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"All hat, no cattle" Cowboy Trump

No jobs, no wall, no good medical insurance, continuation of foreign wars, pandering to Israel, buffoonery, and  incompetence.  Trump did not capped the deficit, re-instated Glass-Steagall, controlled the cost of prescription drugs, nor pushed legislation for the modernization of the infrastructure of the country.

If the orangutan starts a war with Iran, he needs to be impeached. I say this as someone who held my nose and voted for the orangutan.

Janwaar Bibi,  Comment in the American Conservative, April 9, 2019

News US Presidential Elections of 2020 Recommended Links Trump as America’s First Zionist President Jared Kushner Israel lobby "Trump is insane" meme Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Trump foreign policy is the continuation of the neocon foreign policy
Trump version of gangster capitalism National neoliberalism Anti-globalization movement US-China trade war Attempt to suppress Huawei using security as the pretext Trump wall fiasco Final report of Special prosecutor Mueller Barr Senate testimony and the counter investigation of Spygate (aka Russiagate) Big Obstruction of Justice debate
Russiagate -- a color revolution against Trump by neocons and DemoRats as another Iraq WDM story Trump tax cut for the rich Trumpcare scam and staggering incompetence of Trump administration Trump as rabid militarist Syria civil war Iran saber-rattling Korea saber-rattling Venezuella: another "bombs for oil" scenario after Libya? Reversal of planned detente with Russia
Trump2016 foreign policy platform Trump2016 immigration platform Trump2016 economic platform Assange and Wikileaks Special Prosecutor Mueller and his fishing expedition MSM as an attack dogs of color revolution Steele dossier Strzokgate  
Hawks in Trump administration Mike "we killed 200 Russians" Pompeo John Bolton Elliott Abrams Nikki "Binomo" Haley -- yet another female neocon in best Madeleine Albright style Gina Haspel and dead ducks storyl Ivanka Trump -- Lady Macbeth of Trump administration Rosenstein key role in putsch against Trump: the appointment of the special prosecutor gambit Israeli support of headchoppers and air raids on Syria military infrastructure
Trump as a puppet of the Deep State War is Racket American Imperialism, Transnational Capitalist Class and Globalization of Capitalism Complete surrender to neocons Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ? Anti Trump Hysteria Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few NeoMcCartyism Anti-Russian hysteria
The Iron Law of Oligarchy Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite  Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Elite [Dominance] Theory And the Revolt of the Elite Corporatist Corruption Resurgence of neo-fascism as reaction on neoliberalism Nation under attack meme New American Militarism American Exceptionalism
Michael Wolff's "Fire and fury" revelations and slander of Trump administration Mistressgate: Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal affairs Civil war in Ukraine MSM as attack dogs of color revolution FBI Mayberry Machiavellians: CIA globalists dirty games against Sanders and Trump Politically Incorrect Humor Skeptic Quotations Humor

National neoliberalism

 
In 2016 Trump promised to drain the swamp. He drained a small patch of neocon swamp and put all those bottomfeeders from this patch in his cabinet.

It's increasingly hard to view Trump as an American president. I don't know exactly what the hell he is, but he obviously spends more time working for Israel and Saudi Arabia than he does doing what the American people hired him to do. Israel's Netanyahu and that Saudi Arabian prince who kills journalists seem to get everything they want from Trump, but America gets zilch.

No wall, no infrastructure, no America First foreign policy. The stuff he has delivered, we didn't want it: more immigrants, the biggest national debt in history, more Mideast wars.

Voted Trump in 2016. Never again. And not just "never again". I hope Mueller or some other competent law enforcement type gets him dead to rights and puts him and his corrupt associates in prison. A shame they can't put him in the same cell as Hillary Clinton.

Practical Matters, March 21, 2019 at 1:35 pm

...my thesis is not that the current American political system is an inspired replica of Nazi Germany’s or George W. Bush of Hitler. References to Hitler’s Germany are introduced to remind the reader of the benchmarks in a system of power that was invasive abroad, justified preemptive war as a matter of official doctrine, and repressed all opposition at home — a system that was cruel and racist in principle and practice, deeply ideological, and openly bent on world domination. Those benchmarks are introduced to illuminate tendencies in our own system of power that are opposed to the fundamental principles of constitutional democracy. Those tendencies are, I believe, “totalizing” in the sense that they are obsessed with control, expansion, superiority, and supremacy.

Sheldon Wolin

 “Everything we Never Trump folks warned you of, including massive, decades-long downstream election losses is coming. Alienating African Americans and Hispanics beyond redemption? Check. Raising a generation of young voters who are fleeing the GOP in droves? Check. Age-old beefs, juvenile complaints, and ego bruises taking center stage while the world burns? Check. Playing public footsie with white supremacists and neo-Nazis? Check. Blistering pig-ignorance about the economy and the world? Check. Pushing a tax bill that jacks economic inequality into the stratosphere? Check. Shredding the last iota of the GOP’s credibility as a party that cares about debt, deficits, and fiscal probity? Check.”

Rick Wilson, a republican strategist


Abstract

Trump voters hoped that Trump will be like FDR "betrayer of his class". But he proved to be like Obama -- the "betrayer-in-chief" of his voters. A person with methods of operations of a typical member of the New York mob (with which all NYC real estate developers need to interact) , who excels only in bulling and extortion.  Trump’s geopolitical ignorance, overuse of bulling as the foreign policy tool, his MAGA (in reality MIGA) bravado, along with relying on advice from neocons surrounding him, created additional enemies and alienated allies. Bullying China and Russia simultaneously is a dangerous strategy, creating alliance of two powerful countries (With possible addition of Turkey, Iran and Pakistan), risking troubles for the US global neoliberal empire. As many multinationals depends on China for manufacturing they have an incentive to prevent Trump from being elected for a second term.

At the same time Obama won in 2012 against Mitt Romney despite his complete betrayal of his election promises. Probably most understand that elections does not change much (and  they definitely change nothing in foreign policy which no longer is controlled by the Persident of the USA) and  are reluctant to rock the boat, even if they still go and cast the vote. So theoretically Trump has a good chances for re-election. It will be a very interesting 2020 campaign if the Democratic candidate has to run with the ripe stinking dead albatross of Russiagate around her neck

We will see if the same trick as Obama did is possible for Trump -- Romney was clearly the most hated opponent Obama could wish for. The Trump administration seems to have the illusion that if you raise the stakes high enough, other countries will cave to US demands. There might also be an element of "creating foreign adversary in order to unite the domestic front and patch cracks in the the USA neoliberal facade". 

Betrayal of his voters means that Trump now looks like Republican Obama, like another master of "bait and switch" maneuver. With his wet kiss with Netanyahu and allowing Adelson's protégé Bolton and Pompeo to define foreign policy, Trump instantly switched from MAGA to MIGA ("Make Israel Great Again")  after the elections: Trump is turning all of Israel’s “asks” into American foreign policy moves, doing things that previous presidents of both parties rejected or refused to do, in some cases because they put the security of the United States at risk.  Voters might not like that. Putting gambling mogul Sheldon Adelson in charge of US foreign and trade policy is not such a good idea.

The key question here if the timing was right and the next recession will come after the elections, not before. Whether Trump administration underestimated Chinese ability to resist sanction remains to be seen. If Chinese hold their position in trade war for a year and half despite the pain, Trump might  lose the election in 2020 as he will be unable to protect the economy from the slide for more then a year and the first signs of recession diminish his chances, which already were undermined by his betrayal of his election promises. 

In 2020 he also will not face universally hated private equity shark like Romney vs Obama, or another establishment neoliberal warmonger like his opponent Hillary like in 2016. He might face Warren or Sanders and against  it is not Trump turn  to look like Hillary -- yet another neocon warmonger who brought (or forced to bring) Boltion and Pompeo into key positions of his administration. The puppet of Israel and MIC formerly known as Trump.  If he faces Elisabeth  Warren, he will crushed in the debates and pained a financial shyster he is. Also like "anybody but Hillary" in 2016 election, in 2020 elections we will have the broad category of "anybody but Trump" voters.  Which includes swats of former Trump voters in  2016. For example, anti-war right, who were blatantly betrayed will no longer vote to Trump.  A good way at least partially compensate for this growing mess which might derail Trump is to fire warmonger and Israel marionette John Bolton, send Mike Pompeo back to the bible school, where he belongs, and tell Iran and Saudi Arabia to bury the hatchet.

While most US Presidents since Nixon (with the exception  of Carter and Bush Sr) were reelected those who were defeated often were defeated in recession. Often presidents were reelected despite complete betrayal of voters (Clinton, Obama, Bush II).  Looks like US voters firmly prefer "devil that we know". So the decisive factor in 2020 election is whether the USA slips into recession or not.  In this sense having China as the opponent in 2019 instead of waiting for 2020 was a very ricky move.

Again, Trump got to the WH not on his own merits but as the result of blue collar voters showing a middle finger to the neoliberal establishment. Neoliberal Dems betrayed the working class as well as lower middle class in favor of Wall Street hoping that it will vote for them forever (they have nowhere to go'" was Bill Clinton strategy. It worked for almost ten years but in 2016 it stopped working (see Demexit). Declining standard of living (for 30 years !)  finally provide the level of resentment and hate that doomed Democratic  in 2016 decided to speak out (Clinton correctly calculated that "they have nowhere to go" and it works after he sold Dems to Wall Street for more then twenty years). So Trump was in essence a protest candidate and his strong/weak points did not matter much ("anybody but Hillary mentality"). Now the situation changed, and Trump will be  viewed as a Republican establishment stooge he is.   Tax cuts for rich was a king of betrayal that might negatively affect Trump electability.

Trump dependence on Adelson's money for his re-election campaign and avid Zionist (and a member of shady orthodox Jewish sect, rumored to be connected with Mossad) Jared Kushner presence in WH (as well as two Aldelson's protégé: Bolton and Pompeo) adds insult to injury. Some voters might understand that Trump actually converted MAGA to MIGA at their expense. Making Israel great again instead of the USA.   His rhetoric will no longer deceive anybody as he now has a track record of governance and foreign policy actions and blunders.

Introduction

First of all, it is obvious that Donald Trump will fully fulfill his current presidential term in the White House.  The color revolution against him launched by rogue elements within the US intelligence agencies and Democratic Party brass (dominant Clinton wing) failed. Most probably Trump will be the Presidential Candidate from the Republican Party in 2020 elections. Accordingly, the "tradition" of re-election of the current US presidents, which has been consistently maintained since Bill Clinton works in his favor.  With Mueller final report he got considerable boost.  Some observers think that Mueller decided election for Trump essentially painting Democratic leadership as traitors of the country, which are are ready to perform to any dirty trick to get back to power: (MoA, May 28, 2019):

Even with impeachment and a nomination challenger Trump would likely still win the election.

There is no charismatic Democratic challenger in sight. Currently leading in the primary polls are Biden, Sanders and Warren. Neither of them can compete with the Trump's popularity. Despite Russigate he still has a 41% approval rating which is quite high for a midterm presidency.

Trump is also a master at playing the media. He would surely find ways to turn an impeachment circus to his advantage.

Now it is clear that people who voted for Trump in a hope of positive changes declared him during his  election campaign are brutally deceived. Same faction fo former Trump voters will not vote again. They probably will not vote again:  neither for Trump or for anybody else as sequence of Obama betrayal of blue collar voters following by Trump betrayal delegitimized the idea of election in the USA.

The rise of the "alt-right" in the US and Europe is a response to neoliberal globalization's and its social consequences for workers. In the US, the working class was so desperate for someone to speak to their economic anxieties, that a large portion of them placed their hopes  on Trump

Making the elections a formal procedure similar to one which were held in the USSR. You just vote, but you decide absolutely nothing. You only legitimize the rule the oligarchy ( Party Nomenklatura in case of the USSR, financial oligarchy in case of the USA) 

Moreover if Trump sails into recession he is finished. Meanwhile many economists predict the next the USA recession can be in the cards in late 2020 anyway. And with his trade war with China Trump definitely can speed up onset of this next recession. While it is difficult to predict the start of recession, 2019 feels a little bit like 2017 using, for example, in such  metric as overinflated housing prices. As well of the level of  complacency in the stock market.

When DemoRats (Clinton wing of Democratic Party) dusted off and added Joe Biden to the already overclouded roster of candidates  (and falsified polls to show that he is a leader and thus artificially created a strong following for his candidacy), that was clearly a move favorable to the reelection of Trump. A very favorable for Trump event.  Biden has  zero chances against Trump, because like Hillary he  represents  "kick the neoliberal can down the road" policies, which electorate already rejected in 2016.

And it is true that DemoRats in DNC are afraid of Bernie Sanders more then of Trump, so DNC will try to derail his candidacy again by what ever means possible including fraud (in this  case it can take selection of candidate by  the party brass in the second vote, when Superdelegates will become the  decisive voting  block; that's probably why Biden was dusted off -- to get to the second round of voting where Superdelegates decide the Party candidacy)

In case DNC manipulates the result in favor of Creepy Joe Biden, Trump probably will crush him. Biden is just a pale shadow of Bill Clinton -- corrupt to the core neoliberal with a lot of skeletons in the closet.  Among the major for Creepy Uncle Joe (as WaPo nicknamed him) are

  1. His role in adoption of the draconian law that put a lot of black people under the bars during Bill Clinton presidency.
  2. His narcoaddict son magically escaped justice when a crack pipe was found in his rental car.
  3. Biden role in Ukrainian events is also pretty disgusting and in a way he is responsible for the Ukraine losing Crimea along with Obama and Kerry  (and Biden played similar role in the events which led to Georgian war) . Paradoxically he was kind of official  "mentor" of corrupt Yanukovich. Then he backstabbed him.
  4. Later after the EuroMaydan events he instrumental if firing Ukrainian Chief Persecutor to squash investigating of gas company Burisma (where his some do some reason got a position in the board of the company) which paid around $50K a month to his son) and his son financial dealings with China.  So his son fleeced impoverished Ukraine where standard living dropped 2-3 times after Euromaydan, which was converted into the debt slave of the  West and where most population live of $2 a day or less. 

So there are many "known unknowns" in the current race. But as for the results of Trump two years in power most key facts are know. We can speak about the main five:

  1. Complete and blatant betrayal of voters on economic issues.  No new jobs, especially in highly affected by outsourcing and offshoring Rust Belt, just artificial support of stock market. Job creation that occurred are mostly "perma-temp" and contractors jobs, which does not provide benefits reserved for full time jobs. A huge and unnecessary tax cut for the rich and  corporation in the vain attempt to stop use of tax shelters by transnationals and the neoliberal elite ( Delavarization of America ). Bloated military  budget.   Pandering to worst and the most wasteful project in Pentagon in a wait attempt to maintain absolute military superiority over the rest of the world.  At the expense of well being of ordinary Americans (guns instead of butter)
  2. Foreign policy issues does not matter much in t he US elections but here Trump proved to "Hillary II" in foreign policy, continuing most of Obama policies, and adding some neocon moves of its own. Save sex changing operation Bolton and Pompeo would fit Hillary cabinet perfectly well (Pandering to Zionist lobby, arming far right in Ukraine, unlimited sale of weapons for Saudi gambit and pressure to them to keep oil price low,  complete deterioration  of relations with Russia including additional sanctions,  attempt to stage Venezuela color revolution). In this sense Trump honchos Bolton and Pompeo are not alone. We see the gallery of Congress and the  State Department rogues constantly threatening Russia.  Putin has  steel nerves and that what probably saves the world from possible annihilation caused by Washington rogues.
  3. Unleashing dangerous trade wars (especially with China and EU). This  was done on the base of key and only Trump foreign policy principle "Might makes right" with complete disregard of International treaties (WTO is one) and no attempt to understand long term consequences.
  4. Significant, simultaneous and dangerous deterioration of relations with  Russia, China, inciting  war with Iran,  regime change  in Venezuela  as well as cooling relations with EU (Trump's foreign policy gangrene) . Fight on several fronts were never a viable military strategy. Nor it is a viable economic and diplomatic strategy. Trump is too much of an uncontrolled bully to have a reasonable foreign policy (although he completely lost the control of  foreign policy to Bolton and Pompeo he  often aggravate already tense situation with his ridiculous statements and  twits) 
  5. Pandering to Likud Party in Israel to the extent that Trump can be viewed (and is really viewed now by many) as Netanyahu marionette (MIGA instead  of MAGA bait and switch).

Some  of this items in Trump score card are covered below, but here is a pretty biting satire  that summarizes Trump 'achievements" much better that I ever could (from a comment at zerohedge.com, Apr 15, 2019)

Dear President Trump:

Tears came to my eyes - happy tears - when you were elected! A seemingly impossible feat was accomplished that day in November.

I understood when you faced tremendous resistance in your first 200 days from Demorats. It seemed you were unphased and determined - all was good.

Good night, and good luck.

Trump betrayal

Trump surprise victory in 2016 has shown that back in November of 2016, the American people were so fed up with the neoliberal oligarchy  that they actually elected Donald Trump president, despite his obvious flaws, just to show middle finger to the neoliberal establishment. 

But the part of Trump voters that sincerely believed in his election rhetoric and assumed that  Trump like FDR before him is the traitor of his class and will institute the necessary reforms to help blue-collar workers and lower middle class is up to a rude awakening. 

The part of Trump voters that sincerely believed in his election rhetoric and  assumed that  Trump like FDR before him is the traitor of his class and will institute the necessary reforms to help blue-collar workers and lower middle class is up to a rude awakening

He betrayed them both in domestic and foreign policy.  He did very little useful for the majority of his voters (blue color voters) -- outscoring of US jobs continued unabated. Trying to hide his fiasco, Trump tries to prop up the stock market and brags about low unemployment (U3 measure) but U3 measure is fake and U6 measure which is more realistic stands currently  at around 8% (Current U-6 Unemployment Rate ).  Gallup U6 unemployment  rate estimate is no longer available, but it used to be 1%-1.4%  higher then official figure, so it is reasonable to assume that in reality it is still hovering around 9-10%. Ten percent is a very scary figure which means "one out of ten."   Only during  Great Depression the US unemployment was over ten percent for several years (at this time they measured only U6, U3 was invented later to hide the real unemployment statistics):

 Unemployment Statistics during the Great Depression

Depression Era Unemployment Statistics
Year
Population
Labor
Force
Unemployed
Percentage of
Labor Force
1929
88,010,000
49,440,000
1,550,000
3.14
1930
89,550,000
50,080,000
4,340,000
8.67
1931
90,710,000
50,680,000
8,020,000
15.82
1932
91,810,000
51,250,000
12,060,000
23.53
1933
92,950,000
51,840,000
12,830,000
24.75
1934
94,190,000
52,490,000
11,340,000
21.60
1935
95,460,000
53,140,000
10,610,000
19.97
1936
96,700,000
53,740,000
9,030,000
16.80
1937
97,870,000
54,320,000
7,700,000
14.18
1938
99,120,000
54,950,000
10,390,000
18.91
1939
100,360,000
55,600,000
9,480,000
17.05
1940
101,560,000
56,180,000
8,120,000
14.45
1941
102,700,000
57,530,000
5,560,000
9.66

Official U-6 Unemployment was 10.1% in January 2017 when Trump term started, with a long term peak at 17.9% in February 2010. The standard of living of lower 90% of the US population continued to drop (with large swats of US population living essentially in the third world conditions), good, well paying job are even more scarce, outsourcing and offshoring continues, and medical costs and the cost of education are higher then they were before.  So two years of Trump was a kind of "Trump university" training for Trump electorate.  In case of Trump university he took the money and run, in this  case he took votes and run ;-).

So far, Donald Trump has passed only one significant piece of legislation: the 2017 tax cut. Corporations and  rich were  principal beneficiaries. They already saved more than $150 billion, and over the course of a decade the Trump tax cut will probably increase the budget deficit by around $2 trillion.  It did little to nothing for key Trump voters. The tax cut was supposed to do more than just give stockholders more money. It was supposed increase economic growth, 3 percent or more at an annual rate. In reality, the expectation that the tax cut would work miracles were based on a specific story about what is holding the US economy back. And that story was all wrong. So it was a brief sugar high after which GDP growth started to decelerate.

Economics probably will work against the Trump re-election:  it is slowing  and in late 2019 or early 2020 might start slipping  into recession. While GDP is a questionable metric of economic  performance (especially in in economics with the large financial sector like the USA), the trend shown on the picture below is not favorable for Trump.

Some early sign of mental degradation

During Russiagate neoliberal MSM tried to present Trump as crazy. Throughout the campaign and Trump's first year in office, news articles, op-eds, and tweets critical of him have routinely used words such as "crazy," "insane," and "unstable" as epithets. But this is a typical war propagandaa tactics that implied demonization of the enemy, just extended to using mental health language in political battles?

Paradoxically like in case with Hillary we now are more concerted about Trump mental health because of his  narcissistic overt behaviour and the fact that he is over 70 and at this age many people already display early signs of mental degradation. Donald Trump at the time of his inauguration was older than half of the US deceased former presidents at the age when they died.

And persons over 70 usually have some mertal deseases at least at very eary stages Not necessary dementia or Alseyment (Trump father dies of Alseimer), but often mild signs of  Aphasia.  Aphasia is best thought of as a collection of different disorders, rather than a single problem. Each individual with aphasia will present with their own particular combination of language strengths and weaknesses. In a common form of Aphasia called Progressive Jargon Aphasia  speech is fluent and effortless with intact syntax and grammar, but the person has problems with the selection of some nouns. They just can't be retrieved from the memory. For example, they know that Forrester is produced by the Japanese company but can't name the company (Subaru) despite knowing it in the past, unless reminded. After that they use if effortlessly. They just can't retrieve the word from the memory.  People with jargon aphasia often invent substitutes for nouns that went "into the black hole"

Also at age over 70 the real physical and mental load of running the President Office might be neurologically destructive. At this age this level of stress and mental load greatly speed up development of any pre-existing mental conditions.  Most observer  note Trump's “psychological instability” and “unpredictable behavior.”  You can see on YouTube video how strangely he handle Melania Trump presence (he usually does pay any attention to her presence at all):

It is rumored that Trump in the past took stimulants (Adderall, a combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine  which are used to treat ADHD) 

Adderall is a stimulant related to amphetamines. It’s commonly used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy, according to medical references. It is also used to enhance athletic performance and as a cognitive enhancer, aphrodisiac and euphoriant.

Stimulants have caused stroke, heart attack, and sudden death in people with heart conditions and/or high blood pressure. Of cause NYT alarmist article with the claim that high cholesterol necessarily entails additional risk should be discarded (it matter mostly for people with pre-existing heart conditions and/or procedures like cardiac stents or cardiac bypass), but for a man over 70 with not very healthy diet (Trump rumored to have unbalanced diet with way too much meat) and hectic lifestyle inherent for the President everything might matter.

While sign of mental degradation of Trump are less evident then in case of Hillary some on them are objectively present.

  1. On one documented occasion the President was unable to find his  way into the car which was standing exactly opposite the plane on  which he arrived. That happens for patients with Sundowning syndrome, a multitude of behavioral problems begin to occur in the evening or while the sun is setting.  One of observable symptoms is disorientation as natural light begins to fade and increased shadows appears. But it also happens with people who are tired, after sleepless night, or distracted by their own thoughts. Still look at the following video:

    Trump displays Sundowning - Dementia , tell tale signs #whitehouse #omg #sundowning - YouTube

  2. Trump appears to be experiencing  some signs of Aphasia (which is typical for people over 70) including declining ability to construct structured sentences and express his thoughts coherently. That does not mean that he did not think sharp. Other cognitive functions are mostly preserved, such as memory and personality This disorder effects only expressive part of the process. Aphasia is best thought of as a collection of different disorders, rather than a single problem. Each individual with aphasia will present with their own particular combination of language strengths and weaknesses. In case of Trump we can observe:

    Experts observed that Trump’s disrupted speech pattern, riddled with syntax anomalies, persistent repetitions, and constant shifts in train of thought, appears to be recent. According to the experts who have reviewed recordings of Trump’s speech in interviews from the 1980s and 1990s, he has not always suffered an apparent linguistic disability.

Here the goal is not to define the problem, but just to warn that he probably is not the person to vote for.

Trump 2016 platform

As comment in Economist's View stated  during election cycle of 2015-2016 "Trump has a four point platform that was anti-neoliberal in its essence":

  1. Non-interventionism. End the wars for the expansion of American neoliberal empire. Détente was Russia. Abolishing NATO and saving money on this. Let European defend themselves. 
  2. No to "neoliberal globalization." Abolishing of transnational treaties that favor large multinationals such as TPP, NAFTA, etc. Tariffs and other means of punishing corporations who move production overseas. Repatriation of foreign profits to the USA and closing of tax holes which allow to keep profits in tax heavens without paying a dime to the US government.  Sanctions of China for abusing  WTO.  Switch to bilateral treaties with countries instead, the move which allow more fully exploit the US dominant position in world economy (American imperialism reborn)
  3. No to neoliberal "transnational job market" -- free movement of labor including immigration (especially illegal immigration, rampant in the USA). Criminal prosecution and deportation of illegal immigrants. Cutting intake of refugees. Curtailing legal immigration, especially fake and abused programs like H1B. Making it more difficult for people from countries with substantial terrorist risk to enter the USA including temporary prohibition of issuing visas from certain (pretty populous) Muslim countries.  Building the "Trump Wall" against illegal immigration across Southern border with Mexico.
  4. No to the multiculturalism. Stress on "Christian past" and "white heritage" of American society and the role of whites in building the country. Rejection of advertising "special rights" of minorities such as black population, LGBT, woman, etc. Promotion them as "identity wedges" in elections was the trick so dear to DemoRats and, especially Hillary (gender) and Obama (race card)

Lost categories of voters

As he almost completely betrayed his 2016 election platform by his actual policies and he probably will lose certain  categories of voters. So we can expect lesser voters enthusiasm and lower percentage of Republican voters participating in the 2020 elections.  As Trumps was hypocritical on the illegal immigration issue  because he has an opportunity to do something his first year in office when Republican has the majority in the Congress but did absolutely nothing, mainly continuing his propaganda  campaign and implementing some superficial measure like  directed against arrival in the USA Muslim extremists (with the exception of Saudis of cause). Even more grave was his open and blatant betrayal of blue collar voters and lower middle class voters which can result in the defection of significant chunk of his dormer voters.  To add insult to injury he proved to be argent militarist and militarism is the most sure way to further impoverishment of the middle class.  Among them:

  1. Most of Alt-right. They are clearly betrayed. "Dump Trump" is the meme among this group. They probably go with Andrew Yang. 7 Reasons Why #YangGang Is More Than Just A Meme, by Anatoly Karlin - The Unz Review
  2. All anti-war independents. This is undeniable because of duplicity and militarism of his administration, which is dominated by Bush II style rabid neocons. Pompeo and Bolton would be perfect for Clinton administration after routine sex change operation.  Anti war voters if they have a chance, will vote for Tulsi Gabbard. Trump behaved like a mixture of a classic  neocon chickenhawk, and a school yard bully in the best style of Madeleine Albright. He almost completely betrayed this section of his former electorate and his election-time promises (withdrawal from Syria was too little too late, is incomplete and due to Trump tendency to reverse his decisions under pressure from neocons can easily be rolled back after yet another false flag)
  3. A large part of  blue collar votes.  Trump tax cut was a fake as most of what Trump did in domestic policy. It benefited manly rich and super rich such as Trump himself and his family. His revision of Obamacare essentially broke it (although he promised to improve it)  and hurts many and benefited only very few. It proved to be  enother travesty and affected voters will not forgive that Trump. There is not improvement in the standard of living of blue collar workers and lower middle class under Trump administration. Outsourcing and offshoring are continued (albeit at slower pace).  His  tax cut was joke for blue collar workers. It positively affects mostly the rich. But what is most important that he promises to bring back jobs proved to yet another Obama-style fake simply because he is completely incompetent and does not understand that this involves drastic measured,  which he will never  take.  Now I think a large part of former pro-Trump blue collar voters will support Andrew Yang:

    Many of those who energetically created pro-Trump memes in 2016 have since turned on their man. He has not built the wall, he is too attached to Israel, and it was more fun to support a rebel candidate than it has been to defend a sitting president. Depressed by the thought that even their supposedly radical outsider has become, in most substantive terms, a generic Republican, they have become more explicitly anti-political.

    Yang’s campaign was built on his concern that increasing automation will eliminate jobs and drive Americans out of their economic and social spheres of life. He fears that if unemployment and underemployment spread, people will degenerate into self-destructive and antisocial behaviors. You can see that in the surge of suicides among middle-aged Americans around the country that have brought down our country’s life expectancy over the last two years—and the fact that eight Americans are dying of opiates every hour.

    The Biggest Losers of Trump's Presidency: His Voters

    One of Yang’s proposals to avert these trends is a “Freedom Dividend”—or what is more commonly referred to as Universal Basic Income—of a guaranteed $1,000 a month to every American. This policy proposal is what has truly excited the phenomenon known as the “Yang Gang.” If America is destined to decline, they’ve concluded in a fit of cynical exuberance, they might as well at least get some money out of it. Some of them are a little more calculated, seeing the potential to take their thousand a month and spend more time on creative and social endeavors with less of a need to work. But most enjoy it as a funny, irreverent meme, raising a middle finger to the political establishment.

    Yang’s face soon began to blossom across Twitter: new, warm, innocent, and, yes, generous. In my first article on Yang, I wrote that his campaign would suffer because he is uncharismatic. It is this lack of charisma that has made #yanggang memes so entertaining. The idea of this mild-mannered software nerd dancing with stacks of hundred dollar bills on the “Yang Yacht” is so absurd that it is genuinely funny. As other Democratic hopefuls play up their love of rap or youthful fondness for marijuana in a desperate attempt to get some cool kid credibility, casting Yang as some sort of playboy works, consciously or otherwise, as a satire on modern electoral campaigning.

  4. A large part of white nationalist votes. They understand that  MAGA is not MIGA and so far Trump (and, especially his  family, especially Kushner) is more in MIGA camp than in MAGA camp.  And while they are ambivalent toward Zionism as an ideology none of them have warm feeling about Israel because of clear Israeli interference in the US politics via super-powerful and very rich Israeli lobby.  The theme of Israeli lobby undue influence  on Trump family (and especially personality of Jared Kushner) became promising  on such cite frequently visited by this category of voters as unz.com where Phillip Giraldi published several scalding article about Israeli lobby political influence. Such books as Kushner, Inc. Greed. Ambition. Corruption. The Extraordinary Story of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump does not help Trump, iether. Here are telling quotes from Amazon reviews:

    gregory p blass

    graduate of Trumps School of ethics

    Kushner has absolutely no right to step foot into the White House, or Air Force one. He has no credentials other than a expert scammer......why the hell would he need security clearances. His background in NY real estate is suspect. He is in no way following Stephen Ross footprints. He is abusing his connections to the Oval Office which. hopefully, will surface in Mueller’s Report...

    Chef Jo March 19, 2019
    Perfect Timing. Can We Survive This?

    ...As Ivanka's father does things more out in the open, the Javanka duo flies under the radar wreaking havoc with our systems of checks and balances that have been in place for more than two centuries. The damages, the secret dealings, etc...

    Javanka may have been able to unsettle the "norms" that we have built with blood sweat and tears all in the name of the selfish almighty dollar.

    If you thought Kushner Inc.'s 666 Park Avenue was a boondoggle, we may all hopefully (thank you Robert Mueller et alia.) find out that we have all just been flimflammed like nothing before.

  5. Some ethnic voters.  That include all Arab voters (Tramp Pro-Israel stance)  and a large section of Muslim voters, a part of Asian  voters (Trump China policy). What is interesting is that  Trump was never attractive to Jewish voters as well, who tend to lean to Democratic Candidates (although Hillary was an abomination and as such an exception) 
  6. A part of Latin American voters who resent his attempt to stage a Venezuela color revolution and grab oil resources of the country.  
  7. A part of military voters as his promise to end foreign wars proved to be a fake and while Trump proved to be a dream candidate for military brass and Pentagon contractors, rank-and-file military disapprove Trump foreign policy (especially if Tulsi can be his opponent, or VP of Sanders).
  8. Some highly educated professionals votes who previously voted for him as "Not-Hillary" often crossing party lines (the author of this page belongs  to this category)
  9. Some parts of senior citizens voters as Trump policies bad effected seniors.

He probably gained in two categories of voters

He  can no  longer present himself as kind of political  "Tabula rasa" in newcomer, pristine candidate against corrupt Washington oligarchy into which one can project his/her own desires. Now he has political baggage and it is not pretty.  Looks like he is completely in pocket of neocons  and Israel lobby.  In this sense appearance of the books like Kushner Inc will do some damage among highly educated independents, who previously voted for Trump (not a major group, but still...) 

You might be surprised, but this page is the page written by former Trump supporter as is evident from the coverage of 2016 election campaign on this site.  

In one short sentence the net result of "two years of Trump" is "buffoonery."  Often very dangerous buffoonery which in foreign policy was intermixed with bulling and bizarre moves done without any consultation with key administration members, only of request of Kushner Inc.  I like how discredited by Iraq war fiasco neocons  like Max Boot or Robert Kagan derisively talk about authoritarians in foreign countries they do not like ;-)  Now we have the same problem at home, but those despicable MIC stooges will never  admit that.

In any case, this "very stable genius" proved to be impulsive and utterly incompetent, especially in foreign policy area. But usually the foreign policy of American presidents (and Trump in this case is no exception) does not have much influence on domestic political life.  An old joke about the average American voters is that "half of his brain is occupied by a hamburger, and the other half by American football" still applies. If this is true then for foreign policy there is simply no place. And for the majority of American voters, therefore, it does not matter much what the us President does outside the country and what foreign policy course he follows as long as it does not directly affect his well-being   or standard of living.

 In domestic policy Trump became a marionette of Goldman and Sachs propagating "National neoliberalism" (which includes Neoliberal Deregulation and continuation of outsourcing and offshoring with decimation of well-paying  US jobs and replacement them with McJobs and perma-temps).  His tax cut was a travesty and did not affect positively his votes, outsourcing continues, financial firms continue to loot the country, banks, monopolies like Amazon and Google and transnational companies have outsize political influence in Washington. In other words swap consumed Trump and his claim that he will drain the swamp is not a bad joke. He became a part of the swaps.

In foreign policy he became a marionette of neocons and Israel lobby and despite lesser weight of foreign policy in the US elections it definitely became Trump liability.  As Mueller investigation raised the question about foreign influence on the US elections and many understand that Russian influence is just a smoke screen hiding real Great Britain, Israeli and Saudi influence ( a well informed part of US voters think about Russiagate as  another instance of Iraq WDMs scare which brought the country into Iraq war ).

Israel lobby might  become a wedge issue in the incoming elections, and here Trump connection to Zionist donors and shady figures like Kushners might be liability. His appointment of Jared Kushner as Mid-East envoy is a classic example of both nepotism and incompetence. his cozy relations with Israel right wing Prime Minister Netanyahu also might slightly backfire depriving Trump of anti-war votes. Here is how Daniel Larison  the leading political analyst in highly respected The American Conservative magazine recently ( March 21, 2019 ) characterized Trump  attempt to ensure Benjamin Netanyahu victory in oncoming Israel elections by violating all existing international law norms and US resolutions and using the old principle "the might makes right"  (Trump Puts America Last  )

As usual, Trump made the announcement of recognizing Israel’s claim to the Golan Heights without any consultation with any of the relevant administration officials:

President Donald Trump’s tweet on Thursday recognizing the Golan Heights as Israeli territory surprised members of his own Middle East peace team, the State Department, and Israeli officials.

U.S. diplomats and White House aides had believed the Golan Heights issue would be front and center at next week’s meetings between Trump and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House. But they were unprepared for any presidential announcement this week.

No formal U.S. process or executive committees were initiated to review the policy before Trump’s decision, and the diplomats responsible for implementing the policy were left in the dark.

Even the Israelis, who have advocated for this move for years, were stunned at the timing of Trump’s message.

After more than two years of watching Trump’s impulsive and reckless “governing” style, it doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone that he makes these decisions without advance warning.

There is no evidence that Trump ever thinks anything through, and so he probably sees no reason to tell anyone in advance what he is going to do. Trump almost never bothers consulting with the people who will be responsible for carrying out his policies and dealing with the international fallout, and that is probably why so many of his policy decisions end up being exceptionally poor ones. The substance of most of Trump’s foreign policy decisions was never likely to be good, but the lack of an organized policy process on major decisions makes those decisions even more haphazard and chaotic than they would otherwise be.

On domestic front Trump also failed measurably to fulfill his election promises. he did not built the wall. He did not stem the flow of illegal immigrants (and  how can he is he is a "national neoliberalism" adherent; national neoliberalism approves slave labor). Moreover, Trump's key promise to voters was to raise the standard of living of the middle class and create meaningful jobs. That was a blatant deception on his part, as he did nothing to alleviate the plight of common Americans who suffer under neoliberalism "without jobs, without perspectives, being  treated as disposable napkins"

Trump's key promise to voters was to raise the standard of living of the middle class and create meaningful jobs. That was a blatant deception on his part, as he did nothing to alleviate the plight of common Americans who suffer under neoliberalism "without jobs, without perspectives, being  treated as disposable napkins."

Trump did introduced changes in the US neoliberal system, converting it into a new flavor of neoliberalism which can be called National neoliberalism.  As Sheldon Wolin observed about previous administration (and this process of conversion started under Bush II, not under Trump, this is slide toward "inverted totalitarism" form of governance, where population has no voice in determining either domestic or foreign policy:

..my thesis is not that the current American political system is an inspired replica of Nazi Germany’s or George W. Bush of Hitler. References to Hitler’s Germany are introduced to remind the reader of the benchmarks in a system of power that was invasive abroad, justified preemptive war as a matter of official doctrine, and repressed all opposition at home — a system that was cruel and racist in principle and practice, deeply ideological, and openly bent on world domination. Those benchmarks are introduced to illuminate tendencies in our own system of power that are opposed to the fundamental principles of constitutional democracy. Those tendencies are, I believe, “totalizing” in the sense that they are obsessed with control, expansion, superiority, and supremacy.

In this sense Trump is a very dangerous development, despite his buffoonery.  Like in Germany in  1920-1930th  immiseration of blue collar and lower middle class create a favorable conditions  for rise of ultra right supported by military brass and financial oligarchy, who are afraid of political measures eroding their political power and wealth. and instead of the USA oligarchy (Bush family in particular) support of nazy party we have Great Britain support of intelligence agencies coup against Trump.  And the remaining most staunch supporters of Trump are from the ultra-right segment of population.

The damage that the re-imposition of US sanctions is doing a great damage to Iran’s economy, but inflicting pain for its own sake is pointless cruelty. The US gains nothing from this, and it imposes high costs on the Iranian people who bear most of the burden. Actually higher oil price damages the US economy too.  This is a typical MIGA policy and Trump pandering to Zionist lobby is one of the factor that will prevent many people voting for him in 2020.  The last thing the people od the USA need is a foreign lobby stooge in the White House.  Actually Russiagate should properly be  investigation about Israel and Great Britain interference in the the US election. Russian interference is just a smoke screen designed to hide those obvious two as well as Hillary political fiasco. 

National neoliberalism is neoliberalism without neoliberal globalization, or, more correctly, where globalization was replaced by colonization (if necessary by military means) and the direct dictate and bullying. Which makes is similar to national socialism, but without national socialist domestic social policy elements. If one looks at NSDAP program of 1920 paradoxically those social demands position national socialist of 1920th to the left of the Clinton wing of the Democratic Party, which is in the pocket of financial oligarchy and is ready to privatize Social Security and Medicare to please its Wall Street sponsors. To say nothing about Republican Party and Trump: 

The 25-point Program of the NSDAP
… … …
7. We demand that the state be charged first with providing the opportunity for a livelihood and way of life for the citizens. If it is impossible to sustain the total population of the State, then the members of foreign nations (non-citizens) are to be expelled from the Reich.
8. Any further immigration of non-citizens is to be prevented. We demand that all non-Germans, who have immigrated to Germany since 2 August 1914, be forced immediately to leave the Reich.
9.All citizens must have equal rights and obligations.
10.The first obligation of every citizen must be to work both spiritually and physically. The activity of individuals is not to counteract the interests of the universality, but must have its result within the framework of the whole for the benefit of all. Consequently, we demand:
11.Abolition of unearned (work and labor) incomes. Breaking of debt (interest)-slavery.
12.In consideration of the monstrous sacrifice in property and blood that each war demands of the people, personal enrichment through a war must be designated as a crime against the people. Therefore, we demand the total confiscation of all war profits.
13.We demand the nationalization of all (previous) associated industries (trusts).
14.We demand a division of profits of all heavy industries.
15.We demand an expansion on a large scale of old age welfare.
16.We demand the creation of a healthy middle class and its conservation, immediate communalization of the great warehouses and their being leased at low cost to small firms, the utmost consideration of all small firms in contracts with the State, county or municipality.
17.We demand a land reform suitable to our needs, provision of a law for the free expropriation of land for the purposes of public utility, abolition of taxes on land and prevention of all speculation in land.
18.We demand struggle without consideration against those whose activity is injurious to the general interest. Common national criminals, usurers, profiteers and so forth are to be punished with death, without consideration of confession or race.
… … …
21.The State is to care for the elevating national health by protecting the mother and child, by outlawing child-labor, by the encouragement of physical fitness, by means of the legal establishment of a gymnastic and sport obligation, by the utmost support of all organizations concerned with the physical instruction of the young.
22. We demand abolition of the mercenary troops and formation of a national army.

All that means that national socialism became now like in 1920 attractive again and in sole form is present in resurgent far-right movement all over Europe, where in  several countries they are already in power.  The USA is late to the party but  is no exception.

In no way those changes favor the 'deplorables" -- bottom 90% of the US population, which brought Trump to victory. So it would be only fair if Trump loses 2020 election. But the US political system is more complex that this simplistic reasoning  and I would not predict the result of 2020 elections ;-)

During 2016 elections Trump, with all his buffoonery and clownish acts, at least is able to offer some hope to many disenfranchised US voters and has shredded the myth of invincibility of the establishment candidate, neocon warmonger Hillary. But after coming to power Trump behaved like Bush II trying to bully its way toward world hegemony. In a way Trumpism emerged from the Pandora's box of Bush policies that destabilized the Middle East and  his "you are iether with us or against us dilemma." In the process he lost a large part of his votes, including anti-war independents. Logically, his incompetence and incoherence almost guarantees that he'll be a one-term president, but again the US political system is pretty unique and often behave illogically (there are some analists who try to promote hypothesis that Trump is playing more complex game that it appears, some kind of 4 dimensional chess, but this hypothesis does not stand Occam razor test)

President Donald Trump is completely captured by neocons.  And one of prime cause of that isolation is his wet kiss with neocons, especially the appointment of John Bolton.  Since taking over as National Security Advisor to the President in April 2018, Bolton has purged the old staff and replaced them with sycophants whose primary qualifications are decades of collaboration with Bolton.

Since the December departures of John Kelly and James Mattis, Bolton has had near total control over the flow of policy recommendations into the President.  Better said:  The lack of flow

MAGA to MIGA transformation

("Effect of Adelson/Kushner")

 

Jim Lobe and Eli Clifton, writing in Lobelog, yesterday, argue that Sheldon Adelson was responsible for Trump's turnaround from populist anti-war candidate to pro-Israel hawk. In 2016, they write, Trump was mocking those, like Marco Rubio, who were seeking Adelson's support, meaning they were seeking his money. By the time of his inauguration, however, Trump had adopted Adelson's militant pro-Israel stance, including Adelson's demands to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and pursue a confrontationist approach to Iran, and Adelson occupied a prominent seat at the inauguration ceremony.

"Trump met Adelson in Las Vegas in early October 2017. One week later, Trump announced that he would no longer certify that Iran was complying with the Iran nuclear deal, even though the U.S. intelligence community and all of Washington's European allies, as well as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), had found no evidence that Tehran was cheating," Lobe and Clifton write.

"One month later, Adelson used his own newspaper, The Las Vegas Review Journal, to express his frustration with Trump's failure to quickly redeem his promise to move the embassy. Two months after that, Trump reversed a half century of U.S. policy by formally recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital. According to Michael Wolff's book Fire and Fury, Steve Bannon credited Adelson for Trump's decision."

Adelson's big protégé, as I've reported previously, is John Bolton. According to Lobe and Clifton, it was Adelson who made the arrangements to get Bolton back into the White House, overcoming efforts by White House chief of staff John Kelly keep to keep him out. Adelson also reportedly orchestrating the firing of McMaster and of Tilleson and their replacements by Bolton and Pompeo. Ands Bolton, like Adelson, has long favored a "military solution" to the Iran nuclear problem. In 2013, Adelson posted an op-ed in his newspaper, the Las Vegas Review Journal, calling for the nuclear bombing of Iran, first in some uninhabited area of the country to send Iran's leaders "a message" and if that didn't work, a second bombing of Tehran itself (this of course, would be a war crime in the first degree). Bolton, himself, in an op-ed two years later, held up the Israeli bombing of Iraq's Osirak reactor as the model for what the US should (as was later documented by a Norwegian researcher who's name I don't recall, the bombing of Osirak did not end Saddam's Hussein's nuclear bomb program. Rather, it forced it underground and out of sight, as UN weapons inspectors discovered in the 1990's after Gulf War I).

Who Does John Bolton Actually Work For by Willy B. Apr 4, 2019

Trump is probably most pro-Israel president since Lyndon B Johnson.  And several of his foreign policy moves looks like dictated by Israel interests not the USA interests. He also interfered in Israel election trying to influence Isreqli electorate in favor of Netanyahu.

When he was running, Trump was sharp about Adelson's money’s influence. He said that he would make Marco Rubio into “his perfect little puppet.”  But  later Trump badly needed Abelson's money both for his election (his claim that his election campaign was financed only by  his own money was a blatant lie)  and to stem Democrats advanced during Midterm, where they have chance to win both Senate and the house. So who’s the puppet now?

