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"All hat, no cattle" Cowboy Trump now metamorphosed into the rabid neocon

President Trump proved to just the taxicab driver, taking the oligarchs who are paying for his reelection campaign – wherever they tell him they want to go. On January 2020  Trump's “anti-war” rhetoric have been exposed as a fraud: he put the world one inch from WWIII.  Anyone who still believes that Donald Trump was serious about reducing the USA  military adventurism is deluding themselves. From now on "Anybody but Trump" is the slogan for 2020 elections

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 Nancy Pelosi impeachment gambit Jared Kushner, neocons and Israel Lobby Trojan horse in Trump administration Iran saber-rattling Israel lobby Mike "we killed up to 200 Russians" Pompeo: a liar, a killer, a war criminal, a lobbyist for MIC
Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA  Ukraine-gate as Russiagate 2.0 Ciaramella as potential fake whistleblower, the sacrificial pawn for Brennan Creepy neocon Joe Biden and fleecing of Ukraine Adam Schiff Witch Hunt Coordinated set of leaks as a color revolution tool UA officials and security services  role in fueling Russiagate and Ukrainegate Blob attacks Trump: Viper nest of neocons in state department fuels Ukrainegate "Trump is insane" meme
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 militarism Syria civil war FBI and CIA contractor Crowdstrike and very suspicious DNC leak saga Korea saber-rattling Venezuela: 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 Trump folded but sustained anti-Trump Hysteria in major neoliberal MSM
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 story 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

Assassination of generals, one from an allied country, one from a country with which we have no declared war, and both assassinations performed on the territory of an allied, sovereign country without permission? This is piracy. Why should anyone trust the word of a country which does not honor the most basic of international law?

And am I alone to be disgusted to see the senior members of our government lie blatantly and constantly, when they're not ... the nearest likudnik...

divadab, 03 January 2020 at 04:17 PM  

 

Due to the size introductory article was moved to "All hat, no cattle" cowboy Trump


Abstract

Trump needs to be impeached. But neoliberal Democrats have no courage to speak about real crimes (such as Douma false flag, "stealing Syrian oil", Yemen, Venezuela or killing of Soleimani -- which positioned the USA as a pirate state and essentially eliminated the legitimacy of the USA presence in Iraq by Assaination of General Soleimani ) he committed. DemoRats (neoliberal democrats -- Clinton wing of Dem Party) converted impeachment into Kabuki theater using fake Ukrainegate narrative,  which increased chances of Trump reelection. Senate is also complicit and still full of criminals who voted for Iraq war.  In no way it can afford to discuss the real issues. Trump's rhetorical efforts to sell himself as the “anti-war” president have been exposed as a fraud.

You do not need to read much to understand who Trump is: the person who brought in Pompeo, Esper, Bolton,  and other rabid neocons in his cabinet while promising to end foreign war during 2016 complain. Which means that he a despicable liar,  a puppet proclaiming one thing  to be elected/reelected but working hard to implement completely opposite policies to get more Adelson money for his reelection bid.

Unsecure and incompetent he is very dangerous in such a powerful position surrounded neocons and sycophants (often the same person ;-) as killing of General Soleimani on false pretences conformed recently.  In a sense Pelosi holding submitting charges to Senate played off beautifully because now she has real impeachable offence (instead of Schiff rabid nonsense with Ukrainegate)  in cards (two if we add Douma false flag bombing of Syria). But she might be too afraid to use them as Dems are complicit in most of those crimes.

“I think the more people who are prepared to stand up and say it [the assassination] is completely, not only inappropriate, not only illegal, not only unjust, but an act of war to do something like this, the better,” said Nicole Rousseau with the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition, which has been planning anti-war protests in D.C. since 2002. 

The net result of the Trump first term in office is as following: No jobs, no wall, no good medical insurance, inflated Pentagon budget, continuation of foreign wars, pandering to Israel, buffoonery, and criminal 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.  Trump needs to go.

Trump ran as the candidate in 2016 who would extricate America from the misbegotten wars of the Middle East. Instead in Jan 2020 Trump became a self-declared pirate (or gangster, if you wish) staging Douma false flag and assassinating top Iran military commander in Iraq; thus breaking the international law and increase the danger of WWIII, his foreign policy is a jingoistic mess and costs the USA more  money then under Obama. He is really incompetent and malleable weakling, who brought back Bush II era neocon criminals (John Bolton, Elliott Abrams) and panders to Israel Lobby more  then LBJ.  He clearly is definitely a stooge of Israel lobby and his reelection campaign is financed by usual suspects (Adelson, Singer, etc)

Still Neoliberal Democrats may ensure with his  reelection because they continue to betray working people. Their travesty with impeachment (aka Nancy Pelosi impeachment gambit )  helps Trump too (looks like DNC is doing "Gods work" and mainly trying to stop Bernie , Tulsi and  Warren). And they are afraid of Sanders more then Trump

Executive summary

While the US presidential elections are not exactly like horse racing, they are close. Unless the person elected is a real political giant (the last was probably FDR ) issue who wins is secondary to what direction the country will take and this issue is not under the control of elected President. Presidents who deviate too much from wishes of the deep state can be killed (JFK), impeached (Nixon, Trump) or derailed (like Trump with Muller investigation; even if those deviations were most empty words, like was the case with Trump)

All recent US presidents including Trump looks like disposable one-time use goods for the deep state. None of them deserve the second term. Due to neocon "Full spectrum Dominance" doctrine all recent presidents accumulated during the first term such amount of serious war crimes that their second term should be spend in the International Criminal Court jail (Scheveningen) and the term should be much longer than four years. While Trump look like a middle range mafia boss from NYC in comparison with higher level mafia boss from Chicago-- Obama,  he managed to commit at least a half dozen war crimes (making in the process Israel great again, instead of the USA).  We will mention just three :

  1. Attacking Syria after false flag operation in Douma organized by Western intelligence services in which ISIS and White Helmets probably deliberately killed children (probably hostages) to present them as the victims as fake airstrike by Syrian government that supposedly used of chorine gas. (BBC News)  Killing children for this false flag operation was designed to elicit Western aerial bombardments of Syria government military by USA led coalition forces (USA France, GB)  also can be counted as Trump war crime. To add insult to injury no metal cylinder dropped from airplane or helicopter, and which supposedly broke cement ceiling of the bulling can land as intact as it was shown om photographs. Only due to its superpower status the USA can escape responsibility for such war crimes.  
  2. Trump support of Saudi monarchy side in the civil war in Yemen, which involved many civilian casualties, including children
  3. Assassination of general Soleimani, who came to Iraq on official diplomatic mission, and later events connected with shooting down of Ukrainian Boeing for which the USA carry direct or indirect responsibility (at least as the initiator of the series of events that led to this tragedy) 

In this sense, the  current impeachment trial initiated by DemoRats with the hope to turn 2020 election in their favor (like they managed to do in 2018 with Mueller investigation) is a Kabuki theater. Completely detached from reality trial based on invented and falsified charges in which both sides are afraid to discuss real crimes and tell the truth (including truth about the USA involvement in Ukraine). Where both sides are equally despicable and corrupt.  As John Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute, noted "This impeachment spectacle is Shakespearean in its scope: full of sound and fury, signifying nothing... In other words, we are being ruled by an oligarchy disguised as a democracy, and arguably on our way towards fascism: a form of government where private corporate interests rule, money calls the shots, and the people are seen as mere subjects to be controlled. The legislators will be in session. There will be elections, and the news media will continue to cover the entertainment and political trivia. Consent of the governed, however, will no longer apply. Actual control will have finally passed to the oligarchic elite controlling the government behind the scenes."

As observed: "President Trump has done much wrong. However, he deserves credit for challenging a failed foreign policy that’s been paid for by so many while benefiting so few. It is “crazy” and “stupid,” as he reportedly said. Why should Americans keep dying for causes that their leaders cannot adequately explain, let alone justify? Let us hope that one day Americans elect a president who will act and not just talk."

But Trump is all about talk and few impulsive and reckless actions like Killing Soleimani. A typical "All hat, no cattle" cowboy.  As for action of his Administration, it is not that different from Obama or Bush II administrations, especially in foreign policy. No change from Obama who wrecked Libya for generations to come and almost destroyed secular government in Syria (saved by Russians), trying to replace it with muslim fundamentalists, including his favorite Trojan horse -- Muslim Brotherhood.  

Trump voters hoped that Trump will be like FDR "betrayer of his class, " who will stop neoliberal immigration wave, improve conditions of working and lower middle class and extricate the USA from foreign wars which eat the lion share of tax dollars and feed enormous in size and mostly parasitic military-industrial complex.   But he proved to be like Obama -- the "betrayer-in-chief" of his voters and yet another "government Mafiosi.", so to speak.  A person who despise and ignore the rule law (especially international law about which he supposedly knew nothing both before and after the elections; so it is easy to ignore ) 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), especially at the time when the US-centered global neoliberal empire crumbles, because neoliberalism as the ideology is dead and like was the case with the USSR and Communist ideology. Similarly to Soviet nomenklatura, the US elite can't abandon it without completely losing the face.  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 President 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 in 2020 -- 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 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.  Large faction of independents might do not like that. Putting gambling mogul Sheldon Adelson in charge of US foreign and trade policy is not such a good idea as it revealed the level of betrayal of his voters by Trump. So he has Catch22 situation: he desperately needs Adelson money and he can't lose large part of independent votes which is a real probability if he get those money. His slave subservience to Israel lobby is already visible negative factor for him, although it is politically incorrect to discuss it.  But his actions speak louder then his words.

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.  If China folds, Trump still can get in troubles as some damage to relations already irreversible.

In 2020 he also will not face universally hated private equity shark like Romney vs. Obama in 2012, or another establishment neoliberal warmonger like his opponent Hillary like in 2016. He might face Warren or Sanders and against them Trump will look more like Hillary -- yet another neocon warmonger who brought (or forced to bring) Bolton, Pompeo, Abramson and others  into key positions of his administration.

Also some voters now view his as "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 risky move on the part of Trump. 

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 Adelson'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.

Oligarchy wants to sacrifices yourself to the Imperial goals. As Orwell observed in 1984:

“All that was required of them was a primitive patriotism which could be appealed to whenever it was necessary to make them accept longer working hours or shorter rations. And even when they became discontented, as they sometimes did, their discontent led nowhere, because, being without general ideas, they could only focus it on petty specific grievances. The larger evils invariably escaped their notice.”


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[Mar 28, 2020] 2020 election do not make sense because the choice will be equally bad

Mar 28, 2020 | www.unz.com

Longfisher , says: Show Comment March 27, 2020 at 5:53 pm GMT

There are many previously existing problems with the Trump presidency and with Trump himself. As a bioscientist with an advanced degree I'm particularly troubled with his seeming purposeful deceit or perhaps even idiocy about how to address this pandemic. I have my doubts about his suitability for this monumental task.

That said, I'll certainly be voting for Trump in the upcoming election if Biden is his opponent. Biden's an obvious mental midget suffering from all those impairments that accompany old age.

And, I believe that, if he's elected, the Democrats are quite capable of conducting what may very well qualify as a coup in that they will allow him to decay to the point that he'll resign and they can bring in from the Vice Presidency the candidate they'd really have preferred, certainly to include HRC.

Again, that said, I'm wary of Trump's seemingly scientifically irrational approach to the public health issues that will be essential to defeat this pandemic. I think that at least hundreds of thousands and perhaps even millions of Americans will be at risk because of his risky behavior.

No scientist like myself would favor or even consider the plight of the markets compared to the plight of the people. I guess that's because I was trained to care for people, even those with meager means, more so than to cow-tow to the rich.

PAX , says: Show Comment March 27, 2020 at 6:26 pm GMT
@Longfisher Age is a factor in mental capacity for some, not all. Be careful generalizing. I just taught myself a new computer language at 85. It was harder than expected. Not impossible. We are not on rubbish tip of humanity yet.

[Mar 27, 2020] Unforgettable Joe Biden gaffes: Joe Rogan on Joe Biden's Speaking Problems

Currently Biden is holding the front position with 1,217 delegates, while Senator Sanders has 914 delegates
The comedian argued that Biden "can barely remember what he's talking about while he's talking".
"You have to be able call out shit that's wrong on your side. And this is one of the problems that the Democratic Party is having right now with this Joe Biden guy. You guys got to be able to call it out. You can't let this slide, because everybody else sees it and Trump is going to eat him alive. He's going to eat that guy alive".
Notable quotes:
"... "It's like they got the formaldehyde in him already" I literally laughed coffee out my nose ..."
Mar 26, 2020 | www.youtube.com

https://www.youtube.com/embed/8mPAKMCEsWo


ATB FIFA , 46 minutes ago

"poor kids are just as bright and just as talented as white kids" - Joe Biden

demon__killer163 , 13 hours ago

"We cannot win this election, sorry we can only re elect Donald Trump- Joe Biden

Sir Richter , 6 hours ago

The democrats big wigs want Biden to be president so they can use him as a puppet

Drewnonymous , 6 hours ago

"I'm Message, and I forgot this Joe Biden" -Message

Vandyn Royer , 4 hours ago

"Poor kids are just as good and as talented as white kids."

megajanninatorable , 7 hours ago

"I'm a message and I forgot Joe Biden."

omz3694 , 13 hours ago

"I'm Joe Biden and I forgot this message."

SEAL CYCLE , 10 hours ago

"It's like they got the formaldehyde in him already" I literally laughed coffee out my nose

Abc Abc , 12 hours ago

"We gotta keep punching and punching at domestic violence!" -Joe Biden

[Mar 27, 2020] Trump's about as innocent in the coronavirus fiasco as jack the ripper

Mar 27, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Miss Lacy , Mar 26 2020 20:32 utc | 35

PS to vk # 1. Please think again. Trump has been in a trade war with China for what? a couple of years? AND, he specifically banned imports of medical supplies from China. Other posters wave supplied links for this idiocy.

Trump's about as innocent as jack the ripper. You may just be seeing things relatively, as ghouls like Elliot Abrahms and disgusting Pomposity make Trump seen like an amateur.

[Mar 26, 2020] An interesting hypothesis about why Biden won Super Thusday by John O'Kane

Highly recommended!
Will Sanders supporters vote for Biden? I think the answer is NO.
Notable quotes:
"... His campaign is awash in cash from the interests that Sanders is challenging as the very source of the blockage to progress. Are we going to get a re-treading of the policies that helped vault Trump to the White House in 2016? ..."
"... The Black vote saved his campaign in South Carolina and strengthened his Super Tuesday and subsequent performances. ..."
"... The new Democratic party that has over the past forty years or so become more like the Republican party has done little for Blacks. So how do we explain the apparent love affair they have for the Democratic party establishment? They went for Hilary at this same juncture in 2016, neutralizing Sanders' momentum and effectively ending his run. ..."
"... It's the power of the Black leaders to represent their constituents in ways that counter their core concerns ..."
"... Clyburn, who endorsed Biden in the recent primary, made his denouncement of Medicare for All and especially the Sanders progressive agenda quite clear in this support. This is no great surprise since between 2008 and 2018 he took more than $1 million from the pharmaceutical industry ("Mystique of the 'Black Vote'," Common Dreams ..."
"... Of course, the culture of these Southern states, mostly Republican, has been dominated by the Wall Street neoliberal consensus ever since the Democrats lost their hold on the region. ..."
"... Sanders' progressive restructuring has been rejected for policies that mesh with the neoliberal consensus, like the racial programs for the educated and upwardly mobile that stress entrepreneurship and business development. ..."
"... These brokers' support of the neoliberal consensus has been secured through framing the larger issue as the preservation of rights. Mara Gay explains James Clyburn's strong support of Biden as someone he knows personally who will fight for the basic rights that are eroding under a Trump administration that has brought back the "same hostility and zeal for authoritarianism that marked life under Jim Crow." ..."
"... For Chris Hedges the power elite is always eager to keep discussions within the confines of special discourses like race, gender, religion, immigration, gun control, freedom, etc., because these issues are "used to divide the public, to turn neighbor against neighbor, to fuel virulent hatreds and antagonisms," and they divert attention from class, the concept they fear the most ("Class: The Little Word the Elites Want You to Forget," Truthdig ..."
"... The opinion-shaping machine is strong enough to encourage Blacks to overwhelmingly support Biden who pushes virtually nothing related to class or structural change. ..."
"... It's about strategy and pragmatism. He believes Biden can win, and Sanders can't, and this is all important given the dire situation in the Black community. ..."
"... The rift would seem too wide to bridge. Trusting elites to change the system from the top down, persuading members of their power bloc to do the right thing, is a gamble given all the betrayals from the Democratic party over the past few generations. ..."
Mar 25, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

Originally from: Joe Biden's Opinion-Shaping Machine And Race

Wall Street broke out its checkbooks for Joe Biden in the wake of Super Tuesday, no surprise since his campaign is already its major recipient. Plus, he was the VP for an administration greatly indebted to it. Transparency. His campaign is awash in cash from the interests that Sanders is challenging as the very source of the blockage to progress. Are we going to get a re-treading of the policies that helped vault Trump to the White House in 2016?

Biden is the last moderate standing, having positioned himself clearly against the Sanders "revolution" in the debates, though it's difficult to conjure a theme or concept that shapes his campaign besides beating Trump, the perception he can giving him an edge. We can thank the Democratic party establishment for pressuring the other moderates out of the race to prop Biden up (Matthew Stevenson, "The Super Tuesday Sting," 3/6/20, CounterPunch ).

But race played a curious role. The Black vote saved his campaign in South Carolina and strengthened his Super Tuesday and subsequent performances. He trumpeted his record on race in the debates which Kamala Harris -- who has now endorsed him -- exposed as checkered at best. Though avoiding any direct discussion of Obama's policies, he has at least been mentioning him more often. This surely gave him a bump as well since the former president is still popular among Blacks. Though selective amnesia likely rules here since the Congressional Black Caucus separated itself from him early in his administration. The new Democratic party that has over the past forty years or so become more like the Republican party has done little for Blacks. So how do we explain the apparent love affair they have for the Democratic party establishment? They went for Hilary at this same juncture in 2016, neutralizing Sanders' momentum and effectively ending his run.

Black voters make up 56% of the Democratic electorate in South Carolina and Biden got an estimated 61-64% of it. Sanders received 17%. These proportions generally hold nationally through the latest series of primaries. But Blacks have the largest support of any group for the signature progressive issue endorsed by Sanders, single payer health insurance. The national percentage is 74%. Since it's hard to believe such deep-seeded beliefs could be countered, what intervened? The all-out media assault from sundry front groups doing the bidding of the private insurance industry to dissuade voters from choosing any candidate spouting Medicare For All was surely influential but hardly determining.

It's the power of the Black leaders to represent their constituents in ways that counter their core concerns , like their decreasing standard of living and their increasing economic insecurity, according to Adolph Reed Jr. and Willie Legette. In the run-up to the 2016 South Carolina primary, for example, Congressmen James Clyburn (D-SC), John Lewis (D-GA), and Cedric Richmond (D-LA) denounced calls for free public higher education as "irresponsible" because "there are no free lunches." Clyburn, who endorsed Biden in the recent primary, made his denouncement of Medicare for All and especially the Sanders progressive agenda quite clear in this support. This is no great surprise since between 2008 and 2018 he took more than $1 million from the pharmaceutical industry ("Mystique of the 'Black Vote'," Common Dreams , 3/7/20).

Of course, the culture of these Southern states, mostly Republican, has been dominated by the Wall Street neoliberal consensus ever since the Democrats lost their hold on the region. The expectation has been that the post-Civil Rights semblance of movements would coalesce around a resistance to this bloc, but the Black brokers and opinion shapers have mostly relished their roles in the dominant power structure. Since 2016, according to Reed and Legette, it has converged around a narrative that Sanders has difficulty appealing to Black voters, even as polls have shown repeatedly that his program is more popular among Black Americans than any other group. It has graded Sanders down for his critique of Obama and especially for mounting a primary challenge against him. Sanders' progressive restructuring has been rejected for policies that mesh with the neoliberal consensus, like the racial programs for the educated and upwardly mobile that stress entrepreneurship and business development. Its main objective is to "undermine Black Americans' participation in a broad movement for social transformation along economically egalitarian lines. "

These brokers' support of the neoliberal consensus has been secured through framing the larger issue as the preservation of rights. Mara Gay explains James Clyburn's strong support of Biden as someone he knows personally who will fight for the basic rights that are eroding under a Trump administration that has brought back the "same hostility and zeal for authoritarianism that marked life under Jim Crow." She finds that voters concur, believing that Biden will fight for those rights since, as one representative interviewee claims, he was "with Obama all those years." The clincher is that he is also the best bet to beat Trump. They're "deeply skeptical that a democratic socialist like Mr. Sanders could unseat Mr. Trump" ("Why Southern Democrats Saved Biden," New York Times , 3/6/20).

Is this an elite-fed discourse that stuck, or possibly some toxic populism like what circulates among Trump supporters? An investment in the good ole days when the Civil Rights Movement was ascendant is a worthy sentiment for sure. Where would racial relations be without the historic transformation that produced the pivotal "rights" legislation in the 1960s? And many who passed through those moments might have a romantic attraction to Biden's image even though his support of Blacks before Obama hitched him was feeble.

But consider what's happened since. The turn to the right in the 1970s brought on a mild "Reconstruction"-era backlash whose signal legal event was the Bakke case in 1977 which weakened Affirmative Action and banned quotas that were now deemed proof of "reverse discrimination." The down-turning economy during this decade was the start of a structural change that revealed the widening wealth and income gap between the lower and upper classes, and Blacks were hit disproportionately hard. The rights legislation that helped to narrow the gap in the prior decade offered less protection.

The Reagan administration attempted to turn the clock back to the pre-Civil Rights era and partially succeeded in wiping away the gains Blacks had made. Toward the end of the decade protections, especially Affirmative Action, were further weakened legally, and culturally as "reverse discrimination" claims from intellectuals like Charles Murray and others compounded, supporting the rollback of social policy initiatives. These sympathies were also evident in Black communities where leaders pondered how to do the right thing and reverse the loss of ground. Many began to view Affirmative Action, for example, as a fetter, a burden that tainted performance by suggesting it was undeserved. The 1990s went far in dismantling all regulatory regimes, discrediting social policy initiatives, heeding the suggestions of Murray and passing the burden of improvement onto responsible individuals. The 1996 welfare "reform" law crystalized these changes, reversing AFDC and its underlying concept, no-fault entitlement, and the impact on Blacks was devastating. The Clintons were staunch advocates but somehow this association didn't erode Hilary's huge support in the Black community in 2016. Any gains for those who got the point and took personal responsibility after this change and tried to work the market to their advantage were wiped out by the effects of the 2008 Great Recession. As recent studies show, this event severely impacted Blacks, deflating their capital assets -- mainly property values through the housing market crash -- to a level not seen for many since the pre-Movement years, widening the wealth gap with whites.

Mara Gay claims that "despite enormous progress," referring to South Carolina, "poverty in this still largely rural region, for Southerners of every race, remains crushing." Enormous progress for what strata of society? Is every race being crushed equally? Progress and regress exist here in a kind of murky relationship. Who are the winners? If there is only a generalized, abstract poverty, then perhaps Blacks just see themselves as part of one big unfortunate swatch of misery and there's no need for a special candidate to articulate their issues. Biden will do just fine!

Do the Blacks who voted for Biden really believe that rights, and possibly a stronger Affirmative Action, will get them better jobs and health care and education and housing, what polls say they want? The Supreme Court certainly weakened provisions of the rights legislation, ironically during the Obama years, and that needs to be redressed. But rights for individuals or a group need to be expressed with the potential of producing results. They could be in the 1960s when the kind of liberal Democrats Sanders espouses controlled Congress and our society was an ascendant, center-left one, mostly sympathetic with improving the plight of the underprivileged. Now structural change needs to accompany the expression of rights and compensate for this loss of sympathy in a society that is much more unequal generally, and especially within racial and ethnic groups.

A romantic attachment to the legacy and concept of civil rights in a vacuum allows the discourse of identity politics to capture the critical energy of race. The times demand the opposite, the link between rights and social justice; the gathering of all identities, affiliations, and dispositions together to discuss the common structure that can overcome division and artificial barriers. Class is such a structure. The delink of rights and social justice converts to the denial of the realities of class.

For Chris Hedges the power elite is always eager to keep discussions within the confines of special discourses like race, gender, religion, immigration, gun control, freedom, etc., because these issues are "used to divide the public, to turn neighbor against neighbor, to fuel virulent hatreds and antagonisms," and they divert attention from class, the concept they fear the most ("Class: The Little Word the Elites Want You to Forget," Truthdig , 3/3/20).

There's a striking inequality gap within the Black community that's been widening for some time, as William Julius Wilson's research has amply documented for nearly half a century. The failure of rights activism has left many in the lower and working classes behind as the educated professional class has separated itself from them and achieved significant success. It's interesting that nearly 9% of Blacks voted for Trump in 2016. Why have so few of the Black masses been absorbed a half century after Martin Luther King's death? The inclusion of more from the lower strata will need to break down the not-very-visible structural barriers to mobility that divide and exclude. Something like the pro-active re-structuring pushed by the Rainbow Coalition, Jesse Jackson's multi-racial, structural response to the widening of the inequality gap in his 1980s run for the presidency, which was clearly the revival of MLK's late expression of the link between race and class. The distance between King's social justice vision and activism and the rights-rhetoric infused activity of today is remarkable. It's interesting that Jackson recently endorsed Sanders.

The opinion-shaping machine is strong enough to encourage Blacks to overwhelmingly support Biden who pushes virtually nothing related to class or structural change. Further evidence of this strength came recently in an interchange between Michael Eric Dyson, a persistent critic of the Obama legacy, and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, a staunch Sanders supporter (DemocracyNow. 3/16/20). Dyson has endorsed Biden, a surprise to many progressives given his critical history of mainstream liberalism. His reasoning is curious.

It's not that he feels Biden is or has become a progressive. It's about strategy and pragmatism. He believes Biden can win, and Sanders can't, and this is all important given the dire situation in the Black community. There's a hint it seems that Biden could be in the early stages of conversion to progressive ideas, or at least perhaps is a latently aggressive liberal and spirited supporter of the Black cause who can make change if elected because he -- and the Democratic Party? -- have been pushed to the left by the Sanders "revolution" begun in 2016. Biden has the best "methodology" and will be able to "deploy" it.

A staunch advocate of structural change, Dyson now seems to be saying that it can be accomplished through Biden who will have the authority and desire to marshal the necessary forces and interests together to build alliances, forge a consensus. It's true that Biden's public relations gestures -- considered separate from his debate focus -- have passed the desire test. He's come out liberal and even progressive-sounding on most issues, pushed there perhaps by Sanders' momentum as Dyson suggests ("Joe Biden's Positions on the Issues," Politico , 3/5/20).

But what will he forge a consensus about? In the process of marshaling forces together will he become a converted progressive, pumped up by his successes as an alliance builder? Will he support Medicare for All from having witnessed the effects of our health care system straining under pressure from the coronavirus? Will he be able to convince Sanders' supporters to come along and bide their time as this -- utopian -- process evolves?

The rift would seem too wide to bridge. Trusting elites to change the system from the top down, persuading members of their power bloc to do the right thing, is a gamble given all the betrayals from the Democratic party over the past few generations.

... ... ...

John O'Kane teaches writing at Chapman University. His next book, From Hyperion to Erebus, is due out this year from Wapshott Press.

[Mar 26, 2020] Pompeo is on record having said that our government "lies, cheats, and steals" in order to accomplish its anti-Christian objectives.

Mar 26, 2020 | www.unz.com

Sokrates , says: Show Comment March 25, 2020 at 11:54 am GMT

@37 Yesterday I went to Home Depot to buy some water tubing for my ice-maker.

I noticed all doors were blocked with a tape, except one with at least 25 people waiting to get in and a female employee holding a sign "the line starts here".

I ask the lady what was all about and she said because of the virus etc.

I said to her "You must be kidding" and I start going back to my car.

Some old lady from the line waiting to get in she scream to me something about "we protect ourselves" and similar nonsense.

I turn around and I said to her: Quit watching TV you idiot. They rob your money on broad daylight and send your kids to die fighting israels enemies.

RichardTaylor , says: Show Comment March 25, 2020 at 12:01 pm GMT
The overreaction to the virus makes no sense. Is something being hidden from us? The freak out over this virus – to the tune of $trillions – is all out of proportion.

2.8 million Americans die every year. Why the obsession with this one virus which may kill in the thousands?

Something is off. But Trump should have known early if there was some other hidden danger. If there is some hidden suspicion by the people obsessing over this, please share it!

[Mar 26, 2020] The face of Trump in foreign policy is Pompeo and it is wicked, ungly face of a gangster

Yet another Gofgather
Notable quotes:
"... The more I watch these moves by Pompeo the more sympathetic I become to the most sinister theories about COVID-19, its origins and its launch around the world. Read Pepe Escobar's latest to get an idea of how dark and twisted this tale could be . ..."
March 24, 2020 < Older
No Respite for the Wicked, Pompeo Unleashed Written by Tom Luongo Tuesday

There are few things in this life that make me more sick to my stomach than watching Secretary of State Mike Pompeo talking. He truly is one of the evilest men I've ever had the displeasure of covering.

Into the insanity of the over-reaction to the COVID-19 outbreak, Pompeo wasted no time ramping up sanctions on firms doing any business with Iran, one of the countries worse-hit by this virus to date.

It's a seemingly endless refrain, everyday, more sanctions on Chinese, Swiss and South African firms for having the temerity in these deflating times to buy oil from someone Pompeo and his gang of heartless psychopaths disapprove of.

This goes far beyond just the oil industry. Even though I'm well aware that Russia's crashing the price of oil was itself a hybrid war attack on US capital markets. One that has had, to date, devastating effect.

While Pompeo mouths the words publicly that humanitarian aid is exempted from sanctions on Iran, the US is pursuing immense pressure on companies to not do so anyway while the State Dept. bureaucracy takes its sweet time processing waiver applications.

Pompeo and his ilk only think in terms of civilizational warfare. They have become so subsumed by their big war for the moral high ground to prove American exceptionalism that they have lost any shred of humanity they may have ever had.

Because for Pompeo in times like these to stick to his talking points and for his office to continue excising Iran from the global economy when we're supposed to be coming together to fight a global pandemic is the height of soullessness.

And it speaks to the much bigger problem that infects all of our political thinking. There comes a moment when politics and gaining political advantage have to take a back seat to doing the right thing.

I've actually seen moments of that impulse from the Democratic leadership in the US Will wonders never cease?!

Thinking only in Manichean terms of good vs. evil and dehumanizing your opponents is actually costlier than reversing course right now. Because honey is always better at attracting flies than vinegar.

But, unfortunately, that is not the character of the Trump administration.

It can only think in terms of direct leverage and opportunity to hold onto what they think they've achieved. So, until President Trump is no longer consumed with coordinating efforts to control COVID-19 Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper are in charge of foreign policy. They will continue the playbook that has been well established.

Maximum pressure on Iran, hurt China any way they can, hold onto what they have in Syria, stay in Iraq.

To that end Iraqi President Barham Salei nominated Pompeo's best choice to replace Prime Minister Adil Abdel Mahdi to throw Iraq's future into complete turmoil. According to Elijah Magnier, Adnan al-Zarfi is a US asset through and through .

And this looks like Pompeo's Hail Mary to retain US legal presence in Iraq after the Iraqi parliament adopted a measure to demand withdrawal of US troops from the country. Airstrikes against US bases in Iraq continue on a near daily basis and there have been reports of US base closures and redeployments at the same time.

This move looks like desperation by Pompeo et.al. to finally separate the Hashd al-Shaabi from Iraq's official military. So that airstrikes against them can be carried out under the definition of 'fighting Iranian terrorism.'

As Magnier points out in the article above if al-Zarfi puts a government together the war in Iraq will expand just as the US is losing further control in Syria after Turkish President Erdogan's disastrous attempt to remake the front in Idlib. That ended with his effective surrender to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The more I watch these moves by Pompeo the more sympathetic I become to the most sinister theories about COVID-19, its origins and its launch around the world. Read Pepe Escobar's latest to get an idea of how dark and twisted this tale could be .

It is sad that, to me, I see no reason to doubt Pompeo and his ilk in the US government wouldn't do something like that to spark political and social upheaval in those places most targeted by US hybrid war tactics.

But, at the same time, I can see the other side of it, a vicious strike back by China against its tormentors. And China's government does itself, in my mind, no favors threatening to withhold drug precursors and having officials run their mouths giving Americans the excuse they need to validate Trump and Pompeo's divisive rhetoric.

Remaining on the fence about this issue isn't my normal style. But everyone is dirty here and the reality may well be this is a natural event terrible people on both sides are exploiting.

And I can only go by what people do rather than what they say to assess the situation. Trump tries to buy exclusive right to a potential COVID-19 vaccine from a German firm and his administration slow-walks aid to Iran.

China sends aid to Iran and Italy by the container full. Is that to salve their conscience over its initial suppression of information about the virus? Good question. But no one covers themselves in glory by using the confusion and distraction to attempt further regime change and step up war-footing during a public health crisis, manufactured or otherwise.

While Pompeo unctuously talks the talk of compassion and charity, he cannot bring himself to actually walk the walk. Because he is a despicable, bile-filled man of uncommon depravity. His prosecuting a hybrid war during a public health crisis speaks to no other conclusion about him.

It's clear to me that nothing has changed at the top of Trump's administration. I expect COVID-19 will not be a disaster for Trump and the US. It can handle this. But the lack of humanity shown by its diplomatic corps ensures that in the long run the US will be left to fend for itself when the next crisis hits.

Reprinted with permission from Strategic Culture Foundation .


Related

[Mar 25, 2020] A Brand New Military What an ass!

Mar 25, 2020 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Just heard the orange god deliver this line at the daily CODIV-19 task force briefing. For this fool, the military is a pile of new "stuff," He bought it, he paid for the "stuff" so, he has created a "brand new military." What about the people who served throughout the miserably stupid war in Iraq and the equally stupid post 2009 attempt to pacify Afghanistan, a country that never was and never will be. Think of the money and blood that we pissed away there. Even the Pompous one sees the necessity to withdraw our support from the wretches who run the government there or pretend to do that. Or perhaps Trump told him to stick it to them, at long last. Trump's experience of "military service" was his corrective enrollment at a private military high school, but he has stated that he knows "all about it.

Someone remarked to me once that it had been a miracle that the US could create an army for WW2. I asked him in response what sort of occupation Marshall, Eisenhower, MacArthur and Patton had been involved with before the war. Shoe sales? Gas station ownership" Insurance sales? What?

It would be tempting to think that one might vote for the Democrat. Biden the demented? Sanders the Marxist dreamer? Cuomo the massive NY City creep egotist?

No, we Deplorables are stuck with El Trumpo. pl

Fred , 25 March 2020 at 07:13 PM

Col.,

"we Deplorables are stuck with El Trumpo."

On a bright note today is another day where Hilary is not President.

Deap , 25 March 2020 at 07:37 PM
If MSM were in the business of posting facts instead of partisan hyperbole, you would think the Dems would have run something far better than a Sanders or a Biden at this particular juncture of history.

So did we get are handed a choice among "deplorables"; or an echo of equal deplorables. Right now, I will continue to dance with the gal who brung me. Trump is seasoning well and growing into the job. I would like to see what his next four years will bring. He knows the inside game now.

Who was it who said ask a government insider to do something and you get a string of excuses why it can't be done. Demurr to a business person who asks to get something done, and he/she will say fine, now go find me someone who can get it done. KAG 2020.

[Mar 24, 2020] Trump owns hotels and casinos which will be devastated. that might explain his position on the virus and initial downplaying of the danger

Mar 24, 2020 | www.unz.com

Tor597 , says: Show Comment March 22, 2020 at 3:30 pm GMT

Actually, Trump was downplaying Corona Virus as late as March 9th.

https://mobile.twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1237027356314869761

One thing I think played a role that is not mentioned is Trumps business that he owns. He owns hotels and casinos which will be devastated. Trump wont rule out government assistance for himself.

For Trump to shut down the economy and produce an effective containment, he would have had to do this knowing that his own business would be devastated.

https://mol.im/a/8138335

[Mar 22, 2020] Best Coronavirus Trump Statements Timeline Synopsis Ever Put Together

1 minute 22 second video with Trump statements in chonological order @ https://twitter.com/i/videos/tweet/1240985096838053889
There is a saying the you fight the war with the army you have, not with the army you want.
Notable quotes:
"... Ok. Let me start by stating that I am not a "staunch" Trump supporter. However, I just really despise the constant visceral negative, hatred towards our Country's President. ..."
"... As I am sure you are aware, it is a tremendously difficult job, especially in today's crisis. I would think it would be better serve of your time and efforts to be constructive and optimistic, and hopeful. Rather than pinpointed every single steps and missteps he makes. He is certainly no perfect - but his goal is the same as all of ours: to defeat this virus in the best manner possible with the resources available. ..."
"... For the entire Trump Presidency it was all about the stock market. So, here we are. ..."
Mar 22, 2020 | moneymaven.io

Please play this.

Anthony Scaramucci @Scaramucci

I hope this is played everyday everywhere until Nov 8. Unless ⁦ @ realDonaldTrump ⁩ resigns as he should immediately.

https://twitter.com/i/videos/tweet/1240985096838053889

35.6K 8:54 AM - Mar 20, 2020 Twitter Ads info and privacy

23.6K people are talking about this

Mish

20 hours ago Here is a 1 minute 22 second video timeline of Trump's amazing handling of the coronavirus.

Please play this.

It will take less than two minutes of your time.

One missing key quote is a statement Trump made bragging about having natural talent coupled with a proclamation that he could have been a scientist instead of president.

More Questions:

Mike "Mish" Shedlock

njbr 20 hrs

The dumb-asses in DC still don't get it. "Top" leaders crowding around a single microphone in a stage no larger than a public restroom. Working toward a 1 time $1200 check that probably wont be issued/delivered for another couple weeks. What about the weeks after that--are they going to spend the next couple weeks going around about the next check?? Has the production of ventilators actually been accelerated-who could tell from what has been said? Why are nurses and doctors in my area asking the public for donations of PPE at the very beginning of the serious phase? What happens when the doctors and nurses start tipping over? Two partially ready hospital ships may help in one spot each on the coast, but what about everywhere else? Has anyone even checked on the production capacity for the maybe helpful malaria medicine--has anyone been directed to begin proactive super-production of this product? On and on.

DeeDee3 20 hrs

hard to prove deliberate neglect when you eliminate all of the evidence. No testing means "no virus" and sadly supported the hoax theory.

Another doc died in the city today. ER's are unprotected. what conclusion can we draw from all of this?

Zardoz 20 hrs

Thousands will die because of his incompetence... and his followers will blame the Chinese

egilkinc 20 hrs

There should be a tracker of the number of cases [among medical personnle] in the US along with this

Sechel 20 hrs

Oh my g-d. This is excellent! I think Trump has learned some bad lessons from Goebbels. Repeat the lie and repeat it often and people will take your version of events. This really serves to correct the record! Good work!

PecuniaNonOlet 20 hrs

And yet there will be an avalanche of Trump supporters defending the idiot. It is truly beyond me.

michiganmoon 20 hrs

Actually, Trump should resign and give the GOP a chance this November.

Had Trump not downplayed this and had tests ready, he could have played on a loop Biden on January 31st saying travel restrictions from Wuhan were racist and xenophobic.

thesaint0013 20 hrs

Ok. Let me start by stating that I am not a "staunch" Trump supporter. However, I just really despise the constant visceral negative, hatred towards our Country's President.

As I am sure you are aware, it is a tremendously difficult job, especially in today's crisis. I would think it would be better serve of your time and efforts to be constructive and optimistic, and hopeful. Rather than pinpointed every single steps and missteps he makes. He is certainly no perfect - but his goal is the same as all of ours: to defeat this virus in the best manner possible with the resources available.

To criticize previous tweets, interviews, and depict his flaws and errors does not help the common goal. The nature of some of the questions posed to him during the press conferences should be a bit more respectful and again, it doesn't serve any positive outcome to try and "catch" him in a lie, and how he may have said something that was not factual or false.

Again, he's not perfect and neither are anyone of us. However he is our President and we should support his and all of our common goal to defeat this virus.

Russell J 20 hrs

Not making excuses for Trump at all but he/we have people who are specialists and are responsible for being ready at all times for something like this and are responsible for being on the look out for this. Somebody should have came forward, even as a whistleblower. I've been aware for about 2 months now.

Thank you WWW.PEAKPROSPERITY.COM, MISH and WWW.ZEROHEDGE.COM

This was an epic failure of Trump, his administration and America in general.

ghoffa 20 hrs

Hi,
@MishTalk @Mish
I wanted to sincerely thank you MISH from my whole extended family. I have been reading you since 2007 when Ron Paul removed the scales from my eyes on the Fed and govt., Jekyll Island book, the "financial markets" (all modern day money changers). Every picture I see of Fed chairpersons, their eyes look dead black sharks eyes (to quote a famous book which I subscribe, the eyes are the windows to the soul).

In addition our mob style duolopoly govt and for the most part complicit MSM (all with significant influencing billionaire ownership to control the news - easily searched). I've learned so much from this blog and the many commentors in this space ( a personal fav is @Stuki ) . Nothing short of brilliant and reminds me of my fav news source Zerohedge and it's articles and commentors.

A special thanks for pointing us to Chris Martenson (peakprosperity.com) as my wife and I have watched every day his free daily videos since JAN @24th and our extended family is as prepared as we can be. God help us all with what's coming.

For those who haven't watched it, Dr. Martenson has a great 3 min video on exponential growth on YTube. Search his name and exponential. It will help you prepare for what our govt knows is coming in enourmous exponential growth in fatalities. Even knowing, it will be an emotional thing to prepare for. Prepping home supplies is one thing, prepping emotionally is also important per Dr. Martenson. HCWs be damned.

As this impacts people personally, I expect insider leaks to come from many fronts. We're working with neighbors to get prepared as we're all on our own now as the money changers (evil) bail out the money changers (evil) amidst a system that is so debt leveraged it can't likely be bailed out. "everything's a nail and the Fed has a hammer".

Lastly this brings a famous quote to mind as the people rise up against corrupt govt, corp bailouts after stock buy backs, etc. Let alone the monsters upon monsters creating lab viruses (regardless of the source of this virus), and unregulated GMOs changing the fabric of life.....

"All it takes for evil to prevail is for good people to do nothing". Margaret Mead
G

QE2Infinity 20 hrs

Come on! First off, anyone can be made to look bad by taking snippets out of context and stringing them together. That said, Trump does tend towards braggadocio. If that is off putting to you, he can be annoying. I much prefer a transparent fool to the more sly variety that plays the part well while sticking a knife in your back.

But let's be honest here. The president can do very little. The bureaucracy of the government is a jobs program for the less ambitious and politically inclined. It's staffed with incompetent bureaucrats that show up, surf the web and may get around to an hour or two of honest work. Public unions guarantee they can't be fired.

Obama converted the CDC into a PC jobs program for lefties, just like he converted NASA into a Muslim outreach program.

May one ask: why is a self proclaimed libertarian screaming for more government action? Wouldn't it be great if one of the outcomes of this crisis is that local communities became more self reliant and more self sufficient!

Sechel 20 hrs

that's from a website called therecount.com looks interesting.

Greggg 20 hrs

For the entire Trump Presidency it was all about the stock market. So, here we are.

numike 20 hrs

while we all point fingers lets look at a useful guide regarding the mess we are ALL in now https://www.seriouseats.com/2020/03/food-safety-and-coronavirus-a-comprehensive-guide.html

Food Safety and Coronavirus: A Comprehensive Guide Questions about COVID-19 and food safety, answered. www.seriouseats.com

Tengen 20 hrs

The graphic at the end of the video already looks out of date and shows how rapid the spread has been. For March 2020 it shows 5,002 cases in the US (and counting) but right now I'm seeing 24,137 cases.

So much for "in a couple of days the 15 is going to be down close to zero".

njbr 20 hrs

What can the President do?

Force and organize the production of necessary goods.

Mish Editor 19 hrs

May one ask: why is a self proclaimed libertarian screaming for more government action? Wouldn't it be great if one of the outcomes of this crisis is that local communities became more self reliant and more self sufficient!

Mish Editor 19 hrs

Trump did not Drain the Swamp. He IS the swamp

Mish Editor 19 hrs

Anyone who still supports this President's actions is a TDS-inflicted fool.

Jim Bob 19 hrs

I've followed Mish for ~ 12 years online and on the radio for brilliant economic analysis. Lately his work has been undermined by irrational political opinion. Mish has turned into Krugman. I won't be back.

abend237-04 19 hrs

The Donald is obviously afflicted with the same narcissistic megalomania prerequisite for a successful run at any elective office above County Coroner, anywhere in this country.

That said, he can apparently read a graph, and he's right: The two drug combination of Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin are working to treat this damn thing, BUT:

It is, indeed, not a Covid-19 preventative.

If you get it, and you dink around at home too long waiting for improvement, arriving at ICU needing ventilation leaves you with roughly the odds of Russian roulette of surviving, especially if you're older.

Lacking testing, the only remaining means available to knock the transmission rate down quickly is social distancing/lockdown. But, enough of that prevention can leave us wishing we were dead anyway.

Unfortunately, all the college kids jamming the bars and beaches is setting the stage for continued exponential growth by hordes of asymptomatic spreaders.

The march of folly continues.

I like what I'm seeing of Cuomo. He'd be a good guy to have in the room in a serious fight; This qualifies.

DBG8489 19 hrs

As someone who hates all politicians, there is zero love lost between Trump and myself. I had hopes when he was elected that he would make a difference but it was clear based on how he looked after his private meeting with Obama on inauguration day that he was in over his head.

Having said that, I will say this:

From at least the "major" state level up, it would appear that not one single elected official or the top advisors and bureaucrats who work for them have shown anything but complete and utter failure in their handling of this emergency.

You have senators selling off piles of stock while either saying nothing or telling the rest of us that it was bullshit. And trust me - they were not the only ones. If anyone cares to investigate, they will likely find this problem rampant. Elected officials should not even be allowed to trade stocks when they control the entire economy - not even through alleged "blind trusts" - it's bullshit. But that's a conversation for another time.

You have congressional reps and senators blaming each other and/or the other party and passing laws and bailouts without even reading the bills they are passing.

You have the Treasury and the Fed printing money and throwing it at every hole that opens up without the slightest regard for what the unintended consequences of those actions may entail.

You have governments of the "major" states (CA, NY, NJ...etc) who know they can't simply print money being exposed using any extra money they had (along with taxes based on tourism that have now disappeared) to fund God knows what now demanding that everyone else pony up to pay for their failure to plan...

The lack of leadership in the major states and at the Federal level is abysmal ACROSS THE BOARD.

And that includes members of BOTH parties and nearly every single bureaucratic agency involved.

You can single Trump out if you want, but he's not alone. He's just an easy target because 49% of the population hated him before this started.

njbr 18 hrs

....Top health officials first learned of the virus's spread in China on January 3, US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said Friday. Throughout January and February, intelligence officials' warnings became more and more urgent, according to the Post -- and by early February, much of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the CIA's intelligence reports were dedicated to warnings about Covid-19.

All the while, Trump downplayed the virus publicly, telling the public the coronavirus "is very well under control in our country," and suggesting warm weather would neutralize the threat the virus poses....

...The administration did begin taking some limited action about a month after Azar says the administration first began receiving warnings, blocking non-citizens who had been to China in the last two weeks from entering the country on February 3 -- a move public experts have argued at best bought the US time to ramp up its testing capabilities, which it did not use, and at worst had no beneficial effects at all.

Trump finally assembled a task force to address the virus, putting Vice President Mike Pence in charge of the effort on February 26, and declared a national emergency on March 13. And, just this week -- nearly three months after first receiving warnings from his intelligence officials -- the president's public tone about the crisis shifted: "I've always known this is a real -- this is a pandemic," he said Tuesday as he admitted, "[the virus is] not under control for any place in the world."....

Realist 18 hrs

I have been watching political leaders in my own country get on television daily. They have all done a great job of informing the public about the dangers of this virus. They have all relied on the experts to relay information to the public about what the government is doing, and what individuals should be doing. This is true at the national, regional, and local levels.

In addition businesses have been sending out emails, radio announcements and tv messages explaining what they are doing in regard to this pandemic.

In fact, I am amazed at what a good job everyone is doing.

I am also watching what is happening in the US. Every US state governor and city mayor I have seen on tv has done a wonderful job of presenting the facts to the public and provided instructions as to what they are doing and what the public should be doing.

Then there is the gong show that is Trump. I could not imagine that anyone could be as bad as he is; months of lies, denials, suppression of the truth, and a complete and utter lack of preparation for something he was warned about many times. Denying one day that the virus was a pandemic; only to claim the very next day that he had known it was a pandemic for months; and then the very next day say that no one could have seen this coming; and finally saying that his response to the virus rates a 10 out of 10.

Worst President ever. Sadly, many, many Americans are going to suffer and die because America had this moron in charge.

Mish keeps referring to worldometer to get stats from. Their numbers seem to match up with numbers I see in my own country and in the US.

Disturbingly, today, the mortality rate for closed cases ticked up 1% to 12%. 12978 deaths and 94674 recovered. That is not the direction I expected it to go.

daveyp 17 hrs

You get what you vote for. To have such a malignant narcissist of such profoundly limited intellectual honesty and capacity "leading" your nation through this is truly tragic for your country. Even the hideously vile ultimate Washington insider Hilary would have done a better job.

truthseeker 17 hrs

Mish I agree with much of the criticism of Trump, yet had he done everything you and others suggest, there is this implied assumption that everything would have worked out perfectly. You know I am impressed the way the country seems to be uniting to such a great degree, that I think there is at least some hope for our country's future though there are huge challenges that lay ahead absolutely!

abend237-04 17 hrs

I will now proceed, once again, to bitch about the root cause of our current pandemic, which is causing many to experience cosmic scale frustration with The Donald, which I share:

Civilization has now been hit squarely in the head with three killer coronavirus outbreaks in 18 years, yet still has no unified global new viral antigen detection system. We could have if our world "leaders" would make it happen.

