering one another) than to the Americans – who are the Americans anyhow?

We in Europe associate Russia with Doestoevsky, Pushkin, Tolstoy, Gogol, Chekov – with Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky and Rubinstein – with Bruleau, Treyakov and Aivazovsky – with Khomyakov, Kantemir, Merezhkovsky and so on and so forth – in other words of great contributors to European civilisation.

What have you Americans given us? Hollywood? Disneyland? Stay out of Europe and the rest of the world for that matter – we have nothing in common – and if we choose to slaughter each other – let us – we do not need your ‘altruism’ and ‘exceptionalism’.

Bannerman, May 23, 2019 at 5:12 pm

Given that one has a hard enough time comprehending American politics, it would be sheer presumption to attempt to analyze the minds of Germans and Russians. Their lengthy and complicated history are quite bloody enough without Yankee saber rattling. To accuse the Germans of “Russophilia” is at least, an absurd stretch, if not downright loony. But being absurd and lunatic has never stopped a neocon in his tracks. I had a college acquaintanceship with Trotskyites in the Sixties, and their legitimate children the Neocons are no less weird than the source material.

But regarding the taint of a stain of authoritarianism in Russia and Germany… hello, the XXth Century on Line One.

Adeline Tornton, May 27, 2019 at 6:47 am

The author is worried that pro-Russian sentiments are still heard in Europe. According to his russophobic ideology, it happens due to the large-scale propaganda of the Russian media abroad.

In addition, the Germans, in his opinion, also have some kind of historically “irresistible craving for Russia.”

What if all political forces support pro-Russian sentiments, especially with regard to Ukraine?

[May 27, 2019] How To Prevent Debate While Claiming To Be In Favor Of It

Notable quotes:
"... When I look around at the state of public discourse in 'the West' what strikes me is that everyone says they want to have a reasoned and rational debate but say that the reason it doesn't happen is because the 'other side' is irrational and so they can't be debated with. ..."
"... Sometimes the assumptions which provide the framework for every other thought, statement and debate, are held, I think, almost unconsciously. If you grow up in a fundamentalist religious culture then Allah, or Jehovah or Christ and his rules are unquestioned and held as unquestionable. ..."
"... For some Capitalism and the workings of the Free Market are so basic, so much just a reflection into human affairs, of the basic nature of reality, that to go against them is 'irrational'. On the other side there are those for whom a more communist view of human relations seems equally undeniable. Both sides usually claim their view is the only conclusion you can rationally come to if you start from an unbiased and scientific view of human nature. Both exaggerate. ..."
"... How many times in a contentious debate do both sides get really angry because they say – with some justification – that the other side is putting words in their mouth and are making assumptions about what they think or believe? Both sides claim the other is doing this and both get angry at the way the other side 'distorts' things and doesn't listen. And both sides then reply, "No we're not. We're just showing anyone listening what you 'really think' but don't like to say out loud." ..."
"... Everyone sincerely believes their assumptions are the correct starting point for any debate and insist the other side fit into the role which the starting assumptions have laid down for them ..."
May 27, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Via Golem XIV's blog,

When I look around at the state of public discourse in 'the West' what strikes me is that everyone says they want to have a reasoned and rational debate but say that the reason it doesn't happen is because the 'other side' is irrational and so they can't be debated with. The 'other side', their opponents say, always avoids the debate, is never willing to just answer a reasonable question and generally just refuse to have the debate they claim to want. Does this resonate with you?

I see impasse everywhere I look. In the UK between Brexit and Remain supporters and in the USA between Trump and Non-Trump supporters. I see it between Alt-right advocates and Progressives, and between all the various groups within and around identity politics and those they see as their enemies. I see it in every discussion of immigration. I see it between globalists and those they call populists or nativists.

How is this possible? How can all sides in every debate want to have a reasoned and rational discussion and yet all claim the 'other side' is irrational and unwilling to discuss?

Here are some thoughts.

It seems to me that in every one of our contentious social and political debates each 'side' comes to the debate with a set of assumptions which they are absolutely sure are the correct and in fact only way of framing the debate. The problem with me suggesting this, is that the people I am talking about will read that sentence and nod happily, feeling quite certain that this is a correct and lamentably true description of people other than themselves. Their own assumptions, if they are aware of having them at all, seem to them to be so basic, so self evident, that it would be wrong to describe them as 'assumptions'. Sure, other people may have deeply embedded assumptions, but what 'we' have is a clear-eyed and unbiased statement of reality.

Sometimes the assumptions which provide the framework for every other thought, statement and debate, are held, I think, almost unconsciously. If you grow up in a fundamentalist religious culture then Allah, or Jehovah or Christ and his rules are unquestioned and held as unquestionable.

Such assumptions are then nearly always buttressed by an accompanying belief that questioning or denying these most unquestionable assumptions and the version of reality they describe, will lead to utter disaster. In the religious case because god will get peeved and visit some sort of divine anger upon the heads of the unbelievers and possibly even those around them who did nothing to stop the blaspheming.

So far so smug.

But the same logic is there in lots of more secular or 'rational' people. For some Capitalism and the workings of the Free Market are so basic, so much just a reflection into human affairs, of the basic nature of reality, that to go against them is 'irrational'. On the other side there are those for whom a more communist view of human relations seems equally undeniable. Both sides usually claim their view is the only conclusion you can rationally come to if you start from an unbiased and scientific view of human nature. Both exaggerate.

An important part of the fierceness with which people defend their assumptions is often, I think, that they work through what their assumptions lead to and like what they see. But when they look at what 'the other side' espouses and put those things into their own framework of assumptions they find it leads to all sorts of things they find deplorable. The key thing is they always use their own framework of assumptions to evaluate what the other side's beliefs 'must lead to'. Never the assumptions the other side uses. Each side says to the other – you believe this and that means you must also believe or that you must be a . Very often the word fascist comes in to the shouting match at this point.