Long with connection to Adelson. Trump connection of Kushner is another liability.  Jared is avoid Zionist, member of suspicious mystical religious cult (one of very few Orthodox cults that accept Israel and often accused of links to Mossad):

After April 2017 Trump became a typical neocon and promoted " the "will of the strong" approach to foreign policy essentially positioning the USA as a rogue state that  does not care one bit about international treaties and obligations. And about UN which still for some strange reason resides in NYC.  His policies were transactional in nature but coercion election built-in  "give me something and I will give you a little bit in return" approach. But give me now, or..."  He was captured by neocons soon after election mainly because he  did not really rely on his own money during the elections --  he took around $100 million from Casino billionaire Adelson:

The fact is, the neo conservative "Never Trumpers" began moving in on Trump almost as soon as he won the election in order to ensure that their policy perspective prevailed. Greased by Adelson's money, it appears that they have succeeded to a considerable degree, particularly on Iran, but also on other aspects of national security policy as well, including, it appears, on Venezuela. And if US relations with Russia don't improve now that Russia-gate is dead, it'll be because of this crowd as well.

Bolton's history goes back to the Reagan Administration in the 1980's, and his perfidy during the runup to the Iraq invasion is well known to this readership. What I focus on here is the period from January of 2017 through mid-2018, around the time of his appointment to be Trump's national security advisor, plus a couple of months, during which period a number of interesting reports were posted on Trump's lobbying of the White House to get an administration position and his sponsorship by Adelson.

Adelson's only concern, by his own quoted words, is protecting Israel and, according to the reports below, has even advocated the nuclear bombing of Iran if it doesn't give up a nuclear weapons program that every reasonable intelligence assessment and the IAEA say it doesn't have. Adelson is also credited with facilitating the firing of both H.R. McMaster and Rex Tillerson and replacing them with Bolton and Mike Pompeo, another one of Adelson's boys.

That's why Trump appointed Haley who is close to Israel lobby and later arrived to his current version of foreign policy with Pompeo and Bolton.

In addition to Adelson, Jared Kushner moved Trump in the same direction ("Kushner effect"). That's why contrary to his election promises Trump continued all beneficial to Israel colonial wars (in Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Ukraine) and is trying to launch a couple of  others (Iran, Korea, Venezuela).

He several times bombed Syrian air fields on false pretences of chemical attack (which in reality were false flag operation by the ISIS, performed with the exact goal to get the US to act as ISIS air force bombing Syria government targets).  His administration also tried to stage a coupe d'état in Turkey, which failed and strained relations between two countries. 

Netanyahu is well aware that for his policies and plans to destroy all geopolitical and regional competitors, another such chance as Donald Trump may never exist. And he wants to milk it to the fullest extent possible.  Trump, in turn, also proved that conventions, treaties, agreements, and just some established customs and traditions in international relations mean little to him.

The total score of Trump administration in both  foreign and domestic polices is negative - the standard of living for the majority of the USA population did not increased (but it did not decreased either, remaining probably around the same as under Obama), jobs continued to evaporate, outsourcing continues With the exception of outsourcing with China -- he did launched tariff war with China as he promised.

His policies toward Iran looks like pandering to Israel lobby, not  so much defending interests in of the USA in this region.  while existence of any theocratic regime is objectionable, the double standard of treating KSA and Iran differently is too obvious to get Trump administration any points in his desire to confront Iran.

The total US debt rose (due to increased military budget and tax cuts). Trump increased military spending to a vain attempt to appease MIC ( and by the way he increased American aid to Israel as if it is necessary). To add insult to injury, while campaigning  on the basis of interests of blue collar workers and middle class Americans, squeezed by neoliberal globalization and greed of the US corporations, he pushed tax cuts for the rich.

The fact that he cooperated in the Lubavitch (Chabad) sect (rumored to be connected to/used by Mossad)  is generally a disgrace.  Why it was necessary for Trump to bring Kushner and  Ivanka (members of this strange sect) to the White House I do not understand. Especially in view of the criminal past of Kushner father (from whom Jared inherited his real estate empire; Jared own move in this area was disastrous purchase of Fifth Avenue 666 skyscraper just before the Great Recession; later he offloaded it his political connection to Gulf monarchies)

Elections 2016 period and three month after inauguration can be be  called "MAGA stage" of his presidency. Here are several links from his 2018 campaign

Trump as a fake anti-war crusader who populated his administration with neocons

Like Obama before him, Trump proved to be a sad joke of a anti-neoliberal, anti-war crusader.  The same is true about his anti-globalization stance, it looks like he prefers the direct economic racket, open bullying of weaker trade partners to treaties (bullying does suggest a power imbalance).  He still wants to sustain and expand the US neoliberal empire, no matter what are the costs for the US people. Venezuela is a good example here.  Of course US oil companies want to return to this country.  On the tips on the bayonets , if necessary. And Trump preaching "national neoliberalism" is very accommodative to such requests. 

US relations with Russia, which Trump promised to improve, have chilled to Cold War status. Essentially  Trump administration policies toward Russia of  does not differ one bit from the policies of Obama administration.  And do not much differ from what we would expect form Hillary. Part of this is connected the the President  no longer determines the foreign policy. Other forces do. That increases chances of WWIII, which might mean that perishing of the human civilization, as we know it.

Khrushchev's bon mot about the US nuclear superiority still apples, He said something like that: "Yes, the USA is much stronger, we just have the capability to destroy the USA one time, while they have the capability to destroy the USSR many times").  This saying is fully applicable to the Trump adoption  of the "supersized" military budget. 

It does not matter how many times you exceed your opponent military budget, because you can blow out the planet only once. As the result of care and feeding of MIC and Imperial Wars launched since 1980, the US national debt is now larger than the US economy. This is imperial overstretch. It is probably unsustainable "in a long  run". The only thing we do not know if the long run  means 10 years, 20, or 50. Much depends on the price oil oil dynamic. As soon as it exceeds $80-$100 per barrel the USA economy will slide in "perma-rececssion" (aka secular stagnation). 

His "Draining the swamp" slogan in reality turned to be as phony as "change we can believe is. "  he proved to be another Bush II, uneducated, inarticulate,  and incompetent President fully controlled by neocon lobby (which in its immense gratitude for services he provided wants to depose him and organized Mueller witch hunt). Add to this his impulsivity and narcissistic desire to be in the spotlight and you get a really toxic brew. The number of neocons in Trump administration is comparable with the number of neocons in Bush II  and Obama administrations.

Trump allowed to Washington foreign policy elite to conduct his foreign policy. The latter is arrogant (just look at Pompeo and Bolton), out of touch with reality and still stuck in the 1990s when the USA really rules the world (USSR collapsed, and China was far from its present  economic might). They believed in American exceptionalism and that the US had an almost divine right to run the world. American power at this time supposedly rivaled imperial Rome.

Clinton, Bush,  Obama and (as we discovered too late) Trump all shared similar foreign policy objectives. First of all they wanted to to spread the US-style neoliberalism.  Even if this needs to be accomplished on the tips of bayonets.  Any dissenters are branded as authoritarian dictators, sanctioned. any non nuclear players (and one small nuclear player -- North Korea) were threatened with force.  The Washington elite believes it is America’s destiny to lead the world forever, despite their own alarming level of degeneration and incompetence. 

Due to this neocons mindset, Government officials and media commentators who have promoted disastrous wars suffer no consequences and are welcomed back into circles of power. The cost of imperial wars since dissolution of the USSR runs at around 6 trillion. It is now clear that that large part of the defense budget would be better spent at home, upgrading the country's infrastructure.

Trump proved to be completely different politician then he was pretending to be during 2016 election.  In this sense he competes with Obama for the  title of Grandmaster of "bait and switch" game. His main accomplishment was "Trump tax cut for the rich". Similar to Bush II cut. In this sense he performed a deft "bait and switch" maneuver similar to one done by Obama and can be called "Republican Obama." Another classic turncoat US politician, who betrayed his voters three months after the elections. 

Thanks to Trump, the US is now in the Israeli situation - an increasing percentage of the population in many countries is beginning to hate him. A taught us the classics "ideas become a material force when they masses start believing in them"

Moreover, trump pushes himself into the situation of the former USSR, when the main production is the production of weapons. And except that the filing of the neo-cons will give countries a second Afghan in Iran (with the help of his great friend Netanyahu.)

Analogy with Obama reelection

Obama proves to be completely describable turncoat, but still he (and Bush II before him) managed to get reelected for the second term. That create some home for Trump as it is probably impossible to exceed Obama in  duplicity and mendacity (drone strikes, "Osama Bin Laden" killing with some signs of a false flag, Libya, Syria, Ukraine).  But truth be told foreign adventures does not mean much in the US Presidential election; the candidates mostly complete on domestic issues. Here Trump failed dismally -- there are very few new manufacturing jobs.   Under neoliberalism profits come before people. And that's why jobs continued to be outsourced out of the USA.  Just destinations might slightly changed. Instead of China other countries more commonly used.

That means that like Obama Trump now depends of the weakness otf Dem party candidate. Against any "decent" candidate he has almost no chances. Especially newcomer to politics without much political baggage into whom electorate can project their wishes like it did with Obama and Trump before.  In this case Trump can zero chances for reelection. He will be new Hillary in elections 2020: aging erratic warmonger (with Bolton as an albatross around his neck) with health problems. 

Although Trump, like Obama before him won mostly of the boldness of his election promises, now he need to complete on substance an truck record of his Administration. That's a tough task.  After two years in office Trump should be viewed like strange mixture of Bush II and Obama. It makes him more like Obama from the point of view of a  serial betrayer  of election promises.  Obama attacked a slate of very denigrating  nicknames (Obomber is one, "Teleprompter" is another ;-) .  And  Trump's nicknames gallery is even richer and includes:  Agent Orange, Very Stable Genius, Covfefe,  Vulgarian, von Clownstick, Trampolino, dRamp, and Pinocchio. Those nicknames for Trump are not accidental. Among anti-Trump Republicans, discontent is extremely high. When Ann Coulter Fires Back at Trump: ‘The Only National Emergency Is That Our President Is an Idiot’  it is easy to understand the President does have problem with his former base. Ann said that she didn’t need a Tarot card reader to know that Trump would “totally f-over his base.”

In 2016 election campaign  Trump had the freedom to position himself as anti-war, anti-establishment  candidate and some of his points resonated strong with the the US population. Now after he betrayed all of them, his options are much more narrow. The one he  already tried to position himself as "anti-socialist" and use Venezuela as a trial balloon for attracting this segment of voters.   Of course his posture is fake, but  some fish might swallow this  hook.  Although in the USA everything is possible. But it is clear not that he is a part of neoliberal establishment, "national neoliberalism" promoter so to speak.

His anti-war track record is non-existent (Syria bombings, Iran and Korean  saber-rattling, launching Venezuela color revolution, weapons supplies to Ukraine, support of Yemen war,  etc) and his anti-corruption and pro white-collar stance now is a sad, nasty joke (Javanka, "Trump university" scam, his appointments). He essentially did nothing for blue collar voters who secured his victory in 2015 presenting them "tax cut for rich" as a substitute. So most probably the lion share of those votes now are  going to Tulsi and Warren, respectively, not to Trump.  If remaining votes are enough to overcome the opposition, then God bless. 

The main issue in this election is that the Neoliberal Imperial Oligarchy has now taken off the mask. They have abandoned the pretense of "Coke Pepsi" two party competition to unite to defend the interests on neoliberal oligarchy, with WikiLeaks detailing the gory details of their corruption and malfeasance. Essentially they represent  a single party, the joint party of MIC and Wall Street. But they will fight furiously and might try to accomplish with Tulsi the same dirty trick as they accomplished with Sanders in 2016, using her as a sheepdog.

Is close connection to MIC improves Trump chances for re-election

I would say it does. In a sense Israel should be viewed as a part of MIC lobby. Trump inflated military spending, including nuclear weapons and military assistance to Israel. All this actions raise serious wuestion and Us infrastructure is in decay and standard of living of the bottom 80% of population continues to slide.

According to journalist URI Friedman, the United States has been fighting terrorism with a credit card for more than 15 years, naming this just a socialism for MIC. Perhaps the country might change the course only after the next financial collapse  ( a decade expired after the collapse of 2008, so it can happen anytime soon). If the collapse happens before elections then Trump is doomed.

MIGA instead of MAGA? Is close connection with  Israeli lobby an advantage in incoming elections ?

Pandering of Trump administration to Israel should be viewed in the context of Trump links to MIC, not as an isolated phenomena: Israel should be viewed as a part of MIC lobby.

The Trump administration’s recent steps in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should surely lay to rest any doubts about the enormous, and dangerous, power of the Israel lobby in Washington. Under Trump, the lobby has shown it can wield unprecedented influence – even by its usual standards – in flagrant disregard for all apparent US interests.

First, there was the move this month of the US embassy to Jerusalem, not quietly but on the 70th anniversary of the most sensitive day in the Palestinian calendar, Nakba Day. That is when Palestinians commemorate their mass expulsion from their homeland in 1948. By relocating the embassy, Trump gave official US blessing to tearing up the 25-year-old peace process – and in choosing Nakba Day for the move, he rubbed the noses of Palestinians, and by extension the Arab world, in their defeat. Then, the White House compounded the offence by lauding Israeli snipers who massacred dozens of unarmed Palestinians protesting at the perimeter fence around Gaza the same day. A series of statements issued by the White House could have been written by Israel’s far-right prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, himself.

At the United Nations, the US blocked a Security Council resolution calling for the massacre to be investigated, while Nikki Haley, Trump’s UN envoy, observed to fellow delegates: “No country in this chamber would act with more restraint than Israel has.”

None of these moves served any obvious US national interest, nor did Trump’s decision the previous week to tear up the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran that has long been reviled by the Israeli government. In fact, quite the contrary: These actions risk inflaming tensions to the point of a regional war that could quickly drag in the major powers, or provoke terror attacks on US soil.

All of these various lobbies have long wielded significant power in Washington, but remained largely separate. In recent years, their interests have come to overlap considerably, making Israel ever more unassailable in US politics.

Under Trump, their agendas have aligned so completely that this multi-headed lobby has as good as collectively captured the presidency on matters that concern it most.

That is not to say that the Israel lobby will not face future challenges. Other pressures are emerging in reaction to the unaccountable power of the Israel lobby, including progressive voices in US politics that are, for the first time, breaking with the long-standing bipartisan nature of the debate about Israel.

Bernie Sanders’s unexpected surge in the Democratic nomination race for the presidency, the rise of the international boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, the growing alienation of young US Jews from Israel, and the US public’s ever-greater exposure on social media to Israel’s crimes are signs of trends it will be difficult for Israel to counter or reverse.

But Israel is getting its way at the moment. But hubris is a fault we have been warned about since the time of the ancient Greeks. Israel may yet come to learn a little humility – the hard way.

Will color revolution launched  by the Deep State against Trump help him to win 2020 elections

  Assuming something is cobbled together worth opening impeachment hearings over, the Republican majority in the Senate is still unlikely to convict. Trump will run for reelection in 2020. Will public opinion, empathy, following impeachment proceedings, help him as it did Bill Clinton? How many voters will see through this politicization of the constitutional process? How many Democrats who wanted real progress on health care and immigration will see this all as just a waste of time, their midterm votes squandered on a circus?

Peter Van Buren March 11, 2019

This will be the first elections in the USA history which are run after unsuccessful color revolution against sitting President (aka Russiagate), and unprecedented McCarthyism-style  witch  hunt unleashed against him.

Successfully played against  Trump the Special Prosecutor gambit (with Rosenstein as the Trojan horse and Comey as sacrificial pawn) might be viewed  the first color revolution against sitting President in the history of the USA  that did not yet resulted in removal of the President from his position (if we do not view JFK assassination and Nixon Watergate as two previous color revolutions; Bush senior was involved in both). And as such  Russiagate will got to history books along with Kennedy assassination, Nixon impeachment and 9/11 as a watershed event for the county.

The witch hunt against Trump, the game which he was not supposed to win, unmasked the level of politicization and corruption within higher echelons of FBI, pernicious connection of its counterterrorism division to CIA and  blatant disregard of the law.  for that we should be  grateful to Trump, but only for that.

Still, in a way Trump is an anomaly which defied the concerted rigging of election by neoliberals including Wall Street money and the mainstream media  presstitutes.

Recently Trump tried to position himself as a fighter against socialism. How successful is this phony positioning (with his tax cuts he proved to be an advocate of corporate socialism) remain to be seen. He remain a shallow. inexperienced, somewhat impulsive politician, who betrayed his voters.

Despite all Trump faults and  his unpreparedness to the  position of the President of the USA, the color revolution against Trump launched by Deep State  is still deeply wrong and deeply troubling. Especially the role FBI, CIA, and especially MI6 (Steele dossier),  played in it. But to defend Trump now would be just the defense of the constitution, not the particular person.  In this sense, and only in this sense  he still deserves our  sympathy and  support.

Russiagate has shown to all thinking people in the USA and all people of the world that the real rulers of the USA. And  it is not sitting President and his administration, but intelligence agencies, MIC (which includes Israel lobby) and Wall Street (so called the Deep State)

Will sympathy to Trump as a victim of vicious witch hunt overweight resentment from his betrayal of his voters in the same way as Obama faced in 2010 against Romney is difficult to say. But now I see the point when Trump is called "Republican Obama". 

Obama managed to win his second term despite blatant betrayal of his voters because he  faced much  weaker candidate. Who will be Trump opponent in 2020 election remains to be seen, but neither Liz Warren, nor Tulsi Gabbard will give him the same advantages as running against universally hated neocon warmonger Hillary.   Also Obama was a "CIA-democrat" who  enjoyed unconditional support of intelligence agencies both in the USA and UK. Which is not true for Trump.

The other important legacy of 2016 election is the role of British intelligence serves and surviving Obama faction in CIA and FBI (which is essentially the same of neocon faction). in 2016 intelligence  agencies emerged as kingmakers, throwing Sanders under the bus and allowing neocon warmonger Hillary (who has suffered at least five fainting spells on public ) to run against Trump -- which led to surprising Trump victory.

New faces on the election field might well be  result of Trump policies

Elections 2020 might be the fist when the USA might have anti-war candidate -- Tulsi Gabbard.  But neoliberals and neocons are like new generation of Bolsheviks -- dishonest, Machiavellian and power hungry to the extreme and  will do everything to push her under the bus. Add to this oversize role of intelligence agencies which like a new Praetorian Guard pretend for the role of kingmakers.   

I think Trump already lost most of independent voters, who voted for him in 2016, and lion share of anti-war votes (if he invades Venezuela he will lost all of them).

He also will not enjoy the huge privilege of running against Hillary, and as such is not longer  entitled to "anybody but Hillary" vote, which probably was at least 10% of all votes for him and, in fact, propelled him to the Presidency.

Because "Trump University" story was enough for anybody with IQ above 100 to understand some negative trait of this person.

Which strata of US voters Trump already irrevocably lost?

The fact the Democratic field is highly fractured and more then a dozen candidates compete in 2002 elections  can help, but  not by much as only three main candidates have any chances to get finish line.

With the help of "DemoRats" (Clinton neoliberal democrats faction of the Democratic Party)  as well US and British intelligence agencies a new scapegoat for Hillary fiasco in election, a new  American enemy  that might help to unite divided bation  has been manufactured in the form of the Russian Federation and its President, Vladimir Putin, who drew the ire of the Washington for resisting  the  US hegemony. This reached a crescendo in 2018 when DemoRats won the Congress. The dubious accusations of election interference made by the same intelligence agencies that sold the pack of lies that Iraq possessed Weapons of Mass Destruction are not new.

But alarmingly they become "Official US Truth" (OUT) in Washington propaganda NewSpeak and  challenging any of them can cost a candidate a lot. Tulsi already feels the wrath on neocon -- those greedy and unscrupulous lobbyists for MIC. BTW the most rabid neocons from the US establishment has even likened the alleged intrusion by Moscow to 9/11 forgetting that this analogy holds if and only if we view both as false flag operations, conducted by CIA with the help of Mossad, MI6 and other "fiends".

Warren  will also soon find  herself under fire from Wall Street. That's for sure.  And that can help Trump.

Trump lost anti-war right -- the part of electorate that probably ensured his victory in 2016

Sometimes it hard to tell who’s in charge in the Trump administration. He hired several  neocons,  who not only do not support his agenda butopenly defy him.  From unz.com (the site that well represents anti-war right) comments

follyofwar March 5, 2019 at 2:19 am GMT

Neocons Pompeo and Bolton are the two most warlike consiglieres I have witnessed in my lifetime. It certainly appears that, one way or the other, they will get their war against someone, anyone. They may be concerned that time is running out, since their boss has less than a 50% chance of re-election. Let’s see, will it be Venezuela, Iran, North Korea, China, or Russia – or all of them at once?

... ... ...

I take that back. I forgot about Queen Hillary and her delight over Colonel Gadhafi’s gruesome death by bayonet up the anus.

Realist March 5, 2019 at 12:35 pm GMT
@follyofwar

Neocons Pompeo and Bolton are the two most warlike consiglieres I have witnessed in my lifetime.

These two d*ckheads were hand picked by Trump….but his base is too stupid to see Trump is a part of the Deep State. 

And he lost them after the first three month of his presidency. Probably he did not value them much.  In this sense Trump is treasonous tritor (and forget this silly and extremely dangerous neo-McCarthyism Russiagate theater of corrupt, completely in pocket of Wall Street, DemoRats (aka Clinton wing of Democratic party)  and intelligence agencies careerists  like Brennan and Clapper. 

libezkova -> sanjait... , April 10, 2017 at 04:17 PM
"Trump and Putin are both Kabuki theater specialists who use foreign military adventurism to stoke nationalism and distract from other issues."

It was Obama and Hillary who were Kabuki theater specialists. The first was Nobel Price winner, my God. Real Kabuki Theater.

But especially Hillary. Remember Libya theater and poor Colonel Gaddafi, sodomized with the bayonet. We came, we saw. he died.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fgcd1ghag5Y

Trump campaigned on non-interventionism platform. Almost paleo--conservative platform. And on April 6 he lost "anti-war right". And even some part of anti-war left ( Sanders supporters who really hated Hillary for her jingoism and corruption ) who supported him holding the nose. Probably forever.

That might have consequences for him because he lost support from politically active and important segment of his electorate. Which to certain extent protected him from impeachment as the last thing DemoRats want are fierce protests up to armed clashes with alt-right afterward.

If his calculation was that DemoRats (neoliberal Democrats) are now also a War party, so it does not matter, he probably badly miscalculated.

He now needs to worry what Russians might have on him because Wikileaks or other similar sites might get some interesting materials. Of course Pence would be even more horrible POTUS, and revenge is a dish that better serve cold, but still he probably did not sleep well after this "Monica" show of strength.

He also probably can forget about any compromises of the style "something for nothing" (as previous presidents enjoyed from Russia in a wane hope of improving relations between two countries) from Russians for a while.

Only things prepaid with yuans from now on ;-).

The whole move smells with "Monica" and Iraq WDM: "Shoot first ask questions later".

Now he really can be impeached by DemoRats with impunity and there will be little on no protests. But now, when he surrendered to neocons, why DemoRats take trouble to impeach him?

In other words, from April 6 "Agent Orange" is walking in his new clothing like naked king from Andersen tale.

Trump lost part of blue collar votes, as his administration like Obama  administration did nothing for them

Trump tax cut was an an insult.  He cut  taxes for his  family and friends, not for his voters.

How Trump won The revenge of working-class whites - The Washington Post

he won using thiser votes and then betrayed him with the same ease as OPbama did

For the past 40 years, America's economy has raked blue-collar white men over the coals. It whittled their paychecks. It devalued the type of work they did best. It shuttered factories and mines and shops in their communities. New industries sprouted in cities where they didn't live, powered by workers with college degrees they didn't hold.

They were not the only ones who felt abandoned by a rapidly globalizing economy, but they developed a distinctly strong pessimism in its face.

On Tuesday, their frustrations helped elect Donald Trump, the first major-party nominee of the modern era to speak directly and relentlessly to their economic and cultural fears. It was a “Brexit” moment in America, a revolt of working-class whites who felt stung by globalization and uneasy in a diversifying country where their political power had seemed to be diminishing

It was a rejection of the business-friendly policies favored at various points by elites in both parties, which deepened trade relationships with foreign countries and favored allowing more immigrants in. And it was a raw outburst at the trends of rising inequality and economic dislocation that defined America's economy thus far this century.

Whites without a college degree — men and women — made up a third of the 2016 electorate. Trump won them by 39 percentage points, according to exit polls, far surpassing 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney's 25 percent margin. They were the foundation of his victories across the Rust Belt, including a blowout win in Ohio and stunning upsets in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

In polling, these voters have expressed deep racial and cultural anxieties. In exit polls they were more likely than the country as a whole to say that illegal immigrants should be deported. But those polls also suggested economic concerns and hostility toward leaders in Washington were much more important factors driving them to Trump.

[Markets plunge worldwide as Trump surges to White House]

Half of these voters said the economy was the most important issue in their vote, compared to 14 percent for immigration. A majority said international trade takes away American jobs. Three-quarters said the economy is “not good” or “poor” and nearly 8 in 10 said their personal financial situation was the same or worse than it was four years ago. Two-thirds said they preferred Trump to handle the economy instead of Democrat Hillary Clinton, compared with less than half of the electorate overall.

Trump loss of of a part of military votes

Trump attempt to privatize Veteran Administration hospitals and health care faces stiff resistance of veterans ( “Doubling Down” With Private Care Push, Trump’s VA — ProPublica, Jan 30, 2019 )

When Congress passed a bill last year to transform the Department of Veterans Affairs, lawmakers said they were getting rid of arbitrary rules for when the government would pay for veterans to see private doctors.

Under the old program, veterans could go to the private sector if they would have to wait 30 days or travel 40 miles for care in the VA. Lawmakers and veterans groups, including conservatives, criticized those rules as arbitrary. The new law, known as the Mission Act, was supposed to let doctors and patients decide whether to use private sector based on individualized health needs.

On Wednesday, the Trump administration proposed new rules, known as access standards, to automatically make veterans eligible for private care. Instead of 30 days, it’s 20 days for primary care or 28 days for specialty care. Instead of 40 miles, it’s a 30-minute drive for primary care or a 60-minute drive for specialty care.

The announcement appeared to do little to settle the debate over whether the VA’s rules are arbitrary.

“Twenty days is just as arbitrary as 30 days,” Bob Wallace, the executive director of Veterans of Foreign Wars, one of the largest veterans service organizations, said in a statement.

What is clear about the new rules is that they are dramatically more permissive. The new drive-time standard alone will make 20 percent of veterans eligible for private primary care and 31 percent eligible for private specialty care, up from 8 percent for both kinds of care under the old program, according to a briefing document circulated on Capitol Hill.

“This is doubling down on the administrative rules such as drive times and wait times,” said David Shulkin, the former VA secretary who was fired last year by President Donald Trump, in part over disagreements about this bill. “I was in favor of a system that was clinically based, that put veterans’ needs first and allowed the right match of services. This is just changing and loosening the administrative rules.”

VA spokeswoman Susan Carter declined to comment.

Last month, a ProPublica investigation of the private-care program that the administration is now expanding found overhead costs that were much higher than industry standards and comparable government programs. In response to the article, VA Secretary Robert Wilkie acknowledged that the agency was “taken advantage of” with these overhead costs and vowed to improve.

On the campaign trail, Trump presented himself as a champion for veterans, and as president he frequently boasts about what his administration has done for former service members. But at the same time, he has enthusiastically supported shifting more veterans to private medical care, over the objection of major veterans groups that want to preserve the VA’s health system. He has also plunged the VA into chaos by upending his own leadership team at the agency and handing vast influence to three men nicknamed the “Mar-a-Lago Crowd” because they meet at the president’s resort in Florida.

The new access standards are the most important step toward reshaping the VA in line with Trump’s vision of enlarging the private sector’s role.

“None of this should be a surprise to anybody: President Trump has made it clear from pretty much the moment he started running he wanted full choice,” said Dan Caldwell, the executive director of Concerned Veterans for America, a political group that advocates for more private care and that is backed by the Koch brothers, the industrialists who have donated hundreds of millions of dollars to conservative causes. “This does get us closer to full choice. That’s the model we want to get to.”

The VA is planning to continue widening the access standards, dropping the wait time for primary care to 14 days in 2020, according the agency’s briefing materials.

Already, according to the document, almost half of the VA’s primary care sites (69 out of 141) have wait times longer than 20 days, meaning their patients could get private care. In gastroenterology, 81 out of 128 sites have waits longer than 28 days. But, the document cautioned, “This data is not reliable.”

According to people present for briefings on Wednesday, congressional staff and veterans groups had a long list of questions that largely went unanswered by VA officials. Among them:

“They just didn’t provide a whole lot of answers to questions about the impact,” said Carl Blake, Paralyzed Veterans of America’s executive director. “The fact is it’s going to open up eligibility. It’s debatable whether there are adequate resources to do so. What won’t be acceptable is for them to take money from other programs in the VA to pay for it.”

The unanswered questions could dramatically change the program’s cost. The official notice for the new rules on the website for the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs says the “Anticipated Costs and Benefits” are “TBD.” In Wednesday’s briefings, officials said the new access standards will increase the agency’s expenses by $2.7 billion to $3.1 billion next year and by $19 billion to $20 billion over five years, the people present said.

Lawmakers have cast doubt on the VA’s cost projections. In a letter to Wilkie on Monday, 28 Democratic senators noted that officials had provided “widely varying and potentially contradictory” figures depending on the day.

“I don’t know why they’re not using the resources we used to model this,” said Nancy Schlichting, the former CEO of the Henry Ford Health System who led a congressionally chartered commission that in 2016 issued a report on the VA’s future. The commission estimated that paying for veterans to see private doctors without a referral from the VA could increase costs by $96 billion to $179 billion a year.

“It’s very, very unsophisticated, frankly,” Schlichting said of the administration’s proposal.

When debating the Mission Act, lawmakers relied on a projection by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office that assumed the rate of veterans using the private sector would stay about the same. That assumption has now been blown up by the way the administration is implementing the law.

“Today’s announcement hastily rolling out new access standards places core VA services and vital research programs at risk by shifting money towards care outside VA,” House veterans committee chairman Mark Takano said in a statement on Wednesday, vowing to hold a hearing. “Today’s announcement places VA on a pathway to privatization and leads Congress to assume the worst.”

Wilkie had moved to pre-empt such criticism. “Some will claim falsely and predictably that they represent a first step toward privatizing the department,” he said in a lengthy statement on Monday, two days before the news access standards were announced.

As evidence, Wilkie said appointments in the VA’s health system have increased by 3.4 million since 2014 to more than 58 million in 2018. But his statement did not mention how much the VA’s private-sector appointments have grown: more than four times as much. According to agency data provided to ProPublica, the VA’s private-care appointments increased by 14.9 million since 2014 to 33.2 million in 2017. Private care accounted for 37 percent of the VA’s total outpatient appointments in 2017, up from 25 percent in 2014, the data shows.

In developing these access standards, Wilkie relied extensively on Darin Selnick, who previously worked for Concerned Veterans for America, the organization supported by the Koch brothers. Selnick signed onto an infamous 2016 proposal to dismantle the VA’s government-run health system. Selnick also worked closely with the trio of unofficial advisers known as the “Mar-a-Lago Crowd.”

Selnick sat on the “executive steering committee” in charge of implementing the Mission Act and reported directly to Wilkie as a senior adviser, according to an organization chart obtained by ProPublica. However, when the VA presented a version of the same chart to Congress at a December hearing, Selnick’s name was not there.

Lawmakers voted for the Mission Act with the understanding that access standards would automatically trigger private care for only a few kinds of services, such as lab tests, X-rays and urgent care, the 28 Senate Democrats said. But now the administration is making the access standards apply to everything, a plan that ProPublica first revealed in November.

“This proposal risks needlessly siphoning away VA resources to private providers, which could irresponsibly starve excellent existing VA clinics and hospitals,” Senate veterans committee member Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said in a statement on Wednesday.

Lawmakers and the public may not get more information about the how the program will be funded until the White House releases its budget for 2020. But officials have indicated they won’t submit the president’s budget to Congress on time, blaming the 35-day partial government shutdown. The shutdown did not affect the VA, but it did furlough staff in the Office of Management and Budget, putting the VA at risk of being late on the Mission Act regulations that are due in June, according to an agency report obtained by ProPublica.

The VA recently chose Optum, a division of UnitedHealth Group, to take over administering the new private-care program in most of the country. However, because the agency was late in awarding the contracts, Optum won’t be ready to start when the new program is supposed to take effect in June.

In the interim, program will be run by TriWest Healthcare Alliance, the old vendor that charged unusually high fees. TriWest has also filed a formal protest challenging the VA’s decision to hire Optum. The dispute will be adjudicated by the Government Accountability Office.

Help us investigate: Do you know what’s going on at the VA? Are you a VA employee or a veteran who receives VA benefits and services? Contact Isaac Arnsdorf at 917-512-0256 or [email protected] Here’s how to send tips and documents to ProPublica securely.

Correction, Feb. 5, 2019: This story, relying on incorrect calculations from the Department of Veterans Affairs, originally misstated the proportion of total VA outpatient appointments in the private sector. It was 37 percent in 2017, up from 25 percent in 2014; not 58 percent in 2017, up from 33 percent in 2014.

Danger from anticorruption crusader Elizabeth Warren

As Clinton wing launched a color revolution against Trump, the USA now is not a newcomer to using color revolutions mechanisms as a political tool. I do not see why this some Gene Sharp recommendation can't be implemented by Eliabeth Warren in 2020 race against Trump -- who is a perfect opponent for any anti-corruption crusader.

A fearsome the anti-corruption campaign can be launched against Trump administration too member of which has had its share of transgressions and scandals.  In a way Trump is an ideal political sparring partner for an anti-corruption candidate, who can be send into knockdown with relatively modest effort.  Just the story of Trump university ( a classic "bait and switch" scheme) if properly revived  can so a real damage (hint -- he settled the NY lawsuit for 25 millions).  And Warren is a more formidable opponent for Trump in this area that those two weaklings of 2016 Presidential race: Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz (The Sad Story of Trump 'University' ):

I don't know anything about starting a university, and that was a fake university," Rubio said as Trump repeatedly tried to interrupt him. "There are people who borrowed $36,000 to go to Trump University, and they're suing now. $36,000 to go to a university that's a fake school. And you know what they got? They got to take a picture with a cardboard cutout of Donald Trump."

"I've won most of the lawsuits," Trump protested.

Cruz also got in on the act. "You know, Marco made reference earlier to the litigation against Trump University. It's a fraud case. His lawyers have scheduled the trial for July," he said. "I want you to think about, if this man is the nominee, having the Republican nominee on the stand in court, being cross-examined about whether he committed fraud. You don't think the mainstream media will go crazy on that?"

Friday morning on NBC's Today, Rubio kept the heat on Trump for his "fake school." "You have a guy who is being sued right now for fraud for Trump University," said Rubio. "I've had stories written about my driving record."
 

Warren really has teeth in this area and Trump will feel very very uncomfortable in any debate that raises this topic.

Javanka problem: the curious case of Jared Kushner and the Israel lobby

Kushner crossed the line from using his First Amendment right to speak freely about government policy into subverting official US foreign policy in favor of Israel very early, even before his father-in-law inauguration.  He attempted via Flynn to influence the vote of Russia on UN anti-Israel resolution. It did not work well (but was fraudulently used to fueled Russiagate hysteria) and got Flynn into hot water. Later Flynn was deliberately ambushed by Muller and caught in lies to FBI.  So Flynn was the  first victim of Kushner pro-Israel machinations.

Later Donald Trump had appointed Jared Kushner to be his point-person on US relations with the Middle East. The latter was specifically charged with forging an Israel-Palestine peace plan, which Trump, in typical flamboyant fashion, called "the ultimate deal". Essentially appointing a Zionist with zero experience in international diplomacy and close connections to stanch Zionist Netanyahu (and this distrusted by Palestinians)  to run this intricate negotiation. The result was predictable. In June 2019 Pompeo declared this plan DOA.

Both Israeli elite and leaders throughout the region were stunned that the US had appointered real estate speculator with resolving one of the world’s most difficult diplomatic problem. Moreover Kushner has made significant donations to Israeli settlements, was already known to be heavily pro-Israel in his approach. For some reason  he determined that the Saudis were the key to unlock the Arab part of the equation.  So he’s made three visits to the Saudi kingdom in the past year. He brought his father-in-law on the latter’s first foreign trip as president to visit King Salman and the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. This was an astonishing turn in US relations. Cultivate the Saudi royals, expecting them to “bring along” the Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world towards that "ultimate" peace deal was a bold and risky gamble to forge Israel-Saudi alliance.  It was also very risky step with a lot of diplomatic fallout. With the rel possibility of creating the alliance of Turkey, Iran and Qatar opposing fledging Isreal-Saudi alliance pushed by Kushner.   Due to his close association with Israel Kushner is putting US Middle East policy in lock-step with Israel. That certainly leaves the Palestinians, among others, out in the cold.

Due to his  continuing business deal in foreign countries Kushner also has problem obtaining the security clearances. Trump overruled FBI experts which were reluctant to grant this clearance. Brennan recently described this is some detail ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S1BSmwJb6gs ) Kushner also has albatross about his neck  in a form of  skyscraper called 333 Fifth  Avenue (  Kushner, Inc Vicky Ward on How Jared and Ivanka’s Greed & Ambition Compromise U.S. Foreign Policy - YouTube ). Loan 1.4 billon was coming due and no America lender with touch it. So he badly needed a foreign investor.  The Trump-Kushner “pivot” toward Saudi Arabia accords along with a similar Israeli embrace of the House of Saud also was directed against Trump arch-enemy -- Iran. He eventually got money from Qatar -- on unimaginably favorite conditions (99 year lease for 1.3 billion)

Kushner and Ivanka were also instrumental is pushing out of Trump administration several key people, such as Bannon.

Violating the Logan Act

The Wall Street Journal reported a new development in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation: did Jared Kushner violate the Logan Act whenr he lobbied UN Security Council members to sabotage a resolution denouncing Israeli settlements. The act dates back to the earliest days of the republic when the USA was much weaker then European powers. Who were eager to interfere with the domestic and foreign affairs of weaker states. For that reason, American legislators passed the Logan Act which prohibited private citizens from becoming agents of foreign states in trying to influence US foreign policy. The curious case of Jared Kushner and the Israel lobby Middle East Eye

The Act, as it was implemented, became something of a double-edged sword as it enabled the political party in power to target anyone in the opposition who exercised his right to lobby for a particular policy regarding various foreign states.

Eventually, virtually everyone realised that a weapon you used against an opponent could be wielded against you once you were out of power. So the Act fell into limbo. Only one individual was ever charged with violating it and he was never prosecuted.

But news that Kushner was under suspicion of violating the Act raised interesting issues. Though many US politicians have been accused of being shills for Israel and the Israel lobby holds sway over an enormous number of legislators, and though numerous Americans have been convicted of spying on Israel's behalf, no one has ever been convicted of harming the interests of the US for Israel's sake.

In fact, the rallying cry of the lobby is that there is no difference between Israeli and US interests. In other words, when you work on behalf of Israel's interests, you're also advancing America's. Of course, this is utter nonsense. It turns both countries into awkwardly conjoined Siamese twins.

Kushner is placing US Middle East policy in lock-step with Israel. That certainly leaves the Palestinians, among others, out in the cold

That's certainly what Kushner did in this case: Netanyahu, who initiated the request for Trump's intervention in the UN affair, wanted to fend off the resolution at all costs. It was originally put forward by Egypt.

As Vicky Ward, the author of  Kushner, Inc. Greed. Ambition. Corruption. The Extraordinary Story of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump told Democracy Now the joke is Bebi Netanyahu was the US Secretary of State the last two years.  Here is a counple comments from Youtube that refect prevalent sentiments of the audience

 

The decline of neoliberalism continues, and Trump attempt to revive it by converting to "national neoliberalism" by-and-large failed

If Trump did something useful in dismantling  neoliberalism in the USA it would be  his discreditation of the neoliberal MSM, such as CNN, MSNBC, NYT and WaPo.

Here Trump, surprisingly, did play a rare positive role, sometimes helping to unmask those "rascals of the pen", the presstitutes of financial oligarchy which rules the country.  thanks  to Trump, CNN now is now called "Clinton News Channel",  NYT -- "the CIA bulletin", and  WaPo -- "Bezos' blog". 

Neoliberalism is now in decline, and with it is in decline the  international influence and significance of the USA. Many people in the USA started to understand that neoliberalism destroyed their well-being and continue to do so.  That's why they, after "serial betrayer" Obama "bait and switch" maneuver, Trump managed to lob a hand grenade into the Capitol and White House blowing out Hillary chances.

That means that in 2020 Trump can't position himself in the same way as in 2016 as now he has considerable and controversial political baggage as a defender of the US neoliberal empire. Most of the items in this part of his baggage are pretty disappointing.

Trump administration policies vs election promises

Trump administration looks like Bush III administration and is infected with neocons and representatives of financial oligarchy.  As "Personnel is policy" you can easily guess what policies they pursued and Trump did nothing to stimulate employment in the USA and to stop migration of jobs  from the USA oversees.  And he was elected on the promises to stop outsourcing and offshoring of US jobs.

Tim Swift in his article Trump v Republican elite - the split explained  outlined several election-time difference. The net result after two years of Trump administration are close to zero. Trump stance on NATO changed.  Trump stance on Russia became undistinguishable from Obama polices.

www.bbc.com

Mr Trump describes himself as a "commonsense conservative" and the fact that his message has earned him millions of Republican votes suggests a fracture between the grassroots and leadership.

Here are five key issues upon which the billionaire businessman diverges from Republican orthodoxy as represented by leaders like Mr Ryan and presidents of the past.

Trump adopted a typical neocons  foreign policy, not that different from Bush II administration

Despite his campaign rhetoric (“our foreign policy is a complete and total disaster”; “we’re rebuilding other countries while weakening our own”), Trump used the playbook of the neocon foreign-policy. He practiced typical gagster capitalism, well know from previous administration which unleashed wars in Iraq and Libya. he continued the war in Syria, but as elections  2020 became close decided to withdraw  some troops, still leaving small contingent in the country; effectively relocation  them across the border to Iraq.  He decided to withdraw from the  Intermediate Missiles Treaty with Russia, the treaty that  was tremendously beneficial to The USA.  He continue the war in Afghanistan. In short, Trump policy is really undistinguishable from the Policies that Hillary might pursue, strengthening the assertion that Presidents perform mainly ceremonial duties legitimizing the regime in the eyes of voters. And the real foreign policy decisions are done by the Deep State. Which make the USA radically different from what we understand as a democratic country. It is a typical "inverted  totalitarism" regime with gif leaf of election covering like the smoke screen the brutal and directed against the interests of people of the USA policies of financial oligarchy and MIC (neocons are just lobbyists for MIC)

The  withdrawal from tremendously beneficial to the USA  INF treaty with Russia is another nail into Trump political coffin. Most experts view it as both reckless and stupid move (as most Trump  moves in  foreign policy), which advances interests of MIC and its despicable lobbyists like Boot, Kristol and Kagan. But not the security and well-being of American people.

The USA foreign policy after 1991 can be compared with Third Reich  polices. It has the slogan "America Uber Alles", which can he  tattooed on the foreheads of Bolton and Pompeo. In essence after collapse of the USSR on 1991 the Washington elite tried to position the USA as the  "ruler of Earth", which drained the country resources and impoverished the majority of population while enriching MIC and financial oligarchy (all wars are bankers wars).

Trump definitely is not a diplomat. His methods are taken from the playbook of organized crime, and he himself looks more and more like NYC racketeer.   He essentially operated more like a gangster selling his protection racket, than as a mature politician and skillful diplomat (remember the quip attributed to Al Capone  "You can get more with a kind word and a gun than you can with a kind word.").

His foreign policy was a typical neocon foreign policy. With the only positive step so far of Syria withdrawal after bombing the Assad air force three time, the air force which is fighting against the USA supported Islamic State fighters , essentially serving  as ISIS air force (which in reality means movement of forces over the border to Iraq).  And even this withdrawal is incomplete (around  500 troops are left in the county; left illegally). This withdrawal is a bone thrown to his former anti-war voters, it too little too late and is offset by his saber-rattling with  Venezuela.  He betrayed Kurds and strained relations with Turkey -- a unique diplomatic achievement.

That means that in 2020 he can't count on anti-war voters, which was significant  fraction of independents who votes for him despite all his faults

While neocons are now very happy with his foreign policies, most of them (for example Max Boot, Kagan and  Kristol ) defected to Democratic Party and will try to damage his reelection bid.  Association with neocons and bringing several of them into administration (which as infested with neocons as Bush II administration) is a self-defeating policy and might further diminish his chances for reelection.

Even some members of establishment  started to realize that Trump neocons such as Pompeo and Bolton are dangerous for the country (better late, then never ;-). See for example Stephen Walt’s The Hell of Good Intentions.  Here is one Amazon comment

C. Overgaard

A Powerful Critique of US Foreign Policy November 4, 2018

This is a well written, well researched, and well reasoned criticism of Liberal Hegemony (“LH”). LH rests on the belief that the United States is uniquely positioned to spread democracy and shape the international system to promote international peace and prosperity. LH has led to the invasion of Iraq, military efforts in Afghanistan, and counterterrorism operations in Somalia, Yemen, Libya and Syria. The results, according to Walt, are not favorable:
  • Our military operations have been costly in both dollars and lives but have had scant success;
  • The number of violent extremists and the number of places where they are active is greater now then when Al Qaeda first emerged;
  • Our military efforts have created resentment because of civilian casualties;
  • Our foreign activities have taken time, attention and resources away from pressing domestic concerns; and
  • Efforts to promote democracy and human rights have gone into reverse with a decline in many countries of political rights and civil liberties.