Local supercomputers, however massive, will never crack this nut, but the billions of powerful, web-accessible smartphones could if linked and used by a parallelized, intelligent scheduler to raise the alarm when a new antibody/pathogen is discovered in human blood anywhere.

Such a system could have lifted the burden from a lonely doctor struggling to raise the alarm in Wuhan, before Covid-19 killed him, and placed it squarely in front of disease control experts, worldwide. It can be done; We must do it.

Sars cov-3/4/5/6/7/8/9/n could kill us all if we don't.

[Mar 22, 2020] Opinion - A Tale of Two Foreign Policies The Train-Wreck Abroad Is Bipartisan by Philip Giraldi

Notable quotes:
"... It is widely believed that the abrupt withdrawal of candidates Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg on the eve of Super Tuesday that targeted Sanders was arranged through an intervention by ex-President Barack Obama who made a plea in support of "party unity," offering the two a significant quid pro quo down the road if they were willing to leave the race and throw their support to Biden, which they dutifully did ..."
"... Trump might be described as both paranoid and narcissistic, meaning that he sees himself as surrounded by enemies and that the enemies are out to get him personally. When he is criticized, he either ridicules the source or does something impulsive to deflect what is being said. He attacked Syria twice based on false claims about the use of chemical weapons when a consensus developed in the media and in congress that he was being "weak" in the Middle East. Those attacks were war crimes as Syria was not threatening the United States. ..."
"... Biden is on a different track in that he is an establishment hawk. As head of the Senate Foreign Affairs committee back in 2002-2003 he green lighted George W. Bush's plan to attack Iraq. Beyond that, he cheer-leaded the effort from the Democratic Party benches, helping to create a consensus both in Washington and in the media that Saddam Hussein was a threat that had to be dealt with. He should have known better as he was privy to intelligence that was suggesting that the Iraqis were no threat at all. He did not moderate his tune on Iraq until after 2005, when the expected slam-dunk quick victory got very messy. ..."
"... Biden was also certainly privy to the decision making by President Barack Obama, which include the destruction of Libya and the killing of American citizens by drone. Whether he actively supported those policies is unknown, but he has never been challenged on them. What is clear is that he did not object to them, another sign of his willingness to go along with the establishment, a tendency which will undoubtedly continue if he is elected president. ..."
Mar 22, 2020 | www.informationclearinghouse.info

Now that the Democratic Party has apparently succeeded in getting rid of the only two voices among its presidential candidates that actually deviated from the establishment consensus, it appears that Joe Biden will be running against Donald Trump in November. To be sure, Bernie Sanders and Tulsi Gabbard are still hanging on, but the fix was in and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) made sure that Sanders would be given the death blow on Super Tuesday while Gabbard would be blocked from participating in any of the late term debates.

It is widely believed that the abrupt withdrawal of candidates Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg on the eve of Super Tuesday that targeted Sanders was arranged through an intervention by ex-President Barack Obama who made a plea in support of "party unity," offering the two a significant quid pro quo down the road if they were willing to leave the race and throw their support to Biden, which they dutifully did. Rumor has it that Klobuchar might well wind up as Biden's vice president. An alternative tale is that it was a much more threatening "offer that couldn't be refused" coming from the Clintons.

... ... ...

Both Trump and Biden might reasonably described as Zionists, Trump by virtue of the made-in-Israel foreign policy positions he has delivered on since his election, and Biden by word and deed during his entire time in politics. When Biden encountered Sarah Palin in 2008 in the vice-presidential debate, he and Palin sought to outdo each other in enthusing over how much they love the Jewish state. Biden has said that "I am a Zionist. You don't have to be a Jew to be a Zionist" and also, ridiculously, "Were there not an Israel, the U.S. would have to invent one. We will never abandon Israel -- out of our own self-interest. [It] is the best $3 billion investment we make." Biden has been a regular feature speaker at the annual AIPAC summit in Washington.

Trump might be described as both paranoid and narcissistic, meaning that he sees himself as surrounded by enemies and that the enemies are out to get him personally. When he is criticized, he either ridicules the source or does something impulsive to deflect what is being said. He attacked Syria twice based on false claims about the use of chemical weapons when a consensus developed in the media and in congress that he was being "weak" in the Middle East. Those attacks were war crimes as Syria was not threatening the United States.

Trump similarly reversed himself on withdrawing from Syria when he ran into criticism of the move and his plan to extricate the United States from Afghanistan, if it develops at all, could easily be subjected to similar revision. Trump is not really the man who as a candidate indicated that he was seriously looking for a way out of America's endless and pointless wars, no matter what his supporters continue to assert.

Biden is on a different track in that he is an establishment hawk. As head of the Senate Foreign Affairs committee back in 2002-2003 he green lighted George W. Bush's plan to attack Iraq. Beyond that, he cheer-leaded the effort from the Democratic Party benches, helping to create a consensus both in Washington and in the media that Saddam Hussein was a threat that had to be dealt with. He should have known better as he was privy to intelligence that was suggesting that the Iraqis were no threat at all. He did not moderate his tune on Iraq until after 2005, when the expected slam-dunk quick victory got very messy.

Biden was also certainly privy to the decision making by President Barack Obama, which include the destruction of Libya and the killing of American citizens by drone. Whether he actively supported those policies is unknown, but he has never been challenged on them. What is clear is that he did not object to them, another sign of his willingness to go along with the establishment, a tendency which will undoubtedly continue if he is elected president.

And Biden's foreign policy reminiscences are is subject to what appear to be memory losses or inability to articulate, illustrated by a whole series of faux pas during the campaign. He has a number of times told a tale of his heroism in Afghanistan that is complete fiction , similar to Hillary Clinton's lying claims of courage under fire in Bosnia.

So, we have a president in place who takes foreign policy personally in that his first thoughts are "how does it make me look?" and a prospective challenger who appears to be suffering from initial stages of dementia and who has always been relied upon to support the establishment line, whatever it might be. Though Trump is the more dangerous of the two as he is both unpredictable and irrational, the likelihood is that Biden will be guided by the Clintons and Obamas. To put it another way, no matter who is president the likelihood that the United States will change direction to get away from its interventionism and bullying on a global scale is virtually nonexistent. At least until the money runs out. Or to express it as a friend of mine does, "No matter who is elected we Americans wind up getting John McCain." Goodnight America!

Philip Giraldi Ph.D., Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest. A former CIA Case Officer and Army Intelligence Officer who spent twenty years overseas in Europe and the Middle East working terrorism cases. He holds a BA with honors from the University of Chicago and an MA and PhD in Modern History from the University of London. " Source "

[Mar 22, 2020] Liberal NPCs Hate Russia, Conservative NPCs Hate China

Mar 22, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jackrabbit , Mar 21 2020 23:10 utc | 54

Caitlin Johnstone also sees the response being manipulated to focus hate on China: Liberal NPCs Hate Russia, Conservative NPCs Hate China

But she sees this China-bashing as mostly a political reaction:

In reality these people are rallying behind the campaign to blame China for the health crisis they're now facing because they understand that otherwise the blame will land squarely on the shoulders of their president, who's running for re-election this year.
instead of a deliberate Deep-State strategy (which is my view).

We can argue who created the virus (I'm still looking for any rebuttal to the Chinese claim that USA must be the source because it has all five strains of the virus), but the Empire's gaming of the virus outbreak seems very clear to me.

!!

[Mar 21, 2020] To be fair to Trump

Mar 21, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

@Snode

"The Obama-Biden Administration set up the White House National Security Council Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense to prepare for future pandemics like covid-19. Donald Trump eliminated it -- and now we're paying the price."

-- Former vice president Joe Biden, in a tweet, March 19

BUT!!! OBAMA DID, TOO!!! (As did Dubya)

After Barack Obama became president in 2009, he eliminated the White House Health and Security Office, which worked on international health issues. But after grappling with the 2014 Ebola epidemic, Obama in 2016 established a Directorate for Global Health Security and Biodefense at the NSC. A directorate has its own staff, and it is headed by someone who generally reports to the national security adviser.

One can see the dueling narratives here, neither entirely incorrect. The office -- as set up by Obama in 2016 -- was folded into another office. Thus, one could claim the office was eliminated. But the staff slots did not disappear and at least initially the key mission of team remained a priority. So one can also claim nothing changed and thus Biden's criticism is overstated.

Source: Washington Post -- Was the White House office for global pandemics eliminated?


Marie on Sat, 03/21/2020 - 4:35pm

What did the GWB and Obama Administrations

@edg
have against the large and presumably highly skilled public health agencies under HHS? If they had flubbed, then they should have been ordered to fix the problem; reorganize and/or replace the incompetents so that such flubs don't happen again. The Asst Secretary for Public Health, a physician, oversees those agencies and reports to the HHS Secretary who in turn reports to the POTUS.

Why set up a WH office overseen by a person with no public health expertise or experience to report to the NSC director?

Steven D on Sat, 03/21/2020 - 8:50am
Yes

One big clusterfuck isn't it.

leveymg on Sat, 03/21/2020 - 8:56am
"Nobody could foresee airliners used as missiles." But, who

remembers that, too?

Bush got away with that excuse. He even got several glorious wars out of it. Why shouldn't Trump?

[Mar 21, 2020] Democrats AWOL during the economic crisis caucus99percent

Mar 21, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

snoopydawg on Sat, 03/21/2020 - 2:20pm

Raggedy Ann on Sat, 03/21/2020 - 3:10pm
The dimwits are MIA again.

Not surprising. They only want the kickbacks not any actual work. Here's a good lesson for that squad - now they can witness how the dimwits work for the people! Tlaib is stepping up. Who will be next? Anyone? Anyone?

entrepreneur on Sat, 03/21/2020 - 3:26pm
Not that they'll ever let him debate Trump, but if he did Trump

should just spend every minute of his time saying "where was Joe hiding during the pandemic? How are you going to lead a country by hiding during an emergency, Joe?".

[Mar 21, 2020] Not that they'll ever let him debate Trump, but if he did Trump should just spend every minute of his time saying "where was Joe hiding during the pandemic?

Mar 21, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

Trump should just spend every minute of his time saying "where was Joe hiding during the pandemic? How are you going to lead a country by hiding during an emergency, Joe?"

CB on Sat, 03/21/2020 - 3:27pm

And Joe will reply, "What's a pandemic?"
Dr. John Carpenter on Sat, 03/21/2020 - 6:07pm
He probably remembers the Spanish Flu
CB on Sat, 03/21/2020 - 9:48pm
Frankly, I don't think he remembers

@Dr. John Carpenter
much at this time.

[Mar 21, 2020] When reading any article concerning current events (ie. Ukraine, Syria, Iran, Venezuela, or Coronavirus) consider how the The Seven Principles of Propaganda may apply

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

Dick | Mar 22 2020 0:48 utc | 66

When reading any article concerning current events (ie. Ukraine, Syria, Iran, Venezuela, or Coronavirus) consider how the The Seven Principles of Propaganda may apply. (repost):

  1. Avoid abstract ideas - appeal to the emotions. When we think emotionally, we are more prone to be irrational and less critical in our thinking. I can remember several instances where this has been employed by the US to prepare the public with a justification of their actions. Here are four examples:

    The Invasion of Grenada during the Reagan administration was said to be necessary to rescue American students being held hostage by Grenadian coup authorities after a coup that overthrew the government. I had a friend in the 82nd airborne division that participated in the rescue. He told me the students said they were hiding in the school to avoid the fighting by the US military, and had never been threatened by any Grenadian authority and were only hiding in the school to avoid all the fighting. Film of the actual rescue broadcast on the mainstream media was taken out of context; the students were never in danger.

    The invasion of Panama in the late 80's was supposedly to capture the dictator Manual Noriega for international crimes related to drugs and weapons. I remember a headline covered by all the media where a Navy lieutenant and his wife were detained by the police. His wife was sexually assaulted while in custody, according to the story. Unfortunately, it never happened. It was intended to get the public emotionally involved to support the action.

    The invasion of Iraq in the early 90's was preceded by a speech by a girl describing the Iraqi army throwing babies out of incubators so the equipment could be transferred to Iraq. It turns out the girl was the daughter of one of the Kuwait's ruling sheiks and the event never occurred. However, it served its purpose by getting the American public involved emotionally supporting the war.

    During the build up to the bombing campaign by NATO against Libya, a woman entered a hotel where reporters were staying claiming she was raped by several police officers of the Gaddafi security services. The report was carried by most media outlets as representative of the brutality of the Gaddafi regime. I was not able to verify if this story was true or not, but it fits the usual method employed to gain public support through propaganda for military interventions.

    The greatest emotion in us is fear and fear is used extensively to make us think irrationally. I remember growing up during the cold war having the fear of nuclear war or 'The Russians are coming!' After the cold war without an obvious enemy, it was Al Qaeda even before 911, so we had 'Al Qaeda is coming!' Now we have 'ISIS is coming!' with media blasting us with terrorist fears. Whenever I hear a government promoting an emotional issue or fear mongering, I ignore them knowing there is a hidden Truth behind the issue.

  2. Constantly repeat just a few ideas. Use stereotyped phrases. This could be stated more plainly as 'Keep it simple, stupid!' The most notorious use of this technique recently was the Bush administration. Everyone can remember 'We must fight them over there rather than over here' or my favourite 'They hate us for our freedoms'. Neither of these phrases made any rational sense despite 911. The last thing Muslims in the Middle East care about is American's freedoms, maybe it was all the bombs the US was dropping on them.
  3. Give only one side of the argument and obscure history. Watching mainstream media in the US, you can see all the news is biased to the American view as an example. This is prevalent within Australian commercial media and newspapers giving only a western view, but fortunately, we have the SBS and the ABC that are very good, certainly not perfect, at providing both sides of a story. In addition, any historical perspective is ignored keeping the citizenry focused on the here and now. Can any of you remember any news organisation giving an in depth history of Ukraine or Palestine? I cannot.
  4. Demonize the enemy or pick out one special "enemy" for special vilification. This is obvious in politics where politicians continuously criticise their opponents. Of course, demonization is more productively applied to international figures or nations such as Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, Gaddafi in Libya, Assad in Syria, the Taliban and just recently Vladimir Putin over the Ukraine, Crimea and Syria. It establishes a negative emotional view of either a nation (i.e. Iran) or a known figure (i.e. Putin) making us again think emotionally, rather than rationally, making it easier to promote evil acts upon a nation or a known figure. Certainly some of these groups or individuals were less than benign, but not necessarily demons as depicted in the west.
  5. Appear humanitarian in work and motivations. The US has used this technique often to validate foreign interventions or ongoing conflicts where the term 'Right to Protect' is used for justification. Everyone should remember the many stories about the abuse of women in Afghanistan or Saddam Hussein's supposed brutality toward his people. The recent attack on Syria by the US, UK, and France was depicted as an Humanitarian intervention by the UK Government, which was far from the truth. One thing that always amazes me is when the US sends humanitarian aid to a country it is accompanied by the US military. In Haiti some years back, the US sent troops with no other country doing so. The recent Ebola outbreak in Africa saw US troops sent to the area. How are troops going to fight a medical outbreak? No doubt, they are there for other reasons.

  6. Obscure one's economic interests. Who believes the invasion of Iraq was for weapons of mass destruction? Or the constant threats against Iran are for their nuclear program? Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction and no one has presented firm evidence Iran intends to produce nuclear weapons. The West has been interfering in the Middle East since the British in the late 19th century. It is all about oil and the control over the resources. In fact, if one researches the cause of wars over the last hundred years, you will always find economics was a major component driving the rush to war for most of them.

  7. Monopolize the flow of information. This is the most important principle and mainly entails setting the narrative by which all subsequent events can be based upon or interpreted in such a way as to reinforce the narrative. The narrative does not need to be true; in fact, it can be anything that suits the monopoliser as long as it is based loosely on some event. It is critical to have at least majority control of media and the ability to control the message so the flow of information is consistent with the narrative. This has been played out on mainstream media concerning the Ukrainian conflict, Syrian conflict, and the Skirpal affair. Just over the last couple of years, we have all been subjected to propaganda in one form or another. Remember the US wanting to bomb Syria because of the sarin gas attack, it was later determined to be false (see Seymour Hersh 'Whose Sarin'). The shoot down of MH17 was immediately blamed on Russia by the west without any convincing proof (setting the narrative). It amazes me just how fast the story died after the initial saturation in the media. When I awoke that morning in July, I heard on the news PM Tony Abbot blaming Russia for the incident only hours afterward. How could he know Russia shot down the plane? The investigation into the incident had not even begun, so I suspect he was singing from the West's hymnbook in a standard setting the narrative scenario.

[Mar 20, 2020] This policy is unconscionable and flagrantly against international law. It is imperative that the U.S. lift these immoral and illegal sanctions to enable Iran and Venezuela to confront the epidemic as effectively and rapidly as possible

Mar 20, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Mao , Mar 19 2020 23:25 utc | 225

A group of economists and policy experts on Wednesday called on President Donald Trump to immediately lift the United States' crippling sanctions against Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, and other countries, warning that the economic warfare -- in addition to being cruel in itself -- is "feeding the coronavirus epidemic" by hampering nations' capacity to respond.

"This policy is unconscionable and flagrantly against international law. It is imperative that the U.S. lift these immoral and illegal sanctions to enable Iran and Venezuela to confront the epidemic as effectively and rapidly as possible," Columbia University professor Jeffrey Sachs said in a statement just hours after the Trump administration intensified sanctions against Iran, which has been devastated by COVID-19.

https://truthout.org/articles/economists-demand-trump-immediately-lift-iran-cuba-venezuela-sanctions/

Mao , Mar 19 2020 23:37 utc | 229

Promising to "smash" Venezuela's government during a "maximum pressure March," Trump has imposed crushing sanctions that force Venezuela to spend three times as much as non-sanctioned countries on coronavirus testing kits.

https://thegrayzone.com/2020/03/17/us-sanctions-venezuelas-health-sector-coronavirus/

[Mar 20, 2020] Such a nice Trojan Horse: How is it possible to morph from a Tulsi, to a Tulsigieg so fast??

Highly recommended!
Mar 20, 2020 | www.youtube.com

Ronald van Kemenade , 9 hours ago

After the DNC stabbing her in the back, she should have endorsed Trump.

Nate Hoffman , 11 hours ago

Great actress. Very convincing.

tim ahlf , 5 hours ago

Obama gave her a call like he did everybody else.

Rita Marie Kelley , 12 hours ago

Aloha will never be the same...

Jack Carvis , 1 hour ago

Every dem politician has a role(acting job) to play and she deserves the Oscar .

eancd , 6 hours ago

I guess they won't be calling Tulsi a Russian agent any more

State of Opportunity , 12 hours ago

She should've just endorsed Lindsey Graham.

TheNada73 , 5 hours ago

They made her an offer she can't refuse.

Bruce Liu , 3 hours ago

Tulsi is controlled opposition

[Mar 20, 2020] Pompeo myth that USA and the West were unprepared because China withheld information about the virus.

Mar 20, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

occupatio , Mar 19 2020 20:16 utc | 161

@b Another myth to add to your collection ...

... that USA and the West were unprepared because China withheld information about the virus.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Mar 19 2020 18:20 utc | 106

The "Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission on COVID-19" states that China transparently reported the identification of virus to the WHO and the international community on January 3rd, and a WHO investigative team was invited to Wuhan a week after that.

From January 3rd, 2020, information on COVID-19 cases has been reported to WHO daily.

On January 7th, full genome sequences of the new virus were shared with WHO and the international community immediately after the pathogen was identified.

On January 10th, an expert group involving Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwanese technical experts and a World Health Organization team was invited to visit Wuhan.

From page 31 of:
https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/who-china-joint-mission-on-covid-19-final-report.pdf

[Mar 20, 2020] That "beyond dispute" phrase is what retards like Mike Pompeo use to try to shut down a discussion in which he's getting his fat ass kicked.

Mar 20, 2020 | www.unz.com

Twodees Partain , says: Show Comment March 20, 2020 at 3:02 am GMT

@SBaker "It's beyond dispute that the novel coronavirus officially known as COVID-19originated in Wuhan, China."

No, it's being disputed every day. That "beyond dispute" phrase is what retards like Mike Pompeo use to try to shut down a discussion in which he's getting his fat ass kicked.

[Mar 19, 2020] Comedian Lee Camp: "America's two-party oligarchy can't relate to those in need"

Mar 19, 2020 | www.rt.com

As the US teeters on the edge of abyss amid a Covid-19 pandemic, the crisis has revealed systemic flaws brought by years of two-party plutocracy that go far beyond a single president, says Lee Camp, host of RT's Redacted Tonight. While President Donald Trump bears a good portion of the blame for the sluggish US response to Covid-19, he is only one piece of a larger puzzle. America's structural defects long predate Trump's time in office, the comedian argued.

"The fact that so many millions of Americans don't have paid sick leave, or hardly make minimum wage and therefore can't afford an emergency – that kind of system was set up under a two-party apparatus that basically agreed: 'Let's create an America where people are completely exploited,'" Camp said.

[Mar 19, 2020] Trump has reached peak incompetence with this one. All the gains of his 'legacy' have been wiped out, but he always has his (((trusted advisers))) ready to steer him into the rocks.

Mar 19, 2020 | www.unz.com

Sick of Orcs , says: Show Comment March 18, 2020 at 9:17 pm GMT

@Poco Globalism is not harmed at all. The machine didn't blow up, it simply shut off. Unfortunately, it supplies life-giving goods and services to billions, regardless of Globohomo using it to spread FOURTH-worlders everywhere in the West (US Southern order remains wide open.)

Trump has reached peak incompetence with this one. All the gains of his 'legacy' have been wiped out, but he always has his (((trusted advisers))) ready to steer him into the rocks. Time to reminisce about record low black unemployment numbers.

[Mar 19, 2020] Trump administration pandemic priorities

Mar 19, 2020 | caitlinjohnstone.com

Pandemic priorities:

Priority #1 – Make sure everyone is aware that this virus indisputably originated in China. China, China, China. Call it the China virus or the Wuhan virus so everyone knows. China is very, very bad and we must say so over and over and over again.

Priority #2 – Deal with virus if we have time.

[Mar 19, 2020] Here s a link to a video of the President saying he is not responsible for the closing of the pandemic office

Mar 19, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

gnt sglovera day ago

You should know by now that repeating the actual words of administration officials, including the President, is clear evidence of irrational partisan bias. The surgeon general chided the press on Saturday for writing stories about the past.

Here's a link to a video of the President saying he is not responsible for the closing of the pandemic office, linked to a video of the press conference in which he explained why he closed the pandemic office:

Play Hide
engineerscotty gnta day ago
Obviously a deep fake. Dear Leader would never say such a thing, and even if he did, if he says he didn't, he didn't. If you bout this, please report to Room 101.
TISO_AX2 gnt14 hours ago • edited
No, the White House Didn't 'Dissolve' Its Pandemic Response Office
gnt TISO_AX29 hours ago
As near as I can interpret the article you reference, the leading experts on global pandemics were fired. The remaining staff responsible for building the response to global pandemics were assigned new duties. The function of dealing with global pandemics was assigned to an existing department that was also assigned other new responsibilities at the same time. In that sense, there is still an office that is responsible for dealing with global pandemics. But that office no longer has the same resources for doing that, and has many other responsibilities.
TISO_AX2 gnt6 hours ago
When I joined the National Security Council staff in 2018, I inherited a
strong and skilled staff in the counterproliferation and biodefense
directorate. This team of national experts together drafted the National Biodefense Strategy of 2018 and an accompanying national security presidential memorandum to implement it; an executive order to modernize influenza vaccines; and coordinated the United States' response to the Ebola epidemic in Congo, which was ultimately defeated in 2020.

Seems pretty open to obvious interpretation. This was post the so-called firing that is being blamed on the president. And if you have evidence that the administration medical team is not today staffed at a level even higher than before 2017, let's see it.

gnt TISO_AX22 hours ago
So the bureaucrat who picked up the extra responsibilities writes an editorial saying that he had the whole thing handled all along. He doesn't have much credibility; he's got no future as a Republican apparatchik if he doesn't say something here. He ran the office with the responsibility, but there's still no evidence of having kept anyone with expertise in pandemics. Expertise still matters.
TISO_AX2 sglover15 hours ago
No, one wouldn't. But public hypocritical comments (like here) is not the remedy. It's just hypocrisy.
sglover TISO_AX211 hours ago
OK, I'm guessing everybody can use a giggle. So please tell me what "the remedy" is. This should be good.
TISO_AX2 sglover11 hours ago • edited
You could start by not trafficking in falsehoods such as your "pandemic team" claim. And then you should stop whining about division while sowing division.
sglover TISO_AX211 hours ago
I don't understand what "claim" you're referring to. Have you got your lines crossed, managing all the Trump apologetics? I know it's a full-time job.

But actually, Trump, via his surrogate Bolton (you know, the guy Trump appointed as part of "draining the swamp") *did* gut that office. Senior staff left, other staff got reassigned, and the whole shop was reduced to something like two people.

See? I knew you'd be good for a laugh!

TISO_AX2 sglover11 hours ago
Asked and answered. You should read the thread..all of it.
sglover TISO_AX210 hours ago
You are objecting to a video in which Trump admits to the very thing that you claim didn't happen. Truly you're living up to your messiah's words: I take no responsibility .

Aren't you embarrassed? Even a little?

TISO_AX2 sglover10 hours ago
Are you embarrassed to contradict yourself? What are you trying to say...did the President admit to the very thing ...or take no responsibility ?
gnt TISO_AX28 hours ago
The problem is that the President tries to have it both ways. When he thought he was just getting rid of excess staff, he was proud to take responsibility for his choice. When it later became clear that there were bad consequences for that same choice, the President denied responsibility for that specific action.

Trump routinely makes statements that contradict each other, leaving it to his supporters to decide which ones they want to hear. Maybe you're comfortable with the changes in direction, but many of us have memories that go back more than a few hours.

TISO_AX2 gnt7 hours ago • edited
Whatever happened at the NSC was planned long ago. Even Obama knew that it was an overbloated bureaucracy. And your assertion that the reorganization resulted in "bad consequences is just that..a claim. You have not established it as a fact or common knowledge. Based on those conclusions your narrative is uncompelling.

https://www.realclearpoliti...

sglover TISO_AX28 hours ago
My God you are beyond parody. Your big score, the point that you believe is going to show me what's what, is -- My Messiah walked back one of his lies, and you don't want to give him credit . Most people hold toddlers to a higher standard -- do you understand that?
TISO_AX2 sglover7 hours ago
If he's anyone's messiah it's yours. You expect him to walk on water, or save you from coronavirus. I don't expect that of him at all. There's your parody.

[Mar 19, 2020] US imposes sanctions against #Iran after offering to help with #Coronavirus outbreak

Mar 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Mar 18 2020 18:28 utc | 53

This might soon become the global rallying cry :

"USA is the greatest enemy of humanity - I hope they will pay for that:

"US imposes sanctions against #Iran after offering to help with #Coronavirus outbreak"

The situation has now gone well beyond immorality and into the realm of EVIL--an EVIL that's Bipartisan, shared by Ds and Rs alike.


bevin , Mar 18 2020 18:33 utc | 54

Miss Lacy and Arby both draw our attention to the obscenity of the US using this crisis in order to put pressure on governments that it dislikes by cutting off medicine and other resources.

Among the places where people are currently dying in large numbers because Washington chooses that they should are Cuba-under an oil embargo-, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Iran.

Those who cannot bring themselves to believe that government could be so evil as to deploy a virus as a weapon to weaken another state, only have to look at what is happening today: Venezuela desperately needs funds, much of its foreign exchange having been seized illegally by the US and its satellites, in order to weather the pandemic.

Anyone supporting such a policy, condoning the killing of vulnerable people to embarrass another state, is an accessory to murder.

farm ecologist , Mar 18 2020 19:40 utc | 67
Re., IMF refuses emergency funds to Venezuela

Posted by: arby | Mar 18 2020 14:32 utc | 11
Posted by: Miss Lacy | Mar 18 2020 18:15 utc | 50
Posted by: bevin | Mar 18 2020 18:33 utc | 55

Anyone supporting such a policy, condoning the killing of vulnerable people to embarrass another state, is an accessory to murder.

Although many argue that the foreign policies of the US government don't really reflect the views and desires of ordinary citizens, the comments in the Fox News report on this story suggest otherwise (caveat - be prepared to be appalled).

https://www.foxnews.com/world/venezuela-asks-imf-for-massive-emergency-loan-to-fight-coronavirus


[Mar 19, 2020] Fiction at times is more powerful than truth.

Mar 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Mar 18 2020 22:55 utc | 92

I'm reminded that fiction at times is more powerful than truth. Most here are old enough to remember when They Shoot Horses, Don't They hit the movie theaters in December 1969, although they may not recall the tale told. Quite a lot of what's current reminds me of that film.

I can't recall who made the comment equivocating US citizens to salespeople on these threads, but it did spark the thought that it has quite a lot of truth evoked from memories of Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman . And now with movie and stage theatres, concert halls and music dives of all types closed, the public's options for entertainment and education via that realm while more diverse than ever are also poorer than ever before, with little enlightened guidance offered by adults. But then how many families have a copy of The Naked and the Dead where they can gather around dad as narrator to experience a great literary work. I see families as too atomized nowadays, incapable of even coming together during a crisis, mired in their phones.

Is that enough to explain Biden's ascendency over Sanders--the utter ignorance of the forces behind the current crisis and their ongoing inhumanity. I read today that Biden represents the Status Quo, and asked myself: Who in their right mind wants a continuation of what's clearly deplorable and disgusting, debilitating and mind-numbing? IMO, the US polity has a Death Wish. I'm reminded of accounts of how the Brits felt at WW2's end--relieved that the war was over but having great trepidation over the future as most were aware their days as an Imperial Master were at an end. Perhaps that's why Biden and Trump are being subconsciously chosen for the role of Robert in Horses so they can be put out of their misery.

[Mar 19, 2020] The fundamental question IMO is why did Biden garner any support to begin with given he abetted all of Obama's crimes and Bush's before him. Did he get the support as the Status Quo candidate?

Mar 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Mar 19 2020 0:29 utc | 98

Walter @96--

The fundamental question IMO is why did Biden garner any support to begin with given he abetted all of Obama's crimes and Bush's before him. And Status Quo candidate?! Did you get the tie-in I attempted between the politics and the movie? Actually, the aim of the comment was to show that truths often appear in fiction and become better teachers than reality. I expanded it some prior to publishing it at my VK space. It took most of my life to discover why my mom preferred literary works to the reality surrounding her. IMO, that would likely be true for millions if they actually took the time to read.

[Mar 19, 2020] Biden is the Candidate from neoliberal Dems and us on Main Street lose big

Mar 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

jo6pac , Mar 18 2020 13:58 utc | 2

biden wins big and us on Main Street lose big:-( It will be another toxic 4 years no matter who win biden or the trumpster.

James joseph , Mar 18 2020 14:16 utc | 7

Biden? Are you all crazy?

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

Mar 17, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Mar 17, 2020] DOJ drops charges against Russian trolls after they dared demand evidence in US court -- RT USA News

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... "promotes neither the interests of justice nor the nation's security," ..."
"... "recent events and a change in the balance of the government's proof due to a classification determination, ..."
"... "information warfare against the United States of America ..."
"... The DOJ rationalizes the motion to dismiss by arguing that Concord is "a Russian company with no presence in the United States and no exposure to meaningful punishment in the event of a conviction." That has always been the case, however. What really changed since the indictment was filed is the complete implosion of Mueller's case, helped in part by Concord fighting the case in court. ..."
"... The motion inadvertently reveals that Mueller's prosecutors never intended the case against Concord, two other entities and 13 individuals to actually go to trial, otherwise they would have anticipated what ended up happening: Concord's lawyers demanding discovery documents from the DOJ, which the US authorities say risks "exposure of law enforcement's tools and techniques." ..."
"... Mueller's team tried to fight the discovery proceedings by arguing in January 2019 that Concord was leaking them to "discredit " the investigation. Within two months, however, the investigation discredited itself, by having to admit there was no "collusion " between US President Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election. ..."
Mar 17, 2020 | www.rt.com

The US is dropping the much-hyped indictment for 'election meddling' against a company supposedly behind the so-called Russian troll farm, closing the opening chapter of special counsel Robert Mueller's Russiagate investigation. Further pursuing the case against Concord Management & Consulting LLC, "promotes neither the interests of justice nor the nation's security," the Department of Justice wrote to the federal judge overseeing the case on Monday, in a motion to drop the charges.

DOJ lawyers cited "recent events and a change in the balance of the government's proof due to a classification determination, " saying only that they submitted further details in a classified addendum.

Wow.The DOJ moves to dismiss the charges against the Russian Company (Concord) who conducted the alleged "information warfare against the US"The troll case will be dismissed w/ prejudice.How embarrassing for Team Mueller. pic.twitter.com/wfZ78EWgKc

-- Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) March 16, 2020

Concord was one of the three companies – the Internet Research Agency is another – and 13 individuals charged in February 2018 with waging "information warfare against the United States of America " using social media.

Also on rt.com US indicts 13 Russians for 2016 election meddling, but 'no allegations' they influenced outcome

The DOJ rationalizes the motion to dismiss by arguing that Concord is "a Russian company with no presence in the United States and no exposure to meaningful punishment in the event of a conviction." That has always been the case, however. What really changed since the indictment was filed is the complete implosion of Mueller's case, helped in part by Concord fighting the case in court.

The motion inadvertently reveals that Mueller's prosecutors never intended the case against Concord, two other entities and 13 individuals to actually go to trial, otherwise they would have anticipated what ended up happening: Concord's lawyers demanding discovery documents from the DOJ, which the US authorities say risks "exposure of law enforcement's tools and techniques."

But the Russians *did* show up, got to claim they were innocent until proven guilty, availed themselves of discovery, tied up the court in time, cost hundreds of thousands of $ in legal bills for DOJ, and gave Mueller a few black eyes in the process, and ended up victorious

-- Undercover Huber (@JohnWHuber) March 17, 2020

Mueller's team tried to fight the discovery proceedings by arguing in January 2019 that Concord was leaking them to "discredit " the investigation. Within two months, however, the investigation discredited itself, by having to admit there was no "collusion " between US President Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election.

Also on rt.com Another nail in Russiagate coffin? Federal judge destroys key Mueller report claim

They still insisted that Russia had "meddled " in the election, but there too the case proved a problem. Concord successfully petitioned Judge Dabney L. Friedrich in May last year to rebuke the prosecutors for presenting their allegations as facts.

This is not to say that the DOJ is ready to disavow 'Russiagate' as a debunked conspiracy theory, however. Though the Concord case was dropped, the charges against the Internet Research Agency and the 13 Russian individuals were not. Given that none of them have a presence in the US, and have not dignified the indictment with a response, it is unclear how – if at all – the DOJ intends to proceed with the case.

Keeping it on the books may keep the flames of 'Russiagate' alive, though, which is very convenient for the media and others heavily invested in the narrative of Moscow somehow menacing US elections, despite not a shred of actual evidence being presented to back it up.

For a snapshot in time, this was the NYT homepage after the Russian troll farm indictment back in February 2018. Russia, we were told, "is engaged in a virtual war against the United States." pic.twitter.com/Z0xXCZoT9P

-- Aaron Maté (@aaronjmate) March 16, 2020

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

[Mar 14, 2020] Trump rightly announced a national emergency, marking a sharp shift in his approach to the greatest crisis of his presidency. by Jacob Heilbrunn

Mar 13, 2020 | nationalinterest.org

It was a somber Donald Trump who spoke at the White House today to declare a "national emergency" and that "we're doing a great job." Gone was his language about exaggerated fears and a "hoax" surrounding the coronavirus. His own daughter, Ivanka, stayed home rather than visit the White House because of her exposure to an Australian official who has the coronavirus.

Not only was the shift in tone marked, but Trump also referred constantly to the numerous public health experts and corporate CEOs flanking him as he faced the biggest crisis of his presidency. Dr. Anthony Fauci indicated that the coronavirus may remain virulent for another eight to nine weeks: "I can't give you a number. It depends how successful we are." Trump himself sought to convey confidence by emphasizing that his administration had moved quickly to impede the spread of the coronavirus, including quickly ordering travel bans. How effective will his emergency declaration prove?

The most important thing that the administration can do is work to remove the uncertainty surrounding the extent of the spread of the virus. Until there is more clarity, economic activity will be hobbled as investors and businesses retreat from incurring any additional risk. In this regard, Trump's decision to announce an emergency was a case of better late than never. Failure is not an option. Left unchecked, the worst-case estimates are that the coronavirus could kill up to 1.5 million people and turn America into Italy writ large. Writing in the Washington Post today, the Italian journalist Monica Maggioni underscores just how grim that prospect would be: "I find myself confined in a place where time is suspended. All the shops are closed, except for groceries and pharmacies. All the bars and restaurants are shuttered. Every tiny sign of life has disappeared. The streets are totally empty; it is forbidden even to take a walk unless you carry a document that explains to authorities why you have left your house. The lockdown that began here in Lombardy now extends to the entire country."

Some of the most important pledges Trump made were that he would offer up to $50 billion in federal funding to states to battle the coronavirus. He indicated that hospitals can now "do as they want. They could do as they have to." He added, "I'm urging every state to set up emergency operations centers effective immediately." He indicated, in response to a question after his opening statement, that he himself would undergo a coronavirus test, something that he had previously resisted. Trump also said that up to five million tests would be available by the end of the month-a lofty goal. The danger for Trump is that, as is his wont, he is overpromising. Still, the move to establish drive-thru testing at places like Walgreens and Walmart parking lots makes good sense. Trump's weakest moment by far came when he responded to a question about the lack of testing that until now has badly hampered efforts to stop the virus-"No, I don't take responsibility at all."

To help prop up the economy, he indicated that government purchases for the strategic reserve would be increased. Wall Street responded positively to Trump's remarks as the stock market rose, ending up almost two thousand points on Friday. But Trump also pooh-poohed a multi-billion dollar bill backed by House Democrats to address the coronavirus crisis, remarking that they "are not doing what's right for the country." Among other things, it does not include the payroll tax relief that Trump is supporting. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is vowing to vote on the bill.

For now, the measures that Trump announced today will mark a significant shift in his administration's approach to the pandemic. Former Food and Drug Administration head Scott Gottlieb tweeted, "Actions by White House today to sharply increase testing capacity and access, declare a national emergency, implement new steps to protect vulnerable Americans, support assistance for those hardest hit by mitigation steps, all very important. Will meaningfully improve readiness."

[Mar 14, 2020] This is a transformational moment in history that will allow American politics to socialize and turn away resolutely from the anti-government stupidity represented by Trump and all the anti-New Deal elements among the elite predators that have dominated politically since Reagan

Notable quotes:
"... This is a transformational moment in history that will allow American politics to socialize and turn away resolutely from the anti-government stupidity represented by Trump and all the anti-New Deal elements among the elite predators that have dominated politically since Reagan. It is a mistake to chose Biden, chief author of the Patriot Act, business-as-usual candidate, corporate lackey, weasel. ..."
Mar 14, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

jadan , Mar 14 2020 2:45 utc | 187

This is a transformational moment in history that will allow American politics to socialize and turn away resolutely from the anti-government stupidity represented by Trump and all the anti-New Deal elements among the elite predators that have dominated politically since Reagan. It is a mistake to chose Biden, chief author of the Patriot Act, business-as-usual candidate, corporate lackey, weasel.

Bernie is the only rational choice, but the American people are not rational, and do not yet understand the urgency of a radical left turn. Much suffering will be the result and a radical right turn could occur, although disenchantment with the blithering idiocy of Donald Trump has already deprived him of any chance of re-election. The virus is going to take him down before profound political embarrassment. He's a dead man walking.This may be true of Bernie & Biden as well, but I say this without prejudice.

The Chinese clearly knew the character of this virus before it became apparent to the world. They did not react so swiftly or dramatically to earlier outbreaks like SARS, swine flu, avian flu and etc. They had prior knowledge of the potential of nCov2019. The US did not.

Why do we have a National Security Council or a Department of Homeland Security if they cannot read the writing on the wall? It was an accidental release of a weaponized virus. The US should have taken a cue and reacted with similar conviction shown by the CCP. But we have no leadership worth a shit.

Our representative republic has suffered an embarrassment in this failure to protect the people while a so-called national enemy, a communist dictatorship, has demonstrated more effective leadership and greater capability to protect its people. This is more than an embarrassment. It is an indictment of our political system.

It is time to turn sharply left to social democracy.

[Mar 14, 2020] Branko Marcetic: The Case Against Joe Biden by Scott

Mar 11, 2020 | scotthorton.org

| | Interviews Scott interviews Branko Marcetic about his new book, Yesterday's Man: The Case Against Joe Biden , which explores the arc of Biden's decades-long political career. Marcetic explains that Biden has never really had serious ideological commitments, and instead has simply wanted power and prestige since he was a kid. This has led to a life of switching positions on major issues when he perceived that it would be to his benefit, as he has done on the wars in the Middle East, the drug wars at home, welfare-state economic policies, and "humanitarian" interventions abroad. All of this, Marcetic asserts, makes Biden the wrong candidate for today's Democratic party. He has already faced some scrutiny from his more progressive colleagues, but Scott and Marcetic know this will only intensify if he has to face President Trump in the general election.

Discussed on the show:

Branko Marcetic is a writer for Jacobin Magazine , a fellow at In These Times , and host of the 1/200 podcast . He is the author of Yesterday's Man: The Case Against Joe Biden . Follow him on Twitter @BMarchetich .

This episode of the Scott Horton Show is sponsored by: NoDev NoOps NoIT , by Hussein Badakhchani; The War State , by Mike Swanson; WallStreetWindow.com ; Tom Woods' Liberty Classroom ; ExpandDesigns.com/Scott ; Listen and Think Audio ; TheBumperSticker.com ; and LibertyStickers.com .

Donate to the show through Patreon , PayPal , or Bitcoin: 1Ct2FmcGrAGX56RnDtN9HncYghXfvF2GAh.

[Mar 14, 2020] Status Quo Joe 2020: Neoliberal and warmonger Biden is the replay of Hillary

Mar 14, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

You end up with Joe Biden, running on three things: 1) he's not Trump; 2) maybe he'll die in office and his VP will take over early in his term; and 3) Joe's cognitive decline appears slightly less severe than Trump's. Not exactly "Hope and Change."

Biden candidacy also means sweeping three years of Democratic messaging under the bed. The list of once-familiar subjects Joe won't be able to talk about is a long one. Russiagate imploded on its own. Impeachment centered on Hunter Biden and ain't nobody on the Democratic side gonna bring that up.

President Bone Spurs? Biden received five student draft deferments during the Vietnam War, same as Trump. In 1968, when his student status was wrapping up, Biden was medically reclassified as "not available" due to asthma. Yet in his autobiography , he describes an active youth as a lifeguard and high school football player. He also lied about being on the University of Delaware football team.

Trump's naughty finances? After leaving the Obama White House, Joe and his wife made more than $15 million , mostly via sweetheart book deals. They made nearly twice as much in 2017 as they did in the previous 19 years combined. The University of Pennsylvania gave Joe $775,000 to teach, and then was nice enough to grant him indefinite leave of absence from actually teaching. Biden charged the Secret Service $2,200 a month in rent for a cottage on his property so they could protect him. Since leaving office, he's made $2.4 million on speaking engagements, including $10,000 for travel expenses to the University of Buffalo. A speech at Southwestern Michigan in October 2018 included $50,000 in travel expenses.

Taxes? After failing to close the loophole with Obama, Joe left office to create his own S Corporation. As a result, he receives money for things like book advances and speaking fees not directly, which would cause him to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes as with salaries, but laundered as divestitures from a corporation he owns. As corporate money, nasty personal taxes are fully avoided, and the corporation can claim nearly unlimited "business expenses" to be deducted against those profits. Joe's S Corp also donated his own money back to his PAC. Legal laundering.

... Biden represents to many Democratic voters that they will never see health care reform again in their lifetime (his comeback drove a $48 billion gain for health insurance stock; they know.) They also won't see a woman president for who knows how many years. Income inequality will remain the salient characteristic of our society. To win, the 77-year-old Biden will have to break the record for oldest man sworn in as president (Trump holds the title now).


Robert Knox Rkramden66 2 hours ago

In 2016, Democrats nominated Hillary who was under criminal investigation. Now they're looking to nominate Joe Biden, who's under criminal investigation in Ukraine. I guess they're making a tradition of it.
Vapaus Robert Knox 23 minutes ago
In 2016, the DNC* nominated Hillary who was under criminal investigation by rigging their own primaries so rank-and-file Democratic primary voters never really had a choice (which DNC successfully argued in court is entirely their right to do as a private organization, defrauding their own voters with rigged primaries is their legal prerogative, a right which they proudly reserve). Amazing Democrats did not learn even after their shocking loss with Hillary to Trump in 2016, they want the "safe" establishment choice who is "electable", the same logic that led Republicans to nominate Presidents Bob Dole, John McCain, Mitt Romney...
Nelson 2 days ago • edited
Status Quo Joe 2020
Better things aren't possible!

[Mar 14, 2020] Yesterday's Man The Case Against Joe Biden by Branko Marcetic

Mar 14, 2020 | www.amazon.com

Yesterday's Man exposes the forgotten history of Joe Biden, one of the United States's longest-serving politicians, and one of its least scrutinized.

Over nearly fifty years in politics, the man called "Middle-Class Joe" served as a key architect of the Democratic Party's rightward turn, ushering in the end of the liberal New Deal order and enabling the political takeover of the radical right.

Far from being a liberal stalwart, Biden often outdid even Reagan, Gingrich, and Bush, assisting the right-wing war against the working class, and ultimately paving the way for Trump.

The most comprehensive political biography of someone who has tried for decades to be president, Yesterday's Man is an essential read for anyone interested in knowing the real Joe Biden and what he might do in office.

[Mar 14, 2020] Moderately Liberal, Extremely Dystopian Establishment Democrats and Big Brained Centrism by William Hawes

Essentially Dems "royalty" (few regular voters vote in primaries; mostly those are party activists) voted for the Obama-style neoliberal status quo.
Sanders was hampered by his support of open borders policies and his cozy attitude to the establishment democrats to the extent that he really sounded again like a sheep dog (Biden is my friend; which such friends who needs an enemy)
Mar 12, 2020 | dissidentvoice.org
As we approach the middle of March 2020 with Super Tuesday behind us, the moderate candidacy of Joe Biden has gained momentum, notching ten victories. The recent spat of moderate candidates dropping out (Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Bloomberg, Steyer) alongside Elizabeth Warren's decision to stay in for Super Tuesday (and dropping out right after) boosted Biden into the lead in delegate count, but it is unclear going forward whether he will be able to gain ground or maintain his advantage.

His campaign is essentially a redux of Hillary Clinton's in 2016, a dystopian offering of neoliberal establishment ideas: essentially the most harmful, bland, out-of-touch, uninspiring, and ignorant set of centrist policies. Biden offers nothing new, substantial, or exciting; and he himself stated to donors last year that "nothing would fundamentally change" under his presidency. By continuing to go with "moderate", centrist agendas, the Democratic Party establishment, corporate America, and mainstream media reveal they would rather lose to Trump than get behind the progressive choice, Bernie Sanders.

Support for Bernie Sanders is strong across all national polling, yet in past debates, his moderate rivals continued to shoot themselves in the foot by offering up the most ridiculous arguments against progressive causes. Regardless of his success, Biden has learned nothing and absorbed no lessons from his fellow moderates' failures or the excitement and promise offered by the progressive wing of his party. He is a living fossil. Like his corporate-backed counterpart moderates, his whole shtick is based on presenting himself as the lesser of two evils, offering the most milquetoast set of policies, and attempting to make voters fearful of Sanders' incremental reforms by casting them as socialist and authoritarian.

By representing Sanders' social democratic policies as "dangerous" as well as his supporters as being rude on social media because they actually care and are passionate about changing the direction of this country, the centrist hydra of campaign rhetoric and establishment media devolved into offering an infantile, McCarthyite debating style.

Much like the centrist triad of Biden, Buttigieg (who suspended his campaign March 1st), and Klobuchar (also suspended March 2nd), who are equal parts sell-outs, windbags, and sycophantic brown-nosers to the ruling class, the professional class choice, technocrat, pseudo-progressive Elizabeth Warren as well as what I'd call the "Silicon Valley candidate" Andrew Yang also represent the epitome of "big-brained centrist" thought.

Basically, this term represents the attitude of mainstream liberal as well as conservative candidates, commentators, and their supporters who believe they truly understand the world better than anyone else due to what they consider their meritocratic success, and use all sorts of neoliberal fallacies, deliver paeans to pragmatism and bipartisanship, mock social democratic reforms with calls to be "reasonable", and generally act as puppets of corporate and imperial power. Of course, it should be obvious that those who harp on achieving "realistic goals" are those that view anything involving a transformation of society involving redistribution of wealth from the rich to the working classes as prima facie unrealistic.

As for Steyer and Bloomberg, they too fall prey to neoliberal notions of rugged individualism; i.e., that their economic success is due to their own "hard work", and were so completely out of touch that they cannot realize the electorate is not prepared to substitute one billionaire for another, no matter what party they represent, or what good they claim they've been able to accomplish in their philanthropic endeavors.

All of the candidates, except for Bernie Sanders, completely debased themselves when asked if the candidate with the most delegates should get the Democratic nomination. That's how democracy is supposed to work, right? The person with the most votes should win, no? Not if you want to suck up to the ruling class, who are deathly afraid of Sanders' redistributive agenda.

Climbing corporate and political hierarchies as well as the fake meritocracy in this country inflates politicians' egos and warped the ability to self-reflect on their own abilities and intelligence. In psychology, this is known as the Dunning-Kruger Effect, defined as : "a cognitive bias in which people wrongly overestimate their knowledge or ability in a specific area. This tends to occur because a lack of self-awareness prevents them from accurately assessing their skills."