My view is that everyone comes to the debate wearing mental glasses which show them what they take to be 'reality' but which is in fact, a construction, created by the glasses they may be unaware they are even wearing.

So what?

My view is that this means everyone comes to the debate with a framework which includes what they are absolutely sure the 'other side' must think. Why? Well, if you have a framework of assumptions which tells you what the correct answer is then that same framework of assumptions will also tell you what the wrong answers are. It will tell you what the 'other' side, the wrong side of the debate thinks. You will 'know' before they open their mouths what they are going to say – more or less – because you are a rational thinking person who has 'thought it through'. The problem is, the 'it' you thought through, which you attribute to the 'other side', is what your set of assumptions say the other side must think.

You hear what the other side's opinion is, find that opinion within the framework of your own thinking and then look at the train of thoughts that – if they were using your assumptions, they must have gone through to get to their conclusion. And you also look around at the other thoughts that – in your logic – would go along with or be a consequence of their expressed view. And you then accuse the other side of those further ideas. Along the lines of – 'Well if you say that then you must be in favour of . You must be a .!'

How many times in a contentious debate do both sides get really angry because they say – with some justification – that the other side is putting words in their mouth and are making assumptions about what they think or believe? Both sides claim the other is doing this and both get angry at the way the other side 'distorts' things and doesn't listen. And both sides then reply, "No we're not. We're just showing anyone listening what you 'really think' but don't like to say out loud."

What I see, is both sides wanting to control how the debate is to be framed . And both sides feel this is legit because they 'know' their view is the rational and clear one. The other side is blinded by assumptions.

All sides say they want a rational and reasoned debate but both sides come to the debate assuming that their way of framing the debate, their set of assumptions, are the correct, rational and in fact the only legitimate ones. Each side comes with its assumptions and expects, demands, the other side to fit into them not because they are bullies or irrrational – heaven forfend – but because their's is the right framework. And to disagree is, by definition, to be irrational.

The only problem is the other side doesn't see the world the same way. The two sides aren't starting with an agreed set of assumptions. So each side sees the other as irrational and obstructive. Each side begins by asking a question or making a statement which seems to them to be the correct, legitimate and clear-eyed way of proceeding only to find the other side refusing to go along with the programme. Refusing to answer the questions or trying to avoid it by asking a totally different question. Each side sees the other being obstructive. And each side says of the other side, "Either they're stupid or they're doing this because they know they are wrong and would lose!"

And in truth both are correct. For good reason. If you do accept the starting assumptions of the other side in this sort of polarised debate, then by definition you will lose. The logic the other side come with, already contains your beliefs, but in their mental framework 'your' beliefs are connected to all sorts of awful ideas. They can't understand how you can't see this. It's so clear. Of course it is only clear because they are looking at it only from within the framework of their own assumptions.

Each side knows how easy it is to follow the logic which runs from their own assumptions to the 'correct' conclusion. And each side wonders how the other refuses to see this. It's a short step from there to decide that perhaps the other side aren't that stupid which means they must be malignly, knowingly, deplorably advocating a position they know is wrong.

The other side must be other irrational or evil. Or sometimes both. Et voila! Mutual hatred, intollerance and a strong sense of self-righteous superiority on all sides.

Everyone sincerely believes their assumptions are the correct starting point for any debate and insist the other side fit into the role which the starting assumptions have laid down for them. Which conveniently mean they – the other side – will soon see the error of their ways, lose the debate and come to see how stupid or misguided they have been. Not surprisingly people quickly sense this is what is in store for them if they continue to allow the debate to be framed by the other side's assumptions. And so at some point, usually fairly early on, people start to not allow the other side to dictate the framework of the debate. At which point both sides then feel frustrated that the other side is 'irrationally' sabotaging the debate by avoiding perfectly good questions and insisting of other irrelevant, unconnected, distracting questions.

Sorry this is a lot of words to say what might be blazingly evident.

But I think we are going to have to begin to admit we have deeply held assumptions and step back from them far enough to talk about them . I believe the debate we need at this point has to be about our assumptions and the debate has to happen at this deeper level. We are going to have to be willing to listen to why other people have different assumptions. And not rule them as somehow illegitimate or unspeakable or deplorable. We need to do this so we can follow the logic of the other side to understand how they get to where they are, why they think that they think. Why they have the fears they do. We need to do this for their assumptions and for our own. And we need to allow them to do the same.

It is the opposite of de-platforming. It's the other path from using emotive labels to shut people down.

I think there are people who really do not want others to debate and discuss. They don't want people to come to a better understanding of each other. They want, instead, to keep very tight control over what can and can't be said and can and can't be debated. They want people to be angry at each other and to distrust each other. They want to divide people against each other while claiming to be ardent opponents of divisiveness. It's a clever ploy. But a dangerous and I think an evil one.

Such people don't want to ever be accused of shutting down debate. They want to be seen as the champions of debate – rational debate, but all the while managing to prevent it. And the way they do it is by insisting they do not have assumptions. Only the 'other' side does. The 'good' side has science or evidence or just the moral high ground as their platform. This is a profound danger. Everyone has assumptions. The essential thing is to admit it, and be willing to discuss them.

There are plenty of people who hold views I find deeply distasteful. But rather than refuse to debate or try to insist that any debate happen within assumptions I have laid down, I prefer to try to get at what logic has led them to their views. What assumptions do they start with and why? What are the fears or the hopes which their assumptions seem to them to provide good answers to?


Julot_Fr , 10 hours ago link

To deny debate.. they simply engineer language.. and put some trigger words than inhibit zombies brains: racist, antisemite, populist, fascist, white, sexist, ...

