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"All hat, no cattle" Cowboy Trump

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

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

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

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

National neoliberalism

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sheldon Wolin

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

Rick Wilson, a republican strategist


Abstract

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

At the same time Obama won in 2012 against Mitt Romney despite his complete betrayal of his election promises. Probably most understand that elections does not change much (and  they definitely change nothing in foreign policy which no longer is controlled by the Persident of the USA) and  are reluctant to rock the boat, even if they still go and cast the vote. So theoretically Trump has a good chances for re-election.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Introduction

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

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

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

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

Now it is clear that people who voted for Trump in a hope of positive changes declared him during his  election campaign are brutally deceived. Many of them will not vote again, neither for Trump or for anybody else as sequence of Obama betrayal of blue collar voters following by Trump betrayal delegitimized the idea of election in the USA. Making the elections a formal procedure similar to one which were held in the USSR. You just vote, but you decide absolutely nothing. You only legitimize the rule the oligarchy ( Party Nomenklatura in case of the USSR, financial oligarchy in case of the USA) 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear President Trump:

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

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

Good night, and good luck.

Trump betrayal

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

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

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

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

 Unemployment Statistics during the Great Depression

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

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

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

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

Some early sign of mental degradation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trump 2016 platform

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

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

Lost categories of voters

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

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

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

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

    The Biggest Losers of Trump's Presidency: His Voters

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

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

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

    gregory p blass

    graduate of Trumps School of ethics

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

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

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

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

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

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

He probably gained in two categories of voters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MAGA to MIGA transformation

("Effect of Adelson/Kushner")

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Analogy with Obama reelection

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Peter Van Buren March 11, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which strata of US voters Trump already irrevocably lost?

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

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

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

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

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

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

follyofwar March 5, 2019 at 2:19 am GMT

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

... ... ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[Markets plunge worldwide as Trump surges to White House]

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

Trump loss of of a part of military votes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VA spokeswoman Susan Carter declined to comment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Danger from anticorruption crusader Elizabeth Warren

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Violating the Logan Act

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Trump administration policies vs election promises

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

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

www.bbc.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

C. Overgaard

A Powerful Critique of US Foreign Policy November 4, 2018

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

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

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

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

Trump immigration stance

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

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

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

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

Dec 19, 2018 | www.unz.com

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

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

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

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

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

Trump tax cuts for the  rich

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


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[Jun 23, 2019] Iran Goes for Maximum Counter-Pressure by Pepe Escobar

Derivatives exposure is Achilles spot of the USA in this conflict
Jun 23, 2019 | www.unz.com
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Sooner or later the US "maximum pressure" on Iran would inevitably be met by "maximum counter-pressure". Sparks are ominously bound to fly.

For the past few days, intelligence circles across Eurasia had been prodding Tehran to consider a quite straightforward scenario. There would be no need to shut down the Strait of Hormuz if Quds Force commander, General Qasem Soleimani, the ultimate Pentagon bête noire, explained in detail, on global media, that Washington simply does not have the military capacity to keep the Strait open.

As I previously reported , shutting down the Strait of Hormuz

would destroy the American economy by detonating the $1.2 quadrillion derivatives market; and that would collapse the world banking system, crushing the world's $80 trillion GDP and causing an unprecedented depression.

Soleimani should also state bluntly that Iran may in fact shut down the Strait of Hormuz if the nation is prevented from exporting essential two million barrels of oil a day, mostly to Asia. Exports, which before illegal US sanctions and de facto blockade would normally reach 2.5 million barrels a day, now may be down to only 400,000.

Soleimani's intervention would align with consistent signs already coming from the IRGC. The Persian Gulf is being described as an imminent "shooting gallery." Brigadier General Hossein Salami stressed that Iran's ballistic missiles are capable of hitting "carriers in the sea" with pinpoint precision. The whole northern border of the Persian Gulf, on Iranian territory, is lined up with anti-ship missiles – as I confirmed with IRGC-related sources.

We'll let you know when it's closed

Then, it happened.

Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, Major General Mohammad Baqeri, went straight to the point ; "If the Islamic Republic of Iran were determined to prevent export of oil from the Persian Gulf, that determination would be realized in full and announced in public, in view of the power of the country and its Armed Forces."

The facts are stark. Tehran simply won't accept all-out economic war lying down – prevented to export the oil that protects its economic survival. The Strait of Hormuz question has been officially addressed. Now it's time for the derivatives.

Presenting detailed derivatives analysis plus military analysis to global media would force the media pack, mostly Western, to go to Warren Buffett to see if it is true. And it is true. Soleimani, according to this scenario, should say as much and recommend that the media go talk to Warren Buffett.

The extent of a possible derivatives crisis is an uber-taboo theme for the Washington consensus institutions. According to one of my American banking sources, the most accurate figure – $1.2 quadrillion – comes from a Swiss banker, off the record. He should know; the Bank of International Settlements (BIS) – the central bank of central banks – is in Basle.