Terrifyingly, one of the consequences of this effect is that many of the afflicted exude rare confidence due to their overestimation of their skills that can be mistaken for dedication, passion, expertise, and conviction. While truly intelligent people constantly question and doubt their own ideas and preconceived notions, lesser intellects rigidly cling to dogmas in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. This was summed up best by Yeats, when he wrote: "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity."

In politics and social relations, this effect is compounded because the awareness of the suffering of others is blunted the higher you go on the socio-economic scale. The effect of ascending political hierarchies is not much different in a capitalist economy, because the higher you go the more beholden you are to elite interests. As studies have shown, Emotional Intelligence (EQ) declines significantly the higher you look on the corporate ladder. CEOs and business owners tend to have more sociopathic, narcissistic, and psychopathic traits.

This is why it is so hard to change the minds of the privileged and affluent: it is not simply a matter of intellect and rational argumentation to help bring change to another's belief system. If only logical persuasion worked that effectively! One must also help cultivate awareness, a sense of interconnectedness with the less fortunate, the environment and the universe, and a way to empathize with poor, vulnerable, and minority communities. One can prove empirically over and over how a socialist economy, universal healthcare, and a society of free association of producers would significantly improve the lives of people around the world. Those in denial still won't believe you, because their self-awareness and sense of empathy for the poor, dispossessed, and vulnerable has atrophied.

It is at this stage in history that the nihilism of rich liberals and conservatives as well as the professional-managerial class reaches truly epic proportions, threatening the survival of humanity and most species on the planet. The real material conditions and problems of working people are abstracted as inequality rises. The obvious cause of the immiseration of the population and the devastation of the environment, capitalism, is obscured. Conservatives and republicans are even more delusional due to their slavish devotion to the status quo and political and economic hierarchies, as well as their mythical belief that the capitalist "free market" can solve all manner of problems. Further, conservatives view any government intervention to regulate corporate monopoly power and lessen environmental degradation as an infringement on their rights, or inane arguments that sensible environmental regulation will hurt the economy are used.

The only option left for moderate liberals is to succumb to the dystopian vision of neoliberal thought which dominates center-left and center-right thinking, because it is all-pervasive. Even mild progressives who stray even a bit to the left (such as Warren) are instantly and predictably vilified by the press, by billionaires who literally cry in public in protestation of her wealth tax. This leads the opportunistic and ambitious (Warren, just like Obama before her) to tack to the center in order to secure donors to stay in politics and keep their jobs.

The moderate candidates know their ideas are viewed as trash by a significant amount of voters, so identity politics, as well as rhetoric and euphemisms about "structural change" are predictably trotted out. Neoliberal is now a dirty word, so liberal politicians deflect as much as possible and claim their policies are "pragmatic" and are willing to work across the aisle and compromise, in contrast to the "uncompromising" style of Sanders. These are the big-brained centrists, who let their ruling class donors do all their thinking for them as to what constitutes an acceptable and "realistic" policy.

Big-brain centrism is also a term to describe a type of neoliberal wonkery which emphasizes that only technocratic policy, which echoes the Third Way of Blair and Clinton, a centrism in which the patina of "progressivism", economic "pragmatism", and the appearance of caring for marginalized groups dominates. Increased political representation of minorities is a wonderful thing, but the moderate democrats will never grow a spine and ask for economic redistribution from billionaires to poor people of color. Only "moderates" can deliver the best model for liberal democracy, and everyone to their left, even the mild-mannered reformism of Bernie Sanders or Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, is an "extremist" or a "populist". Of course, this hodge-podge of power-hungry politicians, clueless think-tank sycophants, and conniving corporate vampires are totally beholden to elite interests, as they represent a class of smug affluent liberals and republicans who pray to the Almighty Dollar.

The big-brained liberals are hypnotized by the concept of bipartisanship, which is what Obama tried and failed to do for eight years. For the centrists, the idea that the two-party system is become more polarized is an unmitigated disaster, leaving only "far-left" politics in fashion (we wish!) alongside far-right politics (accurate). True progress can only be made "in the middle", what some like to call "radical centrism" and politicians should not pander to their constituents with "empty promises" and "populist rhetoric." What this radical centrism misses is the rightward shift in economics and federal policy which has been underway for 40+ years, and the consequent shift in the Overton Window: the range of ideas that are considered acceptable in US politics. In the 1960s, for instance, Sanders' reformism would have been seen as standard, middle-of-the-road liberal set of policies, rather than today, where social democratic agendas induce shrieking from rich know-nothings and talking heads who insist that Bernie is an authoritarian communist.

In this Beltway bubble-world, Sanders is simply the converse of Trump, a dangerous left-wing populist, who, in words of Buttigieg, "wants to burn this party down." What Sanders simply wants is to bring the US into the 21st century by adopting the social democratic policies of Scandinavia and most European nations. Yet, this is unacceptable to the "realistic" and "electability" thought-police. Big brain centrism is what it would look like to put Thomas Friedman and David Brooks in a room together and let them try to come up with federal policies. Their policies and worldview probably would not look very different from some of the ideas and concepts of each of the recent candidates, presented below.

The main thing to recognize is that all the moderate candidates, Warren included, are careerists. It's not about helping others, it's about them. If and when politics no longer is a viable career path for them, they will be happy to sell themselves as consultants, lobbyists, mainstream media propagandists, sit on corporate boards, and rack up speaking fees to parrot back to the ruling classes what acceptable discourse and policy is, within a capitalist and imperialist framework.

To see more examples of what I mean by Big-Brained Centrism, we will look at a statement, tweet, or policy idea from many of the moderate candidates, even the ones who have dropped out. We'll start with a statement from Andrew Yang, because it might be one of the best examples of big-brained idiocy.

Yangonomics: "Beware the Technocracy", The Accelerationist Candidate

Andrew Yang's entire campaign and many of his tech/start-up supporters represent exquisite examples of the big-brain mindset. In his final debate, he stated:

The entire capitalism/socialism dichotomy is completely out of date. The fact is when people were talking about these economic models they did not foresee the technology getting stronger, more powerful, and capable of doing the work of thousands of humans what we have to do is get the markets working to improve our way of life instead of following GDP and corporate profits off a cliff, we should be measuring our own health and wellness the way forward is a new human-centered version of capitalism that actually uses the markets to improve our families lives.

This is absolute garbage, cloaked within the progressive notion of redefining national well-being and taking easy shots at corporate greed. Capitalism is utterly and inexorably based on over-consumption and chasing profits over everything else; there is no way to make it "human-centered"

If we were to take him at his word of meeting in the middle, a fair response would be that the closest version of a compromise solution for the "outdated dichotomy" is the social democratic and redistributive agenda of Bernie Sanders. More importantly, Yang is attempting to erase two hundred years of public debate as to the distinctions between two radically different economic models and the invaluable contributions of generations of activists, scholars, and citizens. Perhaps he believes that by virtue of being a "successful entrepreneur" and business owner, he can see things the rest of us can't.

As for the "no one could have foreseen technology getting stronger " give me a fucking break. You have to be drop-dead naïve or just plain ignorant to think this. You don't think people who built the first trains, light bulbs, cars, worked in the first mills and factories, etc., couldn't see how these inventions and new methods of production would reshape the world? Indigenous peoples, radical artists, environmentalists, communists, and anarchists have been warning about the negative impacts of industrial-scale technology for generations. In Western literature, towering figures like William Blake and Henry David Thoreau as well as many others prophetically warned of the dangers posed by the Industrial Revolution.

What happened, of course, is that the monopoly power of capital never allowed for the more efficient distribution of resources to make lives better for the working classes, because there is little money to be made by helping and caring for people and the environment. Capitalism relies on parasitical master-servant relationships, exploiting nature and the working classes for as many resources and as much labor as possible in order to produce the most profit in the shortest amount of time.

Contrary to Yang's ahistorical word salad and his implicit assumption that people in the past were stupid, those who lived hundreds of years ago were just as intelligent as today (if not more so) and realized exactly where this was leading. In a very good piece for The Guardian, Yanis Varoufakis explains how Marx and Engels predicted our crisis over 150 years ago:

Anyone reading the [Communist] manifesto today will be surprised to discover a picture of a world much like our own, teetering fearfully on the edge of technological innovation. In the manifesto's time, it was the steam engine that posed the greatest challenge to the rhythms and routines of feudal life. The peasantry was swept into the cogs and wheels of this machinery and a new class of masters, the factory owners and the merchants usurped the landed gentry's control over society. Now, it is artificial intelligence and automation that loom as disruptive threats, promising to sweep away 'all fixed, fast-frozen relations'. 'Constantly revolutionising instruments of production,' the manifesto proclaims, transform 'the whole relations of society', bringing about 'constant revolutionising of production, uninterrupted disturbance of all social conditions, everlasting uncertainty and agitation'.

Like the rest of the moderate candidates, Yang is a product of his insular milieu, his ideology molded by anti-communist/Cold War/red scare propaganda and the fevered dreams of Tech-mogul capitalists. Being an entrepreneur apparently means one does not have to read or understand political economy, or basic history; one is a political expert simply based on the ability to "create jobs." He is the Silicon Valley candidate, those true believers in unrestrained automation who believe they understand the economy better than everyone else because they've spent the most time sitting through meetings about "corporate synergy."

"Sensible" policy must be in the center, as one of his slogans suggests: "Not Left, Not Right, Forward." Yang, Warren, and Mayor Pete were considered "the smart candidates" by the media and many liberals. Primarily because they mirror back upper-middle class narcissism and promise not to disturb the security and comfort of the affluent. This just goes to show how simpleminded and anti-intellectual mainstream political commentary has become. Capitalism has had over 200 years to develop the chance to become "human centered." It cannot because it is fundamentally set up to serve the profit motive over basic needs of people. Capitalist markets have always skewed the vast majority of benefits to the upper classes, with pipe dreams of wealth "trickling down" to the masses.

Yang could have made much more progress had he tacked harder to the left, but instead he falls prey to his belief in "human-centered capitalism." His UBI proposal was popular; yet as an affluent business owner and stand-in for the entrepreneur class, he could not manage to go against his donors as well as his own interests by creating a framework for price controls to fight against inflation and parasitical price-gouging. Despite his concern over AI and automation leading to massive job loss, he does not fundamentally address the exploitative relationship between employer and employees, or understand how increased digital and robot-led production will lead to new levels of coercive labor monopolization of the means of production.

One Mike Weinstein explains Yang's worldview quite well here , in a piece titled "Beware the Technocracy":

Yang speaks the language of the ruling class, one of inscrutable economics to uphold the narrative of technology as savior. His aim is cloak this in popular socialist ideas such as universal healthcare and income. Yang promotes this package as a self-proclaimed 'human-centered economy'. It's worth noting that the robot antagonists in The Matrix had a human-centered economy, too.

Andrew Yang is a privileged tech-bro, but he had one thing going for him, he was earnest, somewhat open-minded, and willing to listen to others. In this piece , his interviewer sketches out the basics of accelerationism to Yang, implying that this is the first time Yang has heard of the idea, and Yang responds with interest, wanting to know more. Yang, unlike the rest of the moderates, might be a know-nothing; but at least he can have a human conversation, and is at least open to learning about new ideas.

His refusal to include a social safety net for the needy, disabled, and elderly that could stand to lose under his UBI, as well as his refusal to endorse Medicare for All, is further proof of his myopia, however. See this summary of his thought, published in Big Think , or this one , at Ted.com , both of which specialize in big-brain centrism. Yang also proposed to raise revenue for the UBI via a value-added tax, which is a tax on consumption and disproportionately hurts low-income workers, rather than a more sensible wealth tax.

Warren: Feel-good candidate for the Professional-Managerial Class

Elizabeth Warren also tacked to the center, repeatedly describing herself as "capitalist to her bones". While the act of adopting progressive liberal values and rhetoric mixed with pro-capitalist corporate-speak worked in the past, for instance, for Obama and even for Jimmy Carter before him, there is no popular "middle ground" to occupy now in the Democratic Party. The 2008 economic crisis advanced political consciousness in such a way that mainstream liberals now see the ground shifting underneath them. Either you are a firm Democratic establishment centrist, or you're in the progressive/social democratic/democratic socialist camp.

Warren, straddling both sides of this fault line, could not seem to pick a lane. Her attacks on the banks and her wealth tax proposal would seem to mark her as a progressive, but her professional-managerial class (PMC) background pulls her to support the Clinton/Obama technocratic way of governing. Politics is about having big ideas and pointing out the systemic problems in society (which Bernie Sanders has, and does) and finding ways to implement them; not about having a series of band-aid solutions and incoherent plans for "structural change" without examining the root cause of our maladies: capitalism. No one wants to hear flip-flopping about a "transition plan" to shift to Medicare for All in three years. People want to know that you will fight for them on day one, because every day that you hesitate poor and homeless people literally die in the streets because of lack of access to health care; also men, women, and children are killed each day due to our imperial and frankly genocidal foreign policy, which she demonstrated hardly any basic knowledge of, or real interest towards.

Both Warren's wealth tax and her climate plan were considerable tamer than Sanders' plans. If you're going to challenge corporate power, even within the confines of US electoral politics, you can't excite the "populist" liberal-left with halfway measures. Voters were canny enough to see through her fence-sitting, hence her relative lack of support, even within her home state of Massachusetts.

One of Warren's most glaringly dystopian plans was for "fighting digital disinformation". There is a glimmer of a good idea hidden in the concept, in that she proposed penalties for those who engage in voter suppression. The real doozy is that she plans to criminalize "disinformation" and wants the corporate social media behemoths like Facebook and Twitter to censor and moderate political speech, as well as leaving the door open for government censorship of news. In this she parrots the desires of the Democratic establishment who, of course, are deeply entwined with the Military-Industrial-Intelligence complex. Liberal establishment figures have become emboldened since 2016: for instance Hillary Clinton views anyone who disturbs her as being aided by Russia; such as Trump, but also Jill Stein and Tulsi Gabbard, absurdly. Liberals such as Warren aim to increase paranoia in the populace, consciously or not, surrounding the idea of "foreign meddling" and seek to weaponize the election interference narrative against any politicians who do not support the ruling class. This is why Bernie Sanders was told his campaign was being aided by Russia, in effect to smear his entire campaign. The real targets in the "interference" narrative are leftists who want to redistribute wealth.

Agent Pete

Pete Buttigieg represents a special type of stupid. First, Buttigieg's policies (or lack thereof) show just how worthless a Rhodes scholar-level education truly is, just like it showed for Cory Booker. Just like Kamala Harris, Buttigieg is the offspring of a worldly and erudite Marxist professor who didn't learn a thing; in Mayor Pete's case, he decided to rebel against his father and work for the machine in the killing fields of Afghanistan and the corrupt scandal-ridden firm McKinsey.

There is much more to the Mayor Pete back-story regarding his intelligence and national security connections. He worked in Naval Intelligence in Afghanistan alongside the CIA. He penned an op-ed in The New York Times with a friend about visiting Somaliland and meeting with "local leaders." He keeps a map of Afghanistan displaying its mineral resources in his study (the alarm bells should be going off). He wrote in his book about visiting a "safehouse" in Iraq. Many foreign policy and national security figures backed his candidacy. And yes, thanks to Left Twitter, #CIAPete was blowing up on social media.

Whether or not Mayor Pete is a spy asset or not does not really matter. What matters is he thinks like them, and shares their worldview of supporting US imperial and economic domination at all costs.

How do we know this is true? Buttigieg had a line in a recent debate about "being inclusive" by taking donations from billionaires. Who honestly thinks taking money from billionaires is to make society more inclusive? Only a little slug willing to completely debase himself to his ruling-class overlords would admit this publicly; even Biden at his most incoherent would never blurt this out.

Listening to Pete talk in general was just bewildering. He imitates Obama's style at every turn, yet cannot match his soaring oratory and simply does not answer questions or deliver any tangible idea of what he will offer. He is the platitude candidate; every time he speaks it's like opening a fortune cookie, as he's full of vague truisms.

One of the most dystopian plans of Pete was a "National Service Program". Predictably, it is framed with patriotic, nationalistic rhetoric. The goal would be to increase the service program with the end goal being a "universal, national expectation of service" (from his website ) while also claiming it will be "strictly optional". High school and college students are already exploited enough in the classroom and at their jobs, and funding a plan so that young people can put a gold star on their resume pretty much sums up Pete in a nutshell. Here's his justification:

In the great unwinding of American civic society underway, and at a time when Americans are experiencing record-low trust in fellow citizens and American institutions, few -- if any -- single policy solutions carry the promise of democratic renewal more than national service.

A simple rebuttal would be to ask what is causing the "unwinding" and "record-low trust". It's obviously inequality, corruption in government, corporations which are legally bound to choose profits over people, little to no regulation of technology and fossil fuel corporations, monopolization in virtually every sector of the economy, lack of health care and a living wage. There is no indication that this plan would solve any of these issues, because the Oxford-educated Mayor cannot be bothered to think critically. Or, rather, an Oxford education blinds one to the fact that capitalism is the root cause of our systemic crises. Typical of elites, he confuses class conflict with national frailty and disunity, much like Trump. He is a true believer in the system, and projects his privileged fake-meritocratic upbringing onto everyone around him with a call to service. Any national service plan with Pete at the helm feels like a plan for assimilating youth into our Death Star corporate-driven empire; for creating a "McKinsey Youth" for America.

Steyer and Bloomberg: Upholding a Nation Run for Plutocrats, by Plutocrats

Today one must be for the poor and working classes to gain mass political popularity, like Sanders; or conversely offer a proto-fascist program of a return to national greatness, like the racist, money-worshipping, chauvinist Twitter troll, like Trump. That is why the elites are even more afraid of Sanders, because he and more crucially his base offer a clean break and a qualitatively better and more egalitarian organization of society.

The super-rich must be excluded from the political process because they will always put the interests of capital above the common good, and refuse to see how their actions directly contribute to the impoverishment of workers and the degradation of the environment. Any intervention by them, in the name of philanthropy or donations to politicians, proves that their money buys political power, social control, and makes a mockery of any notion of "democracy" in this nation. This is called an oligarchy. Which reminds me, Mike Bloomberg should no longer be addressed as "Mayor Bloomberg"; "Plutocrat Bloomberg" or "Oligarch Bloomberg" would be more appropriate.

Amy's Rage

Amy Klobuchar is a lot of things. She is undoubtedly driven, hard-working, and passionate about her work. The problem is the work she does is inherently bad for most people and she did not have any good policy ideas that differentiated her from the other centrists. Her other problem is that she has extreme anger issues.

Klobuchar is an abusive boss and her employees described her offices in Minnesota and D.C. as a "hostile work environment." The most she's addressed this is by stating she's "tough" and has "high expectations" for her staff. The clues to her barely-bottled rage are under the surface, as this article in The Atlantic opines: her childhood spent with a neglectful, alcoholic father severely messed her up.

This is not an uncommon situation, with a subset of leaders put into positions of power that were traumatized in childhood. Many become highly-driven over-achievers in the corporate and political worlds: it's easier to run from the ghosts when you're showered with accolades and money. Many also burn with rage, are vengeful and prone to irrational outbursts, consider any slight or unavoidable accident a personal affront, and crave domination and control over others. Much like management in large corporations, her former staff describes a brutal hierarchical and tyrannical environment where the smallest mistake could set her off into tantrums or the throwing of office supplies, forcing staff to do demeaning work involving her personal effects, and would regularly condescend and shame her employees openly in person and through email. We already have an authoritarian in the White House who needs psychological counseling. Klobuchar should not be attempting to seek power: like the rest of the corporate and political ruling classes, she should be seeking professional help.

Biden: Senior Moments

Let's just get it out of the way: Joe Biden is seriously slipping upstairs. I suppose that's not an anomaly anymore for presidential politics, as we have dealt with cognitive decline before with Reagan in his second term. We've dealt with not-so-bright presidents too: the entire George W. Bush presidency, and now Trump. If Biden becomes the nominee and president it will be a national, collective senior moment. I don't really have the words to describe a head-to-head Biden-Trump debate, other than it being extremely depressing, and that I would predict an increase in sales of alcohol. It would break the country on some visceral level. Nominating Biden could end the Democratic Party for good, so maybe there would be a silver lining.

Interestingly, Biden spoke to donors in 2019 and stated that "no one's standard of living would change" and "nothing would fundamentally change" if he became elected. It would make for an honest slogan, at least. Vote Biden in 2020: Nothing will change.

When moderate democrats say "be realistic", say it back to them: be realistic, Biden would surely lose to Trump. Only Sanders has a shot at defeating him, as Trump would absolutely eviscerate Biden and run circles around him. Even a broken clock is right twice a day, and Trump is as broken a person as they come; but he is smart enough to harp on Biden's mental decline and his son's shady job as a board member of the Ukrainian gas company Burisma, a position he had absolutely no expertise in.

Oh Canada!?: Trudeau Marches for Climate

The most ridiculous and absurd example of big-brain centrism comes from our neighbor to the North, however. In September of 2019, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took part in a climate protest in Montreal. He tweeted: "Today we marched for our planet, our kids, and for their future." It did not seem to dawn on him that his fellow citizens were marching to protest the lack of action his government was taking to battle global warming. You're their leader, Justin. If you want to take action, use every available mechanism in your own government to make a change. The people put you in power to do exactly that. Was he protesting himself? Was he admitting that even as PM he is as powerless as the average citizen to fight the fossil fuel industries? Under his administration, Albertan oil sands continue to be extracted, and new pipeline expansion is in place against the will of the Wet'suwet'en First Nations tribe who are currently protesting.

The Moderates Serve the Ruling Class

Just to stick with Trudeau's nastiness for a moment, everyone should read this article on the First Nation protestors in Canada fighting the Coastal GasLink Pipeline expansion. If you feel called, watch the embedded video. The RMCP point their rifles at nonviolent protestors- police who operate under the orders of Justin Trudeau. Make no mistake, Biden would be no different in the US. He serves at the behest of the ruling classes. It doesn't matter if it's Obama with Occupy Wall Street and the Dakota Access Pipeline, Trump, Trudeau, or a possible Biden regime: they all will intimidate and if necessary kill their own citizens who use direct action to resist fossil fuel expansion and corporate rule. It's all a sick twisted game to protect the property of the rich for the "sensible", "highly-esteemed", blue-check mark politicians and media flunkies.

Even if the moderate liberals gave one single solitary fuck about average working people, the environment, future generations, and the citizenry they pander to, they are too weak-minded because they insist everything be done at the glacial pace (as glaciers are now in rapid retreat in many parts of the world this metaphor may no longer be useful, thanks to them) of bipartisan electoral politics, and will compromise with conservatives at every turn to water-down absolutely any and every possible progressive or radical legislative reforms.

Like Trudeau, they all want to have it both ways: to be seen as a progressive, "woke" politician; a radical climate protestor in his case, while at the same time being central figures of the establishment, upholding an inhumane system, walking corpses who prop up the status quo, absolute tools of corporate and imperial rule. Which in the end means that they really only care about themselves: their fame, power, glory, and their money.

Bernie Sanders has his own serious flaws, most especially in regards to foreign policy. Yet he is the only candidate who speaks to the need to create a better, kinder, more reasonable and egalitarian nation; and the best chance to popularize socialism right now, however ill-suited he may be to the task.

Even Hillary Clinton weighed in on Sanders recently and said "nobody likes him, no one wants to work with him." It might be worthwhile for citizens and neoliberal imperialists like Clinton, Biden, Trudeau, and the rest to question what it means to be "popular" and what positive "work" has actually been accomplished in a Congress which hasn't cracked a 30% approval rating in over 10 years .

There are a couple of references from pop culture which sum up the sad but true nature of the centrist liberal and conservative politicians. Their commitment to strengthening capitalism at all costs leads to a hollow shell of a life. The first quote is from the movie Casino Jack, a fictionalized version of the corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff's life. When the walls are closing in on him, his wife reminds him there will be no one to help: "We have no friends, Jack, none. All we have are people we do business with."

The second set of quotes, which I'll end with, are from rap legend Tupac Shakur. In the song "Holler If You Hear Me", 2pac warns of the perils of compromising one's beliefs for material gain:

To the sellouts livin' it up/

One way or another you'll be givin' it up.

In the last verse, 2pac has a prophetic line, alluding to black militancy, manufacturing consent and the return of the repressed in American society. His words remain eerily prescient, and remind me of the way moderate liberals and conservatives view the rise of Bernie Sanders and socialism in the US today as dangerous:

And now I'm like a major threat/

'Cause I remind you of the things you were made to forget

William Hawes is a writer specializing in politics and environmental issues. He is author of the ebook Planetary Vision: Essays on Freedom and Empire . His articles have appeared at CounterPunch, Global Research, Countercurrents, Gods & Radicals, Dissident Voice, The Ecologist, and more. You can email him at wilhawes@gmail.com . Read other articles by William , or visit William's website .

This article was posted on Thursday, March 12th, 2020 at 5:26pm and is filed under "The Left" , "The Right" , Artificial Intelligence (AI) , Bernie Sanders , Canada , Capitalism , Corporate/Finance Criminality , Democrats , Donald Trump , Elections , Hillary Clinton , Identity Politics , Joe Biden , Meritocracy , Opinion , Presidential Debates , Prime Minister Justin Trudeau , Socialism , The Ruling Class , United States , US Congress , US Corpocracy , US Foreign Policy , US Media , Vote .

[Mar 14, 2020] Why Joe Biden's foreign policy vision isn't so visionary by Stephen Wertheim

Several good points on Biden foreign policy record. The author missed his dismal record, the record of rabid neocon, in Ukraine and Georgia. As well as his role in unleashing the Iraq war.
Mar 09, 2020 | responsiblestatecraft.org

When former Vice President Joe Biden presented his vision for "rescuing" U.S. foreign policy in Foreign Affairs, his grim performance in the early election contests suggested he would never get the chance to put his ideas into practice. But now that Super Tuesday has propelled his candidacy to frontrunner status, it's time to take a second look at what Biden is proposing.

Biden offers a proudly restorationist foreign policy. His main pitch is to bring back U.S. global "leadership" after its supposed Trumpian aberration, rather than to deliver what the American people need and increasingly demand: a clean break from decades of policy failure, to which Biden himself has contributed.

Ignoring Obama's failures

One would expect Biden to defend the overall foreign policy record of the administration in which he served as vice president. Yet one might also expect him to tell voters a few ways in which he intends to do things differently. Biden declines to do so. His essay ignores the debacles of the Obama administration, if he recognizes them as such.

Biden does not reference the chaos in Libya to which the administration contributed by bombing the country and prolonging its civil war, still raging to this day. He says nothing about how the administration armed unaccountable, allegedly moderate Syrian fighters for years, compounding the country's humanitarian nightmare. He does not acknowledge U.S. complicity in the 2009 military coup in Honduras that destabilized the country and sent thousands fleeing as refugees. To the contrary, Biden boasts of his success in helping to secure "a $750 million aid program to back up commitments from the leaders of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras to take on the corruption, violence, and endemic poverty driving people to leave their homes there."

Biden deserves credit for stating flatly that he would end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen. But he does not acknowledge how such support began -- under what he now likes to call the "Obama-Biden" administration. Nor does he grapple with the basic reason for U.S. involvement in a place like Yemen: Washington's desire to dominate the region by force, including by closely aligning with one set of repressive states in the region and making enemies of the rest.

Biden does more than miss an opportunity to acknowledge the mistakes of the Obama administration and explain how he would do better. He extends his nostalgia even further, and to less defensible terrain. "For 70 years," he writes, "the United States, under Democratic and Republican presidents, played a leading role in writing the rules, forging the agreements, and animating the institutions that guide relations among nations and advance collective security and prosperity -- until Trump." Does Biden really believe that President George W. Bush conducted a responsible, constructive, rule-abiding foreign policy?

Forever war, forevermore?

Almost all the contenders in the Democratic primary have pledged to bring America's endless wars to a close. Biden is no exception: he vows in his Foreign Affairs essay to "end the forever wars." Yet in the very next sentence, Biden pledges to bring home only "the vast majority" of troops from the wars in Afghanistan and the Middle East. That is, he signals that he will leave thousands of ground troops in Afghanistan and beyond. Nor does he convey any sense of how he might try to win the nearly two-decades-long war in Afghanistan that he intends to continue. The dying will go on, even in the pursuit of defeat.

In addition to failing to promise the full withdrawal of ground troops from Afghanistan, Iraq, or Syria, Biden staunchly defends forms of warfare that carry smaller domestic political costs but kill people and create blowback. Few foreign policy experts would reject Biden's advocacy of "using a few hundred Special Forces soldiers and intelligence assets to support local partners against a common enemy." But rather than lay out a vision to reduce the United States' proliferating counterterrorism operations, Biden makes a blanket endorsement of them. "Those smaller-scale missions are sustainable militarily, economically, and politically, and they advance the national interest," he writes. The word "drone" does not appear in the essay. One is left with the impression that a Biden administration would bring continued if smaller-scale ground wars and unlimited drone strikes and special operations raids.

On the whole, Biden threatens to repeat the pattern of the Trump administration of promising to end endless wars while waging them all the same.

Status quo in the Middle East

When it comes to the Middle East, Biden extends fewer rhetorical concessions to his left than some centrists would. He says nothing about America's intimate partnership with Saudi Arabia, even though this is the one area of Mideast policy most ripe for change given support across party lines for reducing arms sales to the kingdom and demanding accountability for Saudi human rights abuses. Biden's one line on Israel -- "We need to sustain our ironclad commitment to Israel's security " -- shows that he will maintain the status quo of aiding the country's annexationist march. He makes no mention of Palestine or Palestinians.

On Iran, Biden renders an ambiguous verdict on the assassination of Qassem Soleimani that nearly plunged the United States into a new war. He praises the U.S. strike for removing a "dangerous actor" while expressing concern about an "ever-escalating cycle of violence" in the region.

Importantly, Biden supports the nuclear deal with Iran, the signature foreign policy achievement of the Obama administration. Still, his rhetoric arguably seems designed to appeal to hawks more than those who support moving toward a normal diplomatic relationship with Iran. "Tehran must return to strict compliance with the deal," Biden writes. "If it does so, I would rejoin the agreement and use our renewed commitment to diplomacy to work with our allies to strengthen and extend it, while more effectively pushing back against Iran's other destabilizing activities."

This formulation allows Biden to claim he cleanly supports the nuclear deal but would also get tougher on Iran by "more effectively" countering its influence. Biden might instead have acknowledged a willingness to make concessions to Iran given that it was the United States that breached the agreement and continues to impose strangling sanctions on a country that was living up to its end of the bargain.

A missed opportunity

A bright spot is Biden's treatment of China. As my Quincy Institute colleague Rachel Esplin Odell argues , Biden avoids Cold War-style inflation of the China threat, which politicians and pundits from both parties have hyped over the past three years. At the same time, neither does Biden entertain ways to deescalate militarily over issues like disputes in the South China Sea that mean little to U.S. interests and risk antagonizing major powers.

Indeed, Biden does not wish to demilitarize U.S. foreign policy in any structural sense. He expresses no desire to cut the Pentagon's trillion-dollar-a-year budget, even though surveys have found that the single most popular foreign policy stance among the American public is to spend less money fighting wars in order make more investments at home.

The United States is currently obligated to defend approximately one-third of the world's countries, and informally dozens more. As long as the United States divides the entire world into protectorates and, implicitly or explicitly, enemies, it will struggle to cut its military spending significantly. That is apparently the way Biden wants it. His stance toward military alliances is nothing short of reverential: NATO, Biden writes, is "sacred."

For all the investment in war and weapons that Biden proposes, he is disappointingly shallow about the biggest global threat of all: climate change. Biden seems stuck in a Paris-style framework that has struggled to create positive-sum cooperation among nations. If the United States wants to lead, it ought to provide solutions to the rest of the world, whether by offering green technology at low or no cost, investing in the Green Climate Fund, or creating a Green World Trade Organization. By contrast, Biden's outlook is punitive and short-sighted: make sure other countries don't undercut America economically, and pressure China to stop promoting fossil fuels abroad. While the United States should pressure China in this regard (and, more importantly, to replace coal-fired plants within China), Biden disregards the greater need for bilateral cooperation in order to develop and utilize clean technology and limit the intensity of a security competition that could thwart the green transition.

***

As a candidate for president, Biden has an opportunity to put forward plans that confront the failures of decades of foreign policy made by Democrats and Republicans alike. Hopefully he will do so as the campaign proceeds. So far, however, it looks like he will not only prolong the endless wars but also restore and revive the ideas that generated them in the first place.

The author of this article is an informal, volunteer adviser to Sen. Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign.

Written by
Stephen Wertheim
Share Copy Print Related Articles We are Better off Empowering Nations, Rather than Bombing them To create peace and stability in other nations, we must elevate their people to ... by Daniel Khashabi The Opportunity Cost of Endless War is Missing From the Democratic Debates Foreign policy has been largely absent in the Democratic presidential debates . ... by Eli Clifton We're starting to end endless war in Afghanistan, now let's do Iraq An attack this week on an Iraqi base that killed two U.S. service members, and t... by Sarah Leah Whitson More from Stephen Wertheim Endless War January 7, 2020 Trump Has No Strategy in the Middle East, Only Vengeance Hawks hated the Iran nuclear deal because they feared not that it would fail to prevent Iran from getting the bomb, but that it would succeed -- and thereby deprive the United States of a rationale to dominate the region and discipline its foe. by Stephen Wertheim info@quincyinst.org

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[Mar 13, 2020] In 2018, Trump fired the entire US pandemic response team.

Notable quotes:
"... The New New Deal ..."
Mar 13, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

deplorado , March 12, 2020 at 2:17 pm

From Twitter:

Judd Legum @JuddLegum

WORTH REPEATING: In 2018, Trump fired the entire US pandemic response team.
These were the experts with decades of experience dealing with precisely the kind of situation we are in today.

Trump did not replace them.

He eliminated the positions.

https://twitter.com/JuddLegum/status/1238108656950001666?s=20

allan , March 12, 2020 at 3:10 pm

Another fun fact from Twitter:

Michael Grunwald @MikeGrunwald
I had forgotten my own reporting that @SenatorCollins
stripped $870M for pandemic preparations out of the 2009 stimulus.

[page image from Grunwald's book, The New New Deal ]

11:30 AM · Mar 12, 2020· Twitter for iPhone

There was some discussion here the other day about who's responsible for the sorry state of the CDC
and pandemic preparation in particular. Now, the Dems controlled all the WH, Senate and House in 2009,
so obviously they share some of the blame, but if Collins hadn't demanded this,
it probably wouldn't have happened.

I'm very disappointed with Susan Collins.

Louis Fyne , March 12, 2020 at 3:26 pm

Typical modern, bipartisan American short-termism.

In my opinion, things would not have been not better under a Hillary admin. -- -but at least we'd have a no-fly zone in Syria. USA!

ambrit , March 12, 2020 at 5:42 pm

Now we have a no fly zone in Continental Europe!

[Mar 13, 2020] Mounting backlush against Trump admnistration handling of the coronavirus epidemic will affect elections

Mar 13, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Clueless Joe , Mar 13 2020 14:11 utc | 2

Curious to read your thoughts about the impact.

Considering how pretty much all Western governments fucked up big time, I expect a backlash against current governing parties, if not a serious questioning of the ways current "liberal" democracies are working. And they won't be able to blame it on Putin's or Xi's troll army; everyone can see they brought this upon themselves.

This is the time where the Four Stages system from Yes Minister - which is blatantly used by our political leaders - is out in the open, because the consequences won't appear decades in the future but will be obvious before this year is over.

Of couse, globalization of trade, free-trade, free movement of people will have to be reconsidered. And last but not least, if people have to live for months under lockdown or quarantine, it might have an impact on the economic and productive system -- and also on the environment --, because our societies will have to focus on what's truly needed for them to survive as societies, and not on the fanciful bullshit like marketing, spin doctors, traders and countless bureaucratic jobs.

[Mar 13, 2020] In Ancient Greek Thought, Plagues Follow on Bad Leadership

Notable quotes:
"... Myths help their audiences understand the causes of things. As narrative theorists like Mark Turner and specialists in memory like Charles Fernyhough emphasize, people learn how to behave from stories and concepts of cause and effect in childhood. The linear sequence of before, now and after communicates the relationships between things and how we, as human beings, understand our own responsibility in the world. ..."
Mar 13, 2020 | www.truthdig.com
Zeus, the head Greek god, who lamented humans' tendency to bring suffering upon themselves. (Carole Raddato/Flickr, CC BY-SA)
Zeus, the head Greek god, who lamented humans' tendency to bring suffering upon themselves. (Carole Raddato/Flickr, CC BY-SA)
In the fifth century B.C., the playwright Sophocles begins " Oedipus Tyrannos " with the title character struggling to identify the cause of a plague striking his city, Thebes. (Spoiler alert: It's his own bad leadership.)

As someone who writes about early Greek poetry, I spend a lot of time thinking about why its performance was so crucial to ancient life. One answer is that epic and tragedy helped ancient storytellers and audiences try to make sense of human suffering.

From this perspective, plagues functioned as a setup for an even more crucial theme in ancient myth: a leader's intelligence. At the beginning of the "Iliad," for instance, the prophet Calchas – who knows the cause of a nine-day plague – is praised as someone " who knows what is, what will be and what happened before ."

This language anticipates a chief criticism of Homer's legendary King Agamemnon: He does not know " the before and the after ."

The epics remind their audiences that leaders need to be able to plan for the future based on what has happened in the past. They need to understand cause and effect. What caused the plague? Could it have been prevented?

People's recklessness

Myths help their audiences understand the causes of things. As narrative theorists like Mark Turner and specialists in memory like Charles Fernyhough emphasize, people learn how to behave from stories and concepts of cause and effect in childhood. The linear sequence of before, now and after communicates the relationships between things and how we, as human beings, understand our own responsibility in the world.

Plague stories provide settings where fate pushes human organization to the limit. Human leaders are almost always crucial to the causal sequence, as Zeus observes in Homer's "Odyssey," saying, as I've translated it, "Humans are always blaming the gods for their suffering / but they experience pain beyond their fate because of their own recklessness."

The problems humans create go beyond just plagues: The poet Hesiod writes that the top Greek god, Zeus, showed his disapproval for bad leaders by burdening them with military failures as well as pandemics . The consequences of human failings are a refrain in the ancient critique of leaders, with or without plagues: The "Iliad," for instance, describes rulers who " ruin their people through recklessness ." The "Odyssey" phrases it as " bad shepherds ruin their flocks ."

Devastating illness

Plagues were common in the ancient world, but not all of them were blamed on leaders. Like other natural disasters, they were frequently blamed on the gods.

But historians, like Polybius in the second century B.C. and Livy in the first century B.C., also frequently recount epidemics striking armies and people in swamps or cities with poor sanitation. Philosophers and physicians also searched for rational approaches – blaming the climate , or pollution .

When the historian Thucydides recounts how a plague with alleged origins in Ethiopia hit Athens in 430 B.C., he vividly describes patients suffering a sudden high fever , shortness of breath and an array of sickly discharges. Those who survived the sickness had endured such delirious fevers that they might have no memory of it all.

Athens as a state was unprepared to meet the challenge of that plague. Thucydides describes the futility of any human response: Appeals to the gods and the work of doctors – who died in droves – were equally useless . The disease wreaked havoc because the Athenians were massed within the city walls to wait out the Spartan armies during the Peloponnesian War.

Yet despite the plague's terrible nature, Thucydides insists that the worst part was the despair people felt from fear and the " horror of human beings dying like sheep ."

Sick people died of neglect, of the lack of proper shelter and of disease spreading from improper burials in an unprepared and overcrowded city, followed by looting and lawlessness.

Athens, set up as a fortress against its enemies, brought ruin upon itself.

Making sense out of human flaws

Left out of plague accounts are the names of the multitudes who died in them. Homer, Sophocles and Thucydides tell us that masses died. But plagues in ancient narratives are usually the beginning, not the end of the story. A plague didn't stop the Trojan War, prevent Oedipus' sons from waging civil war or give the Athenians enough reasons to make peace.

For years after the ravages of the plague, Athens still suffered from in-fighting, toxic politics and selfish leaders. Popular politics led to the disastrous Sicilian Expedition of 415 B.C., killing thousands of Athenians – but still Athens survived.

A decade later, the Athenians again broke into civil factions and eventually prosecuted their own generals after a naval victory in 406 B.C. at Arginusae . In 404 B.C., after a siege, Sparta defeated Athens. But, as we learn from Greek myth, it was – again – really Athens' leaders and people who defeated themselves.

Joel Christensen , Associate Professor of Classical Studies, Brandeis University

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article .

[Mar 13, 2020] US send 20,000 soldiers to Europe for killing practice (Defender Europe) while locking down US. Are they immune? How

Highly recommended!
Mar 13, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

charliechan , Mar 13 2020 20:36 utc | 115

charlie chan wonders why entire media world fear mongering.

The CDC test kits error 49% to positive.

And charlie chan not hear of one case of flu death. Did Corona Virus cure the flu?

US send 20,000 soldiers to Europe for killing practice (Defender Europe) while locking down US. Are they immune? How?

[Mar 13, 2020] Trump's Coronavirus Address, Blooper Reel Included The Daily Show - YouTube

Mar 13, 2020 | www.youtube.com

https://youtu.be/BWO6i8cH8SA


Dan L , 4 hours ago (edited)

"As calming as a firecracker dropped into a bag of cocaine" lmao I lost it there.. Hilariously accurate.

berlineczka , 4 hours ago

Fun fact: the European Union actually has no authority over health issues whatsoever. This is a strict Member State prerogative. The countries can coordinate voluntarily (which is what is currently arranged by the European Commission, but since there is no precedence it takes time) - but there was no way to make any decision about that in Brussels.

KingM , 5 hours ago (edited)

Greetings from Europe. In these hard times I'd like to thank Trump for providing such gold comedy material from just being a moron and reminding us all that it could always be worse.

[Mar 13, 2020] Daffy Duck. cartoon was made in 1953 and like many Looney Tune cartoon's, they are an extreme parody of life. It dawned on me that this cartoon is an almost perfect description of US Military policy and action.

Highly recommended!
Mar 13, 2020 | thesaker.is

Vaughan on March 12, 2020 , · at 7:43 pm EST/EDT

Recently, I was watching the old Looney Tunes Cartoons with my Grandchild and we were watching, "Duck Dodges in the 21st and a Half Century"
I don't know if you've watched this cartoon starring Daffy Duck. You can view it here
https://vimeo.com/76668594

This cartoon was made in 1953 and like many Looney Tune cartoon's, they are an extreme parody of life. But while watching this cartoon, it dawned on me that this cartoon is an almost perfect description of US Military policy and action.
I could write an article on this but I think we'll leave it as a note with a snide laugh to be had by all.

Patricia Ormsby on March 12, 2020 , · at 8:16 pm EST/EDT
Laughter is one of the best medicines. Thank you for this!

[Mar 13, 2020] https://consortiumnews.com/2020/03/06/stop-calling-it-a-stutter-dozens-of-examples-show-bidens-dementia-symptoms/

Mar 13, 2020 | consortiumnews.com

Dan Zimmerman , March 9, 2020 at 13:15

I have been a stutterer for my whole life. I consider myself an expert.

The person who wrote this article should research stuttering more.

Many of the things he is doing with his speech are things that stutters do: word substitution accounts for many of his gaffes. For instance -- he didn't forget Obama's name, he realized he couldn't say it so he quickly said "the president"
And word avoidance accounts for many other mistakes "you know the rest" was an avoidance of having to recite part of the constitution.
Part of stuttering is also becoming consumed with avoiding stuttering and having to try extra hard to keep on track. This gets much harder with age. It's mentally tiring.

All this is not to say that every gaffe is caused by his stutter or that he is a strong or week candidate.
This post is not politically motivated.

I guess the thing that bothers me is that the author obviously didn't talk to a stutterer or a speech therapist before writing the article. If she had she wouldn't have left out the mitigating factors that I mentioned. She could have still written about gaffs that he made that are clearly not related to his stuttering.
The fact that she didn't reach out to an expert and instead chose to merely list Mayo Clinic's list of mayo clinics basic symptoms was remiss and actually despicable.


Piotr Berman , March 9, 2020 at 18:05

It is true that a large percentage of the clips are simple word substitutions, like Senator for Supreme Court Justice. A smaller percentage is babbling, like the story about his leg hairs, or vinyl records emerging from some deep recess of his mind. Then you have thoughts that he says loudly, "you dog-faced pony soldiers", that resemble Turette syndrome.

Vinyl records gaffe deserves a serious discussion. Said intelligently, children may be provided with well designed educational aids to alleviate poor knowledge and vocabulary of their family background. But I seriously doubt if listening to a random "four million words" is beneficial. More likely, Biden remembered some simplistic explanation of the concept 40-50 years ago and in the meantime HE NEVER GAVE IT A THOUGHT. Biden never was a deep thinker (my impressions of him go back a while), and now, with age, he pulls out those half-baked ideas from the past out of context, and with some babbling.

To paraphrase probable candidates for this Fall, "Our nuclear was tired, but now it will pat my hairy legs and it will be as good as new".

-- –

A random non-serious idea. [serious problem] The ratio of retired people over working people is increasing, making it more and more difficult to provide the seniors with a decent standard of living and health care. We may consider increasing the retirement age. But how should we decided it? [non-serious solution] We can leave it to all voters. Any time they elect someone older than the current retirement age plus 10, the retirement age will increase by one year. Citizens can collectively decide when folks can still work, even at the position of the highest responsibility.

rosemerry , March 9, 2020 at 14:29

Too much importance is given to the present contrived situation (by the DNC, which would rather lose to Trump than have a "progressive" candidate for POTUS). Biden was only given the VP job by Obama to ensure they got the votes of people otherwise unlikely to support Obama. This also occurred with JFK choosing Lyndon Johnson for VP to help him in the South, as it did. Biden has almost every fault possible except for being a "nice guy", like Dubya Bush being someone you like to share a beer with!(even with a teetotaller!)
The US system is not designed to choose good candidates, and is not a system copied by other nations ,perhaps for this reason. Biden is terrible, Trump and all his GOP competitors in 2016 were terrible, Hillary deserved to lose and Sanders did not fight to win. Sanders is apparently now changing his emphasis away from what makes people want him!!! Biden cannot win, would be no better than Trump and will we all survive till 2024???

Tony , March 10, 2020 at 10:59

JFK did not choose Lyndon Johnson as his running mate.

He chose Senator Stuart Symington. However, before the announcement could be made, he got a visit from LBJ who was armed with a blackmail dossier provided by his friend J.Edgar Hoover.
Inga Arvad was suspected of being a Nazi spy and JFK had had a relationship with her during the war.

The fact that JFK changed his mind after a visit from LBJ is confirmed by Clark Clifford in his memoirs 'Counsel to the President'. He describes how JFK called him up to his room and told him he now felt he had a better chance with LBJ as his running mate. He was asked to pass on the message to Symington.

Sadly, this later proved to be a fatal decision for Kennedy.

Chili Dogg , March 9, 2020 at 19:27

Did Biden sound like this his first few decades in politics? Did he stutter during that timeframe? Not that I recall. The fact that he is doing this now, in his late seventies, and that he did not sound like this when he was younger, strongly suggests cognitive issues.

P G , March 9, 2020 at 21:43

watch old videos of Biden, even 4 years ago. His speech is remarkably clearer and more precise then. Stutterer or not, word substitution or not, he's clearly lost it and it's getting worse weekly.

CB , March 9, 2020 at 13:07

Today, NPR has been playing clips from Biden's terrifyingly incoherent St. Louis speech. He sounds like he's falling down drunk. Here's my transliteration of 31:10 on C-SPAN: "You're all part ma movemen a moob men that has a backbone the backbone of the Democratic Party a mooin's gun defeat Donald Trump." Hearing the clip this morning put tears in my eyes because it so acutely reminded me of the final speech patterns of my grandfather, a brilliant nuclear physicist who died of Alzheimers at age 78. I also cried at clip #33 because the pain in Jill Biden's eyes projected me right back into the helplessness of witnessing Granddad's cognitive decline. It's tragically time to take away Biden's car keys, and yet these endorsements are trying to buy him a Maserati. How can this nightmare be happening. Thank you, Caitlin Johnstone, for maintaining this much-needed reality check.

Chanel , March 10, 2020 at 22:08

Yes, please, Dear God, remove this man from the election theater. How? How is it possible that he has come this far?? We are all doomed. From the earliest debates it was crystal clear to me that he is in a state of decline and no match for Trump. It's true, the Democratic establishment is corrupt, so afraid of a Sanders presidency that they have to prop up a man in such a state of serious decline that we'll ensure another four years of Trump. Any of the other candidates would have been great – any of them – Biden was my LAST choice, not because I dislike the man, but my God, Trump, the narcissistic personality disordered wunderkind will utterly destroy Biden in a debate. Just in the past 24 hours Biden was caught in a disastrous nearly incomprehensible debate with an attendee in Michigan over gun control – he was belligerent, incoherent, and unable to even have a simple exchange of ideas with any clarity. Trump will annihilate him; all those with NPD are masters of winning debates.

Ira Dember , March 9, 2020 at 12:15

A 1-minute read about Biden's mental decline. "My Mom and Joe Biden", published at Medium dot com. I wrote it.

My concluding words, on the result if the Dems nominate an addled Biden: "Come November, there could be one of two terrible outcomes. The first is Biden could lose. The other is that he could win."

?Before his dementia onset, Biden blazed a decades-long trail of destruction across American life -- from Social Security and healthcare to disastrous wars and mass incarceration (read: Jim Crow 2.0).

So with Wall Street Joe as the Dem nominee it would be heads we lose, tails we lose. ?

Q: Which would be worse: a mentally sharp President Biden or an addled one?
A: Let's not find out.