In spite of this, LH continues to be advocated almost universally in the media and by political and foreign policy commentators. People who criticize its exercise are ostracized. Nevertheless, Walt names proponent’s names and few well known political and military spokesmen are spared.

Walt reviews Trump’s foreign policy and military efforts and concludes he has made matters worse.

Walt presents a very persuasive alternative strategy that he calls Offshore Balancing. It would entail a continued strong military but much less active military involvement in other countries and more use of diplomacy. This is truly a book well worth reading.

Trump immigration stance

The only area where Trump was more or less consistent with his election promises was the immigration. But even here his record is not that satisfactory as he missed his changes to build the Wall and retracted on many important issues like H1B visa, etc.  In this sense he might be helped by continuing crisis of Democratic Party (aka Demexit) and its inability to get rid off the corrupt to the core Clinton wing of Dems.

Forget Russiagate, Trump revealed himself as the agent of Israeli lobby

Hs stance toward Israel is controversial and led to a sarcastic rewording of his slogan MAGA into MIGA. His behavior in Syria might signify his complete political dependence on Israel lobby,  which now is viewed suspiciously by most US voters.   So while Russiagate witch hunt tries to find connection between Trump and Russia (although connections between Trump and Russian mobsters might really exists) the real scandal is the level of subservience of Trump toward Israel.

Trump is neocons hostage and does not control the USA foreign policy. In this circumstances China needs to get tough on casino modul Adelson to get her message heard by Bolton and other neocons

Dec 19, 2018 | www.unz.com

In his recent article "Averting World Conflict with China" Ron Unz has come up with an intriguing suggestion for the Chinese government to turn the tables on the December 1 st arrest of Meng Wanzhou in Canada. Canada detained Mrs. Meng, CFO of the world's largest telecoms equipment manufacturer Huawei, at the request of the United States so she could be extradited to New York to face charges that she and her company had violated U.S. sanctions on Iran. The sanctions in question had been imposed unilaterally by Washington and it is widely believed that the Trump Administration is sending a signal that when the ban on purchasing oil from Iran comes into full effect in May there will be no excuses accepted from any country that is unwilling to comply with the U.S. government's demands. Washington will exercise universal jurisdiction over those who violate its sanctions, meaning that foreign officials and heads of corporations that continue to deal with Iran can be arrested when traveling internationally and will be extradited to be tried in American courts.

There is, of course, a considerable downside to arresting a top executive of a leading foreign corporation from a country that is a major U.S. trading partner and which also, inter alia, holds a considerable portion of the U.S. national debt. Ron Unz has correctly noted the " extraordinary gravity of this international incident and its potential for altering the course of world history." One might add that Washington's demands that other nations adhere to its sanctions on third countries opens up a Pandora's box whereby no traveling executives will be considered safe from legal consequences when they do not adhere to policies being promoted by the United States. Unz cites Columbia's Jeffrey Sachs as describing it as "almost a U.S. declaration of war on China's business community." If seizing and extraditing businessmen becomes the new normal those countries most affected will inevitably retaliate in kind. China has already detained two traveling Canadians to pressure Ottawa to release Mrs. Meng. Beijing is also contemplating some immediate retaliatory steps against Washington to include American companies operating in China if she is extradited to the U.S.

Ron Unz has suggested that Beijing might just want to execute a quid pro quo by pulling the licenses of Sheldon Adelson's casinos operating in Macau, China and shutting them down, thereby eliminating a major source of his revenue. Why go after an Israeli-American casino operator rather than taking steps directly against the U.S. government? The answer is simple. Pressuring Washington is complicated as there are many players involved and unlikely to produce any positive results while Adelson is the prime mover on much of the Trump foreign policy, though one hesitates to refer to it as a policy at all.

Adelson is the world's leading diaspora Israel-firster and he has the ear of the president of the United States, who reportedly speaks and meets with him regularly. And Adelson uses his considerable financial resources to back up his words of wisdom. He is the fifteenth wealthiest man in America with a reported fortune of $33 billion. He is the number one contributor to the GOP having given $81 million in the last cycle. Admittedly that is chump change to him, but it is more than enough to buy the money hungry and easily corruptible Republicans.

In a certain sense, Adelson has obtained control of the foreign policy of the political party that now controls both the White House and the Senate, and his mission in life is to advance Israeli interests. Among those interests is the continuous punishment of Iran, which does not threaten the United States in any way, through employment of increasingly savage sanctions and threats of violence, which brings us around to the arrest of Meng and the complicity of Adelson in that process. Adelson's wholly owned talking head National Security Adviser John Bolton reportedly had prior knowledge of the Canadian plans and may have actually been complicit in their formulation. Adelson has also been the major force behind moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, has also convinced the Administration to stop its criticism of the illegal Israeli settlements on Arab land and has been instrumental in cutting off all humanitarian aid to the Palestinians. He prefers tough love when dealing with the Iranians, advocating dropping a nuclear bomb on Iran as a warning to the Mullahs of what more might be coming if they don't comply with all the American and Israeli demands.

Trump tax cuts for the  rich

His tax cuts benefitted mainly the rich -- clear betrayal of his 2016 platform, which emphasized creation of jobs for middle class and improving the condition of workers.  He adopted monstrous military budget which clearly is stealing funds from his voters.


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[Sep 18, 2019] Trump proved to be a weak politician who is too cozy with the Isreal lobby. He illegally removed the U.S. from the Iran deal and is now boxed into escalation that has no good outcome.

Brian not to be confused with the Inner Party member in 1984. This is just a coincidence.
Sep 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Circe , Sep 18 2019 14:19 utc | 146
The U.S. just increased sanctions on Iran again. Bad move.

Trump is stupid. He illegally removed the U.S. from the Iran deal and is now boxed into escalation that has no good outcome...

[Sep 18, 2019] Iran is a coherent nation with long history and proved ability to defend itslef even at the cost of enormous sacrifices. One hopes that the Pentagon can understand that any attack on Iran coalition will be met with a coordinated and unreserved response by Iran and all its allies.

Sep 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Grieved , Sep 18 2019 2:54 utc | 80

@b - "Iran has thereby plausible deniability when attacks like the recent one on Abquiq happen. That Iran supplied drones with 1,500 kilometer reach to its allies in Yemen means that its allies in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq and elsewhere have access to similar means."

I read the Tyler Rogoway WarZone article you linked to, and it was the first time I'd seen the concept that Iran "has built a plausible deniability environment" for itself, but I think Rogoway is missing a serious point. If Iran has such deniability, I don't think this exists by contrivance. I think the truth of the situation has created such plausible deniability, if in fact such a thing even exists, or if such a thing is even desired by Iran or any of its allies.

I would like to offer a more nuanced view of the relationship between Iran and its allies. Specifically regarding your view that Iran's allies are "willing to act on Iran's behalf should the need arise."

I get the impression that it's more a case that all these allies see themselves in the same existential position, and have developed, and are continuing to refine, an "all for one and one for all" approach to the regional security of all the sovereign allies.

Sharmine Narwani explained this very thing in her recent interview with Ross Ashcroft, where she said that if one of the allies is attacked by the US or Israel, all of the allies will join in immediately and without reservation, because for each of them it is the same existential threat:
What's the real plan with Iran?

And the interview you link to by Nader Talebzadeh with IRGC General Amir Ali Hajizadeh concludes with the general's statement that "...in Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, Syria, Yemen; now Muslims are all a coalition standing next to each other".
How likely is the possibility of a military conflict between Iran and the US?

~~

I'm not trying to split hairs here, but it strikes me as important to note that these countries have moved on from being isolated, and are in fact in a coalition, albeit still coalescing. Their militaries have trained together and established joint command centers in recent times.

As the general explained, when the threat of attack by the US seemed imminent - at the time Iran downed the drone - Iran was fully prepared to attack and destroy several US bases. One hopes that the Pentagon can understand that any attack on one of these members of the coalition will be met with a coordinated and unreserved response by all allies.

Given such a geopolitical situation now throughout the region, the concept of Iran's having "plausible deniability" for other countries to act on its behalf seems too narrow a view. And this is why all the fevered discussion about who "owns" the Houthi strike is missing the main strategic point that the whole region "owns" it - and why it is sufficient that the Houthi did in fact act alone, but not alone, because none of these forces is now alone. It is, one gathers, a brotherly coalition that has formed and is becoming yet stronger

So it need not be the case that everything flows from Iran, or revolves around Iran. The whole region is now the steel trap not to step on.

donkeytale , Sep 18 2019 3:16 utc | 81

Grieved @ 80

Excellent point very well stated.

[Sep 18, 2019] Do you really want to be a one term president? Pompeo can talk big now and then go back to Kansas to run for senator. Where will you be able to take refuge?

Iran has incentives to increase the chance of a Democrat administration, bearing in mind the great deal they got from the last one and the lack of anything they can expect from Trump Term Two.
Sep 18, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Do you really want to be a one term president? Pompeo can talk big now and then go back to Kansas to run for senator. Where will you be able to take refuge? Don't let the neocons like Pompeo sell you on war.

Make the intelligence people show you the evidence in detail. Make your own judgments. pl


Vegetius , 17 September 2019 at 08:37 PM

Whatever else he knows, Trump knows that he can't sell a war to the American people.
confusedponderer -> Vegetius... , 18 September 2019 at 03:51 AM
Vegetius,
re " Trump knows that he can't sell a war to the American people "

Are you sure? I am not.

Reflection, self criticism or self restraint are not exactly the big strengths of Trump. He prefers solo acts (Emergency! Emergency!) and dislikes advice (especially if longer than 4 pages) and the advice of the sort " You're sure? If you do that the the shit will fly in your face in an hour, Sir ".

A good number of the so called grownups who gave such advice were (gameshow style) fired, sometimes by twitter.

Trump can order attacks and I don't expect much protest from Mark Esper and it depends on the military (which likely will obey).

These so called grownups have been replaced by (then still) happy Bolton (likely, even after being fired, still war happy) and applauders like Pompeo and his buddy Esper.

Israel could, if politically just a tad more insane, bomb Iran and thus invite the inevitable retaliation. When that happens they'll cry for US aid, weapons and money because they alone ~~~

(a) cannot defeat Iran (short of going nuclear) and ...
(b) Holocaust! We want weapons and money from Germany, too! ...
(c) they know that ...
(d) which does not lead in any way to Netanyahu showing signgs of self restraint or reason.

Netanyahu just - it is (tight) election time - announced, in his sldedge hammer style subtlety, that (he) Israel will annect the palestinian west jordan territory, making the Plaestines an object in his election campaign.

IMO that idea is simply insane and invites more "troubles". But then, I didn't hear anything like, say, Trump gvt protests against that (and why expect that from the dudes who moved the US embassy to Jerusalem).

confusedponderer -> Vegetius... , 18 September 2019 at 07:28 AM
Vegetius,
as for Trump and Netanyahu ... policy debate ... I had that here in mind, which pretty speaks for itself. And I thought Trumo is just running for office in the US. Alas, it is a Netanyaho campaign poster from the current election:

https://i.guim.co.uk/img/media/a6e60efd3bde0befbcb8b0a95a42bf4c2624e017/57_296_5123_3074/master/5123.jpg?width=1920&quality=85&auto=format&fit=max&s=1958b9e7cf24d7a3a7b024845de08f7e

As a thank you to Trump calling the Israel ocupied Golan a part of Israel Netanyahu called an (iirc also illegal) new Golan settlement "Ramat Trump"

https://cdn.mdr.de/nachrichten/mdraktuell-golan-hoehen-trump-hights-100-resimage_v-variantSmall24x9_w-704.jpg?version=0964

I generously assume that things like that only happen because of the hard and hard ly work of Kushner on his somewhat elusive but of course GIGANTIC and INCREDIBLE Middle East peace plan.

Kushner is probably getting hard and hard ly supported by Ivanka who just said that she inherited her moral compass from her father. Well ... congatulations ... I assume.

Stueeeeeeee said in reply to Vegetius... , 18 September 2019 at 08:31 AM
I disagree. Trump maybe the only person who could sell a war with Iran. What he has cultivated is a rabid base that consists of sycophants on one extreme end and desperate nationalists on the other. His base must stick with him...who else do they have?

The Left is indifferent to another war. Further depleting the quality stock of our military will aid there agenda of international integration. A weaker US military will force us to collaborate with the world community and not lead it is their thinking.

The rest of the nation will follow.

prawnik said in reply to Vegetius... , 18 September 2019 at 10:36 AM
Need I trot out Goering's statement regarding selling a war once more?

Göring: Why, of course, the people don't want war. Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship.

Gilbert: There is one difference. In a democracy, the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars.

Göring: Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.

turcopolier , 17 September 2019 at 09:31 PM
jonst

We have been so thoroughly indoctrinated with the idea that Iran and Russia are intrinsically and immutable evil and hostile that the thought of actual two sided diplomacy does not occur. IMO neither of these countries are what we collectively think them. So, we could actually give it a try rather than trying to beggar them and destroy their economies. If all fails than we have to be prepared to defend our forces. DOL

Matt said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 12:54 AM
I agree with your reply 100%

Iranophobia goes back to 1979,

Russophobia goes back to at least 1917 if not further, especially in the UK,

Sinophobia for the US reaches back to the mid to late 1800's

these phobias are so entrenched now they're a huge obstacle to overcome,

Mark Twain: "It's easier to fool people than to convince them that they have been fooled."

William Casey: "We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false"

Christian Chuba , 18 September 2019 at 05:22 AM
The 'ivestigations are a formality. The Saudis (with U.S. backing) are already saying that the missiles were Iranian made and according to them, this proves that Iran fired them. The Saudis are using the more judicious phrase 'behind the attack' but Pompeo is running with the fired from Iran narrative.

How can we tell the difference between an actual Iranian manufactured missile vs one that was manufactured in Yemen based on Iranian designs? We only have a few pictures Iranian missiles unlike us, the Iranians don't toss them all over the place so we don't have any physical pieces to compare them to.

Perhaps honest investigators could make a determination but even if they do exist they will keep quiet while the bible thumping Pompeo brays and shamelessly lies as he is prone to do.

PRC90 said in reply to Christian Chuba... , 18 September 2019 at 10:36 AM
These kinds of munition will leave hundreds of bits scattered all over their targets. I'm waiting for the press conference with the best bits laid out on the tables.
I doubt that there will be any stencils saying 'Product of Iran', unless the paint smells fresh.
Nuff Sed , 18 September 2019 at 07:22 AM
1. I am still waiting to read some informed discussion concerning the *accuracy* of the projectiles hitting their targets with uncanny precision from hundreds of miles away. What does this say about the achievement of those pesky Eye-rainians? https://www.moonofalabama.org/images9/saudihit2.jpg

2. "The US Navy has many ships in the Gulf and the Arabian Sea. The Iranian Navy and the IRGC Navy will attack our naval vessels until the Iranian forces are utterly destroyed.: Ahem, Which forces are utterly destroyed? With respect colonel, you are not thinking straight. An army with supersonic land to sea missiles that are highly accurate will make minced meat of any fool's ship that dare attack it. The lesson of the last few months is that Iran is deadly serious about its position that if they cannot sell their oil, no one else will be able to either. And if the likes of the relatively broadminded colonel have not yet learned that lesson, then this can only mean that the escalation ladder will continue to be climbed, rung by rung. Next rung: deep sea port of Yanbu, or, less likely, Ra's Tanura. That's when the price of oil will really go through the roof and the Chinese (and possibly one or two of the Europoodles) will start crying Uncle Scam. Nuff Sed.

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:07 AM
nuff Sed

It sounds like you are getting a little "help" with this. You statement about the result of a naval confrontation in the Gulf reflects the 19th Century conception that "ships can't fight forts." that has been many times exploded. You have never seen the amount of firepower that would be unleashed on Iran from the air and sea. Would the US take casualties? Yes, but you will be destroyed.

Nuff Sed -> turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 08:18 AM
We will have to agree to disagree. But unless I am quite mistaken, the majority view if not the consensus of informed up to date opinion holds that the surest sign that the US is getting ready to attack Iran is that it is withdrawing all of its naval power out of the Persian Gulf, where they would be sitting ducks.

Besides, I don't think it will ever come to that. Not to repeat myself, but taking out either deep sea ports of Ra's Tanura and/ or Yanbu (on the Red Sea side) will render Saudi oil exports null and void for the next six months. The havoc that will play with the price of oil and consequently on oil futures and derivatives will be enough for any president and army to have to worry about. But if the US would still be foolhardy enough to continue to want to wage war (i.e. continue its strangulation of Iran, which it has been doing more or less for the past 40 years), then the Yemeni siege would be broken and there would be a two-pronged attack from the south and the north, whereby al-Qatif, the Shi'a region of Saudi Arabia where all the oil and gas is located, will be liberated from their barbaric treatment at the hands of the takfiri Saudi scum, which of course is completely enabled and only made possible by the War Criminal Uncle Sam.

Go ahead, make my day: roll the dice.

scott s. said in reply to Nuff Sed ... , 18 September 2019 at 11:32 AM
AFAIK the only "US naval power" currently is the Abraham Lincoln CSG and I haven't seen any public info that it was in the Persian Gulf. Aside from the actual straits, I'm not sure of your "sitting ducks" assertion. First they wouldn't be sitting, and second you have the problem of a large volume of grey shipping that would complicate the targeting problem. Of course with a reduced time-of-flight, that also reduces target position uncertainty.
CK said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 09:55 AM
Forts are stationary.
Nothing I have read implies that Iran has a lot of investment in stationary forts.
Millennium Challenge 2002, only the game cannot be restarted once the enemy does not behave as one hopes. Unlike in scripted war simulations, Opfor can win.
I remember the amount of devastation that was unleashed on another "backwards nation" Linebackers 1 - 20, battleship salvos chemical defoliants, the Phoenix program, napalm for dessert.
And not to put to fine a point on it, but that benighted nation was oriental; Iran is a Caucasian nation full of Caucasian type peoples.
Nothing about this situation is of any benefit to the USA.
We do not need Saudi oil, we do not need Israel to come to the defense of the USA here in North America, we do not need to stick our dick into the hornet's nest and then wonder why they sting and it hurts. How many times does Dumb have to win?
Nuff Sed , 18 September 2019 at 08:07 AM
3. Also, I can't imagine this event as being a very welcome one for Israeli military observers, the significance of which is not lost on them, unlike their US counterparts. If Yemen/ Iran can put the Abqaiq processing plant out of commission for a few weeks, then obviusly Hezbollah can do the same for the giant petrochemical complex at Haifa, as well as Dimona, and the control tower at Ben Gurion Airport.
http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/239251

https://www.timesofisrael.com/haifa-municipal-workers-block-refinery-access-for-2nd-day/

These are the kinds of issues which are germane: the game has changed. What are the implications?

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:08 AM
nuff sed

I have said repeatedly that Hizbullah can destroy Israel. Nothing about that has changed.

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:17 AM
Yeah, right

It was late at night when I wrote this. Yeah, Right. the Iranians could send their massive ground force into Syria where it would be chewed up by US and Israeli air. Alternatively they could invade Saudi arabia.

Yeah, Right said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 08:38 AM
Thank you for the reply but actually I was thinking that an invasion of Afghanistan would be the more sensible ploy.

To my mind if the Iranian Army sits on its backside then the USAF and IAF will ignore it to roam the length and breadth of Iran destroying whatever ground targets are on their long-planned target-list.

Or that Iranian Army can launch itself into Afghanistan, at which point all of the USA plans for a methodical aerial pummelling of Iran's infrastructure goes out the window as the USAF scrambles to save the American forces in Afghanistan from being overrun.

Isn't that correct?

So what incentive is there for that Iranian Army to sit around doing nothing?

Iran will do what the USAF isn't expecting it to do, if for no other reason that it upsets the USA's own game-plan.

johnf , 18 September 2019 at 08:41 AM
There seems to be a bit of a hiatus in proceedings - not in these columns but on the ground in the ME.

Everyone seems to be waiting for something.

Could this "something" be the decisive word fron our commander in chief Binyamin Netanyahu?

The thing is he has just pretty much lost an election. Likud might form part of the next government of Israel but most likely not with him at its head.

Does anyone have any ideas on what the future policy of Israel is likely to be under Gantz or whoever? Will it be the same, worse or better?

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:51 AM
Yeah Right

The correct US move would be to ignore an Iranian invasion of Afghanistan and continue leaving the place. The Iranian Shia can then fight the Sunni jihadi tribesmen.

Yeah, Right said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 09:29 AM
Oh, I completely agree that if the Iranians launch an invasion of Afghanistan then the only sensible strategy would be for the US troops to pack up and get out as fast as possible.

But that is "cut and run", which many in Washington would view as a humiliation.

Do you really see the beltway warriors agreeing to that?

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:53 AM
Stueee

A flaw in your otherwise sound argument is that the US military has not been seriously engaged for several years and has been reconstituting itself with the money Trump has given them.

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 08:57 AM
Nuff Sed

Re-positioning of forces does not indicate that a presidential decision for war has been made. The navy will not want to fight you in the narrow, shallow waters of the Gulf.

Lars , 18 September 2019 at 09:53 AM
I would think that Mr. Trump would have a hard time sell a war with Iran over an attack on Saudi Arabia. The good question about how would that war end will soon be raised and I doubt there are many good answers.

The US should have gotten out of that part of the world a long time ago, just as they should have paid more attention to the warnings in President Eisenhower's farewell address.

turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 10:12 AM
CK

The point was about shore based firepower, not forts. don't be so literal.

CK said in reply to turcopolier ... , 18 September 2019 at 10:34 AM
The Perfumed Fops in the DOD restarted Millennium Challenge 2002,because Gen Van Riper had used 19th and early 20th century tactics and shore based firepower to sink the Blue Teams carrier forces. There was a script, Van Riper did some adlibbing. Does the US DOD think that Iran will follow the US script? In a unipolar world maybe the USA could enforce a script, that world was severely wounded in 1975, took a sucking chest wound during operation Cakewalk in 2003 and died in Syria in 2015. Too many poles too many powers not enough diplomacy. It will not end well.
turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 10:16 AM
lars

We would crush Iran at some cost to ourselves but the political cost to the anti-globalist coalition would catastrophic. BTW Trump's "base" isn't big enough to elect him so he cannot afford to alienate independents.

prawnik , 18 September 2019 at 10:32 AM
Even if Rouhani and the Iranian Parliament personally designed, assembled, targeted and launched the missiles (scarier sounding version of "drones"), then they should be congratulated, for the Saudi tyrant deserves every bad thing that he gets.
turcopolier , 18 September 2019 at 10:49 AM
prawnik (Sid) in this particular situation goering's glittering generalization does not apply. Trump needs a lot of doubting suburbanites to win and a war will not incline them to vote for him.
Bill Wade , 18 September 2019 at 10:53 AM
Looks like President Trump is walking it back, tweet: I have just instructed the Secretary of the Treasury to substantially increase Sanctions on the country of Iran!
PRC90 , 18 September 2019 at 11:34 AM
I doubt there will be armed conflict of any kind.
Everything Trump does from now (including sacking the Bolton millstone) will be directed at winning 2020, and that will not be aided by entering into some inconclusive low intensity attrition war.
Iran, on the other hand, will be doing everything it can to increase the chance of a Democrat administration, bearing in mind the great deal they got from the last one and the lack of anything they can expect from Trump Term Two.
This may be a useful tool for determining their next move, but the limit of their actions would be when some Democrats begin making the electorally damaging mistake of critising Trump for not retaliating against Iranian provocations.
Terence Gore , 18 September 2019 at 11:35 AM
Pros and cons of many options considered against Iran

https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/06_iran_strategy.pdf

[Sep 18, 2019] Here is an article that looks at how American voters feel about Donald Trump's approach to Iran

Sep 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Sally Snyder , Sep 17 2019 19:58 utc | 5

Here is an article that looks at how American voters feel about Donald Trump's approach to Iran:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2019/07/main-street-america-and-another-war-in.html

Should the warrior who currently inhabits the position of Secretary of State use his influence to persuade Donald Trump to enter what would likely be a very lengthy war of attrition in Iran, it may prove to be a very costly move for the Republican Party in November of 2020 given the level of support for such actions among Main Street Americans.

[Sep 18, 2019] Joe Biden Is Problematic by Charles M. Blow

Sep 18, 2019 | www.nytimes.com

David NYC Sept. 16 Times Pick

What in the world have Democrats done to make things better for blacks? Look at Chicago and Baltimore, and everywhere for that matter. Trump is by far the better choice if you're black. Democrats are far, far more concerned with illegals immigrants, and bringing in as many as possible and pumping huge amounts of dollars into supporting them. So many inner city blacks now recognize this, and realize there's only so much to go around, and they are being left behind. How would blacks fare better under Biden? He was with Obama for eight years, and nothing improved, so how in the world will it be any different? Blacks will continue to be forgotten with the Dems' insistence on welcoming as many illegal immigrants as possible. Employment for blacks under Trump is at its highest level ever. That will regress if/when a Democrat is elected.
Thomas Field Dallas Sept. 16 Times Pick
Ironically, this reads like an attack on white people for something they had nothing to with, either because they weren't born yet, or like the majority of whites are not racist and don't support white supremacy. Is racism still a problem? Sure, but to imply zero progress on race since 1860, is disingenuous at best. I have lived in Dallas Texas since 1958, a city as racist as it gets. There's a famous pic of laborer Allen Brooks hanging from an Elk's Club arch in the middle of downtown in 1910. As a kid I remember my mild mannered Grandfather remarking in amazement as we watched American Bandstand..."I can't get over it, blacks and whites dancing together". He didn't mean with each other, he was shocked black couples were dancing on the same floor as whites. Even at eight years, I was appalled at his regressive, antiquated racial views. It never occurred to me to be racist. When I was a teen I transferred out of a 100% white high school to attend the Booker T. Washington Arts Magnet in Dallas, Alma-Mater of Nora Jones and Erykah Badu. Point is, these things are literally not as simple as black and white. I can honestly say I've never met a straight-up white supremacist in my life and strive to treat everyone as individuals based on the brotherhood of man and mutual respect. I think most white people would love to settle the race issue once and for all but don't know how, short of getting in a time machine and undoing everything from the slave trade forward.
Jon T Los Angeles Sept. 16 Times Pick
The left doesn't seem to realize that the wokest candidate and the electoral college are mutually exclusive. Hillary barely lost the rust belt and was saying woke things but lost badly with working class white voters who voted for Obama in 2008. Why? Look at his message - it wasn't atone for your grand parents sins. It was I see one America. Which sounds better (stepping out of the bubble might help your hearing). Trump is so beatable but the bubble has become so hardened that the left may just hand him re-election as they are appearing to lose complete touch with the electoral college demographics. Completely shunning white working class votes (something Obama definitely did not do) is folly. 9 Replies
Ellen Blanchette Greenfield, MA Sept. 16 Times Pick
Joe Biden's main problem is he is stuck in the past. His view of cures for poverty and the learning gap between black and white students is stuck in old research that has a clear racial bias. The things he said in that long rambling answer suffer from the view that somehow black parents lack vocabulary and cultural enrichment when nothing could be further from the truth. If anything, black culture has enriched white culture through art and music, language, fiction, poetry, and so much more. Children growing up in poverty suffer many obstacles to good health and education. For example, we learned a long time ago that many children come to school hungry, which is why we have breakfast and free lunch programs for children whose family incomes are below poverty level. A hungry child will not learn. Nor will an abused child, or one who is homeless, or alone in life. To make this a racial thing instead of a poverty issue is a mistake. Biden may still have the support of the older black community but I doubt his language will go over well with the younger voters, black or white. I suppose I could be considered a white liberal and am in fact the same age as Joe but his language offends my ear. And he reminds me of what held Hillary back, an attitude that he can lean on his past history, "You know me, look at my record." This is a huge mistake. He needs to say who he is today, and what he would do as president. 11 Replies
Jessica West Sept. 16 Times Pick
The prospect of Biden as the Democratic nominee has got me already feeling disillusioned, demoralized, and pessimistic. The Democrats keep missing the mark. Voting their fears. Look what happened in 2008 and 2018 when they voted their hopes. I would love to see a poll of this hypothetical: who would you vote for if you knew they would win. Pretend they will be automatically installed. Whose platform, whose values and vision and experience and leadership do you want to try as the voice of our country for 4 years? I seriously doubt the answer would be Joe Biden! Remember people, everyone was too afraid to vote for Bernie last time. Hilary was the 'safe' one who was 'more likely to beat dung- for-brains'. And here we are, doing it again. 25 Replies
Tom San Jose Sept. 16 Times Pick
I can't help but recall the 1964 Democratic Convention when I hear Biden or hear of his comments. For those who are not familiar with that convention, this was still during legal segregation (yes, it was the law). A group that named itself the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP) was formed (it's a long story) and challenged the seating of the formal, segregated and segregationist, Mississippi delegation to the Democratic convention. Liberal icons Hubert Humphrey (1968 Democratic loser to Nixon) and Walter Mondale (1984 loser to Reagan) were among the most prominent Dems that refused to seat the MFDP and seated the racist delegation. It is out of that tradition that Biden issues. The fact that Biden can't speak coherently about his record is because of what the content of Democratic Party politics has been. He really doesn't see any problem with it. Yes, Trump is a fascist - be honest and say it, because it's true. But really, is a party with "leaders" like Biden an answer to Trump?
Deborah Manhattan Sept. 16 Times Pick
I'm a black voter and Joe Biden's campaign and his political history are very problematic for me. Secondly, every political organization that has requested my choice of Democratic presidential candidates has not once shown Biden leading, once the votes are tallied; it's always either Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders leading these polls. Moreover, the "electability" mantra is pure public relations, centrist nonsense. Of course Donald Trump is a dystopian horror show, but running a "not-for-primetime" candidate like Joe Biden is just asking for another four years of Trump. Has this country learned nothing from 2016?
Nathan B. Toronto Sept. 16 Times Pick
Let's be honest about Joe Biden: The only reason Obama selected him to be his VP was to assuage the fears of much of white America. He served a specific purpose related to anxieties about demographics and race. He was not selected because he was a great legislator, a great moral voice, a foreign policy expert (Iraq war, anyone?), or a brilliant politician. He was selected to be VP precisely because he had a checkered past on race, showing that Obama, who so much of white America suspected of being a radical, would overlook and would certainly not confront white America's racism. There is absolutely no compelling reason for Joe Biden to be president, except to continue to appeal to forces in American society that need to be cast away. If he is the nominee, he might win, he might not. But he will be a disappointment.

[Sep 18, 2019] Ukraine Votes for a Future in Europe by Robert C. O'Brien

A very weak article. Complete lack of understanding on the real situation in Ukraine. This worse the the level of freshmen in the second rate college.
Yet another unreformed Cold War warrior...
Oct 29, 2014 | nationalinterest.org

"Ukrainians are happy today. They showed the world that they remain unbowed in the face of aggression and are committed to a future in the democratic West."

https://lockerdome.com/lad/12130885885741670?pubid=ld-3562-627&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fnationalinterest.org&rid=duckduckgo.com&width=896

[Sep 18, 2019] Trump Makes Another Bad Choice for National Security Advisor

Looks like Trump just increased his chances to lose to Warren in 2020 elections.
Notable quotes:
"... O'Brien advised the Romney 2012 campaign, and he also advised the short-lived Scott Walker campaign in the 2016 cycle. He is a typical hawkish Republican. ..."
"... Obviously, "Bolton lite" isn't much of an improvement over Bolton, and it seems unlikely that there will be any significant improvement in administration foreign policy over the next fifteen months. The summary of O'Brien's book confirms as much: ..."
"... Back in 2014, he was praising Romney for his "Churchill-like warning of a resurgent Russia," and I pointed out that Romney had said a lot of ignorant, knee-jerk things about Russia that were wrong. The fact that O'Brien thought and probably still thinks that "Romney was right" about anything related to foreign policy is more evidence that Trump made a very poor choice again. ..."
"... Let's be serious, Mr Trump did not pick Mr Robert O'Brien. ..."
Sep 18, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Trump announced the selection of his fourth National Security Advisor:

President Trump announced Wednesday that Robert O'Brien, the special envoy for hostage affairs at the State Department, will be his next national security advisor.

O'Brien previously served in the Bush administration's State Department. Hugh Hewitt, who wrote the foreword to O'Brien's book , has described him as a "long time colleague of John Bolton." Since the Bush years, O'Brien advised the Romney 2012 campaign, and he also advised the short-lived Scott Walker campaign in the 2016 cycle. He is a typical hawkish Republican. Curt Mills referred to him in his recent report on the race to replace Bolton this way:

Robert O'Brien, the Trump hostage negotiator whose stock has risen in the administration in recent months, is "Bolton lite," according to a source who has known O'Brien for years.

Obviously, "Bolton lite" isn't much of an improvement over Bolton, and it seems unlikely that there will be any significant improvement in administration foreign policy over the next fifteen months. The summary of O'Brien's book confirms as much:

The world has become steadily more dangerous under President Obama's "lead from behind" foreign policy. The Obama Administration's foreign policy has emboldened our adversaries and disheartened our allies. Indeed, Obama's nuclear deal with Iran is a 1938 moment. At the same time, the U.S. military has been cut and risks returning to the hollow force days of the 1970s. O'Brien lays out the challenges and provides the common sense "peace through strength" solutions that will allow the next president to make America great again.

There is nothing surprising in here, and a lot that is embarrassingly wrong, but it is consistent with the GOP's bankrupt foreign policy worldview. A friendly review of the book describes that worldview in boilerplate terms:

Robert writes from a series of beliefs and assumptions that I also hold: a deep belief in American Exceptionalism, that peace comes through strength, that the United States is stronger when it partners with its allies and when America is a reliable friend to its allies, that the greatness of America comes from a people that respect tradition and the rule of law, and that (yes) we are the good guys and there are some bad guys out there.

I have had occasion to criticize O'Brien's writings in the past. Back in 2014, he was praising Romney for his "Churchill-like warning of a resurgent Russia," and I pointed out that Romney had said a lot of ignorant, knee-jerk things about Russia that were wrong. The fact that O'Brien thought and probably still thinks that "Romney was right" about anything related to foreign policy is more evidence that Trump made a very poor choice again.

O'Brien's most recent high-profile assignment was to be sent to Sweden as part of the president's embarrassing fixation on the case of the rapper ASAP Rocky , who had been detained in Sweden and was facing charges for assault. It would not surprise me if this silly episode and waste of government resources was quite important in winning the president's favor. O'Brien probably wasn't the worst choice Trump could have made, but Trump's fourth choice for National Security Advisor is still a bad one.

Sydney an hour ago

Who says Mr Trump is unpredictable? Is there anybody expected anything else from Mr Trump when it comes to picking his advisers or making thoughtful decisions? Let's be serious, Mr Trump did not pick Mr Robert O'Brien. The Bolton, Pompeo, Pence triumvirate picked Trump's NSA; naturally.

[Sep 18, 2019] O'Brien lays out the challenges and provides the common sense "peace through strength" solutions that will allow the next president to make America great again.

Yet another neocon, who want to sacrifice the well being of the US population for imperial glory
Sep 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
Don Bacon , Sep 18 2019 15:19 utc | 153
The new US National Security Advisor is lawyer Robert C. O'Brien, best known as author of his 2016 book "While America Slept: Restoring American Leadership to a World in Crisis."

Amazon 2016 blurb:

Robert C. O'Brien's collection of essays on U.S. national security and foreign policy, with a forward by Hugh Hewitt, is a wake up call to the American people. The world has become steadily more dangerous under President Obama's "lead from behind" foreign policy. The Obama Administration's foreign policy has emboldened our adversaries and disheartened our allies. Indeed, Obama's nuclear deal with Iran is a 1938 moment. At the same time, the U.S. military has been cut and risks returning to the hollow force days of the 1970s. O'Brien lays out the challenges and provides the common sense "peace through strength" solutions that will allow the next president to make America great again. . . here
The origin of MAGA? Or merely an update.

Norwegian , Sep 18 2019 15:29 utc | 159

Don Bacon @153
O'Brien, best known as author of his 2016 book "While America Slept: Restoring American Leadership to a World in Crisis."

Not to be confused with the Inner Party member in 1984. Just a coincidence.

[Sep 18, 2019] Gee, didn't we have this advantage once? Thanks, neoliberals!

Sep 18, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Trade

"The Trade War Spurs China's Technology Innovators Into Overdrive" [ Industry Week ]. "In Shenzhen's glitzy financial district, a five-year-old outfit creates a 360-degree sports camera that goes on to win awards and draw comparisons to GoPro Inc. Elsewhere in the Pearl River Delta, a niche design house is competing with the world's best headphone makers. And in the capital Beijing, a little-known startup becomes one of the biggest purveyors of smartwatches on the planet. Insta360, SIVGA and Huami join drone maker DJI Technology Co. among a wave of startups that are dismantling the decades-old image of China as a clone factory -- and adding to Washington's concerns about its fast-ascending international rival.

Within the world's No. 2 economy, Trump's campaign to contain China's rise is in fact spurring its burgeoning tech sector to accelerate design and invention. The threat they pose is one of unmatchable geography: by bringing design expertise and innovation to the place where devices are manufactured, these companies are able to develop products faster and more cheaply ." •

Gee, didn't we have this advantage once? Thanks, neoliberals!

[Sep 18, 2019] The systemic problem of "Iran expertise" in Washington

Bacevich is wrong: it is all about the control of oil producing nations in the Middle East and the preservation "oil for dollars only" regime (with the help of Israel as the forward base of the US imperialism in the Middle East)
Notable quotes:
"... In this piece, I want to draw attention to the systemic problem of "Iran expertise" in Washington, which is neither new nor limited to the hawkish political factions now running this country's foreign policy. ..."
"... I assert that the US foreign policy establishment[i] has collectively created a culture of expert impunity when it comes to Iran, which has contributed in no small part to the unstable and dangerous policy conditions we see under Trump today. ..."
"... Supporting Iraq in its foolhardy war with Iran in the 1980s proved to be strategically shortsighted in the extreme. It yielded vastly more problems than it solved. It set in train a series of costly wars that have produced negligible benefits. Supporting Saudi Arabia today in its misbegotten war in Yemen is no less shortsighted. ..."
"... Power confers choice, and the United States should exercise it. We can begin to do so by recognizing that Saudi Arabia's folly need not be our problem." ..."
"... Iran has a much longer history of managing pawns and vassal states than the USA. So too has Russia. Now replace 'Iran' with 'Israel' and you can recognise the belligerent initiator/opponent of the conflict. Trouble is that Trump is captive of the Israelis (and his petty ego) while being tormented and impoverished by all those countries that the USA invaded at the Israeli's behest. ..."
"... The dumb oafish response of the USA giant with its five eyes as it stomps about the planet enthralled by prospect of egomaniacle rapture is what endagers humanity. Leave the middle east and everyone else to their own conflict resolution I say. ..."
Sep 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

t r u t h , Sep 17 2019 23:59 utc | 60

Negar Razavi:

In this piece, I want to draw attention to the systemic problem of "Iran expertise" in Washington, which is neither new nor limited to the hawkish political factions now running this country's foreign policy.

I assert that the US foreign policy establishment[i] has collectively created a culture of expert impunity when it comes to Iran, which has contributed in no small part to the unstable and dangerous policy conditions we see under Trump today.

<...>

( The Systemic Problem Of "Iran Expertise" In Washington )


t r u t h , Sep 18 2019 0:18 utc | 64

Andrew J. Bacevich:

"I am not suggesting that Washington is supporting the wrong side in Yemen. I am suggesting, however, that neither side deserves support. Iran may well qualify as America's "enemy." But Saudi Arabia is not a "friend," regardless of how many billions Riyadh spends purchasing American-manufactured weaponry and how much effort Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman invests in courting President Trump and members of his family.

The conviction, apparently widespread in American policy circles, that in the Persian Gulf (and elsewhere) the United States is compelled to take sides, has been a source of recurring mischief. No doubt the escalating rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran poses a danger of further destabilizing the gulf. But the United States is under no obligation to underwrite the folly of one side or the other.

Supporting Iraq in its foolhardy war with Iran in the 1980s proved to be strategically shortsighted in the extreme. It yielded vastly more problems than it solved. It set in train a series of costly wars that have produced negligible benefits. Supporting Saudi Arabia today in its misbegotten war in Yemen is no less shortsighted.

Power confers choice, and the United States should exercise it. We can begin to do so by recognizing that Saudi Arabia's folly need not be our problem."

( Iran Might Be America's Enemy, but Saudi Arabia Is No Friend )

uncle tungsten , Sep 18 2019 0:22 utc | 65
Thanks Don Bacon #19, yep that is good material.

Iran has a much longer history of managing pawns and vassal states than the USA. So too has Russia. Now replace 'Iran' with 'Israel' and you can recognise the belligerent initiator/opponent of the conflict. Trouble is that Trump is captive of the Israelis (and his petty ego) while being tormented and impoverished by all those countries that the USA invaded at the Israeli's behest.

The dumb oafish response of the USA giant with its five eyes as it stomps about the planet enthralled by prospect of egomaniacle rapture is what endagers humanity. Leave the middle east and everyone else to their own conflict resolution I say.

karlof1 , Sep 18 2019 0:27 utc | 66
Don Bacon @58--

Yeah, I'm reminded--again--of Milo Mindbender's racket in Catch-22 , which was 100% greed driven. But we mustn't forget the vaunted Vietnam Syndrome assorted POTUS have set out to quell. Trump just played on that theme today in a portion of his speech I cited. As psychohistorian reported on the open thread, the next round of QE has commenced in an effort to bolster Trump's electability--lots of that money just went to shorting oil. Tomorrow will surely bring forth new revelations, accusations, and denials.

For any barflies in the vicinity, Iran opens "an exhibition of hunted/captured drones in #Tehran from September 22 to October 7" that will draw more than the curious. I'm sure pics will get tweeted.

Peter AU 1 , Sep 18 2019 13:12 utc | 129
Vk
Houthi news site. https://english.almasirah.net/catview.php?cid=1

https://english.almasirah.net/details.php?es_id=8810&cat_id=1
"Air Force of the Yemeni Army and Popular Committees, Saturday morning carried out a large-scale operation with 10 drones, targeting Abqaiq and Khurais refineries east of Saudi Arabia. The operation is called the 2nd Operation of Balanced Deterrence."

https://english.almasirah.net/details.php?es_id=8802&cat_id=1
"Ansarullah in Yemen claimed the attack, saying that 10 drones had targeted Abiqaiq, as well as the Khurais oilfield."

https://english.almasirah.net/details.php?es_id=8787&cat_id=1
"Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Yemeni forces said that the air force targeted 10 planes refinery Abqaiq and Khurais in eastern Saudi Arabia."

A number of other articles I have read at the houthi site also state 10 drones.

[Sep 18, 2019] Looks like Pompeo is busy sputtering platitudes and warmongering rhetorics to speed up the second coming of Christ

Notable quotes:
"... Someone should tell Mike that our credibility as a nation is further damaged with claims that are in need of supporting evidence. ..."
"... Did Fat Mike rub the head camel jockey's glowing orb? ..."
"... America is a bomb-happy empire - we kill illiterate peasants and destroy mud-walled villages. We are really good at it. ..."
"... Mike, it may be an "act of war" for Saudi Arabia but it's not an act of war for the United States. We weren't attacked, they were. Let them unfuck the situation. ..."
"... No more wars Mr. Trump, no more wars. Plus, we need to prepare to defend our Constitution on our own shores. ..."
Sep 18, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Heartfully , 1 minute ago link

Someone should tell Mike that our credibility as a nation is further damaged with claims that are in need of supporting evidence.

Thordoom , 3 minutes ago link

That conversation between Pompus and MBS must be hilarious.

Mah_Authoritah , 3 minutes ago link

Did Fat Mike rub the head camel jockey's glowing orb?

Deep Snorkeler , 8 minutes ago link

V I C T O R Y !

with Trump as our Commander-in-Chief victory is certain this won't be like those other wars:

  1. Korea
  2. Vietnam
  3. Afghanistan
  4. Iraq

America is a bomb-happy empire - we kill illiterate peasants and destroy mud-walled villages. We are really good at it.

romanmoment , 1 minute ago link

Mike, it may be an "act of war" for Saudi Arabia but it's not an act of war for the United States. We weren't attacked, they were. Let them unfuck the situation.

I am pro military and I have many friends who have served or currently serve. And I have kids. I'm not sending my kids to kill Iranians for the Saudi's, for Israel or for any other fucked-up nation in the Middle East. And I don't want 18-year-old American kids getting killed or wounded for those ungrateful ***** either.

No more wars Mr. Trump, no more wars. Plus, we need to prepare to defend our Constitution on our own shores.

[Sep 18, 2019] Jews vs. Israelis by Gilad Atzmon

Zionism is the particular ideology of far right nationalism. The author is wrong. It is not dead and Likud Party is Zionist to the core.
Sep 18, 2019 | www.unz.com

To illustrate this Pfeffer cites the 2012 Israeli High Court of Justice decision to deny a petition by writer Yoram Kaniuk and others to allow themselves to be registered solely as 'Israelis' as opposed to 'Jews.'

Every so often we hear from one Torah rabbi or another that "Zionism is not Judaism." ,,,


renfro , says: September 16, 2019 at 7:52 pm GMT

While early Zionism was a desperate attempt to divorce the Jews from the ghetto and their tribal obsession and make them "people like all other people,"

Zionist wanting to make Jews 'like all other people' by giving them a Jew ruled only state to get away from non Jews is as contradictory as 'Israel is Jewish and Democratic.'

You're never going to find logical thinking in Jews.