LightBulb18 , 10 hours ago link

Many hundreds of years ago there was fighting between Europeans over religion, A people who fought about everything at the time, and since then leftists have claimed that religion should be separate from the affairs of the nation. But today we have millions of people, often majorities who do not believe in multiculturalism, and they do not believe that equality will ever be achieved or maintained without government intervention. Today the left holds emotion based policies which they claim justify law, because of their violent threats, their tyrannical appeals, and their fascist corporate support. Let's be absolutely clear, many American corporations are supporting fascism in America. Many leftists americans also support fascist irrational positions, that genders are equal and identical, even in sports, completely in violation of the scientific understanding of our time, and in contradiction of the religious beliefs that were exempted from influencing government, and society, but apparently not exempted from forced indoctrination by the left. They claim that unborn children's lives hold zero value whatsoever, in complete violation of logic apparently for the convenience of the left. Why should we continue to forbid the Jewish religion and others to influence the populations of nations they live in and supposedly have democratic representative government in, when religious people, the majority of right wingers, and scientists are all denied the right to have ownership in the nation because they do not share the beliefs of leftists, and are not united in their dishonest censored claims of representing everyone? You can't have unity, when you barley represent A majority. Unless you support freedom for all.

All we are doing is waking up to the injustice perpetrated against us by the left, which was possible due to their monopoly control over the media and the rest of the government. There was never any legitimacy to the notion that religion should be separate from government, any more than it would be legitimate to say that leftism should be separate from the government, or science should be separate from the government. At least science has A generally accepted logic to it, when it is certain which is far less often than what is claimed by people who wish to justify imposing their view beyond the democratic support their view receives. Science and psychology have A long current history of being distorted to suit leftist purposes. Religion and the ideals it champions also has A demonstratable benefit to individuals and society, and has A logic that is more influential than leftism often in A market of competing ideas.

Once we were censored, citizens of A fascist system of government that benefitted the wealthy. Today we are less oppressed, and more free, proving that events can be influenced, and additional freedoms can be gained. Support the exposure of the injustice of separation of religion and state, and expose it as A fascist crime perpetrated by the wealthy and the left against the freedom, knowledge, and spiritual health of the people. Real history should include the many deceptions of the wealthy and their preference for poisonous leftism to keep the people weak, ignorant and dependent. In G-d I trust.

In the beginning of parliament, representation and democracy, the wealthy completely dominated the process, and were able to censor whatever served them best, control debates, and pick talking points for the candidates and the media. They could rewrite history, misreport facts associated with events, and shield whoever or whatever institution from criticism in all of the organs of government which they overwhelmingly controlled.

Arab muslims took more European slaves and African slaves than white people did, by A considerable margin, why are they not criticized for their history, why are they exempted from saying sorry? Why are the schools covering up for them?

Is there even A case made by the government that when millions of muslims and africans arrive in America and Europe, they will become equal? If so, what do we need to recreate that success in the middle east and Africa? Why is it that east asia has been A success, while Africa and the middle east have remained radically unequal to the rest of the world? Can we move africans and muslims back to the middle east and Africa so they increase the standard of living of Africa and the middle east? Or will they go back to being unequal? Perhaps if we let everyone from one African country into Europe, and then send them back in 5 years, they will be able to convert their whole nation to one equal to Europe.

Are we mostly fighting A great evil, or A great deception? Obviously both, but it seems like A great many are uninformed. When they are, we win elections. Despite the massive evidence of censorship that the people aren't marching against.

South Africa is probably A good place to go for white wives. Christian wives and husbands to. It may seem unfair to take advantage of their being oppressed for being white, but her whole family will be able to come afterwards. White south africans situation is demonstratable worse than that of the rest of the white communities of the world. Shamefully, those on the front lines are the first to be sacrificed when people believe evil is more just than good.

Gentiles don't have free will. Could eve or adam have defeated the test?

The more lies A nations media covers up, and their politicians lie, the more human right violations they commit behind the scenes.

Story. A danger exists from the forces of evil, when they no longer think they will overtake society soon enough, after their agents get into office and demolish the economy and the major institutions. When they no longer think they will win the slow game, they will have no reason not to flip the table of the game.

GreatUncle , 12 hours ago link

I think we need to have a set of principles laid down first before any debate like free speech, equality, etc.

At the moment the principles are skewed so bad that I am considered a second rate human being because I am a caucasian male.

Yet all the adversity scores now being allocated prevent equality at so many levels.

Until all that is fixed any debate is kind of meaningless.

KG5IES , 12 hours ago link

I am a nationalist. I spent 16 years in the Army, swore to support and defend the Constitution, and don't see how I could be anything else but a nationalist. I don't want to compromise. I don't really care for any other view than mine. If you are a federally elected politician or appointee that shows disrespect toward the Constitution, you are a traitor in my eyes, and will get no respect or quarter from me. You swore to support and defend that document that is the framework for our country, and I have zero respect for people who break their promises.
For the rest of you, read it before you criticize it. It's the only thing you have going for you. It isn't something I will ever give up. Nor is it something I will allow you to throw away. Not because I care about you, I don't, you haven't earned it. I care about my family, my friends, and myself. I won't allow them to lose freedoms that I can defend. If you are trying to remove freedoms, (be it firearms or gas powered cars or the right to tell you they disagree with you and how screwed up you are) then you are the enemy.

ChaoKrungThep , 12 hours ago link

First, you omit Critical Thinking, Logic and Debate from the curriculum. Then, into the weekend crowd you throw a trivial subject unworthy of debate or even notice. Then you sat back and enjoy the rabble trying argue the superiority of polka dots over stripes on boxer shorts. Alert the emergency services for there will be blood and casualties. Now how do you like Authoritarian Fascism on your day off from the Armaments for Peace factory?

MushroomCloud2020 , 12 hours ago link

I remember a so called debate I had with an atheist. I never told the atheist that I was in fact an atheist myself. I was bored. The conversation took an interesting path. My opponent was trying to make the case that due to all of design flaws in nature, and all the suffering that people experience, God was flawed and not perfect, and that an all knowing God could not create beings that he knows he will destroy ahead of time and still remain just, merciful and loving. My response to him was that since he did not believe in God, then he was in fact talking about his parents, who foreknew the circumstance he would be born into ahead of time, and I told him that I could not know the mind of God, but perhaps a good talk with his parents might best explain why an all knowing God would still create beings, while knowing ahead of time they would fail miserably. His head exploded.

ztack3r , 13 hours ago link

then you understand they have raped children.... once you will, please, understand, there is no premises to understand and all mercy will be weakness they will exploit.

wadalt , 13 hours ago link

How To Prevent Debate While Claiming To Be In Favor Of It

Simple: label it ANTISEMITIC.