Linda Lewis , March 9, 2020 at 11:47

Thank you for your work, Ms. Johnstone. Dr. David Scheiner, who was Obama's doctor, lends support to your hypothesis. About Biden, Scheiner told the Washington Examiner, "He's not a healthy guy."

"Scheiner previously told the Examiner that Biden "looked frail" during the first Democratic primary debate. "I sort of got the feeling he wasn't very strong. It was similar to the feeling I got when Republicans started attacking Mueller so fiercely," he said." (New York Post, Dec. 20) [That comparison suggests Scheiner is including cognitive ability in his use of the word "frail."]

Scheiner had concerns, also, about Trump's mental health. "[H]e wants to see MRI results for Trump to check for strokes, as well as a neurocognitive assessment. He raised concerns about the president's speech pattern and behavior, saying it may be a sign of neurological damage," reports the Examiner, and suggested "Something happened," with regard to Trump's visit to Walter Reed.

In summary, there are questions about the cognitive ability of three people who have had or could have extremely important government roles. That gives weight to Scheiner's recommendation "that all candidates for the presidency should disclose far more medical information than they do now and that it should be collected and disclosed by an independent medical panel." (Examiner)

"The stakes are too high," Scheiner said. "If they make a mistake because their cognitive skills are diminished, we pay the price." (Examiner)

see: washingtonexaminer.com/news/lot-of-issues-former-obama-doctor-says-biden-is-not-a-healthy-guy
NY Post link: see: nypost.com/2019/12/20/obamas-former-doctor-says-joe-biden-is-not-a-healthy-guy-report/

Anonymot , March 9, 2020 at 09:51

Thanks, that's a brilliant intensive lot of work.

However, you are looking a Very Important Point, the Democrats Establishment does not care. Biden was put up to defeat Sanders, not Trump. Hillary, with Tom Perez as her vocal cords, still controls the DNC. At all and any cost she wants Sanders out of the race. She could have put up Mickey Mouse, makes no difference, because whoever she backs is guaranteed to do exactly what she says once he is the party candidate. So he stutters. Her choice of Biden's VP will also do exactly as she says.

But there is a more important question at the core of the Democrats. We understand clearly that as the New York Times floundered its way to bankruptcy in 2014 it was saved by people never really named. They were a threesome, Hillary brought in 2 billionaire friends: Diller and Getty. Obviously there conditions required by the threesome – and it wasn't money, they didn't need that, they needed print space. They had a cause. They got what they wanted from the Sulzberger family, because there was no one else.

From 2015 the NYT was no longer what it had been, proud, objective, independant, investigative in all the badness they could find. It was no longer one of the 5 best news sources in the world. They changed their editorial and journalistic personnel to match the required causes. They improved their financial position, because one of the 3 was a past master at running big corporations that he pulled up out of the dust.

When the NYT dust settled, they often began agreeing with the Generals in Afghanistan and Iraq. They not infrequently published articles that resembled State Dept. and CIA press releases. And politically they began the fight to promote the 2016 Loser and defeat Senator Sanders. Unexpectedly, they are at it again and Hillary, the 3, and the NYT are again willing to promote a loser, win or not in the Presidency vote, they will maintain control of the Democrats establishment!

And through all of that, I never see anyone, but me asking who are the backers of Hillary Clinton? Who chose her? Who put her up? For whom is she really the voice?

JWalters , March 9, 2020 at 19:50

Thanks for that great info on the NYT. As for who is behind Hillary, she fits easily into the story of war profiteers here
war * profiteerstory. * blogspot. * com

[Remove all 3 asterisks and their flanking spaces after copying to browser's URL address field. Links to that website are routinely sabotaged.]

Eugenie Basile , March 9, 2020 at 09:39

A stutter or dementia ?
That will be trivial as soon as the Ukraine documentary of O.Berruyer ( promoted last month by CN ) will go viral in the US. The DNC will be ashamed of their preferred presidential candidate.

joe , March 9, 2020 at 09:02

What is an obvious sign that Biden has vascular dementia is his slurring of his speech. If you listen to most of his speeches, rallies, or even debates he slurs his speech. It is not a stutter, but it is an easily discernible slurring of his speech and one of the major signs of vascular dementia.

John Drake , March 8, 2020 at 11:34

Aside from the evidence of dementia, word salads etc., cognitive lapses, I find his aggressiveness toward members of the audience who confronted him very disturbing, especially at the young woman whom he threw a John Wayne misquote at. Can you imagine how someone in their early 20's felt when a powerful US Senator insulted her on national media. All she did was ask a difficult question. Then there is the guy he called "fat".
He shows disrespect for his audience. In that respect he is almost as bad as Trump.

Piotr Berman , March 9, 2020 at 18:35

Excessive irritability and paranoia is also a symptom.

AnneR , March 8, 2020 at 10:25

Frankly, dementia or not (and Biden clearly has some brain functioning problem) Biden is an abominable person and definitely no one who should even be considered presidential material. As indeed he wasn't until Bernie looked to be stronger than ever, which really bothers the DNC and all establishment (basically all DC Demrats). Heaven forfend the hoi polloi should actually get a real say.

What amazed me on on Tuesday night was the fact that so many African Americans chose to vote for him – given his racist track record: support for the anti-Bussing movement on the east coast (anti desegregation of schools) in the 1970s; Anita Hill; the Clinton anti-crime bill (and not unrelated severe cut backs in welfare assistance which impacted the African American poor – and paleskin poor, numerically more but proportionally?). His eagerness to support any and all US invasions, bombing, killing campaigns against peoples far, far from these shores. His efforts on behalf of the bankruptcy business – making it all but impossible for ordinary folks to declare bankruptcy (as a means to clear the debt decks) while businesses can do continue to do so, no matter how many it hurts.

One of a couple of questions that dogged throughout Tuesday night also concerned: all of these southern states – haven't they enacted, over the past few years, a variety anti-electoral registration measures, aimed at African Americans? So I wondered: are those African Americans, swayed apparently by Mr Cliburn, who voted so decidedly for Biden, of the middling classes? Of the well-educated? Possibly well health insured. What might have been the results had the poorer, unable to register for a whole host of Jim Crow reminiscent reasons, been able to have their say? Would they have gone for the Obama VP? Or Bernie and his M4A?

The other question hovering in the air: what part is Obama playing in this? He would definitely *not* be a Bernie fan.

Hmmm , March 8, 2020 at 23:29

Black primary voters also preferred Hillary Clinton to Sanders in 2016, so this isn't too surprising.

Re: Anita Hill and Biden's role in the Thomas hearings: Polls showed that blacks were more favorable to Thomas, both before and after the hearings, than whites. They were also less likely than whites to believe Anita Hill. So I don't think that on balance that history hurts Biden among black voters.

I think some of the other things you mention tend similarly to be of greater concern to left-liberal whites than to blacks.

Felix , March 9, 2020 at 08:09

So true.

JOHN CHUCKMAN , March 8, 2020 at 08:51

Suspected dementia won't stop the Democratic Party establishment from backing Joe.

Kamala Harris just added her unimpressive voice.

I don't think there is any doubt that the fix is in.

But they are putting themselves in a ridiculous position.

Even without the apparent dementia, Joe Biden is simply not an attractive candidate.

He has a seriously shabby side, and he has some embarrassing quirks – all besides standing for almost nothing.

I believe he would be Trump's own choice as an opponent.

Meanwhile brave Tulsi Gabbard is getting shut out yet again with rule changes.

Some democracy.

I wrote an interesting speculation about an alternate scenario.

You can find it here:
chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com/2020/03/06/john-chuckman-comment-we-know-the-democratic-establishment-has-plotted-against-bernie-but-it-does-no-good-to-run-a-candidate-like-biden-who-is-likely-to-lose-is-there-a-secret-plan-concerning-a-d/

Nomisnala , March 8, 2020 at 01:08

I would still vote for Biden over Trump as I also think that Trump also has signs of early dementia. I do see symptoms of early onset dementia, and as his wife is a physician, I am sure she sees this as well. I do think that it is a mistake to suddenly thrust Biden into the nomination. If one watches Biden work back in the 1980's when he was questioning Baker in Congress about South Africa, and Reagans position, you would see a Biden who did not stutter, did not forget things, and every time he could not complete a sentence, he did not say "look" and then change his thought. On a good day he may be okay. But on many days he does not complete the sentences that he starts.

Starshot2045 , March 10, 2020 at 04:19

Biden's wife is not a physician. She has an Ed.D. – a doctorate in education which she got from the University of Delaware when she was 55 – about 13 years ago. Why she runs around and feels she has to be referred to as "doctor" is not clear but it certainly is misleading.

JoAnn Henningsen , March 7, 2020 at 17:30

I read Ms. Johnstone's article and the variety of comments with much sadness and compassion. Whether I support Joe Biden or not, I believe his family and the DNC are well aware of this disaster waiting to happen.
Have the results of the 2016 election really brought the Dems to the brink that the Party will sacrifice a long serving public figure like Biden. This article is a drop in the bucket as to what is ahead of us in the next several months. And, there will be tit for tat. Imagine stories on Trump will be resurrected and expanded upon. We have sunk to new lows in America and the World is watching in disgust.

jessica , March 7, 2020 at 12:41

Joe Biden had brain surgery for an aneurysm in 1988. These gaffes are definitely not just a stutter or stammer. Whatever is going on is neurological, a sign of cell death (called apoptosis), and Dems for sure were going to cut Bernie out. Politics has degenerated to this ludicrous level!

L H , March 7, 2020 at 00:16

I'm a speech pathologist with specialized training in working with patients who experience mild cognitive decline and progressive dementia. I'm seeing signs of stuttered speech and of paraphasic errors. Mr. Biden had two brain surgeries in 1988 due to aneurysms, which a residual effect could result in speech or language disorders. I suspect that he is a high risk candidate for progressive neurogenic communication disorders.

Mr. Biden still speaks with intention and passion. He is trying to compete in a fast paced race that demands automatic expression regarding today's technological lexicon. It's obvious that his automatic language is centered around his years in the Senate and his early years in the White House. His brain is defaulting to his past and his memory of those details seem greater. He most likely tires easily and doesn't appear to be able to automatically recall his previous "go to" campaign speech rhetoric. The last few videos he reacted as if he is aware of his faux pas, even surprised or embarrassed by them. I predict that he will be sticking to a teleprompter and rehearsed, shorter passages with a slower rate. Trump has many of the same symptoms. However, he is mastering the use of shorter statements and vague, shallow repetitive vocabulary. That way, he doesn't stumble over what he is saying and doesn't have to rely on his memory.

I'm glad you are bringing awareness to this. It's concerning and we need to take notice. Vetting the cognitive competency of our elected officials is of paramount importance.

Allan Millard , March 6, 2020 at 23:59

Biden has no speech impediment. The difficulty in starting some sentences is obviously that he has lost the thread. He has a cognitive "impediment" which goes beyond the occasional nominal aphasia. The author notes some interesting examples of filling in memory gaps with false recollections, which poses a dilemma for Biden's campaign managers. He makes false statements and we are left with two logical alternatives: He is deliberately lying or he simply can't remember and invents. Either way he does not sound like presidential material.

DW Bartoo , March 6, 2020 at 23:45

I agree with Caitlin.

Joe Biden is displaying the symptoms of dementia which will continue to progress.

Were Biden anyone but the Democratic Establishment's chosen sacrifice to "pragmatic" defeat, his family would be striving to come up with the most gentle
and compassionate method they could find of taking away his car keys and lessening the obvious stress of his continued effort to avoid coming to grips with his failing mental health.

Anyone who has witnessed a family member, or of friend's families, who has developed Alzheimer's or another form of dementia will readily recognize, in Joe Biden, certain patterns of disorientation, confusion, word loss, an inability to complete thoughts and sentences, a quick readiness to anger in response to social frustration, and compensatory behaviors used by the person suffering from the dementia to reassure themselves that they are the "same" as ever, even as they increasingly worry and recognize that they are not.

Dementia is, most definitely, a very hard thing to come to grips with, as denial is usually the first response of the person experiencing its onset and, as well, for family members and acquaintances who are initially horrified when contemplating the implications attendant.

As I mentioned earlier today, in the comment section of the article dealing with lying and cheating, the graver and more disturbing aspect of what is happening to Joe Biden is the apparent failure of his family, friends, and those urging him onto the field of political battle to recognize his condition for what it is.

This failure of honest recognition is rapidly turning into nothing less than an exhibition of unfeeling cruelty, taking careless and ruthless advantage of a human being whose faculties, intellectually and emotionally, are likely to become more precariously diminished the greater the stresses placed upon them.

It is a sorry spectacle.

The longer it continues, the worse and more appalling it will, very likely, become.

As Caitlin points out, it little matters what Biden's political behavior in the past has been, what we now witness is a human being in decline and disintegration.

Even as we see the Democratic Party honchos opt, not for the systemic changes so very desperately needed, at this time, in this place, for humanity and by the planet (not that Sanders would or could actually deliver those things), but rather that the elite and party "leaders", the selfish few, intend, using whatever means "necessary", to retain their lucrative control and privilege, despite the massive destruction and great harm that privilege and control have already wrought.

Biden's public humiliation and the continued betrayal of the many is a small price, easily "worth it", in the eyes and calculations of oligarchic sycophants.

Marisol Marquez , March 6, 2020 at 23:05

It's not just the stuttering. it's also the memory loss, incoherent sentences and rambling statements. The man should retire and enjoy the time he has left with his wife. He is not fit to hold any office, never mind the Presidency.

[Mar 13, 2020] Jeremy Scahill Makes the Definitive Case Against Joe Biden

Mar 13, 2020 | www.truthdig.com

Robinson and Scahill both pick apart Biden's track record, beginning with his push for a "tough on crime" stance that targeted people of color, an approach that also in part explains his friendship with one of the most notorious racist politicians in recent history, Strom Thurmond. Biden was also an outspoken supporter of the Iraq War and was credited with providing the legislative inspiration for the Patriot Act by George W. Bush's attorney general.

[Mar 13, 2020] Biden as the guy on Democratic ticket is a very sad joke, but still Trump can lose the elections

Mar 13, 2020 | angrybearblog.com

likbez , March 12, 2020 9:31 pm

For those who are in "Anybody but Trump" camp in the current circumstances it does not matter much who will be on Democratic ticket. Biden as the guy on Democratic ticket is a very sad joke, but still Trump can lose the elections.

Right now Trump himself is his worst enemy. If comments to the article referenced below reflect sentiments of moderate and anti-war Republicans, Trump has no chances in November. Note that some even questioned their choice in 2016 elections

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/trumps-botched-coronavirus-speech/

Matthew Kuhl engineerscotty • 10 hours ago

What over the last three years – and specifically in the last three weeks made you think Trump was going to come out of this on top? That would require him to actually be on top of things, which he never has been. Ever. And you thinking he's just doing 'poorly' just highlights your delusion that he is capable of being even mildly competent.

failure • 10 hours ago

"The U.S. has the lowest per capita testing of any country."
Trump spent the first years of his presidency doing favors for Wall Street, Israel, and Saudi Arabia instead of focusing on the America First promises that got him elected. The trillions he wasted on advancing foreign interests was badly needed to rebuild American infrastructure, including America's disease testing capacity.

Brasidas • 10 hours ago

This is the problem and it has always been the problem with an uncurious President who doesn't read and who works off hunches and believes he's a "stable genius". He can't even be bothered to understand the contours of his own policies. After all, it's just a game show.

IanDakar John Achterhof • 7 hours ago • edited

A travel ban when the disease is here [makes no sense]. When infected citizens can travel from and TO infected areas:

Where some countries are exempt so infected foreigners can just go to one of those countries then come here:

Is not the right direction. It would be a half step forward in January.

Now it's [like] installing a faulty smoke detector in the middle of a roaring fire. We screwed up. We are still screwing up. Acting like It's OK and we will be fine is not helping.

I Am Sorry • 10 hours ago

I voted for him. I still don't know whether HRC would have been worse, but this is really, really bad.

john • 9 hours ago

All the hallmarks of a Trump operation, offensive, ineffective, poorly thought out and will be retracted in the end. The travel ban against China, did help when China was the only source of the disease, so kudos to Trump. However now the monster is in the castle so pulling up the drawbridge won't help anymore.

[Mar 13, 2020] Some freedom with facts: pease note that the current COVID-18 coronavirus was discovered in January 2020 and compare this fact with the White House statement

That might be a different coronavirus ;-)
Mar 13, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Doug Chance engineerscotty 8 hours ago

Oh, they have. This is from the email I got from the White House listserv:

"Some 150,000 illegal immigrants from 72 nations with cases of the coronavirus have been apprehended or deemed inadmissible from entering the United States since November," according to officials. These apprehensions underscore the need for border security and proper vetting. Read more from Paul Bedard in the Washington Examiner.

[Mar 12, 2020] The Democratic Party Surrenders to Nostalgia by Bill Blum

Highly recommended!
Trump does not have a party with the program that at least pretends to pursue "socialism for a given ethnic group". He is more far right nationalist then national socialist. But to the extent neoliberalism can be viewed as neofascism Trump is neo-fascist, he definitly can be called a "national neoliberal."
Notable quotes:
"... I am nothing if not a realist. The idea that Sanders might have become the Democratic candidate was always a fantasy, not unlike my youthful dreams of one day becoming an NFL quarterback. Even after Sanders' triumph in the Nevada caucuses, I never thought the party establishment would ever allow a socialist -- even a mild social democratic one, such as Sanders -- to head its ticket. ..."
"... Of the two campaigns, Trump's will be decidedly more toxic. The "Make America Great Again" slogan that propelled Trump to victory in 2016 and the "Keep America Great" slogan he will try to sell this time around are neo-fascist in nature, designed to invoke an imaginary and false state of mythical past national glory ..."
"... The fascist designation is not a label I apply to Trump cavalierly. I use it, as I have before in this column , because Trump meets many of the standard and widely respected definitions of the term. ..."
"... Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion. ..."
"... An appeal to a frustrated middle class that is suffering from an economic crisis of humiliation and fear of the pressure exerted by lower social groups. ..."
"... Joe Biden is not a fascist. He is, instead, a standard-bearer of neoliberalism. As with fascism, there are different definitions of neoliberalism, prompting some exceptionally smug mainstream commentators like New York Magazine's Jonathan Chait to claim that the concept is little more than a left-wing insult. In truth, however, the concept describes an all-too-real set of governing principles. ..."
"... Neoliberalism , by contrast, deemphasizes federal economic intervention in favor of initiatives calling for deregulation, corporate tax cuts, private-public partnerships, and international trade agreements that augment the free flow of capital while undermining the power and influence of trade unions. ..."
"... Until the arrival of Trump and his brand of neo-fascism, both major parties since Reagan had embraced this ideology. And while neoliberals remain more benign on issues of race and gender than Trump and Trumpism ever will be, neoliberalism offers little to challenge hierarchies based on social class. Indeed, income inequality accelerated during the Obama years and today rivals that of the Gilded Age . ..."
Mar 11, 2020 | www.truthdig.com
Now that the Michigan Democratic primary is over and Joe Biden has been declared the winner , it's time to read the handwriting on the political wall: Biden will be the Democratic nominee for president, and Bernie Sanders will be the runner-up once again come the party's convention in July. Sanders might influence the party's platform, but platforms are never binding for the nominee. Sanders has lost, and so have his many progressive supporters, myself included.

I am nothing if not a realist. The idea that Sanders might have become the Democratic candidate was always a fantasy, not unlike my youthful dreams of one day becoming an NFL quarterback. Even after Sanders' triumph in the Nevada caucuses, I never thought the party establishment would ever allow a socialist -- even a mild social democratic one, such as Sanders -- to head its ticket.

Funded by wealthy donors, run by Beltway insiders and aided and abetted by a corporate media dedicated to promoting the notion that Sanders was " unelectable ," the Democratic Party never welcomed Sanders as a legitimate contender. Not in 2016 and not in 2020. In several instances, it even resorted to some good old-fashioned red-baiting to frighten voters; the party is, after all, a capitalist institution. Working and middle-class families support the Democrats largely because they have no other place to go on Election Day besides the completely corrupt and craven GOP.

Now we are left with Donald Trump and Biden to duke it out in the fall. Yes, it has come to that.

In terms of campaign rhetoric and party policies, the general election campaign will be a battle for America's past far more than it will be a contest for its future. The battle will be fueled on both sides by narratives and visions that are illusory, regressive and, in important respects, downright dangerous.

Of the two campaigns, Trump's will be decidedly more toxic. The "Make America Great Again" slogan that propelled Trump to victory in 2016 and the "Keep America Great" slogan he will try to sell this time around are neo-fascist in nature, designed to invoke an imaginary and false state of mythical past national glory that ignores our deeply entrenched history of patriarchal white supremacy and brutal class domination.

The fascist designation is not a label I apply to Trump cavalierly. I use it, as I have before in this column , because Trump meets many of the standard and widely respected definitions of the term.

As the celebrated Marxist playwright Bertolt Brecht wrote in 1935 , fascism "is a historic phase of capitalism the nakedest, most shameless, most oppressive and most treacherous form of capitalism." Trumpism, along with its international analogs in Brazil, India and Western Europe, neatly accords with Brecht's theory.

Trumpism similarly meets the definition of fascism offered by Robert Paxton in his classic 2004 study, " The Anatomy of Fascism ":

Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.

Trump and Trumpism similarly embody the 14 common factors of fascism identified by the great writer Umberto Eco in his 1995 essay, Ur Fascism :

Joe Biden is not a fascist. He is, instead, a standard-bearer of neoliberalism. As with fascism, there are different definitions of neoliberalism, prompting some exceptionally smug mainstream commentators like New York Magazine's Jonathan Chait to claim that the concept is little more than a left-wing insult. In truth, however, the concept describes an all-too-real set of governing principles.

To grasp what neoliberalism means, it's necessary to understand that it does not refer to a revival of the liberalism of the New Deal and New Society programs of the 1930s and 1960s. That brand of liberalism advocated the active intervention of the federal government in the economy to mitigate the harshest effects of private enterprise through such programs as Social Security, the National Labor Relations Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, Medicare, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That brand of liberalism imposed high taxes on the wealthy and significantly mitigated income inequality in America.

Neoliberalism , by contrast, deemphasizes federal economic intervention in favor of initiatives calling for deregulation, corporate tax cuts, private-public partnerships, and international trade agreements that augment the free flow of capital while undermining the power and influence of trade unions.

Until the arrival of Trump and his brand of neo-fascism, both major parties since Reagan had embraced this ideology. And while neoliberals remain more benign on issues of race and gender than Trump and Trumpism ever will be, neoliberalism offers little to challenge hierarchies based on social class. Indeed, income inequality accelerated during the Obama years and today rivals that of the Gilded Age .

As transformational a politician as Barack Obama was in terms of race, he too pursued a predominantly neoliberal agenda. The Affordable Care Act, Obama's singular domestic legislative achievement, is a perfect example of neoliberal private-public collaboration that left intact a health industry dominated by for-profit drug manufacturers and rapacious insurance companies, rather than setting the stage for Medicare for All, as championed by Sanders.

Biden never tires of reminding any audience willing to put up with his gaffes, verbal ticks and miscues that he served as Obama's vice president. Those ties are likely to remain the centerpiece of his campaign, as he promises a return to the civility of the Obama era and a restoration of America's standing in the world.

History, however, only moves forward. As charming and comforting as Biden's imagery of the past may be, it is, like Trump's darker outlook, a mirage. If Trump has taught us anything worthwhile, it is that the past cannot be replicated, no matter how much we might wish otherwise.

[Mar 12, 2020] Trump's Botched Coronavirus Speech

If comments reflect sentiments of moderate Republicans, Trump has no chances in November.
Notable quotes:
"... What over the last three years - and specifically in the last three weeks made you think Trump was going to come out of this on top? That would require him to actually be on top of things, which he never has been. Ever. And you thinking he's just doing 'poorly' just highlights your delusion that he is capable of being even mildly competent. ..."
"... Trump spent the first years of his presidency doing favors for Wall Street, Israel, and Saudi Arabia instead of focusing on the America First promises that got him elected. The trillions he wasted on advancing foreign interests was badly needed to rebuild American infrastructure, including America's disease testing capacity. ..."
"... Fair enough, we Americans may be stumbling along somewhat unsteadily into unchartered territory, but the important thing is we're now stumbling in the right general direction. We'll make it through this, people - most of us at least. All we can do as we enter into this miasma is our level best as responsible, compassionate humans, keeping a stiff upper lip and a stoic constitution. Amor fati : as precious as life is, death is always and evermore its close companion. ..."
"... All the hallmarks of a Trump operation, offensive, ineffective, poorly thought out and will be retracted in the end. The travel ban against China, did help when China was the only source of the disease, so kudos to Trump. However now the monster is in the castle so pulling up the drawbridge won't help anymore. ..."
Mar 12, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

engineerscotty 11 hours ago

Before the speech, I opined on Dreher's blog that Trump still had a chance of coming out of this crisis on top politically--that he might demonstrably use the bully pulpit of his office in a constructive manner, and be able to claim credit for a successful outcome.

After the speech... well, it was widely panned in the more liberal sectors of the media, and FOX News has this bit of tripe as its current headline: https://www.foxnews.com/us/... The speech is mentioned in a sidebar, without commentary. When the friendly media outlets ignore you, it's a good sign you've done poorly.

Matthew Kuhl engineerscotty 10 hours ago
What over the last three years - and specifically in the last three weeks made you think Trump was going to come out of this on top? That would require him to actually be on top of things, which he never has been. Ever. And you thinking he's just doing 'poorly' just highlights your delusion that he is capable of being even mildly competent.
marku52 Matthew Kuhl 10 hours ago
When you base your team selection on political loyalty, you get fawning toadies. Mr Redfield (CDC), a homophobe associated with a group that regards HIV as God's judgement on gay people, was never going to be competent at epidemic control. He doesn't even believe in it.
engineerscotty Matthew Kuhl 9 hours ago
Note, I said "still had a chance". Such an observation should not be interpreted as any sort of praise for Trump, but as an observation that should he manage to string a couple coherent sentences together on the teevee, more than a few talking heads in the newsmejia will offer unto him hosannas about being "presidential".

Lots of people, still, grade him on the curve. And that's including a fair number that aren't die-hard partisans... but would rather have an exciting horse race to write about this November.

But other than that, I agree with you. He's an imbecile, and isn't going to stop being an imbecile over this. But lots of people will offer up the tiniest shreds to argue otherwise.

IanDakar engineerscotty 6 hours ago
Don't feel bad. That's where I was when he declared we were leaving Syria the first time (when nothing happened). I thought "Well if he carries this out he has a chance of doing something good."

By the other time he said we were leaving Syria (when we did....not and decided to let a wast start and steal oil fields) I was done. Now I don't even trust the afgan deal to work out.

The raw mess up speech is a new low. He's normally good at reading a script.

Feral Finster 10 hours ago
Correct me if I am wrong, but we can still travel to South Korea, etc. all we want?

Also, I know that Trump owns numerous properties in the UK, but how does that stack up to Ireland (also, IIRC, not subject to the ban) and the rest of Europe? Does that explain anything, or is it just a way of supporting his fellow imbecile BoJo?

Good thing that the UK doesn't get any foreign travelers.

engineerscotty Feral Finster 10 hours ago
Boris Johnson's government, to his credit, appears to be handling the crisis well, or at least competently. While there is much that BoJo and Trump have in common, there is also much they do not.
KevinS engineerscotty 10 hours ago
Boris can be a bit clownish at times....but he is not a stupid person, unlike you know who....
HenionJD KevinS 8 hours ago
Neither leader is stupid. One is simply unprincipled and the other suffers from a profound personality disorder. One can rise to the crisis when it's in his interest to do so and the other thinks the crisis is a plot to make him look bad.
Per engineerscotty 7 hours ago
i think you should recheck your sources on that topic and widen the search to other sources too. The brit bobs i have spoken with say the response there is a joke.. I will not bet my life on this tho, bc i am in Norway..

The response here have been slow but it seems to get better, no mass testing yet so we dont know the real number of sick at all yet..

JonF311 engineerscotty 6 hours ago
Johnson may be a bombastic boob at times, but he's been in government for a while and knows his way around the place.
Rkramden66 Feral Finster 9 hours ago
No kidding. 1M foreign visitors on any given day in London, I seem to remember. Makes no sense at all, except in crude political terms.
failure 10 hours ago
"The U.S. has the lowest per capita testing of any country."

Trump spent the first years of his presidency doing favors for Wall Street, Israel, and Saudi Arabia instead of focusing on the America First promises that got him elected. The trillions he wasted on advancing foreign interests was badly needed to rebuild American infrastructure, including America's disease testing capacity.

Brasidas 10 hours ago
This is the problem and it has always been the problem with an uncurious President who doesn't read and who works off hunches and believes he's a "stable genius". He can't even be bothered to understand the contours of his own policies. After all, it's just a game show.
Nomuka Brasidas 8 hours ago
In a few short lines, you've captured the situation perfectly. Our president is worse than ineffectual....
John Achterhof 10 hours ago
Fair enough, we Americans may be stumbling along somewhat unsteadily into unchartered territory, but the important thing is we're now stumbling in the right general direction. We'll make it through this, people - most of us at least. All we can do as we enter into this miasma is our level best as responsible, compassionate humans, keeping a stiff upper lip and a stoic constitution. Amor fati : as precious as life is, death is always and evermore its close companion.
IanDakar John Achterhof 7 hours ago • edited
A travel ban when the disease is here [makes no sense]. When infected citizens can travel from and TO infected areas:

Where some countires are exempt so infected foreigners can just go to one of those countries then come here:

Is not the right direction. It would be a half step forward in January. Now it's [like] installing a faulty smoke detector in the middle of a roaring fire. We screwed up. We are still screwing up. Acting like It's ok and we will be fine is not helping.

We don't need motivation posters. We don't need panic. We need the public to realize this is NOT ok and to get these people at the top to realize this is Not Ok behavior.

THEN, we can buckle down and hope for the best with that poster

I Am Sorry 10 hours ago
I voted for him. I still don't know whether HRC would have been worse, but this is really, really bad.
john 9 hours ago
All the hallmarks of a Trump operation, offensive, ineffective, poorly thought out and will be retracted in the end. The travel ban against China, did help when China was the only source of the disease, so kudos to Trump. However now the monster is in the castle so pulling up the drawbridge won't help anymore.
engineerscotty john 9 hours ago
I'm surprised Mexicans haven't been blamed for this yet.
Doug Chance engineerscotty 8 hours ago
Oh, they have. This is from the email I got from the White House listserv:

"Some 150,000 illegal immigrants from 72 nations with cases of the coronavirus have been apprehended or deemed inadmissible from entering the United States since November," according to officials. These apprehensions underscore the need for border security and proper vetting. Read more from Paul Bedard in the Washington Examiner.

engineerscotty Doug Chance 7 hours ago
It's one of those carefully-constructed sentences that can be ambiguously parsed.

If you read it as "Some 150,000 illegal immigrants from (72 nations with cases of the coronavirus) have been apprehended", it's likely true but unremarkable. Many nations now have coronovirus cases.

If you read it as "Some 150,000 (illegal immigrants from 72 nations) with cases of the coronavirus have been apprehended", it would be remarkable if true, but is absolutely false based on what we currently know.

And the November reference is particularly cheeky.

FL Transplant john 7 hours ago
But the travel ban wasn't against China--meaning anyone there who could have been exposed--it was against Chinese from anywhere in the country. Americans and others potentially infected were free to enter the US from impacted areas with no restrictions--quarantines, etc.

Just like the current ban against Europe. US citizens/permanent residents are free to travel to/from without restriction. We're only banning nationals from European countries. And there's going to be a massive influx of those eligible returning from Europe in the next couple of days--do you think any of them might, just might, be bring Covid 19 back along with themselves?

Name 9 hours ago
When is the next MAGA Rally?
Chris Chuba Name 7 hours ago
Don't worry, just keep watching FOX and you'll see it broadcasted on prime time.
Old Man Shadow 8 hours ago
Before I watched his speech, I thought that this was a serious situation, but we should avoid panic.

After I watched his speech, my impulse was to run out, start hording, and lock myself and my family in our home for the next six months.

This was not a good speech is what I'm saying.

Donna Saggia 7 hours ago
Health care under uber-capitalism. We seem to have all the money in the world to throw at military toys, but very little for the health of the nation. If Americans keep voting for these priorities, the inevitable consequences will prevail. The US may be just a bad social experiment.
Chris Chuba 7 hours ago
As others have stated, no mention of paid sick leave which would go a long way towards encouraging infected people to self-quarantine rather than go to work and keep spreading the virus.

On an even more dire topic, a U.S. General is blaming Iran for a rocket attack in Iraq that killed two U.S. serviceman. This is Trump's 'red line', if everyone does what they have publicly stated then Trump just gave ISIS the golden key to force us into a war with Iran.

IanDakar Chris Chuba 7 hours ago
The US House has a bill to offer paid leave among other measures. Republicans have said it goes beyond the scope of what's needed. The Senate has said that they aren't reviewing anything until after the week long break they are about to have.

So yeah.

Ken T Feral Finster 2 hours ago
True market insiders easily make just as much money in a downward moving market as in an upward moving market. As long as it is moving , that is all that matters. That means that people are buying and selling, and Wall Street is profiting from every transaction. The people being hurt the most by the market losses are the middle class folks whose 401k's are losing value.
PeerReview 4 hours ago
Trump is much better at doing stuff for Israel and Saudi Arabia. He always has plenty of time, money, and focus for doing what they want him to do. If he spent as much time controlling our borders and defending the lives, health, and economic well-being of Americans as he does on fighting wars for Israel and Saudi Arabia, we'd be better prepared for this virus.

[Mar 12, 2020] How 'Bernie Bros' Were Invented, Then Smeared as Sexist, Racist and unAmerican as Borscht by Jonathan Cook

Looks like DNC run a pretty sophisticated smear campaign against Sanders ...
Notable quotes:
"... It really isn't about who the candidates are – hurtful as that may sound to some in our identity-saturated times. It is about what the candidate might try to do once in office. In truth, the very fact that nowadays we are allowed to focus on identity to our heart's content should be warning enough that the establishment is only too keen for us to exhaust our energies in promoting divisions based on those identities ..."
"... The Republican and Democratic leaderships are there to ensure that, before a candidate gets selected to compete in the parties' name, he or she has proven they are power-friendly. Two candidates, each vetted for obedience to power. ..."
Mar 12, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

The Democratic presidential nomination race is a fascinating case study in how power works – not least, because the Democratic party leaders are visibly contriving to impose one candidate, Joe Biden, as the party's nominee, even as it becomes clear that he is no longer mentally equipped to run a local table tennis club let alone the world's most powerful nation.

Biden's campaign is a reminder that power is indivisible. Donald Trump or Joe Biden for president – it doesn't matter to the power-establishment. An egomaniacal man-child (Trump), representing the billionaires, or an elder suffering rapid neurological degeneration (Biden), representing the billionaires, are equally useful to power. A woman will do too, or a person of colour. The establishment is no longer worried about who stands on stage – so long as that person is not a Bernie Sanders in the US, or a Jeremy Corbyn in the UK.

It really isn't about who the candidates are – hurtful as that may sound to some in our identity-saturated times. It is about what the candidate might try to do once in office. In truth, the very fact that nowadays we are allowed to focus on identity to our heart's content should be warning enough that the establishment is only too keen for us to exhaust our energies in promoting divisions based on those identities. What concerns it far more is that we might overcome those divisions and unify against it, withdrawing our consent from an establishment committed to endless asset-stripping of our societies and the planet.

Neither Biden nor Trump will obstruct the establishment, because they are at its very heart. The Republican and Democratic leaderships are there to ensure that, before a candidate gets selected to compete in the parties' name, he or she has proven they are power-friendly. Two candidates, each vetted for obedience to power.

Although a pretty face or a way with words are desirable, incapacity and incompetence are no barrier to qualifying, as the two white men groomed by their respective parties demonstrate. Both have proved they will favour the establishment, both will pursue near-enough the same policies , both are committed to the status quo, both have demonstrated their indifference to the future of life on Earth. What separates the candidates is not real substance, but presentation styles – the creation of the appearance of difference, of choice.

Policing the debate

The subtle dynamics of how the Democratic nomination race is being rigged are interesting. Especially revealing are the ways the Democratic leadership protects establishment power by policing the terms of debate: what can be said, and what can be thought; who gets to speak and whose voices are misrepresented or demonised. Manipulation of language is key.

As I pointed out in my previous post , the establishment's power derives from its invisibility. Scrutiny is kryptonite to power.

The only way we can interrogate power is through language, and the only way we can communicate our conclusions to others is through words – as I am doing right now. And therefore our strength – our ability to awaken ourselves from the trance of power – must be subverted by the establishment, transformed into our Achilles' heel, a weakness.

The treatment of Bernie Sanders and his supporters by the Democratic establishment – and those who eagerly repeat its talking points – neatly illustrates how this can be done in manifold ways.

Remember this all started back in 2016, when Sanders committed the unforgivable sin of challenging the Democratic leadership's right simply to anoint Hillary Clinton as the party's presidential candidate. In those days, the fault line was obvious and neat: Bernie was a man, Clinton a woman. She would be the first woman president. The only party members who might wish to deny her that historic moment, and back Sanders instead, had to be misogynist men. They were supposedly venting their anti-women grudge against Clinton, who in turn was presented to women as a symbol of their oppression by men.

And so was born a meme: the "Bernie Bros". It rapidly became shorthand for suggesting – contrary to all evidence – that Sanders' candidacy appealed chiefly to angry, entitled white men. In fact, as Sanders' 2020 run has amply demonstrated, support for him has been more diverse than for the many other Democratic candidates who sought the nomination.

So important what @ewarren is saying to @maddow about the dangerous, threatening, ugly faction among the Bernie supporters. Sanders either cannot or will not control them. pic.twitter.com/LYDXlLJ7bi

-- Mia Farrow (@MiaFarrow) March 6, 2020

How contrived the 2016 identity-fuelled contest was should have been clear, had anyone been allowed to point that fact out. This wasn't really about the Democratic leadership respecting Clinton's identity as a woman. It was about them paying lip service to her identity as a woman, while actually promoting her because she was a reliable warmonger and Wall Street functionary . She was useful to power.

If the debate had really been driven by identity politics, Sanders had a winning card too: he is Jewish. That meant he could be the United States' first Jewish president. In a fair identity fight, it would have been a draw between the two. The decision about who should represent the Democratic party would then have had to be decided based on policies, not identity. But party leaders did not want Clinton's actual policies, or her political history, being put under the microscope for very obvious reasons.

Weaponisation of identity

The weaponisation of identity politics is even more transparent in 2020. Sanders is still Jewish, but his main opponent, Joe Biden, really is simply a privileged white man. Were the Clinton format to be followed again by Democratic officials, Sanders would enjoy an identity politics trump card. And yet Sanders is still being presented as just another white male candidate , no different from Biden.

(We could take this argument even further and note that the other candidate who no one, least of all the Democratic leadership, ever mentions as still in the race is Tulsi Gabbard, a woman of colour. The Democratic party has worked hard to make her as invisible as possible in the primaries because, of all the candidates, she is the most vocal and articulate opponent of foreign wars. That has deprived her of the chance to raise funds and win delegates.)

. @DanaPerino I'm not quite sure why you're telling FOX viewers that Elizabeth Warren is the last female candidate in the Dem primary. Is it because you believe a fake indigenous woman of color is "real" and the real indigenous woman of color in this race is fake? pic.twitter.com/VKCxy2JzFe

-- Tulsi Gabbard 🌺 (@TulsiGabbard) March 3, 2020

Sanders' Jewish identity isn't celebrated because he isn't useful to the power-establishment. What's far more important to them – and should be to us too – are his policies, which might limit their power to wage war, exploit workers and trash the planet.

But it is not just that Democratic Party leaders are ignoring Sanders' Jewish identity. They are also again actively using identity politics against him, and in many different ways.

The 'black' establishment?

Bernie Sanders' supporters have been complaining for some time – based on mounting evidence – that the Democratic leadership is far from neutral between Sanders and Biden. Because it has a vested interest in the outcome, and because it is the part of the power-establishment, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is exercising its influence in favour of Biden. And because power prefers darkness, the DNC is doing its best to exercise that power behind the scenes, out of sight – at least, unseen by those who still rely on the "mainstream" corporate media, which is also part of the power-establishment. As should be clear to anyone watching, the nomination proceedings are being controlled to give Biden every advantage and to obstruct Sanders.

But the Democratic leadership is not only dismissing out of hand these very justified complaints from Bernie Sanders' supporters but also turning these complaints against them, as further evidence of their – and his – illegitimacy. A new way of doing this emerged in the immediate wake of Biden winning South Carolina on the back of strong support from older black voters – Biden's first state win and a launchpad for his Super Tuesday bid a few days later.

It was given perfect expression from Symone Sanders, who despite her surname is actually a senior adviser to Biden's campaign. She is also black. This is what she wrote: "People who keep referring to Black voters as 'the establishment' are tone deaf and have obviously learned nothing."

People who keep referring to Black voters as "the establishment" are tone deaf and have obviously learned nothing.

-- Symone D. Sanders (@SymoneDSanders) March 3, 2020

Her reference to generic "people" was understood precisely by both sides of the debate as code for those "Bernie Bros". Now, it seems, Bernie Sanders' supporters are not simply misogynists, they are potential recruits to the Ku Klux Klan.

The tweet went viral, even though in the fiercely contested back-and-forth below her tweet no one could produce a single example of anyone actually saying anything like the sentiment ascribed by Symone Sanders to "Bernie Bros". But then, tackling bigotry was not her real goal. This wasn't meant to be a reflection on a real-world talking-point by Bernie supporters. It was high-level gaslighting by a senior Democratic party official of the party's own voters.

Survival of the fittest smear

What Symone Sanders was really trying to do was conceal power – the fact that the DNC is seeking to impose its chosen candidate on party members. As occurred during the confected women-men, Clinton vs "Bernie Bros" confrontation, Symone Sanders was field-testing a similar narrative management tool as part of the establishment's efforts to hone it for improved effect. The establishment has learnt – through a kind of survival of the fittest smear – that divide-and-rule identity politics is the perfect way to shield its influence as it favours a status-quo candidate (Biden or Clinton) over a candidate seen as a threat to its power (Sanders).

In her tweet, Symone Sanders showed exactly how the power elite seeks to obscure its toxic role in our societies. She neatly conflated "the establishment" – of which she is a very small, but well-paid component – with ordinary "black voters". Her message is this: should you try to criticise the establishment (which has inordinate power to damage lives and destroy the planet) we will demonise you, making it seem that you are really attacking black people (who in the vast majority of cases – though Symone Sanders is a notable exception – wield no power at all).

Symone Sanders has recruited her own blackness and South Carolina's "black voters" as a ring of steel to protect the establishment. Cynically, she has turned poor black people, as well as the tens of thousands of people (presumably black and white) who liked her tweet, into human shields for the establishment.

It sounds a lot uglier put like that. But it has rapidly become a Biden talking-point, as we can see here:

NEW: @JoeBiden responds to @berniesanders saying the "establishment" is trying to defeat him.

"The establishment are all those hardworking, middle class people, those African Americans they are the establishment!" @CBSNews pic.twitter.com/43Q2Nci5sS

-- Bo Erickson CBS (@BoKnowsNews) March 4, 2020

The DNC's wider strategy is to confer on Biden exclusive rights to speak for black voters (despite his inglorious record on civil rights issues) and, further, to strip Sanders and his senior black advisers of any right to do so. When Sanders protests about this, or about racist behaviour from the Biden camp, Biden's supporters come out in force and often abusively, though of course no one is upbraiding them for their ugly, violent language. Here is the famous former tennis player Martina Navratilova showing that maybe we should be talking about "Biden Bros":

Sanders is starting to really piss me off. Just shut this kind of crap down and debate the issues. This is not it.

-- Martina Navratilova (@Martina) March 6, 2020

Being unkind to billionaires

This kind of special pleading by the establishment for the establishment – using those sections of it, such as Symone Sanders, that can tap into the identity politics zeitgeist – is far more common than you might imagine. The approach is being constantly refined, often using social media as the ultimate focus group. Symone Sanders' successful conflation of the establishment with "black voters" follows earlier, clumsier efforts by the establishment to protect its interests against Sanders that proved far less effective.

Billionaires should not exist. https://t.co/hgR6CeFvLa

-- Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) September 24, 2019

Remember how last autumn the billionaire-owned corporate media tried to tell us that it was unkind to criticise billionaires – that they had feelings too and that speaking harshly about them was "dehumanising". Again it was aimed at Sanders, who had just commented that in a properly ordered world billionaires simply wouldn't exist. It was an obvious point: allowing a handful of people to control almost all the planet's wealth was not only depriving the rest of us of that wealth (and harming the planet) but it gave those few billionaires way too much power. They could buy all the media, our channels of communication, and most of the politicians to ringfence their financial interests, gradually eroding even the most minimal democratic protections.

That campaign died a quick death because few of us are actually brainwashed enough to accept the idea that a handful of billionaires share an identity that needs protecting – from us! Most of us are still connected enough to the real world to understand that billionaires are more than capable of looking out for their own interests, without our helping them by imposing on ourselves a vow of silence.

But one cannot fault the power-establishment for being constantly inventive in the search for new ways to stifle our criticisms of the way it unilaterally exercises its power. The Democratic nomination race is testing such ingenuity to the limits. Here's a new rule against "hateful conduct" on Twitter, where Biden's neurological deficit is being subjected to much critical scrutiny through the sharing of dozens of videos of embarrassing Biden "senior moments".

Twitter expanding its hateful conduct rules "to include language that dehumanizes on the basis of age, disability or disease." https://t.co/KmWGaNAG9Z

-- Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) March 5, 2020

Yes, disability and age are identities too. And so, on the pretext of protecting and respecting those identities, social media can now be scrubbed of anything and anyone trying to highlight the mental deficiencies of an old man who might soon be given the nuclear codes and would be responsible for waging wars in the name of Americans. Twitter is full of comments denouncing as "ableist" anyone who tries to highlight how the Democratic leadership is foisting a cognitively challenged Biden on to the party.

Maybe the Dem insiders are all wrong, but it's true that they are saying it. Some are saying it out loud, including Castro at the debate and Booker here: https://t.co/0lbi7RFRqG

-- Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) March 6, 2020

Russian 'agents' and 'assets'

None of this is to overlook the fact that another variation of identity politics has been weaponised against Sanders: that of failing to be an "American" patriot. Again illustrating how closely the Democratic and Republican leaderships' interests align, the question of who is a patriot – and who is really working for the "Russians" – has been at the heart of both parties' campaigns, though for different reasons.

Trump has been subjected to endless, evidence-free claims that he is a secret "Russian agent" in a concerted effort to control his original isolationist foreign policy impulses that might have stripped the establishment – and its military-industrial wing – of the right to wage wars of aggression, and revive the Cold War, wherever it believes a profit can be made under cover of "humanitarian intervention". Trump partly inoculated himself against these criticisms, at least among supporters, with his "Make America Great Again" slogan, and partly by learning – painfully for such an egotist – that his presidential role was to rubber-stamp decisions made elsewhere about waging wars and projecting US power.

I'm just amazed by this tweet, which has been tweeted plenty. Did @_nalexander and all the people liking this not know that Mueller laid out in the indictments of a number of Russians and in his report their help on social media to Sanders and Trump. Help Sanders has acknowledged https://t.co/vuc0lmvvKP

-- Neera Tanden (@neeratanden) December 8, 2019

Bernie Sanders has faced similar smear efforts by the establishment, including by the DNC's last failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton – in his case, painting him as a "Russian asset". ("Asset" is a way to suggest collusion with the Kremlin based on even more flimsy evidence than is needed to accuse someone of being an agent.) In fact, in a world where identity politics wasn't simply a tool to be weaponised by the establishment, there would be real trepidation about engaging in this kind of invective against a Jewish socialist.

One of the far-right's favourite antisemitic tropes – promoted ever since the publication of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion more than 100 years ago – is that Jewish "Bolsheviks" are involved in an international conspiracy to subvert the countries they live in. We have reached the point now that the corporate media are happy to recycle evidence-free claims, cited by the Washington Post, from anonymous "US officials" and US intelligence agencies reinventing a US version of the Protocols against Sanders. And these smears have elicited not a word of criticism from the Democratic leadership nor from the usual antisemitism watchdogs that are so ready to let rip over the slightest signs of what they claim to be antisemitism on the left.

But the urgency of dealing with Sanders may be the reason normal conventions have been discarded. Sanders isn't a loud-mouth egotist like Trump. A vote for Trump is a vote for the establishment, if for one of its number who pretends to be against the establishment. Trump has been largely tamed in time for a second term. By contrast, Sanders, like Corbyn in the UK, is more dangerous because he may resist the efforts to domesticate him, and because if he is allowed any significant measure of political success – such as becoming a candidate for president – it may inspire others to follow in his footsteps. The system might start to throw up more anomalies, more AOCs and more Ilhan Omars.

So Sanders is now being cast, like Trump, as a puppet of the Kremlin, not a true American. And because he made the serious mistake of indulging the "Russiagate" smears when they were used against Trump, Sanders now has little defence against their redeployment against him. And given that, by the impoverished standards of US political culture, he is considered an extreme leftist, it has been easy to conflate his democratic socialism with Communism, and then conflate his supposed Communism with acting on behalf of the Kremlin (which, of course, ignores the fact that Russia long ago abandoned Communism).

Sen. Bernie Sanders: "Let me tell this to Putin -- the American people, whether Republicans, Democrats, independents are sick and tired of seeing Russia and other countries interfering in our elections." pic.twitter.com/ejcP7YVFlt

-- The Hill (@thehill) February 21, 2020

Antisemitism smear at the ready

There is a final use of weaponised identity politics that the Democratic establishment would dearly love to use against Sanders, if they need to and can get away with it. It is the most toxic brand – and therefore the most effective – of the identity-based smears, and it has been extensively field-tested in the UK against Jeremy Corbyn to great success. The DNC would like to denounce Sanders as an antisemite.