Colin Wright , says: Website September 16, 2019 at 8:09 pm GMT
I'm afraid you've lost me with this one. Let's start with this:

' While early Zionism was a desperate attempt to divorce the Jews from the ghetto and their tribal obsession and make them "people like all other people," the present adherence to Jewishness and kinship induces a return to Judeo-centric chauvinism '

I'm afraid I don't see the distinction. As I mentioned a while back, I see Zionism as the Jewish response to the racial nationalism that dominated thinking in Europe in the second half of the nineteenth century. There were Frenchmen, and they had France. There were Germans, and they had Germany. There were Greeks, and they had Greece. There were Jews, and they should have a Jewish state.

In all of these, the nation, its land, and the ethnic entity that was its people were perceived as indivisible -- and in point of fact, many previously amiably accepted ethnic minorities found themselves persecuted in consequence. The Poles under Prussian rule are an example: perfectly welcome in Frederick the Great's Prussia, but repeatedly targeted in Wilhelmine Germany.

It had become nonsense to speak of a 'German' who wasn't German by birth, a Turk who wasn't Turkish, etc, etc. So how would Zionism -- the Jewish equivalent of all this -- be distinct from 'Judeo-centric chauvinism'? And indeed, in the new dispensation, Jews were forced to choose between assimilation and Zionism; they could be 'Hungarians (or whatever) of the Mosaic faith' or they could be Zionists -- the traditional Jewish identity had become obsolete.

What form could 'Judeo-centric chauvinism' have taken but Zionism? Aren't the two one and the same?

Lochearn , says: September 16, 2019 at 11:22 pm GMT
Thanks Gilad for your courageous work. I think we should always remember the ordinary Jews, the grocers, the tailors, and all the others who have lived ordinary lives and suffered due to the activities of their elites. We should remember the radical Jews and the artists like Cohen, Dylan and Lou Reid to mention just a few. I could make a case that the English elites have caused just as much trouble as elite Jews. In fact, it was the meeting of English and Jewish elites that created the British empire.
Skeptikal , says: September 17, 2019 at 1:15 am GMT
@Iron Lion Zion "The dichotomy of Israeli vs Jew is rhetoric from the Israeli radical-left."

well, perhaps the survey cited was invalid -- the one concerning how Jews/Israelis self-identified.

ASAIK the original Zionist idea, or the most powerful version of it in the 20th century, was Jabotinsky's Revisionist Zionism, which was a secular movement.

If no one in Israel any longer gives even lip service to this concept, then that is indeed a big change. And, we have read at this site and elsewhere of the takeover of the Israeli state by the orthodox. Pushback on this explains the stance of Avigdor Liberman and his party members. Many of which are Russian jews who do not want to support their orthodox countrymen and -women, who are becoming demographically overrepresented but will not serve in the armed forces, etc.These issues were written about at this site recently. I think under the title "the End of Israel."

Certainly that contributoin suggests that what it means to be a Jew/Israeli is changing and that it is the Israeli "left" that is trying to maintain some kind of image of a secular Jew who is an Israeli citizen, but is going against the contemporary flow in this effort.

Tsigantes , says: September 17, 2019 at 6:59 am GMT
@Colin Wright The Greeks, French, Germans (etc.) that you cite were people who lived within national borders, spoke Greek, French, German etc., were educated in these countries and voted and fought for them (including jews) – but had many different backgrounds and a variety of religions, though of course predominately Christian. In Europe a country define themselves by their culture, not by 'race'. i.e. their history, language, philosophy, arts etc.

'Race' is a jewish divide-and-rule political tool to make up for the fact that:

Judaism is simply a belief (or, rather lifestyle) system – literally a set of life style proscriptions they call 'laws' and not technically a religion since it contains no universal, philosophic or transcendental content.

The problem for jews is what is now called judaism, which was born after Christ and born out of opposition to Christi anity. It is in fact not a religion but a political movement, anti-faith and anti-religion and anti-love of humankind.

Driven by oppositionalism, they were great proselytisers. People of many different backgrounds converted to judaism, from Ethiopians to Turkic tribes. Thus there is no "jewish nation". There is no jewish culture either as is evidenced by jews' meagre contribution to the arts, philosophy. There wasn't even a jewish language until hebrew was revived / re-invented all too recently and for political reasons.
Yiddish is a true language of jews if there is one – but it is merely a dialect, not a standalone.

The Germans destroyed themselves by falling into the jewish anti-Christian, 'racialist' trap. To aid the Germans in WW2 you had to agree to be an unter-menschen and recognise Germans as your uber-menschen ..how self-defeating is that?
And why should anyone be surprised that the exact same mentality rules in Israel today, since it is the delusional heart of judaism? A fake "Racial" Supremacy is the raison d'être of "judaism".

All of this adds up to a tragic, self-defeating and ultimately stupid (un-intelligent) position.

Sean , says: September 17, 2019 at 6:09 pm GMT
Peoples tend to want their own nation state presumably because it it the most satisfying, protective and benevolent context for individuals to mediate their lives in the world. Unfortunately German Jews lived in a state while being of a different nation to the majority, and had their rights suddenly taken away. In the Jewish state of Israel Jews are having their need for imprescriptible rights met. Palestinians want their own state and those rights that go with it.

[Sep 18, 2019] >War With Iran Would Be a Catastrophic Miscalculation by James Howard Kunstler

Notable quotes:
"... some people did some things ..."
"... some people will do nothing ..."
Sep 18, 2019 | russia-insider.com

Sep 16, 2019 Welcome to the world where things don't add up. For instance, some people did some things to the Saudi Arabian oil refinery at Abqaiq over the weekend. Like, sent over a salvo of cruise missiles and armed drone aircraft to blow it up. They did a pretty good job of disabling the works. It is Saudi Arabia's largest oil processing facility, and for now, perhaps months, a fair amount of the world's oil supply will be cut off. President Trump said "[we] are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!" Exclamation mark his.

How many times the past few years has our government declared that "we have the finest intelligence services in the world." Very well, then, why are we waiting for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to tell us who fired all that stuff into Abqaiq? Whoever did it, it was unquestionably an act of war. And, of course, what are we going to do about it? (And what will some people do about it?)

Let's face it: the USA has had a hard-on for Iran for forty years, ever since they overthrew their shah, invaded the US embassy in Tehran, and took fifty-two American diplomats and staff hostage for 444 days. On the other hand, the Arabians and Iranians have had a mutual hard-on for centuries, long before the Saud family was in charge of things, and back when Iran was known as Persia, a land of genies, fragrant spices, and a glorious antiquity (while Arabia was a wasteland of sand populated by nomads and their camels). The beef was formerly just about which brand of Islam would prevail, Sunni or Shia. Lately (the past fifty years) it has been more about the politics of oil and hegemony over the Middle East. Since the US invaded Iraq and busted up the joint, the threat has existed that Iran would take over Iraq, with its majority Shia population, especially the oil-rich Basra region at the head of the Persian Gulf. The presence of Israel greatly complicates things, since Iran has a hard-on for that nation, too, and for Jews especially, often expressed in the most belligerent and opprobrious terms, such as "wiping Israel off the map." No ambiguity there. The catch being that Israel has the capability of turning Iran into an ashtray.

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The world has been waiting for a major war in the Middle east for decades, and it might have one by close of business today. Or perhaps some people will do nothing . The Iran-backed Houthi rebels of Yemen supposedly claimed responsibility for the attack. That's rich. As if that rag-tag outfit has a whole bunch of million-dollar missiles and the knowledge and capacity to launch them successfully, not to mention the satellite guidance mojo. A correspondent suggests that the missiles were fired from a pro-Iranian military base in Iraq, with the Houthis brought in on flying carpets to push the launch buttons.

President Trump is trumpeting America's "energy independence," meaning whatever happens over there won't affect us. Well, none of that is true. We still import millions of barrels of oil a day, though much less from Saudi Arabia than before 2008. The shale oil "miracle" is hitting the skids these days. Shale oil production has gone flat, the rig-count is down, companies are going bankrupt, and financing for the debt-dependent operations is dwindling since the producers have demonstrated that they can't make a profit at it. They're trapped in the quandary of diminishing returns, frontloading production, while failing to overcome steep decline curves in wells that only produce for a couple of years.

It's also the case that shale oil is ultra-light crude, containing little heavier distillates such as diesel and aviation fuel (basically kerosene). Alas, American refineries were all built before shale oil came along. They were designed to crack heavier oil and can't handle the lighter shale. The "majors" don't want to invest their remaining capital in new refineries, and the many smaller companies don't have the ability. So, this makes necessary a high volume of oil swapping around the world. Without diesel and aviation fuel, US trucking and commercial aviation has a big problem, meaning the US economy has a big problem.

With the new crisis in the Middle East, benchmark West Texas Intermediate oil is up from around $55-a-barrel to just over $60 at the market open (European Brent crude is just above $70). That's a pop, but not a spectacular one, considering that a whole lot more damage might ensue in the days ahead. China, Korea, and Japan stand to lose bigly if the players in the Middle East really go at it and bust up each other's assets. If that happens, the world will never be the same. You can kiss the global economy goodbye for good. Let's hope some people don't do something.

[Sep 18, 2019] Will Trump Take Neocon Bait and Attack Iran Over Saudi Strike by Ron Paul

Sep 17, 2019 | www.ronpaulinstitute.org

The recent attacks on Saudi oil facilities by Yemeni Houthi forces demonstrate once again that an aggressive foreign policy often brings unintended consequences and can result in blowback. In 2015 Saudi Arabia attacked its neighbor, Yemen, because a coup in that country ousted the Saudi-backed dictator. Four years later Yemen is in ruins, with nearly 100,000 Yemenis killed and millions more facing death by starvation. It has been rightly called the worst humanitarian catastrophe on the planet.

But rich and powerful Saudi Arabia did not defeat Yemen. In fact, the Saudis last month asked the Trump Administration to help facilitate talks with the Houthis in hopes that the war, which has cost Saudi Arabia tens of billions of dollars, could finally end without Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman losing too much face. Washington admitted earlier this month that those talks had begun.

The surprise Houthi attack on Saturday disrupted half of Saudi Arabia's oil and gas production and shocked Washington. Predictably, however, the neocons are using the attack to call for war with Iran!

Sen. Lindsay Graham, one of the few people in Washington who makes John Bolton look like a dove, Tweeted yesterday that, "It is now time for the US to put on the table an attack on Iranian oil refineries " Graham is the perfect embodiment of the saying, "when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail." No matter what the problem, for Graham the solution is war.

Likewise, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo – who is supposed to represent US diplomacy – jumped to blame Iran for the attack on Saudi Arabia, Tweeting that, "Iran has now launched an unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply." Of course, he provided no evidence even as the Houthis themselves took responsibility for the bombing.

What is remarkable is that all of Washington's warmongers are ready for war over what is actually a retaliatory strike by a country that is the victim of Saudi aggression, not the aggressor itself. Yemen did not attack Saudi Arabia in 2015. It was the other way around. If you start a war and the other country fights back, you should not be entitled to complain about how unfair the whole thing is.

The establishment reaction to the Yemeni oilfield strike reminds me of a hearing in the House Foreign Affairs Committee just before the US launched the 2003 Iraq war. As I was arguing against the authorization for that war, I pointed out that Iraq had never attacked the United States. One of my colleagues stopped me in mid-sentence, saying, "let me remind the gentleman that the Iraqis have been shooting at our planes for years." True, but those planes were bombing Iraq!

The neocons want a US war on Iran at any cost. They may feel temporarily at a disadvantage with the departure of their ally in the Trump Administration, John Bolton. However, the sad truth is that there are plenty more John Boltons in the Administration. And they have allies in the Lindsay Grahams in Congress.

Yemen has demonstrated that it can fight back against Saudi aggression. The only sensible way forward is for a rapid end to this four-year travesty, and the Saudis would be wise to wake up to the mess they've created for themselves. Whatever the case, US participation in Saudi Arabia's war on Yemen must end immediately and neocon lies about Iran's role in the war must be refuted and resisted.

[Sep 18, 2019] Middle East Mystery Theater: Who Attacked Saudi Arabia's Oil Supply?

Notable quotes:
"... Committee members Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Vir.) explicitly announced their opposition to war with Iran. And prominent war powers critic Sen. Jeff Markley (D-Ore.) quipped that, "[b]ack when Presidents used to follow the Constitution, they sought consent for military action from Congress, not foreign governments that murder reporters," referring to the assassination of Saudi-American journalist Jamal Khashoggi. ..."
"... "Diplomacy by Twitter has not worked so far and it surely is not working with Iran. The president needs to stop threatening military strikes via social media," said Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Mary.) in response to a question from the National Interest . "The attack on Saudi Arabia is troubling whether it was perpetrated by Houthi rebels or Iran. The U.S. should regain its leadership by working with our allies to isolate Iran for its belligerent actions in the region." ..."
"... "The U.S. should not be looking for any opportunity to start a dangerous and costly war with Iran. Congress has not authorized war against Iran and we've made it crystal clear that Saudi Arabia needs to withdraw from Yemen," he continued. ..."
"... Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) has long been a critic of Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen, proposing a successful bill to cut off U.S. support for the Saudi-led war effort. (He did not have enough votes to override the veto.) After the attacks, he wrote a long Twitter thread explaining how "the Saudis sowed the seeds of this mess" in Yemen. ..."
"... "It's simply amazing how the Saudis call all our shots these days. We don't have a mutual defense alliance with KSA, for good reason. We shouldn't pretend we do," Murphy added. "And frankly, no matter where this latest drone strike was launched from, there is no short or long term upside to the U.S. military getting more deeply involved in the growing regional contest between the Saudis and Iranians." ..."
"... "Having our country act as Saudi Arabia's bitch is not 'America First,'" said Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard, invoking a popular Trump slogan. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ken.), who had invoked Trump's antiwar message in a public feud with Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) over the weekend, took to CNN to warn against striking Iran. ..."
"... "This is a regional conflict, that there's no reason the superpower of the United States needs to be getting into bombing mainland Iran. It would be a needless escalation of this," he told journalist Jake Tapper. "Those who loved the Iraq War, the Cheneys, the Boltons, the Kristols, they all are clamoring and champing at the bit for another war in Iran. But it's not a walk in the park." ..."
"... "In order to have clean ships by the first of January next year, all the world's shipping fleet from about now until the end of the year are busy emptying their tanks of heavy sulphur fuel oil and filling their tanks with low sulphur fuel oil, which is the new standard," Latham explained, claiming that the attack could have taken up to 20 percent of the world's desulphurization capacity out of commission. ..."
"... "This little accident was designed to be maximally disruptive to the world's oil market. It could not have happened at a worse time." "But what is really interesting is in Amsterdam this morning, I saw that for fuel oil -- the sulphurous stuff -- the price went down," Latham continued, speculating that international powers might delay the new environmental regulations by months and inadvertently drive down the price of oil in the long run. ..."
"... On Sunday, Trump tapped into emergency U.S. oil reserves, in order to stabilize prices. It's not clear, however, that the United States has enough oil to cope with wider attacks on energy infrastructure. "If the Iranians did this, they have shown they have pretty immense capabilities clearly," Parsi told the National Interest . "In the case of a full-scale war, imagine what this will do for the global economy. It's not that difficult to imagine what that will do to Trump's re-election prospects. I think that is something Trump understands." ..."
Sep 18, 2019 | nationalinterest.org

Retired Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis pointed out that the puncture marks do not actually show the origin of the attack. "Missiles can fly from almost anywhere. They have the ability to maneuver! And certainly drones can, too," the Defense Priorities senior fellow told the National Interest . "There hasn't been the time to do an actual analysis on the ground, so let's wait and see."

Mark Latham, managing partner at the London-based analysis firm Commodities Intelligence, told the National Interest that the puncture marks pointed to a cruise missile with no explosive warhead. Removing the payload would allow the missile to carry more fuel and launch from farther away from its target.

... ... ...

"Mr. X is a sophisticated fellow. He's sourced some Iranian cruise missiles. He's removed the explosive payload. He's replaced the explosive payload with fuel," he said. "So this isn't your twenty dollar Amazon drone. This is a sophisticated military operation."

"The culprit behind the Abqaiq attack is most definitely the Islamic Republic, either directly or through one of its proxies," argued Varsha Koduvayur, a senior research analyst at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

"The attack fits the pattern of Iran signaling to the Gulf states that if it can't get its oil out, it will cause their oil exports to become collateral damage," Koduvayur told the National Interest . "It's because of how strong our coercive financial tools are that Iran is resorting to attacks like this: it's lashing out."

Violating an Obama-era agreement to regulate Iran's nuclear research program, the Trump administration imposed massive sanctions on Iran's oil industry beginning in May 2018. The goal of this "maximum pressure" campaign was to force Iran to accept a "better" deal. Since then, Iranian forces have captured a British oil tanker and allegedly sabotaged tankers from other countries.

There were some signals that Trump was planning to use the ongoing United Nations General Assembly in New York to open a new diplomatic channel with Iran, especially after the firing of hawkish National Security Advisor John Bolton. But the weekend attack sent Trump into reverse.

"Remember when Iran shot down a drone, saying knowingly that it was in their 'airspace' when, in fact, it was nowhere close. They stuck strongly to that story knowing that it was a very big lie," he said in a Monday morning Twitter post, referring to a June incident when Iranian and American forces almost went to war. "Now they say that they had nothing to do with the attack on Saudi Arabia. We'll see?"

He also hinted at a violent U.S. response.

"There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom as to who they believe was the cause of this attack, and under what terms we would proceed!" Trump wrote on Sunday.

"Saudi Arabia is not a formal treaty ally of ours, so there are no international agreements that obligate us to come to their defense," John Glaser, director of foreign-policy studies at the CATO Institute, stated. "This does not amount to a clear and present danger to the United States, so no self-defense justification is relevant. He would therefore need authorization from Congress."

Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee had mixed reactions to the attack.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) proposed putting "on the table an attack on Iranian oil refineries" in order to "break the regime's back." His press office did not respond to a follow-up question from the National Interest asking whether the president would have the authority to do so.

Amy Grappone, spokeswoman for Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.), told the National Interest that the Senator "will support an appropriate and proportionate response" after "studying the latest intelligence pertaining to Iran's malign activities, including these recent attacks in Saudi Arabia."

Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), the ranking Democrat on the committee, condemned the attack with a backhanded insult towards Saudi Arabia. "Despite some ongoing policy differences with the kingdom, no nation should be subjected to these kinds of attacks on it soil and against its people," he wrote on Twitter, declining to name Iran as the culprit.

Committee members Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Vir.) explicitly announced their opposition to war with Iran. And prominent war powers critic Sen. Jeff Markley (D-Ore.) quipped that, "[b]ack when Presidents used to follow the Constitution, they sought consent for military action from Congress, not foreign governments that murder reporters," referring to the assassination of Saudi-American journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

"Diplomacy by Twitter has not worked so far and it surely is not working with Iran. The president needs to stop threatening military strikes via social media," said Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Mary.) in response to a question from the National Interest . "The attack on Saudi Arabia is troubling whether it was perpetrated by Houthi rebels or Iran. The U.S. should regain its leadership by working with our allies to isolate Iran for its belligerent actions in the region."

"The U.S. should not be looking for any opportunity to start a dangerous and costly war with Iran. Congress has not authorized war against Iran and we've made it crystal clear that Saudi Arabia needs to withdraw from Yemen," he continued.

Asked how he would vote on a declaration of war, the senator told the National Interest : "Let's hope it does not come to that. Congress has not authorized war against Iran. The majority voted to engage them diplomatically to slow their nuclear ambitions. The international community is ready to work with the U.S. again to ease economic pressure on Iran in exchange for their restraint. We are at a dangerous precipice."

In a statement emailed to the National Interest and posted to Twitter, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) was even more direct: "The US should never go to war to protect Saudi oil."

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) has long been a critic of Saudi Arabia's war in Yemen, proposing a successful bill to cut off U.S. support for the Saudi-led war effort. (He did not have enough votes to override the veto.) After the attacks, he wrote a long Twitter thread explaining how "the Saudis sowed the seeds of this mess" in Yemen.

"It's simply amazing how the Saudis call all our shots these days. We don't have a mutual defense alliance with KSA, for good reason. We shouldn't pretend we do," Murphy added. "And frankly, no matter where this latest drone strike was launched from, there is no short or long term upside to the U.S. military getting more deeply involved in the growing regional contest between the Saudis and Iranians."

But the reaction did not fall neatly along party lines.

"Iran is one of the most dangerous state sponsors of terrorism. This may well be the thing that calls for military action against Iran, if that's what the intelligence supports," said Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) in a Monday interview with Fox News. Others pointed out that attacking Iran would contradict Trump's own principles.

"Having our country act as Saudi Arabia's bitch is not 'America First,'" said Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard, invoking a popular Trump slogan. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ken.), who had invoked Trump's antiwar message in a public feud with Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) over the weekend, took to CNN to warn against striking Iran.

"This is a regional conflict, that there's no reason the superpower of the United States needs to be getting into bombing mainland Iran. It would be a needless escalation of this," he told journalist Jake Tapper. "Those who loved the Iraq War, the Cheneys, the Boltons, the Kristols, they all are clamoring and champing at the bit for another war in Iran. But it's not a walk in the park."

Davis agreed with Paul's assessment. "There's too many people who have lost touch with understanding what war is all about. They think it's easy," he told the National Interest . "Just imagine this. What we go ahead and do this, and Iran makes good on their threats, and American warships get sunk in the Gulf?" "This is not America's fight," he concluded. "The American armed forces are not on loan as a Saudi defense force."

"There's another claim that the impact on oil markets is sufficient to impact the vital U.S. interest in the free flow of energy coming out of that region, but that argument quickly descends into absurdity when we remember that the Trump administration has been trying to zero-out Iranian oil exports, for a host of spurious reasons," Glaser told the National Interest . "Washington is also aggressively sanctioning Venezuela, making it harder for Caracas to bring oil to market, too. If we really cared about the supply of oil, we wouldn't be doing this."

In any case, the attack may not have affected oil markets in such a straightforward way. Latham says that the attack struck an oil desulphurization facility. At the moment, desulphurized fuel is in high demand from the shipping industry, which is rushing to comply with new international environmental regulations.

"In order to have clean ships by the first of January next year, all the world's shipping fleet from about now until the end of the year are busy emptying their tanks of heavy sulphur fuel oil and filling their tanks with low sulphur fuel oil, which is the new standard," Latham explained, claiming that the attack could have taken up to 20 percent of the world's desulphurization capacity out of commission.

"This little accident was designed to be maximally disruptive to the world's oil market. It could not have happened at a worse time." "But what is really interesting is in Amsterdam this morning, I saw that for fuel oil -- the sulphurous stuff -- the price went down," Latham continued, speculating that international powers might delay the new environmental regulations by months and inadvertently drive down the price of oil in the long run.

On Sunday, Trump tapped into emergency U.S. oil reserves, in order to stabilize prices. It's not clear, however, that the United States has enough oil to cope with wider attacks on energy infrastructure. "If the Iranians did this, they have shown they have pretty immense capabilities clearly," Parsi told the National Interest . "In the case of a full-scale war, imagine what this will do for the global economy. It's not that difficult to imagine what that will do to Trump's re-election prospects. I think that is something Trump understands."

Matthew Petti is a national security reporter at the National Interest.

[Sep 18, 2019] To End Endless Wars, We Must Give Up Hegemony by Daniel Larison

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... American war-making will persist so long as the United States continues to seek military dominance across the globe. ..."
"... A government that imagines that it has both the right and responsibility to police the entire planet will find an excuse to mire itself in one or more conflicts on a regular basis, and if there isn't one available to join it will start some ..."
"... U.S. military dominance should have at least guaranteed that we remained at peace once our major adversary had collapsed at the end of the Cold War, but the dissolution of the USSR encouraged the U.S. to become much more aggressive and much more eager to use force whenever and wherever it wanted. Wertheim provides an answer for why this is: ..."
"... Why have interventions proliferated as challengers have shrunk? The basic cause is America's infatuation with military force. Its political class imagines that force will advance any aim, limiting debate to what that aim should be. ..."
"... Using force appeals to many American leaders and policymakers because they imagine that frequent military action cows and intimidates adversaries, but in practice it creates more enemies and wastes American lives and resources on fruitless conflicts. ..."
"... The constant warfare of the last two decades in particular has corroded our political system and inured the public to the idea that it is normal that American soldiers and Marines are always fighting and dying in some foreign country in pursuit of nebulous goals, but nothing could be more abnormal and wrong than this. ..."
"... Our establishment would rather give up their skin. They don't call it hegemony, they call it the post ww2 order, leadership, resisting isolationism or some other such nonsense. ..."
"... any country that attempts to gain enough power to assert its own sovereignty is considered a threat that must be crushed and we roll out all of the tools at our disposal to do it. ..."
"... Al Qaeda's attack on us was due to us using them as a tool to stop Russia's push into Afghanistan. ..."
"... Good luck with that. We are ruled by people who are functionally indistinguishable from sociopaths, and sociopaths learn only from reward and punishment. ..."
"... I do not see a politically feasible way to end our global empire without destabilizing that same globe that has come to rely on our military power. ..."
"... Empires have a sort of inertia, and few in history voluntarily give up dominion. ..."
"... What is unsustainable is the current rate of government spending. The current rate of military spending is driving up our debt and making it impossible to reinvest in desperately needed infrastructure. ..."
"... We have been coasting on the infrastructure investments of the 50's and 60's but if we don't start cutting military spending and redirecting that money elsewhere we are going to be bankrupt. ..."
"... I agree that it is almost impossible to conceive of any scenario whereby this "ideology" of so-called world order and/ hegemony would change in the US and in its puppets. ..."
"... The deck is so totally stacked in favor of this ideology, the totally controlled MSM, the MIC, the corrupt and controlled congress, and the presidential admin structure itself, would never allow this mantra to be challenged. ..."
"... It is all about greed and power-the psychopaths pursuing and defending this 'ideology' would never ever go quietly. The money and power is too corrupting. ..."
"... I'm not sure that most of the citizens in those European countries we occupy actually support our permanent military presence in their countries. ..."
"... The new paradigm is that private militarism dominates government, turning it to its preferred priorities of moneymaking warmaking. ..."
Sep 16, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Stephen Wertheim explains what is required to bring an end to unnecessary and open-ended U.S. wars overseas:

American war-making will persist so long as the United States continues to seek military dominance across the globe. Dominance, assumed to ensure peace, in fact guarantees war. To get serious about stopping endless war, American leaders must do what they most resist: end America's commitment to armed supremacy and embrace a world of pluralism and peace.

Any government that presumes to be the world's hegemon will be fighting somewhere almost all of the time, because its political leaders will see everything around the world as their business and it will see every manageable threat as a challenge to their "leadership." A government that imagines that it has both the right and responsibility to police the entire planet will find an excuse to mire itself in one or more conflicts on a regular basis, and if there isn't one available to join it will start some.

U.S. military dominance should have at least guaranteed that we remained at peace once our major adversary had collapsed at the end of the Cold War, but the dissolution of the USSR encouraged the U.S. to become much more aggressive and much more eager to use force whenever and wherever it wanted. Wertheim provides an answer for why this is:

Why have interventions proliferated as challengers have shrunk? The basic cause is America's infatuation with military force. Its political class imagines that force will advance any aim, limiting debate to what that aim should be.

Using force appeals to many American leaders and policymakers because they imagine that frequent military action cows and intimidates adversaries, but in practice it creates more enemies and wastes American lives and resources on fruitless conflicts. Our government's frenetic interventionism and meddling for the last thirty years hasn't made our country the slightest bit more secure, but it has sown chaos and instability across at least two continents. Wertheim continues:

Continued gains by the Taliban, 18 years after the United States initially toppled it, suggest a different principle: The profligate deployment of force creates new and unnecessary objectives more than it realizes existing and worthy ones.

The constant warfare of the last two decades in particular has corroded our political system and inured the public to the idea that it is normal that American soldiers and Marines are always fighting and dying in some foreign country in pursuit of nebulous goals, but nothing could be more abnormal and wrong than this. Constant warfare achieves nothing except to provide an excuse for more of the same. The longer that a war drags on, one would think that it should become easier to bring it to an end, but we have seen that it becomes harder for both political and military leaders to give up on an unwinnable conflict when it has become an almost permanent part of our foreign policy. For many policymakers and pundits, what matters is that the U.S. not be perceived as losing, and so our military keeps fighting without an end in sight for the sake of this "not losing."

Wertheim adds:

Despite Mr. Trump's rhetoric about ending endless wars, the president insists that "our military dominance must be unquestioned" -- even though no one believes he has a strategy to use power or a theory to bring peace. Armed domination has become an end in itself.

Seeking to maintain this dominance is ultimately unsustainable, and as it becomes more expensive and less popular it will also become increasingly dangerous as we find ourselves confronted with even more capable adversaries. For the last thirty years, the U.S. has been fortunate to be secure and prosperous enough that it could indulge in decades of fruitless militarism, but that luck won't hold forever. It is far better if the U.S. give up on hegemony and the militarism that goes with it on our terms.


chris chuba 2 days ago

Our establishment would rather give up their skin. They don't call it hegemony, they call it the post ww2 order, leadership, resisting isolationism or some other such nonsense.

Truth be told, as your article states, any country that attempts to gain enough power to assert its own sovereignty is considered a threat that must be crushed and we roll out all of the tools at our disposal to do it.

It makes us less safe. Isolationism did not cause 9/11. In the 90's when we were being attacked by Al Qaeda we were too distracted dancing on Russia's bones to pay any attention to them. While Al Qaeda was attacking our troops and blowing up our buildings we were bombing Serbia, expanding NATO and reelecting Yeltsin and sticking it to Iran.

IanDakar chris chuba 16 hours ago
It goes beyond that. Al Qaeda's attack on us was due to us using them as a tool to stop Russia's push into Afghanistan. We later abandoned them when the job was done: a pack hound we trained, pushed to fight, then left in the forest abandoned and starved. Then we wonder why it came back growling.

Isolationism may not be the most effective solution to things, but I'll admit a LOT of pain, on ourselves and others, would've never happened if we took that policy.

Sid Finster 2 days ago
Good luck with that. We are ruled by people who are functionally indistinguishable from sociopaths, and sociopaths learn only from reward and punishment.

So far, they only have been rewarded for their crimes.

Clyde Schechter 2 days ago
While I think the economic basis of the Soviet Union was faulty, and it had lost the popular support it might have had in early days, the USSR's military aggression, particularly in Afghanistan, was a major precipitating factor in its downfall. It would have eventually crumbled, I believe, anyway, but had they taken a less aggressive stance I think they would have lasted several decades longer.
Sceptical Gorilla 2 days ago
Is it really in our hands to actually disengage though? Is this politically feasible?

How does this work? The US gets up one day and says "We're pulling all of our troops out of Saudi and SK. No more funding for Israel! No bolstering the pencil-thin government of Afghanistan. All naval bases abroad will be shut down. Longstanding alliances and interests be damned!"

I sympathize very strongly with the notion that we must use military force wisely and with restraint, and perhaps even that the post-WW2 expansion abroad was a mistake, but I do not see a politically feasible way to end our global empire without destabilizing that same globe that has come to rely on our military power.

This is the world we live in, whether we like it or not, and barring some military or economic disaster that forces a strategic realignment or retreat (like WW2 did for the old European powers) I don't know how you practically pull back. Empires have a sort of inertia, and few in history voluntarily give up dominion.

Stumble Sceptical Gorilla 2 days ago
What is unsustainable is the current rate of government spending. The current rate of military spending is driving up our debt and making it impossible to reinvest in desperately needed infrastructure.

We have been coasting on the infrastructure investments of the 50's and 60's but if we don't start cutting military spending and redirecting that money elsewhere we are going to be bankrupt.

Sid Finster Sceptical Gorilla 2 days ago
The USA are the source of a lot of the world's instability.
Sceptical Gorilla Sid Finster 2 days ago
Sure. That doesn't mean American withdrawal would create less instability in toto. Maybe it would. Who knows? We mortals can only take counterfactuals so far.
Mojrim ibn Harb Sceptical Gorilla 2 days ago
Lovely strawman you have there...
Taras77 2 days ago
Excellent article, excellent skeptical comments below.

I agree that it is almost impossible to conceive of any scenario whereby this "ideology" of so-called world order and/ hegemony would change in the US and in its puppets.

The deck is so totally stacked in favor of this ideology, the totally controlled MSM, the MIC, the corrupt and controlled congress, and the presidential admin structure itself, would never allow this mantra to be challenged.

It is all about greed and power-the psychopaths pursuing and defending this 'ideology' would never ever go quietly. The money and power is too corrupting.

Maybe, just maybe, however, as we are at $22 trillion in debt and counting (just saw a total tab for F-35 of $1.5 trillion) that the money will run out, and zero interest rate financing is not all that awesome, this unsustainable mindlessness will be curtailed or even better, changed.

polistra24 2 days ago • edited
It's not really hegemony. Old-fashioned empires took over territory in order to gain resources and labor. We haven't done that since 1920. Especially since 1990 we've been making war purely to destroy and obliterate. When our war is done there's nothing left to dominate or own.

Domestically we've been using politics and media and controlled culture to do the same thing. Create "terrorists" and "extremists" on "two" "sides", set them loose, enjoy the resulting chaos. Chaos is the declared goal, and it's been working beautifully for 70 years.

China is expanding empire in Africa and Asia the old-fashioned way, improving farms and factories in order to have exclusive purchase of their output.

Mojrim ibn Harb polistra24 2 days ago
Join the liberal order or we'll wreck your country. That's hegemony.
Mark B. 2 days ago
Could not have said it better. "On our terms" would mean that Europe is forced to take matters of military security in it's own hands, I hope. But chanches are slim, history shows empires must fall hard and break a leg or so first before anything changes. Iran, Saudi-arabia, the greater ME, China, the trade wars and the world economy are coming together for a perfect storm it seems.
James_R Mark B. 2 days ago
"On our terms" would mean that Europe is forced to take matters of military security in it's own hands, I hope.".................

I'm not sure that most of the citizens in those European countries we occupy actually support our permanent military presence in their countries.

AllenQ 2 days ago
The problem with US hegemony is Israel. Look around the world. Neither Japan nor South Korea nor Vietnam nor Philippines nor India nor Indonesia nor Australia (the same can be said for South and Central America, Mexico, Canada and Europe) require a significant US presence.

None of them are asking for a greater presence in their country (except Poland) while being perfectly happy with our alliance, joint defense, trade, intelligence and technology sharing.

It is only Israel and Saudi Arabia which are constantly pushing the US into middle eastern wars and quagmires that we have no national interest. Trump sees the plain truth that the US is in jeopardy of losing its manufacturing and its technological lead to China. If we (US) dont start to rebuild our infrastructure, our defense, our cities, our communities, our manufacturing, our educational system then our nation is going to follow California into a 3rd world totalitarian state dominated by democratic voting immigrants whose only affiliation to our country and our constitutional republic is a welfare check, free govt programs and incestuous govt contracts which funnel govt dollars into the re-election PACs of democratic / liberal elected officials.

Fran Macadam 2 days ago
The new paradigm is that private militarism dominates government, turning it to its preferred priorities of moneymaking warmaking. Defeat is now when war's income streams end. The only wars that are lost, are those that end, defeating the winning of war profits. War, as a financial success story, has become an end in itself, and an empire that looks for more to wage means some mighty big wages with more profit opportunities. Victory is to be avoided - red ink being spilled through peace detestable - and blood spilled profitably to be encouraged.
Doom Incarnate a day ago
Fighting is good for business, so the fighting will continue.

[Sep 18, 2019] Who says Mr Trump is unpredictable? He predictably selected yet another rabid neocon for the National Security advisor position in this administration

Sep 18, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Sydney an hour ago

Who says Mr Trump is unpredictable? Is there anybody expected anything else from Mr Trump when it comes to picking his advisers or making thoughtful decisions? Let's be serious, Mr Trump did not pick Mr Robert O'Brien. The Bolton, Pompeo, Pence triumvirate picked Trump's NSA; naturally.

[Sep 18, 2019] Jerry Nadler is aiming to become the Rachael Maddow of Adam Schiffs

Humor aside Corey Lewandowski Opening statement deserves to be listened. Just 5 min.
This was obviously a Dog & Pony show by Nadler and his gang who can't shoot strait
Sep 18, 2019 | www.youtube.com

Seminole Nation , 5 hours ago

"Jerry Nadler is aiming to become the Rachael Maddow of Adam Schiffs" – Dan Bongino (3-24-19)

Gilbert Perea , 9 hours ago

You have to laugh , I wonder if Mr. Cowen has a chicken wing in his jacket pocket.

RIC shady , 7 hours ago

"The real danger is that if we hear enough lies, then we no longer recognize the truth at all." - Valery Legasov, Soviet chemist

ZENIGMATV , 3 hours ago

Nadler:Corey what time is it? Corey :It's 2pm. Nadler: The clock shows 1:59 . Charge Corey for lying to Congress! All a gotcha game by a group of angry haters.

ZENIGMATV , 3 hours ago

Nadler:Corey what time is it? Corey :It's 2pm. Nadler: The clock shows 1:59 . Charge Corey for lying to Congress! All a gotcha game by a group of angry haters.

Jim Carpenter , 6 hours ago

Nadler provides so much comic relief!!!! He is definitely one of my all time favorite oafs.

Forever Joy , 9 hours ago

40 million tax payer dollars wasted...boom! Pathetic, thanks Democrats!

Bobwehada Babyitzaboy , 3 hours ago

3rd time. If that were good for the left they wouldn't shut up about it. This is another witch hunt with attempt to deceive

Dr.Roberto Rodriguez Jr. , 5 hours ago

What a joke. Democratic live in a fantasy world

Ricky Alfaro , 5 hours ago

Corey is toast!

Teresa Upchurch , 8 hours ago

This is obviously a Dog & Pony show by the Nadler nerd group of Demonrats! Can't even follow the House rules. Sickening !!!

[Sep 18, 2019] Notes of Biden performance during the last debate

Sep 13, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

+ Apparently, Obama and Biden only caged kids who deserved to be caged.

+ Biden continues to lie about his position on the Iraq war and he lies so badly that no one, not even Bernie, bothers to call him on it.

+ Whatever brain-eating disease Biden has seems to be contagious, gnawing inexorably through the gray matter of the other candidates

+ CNN: "Biden had his best debate." Ok, I know I didn't drop acid tonight. Did Wolf Blitzer spike the company water cooler?

+ Really, Baltz ? Biden was incoherent on NATFA, lied about the Iraq war, couldn't describe his health care plan, derided black families, stumbled over his immigration record & went completely loco at the end. Other than that

[Sep 17, 2019] While the Trump Administration seems to be cozying up to America's Jewish voters, here is an article that outlines what American Jews really think of Donald Trump and his leadership:

Sep 17, 2019 | www.unz.com

Sally Snyder , says: September 16, 2019 at 12:13 pm GMT

While the Trump Administration seems to be cozying up to America's Jewish voters, here is an article that outlines what American Jews really think of Donald Trump and his leadership:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2019/06/americas-jews-on-trump-administration.html

Washington would seem to be on the wrong track when it comes to the U.S. Jewish community.

[Sep 17, 2019] Danger in the Gulf What the Attack on Saudi Arabian Oil Means for America by Alireza Ahmadi

Pompeo is just MIC lobbyst who got position of the Secretary of State due to Trump incompetence of pressure from donors like Adelson. Nothing good can come from this strange choice of warmonger and neocon hawk, not that different from Hillary Clinton.
Notable quotes:
"... It may be that U.S. military assets in the Persian Gulf region have gone from being an intimidating tool of American coercion to a strategic vulnerability. ..."
"... The first priority was to deny the Iranian leadership resources. Previous administration taken a different approach. It said olly olly oxen free, here's all the money you can possibly stand to build out your terror campaign, to build your nuclear weapons system, to take nuclear physicists, all of the things that money can deliver – terror against Israel out of Hizballah and from Syria. Our – the first proposition for our campaign was to deny wealth and resources for the Iranian leadership, and it has been enormously successful in doing so. You can see it. Hizballah is passing the tin cup. ..."
Sep 17, 2019 | nationalinterest.org

It may be that U.S. military assets in the Persian Gulf region have gone from being an intimidating tool of American coercion to a strategic vulnerability.

For hawks like Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, American power, as the Bolshevik adage goes, cannot fail, it can only be failed. For many of his ilk, the superiority of American power means the willingness to project it is the only thing needed to earn the capitulation of foes and the only way America loses is if it chooses to relent. Donald Trump, however, watched George W. Bush's presidency burn in the Iraq war and is unlikely to embrace the chaos of war heading into an election year. President Trump would be wise to heed the lessons of the most recent volatile security episode in the Persian Gulf region, especially as it pertains to his administration's campaign against Tehran.

... ... ...

Without the basic ability to guard against even crude air assets, any notion of the United States empowering its regional network to dictate terms to Iranian allies with military action seems impractical. The credibility of U.S. anti-missile capabilities were already in question . For Saudi Arabia and hawks inside the U.S. government, the notion that a tribal force like the Houthis could reach into their territory and engage in this kind of tactical action is militarily embarrassing and practically discrediting from a policy standpoint.

...If it is conceivable that Iranian cruise missiles -- the newest and least tested section of Iran's missile fleet -- flew across the militarized Persian Gulf and evaded both Saudi and American sensors and air-defenses to hit an oil facility, then how much safer are U.S. forces in the region?

...Add to this the survivability and precision that Pompeo is now attributing to Iranian missiles and the conclusion very well may be that U.S. military assets in the Persian Gulf region have gone from being an intimidating tool of American coercion to a strategic vulnerability.

... ... ...

Pompeo has been on a months-long media campaign promoting, among other things, what he describes as the success of the "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran. But Pompeo's primary argument for the success of the anti-Iran efforts centers on the narrative that U.S. sanctions have severely damaged Iran's alliance network in the region. Consider the way he framed the issue to a right-wing talk show host in July:

The first priority was to deny the Iranian leadership resources. Previous administration taken a different approach. It said olly olly oxen free, here's all the money you can possibly stand to build out your terror campaign, to build your nuclear weapons system, to take nuclear physicists, all of the things that money can deliver – terror against Israel out of Hizballah and from Syria. Our – the first proposition for our campaign was to deny wealth and resources for the Iranian leadership, and it has been enormously successful in doing so. You can see it. Hizballah is passing the tin cup.

...The attack on the Saudi refiner disrupted Pompeo's public victory lap in a particularly bright and striking way.

... ... ...

Simply put, Washington's hopes to stop Iran from supporting its allies by pressing the Iranian economy is unlikely to work. Iran's support for its alliance network is largely dismissed in Washington as a frivolous imperial project that Iran can simply choose to abandon. But for Iran, its non-state allies are a core national-security issue and will, therefore, be prioritized in budgetary considerations especially when tensions are high. Iran's support for non-state actors, like Hezbollah, are also not financially intensive and therefore can continue under sanctions.

Alireza Ahmadi is a researcher and analyst focused on U.S. foreign policy towards the Middle East. His work has been published by the National Interest , The Hill and Al-Monitor . Follow him on Twitter @AliAhmadi_Iran.

[Sep 17, 2019] I could make a case that the English elites have caused just as much trouble as elite Jews

Sep 17, 2019 | www.unz.com

Lochearn , says: September 16, 2019 at 11:22 pm GMT

Thanks Gilad for your courageous work. I think we should always remember the ordinary Jews, the grocers, the tailors, and all the others who have lived ordinary lives and suffered due to the activities of their elites. We should remember the radical Jews and the artists like Cohen, Dylan and Lou Reid to mention just a few. I could make a case that the English elites have caused just as much trouble as elite Jews. In fact, it was the meeting of English and Jewish elites that created the British empire.

[Sep 17, 2019] Stingray devices were detected near White House -- Isreali intelligence is most probably culprit

Notable quotes:
"... Only President Donald Trump, predictably, had something so say in his usual personalized fashion, which was that the report was "hard to believe," that "I don't think the Israelis were spying on us. My relationship with Israel has been great Anything is possible but I don't believe it." ..."
"... So Trump is stupid, a liar and an Israeli sycophant what's the solution? ..."
Sep 17, 2019 | www.unz.com

anon [113] Disclaimer , says: September 17, 2019 at 6:41 am GMT

Too bad Tulsi can't call out Israel the way she does KSA.

Trump offers to pimp out our military to his Saudi masters

https://www.youtube.com/embed/9Jo8QU2s_5I?feature=oembed

cranc , says: September 17, 2019 at 8:21 am GMT
Just bewildering to read the Left's continuing insistence that Israel is best understood as 'just another outpost of the American empire'. This is probably the most damaging idea in circulation right now, as its diversionary effect is only matched by its absurdity.
The Left simply cannot 'go there' though, no matter how much factual evidence is stacked up. (On top of the spying and theft we have 'The Lobby' documentary, the defence pact, party funding, etc. etc.). They have to avoid the reality, one which can only be explained through cross border tribal allegiances and religious history going back many centuries. These, of course, lay outside the Left's purview, and any consideration of them is dogmatically opposed. It is getting to be a kind of insanity.

Tulsi can allege that Saudi Arabia was behind the 9/11 attacks and that they pull the strings in Washington, (and many on the Left will applaud) but she cannot point out the rather more glaring 9/11 connections to Israel and the whole machinery of control that lies at the centre of American empire.
As she votes against BDS, has there ever been a more ridiculous double standard ?

Realist , says: September 17, 2019 at 9:09 am GMT

Only President Donald Trump, predictably, had something so say in his usual personalized fashion, which was that the report was "hard to believe," that "I don't think the Israelis were spying on us. My relationship with Israel has been great Anything is possible but I don't believe it."

So Trump is stupid, a liar and an Israeli sycophant what's the solution?