The key point is it doesn't matter how the Strait of Hormuz is blocked.

It could be a false flag. Or it could be because the Iranian government feels it's going to be attacked and then sinks a cargo ship or two. What matters is the final result; any blocking of the energy flow will lead the price of oil to reach $200 a barrel, $500 or even, according to some Goldman Sachs projections, $1,000.

Another US banking source explains; "The key in the analysis is what is called notional. They are so far out of the money that they are said to mean nothing. But in a crisis the notional can become real. For example, if I buy a call for a million barrels of oil at $300 a barrel, my cost will not be very great as it is thought to be inconceivable that the price will go that high. That is notional. But if the Strait is closed, that can become a stupendous figure."

BIS will only commit, officially, to indicate the total notional amount outstanding for contracts in derivatives markers is an estimated $542.4 trillion. But this is just an estimate.

The banking source adds, "Even here it is the notional that has meaning. Huge amounts are interest rate derivatives. Most are notional but if oil goes to a thousand dollars a barrel, then this will affect interest rates if 45% of the world's GDP is oil. This is what is called in business a contingent liability."

Goldman Sachs has projected a feasible, possible $1,000 a barrel a few weeks after the Strait of Hormuz being shut down. This figure, times 100 million barrels of oil produced per day, leads us to 45% of the $80 trillion global GDP. It's self-evident the world economy would collapse based on just that alone.

War dogs barking mad

As much as 30% of the world's oil supply transits the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. Wily Persian Gulf traders – who know better – are virtually unanimous; if Tehran was really responsible for the Gulf of Oman tanker incident, oil prices would be going through the roof by now. They aren't.

Iran's territorial waters in the Strait of Hormuz amount to 12 nautical miles (22 km). Since 1959, Iran recognizes only non-military naval transit.

Since 1972, Oman's territorial waters in the Strait of Hormuz also amount to 12 nautical miles. At its narrowest, the width of the Strait is 21 nautical miles (39 km). That means, crucially, that half of the Strait of Hormuz is in Iranian territorial waters, and the other half in Oman's. There are no "international waters".

And that adds to Tehran now openly saying that Iran may decide to close the Strait of Hormuz publicly – and not by stealth.

Iran's indirect, asymmetric warfare response to any US adventure will be very painful. Prof. Mohammad Marandi of the University of Tehran once again reconfirmed, "even a limited strike will be met by a major and disproportionate response." And that means gloves off, big time; anything from really blowing up tankers to, in Marandi's words, "Saudi and UAE oil facilities in flames".

Hezbollah will launch tens of thousands of missiles against Israel. As

Hezbollah's secretary-general Hasan Nasrallah has been stressing in his speeches, "war on Iran will not remain within that country's borders, rather it will mean that the entire [Middle East] region will be set ablaze. All of the American forces and interests in the region will be wiped out, and with them the conspirators, first among them Israel and the Saudi ruling family."

It's quite enlightening to pay close attention to what this Israel intel op is saying . The dogs of war though are barking mad .

Earlier this week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo jetted to CENTCOM in Tampa to discuss "regional security concerns and ongoing operations" with – skeptical – generals, a euphemism for "maxim pressure" eventually leading to war on Iran.

Iranian diplomacy, discreetly, has already informed the EU – and the Swiss – about their ability to crash the entire world economy. But still that was not enough to remove US sanctions.

War zone in effect

As it stands in Trumpland, former CIA Mike "We lied, We cheated, We stole" Pompeo – America's "top diplomat" – is virtually running the Pentagon. "Acting" secretary Shanahan performed self-immolation. Pompeo continues to actively sell the notion the "intelligence community is convinced" Iran is responsible for the Gulf of Oman tanker incident. Washington is ablaze with rumors of an ominous double bill in the near future; Pompeo as head of the Pentagon and Psycho John Bolton as Secretary of State. That would spell out War.

Yet even before sparks start to fly, Iran could declare that the Persian Gulf is in a state of war; declare that the Strait of Hormuz is a war zone; and then ban all "hostile" military and civilian traffic in its half of the Strait. Without firing a single shot, no shipping company on the planet would have oil tankers transiting the Persian Gulf.


Justsaying , says: June 23, 2019 at 5:23 am GMT

American government arrogance under the control of sickos has not shied away from the belief that destroying countries that do not cave in to Washington's demand of "surrender or perish" -- an ultimatum made in Israel. Indeed it regards that despicable policy as an entitlement – to protect the "international community". Iran may well be the nation that will do away with the nations of turbaned lapdogs and absolute monarchs who have been kept in power by the dozens of US military bases in the area. Maybe a serious jolt of the global economy is long overdue, to bring the Washington dogs of perpetual war to come to their senses.

Was Iran succumbing to the JCPOA provisions and abiding by them not sufficient capitulation for the insane leaders in Washington?