In fact, only one thing has held them back till now: the fact that Sanders is Jewish. That may not prove an insuperable obstacle, but it does make it much harder to make the accusation look credible. The other identity-based smears had been a second-best, a make-do until a way could be found to unleash the antisemitism smear.

The establishment has been testing the waters with implied accusations of antisemitism against Sanders for a while, but their chances were given a fillip recently when Sanders refused to participate in the annual jamboree of AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a prominent lobby group whose primary mission is to ringfence Israel from criticism in the US. Both the Republican and Democratic establishments turn out in force to the AIPAC conference, and in the past the event has attracted keynote speeches from Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

But Sanders has refused to attend for decades and maintained that stance this month, even though he is a candidate for the Democratic nomination. In the last primaries debate, Sanders justified his decision by rightly calling Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu a "racist" and by describing AIPAC as providing a platform "for leaders who express bigotry and oppose basic Palestinian rights".

Trump's Vice-President, Mike Pence, responded that Sanders supported "Israel's enemies" and, if elected, would be the "most anti-Israel president in the history of this nation" – all coded suggestions that Sanders is antisemitic.

But that's Mike Pence. More useful criticism came from billionaire Mike Bloomberg, who is himself Jewish and was until last week posing as a Democrat to try to win the party's nomination. Bloomberg accused Sanders of using dehumanising language against a bunch of inclusive identities that, he improbably suggested, AIPAC represents. He claimed :

"This is a gathering of 20,000 Israel supporters of every religious denomination, ethnicity, faith, color, sexual identity and political party. Calling it a racist platform is an attempt to discredit those voices, intimidate people from coming here, and weaken the US-Israel relationship."

Where might this head? At the AIPAC conference last week we were given a foretaste. Ephraim Mirvis, the chief rabbi of the UK and a friend to Conservative government leader Boris Johnson, was warmly greeted by delegates, including leading members of the Democratic establishment. He boasted that he and other Jewish leaders in the UK had managed to damage Jeremy Corbyn's electoral chances by suggesting that he was an antisemite over his support, like Sanders, for Palestinian rights.

His own treatment of Corbyn, he argued, offered a model for US Jewish organisations to replicate against any leadership contender who might pose similar trouble for Israel, leaving it for his audience to pick up the not-so-subtle hint about who needed to be subjected to character assassination.

WATCH: "Today I issue a call to the Jews of America, please take a leaf out of our book and please speak with one voice."

The Chief Rabbi speaking to the 18,000 delegates gathered at the @AIPAC General Session at their Policy Conference in Washington DC pic.twitter.com/BOkan9RA2O

-- Chief Rabbi Mirvis (@chiefrabbi) March 3, 2020

Establishment playbook

For anyone who isn't wilfully blind, the last few months have exposed the establishment playbook: it will use identity politics to divide those who might otherwise find a united voice and a common cause.

There is nothing wrong with celebrating one's identity, especially if it is under threat, maligned or marginalised. But having an attachment to an identity is no excuse for allowing it to be coopted by billionaires, by the powerful, by nuclear-armed states oppressing other people, by political parties or by the corporate media, so that they can weaponise it to prevent the weak, the poor, the marginalised from being represented.

It is time for us to wake up to the tricks, the deceptions, the manipulations of the strong that exploit our weaknesses – and make us yet weaker still. It's time to stop being a patsy for the establishment. Join the debate on Facebook More articles by: Jonathan Cook

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are " Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East" (Pluto Press) and " Disappearing Palestine: Israel's Experiments in Human Despair " (Zed Books). His website is http://www.jonathan-cook.net/

[Mar 12, 2020] Biden victory is zugzwang for the Dem Party

Mar 12, 2020 | www.rt.com

The obvious point here is that a man who cannot be trusted to open his mouth in public certainly cannot be trusted to win any debate, especially against the veritable rhetorical cannon monster known as Donald Trump, who is every bit as formidable in person as he is over Twitter.

Of course, the Democrats fully understand this, and this is where it seems absolutely safe to wade waist-deep into the grass of speculation.

... ... ...

As things now stand with the Democratic Party, Joe Biden's victory on Super Tuesday II does not translate into a Democratic victory in November. In fact, unless Biden can get a grip on his tongue before then, it almost guarantees defeat. He will fall the wayside like so many presidential pretenders before him – the Buttigiegs, Bloombergs and Klobuchars – while some brand new contender will be unveiled, while inheriting all of those accumulated voters.

[Mar 12, 2020] Italy Closed; Wall Street Hosed; Trump Exposed

Mar 12, 2020 | www.medpagetoday.com

More GOP congressmen who attended the CPAC political event last month are self-isolating -- and one of them just flew on Air Force One with President Trump . Another was seen on video shaking hands and chatting face to face with the president before entering self-quarantine. ( CNBC, Reuters )

Note to Pence:

Televangelist Jim Bakker's TV show was among seven companies receiving FDA/FTC warnings about "fraudulent" sales pitches for coronavirus treatments.

[Mar 12, 2020] The Democratic Party Surrenders to Nostalgia by Bill Blum

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion. ..."
Mar 12, 2020 | www.truthdig.com

Mar 11, 2020

Now that the Michigan Democratic primary is over and Joe Biden has been declared the winner , it's time to read the handwriting on the political wall: Biden will be the Democratic nominee for president, and Bernie Sanders will be the runner-up once again come the party's convention in July. Sanders might influence the party's platform, but platforms are never binding for the nominee. Sanders has lost, and so have his many progressive supporters, myself included.

I am nothing if not a realist. The idea that Sanders might have become the Democratic candidate was always a fantasy, not unlike my youthful dreams of one day becoming an NFL quarterback. Even after Sanders' triumph in the Nevada caucuses, I never thought the party establishment would ever allow a socialist -- even a mild social democratic one, such as Sanders -- to head its ticket.

Funded by wealthy donors, run by Beltway insiders and aided and abetted by a corporate media dedicated to promoting the notion that Sanders was " unelectable ," the Democratic Party never welcomed Sanders as a legitimate contender. Not in 2016 and not in 2020. In several instances, it even resorted to some good old-fashioned red-baiting to frighten voters; the party is, after all, a capitalist institution. Working and middle-class families support the Democrats largely because they have no other place to go on Election Day besides the completely corrupt and craven GOP.

Now we are left with Donald Trump and Biden to duke it out in the fall. Yes, it has come to that.

In terms of campaign rhetoric and party policies, the general election campaign will be a battle for America's past far more than it will be a contest for its future. The battle will be fueled on both sides by narratives and visions that are illusory, regressive and, in important respects, downright dangerous.

Of the two campaigns, Trump's will be decidedly more toxic. The "Make America Great Again" slogan that propelled Trump to victory in 2016 and the "Keep America Great" slogan he will try to sell this time around are neo-fascist in nature, designed to invoke an imaginary and false state of mythical past national glory that ignores our deeply entrenched history of patriarchal white supremacy and brutal class domination.

The fascist designation is not a label I apply to Trump cavalierly. I use it, as I have before in this column , because Trump meets many of the standard and widely respected definitions of the term.

As the celebrated Marxist playwright Bertolt Brecht wrote in 1935 , fascism "is a historic phase of capitalism the nakedest, most shameless, most oppressive and most treacherous form of capitalism." Trumpism, along with its international analogs in Brazil, India and Western Europe, neatly accords with Brecht's theory.

Trumpism similarly meets the definition of fascism offered by Robert Paxton in his classic 2004 study, " The Anatomy of Fascism ":

Fascism may be defined as a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.

Trump and Trumpism similarly embody the 14 common factors of fascism identified by the great writer Umberto Eco in his 1995 essay, Ur Fascism :

Joe Biden is not a fascist. He is, instead, a standard-bearer of neoliberalism. As with fascism, there are different definitions of neoliberalism, prompting some exceptionally smug mainstream commentators like New York Magazine's Jonathan Chait to claim that the concept is little more than a left-wing insult. In truth, however, the concept describes an all-too-real set of governing principles.

To grasp what neoliberalism means, it's necessary to understand that it does not refer to a revival of the liberalism of the New Deal and New Society programs of the 1930s and 1960s. That brand of liberalism advocated the active intervention of the federal government in the economy to mitigate the harshest effects of private enterprise through such programs as Social Security, the National Labor Relations Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, Medicare, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That brand of liberalism imposed high taxes on the wealthy and significantly mitigated income inequality in America.

Neoliberalism , by contrast, deemphasizes federal economic intervention in favor of initiatives calling for deregulation, corporate tax cuts, private-public partnerships, and international trade agreements that augment the free flow of capital while undermining the power and influence of trade unions.

Until the arrival of Trump and his brand of neo-fascism, both major parties since Reagan had embraced this ideology. And while neoliberals remain more benign on issues of race and gender than Trump and Trumpism ever will be, neoliberalism offers little to challenge hierarchies based on social class. Indeed, income inequality accelerated during the Obama years and today rivals that of the Gilded Age .

As transformational a politician as Barack Obama was in terms of race, he too pursued a predominantly neoliberal agenda. The Affordable Care Act, Obama's singular domestic legislative achievement, is a perfect example of neoliberal private-public collaboration that left intact a health industry dominated by for-profit drug manufacturers and rapacious insurance companies, rather than setting the stage for Medicare for All, as championed by Sanders.

Biden never tires of reminding any audience willing to put up with his gaffes, verbal ticks and miscues that he served as Obama's vice president. Those ties are likely to remain the centerpiece of his campaign, as he promises a return to the civility of the Obama era and a restoration of America's standing in the world.

History, however, only moves forward. As charming and comforting as Biden's imagery of the past may be, it is, like Trump's darker outlook, a mirage. If Trump has taught us anything worthwhile, it is that the past cannot be replicated, no matter how much we might wish otherwise.

[Mar 12, 2020] Will the DNC ever acknowledge Tulsi Gabbard exists?

Notable quotes:
"... One almost feels sorry for Bernie Sanders, who, even at this late stage, still seems to believe that he can drag Joe Biden to the 'left' and secure something/anything? for all those millions of ordinary Americans who supported Bernie's dream of a more just and equal America. ..."
"... Poor Bernie and poor ordinary Americans. It ain't gonna work. Bernie knows that the Demorcratic party has chosen Biden, not him and his political dream is over, once again. ..."
"... With Joe having these " miraculous " wins in the primaries yet bringing nothing new to the table I can only conclude we are set for another 4 yrs of Trumpelstiltskin and his money grubbing ways. ..."
"... Tulsi is inspirational. I'm not talking 'politics' but regarding her willingness to speak truth to corruption. ..."
"... The self-evident externalities of 40 years of unfettered neoliberalism (war, lies, injustice, extreme wealth inequality, etc) now seem to be approaching some sort of explosive end-point. ..."
"... These problems are too entrenched for real politicians to sort out, so what we have instead is a form theatre, albeit a third-rate form of theatre with abysmal actors taking on roles that are far too difficult for them: Trump vs Biden would be the apotheosis this morass. ..."
"... As it turned out, the security state's narrative was easy to pull off because Sander is weak, lacks courage, and was never in it to win it. He never fought back against the DNC. ..."
"... He never called out the cheating in Iowa. There were thousands of volunteers that would be willing to protest on his behalf. Timid Bernie just let it go. ..."
"... Instead Bernie, kept saying "Biden is my good friend" or "Biden can beat Trump." WTF, if Biden can beat Trump then why are you running? Are you campaigning for Biden? ..."
"... The final nail was Tulsi's tweet asking for Biden and Bernie's support for her to right to participate in the next debate. Yang and Marianne Williamson tweeted yes of course, but Bernie was silent. On subsequent mainstream media news appearances Bernie totally ignored Tulsi's candidacy. That was it – Bernie is a lackey – completely intimidated by the DNC. ..."
"... "Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg is a top contender to head up the World Bank. Bloomberg endorsed Biden immediately after dropping out of the 2020 race. ..."
"... Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts as Treasury secretary. Warren dropped out of the race last week after disappointing losses on Super Tuesday but hasn't yet made an endorsement. Axios reported that Warren's name had been floated as part of an effort to unite the fractured Democratic Party around Biden. Some of Biden's advisers have also suggested Warren as a vice-presidential candidate for that reason. ..."
"... Seems Bernie has reprised his role as sheep dog. Probably the reason the Orwellian DNC unpersoned Tulsi is that she probably refused to play. ..."
"... Hundreds of thousands of ballots in California and Texas were discarded. Warren purposely stayed in the race to screw Bernie in Minnesota and Massachusetts, while Klobuchar and Buttigeg dropped out to prop-up Biden. ..."
"... And as I mentioned, Bernie is his own worst enemy, or as I also speculated he was never in it to win it. ..."
"... Blackmail ? The Clinton campaign exercising leverage over Sanders during the election – Podesta/wikileaks emails. 'This isn't in keeping w the agreement. Since we clearly have some leverage, would be good to flag this for him'. https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/47397 ..."
"... Unfortunately. Trump may end up botching the corona crisis and lose, but whoever wins it's going to be four more years of everything getting worse. ..."
"... Some research on 'possible' fraudulent hidden computer counting from first super Tuesday. http://tdmsresearch.com/ ..."
Mar 12, 2020 | off-guardian.org

The handful of American citizens who have by some miracle escaped the wave of death caused by the coronavirus will be braving the toilet-paper maddened crowds to vote in the latest round of Democratic primaries today.

There's several more rounds of voting before the convention in July, but this is the last before the next debate on March 15th.

The process is kinda moot at this point.

The weight of the establishment has thrown itself – for some reason – behind Joe Biden.

Since his "miraculous" wins on Super Tuesday we've been treated to dozens of stories praising his "decency", happy that "angry politics" lost, and calling for the party to "unite behind" Biden . And that's just The Guardian .

Jonathan Freedland, in his special brand of smug establishment boot-licking, suggested that Biden being a long-term establishment democrat is his strength in these times of crisis. You have to wonder if that crisis wasn't awful convenient for Joe, in that instance.

None of the mainstream media have questioned the validity of results or the fairness of the electoral process, although given the DNC's history you'd be forgiven for doing so.

After Biden's win, Trump immediately went on the offensive (so to speak), questioning Biden's mental acuity . This is likely just a taste of things to come.

It has to be said, Biden is vulnerable in this area. Seeing as he seemingly can't go a single public appearance without forgetting what day it is , what position he's running for , the words of the Declaration of Independence , who his wife is , or his own name .

Given this, you have to wonder what the point of the exercise is. Biden will likely be mauled by Trump, so are the Democrats even trying to win? Is the plan for Biden to have "health problems" before the convention, forcing the DNC to pick its own candidate? Or is the plan to have him run, win and then get Ned Starked by his vice-president whoever he or (more likely) she may be?

Whatever the plan turns out to be, progressives and leftists all over America will likely be disappointed in Bernie. If last time is anything to go by, no matter how obviously he (and more importantly his voters) get screwed over, Sanders will just let it happen.

It seems like Bernie is a serial offender here. Setting up hope only to fold faster than Superman on laundry day when the pressure is on. You wonder if he's being used as a tool to engage the youth vote, or just a puppet designed to funnel all real leftist thinkers into a political cul-de-sac.

The other Great White Hope of American leftists – or should that be "Great Native American hope"? – Elizabeth Warren, dropped out last week but is yet to endorse her fellow "progressive", Bernie Sanders. This could mean she's spiteful, or it could mean she's angling to be Biden's VP nominee. Either way, no real surprise and no real loss. Warren always talked a better game than she played and she didn't talk all that well.

Oh, and the DNC changed their debate eligibility rules to exclude Tulsi Gabbard . Something both the other candidates and the vast majority of the mainstream media have been quiet about.

Questions arise

Are the democrats really rallying behind Joe Biden? why?! Are they planning to throw the race? Is Joe Biden going senile? Who will each candidate pick as a running mate? Will the DNC ever acknowledge Tulsi Gabbard exists?

NOBTS ,

If Bernie is real; ie. not sheep-dogging for Hillary again, he can prove it by dropping out immediately and throwing his delegates to Tulsi so she can debate Joe Biden on Sunday; then watch the fur fly. .last chance for the left.
Seriously, the only positive play left for Bernie, (if positive change is his intent )would be to immediately drop out and throw a "Hail Tulsi Pass" downfield ahead of the Sunday debate.

michaelk ,

One would imagine that Tulsi Gabbard would tick all the liberal/left boxes and virtues the Guardian pretends to adore and aspire to. She seems almost too perfect in my eyes another story perhaps? Anyway, one wonders what all those politically correct and so obvioulsy woke feminist ladies at the Guardian have against Tulsi? The Guardian seems to have decided that its future lies overseas, in America, which is very odd for a newspaper/platform based in the UK? Consequently, they are increasingly obsessed with moving closer and closer to the Democrat party in the US.

This is like the BBC that keeps talking to Americans about absolutely everything of importance that happens in the world and seeking their insights and opinions to a truly remarkably degree, considering how little they know and understand about the rest of the world and how poor they are at foreign languages and historical knowledge. Christ they know next to nothing about their own history, let alone the rest of the world! The idea that all these Americans are authorities on the world is ridiculous.

Harry Stotle ,

The ghosting of Gabbard illustrates how the MSM act in concert, and how they look after their own, i.e. backing those understand their role as puppets for corporate backers.

It also illustrates how the likes of the Guardian turn identity politics off and on like a tap, but more importantly how even shibboleths like identity politics are still secondary to an economic model that has placed us on the road to armegeddon.

Maxine ,

Well, Tulsi is FAR from "too perfect" .She voluntarily took part in the Bush/Cheny invasion of Iraq .How could anybody with a working mind have believed the lies of these nortorious criminals? .And what sort of judgement did this show? .Just as bad, she is a big fan of India's monstrous Right-Wing leader, Modi .Nevertheless, the DNC's throwing her out of the debate is another hideous sign of its corruption .Like her or not, she should have her opinions heard by the public.

Maxine ,

Don't get me wrong, I find the Gaurdian as despicable as CNN, MSNBC, FOX, the NYT and the rest of the American MSM .OffG is a god-send.

Admin2 ,

Thanks Maxine!

michaelk ,

One almost feels sorry for Bernie Sanders, who, even at this late stage, still seems to believe that he can drag Joe Biden to the 'left' and secure something/anything? for all those millions of ordinary Americans who supported Bernie's dream of a more just and equal America.

Poor Bernie and poor ordinary Americans. It ain't gonna work. Bernie knows that the Demorcratic party has chosen Biden, not him and his political dream is over, once again.

Now it's all about stopping the 'monster' Trump first and foremost. The coming election won't actually be about anything of real substance, nothing like Bernie's political ideas about healthcare and education; but it'll be a crass referendum about Trump's personality. Biden, of course, doesn't really have a personality anymore, that's going fast, along with his mental capacity.

Trump will smash him to pieces and be re-elected again. Four more years, at least.

Maxine ,

I would have voted for Bernie in 2016 if the DNC hadn't rigged the primary on behalf of Hillary .But I was overwhelmingly disappointed that he in the end supported her .Sadly, I am appalled that once again he announced he would support Biden if the latter won the primary this time. How could he?. Hillary and Biden are diametrically opposed to every one of Sander's professed principles!

Andy ,

With Joe having these " miraculous " wins in the primaries yet bringing nothing new to the table I can only conclude we are set for another 4 yrs of Trumpelstiltskin and his money grubbing ways.

As for Michelle Obama coming into the fight , I can only laugh and carry on with my life. I fail to see what she has to offer, other than being Barry's wife. Not really awe – inspiring stuff. Young Hilary must be turning in her coffin at the thought of being pipped to the post, as the first female President by another ex presidents wife.

We truly are living in bizarro times. The men behind the curtain must be laughing their collective arses off at the results of this circus they have created.

binra ,

Tulsi is inspirational. I'm not talking 'politics' but regarding her willingness to speak truth to corruption.

harry stotle ,

America dispensed with the idea of democracy some time ago.

The self-evident externalities of 40 years of unfettered neoliberalism (war, lies, injustice, extreme wealth inequality, etc) now seem to be approaching some sort of explosive end-point.

There may be a full blown international conflict, rather than asymmetrical power used to intimidate weaker states (led by the USA, and backed to the hilt by Britain, Israel, and KSA).

These problems are too entrenched for real politicians to sort out, so what we have instead is a form theatre, albeit a third-rate form of theatre with abysmal actors taking on roles that are far too difficult for them: Trump vs Biden would be the apotheosis this morass.

Pity more citizens in America fail to understand what has been done to them, or what this corrupt regime has inflicted on rest of the world.

Britain is no better – to expose what is happening we need a functioning MSM but what we have instead is the Guardian and BBC: platforms that are now infamous for churning out low calibre, or fake news.

different frank ,

https://twitter.com/i/status/1237466070145007617

Seamus Padraig ,

Is the plan for Biden to have "health problems" before the convention, forcing the DNC to pick its own candidate?

That's my theory. I think they're going to suddenly 'discover' that Joltin' Joe has 'health problems' and then roll out their real candidate on the second ballot at the convention this summer–probably Michelle Obama.

Will the DNC ever acknowledge Tulsi Gabbard exists?

I think our only hope now is that the Corona Virus kills all other politicians in the US, leaving only Tulsi alive. Of course, the DNC would probably still find some way to deny her the nomination somehow

michaelk ,

The DNC's election tactics were superb. Corrupt, rotten, foul and manipulative as well, but they worked. The swathe of candidates at the start gave the impression of a democratic and fair race, whilst deflecting people away from the stark choice of supporting Biden or Sanders from the beginning.

Whilst Trump succeeded by first capturing the Republican party and then going on to win the presidential election; Sanders chose not to follow that strategy, apparently believing, though it's an extraordinary thing to believe, that the leadership of the party was going to allow him to win the nomination 'fairly.'

Biden against Trump is going to be the worst, most grotesque, election contest, ever seen in the United States. Two totally unworthy candidates battling it out over the rotting corpse of a dying democracy. Probably the best result would be if most people just stayed at home on election day and boycotted the entire ghastly event.

wardropper ,

Yes. People should just stay home. But of course there is a regular percentage of observers who are incensed by the idea that people will realize how little effect their vote truly has.

"It's treason not to vote", they rage, quite oblivious to the really treasonous system which manipulates votes according to something quite different from the interests of democracy.

wardropper ,

It would be interesting to see, (although it's not going to happen) how the media, faced with an absolute zero voting turnout, would still manage to yap on about a "neck and neck race", with the most corrupt party emerging the clear winner after all

Gary Weglarz ,

The Democratic Party candidate selection process continues to roll along providing all the tension and suspense of an impending colonoscopy – sans anesthetic. It has been clear since 25 (yes 25) Democratic Party challengers have already "dropped out" of the race – that divide and conquer would be the order of the day. Spread the electorate out among a ridiculous number of mainstream centrist candidates and then throw all that support to one candidate – Joe Biden. Why would the party establishment choose Biden? Perhaps the following recent quote from Joe might shed some light. In trying to reference the Declaration of Independence Biden had the following to say to a crowd at a campaign rally:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, all men and women created by -- you know, you know . . . the thing."

Since we all know "the thing" is said to "work in mysterious ways" – one can deduce that the Democratic Party elites are perhaps depending upon "the thing" to work some sort of a miracle for them. At any rate it is all rather "mysterious" indeed.

Since Tulsi Gabbard has had the temerity to not join the 25 brain-dead placeholders and to "drop out" herself, and since she has further shown the very bad form of continuing to speak to anyone who will listen about America's illegal amoral regime-change wars – she has sadly had to be simply – "disappeared." Yes, I know, this term is usually associated with the death-squad democracies my government supports endlessly and shamelessly in Latin America, but if nothing else our American MSM have shown that you don't need death squads when they are on the job. They are quite capable of completely and entirely "disappearing" anyone sharing a message that has not been – "oligarchy approved." Trying to find reference to Tulsi in MSM is like trying to get through a day without being brutally reminded of Joe Biden's blinding dementia problem – pretty much impossible.

As the author suggests the Democratic Party establishment surely must have some plan other than simply sabotaging Sanders and then throwing a demented Biden to the Orange One to act as a pinata during the presidential debates. We American's do love "reality TV," but this I fear would be about as crass and horrific a spectacle as watching someone drown puppies on live television. Surely we must assume that the DNC and party oligarchy plan to use Biden as yet another "place-holder" to be replaced between now and fall presidential debates. The name "Hillary 'the rot' Clinton comes to mind – and suddenly one is reminded that there are worse things in life than a colonoscopy.

Of course the actual credibility of all of this spectacle to date depends upon one actually believing that both the polling numbers, and the voting processes, are honest and ethical and accurate, which seems to me to be about as likely as "you know, you know . . . the thing," performing some sort of a "miracle" on behalf of the Democratic Party so that it can valiantly vanquish the Orange One – using of all things – a dementia sufferer.

From my limited vantage point here in southern California it would appear that America is very much like a runaway train speeding toward a very very thick brick wall while gaining speed minute by minute. This train of course has no "driver" – save the inexorable laws of history as they pertain to crumbling "empires."

With that in mind I think I'll go shopping again so I can pretend none of this is happening – while joining with my neighbors in "hoarding" as much toilet paper as I possibly can! Actually, truth be told, the local toilet paper supply is now long gone and people are now hoarding paper towels – (I kid you not) – which of course portends a lot of very very sore bottoms by the time this is all over.

Seamus Padraig ,

You can have a dogshit sandwich or a catshit sandwich, just so long as its kosher.

So true! +1000

Charlotte Russe ,

Unfortunately, for all of Bernie's enthusiastic supporter 2020 was a redux of 2016. Amnesia, initially sets in caused by the initial excitement. Bernie's campaign overwhelms those yearning for change. Sanders is cognizant of how young voters and the marginalized are economically suffering. He knows exactly what to say to arouse an audience of thousands.

Devoted crowds eagerly rally around Bernie anticipating the upcoming primaries, believing he'll win everyone of them. After all, how could anyone be against a message promoting social justice.

And lo and behold, right out of the box the security state shenanigans begin. A "Shadow app" surfaces in Iowa, followed by a narrow win in New Hampshire. And although Bernie won the popular vote in the first two primaries he still comes out the loser to CIA Pete. However, not to be deterred Bernie won the Nevada caucus in a landslide. That was the moment when security state needed to make its move. It was now or never. These ghouls could not let Bernie pick up any more momentum. If they did, it would be too late to stop him–Milwaukee could turn into a bloodbath. It was time for the intelligence agencies to take a stand.

Clyburn a sellout bourgeois conservative black was called upon to do his duty. You don't get to be a "misleader" of the poor and the dejected if you won't convince them to smile while jumping off a cliff.

Slick Clyburn, gathered all the other crooked black politicians and they united in force behind brain dead Biden. When misleader Clyburn speaks his downtrodden constituency listens. South Carolina was a wipeout–Biden overwhelmingly won. And that's all the security state needed. Using the state-run mainstream media news propaganda machine in 72 hours Biden's campaign was raised like Lazarus from the dead.

Drooling Joe, received a slew of slick endorsements from all the longtime party hacks. A narrative was easily generated– Sanders was a loser and only Biden could beat Trump. At the end of day, don't you dumbasses want to beat Trump. So let's unite behind alzheimer Joe–he's our best chance.

As it turned out, the security state's narrative was easy to pull off because Sander is weak, lacks courage, and was never in it to win it. He never fought back against the DNC.

He never called out the cheating in Iowa. There were thousands of volunteers that would be willing to protest on his behalf. Timid Bernie just let it go. There were other things showing Bernie's lack of interest in winning. He stupidly embraced the Russiagate concocted narrative and then was victimized by it himself. He refused to tear into Biden describing in detail how every piece of reactionary legislation Joe passed was based on payoffs he'd received for either his son or his brother. In South Carolina, Bernie never used the millions donated to play video clips proving Biden is a warmongering racist.

Instead Bernie, kept saying "Biden is my good friend" or "Biden can beat Trump." WTF, if Biden can beat Trump then why are you running? Are you campaigning for Biden?

The final nail was Tulsi's tweet asking for Biden and Bernie's support for her to right to participate in the next debate. Yang and Marianne Williamson tweeted yes of course, but Bernie was silent. On subsequent mainstream media news appearances Bernie totally ignored Tulsi's candidacy. That was it – Bernie is a lackey – completely intimidated by the DNC.

Naturally the DNC didn't want Tulsi near the debate stage–she's the bravest of the lot. Tulsi would have proved Biden was a crook and a war criminal. Tulsi presence would be a boom for bernie, but Bernie didn't want that since he was in cahoots with the DNC.

And in the end, that's what it was always all about NOTHING. Bernie is the Tammy and Jim Baker of politics a prophet of false hope. He gathers up all the guiless and guillibe and then tosses them into the lion's den.

In Biden's case it's easy to know why the slithering DC establishment gang embraced him with open arms -- they all wanted to come back home

Here are some of the people Biden is considering for senior positions, per Axios:

Every loathsome contemptible neoliberal military interventionist is waiting in the wings to continue where Obama left off ..

Gall ,

Super Tuesday was so obviously rigged. The vote in California deviated from exit polling by over 15% and don't get me started on that Shadow app used for the Iowa caucus. The only difference wasn't as blatantly obvious as the last Primary.

Seems Bernie has reprised his role as sheep dog. Probably the reason the Orwellian DNC unpersoned Tulsi is that she probably refused to play.

Charlotte Ruse ,

Hundreds of thousands of ballots in California and Texas were discarded. Warren purposely stayed in the race to screw Bernie in Minnesota and Massachusetts, while Klobuchar and Buttigeg dropped out to prop-up Biden.

In avid Bernie locations polling centers were closed. And when all else failed voting machines are hacked. No one should underate the power of state-run mainstream media propaganda they hammered Sanders and launded the creep Biden.

And as I mentioned, Bernie is his own worst enemy, or as I also speculated he was never in it to win it.

The elections are more democratic in Afghanistan. When I previously commented on several posts the Democratic Party Primaries need to be monitored by a UN Raconteur many found it amusing.

Maxine ,

Why did Bernie become a candidate if he were not in it to win? .I can't figure that one out.

Eric McCoo ,

Blackmail ? The Clinton campaign exercising leverage over Sanders during the election – Podesta/wikileaks emails. 'This isn't in keeping w the agreement. Since we clearly have some leverage, would be good to flag this for him'. https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/47397

RealPeter ,

There is a lot in what Charlotte says. Unfortunately. Trump may end up botching the corona crisis and lose, but whoever wins it's going to be four more years of everything getting worse.

Andy ,

Some research on 'possible' fraudulent hidden computer counting from first super Tuesday. http://tdmsresearch.com/

Ken ,

The fix is in for the status quo, and it's quite likely another 4 years of the orange asshole.

RobG ,

The real left in America was destroyed in the early 20th century. What goes now is a complete joke. https://www.youtube.com/embed/LehcJeNbFBw?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Geoffrey Skoll ,

Everybody knows (listen to Leonard Cohen) Tulsi Gabbard does not exist, just like everybody knows Saddam had Weapons of Mass Destruction, Assad, that Putin Nazi, spread some kind of Bad Gas in Douma, repeatededly over several years since 2014, which the Intrepid White Helmets made better–just watch their Hollywood, Oscar winning movie. Of course Joe Biden is senile, else why would he challenge our carrot-topped Fearless leader, and everybody knows that Putin-Nazi Boris and Natasha tried to rig the 2016 election but were thwarted by Moose-Squirel, and other CIA assets.

[Mar 11, 2020] The toilet-paper maddened crowds will be braving coronavirus to vote in the latest round of Democratic primaries today

Now this became a real circus.
Notable quotes:
"... The weight of the establishment has thrown itself – for some reason – behind Joe Biden. Since his "miraculous" wins on Super Tuesday we've been treated to dozens of stories praising his "decency", happy that "angry politics" lost, and calling for the party to "unite behind" Biden . And that's just The Guardian . ..."
"... Jonathan Freedland, in his special brand of smug establishment boot-licking, suggested that Biden being a long-term establishment democrat is his strength in these times of crisis. You have to wonder if that crisis wasn't awful convenient for Joe, in that instance. ..."
Mar 11, 2020 | off-guardian.org

The toilet-paper maddened crowds will be braving coronavirus to vote in the latest round of Democratic primaries today.

There's several more rounds of voting before the convention in July, but this is the last before the next debate on March 15th.

The process is kinda moot at this point.

The weight of the establishment has thrown itself – for some reason – behind Joe Biden. Since his "miraculous" wins on Super Tuesday we've been treated to dozens of stories praising his "decency", happy that "angry politics" lost, and calling for the party to "unite behind" Biden . And that's just The Guardian .

Jonathan Freedland, in his special brand of smug establishment boot-licking, suggested that Biden being a long-term establishment democrat is his strength in these times of crisis. You have to wonder if that crisis wasn't awful convenient for Joe, in that instance.

... ... ...

Whatever the plan turns out to be, progressives and leftists all over America will likely be disappointed in Bernie. If last time is anything to go by, no matter how obviously he (and more importantly his voters) get screwed over, Sanders will just let it happen.

The other Great White Hope of American leftists – or should that be "Great Native American hope"? – Elizabeth Warren, dropped out last week but is yet to endorse her fellow "progressive", Bernie Sanders. This could mean she's spiteful, or it could mean she's angling to be Biden's VP nominee. Either way, no real surprise and no real loss. Warren always talked a better game than she played and she didn't talk all that well.

Oh, and the DNC changed their debate eligibility rules to exclude Tulsi Gabbard . Something both the other candidates and the vast majority of the mainstream media have been quiet about.

Questions arise Are the democrats really rallying behind Joe Biden? why?! Are they planning to throw the race? Is Joe Biden going senile? Who will each candidate pick as a running mate? Will the DNC ever acknowledge Tulsi Gabbard exists?

[Mar 10, 2020] Front group is very simply an organization that pretends to have a certain program while at the same time using that identity as cover to promote a hidden agenda that is something quite different

In a way Democratic Party fits the definition of the front group
Mar 10, 2020 | www.unz.com

Numerous so-called "front groups" operate in the United States. A front group is very simply an organization that pretends to have a certain program while at the same time using that identity as cover to promote a hidden agenda that is something quite different, often opposed to what is being said publicly. The Global Climate Coalition is, for example, an organization funded by fossil fuel providers that works to deny climate change and other related issues. The Groundwater Protection Council does not protect water resources at all and instead receives its money from the fracking industry, which resists any regulation of water pollution it causes. The Partnership for a New American Economy has nothing to do with protecting the U.S. economy and instead seeks to replace American workers with H1B immigrant laborers. Even the benign sounding National Sleep Foundation, is in reality a Big Pharma creation intended to convince Americans that they need to regularly use sleep inducing drugs.

Front groups in a political context can be particularly dangerous as they deceive the voter into supporting candidates or promoting policies that have a hidden agenda. The Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, is, for example, uninterested in preserving democracies unless that democracy is Israel, which many observers would prefer to describe as an apartheid state. It is funded by Zionists billionaires and its leadership meets regularly with Israeli officials. The American Enterprise Institute is likewise a neocon mouthpiece for economic imperialism and regime change disguising itself as a free market advocate and the Brookings Institution is its liberal interventionist counterpart.

Front groups are sometimes largely fictional, on occasion creations of an intelligence agency to give the impression that there exists in a country a formidable opposition to policies pursued by the governing regime. Recent developments in Venezuela and Bolivia rather suggest the CIA creation of front groups in both countries while the Ukrainian regime change that took place in 2014 also benefited greatly from a U.S. created and supported opposition to the legitimate Viktor Yanukovych government.

[Mar 10, 2020] Andrew Cockburn: Joe Biden's legislative legacy

Mar 10, 2020 | harpers.org

An ardent proponent of NATO expansion into Eastern Europe, an ill-conceived initiative that has served as an enduring provocation of Russian hostility toward the West, Biden voted enthusiastically to authorize Bush's 2003 invasion of Iraq, was a major proponent of Clinton's war in Kosovo, and pushed for military intervention in Sudan.

[Mar 10, 2020] Trump's Second Term? Not Worth Freaking Out About by Ted Rall

Looks like Trump is already lame duck President. And this will not change with the elections
Notable quotes:
"... I'm not suggesting that President Trump deserves a second term. He didn't deserve a first one. He's a terrible person and an awful president. What I'm saying is that it is more likely than not that he has already done most of the damage that he can do. ..."
"... An achievement-filled second term would be a major reversal of recent historical precedent. Things may get worse under four more years of this idiot, but not much worse as the Democratic doomsday cult warns. ..."
"... I hope Obama enjoyed all those trips to Martha's Vineyard because that's pretty much all he has to show for term number two. ..."
"... George W. Bush screwed up one thing after another during his second four years in office, which was bookended by his hapless non-response to the destruction of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina and his role in the ineffective and wasteful bailout of Wall Street megabanks during the subprime mortgage financial crisis. What began as an illegal war of aggression against Iraq became, after reelection, a catastrophic quagmire that destroyed America's international reputation. ..."
"... Reagan was both senile and bogged down in Iran Contra. ..."
"... "If Trump wins a second term this November," James Pethokoukis writes in The Week, Trump "might propose more tax cuts, but they are more likely to be payroll tax cuts geared toward middle-class workers instead of income tax cuts for rich people and corporations. ..."
Mar 06, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

You've heard it so often that you may well believe it's true: Trump's second term would be a disaster. For the Democratic Party. For the United States. For democracy itself. "The reelection of Donald Trump," warns Nancy Pelosi, "would do irreparable damage to the United States."

But would it really?

Exceptions are a normal part of history but the record suggests that Trump would not be one of the few presidents who get much done during their second terms. There are three reasons for the sophomore slump:

By definition, political honeymoons expire (well) before the end of a president's first term. Elections have consequences in the form of policy changes that make good on campaign promises. But turning a pledge into reality comes at a cost. Capital gets spent, promises are broken, alliances shatter. Oftentimes, those changes prove disappointing. Recent example: Obamacare. Voters often express their displeasure by punishing the party that controls the White House with losses in Congress in midterm elections.

The permanent campaign fed by the 24-7 news cycle makes lame ducks gimpier than ever. Before a president gets to take his or her second oath of office, news media and future hopefuls are already looking four years ahead.

Scandals come usually home to roost during second terms. It's tough to push laws through a Congress that is dragging your top officials through one investigation after another.

I'm not suggesting that President Trump deserves a second term. He didn't deserve a first one. He's a terrible person and an awful president. What I'm saying is that it is more likely than not that he has already done most of the damage that he can do.

Pundits and Democratic politicians have been pushing a self-serving narrative that implies that everything Trump has done so far was merely a warm-up for the main event, that he would want and be able to go even further if given the chance if November 2020 goes his way.

That doesn't make sense. Who in their right mind thinks Trump has been holding anything back? Which president has failed to go big within a year or two?

An achievement-filled second term would be a major reversal of recent historical precedent. Things may get worse under four more years of this idiot, but not much worse as the Democratic doomsday cult warns.

President Obama didn't get much done during his second term, which began with the bungled rollout of the federal and state "health exchanges." He signed the Paris climate accord, renewed diplomatic relations with Cuba and negotiated the nuclear deal with Iran. But the ease with which his successor canceled those achievements showcased both the ephemerality of policies pushed through without thorough public propaganda and a general sense that second-term laws and treaties are easy to annul. I hope Obama enjoyed all those trips to Martha's Vineyard because that's pretty much all he has to show for term number two.

George W. Bush screwed up one thing after another during his second four years in office, which was bookended by his hapless non-response to the destruction of New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina and his role in the ineffective and wasteful bailout of Wall Street megabanks during the subprime mortgage financial crisis. What began as an illegal war of aggression against Iraq became, after reelection, a catastrophic quagmire that destroyed America's international reputation.

Whatever the merits of Bill Clinton's legislative and policy agenda -- welfare reform, NAFTA and bombing Kosovo would all have happened under a Republican president -- having anything substantial or positive to point to was well in the rearview mirror by his second term, when he found himself embroiled in the Monica Lewinsky affair and impeachment.

Reagan was both senile and bogged down in Iran Contra.

Even the most productive and prolific president of the 20th century had little to show for his second term. FDR's legacy would be nearly as impressive today if he'd only served four years.

Anything could happen. Donald Trump may use his second term to push dramatic changes. If there were another terrorist attack, for example, he would probably try to exploit national shock and fear to the political advantage of the right. Another Supreme Court justice could pass away. On the other hand, Trump is old, clinically obese and out of shape. He might die. It's doubtful that Mike Pence, a veep chosen for his lack of charisma, would be able to carry on the Trump tradition as more than the head of a caretaker government.

Analysts differ on what Trump 2.0 might look like. Regardless of their perspective, however, no one expects anything big.

"If Trump wins a second term this November," James Pethokoukis writes in The Week, Trump "might propose more tax cuts, but they are more likely to be payroll tax cuts geared toward middle-class workers instead of income tax cuts for rich people and corporations. He'll look for a new Federal Reserve chair less worried about inflation than current boss Jerome Powell, who deserves at least partial credit for the surging stock market and continuing expansion. Trump will let the national debt soar rather than trimming projected Medicare and Social Security benefits. And there will be more protectionism, although it may be called 'industrial policy.'"

"The early outlines of the [second-term] agenda are starting to emerge," Andrew Restuccia reports in The Wall Street Journal. "Among the issues under consideration: continuing the administration's efforts to lower prescription drug prices, pushing for a broad infrastructure bill and taking another crack at reforming the country's immigration system, [White House] officials said." They also want to reduce the deficit.

Under Trump, immigration reform is never a good thing. But it's hard to imagine anything major happening without Democratic cooperation.

Internationally, many observers expect Trump to continue to nurture his isolationist tendencies. But President Bernie Sanders would probably have similar impulses to focus on America First.

By all means, vote against Trump. But don't freak out at the thought of a second term.

Mourn what happened under the first one instead -- and work to reverse it.

[Mar 10, 2020] Once sheep dog, always sheep dog

9 March 2020
Notable quotes:
"... The consolidation of the Democratic Party behind Biden is a damning exposure, not merely of the politically reactionary character of this organization, but of the contemptible falsification on which the Sanders campaign has been based: that it is possible to transform the Democratic Party, the oldest American capitalist party, into the spearhead of a "political revolution" that will bring about fundamental social change. ..."
"... It is evident that the Democratic Party leadership in Congress, as well as the Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee, aims to run the 2020 campaign on the exact model of Hillary Clinton's campaign in 2016: portraying Trump as personally unqualified to be president and as a Russian stooge, while opposing any significant social reform and delivering constant reassurances to the ruling financial aristocracy that a restored Democratic administration will follow in the footsteps of Obama, showering trillions on Wall Street and doing the bidding of the military-intelligence apparatus. ..."
"... One could ask of the nine ex-candidates who have now endorsed Biden, why they were candidates in the first place? Why did they bother to run against the former vice president, clearly the preferred candidate of the party establishment? None of them voices any significant political differences with Biden. All of them hail the right-wing political record of the Obama-Biden administration, even though that administration produced the social and economic devastation that made possible the election of Donald Trump. ..."
"... African American Democratic Party leaders, including Representative James Clyburn in South Carolina and hundreds of others, represent one of the most right-wing and politically corrupt sections of the party. ..."
"... The thinking of this layer was summed up in a column Saturday in the Washington Post ..."
"... What the Washington Post ..."
"... the entire black Democratic Party establishment has lined up behind Biden -- including, most recently, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Senator Kamala Harris. ..."
"... Sanders seeks to counter this all-out Democratic Party campaign for Biden by seeking to woo sections of the trade union bureaucracy with appeals to economic nationalism. ..."
"... More than 13 million people, mainly workers and youth, voted for Sanders in 2016 in the Democratic primaries and caucuses. Millions more continue to support him this year, with the same result. Sanders will wrap up his campaign by embracing the right-wing nominee of the Democratic Party and telling his supporters that this is the only alternative to the election, and now re-election of Trump. ..."
Mar 10, 2020 | www.wsws.org

The campaign of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is making a last-ditch stand in the Michigan primary Tuesday, amid mounting indications that the Democratic Party as a whole has moved decisively into the camp of his main rival, former Vice President Joe Biden. Sanders cancelled rallies in Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois -- all states where he trails Biden in the polls -- in order to concentrate all his efforts in Michigan, where he won an upset victory over Hillary Clinton in 2016.

On Sunday, Senator Kamala Harris endorsed Biden, the latest of nine former presidential contenders to announce their support for their one-time rival, joining Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Michael Bloomberg, Beto O'Rourke, John Delaney, Seth Moulton, Tim Ryan, and Deval Patrick. Harris is to join Biden for a campaign rally in Detroit Monday.

The consolidation of the Democratic Party behind Biden is a damning exposure, not merely of the politically reactionary character of this organization, but of the contemptible falsification on which the Sanders campaign has been based: that it is possible to transform the Democratic Party, the oldest American capitalist party, into the spearhead of a "political revolution" that will bring about fundamental social change.

Former Vice President Biden is the personification of the decrepit and right-wing character of the Democratic Party. In the past 10 days alone, Biden has declared himself a candidate for the US Senate, rather than president, confused his wife and his sister as they stood on either side of him, called himself an "Obiden Bama Democrat," and declared that 150 million Americans died in gun violence over the past decade. This is not just a matter of Biden's declining mental state: it is the Democratic Party, not just its presidential frontrunner, that is verging on political senility.

It is evident that the Democratic Party leadership in Congress, as well as the Biden campaign and the Democratic National Committee, aims to run the 2020 campaign on the exact model of Hillary Clinton's campaign in 2016: portraying Trump as personally unqualified to be president and as a Russian stooge, while opposing any significant social reform and delivering constant reassurances to the ruling financial aristocracy that a restored Democratic administration will follow in the footsteps of Obama, showering trillions on Wall Street and doing the bidding of the military-intelligence apparatus.

One could ask of the nine ex-candidates who have now endorsed Biden, why they were candidates in the first place? Why did they bother to run against the former vice president, clearly the preferred candidate of the party establishment? None of them voices any significant political differences with Biden. All of them hail the right-wing political record of the Obama-Biden administration, even though that administration produced the social and economic devastation that made possible the election of Donald Trump.

Even more revolting, if that is possible, is the embrace of Biden by the black Democratic politicians. The former senator from Delaware is identified with some of the most repugnant episodes in the history of race relations in America: the abusive treatment of Anita Hill, when she testified against the nomination of Clarence Thomas, before Biden's Judiciary Committee; an alliance with segregationist James Eastland on school integration in the early 1970s, highlighted at a debate by Kamala Harris, eight months before she endorsed Biden; and the passage of a series of "law-and-order" bills that disproportionately jailed hundreds of thousands of African Americans, all of them pushed through the Senate by Biden.

How did a politician who boasted of his close relationships with Eastland and Strom Thurmond become the beneficiary of a virtual racial bloc vote by African Americans in the Southern states? Because African American Democratic Party leaders, including Representative James Clyburn in South Carolina and hundreds of others, represent one of the most right-wing and politically corrupt sections of the party.

The thinking of this layer was summed up in a column Saturday in the Washington Post by Colbert King, a former State Department official and local banker, a prominent member of the African American elite in the nation's capital, who wrote in outrage, "America's black billionaires have no place in a Bernie Sanders world."

King denounced the suggestion that black CEOs and billionaires are "greedy, corrupt threats to America's working families or the cause of economic disparities and human misery." Voicing the fears of his class, he continued, "I know there are those out there who buy the notion that America consists of a small class of privileged, rapacious super-rich lording over throngs of oppressed, capitalist-exploited workers. You can see it in poll numbers showing the share of Americans who prefer socialism to capitalism inching upward."

What the Washington Post columnist reveals is what Bernie Sanders has done his best to cover up: the Democratic Party is a party of the capitalist class. It can no more be converted to socialism than the CIA can become an instrument of the struggle against American imperialism.

True, Sanders can dredge up Jesse Jackson for a last-minute endorsement, proof that demagogues engaged in diverting mass left-wing sentiment into the graveyard of the Democratic Party recognize and embrace each other across the decades. But with that exception, the entire black Democratic Party establishment has lined up behind Biden -- including, most recently, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Senator Kamala Harris.

Harris's statement is worth quoting. "I have decided that I am with great enthusiasm going to endorse Joe Biden for president of the United States," she said. "I believe in Joe. I really believe in him, and I have known him for a long time." The senator was no doubt responding to the incentives dangled in front of her by Biden after she left the race last December, when he gushed, "She is solid. She can be president someday herself. She can be the vice president. She can go on to be a Supreme Court justice. She can be an attorney general."

Sanders seeks to counter this all-out Democratic Party campaign for Biden by seeking to woo sections of the trade union bureaucracy with appeals to economic nationalism. New Sanders television ads in Michigan feature a United Auto Workers member declaring that his state "has been decimated by trade deals," while Sanders declares that Biden backed NAFTA, drawing the conclusion, "With a record like that, we can't trust him to protect American jobs or defeat Donald Trump." The Vermont senator will find that very few auto workers follow the political lead of the corrupt gangsters who head the UAW.

More than 13 million people, mainly workers and youth, voted for Sanders in 2016 in the Democratic primaries and caucuses. Millions more continue to support him this year, with the same result. Sanders will wrap up his campaign by embracing the right-wing nominee of the Democratic Party and telling his supporters that this is the only alternative to the election, and now re-election of Trump.

Indeed, in appearances on several Sunday television interview programs, Sanders went out of his way to repeat, as he said on Fox News, "Joe Biden is a friend of mine. Joe Biden is a decent guy. What Joe has said is if I win the nomination, he'll be there for me, and I have said if he wins the nomination, I'll be there for him "

[Mar 10, 2020] I have more issues with that crook Biden besides his senility he's a dyed in the blue neoliberal.

Mar 10, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Oh , March 9, 2020 at 9:41 am

No doubt that JB is having cognitive and memory problems but it seemed to me that his wife and sister switched placed when he turned to where he thought his sister was and mistook one for the other without looking!
I have more issues with that crook Biden besides his senility – he's a dyed in the blue neoliberal. He wants to cut social security and other programs for the people. He's a big supporter of the financial industry and the MIC to name a few. His son should be behind bars for graft.