JoaoAlfaiate , says: September 17, 2019 at 11:09 am GMT
It's amazing how little coverage this story got. Can you imagine if Russian devices had been found? It would be on CNN, etc. hour after hour and they'd be interviewing Nancy Pelosi non stop.
sally , says: September 17, 2019 at 12:19 pm GMT
@Cloak And Dagger I think you are correct there maybe many Americans in the USA.. It may take the few Americans who have been allowed to see the big picture at the USA
Hans , says: September 17, 2019 at 1:02 pm GMT
"I've never seen a President -- I don't care who he is -- stand up to them. It just boggles the mind. They always get what they want. The Israelis know what is going on all the time. I got to the point where I wasn't writing anything down. If the American people understood what a grip these people have on our government, they would RISE UP IN ARMS. Our citizens certainly don't have any idea what goes on." – Admiral Thomas Moorer, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, interview, 24 Aug. 1983

Admiral Moorer, "the dirty anti-semite," was one of the few people with influence to call out Israel for their deliberate attack on the USS Liberty – https://www.erasingtheliberty.com/

The American Legion continues to wet its pants apparently believing that kissing (((ass))) is more patriotic than standing up for America and members of the Navy.

USS Liberty Veterans banned forever from Am Legion Nat'l Convention – https://israelpalestinenews.org/uss-liberty-vets-banned-forever-american-legion-national-conference/

DESERT FOX , says: September 17, 2019 at 1:17 pm GMT
Whats new about Israeli spying against the zio/US, hell the government is full of zionists in every facet of the government, they run every department, including and especially the CIA , which would be better named the Mossad West, in fact the Mossad is so embedded in the CIA that the only way to end this would be to as JFK said to scatter it to the winds aka abolish the Mossad infested CIA.

[Sep 17, 2019] Where does Joe Biden stand on raising taxes on the wealthy to level the Wealth Gap?

Sep 17, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

ilsm , September 16, 2019 at 04:46 AM

TV debates are better than fiction!

"These people are aware that Biden is losing his mind, but they are pushing him toward the White House anyway."...

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/09/16/bidens-brain-is-swiss-cheese-and-its-creepy-that-were-not-talking-about-it/

The Biden comment about poor kids needing to hear words is pap I heard at a Hillary event in 2015 from Bill himself. Make sure the 'record player' the kids listen to for hours has the approved subliminal messages.

While insisting that schools raise kids tends toward the Brave New World.

When the DNC handlers free US from racism and "unfairness" we will be theirs.

And the handlers wants you [in to their "reality"] to do a 25th Amendment on Trump!

So much to be outraged about that is not Trump!

im1dc , September 16, 2019 at 04:46 AM
Where does Joe Biden stand on raising taxes on the wealthy to level the Wealth Gap?

https://thehill.com/policy/finance/461368-progressive-tax-the-rich-push-gains-momentum

"Progressive tax-the-rich push gains momentum"

By Naomi Jagoda...09/16/19...06:00 AM EDT

"The progressive push to raise taxes on the rich is gaining new momentum."...

[Sep 17, 2019] Israel Spies and Spies and Spies by Philip Giraldi

Sep 17, 2019 | www.unz.com

the placement of technical surveillance devices by Israel was clearly intended to target cellphone communications to and from the Trump White House. As the president frequently chats with top aides and friends on non-secure phones, the operation sought to pick up conversations involving Trump with the expectation that the security-averse president would say things off the record that might be considered top secret.

The Politico report , which is sourced to top intelligence and security officials, details how "miniature surveillance devices" referred to as "Stingrays" imitate regular cell phone towers to fool phones being used nearby into providing information on their locations and identities. According to the article, the devices are referred to by technicians as "international mobile subscriber identity-catchers or IMSI-catchers, they also can capture the contents of calls and data use."

Over one year ago, government security agencies discovered the electronic footprints that indicated the presence of the surveillance devices around Washington including near the White House. Forensic analysis involved dismantling the devices to let them "tell you a little about their history, where the parts and pieces come from, how old are they, who had access to them, and that will help get you to what the origins are." One source observed afterwards that "It was pretty clear that the Israelis were responsible."

The Israeli Embassy denied any involvement in the espionage and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu adroitly and predictably lied regarding the report, saying "We have a directive, I have a directive: No intelligence work in the United States, no spies. And it's vigorously implemented, without any exception. It is a complete fabrication, a complete fabrication."

The Israelis are characteristically extremely aggressive in their intelligence gathering operations, particularly in targeting the United States, even though Trump has done the Netanyahu government many favors. These have included moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, withdrawing from the nuclear deal and sanctioning Iran, recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and looking the other way as Israel expands its settlements and regularly bombs Syria and Lebanon.

Israel's high-risk spying is legendary, but the notion that it is particularly good at it is, like everything having to do with the Jewish state, much overrated. Mossad has been caught in flagrante numerous times. In 2010, an undercover Mossad hit team was caught on 30 minutes of surveillance video as it wandered through a luxury Dubai hotel where it had gone to kill a leading Hamas official. And the notion that Mossad and CIA work hand-in-hand is also a fiction. Working level Agency officers dislike their reckless Mossad counterparts. Newsweek magazine's "Spy Talk" once cited a poll of CIA officers that ranked Israel "dead last" among friendly countries in actual intelligence cooperation with Washington.

The fact is that Israel conducts espionage and influence operations against the United States more aggressively than any other "friendly" country, including tapping White House phones used by Bill Clinton to speak with Monica Lewinski. Israeli "experts" regularly provide alarmist and inaccurate private briefings for American Senators on Capitol Hill. Israel also constantly manufactures pretexts to draw the U.S. into new conflicts in the Middle East, starting with the Lavon Affair in Alexandria Egypt in 1954 and including the false flag attack on the U.S.S. Liberty in 1967. In short, Israel has no reluctance to use its enormous political and media clout in the U.S. to pressure successive administrations to conform to its own foreign and security policy views.

The persistent spying, no matter what Netanyahu claims, is a very good reason why Israel should not receive billions of dollars in military assistance annually. Starting in 1957, Israel's friends stole enriched uranium from a Pennsylvania refinery to create a nuclear arsenal. More recently we have learned how Arnon Milchan, a Hollywood producer/billionaire born in Israel, arranged the illegal purchase of 800 krytron triggers to use in the production of nuclear weapons. The operation also involved current Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.

The existence of a large scale Israeli spying effort at the time of 9/11 has been widely reported, incorporating Israeli companies in New Jersey and Florida as well as hundreds of "art students" nationwide. Five "dancing" Israelis from one of the companies were observed celebrating against the backdrop of the twin towers going down.

While it is often observed that everyone spies on everyone else, espionage is a high-risk business, particularly when spying on friends. Israel, relying on Washington for billions of dollars and also for political cover in international fora like the United Nations, does not spy discreetly, largely because it knows that few in Washington will seek to hold it accountable. There were, for example, no consequences for the Israelis when Israeli Mossad intelligence officers using U.S. passports and pretending to be Americans recruited terrorists to carry out attacks inside Iran. Israelis using U.S. passports in that fashion put every American traveler at risk.

Israel, where government and business work hand in hand, has obtained significant advantage by systematically stealing American technology with both military and civilian applications. The U.S. developed technology is then reverse engineered and used by the Israelis to support their own exports. Sometimes, when the technology is military in nature and winds up in the hands of an adversary, the consequences can be serious. Israel has sold advanced weapons systems to China that incorporate technology developed by American companies.

The reality of Israeli large-scale spying in the United States is indisputable. One might cite Jonathan Pollard, who stole more highly classified information than any spy in history. And then there were Ben-Ami Kadish, Stuart Nozette and Larry Franklin, other spies for Israel who have been caught and tried, but they are only the tip of the iceberg. Israel always features prominently in the annual FBI report called "Foreign Economic Collection and Industrial Espionage." The 2005 report states "Israel has an active program to gather proprietary information within the United States. These collection activities are primarily directed at obtaining information on military systems and advanced computing applications that can be used in Israel's sizable armaments industry." It adds that Israel recruits spies, uses electronic methods, and carries out computer intrusion to gain the information.

A 1996 Defense Investigative Service report noted that Israel has great success stealing technology by exploiting the numerous co-production projects that it has with the Pentagon. It says "Placing Israeli nationals in key industries is a technique utilized with great success." A General Accounting Office (GAO) examination of espionage directed against American defense and security industries described how Israeli citizens residing in the U.S. had stolen sensitive technology to manufacture artillery gun tubes, obtained classified plans for reconnaissance systems, and passed sensitive aerospace designs to unauthorized users.

The GAO has concluded that Israel "conducts the most aggressive espionage operation against the United States of any U.S. ally." In June 2006, a Pentagon administrative judge ruled against a difficult to even imagine appeal by an Israeli denied a security clearance, saying that "The Israeli government is actively engaged in military and industrial espionage in the United States." FBI counter intelligence officer John Cole has also reported how many cases of Israeli espionage are dropped under orders from the Justice Department., making the Jewish state's spying consequence free. He provides a "conservative estimate" of 125 viable investigations into Israeli espionage involving both American citizens and Israelis that were stopped due to political pressure.

So, did Israel really spy on Donald Trump? Sure it did. And Netanyahu is, metaphorically speaking, thumbing his nose at the American president and asking with a grin, "What are you going to do about it?"


tac , says: September 17, 2019 at 2:14 am GMT

For those who have not heard of Israeli startup Carbyne911 (partly owned by Ehud Barak, run by former Israeli officers of the unit 8200, and to which Jeffrey Epstein donated to) here is an interview TruNews with Whitney Webb:

Carbyne911: Israeli Tech Scheme to Weaponize 911 Emergency Call System
(Interview starts at 11:16 mark)

https://www.youtube.com/embed/N9P9TjlQRMI?start=676&feature=oembed

More reading

[MORE]

The rarest occurrence was when Epstein would fly without any of his usual entourage and just one other passenger. There was only one name that jumped out from the flight manifest as a good example of when Epstein alternated from his routine. His second meeting with Nicole Junkermann.

The link between Nicole Junkermann, the Israeli state intelligence services and the Israeli Defence Force is not a tenuous one. The ominously named "Reporty Homeland Security" was the first incarnation of what is now called "Carbyne911" and is referred to as simply "Carbyne." Described as a "global leader in public safety technology," Carbyne is a call handling platform app that allows you to, amongst other things, stream any ongoing emergency directly to the responding emergency services. It claims, in the information section of a promotional video on YouTube entitled "Nicole Junkermann presents Carbyne,

They promise to combine the use of personal data, location data, live video, data from surrounding wearable tech, and even information from parked smart cars, to deliver more information to the emergency services who should be responding. They can pinpoint your location, even indoors, to within three feet, and they claim that they can even collect data from dropped calls. However, they fail to mention how they'll get the permission to use such masses of available data. Who are these angels behind this revolutionary technology which aims to get between a victim and the emergency services?

One of the directors of Carbyne is Nicole Junkermann. The chairman of the board of directors is Ehud Barak, the 10th Prime Minister of Israel, the 14th Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces, former Minister of Defense and former Head of Military Intelligence for Israel.

Another of Carbyne's directors and board members is Brigadier Pinchas Buchris, the former Deputy Commander of an elite IDF operations unit and former Commander of the IDF 8200 Cyber Intelligence Unit. Amir Elichai is the Founder and CEO of Carbyne, he is also a former Israeli Army officer who served in various positions in the special elite forces and the intelligence corps. Alex Dizengof is Carbyne's Co-Founder & CTO. He's described as a Software Architect and Algorithms Developer. Dizengof had previously developed machine learning algorithms for robots and mobile platforms, as well as cyber security software for the Israeli Prime Minister's Office.

https://www.sott.net/article/418790-The-Epstein-associate-nobodys-talking-about-The-IDF-Linked-bond-girl-infiltrating-the-UK-NHS

chris , says: September 17, 2019 at 4:32 am GMT

The GAO has concluded that Israel "conducts the most aggressive espionage operation against the United States of any U.S. ally."

Even a statement like this from the GAO is misleading in that it implies that the next friendly country spying on the US (the UK, presumably) to be out-edged by Israel, when in fact the difference is probably one of order (if not of kind) in magnitude.

Franz , says: September 17, 2019 at 5:25 am GMT

FBI counter intelligence officer John Cole has also reported how many cases of Israeli espionage are dropped under orders from the Justice Department ., making the Jewish state's spying consequence free.

Wow.

So when Paul Craig Roberts says "US Justice Department (sic)" we now have Giraldi's total confirmation. If fact, Roberts is being too much of a gentleman about it.

Maybe call it (((Justice Department))) from now on and get it over with.

Miro23 , says: September 17, 2019 at 6:10 am GMT

The Israelis are characteristically extremely aggressive in their intelligence gathering operations, particularly in targeting the United States, even though Trump has done the Netanyahu government many favors. These have included moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, withdrawing from the nuclear deal and sanctioning Iran, recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, and looking the other way as Israel expands its settlements and regularly bombs Syria and Lebanon.

I'm sure that the Israelis don't regard these as favours...

[Sep 17, 2019] Locked-And-Loaded For War With Iran Is Bolton's Soul Living On by Patrick Buchanan

Notable quotes:
"... Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org, ..."
"... "Iran has launched an unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply," ..."
"... "There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen." ..."
"... The War Party is giddy with excitement over the prospect of war with Iran, while the nation does not want another war. ..."
Sep 17, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

09/17/2019

Authored by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org,

"Iran has launched an unprecedented attack on the world's energy supply," declared Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Putting America's credibility on the line, Pompeo accused Iran of carrying out the devastating attack on Saudi oil facilities that halted half of the kingdom's oil production, 5.7 million barrels a day.

On Sunday, President Donald Trump did not identify Iran as the attacking nation, but did appear, in a tweet, to back up the secretary of state:

"There is reason to believe that we know the culprit, are locked and loaded depending on verification, but are waiting to hear from the Kingdom (of Saudi Arabia) as to who they believe was the cause of this attack and under what terms we would proceed!"

Yemen's Houthi rebels, who have been fighting Saudi Arabia for four years and have used drones to strike Saudi airport and oil facilities, claim they fired 10 drones from 500 kilometers away to carry out the strikes in retaliation for Saudi air and missile attacks.

Pompeo dismissed their claim, "There is no evidence the attacks came from Yemen."

But while the Houthis claim credit, Iran denies all responsibility.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif says of Pompeo's charge, that the U.S. has simply replaced a policy of "maximum pressure" with a policy of "maximum deceit." Tehran is calling us liars.

And, indeed, a direct assault on Saudi Arabia by Iran, a Pearl Harbor-type surprise attack on the Saudis' crucial oil production facility, would be an act of war requiring Saudi retaliation, leading to a Persian Gulf war in which the United States could be forced to participate.

Tehran being behind Saturday's strike would contradict Iranian policy since the U.S. pulled out of the nuclear deal. That policy has been to avoid a military clash with the United States and pursue a measured response to tightening American sanctions.

U.S. and Saudi officials are investigating the sites of the attacks, the oil production facility at Abqaiq and the Khurais oil field.

According to U.S. sources, 17 missiles or drones were fired, not the 10 the Houthis claim, and cruise missiles may have been used. Some targets were hit on the west-northwest facing sides, which suggests they were fired from the north, from Iran or Iraq.

But according to The New York Times, some targets were hit on the west side, pointing away from Iraq or Iraq as the source. But as some projectiles did not explode and fragments of those that did explode are identifiable, establishing the likely source of the attacks should be only a matter of time. It is here that the rubber meets the road.

Given Pompeo's public accusation that Iran was behind the attack, a Trump meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the U.N. General Assembly's annual gathering next week may be a dead letter.

The real question now is what do the Americans do when the source of the attack is known and the call for a commensurate response is put directly to our "locked-and-loaded" president.

If the perpetrators were the Houthis, how would Trump respond?

For the Houthis, who are native to Yemen and whose country has been attacked by the Saudis for four years, would, under the rules of war, seem to be entitled to launch attacks on the country attacking them.

Indeed, Congress has repeatedly sought to have Trump terminate U.S. support of the Saudi war in Yemen.

If the attack on the Saudi oil field and oil facility at Abqaiq proves to be the work of Shiite militia from inside Iraq, would the United States attack that militia whose numbers in Iraq have been estimated as high as 150,000 fighters, as compared with our 5,000 troops in-country?

What about Iran itself?

If a dozen drones or missiles can do the kind of damage to the world economy as did those fired on Saturday -- shutting down about 6% of world oil production -- imagine what a U.S.-Iran-Saudi war would do to the world economy.

In recent decades, the U.S. has sold the Saudis hundreds of billions of dollars of military equipment. Did our weapons sales carry a guarantee that we will also come and fight alongside the kingdom if it gets into a war with its neighbors?

Before Trump orders any strike on Iran, would he go to Congress for authorization for his act of war?

Sen. Lindsey Graham is already urging an attack on Iran's oil refineries to "break the regime's back," while Sen. Rand Paul contends that "there's no reason the superpower of the United States needs to be getting into bombing mainland Iran."

Divided again: The War Party is giddy with excitement over the prospect of war with Iran, while the nation does not want another war.

How we avoid it, however, is becoming difficult to see.

John Bolton may be gone from the West Wing, but his soul is marching on.

[Sep 17, 2019] Stingray devices near White House with no consequences to Isreal might be a sign of "domesticated intelligence" Can you imagine if Russian devices had been found?

Sep 17, 2019 | www.unz.com

Justvisiting , says: September 17, 2019 at 12:33 pm GMT

@Anonymous At some point when an foreign intelligence service has a critical mass of politicians blackmailed it becomes "domestic intelligence" or "domesticated intelligence". :-)
JoaoAlfaiate , says: September 17, 2019 at 11:09 am GMT
It's amazing how little coverage this story got. Can you imagine if Russian devices had been found? It would be on CNN, etc. hour after hour and they'd be interviewing Nancy Pelosi non stop.
sally , says: September 17, 2019 at 12:19 pm GMT
@Cloak And Dagger I think you are correct there maybe many Americans in the USA.. It may take the few Americans who have been allowed to see the big picture at the USA

[Sep 17, 2019] KSA ties with Isreal might hurt KSA USA relations in the long run

Notable quotes:
"... I guess America does not need Saudi oil any more, cause it looks like Israel is about to be made king of the Oil Kingdoms in the middle east.? ..."
Sep 17, 2019 | www.unz.com

sally , says: September 17, 2019 at 12:19 pm GMT

I think you are correct there maybe many Americans in the USA.. It may take the few Americans who have been allowed to see the big picture at the USA...

I guess America does not need Saudi oil any more, cause it looks like Israel is about to be made king of the Oil Kingdoms in the middle east.?

[Sep 17, 2019] The Costs of Trump's Economic War on Iran Keep Growing by Daniel Larison

Sep 16, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Trump speaks at Washington rally against the Iran deal back in September 2015. Credit: Olivier Douliery/Sipa USA/Newscom Paul Pillar comments on the attack on the Saudi oil facility at Abqaiq, and he connects it to the administration's dangerous, failing "maximum pressure" campaign:

Iranian leaders have been explicit in warning that if Iran could not export its oil, then other Persian Gulf producers would not be able to either. Was anyone in the Trump administration listening?

To borrow another formulation from Pompeo's tweet, there is no evidence that in the absence of the administration's economic warfare against Iran, Iran would do anything like attack the Abqaiq facility or have any incentive to conduct such an attack. If Iran did do the attack, then it was a direct and unsurprising result of the administration's policy of unrelenting hostility and of inflicting economic pain with no apparent end.

The Trump administration's economic war on Iran has not achieved anything except to destabilize the region further and impoverish the Iranian people. It is the cause of the current crisis with Iran, and were it not for this economic war we can reasonably assume that there would have been no attacks on tankers, pipelines, and possibly oil facilities in the last few months. As Pillar notes, the administration has shown Iran unrelenting hostility, and they have continued to apply one set of sanctions after another, and then the administration pretends that its own actions have not created the present mess. A smart administration would start lifting sanctions, but then a smart administration would never have imposed them in the first place.

Under no circumstances should the U.S. increase its involvement in Yemen and do more to devastate that country, as this former admiral has suggested that we do in an interview with Foreign Policy . The U.S. should have ended our involvement in the war on Yemen long ago. It is an ongoing disgrace that the administration continues to support and arm the governments that have been destroying and starving Yemen. Our involvement in the war is already unauthorized and illegal, and directly launching attacks alongside the Saudi coalition would make things even worse.

Deescalating tensions with Iran is the only sane way forward, so of course the only thing being seriously considered right now in Washington is a possible attack on Iran. It can't be stressed enough that the U.S. has no justification, legal or otherwise, to launch an attack on Iran. Not only is the U.S. not obliged to come to the defense of Saudi Arabia, but our government is bound by the U.N. Charter that prohibits using force against another state except in self-defense. No one can seriously claim that a U.S. strike on Iran right now would be anything other than an illegal attack in clear violation of international law.

Sid Finster 5 hours ago

The only sane thing MBS can do is to declare defeat and withdraw from Yemen, tout suite .

The problem is that there is no way for him to do so without humiliation. Shame and honor are paramount in Saudi society, and MBS has just gotten a very nasty and very public punch in the nose. Anything less than brutal escalation, and his honor and prestige will be seriously damaged.

The Saudi tyrants are stuck in Yemen so deep, that they have little choice but to keep doubling down.

[Sep 17, 2019] TV debates are better than fiction!

Sep 17, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

ilsm , September 16, 2019 at 04:46 AM

TV debates are better than fiction!

"These people are aware that Biden is losing his mind, but they are pushing him toward the White House anyway."...

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/09/16/bidens-brain-is-swiss-cheese-and-its-creepy-that-were-not-talking-about-it/

The Biden comment about poor kids needing to hear words is pap I heard at a Hillary event in 2015 from Bill himself. Make sure the 'record player' the kids listen to for hours has the approved subliminal messages.

While insisting that schools raise kids tends toward the Brave New World.

When the DNC handlers free US from racism and "unfairness" we will be theirs.

And the handlers wants you [in to their "reality"] to do a 25th Amendment on Trump!

So much to be outraged about that is not Trump!

im1dc , September 16, 2019 at 04:46 AM
Where does Joe Biden stand on raising taxes on the wealthy to level the Wealth Gap?

https://thehill.com/policy/finance/461368-progressive-tax-the-rich-push-gains-momentum

"Progressive tax-the-rich push gains momentum"

By Naomi Jagoda...09/16/19...06:00 AM EDT

"The progressive push to raise taxes on the rich is gaining new momentum."...

[Sep 17, 2019] Johnstone Biden's Brain Is Swiss Cheese And It's Creepy That We're Not All Talking About It

Sep 17, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Johnstone: Biden's Brain Is Swiss Cheese And It's Creepy That We're Not All Talking About It

by Tyler Durden Mon, 09/16/2019 - 09:10 0 SHARES Authored by Caitlin Johnstone via Medium.com,

I didn't watch the last Democratic presidential primary debates because I figured that without Tulsi Gabbard in there shaking things up it would be a boring, vapid parade of insubstantial verbal foam, and I love myself too much to go through such a horrible ordeal. By all accounts my prediction was correct, but I did miss one thing that's been making the rounds in video clips for the last couple of days which I find absolutely bizarre.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/4AYVwgcAOMY

Most of you have probably heard about Biden's infamous "record player" comment by now, but for those of you who missed it, Biden was asked by debate moderator Linsey Davis to defend some comments he made about America's problems with racism in the 1970s, and he responded by essentially saying that Black people don't know how to raise their kids so they need to be taught how by social workers. Biden has been receiving mainstream criticism for his racist and paternalistic position, along with plenty of mockery for saying that parents need to be told to "make sure you have the record player on at night" so that kids hear enough words in early childhood.

It is pretty clear that Biden was trying to communicate an idea that is premised on a deeply racist and condescending worldview, so it's to be expected that people would want to talk about that. It's also to be expected that people would be making jokes about how the cute old man said "record player" like a grandpa. But what isn't being discussed nearly enough is the fact that what Biden said was also a barely coherent, garbled word salad stumbling out of a brain that is clearly being eaten alive by a very serious neurological disease.

I've typed out a transcript of what Biden actually said, verbatim. There are no typos. I've also noted where Biden closes his eyes, probably to concentrate, which he does whenever he seems to be struggling especially hard to string words together. Try to read through it slowly, word-for-word, resisting the instinct to mentally re-frame it into something more coherent:

"Well they have to deal with the -- Look, there is institutional segregation in this country. And from the time I got involved I started dealing with that. Redlining. Banks. Making sure that we're in a position where -- Look, talk about education. I propose that what we take is those very poor schools, the Title 1 schools, triple the amount of money we spend from 15 to 45 billion a year. Give every single teacher a raise that equal [ closes eyes ] raise to getting out -- the sixty-thousand dollar level.

"Number two: make sure that we bring into the help the -- [ closes eyes ] the student, the, the teachers deal with the problems that come from home. The problems that come from home. We need -- We have one school psychologist for every fifteen hundred kids in America today. It's crazy. The teachers are reca -- Now, I'm married to a teacher. My deceased wife is a teacher. They have every problem coming to them. [ Closes eyes briefly ] We have make sure that every single child does in fact have three, four, and five year-olds go to school -- school, not daycare. School. We bring social workers into homes of parents to help them deal with how to raise their children. It's not that they don't wanna help, they don't want -- they don't know quite what to do. Play the radio, make sure the television, [ closes eyes tightly ] the -- 'scuse me, make sure you have the record player on at night, the-the-the-the phone, make sure the kids hear words. A kid coming from a very poor school, [ closes eyes ] a very poor background, will hear four million words fewer spoken by the time they get there."

Notice how it gets more garbled the longer he speaks. The response I transcribed was about eighty seconds in length. That was just one small part of a debate in which the former vice president performed no better and forgot three of his fellow candidates' names .

https://www.youtube.com/embed/FYLNCcLfIkM

Compare this befuddled, incoherent mess with footage of a younger Biden, like his famous quip about how Rudy Giuliani only ever mentions "a noun and a verb and 9/11" in a sentence, or this clip where he said if Israel didn't exist America would have to invent it to protect its interests in the Middle East. Biden has always been notoriously gaffe-prone , but he was also sharp, alert, and articulate enough to deliver a punchline. As journalist Michael Tracey has been pointing out , what we're consistently seeing over and over again from the former vice president now are not "gaffes", but clear signs of cognitive decline. Contrast the difference between Biden's younger footage and what was seen at the last debate with footage of Bernie Sanders throughout the decades , who has remained virtually identical save for appearance and hoarseness. Age does not account for this difference. Biden's brain is dying.

It is certainly understandable that people are concerned about the presidential frontrunner having a racist worldview. But what's really weird and creepy is how few people are discussing the obvious fact that the presidential forerunner is also clearly suffering from the early stages of some kind of dementia. The brain that spouted the gibberish transcribed above would probably score poorly on a basic test for the early stages of Alzheimer's disease, yet discussion of his inability to complete a coherent sentence is relegated to the margins of political discourse. This is someone who is campaigning to have access to the nuclear codes, yet we're only talking about how he's kind of racist and not about the fact that his brain is turning into Swiss cheese right before our eyes. It's freaky.

It's freaky, but it kind of makes sense. One common difficulty in getting early treatment for people with Alzheimer's disease is that those suffering from it often go to great lengths to hide their impairments , and another difficulty is that their families are often deeply in denial about their loved one's mental decline. According to the Mayo Clinic , "Some people hide their symptoms, or family members cover for them. That's easy to understand, because Alzheimer's dementia is associated with loss, such as loss of independence, loss of a driving privileges and loss of self."

I think we're seeing precisely this happening, both with Biden, and with his supporters. Biden himself is clearly doing everything he can to feign mental competency, and as a powerful politician aiming to accomplish a lifelong ambition to become the US president he'd certainly have a lot egoically invested in doing so. His supporters seem to be doing all kinds of denial mental gymnastics around his cognitive decline as well; just check out the responses to this Washington Post tweet for its article about Biden's "record player" response.

me title=

Here are a few examples:

"Don't pretend you didn't understand what he was saying."

"Actually, I recently saw a turntable for sale at Best Buys & vinyl records are back on the market. Try to keep up, WaPo."

"My 22 year old son and all his friends play records on record players these days. If you're insinuating that Joe is out of touch, you're out of touch."

"Actually currently, there are some people playing record players because they find the vinyl record has better sound quality. I think you are just picking and choosing who to go after."

"He was saying they not hearing enough words. We did. We were read to. We listened to children's albums. We had conversations. He was trying to get at the importance of those things. He didn't do a great job on communicating it but he was right."

"Twitter snark aside, there are studies to back up that claim."

"He got 80% of the way through the debate without an embarrassing gaffe that highlights his age. Of course, Trump couldn't get halfway through a debate without threatening his opponent with imprisonment."

"Honestly so what. I got the sentiment."

"Not sure why people are being so condescending. Vinyl outsold CD last year, so, you know, record players are everywhere these days. You could say he's stuck in the past or you could say he's trending. Be kind."

We saw this same impulse to protect and compensate for Biden's mental decline from audience members during the debate, who gasped out loud when Julian Castro suggested that Biden had forgotten what he'd said two minutes ago. Many rank-and-file Democrats are so desperate for an end to an administration that is making them increasingly anxious and neurotic that they find it cognitively easier to compartmentalize away from the obvious fact that Biden is in a state of mental decline than to turn and face that reality. So they make excuses and pretend that his demented word salads are perfectly rational, hip references to the resurging popularity of vinyl records.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/dtJ34wycgwk

The only people who are absolutely acutely aware of Biden's cognitive decline and yet still want him to become president are his handlers. There is no way his consistent pattern of verbal unintelligibility has gone unnoticed by those who are responsible for facilitating his election, and indeed The Hill reports that his "allies" have been floating the idea of scaling back his campaign appearances and scheduling them for earlier in the day when he's not tired to help minimize his "verbal flubs". These people are aware that Biden is losing his mind, but they are pushing him toward the White House anyway.

If Biden supporters were really intellectually honest with themselves about what's going on, they'd see that they don't actually want Joe Biden to be president, they want his unelected, unaccountable handlers to be president. From a position of intellectual honesty they'd be taking the position of arch neocon Bill Kristol, who once said he'd "prefer the deep state to the Trump state."

And of course that wouldn't be a first among US presidents even in recent history. Ronald Reagan had early signs of Alzheimer's disease during his presidency according to his own son , and George W Bush was infamously just a puppet of his handlers like Dick Cheney. Indeed it would be possible to have an actual, literal Jim Henson puppet as president of the United States without America's unelected power establishment skipping a single beat.

But that's exactly the point: having a real human being in there with even a semi-functional mind can put some inertia on the most sociopathic impulses of America's unelected permanent government. Both Trump and Obama are of course horrible presidents who have continued and expanded the Bush administration's most evil agendas, but Obama slowed down the push to arm Ukraine against Russia and slammed the brakes on a full-scale bombing campaign on Syria, while Trump was unable to get along with John Bolton and is losing interest in Venezuela while resisting the push to start new wars. Despite all their flaws, they've resisted the permanent government's worst impulses in some key ways. If it's just Biden's handlers and the unelected power establishment, there's no humanity anywhere near the brake pedal.

me title=

So this makes sense to talk about no matter how you look at it. But we're not. In mainstream discourse we're speaking as though this is just a charmingly gaffe-prone old man who makes a few controversial statements from time to time but would still make a fine president, when really he shouldn't even be allowed a driver's license.

And I just find that really creepy and uncomfortable. As someone who's never been able to leave elephants in rooms alone, the fact that the leading presidential contender is neurologically incapable of speaking coherently for eighty seconds sticks out like dog's balls and it's absolutely freakish that this isn't front and center of our political discourse right now. Biden's dementia should be the very first thing we discuss whenever his name comes up, not the last.

* * *

Thanks for reading! 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 , checking out my podcast on either Youtube , soundcloud , Apple podcasts or Spotify , 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.

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RBNJ , 5 hours ago link

??? It's not "weird" or "creepy" - it's completely understandable and explainable. The media drive the narrative in Washington. They are completely biased and will work tirelessly to insure the Democrat nominee evicts Trump in 2020. Biden is the current front-runner so they will speak no ill of him. If he were a fringe candidate, only getting in the way of their goal, then you can be damn sure the media would be talking about his obvious senility. If and when he's no longer the front-runner then we'll begin seeing stories about his mental decline, but not before then - not 1 damn second before then.

stinkypinky , 6 hours ago link

To be fair Trump's transcripts don't look great either. Both men seem to switch gears mid-sentence like they basically want you to get the idea of what they're talking about, and then move on without nailing down the details, and can't wait to get the **** out of the room.

from_the_ashes , 7 hours ago link

Can't help but agree with the swiss cheese diagnosis...

Corn Pop? Seriously?

https://townhall.com/tipsheet/timothymeads/2019/09/16/biden-tells-the-tale-of-the-one-time-he-took-on-a-black-dude-named-corn-pop-n2553113

whatisthat , 9 hours ago link

I would observe joe biden is simply another corrupt moron bureaucrat candidate who is running for president - sponsored by the DNC

[Sep 16, 2019] This Wasn't How Trump's War on Iran Was Supposed to Go by David C. Hendrickson

Sep 17, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The U.S. thought it was cleverly choking the regime, but now it's clear that 'maximum pressure' goes both ways.

• The Saturday attack on Saudi oil facilities, which took 5.7 million barrels of oil per day offline, is the escalation that wasn't supposed to happen. Now that it has happened, we enter perilous new terrain.

America has blamed Iran and hinted at some sort of retaliation . Iran has denied responsibility, while the Houthis gladly take it. There are conflicting reports of where the missiles or drones were launched from, which we will learn more about in the coming days.

In the meantime, Trump is in a tight spot of his own making, with neither escalation nor retrenchment looking to be attractive options.

It is still uncertain when Saudi Aramco can get everything back on line. The attack showed sophistication. Critical nodes were hit. If the facilities are quickly repaired, that lessens the gravity of this event. The Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s showed the resiliency of oil installations, as Iraqi bombers pounded Kharg Island, where Iran exported much of its oil, yet the Iranians managed to keep the exports flowing. This suggests that a war of attrition today would be possible without major disruptions, though the impact of new technologies of attack and resistance makes any guess hazardous.

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If past crises are any indication, a sustained loss of 5.7 million barrels per day, over five percent of world oil consumption, would likely quadruple oil prices. Strategic petroleum reserves can cover this to a certain extent: the U.S. system can pump 4.4 million barrels per day. But it would exhaust its reserves in 150 days at that pace. We do not know whether more strikes will be forthcoming or whether such efforts can be successfully suppressed with airpower or invigorated defenses. All we can say is that the great game has advanced to a new stage.

From the beginning, escalation has seemed the likely consequence of the Trump administration's decision to asphyxiate the Iranian regime by cutting off its ability to export oil. This was a declaration of economic war. That is the polite term, as it is an action every international lawyer on the planet, back in the day when these things mattered, would have called an act of war without any precious qualifiers.

It turns out that there may be some street cred to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's assertion that if Iran isn't allowed to export oil, others will face obstacles too. Tit for tat. Got a quid? Here's a quo. The funny thing is that any significant threat to Saudi capacity creates a pressing need to get Iran's spare capacity onto the world market. As to which side now has more leverage, in a position to squeeze harder, that's a tough question. Putting it nicely, the Iranians can, if their will is stout, impose huge costs on the United States and the world economy. They would only consider that if pressed extremely hard, yet the United States has been pressing them extremely hard for over a year now.

Remember that the purpose of America's economic war on Iran was to force Iran to submit to 12 demands issued by Pharaoh Mike Pompeo in his edict delivered on May 21, 2018. It was really disappointing that Pompeo didn't raise the obvious thirteenth demand and insist that the embargo would not be lifted until an American regent was appointed in Tehran, taking the Islamic Revolution under neoliberal guidance until circumstances changed, after which Iranian democracy would be restored to its former lack of glory. That was implied, to be sure, but we didn't get much straight talk from Mr. Pompeo on that point.

This ultimatum was reminiscent of the demands that the Austro-Hungarians made on the Serbs on a certain date in 1914. Make them as extreme as you can, said the inspired diplomatists looking for war. World reaction was then unfavorable. Winston Churchill, in charge of Britain's navy, called it "the most insolent document of its kind ever devised." The resemblance to Pompeo's ultimatums hardly shows the imminence of a 1914-like crisis today, but there is a certain arrogance to both the U.S. warmongers and Austro-Hungarians. The Austrians got the war they were looking for; the neocons may yet get theirs.

Trump's renunciation of the Iran nuclear deal is mostly about Israel and its perceived security requirements. Not only must Iran not have a single nuclear weapon, it must not have the theoretical capability to produce a weapon, were the Iranians to break from their pledges under the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the JCPOA. This imposes a requirement on the Islamic Republic that no other medium-sized power has had to endure. That the Iranians are bearers of an ancient civilization makes the humiliation all the more painful. Those 12 demands were not designed to produce a settlement; they were designed to produce a crisis, as they now have done. Regime change lies back of them -- that or simply the immiseration of another Muslim country.

American policy toward Saudi Arabia, on the other hand, has recently been mostly about arms sales. People say all the time that the oil companies are the heavyweights in this drama. In fact, they are secondary. What has driven events in the recent past is the military-industrial complex salivating over the sales of high-priced and high-tech U.S. armaments to sheikdoms with money to burn. The MIC plunderers, like the Hollywood moguls, understand that you simply must have the foreign market to make the big profits. Politicians see such sales as a way of making our own arms purchases remotely affordable and thereby politically palatable. For these reasons, foreign arms sales to reprehensible characters is Washington's go-to move, a win-win for the plutocrats and the praetorians.

The United States acted under no prompting of national interest in so aiding and abetting the Saudi war in Yemen, but its hankering after all those lucrative contracts was just too much temptation. When the flesh is weak, as it seems to be in Washington, burning flesh is not a problem. Trump saw it as a great business deal and had no compunctions about the human fallout in Yemen. The Democrats -- a certain Democrat, especially -- did what was once said of Austrian Queen Maria Theresa after the Partition of Poland in 1772: "She wept, but she took."

The president may have outsmarted himself this time. He got rid of National Security Adviser John Bolton because he didn't like Bolton's across-the-board hawkish recommendations, but he signed on to the very big change in U.S. policy towards Iran that Bolton had recommended. Trump thought he was in control of the escalation. But when you declare your intention to asphyxiate another country, you've committed an act of war. Retaliation from the other side usually follows in some form or fashion. You can then advance to your ruin or retreat in ignominy.

Trump has threatened retaliation, but he surely does not want a big war with Iran. His supporters definitely do not want a war with Iran. Americans in general are opposed to a war with Iran. Mysteriously, however, the U.S. declaration of war on Iran in fact -- though not, of course, in name, heaven forbid -- escaped notice by the commentariat this past year. The swamp's seismograph doesn't record a reading when we violate the rules, but when the other guy does, it's 7.8 on the Richter Scale.

The whole drama, in a nutshell, is just the old-fashioned hubris of the imperial power, issuing its edicts, and genuinely surprised when it encounters resistance, even though such resistance confirms for the wunderkinds their view of the enemy's malevolence.

Is Trump trapped? That is the question of the hour. He faces strong pressure to do something in retaliation, but that something may aggravate the oil shock and imperil his re-election. As he dwells on that possibility, he will probably look for ways to back down. He will try to get out of the trap set by the U.S. economic war on Iran without abandoning the economic war on Iran. But that probably won't work; that was Iran's message over the weekend. Were he to abandon the economic war, however, he would get a ton of flak from both sides of the aisle in Congress. The commentators would scream "appeasement!" In Washington lobby-land, we'd be back to 1938 in a flash.

Does the president have the gumption to resist that tired line? I hope so.

David Hendrickson teaches history at Colorado College and is the author of Republic in Peril: American Empire and the Liberal Tradition.

[Sep 16, 2019] Manhattan DA Subpoenas 8 Years Of Trump Tax Returns

Looks like very polarized decision: to friends everything, to enemies the law. And treatment by NY of Epstein and Harvey Weinstein supports this hypothesis.
Sep 16, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Manhattan DA Subpoenas 8 Years Of Trump Tax Returns

by Tyler Durden Mon, 09/16/2019 - 16:45 0 SHARES

It never ends.

New York state prosecutors in Manhattan have subpoenaed President Trump's accounting firm, Mazars USA, demanding eight years of his personal and corporate tax returns according to the New York Times , citing "several people with knowledge on the matter" - the gold standard in modern sources.

The subpoena was issued by the Manhattan DA's office last month following the launch of a criminal investigation into hush-money payments made to porn star Stormy Daniels (real name Stephanie Clifford) by former Trump attorney Michael Cohen - who pleaded guilty last year to eight charges; seven of which were unrelated to the Trump campaign, and one for breaking federal campaign finance laws. He is currently serving a three-year prison sentence.

At issue - Democratic Manhattan D.A. Cyrus R. Vance Jr. (whose daddy was Jimmy Carter's Secretary of State - and who took money from Harvey Weinstein while declining to prosecute him for sexual assault - and who sought a reduced sex-offender status for Jeffrey Epstein) wants to see if Trump's reimbursement of Cohen violated any laws in New York , and whether Trump's accounting firm falsely accounted for the reimbursements as a legal expense.

In New York, filing a false business record can be a crime.

But it becomes a felony only if prosecutors can prove that the false filing was made to commit or conceal another crime, such as tax violations or bank fraud. The tax returns and other documents sought from Mazars could shed light on whether any state laws were broken . Such subpoenas also routinely request related documents in connection with the returns. - New York Times

Congressional Democrats have been hunting down Trump's tax returns for years after the billionaire refused to do so, citing an ongoing IRS audit as well as the position that Trump Organization competitors would then have access to industry secrets.

Congressional Democrats have taken an aggressive approach, subpoenaing six years of Mr. Trump's tax returns from the Treasury Department, as well as personal and corporate financial records from Deutsche Bank, Capital One and Mazars USA.

The president has fought back to keep his finances under wraps, challenging the subpoenas in federal court. He has also sued to block a New York state law, passed this year, that authorized state officials to provide his state tax returns in response to certain congressional inquiries. By tying up the requests in court, Mr. Trump's team has made it diminishingly likely that Democrats in Washington will get the chance to review them before the election next year . - New York Times

And while Trump and the Treasury Department have proven thus far successful in thwarting Democratic lawmakers' inquiries, it may not be as easy to fend off a subpoena in Manhattan .

According to Mazars, they will "will respect the legal process and fully comply with its legal obligations," adding that the company was legally prohibited from commenting on its work.

If the Manhattan DA is able to obtain Trump's tax returns, the Times notes that "the documents would be covered by secrecy rules governing grand juries, meaning they would not become public unless they were used as evidence in a criminal case."

The Times does not note, however, that the records would likely be leaked within 30 minutes to the Washington Post or similar.

State prosecutors also subpoenaed the Trump Organization in early August for records of the payments to Daniels and Cohen's reimbursement - a request which has been complied with according to the report.

"It's just harassment of the president, his family and his business, using subpoenas as weapons," said Trump Org attorney, Marc L. Mukasey in a statement last month.

As part of its investigation, prosecutors from Mr. Vance's office visited Mr. Cohen in prison in Otisville, N.Y., to seek assistance with their investigation, according to people briefed on the meeting, which was first reported by CNN.

Mr. Cohen also helped arrange for American Media Inc., the publisher of The National Enquirer, to pay Karen McDougal, a Playboy model who also said she had an affair with the president. Prosecutors in the district attorney's office subpoenaed American Media in early August, as well as at least one bank. - New York Times

Will the Democrats' gambit pay off? Or will the ongoing "witch hunts" into President Trump backfire and turn him into a martyr?


Tachyon5321 , 43 minutes ago link

There is no evidence that any crimes of any type has been committed.

There is no legal grounds for a subpoena to be issued without evidence that a crime has been committed.

Cearly, the Manhattan DA is violating the civil right of a citizen for asking for 8 years of tax records with no indication of a crime. Trump should sue the DA and the jutice department should look into the DA violation of due process and legal rights of a citizen.

rgraf , 53 minutes ago link

Has he subpoenaed Epstein's docs? Is he going to claim tax fraud is worse than child molestation? Why don't Trump supporters file a class action lawsuit and RICO against this clown?

William Dorritt , 3 hours ago link

Perfect

"Democratic Manhattan D.A. Cyrus R. Vance Jr.

wants to see if Trump's reimbursement of Cohen violated any laws in New York , and whether Trump's accounting firm falsely accounted for the reimbursements as a legal expense. "

Love to see the Bio on the Judge that approved the Subpeona

DBAustin , 3 hours ago link

How many people reading this think that the IRS never reviewed Trump's tax returns?

How many people reading this think that Obama's IRS did NOT make a special effort to go over Trump's taxes in great detail, even as Obama's FBI and DOJ spied on Trump and his campaign?

How many people reading this think that Obama's IRS would NOT have charged Trump with tax evasion even if they could have?

How many people reading this think that making Trump's tax return public is NOT an effort to twist, distort, and misinterpret complex tax returns in an attempt to make Trump look bad as bad as possible for taking legitimate, legal, but large tax deductions?

How many people reading this think that it is perfectly fine for democrat leaders, such as Pelosi, Schumer, and multimillionaire Maxine Waters NOT to have to release their tax returns while Trump has to release his?

beemasters , 4 hours ago link

Why did Weinstein and Epstein get such special treatment?

Both did get the same treatment- in escaping from justice. Oh, you mean not producing tax returns? No one is demanding them, for one plus they are not public servants. All government officials should submit their tax returns to ensure they are not compromised by those who have access to them.

[Sep 16, 2019] The continual plundering and looting of Iranian resources

Sep 16, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

camfree , 26 minutes ago link

Bibi is desperate for war with Iran to avoid election defeat and prison and Bolton is fired/resigns only to predict "Iranian deception" on the way out the door.

Insurrexion , 33 minutes ago link

Zeroes,

Re: $100/Bl Oil...

Today, Brent climbed as much as 12% towards $70 per barrel and the US crude oil rose 10% to nearly $61. Historically, Brent crude oil reached an all time high of 147.50 in July of 2008. Remember what happened next?

Qui Bono?