Is-Be , 14 hours ago link

If you grow up in a fundamentalist religious culture then Allah, or Jehovah or Christ and his rules are unquestioned and held as unquestionable.

No need to proceed further. The central argument is Binary Thinking, brought to us by the paradigm of Monotheism."You either accept Jesus (Allah or whatever) or you condemn yourself to Hell forever". No if ands buts or maybes.

As the Russians have remarked, "The choice is often not between good and evil, but between evil and worse evil".

The non monotheistic religions, not being encombered by such blinkers, struggle mightily with their course of action. (Think how the ancient Greeks wrestled with the nature of Arete.)

Because, as Jordan Peterson has noted, "Any fool can make things a hundred percent worse, but it takes great effort to make things five percent better."

Our urgent objective then, would be to rid ourself the illusions of Monotheism.

It is for this reason I beseach Kali Maa to Dance. Dance O Kali, Destroyer of Illusions.

[May 27, 2019] Extremely wealthy invest in narrative control via MSM ownership, think tanks financing and the army of well-paid lobbysts

This is a modern form of brainwashing which is more effective and more sophisticated then Soviet propagandas.
Notable quotes:
"... It is therefore an indisputable fact that the very wealthy therefore have an immensely disproportionate influence over the way that people think and vote, which means the plutocratic class has the fully legal ability to practice election interference. ..."
"... If the Internet Research Agency of St Petersburg was election meddling, then the plutocratic class which consistently manipulates public narratives to its favor certainly is as well, to an extent that is greater by orders of magnitude. ..."
May 27, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

As soon as you see someone become extremely wealthy, you immediately see them start buying up public narrative control. They buy and invest in media outlets, they pour money into influential think tanks, they send lobbyists into government offices to persuade politicians to think a certain way about a given subject. Ordinary people can't afford to do these things, so they have relatively little control over the dominant narratives about what's going on in our society and our world.

It is therefore an indisputable fact that the very wealthy therefore have an immensely disproportionate influence over the way that people think and vote, which means the plutocratic class has the fully legal ability to practice election interference. Both the plutocratic media and the US government have already tacitly admitted that this is true in the frantic, hysterical way they've been talking about Russian Facebook memes as election interference, despite the fact that those social media posts are a microscopic drop in the barrel of the billions and billions of dollars that goes into mass media election coverage. If the Internet Research Agency of St Petersburg was election meddling, then the plutocratic class which consistently manipulates public narratives to its favor certainly is as well, to an extent that is greater by orders of magnitude.

Of course it's good that people are pushing for paper ballots, and it's not a bad idea to take precautions against foreign interference as well, but we must become aware that the greatest share of election interference happens before anyone sets foot in a polling booth. The way the American psyche is pummeled with mass media narratives designed to manufacture consent for war, economic injustice, ecocide, Orwellian government intrusiveness, and the politicians who promote these things will influence far more votes in 2020 than any other election tampering, foreign or domestic.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/34LGPIXvU5M

Mass media propaganda is the single most overlooked and under-appreciated aspect of our society. The ability of an elite class to control the way a supermajority of the population thinks, acts and votes has shaped our entire world in the favor of a few sociopaths driven by an insatiable lust for money and power who got to where they are because they were willing to do anything to get ahead. If we can't find a way to get a handle on that, then it won't matter how pristine your elections are, how ethical the DNC primary process becomes, or what the Russians are up to this year.

Do you want to live in a world which is built around the selfish desires of powerful, amoral manipulators and hoarders? No? Then you're going to have to start doing what you can to oppose such a system, and to convince as many of your brothers and sisters as possible to join you.

* * *

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[May 26, 2019] How To Prevent Debate While Claiming To Be In Favor Of It Zero Hedge

May 26, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Via Golem XIV's blog,

When I look around at the state of public discourse in 'the West' what strikes me is that everyone says they want to have a reasoned and rational debate but say that the reason it doesn't happen is because the 'other side' is irrational and so they can't be debated with. The 'other side', their opponents say, always avoids the debate, is never willing to just answer a reasonable question and generally just refuse to have the debate they claim to want. Does this resonate with you?

I see impasse everywhere I look. In the UK between Brexit and Remain supporters and in the USA between Trump and Non-Trump supporters. I see it between Alt-right advocates and Progressives, and between all the various groups within and around identity politics and those they see as their enemies. I see it in every discussion of immigration. I see it between globalists and those they call populists or nativists.

How is this possible? How can all sides in every debate want to have a reasoned and rational discussion and yet all claim the 'other side' is irrational and unwilling to discuss?

Here are some thoughts.

It seems to me that in every one of our contentious social and political debates each 'side' comes to the debate with a set of assumptions which they are absolutely sure are the correct and in fact only way of framing the debate. The problem with me suggesting this, is that the people I am talking about will read that sentence and nod happily, feeling quite certain that this is a correct and lamentably true description of people other than themselves. Their own assumptions, if they are aware of having them at all, seem to them to be so basic, so self evident, that it would be wrong to describe them as 'assumptions'. Sure, other people may have deeply embedded assumptions, but what 'we' have is a clear-eyed and unbiased statement of reality.

Sometimes the assumptions which provide the framework for every other thought, statement and debate, are held, I think, almost unconsciously. If you grow up in a fundamentalist religious culture then Allah, or Jehovah or Christ and his rules are unquestioned and held as unquestionable.

Such assumptions are then nearly always buttressed by an accompanying belief that questioning or denying these most unquestionable assumptions and the version of reality they describe, will lead to utter disaster. In the religious case because god will get peeved and visit some sort of divine anger upon the heads of the unbelievers and possibly even those around them who did nothing to stop the blaspheming.