Jack , March 9, 2020 at 10:29 am

Why just Biden? This is a question that should be asked of all three: Trump, Biden and Sanders – with or without COVID-19. It's pretty much a given that a lot of illnesses like flu, pneumonia and other viruses cause significantly more harm to the over 70 crowd. Plus, as my cardiologist says to me at the end of every visit (since I flew by age 75): DON'T FALL.

Adam Eran , March 9, 2020 at 12:56 pm

The best objection I've heard to Bernie came from someone who said he feared for his 401K if a Sanders presidency occurred. I reminded him that the markets managed to crash all by themselves in 2007-8, but further thought discloses he was mistaken about what constituted wealth.

"Wealth isn't about having lots of money; it's about having lots of options." – Chris Rock

So if the hedgies and other plutocrats crash the economy providing the options, even if lots of dollars, stock certificates, gold bullion, etc. is in their hands, they are sabotaging their own wealth.

"Saving" Wall Street really amounts to "saving" the tapeworm while discarding the host.

[Mar 10, 2020] Nobody amoung neoliberal Dems is willing to address the issued of Biden's competence, despite the fact that former candidates in this Presidential race who now cynically support him actually raised the issue earlier in the campaign

Mar 10, 2020 | angrybearblog.com
  1. Stormy , March 9, 2020 5:34 pm

    Apparently, no one really watch the link I provided, a link that demonstrated what Greenwald eloquently states below:

    " when it comes to plainly valid questions concerning Joe Biden's cognitive fitness: expressing revulsion and scorn at the mere mention of these questions and declaring the topic off-limits to all decent people even though establishment Democrats were the ones who first spread insinuations and even explicit accusations about Biden's cognitive decline when they thought doing so could help them defeat him and/or because it genuinely concerned them regarding his ability to defeat Trump."

    https://theintercept.com/2020/03/09/it-was-democrats-and-their-media-allies-who-impugned-bidens-cognitive-fitness-yet-now-feign-outrage/

    Is anyone on this site willing to address the issued raised about Biden's competence, when those who now cynically support him actually raised the issue earlier in the campaign?

    Are they all jockeying for the 25th amendment? Or a place in an administration they know will collapse but leave them high and dry?

    Or doing everything they can to keep the big bucks coming to the DNC elite, from banks, from big pharma while they forget about the working class .the people who actually have to work for a living?

[Mar 10, 2020] Joe Biden Would Be Donald Trump's Dream Opponent

By nominating a candidate whose place in the Democratic Party establishment was undeniable and who lacked credibility on issues like money in politics, the Democrats simply let Trump run as the anti-establishment candidate.
Notable quotes:
"... As the Trump campaign's onetime CEO, Steve Bannon, put it shortly after the election, "Hillary Clinton was the perfect foil for Trump's message. From her email server, to her lavishly paid speeches to Wall Street bankers, to her FBI problems, she represented everything that middle-class Americans had had enough of." ..."
"... This time around, Trump should have zero credibility running as a "populist." The president has presided over the most corrupt administration in modern history , plagued by investigations and numerous indictments that have led to convictions of some of his closest associates. Trump has nominated Supreme Court justices who defend money in politics , and his major legislative achievement has been to give billionaires and corporate elites major tax cuts . ..."
"... It should be easy for Democrats to expose Trump as the corrupt charlatan that he is. In an age when a majority of voters rate political corruption as America's biggest crisis and nearly 8 in 10 Americans agree that there should be "limits on the amount of money individuals and organizations" can spend on political campaigns, how hard can it be to defeat a hugely unpopular president who makes Richard Nixon look half decent? The surest way for Democrats to lose to Trump again would be to follow the same strategy as 2016 and nominate a candidate who embodies the establishment, carries a ton of political baggage and lacks credibility on issues like corruption. ..."
Mar 10, 2020 | www.truthdig.com

Donald Trump had the perfect opponent in the 2016 election. Running as a populist billionaire taking on the Washington elite, he couldn't have asked for a better rival in Hillary Clinton, who carried heavy political baggage and who, for many, personified the so-called establishment. While Trump's populist shtick was easy to pick apart, Clinton was the wrong person to promote the message she was trying to get across to voters.

By nominating a candidate whose place in the Democratic Party establishment was undeniable and who lacked credibility on issues like money in politics, the Democrats simply let Trump run as the anti-establishment candidate. Not only that, but the Clinton camp even tried courting establishment Republicans who couldn't bring themselves to vote for their own party's candidate.

Here was a man who had openly bragged about bribing politicians , yet Democrats couldn't go after Trump on the issue because their own candidate was one of the politicians to whom he'd donated in the past. The Clinton camp raised (and spent) far more money than Trump, but whether this actually helped or hurt her is unclear, as it also gave credence to the perception that she was the candidate favored by big donors Meanwhile, Trump positioned himself as the self-financing candidate who couldn't be bought.

As the Trump campaign's onetime CEO, Steve Bannon, put it shortly after the election, "Hillary Clinton was the perfect foil for Trump's message. From her email server, to her lavishly paid speeches to Wall Street bankers, to her FBI problems, she represented everything that middle-class Americans had had enough of."

This time around, Trump should have zero credibility running as a "populist." The president has presided over the most corrupt administration in modern history , plagued by investigations and numerous indictments that have led to convictions of some of his closest associates. Trump has nominated Supreme Court justices who defend money in politics , and his major legislative achievement has been to give billionaires and corporate elites major tax cuts .

Under Trump, corporate America has thrived while real-income growth has declined for most working- and middle-class people. Inequality has continued to reach historic levels , and billionaires like Jeff Bezos and Mike Bloomberg have seen their wealth surge . In 2020, Trump is no longer even pretending to self-finance his campaign. With his recent predatory budget proposal he has made it clear that he is getting ready to gut programs like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, during his second term.

It should be easy for Democrats to expose Trump as the corrupt charlatan that he is. In an age when a majority of voters rate political corruption as America's biggest crisis and nearly 8 in 10 Americans agree that there should be "limits on the amount of money individuals and organizations" can spend on political campaigns, how hard can it be to defeat a hugely unpopular president who makes Richard Nixon look half decent? The surest way for Democrats to lose to Trump again would be to follow the same strategy as 2016 and nominate a candidate who embodies the establishment, carries a ton of political baggage and lacks credibility on issues like corruption.

By the looks of it, Democrats might just pull it off. After Super Tuesday, it appears that Trump will have another perfect foil for his message in 2020. Former Vice President Joe Biden has regained his place as the Democratic frontrunner after a successful showing on Tuesday, thanks in large part to party elites, and some of his former rivals, quickly consolidating around his campaign the day before. Though the race is far from over, Biden is now well-positioned to win the nomination. By selecting Biden, Democrats will effectively let Trump and his deeply corrupt administration off the hook yet again.

Biden is a lot like Clinton, but worse in almost every measurable way. On issue after issue, Biden has consistently been to the right of Clinton throughout his fifty-year political career. He has a record of advocating cuts to Social Security and Medicare; he helped write the 1994 Crime Bill that led to an explosion in mass incarceration; he played a critical role in passing the 2005 bankruptcy bill that stripped bankruptcy protection from some of the most vulnerable people. Biden also supported and championed the Iraq War .

This list goes on and on. Beyond his extremely problematic record, which will make it hard for Democrats to go after Trump about, say, cutting Social Security (which Biden himself supported not too long ago), Biden has his own personal scandals that will make it very difficult for him to cast Trump as corrupt.

While his son Hunter's business dealings in Ukraine may not qualify as corruption, it was doubtless unethical and sleazy for Biden's son to take a high-paying consultant gig with a foreign firm while his father was vice president (and Biden's refusal to acknowledge this conflict only makes it worse). The behavior of Biden's family will haunt him in the general election. As Ryan Grim wrote in The Intercept last October, Biden's son and brother have been "trading on their family name for decades, cashing in on the implication -- and sometimes the explicit argument -- that giving money to a member of Joe Biden's family wins the favor of Joe Biden." Predictably, a majority of voters believe it was inappropriate for Biden's son to take a job with the Ukrainian firm, and Trump will exploit this and use it to defend his own family's nepotism and corruption.

In the lead-up to the general election, Biden, who has recently struggled to string coherent sentences together, would provide the slick demagogue Donald Trump with all the ammunition he needs. We were given a little preview of what to expect in President Trump's Super Tuesday commentary: "The Democrat establishment came together and crushed Bernie Sanders, AGAIN!" he gloated on Twitter, once again positioning himself as the anti-establishment populist.

On Monday, the Democratic establishment proved that it still has far more control over the party than the Republican establishment did over their own party in 2016. No one stands to benefit more from an establishment triumph than Donald Trump. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who has the credibility to call out Trump on his corruption and neoliberal economic policies, is still in the race, but his chances are looking much slimmer than they were just a week ago.

Democrats have a choice: They can follow the same strategy that ended up costing them all three branches of government in recent years, or they can go another way. The stakes couldn't be higher.

[Mar 09, 2020] The Coronavirus Debacle by Daniel Larison

Right the major fiasco was with CDC testing kits. I do not see any other. Exaggerating the threat would only make hoarding panic that engult the USA worse. Of source Trump desire to protect stock market at any human or other cost was cruel and silly, but Trump is cruel and silly in many other areas as well.
Quarantine for retired persons might really help in areas with high number of infections.
Notable quotes:
"... For the last several weeks, we have seen the president and top administration officials presenting the public with misleading and outright false information in an effort to conceal the magnitude of the problem and the extent of their initial failures. The president has been unwilling to tell the public the truth about the situation because he evidently cares more about the short-term political implications than he does about protecting the public: ..."
Mar 07, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The AP reports on more of the Trump White House's bungling of the coronavirus response:

The White House overruled health officials who wanted to recommend that elderly and physically fragile Americans be advised not to fly on commercial airlines because of the new coronavirus, a federal official told The Associated Press.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention submitted the plan this week as a way of trying to control the virus, but White House officials ordered the air travel recommendation be removed, said the official who had direct knowledge of the plan. Trump administration officials have since suggested certain people should consider not traveling, but they have stopped short of the stronger guidance sought by the CDC.

There is no good reason for the White House to prevent this recommendation from being made public. This is another example of how the president and his top officials are trying to keep up the pretense that the outbreak is much less dangerous than it actually is, and in doing so they are helping to make the outbreak worse than it has to be.

For the last several weeks, we have seen the president and top administration officials presenting the public with misleading and outright false information in an effort to conceal the magnitude of the problem and the extent of their initial failures. The president has been unwilling to tell the public the truth about the situation because he evidently cares more about the short-term political implications than he does about protecting the public:

Even as the government's scientists and leading health experts raised the alarm early and pushed for aggressive action, they faced resistance and doubt at the White House -- especially from the president -- about spooking financial markets and inciting panic.

"It's going to all work out," Mr. Trump said as recently as Thursday night. "Everybody has to be calm. It's going to work out."

Justin Fox comments on the president's terrible messaging:

The biggest problem, though, is simply the way that the president talks about the disease. His instinct at every turn is to downplay its danger and significance.

Minimizing the danger and significance of the outbreak ensured that the government's response was less urgent and focused than it could have been. It encouraged people to take it less seriously and thus made it more likely that the virus would spread. Then when the severity of the problem became undeniable, the earlier discredited happy talk makes it easier for people to disbelieve what the government tells them in the future.

The administration had time to prepare a more effective response, but as I said last week the administration frittered away the time they had. They were still preoccupied with keeping the virus out rather than trying to manage its spread once it arrived here, as it was inevitably going to do:

"We have contained this. I won't say airtight but pretty close to airtight," White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said in a television interview on Feb. 25, echoing Trump's tweeted declaration that the virus was "very much under control" in the United States.

But it wasn't, and the administration's rosy messaging was fundamentally at odds with a growing cacophony of alarm bells inside and outside the U.S. government. Since January, epidemiologists, former U.S. public health officials and experts have been warning, publicly and privately, that the administration's insistence that containment was -- and should remain -- the primary way to confront an emerging infectious disease was a grave mistake.

The initial response and the stubborn refusal to adapt to new developments have meant that the U.S. is in a much worse position in handling this outbreak than many other countries. Max Nisen comments on the lack of testing in the U.S.:

Don't cheer just yet. The lower case count doesn't mean Americans are doing a better job of containing the virus; rather, it reflects the fact that the U.S. is badly behind in its ability to test people. The Centers for Disease Control stopped disclosing how many people it has tested as of Monday, but an analysis by The Atlantic could only confirm 1,895 tests. Switzerland, a country with fewer residents than New Jersey, has tested nearly twice as many people. The U.K., which has far fewer cases, has tested over 20,000. This gap is particularly worrisome given evidence of community spread in a number of different states and a high death count, both of which suggest the number of cases will jump as more tests are conducted.

Capacity is finally ramping up, but only after weeks of delays prompted by unforced errors and botched early test kits from the CDC. The continuing inability to test broadly is leading to missed cases, more infections, and an outbreak that will be bigger than it needed to be.

The administration not only bungled their initial response, but they have also been extremely resistant to admitting error. Trump's appointees are reluctant to contradict the president when he spouts nonsense about the outbreak, and that in turn makes it more difficult for them to communicate clearly and consistently with the public. All of this serves to undermine public trust in the government's response, and it prevents health officials from being able to do their jobs without political interference. The federal government's response has been hampered by a president who wants to make people think that the problem isn't that bad and is already being dealt with successfully:

At the White House, Trump and many of his aides were initially skeptical of just how serious the coronavirus threat was, while the president often seemed uninterested as long as the virus was abroad. At first, when he began to engage, he downplayed the threat -- "The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA," he tweeted in late February -- and became a font of misinformation and confusion, further muddling his administration's response.

On Friday, visiting the CDC in Atlanta, the president spewed more falsehoods when he claimed, incorrectly: "Anybody that needs a test, gets a test. They're there. They have the tests. And the tests are beautiful."

When the president lies about such a serious matter, he is causing unnecessary confusion and he is sending exactly the wrong message that remedying earlier failures is not an urgent priority. Because Trump's primary concern is making himself look good in the short term, he is willing to risk a worse outbreak. During his visit to the CDC, the president went on in an even more bizarre vein to praise the tests by comparing them to his "perfect call" with the Ukrainian president last summer that led to his impeachment:

In an attempt to express confidence in the CDC's coronavirus test (the agency's second attempt after the first one it developed failed), Trump offered an unorthodox comparison from the last enormous crisis to swamp his presidency. The tests are just like his impeachment-causing attempt to pressure a foreign government to help him get reelected. "The tests are all perfect like the letter was perfect. The transcription was perfect. Right? This was not as perfect as that but pretty good," Trump told reporters after falsely stating, again, that anyone who needed a test right now could get one.

This morning the president was back at it this morning with more self-serving misinformation:

We have a perfectly coordinated and fine tuned plan at the White House for our attack on CoronaVirus. We moved VERY early to close borders to certain areas, which was a Godsend. V.P. is doing a great job. The Fake News Media is doing everything possible to make us look bad. Sad!

-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 8, 2020

The president needs people to think that everything he does is perfect, so he is incapable of acknowledging his failures and prefers to vilify accurate reporting about those failures. He cannot help but mismanage the government response because he cannot put the national interest ahead of his own selfishness. An untold number of Americans will be paying a steep price for the president's unfitness for office in the weeks and months to come.

− +

Englewood12 hours ago

"An untold number of Americans will be paying a steep price for the president's unfitness for office in the weeks and months to come."

We've been paying it for a while. It's just more obvious now. I wish I never voted for him.

SFBay1949 Englewood6 hours ago • edited
I wish you had thought a bit into the future before you voted him. Did you really think things wouldn't turn out EXACTLY the way they have? Honestly, it's to rime tell the truth here.
Englewood SFBay19495 hours ago
It's the Democrats who should have thought a bit into the future. It was the identity and known character and policies of Trump's opponent that tipped my vote to Trump. And no, obviously I didn't think things would turn out "exactly" this way. I thought if I put up with his repulsive manner I'd get maybe a third of his main campaign promises and that the GOP establishment would get the hiding it deserves. Boy, was I wrong.
SFBay1949 Englewood3 hours ago
I take you believe Hillary Clinton was worse than Trump. Fair enough, but do you still think our country would be in the state it is now? In what way could she possibly be worse than what we have now with Trump?
Brandon Falusi SFBay19494 hours ago
It's better for Trumpism to have burst like a zit onto the mirror, no matter how disgusting, because it was all there anyway under Bush and Cheney, it was there alongside "Barack the magic... birth certificate!" You can fairly easily wash off the stain of Bush and Rumsfeld, you can sort of start to forget their sublime horror, the exact same level of lies and utter mismanagement, but you can't wash off a man like Trump, ever. His portrait will be in the White House so future Americans can see what we're capable of, and hopefully be more vigilant about the subtle and polished lies and civilized outrages. We needed this barbaric display to get some clarity.
King George12 hours ago
"The president has been about the situation because he evidently cares more about the
short-term political implications than he does about protecting the public"

It's no different from the first two years of his presidency. He already betrayed those of us who voted for the America First promises on immigration and ending the wars. He spent most of his doing favors for Wall Street, Israel, and Saudi Arabia instead. Now he's going to betray the many vulnerable elders who voted for him, risking their illness and even death by his selfish evasions and lies. He's a con artist. A fake.

[Mar 09, 2020] The One-Choice Election by Chris Hedges

Highly recommended!
Sanders is not a panacea. He is a sheep dog. But neoliberal oligarchs and the Deep State are afraid of sheep dog too. They need puppets.
Bernie Sanders is actually trying to save the Democratic Party from irrelevance. But irrelevance does not bother party bureaucracy and Clintons who still rule the party that much: all they want is money and plush positions.
Notable quotes:
"... Only one thing matters to the oligarchs. It is not democracy. It is not truth. It is not the consent of the governed. It is not income inequality. It is not the surveillance state. It is not endless war. It is not jobs. It is not the climate. It is the primacy of corporate power -- which has extinguished our democracy and left most of the working class in misery -- and the continued increase and consolidation of their wealth. ..."
"... Sanders was a dutiful sheepdog, attempting to herd his disgruntled supporters into the embrace of the Clinton campaign. At his moment of apostasy, when he introduced a motion to nominate Clinton, his delegates had left hundreds of convention seats empty. ..."
"... Sanders refused to support the lawsuit brought against the Democratic National Committee for rigging the primaries against him. ..."
"... Sanders misread the Democratic Party leadership, swamp creatures of the corporate state. He misread the Democratic Party, which is a corporate mirage. Its base can, at best, select preapproved candidates and act as props at rallies and in choreographed party conventions. The Democratic Party voters have zero influence on party politics or party policies. Sanders' naivete, and perhaps his lack of political courage, drove away his most committed young supporters. These followers have not forgiven him for his betrayal. They chose not to turn out to vote in the numbers he needs in the primaries. They are right. He is wrong. We need to overthrow the system, not placate it. ..."
"... Trump and Biden are repugnant figures, doddering into old age with cognitive lapses and no moral cores. Is Trump more dangerous than Biden? Yes. Is Trump more inept and more dishonest? Yes. Is Trump more of a threat to the open society? Yes. Is Biden the solution? No. ..."
"... Biden represents the old neoliberal order . He personifies the betrayal by the Democratic Party of working men and women that sparked the deep hatred of the ruling elites across the political spectrum. He is a gift to a demagogue and con artist like Trump, who at least understands that these elites are detested. Biden cannot plausibly offer change. He can only offer more of the same. And most Americans do not want more of the same. The country's largest voting-age bloc, the 100 million-plus citizens who out of apathy or disgust do not vote, will once again stay home. This demoralization of the electorate is by design. It will, I expect, give Trump another term in office. ..."
Mar 09, 2020 | www.truthdig.com

There is only one choice in this election. The consolidation of oligarchic power under Donald Trump or the consolidation of oligarchic power under Joe Biden. The oligarchs, with Trump or Biden, will win again. We will lose. The oligarchs made it abundantly clear, should Bernie Sanders miraculously become the Democratic Party nominee, they would join forces with the Republicans to crush him. Trump would, if Sanders was the nominee, instantly be shorn by the Democratic Party elites of his demons and his propensity for tyranny. Sanders would be red-baited -- as he was viciously Friday in The New York Times' " As Bernie Sanders Pushed for Closer Ties, Soviet Union Spotted Opportunity " -- and turned into a figure of derision and ridicule.

The oligarchs preach the sermon of the least-worst to us when they attempt to ram a Hillary Clinton or a Biden down our throats but ignore it for themselves. They prefer Biden over Trump, but they can live with either.

Only one thing matters to the oligarchs. It is not democracy. It is not truth. It is not the consent of the governed. It is not income inequality. It is not the surveillance state. It is not endless war. It is not jobs. It is not the climate. It is the primacy of corporate power -- which has extinguished our democracy and left most of the working class in misery -- and the continued increase and consolidation of their wealth. It is impossible working within the system to shatter the hegemony of oligarchic power or institute meaningful reform. Change, real change, will only come by sustained acts of civil disobedience and mass mobilization, as with the yellow vests movement in France and the British-based Extinction Rebellion . The longer we are fooled by the electoral burlesque, the more disempowered we will become.

I was on the streets with protesters in Philadelphia outside the appropriately named Wells Fargo Center during the 2016 Democratic Convention when hundreds of Sanders delegates walked out of the hall. "Show me what democracy looks like!" they chanted, holding Bernie signs above their heads as they poured out of the exits. "This is what democracy looks like!"

Sanders' greatest tactical mistake was not joining them. He bowed before the mighty altar of the corporate state. He had desperately tried to stave off a revolt by his supporters and delegates on the eve of the convention by sending out repeated messages in his name -- most of them authored by members of the Clinton campaign -- to be respectful, not disrupt the nominating process and support Clinton. Sanders was a dutiful sheepdog, attempting to herd his disgruntled supporters into the embrace of the Clinton campaign. At his moment of apostasy, when he introduced a motion to nominate Clinton, his delegates had left hundreds of convention seats empty.

After the 2016 convention, Sanders held rallies -- the crowds pitifully small compared to what he had drawn when he ran as an insurgent -- on Clinton's behalf. He returned to the Senate to loyally line up behind Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, whose power comes from his ability to funnel tens of millions of dollars in corporate and Wall Street money to anointed Democratic candidates. Sanders refused to support the lawsuit brought against the Democratic National Committee for rigging the primaries against him. He endorsed Democratic candidates who espoused the neoliberal economic and political positions he claims to oppose. Sanders, who calls himself an independent, caucused as a Democrat. The Democratic Party determined his assignments in the Senate. Schumer offered to make Sanders the head of the Senate Budget Committee if the Democrats won control of the Senate. Sanders became a party apparatchik.

Sanders apparently believed that if he was obsequious enough to the Democratic Party elite, they would give him a chance in 2020 , a chance they denied him in 2016. Politics, I suspect he would argue, is about compromise and the practical. This is true. But playing politics in a system that is not democratic is about being complicit in the charade. Sanders misread the Democratic Party leadership, swamp creatures of the corporate state. He misread the Democratic Party, which is a corporate mirage. Its base can, at best, select preapproved candidates and act as props at rallies and in choreographed party conventions. The Democratic Party voters have zero influence on party politics or party policies. Sanders' naivete, and perhaps his lack of political courage, drove away his most committed young supporters. These followers have not forgiven him for his betrayal. They chose not to turn out to vote in the numbers he needs in the primaries. They are right. He is wrong. We need to overthrow the system, not placate it.

Sanders is wounded. The oligarchs will go in for the kill. They will subject him to the same character assassination, aided by the courtiers in the corporate press, that was directed at Henry Wallace in 1948 and George McGovern in 1972, the only two progressive presidential candidates who managed to seriously threaten the ruling elites since Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The feckless liberal class, easily frightened, is already abandoning Sanders, castigating his supporters with their nauseating self-righteousness and championing Biden as a political savior.

Trump and Biden are repugnant figures, doddering into old age with cognitive lapses and no moral cores. Is Trump more dangerous than Biden? Yes. Is Trump more inept and more dishonest? Yes. Is Trump more of a threat to the open society? Yes. Is Biden the solution? No.

Biden represents the old neoliberal order . He personifies the betrayal by the Democratic Party of working men and women that sparked the deep hatred of the ruling elites across the political spectrum. He is a gift to a demagogue and con artist like Trump, who at least understands that these elites are detested. Biden cannot plausibly offer change. He can only offer more of the same. And most Americans do not want more of the same. The country's largest voting-age bloc, the 100 million-plus citizens who out of apathy or disgust do not vote, will once again stay home. This demoralization of the electorate is by design. It will, I expect, give Trump another term in office.

By voting for Biden , you endorse the humiliation of courageous women such as Anita Hill who confronted their abusers. You vote for the architects of the endless wars in the Middle East. You vote for the apartheid state in Israel. You vote for wholesale surveillance of the public by government intelligence agencies and the abolition of due process and habeas corpus. You vote for austerity programs, including the destruction of welfare and cuts to Social Security . You vote for NAFTA, free trade deals, de-industrialization, a decline in wages, the loss of hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs and the offshoring of jobs to underpaid workers who toil in sweatshops in China or Vietnam. You vote for the assault on public education and the transfer of federal funds to for-profit and Christian charter schools. You vote for the doubling of our prison population, the tripling and quadrupling of sentences and huge expansion of crimes meriting the death penalty. You vote for militarized police who gun down poor people of color with impunity. You vote against the Green New Deal and immigration reform. You vote for limiting a woman's right to abortion and reproductive rights. You vote for a segregated public-school system in which the wealthy receive educational opportunities and poor people of color are denied a chance. You vote for punitive levels of student debt and the inability to free yourself of debt obligations through bankruptcy . You vote for deregulating the banking industry and the abolition of Glass-Steagall. You vote for the for-profit insurance and pharmaceutical corporations and against universal health care. You vote for bloated defense budgets. You vote for the use of unlimited oligarchic and corporate money to buy our elections. You vote for a politician who during his time in the Senate abjectly served the interests of MBNA , the largest independent credit card company headquartered in Delaware, which also employed Biden's son Hunter.

There are no substantial political differences between the Democrats and Republicans. We have only the illusion of participatory democracy. The Democrats and their liberal apologists adopt tolerant positions on issues regarding race, religion, immigration, women's rights and sexual identity and pretend this is politics. The right wing uses those on the margins of society as scapegoats. The culture wars mask the reality. Both parties are full partners in the reconfiguration of American society into a form of neofeudalism. It only depends on how you want it dressed up.

"By fostering an illusion among the powerless classes" that it can make their interests a priority, the Democratic Party "pacifies and thereby defines the style of an opposition party in an inverted totalitarian system," political philosopher Sheldon Wolin writes.

The Democrats will once again offer up a least-worst alternative while, in fact, doing little or nothing to thwart the march toward corporate totalitarianism. What the public wants and deserves will again be ignored for what the corporate lobbyists demand. If we do not respond soon to the social and economic catastrophe that has been visited on most of the population, we will be unable to thwart the rise of corporate tyranny and a Christian fascism.

We need to reintegrate those who have been pushed aside back into the society, to heal the ruptured social bonds, to give workers dignity, empowerment and protection. We need a universal health care system, especially as we barrel toward a global pandemic. We need programs that provide employment with sustainable wages, job protection and pensions. We need quality public education for all Americans. We need to rebuild our infrastructure and end the squandering of our resources on war. We need to halt corporate pillage and regulate Wall Street and corporations. We need to respond with radical and immediate measures to curb carbon emissions and save ourselves from ecocide and extinction. We don't need a "Punch and Judy" show between Trump and Biden. But that, along with corporate tyranny, is what we seem fated to get, unless we take to the streets and tear the house down.

[Mar 09, 2020] There are no options left for neoliberal Dems. Biden is a typical political Zugzwang. The only hope is Coronavirus (as an act of God). Otherwise it looks like they already surrendered elections to Trump.

Highly recommended!
Mar 09, 2020 | angrybearblog.com

likbez , March 9, 2020 12:11 pm

> Listen to Cornel West for a real understanding of what has happened and what are our options.

There are no options left for neoliberal Dems. This is a typical political Zugzwang. The only hope is Coronavirus (as an act of God). Otherwise it looks like they already surrendered elections to Trump.

Biden is a dead end into which neoliberal Dems drove themselves.
See, for example

https://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2020/march/on-super-Tuesday

A possibility remains, therefore, that the Democrats will conduct a 'brokered convention'. Secondary candidates like Buttigieg and Warren had lately put themselves in the anti-popular posture of endorsing such a proceeding (though there's been nothing like it since the 1950s): at a brokered convention, a candidate with a solid plurality can be denied the nomination on the first ballot and defeated later by a coalition.

If Biden now runs far ahead of Sanders, he may sew it up in advance.

On the other hand, his verbal gaffes (announcing himself a candidate for the Senate rather than the presidency; saying 'I was a Democratic caucus') and his fabricated or false memories (a non-existent arrest in South Africa for demonstrating against the imprisonment of Nelson Mandela) have exposed a cognitive fragility that some people fear could make him ridiculous by November.

A Biden-Trump contest in 2020 would resemble Clinton-Trump in at least one respect. It would be a case, yet again, of the right wing of the Democratic Party making the conventional choice against the party's own insurgent energy.

The Democrats and their media outworks are treating Latinos, African Americans and whites as separate nations. Women are a nation, too – parsed (where useful) as Latino, African American or white.

So the answer to Trump's divide and conquer comes in the form of these college-certified categories that self-divide and surrender.

The only other weapon of note has been an attempted revival of the Cold War. On 23 February, the New York Times led with two anti-Sanders hatchet jobs, targeting him as both a destroyer of the Democratic Party and a possible Russian agent

But the mainstream media and their captive party, the party and its captive media, show no sign of letting up the pressure. A recent leak from a misinterpreted fragment of a report by the Director of National Intelligence became a two-day Red Scare

The truth is that the corporate-liberal media are comfortable with the Trump presidency. They have prospered wonderfully from his entertainment value, even as they staked out a high ground in the anti-Trump 'resistance'. It will be hard to deny the plausibility of the charge likely to issue soon from the Sanders campaign, namely that 'the fix is in'; and that, once more, the people are being denied their proper voice – at first through an organised propaganda campaign that was fed into debates as well as news coverage, and at last through public co-ordination by the party establishment to guide Democrats into the one acceptable box.

[Mar 07, 2020] The Neoliberal Plague by Rob Urie

Highly recommended!
Creating employment insecurity was the entire point of neoliberal reforms such as outsourcing, de-skilling and contingent employment. Neoliberal theory had it that desperate workers work both longer and harder. And they die younger.
We can view "Creepy Joe" and Trump as representatives of "neoliberal plague" The slogan should be " No Pasaran " ( Dolores Ibárruri's famous battlecry appeal for the defense of the Second Spanish Republic)
Notable quotes:
"... For those who aren't familiar with Albert Camus' The Plague , disparate lives are brought together during a plague that sweeps through an Algerian city. ..."
"... Through the virus, a new light is being shone on four decades of neoliberal reorganization of political economy. The combination of widespread economic marginalization and a lack of paid time off means that sick and highly contagious workers will have little economic choice but to spread the virus. And the insurance company pricing mechanism intended to dissuade people from overusing health care ('skin in the game') means that only very sick people will 'buy' health care they can't afford. ..."
"... If this last part reads like (Ayn) Randian social theory as interpreted by a budding sociopath in the basement of his dead parent's crumbling tract home, it is basic neoliberal ideology applied to circumstances that we can see playing out in real time. ..."
"... While the American response to the Coronavirus threat seems to be less than robust, there was a near instantaneous response from the Federal Reserve to a 10% decline in stock prices. ..."
"... If priorities seem misplaced, you haven't been paying attention. The statistics on suicides, divorces, drug addiction and self-destructive behavior that result from the loss of employment were understood and widely published by the early 1990s, at the peak of that era's round of mass layoffs. Creating employment insecurity was the entire point of neoliberal reforms such as outsourcing, de-skilling and contingent employment. Neoliberal theory had it that desperate workers work both longer and harder. And they die younger. ..."
"... But how likely is it that people will 'demand' too much healthcare? The starting position of Obamacare was that the American healthcare system provided half the benefit at twice the price of comparable systems. ..."
"... Milton Friedman, one of the founders of neoliberalism through the Mont Pelerin Society, produced a long career's worth of half-baked garbage economics. On the rare occasions when he wasn't helping Chilean fascists toss students out of airplanes in flight, he was pawning his infantile theories off on future Chamber of Commerce and ALEC predators. His positivism was already known to be a farce when he took it up. Here is a primer that explains why it is, and always will be, a farce. ..."
Mar 07, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

For those who aren't familiar with Albert Camus' The Plague , disparate lives are brought together during a plague that sweeps through an Algerian city. Today, by way of the emergence of a lethal and highly communicable virus (Coronavirus), we -- the people of the West, have an opportunity to reconsider what we mean to one another. The existential lesson is that through dread and angst we can choose to live, with the responsibilities that the choice entails, or just fade away.

Through the virus, a new light is being shone on four decades of neoliberal reorganization of political economy. The combination of widespread economic marginalization and a lack of paid time off means that sick and highly contagious workers will have little economic choice but to spread the virus. And the insurance company pricing mechanism intended to dissuade people from overusing health care ('skin in the game') means that only very sick people will 'buy' health care they can't afford.

Market provision of virus test kits, vaccines and basic sanitary aids will, in the absence of government coercion, follow the monopolist's model of under-provision at prices that are unaffordable for most people. The most fiscally responsible route, in the sense of assuring that the rich don't pay taxes, is to let those who can't afford health care die. If this means that tens of millions of people die unnecessarily, markets are a harsh taskmaster. ( 3.4% mortality rate @ 2X – 3X the contagion rate of the Spanish Flu @ 4 X 1918 population).

If this last part reads like (Ayn) Randian social theory as interpreted by a budding sociopath in the basement of his dead parent's crumbling tract home, it is basic neoliberal ideology applied to circumstances that we can see playing out in real time. According to Ryan Grim of The Intercept, Bill Clinton eliminated the ' reasonable pricing ' requirement for drugs made by companies that receive government funding. This has bearing on both commercially developed Coronavirus test kits and vaccines.

Leaving aside technical difficulties that either will or won't be resolved, how would any substantial portion of the 80% of the population that lives hand-to-mouth be effectively quarantined when losing an income creates a cascade effect of evictions, foreclosures, starvation, repossessions, shut-off utilities, etc.? The current system conceived and organized to make desperate and near desperate workers labor with the minimum of pay and benefits is a public health disaster by design.

While the American response to the Coronavirus threat seems to be less than robust, there was a near instantaneous response from the Federal Reserve to a 10% decline in stock prices. The same Federal Reserve that has been engineering a non-stop rise in stock prices since Wall Street was bailed out in 2009 knows perfectly well how narrowly stock ownership is concentrated amongst the rich -- it publishes the data. It quickly lowered the cost of financial speculation as the cost of Coronavirus tests and a vaccine -- and the question of who will bear them, remain indeterminate.

If priorities seem misplaced, you haven't been paying attention. The statistics on suicides, divorces, drug addiction and self-destructive behavior that result from the loss of employment were understood and widely published by the early 1990s, at the peak of that era's round of mass layoffs. Creating employment insecurity was the entire point of neoliberal reforms such as outsourcing, de-skilling and contingent employment. Neoliberal theory had it that desperate workers work both longer and harder. And they die younger.

The brutality of the logic used by the Obama administration in constructing the ACA, Obamacare, is worthy of exploration. The premise behind the 'skin in the game' idea is neoliberalism 101, developed by a founder of neoliberalism, economist Milton Friedman, to ration health care. The basic idea is that without a price attached to it, people will 'demand' more health care than they need. That from a public health perspective, oversupplying health care is better than undersupplying it, is ignored under the premise that public health concerns are communistic. (Read Friedman).

But how likely is it that people will 'demand' too much healthcare? The starting position of Obamacare was that the American healthcare system provided half the benefit at twice the price of comparable systems. Through the 'market' pricing mechanism that existed, the incentive was for people to avoid purchasing healthcare because it was / is wildly overpriced. Not considered was that through geographical and specialist 'natural monopolies,' health care providers had an incentive to undersupply health care by providing high-margin services to the rich.

Furthermore, why would a healthcare system be considered from the perspective of individual users? In contrast to the temporal sleight-of-hand where Obamacare 'customers' are expected to anticipate their illnesses and buy insurance plans that cover them, the entire premise of health insurance is that illnesses are unpredictable. Isn't the Coronavirus evidence of this unpredictable nature? And through the nature of pandemics, it is known that some people will get sick and other people won't. Not known is precisely who will get sick and who won't.

While there are public health emergency provisions in Obamacare that may or may not be invoked, why does it make sense in any case to require that people anticipate future illnesses? Such a program isn't health care and it isn't even health insurance. It is gambling. Guess right and you live. Guess wrong and you die. Why should we be guessing at all? Prior to Obamacare, health insurance companies gamed the system with life and death decisions. In true neoliberal fashion, Obamacare randomized the process as health insurers continue to game the system.

As I understand it, the public health emergency provision in Obamacare might cover virus testing and the cost of a vaccine if one is ever found. Great. What about care? How many readers chose a plan that covers Coronavirus? How many days can you go without a paycheck if you get sick or are quarantined? Who will take care of your children and for how long? How will you pay your rent or mortgage? Who will deliver groceries to your house and how will you pay for them? How will you make the car payment before they repossess it and how will you get to work without it if you recover?

The rank idiocy -- and the political content, of the frame of individual 'consumers' overusing health care quickly devolves to the fact that some large portion of the American people can't afford to go to the doctor when they need to. Even if they can afford the direct costs, they can't afford the indirect costs. When Obamacare was passed, the U.S. had the worst health care outcomes among rich countries. Ten years later, the U.S. has the worst healthcare outcomes among rich countries . And medical bankruptcies are virtually unchanged since Obamacare was passed.

The reason for focusing on Obamacare is it is the system through which we encounter the Coronavirus. In the narrow political sense of getting a health care bill passed, Obamacare may or may not have been 'pragmatic.' In a public health care sense, it is a disaster decades in the making. The problem wasn't / isn't Mr. Obama per se. It is the radical ideology behind it that was posed as pragmatism. Mr. Obama's success was to get a bill passed -- a political accomplishment. It wasn't to create a functioning healthcare system.

The otherworldly nature of neoliberal theory has led to a most brutal of social philosophies. Mr. Obama later put his energy into lengthening drug company patents to give drug companies an economic advantage provided by the government. Economist Dean Baker has made a career out of hammering this general point home. Michael Bloomberg benefited from government support for both technology and finance. His fortune of $16 billion in 2009 followed stock prices higher to land him at $64.2 billion in 2020.

Donald Trump inherited a large fortune that likewise followed stock and Manhattan real estate prices higher. Both he and Mr. Bloomberg could have put their early fortunes into passive portfolios and received the returns that they claim to be the product of superior intelligence and hard work. Analytically, if the variability of these fortunes tracks systemic, rather than personal, factors, then systemic factors explain them. The same is true of most of the great fortunes of the epoch of finance capitalism that began around 1978.

The point of merging these issues is that they represent flip sides of the neoliberal coin. In a broad sense, neoliberalism is premised on economic Darwinism, the quasi-religious (it isn't Darwin) idea that people land where they deserve to land in the social order. This same idea, that systemic differences in economic outcomes are evidence of systemic causes, applies here. However, differences in intelligence, initiative and talent don't map to systemic outcomes , meaning that concentrated wealth isn't a reward for these.

The ignorant brutality of this system appears to be on its way to getting a reality check through a tiny virus. Unless the Federal government figures this out really fast, most of the bodies will be carried out of poor and working class neighborhoods like mine. Few here have health insurance and most health care providers in the area don't take the insurance they do have. More than a day away from work and many of my neighbors will no longer have jobs. Evictions are a regular state of affairs in good times. There are no resources to facilitate a larger-picture response.

Liberalism, of which neoliberalism is a cranky cousin, lives through a patina of pragmatism until the nukes start flying or a virus hits. Getting healthcare 'consumers' to consider their market choices follows a narrow logic up to the point where none of the choices are relevant to a public health emergency. One I plus another I plus another I doesn't equal us. The fundamental premise of neoliberalism, the Robinsonade I, has always been a cynical dodge to let rich people keep their loot.

The mortality rate and contagion factor recently reported for Coronavirus (links at top) place it above the modern benchmark of the Spanish Flu of 1918 in terms of potential lethality. What should make people angry is how the reconfiguration of political economy intended to make a few people really rich has put the rest of us at increased risk. These are real people's lives and they matter.

Finally, for students of neoliberalism: there is no conflation of neoliberalism with neoclassical economics here. Milton Friedman, one of the founders of neoliberalism through the Mont Pelerin Society, produced a long career's worth of half-baked garbage economics. On the rare occasions when he wasn't helping Chilean fascists toss students out of airplanes in flight, he was pawning his infantile theories off on future Chamber of Commerce and ALEC predators. His positivism was already known to be a farce when he took it up. Here is a primer that explains why it is, and always will be, a farce.

Rob Urie is an artist and political economist. His book Zen Economics is published by CounterPunch Books.

[Mar 05, 2020] Intelligence Officials Sow Discord By Stoking Fear of Russian Election Meddling by Dave DeCamp

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Under Trump, NATO has strengthened and held its largest war games since the cold war. The Trump administration withdrew from the Reagan-era nuclear arms treaty, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), an arms control agreement that prohibited Russia and the US from developing medium-range nuclear and ballistic missiles. Shortly after tearing up the treaty, the Pentagon began developing and testing missiles that were banned under the INF. ..."
"... Despite all the drama over military aid to Ukraine, Trump never actually delayed it, and the new National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) includes $300 million in lethal aid to Ukraine , $50 million more than the previous year. The NDAA also calls for mandatory sanctions against any companies working on completing the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, a natural gas pipeline that connects Russia and Germany. Of all Trump's hawkish policies, his effort to kill the Nord Stream 2 and the pressure he puts on Germany not to buy gas from Russia can do the most damage to Russia's economy. ..."
"... The policies listed above are just a few examples of Trump's hostility towards Russia. Others include attempting to overthrow Russia's ally in Venezuela, maintaining a troop presence in Syria to "secure the oil," sanctioning Russian officials and businessman, and much more . ..."
"... Despite all these provocations towards Russia, Trump is still accused of being a "puppet" of Vladimir Putin. No matter how much the president moves the US closer to direct confrontation with Russia, the talking heads and pundits of the mainstream media take superficial examples – like the 2018 Helsinki conference – as proof of Trump's loyalty to Putin. Trump's words are put under a microscope, while his policies that make nuclear war more possible are largely ignored. ..."
Feb 24, 2020 | original.antiwar.com
Another presidential election year is upon us, and the intelligence agencies are hard at work stoking fears of Russian meddling. This time it looks like the Russians do not only like the incumbent president but also favor who appears to be the Democratic front-runner, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders.

On Thursday, The New York Times ran a story titled , "Lawmakers Are Warned That Russia Is Meddling to Re-elect Trump." The story says that on February 13 th US lawmakers from the House were briefed by intelligence officials who warned them, "Russia was interfering in the 2020 campaign to try to get President Trump re-elected."

The story provides little detail into the briefing and gives no evidence to back up the intelligence officials' claims. It mostly rehashes old claims from the 2016 election, such as Russians are trying to "stir controversy" and "stoke division." The intelligence officials also said the Russians are looking to interfere with the 2020 Democratic primaries.

It looks like other intelligence officials are already undermining the leaked briefing. CNN ran a story on Sunday titled "US intelligence briefer appears to have overstated assessment of 2020 Russian interference." The CNN article reads, "The US intelligence community has assessed that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election and has separately assessed that Russia views Trump as a leader they can work with. But the US does not have evidence that Russia's interference this cycle is aimed at re-electing Trump, the officials said."

According to The Times, President Trump was upset with acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire for letting the briefing happen, and Republican lawmakers did not agree with the conclusion since Trump has been "tough" on Russia. In his three years in office, Trump certainly has been tough on Russia, and it is hard to believe that Putin would work to reelect such a Russia hawk.

Under Trump, NATO has strengthened and held its largest war games since the cold war. The Trump administration withdrew from the Reagan-era nuclear arms treaty, the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), an arms control agreement that prohibited Russia and the US from developing medium-range nuclear and ballistic missiles. Shortly after tearing up the treaty, the Pentagon began developing and testing missiles that were banned under the INF.

The Trump Administration might let another nuclear arms treaty lapse. The New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (New START) limits the number of nuclear warheads that Russia and the US can have deployed. The US does not want to re-sign the treaty and is using the excuse that it wants to include China in the deal. China's nuclear arsenal is estimated to be around 300 warheads , which is just one-fifth of the amount that Russia and the US are allowed to have deployed under the New START. It makes no sense for China to limit its deployment of nuclear warheads when its arsenal is nothing compared to the other two superpowers. China appears to be a scapegoat for the US to blame if the treaty does not get renewed. Without the New START, there will be nothing limiting the number of nukes the US and Russia can deploy, making the world a much more dangerous place.

Despite all the drama over military aid to Ukraine, Trump never actually delayed it, and the new National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) includes $300 million in lethal aid to Ukraine , $50 million more than the previous year. The NDAA also calls for mandatory sanctions against any companies working on completing the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, a natural gas pipeline that connects Russia and Germany. Of all Trump's hawkish policies, his effort to kill the Nord Stream 2 and the pressure he puts on Germany not to buy gas from Russia can do the most damage to Russia's economy.

The policies listed above are just a few examples of Trump's hostility towards Russia. Others include attempting to overthrow Russia's ally in Venezuela, maintaining a troop presence in Syria to "secure the oil," sanctioning Russian officials and businessman, and much more .

Despite all these provocations towards Russia, Trump is still accused of being a "puppet" of Vladimir Putin. No matter how much the president moves the US closer to direct confrontation with Russia, the talking heads and pundits of the mainstream media take superficial examples – like the 2018 Helsinki conference – as proof of Trump's loyalty to Putin. Trump's words are put under a microscope, while his policies that make nuclear war more possible are largely ignored.

The leaked briefing harkens back to an intelligence assessment that came out in January 2017 during the last days of the Obama administration. The assessment concluded that Vladimir Putin himself ordered the election interference to help Trump get elected. At first, a falsehood spread through the media that all 17 US intelligence agencies agreed with the conclusion. But later testimony from Obama-era intelligence officials revealed the assessment was prepared by hand-picked analysts from the CIA, FBI, and NSA. The assessment offered no evidence for the claim and mostly focused on media coverage of the presidential candidates on Russian state-funded media.

On Friday, The Washington Post piled on to the Russia hysteria and ran a story titled "Bernie Sanders briefed by US officials that Russia is trying to help his campaign." The story says Sanders received a briefing on Russian efforts to boost his campaign. The details are again scant and The Post admits that "It is not clear what form that Russian assistance has taken."

The few progressive journalists that have been right on Russiagate all along had the foresight to see how accusations of Russian meddling would ultimately be used to hurt Sanders' campaign. Unfortunately, Sanders did not have that same foresight and frequently played into the Russiagate narrative.

Last week, during a Democratic primary debate in Las Vegas, when criticized for his supporters' behavior on social media, Sanders pointed the finger at Russia . "All of us remember 2016, and what we remember is efforts by Russians and others to try to interfere in our elections and divide us up. I'm not saying that's happening, but it would not shock me," Sanders said.

In comments after The Post story was published, Sanders said he was briefed on Russian interference "about a month ago." Sanders raised the issue with the timing of the story, having been published on the eve of the Nevada caucus. But the story did not slow down Sanders' momentum in the polls, and he came out the clear victor of the Nevada caucus. Sanders' victory seemed to rattle the Democratic establishment, and some wild accusations were thrown around during coverage of the caucus.

Political analyst James Carville appeared on MSNBC as Sanders took an early and substantial lead in Nevada. Carville said, "Right now, it's about 1:15 Moscow time. This thing is going very well for Vladimir Putin. I promise you. He's probably staying up watching this right now." What could be played off as a joke was followed up with some serious accusations from Carville, "I don't think the Sanders campaign in any way is collusion or collaboration. I think they don't like this story, but the story is a fact, and the reason that the story is a fact is Putin is doing everything that he can to help Trump, including trying to get Sanders the Democratic nomination."

This delusional attitude about the Russians rigging the Democratic primary is underpinned by claims of meddling from the 2016 election. Central to Robert Mueller's claim that Russia engaged in "multiple, systematic efforts to interfere in our election" is the St. Petersburg based company, the Internet Research Agency (IRA).

The IRA is accused of running a troll farm that sought to interfere in the 2016 election in favor of Trump over Hillary Clinton. Mueller failed to tie the IRA directly to the Kremlin, and further research into their social media campaign shows most of the posts had nothing to do with the election. A study on the IRA by the firm New Knowledge found just "11 percent" of the IRA's content "was related to the election."

Many believe the Russian government is responsible for hacking the DNC email server and providing the emails to WikiLeaks. But there are many holes in Mueller's story to support this claim. And WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange – who Mueller did not interview – has said the Russian government was not the source of the emails.

Regardless of who leaked the DNC emails to WikiLeaks, they show that DNC leadership had a clear bias against Bernie Sanders back in 2016. The emails' contents were never disputed, and Democratic voters had every right to see the corruption within the DNC. With the release of the DNC emails, and later the Podesta emails, the American people were able to make a more informed choice in the presidential election. This type of transparency provided by WikiLeaks would be celebrated in a healthy democracy, not portrayed as the work of a foreign power.

Sanders would be wise to keep a watchful eye on how the DNC operates over the next few months. The debacle that was the Iowa caucus shows the Democrats can "stoke division" and "stir controversy" just fine on their own.

These claims of Russian meddling will continue throughout the election season. President Trump's defense that he is "tough" on Russia is nothing to be proud of, but that is inevitably where these accusations lead. Trump is encouraged to be more hawkish towards Russia in an effort to quiet the claims of Putin's preference for him. And if Bernie Sanders plays into this narrative now, can we believe that he will make any real foreign policy change towards Russia if he gets the nomination and beats Trump?