  • KSA, UAE, Qatar
  • Russia
  • US Oil Majors, State of Texas
  • OPEC
  • UK
  • Norway

Who suffers?

  • China
  • Japan
  • India
  • Transportation costs and cost of goods
  • Commuters costs
  • Heating costs going into winter
  • Airlines and air travel

Iraq, Libya, Venezuela and Iran are a mess and cannot produce to make a difference.

This will be the catalyst for the economic downturn.

attah-boy-Luther , 39 minutes ago link

Trumptards locked and loaded....sigh and now this:

https://www.henrymakow.com/2019/09/disgrace-canadas-theft-of-ir.html

So the continual plundering and looting of Iranian resources never ceases to amaze me.

[Sep 16, 2019] President Macron's Amazing Admission by The Saker

Sep 16, 2019 | www.unz.com

Interestingly, one of the people the Ukrainians gave up in this exchange was Vladimir Tsemakh, a native of the Donbass who was kidnapped by the Ukie SBU in Novorussia (our noble "Europeans" did not object to such methods!) and declared the "star witness" against Russia in the MH-17 (pseudo-)investigation. Even more pathetic is that the Dutch apparently fully endorsed this load of crapola . Finally, and just for a good laugh, check out how the infamous' Bellingcat presented Tsemakh . And then, suddenly, everybody seem to "forget" that "star witness" and now the Ukies have sent him to Russia. Amazing how fast stuff gets lost in the collective western memory hole

Thus we see these apparently contradictory developments taking place: on on hand, the Ukraine finally agreed to a prisoner swap with Russia (a painful one for Russia as Russia mostly traded real criminals, including a least two bona fide Ukie terrorist, against what are mostly civilian hostages, but Putin decided – correctly I think – that freeing Russian nationalists from Ukie jails was more important in this case) while on the other hand, the Ukronazi armed forces increased their shelling, even with 152mm howitzers which fire 50kg high explosive fragmentation shells, against the Donbass. Whatever may be the case, this prisoner swap, no matter how one-sided and unfair, is a positive development which might mark the beginning of a pragmatic and less ideological attitude in Kiev.

Some very cautious beginnings of a little hint of optimism might be in order following that exchange, but the big stuff seems to be scheduled for the meeting of the Normandy Group (NG), probably in France. So far, the Russians have made it very clear that they will not meet just for the hell of meeting, and that the only circumstance in which the Russians will agree to a NG meeting would be if it has good chances of yielding meaningful results which, translated from Russian diplomatic language simply means "if/when Kiev stops stonewalling and sabotaging everything". Specifically, the Russians are demanding that Zelenskii commit in writing to the so-called " Steinmeier formula " and that the Ukrainian forces withdraw from the line of contact. Will that happen? Maybe. We shall soon find out.

Here is my informal translation of these words:

The international order is being shaken in an unprecedented manner, above all with, if I may say so, by the great upheaval that is undoubtedly taking place for the first time in our history , in almost every field and with a profoundly historic magnitude . The first thing we observe is a major transformation, a geopolitical and strategic re-composition. We are undoubtedly experiencing the end of Western hegemony over the world . We were accustomed to an international order which, since the 18th century, rested on a Western hegemony, mostly French in the 18th century, by the inspiration of the Enlightenment; then mostly British in the 19th century thanks to the Industrial Revolution and, finally, mostly American in the 20th century thanks to the 2 great conflicts and the economic and political domination of this power. Things change. And they are now deeply shaken by the mistakes of Westerners in certain crises, by the choices that have been made by Americans for several years which did not start with this administration, but which lead to revisiting certain implications in conflicts in the Middle East and elsewhere, and to rethinking a deep, diplomatic and military strategy, and sometimes elements of solidarity that we thought were intangible for eternity, even if we had constituted together in geopolitical moments that have changed. And then there is the emergence of new powers whose impact we have probably underestimated for a long time. China is at the forefront, but also the Russian strategy, which has, it must be said, been pursued more successfully in recent years . I will come back to that. India that is emerging, these new economies that are also becoming powers not only economic but political and that think themselves, as some have written, as real "civilizational states" which now come not only to shake up our international order but who also come to weigh in on the economic order and to rethink the political order and the political imagination that goes with it, with much dynamism and much more inspiration than we have. Look at India, Russia and China. They have a much stronger political inspiration than Europeans today. They think about our planet with a true logic, a true philosophy, an imagination that we've lost a little bit.

... ... ...

6) " Look at India, Russia and China. They have a much stronger political inspiration than Europeans today. They think about our planet with a true logic, a true philosophy, an imagination that we've lost a little bit."

This is the "core BRICS" challenge to the Empire: China and Russia have already established what the Chinese call a "Comprehensive Strategic Partnership of Coordination for the New Era". If they can now extend this kind of informal but extremely profound partnership (I think of it as "symbiotic") to India next, then the BRICS will have a formidable future (especially after the Brazilian people give the boot to Bolsonaro and his US patrons). Should that fail and should India chose to remain outside this unique relationship, then the SCO will become the main game in town. And yes, Macron is spot on: China and, especially, Russia have a fundamentally different worldview and, unlike the western one, theirs does have "much stronger political" goals (Macron used the word "aspirations"), "a real philosophy and imagination" which the West has lost, and not just a "little bit" but, I would argue, completely. But one way or the other, and for the first time in 1000 years, the future of our planet will not be decided anywhere in the West, not in Europe (old or "new"), but in Asia, primarily by the Russian-Chinese alliance. As I explained here , the AngloZionist Empire is probably the last one in history, definitely the last western one.

... ... ...

PS: the latest rumor from the Ukraine: Zelenskii supporters are saying that Poroshenko is preparing a coup against Zelenskii and that he is preparing a special force of Ukronazi deathsquads to execute that coup. Dunno about a real coup, but they have already blocked the Rada . Never a dull moment indeed

[Sep 15, 2019] How the UK Security Services neutralised the country s leading liberal newspaper by Matt Kennard and Mark Curtis

Highly recommended!
Essentially neoliberal MSM were hijacked. Which was easy to do. The current anti-Russian campaign is conducted under the direct guidance of MI6 and similar agencies
Notable quotes:
"... committee minutes note the secretary saying: "The Guardian was obliged to seek advice under the terms of the DA notice code." The minutes add: "This failure to seek advice was a key source of concern and considerable efforts had been made to address it." ..."
"... These "considerable efforts" included a D-Notice sent out by the committee on 7 June 2013 – the day after The Guardian published the first documents – to all major UK media editors, saying they should refrain from publishing information that would "jeopardise both national security and possibly UK personnel". It was marked "private and confidential: not for publication, broadcast or use on social media". ..."
"... "The FT [Financial Times] and The Times did not mention it [the initial Snowden revelations] and the Telegraph published only a short". It continued by noting that only The Independent "followed up the substantive allegations". It added, "The BBC has also chosen to largely ignore the story." ..."
"... The British security services had carried out more than a "symbolic act". It was both a show of strength and a clear threat. The Guardian was then the only major newspaper that could be relied upon by whistleblowers in the US and British security bodies to receive and cover their exposures, a situation which posed a challenge to security agencies. ..."
"... The increasingly aggressive overtures made to The Guardian worked. The committee chair noted that after GCHQ had overseen the smashing up of the newspaper's laptops "engagement with The Guardian had continued to strengthen". ..."
"... But the most important part of this charm and threat offensive was getting The Guardian to agree to take a seat on the D-Notice Committee itself. The committee minutes are explicit on this, noting that "the process had culminated by [sic] the appointment of Paul Johnson (deputy editor Guardian News and Media) as a DPBAC [i.e. D-Notice Committee] member". ..."
"... The Guardian's deputy editor went directly from the corporation's basement with an angle-grinder to sitting on the D-Notice Committee alongside the security service officials who had tried to stop his paper publishing. ..."
"... In November 2016, The Guardian published an unprecedented "exclusive" with Andrew Parker, the head of MI5, Britain's domestic security service. The article noted that this was the "first newspaper interview given by an incumbent MI5 chief in the service's 107-year history". It was co-written by deputy editor Paul Johnson, who had never written about the security services before and who was still sitting on the D-Notice Committee. This was not mentioned in the article. ..."
"... The MI5 chief was given copious space to make claims about the national security threat posed by an "increasingly aggressive" Russia. Johnson and his co-author noted, "Parker said he was talking to The Guardian rather than any other newspaper despite the publication of the Snowden files." ..."
"... Just two weeks before the interview with MI6's chief was published, The Guardian itself reported on the high court stating that it would "hear an application for a judicial review of the Crown Prosecution Service's decision not to charge MI6's former counterterrorism director, Sir Mark Allen, over the abduction of Abdel Hakim Belhaj and his pregnant wife who were transferred to Libya in a joint CIA-MI6 operation in 2004". ..."
"... The security services were probably feeding The Guardian these "exclusives" as part of the process of bringing it onside and neutralising the only independent newspaper with the resources to receive and cover a leak such as Snowden's. They were possibly acting to prevent any revelations of this kind happening again. ..."
"... The Guardian's coverage of anti-Semitism in Labour has been suspiciously extensive, compared to the known extent of the problem in the party, and its focus on Corbyn personally suggests that the issue is being used politically. While anti-Semitism does exist in the Labour Party, evidence suggests it is at relatively low levels. Since September 2015, when Corbyn became Labour leader, 0.06% of the Labour membership has been investigated for anti-Semitic comments or posts. In 2016, an independent inquiry commissioned by Labour concluded that the party "is not overrun by anti-Semitism, Islamophobia or other forms of racism. Further, it is the party that initiated every single United Kingdom race equality law." ..."
"... A former Guardian journalist similarly told us: "It is significant that exclusive stories recently about British collusion in torture and policy towards the interrogation of terror suspects and other detainees have been passed to other papers including The Times rather than The Guardian." ..."
"... The Guardian had gone in six short years from being the natural outlet to place stories exposing wrongdoing by the security state to a platform trusted by the security state to amplify its information operations. A once relatively independent media platform has been largely neutralised by UK security services fearful of being exposed further. Which begs the question: where does the next Snowden go? DM ..."
Jan 01, 2019 | dailymaverick.co.za

The Guardian, Britain's leading liberal newspaper with a global reputation for independent and critical journalism, has been successfully targeted by security agencies to neutralise its adversarial reporting of the 'security state', according to newly released documents and evidence from former and current Guardian journalists.

The UK security services targeted The Guardian after the newspaper started publishing the contents of secret US government documents leaked by National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden in June 2013.

Snowden's bombshell revelations continued for months and were the largest-ever leak of classified material covering the NSA and its UK equivalent, the Government Communications Headquarters. They revealed programmes of mass surveillance operated by both agencies.

According to minutes of meetings of the UK's Defence and Security Media Advisory Committee, the revelations caused alarm in the British security services and Ministry of Defence.

" This event was very concerning because at the outset The Guardian avoided engaging with the [committee] before publishing the first tranche of information," state minutes of a 7 November 2013 meeting at the MOD.

The DSMA Committee, more commonly known as the D-Notice Committee, is run by the MOD, where it meets every six months. A small number of journalists are also invited to sit on the committee. Its stated purpose is to "prevent inadvertent public disclosure of information that would compromise UK military and intelligence operations". It can issue "notices" to the media to encourage them not to publish certain information.

The committee is currently chaired by the MOD's director-general of security policy Dominic Wilson, who was previously director of security and intelligence in the British Cabinet Office. Its secretary is Brigadier Geoffrey Dodds OBE, who describes himself as an "accomplished, senior ex-military commander with extensive experience of operational level leadership".

The D-Notice system describes itself as voluntary , placing no obligations on the media to comply with any notice issued. This means there should have been no need for the Guardian to consult the MOD before publishing the Snowden documents.

Yet committee minutes note the secretary saying: "The Guardian was obliged to seek advice under the terms of the DA notice code." The minutes add: "This failure to seek advice was a key source of concern and considerable efforts had been made to address it."

' Considerable efforts'

These "considerable efforts" included a D-Notice sent out by the committee on 7 June 2013 – the day after The Guardian published the first documents – to all major UK media editors, saying they should refrain from publishing information that would "jeopardise both national security and possibly UK personnel". It was marked "private and confidential: not for publication, broadcast or use on social media".

Clearly the committee did not want its issuing of the notice to be publicised, and it was nearly successful. Only the right-wing blog Guido Fawkes made it public.

At the time, according to the committee minutes , the "intelligence agencies in particular had continued to ask for more advisories [i.e. D-Notices] to be sent out". Such D-Notices were clearly seen by the intelligence services not so much as a tool to advise the media but rather a way to threaten it not to publish further Snowden revelations.

One night, amidst the first Snowden stories being published, the D-Notice Committee's then-secretary Air Vice-Marshal Andrew Vallance personally called Alan Rusbridger, then editor of The Guardian. Vallance "made clear his concern that The Guardian had failed to consult him in advance before telling the world", according to a Guardian journalist who interviewed Rusbridger.

Later in the year, Prime Minister David Cameron again used the D-Notice system as a threat to the media.

" I don't want to have to use injunctions or D-Notices or the other tougher measures," he said in a statement to MPs. "I think it's much better to appeal to newspapers' sense of social responsibility. But if they don't demonstrate some social responsibility it would be very difficult for government to stand back and not to act."

The threats worked. The Press Gazette reported at the time that "The FT [Financial Times] and The Times did not mention it [the initial Snowden revelations] and the Telegraph published only a short". It continued by noting that only The Independent "followed up the substantive allegations". It added, "The BBC has also chosen to largely ignore the story."

The Guardian, however, remained uncowed.

According to the committee minutes , the fact The Guardian would not stop publishing "undoubtedly raised questions in some minds about the system's future usefulness". If the D-Notice system could not prevent The Guardian publishing GCHQ's most sensitive secrets, what was it good for?

It was time to rein in The Guardian and make sure this never happened again.

GCHQ and laptops

The security services ratcheted up their "considerable efforts" to deal with the exposures. On 20 July 2013, GCHQ officials entered The Guardian's offices at King's Cross in London, six weeks after the first Snowden-related article had been published. At the request of the government and security services, Guardian deputy editor Paul Johnson, along with two others, spent three hours destroying the laptops containing the Snowden documents.

The Guardian staffers, according to one of the newspaper's reporters, brought "angle-grinders, dremels – drills with revolving bits – and masks". The reporter added, "The spy agency provided one piece of hi-tech equipment, a 'degausser', which destroys magnetic fields and erases data."

Johnson claims that the destruction of the computers was "purely a symbolic act", adding that "the government and GCHQ knew, because we had told them, that the material had been taken to the US to be shared with the New York Times. The reporting would go on. The episode hadn't changed anything."

Yet the episode did change something. As the D-Notice Committee minutes for November 2013 outlined: "Towards the end of July [as the computers were being destroyed], The Guardian had begun to seek and accept D-Notice advice not to publish certain highly sensitive details and since then the dialogue [with the committee] had been reasonable and improving."

The British security services had carried out more than a "symbolic act". It was both a show of strength and a clear threat. The Guardian was then the only major newspaper that could be relied upon by whistleblowers in the US and British security bodies to receive and cover their exposures, a situation which posed a challenge to security agencies.

The increasingly aggressive overtures made to The Guardian worked. The committee chair noted that after GCHQ had overseen the smashing up of the newspaper's laptops "engagement with The Guardian had continued to strengthen".

Moreover, he added , there were now "regular dialogues between the secretary and deputy secretaries and Guardian journalists". Rusbridger later testified to the Home Affairs Committee that Air Vice-Marshal Vallance of the D-Notice committee and himself "collaborated" in the aftermath of the Snowden affair and that Vallance had even "been at The Guardian offices to talk to all our reporters".

But the most important part of this charm and threat offensive was getting The Guardian to agree to take a seat on the D-Notice Committee itself. The committee minutes are explicit on this, noting that "the process had culminated by [sic] the appointment of Paul Johnson (deputy editor Guardian News and Media) as a DPBAC [i.e. D-Notice Committee] member".

At some point in 2013 or early 2014, Johnson – the same deputy editor who had smashed up his newspaper's computers under the watchful gaze of British intelligence agents – was approached to take up a seat on the committee. Johnson attended his first meeting in May 2014 and was to remain on it until October 2018 .

The Guardian's deputy editor went directly from the corporation's basement with an angle-grinder to sitting on the D-Notice Committee alongside the security service officials who had tried to stop his paper publishing.

A new editor

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger withstood intense pressure not to publish some of the Snowden revelations but agreed to Johnson taking a seat on the D-Notice Committee as a tactical sop to the security services. Throughout his tenure, The Guardian continued to publish some stories critical of the security services.

But in March 2015, the situation changed when the Guardian appointed a new editor, Katharine Viner, who had less experience than Rusbridger of dealing with the security services. Viner had started out on fashion and entertainment magazine Cosmopolitan and had no history in national security reporting. According to insiders, she showed much less leadership during the Snowden affair than Janine Gibson in the US (Gibson was another candidate to be Rusbridger's successor).

Viner was then editor-in-chief of Guardian Australia, which was launched just two weeks before the first Snowden revelations were published. Australia and New Zealand comprise two-fifths of the so-called "Five Eyes" surveillance alliance exposed by Snowden.

This was an opportunity for the security services. It appears that their seduction began the following year.

In November 2016, The Guardian published an unprecedented "exclusive" with Andrew Parker, the head of MI5, Britain's domestic security service. The article noted that this was the "first newspaper interview given by an incumbent MI5 chief in the service's 107-year history". It was co-written by deputy editor Paul Johnson, who had never written about the security services before and who was still sitting on the D-Notice Committee. This was not mentioned in the article.

The MI5 chief was given copious space to make claims about the national security threat posed by an "increasingly aggressive" Russia. Johnson and his co-author noted, "Parker said he was talking to The Guardian rather than any other newspaper despite the publication of the Snowden files."

Parker told the two reporters, "We recognise that in a changing world we have to change too. We have a responsibility to talk about our work and explain it."

Four months after the MI5 interview, in March 2017, the Guardian published another unprecedented "exclusive", this time with Alex Younger, the sitting chief of MI6, Britain's external intelligence agency. This exclusive was awarded by the Secret Intelligence Service to The Guardian's investigations editor, Nick Hopkins, who had been appointed 14 months previously.

The interview was the first Younger had given to a national newspaper and was again softball. Titled "MI6 returns to 'tapping up' in an effort to recruit black and Asian officers", it focused almost entirely on the intelligence service's stated desire to recruit from ethnic minority communities.

" Simply, we have to attract the best of modern Britain," Younger told Hopkins. "Every community from every part of Britain should feel they have what it takes, no matter what their background or status."

Just two weeks before the interview with MI6's chief was published, The Guardian itself reported on the high court stating that it would "hear an application for a judicial review of the Crown Prosecution Service's decision not to charge MI6's former counterterrorism director, Sir Mark Allen, over the abduction of Abdel Hakim Belhaj and his pregnant wife who were transferred to Libya in a joint CIA-MI6 operation in 2004".

None of this featured in The Guardian article, which did, however, cover discussions of whether the James Bond actor Daniel Craig would qualify for the intelligence service. "He would not get into MI6," Younger told Hopkins.

More recently, in August 2019, The Guardian was awarded yet another exclusive, this time with Metropolitan police assistant commissioner Neil Basu, Britain's most senior counter-terrorism officer. This was Basu's " first major interview since taking up his post" the previous year and resulted in a three-part series of articles, one of which was entitled "Met police examine Vladimir Putin's role in Salisbury attack".

The security services were probably feeding The Guardian these "exclusives" as part of the process of bringing it onside and neutralising the only independent newspaper with the resources to receive and cover a leak such as Snowden's. They were possibly acting to prevent any revelations of this kind happening again.

What, if any, private conversations have taken place between Viner and the security services during her tenure as editor are not known. But in 2018, when Paul Johnson eventually left the D-Notice Committee, its chair, the MOD's Dominic Wilson, praised Johnson who, he said, had been "instrumental in re-establishing links with The Guardian".

Decline in critical reporting

Amidst these spoon-fed intelligence exclusives, Viner also oversaw the breakup of The Guardian's celebrated investigative team, whose muck-racking journalists were told to apply for other jobs outside of investigations.

One well-placed source told the Press Gazette at the time that journalists on the investigations team "have not felt backed by senior editors over the last year", and that "some also feel the company has become more risk-averse in the same period".

In the period since Snowden, The Guardian has lost many of its top investigative reporters who had covered national security issues, notably Shiv Malik, Nick Davies, David Leigh, Richard Norton-Taylor, Ewen MacAskill and Ian Cobain. The few journalists who were replaced were succeeded by less experienced reporters with apparently less commitment to exposing the security state. The current defence and security editor, Dan Sabbagh, started at The Guardian as head of media and technology and has no history of covering national security.

" It seems they've got rid of everyone who seemed to cover the security services and military in an adversarial way," one current Guardian journalist told us.

Indeed, during the last two years of Rusbridger's editorship, The Guardian published about 110 articles per year tagged as MI6 on its website. Since Viner took over, the average per year has halved and is decreasing year by year.

" Effective scrutiny of the security and intelligence agencies -- epitomised by the Snowden scoops but also many other stories -- appears to have been abandoned," a former Guardian journalist told us. The former reporter added that, in recent years, it "sometimes seems The Guardian is worried about upsetting the spooks."

A second former Guardian journalist added: "The Guardian no longer seems to have such a challenging relationship with the intelligence services, and is perhaps seeking to mend fences since Snowden. This is concerning, because spooks are always manipulative and not always to be trusted."

While some articles critical of the security services still do appear in the paper, its "scoops" increasingly focus on issues more acceptable to them. Since the Snowden affair, The Guardian does not appear to have published any articles based on an intelligence or security services source that was not officially sanctioned to speak.

The Guardian has, by contrast, published a steady stream of exclusives on the major official enemy of the security services, Russia, exposing Putin, his friends and the work of its intelligence services and military.

In the Panama Papers leak in April 2016, which revealed how companies and individuals around the world were using an offshore law firm to avoid paying tax, The Guardian's front-page launch scoop was authored by Luke Harding, who has received many security service tips focused on the "Russia threat", and was titled "Revealed: the $2bn offshore trail that leads to Vladimir Putin".

Three sentences into the piece, however, Harding notes that "the president's name does not appear in any of the records" although he insists that "the data reveals a pattern – his friends have earned millions from deals that seemingly could not have been secured without his patronage".

There was a much bigger story in the Panama Papers which The Guardian chose to downplay by leaving it to the following day. This concerned the father of the then Prime Minister, David Cameron, who "ran an offshore fund that avoided ever having to pay tax in Britain by hiring a small army of Bahamas residents – including a part-time bishop – to sign its paperwork".

We understand there was some argument between journalists about not leading with the Cameron story as the launch splash. Putin's friends were eventually deemed more important than the Prime Minister of the country where the paper published.

Getting Julian Assange

The Guardian also appears to have been engaged in a campaign against the WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, who had been a collaborator during the early WikiLeaks revelations in 2010.

One 2017 story came from investigative reporter Carole Cadwalladr, who writes for The Guardian's sister paper The Observer, titled "When Nigel Farage met Julian Assange". This concerned the visit of former UKIP leader Nigel Farage to the Ecuadorian embassy in March 2017, organised by the radio station LBC, for whom Farage worked as a presenter. Farage's producer at LBC accompanied Farage at the meeting, but this was not mentioned by Cadwalladr.

Rather, she posited that this meeting was "potentially a channel of communication" between WikiLeaks, Farage and Donald Trump, who were all said to be closely linked to Russia, adding that these actors were in a "political alignment" and that " WikiLeaks is, in many ways, the swirling vortex at the centre of everything".

Yet Cadwalladr's one official on-the-record source for this speculation was a "highly placed contact with links to US intelligence", who told her, "When the heat is turned up and all electronic communication, you have to assume, is being intensely monitored, then those are the times when intelligence communication falls back on human couriers. Where you have individuals passing information in ways and places that cannot be monitored."

It seems likely this was innuendo being fed to The Observer by an intelligence-linked individual to promote disinformation to undermine Assange.

In 2018, however, The Guardian's attempted vilification of Assange was significantly stepped up. A new string of articles began on 18 May 2018 with one alleging Assange's "long-standing relationship with RT", the Russian state broadcaster. The series, which has been closely documented elsewhere, lasted for several months, consistently alleging with little or the most minimal circumstantial evidence that Assange had ties to Russia or the Kremlin.

One story, co-authored again by Luke Harding, claimed that "Russian diplomats held secret talks in London with people close to Julian Assange to assess whether they could help him flee the UK, The Guardian has learned". The former consul in the Ecuadorian embassy in London at this time, Fidel Narvaez, vigorously denies the existence of any such "escape plot" involving Russia and is involved in a complaint process with The Guardian for insinuating he coordinated such a plot.

This apparent mini-campaign ran until November 2018, culminating in a front-page splash , based on anonymous sources, claiming that Assange had three secret meetings at the Ecuadorian embassy with Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort.

This "scoop" failed all tests of journalistic credibility since it would have been impossible for anyone to have entered the highly secured Ecuadorian embassy three times with no proof. WikiLeaks and others have strongly argued that the story was manufactured and it is telling that The Guardian has since failed to refer to it in its subsequent articles on the Assange case. The Guardian, however, has still not retracted or apologised for the story which remains on its website.

The "exclusive" appeared just two weeks after Paul Johnson had been congratulated for "re-establishing links" between The Guardian and the security services.

The string of Guardian articles, along with the vilification and smear stories about Assange elsewhere in the British media, helped create the conditions for a deal between Ecuador, the UK and the US to expel Assange from the embassy in April. Assange now sits in Belmarsh maximum-security prison where he faces extradition to the US, and life in prison there, on charges under the Espionage Act.

Acting for the establishment

Another major focus of The Guardian's energies under Viner's editorship has been to attack the leader of the UK Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn.

The context is that Corbyn appears to have recently been a target of the security services. In 2015, soon after he was elected Labour leader, the Sunday Times reported a serving general warning that "there would be a direct challenge from the army and mass resignations if Corbyn became prime minister". The source told the newspaper: "The Army just wouldn't stand for it. The general staff would not allow a prime minister to jeopardise the security of this country and I think people would use whatever means possible, fair or foul, to prevent that."

On 20 May 2017, a little over two weeks before the 2017 General Election, the Daily Telegraph was fed the story that "MI5 opened a file on Jeremy Corbyn amid concerns over his links to the IRA". It formed part of a Telegraph investigation claiming to reveal "Mr Corbyn's full links to the IRA" and was sourced to an individual "close to" the MI5 investigation, who said "a file had been opened on him by the early nineties".

The Metropolitan Police Special Branch was also said to be monitoring Corbyn in the same period.

Then, on the very eve of the General Election, the Telegraph gave space to an article from Sir Richard Dearlove, the former director of MI6, under a headline: "Jeremy Corbyn is a danger to this nation. At MI6, which I once led, he wouldn't clear the security vetting."

Further, in September 2018, two anonymous senior government sources told The Times that Corbyn had been "summoned" for a "'facts of life' talk on terror" by MI5 chief Andrew Parker.

Just two weeks after news of this private meeting was leaked by the government, the Daily Mail reported another leak, this time revealing that "Jeremy Corbyn's most influential House of Commons adviser has been barred from entering Ukraine on the grounds that he is a national security threat because of his alleged links to Vladimir Putin's 'global propaganda network'."

The article concerned Andrew Murray, who had been working in Corbyn's office for a year but had still not received a security pass to enter the UK parliament. The Mail reported, based on what it called "a senior parliamentary source", that Murray's application had encountered "vetting problems".

Murray later heavily suggested that the security services had leaked the story to the Mail. "Call me sceptical if you must, but I do not see journalistic enterprise behind the Mail's sudden capacity to tease obscure information out of the [Ukrainian security service]," he wrote in the New Statesman. He added, "Someone else is doing the hard work – possibly someone being paid by the taxpayer. I doubt if their job description is preventing the election of a Corbyn government, but who knows?"

Murray told us he was approached by the New Statesman after the story about him being banned from Ukraine was leaked. "However," he added, "I wouldn't dream of suggesting anything like that to The Guardian, since I do not know any journalists still working there who I could trust."

The Guardian itself has run a remarkable number of news and comment articles criticising Corbyn since he was elected in 2015 and the paper's clearly hostile stance has been widely noted .

Given its appeal to traditional Labour supporters, the paper has probably done more to undermine Corbyn than any other. In particular, its massive coverage of alleged widespread anti-Semitism in the Labour Party has helped to disparage Corbyn more than other smears carried in the media.

The Guardian and The Observer have published hundreds of articles on "Labour anti-Semitism" and, since the beginning of this year, carried over 50 such articles with headlines clearly negative to Corbyn. Typical headlines have included " The Observer view: Labour leadership is complicit in anti-Semitism ", " Jeremy Corbyn is either blind to anti-Semitism – or he just doesn't care ", and " Labour's anti-Semitism problem is institutional. It needs investigation ".

The Guardian's coverage of anti-Semitism in Labour has been suspiciously extensive, compared to the known extent of the problem in the party, and its focus on Corbyn personally suggests that the issue is being used politically. While anti-Semitism does exist in the Labour Party, evidence suggests it is at relatively low levels. Since September 2015, when Corbyn became Labour leader, 0.06% of the Labour membership has been investigated for anti-Semitic comments or posts. In 2016, an independent inquiry commissioned by Labour concluded that the party "is not overrun by anti-Semitism, Islamophobia or other forms of racism. Further, it is the party that initiated every single United Kingdom race equality law."

Analysis of two YouGov surveys, conducted in 2015 and 2017, shows that anti-Semitic views held by Labour voters declined substantially in the first two years of Corbyn's tenure and that such views were significantly more common among Conservative voters.

Despite this, since January 2016, The Guardian has published 1,215 stories mentioning Labour and anti-Semitism, an average of around one per day, according to a search on Factiva, the database of newspaper articles. In the same period, The Guardian published just 194 articles mentioning the Conservative Party's much more serious problem with Islamophobia. A YouGov poll in 2019, for example, found that nearly half of the Tory Party membership would prefer not to have a Muslim prime minister.

At the same time, some stories which paint Corbyn's critics in a negative light have been suppressed by The Guardian. According to someone with knowledge of the matter, The Guardian declined to publish the results of a months-long critical investigation by one of its reporters into a prominent anti-Corbyn Labour MP, citing only vague legal issues.

In July 2016, one of this article's authors emailed a Guardian editor asking if he could pitch an investigation about the first attempt by the right-wing of the Labour Party to remove Corbyn, informing The Guardian of very good inside sources on those behind the attempt and their real plans. The approach was rejected as being of no interest before a pitch was even sent.

A reliable publication?

On 20 May 2019, The Times newspaper reported on a Freedom of Information request made by the Rendition Project, a group of academic experts working on torture and rendition issues, which showed that the MOD had been "developing a secret policy on torture that allows ministers to sign off intelligence-sharing that could lead to the abuse of detainees".

This might traditionally have been a Guardian story, not something for the Rupert Murdoch-owned Times. According to one civil society source, however, many groups working in this field no longer trust The Guardian.

A former Guardian journalist similarly told us: "It is significant that exclusive stories recently about British collusion in torture and policy towards the interrogation of terror suspects and other detainees have been passed to other papers including The Times rather than The Guardian."

The Times published its scoop under a strong headline , "Torture: Britain breaks law in Ministry of Defence secret policy". However, before the article was published, the MOD fed The Guardian the same documents The Times were about to splash with, believing it could soften the impact of the revelations by telling its side of the story.

The Guardian posted its own article just before The Times, with a headline that would have pleased the government: "MoD says revised torture guidance does not lower standards".

Its lead paragraph was a simple summary of the MOD's position: "The Ministry of Defence has insisted that newly emerged departmental guidance on the sharing of intelligence derived from torture with allies, remains in line with practices agreed in the aftermath of a series of scandals following the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq." However, an inspection of the documents showed this was clearly disinformation.

The Guardian had gone in six short years from being the natural outlet to place stories exposing wrongdoing by the security state to a platform trusted by the security state to amplify its information operations. A once relatively independent media platform has been largely neutralised by UK security services fearful of being exposed further. Which begs the question: where does the next Snowden go? DM

The Guardian did not respond to a request for comment.

Daily Maverick will formally launch Declassified – a new UK-focused investigation and analysis organisation run by the authors of this article – in November 2019.

Matt Kennard is an investigative journalist and co-founder of Declassified . He was previously director of the Centre for Investigative Journalism in London, and before that a reporter for the Financial Times in the US and UK. He is the author of two books, Irregular Army and The Racket .

Mark Curtis is a leading UK foreign policy analyst, journalist and the author of six books including Web of Deceit: Britain's Real Role in the World and Secret Affairs: Britain's Collusion with Radical Islam .

[Sep 15, 2019] Blissful lack of self-awareness on the part of the USA defence secretary.

Does he mean the treat of de-dollarization? The USA military is just an the enforcement arm of Wall Street banks.
Notable quotes:
"... "It is increasingly clear that Russia and China want to disrupt the international order by gaining a veto over other nations' economic, diplomatic, and security decisions," ..."
Sep 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

"It is increasingly clear that Russia and China want to disrupt the international order by gaining a veto over other nations' economic, diplomatic, and security decisions," Esper said, seemingly unaware of the absurd hypocrisy of his words.

[Sep 15, 2019] Trump's new world disorder: competitive, chaotic, conflicted by

The key to understanding the c
The collapse of neoliberalism naturally lead to the collapse of the US influence over the globe. and to the treats to the dollar as the world reserve currency. That's why the US foreign policy became so aggressive and violent. Neocons want to fight for the world hegemony to the last American.
Notable quotes:
"... US foreign policy is ever more unstable and confrontational ..."
"... Bolton's brutal defenestration has raised hopes that Trump, who worries that voters may view him as a warmonger, may begin to moderate some of his more confrontational international policies. As the 2020 election looms, he is desperate for a big foreign policy peace-making success. And, in Trump world, winning matters more than ideology, principles or personnel. ..."
"... Since taking office in January 2017, Trump has not merely broken with diplomatic and geopolitical convention. He has taken a wrecking ball to venerated alliances, multilateral cooperation and the postwar international rules-based order. ..."
"... The resulting new world disorder – to adapt George HW Bush's famous 1991 phrase – will be hard to put right. Like its creator, Trump world is unstable, unpredictable and threatening. Trump has been called America's first rogue president. Whether or not he wins a second term, this Trumpian era of epic disruption, the very worst form of American exceptionalism, is already deeply entrenched. ..."
"... driven by a chronic desire for re-election, Trump's behaviour could become more, not less, confrontational during his remaining time in office, suggested Eliot Cohen, professor of strategic studies at Johns Hopkins university. ..."
"... "The president has proved himself to be what many critics have long accused him of being: belligerent, bullying, impatient, irresponsible, intellectually lazy, short-tempered and self-obsessed," Cohen wrote in Foreign Affairs journal . "Remarkably, however, those shortcomings have not yet translated into obvious disaster. But [that] should not distract from a building crisis of US foreign policy." ..."
"... This pending crisis stems from Trump's crudely Manichaean division of the world into two camps: adversaries/competitors and supporters/customers. A man with few close confidants, Trump has real trouble distinguishing between allies and enemies, friends and foes, and often confuses the two. In Trump world, old rules don't apply. Alliances are optional. Loyalty is weakness. And trust is fungible. ..."
"... The crunch came last weekend when a bizarre, secret summit with Taliban chiefs at Camp David was cancelled . It was classic Trump. He wanted quick 'n' easy, primetime credit for a dramatic peace deal, pushed ahead blindly, then changed his mind at the last minute. Furious over a debacle of his own making, he turned his wrath on others, notably Bolton – who, ironically, had opposed the summit all along. ..."
"... With Trump's blessing, Israel is enmeshed in escalating, multi-fronted armed confrontation with Iran and its allies in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. Add to this recent violence in the Gulf, the disastrous Trump-backed, Saudi-led war in Yemen, mayhem in Syria's Idlib province, border friction with Turkey, and Islamic State resurgence in northern Iraq, and a region-wide explosion looks ever more likely. ..."
"... "the bipartisan consensus forged in the 1990s – in which the US towered over the world and, at low cost, sought to remake it in America's image – has failed and cannot be revived", ..."
Sep 14, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

With John Bolton dismissed, Taliban peace talks a fiasco and a trade war with China, US foreign policy is ever more unstable and confrontational

It was by all accounts, a furious row. Donald Trump was talking about relaxing sanctions on Iran and holding a summit with its president, Hassan Rouhani, at this month's UN general assembly in New York. John Bolton, his hawkish national security adviser, was dead against it and forcefully rejected Trump's ideas during a tense meeting in the Oval Office on Monday.

...Bolton's brutal defenestration has raised hopes that Trump, who worries that voters may view him as a warmonger, may begin to moderate some of his more confrontational international policies. As the 2020 election looms, he is desperate for a big foreign policy peace-making success. And, in Trump world, winning matters more than ideology, principles or personnel.

The US president is now saying he is also open to a repeat meeting with North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, to reboot stalled nuclear disarmament talks. On another front, he has offered an olive branch to China, delaying a planned tariff increase on $250bn of Chinese goods pending renewed trade negotiations next month. Meanwhile, he says, new tariffs on European car imports could be dropped, too.

Is a genuine dove-ish shift under way? It seems improbable. Since taking office in January 2017, Trump has not merely broken with diplomatic and geopolitical convention. He has taken a wrecking ball to venerated alliances, multilateral cooperation and the postwar international rules-based order. He has cosied up to autocrats, attacked old friends and blundered into sensitive conflicts he does not fully comprehend.

The resulting new world disorder – to adapt George HW Bush's famous 1991 phrase – will be hard to put right. Like its creator, Trump world is unstable, unpredictable and threatening. Trump has been called America's first rogue president. Whether or not he wins a second term, this Trumpian era of epic disruption, the very worst form of American exceptionalism, is already deeply entrenched.

The suggestion that Trump will make nice and back off as election time nears thus elicits considerable scepticism. US analysts and commentators say the president's erratic, impulsive and egotistic personality means any shift towards conciliation may be short-lived and could quickly be reversed, Bolton or no Bolton.

Trump wanted quick 'n' easy, primetime credit for a dramatic peace deal in Afghanistan with the Taliban, pushed ahead blindly, then changed his mind at the last minute

Trump is notorious for blowing hot and cold, performing policy zigzags and suddenly changing his mind. "Regardless of who has advised Mr Trump on foreign affairs all have proved powerless before [his] zest for chaos," the New York Times noted last week .

Lacking experienced diplomatic and military advisers (he has sacked most of the good ones), surrounded by an inner circle of cynical sycophants such as secretary of state Mike Pompeo, and driven by a chronic desire for re-election, Trump's behaviour could become more, not less, confrontational during his remaining time in office, suggested Eliot Cohen, professor of strategic studies at Johns Hopkins university.

"The president has proved himself to be what many critics have long accused him of being: belligerent, bullying, impatient, irresponsible, intellectually lazy, short-tempered and self-obsessed," Cohen wrote in Foreign Affairs journal . "Remarkably, however, those shortcomings have not yet translated into obvious disaster. But [that] should not distract from a building crisis of US foreign policy."

This pending crisis stems from Trump's crudely Manichaean division of the world into two camps: adversaries/competitors and supporters/customers. A man with few close confidants, Trump has real trouble distinguishing between allies and enemies, friends and foes, and often confuses the two. In Trump world, old rules don't apply. Alliances are optional. Loyalty is weakness. And trust is fungible.

As a result, the US today finds itself at odds with much of the world to an unprecedented and dangerous degree. America, the postwar global saviour, has been widely recast as villain. Nor is this a passing phase. Trump seems to have permanently changed the way the US views the world and vice versa. Whatever follows, it will never be quite the same again.

Clues as to what he does next may be found in what he has done so far. His is a truly calamitous record, as exemplified by Afghanistan. Having vowed in 2016 to end America's longest war, he began with a troop surge, lost interest and sued for peace. A withdrawal deal proved elusive. Meanwhile, US-led forces inflicted record civilian casualties .

Facebook Twitter Pinterest The US and Israeli flags are projected on the walls of Jerusalem's Old City in May, marking the anniversary of the US embassy transfer from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Photograph: Ahmad Gharabli/Getty

The crunch came last weekend when a bizarre, secret summit with Taliban chiefs at Camp David was cancelled . It was classic Trump. He wanted quick 'n' easy, primetime credit for a dramatic peace deal, pushed ahead blindly, then changed his mind at the last minute. Furious over a debacle of his own making, he turned his wrath on others, notably Bolton – who, ironically, had opposed the summit all along.

All sides are now vowing to step up the violence, with the insurgents aiming to disrupt this month's presidential election in Afghanistan. In short, Trump's self-glorifying Afghan reality show, of which he was the Nobel-winning star, has made matters worse. Much the same is true of his North Korea summitry, where expectations were raised, then dashed when he got cold feet in Hanoi , provoking a backlash from Pyongyang.

The current crisis over Iran's nuclear programme is almost entirely of Trump's making, sparked by his decision last year to renege on the 2015 UN-endorsed deal with Tehran. His subsequent "maximum pressure" campaign of punitive sanctions has failed to cow Iranians while alienating European allies. And it has led Iran to resume banned nuclear activities – a seriously counterproductive, entirely predictable outcome.

Trump's unconditional, unthinking support for Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's aggressively rightwing prime minister – including tacit US backing for his proposed annexation of swathes of the occupied territories – is pushing the Palestinians back to the brink, energising Hamas and Hezbollah, and raising tensions across the region .

With Trump's blessing, Israel is enmeshed in escalating, multi-fronted armed confrontation with Iran and its allies in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. Add to this recent violence in the Gulf, the disastrous Trump-backed, Saudi-led war in Yemen, mayhem in Syria's Idlib province, border friction with Turkey, and Islamic State resurgence in northern Iraq, and a region-wide explosion looks ever more likely.

The bipartisan consensus forged in the 1990s – in which the US towered over the world and, at low cost, sought to remake it in America's image – has failed and cannot be revived

Stephen Wertheim, historian

Yet Trump, oblivious to the point of recklessness, remains determined to unveil his absurdly unbalanced Israel-Palestine "deal of the century" after Tuesday's Israeli elections. He and his gormless son-in-law, Jared Kushner, may be the only people who don't realise their plan has a shorter life expectancy than a snowball on a hot day in Gaza.

... ... ...

...he is consistently out of line, out on his own – and out of control. This, broadly, is Trump world as it has come to exist since January 2017. And this, in a nutshell, is the intensifying foreign policy crisis of which Professor Cohen warned. The days when responsible, trustworthy, principled US international leadership could be taken for granted are gone. No vague change of tone on North Korea or Iran will by itself halt the Trump-led slide into expanding global conflict and division.

Historians such as Stephen Wertheim say change had to come. US politicians of left and right mostly agreed that "the bipartisan consensus forged in the 1990s – in which the US towered over the world and, at low cost, sought to remake it in America's image – has failed and cannot be revived", Wertheim wrote earlier this year . "But agreement ends there " he continued: "One camp holds that the US erred by coddling China and Russia, and urges a new competition against these great power rivals. The other camp, which says the US has been too belligerent and ambitious around the world, counsels restraint, not another crusade against grand enemies."

This debate among grownups over America's future place in the world will form part of next year's election contest. But before any fundamental change of direction can occur, the international community – and the US itself – must first survive another 16 months of Trump world and the wayward child-president's poll-fixated, ego-driven destructive tendencies.

Survival is not guaranteed. The immediate choice facing US friends and foes alike is stark and urgent: ignore, bypass and marginalise Trump – or actively, openly, resist him.

Here are some of the key flashpoints around the globe

United Nations

Trump is deeply hostile to the UN. It embodies the multilateralist, globalist policy approaches he most abhors – because they supposedly infringe America's sovereignty and inhibit its freedom of action. Under him, self-interested US behaviour has undermined the authority of the UN security council's authority. The US has rejected a series of international treaties and agreements, including the Paris climate change accord and the Iran nuclear deal. The UN-backed international criminal court is beyond the pale. Trump's attitude fits with his "America First" isolationism, which questions traditional ideas about America's essential global leadership role.

Germany

Trump rarely misses a chance to bash Germany, perhaps because it is Europe's most successful economy and represents the EU, which he detests. He is obsessed by German car imports, on which protectionist US tariffs will be levied this autumn. He accuses Berlin – and Europe– of piggy-backing on America by failing to pay its fair share of Nato defence costs. Special venom is reserved for Germany's chancellor, Angela Merkel, most likely because she is a woman who stands up to him . Trump recently insulted another female European leader, Denmark's Mette Frederiksen, after she refused to sell him Greenland .

Israel

Trump has made a great show of unconditional friendship towards Israel and its rightwing prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who has skilfully maximised his White House influence. But by moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, officially condoning Israel's annexation of the Golan Heights, and withdrawing funding and other support from the Palestinians, the president has abandoned the long-standing US policy of playing honest broker in the peace process. Trump has also tried to exploit antisemitism for political advantage, accusing US Democrat Jews who oppose Netanyahu's policies of "disloyalty" to Israel.

... ... ...