So far so smug.

But the same logic is there in lots of more secular or 'rational' people. For some Capitalism and the workings of the Free Market are so basic, so much just a reflection into human affairs, of the basic nature of reality, that to go against them is 'irrational'. On the other side there are those for whom a more communist view of human relations seems equally undeniable. Both sides usually claim their view is the only conclusion you can rationally come to if you start from an unbiased and scientific view of human nature. Both exaggerate.

An important part of the fierceness with which people defend their assumptions is often, I think, that they work through what their assumptions lead to and like what they see. But when they look at what 'the other side' espouses and put those things into their own framework of assumptions they find it leads to all sorts of things they find deplorable. The key thing is they always use their own framework of assumptions to evaluate what the other side's beliefs 'must lead to'. Never the assumptions the other side uses. Each side says to the other – you believe this and that means you must also believe or that you must be a . Very often the word fascist comes in to the shouting match at this point.

My view is that everyone comes to the debate wearing mental glasses which show them what they take to be 'reality' but which is in fact, a construction, created by the glasses they may be unaware they are even wearing.

So what?

My view is that this means everyone comes to the debate with a framework which includes what they are absolutely sure the 'other side' must think. Why? Well, if you have a framework of assumptions which tells you what the correct answer is then that same framework of assumptions will also tell you what the wrong answers are. It will tell you what the 'other' side, the wrong side of the debate thinks. You will 'know' before they open their mouths what they are going to say – more or less – because you are a rational thinking person who has 'thought it through'. The problem is, the 'it' you thought through, which you attribute to the 'other side', is what your set of assumptions say the other side must think.

You hear what the other side's opinion is, find that opinion within the framework of your own thinking and then look at the train of thoughts that – if they were using your assumptions, they must have gone through to get to their conclusion. And you also look around at the other thoughts that – in your logic – would go along with or be a consequence of their expressed view. And you then accuse the other side of those further ideas. Along the lines of – 'Well if you say that then you must be in favour of . You must be a .!'

How many times in a contentious debate do both sides get really angry because they say – with some justification – that the other side is putting words in their mouth and are making assumptions about what they think or believe? Both sides claim the other is doing this and both get angry at the way the other side 'distorts' things and doesn't listen. And both sides then reply, "No we're not. We're just showing anyone listening what you 'really think' but don't like to say out loud."

What I see, is both sides wanting to control how the debate is to be framed . And both sides feel this is legit because they 'know' their view is the rational and clear one. The other side is blinded by assumptions.

All sides say they want a rational and reasoned debate but both sides come to the debate assuming that their way of framing the debate, their set of assumptions, are the correct, rational and in fact the only legitimate ones. Each side comes with its assumptions and expects, demands, the other side to fit into them not because they are bullies or irrrational – heaven forfend – but because their's is the right framework. And to disagree is, by definition, to be irrational.

The only problem is the other side doesn't see the world the same way. The two sides aren't starting with an agreed set of assumptions. So each side sees the other as irrational and obstructive. Each side begins by asking a question or making a statement which seems to them to be the correct, legitimate and clear-eyed way of proceeding only to find the other side refusing to go along with the programme. Refusing to answer the questions or trying to avoid it by asking a totally different question. Each side sees the other being obstructive. And each side says of the other side, "Either they're stupid or they're doing this because they know they are wrong and would lose!"

And in truth both are correct. For good reason. If you do accept the starting assumptions of the other side in this sort of polarised debate, then by definition you will lose. The logic the other side come with, already contains your beliefs, but in their mental framework 'your' beliefs are connected to all sorts of awful ideas. They can't understand how you can't see this. It's so clear. Of course it is only clear because they are looking at it only from within the framework of their own assumptions.

Each side knows how easy it is to follow the logic which runs from their own assumptions to the 'correct' conclusion. And each side wonders how the other refuses to see this. It's a short step from there to decide that perhaps the other side aren't that stupid which means they must be malignly, knowingly, deplorably advocating a position they know is wrong.

The other side must be other irrational or evil. Or sometimes both. Et voila! Mutual hatred, intollerance and a strong sense of self-righteous superiority on all sides.

Everyone sincerely believes their assumptions are the correct starting point for any debate and insist the other side fit into the role which the starting assumptions have laid down for them. Which conveniently mean they – the other side – will soon see the error of their ways, lose the debate and come to see how stupid or misguided they have been. Not surprisingly people quickly sense this is what is in store for them if they continue to allow the debate to be framed by the other side's assumptions. And so at some point, usually fairly early on, people start to not allow the other side to dictate the framework of the debate. At which point both sides then feel frustrated that the other side is 'irrationally' sabotaging the debate by avoiding perfectly good questions and insisting of other irrelevant, unconnected, distracting questions.

Sorry this is a lot of words to say what might be blazingly evident.

But I think we are going to have to begin to admit we have deeply held assumptions and step back from them far enough to talk about them . I believe the debate we need at this point has to be about our assumptions and the debate has to happen at this deeper level. We are going to have to be willing to listen to why other people have different assumptions. And not rule them as somehow illegitimate or unspeakable or deplorable. We need to do this so we can follow the logic of the other side to understand how they get to where they are, why they think that they think. Why they have the fears they do. We need to do this for their assumptions and for our own. And we need to allow them to do the same.

It is the opposite of de-platforming. It's the other path from using emotive labels to shut people down.

I think there are people who really do not want others to debate and discuss. They don't want people to come to a better understanding of each other. They want, instead, to keep very tight control over what can and can't be said and can and can't be debated. They want people to be angry at each other and to distrust each other. They want to divide people against each other while claiming to be ardent opponents of divisiveness. It's a clever ploy. But a dangerous and I think an evil one.

Such people don't want to ever be accused of shutting down debate. They want to be seen as the champions of debate – rational debate, but all the while managing to prevent it. And the way they do it is by insisting they do not have assumptions. Only the 'other' side does. The 'good' side has science or evidence or just the moral high ground as their platform. This is a profound danger. Everyone has assumptions. The essential thing is to admit it, and be willing to discuss them.