Dave DeCamp is assistant editor at Antiwar.com and a freelance journalist based in Brooklyn NY, focusing on US foreign policy and wars. He is on Twitter at @decampdave .

[Mar 04, 2020] Russiagate should be viewed as classic, textbook case of gaslighting and projecting election interference

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... I tried to sorta warm people on other sites that while they were looking for Russians at the front door, the gop was coming in the bad door for some rather nasty election interference. ..."
"... Of course what we are seeing now is democrats cheating other democrats. But that reality will never be acknowledged because, hey, it never happened before. Just unintentional mistakes like in Iowa (farm folk cheating -- no way) or Brooklyn. ..."
Mar 04, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

MrWebster on Wed, 03/04/2020 - 1:00pm

What you describe is probably why Russiagate spread so easily to so many people. Nothing happened in previous elections? Everything you describe never happened as you point out. The American electoral system was and is pristine and virginal.

Until the Russians came and destroyed American democracy through social media themes, memes, and retweets.

The American electoral system was never brutally corrupted by rigged votes, voter suppression on the scale of hundreds of thousands, deliberately miscounted votes, voter fraud, etc. Americans never did to each other anything as bad as what the Russians did to Americans.

Of course, for me never worked as I worked in primaries of a democratic machine dominated city. I tried to sorta warm people on other sites that while they were looking for Russians at the front door, the gop was coming in the bad door for some rather nasty election interference.

Of course what we are seeing now is democrats cheating other democrats. But that reality will never be acknowledged because, hey, it never happened before. Just unintentional mistakes like in Iowa (farm folk cheating -- no way) or Brooklyn.

[Mar 03, 2020] Super Tuesday Bernie vs The DNC Round Two

Highly recommended!
Mar 03, 2020 | off-guardian.org

No matter who comes away with the nomination, it has to be asked "was any of this process legitimate?". We know from a plethora of examples that US elections are not fair. They border on meaningless most of the time. The DNC's doubly so, having argued in court they have no duty to be fair.

Any result, then, you could safely assume was contrived, for one reason or another.

If the Buttigieg-Klobuchar-Biden gambit works, we end up with Trump vs. Biden. And, realistically, that means a second Trump term.

Biden is possibly senile and definitely creepy . Watching him shuffle and stutter through a Presidential campaign would be almost cruel.

Politically, he has all of Hillary's weaknesses, being a big-time establishment type with a pro-war record, without even the "I have a vagina" card to play.

He'll get massacred.

Is that the plan?

There's more than enough signs that Trump has abandoned all the policies that made him any kind of threat to the political establishment. Four years on: no wars ended, no walls built, no swamp drained. Just more of the same. He's an idiot who talked big and got co-opted. It happens.

The Senate and other institutions might talk about Trump being a criminal or an idiot or a "Nazi", but the reality is he's barely perceptibly different from any other POTUS this side of JFK.

#TheResistance was a puppet show. A weak game played for toy money. When it really counts, they're all in it together. Biden getting on the ticket would be a public admittance of that. It would mean the DNC is effectively throwing the fight. Trump is a son of a bitch, but he's their son of a bitch. And that's much better than even the idea of President Bernie.

... ... ...

falcemartello ,

Does it really matter?
Empire of kaos will never move one inch to change the status quo.
The quaisi fascist state that most western /antlantacist nations have become it will make no difference
Gianbattista Vico"Their will always be an elite class" Punto e basta.
Name me one politico that made any difference to we the sheeple in the modern era.
If someone were to mention FDR I will scream.
Aldo Moro got murdered by the deep state for only suggesting to make a pact with Berlinguer the head of Il Partito Communista Italiano.

[Mar 03, 2020] Let s Talk About Your Alleged #Resistance by Joe Giambrone

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Clinton also lied to the country about "Weapons of Mass Destruction" in Iraq and voted for that obviously illegal war. This after 8 years of her husband's genocidal sanctions killed a minimum of 500,000 innocent Iraqi children . ..."
"... What Bernie Sanders suffered and endured in 2016 was outrageous. Yet, he persisted and to this day attempts to help common Americans as much as he can. He does what he believes to be the right thing. His integrity and his record of fighting for working Americans are not the points of contention in this race. ..."
"... Today, however, Senator Bernie Sanders is the only Democrat who beats Trump in poll after poll . The only one. This is no small matter. Trump needs to be beaten in the tangled Electoral College, where a simple numerical victory isn't enough. ..."
"... Bernie is the best choice, but it is interesting that you brought up the genocidal sanctions on Iraq. Bernie supported those sanctions. He also supported the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 which reaffirmed US support for the sanctions even after 500,000 children had been killed. ..."
"... Well, the BBC is bigging up Joe Biden right now, yet another of its ridiculous pieces of propaganda utterly devoid of its duty to serve its license payors, who are the British people, not the neoconservative banking elite. ..."
"... How interesting, it's Obama who gave the "cue" for Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Beto, Rice, and the entire slippery gang to circle the wagons in support of the most reactionary warmongering candidate running. The same Obama who released drones every Tuesday morning killing brown and blacks throughout the Middle East and Africa– the majority of slaughtered were innocent women and children. ..."
"... The desperation of the national security state is reflected by The DNC's Shenanigans. The security state would rather promote a crooked, warmongering, lying, racist who barely can put together two logical thoughts then accept a candidate who represents a hopeful future for the next generation. ..."
"... The DNC's message is very clear– they're a "private party" and the working-class are NOT invited. ..."
"... But this by far is the most frightening thought, Biden, does not have all his marbles–it's obvious–we can only guess it's some type of dementia. So if Biden, slides through deploying a multitude of underhanded machinations and becomes the nominee, Trump, will make mincemeat of him during the debates. ..."
"... I'm not in the Orange Baboon's Fan Club, but I find it sad and a little bit pathetic the way people still invest their hopes and put their faith in figures like Bernie, Tulsi or Jezza. Bernie got shafted in 2016 and just saluted smartly and fell into line behind Crooked Hillary. When she lost, he started singing from the approved hymn sheet. The evil Putin stole the election for Kremlin Agent Trump. He has been parroting the same nonsense for the past 4 years. ..."
"... Jeez people get a clue. How many times do you need to fall for the "this candidate is so much better and will solve everything" ruse? Remember Obama? The exact same bullshit was going around back then. ..."
"... We have hope😁 . We have change😁 . We have hope and change you can believe in😁 . Well, yeah, we all know what happened during Obombers 8 years. The entire thing is nothing but Kabuki theatre. For all those still believing the United States is a democracy. ..."
"... 'In the democratic system, the necessary illusions cannot be imposed by force. Rather, they must be instilled in the public mind by more subtle means. A totalitarian state can be satisfied with lesser degrees of allegiance to required truths. It is sufficient that people obey; what they think is a secondary concern. But in a democratic political order, there is always the danger that independent thought might be translated into political action, so it is important to eliminate the threat at its root. ..."
"... Debate cannot be stilled, and indeed, in a properly functioning system of propaganda, it should not be, because it has a system-reinforcing character if constrained within proper bounds. What is essential is to set the bounds firmly. Controversy may rage as long as it adheres to the presuppositions that define the consensus of elites, and it should furthermore be encouraged within these bounds, thus helping to establish these doctrines as the very condition of thinkable thought while reinforcing the belief that freedom reigns ..."
"... Every opportunity to push back Neo liberalism should be taken. ..."
"... Once again, Mark Twain sums up my feeling: "If voting made any difference, they wouldn't let us do it." ..."
"... Where's yours? That's impertinent. Our voting process was programmed, close to 100% by two guys, at one point not many years ago, with the same last name, the brothers Urosevich. The machine owners claim that, as it is their proprietary software, the public is excluded from the vote-counting. ..."
Mar 03, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Editor Joe Giambrone

In 2016, Hillary Clinton deserved to lose, and she did. Her deception, her cheating in the primary elections , was well-documented, despicable, dishonest, untrustworthy. Her money-laundering scheme at DNC should have been prosecuted under campaign finance laws.

Her record of warmongering and gleefully gloating over death and destruction was also well established. On national TV she bragged about the mutilation of Moammar Qaddafi: "We came, we saw, he died!"

Clinton also lied to the country about "Weapons of Mass Destruction" in Iraq and voted for that obviously illegal war. This after 8 years of her husband's genocidal sanctions killed a minimum of 500,000 innocent Iraqi children .

This person was undeserving of anyone's support.

What Bernie Sanders suffered and endured in 2016 was outrageous. Yet, he persisted and to this day attempts to help common Americans as much as he can. He does what he believes to be the right thing. His integrity and his record of fighting for working Americans are not the points of contention in this race.

His opponents have instead opted for every nonsensical conspiracy theory and McCarthyite smear they can concoct, including the most ridiculous of all: the Putin theory , without a single shred of evidence to support it.

Today, however, Senator Bernie Sanders is the only Democrat who beats Trump in poll after poll . The only one. This is no small matter. Trump needs to be beaten in the tangled Electoral College, where a simple numerical victory isn't enough.

Bernie wins, and he has the best overall shot of changing the course of history, steering America away from plutocracy and fascism.

That crucial race is happening right now in the primaries . If Bernie Sanders doesn't secure 50% of all delegates, then DNC insiders have already signaled that they will steal the nomination and give it to someone else -- who will lose to Trump. The real election for the future of America is on Super Tuesday.

It's either Trump or Bernie. That's your choice. Your only choice.

Where is your so-called "#Resistance" now?


Ben Barbour ,

Bernie is the best choice, but it is interesting that you brought up the genocidal sanctions on Iraq. Bernie supported those sanctions. He also supported the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 which reaffirmed US support for the sanctions even after 500,000 children had been killed.

Bernie also voted for Clinton's 1999 bombing campaign on Kosovo.

All that said, yes, Bernie is the best option.

Rhys Jaggar ,

Well, the BBC is bigging up Joe Biden right now, yet another of its ridiculous pieces of propaganda utterly devoid of its duty to serve its license payors, who are the British people, not the neoconservative banking elite.

When they spout bullshit that 20% of UK workers could miss work 'due to coronavirus', when we have had precisely 36 deaths in a population of 65 million plus, you know that like climate change, they spout the 1% probability as the mainstream narrative .

It just shows what folks are up against when media is so cravenly serving those who do not pay them.

Charlotte Russe ,

"If Bernie Sanders doesn't secure 50% of all delegates, then DNC insiders have already signaled that they will steal the nomination and give it to someone else -- who will lose to Trump. The real election for the future of America is on Super Tuesday."

While Bernie spent more than three decades advocating for economic social justice Biden spent those same three decades promoting social repression."

"The 1990s saw Biden take aim at civil liberties, authoring anti-terror bills that, among other things, "gutted the federal writ of habeas corpus," as one legal scholar later reflected. It was this earlier legislation that led Biden to brag to anyone listening that he was effectively the author of the Bush-era PATRIOT ACT, which, in his view, didn't go far enough. He inserted a provision into the bill that allowed for the militarization of local law enforcement and again suggested deploying the military within US borders."

How interesting, it's Obama who gave the "cue" for Buttigieg, Klobuchar, Beto, Rice, and the entire slippery gang to circle the wagons in support of the most reactionary warmongering candidate running. The same Obama who released drones every Tuesday morning killing brown and blacks throughout the Middle East and Africa– the majority of slaughtered were innocent women and children.

The desperation of the national security state is reflected by The DNC's Shenanigans. The security state would rather promote a crooked, warmongering, lying, racist who barely can put together two logical thoughts then accept a candidate who represents a hopeful future for the next generation.

The DNC's message is very clear– they're a "private party" and the working-class are NOT invited. In fact, they're saying more than that–if uninvited workers and the marginalized dare to enter they'll be tossed out on their arse

In plain sight the mainstream media news is telling millions that NO one can stop the military/security/surveillance/corporate state from their stranglehold over the corrupt political duopoly.

I say fight and don't give-up! Be prepared–organize a million people march and head to Milwaukee– the future of the next generation is on the line.

But this by far is the most frightening thought, Biden, does not have all his marbles–it's obvious–we can only guess it's some type of dementia. So if Biden, slides through deploying a multitude of underhanded machinations and becomes the nominee, Trump, will make mincemeat of him during the debates.

But if Biden, makes it to the Oval Office he'll be "less" than a figurehead. Biden, will be as mentally acute as the early bird diner in a Florida assisted living facility after a recent stroke. The national security state will seize control– handing the "taxidermied Biden" a pen to idiotically sign off on their highly insidious agenda ..

Ken Kenn ,

Pretty straightforward for me ( I don't know about Bernie? ) but if the Super delegates and the DNC hierarchy decide to hand the nomination over to Biden then Bernie should stand as an independent. At least even in defeat a left marker would be placed on the US political table away from the Corporate owners and the shills that hack for them in the media and elsewhere. At least ordinary US people would know that someone is on their side.

Corbyn in the UK was described as a ' Marxist' by the Tories and the unquestioning media. Despite all that ' Marxist ' Labour got 33% of the vote. People will vote for a ' socialist '

Charlotte Ruse ,

Unfortunately, Bernie won't abandon the Democratic Party. However, there's a ton of Bernie supporters who will vote Third Party if Bernie doesn't get the nomination.

paul ,

I'm not in the Orange Baboon's Fan Club, but I find it sad and a little bit pathetic the way people still invest their hopes and put their faith in figures like Bernie, Tulsi or Jezza. Bernie got shafted in 2016 and just saluted smartly and fell into line behind Crooked Hillary. When she lost, he started singing from the approved hymn sheet. The evil Putin stole the election for Kremlin Agent Trump. He has been parroting the same nonsense for the past 4 years.

That's when he hasn't been shilling for regime change wars in Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia and elsewhere against "communist dictators."

Bernie will get shafted again shortly and fall into line behind Epstein's and Weinstein's best mate Bloomberg or Creepy Joe, or Pocahontas, or whoever.

If by some miracle they can't quite rig it this time and Bernie gets the nomination, the DNC will just fail to support him, and allow Trump to win. They would rather see Trump than Bernie in the White House.

Just like Starmer, Thornberry, Phillips and all the Blairite Backstabber Friends of Israel were more terrified of seeing Jezza in Number Ten than any Tory.
Dr. Johnson said that getting remarried represented the triumph of hope over experience.

The same applies to people expecting any positive change from people like Bernie, Tulsi, or Jezza.

The system just doesn't allow it.

pete ,

Jeez people get a clue. How many times do you need to fall for the "this candidate is so much better and will solve everything" ruse? Remember Obama? The exact same bullshit was going around back then.

Gezzah Potts ,

We have hope😁 . We have change😁 . We have hope and change you can believe in😁 . Well, yeah, we all know what happened during Obombers 8 years. The entire thing is nothing but Kabuki theatre. For all those still believing the United States is a democracy.

clickkid ,

"The real election for the future of America is on Super Tuesday." Sorry Joe, but where have you been for the last 50 years" Elections are irrelevant. Events change the world – not elections. The only important aspect of an election is the turnout. If you vote in an election, then at some level you still believe in the system.

Willem ,

Sometimes Chomsky can be useful

'In the democratic system, the necessary illusions cannot be imposed by force. Rather, they must be instilled in the public mind by more subtle means. A totalitarian state can be satisfied with lesser degrees of allegiance to required truths. It is sufficient that people obey; what they think is a secondary concern. But in a democratic political order, there is always the danger that independent thought might be translated into political action, so it is important to eliminate the threat at its root.

Debate cannot be stilled, and indeed, in a properly functioning system of propaganda, it should not be, because it has a system-reinforcing character if constrained within proper bounds. What is essential is to set the bounds firmly. Controversy may rage as long as it adheres to the presuppositions that define the consensus of elites, and it should furthermore be encouraged within these bounds, thus helping to establish these doctrines as the very condition of thinkable thought while reinforcing the belief that freedom reigns.'

If true, the question is, what are we not allowed to say? Or is Chomsky wrong, and are we allowed to say anything we like since TPTB know that words cannot, ever, change political action as for that you need power and brutal force, which we do not have and which, btw Chomsky advocates to its readers not to try to use against the nation state?

So maybe Chomsky is not so useful after all, or only useful for the status quo.

Chomsky's latest book, sold in book stores and at airports, where, apparantly, opinions of dissident writers whose opinions go beyond the bounds of the consensus of elites, are sold in large amounts to marginalize those opinions out of society, is called 'Optimism over despair', a title stolen from Gramsci who said: 'pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.'

But every time I follow Chomsky's reasoning, I end in dead end roads of which it is quite hard to find your way out. So perhaps I should change that title into 'nihilism over despair'. If you follow Chomsky's reasoning

clickkid ,

Your Chomsky Quote: "'In the democratic system, the necessary illusions cannot be imposed by force. .. " Tell that to the Yellow Vests.

ajbsm ,

Despite the deep state stranglehold .on the whole world there seems to be a 'wind' blowing (ref Lenin) of more and more people turning backs on the secret service candidates – not just in America. Power, money and bullying will carry on succeeding eventually the edifice is blown away – this will probably happen, it will be ugly and what emerges might not even be better(!) But the current controllers seem to have a sell by date.

Ken Kenn ,

I'm not convinced of the theory that the more poor/whipped/ spat upon people become the more likely they are to revolt. A revolution can only come about when the Bourgeoisie can no longer continue to govern in the old way. In other words it becomes more than a want – more of a necessity of change to the ordinary person.

We have to remember that in general ( it's a bit of a guess but just to illustrate a point ) that a small majority of people in any western nation are reasonably content – to an extent. They are not going to rock the boat that Kennedy tried to make the tide rise for or that Thatcher and her mates copied with home owner ship and the right to get into serious debt. This depends on whether you had/have a boat in the first place. If not you've always been drowning in the slowly rising tide.

Sanders as I've said before is not Castro. He has many faults but in a highly parameterised p Neo liberal economic loving political and media world he is the best hope. Not great stuff on offer but a significant move away from the 1% and the 3% who work for them ( including Presidents and Prime Misister ) so even that slight shift is plus for the most powerful country on planet earth.

I have in the past worked alongside various religious groups as an atheist as long as they were on the right( or should that be left?) side on an issue.

Now is not the time for the American left to play the Prolier than though card.

Every opportunity to push back Neo liberalism should be taken.

wardropper ,

I'm not convinced of the theory that the more poor/whipped/ spat upon people become the more likely they are to revolt. But didn't the Storming of the Bastille happen for that very reason? I think people are waiting for just one spark to ignite their simmering fury – just one more straw to break the patient camel's back. Understandably, the "elite" (which used to mean exalted above the general level) are in some trepidation about this, but, like all bullies their addiction to the rush of power goes all the way to the bitter end – the bitter end being the point at which their target stands up and gives them a black eye. It's almost comical how the bully then becomes the wailing victim himself, and we have all seen often enough the successfully-resisted dictatorial figure of authority resorting to the claim that he is now being bullied himself. But this is a situation of his own making, and our sympathy for him is limited by our memory of that fact.

Ken Kenn ,

Where's the simmering fury in the West. U.S. turnout is pathetically low. Even in the UK the turnout in the most important election since the First World War was 67%. I see the result of the " simmering fury " giving rise to the right not the left. Just that one phrase or paragraph of provocative words will spark the revolution?

... ... ...

wardropper ,

My point, which I thought I made clearly enough, was that the fury is simmering , and waiting for a catalyst. I also think an important reason for turnout being low is simply that people don't respond well to being treated like idiots by an utterly corrupt establishment. They just don't want to participate in the farce.

Once again, Mark Twain sums up my feeling: "If voting made any difference, they wouldn't let us do it."

I'm not trying to be argumentative, and, like you, I am quite happy to back Sanders as by far the best of a pretty rotten bunch. Perhaps China is indeed leading in many respects right now, but becoming Chinese doesn't seem like a real option for most of us at the moment . . . Incidentally I have been to China and I found the people there as interesting as people anywhere else, although I particularly enjoyed the many things which are completely different from our western cultural roots.

Rhisiart Gwilym ,

Speaking of the Clintons' death toll, didn't Sanders too back all USAmerica's mass-murdering, armed-robbery aggressions against helpless small countries in recent times? And anyway, why are we wasting time discussing the minutiae of the shadow-boxing in this ridiculous circus of a pretend-democratic 'election'? Watching a coffin warp would be a more useful occupation.

I go with Dmitry Orlov's reckoning of the matter: It doesn't matter who becomes president of the US, since the rule of the deep state continues unbroken, enacting its own policies, which ignore the wishes of the common citizens, and only follow the requirements of the mostly hyper-rich gics (gangsters-in-charge) in the controlling positions of this spavined, failing empire. (My paraphrase of Dmitry.)

USPresidents do what their deep-state handlers want; or they get impeached, or assassinated like the Kennedy brothers. And they all know this. Bill Hick's famous joke about men in a smoke-filled room showing the newly-'elected' POTUS that piece of film of Kennedy driving by the grassy knoll in Dealy Plaza, Dallas, is almost literally true. All POTUSes understand that perfectly well before they even take office.

Voting for the policies you prefer, in a genuinely democratic republic, and actually getting them realised, will only happen for USAmericans when they've risen up and taken genuine popular control of their state-machine; at last!

Meanwhile, of what interest is this ridiculous charade to us in Britain (on another continent entirely; we never see this degree of attention given to Russian politics, though it has a much greater bearing on our future)? Our business here is to get Britain out of it's current shameful status, as one of the most grovelling of all the Anglozionist empire's provinces. We have a traitorous-comprador class of our own to turn out of power. Waste no time on the continuous three-ring distraction-circus in the US – where we in Britain don't even have a vote.

wardropper ,

The upvotes here would seem to show what thinking people appreciate most. Seeing through the advertising bezazz, the cheerleaders and the ownership of the media is obviously a top priority, and I suspect a large percentage of people who don't even know about the OffG would agree.

John Ervin ,

Where's yours? That's impertinent. Our voting process was programmed, close to 100% by two guys, at one point not many years ago, with the same last name, the brothers Urosevich. The machine owners claim that, as it is their proprietary software, the public is excluded from the vote-counting. And that much still holds true. Game. Set. Match. Any questions?

Antonym ,

What Bernie Sanders suffered and endured in 2016 was outrageous.

US deep state ate him for breakfast in 2016: they would love him to become string puppet POTUS in 2020. Trump is more difficult to control so they hate him.

John Ervin ,

Just one more Conspiracy Realist, eh! When will we ever learn? "The deep state ate him for breakfast in 2016 ." That gives some sense of the ease with which they pull strings, nicely put. One variation on the theme of your metaphor: "They savored him as one might consume a cocktail olive at an exclusive or entitled soirée."

It is painfully clear by any real connection of dots that he is simply one of their stalking horses for other game. And that Homeland game (still) doesn't know whether a horse has four, or six, legs.

*****

"Puppet Masters, or master puppets?"

Antonym ,

It is painfully clear that US Deep state hates Trump simply by looking at the Russiagate they cooked him up.

Fair dinkum ,

The US voters have surrounded themselves with a sewer, now they have to swim in it.

[Mar 03, 2020] It is shocking to see such a disgusting piece of human garbage like Joe Biden get so many working class voters to vote for him. Biden has never missed a chance to stab the working class in the back in service to his wealthy patrons.

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... It's astonishing that so many people will just blindly accept what they are told, that Biden is. "moderate." Biden is so far to the right, he makes Nixon look like Trotsky. ..."
Mar 03, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

TG , Mar 3 2020 22:02 utc | 56

Yet another circus. The proles get to scream and holler, and when all is done, the oligarchy gets the policies it wants, the public be damned. Our sham 'democracy' is a con to privatize power and socialize responsibility.

Although it is shocking to see such a disgusting piece of human garbage like Joe Biden get substantial numbers of people to vote for him. Biden has never missed a chance to stab the working class in the back in service to his wealthy patrons.

The issue is not (for me) his creepiness (I wouldn't much mind if he was on my side), nor even his Alzheimer's, but his established track record of betrayal and corruption.

From wiping out the ability of regular folks to declare bankruptcy (something supported by our founding fathers who were NOT socialists), to shipping our industrial base to communist China (which in less enlightened days would have been termed treason), to spending tens of trillions of dollars bailing out and subsiding the big banks (that's not a misprint), to supporting "surprise medical billing," to opening the borders to massive third-world immigration so that wages can be driven down and reset and profits up (As 2015 Bernie Sanders pointed out), Backstabbing Joe Biden is neoliberal scum pure and simple.

It's astonishing that so many people will just blindly accept what they are told, that Biden is. "moderate." Biden is so far to the right, he makes Nixon look like Trotsky. Heck, he makes Calvin Coolidge look like Trotsky.

Mao , Mar 3 2020 22:01 utc | 55

Ian56:

Joe Biden is a crook and a con man.

He has been lying his whole life.

Claimed in his 1988 Campaign to have got 3 degrees at college and finished in top half of his class.

Actually only got 1 degree & finished 76th out of 85 in his class.

[VIDEO]

https://twitter.com/Ian56789/status/1234914227963518977

[Mar 03, 2020] Whacking Rich is a reminder to Sanders what the party establishmen is capable of

Highly recommended!
Mar 03, 2020 | www.unz.com

An alternative view that has been circulating for several years suggests that it was not a hack at all, that it was a deliberate whistleblower-style leak of information carried out by an as yet unknown party, possibly Rich, that may have been provided to WikiLeaks for possible political reasons, i.e. to express disgust with the DNC manipulation of the nominating process to damage Bernie Sanders and favor Hillary Clinton.

There are, of course, still other equally non-mainstream explanations for how the bundle of information got from point A to point B, including that the intrusion into the DNC server was carried out by the CIA which then made it look like it had been the Russians as perpetrators. And then there is the hybrid point of view, which is essentially that the Russians or a surrogate did indeed intrude into the DNC computers but it was all part of normal intelligence agency probing and did not lead to anything. Meanwhile and independently, someone else who had access to the server was downloading the information, which in some fashion made its way from there to WikiLeaks.

Both the hack vs. leak viewpoints have marshaled considerable technical analysis in the media to bolster their arguments, but the analysis suffers from the decidedly strange fact that the FBI never even examined the DNC servers that may have been involved. The hack school of thought has stressed that Russia had both the ability and motive to interfere in the election by exposing the stolen material while the leakers have recently asserted that the sheer volume of material downloaded indicates that something like a higher speed thumb drive was used, meaning that it had to be done by someone with actual physical direct access to the DNC system. Someone like Seth Rich.

... ... ...

Given all of that back story, it would be odd to find Trump making an offer that focuses only on one issue and does not actually refute the broader claims of Russian interference, which are based on a number of pieces of admittedly often dubious evidence, not just the Clinton and Podesta emails.

Which brings the tale back to Seth Rich. If Rich was indeed responsible for the theft of the information and was possibly killed for his treachery, it most materially impacts on the Democratic Party as it reminds everyone of what the Clintons and their allies are capable of.

It will also serve as a warning of what might be coming at the Democratic National Convention in Milwaukee in July as the party establishment uses fair means or foul to stop Bernie Sanders. How this will all play out is anyone's guess, but many of those who pause to observe the process will be thinking of Seth Rich.


plantman , says: Show Comment February 29, 2020 at 9:35 pm GMT

Excellent roundup.

I don't ascribe to the idea that the intel agencies kill American citizens without a great deal of thought, but in Rich's case, they probably felt like they had no choice. Think about it: The DNC had already rigged the primary against Bernie, the Podesta emails had already been sent to Wikileaks, and if Rich's cover was blown, then he would publicly identify himself as the culprit (which would undermine the Russiagate narrative) which would split the Democratic party in two leaving Hillary with no chance to win the election.

I can imagine Hillary and her intel connections looking for an alternative to whacking Rich but eventually realizing that there was no other way to deflect responsibility for the emails while paving the way for an election victory.

If Seth Rich went public, then Hillary would certainly lose.

I imagine this is what they were thinking when they decided there was really only one option.

james charles , says: Show Comment February 29, 2020 at 11:14 pm GMT
"I have watched incredulous as the CIA's blatant lie has grown and grown as a media story – blatant because the CIA has made no attempt whatsoever to substantiate it. There is no Russian involvement in the leaks of emails showing Clinton's corruption."
https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2016/12/cias-absence-conviction/

"The FBI Has Been Lying About Seth Rich"
https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/

niteranger , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 12:08 am GMT
@plantman It's more than Hillary losing. It would have been easy to connect the dots of the entire plot to get Trump. Furthermore, it would have linked Obama and his cohorts in ways that the country might have exploded. This was the beginning of a Coup De'tat that would have shown the American political process is a complete joke.

... ... ...

Carlton Meyer , says: Website Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 1:04 am GMT
To understand why the DNC mobsters and the Deep State hate him, watch this great 2016 interview where Assange calmly explains the massive corruption that patriotic FBI agents refer to as the "Clinton Crime Family." This gang is so powerful that it ordered federal agents to spy on the Trump political campaign, and indicted and imprisoned some participants in an attempt to pressure President Trump to step down. It seems Trump still fears this gang, otherwise he would order his attorney general to drop this bogus charge against Assange, then pardon him forever and invite him to speak at White House press conferences.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/_sbT3_9dJY4?feature=oembed

Ron Unz , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 3:18 am GMT
Well, here was my own take on the controversy a couple of years ago, and I really haven't seen anything to change my mind:

Well, DC is still a pretty dangerous city, but how many middle-class whites were randomly murdered there that year while innocently walking the streets? I wouldn't be surprised if Seth Rich was just about the only one.

Julian Assange has strongly implied that Seth Rich was the source of the DNC emails that cost Hillary Clinton the presidency. So if Seth Rich died in a totally random street killing not long afterward, isn't that just the most astonishing coincidence in all of American history?

Consider that the leaks effectively nullified the investment of the $2 billion or so that her donors had provided, and foreclosed the flood of good jobs and appointments to her camp-followers, not to mention the oceans of future graft. Seems to me that's a pretty good motive for murder.

Here's my own plausible speculation from a couple of months ago:

Incidentally, I'd guess that DC is a very easy place to arrange a killing, given that until the heavy gentrification of the last dozen years or so, it was one of America's street-murder capitals. It seems perfectly plausible that some junior DNC staffer was at dinner somewhere, endlessly cursing Seth Rich for having betrayed his party and endangered Hillary's election, when one of his friends said he knew somebody who'd be willing to "take care of the problem" for a thousand bucks

https://www.unz.com/announcement/new-software-releaseopen-thread/#comment-1959442

https://www.unz.com/isteve/was-seth-rich-murdered-by-the-russians-the-democratic-elite-or-the-democratic-base/#comment-2069185

Let's say a couple of hundred thousand middle-class whites lived in DC around then, and Seth Rich was about the only one that year who died in a random street-killing, occurring not long after the leak.

Wouldn't that seem like a pretty unlikely coincidence?

Mustapha Mond , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 3:45 am GMT
"If Rich was indeed responsible for the theft of the information and was possibly killed for his treachery ."

Heroism is the proper term for what Seth Rich did. He saw the real treachery, against Bernie Sanders and the democratic faithful who expect at least a modicum of integrity from their Party leaders (even if that expectation is utterly fanciful, wishful thinking), and he decided to act. He paid for it with his life. A young, noble life.

In every picture I've seen of him, he looks like a nice guy, a guy who cared. And now he's dead. And the assholes at the DNC simply gave him a small plaque over a bike rack, as I understand it.

Seth Rich: American Hero. A Truth-Teller who paid the ultimate price.

Great reporting, Phil. Another home run.

(And thanks to Ron for chiming in. Couldn't agree more. As a Truth-Teller extraordinaire, please watch your back, Bro. And Phil, too. You both know what these murderous scum are capable of.)

Biff , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 3:46 am GMT
When the FBI doesn't fully investigate a crime(DNC-emails/9-11/JFK-murder) the only conclusion is " coverup ".
John Chuckman , says: Website Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 7:31 am GMT
I suppose American security services could have been involved.

That would explain the poor police investigation and lack of information and questions answered.

But Hillary and her dirty associates were quite capable of hiring a hit.

That would also explain the lack of information, since DC, unlike any other city, is literally controlled by the Federal government.

This is a very vicious woman despite her clownishly made-up face.

Her words after Gaddafi's murder were chilling.

She is said to have been responsible too for pressuring for the final push to get Waco out of the headlines. 80 folks incinerated.

She also joked about Assange, "can't we just drone him or something?"

And there was the dirty business at Benghazi.

She is indeed a woman capable of anything. A contemporary Borgia.

Daniel Rich , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 9:33 am GMT
Because the {real} killers of JFK, MLK and RFK were never detained and jailed/hanged, why would one expect a lesser known, more ordinary individual's murder [Seth] to be solved?
hobo , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 10:27 am GMT
Seymour Hersh, in a taped phone conversation, claimed to have access to an FBI report on the murder. According to Hersh, the report indicated tha FBI Cyber Unit examined Rich's computer and found he had contacted Wikileaks with the intention of selling the emails.

Seymour Hersh discussing Wikileaks DNC leaks Seth Rich & FBI report ( 7 min)

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

Antiwar7 , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 10:33 am GMT
Another reason Assange may not want to reveal it, if Seth Rich was a source for Wikileaks, could be that Seth Rich didn't act alone, and revealing Seth's involvement would compromise the other(s).

Or it could simply be that Wikileaks has promised to never reveal a source, even after that source's death, as a promise to future potential sources, who may never want their identities revealed, to avoid the thought of embarrassment or repercussions to their associates or families.

Incidentally, they only started really going after Assange after the Vault 7 leaks of the CIA's active bag of software tricks. I think, for Assange's sake, they should instead have held on to that, and made it the payload of a dead man's switch.

Chet Roman , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 11:05 am GMT
I'm not sure how credible the source is but Ellen Ratner, the sister of Assange's former lawyer and a journalist, told Ed Butowsky that Assange told her that it was Seth Rich. She asked Butowsky to contact Rich's parents. She confirms the Assange meeting in an interview, link below. Butowsky does not seem to be a credible source but Ratner does. If it was Seth Rich then I have no doubt that his brother knows the details and the family does not want to lose another son.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/_YyuWpjTbg0?feature=oembed

The story has gone nowhere.

Chet Roman , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 11:42 am GMT
"According to Assange's lawyers, Rohrabacher offered a pardon from President Trump if Assange were to provide information that would attribute the theft or hack of the Democratic National Committee emails to someone other than the Russians."

Not to quibble on semantics but Rohrabacher met with Assange to ask if he would be willing to reveal the source of the emails then Rohrabacher would contact Trump and try to make deal for Assange's freedom. Rohrabacher clarified that he never talked to Trump or that he was authorized by Trump to make any offer.

The MSM has been using the "amnesty if you say it was not the Russians" narrative to hint at a coverup by Russian agent Trump. Normal for the biased MSM.

Giraldi's link "Assange did not take the offer" has nothing to do with Rohrabacher's contact. It's just a general piece on Assange acting as a journalist should act.

https://www.rohrabacher.com/news/my-meeting-with-julian-assange

Alfred , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 12:01 pm GMT
@plantman I can imagine Hillary and her intel connections looking for an alternative to whacking Rich

Have you never had to deal with a psychopath? That is not the way they reason.

She would have done it in the "national interest"

DaveE , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 2:21 pm GMT
I'm of the opinion Ron Unz seems to share, that Rich was not a particularly "big hitter" in the DNC hierarchy and that his murder was more likely the result of a very nasty inter-party squabble. I seem to recall a LOT of very nasty talk between the Jewish neocons in the Bush era and the decent, traditional "small-government" style Republicans who greatly resented the neocons' hijacking of the GOP for their demonic zionist agenda.

Common sense would suggest that the zionist types who have (obviously) hijacked the DNC are at least as nasty and ruthless as the neocons who destroyed any decency or fair-play within the GOP. It's not exactly hard to believe that these Murder, Inc. types (also lefties of their era) wouldn't hesitate to whack someone like Rich for merely uttering a criticism of Israel, for example.

Hell, Meyer Lansky ordered the hit-job on Bugsy Seigel for forgetting to bring bagels to a sit-down ! There was a great web-site by a mobster of that era, long since taken down, who described the story in detail. I forget the names .. but I'll see if I can't find a copy of some of the pieces posted at least a decade ago .

It's not exactly hard to imagine some very nasty words being exchanged between the Rahm Emmanuel types and decent Chicago citizens, for example, who genuinely cared for their city and weren't afraid of The Big Jew and his mobster cronies . to their detriment I'm sure.

We're talking about organized crime, here, folks. The zionists make the so-called (mostly fictitious) Sicilian Mafia look like newborn puppies. They wouldn't hesitate to whack a guy like Rich for taking their favorite space in the bicycle rack.

Rev. Spooner , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 3:27 pm GMT
@John Chuckman A long time ago I read in the London Guardian ( before it's reputation was in tatters) that the witch kept a list of all who pissed her off and updated it every night.
A quick search and here it is https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/jan/14/hillary-clinton-hitlist-spreadsheet-grudge
Altai , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 3:33 pm GMT
My only trouble with the Seth Rich thing is, it seems a bit extreme, they seem quite callous in murdering foreigners but US citizens in the US who are their staffers? If they really were prepared to go out and kill in this way, they're be a lot more suspicious deaths.

What makes the case most compelling is the very quick investigation by police that looks like they were told by somebody concerned about how the whole thing looked to close up the case nice and quickly. That and the fact that he was shot in the back, which doesn't make sense for an attempted robbery turned murder.

However, it may also be that as in so many cities in the US, murder clearance rates for street shootings (Little forensic evidence, can only go by witness accounts or through poor alibis from usual suspects and their associates. In this case there is also no connection between Rich and any possible shooter with no witnesses.) are just so very low that DC police don't bother and Seth Rich's death just happened to be one such case that attracted some scrutiny.

But then maybe for the reasons above a place like DC is perfect to just murder somebody on the street and that's why they were so brazen about it.

Ron Unz , says: Show Comment March 1, 2020 at 3:47 pm GMT
@Altai

Seth Rich's death just happened to be one such case that attracted some scrutiny.

Well, upthread someone posted a recording of a Seymour Hersh phone call that confirmed Seth Rich was the fellow who leaked the DNC emails to Wikileaks, thereby possibly swinging the presidential election to Trump and overcoming $2 billion of Democratic campaign advertising.

Shortly afterwards, he probably became about the only middle-class white in DC who died in a "random street killing" that year. If you doubt this, see if you can find any other such cases that year.

I think it is *extraordinarily* unlikely that these two elements are unconnected and merely happened together by chance.

[Mar 01, 2020] Countering Nationalist Oligarchy by Ganesh Sitaraman

Highly recommended!
The article is mostly junk. But it contains some important insights into the rise of Trympism (aka "national neoliberalism") -- nationalist oligarchy. Including the following " the governments that have emerged from the new populist moment are, to date, not actually pursuing policies that are economically populist."
The real threat to liberal democracy isn't authoritarianism -- it's nationalist oligarchy. Here's how American foreign policy should change. The real threat to liberal democracy isn't authoritarianism -- it's nationalist oligarchy. Here's how American foreign policy should change.
Notable quotes:
"... Fascism: A Warning ..."
"... Can it Happen Here? Authoritarianism in America ..."
"... the governments that have emerged from the new populist moment are, to date, not actually pursuing policies that are economically populist. ..."
"... The better and more useful way to view these regimes -- and the threat to democracy emerging at home and abroad because of them -- is as nationalist oligarchies. Oligarchy means rule by a small number of rich people. In an oligarchy, wealthy elites seek to preserve and extend their wealth and power. In his definitive book titled Oligarchy ..."
"... Oligarchies remain in power through two strategies: first, using divide-and-conquer tactics to ensure that a majority doesn't coalesce, and second, by rigging the political system to make it harder for any emerging majority to overthrow them. ..."
"... Rigging the system is, in some ways, a more obvious tactic. It means changing the legal rules of the game or shaping the political marketplace to preserve power. Voting restrictions and suppression, gerrymandering, and manipulation of the media are examples. The common theme is that they insulate the minority in power from democracy; they prevent the population from kicking the rulers out through ordinary political means. ..."
"... Classical Greek Oligarchy ..."
"... Framing today's threat as nationalist oligarchy not only clarifies the challenge but also makes clear how democracy is different -- and what democracy requires. Democracy means more than elections, an independent judiciary, a free press, and various constitutional norms. For democracy to persist, there must also be relative economic equality. If society is deeply unequal economically, the wealthy will dominate politics and transform democracy into an oligarchy. And there must be some degree of social solidarity because, as Lincoln put it, "A house divided against itself cannot stand." ..."
"... We see a number of disturbing signs the United States is breaking down along these dimensions. ..."
"... The view that money is speech under the First Amendment has unleashed wealthy individuals and corporations to spend as much as they want to influence politics. The "doom loop of oligarchy," as Ezra Klein has called it, is an obvious consequence: The wealthy use their money to influence politics and rig policy to increase their wealth, which in turn increases their capacity to influence politics. Meanwhile, we're increasingly divided into like-minded enclaves, and the result is an ever-more toxic degree of partisanship. ..."
"... The Counterinsurgent's Constitution: Law in the Age of Small Wars ..."
"... The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution: Why Economic Inequality Threatens our Republic ..."
Dec 31, 2019 | democracyjournal.org
from Winter 2019, No. 51 – 31 MIN READ

Tagged Authoritarianism Democracy Foreign Policy Government nationalism oligarchy

Ever since the 2016 election, foreign policy commentators and practitioners have been engaged in a series of soul-searching exercises to understand the great transformations taking place in the world -- and to articulate a framework appropriate to the challenges of our time. Some have looked backwards, arguing that the liberal international order is collapsing, while others question whether it ever existed. Another group seems to hope the current messiness is simply a blip and that foreign policy will return to normalcy after it passes. Perhaps the most prominent group has identified today's great threat as the rise of authoritarianism, autocracy, and illiberal democracy. They fear that constitutional democracy is receding as norms are broken and institutions are under siege.

Unfortunately, this approach misunderstands the nature of the current crisis. The challenge we face today is not one of authoritarianism, as so many seem inclined to believe, but of nationalist oligarchy. This form of government feeds populism to the people, delivers special privileges to the rich and well-connected, and rigs politics to sustain its regime.

... ... ..

Authoritarianism or What?

Across the political spectrum, commentators and scholars have identified -- and warned of -- the global rise of autocracies and authoritarian governments. They cite Russia, Hungary, the Philippines, and Turkey, among others. Distinguished commentators are increasingly worried. Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright recently published a book called Fascism: A Warning . Cass Sunstein gathered a variety of scholars for a collection titled, Can it Happen Here? Authoritarianism in America .

The authoritarian lens is familiar from the heroic narrative of democracy defeating autocracies in the twentieth century. But as a framework for understanding today's central geopolitical challenges, it is far too narrow. This is mainly because those who are worried about the rise of authoritarianism and the crisis of democracy are insufficiently focused on economics. Their emphasis is almost exclusively political and constitutional -- free speech, voting rights, equal treatment for minorities, independent courts, and the like. But politics and economics cannot be dissociated from each other, and neither are autonomous from social and cultural factors. Statesmen and philosophers used to call this "political economy." Political economy looks at economic and political relationships in concert, and it is attentive to how power is exercised. If authoritarianism is the future, there must be a story of its political economy -- how it uses politics and economics to gain and hold power. Yet the rise-of-authoritarianism theorists have less to say about these dynamics.

To be sure, many commentators have discussed populist movements throughout Europe and America, and there has been no shortage of debate on the extent to which a generation of widening economic inequality has been a contributing factor in their rise. But whatever the causes of popular discontent, the policy preferences of the people, and the bloviating rhetoric of leaders, the governments that have emerged from the new populist moment are, to date, not actually pursuing policies that are economically populist.

The better and more useful way to view these regimes -- and the threat to democracy emerging at home and abroad because of them -- is as nationalist oligarchies. Oligarchy means rule by a small number of rich people. In an oligarchy, wealthy elites seek to preserve and extend their wealth and power. In his definitive book titled Oligarchy , Jeffrey Winters calls it "wealth defense." Elites engage in "property defense," protecting what they already have, and "income defense," preserving and extending their ability to hoard more. Importantly, oligarchy as a governing strategy accounts for both politics and economics. Oligarchs use economic power to gain and hold political power and, in turn, use politics to expand their economic power.

Those who worry about the rise of authoritarianism and fear the crisis of democracy are insufficiently focused on economics.

The trouble for oligarchs is that their regime involves rule by a small number of wealthy elites. In even a nominally democratic society, and most countries around the world today are at least that, it should be possible for the much larger majority to overthrow the oligarchy with either the ballot or the bullet. So how can oligarchy persist? This is where both nationalism and authoritarianism come into play. Oligarchies remain in power through two strategies: first, using divide-and-conquer tactics to ensure that a majority doesn't coalesce, and second, by rigging the political system to make it harder for any emerging majority to overthrow them.

The divide-and-conquer strategy is an old one, and it works through a combination of coercion and co-optation. Nationalism -- whether statist, ethnic, religious, or racial -- serves both functions. It aligns a portion of ordinary people with the ruling oligarchy, mobilizing them to support the regime and sacrifice for it. At the same time, it divides society, ensuring that the nationalism-inspired will not join forces with everyone else to overthrow the oligarchs. We thus see fearmongering about minorities and immigrants, and claims that the country belongs only to its "true" people, whom the leaders represent. Activating these emotional, cultural, and political identities makes it harder for citizens in the country to unite across these divides and challenge the regime.

Rigging the system is, in some ways, a more obvious tactic. It means changing the legal rules of the game or shaping the political marketplace to preserve power. Voting restrictions and suppression, gerrymandering, and manipulation of the media are examples. The common theme is that they insulate the minority in power from democracy; they prevent the population from kicking the rulers out through ordinary political means. Tactics like these are not new. They have existed, as Matthew Simonton shows in his book Classical Greek Oligarchy , since at least the time of Pericles and Plato. The consequence, then as now, is that nationalist oligarchies can continue to deliver economic policies to benefit the wealthy and well-connected.

It is worth noting that even the generation that waged war against fascism in Europe understood that the challenge to democracy in their time was not just political, but economic and social as well. They believed that the rise of Nazism was tied to the concentration of economic power in Germany, and that cartels and monopolies not only cooperated with and served the Nazi state, but helped its rise and later sustained it. As New York Congressman Emanuel Celler, one of the authors of the Anti-Merger Act of 1950, said, quoting a report filed by Secretary of War Kenneth Royall, "Germany under the Nazi set-up built up a great series of industrial monopolies in steel, rubber, coal and other materials. The monopolies soon got control of Germany, brought Hitler to power, and forced virtually the whole world into war." After World War II, Marshall Plan experts not only rebuilt Europe but also exported aggressive American antitrust and competition laws to the continent because they believed political democracy was impossible without economic democracy.

Framing today's threat as nationalist oligarchy not only clarifies the challenge but also makes clear how democracy is different -- and what democracy requires. Democracy means more than elections, an independent judiciary, a free press, and various constitutional norms. For democracy to persist, there must also be relative economic equality. If society is deeply unequal economically, the wealthy will dominate politics and transform democracy into an oligarchy. And there must be some degree of social solidarity because, as Lincoln put it, "A house divided against itself cannot stand."

We see a number of disturbing signs the United States is breaking down along these dimensions. Electoral losers in places like North Carolina seek to entrench their power rather than accept defeat. The view that money is speech under the First Amendment has unleashed wealthy individuals and corporations to spend as much as they want to influence politics. The "doom loop of oligarchy," as Ezra Klein has called it, is an obvious consequence: The wealthy use their money to influence politics and rig policy to increase their wealth, which in turn increases their capacity to influence politics. Meanwhile, we're increasingly divided into like-minded enclaves, and the result is an ever-more toxic degree of partisanship.

Addressing our domestic economic and social crises is critical to defending democracy, and a grand strategy for America's future must incorporate both domestic and foreign policy. But while many have recognized that reviving America's middle class and re-stitching our social fabric are essential to saving democracy, less attention has been paid to how American foreign policy should be reformed in order to defend democracy from the threat of nationalist oligarchy.

The Varieties of Nationalist Oligarchy

Just as there are many variations on liberal democracy -- the Swedish model, the French model, the American model -- there are many varieties of nationalist oligarchy. The story is different in every country, but the elements of nationalist oligarchy are trending all over the world.

... ... ...

... the European Union funds Hungary's oligarchy, as Orbán draws on EU money to fund about 60 percent of the state projects that support "the new Fidesz-linked business elite." Nor do Orbán and his allies do much to hide the country's crony capitalist model. András Lánczi, president of a Fidesz-affiliated think tank, has boldly stated that "if something is done in the national interest, then it is not corruption." "The new capitalist ruling class," one Hungarian banker comments, "make their money from the government."

The commentator Jan-Werner Müller captures Orbán's Hungary this way: "Power is secured through wide-ranging control of the judiciary and the media; behind much talk of protecting hard-pressed families from multinational corporations, there is crony capitalism, in which one has to be on the right side politically to get ahead economically."

Crony capitalism, coupled with resurgent nationalism and central government control, is also an issue in China. While some commentators have emphasized "state capitalism" -- when government has a significant ownership stake in companies -- this phenomenon is not to be confused with crony capitalism. Some countries with state capitalism, like Norway, are widely seen as extremely non-corrupt and, indeed, are often held up as models of democracy. State capitalism itself is thus not necessarily a problem. Crony capitalism, in contrast, is an "instrumental union between capitalists and politicians designed to allow the former to acquire wealth, legally or otherwise, and the latter to seek and retain power." This is the key difference between state capitalism and oligarchy.

... ... ...

Ganesh Sitaraman is a professor of law and Chancellor's faculty fellow at Vanderbilt Law School, and the author of The Counterinsurgent's Constitution: Law in the Age of Small Wars and The Crisis of the Middle-Class Constitution: Why Economic Inequality Threatens our Republic .

[Feb 29, 2020] Secret Wars, Forgotten Betrayals, Global Tyranny. Who s Really In Charge Of The US Military by Cynthia Chung

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Thus, it should be no surprise to anyone in the world at this point in history, that the CIA holds no allegiance to any country. And it can be hardly expected that a President, who is actively under attack from all sides within his own country, is in a position to hold the CIA accountable for its past and future crimes ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Cynthia Chung via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

"There is a kind of character in thy life, That to the observer doth thy history, fully unfold."