[Sep 15, 2019] Donald Trump as the DNC s nominee by Michael Hudson

Highly recommended!
DNC is a criminal organization and the fact that Debbie Wasserman Schultz escaped justice is deeply regreatable.
Notable quotes:
"... The problem facing the Democratic National Committee today remains the same as in 2016: How to block even a moderately left-wing social democrat by picking a candidate guaranteed to lose to Trump, so as to continue the policies that serve banks, the financial markets and military spending for Cold War 2.0. ..."
"... Trump meanwhile has done most everything the Democratic Donor Class wants: He has cut taxes on the wealthy, cut social spending for the population at large, backed Quantitative Easing to inflate the stock and bond markets, and pursued Cold War 2.0. Best of all, his abrasive style has enabled Democrats to blame the Republicans for the giveaway to the rich, as if they would have followed a different policy. ..."
"... The effect has been to make America into a one-party state. Republicans act as the most blatant lobbyists for the Donor Class. But people can vote for a representative of the One Percent and the military-industrial complex in either the Republican or Democratic column. That is why most Americans owe allegiance to no party. ..."
"... I'm just curious about how much longer this log-jam situation can persist before real political realignment takes place. Bernie Sander is ultimately a relic not a representative of new political vigor running through the party, like Trump he would be largely be on his own without much congressional support from his own party. ..."
"... As the 2016 election and Brexit have illuminated, globalisation is a religion for the upper middle classes. ..."
"... They just refuse to understand that political solidarity, key to any such policies is permanently damaged by immigration. ..."
"... If you make people chose between their ethnicity being displaced and class conflict, they'll pick the preservation of their ethnicity and it's territory every time. I ..."
"... My prediction: The elites in the US won't give way, people will simply become demoralised and the Trump/Sanders moment will pass with significant damage done to the legitimacy of American democracy and media but with progressives unable to deal with immigration (Much like the right can't deal with global warming) they will fail to get much done. The general population has become too atomised and detached, beaten-down bystanders to their own politics and society to mount a popular political movement. Immigrants, recent descendants of immigrants and the upper middle classes will continue to instinctually understand globalisation is how they loot America and will not vote for 'extreme' candidates that threaten this. The upper middle class will continue to dominate the overton window and use it to inject utter economic lies to the public. ..."
Sep 15, 2019 | www.unz.com

Originally from: Breaking Up the Democratic Party, by Michael Hudson - The Unz Review

I hope that the candidate who is clearly the voters' choice, Bernie Sanders, may end up as the party's nominee. If he is, I'm sure he'll beat Donald Trump handily, as he would have done four years ago. But I fear that the DNC's Donor Class will push Joe Biden, Kamala Harris or even Pete Buttigieg down the throats of voters. Just as when they backed Hillary the last time around, they hope that their anointed neoliberal will be viewed as the lesser evil for a program little different from that of the Republicans.

So Thursday's reality TV run-off is about "who's the least evil?" An honest reality show's questions would focus on "What are you against ?" That would attract a real audience, because people are much clearer about what they're against: the vested interests, Wall Street, the drug companies and other monopolies, the banks, landlords, corporate raiders and private-equity asset strippers. But none of this is to be permitted on the magic island of authorized candidates (not including Tulsi Gabbard, who was purged from further debates for having dared to mention the unmentionable).

Donald Trump as the DNC's nominee

The problem facing the Democratic National Committee today remains the same as in 2016: How to block even a moderately left-wing social democrat by picking a candidate guaranteed to lose to Trump, so as to continue the policies that serve banks, the financial markets and military spending for Cold War 2.0.

DNC donors favor Joe Biden, long-time senator from the credit-card and corporate-shell state of Delaware, and opportunistic California prosecutor Kamala Harris, with a hopey-changey grab bag alternative in smooth-talking small-town Rorschach blot candidate Pete Buttigieg. These easy victims are presented as "electable" in full knowledge that they will fail against Trump.

Trump meanwhile has done most everything the Democratic Donor Class wants: He has cut taxes on the wealthy, cut social spending for the population at large, backed Quantitative Easing to inflate the stock and bond markets, and pursued Cold War 2.0. Best of all, his abrasive style has enabled Democrats to blame the Republicans for the giveaway to the rich, as if they would have followed a different policy.

The Democratic Party's role is to protect Republicans from attack from the left, steadily following the Republican march rightward. Claiming that this is at least in the direction of being "centrist," the Democrats present themselves as the lesser evil (which is still evil, of course), simply as pragmatic in not letting hopes for "the perfect" (meaning moderate social democracy) block the spirit of compromise with what is attainable, "getting things done" by cooperating across the aisle and winning Republican support. That is what Joe Biden promises.

The effect has been to make America into a one-party state. Republicans act as the most blatant lobbyists for the Donor Class. But people can vote for a representative of the One Percent and the military-industrial complex in either the Republican or Democratic column. That is why most Americans owe allegiance to no party.

The Democratic National Committee worries that voters may disturb this alliance by nominating a left-wing reform candidate. The DNC easily solved this problem in 2016: When Bernie Sanders intruded into its space, it the threw the election. It scheduled the party's early defining primaries in Republican states whose voters leaned right, and packed the nominating convention with Donor Class super-delegates.

After the dust settled, having given many party members political asthma, the DNC pretended that it was all an unfortunate political error. But of course it was not a mistake at all. The DNC preferred to lose with Hillary than win with Bernie, whom springtime polls showed would be the easy winner over Trump. Potential voters who didn't buy into the program either stayed home or voted green.


follyofwar , says: September 12, 2019 at 2:20 pm GMT

No votes will be cast for months, so I don't know how Mr. Hudson can say that Sanders is "clearly the voters choice." He would be 79 on election day, well above the age when most men die, which is something that voters should seriously consider. Whoever his VP is will probably be president before the end of Old Bernie's first term, so I hope he chooses his VP wisely.

In any case I laugh at how the media always reports that Biden, who has obviously lost more than a few brain cells, has such a commanding lead over this field of second-raters. The voters, having much better things to do, haven't even started to pay attention yet.

And, how could anyone seriously believe in these polls anyway? Only older people have land lines today. If calling people is the methodology pollsters are using, then the results would be heavily skewed towards former VP Biden, whose name everyone knows. I lost all faith in polls when the media was saying, with certainty, that Hillary was a lock to win against the insurgent Trump.

Tulsi Gabbard is the only candidate beside Trump with charisma today. With her cool demeanor, she is certainly the least unlikeable. She would be Trump's most formidable opponent. But the democrats, like their counterparts, are owned by Wall Street and the Military Industrial Complex. Sadly, most democrats still believe that the party is working in their best interests, while the republicans are the party of the rich.

If you watch the debates tonight, which I will not be, you will notice that Tulsi Gabbard won't be on stage. That is by design. She is a leper. At least the republicans allowed Trump to be onstage in 2016, which makes them more democratic than the democrats. Plus they didn't have Super Delegates to prevent Trump from achieving the nomination he had rightfully won. Something to think about since the DNC, not the voters, annointed Hillary last time.

If the YouTube Oligarchs still allow it, I plan on watching the post-debate analysis with characters like Richard Spencer and Eric Striker. Those guys are most entertaining, and have insights that are not permitted to be uttered in the controlled, mind-numbing farce of the mainstream media.

anon [110] Disclaimer , says: September 12, 2019 at 3:29 pm GMT
> When neoliberals shout, "But that's socialism," Americans finally are beginning to say, "Then give us socialism."

True, true! Also, when the neoliberals shout, "But that's nationalism," Americans finally are beginning to say, "Then give us nationalism."

One plus one is

Dutch Boy , says: September 12, 2019 at 3:42 pm GMT
Elizabeth Warren seems a more likely nominee than Sanders.
Biff , says: September 12, 2019 at 4:37 pm GMT
@Dutch Boy

Elizabeth Warren seems a more likely nominee than Sanders.

Elizabeth Warren is phony as phuck(PAP). Just like forked tongued Obama she's really just a tool for the neo-liberal establishment, which does make her more likely.

Svevlad , says: September 12, 2019 at 5:06 pm GMT
@anon Hehe. I propose that the anti-neoliberals join forces to beat this terrible beast...
Altai , says: September 12, 2019 at 6:19 pm GMT
Here is another question. Can the DNC or RNC really change institutionally fast enough?

I'm just curious about how much longer this log-jam situation can persist before real political realignment takes place. Bernie Sander is ultimately a relic not a representative of new political vigor running through the party, like Trump he would be largely be on his own without much congressional support from his own party.

As the 2016 election and Brexit have illuminated, globalisation is a religion for the upper middle classes. Many of them may be progressives but they refuse to understand the very non-progressive consequences of mass immigration (Or, one should say over-immigration) or globalisation more generally. The increasing defection of such individuals to the Liberal Democrats in Britain is a fascinating example. They just refuse to understand that political solidarity, key to any such policies is permanently damaged by immigration.

It is interesting to see the see-saw effect of UKip and now the Brexit party in the UK (Well, in England). With them first drawing working class voters from Labour without increasing Conservative performance, bringing about a massive conservative majority and now threatening to siphon voters from the Tories with the opposite effect.

But UKip and later the Brexit party almost exist through the indispensable leadership of Nigel Farage and a very specific motivating goal of leaving the EU. I can't see a third party rising to put pressure on the mainstream parties.

If you make people chose between their ethnicity being displaced and class conflict, they'll pick the preservation of their ethnicity and it's territory every time. I f the centre left refuses to understand this (Something that wouldn't have been hard for them to understand when they still drew candidates from the working classes) they will continue their slide into oblivion as they have done across the Western world. (Excluding 2 party systems and Denmark where they do understand this)

My prediction: The elites in the US won't give way, people will simply become demoralised and the Trump/Sanders moment will pass with significant damage done to the legitimacy of American democracy and media but with progressives unable to deal with immigration (Much like the right can't deal with global warming) they will fail to get much done. The general population has become too atomised and detached, beaten-down bystanders to their own politics and society to mount a popular political movement. Immigrants, recent descendants of immigrants and the upper middle classes will continue to instinctually understand globalisation is how they loot America and will not vote for 'extreme' candidates that threaten this. The upper middle class will continue to dominate the overton window and use it to inject utter economic lies to the public.

The novel internet mass media outlets that allowed such unpoliced political discussion to reach mass audiences will be pacified by whatever means and America will slide into an Italian style trans-generational malaise at a national level for some time.

A123 , says: September 12, 2019 at 6:48 pm GMT
@Altai

Here is another question. Can the DNC or RNC really change institutionally fast enough?

Trump is trying to change the RNC away from Globalist elites and towards Christian Populist beliefs and Main Street America. I am some what hopeful, as the U.S. is not alone in this trajectory. There is a global tail wind that should help the GOP change quickly enough.

The true test will be the 2024 GOP nomination. A bold choice will have to break through to keep the RNC from backsliding into the clutches of Globalist failure.

PEACE

davidgmillsatty , says: September 12, 2019 at 7:43 pm GMT
I think Sanders could have beat Trump in 2016. This time around it is not that clear because so many of his supporters in 2016 feel burnt.

Badly burnt. Or Bernt. He threw his support for Hillary, even if it was tepid, and then got a bad case of Russiagateitis which his base on the left really hated. His left base never bought Russiagate for a minute. We knew it was an internal leak, probably by Seth Rich, who provided all the information to Assange. He still seems to be a strong Israel supporter even if has stood up to Netanyahu.

And while it may seem odd, many of his base on the left have grown weary of the global climate change agenda.

He has not advocated nuclear power and there is a growing movement for that on the left, especially by those who think renewables will not generate the power we need.

But since Sanders does seem to attract the rural and suburban vote more than any other Democrat, Sanders has a chance to chip away at Trumps' base and win the Electoral College. Another horrible loss to rural and suburban America by the Democrats will cost them the EC again by a substantial margin, even if they manage to pull off another popular vote win.

A123 , says: September 13, 2019 at 12:20 am GMT
@bluedog

the republican party is as globalist as you can find,and I'm sure you will be the first one to inform us when the global elite including those in America throw in the towel,

Some elite Globalist NeverTrumpers, such as George Will and Bill Kristol, have thrown in the towel on the GOP. This allows their "neocon" followers to return to their roots in the war mongering Democrat Party. So it *IS* happening.

The real questions are:
-- Can it happen fast enough?
-- Can it be sustained after Donald Trump term limits out?

I'm not bold enough to say it is inevitable. All I will say is, "There are reasons to be at least mildly hopeful."

PEACE

RadicalCenter , says: September 13, 2019 at 3:45 am GMT
@follyofwar Based on gabbard's immigration statements, voting for her is also voting for our continuing displacement.
Carlton Meyer , says: Website September 13, 2019 at 4:22 am GMT
Has everyone forgot the last time the DNC openly cheated Sanders he said nothing publicly, but then endorsed Clinton? Sanders knows he is not allowed to become president, his role to prevent the formation of a third party, and to keep the Green Party small. Otherwise he would jump to the Green Party right now and may beat the DNC and Trump.

Sanders treats progressives like Charlie Brown. Once again, inviting them to run a kick the football, only to pull it away and watch them fall. He recently backed off his opposition to the open borders crazies, rarely mentions cuts to military spending to fund things, and has even joined the stupid fake russiagate bandwagon.

Note that he dismisses the third party idea as unworkable, when he already knows the DNC is unworkable. Why not give the Green party a chance? Cause he don't want to win knowing he'd be killed or impeached for some reason.

follyofwar , says: September 13, 2019 at 2:06 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer The Stalinist DNC openly cheated Tulsi Gabbard when they left her off the debate stage last night. When asked about it on 'The View' recently, Sanders said nothing in her defense, or that she deserved to be on the stage. Nice way to stab her in the back for leaving her DNC position to support you last time, Bernie. Socialist Sanders wants to be president, yet is afraid of the DNC. Nice!

Those polls were rigged against Tulsi, and everyone who is paying attention knows it. But, far from hurting her candidacy by not making the DNC's arbitrary cut, her exclusion may wind up helping her. Kim Iverson, Michael Tracey, and comedian Jimmy Dore, anti-war progressive YouTubers with large, loyal followings, have lambasted the out-of touch DNC for its actions. Tucker Carlson on the anti-war right has also done so.

One hopes that the DNC's stupidity in censoring her message may wind up being the best thing ever for Tulsi's insurgent candidacy. We shall see. OTOH, who can trust the polls to tell us the truth of where her popularity stands.

follyofwar , says: September 13, 2019 at 2:29 pm GMT
@RadicalCenter Do you forget about Trump's declaration that he wants the largest amount of immigration ever, as long as they come in legally? There are no good guys in our two sclerotic monopoly parties when it comes to immigration. Since both are terrible on that topic, at least Tulsi seems to have the anti-war principles that Trump does not.
Justvisiting , says: September 13, 2019 at 7:37 pm GMT
@Carlton Meyer Great comment.

Bernie has had many opportunities in the past few years to show real courage and stand for something, anything. He has failed every time.

I am actually beginning to feel sorry for him–he knows he has a mission, but he just can't seem to figure out what it is anymore

Getting old is not fun.

[Sep 15, 2019] The words "Government of the People, by the People, for the People" is an ideological logo that never materialized on any large scale nor over any long time-span anywhere on earth.

Sep 15, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

laodan , September 14, 2019 at 5:40 am

Democracy is a loaded word. Reasoning about it in a public discussion is thus fraught with lots of difficulties. This comment is to highlight some crucial factors that are rarely mentioned.

1. democracy is the particular political outcome of centuries of struggles within the context of Early-Modernity in Western European societies (14th to 18th centuries). Three forces were in competition for the control of power: the clergy, the nobility, and the new rich merchants (those who in France were living in the "bourgs" and were thus called the bourgeoisie. They were also the one's who were owning the capital). The gradual expansion of the right to vote, to all adult citizens along the 19th and 20th centuries, was calibrated by big capital holders to act as a system serving their interests through the manipulation of the public's opinions. And man how successful the West is at this game

2. the history of the other people, outside of western territories, is rich with their own experiences. Even if they are largely unknown to Westerners these histories offer viable alternatives to the Western model of democracy. But Westerners are not interested to learn about these other models. They firmly believe that their own system is the best and they are always ready to impose it by force

3. Western political science is relatively young (1 or 2 centuries at best). This compares with Chinese political science that spans over 3 millennia as a written matter that finds its origin through oral transmission from earlier times.
_________

The words "Government of the People, by the People, for the People" is an ideological logo that never materialized on any large scale nor over any long time-span anywhere on earth.

The shift of the center of gravity of the economy-world' to East Asia and more particularly to China is a 'fait accompli' that still has to register in the West. The longer it takes the West to come to its senses the more painful the downfall will be and the more totalitarian the governance system will become

David , September 14, 2019 at 6:42 am

The issue isn't really democracy, and in any event not liberal democracy, which is close to an oxymoron, given that liberalism creates imbalances of power and wealth inimical to democracy. And the argument is a bit incoherent : voting rights in most countries were based on property ownership, not wealth as such, and much of the political conflict of the 19th century was between traditional landowners and the emerging middle classes, who had the wealth and wanted the power. Likewise, the move to neoliberalism had begun before the end of the 1970s' and slower economic growth was a consequence of it, not a cause.
The real issue is that people expect political leaders, whom they elect and pay, to do things. But modern political leaders have for the last generation or so developed the art of saying that nothing can be done, or at least nothing that will make life better. So a political figure who proposes to actually do something that people want is a dangerous and disruptive force. Irrespective of their precise views and policies, they are a danger to the current political class, which resolutely refuses to do anything useful.

Redlife2017 , September 14, 2019 at 7:02 am

+1000
The allergy to actually enacting policies that have been proven in the past to be beneficial to the citizenry of a country is impressive in its almost pathological implementation. No matter how bad the outcomes of neoliberal economics is, we can't possibly change those policies. This goes beyond TINA. I look at people like Joe Biden and Jo Swinson and marvel at their innate ability to defend the worst excesses of policies like bailing out the banks and austerity and yet still cry crocodile tears for the people.

Ignacio , September 14, 2019 at 1:39 pm

But if you cannot expect to elect a leader that migth do something this is another way of saying democracy is in trouble. The result is that democracy is constrained by a dominant ideology and this undermines democracy. Everything becomes technocratical and obscure, particularly –but not only– monetary policy. I wonder by how much this already short room of maneuver has to be reduced to allow claiming democracy is already dead. There are many candidates that go with the discourse that "I will do the only thing that can be done" so you know from the very beginning that business will go as usual an nothing will be done. For instance, Joe Incremental Biden. A very good example in US is Health Care. A good majority wants H.C. for all, but we migth find again that candidates that promise it are effectively blocked because "it cannot be done (too expensive etc.)". I really think democracy is in trouble if this occurs again.

Carla , September 14, 2019 at 6:13 pm

Democracy is an idea with potential. We should try it!

rob , September 14, 2019 at 10:50 am

Why should "science" have anything to do with democracy?

As someone from the united states, I live in a republic.
Our founding fathers rejected democracy as a form of government.Some of them, like alexander hamilton loathed democracy Which is one reason I think he was an ass but that is besides the point..

Democracy, as an ideal to be promoted in this republic with democratic assumptions . is just something that stands on its own in the sphere of "civics"
democracy is just a practice of engaging with others. it is a discipline.

science may exemplify practical thinking and action as expressed in the scientific method .. but democracy isn't just about what is the "most likely to be true" . it is just what "most people choose" Now education is what lies between what those people know, how they know it and then their choices as to what they really want . but science is a discipline that is really to be exalted in a free society . but has no real place in the democratic institution. IMO
People make democracy not science . and "people" is a tough nut to crack

Hitler was keen on science, to explain his motives his perversions of truth became state mandated axioms of truth . despite being pure BS..

notabanktoadie , September 14, 2019 at 9:44 am

Under neo-liberalism, the state does little more than maintain the rights of ownership and internal and external security through criminal justice and armed services – notwithstanding, the state may bail out financial services if they require public aid. Kevin Albertson [bold added]

It does more than just bail out financial services, the state PRIVILEGES them beforehand by failing to provide something so simple, so obvious as, for example, inherently risk-free debit/checking accounts for all citizens at the Central Bank (or National Treasury) itself.

The result is nations have a SINGLE* payment system that MUST work through the banks or not at all – making their economies hostage to what are, in essence, government-privileged usury cartels.

We can have nations that are for their citizens or ones which privilege banks and other depository institutions but not both.

*apart from mere physical fiat, paper bills and coins.

The Rev Kev , September 14, 2019 at 11:02 am

The problem may not be so much with democracy as with "representative" democracy. I believe that it was Harvard that did a study that found that the wishes of the bulk of the electorate were habitually ignored unless it aligned with the wishes of the wealthier portion of society. In other words, after the elections were over, voter's wishes were not a factor. Perhaps more imaginative ideas need to be adopted. We have secret balloting right now so how about secret ballots in the Senate and the House of reps – on pieces of paper counted in public under the watch of several parties. No digital crap allowed. No donor would be able to tell what his purchased politician actually voted in any session. Every vote would then become a conscience vote. When you think about it, there is nothing to say that how things are now should also be the way that things always are.

General Jinjur , September 14, 2019 at 1:29 pm

Did you mean the Gilens and Page Princeton Univ study?

The Rev Kev , September 14, 2019 at 7:14 pm

Thanks for that. That is the one. It was called "Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens."

shinola , September 14, 2019 at 11:41 am

" the promotion of the neo-liberal political economic paradigm need not result from a conspiracy."

Just because it "need not" doesn't mean it does not. There is a playbook for privatization:

1) Identify a government function that could provide a profit opportunity.
2) Deprive the dept. that provides that function of the funds needed to adequately do a proper job of it.*
3) Point out, loudly & publicly, what a crappy job the gov't is doing.
4) Announce that "We have a solution for that" – which, of course, involves privatization.*

*Note: steps 2 & 4 require co-operation of gov't representatives which is obtained through lobbying & briber.. er, campaign contributions.

kiwi , September 14, 2019 at 12:33 pm

Well, now governments just 'restructure' and pass out contracts to justify laying off employees. There is no need to starve a department of funds first.

My experience is that the contracted 'service' is oversold and mostly goes to pot, and the gov will still renew the contracts for the crappy service providers over and over.

Carey , September 14, 2019 at 1:54 pm

Thanks for this comment. A good succinct video on the topic:

https://hooktube.com/watch?v=5tu32CCA_Ig

Off The Street , September 14, 2019 at 9:16 pm

In simpler times, democracy was viewed at risk if citizens could vote themselves money. Now citizens are at risk when pirates can dispense with the voting to get money.
A cruel twist is where those pirates and their paid pols stick the citizens with the downside.

JCC , September 14, 2019 at 11:58 am

It seems to me, including all the above comments, underlying all of this is the pursuit of "economic growth", which ultimately means the pursuit of economic wealth by the most powerful of the ownership class at the expense of everyone else. And they are the group that buy and install the politicians to ensure that pursuit remains as unimpeded as possible.

Examples of this off-the-rails philosophical and social justification of "modern" capitalism are apparent to everyone (I hope); Shareholder Primacy, Intellectual "Property" Laws, Health Care as a Profit Center replacing health care of citizenry, abstract legal entities, Corporations, given the same rights (and few responsibilities) as individual people, the taking over of education systems by this same ownership class, again primarily for profit and propaganda, increasing for-profit, and control, surveillance, and more rule the day.

Historically, and unfortunately, the prime reset has often been violent revolution. Mike Duncan's Revolutions podcast teaches us many examples throughout history and should be required listening for today's ownership class and politicians everywhere and High School history classes.

Rod , September 14, 2019 at 12:00 pm

THE MORAL CONSEQUENCES OF ECONOMIC GROWTH by Benjamin Friedman in the HarvardScholar link was a thought provoking read about the linkages between affective economic growth and morality– and visa versa.
I believe he was arguing that a cultures adopted values directs the benefits of that cultures economic growth and applications(without direct outside meddling). And that can become a reinforcing feedback loop–for both the held values and values had about economic growth.
Economic Growth is often compiled in numbers in Lamberts Water Cooler at least weekly–however, like Inflation Stats, often a lot of critical things are not considered in the compilation(gas price in inflation and happiness in economic growth–as two simple i.e.)
imo, We need more progress in expanding the term Economic Growth beyond consumption and production to be pertinent in 2019.

Susan the other` , September 14, 2019 at 12:04 pm

I think this is a really good analysis in that it comes to the conclusion that we need more democracy; we are not democratically "liberal" at all. We were just hoodwinked for about the last 50 years. We need to be socially democratic. It will bring an end to the obscene inequalities we see and stabilize civilization. So the apotheosis of unregulated growth and the free-range consumer is over. Tsk tsk. That was imposed on society by the mandate for profits (which they never wanted to admit, but it depended entirely on demand). I guess the consumer is headed for the bone yard of Idols. We will, by necessity, have something entirely different. A form of social demand; a cooperative of some sort. Hanging on to old worn out ideas is all that is left – kind of like nostalgia. Like the Donald pandering to "business" by gutting the EPA now when manufacturing has been decimated and methods of mitigating pollution are a market in themselves. Trump is just campaigning like an old fool; but it's probably working.

Tomonthebeach , September 14, 2019 at 12:58 pm

Finally, an article on Neolib Capitalism that a 5th-grader can grasp – maybe granny too. I already shared it with a dozen friends (ironically – most with doctorates as the choir can never be too big).

Now let's all rise and sing a rousing chorus of Dude Where's My Democracy.

Cal2 , September 14, 2019 at 2:16 pm

After reading about the failure of the F.D.A. to regulate pharma and protect us, after witnessing our military going into losing war after losing stalemate, after seeing homelessness explode, drug use, the failure of schools supposedly controlled by the Department of Education, an eroding environment, etc.

At what point do citizens stop voluntarily paying taxes and complying with federal laws?

stan6565 , September 14, 2019 at 4:16 pm

After the collapse of NHS care, after the oversubsciption of our local schools by a factor of n, after there being no police in the streets to curb the harassment rowdiness and burglary, after a complete collapse of democracy following people's vote for liberty from shackles of giant EU squid, after the horrific waste of local councils monies on sucking up to the terror of minorities (racial, ethnic, sexual), after our own councils ramming the extreme numbers of noninvited imported alien population down the throats of hitherto taxpaying funders of the target occupation environment, and so on, can I have a separate TV station to tell you, the only thing left for the sitting target taxpayers paying for all this largesse, abuse, and outright extortion is indeed to abandon any of the previously normal concepts of tax, duty and bills payments, and let the local and state governments get into the costly business of corralling each and every hitherto low lying fruit taxpayer, and forcing monies out of them at a great expense to the target and the enforcer.

What a way to go forward in life.

RBHoughton , September 14, 2019 at 10:14 pm

Read all the way through and never encountered the names Reagan or Thatcher. As the principal enablers of the financial / economic disaster called the Washington Consensus, their names should be right up there. We need an annual festival with bonfires and fireworks when we can burn the rogues in effigy.

The author is right that prolonged peace allows power to concentrate. He does not indicate the end result that Rome and Constantinople experienced when deprived citizens declined to fight for the empire and the Goths / Crusaders were able to take over. We study Greek and Roman history in school but somehow its relevance to our declining state means nothing to us.

David in Santa Cruz , September 14, 2019 at 10:44 pm

I've always been a huge fan of the Haynes Guides . A finer series of "how-to" books has never been published.

Gratified to read the phrase "carrying capacity" in a political discussion. One of the central drivers of elite power and asset hoarding is the perception of scarcity and the compulsion to ration (i.e. cut-off supplies of "nice things" to the proles and dusky-hued people).

Looking forward to the Haynes Guide to Eating the Rich .

The Rev Kev , September 14, 2019 at 10:53 pm

Will it be entitled To Serve The Rich ?

[Sep 15, 2019] Dude! Where's My Democracy naked capitalism

Sep 15, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

https://eus.rubiconproject.com/usync.html

https://acdn.adnxs.com/ib/static/usersync/v3/async_usersync.html

https://c.deployads.com/sync?f=html&s=2343&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.nakedcapitalism.com%2F2019%2F09%2Fdude-wheres-my-democracy.html <img src="http://b.scorecardresearch.com/p?c1=2&c2=16807273&cv=2.0&cj=1" /> Legitimate Government

Recently, Foa & Mounk argued that many citizens in supposed advanced democracies have become rather disillusioned with the workings of the political system in their nation. There is good reason to suppose the current political economic paradigm is skewed against the people. So-called democratic deficits exist in the USA and elsewhere . In the UK, for example, the electorate disapprove and have disapproved of four decades of tax and welfare and privatisation policies – yet are apparently powerless to influence these policies.

As politicians and the donors who support them become less responsive to voters' wishes it is hardly surprising many, perhaps the majority, of the populace will view government as illegitimate . In consequence, voters seem increasingly inclined to elect (so-called) populist leaders, political outsiders who may change the rules in favour of the people .

The Left and the Right

Legitimate government, so Abraham Lincoln observes, is that which does for a community that which the community cannot do (or cannot do so well) for themselves. With this it is difficult to disagree. However, political theory differs on who might make up that community.

Broadly speaking, those on the (so-called) economic "right" argue government should enact policy for the benefit of those who own the nation, while those (so-called) economic "left" consider policy should prioritise the interests of citizens. By definition, therefore, capitalist governments will take up positions on the right – particularly in nations, such as the UK, which are increasingly owned by foreign interests . Conversely democratically accountable governments must take positions economically to the left, prioritising the preferences of citizens.

Universal Adult Suffrage

At the dawn of democracy, only the wealthy could vote. Thus, there was less conflict between the aspirations of the powerful and of voters. Following the extension to the adult population of the right to vote in the late 19th and early 20th century, politicians became answerable to a wider range of stakeholders.

In particular, from the middle of the 20th century until the late 1970s, legitimate democratic governments held markets to account in the interests of the demos. An increasingly affluent society facilitated profit making opportunities and thus economies grew; the interests of capital and citizens coincided.

However, since the late 1970s, global economic growth has broadly slowed . It is likely that economic stabilisation has occurred as a result of the slowing pace of innovation and the world reaching (or indeed overshooting) its carrying capacity . However, many were persuaded that the slowdown in growth occurred because governments interfered too much in markets.

In response, to preserve or increase their own income growth, elites are motivated to argue for the "freeing" of markets . Rather than markets being held accountable to citizens through democratic governance, it was suggested that holding governments (and through them the citizenry) to account through reliance on market forces would facilitate a return to economic growth.

The Washington Consensus

The economic paradigm which promotes the small state and reliance on market forces is generally known as neo-liberalism, or the Washington Consensus . Under neo-liberalism, the state does little more than maintain the rights of ownership and internal and external security through criminal justice and armed services – notwithstanding, the state may bail out financial services if they require public aid. In the UK and the USA politicians from both main parties adopted this point of view, often in sincere, if misguided, belief in its validity. Thus, neo-liberalism maintains the appearance of democracy, in that citizens may vote for political leaders, but limits the range of policies on offer to those which are acceptable to markets – or rather, those who command market forces.

It should be emphasised that the promotion of the neo-liberal political economic paradigm need not result from a conspiracy . History indicates that, in any prolonged period of peace, power and wealth tend to accumulate to fewer and fewer individuals . If markets were sufficient to facilitate improvement in the prospects of citizens in general, there would have been few calls for universal suffrage in the first place.

Neoliberalism: Government of the People, by the Market, for the Profit

Since the introduction of neo-liberal socio-economic policies, inequality has increased amongst the citizens of the world's advanced democratic nations . As it has not addressed the root cause of economic stabilisation, the adoption of the neo-liberal political paradigm has not improved the prospects of growth , or stabilised global ecosystems . The growth in incomes of the elites – those who wield market power – has come at the expense of the electorate in general .

Because liberal social attitudes are undermined in increasingly unequal societies , neo-liberal policies have destabilised the social equilibrium of those nations which have adopted them. Reliance on market forces has, paradoxically, even undermined the market; for example, through the Global Financial Crisis and the Eurozone crisis . Curiously, despite these failings, yet more reliance on markets is suggested as the cure .

Democracy: Government of the People, by the People, for the People

Those citizens whose prospects are undermined by the neo-liberal paradigm see it in their interests to support a "strong man" who may change the rules back in their favour. This is a risky strategy; such strong men may rather change the rules in their own favour , or in favour of their supporters. In consequence some have suggested we might consider further tempering democracy . However, we suggest it is the reduction in democratic accountability which has led to this so-called "populist" state of affairs. The solution is rather to increase democratic accountability , not just in central government , but in local government and in our places of employment .

[Sep 15, 2019] Politics in America is a function of those who control the public forum via the msm. Those who control the public forum, as Spengler pointed out, obviously use their control to further their own interests and no others. Why in the world would an American-hating msm give Americans an equal voice?

Sep 15, 2019 | www.unz.com

DanFromCT , says: September 14, 2019 at 1:37 pm GMT

Politics in America is a function of those who control the public forum via the msm. Those who control the public forum, as Spengler pointed out, obviously use their control to further their own interests and no others. Why in the world would an American-hating msm give Americans an equal voice?

The msm aren't merely some unfortunate artifact of the First Amendment we have to live. The msm control the formation of men's minds. As Jacques Ellul points out in his masterpiece on propaganda, it's those among us who're most educated and most inclined to closely follow the "news" who are most susceptible to brainwashing. These educated lemmings believe what they're spoon fed by CNN or Fox News. They cannot possibly accept that they're immune to facts and disproof of their cherished assumptions because they've been emotionally conditioned on a subconscious level, after which facts and reasoning are emotionally reacted to like they were personal attacks.

This explains why college educated white women are the Dems' winning edge, trading empty moral posturing for condemning their own children and grandchildren to die hounded and dispossessed in their own land. But there are never any consequences when they insist they have the best of intentions. These women whose thoughts are authored by their own people's enemies will probably put a Warren or one of the other Marxists over the top in 2020. A newly scripted financial crisis will complete transfer of much of America's corporate assets to the government when the $7 trillion in private retirement assets is appropriated in emergency legislation, immediately conceded by the Republicans amid the usual handwringing and crocodile tears. In exchange Americans will receive rapidly deflating gov bonds that will be accepted as the new store of wealth, which it will be for the elites who own American as surely as they do in Venezuela.

[Sep 14, 2019] BTW, Tulsi's now gotten her 3rd qualifying poll. She'll surge back much stronger. And maybe even smarter, if she endorses this:

Sep 14, 2019 | www.unz.com

anon [113] Disclaimer , says: September 14, 2019 at 4:42 am GMT

@follyofwar Agreed . she was better off absent from that snore session. They all looked weak and pathetic. BTW, Tulsi's now gotten her 3rd qualifying poll. She'll surge back much stronger. And maybe even smarter, if she endorses this:

Ask Tulsi Gabbard to co-sponsor Betty McCollum's bill, H.R.2407 – Promoting Human Rights for Palestinian Children Living Under Israeli Military Occupation Act: https://diy.rootsaction.org/petitions/co-sponsor-hr2407?source=twitter-share-button&utm_source=twitter&share=7f93c0fd-5214-4398-93a8-03155a1dc1b1 via @Roots_Action

https://diy.rootsaction.org/petitions/co-sponsor-hr2407?source=twitter-share-button&utm_source=twitter&share=7f93c0fd-5214-4398-93a8-03155a1dc1b1

Nicolás Palacios Navarro , says: Website September 14, 2019 at 7:18 am GMT

That means protection against the Republican-Democratic threats to cut back Social Security to balance the budget in the face of tax cuts for the richest One Percent and rising Cold War military spending. This means a government strong enough to take on the vested financial and corporate interests and prosecute Wall Street's financial crime and corporate monopoly power.

Analogies with late Imperial Rome are by now so cliché that even your average dullard is familiar with them. But I find that the most fascinating -- and frightening -- parallels are with another empire of more recent vintage: the Empire of Japan.

The above quote brought to my mind the political unrest in Tokyo during the 1930s. Far from being the work of a cabal of "militarists", as postwar legend would have it, Japan's various internecine (and often bloody) political feuds and expensive military ventures were driven by a public heavily invested in these affairs; hoping against hope for an outlet to vent their increasing rage over dwindling social programs and opportunities at the cost of propping up a concurrently fattening elite class.

Analyzing events like the Ni-ni-roku jiken (2/26 Incident) can be highly instructional for Americans seeking some manner of explanation for their present failing political system. While it is true that this nearly successful insurrection was carried out by ultra-nationalists, their intention was not to deny the people a voice in the running of government with their aspiration for direct rule by the Shōwa Emperor (then as now, the Emperor served in a quasi-religious capacity with little ability to actually govern). Rather, they felt that parliamentary democracy was a sham that benefitted only the monied and privileged; and that only the Emperor, as the living incarnation of the Japanese state, could act and respond according to the sovereign will of its people. What appeared to be a desire for authoritarianism was, in fact, the radical, ideological inversion of the Marxist concept of a "dictatorship of the proletariat". The Shōwa Emperor, in other words, was the instrument of effecting the will of the nation; the "Emperor of the people" (天皇の國民 Tennō no kokumin ).

I view in a similar vein the fascination and dreams that Trump and other such figures excite in many: The radical hope that only a leader willing to smash the system, which to all intents and purposes appears to only serve the few, can paradoxically restore the ability of the many to express and act. Bogged down as we are by ballooning military debt (and blood), economic stagnation, and an ever-widening chasm between the "haves" and "have-nots", and it becomes difficult to ignore the parallels between the US today and Japan in 1936.

This was an interesting article, but I hold no illusions about the future. There will be no breakup of the two major parties, no viable alternatives. Things will only get worse.

I envy those in their 50s and up today -- they will likely miss out on the momentous history that people my generation and younger will be bearing reluctant witness to.

Anon [424] Disclaimer , says: September 14, 2019 at 7:24 am GMT
Biden will be 77 years old in Novembrer

Bernie Sanders is 78 years old

Donald Trump is 73 years old

Gerontocracy ?

[Sep 14, 2019] The Vital facts concerning Sanders

Sep 14, 2019 | www.unz.com

Durruti , says: September 14, 2019 at 2:35 pm GMT

@Johnny Walker Read ...the Vital facts concerning Sanders.

1. Sanders votes for all the Military Expenditures (almost 50% of our National budget).

2. Sanders voted for all the $100s of Billions giveaways to the worst -most racist – most anti-Semitic, Apartheid, proto-Fascist Government on the planet. He is a Traitor. He serves another Master, not America.

3. Sanders apparently, had no recorded means of employment for the first 40+ years of his life.

4. How many times has Sanders been married? What is the significance of this?

5. Sanders said nothing: Who is the Zionist Military Hero General Woman who is blocked from the debates by the UNDEMOCRATIC DEMOCRAP GANG??? Gabbard? I recall Hollywood (we must pass the $Bailout) Obomber did not allow former President Carter to address his Democrap Convention. Not very Democratic – are they?

Memories (I'm humming the lines as I vent).

Once it is understood that the United States is an Occupied Puppet Nation ,...

[Sep 14, 2019] What a politician says to win an election and what he actually does in office are two very different things; politicians regularly break their promises. This is not just a fluke but the outcome of the way the system is set up

Notable quotes:
"... As in every election we're now being bombarded with propaganda about how "your vote makes a difference" and associated nonsense. According to the official version ordinary citizens control the state by voting for candidates in elections. The President and other politicians are supposedly servants of "the people" and the government an instrument of the general populace. This version is a myth. ..."
"... It does not matter who is elected because the way the system is set up all elected representatives must do what big business and the state bureaucracy want, not what "the people" want. Elected representatives are figureheads. ..."
"... Politicians' rhetoric may change depending on who is elected, but they all have to implement the same policies given the same situation. Elections are a scam whose function is to create the illusion that "the people" control the government, not the elite, and to neutralize resistance movements. All voting does is strengthen the state & ruling class, it is not an effective means to change government policy. ..."
"... What a politician says to win an election and what he actually does in office are two very different things; politicians regularly break their promises. This is not just a fluke but the outcome of the way the system is set up. Bush the second said he wouldn't engage in "nation-building" (taking other countries over) during the 2000 election campaign but has done it several times. He also claimed to support a balanced budget, but obviously abandoned that. Clinton advocated universal health care during the 1992 election campaign but there were more people without health insurance when he left office than when he took office. Bush the first said, "read my lips – no new taxes!" while running for office but raised taxes anyway. Reagan promised to shrink government but he drastically expanded the military-industrial complex and ran up huge deficits. Rather than shrinking government, he reoriented it to make it more favorable to the rich. ..."
"... Carter promised to make human rights the "soul of our foreign policy" but funded genocide in East Timor and backed brutal dictators in Argentina, South Korea, Chile, Brazil, Indonesia and elsewhere. During the 1964 elections leftists were encouraged by Democrats to vote for Johnson because Goldwater, his Republican opponent, was a fanatical warmonger who would escalate US involvement in Vietnam. ..."
"... Johnson won, and immediately proceeded to escalate US involvement in Vietnam. FDR promised to maintain a balanced budget and restrain government spending but did the exact opposite. Wilson won reelection in 1916 on the slogan "he kept us out of war" but then lied us into World War One. Hoover pledged to abolish poverty in 1928 but instead saw it skyrocket. ..."
Sep 14, 2019 | www.unz.com

Johnny Walker Read says: September 14, 2019 at 12:21 pm GMT 2

I have no Idea when this article was printed, but it matters not. This holds true for every election ever held in America.

If voting mattered they wouldn't let us do it.


As in every election we're now being bombarded with propaganda about how "your vote makes a difference" and associated nonsense. According to the official version ordinary citizens control the state by voting for candidates in elections. The President and other politicians are supposedly servants of "the people" and the government an instrument of the general populace. This version is a myth.

It does not matter who is elected because the way the system is set up all elected representatives must do what big business and the state bureaucracy want, not what "the people" want. Elected representatives are figureheads.

Politicians' rhetoric may change depending on who is elected, but they all have to implement the same policies given the same situation. Elections are a scam whose function is to create the illusion that "the people" control the government, not the elite, and to neutralize resistance movements. All voting does is strengthen the state & ruling class, it is not an effective means to change government policy.

https://www.bigeye.com/elections.htm

Johnny Walker Read , says: September 14, 2019 at 12:41 pm GMT

From the same article, a list of campaign promises never kept (needs to be updated with Obama/Trump).

What a politician says to win an election and what he actually does in office are two very different things; politicians regularly break their promises. This is not just a fluke but the outcome of the way the system is set up. Bush the second said he wouldn't engage in "nation-building" (taking other countries over) during the 2000 election campaign but has done it several times. He also claimed to support a balanced budget, but obviously abandoned that. Clinton advocated universal health care during the 1992 election campaign but there were more people without health insurance when he left office than when he took office. Bush the first said, "read my lips – no new taxes!" while running for office but raised taxes anyway. Reagan promised to shrink government but he drastically expanded the military-industrial complex and ran up huge deficits. Rather than shrinking government, he reoriented it to make it more favorable to the rich.

Carter promised to make human rights the "soul of our foreign policy" but funded genocide in East Timor and backed brutal dictators in Argentina, South Korea, Chile, Brazil, Indonesia and elsewhere. During the 1964 elections leftists were encouraged by Democrats to vote for Johnson because Goldwater, his Republican opponent, was a fanatical warmonger who would escalate US involvement in Vietnam.

Johnson won, and immediately proceeded to escalate US involvement in Vietnam. FDR promised to maintain a balanced budget and restrain government spending but did the exact opposite. Wilson won reelection in 1916 on the slogan "he kept us out of war" but then lied us into World War One. Hoover pledged to abolish poverty in 1928 but instead saw it skyrocket.
https://www.bigeye.com/elections.htm

[Sep 14, 2019] In America, TV programs you!

Sep 14, 2019 | www.unz.com

Justvisiting , says: September 14, 2019 at 4:23 pm GMT

@DanFromCT

These educated lemmings believe what they're spoon fed by CNN or Fox News. They cannot possibly accept that they're immune to facts and disproof of their cherished assumptions because they've been emotionally conditioned on a subconscious level, after which facts and reasoning are emotionally reacted to like they were personal attacks.

Correct, but a little more detail on "how" it is done is needed. The trick is to hypnotize the viewer.
This is done by using motion on the screen–left motion, right motion, left motion, right motion seems to be the most effective technique, but getting the viewer dizzy by constant screen motion and short cuts seems to work as well.

While the conventional wisdom was that advertising used such techniques (auto ads are the most blatant–cars heading left, then cars heading right, then cars heading left, etc.) to sell product, it appears that the ads are actually "prepping" the viewer to believe the "news" that follows.

In addition, there is a lot of research out there demonstrating that "news" commentators most important attribute is their ability to persuade others by appearing to have integrity. This is tested using focus groups (test subjects). It is on this basis that they are hired–and if they lose the technique or refuse to employ it–fired.

In America, TV programs you!

[Sep 14, 2019] The strange way neoliberal media likes Creepy Joe Biden

Joe Biden looked like an old man who escaped from his senor citizen living center who got lost walking around in his under wear in some parking lot
If he gets the nom and we have debates between Biden and Trump i think it will sever the last thread tying our society to sanity.
Sep 14, 2019 | www.alternet.org

[Sep 14, 2019] The End of Israel by Gilad Atzmon

Theocratic of neo-theocratic states do not last long. So Gilad Atzmon is probably right. The writing for theocratic Israel might well be on the wall, much like it was for the USSR. At some point the majority of population just became sick and tied of the theocratic elite and stops believing the official propaganda. .
Trump strong connecting and deference to Zionists means that he will lose certain strata of voters that previously voted for him. Will money form Zionist billionaire donors outweigh this factor is difficult to say.
Sep 14, 2019 | www.unz.com

This conflict at the heart of Israeli politics is a window into the Jewish state and its fears. Israel is rapidly becoming an Orthodox Jewish state. Israel's Orthodox Jews are the fastest growing group in the country. They are also the country's poorest population, 45 percent live below the poverty line in segregated communities. Ordinarily, one would expect the poor to support the left, but Israeli Torah Jews are rabid nationalists and openly lend their support to Benjamin Netanyahu and his party.

Prof. Dan Ben-David of Tel Aviv University warned recently that Israel could cease to exist in a couple of generations. He pointed to the astonishingly high birth rate among ultra Orthodox Jews and predicted that, based on current trends, they will comprise 49% of Israel's population by 2065. The ultra Orthodox parties are destined to dominate the Knesset within a generation or less. Ben David predicts that their dependence on Israel's welfare system will lead to a rapid decline is Israel's economy. This is economically damaging enough and is made worse by the refusal of most rabbinical schools to incorporate standard Western subjects such as mathematics, science and English into their core curriculum. Consequently, Israel is educating a growing percentage of its population in a fashion that fails to equip them to contribute to the needs of a hi-tech society that is immersed in a conflict for survival.