There are plenty of people who hold views I find deeply distasteful. But rather than refuse to debate or try to insist that any debate happen within assumptions I have laid down, I prefer to try to get at what logic has led them to their views. What assumptions do they start with and why? What are the fears or the hopes which their assumptions seem to them to provide good answers to?

[May 26, 2019] Global Elites Started The Russia Nonsense by Thomas Farnan

Russiagate is definitely connected to military industrial complex. But it is also connect to the attempt of neoliberal elite to cements cracks in the neoliberal facade of the US global empire by using external scapegoat. British elite was traditionally Russophobic as they competed for influence with Russia and tried to prevent alliance of Germany and Russia.
Notable quotes:
"... The British aristocracy has a condescending view of the hoi polloi who voted for Brexit, regarding them as easily manipulated Pygmalion-like by smarter people. They assumed Vladimir Putin was somehow playing Professor Henry Higgins to the flower girls who voted to reject the EU, because that's how they see the world. Among the Cambridge class, this simple prejudice renders Russian collusion a first principle with no need for supporting evidence". ..."
"... Unconventional candidate Donald Trump " rattled Washington " to its core in March 2016 when he wondered about NATO's continued relevance and questioned America's foreign policy in Ukraine. ..."
"... That's when this "Putin's candidate" stuff started among both Republicans and Democrats " egged on by Ukrainians " who almost certainly fed Steele the fake kompromat " in the dossier. ..."
"... Russia may be a convenient boogeyman that serves as a necessary foil to both sides in the Washington establishment. But, for once, let's fight the real enemy: the global elites who started this nonsense. ..."
May 26, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Thomas Farnan via Human Events,

Attorney General William Barr has turned the attention of the Russia probe to its origin. Who started this and why? The answer, as in all the best crime dramas, is probably hiding in plain sight.

On August 11, 2018" I wrote :

The British aristocracy has a condescending view of the hoi polloi who voted for Brexit, regarding them as easily manipulated Pygmalion-like by smarter people. They assumed Vladimir Putin was somehow playing Professor Henry Higgins to the flower girls who voted to reject the EU, because that's how they see the world. Among the Cambridge class, this simple prejudice renders Russian collusion a first principle with no need for supporting evidence".

Without supporting evidence to prove their fantastical worldview, the global elite set out to manufacture some.

...

President Eisenhower " the furthest thing from a conspiracy theorist America has ever produced " famously warned in his farewell address to beware "the military industrial complex"

The great funding pipeline that makes Washington D.C. the wealthiest region in America feeds mostly on military spending which still, nearly thirty years removed from the Cold War, requires a Russian enemy.

Unconventional candidate Donald Trump " rattled Washington " to its core in March 2016 when he wondered about NATO's continued relevance and questioned America's foreign policy in Ukraine.

That's when this "Putin's candidate" stuff started among both Republicans and Democrats " egged on by Ukrainians " who almost certainly fed Steele the fake kompromat " in the dossier.

Russia may be a convenient boogeyman that serves as a necessary foil to both sides in the Washington establishment. But, for once, let's fight the real enemy: the global elites who started this nonsense.


novictim , 41 minutes ago link

Why all the fuss about Russia? Liberal elites – who tended to love the Soviet Union – hate present day Russia, which dares to assert nationality and culture against the pieties of the one-world-order crowd.

I can confirm. This is what American Leftist Operatives who travel to Russia to organize coops, etc have told me.

novictim , 50 minutes ago link

Also note that, while Russia is the designated Villain, the real threat since the 1980s onward has actually been the Chinese. But the up until now had managed to co-opt both Parties via the doctrine of constructive engagement and NeoLiberal Free Trade.

"Make China prosperous and the factory of the world and then it will adopt Republican Democracy!", they said.

Ya. Not so much.

Russia was the excuse to build the high tech fighters but no one dared to name China for fear of losing financial support coming from industries now dependent on the good graces of the Chinese Communist Party.

Thank your lucky stars that someone had the ability and ego to step in and expose this mess for what it was.

novictim , 57 minutes ago link

military - industrial - congressional complex (MICC)

Do not leave out the USA House and Senate. We know that many of these dirt bags are just as slimy as those in the Labour or Tory parties.

King Friday the 13th , 3 hours ago link

The word "hysteria" isn't used nearly enough in analyses like these. Hysteria is almost defined by the complete absence of thought or rationality, which characterizes the useful idiots who are the target of this propaganda.

mendigo , 4 hours ago link

Our government is too easily manipulated to serve narrow interest groups (with money) rather than the interest of the nation (as constuted) or of the people (who generally dont have money). Also the legal system does not seem to be serving the law - has dispensed with the concept of intent.

Those who strive to serve and benefit from interests of industry or foreign governments should be investigated and tried for treason (where warranted)

The Bushes and Cheney and Hitlary should be tried for war crimes.

Boing, Microsoft, Google should be broken up.

[May 22, 2019] NATO has pushed eastward right up to its borders and threatened to incorporate regions that have been part of Russia's sphere of influence -- and its defense perimeter -- for centuries