– William Shakespeare

Once again we find ourselves in a situation of crisis, where the entire world holds its breath all at once and can only wait to see whether this volatile black cloud floating amongst us will breakout into a thunderstorm of nuclear war or harmlessly pass us by. The majority in the world seem to have the impression that this destructive fate totters back and forth at the whim of one man. It is only normal then, that during such times of crisis, we find ourselves trying to analyze and predict the thoughts and motives of just this one person. The assassination of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, a true hero for his fellow countrymen and undeniably an essential key figure in combating terrorism in Southwest Asia, was a terrible crime, an abhorrently repugnant provocation. It was meant to cause an apoplectic fervour, it was meant to make us who desire peace, lose our minds in indignation. And therefore, that is exactly what we should not do.

In order to assess such situations, we cannot lose sight of the whole picture, and righteous indignation unfortunately causes the opposite to occur. Our focus becomes narrower and narrower to the point where we can only see or react moment to moment with what is right in front of our face. We are reduced to an obsession of twitter feeds, news blips and the doublespeak of 'official government statements'.

Thus, before we may find firm ground to stand on regarding the situation of today, we must first have an understanding as to what caused the United States to enter into an endless campaign of regime-change warfare after WWII, or as former Chief of Special Operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff Col. Prouty stated, three decades of the Indochina war.

An Internal Shifting of Chess Pieces in the Shadows

It is interesting timing that on Sept 2, 1945, the very day that WWII ended, Ho Chi Minh would announce the independence of Indochina. That on the very day that one of the most destructive wars to ever occur in history ended, another long war was declared at its doorstep. Churchill would announce his "Iron Curtain" against communism on March 5th, 1946, and there was no turning back at that point. The world had a mere 6 months to recover before it would be embroiled in another terrible war, except for the French, who would go to war against the Viet Minh opponents in French Indochina only days after WWII was over.

In a previous paper I wrote titled "On Churchill's Sinews of Peace" , I went over a major re-organisation of the American government and its foreign intelligence bureau on the onset of Truman's de facto presidency. Recall that there was an attempted military coup d'état, which was exposed by General Butler in a public address in 1933, against the Presidency of FDR who was only inaugurated that year. One could say that there was a very marked disapproval from shadowy corners for how Roosevelt would organise the government.

One key element to this reorganisation under Truman was the dismantling of the previously existing foreign intelligence bureau that was formed by FDR, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) on Sept 20, 1945 only two weeks after WWII was officially declared over. The OSS would be replaced by the CIA officially on Sept 18, 1947, with two years of an American intelligence purge and the internal shifting of chess pieces in the shadows. In addition, de-facto President Truman would also found the United States National Security Council on Sept 18, 1947, the same day he founded the CIA. The NSC was a council whose intended function was to serve as the President's principal arm for coordinating national security, foreign policies and policies among various government agencies.

In Col. Prouty's book he states,

" In 1955, I was designated to establish an office of special operations in compliance with National Security Council (NSC) Directive #5412 of March 15, 1954. This NSC Directive for the first time in the history of the United States defined covert operations and assigned that role to the Central Intelligence Agency to perform such missions , provided they had been directed to do so by the NSC, and further ordered active-duty Armed Forces personnel to avoid such operations. At the same time, the Armed Forces were directed to "provide the military support of the clandestine operations of the CIA" as an official function . "

What this meant, was that there was to be an intermarriage of the foreign intelligence bureau with the military, and that the foreign intelligence bureau would act as top dog in the relationship, only taking orders from the NSC. Though the NSC includes the President, as we will see, the President is very far from being in the position of determining the NSC's policies.

An Inheritance of Secret Wars

" There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare. "

– Sun Tzu

On January 20th, 1961, John F. Kennedy was inaugurated as President of the United States. Along with inheriting the responsibility of the welfare of the country and its people, he was to also inherit a secret war with communist Cuba run by the CIA.

JFK was disliked from the onset by the CIA and certain corridors of the Pentagon, they knew where he stood on foreign matters and that it would be in direct conflict for what they had been working towards for nearly 15 years. Kennedy would inherit the CIA secret operation against Cuba, which Prouty confirms in his book, was quietly upgraded by the CIA from the Eisenhower administration's March 1960 approval of a modest Cuban-exile support program (which included small air drop and over-the-beach operations) to a 3,000 man invasion brigade just before Kennedy entered office.

This was a massive change in plans that was determined by neither President Eisenhower, who warned at the end of his term of the military industrial complex as a loose cannon, nor President Kennedy, but rather the foreign intelligence bureau who has never been subject to election or judgement by the people. It shows the level of hostility that Kennedy encountered as soon as he entered office, and the limitations of a President's power when he does not hold support from these intelligence and military quarters.

Within three months into JFK's term, Operation Bay of Pigs (April 17th to 20th 1961) was scheduled. As the popular revisionist history goes; JFK refused to provide air cover for the exiled Cuban brigade and the land invasion was a calamitous failure and a decisive victory for Castro's Cuba. It was indeed an embarrassment for President Kennedy who had to take public responsibility for the failure, however, it was not an embarrassment because of his questionable competence as a leader. It was an embarrassment because, had he not taken public responsibility, he would have had to explain the real reason why it failed. That the CIA and military were against him and that he did not have control over them. If Kennedy were to admit such a thing, he would have lost all credibility as a President in his own country and internationally, and would have put the people of the United States in immediate danger amidst a Cold War.

What really occurred was that there was a cancellation of the essential pre-dawn airstrike, by the Cuban Exile Brigade bombers from Nicaragua, to destroy Castro's last three combat jets. This airstrike was ordered by Kennedy himself. Kennedy was always against an American invasion of Cuba, and striking Castro's last jets by the Cuban Exile Brigade would have limited Castro's threat, without the U.S. directly supporting a regime change operation within Cuba. This went fully against the CIA's plan for Cuba.

Kennedy's order for the airstrike on Castro's jets would be cancelled by Special Assistant for National Security Affairs McGeorge Bundy, four hours before the Exile Brigade's B-26s were to take off from Nicaragua, Kennedy was not brought into this decision. In addition, the Director of Central Intelligence Allen Dulles, the man in charge of the Bay of Pigs operation was unbelievably out of the country on the day of the landings.

Col. Prouty, who was Chief of Special Operations during this time, elaborates on this situation:

" Everyone connected with the planning of the Bay of Pigs invasion knew that the policy dictated by NSC 5412, positively prohibited the utilization of active-duty military personnel in covert operations. At no time was an "air cover" position written into the official invasion plan The "air cover" story that has been created is incorrect. "

As a result, JFK who well understood the source of this fiasco, set up a Cuban Study Group the day after and charged it with the responsibility of determining the cause for the failure of the operation. The study group, consisting of Allen Dulles, Gen. Maxwell Taylor, Adm. Arleigh Burke and Attorney General Robert Kennedy (the only member JFK could trust), concluded that the failure was due to Bundy's telephone call to General Cabell (who was also CIA Deputy Director) that cancelled the President's air strike order.

Kennedy had them.

Humiliatingly, CIA Director Allen Dulles was part of formulating the conclusion that the Bay of Pigs op was a failure because of the CIA's intervention into the President's orders. This allowed for Kennedy to issue the National Security Action Memorandum #55 on June 28th, 1961, which began the process of changing the responsibility from the CIA to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As Prouty states,

" When fully implemented, as Kennedy had planned, after his reelection in 1964, it would have taken the CIA out of the covert operation business. This proved to be one of the first nails in John F. Kennedy's coffin. "

If this was not enough of a slap in the face to the CIA, Kennedy forced the resignation of CIA Director Allen Dulles, CIA Deputy Director for Plans Richard M. Bissell Jr. and CIA Deputy Director Charles Cabell.

In Oct 1962, Kennedy was informed that Cuba had offensive Soviet missiles 90 miles from American shores. Soviet ships with more missiles were on their way towards Cuba but ended up turning around last minute. Rumours started to abound that JFK had cut a secret deal with Russian Premier Khrushchev, which was that the U.S. would not invade Cuba if the Soviets withdrew their missiles. Criticisms of JFK being soft on communism began to stir.

NSAM #263, closely overseen by Kennedy, was released on Oct 11th, 1963, and outlined a policy decision " to withdraw 1,000 military personnel [from Vietnam] by the end of 1963 " and further stated that " It should be possible to withdraw the bulk of U.S. personnel [including the CIA and military] by 1965. " The Armed Forces newspaper Stars and Stripes had the headline U.S. TROOPS SEEN OUT OF VIET BY '65. Kennedy was winning the game and the American people.

This was to be the final nail in Kennedy's coffin.

Kennedy was brutally shot down only one month later, on Nov, 22nd 1963. His death should not just be seen as a tragic loss but, more importantly, it should be recognised for the successful military coup d'état that it was and is . The CIA showed what lengths it was ready to go to if a President stood in its way. (For more information on this coup refer to District Attorney of New Orleans at the time, Jim Garrison's book . And the excellently researched Oliver Stone movie "JFK")

Through the Looking Glass

On Nov. 26th 1963, a full four days after Kennedy's murder, de facto President Johnson signed NSAM #273 to begin the change of Kennedy's policy under #263. And on March 4th, 1964, Johnson signed NSAM #288 that marked the full escalation of the Vietnam War and involved 2,709,918 Americans directly serving in Vietnam, with 9,087,000 serving with the U.S. Armed Forces during this period.

The Vietnam War, or more accurately the Indochina War, would continue for another 12 years after Kennedy's death, lasting a total of 20 years for Americans.

Scattered black ops wars continued, but the next large scale-never ending war that would involve the world would begin full force on Sept 11, 2001 under the laughable title War on Terror, which is basically another Iron Curtain, a continuation of a 74 year Cold War. A war that is not meant to end until the ultimate regime changes are accomplished and the world sees the toppling of Russia and China. Iraq was destined for invasion long before the vague Gulf War of 1990 and even before Saddam Hussein was being backed by the Americans in the Iraq-Iran war in the 1980s. Iran already suffered a CIA backed regime change in 1979.

It had been understood far in advance by the CIA and US military that the toppling of sovereignty in Iraq, Libya, Syria and Iran needed to occur before Russia and China could be taken over. Such war tactics were formulaic after 3 decades of counterinsurgency against the CIA fueled "communist-insurgency" of Indochina. This is how today's terrorist-inspired insurgency functions, as a perfect CIA formula for an endless bloodbath.

Former CIA Deputy Director (2010-2013) Michael Morell, who was supporting Hillary Clinton during the presidential election campaign and vehemently against the election of Trump, whom he claimed was being manipulated by Putin, said in a 2016 interview with Charlie Rose that Russians and Iranians in Syria should be killed covertly to 'pay the price' .

Therefore, when a drone stroke occurs assassinating an Iranian Maj. Gen., even if the U.S. President takes onus on it, I would not be so quick as to believe that that is necessarily the case, or the full story. Just as I would not take the statements of President Rouhani accepting responsibility for the Iranian military shooting down 'by accident' the Boeing 737-800 plane which contained 176 civilians, who were mostly Iranian, as something that can be relegated to criminal negligence, but rather that there is very likely something else going on here.

I would also not be quick to dismiss the timely release, or better described as leaked, draft letter from the US Command in Baghdad to the Iraqi government that suggests a removal of American forces from the country. Its timing certainly puts the President in a compromised situation. Though the decision to keep the American forces within Iraq or not is hardly a simple matter that the President alone can determine. In fact there is no reason why, after reviewing the case of JFK, we should think such a thing.

One could speculate that the President was set up, with the official designation of the IRGC as "terrorist" occurring in April 2019 by the US State Department, a decision that was strongly supported by both Bolton and Pompeo, who were both members of the NSC at the time. This made it legal for a US military drone strike to occur against Soleimani under the 2001 AUMF, where the US military can attack any armed group deemed to be a terrorist threat. Both Bolton and Pompeo made no secret that they were overjoyed by Soleimani's assassination and Bolton went so far as to tweet "Hope this is the first step to regime change in Tehran." Bolton has also made it no secret that he is eager to testify against Trump in his possible impeachment trial.

Former CIA Director Mike Pompeo was recorded at an unknown conference recently, but judging from the gross laughter of the audience it consists of wannabe CIA agents, where he admits that though West Points' cadet motto is "You will not lie, cheat, or steal, or tolerate those who do.", his training under the CIA was the very opposite, stating " I was the CIA Director. We lied, we cheated, we stole. It was like we had entire training courses. (long pause) It reminds you of the glory of the American experiment. "

Thus, it should be no surprise to anyone in the world at this point in history, that the CIA holds no allegiance to any country. And it can be hardly expected that a President, who is actively under attack from all sides within his own country, is in a position to hold the CIA accountable for its past and future crimes .

Tags Politics War Conflict


ThomasChase1776 , 3 minutes ago link

General Smedley Butler had an answer. Read his book.

https://www.americanswhotellthetruth.org/portraits/major-general-smedley-butler

Is-Be , 8 minutes ago link

Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, a true hero for his fellow countrymen

All his countrymen?

Element , 15 minutes ago link

Who's Really In Charge Of The US Military? - Cynthia Chung via The Strategic Culture Foundation

Donald Trump, you stupid time-wasting twat .

ThomasChase1776 , 5 minutes ago link

LOL. That's a good one.

Assuming Trump is doing what he said he would, why isn't our military guarding our border?
Why hasn't our military left the middle east already?

Who really runs our government?

InTheLandOfTheBlind , 1 hour ago link

As much as I hate the CIA, mi6 had more of hand in overthrowing iran than Langley did

ThomasChase1776 , 4 minutes ago link

Is that supposed to be an excuse?

GRDguy , 1 hour ago link

". . . the CIA holds no allegiance to any country." But they sure kiss the *** of the financial sociopaths who write their paychecks and finance the black ops.

ThomasChase1776 , 4 minutes ago link

and Mossad

Slaytheist , 1 hour ago link

Does this bitch not know that the CIA is the currency mafia police....ffs, that's a **** ton of words.

oneno , 1 hour ago link

She knows ...

SRV , 1 hour ago link

Fletcher Prouty's book The Secret Team is a must read... he was on the inside and watched the formation of the permanent team established in the late 50s that assumed the power of the president.

JFK fought that team...

cynicalskeptic , 1 hour ago link

Look at who the OSS recruited - Ivy League Skull and Bones types from rich families that made their fortunes in often questionable ventures.

If you're the patriarch of some super wealthy family wouldn't you be thrilled to have younger family members working for the nation's intelligence agencies? Sort of the ultimate in 'inside information'. Plus these families had experience in things like drug smuggling, human trafficking and anything else you can imagine..... While the Brits started the opium trade with China, Americans jumped right in bringing opium from Turkey.

Didn't take long before the now CIA became owned by the families whose members staffed it.

InTheLandOfTheBlind , 43 minutes ago link

Again ignoring the British influence. The CIA does not have a monopoly on intelligence

Spiritual Anunnaki , 2 hours ago link

One major aspect pertaining American involvment in Veitnam was something like 90% of the rubber produced Globally came from the region.

It is more diverse now, being 3rd, with the association revealing that in 2017, Vietnam earned US$2.3 billion from export of 1.4 million tonnes of natural rubber, up 36% in value and 11.4% in volume year on year.

Haboob , 2 hours ago link

Fighting for rubber monopoly in Vietnam,fighting for oil monopoly in the middle east.

That's life.

Benito_Camela , 1 hour ago link

Gunboat diplomacy is nothing new. War is and always has been a racket.

InTheLandOfTheBlind , 38 minutes ago link

Unfortunately it is a winning racket.

Art_Vandelay , 2 hours ago link

Betrayals, secrets, tyranny? Who's in charge? **** Cheney & Co.

Benito_Camela , 1 hour ago link

Mike Pimpeo. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPt-zXn05ac

InTheLandOfTheBlind , 36 minutes ago link

The British crown

Kan , 2 hours ago link

Rockfellers formed the OSS then the CIA which is the brute force for the CFR which they also run and own. The bankers run y our country and bought and blackmailed all your politicians... Only buttplug and pedo's get to be in charge now folks.... and some 9th circle witches of course...

TeethVillage88s , 1 hour ago link

OSS & CIA were formed from Ivy League Schools/Uni's... who turned out to be Traitors to England & USSR... Same today I

[Feb 28, 2020] Chas Freeman America in Distress The Challenges of Disadvantageous Change

Highly recommended!
I think everybody should listen the initial 47 minutes
Notable quotes:
"... Wanted to add that the malaise that is gripping the U.S. institutions is completely visible, it is not the opaque and obsequies portrait drawn by the punditry, news organizations, and elites. Seems most obvious to those of us outside the beltway that can clearly delineate between the failure of DC and the projections and marketing to the population that passes as wonky prose. Stupidity lacks the clarity, but brings the temerity making the facade not so subtle. ..."
"... Literally the only endorsement I've heard of Tulsi Gabbard - and a strikingly convincing one ..."
"... Isn't it just a question of the profits in the military business? ..."
Feb 24, 2020 | www.youtube.com

https://youtu.be/mvILLCbOFo4

In the United States and other democracies, political and economic systems still work in theory, but not in practice. Meanwhile, the American-led takedown of the post-World War II international system has shattered long-standing rules and norms of behavior. The combination of disorder at home and abroad is spawning changes that are increasingly disadvantageous to the United States. With Congress having essentially walked off the job, there is a need for America's universities to provide the information and analysis of international best practices that the political system does not.

Ambassador Chas W. Freeman, Jr. is a senior fellow at Brown University's Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense, ambassador to Saudi Arabia (during operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm), acting Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, and Chargé d'affaires at both Bangkok and Beijing. He began his diplomatic career in India but specialized in Chinese affairs. (He was the principal American interpreter during President Nixon's visit to Beijing in 1972.)

Ambassador Freeman is a much sought-after public speaker (see http://chasfreeman.net ) and the author of several well-received books on statecraft and diplomacy. His most recent book, America's Continuing Misadventures in the Middle East was published in May 2016. Interesting Times: China, America, and the Shifting Balance of Prestige, appeared in March 2013. America's Misadventures in the Middle East came out in 2010, as did the most recent revision of The Diplomat's Dictionary, the companion volume to Arts of Power: Statecraft and Diplomacy. He was the editor of the Encyclopedia Britannica entry on "diplomacy."

Chas Freeman studied at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México and in Taiwan, and earned an AB magna cum laude from Yale University as well as a JD from the Harvard Law School. He chairs Projects International, Inc., a Washington-based firm that for more than three decades has helped its American and foreign clients create ventures across borders, facilitating their establishment of new businesses through the design, negotiation, capitalization, and implementation of greenfield investments, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, franchises, one-off transactions, sales and agencies in other countries.


Trade Prosper , 3 days ago (edited)

Well worth the watch and hope more see it, especially the presentation in the initial 47 minutes. We Americans take our deficits and the $ as the reserve currency far too lightly.

strezztechnoid , 2 days ago

Wanted to add that the malaise that is gripping the U.S. institutions is completely visible, it is not the opaque and obsequies portrait drawn by the punditry, news organizations, and elites. Seems most obvious to those of us outside the beltway that can clearly delineate between the failure of DC and the projections and marketing to the population that passes as wonky prose. Stupidity lacks the clarity, but brings the temerity making the facade not so subtle.

yes it's me , 3 days ago

Literally the only endorsement I've heard of Tulsi Gabbard - and a strikingly convincing one

Bob Trajkoski , 3 days ago

Way the US is Warmongering state and threat to humanity, on the planet.? Nukes in the hand's of gangsters

strezztechnoid , 2 days ago (edited)

No, not mercenaries, this is a protection racket. The U.N. address in late 2018 by the President (the laughter spoke volumes) was about as insightful as a "goodfellas" scene where the shakedown of the little guy is highlighted. It was the speeches by other countries at the meeting that was most informative.

A definitive pullback from U.S. hegemony was palpable, real, and un-moderated. Large and small countries all expressed an unwillingness to be held under the thumb of the global bully. This is the result of having an over abundance of a particle within D.C.; not the electron, photon, or neutron...but the moron.

Frank , 3 days ago

Aura of imperial purpose.

Dan Good , 7 hours ago

Isn't it just a question of the profits in the military business?

[Feb 28, 2020] Russia s Relationship With China Is Growing Despite Setbacks by Lyle J. Goldstein ,

Highly recommended!
Feb 23, 2020 | nationalinterest.org

Russia has closed major border crossings with China across the Far East due to the rapid spread of coronavirus. That constitutes a significant blow to a trading relationship that had only just begun to fully blossom. The closures come just as new auto and rail bridges spanning the Amur River are finally reaching completion.

The primary line of debate among Russia-China relations analysts is whether the "rapprochement" is robust and tending toward even a genuine alliance or whether it is weak and has little to show for decades of cooperation other than a few rhetorical flourishes. After all, the skeptics note, if this bilateral relationship is so robust, then why did it take so long to get those bridges built?

The China-Russia trading relationship does indeed remain underdeveloped and will evidently face additional headwinds in the near future (along with all of China's trading relationships, so it seems). But the importance of security ties can hardly be disputed, especially if one takes the long view. Could China have fought the United States to a stalemate in the Korean War without Soviet military assistance? Not a chance. More recently, Russia's sale of high-tech air and naval weaponry during the 1990s and 2000s created a solid foundation for today's muscle-bound dragon with both claws (DF-26) and sharp fangs (e.g. YJ-18). But will it go further?

A tantalizing hint was offered by Russian president Vladimir Putin at the Valdai Conference in early October 2019. During his remarks, he dropped the following bombshell: "I probably won't open a big secret. It'll become clear anyhow. We are now helping our Chinese partners to create a missile attack warning system. This is a very serious thing, which will increase the defense capability of the People's Republic of China in a fundamental way. Because now only the USA and Russia have such a system [Большой тайны, наверно, не открою. Все равно это станет ясно. Мы сейчас помогаем нашим китайским партнерам создать систему СПРН – систему предупреждения о ракетном нападении. Это очень серьезная вещь, которая капитальным, кардинальным образом повысит обороноспособность Китайской Народной Республики. Потому что сейчас такую систему имеют только США и Россия]." This seemingly major step forward in Russia-China military cooperation demands greater scrutiny. It also provides an interesting opportunity to gauge opinion among Russian strategists regarding the long-term viability of a close military partnership with the Middle Kingdom.

One impressively comprehensive Russian appraisal begins by stating that "Russia had to look for various options for answering Washington's actions" to withdraw from the INF Treaty. The same article notes somewhat ominously that the United States is preparing in case of "accidental nuclear war with Russia." Employing the Russian acronym "SPRN" literally "warning systems against rocket attack [системы предупреждения о ракетном нападении]" for early warning system, this assessment also makes the important point that Russia's SPRN has only recently completed a long process of upgrades meant to fill "gaps [разрывы]" caused by the collapse of the Soviet Union, when key facilities for early warning were located in non-Russian parts of the USSR.

The article quotes one Moscow defense expert, Igor Korotchenko [Игор Коротченко], as offering the following assessment: "This is really a huge contribution of Russia to strategic stability, since China receives a powerful tool in order not to become a victim of the first disarming blow from the United States." Another Russian expert, Konstantin Sivkov [Константин Сивков], maintained that this move would enhance "global stability" but also articulated some concern with respect to Russia's long-term interests. "When China has at its disposal all the technologies that Russia has at its disposal, or creates similar ones, it will cease to need Russia as a defender," Sivkov said. "And this could adversely affect Russian-Chinese relations." Korotchenko, however, is more bullish on the long-term prospects for the defense relationship with Beijing. He underlined the commercial prospects for Russian companies, and added that the early warning initiative will "contribute to the further rapprochement of Russia and China, building a common security policy [поспособствует дальнейшему сближению России и Китая, выстраиванию общей политики в области безопасности]."

That's an interesting disagreement among Russian security specialists, for sure, but another rather significant observation regarding these developments was offered in this same article by the former deputy commander of Russia's air defense command, Alexander Luzan [Александр Лузан]. He contends that Russia will benefit from the enhanced cooperation with Beijing on an early warning. Luzan explains that the ground components of Russia's SPRN are comprised of []long range "Voronezh" [Воронеж] radars that can see out four thousand to six thousand kilometers to detect ICBM launches. Short-range "Sunflower [Подсолнухи]" radars are more suitable for warning of short-range launches, but also offer ship-detection capabilities. Directly reflecting on operational advantages for the Russian military, Luzan observes: "Vladivostok and Primorye are protected here, but there is nothing 'in depth.' We once tried to deploy our facilities in Mongolia, but it didn't work out very well. Therefore, if the Chinese close this 'tongue,' it will be very important for Russia [Владивосток и Приморье у нас защищены, а 'в глубину' там ничего нет. Мы когда-то в Монголии пытались разместить свои комплексы, но не очень получилось. Потому если китайцы этот 'язычок' закроют, то для России это будет очень важно]." Again citing this Russian general, the article states that "a unified information space is created and data is exchanged with Chinese radars, [and therefore] 'the security of our country from the east will be even better.'"

Such interpretations are generally in accord with the analysis of Vladimir Petrovsky [Владимир Петровский,], a senior fellow and military specialist at Moscow's Institute of the Far East of the Russian Academy of Sciences. This analyst writes that many believe that Putin's announcement of this strategic cooperation initiative at Valdai signals that "the military alliance between Russia and China . . . has finally become real." Petrovsky also notes that other specialists have begun to speculate on the meaning of a "retaliatory strike" under such circumstances, wherein the early warning is relayed by a third country. He quotes the Russian president (speaking at Valdai) further on the matter of motives for new missile deployments in the Asia-Pacific region: "we suddenly heard from the American military that the first step in this direction would be taken just in Asia. But that step also impacts on us, because we need to understand: where in Asia, will Russian territory be endangered or not? By the way, it's immediately clear what was the root cause of the exit: not Russia and not mythical violations of the [Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces] Treaty by us. If they are going to put [U.S. missiles] in Asia, then Asia is the primary reason for withdrawing from this Treaty [вдруг услышали от американских военных, что первый шаг в этом направлении будет сделан как раз в Азии. Но он и нас затрагивает, потому что надо понять: где в Азии, будет доставать это российскую территорию или нет? Кстати говоря, сразу понятно, что было первопричиной выхода: не Россия и не мифические нарушения нами Договора. Если они собираются ставить в Азии, то Азия и является первопричиной выхода из этого Договора]." In other words, Putin's announcement of this initiative to accelerate military cooperation with China is intended, in part, as a response to the United States' move to exit the INF accord.

Strongly hinting that Beijing might well gain access to Russian early-warning radars based in the Arctic, Petrovsky observes, "Taking into account geography, it is quite possible to develop protocols for the exchange of data between national SPRN." He further contends that this early warning cooperation will be "mutually beneficial and not without compensation [эта помощь -- взаимовыгодная и небезвозмездная]." This military expert explains that China still can learn from Russian radar proficiency, but also implies that the Russian side may gain some advantages from China's evident prowess in microelectronics, for example. Moreover, he suggests, "a possible Chinese satellite constellation could be a good addition to Russian orbital facilities." Still, Petrovsky concludes that Russia and China "are not creating a military-political alliance. It is rather a matter of coordinating the military policies." Playing down the significance of this new initiative, this specialist also notes that Russia and China have been holding annual ballistic missile defense command and staff exercises for about a decade already.

[Feb 28, 2020] The impact of coronavirus on Trump reelection chances

Highly recommended!
Feb 28, 2020 | angrybearblog.com

likbez , February 27, 2020 10:57 pm

There is a silver lining in any dark cloud.

Trump might not survive the Coronavirus, literally (he is over 70 and has a high range of contacts; the mortality to this age group is close to 10%), or figuratively as voters might not forgive him inadequate and/or incompetent response (which is given) .

Unfortunately, Bernie is at even higher risk as mortality for 80+ is over 15%, and pre-existing cardiovascular disease is a serious negative factor.

One can wonder if this will be " Straw that broke the camel's back " for Trump. With 10% drop of S&P500 (aka "correction") it is difficult to talk about booming economy on rallies ( 20% decline marker defines a recession and some stocks -- like oil sector are already in this territory ). High yield bonds are also going down, although more slowly. Now suddenly, Trump has nothing to talk about on his rallies, and he knows it.

A part of rich retirees who are overexposed to stocks constitutes a sizable part of remaining avid "Trumpers" voter block (kind of double stupidity, if you wish :-) , and some of them might not forgive Trump the liberty of depriving them honestly earned in 2019 ~10% of their 401K accounts.

IMHO troubles for Trump just started. Being incompetent DJT and his merry band of grifters will almost definitely botch the response.

They already made three blunders.

1. When asked if, and when, a vaccine is produced, would the vaccine be affordable to everyone? They replied; We'll let the "market" decide that. And some part of electorate probably noted that.

2. The last December, they cut the budget for the CDC (center for disease control).

3. They exposed government workers to the virus without any need to do that, only due to bureaucratic incompetence: https://science.slashdot.org/story/20/02/27/2353236/us-health-workers-responding-to-coronavirus-lacked-training-and-protective-gear-whistle-blower-says

In this sense appointing Pence as the head of the coronavirus response may be a smart move by Trump. When and if the pandemic hits big time, exposing the mass incompetence and unpreparedness of the US government, in combination with the tanking of the stock market, Trump can, of course, blame Christian Zionist neoconservative Israeli apartheid supporter Pence for his troubles :-)

But, unfortunately, that will not do him any good.

[Feb 26, 2020] Elections as a form of class war

Highly recommended!
Feb 26, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Cynthia , Feb 26 2020 22:23 utc | 55

karlof1 @49

You are right about it being a class war. It is this class war that the neoliberal establishment does not want us to see, hence creating other divisions such as racial, gender/trans, religious, etc. so we fight one another instead of uniting and fighting them.

When the many shades of surveillance are added in to your establishment existential threat, the Matrix feels really close at hand.

My guess is that your understanding stems from years of paying attention. Do you have any recommendations for sites that have helped?

I take it that your support of Bernie, with his imperfections, is due to you seeing him as a possible shift in the neoliberal order. My concern is that his imperfections are also baggage that is keeping people from supporting him - the woke agenda, panicky human-caused climate change agenda, supporting most of the MIC agenda. The first two are areas in which debate has been/is being shut down, which is a real red flag.

Thank you for any reply, or none. I always appreciate the big picture.

karlof1 , Feb 26 2020 23:04 utc | 60

Cynthia @55--

I'm a historian by training focusing on the Outlaw US Empire and everything related, which is a very wide field of inquiry. Yes, I started out paying attention as an adolescent during the 1960s with 1968 being a very important year for me. I'd read the Warren Commission Report a year earlier and thus began my real education. I passed out flyers for RFK in 1968 prior to the California Primary and watched again as the cities burned earlier that Spring. I pursued a career and tried to find love, but after 20 years I returned to college. Aside from college libraries, various alt-websites have served well over the years--Z-net, CommonDreams, The Oil Drum, MoA--along with a mixture of news sites that are nowadays all based in Russia or China. The one person I've learned more from online is Dr. Michael Hudson, whose Super Imperialism I bought and read after it was published during my senior high school year. And Noam Chomsky, not so much from his prose but from all the sources he consulted. Yes, I'm an end note and bibliography junkie. Solitude and time to study were also important assets. Knowing I was being lied to by Media and politicos was also helpful and thus made me seek out an objective historical narrative whereby I discovered I wasn't alone in my quest. Currently, Hudson's historical big picture is the one in which I believe the most merit lies--4,000+ years of Class War between creditors and debtors frames the West's existence, including its religions, which are its longest lasting institutions. And I highly value genuine discourse with associates.

[Feb 26, 2020] A serious US politician has to demonstrate a large capacity for betrayal.

Highly recommended!
Feb 26, 2020 | www.unz.com

Levtraro , says: Show Comment February 25, 2020 at 6:52 pm GMT

I suspect his open-borders advocacy and Russia-bashing too are lies; these are lines of defence against internal forces. It makes sense for him to take those positions while he seeks the nomination. If he gets it, he can betray those positions. A serious politician has to demonstrate a large capacity for betrayal. At the end of the day, he is a hardened politician like the rest.

[Feb 25, 2020] The Economic Anxiety Hypothesis has Become Absurd(er)

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The key promise of neoliberalism, which came to power in the USA in 1980 with the election of Reagan (aka "the Quiet Coup") was that "the rising tide lifts all boats." -- the redistribution of the wealth up somehow will lift the standard of living of lower strata of the population too. This was a false promise from the very beginning (like everything about neoliberalism, which is based on lies and fake economics in any case). So anger accumulated and now became the key factor in elections. This anger is directed against the neoliberal establishment. ..."
"... The anger toward immigrants is, in fact, a displaced and projected anger against the elimination of meaningful and well-paid jobs and replacing them with McJobs, the process that was the key factor in lowering the standard of living of the bottom 80% of the population. ..."
"... The other part of this anger is directed toward the USA financial oligarchy (personified by such passionately hated figures as Lloyd "we are doing God's" Blankfein, private equity sharks, and figures like Wexner/Epstein) and "political establishment" the key figures of which many people would like to see hanging from street lamp posts (remember "Lock her up" movement in 2016). ..."
"... That's why the neoliberal establishment was forced to use to dirty tricks like Russiagate to patch the cracks in the neoliberal façade. ..."
"... In Marxist terms, the USA entered the period called the "revolutionary situation" when the ruling neoliberal elite couldn't govern "as usual" and "the deplorable" do not want to live "as usual". The situation when according to Hegel, "quantity turns into quality," or as Marx said "ideas become a material force when they grip the mind of the masses." ..."
Feb 25, 2020 | angrybearblog.com

I am old enough to remember when many very serious people ascribed the rise of Donald Trump to economic anxiety. The hypthesis never fit the facts (his supporters had higher incomes on average than Clinton's) but it has become absurd. The level of self reported economic anxiety is extraordinarily low

Gallup reports "Record High optimism about Personal Finances in U.S." with 74% predicting they will be better off next year.

Yet now the Democratic party has an insurgent candidate candidate in the lead. I hasten to stress that I am not saying Sanders supporters have much in common with Trump supporters (young vs old, strong hispanic support vs they hate Trump etc etc etc). But both appeal to anger and advocate a radical break with business as usual. Both reject party establishments. Also Warren if a little bit less so.

Trump's 2016 angry supporters still support him *and* they are still angry. He remains unpopular in spite of an economy performing very well (and perceived to be performing very well).

Whatever is going on in 2020, it sure isn't economic anxiety.

Yet there is clearly anger and desire for radical change.

I don't pretend to understand it, but I think it probably has a lot to do with relative economic performance and increased inequality. I can't understand why the reaction of so many Americans to this would be to hate immigrants and vote for Trump, but, then I don't watch Fox News.

One other thing which it isn't is rejection of the guy who came before Trump. Obama has a Real Clear Politics average favorable rating of 59% and unfavorable of 36.1 % vastly vastly better than any currently active politician. (Sanders is doing relatively very well at net -2.7 compared to Obama's + 22.9) He is not rejected. He is not considered a failure. Yet only a small majority is interested in any sort of going back to the way things were.


likbez , February 25, 2020 12:37 am

Robert ,

Trump's 2016 angry supporters still support him *and* they are still angry.

Many Trump "angry supporters" in 2016 used to belong to "anybody but Hillary" class (and they included a noticeable percentage of Bernie supporters, who felt betrayed by DNC) .

They are lost for Trump as he now in many aspects represents the "new Hillary" and the slogan "anybody but Trump" is growing in popularity. Even among Republicans: Trump definitely already lost a large part of anti-war Republicans and independents. As well as. most probably, a part of working class as he did very little for them outside of effects of military Keynesianism.

I suspect he also lost a part of military voters, those who supported Tulsi. They will never vote for Trump.

He also lost a part of "technocratic" voters resentful of the rule of financial oligarchy (anti-swampers), as his incompetence is now an undisputable fact.

He also lost Ron Paul's libertarians, who voted for him in 2016.

How "Coronavirus recession", if any, might affect 2020 elections is difficult to say, but in any case this is an unfavorable for Trump event.

EMichael , February 25, 2020 10:39 am

"I can't understand why the reaction of so many Americans to this would be to hate immigrants and vote for Trump, but, then I don't watch Fox News."

Coming to you since 1965. It's just that immigrants are now added to blacks. Trump took 50 years of the Southern Strategy, took the dogwhistles completely out of the closet and wore his racism right on his chest. Helped that he had over 50 years of experience as a racist, it came naturally to him.

And he attracted a new rw base, those who were not satisfied with dog whistles and/or did not hear them.

likbez , February 25, 2020 12:19 pm

I don't pretend to understand it, but I think it probably has a lot to do with relative economic performance and increased inequality.

It is actually very easy to understand: the middle class fared very poorly since 1991. See https://www.cnbc.com/id/44962589 . Now "the chickens come home to roost," so to speak.

The key promise of neoliberalism, which came to power in the USA in 1980 with the election of Reagan (aka "the Quiet Coup") was that "the rising tide lifts all boats." -- the redistribution of the wealth up somehow will lift the standard of living of lower strata of the population too. This was a false promise from the very beginning (like everything about neoliberalism, which is based on lies and fake economics in any case). So anger accumulated and now became the key factor in elections. This anger is directed against the neoliberal establishment.

The anger toward immigrants is, in fact, a displaced and projected anger against the elimination of meaningful and well-paid jobs and replacing them with McJobs, the process that was the key factor in lowering the standard of living of the bottom 80% of the population.

The other part of this anger is directed toward the USA financial oligarchy (personified by such passionately hated figures as Lloyd "we are doing God's" Blankfein, private equity sharks, and figures like Wexner/Epstein) and "political establishment" the key figures of which many people would like to see hanging from street lamp posts (remember "Lock her up" movement in 2016).

Resentment against spending huge amounts of money for wars for sustaining and enlarging the global USA-centered neoliberal empire is another factor. In this sense, impoverishment and shrinking of the middle class in the USA is similar to the same impoverishment during the last days of the British colonial empire.

That's why the neoliberal establishment was forced to use to dirty tricks like Russiagate to patch the cracks in the neoliberal façade.

In Marxist terms, the USA entered the period called the "revolutionary situation" when the ruling neoliberal elite couldn't govern "as usual" and "the deplorable" do not want to live "as usual". The situation when according to Hegel, "quantity turns into quality," or as Marx said "ideas become a material force when they grip the mind of the masses."

In 2016 that resulted in the election of Trump.

Add to this the fact that the neoliberal establishment (represented by both parties) now is clearly anti-social (the fact that a private equity shark Romney was a presidential candidate and then was elected as senator tells a lot about the level of degradation) and is unwilling to solve burning problems with medical insurance, minimal wage and other "the New Deal" elements of social infrastructure.

Democratic Party platform now is to the right of Eisenhower republicans.

That dooms the party candidates like CIA-democrat Major Pete, or "the senator from the credit card companies" Biden, and create an opening for political figures like Sanders (which are passionately hated by DNC)

[Feb 23, 2020] Looks like the USA intelligence (or, more correctly semi-intelligence) agencies work directly from KGB playbook or Bloomberg as Putin's Trojan Horse in 2020 elections

Highly recommended!
Surprising lack on intelligence in intelligence community. But after Brennan and "ruptured" Pompeo as CIA chiefs who would be surprised?" Or more correctly utter despise of ordinary Americans: 'nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people' ~ H L Mencken.
But seriously, if Putin does now have the power to decide US elections, he simply makes his preferred choice one day before the election. There is no reason to open cards right now. You could not make this up. What we have now is Government by Gossip and Innuendo with intelligence crooks on the frontline of spreading the disinformation.
Notable quotes:
"... The PUTIN's aim is to sow distrust among the US population. The USA, a peaceful civilized society with apparently no internal conflicts maintains a similar peaceful empire for the benefit of all humanity. ..."
"... The impersonate evil of the PUTIN has of course every intention to destroy the present state of tranquility and therefore aims to destruct the undisputed peaceful leader of this empire by sowing internal conflict. ..."
"... The concept of democracy was invented by the Kremlin, to sow discord ..."
"... The concept of democracy was invented by the Kremlin, to sow discord ..."
Feb 23, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

A careful reading of the news provides that Mike Bloomberg, who had two Russian grandfathers, is Putin's asset.

Consider:

Lawmakers Are Warned That Russia Is Meddling to Re-elect Trump - New York Times , February 20 2020

Rather than impersonating Americans as they did in 2016, Russian operatives are working to get Americans to repeat disinformation , the officials said. That strategy gets around social media companies' rules that prohibit "inauthentic speech."

It is Bloomberg, working as a Russian operative, who pays the trolls that repeat disinformation.

Twitter suspends 70 pro-Bloomberg 'spam' accounts - The Hill , February 21, 2020

The temporary employees recruited by Bloomberg's camp are given the title "deputy field organizer" and make $2,500 a month to promote his White House bid among their followers . The employees can choose to use campaign-approved language in their posts.

Twitter said the practice violated its "Platform Manipulation and Spam Policy," which was established in 2019 to respond to Russia's expansive troll network that was tapped in 2016 to meddle in the U.S. elections.

Bernie Sanders briefed by U.S. officials that Russia is trying to help his presidential campaign - Washington Post , February 21 2020

In that closed hearing for the House Intelligence Committee, lawmakers were also told that Sanders had been informed about Russia's interference. The prospect of two rival campaigns both receiving help from Moscow appears to reflect what intelligence officials have previously described as Russia's broader interest in sowing division in the United States and uncertainty about the validity of American elections.

Here are Bloomberg's behind the scene machinations which are sowing division and uncertainty about the validity of American elections. This is exactly what Russia wants.

Bloomberg quietly plotting brokered convention strategy - Politico , February 20, 2020

Mike Bloomberg is privately lobbying Democratic Party officials and donors allied with his moderate opponents to flip their allegiance to him -- and block Bernie Sanders -- in the event of a brokered national convention.
...
It's a presumptuous play for a candidate who hasn't yet won a delegate or even appeared on a ballot. And it could also bring havoc to the convention , raising the prospect of party insiders delivering the nomination to a billionaire over a progressive populist.

Lock him up!


Peter | Feb 22 2020 10:27 utc | 4

Mike Bloomberg Is Putin's Agent

This should have been obvious for some time.

The PUTIN's aim is to sow distrust among the US population. The USA, a peaceful civilized society with apparently no internal conflicts maintains a similar peaceful empire for the benefit of all humanity.

The impersonate evil of the PUTIN has of course every intention to destroy the present state of tranquility and therefore aims to destruct the undisputed peaceful leader of this empire by sowing internal conflict.

This is why from Sanders to Warren to Gabbard to Bloomberg to Trump everyone is on the PUTIN payroll or subconsciously exposed to some mind controlling rays he sends via satellite to the USA.

The PUTIN is the invention by the Russian Federation after their successful evil attempt to evade the good intentions of the EMPIRE to embrace Russia in its sphere of peaceful tranquility.

Bad PUTIN.

Christoph , Feb 22 2020 12:54 utc | 14

"The prospect of two rival campaigns both receiving help from Moscow appears to reflect what intelligence officials have previously described as Russia's broader interest in sowing division in the United States and uncertainty about the validity of American elections" WaPo, 2/21/20.

This level if clinical delusion is reminiscent of the Führer's last days in the bunker.

How about free passage to (swampy) Latin America?

Brendan , Feb 22 2020 13:10 utc | 15
I know, I know, it's a waste of time trying to ridicule the media when they're already doing that to themselves. Satire is definitely dead when the Washington Post reports about "two rival campaigns both receiving help from Moscow". WaPo's attempts to explain that the purpose of this bizarre behavior is "sowing division" makes it look even more incredible.
/div> The concept of democracy was invented by the Kremlin, to sow discord .

Posted by: bjd , Feb 22 2020 13:13 utc | 16

The concept of democracy was invented by the Kremlin, to sow discord .

Posted by: bjd | Feb 22 2020 13:13 utc | 16

Trailer Trash , Feb 22 2020 13:49 utc | 23
>How about free passage to (swampy) Latin America?
> Posted by: Christoph | Feb 22 2020 12:54 utc | 14

I'm thinking the Bermuda Triangle would fit right in with their magical thinking and mad delusions.

Jackrabbit , Feb 22 2020 13:58 utc | 24
Bloomberg + Trump = Checkmate?

Trump will say b writes "fake news" .

Damn you Putin!

!!

jared , Feb 22 2020 14:02 utc | 25
Perhaps the intelligence community would just tell us who we should vote for so as not to fall into Putins trap.

[Feb 23, 2020] Welcome to the American Regime

Highly recommended!
Feb 23, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

4 hours ago

Is America a 'regime'?

In the language of the American Oligarchy and it's tame and owned presstitutes on the MSM, any country targeted for destabilisation, destruction and rape – either because it doesn't do what America tells it do (Russia), because it has rich natural resources or has a 'socialist' state (Venezuela) or because lunatic neo-cons and even more lunatic Christian Evangelicals (hoping to provoke The End Times ) want it to happen (Syria and Iran) – is first labelled as a 'regime'.

That's because the word 'regime' is associated with dictatorships and human rights abuses and establishing a non-compliant country as a 'regime' is the US government's and MSM's first step at manufacturing public consent for that country's destruction.

Unfortunately if you sit back and talk a cool-headed, factual look at actions and attitudes that we're told constitute a regime then you have to conclude that America itself is 'a regime'.

So, here's why America is a regime:

4 hours ago

America's Military is Killing – Americans!

In 2018, Republicans (AND Democrats) voted to cut $23 billion dollars from the budget for food stamps (42 million Americans currently receive them).

Fats forward to 21 December 2019 and Donald Trump signed off on a US defense budget of a mind boggling $738 billion dollars.

To put that in context  --  the annual US government Education budget is sround $68 billion dollars.

Did you get that  --  $738 billion on defense, $68 billion on education?

That means the government spends more than ten times on preparations to kill people than it does on preparing children for life in the adult world.

Wow!

How ******* psychotic and death-affirming is that? It gets even worse when you consider that that $716 billion dollars is only the headline figure – it doesn't include whatever the Deep State siphons away into black-ops and kick backs. And .America's military isn't even very good – it's hasn't 'won' a conflict since the second world war, it's proud (and horrifically expensive) aircraft carriers have been rendered obsolete by Chinese and Russian hypersonic missiles and its 'cutting edge' weapons are so good (not) that everyone wants to buy the cheaper and better Russian versions: classic example – the F-35 jet program will screw $1.5 TRILLION (yes, TRILLION) dollars out of US taxpayers but but it's a piece of **** plane that doesn't work properly which the Russians laughingly refer to as 'a flying piano'.

In contrast to America's free money for the military industrial complex defense budget, China spends $165 billion and Russia spends $61 billion on defense and I don't see anyone attacking them (well, except America, that is be it only by proxy for now).

Or, put things another way. The United Kingdom spent £110 billion on it's National Health Service in 2017. That means, if you get sick in England, you can see a doctor for free. If you need drugs you pay a prescription charge of around $11.50(nothing, if unemployed, a child or elderly), whatever the market price of the drugs. If you need to see a consultant or medical specialist, you'll see one for free. If you need an operation, you'll get one for free. If you need on-going care for a chronic illness, you'll get it for free.

Fully socialised, free at the point of access, healthcare for all. How good is that?

US citizens could have that, too.

Allowing for the US's larger population, the UK National Health Service transplanted to America could cost about $650 billion a year. That would still leave $66 billion dollars left over from the proposed defense budget of $716 billion to finance weapons of death and destruction   --  more than those 'evil Ruskies' spend.

The US has now been at war, somewhere in the world (i.e in someone elses' country where the US doesn't have any business being) continuously for 28 years. Those 28 years have coincided with (for the 'ordinary people', anyway) declining living standards, declining real wages, increased police violence, more repression and surveillance, declining lifespans, declining educational and health outcomes, more every day misery in other words, America's military is killing Americans. Oh, and millions of people in far away countries (although, obviously, those deaths are in far away countries and they are of brown-skinned people so they don't really count, do they?).

Time for a change, perhaps?

[Feb 22, 2020] The Red Thread A Search for Ideological Drivers Inside the Anti-Trump Conspiracy by Diana West

Highly recommended!
She does not use the term neoliberalism but she provide interesting perspective about connection of neoliberalism and Trotskyism. It is amazing fact that most of them seriously studied communist ideology at universities.
Trotskyites are never constrained by morality and they are obsessed with raw power (especially political power) and forceful transformation of the society. They are for global dominance so they were early adherents of "Full spectrum Dominance" doctirne approporitated later be US neocons. Their Dream -- global run from Washington neoliberal empire is a mirror of the dream of Trotskyites of global communist empire run from Moscow (Trotsky "Permanent war" till the total victory of communism idea)
Inability to understand that neoliberal is undermines Diana West thinking, but still she is a good researcher and she managed to reveal some interesting facts and tendencies. She intuitively understand that both are globalist ideologies, but that about all she managed to understand. Bad for former DIA specialist on the USSR and former colleague of Colonel Lang (see Sic Semper Tyrannis)
It is funny that Sanders is being accused of being a 'self-identified' socialist, while neoliberal elite is shoulder-deep in socialism for the 1% and enjoy almost unlimited access to free Fed funds.
Feb 22, 2020 | www.amazon.com

Boston Bill , March 23, 2019

Programs, programs, get your program here.

I received my copy just a few days before the Mueller investigation closed shop. There is an old saying "You can't tell the players without a program." As the aftermath of the Mueller investigation begins, you need this book. Some pundits and observers of the political scene have observed that the Mueller investigation didn't come about because of any real concern about "Trump Russia collusion," it was manufactured to protect the deep state from a non-political interloper. That's the case Diana West makes and does it with her exceptional knowledge of the Cold War and the current jihad wars. Not to mention her deadly aim with her rhetorical darts.

Erving L. Briggs , April 2, 2019
History Repeats

The Red Thread by Diana West
Diana states, "the anti-Trump conspiracy is not about Democrats and