The picture that comes across is peculiar. As Israel becomes increasingly Jewish and fundamentalist in its nationalist and religious ethos, it has also become more divided on everything else. The Russian immigrants find it impossible to live alongside the ultra Orthodox and vice versa. The secular enclave in Tel Aviv is committed to seeing their metropolis as an extension of NY.

The Israeli Left has morphed into an LGBT hasbara unit. It has practically removed itself from the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. Jewish settlers adhere to the concept of a 'Two Jewish States Solution.' They want to see the West Bank become a Jewish land. Orthodox Jews are barely concerned with any of these political issues. They well know that the future of the Jewish state belongs to them. All they need to do is sustain a productive secular Jewish minority to serve as their milk cow. On top of all of that we face Bibi's survival wars that threaten to escalate any minute into a world conflict.


Altai , says: September 12, 2019 at 8:49 pm GMT

This is why I'm more optimistic the more Trump embraces Israel. He seems to have clearly decided not to get caught in Syria and so has to keep them off his back in some other way, moving the embassy and presumably giving Netanyahu the greenlight for annexation of more of the West Bank is a good thing.

It means Israel incorporates more and more Palestinians that it can't disengage from by keeping within it's existing borders and it means damaging the bi-partisan consensus with Trump's polarising association.

Everything Netanyahu does is just pulling back the sinews for the final reckoning. Instead of staying within reasonable borders and seeking a reconciliation with neighbours, Israel just gets more demanding, more unreasonable, breaks more promises and makes itself impossible to negotiate with and runs headlong into more and more Palestinian citizens.

What's unfortunate is that Europe and the US will be forced to put up with the millions of vagrant Sabras when it all goes kaput. Instead of becoming less anti-social, the Sabra became a magnificent compilation of every annoying and anti-social habit of the nations. Israelis make Sicilians look like Swedes.

Priss Factor , says: Website September 12, 2019 at 9:53 pm GMT
@Robert Dolan Israeli power is the consequence of Jewish-American Power.

It's like the princeling brat can romp around and make all kinds of trouble because his father is the king.

The King of Jewish Power is the hold over America.

Gilad Atzmon , says: September 12, 2019 at 9:56 pm GMT
@Altai I agree Altai . at the end of the day this entire mess will fall on Europe and The USA but if I read the map correctly the tolerance and empathy to the primacy of Jewish suffering is running out..the situation is getting complicated
Gilad Atzmon , says: September 12, 2019 at 9:56 pm GMT
@Altai I agree Altai . at the end of the day this entire mess will fall on Europe and The USA but if I read the map correctly the tolerance and empathy to the primacy of Jewish suffering is running out..the situation is getting complicated
niteranger , says: September 13, 2019 at 1:41 am GMT
@Robert Dolan Absolutely correct. If not for the US and it's Jewish Controlled Congress that never met a money bill for the Magic Jews Israel would be under water already. Our infrastructure is collapsing but we continue to find money for Israel no matter that we have cities with thousands of homeless people with the threat of disease and Middle Age plagues on our door step. Orthodox Jews are like Muslims in many ways because they love the "Welfare State" and they stay on it forever. Sections of New York are saturated with these Orthodox Welfare Jews and idiots like DeBlasio caters to them.

There is now a backlash by both blacks who hate them and want to kill them for their business practices in real estate and upper middle class residents that refuse to allow them to build their so called "Jewish Orthodox Communes" and take over the areas.

Israel may have overplayed their hand but that doesn't mean they will just disappear. They are sick enough to take mankind with them with their eternal wars. Hopefully Netanyahu is crazy enough to start a conflict with Iran who will bomb the shit out of them and then Hezabollah will destroy the wimp military the IDF.

We can only hope and perhaps mankind will have a chance .

Dennis Gannon , says: September 13, 2019 at 2:27 am GMT
It is more accurate to call them Talmudists. They are not "Jews". Jew is a recent abbreviation of Judean. The Ashkenazi came from Asia. They don't follow the Old Testament. They follow the Talmud, which is Maciavellian to the core. Pure evil. Since God made the man Jesus to be Lord, eventually, their works will be judged, they are headed for destruction morally, you reap what you sew. Israel is the most anti-Semitic country on earth. Which makes them hypocrites. The Arabs and Palestinians are a Semitic people and no one hates and kills them more that Israel.
Gilad Atzmon , says: Website September 13, 2019 at 4:10 am GMT
@Colin Wright As you may know Zionism was born as a reaction to antisemitsm and this fact alone suggests that people including Jews were aware of the problem before Israel was formed
Giuseppe , says: September 13, 2019 at 4:34 am GMT
@Gilad Atzmon

I don't want to ruin the party but as far as I can tell Israel is not the problem it is just a symptom of the problem peculiarly, Israel was born to fix the problem

Interesting point of view, actually, one of the most profound things I have ever read. If this is their calling, and I too somehow believe it is, they need to turn around, because they are kind of falling down on the job. So I look forward to that great day of turning. However, when they call you names, anti-Semite, self-hating Jew, or whatever else they might dig up, they greatly err, because you are a watchman on the wall.

Frankie P , says: September 13, 2019 at 4:57 am GMT
@Saggy Gilad has expressed his views on this topic many, many times. The early Zionists desired a Jewish State to make Jews human. By this, I mean that they were well aware of the Jewish Question and the repeated bad behavior of Jews in host societies, both Muslim and Christian. They were conscious of the economic role of powerful Jews, particularly with their usurious financial practices, but also as tax collectors and enforcers for the aristocracy. This, along with their tilted ethnocentric business practices, favoring their own while fleecing the goyim, invariably led to their control of what were traditionally local businesses, creating a growing resentment in local societies that reached critical mass. What followed were pogroms and expulsion. This occurred in both Muslim and Christian lands, but were especially pronouncrd in Christian Europe, which took more aggressive protective actions to shield itself.

The early Zionists wanted to be the midwives of a Jewish State that would solve the JQ by making a nation of Jews, in which Jews carried out all of the work, took all the jobs, from garbage collecting to farming, from street cleaner to bank president. They wanted to stop the pogroms and expulsions, but at the same time they were keenly aware that these were effects of Jewish behavior and actions, not senseless anti-Semitism of the goyim. So, yes Israel was conceived and born to solve the problem.

It didn't.

refl , says: September 13, 2019 at 6:10 am GMT
@Gilad Atzmon

As you may know Zionism was born as a reaction to antisemitsm and this fact alone suggests that people including Jews were aware of the problem before Israel was formed

Was it? Or was antisemitism the solution by the jewish leadership to the dissolution of their community in modern arreligious society? Was antisemitism the virtual ghetto wall?
Tell the people within that those outside want to kill them, at the same time having a small faction of very cunning Jews who go outside and produce trouble that then by necessity falls back on the whole community?

I find it quite astonishing when I read how privileged certain Jews were in European states, compared to what was the norm for regular Christian folks.
And indeed, also Christians were butchered, expelled etc in more religious times.

mena , says: September 13, 2019 at 7:50 am GMT
peculiarly, Israel was born to fix the problem

I have heard you say this before and remain surprised that you seem to believe this. The whole " people like any other people" hasbara may have been a sales approach tailored to a particular audience at some point, but any sincerity behind it has been demonstrably beside the point. Israel has been a projection of raw power from the start.

sally , says: September 13, 2019 at 8:16 am GMT
@niteranger Are you sure => "we continue to find money for Israel" <=unless you are among the elected 527 that run the USA you probably are not included in the WE.. did you vote (either yes or no) to send money to Israel?

Three votes (one to select a person to fill one of (1/425) jobs in the house of representatives, and 1 vote to select each of 2 persons to fill two senate jobs (2/100) does not make most Americans into deciding members of the USA. Not only that, at election time, American votes for President or VP do not count, because the electoral college vote decides who shall be President or vice President? So why do the candidates spend billions on the presidential elections?

350,000,000 Americans are governed by 527 salaried persons, who are elected to work at the USA.

Israel is a product of the bankers and their corporations; it began in earnest in 1897 in Switzerland.

The great success of Zionism (not racially or religiously connected) has been its networking ability. It can identify and intercept opposing forces, transport resources($, and people) in invisible ways, to/from multi many places, to focus on and to support a target project (local, regional, national or international) . The network that facilitates this "always win intention" works like a newspaper on one side, keeping all elements informed, and on the other side, like a powerful, but invisible government; seeking or willing to invade, protect or promote a place, project or person on the other side.

The network can concentrate fire power, vote power, impose political pressure, control the media, and develop the means to take advantage of, or put down, situation or opportunity or it can protect a friend in need. In a few days, a local situation or a massive opportunity can be "crowd funded" or "petition protected" via the network. For hypothetical example, say the NYT comes up for sale, in a short while a person with meager credit, tenders a multi-billion dollar offer backed with financing sufficient to acquire the opportunity? So how did the credit come to make this possible?

Its not Israel per se..that the USA congress supports: its the banking establishments and their powerful multi nation corporations, seeking to control the middle east, seeking to use "in the course of commerce" as their excuse for invisible weapon, mind control, and spy technology development. Its Economic Zionism that explains the foreign nation state support for Israel. IMO except for the propaganda value, race or religion has little to do with it.

Germanicus , says: September 13, 2019 at 8:28 am GMT
@Gilad Atzmon Why not infuse Israel with the tons of fanatical leftist(godless) Jews we have in Germany and Europe? They could counter the orthodox leeching by providing work force, and could additionally work their bottoms off on "racism", transform settlements in gay discos and do all the other professional complaints they make in Europe, like open borders.
The Jews in Europe are always scared, if Netanyahu calls them to Israel due to "anti-semitism". If a non Jew says something similar, its evil and "anti-semitic" of course.

It is quite interesting to note, that Israel develops in a theocracy(always has been in my view), while the Jews outside Israel seek to disprove/kill god and are in rebellion against god, nature, more or less play god.

Antares , says: September 13, 2019 at 8:45 am GMT
@FvS "It is the patriotic duty of all American Jews to relocate to Israel and help their nation thrive. Remember the holocaust. Also, democracy is garbage."

You could be an American patriot who doesn't want to pay 3.8 billion per year.

gotmituns , says: September 13, 2019 at 9:22 am GMT
Theodor Herzl said, "Where there is no anti Semitism, there are no Jews."
Lol , says: September 13, 2019 at 9:25 am GMT
@Gilad Atzmon The issue is that regular Europeans have diminishing rates of sympathy for Jews and the only reason European politics don't trash Israel is largely vassalage to America and not having an independent foreign policy.

With Americans ruining their relations with everyone, this will most likely change since there's no real reason for Europeans to source military equipment from outside the EU, have sanctions on Iran or Russia instead of backing their infrastructure projects, not back China in the Pacific if it offers a better deal etc.

Essentially, Jews will be America's problem and rightfully so considering right wing Americans can't seem to stop sucking Jewish dick.

Lol , says: September 13, 2019 at 9:34 am GMT
@A123 The only realistic plan would probably involve Israel not violating the fourth Geneva convention anymore which would mean the Jewish settlements on territories outside the pre-1967 borders will cease to exist as Jewish in any way.

Once you reject international law, you can't appeal to it anymore, but you must be Jewish if you think you can pick and choose what suits you. Lol

Johnny Walker Read , says: September 13, 2019 at 12:19 pm GMT
@Rational The "Holy Hook" is being exposed on a level never imagined. Charles Giuliani has a great series out exposing the "Tribe". This is one of my favorites:
http://www.renegadebroadcasting.com/truth-hertz-pimp-daddy-abrahams-adventures-in-egypt-6-17-19/
Greg Bacon , says: Website September 13, 2019 at 12:24 pm GMT
The loonie Avi Lieberman is salivating at the thought being Israeli PM, and the loonie Nuttyahoo is salivating at the thought of staying PM and using that power to keep his sorry ass out of prison.

Presented with those two choices is like a robber asking its victim, "Do you want to be stabbed with a knife or shot with a gun?"

Johnny Walker Read , says: September 13, 2019 at 12:25 pm GMT
@Robert Dolan America will never be shed of this parasite until the fundamentalist Christian Zionist/NeoCons are swept from power. They are every bit as insane as the radicalized Muslims. You tell me which country this clown truly servers!!

https://www.youtube.com/embed/UYEF8y7IZYc?feature=oembed

anonymous [420] Disclaimer , says: September 13, 2019 at 12:29 pm GMT
@Anon

Few goyim will make the leap to figure out the modern implications of the Moses mythology.

You should discuss that with @ Dennis Gannon, who appears to be tangled in a ball of misunderstanding or ignorance, especially of Machiavelli, evident when he wrote:

The Ashkenazi came from Asia. They don't follow the Old Testament. They follow the Talmud, which is Maciavellian to the core. Pure evil.

Crack open The Prince: Machiavelli "figured out the modern implications of the Moses mythology." Of three candidates Machiavelli considered, he selected Moses as the model Prince. Certain "evil" behavior that became necessary to save his beloved city, Florence, and make it a Republic of and for the people of Florence, was acceptable, inasmuch as Moses, whose chief counselor was god himself, used whatever means necessary to achieve the wellbeing of the conquerors of Canaan.

If only the people of the USA had a Prince as evil, and as dedicated to the wellbeing of the American people, as Machiavelli was to Florence.

Frankie P , says: September 13, 2019 at 12:50 pm GMT
@Brewer "Zionism was born as a reaction to antisemitism." Gilad is correct, but I believe that implicit in his statement is the understanding that the "antisemitism" is reactionary: it is born out of the anti gentile behavior and actions of Jews in gentile host societies. Gilad, please correct me if I've misrepresented you.
DESERT FOX , says: September 13, 2019 at 12:59 pm GMT
Israel is a terrorist state ran by terrorists for terrorists and its goal is to destroy the mideast for its greater Israel agenda and with the help of the zionist controlled zio/US government and the American taxpayers funding of these wars and providing the military muscle the zionists are now their way to armageddon!
Twodees Partain , says: September 13, 2019 at 1:45 pm GMT
@Brewer My definition of antisemitism is any pushback against crimes of the Ashkenazi.
Charles Pewitt , says: September 13, 2019 at 2:06 pm GMT
Israel is not an ally of the United States of America.

Israel is a client-state millstone of the American Empire that uses diasporan Jews such as Shelly Adelson to buy off politicians such as President Trump.

Andrew Jackson and George Washington would immediately sever all ties to Israel and they would make sure that diasporan Jews that put the interests of Israel over and ahead of the interests of the USA were strongly encouraged to permanently leave the USA. Those Jews who put the interests of Israel over and ahead of the interests of the USA should be disallowed from gaining entry into any other European Christian nation such as Canada, Australia, Germany, France, England, Italy, Spain etc.

It would also be a no-go Blavatsky for these diasporan Jews who put the interests of Israel ahead of the interests of the USA to go to South America or Asia or anywhere else. Israel must be made into a receptacle that will contain and constrain the ability of diasporan Jews and Israeli Jews from interfering in the governmental affairs of any other nation.

One of the reasons I will not vote for Trump and the Republican Party is that Trump and the Republicans put the interests of Israel over and ahead of the interests of the United States of America.

Trump seems to get the fact that the American Empire is a completely and totally separate entity from the United States of America. Trump seems to understand that resistance to Shelly Adelson's demands about foreign policy decisions regarding Israel is the best way to show patriotism to the USA.

The JEW/WASP ruling class of the American Empire is a clear and present threat to the safety, security and sovereignty of the United States of America

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA FIRST!

Charles Pewitt , says: September 13, 2019 at 2:18 pm GMT
Jew billionaire Shelly Adelson puts the interests of Israel ahead of the interests of the USA.

Jew billionaire Shelly Adelson has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to President Trump and the Republican Party over the years.

What has all that loot bought for diasporan Jew Adelson?

Is Adelson buying the foreign policy of the USA?

How come that dumb boob Chris Christie used the word "occupied" in front of Adelson when Christie was trying to pry some loot out of Adelson's checkbook? DUMMY!

Tweet from 2015:

Charles Pewitt , says: September 13, 2019 at 2:21 pm GMT
The ruling class in Israel wants to continue to use the US military as muscle to fight wars on behalf of Israel.

The ADL puts the interests of Israel ahead of the interests of the United States of America.

The ADL is an evil and immoral JEW PRESSURE GROUP that pushes mass legal immigration and mass illegal immigration and REFUGEE OVERLOAD and ASYLUM SEEKER INUNDATION and multicultural mayhem and all manner of other anti-White crud.

DESERT FOX , says: September 13, 2019 at 2:34 pm GMT
@Charles Pewitt Agree, the zionists have controlled the American people since 1913 when they fastened their privately owned central bank aka the FED and IRS on to the American people and then came the foreign wars and debt and total control of the American people by the zionists and their banking kabal.

Nathan Rothschild infamously said; I care not what puppet is place on the throne of England for the man who controls the money supply controls the British Empire, and I am that man!

The same holds true here in the zio/US the zionists have control of the money supply via the FED and we are slaves on the zionist plantation aka America, and a central bank and the income tax are 2 of the 10 planks of the communist manifesto, and zionism = communism!

Anonymous Snanonymous , says: September 13, 2019 at 3:05 pm GMT
So the Orthodox will turn Israel into a big shtetl within the span of next fifty years with the financial help of the "secular" Jews in the West and then they would want to do away with the LGBTQ crowd out of Tel Aviv you reap what you sow!
Wally , says: September 13, 2019 at 4:07 pm GMT
@J said:
"Under all that noise there is country growing and strengthening very fast"

Dream on.
Without US taxpayers money "that shitty little country" wouldn't last a month.

The True Cost of Parasite Israel
Forced US taxpayers money to Israel goes far beyond the official numbers
.
http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-true-cost-of-israel/

How Zionist Israel Is Robbing America Blind !:
http://www.unz.com/gatzmon/how-zionist-israel-is-robbing-america-blind/

[Sep 13, 2019] Trump has acceded to 2 of the 4 demands of Republican Party donor and Jew billionaire Shelly Adelson in regards to Israel: 1) Trump has killed the Iran nuclear deal and 2) Trump has moved the US embassy to Jerusalem.

Sep 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

Charles Pewitt , says: September 13, 2019 at 5:13 pm GMT

@ChuckOrloski

Then having very (unsafely) gone off the Gaderene cliff deep end, you opined, "Trump seems to understand that resistance to Shelly Adelson's demands about foreign policy decisions regarding Israel is the best way to show patriotism to the USA."

Let me elaborate further on that sentence.

Trump has acceded to 2 of the 4 demands of Republican Party donor and Jew billionaire Shelly Adelson in regards to Israel:

1) Trump has killed the Iran nuclear deal and 2) Trump has moved the US embassy to Jerusalem.

But,

3) Trump has refused to invade Iran or start a war with Iran and 4) Trump has not dropped a nuclear bomb on Iran.

Shelly Adelson wants the US military to invade Iran and Shelly Adelson wants the US military to drop a nuclear bomb on Iran.

Trump knows that there is a difference between the American Empire and the United States of America. Trump pushes military Keynesianism for the jobs and the loot for the American people, but Trump doesn't think that the American Empire must continually be at war to justify the war expenditures. Trump gave an interview where he spoke of the military-industrial complex and Trump is a baby boomer who remembers Ike and his warnings about the profiteers and scoundrels who would use the American Empire to profit off the USA.

Trump made the wise decision to not go to war against Iran with that drone incident, and that is a good thing. Trump may have thought about oil at two hundred dollars a barrel or he might have thought it's better to pop the Iranians surreptitiously rather than televised on CNN with air strikes and the like.

I do think that Trump puts the interests of Israel ahead of the interests of the USA, but a lot of the ruling class slobs who run the American Empire don't even think that the USA exists anymore. A lot of us voted for Trump to reclaim the sovereignty and independence of the USA from the American Empire.

So I think Trump is in his own way being patriotic to a certain extent by giving Shelly Adelson some of what Adelson wanted but not all.

Trump may also understand that German American women and other American women in the Great Lakes states don't want their sons or husbands or uncles or fathers getting killed or horribly wounded in endless wars that only benefit Israel. The German Americans, bless them, have historically shown great reluctance to get caught up in all the endless war crud that the JEW/WASP ruling class of the American Empire cooks up.

I won't vote for Trump because of his backstab on immigration, but I think Trump knows that he is the government leader of a big monster and that big monster is the creature that encompasses both the American Empire and the United States of America.

I was long winded, but there's a point in there somewhere!

Mark James , says: September 13, 2019 at 5:49 pm GMT
" My relationship with Israel has been great," Trump said, listing some of his pro-Israel accomplishments. "Anything is possible," he conceded, "but I don't believe it."

Trump, Netanyahu say no spying:
https://www.timesofisrael.com/pm-hints-gantz-campaign-planted-false-story-of-israel-spying-on-white-house/

"Yesterday you heard the lies that Israel tried to spy on the White House, a complete lie," Netanyahu said in a Hebrew-language video.
He then quoted Mark Levin as saying on his show that "this is exactly like the tricks carried out by Joel Benenson. He was an adviser to Obama and now he is the adviser to [Blue and White leaders Benny] Gantz and [Yair] Lapid."

Wally , says: September 13, 2019 at 6:24 pm GMT
@Charles Pewitt Trump certainly deserves criticism for his ME policies.

However, it's pure folly to think that the alternatives to Trump would be any better, in fact I suggest that most would be worse.

It's always interesting to see those here who are so quick to bash Trump never tell us which of the alternative candidates they are willing to endorse and why.

Thanks.

[Sep 13, 2019] Your overpaid RumorNet journalists placing Biden and Harris at the top are just well paid prostitutes

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Corporate media polls are fake. There is no effin' way that Biden is or ever was the "front runner" for the D Party nomination. His entire candidacy is fake, so obviously contrived -- just like Hillary's -- it's a wonder that the DNC and their corporate propagandists ever believed they could get away with it. ..."
"... All their "arguments" in favor of Biden are nothing more than cover stories being laid out in advance for the purpose of validating the contrived result they are dead set on producing. Even their cover stories are goddamn coverups! ..."
Sep 13, 2019 | www.alternet.org

Jorge Washington Jed Grover 6 hours ago

Corporate media polls are fake. There is no effin' way that Biden is or ever was the "front runner" for the D Party nomination. His entire candidacy is fake, so obviously contrived -- just like Hillary's -- it's a wonder that the DNC and their corporate propagandists ever believed they could get away with it.

All their "arguments" in favor of Biden are nothing more than cover stories being laid out in advance for the purpose of validating the contrived result they are dead set on producing. Even their cover stories are goddamn coverups!

The "polls" are fake. Corporate media outlets -- aka Ministries of Propaganda -- fabricate them out of whole cloth and then babble insensately about "electability" and "inevitability," and about how the senile hack Biden is "the only one" who can beat the shitgibbon chump, blah blah blah. The whole goddamn charade is so effin' obvious, a 3 year-old could see through it.

Come on Murca! Aren't you tired of being lied to and manipulated and robbed day after day? The fascist ratbastards in the R and D Parties are first rate dumbasses who can't even tell believable lies anymore.

Bob Huntley 14 hours ago ,

The DNC nomination will go to the candidate most likely to support the desires of the wealthy, those who own and run the country, not to one of that group who will attempt to upset that apple cart, if elected President. That makes Joe a shoe-in and all he has to do is not collapse as in falling to the floor requiring he be carried off by ambulance attendants, on stage, during a debate.

That selecting Joe out of that group will cause great concern among the Democratic voters such that they might just not vote thereby throwing the election to Trump is of little concern to the DNC executive. If by some miracle Joe does become President no harm will come to the interests of the wealthy so win or lose, it is the same win win result in the end.

[Sep 13, 2019] Some have alleged that Chertoff's mother, Livia Eisen, had links to Israeli intelligence.

Sep 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

Digital Samizdat , says: September 11, 2019 at 12:18 pm GMT

Wow. We are all Palestinians now.

Thank you, Mr. Unz, for reposting Whitney Webb's articles here. She is without doubt one of the greatest investigative journalists of our time–a new Seymour Hersh almost.

Some have also alleged that Chertoff's mother, Livia Eisen, had links to Israeli intelligence.

Chertoff is definitely bad seed. Here's what Wikispooks has to say about his role in the 9/11 cover-up:

Michael Chertoff – In charge of the Criminal Division in the USDOJ on 9/11. Essentially responsible for the 9/11 NON-investigation. He let hundreds of Israeli spies who were arrested prior to and on 9/11 go back home to Israel. He was also a prosecuting judge in the first terrorist attack on the WTC in 1993. Chertoff purportedly holds dual citizenship with the US and Israel. His family is one of the founding families of the state of Israel and his mother was one of the first ever agents of the Mossad. His father and uncle are ordained rabbis and teachers of the Talmud.

https://wikispooks.com/wiki/9-11/Israel_did_it#9.2F11_.22Investigations.22

[Sep 13, 2019] Several women procured girls for Epstein, then were granted immunity. Why ?

Sep 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

Bumpkin , says: September 11, 2019 at 10:52 am GMT

Seen some good Epstein links that commenters throw up here, thought I'd add some that I read recently:

– A literary agent named John Brockman was pushing Epstein fairly brazenly:

"Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire science philanthropist showed up at this weekend's event by helicopter (with his beautiful young assistant from Belarus) He also got into trouble and spent a year in jail in Florida. If he contacts you it's probably worth your time to meet him as he's extremely bright and interesting the cover of the NYpost had a full-page photo of Jeffrey and Andrew walking in Central Park under the headline: 'The Prince and the Perv.' (That was the end of Andrew's role at the UK trade ambassador.)"
https://newrepublic.com/article/154826/jeffrey-epsteins-intellectual-enabler

– Two sisters reported Epstein decades ago, nothing happened, even after one got death threats from Ghislaine Maxwell:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/26/us/epstein-farmer-sisters-maxwell.html

– Scientist Steven Pinker and head of MIT Media lab Joi Ito caught up in it:

https://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2019/07/12/tarring-steve-pinker-and-others-with-jeffrey-epstein/
https://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/how-an-elite-university-research-center-concealed-its-relationship-with-jeffrey-epstein

– Several women procured girls for Epstein, then were granted immunity:

https://www.thedailybeast.com/jeffrey-epsteins-alleged-accomplices-where-are-sarah-kellen-nadia-marcinkova-adriana-ross-and-lesley-groff

As for the above piece, interesting stuff and probably mostly true, but needs to be edited better.

[Sep 13, 2019] Since resigning his post, Mattis has burst through the "revolving door" of the arms industry, reclaiming his seat on the board of the fifth largest defense contractor, General Dynamics

Sep 13, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Thanks to Mattis and company, Trump's purported desire to withdraw from fruitless Middle Eastern wars has been stifled, the result being business as usual for the military-industrial-complex and national security state. And why not? Since resigning his post, Mattis has burst through the "revolving door" of the arms industry, reclaiming his seat on the board of the fifth largest defense contractor, General Dynamics. Albert Einstein famously (and perhaps apocryphally) said , "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result." He might just as easily have been describing the career of James Mattis, who has been proven wrong again and again and again, from Iraq to Afghanistan to Syria.

... ... ...


Mpizzie , 15 seconds ago link

Maybe the emperor has no clothes.

Still an amazing commander.

Peon14 , 1 minute ago link

Why is the US in Afghanistan? So the CIA can make a ton of money in the Heroin trade.

Duc888 , 45 seconds ago link

Never forget the CIA partnership with the money laundering of the Central Banks. The CB's are just as complicit and facilitate the money laundering.

uhland62 , 2 minutes ago link

You have to be mad to let them rope you into that system for so long and so deep. Go and join up, shoot a few people so you have something to brag about in the pub, but leave early so the killing frenzies do not define you.

Tribalism is what he calls it? It's the minions pushing back America's policies and monopolies. Costly for Americans, deadly slavery for others!

PaulHolland , 3 minutes ago link

Mattis also refused to shake the hand of the Russia defense minister when they crossed paths somewhere. What a weak ******* coward.

[Sep 13, 2019] Before 9/11 it would have been illegal for CIA to be operating within the U.S.

Sep 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

Durruti says: September 12, 2019 at 12:05 am GMT 200 Words @Tony Ryals

Before 9/11 it would have been illegal for CIA to be operating within the U.S.

Yes, the Central Intelligence Agency -CIA, was prohibited by Law to operate within the USA, This Law/limitation of the power of a Spy Agency, was designed to limit Government intrusion into the lives of American Citizens. [Bitter laughter in this space]

1. Imagine how much more illegal it must be for a Spy Agency of any Foreign Government to operate within the territorial limits of the United States.

2. Does the Zionist Spy Agency, MOSSAD , come to mind? Indeed.

3. In 2019, we Americans suffer the daily intrusion into our private affairs of as many as 16 Secret Agencies, in addition to the most powerful Spy Agency MOSSAD , (which certainly controls the CIA, NSA, FBI, many local Police Departments, and the other Secret Agencies- those of the Armed forces, etc.).

*Good political news goes in this space [ ]. The dismissal of one Yahoo – by a Yahoo – to be replaced by another Yahoo – does not count.

Restore our American Republic!

Justvisiting , says: September 12, 2019 at 6:24 am GMT

@Durruti The many whistleblowers (Snowden etal) have explained that international intelligence agencies have circumvented local government restrictions on domestic surveillance by trading data.

So, England can legally spy on Americans. America can legally spy on English folks.

Swap data.

Voila!

(Mossad can spy on everybody and trade with everybody–fun, fun, fun.)

[Sep 13, 2019] The NSA and Unit 8200 possibly have collaborated on the Stuxnet virus as well as the Duqu malware

Sep 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

Originally from: How the CIA, Mossad and "the Epstein Network" are Exploiting Mass Shootings to Create an Orwellian Nightmare, by Whitney Webb

... ... ...

Carbyne's current CEO, Amir Elichai, served in Unit 8200 and tapped former Unit 8200 commander and current board member of AIPAC Pinchas Buchris to serve as the company's director and on its board. In addition to Elichai, another Carbyne co-founder, Lital Leshem , also served in Unit 8200 and later worked for Israeli private spy company Black Cube. The only Carbyne co-founder that didn't serve in Unit 8200 is Alex Dizengof, who previously worked for Israel's Prime Minister's office.

As MintPress noted in a past report detailing Israeli military intelligence's deep ties to American tech giant Microsoft, Unit 8200 is an elite unit of the Israeli Intelligence corps that is part of the IDF's Directorate of Military Intelligence and is involved mainly in signal intelligence (i.e., surveillance), cyberwarfare and code decryption. It is frequently described as the Israeli equivalent of the NSA and Peter Roberts, senior research fellow at Britain's Royal United Services Institute, characterized the unit in an interview with the Financial Times as "probably the foremost technical intelligence agency in the world and stand[ing] on a par with the NSA in everything except scale."

Notably, the NSA and Unit 8200 have collaborated on numerous projects, most infamously on the Stuxnet virus as well as the Duqu malware . In addition, the NSA is known to work with veterans of Unit 8200 in the private sector, such as when the NSA hired two Israeli companies , to create backdoors into all the major U.S. telecommunications systems and major tech companies, including Facebook, Microsoft and Google.

Both of those companies, Verint and Narus, have top executives with ties to Israeli intelligence and one of those companies, Verint (formerly Comverse Infosys), has a history of aggressively spying on U.S. government facilities.

Unit 8200 is also known for spying on civilians in the occupied Palestinian territories for "coercion purposes" -- i.e., gathering info for blackmail -- and also for spying on Palestinian-Americans via an intelligence-sharing agreement with the NSA.

[Sep 12, 2019] John Bolton Meets His Fate by Daniel R. DePetris

The problem is not Bolton. It is Trump. Bolton is a well known neocon, who pushed for Iraq war (which makes his a war criminal) and founded PNAC. So his credentials as a warmonger were clear. He was/is a typical MIC prostitute, or agent of influence in more politically correct terms.
But any President who hired Bolton deliberately ositioned himself as a wrecking ball. Such an art of the deal. Hiring Bolton to a large extent justified Russiagate, because such a President is clear and present danger for the USA as a country. For the physical existence of this country and civilization on this territory. All bets for a realistic foreign policy are off. They are just wishful thinking.
Notable quotes:
"... Bolton would rather blow up Iran than talk to its leaders, engagement Trump has said numerous times he is more than happy to consider (maybe as soon as next week's U.N. General Assembly meeting). ..."
"... On Venezuela, Trump seems to have soured on pushing Nicolás Maduro from power, even as Bolton refers to Caracas as part of the "troika of tyranny." Bolton's obsession with getting North Korea denuclearized in one fell swoop -- an approach that came crashing down on Trump's head during his second summit with Kim Jong-un in February -- is far more likely to lead to an end of diplomacy than an end to Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program (an uphill climb if there ever was one). ..."
"... Bolton, prickly as a porcupine in dealing with colleagues, had long been under Trump's skin. NBC News reports that the two men had a shouting match behind closed doors the night before Bolton's resignation. ..."
"... Whatever finally pushed Bolton out the door, however, is far less relevant than where Trump goes from here. He will announce a new national security adviser next week, and the Washington parlor game is already swirling with names. ..."
"... We don't know who Bolton's replacement will be, but we do know what he or she needs to do: dump most of the previous regime's ideas in the garbage and start over with strategies that actually have a chance at success. ..."
"... Trump needs an adviser who is willing to engage in a pragmatic negotiation and be prepared for uncomfortable but necessary bargaining. He needs someone who will help him end wars -- like the 18-year-long quagmire in Afghanistan -- that have gone on aimlessly and without purpose. ..."
Sep 12, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Bolton's is an extreme black-and-white view of the world: if you aren't an ally of the United States, you are an adversary who needs a boot on your neck in the form of U.S. military force or economic sanctions. The second- and third-order strategic consequences are no obstacle in Bolton's mind. Why go through the humiliating spectacle of negotiations when you can simply bomb Iran's nuclear facilities or take out the Kim regime by force ?

Diplomacy, after all, is for wimps, spineless State Department bureaucrats, and appeasers. If the boss is insisting on diplomacy, then demand the moon, stars, and everything in between before offering a nickel of sanctions relief.

This is how John Bolton made his career: as the proverbial wrecking ball of arms control agreements -- and indeed agreements of any kind. And he makes no excuses for it. Indeed, he takes prideful ownership of his views, seeing anyone who disagrees with him or who isn't on his level as a weasel. Before Bolton joined the Trump administration as national security adviser, he was the short-lived ambassador to the United Nations and the undersecretary of state for arms control, where he attempted to get an intelligence analyst removed for disagreeing with his position on Cuba's alleged biological weapons program.

All of this is why so many of us were worried and confused when President Trump asked Bolton to serve as his national security adviser last year. The two men could not have more fundamental disagreements on foreign policy. While both laugh at the U.N. and international organizations more broadly, they diverge paths on some of the weightiest issues on the docket. Bolton would rather blow up Iran than talk to its leaders, engagement Trump has said numerous times he is more than happy to consider (maybe as soon as next week's U.N. General Assembly meeting).

On Venezuela, Trump seems to have soured on pushing Nicolás Maduro from power, even as Bolton refers to Caracas as part of the "troika of tyranny." Bolton's obsession with getting North Korea denuclearized in one fell swoop -- an approach that came crashing down on Trump's head during his second summit with Kim Jong-un in February -- is far more likely to lead to an end of diplomacy than an end to Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program (an uphill climb if there ever was one).

Trump grew tired of Bolton the same way he grew tired of other staffers. Rex Tillerson, James Mattis, Steve Bannon, Reince Priebus, H.R. McMaster, and John Kelly were all liked by the president at one time, only to be fired or convinced to resign. Bolton, prickly as a porcupine in dealing with colleagues, had long been under Trump's skin. NBC News reports that the two men had a shouting match behind closed doors the night before Bolton's resignation.

Whatever finally pushed Bolton out the door, however, is far less relevant than where Trump goes from here. He will announce a new national security adviser next week, and the Washington parlor game is already swirling with names.

We don't know who Bolton's replacement will be, but we do know what he or she needs to do: dump most of the previous regime's ideas in the garbage and start over with strategies that actually have a chance at success.

Trump needs an adviser who is willing to engage in a pragmatic negotiation and be prepared for uncomfortable but necessary bargaining. He needs someone who will help him end wars -- like the 18-year-long quagmire in Afghanistan -- that have gone on aimlessly and without purpose.

He needs someone who will hold those within the administration accountable when they refuse to execute policy once it is cleared by the inter-agency. And above all, he or she should prize restraint and think through all the options when the Beltway loudly urges immediate action.

All of this will be easier with Bolton off the team.

Daniel R. DePetris is a foreign policy analyst, a columnist at Reuters, and a frequent contributor to The American Conservative.

See also

[Sep 12, 2019] The Dancing Israelis FBI Docs Shed Light on Apparent Mossad Foreknowledge of 9-11 Attacks by Whitney Webb

While we can't ascertain with enough confidence the role of mossad in 9/11, all signs shows that they did have foreknowledge of the event. To the extent comments of UNZ reflects the attitude of common American toward the real culprits of 9/11 it spells troubles for Israel lobby and by extension to the state of Israel in a long run. The pendulum start moving back from high pro-Israel point it reached during Bush administration, when neocons actually run the USA foreign policy.
Sep 12, 2019 | www.unz.com

Based on the impressions of the French website Panamza and subsequently MintPress , three of these photos -- despite the heavy redaction and poor quality -- appear damning. Since 2001, even though the photos were never released until now, it had been known that one of the Israelis arrested -- Sivan Kurzberg -- was seen in a photo "holding a lighted lighter in the foreground, with the smoldering wreckage [of the twin towers] in the background," according to Steven Noah Gordon, then-lawyer for the five Israelis, as cited in a New York Times report from November 2001.

The picture of Kurzberg with the lit lighter appears to be photo #5 in the new FOIA release. Yet, the picture released includes a visible date of September 10, 2001, the day before the attacks, as do two other photos -- images #7 and #8 in the collection -- whereas all other photos with dates show only the month and the year (9 '01). The FOIA release did not provide any information as to the apparent discrepancy in dates.

While this could be explained away as the camera in question being programmed with a slightly inaccurate date, that doesn't seem to be the case for two reasons. First, only three out of the 14 pictures appear to carry that date and, second, previously declassified FBI reports report an eyewitness adamantly stating that Sivan Kurzberg had visited the Doric Apartments on September 10, 2001 at around 3 p.m. with at least one other man, with whom he was conversing in a foreign language, and had identified himself as a "construction worker" to a tenant (page 61 of declassified FBI report ).

In addition, the FBI report noted that a van from Urban Moving Systems, the company that employed the five Israelis at the time of their arrest, was present and was involved in moving a tenant out of the complex on September 10 and that the movers all had foreign accents. Thus, images 5, 7 and 8 may have been taken at the same complex a day before the attacks.

This raises two possibilities. First, that there are two images of Kurzberg with a lit lighter in front of the towers, one taken before the attack and one taken at the time of the attack, and that the FBI released only one of them. Second, that Kurzberg took the picture with the lighter only the day before the attack and his lawyer misrepresented the contents of the photo to the New York Times. Given that the background of the photo -- particularly the state of the towers -- is indiscernible in the recently released photo, it is difficult to determine which is the case.

... ... ...

One report from ABC News dated June 2002 suggests that the Bush administration intervened in the investigation. That report states that "Israeli and U.S. government officials worked out a deal -- and after 71 days, the five Israelis were taken out of jail, put on a plane, and deported back home [to Israel]." If the Bush administration had cut a deal with Israel's government to cover up the incident, it certainly would not have been the first time a U.S. presidential administration had done so on Israel's behalf.

Further evidence that higher-ups in the administration intervened is the fact that then-Attorney General John Ashcroft personally signed off on the detainees' release. Upon his entering the private sector as a lobbyist and consultant in 2005, the Israeli government became one of Ashcroft's first clients .

A cover-up certainly seems to have happened to some extent, between the destruction of records of the investigation and the fact that official conclusions of the investigation do not add up. In the latter case, the FBI -- in a file dated September 24, 2001– officially stated that they "determined that none of the Israelis were actively engaged in clandestine intelligence activities in the United States." However, that conclusion was directly contradicted by U.S. officials a year later and by the fact that Israel's own government subsequently acknowledged that the five Israelis had indeed been involved in "clandestine intelligence activities in the United States."

In addition, the new FOIA release of the photos suggests that another FBI conclusion -- that "none of the pictures developed from the film found inside the 35-mm camera depicted the twin towers prior to the attack" -- was inaccurate. This may explain why the images released via the recent FOIA request were heavily edited leaving details in the background greatly obscured, making it impossible to determine whether the photos were taken prior to or during the attacks based solely on the state of the towers.

... ... ...

The FBI returned to search the premises of Urban Moving Systems a month later, but by that time found:

The building and all of its contents had been abandoned by the owner of Urban Moving Systems. This [was] apparently being done to avoid criminal prosecution after the 09/11/2001 arrest of five of his employees and subsequent seizure of his office computer systems by members of the FBI-NK on or around 09/13/2001."

The company's owner -- Dominik Otto Suter, an Israeli citizen -- had fled to Israel on September 14, 2001, two days after he had been questioned by the FBI. The FBI told ABC News that "Urban Moving may have been providing cover for an Israeli intelligence operation." Surprisingly, since at least 2016, Suter has been living in the San Francisco Bay Area, where he works for a contractor for major tech companies like Google and Microsoft. According to the public records database Intelius , in 2006 and 2007 Suter also worked for a telecommunications company -- Granite Telecommunications -- that works for the U.S. military and several other U.S. government agencies.

In addition to Urban Moving Systems, another moving company, Classic International Movers, became of interest in connection with the investigation into the "Dancing Israelis," which led to the arrest and detention of four Israeli nationals who worked for this separate moving company. The FBI's Miami Division had alerted the Newark Division that Classic International Movers was believed to have been used by one of the 19 alleged 9/11 hijackers before the attack, and one of the "Dancing Israelis" had the number for Classic International Movers written in a notebook that was seized at the time of his arrest. The report further states that one of the Israelis of Classic International Movers who was arrested "was visibly disturbed by the Agents' questioning regarding his personal email account."

A crowded dance floor

While the case of the "Dancing Israelis" has long been treated as an outlier in the aftermath of September 11, what is often overlooked is the fact that hundreds of Israeli nationals were arrested in the aftermath of the attacks.

According to a FOX News report from December 2001, 60 Israelis were apprehended or detained after September 11, with most deported, and a total of 140 Israelis were arrested and detained in all of 2001 by federal authorities. That report claimed that the arrests, ostensibly including the "Dancing Israelis," were in relation to an investigation of "an organized [Israeli] intelligence gathering operation designed to 'penetrate government facilities.'"

The report also added that most of those arrested, in addition to having served in the IDF, had "intelligence expertise" and worked for Israeli companies that specialized in wiretapping. Some of those detained were also active members of the Israeli military; and several detainees, including the "Dancing Israelis," had failed polygraph tests when asked if they had been surveilling the U.S. government.

A key aspect of that report, compiled by journalist Carl Cameron, also states that federal investigators widely suspected that Israeli intelligence had prior knowledge of the September 11 attacks. In the report, Cameron stated:

The Israelis may have gathered intelligence about the attacks in advance and not shared it. A highly placed investigator said there are 'tie-ins' but when asked for details he flatly refused to describe them saying: 'Evidence linking these Israelis to 9-11 is classified. I cannot tell you about the evidence that has been gathered. It is classified information.'"

One exchange between Cameron and host Brit Hume included in the report is particularly telling:

HUME : "Carl, what about this question of advanced knowledge of what was going to happen on 9/11? How clear are investigators that some Israeli agents may have known something?"

CAMERON : "Well it's very explosive information obviously and there is a great deal of evidence that they say they have collected. None of it necessarily conclusive. It's more when they put it all together a big question they say is, 'How could they have not known?' -- almost a direct quote, Brit."

However, it is essential to note that Israeli intelligence did attempt to warn the U.S. government at least twice beginning in August 2001 as did the intelligence agencies of many other countries, including France, the UK, Egypt, Russia and Jordan. Yet, no people connected to any other intelligence agency other than Israel were caught celebrating the attacks as they took place in the area nor were accused by mainstream media of operating a large spy ring within the U.S. at the time. One theory to explain this discrepancy is that the Mossad elements of which the "Dancing Israelis" and other alleged Israeli spies could have been part of a specific section of Israeli intelligence that were acting independently as a rogue agency. Such a possibility is not unusual given that divisions of or groups within the CIA have been known to " go rogue " on several occasions.

9/11 as a big -- and acknowledged -- Israeli win

If the "Dancing Israelis", and more broadly the Mossad and the Israeli government, had foreknowledge of September 11, why would they remain silent and not attempt to warn the American government or public of the coming attacks? In the case of the "Dancing Israelis," why would Israelis celebrate such an attack?

One of the detained "Dancing Israelis," Omer Marmari, told police the following about why he viewed the September 11 attacks in a positive light:

Israel now has hope that the world will now understand us. Americans are naïve and America is easy to get inside. There are not a lot of checks in America. And now America will be tougher about who gets into their country."

While Marmari's statement may suggest one reason some of the "Dancing Israelis" were so "visibly happy" in their photographs, there are also other statements made by top Israeli politicians that suggest why the Israeli government and its intelligence agency declined to act on apparent foreknowledge of the attack.

When asked, on the day of the 9/11 attacks, how the attacks would affect American-Israeli relations, Benjamin Netanyahu -- the current Israeli prime minister -- told the New York Times that "It's very good," before quickly adding "Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy." He then predicted, much as Marmari had, that the attacks would "strengthen the bond between our two peoples, because we've experienced terror over so many decades, but the United States has now experienced a massive hemorrhaging of terror."

Netanyahu, in a candid conversation recorded in 2001, also echoed Marmari's claim that Americans are naïve. In that recording, Netanyahu said :

I know what America is. America is something that can easily be moved. Moved to the right direction. They won't get in our way. They won't get in our way 80 percent of the Americans support us. It's absurd."

In addition, also on the day of the September 11 attacks, Netanyahu -- who at the time was not in political office -- held a press conference in which he claimed that he had predicted the attacks on the World Trade