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The Economist and Stephens are correct. The trade dispute is merely a small part of a much larger and even more intense geopolitical rivalry that could ignite what Stephens describes as "an altogether hotter war." ..."
"... From the mid-1940s onward, the primacy of the United States was assumed as a given. History had rendered a verdict: we -- not the Brits and certainly not the Germans, French, or Russians -- were number one, and, more importantly, were meant to be. That history's verdict might be subject to revision was literally unimaginable, especially to anyone making a living in or near Washington, D.C. ..."
"... Choose your own favorite post-Cold War paean to American power and privilege. Mine remains Madeleine Albright's justification for some now-forgotten episode of armed intervention, uttered 20 years ago when American wars were merely occasional (and therefore required some nominal justification) rather then perpetual (and therefore requiring no justification whatsoever). ..."
"... Like some idiot savant, Donald Trump understood this. He grasped that the establishment's formula for militarized global leadership applied to actually existing post-Cold War circumstances was spurring American decline. Certainly other observers, including contributors to this publication, had for years been making the same argument, but in the halls of power their dissent counted for nothing. ..."
"... Yet in 2016, Trump's critique of U.S. policy resonated with many ordinary Americans and formed the basis of his successful run for the presidency. Unfortunately, once Trump assumed office, that critique did not translate into anything even remotely approximating a coherent strategy. President Trump's half-baked formula for Making America Great Again -- building "the wall," provoking trade wars, and elevating Iran to the status of existential threat -- is, to put it mildly, flawed, if not altogether irrelevant. His own manifest incompetence and limited attention span don't help ..."
"... There is no countervailing force within the USA that is able to tame MIC appetites, which are constantly growing. In a sense the nation is taken hostage with no root for escape via internal political mechanisms (for all practical purposes I would consider neocons that dominate the USA foreign policy to be highly paid lobbyists of MIC.) ..."
"... In this sense the alliance of China, Iran, Russia and Turkey might serve as an external countervailing force which allows some level of return to sanity, like was the case when the USSR existed. ..."
"... I agree with Bacevich that the dissolution of the USSR corrupted the US elite to the extent that it became reckless and somewhat suicidal in seeking "Full Spectrum Dominance" (which is an illusive goal in any case taking into account existing arsenals in China and Russia and the growing distance between EU and the USA) ..."
May 21, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The Great Power Game is On and China is Winning If America wants to maintain any influence in Asia, it needs to wake up. By Robert W. Merry May 22, 2019

President Donald J. Trump participates in a bilateral meeting with President Xi Jinping at the Great Hall of the People, Thursday, November 9, 2017, in Beijing, People's Republic of China. ( Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead) From across the pond come two geopolitical analyses in two top-quality British publications that lay out in stark terms the looming struggle between the United States and China. It isn't just a trade war, says The Economist in a major cover package. "Trade is not the half of it," declares the magazine. "The United States and China are contesting every domain, from semiconductors to submarines and from blockbuster films to lunar exploration." The days when the two superpowers sought a win-win world are gone.

For its own cover, The Financial Times ' Philip Stephens produced a piece entitled, "Trade is just an opening shot in a wider US-China conflict." The subhead: "The current standoff is part of a struggle for global pre-eminence." Writes Stephens: "The trade narrative is now being subsumed into a much more alarming one. Economics has merged with geopolitics. China, you can hear on almost every corner in sight of the White House and Congress, is not just a dangerous economic competitor but a looming existential threat."

Stephens quotes from the so-called National Defense Strategy, entitled "Sharpening the American Military's Competitive Edge," released last year by President Donald Trump's Pentagon. In the South China Sea, for example, says the strategic paper, "China has mounted a rapid military modernization campaign designed to limit U.S. access to the region and provide China a freer hand there." The broader Chinese goal, warns the Pentagon, is "Indo-Pacific regional hegemony in the near-term and displacement of the United States to achieve global pre-eminence in the future."

The Economist and Stephens are correct. The trade dispute is merely a small part of a much larger and even more intense geopolitical rivalry that could ignite what Stephens describes as "an altogether hotter war."

... ... ..

Russia: Of all the developments percolating in the world today, none is more ominous than the growing prospect of an anti-American alliance involving Russia, China, Turkey, and Iran. Yet such an alliance is in the works, largely as a result of America's inability to forge a foreign policy that recognizes the legitimate geopolitical interests of other nations. If the United States is to maintain its position in Asia, this trend must be reversed.

The key is Russia, largely by dint of its geopolitical position in the Eurasian heartland. If China's global rise is to be thwarted, it must be prevented from gaining dominance over Eurasia. Only Russia can do that. But Russia has no incentive to act because it feels threatened by the West. NATO has pushed eastward right up to its borders and threatened to incorporate regions that have been part of Russia's sphere of influence -- and its defense perimeter -- for centuries.

Given the trends that are plainly discernible in the Far East, the West must normalize relations with Russia. That means providing assurances that NATO expansion is over for good. It means the West recognizing that Georgia, Belarus, and, yes, Ukraine are within Russia's natural zone of influence. They will never be invited into NATO, and any solution to the Ukraine conundrum will have to accommodate Russian interests. Further, the West must get over Russia's annexation of the Crimean peninsula. It is a fait accompli -- and one that any other nation, including America, would have executed in similar circumstances.

Would Russian President Vladimir Putin spurn these overtures and maintain a posture of bellicosity toward the West? We can't be sure, but that certainly wouldn't be in his interest. And how will we ever know when it's never been tried? We now understand that allegations of Trump's campaign colluding with Russia were meritless, so it's time to determine the true nature and extent of Putin's strategic aims. That's impossible so long as America maintains its sanctions and general bellicosity.

NATO: Trump was right during the 2016 presidential campaign when he said that NATO was obsolete. He later dialed back on that, but any neutral observer can see that the circumstances that spawned NATO as an imperative of Western survival no longer exist. The Soviet Union is gone, and the 1.3 million Russian and client state troops it placed on Western Europe's doorstep are gone as well.

So what kind of threat could Russia pose to Europe and the West? The European Union's GDP is more than 12 times that of Russia's, while Russia's per capita GDP is only a fourth of Europe's. The Russian population is 144.5 million to Europe's 512 million. Does anyone seriously think that Russia poses a serious threat to Europe or that Europe needs the American big brother for survival, as in the immediate postwar years? Of course not. This is just a ruse for the maintenance of the status quo -- Europe as subservient to America, the Russian bear as menacing grizzly, America as protective slayer in the event of an attack.

This is all ridiculous. NATO shouldn't be abolished. It should be reconfigured for the realities of today. It should be European-led, not American-led. It should pay for its own defense entirely, whatever that might be (and Europe's calculation of that will inform us as to its true assessment of the Russian threat). America should be its primary ally, but not committed to intervene whenever a tiny European nation feels threatened. NATO's Article 5, committing all alliance nations to the defense of any other when attacked, should be scrapped in favor of language that calls for U.S. intervention only in the event of a true threat to Western Civilization itself.

And while a European-led NATO would find it difficult to pull back from its forward eastern positions after adding so many nations in the post-Cold War era, it should extend assurances to Russia that it has no intention of acting provocatively -- absent, of course, any Russian provocations.

... ... ...

Robert W. Merry, longtime Washington journalist and publishing executive, is the author most recently of President McKinley: Architect of the American Century .

likbez, May 22, 2019

Great article. Thank you very much!

Pragmatic isolationalism is a better deal then the current neocon foreign policy. Which Trump is pursuing with the zeal similar to Obama (who continued all Bush II wars and started two new in Libya and Syria.) Probably this partially can be explained by his dependence of Adelson and pro-Israeli lobby.

But the problem is deeper then Trump: it is the power of MIC and American exeptionalism ( which can be viewed as a form of far right nationalism ) about which Andrew Bacevich have written a lot:

From the mid-1940s onward, the primacy of the United States was assumed as a given. History had rendered a verdict: we -- not the Brits and certainly not the Germans, French, or Russians -- were number one, and, more importantly, were meant to be. That history's verdict might be subject to revision was literally unimaginable, especially to anyone making a living in or near Washington, D.C.

If doubts remained on that score, the end of the Cold War removed them. With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of communism, politicians, journalists, and policy intellectuals threw themselves headlong into a competition over who could explain best just how unprecedented, how complete, and how wondrous was the global preeminence of the United States.

Choose your own favorite post-Cold War paean to American power and privilege. Mine remains Madeleine Albright's justification for some now-forgotten episode of armed intervention, uttered 20 years ago when American wars were merely occasional (and therefore required some nominal justification) rather then perpetual (and therefore requiring no justification whatsoever).

"If we have to use force," Secretary of State Albright announced on morning television in February 1998, "it is because we are America. We are the indispensable nation. We stand tall. We see further into the future."

Back then, it was Albright's claim to American indispensability that stuck in my craw. Yet as a testimony to ruling class hubris, the assertion of indispensability pales in comparison to Albright's insistence that "we see further into the future."

In fact, from February 1998 down to the present, events have time and again caught Albright's "we" napping. The 9/11 terrorist attacks and the several unsuccessful wars of choice that followed offer prime examples. But so too did Washington's belated and inadequate recognition of the developments that actually endanger the wellbeing of 21st-century Americans, namely climate change, cyber threats, and the ongoing reallocation of global power prompted by the rise of China. Rather than seeing far into the future, American elites have struggled to discern what might happen next week. More often than not, they get even that wrong.

Like some idiot savant, Donald Trump understood this. He grasped that the establishment's formula for militarized global leadership applied to actually existing post-Cold War circumstances was spurring American decline. Certainly other observers, including contributors to this publication, had for years been making the same argument, but in the halls of power their dissent counted for nothing.

Yet in 2016, Trump's critique of U.S. policy resonated with many ordinary Americans and formed the basis of his successful run for the presidency. Unfortunately, once Trump assumed office, that critique did not translate into anything even remotely approximating a coherent strategy. President Trump's half-baked formula for Making America Great Again -- building "the wall," provoking trade wars, and elevating Iran to the status of existential threat -- is, to put it mildly, flawed, if not altogether irrelevant. His own manifest incompetence and limited attention span don't help.

There is no countervailing force within the USA that is able to tame MIC appetites, which are constantly growing. In a sense the nation is taken hostage with no root for escape via internal political mechanisms (for all practical purposes I would consider neocons that dominate the USA foreign policy to be highly paid lobbyists of MIC.)

In this sense the alliance of China, Iran, Russia and Turkey might serve as an external countervailing force which allows some level of return to sanity, like was the case when the USSR existed.

I agree with Bacevich that the dissolution of the USSR corrupted the US elite to the extent that it became reckless and somewhat suicidal in seeking "Full Spectrum Dominance" (which is an illusive goal in any case taking into account existing arsenals in China and Russia and the growing distance between EU and the USA)

[May 20, 2019] f you believe the US media if they just removed Putin, Russia would go back to being a good little puppet state just like under Yeltins.

May 20, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Kadath , May 19, 2019 4:21:27 PM | 0

That was an interesting article on psychological vs sociological storytelling and it makes a good companion piece when thinking about how the US media personalizes US geo-political conflicts with the heads of rival state (Putin, Xi, Castro, Kim Jong-un, Khomeini, Gaddafi). If you believe the US media if they just removed Putin, Russia would go back to being a good little puppet state just like under Yeltins.

Which is a shockingly naïve way to look at international relations. States have permanent interests and any competent head of State will always represent those interests to the best of their ability. True, you could overthrow the government and replace every senior government figure with a compliant puppet (which the US always tries to do), but the permanent interests that arise from the inhabitants of the State will always rise up and (re)assert themselves. When the State leadership is bribed or threatened into ignoring or acting against these needs it ultimately creates a failed State.

Even the US media seems to subconsciously understand this, when they talk of "overly ambitious US goals of remaking societies", however, they never make the logical next step of investigating why these States do not wish to be remade as per the US imagined ideal, what the interests of these actually are and how diplomacy can resolve conflicts. According to the US media everything boils down to the US = good, anyone who disagrees with our policies = bad and diplomacy is just a measure of how vulgar our threats are during talks. I'm specifically thinking of the US Ambassador to Russia, John Huntsman's boast of a US aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean as being 100,000 tons of diplomacy to Russia - of all the ridiculous and stupid things to says to Russia when supposedly trying to "ease" tensions (I still can't believe Huntsmen, former Ambassador to China under Obama, is regarded a "serious" professional ambassador within the State departments when compared to all the celebrity ambassadorships the US President for fundraiser).

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