Realist , says: June 23, 2019 at 9:55 am GMT
@joeshittheragman

I hope we don't go into another stupid war. Bring all our troops home from all around the world. Just protect this Republic. We're not the policemen of the world.

The Deep State would never allow that to happen.

alexander , says: June 23, 2019 at 10:56 am GMT
@joeshittheragman It astonishes me that people are still using the phrase "policemen of the world" to define US behavior.

The last time I recall The US even remotely acting as the "worlds's policeman" was in 1991, when we pushed Saddam out of Kuwait.

The Iraq 2003 "debacle", the Libya"shit show" and the Syria" fiasco" have all proven, over time, to be acts of wanton carnage and illegal aggression, . not "police work".

The United States, under Neocon tutelage , is no "policeman" .not by any stretch

It is more like a humongous version of "Bernie Madoff meets Son of Sam."

We have become a grotesque, misshapen empire .of lies fraud .,illegal war, .mass murder ..and heinous f#cking debt.

Policeman ?!? Hahaha.ha ..

RoatanBill , says: June 23, 2019 at 12:32 pm GMT
You have to hand it to the Iranians for basically announcing their intentions to destroy the US economy via the derivatives market that the US financial industry largely produced. Kill them with their own weapon.

A show down between the US and some entity is inevitable. Be it Iran, China or Russia, the US will be over extended and their very expensive weaponry will, I believe, come up wanting on all counts. The MIC has been scamming the country for decades. The military brass is just bluster. When it comes down to an actual confrontation, the US military will come up short as BS won't cut it.

Yes, they will destroy lots of stuff and kill lots of people but then their toys will run out and then what? Missiles will take out the aircraft carriers and the world will see that the emperor is naked.

Sean , says: June 23, 2019 at 12:39 pm GMT
@Parisian Guy America is backed by brute military force. That is why India has stopped buying Iranian oil, and sent ships to the Gulf to back America

http://www.aei.org/publication/iran-the-contrast-between-sovereignty-and-moral-legitimacy/

In June of 2014, as the forces of the Islamic State swept toward Baghdad, President Barack Obama began to recommit American military forces to Iraq. He also observed that "Iran can play a constructive role, if it sends the same message to the Iraqi government that we're sending, which is that Iraq only holds together if it is inclusive." In an instantly famous article by Atlantic magazine correspondent and White House amanuensis Jeffrey Goldberg, Obama indicated that Saudi Arabia and other Arab states had to learn to "share" the Middle East with Iran.

In imagining a kind of strategic partnership with Tehran, Obama is recycling a deeply held belief of late-Cold War "realists" like former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft. "For U.S. strategy, Iran should be viewed as a potential natural partner in the region, as it was until 1979," when Shah Reza Pahlavi was toppled in the Khomeini revolution." "Envisioning 2030: U.S. Strategy for a Post-Western World," foresaw that "a post-Mullah dominated government shedding Shia political ideology could easily return to being a net contributor to stability by 2030

https://en.mehrnews.com/news/143606/Mearsheimer-S-Arabia-a-threat-not-Iran
"The truth is that it is the United States that is a direct threat to Iran, not the other way around. The Trump administration, with much prompting from Israel and Saudi Arabia, has its gunsights on Iran. The aim is regime change.

America does not seem to think the Iranian regieme can do anything except bluster as they are slowly smothered.

eah , says: June 23, 2019 at 1:07 pm GMT
@Parisian Guy I can't buy the derivatives stuff.

Famous last words -- review what Bernanke said just before subprime exploded: 2007 -- Bernanke: Subprime Mortgage Woes Won't Seriously Hurt Economy -- that said, I have no idea what will happen if Iran decides to interfere with shipping in the straits -- or how likely that is.

The biggest long-term threat to the US is the end of the petrodollar scheme -- due to its unmatched worldwide political and military hegemony, and 'safe haven' status, the dollar has largely been insulated from the consequences of what are in reality staggering, almost structural (at this point) US deficits -- but that can't and won't go on forever.

Jason Liu , says: June 23, 2019 at 1:13 pm GMT
Russia and China need to set up global deterrence against interventionism by western democracies.
eah , says: June 23, 2019 at 1:37 pm GMT
In 2018, U.S. net imports (imports minus exports) of petroleum from foreign countries averaged about 2.34 million barrels per day, equal to about 11% of U.S. petroleum consumption. This was the lowest percentage since 1957.

In reality, the US is today far less dependent on imported oil than most people probably imagine, and therefore far less vulnerable to any import supply issue.

DESERT FOX , says: June 23, 2019 at 2:07 pm GMT
Israel and the zio/US has interfered in Iran since the 1953 CIA/Mossad coup and at intervals ever since then and have brought this problem on by the zio/US and Israeli meddling in the affairs of Iran and an all out war via illegal sanctions which in fact are a form of war.

Iran has not started a war in over 300 years and is not the problem , the problem is the warmongers in the zio/US and Israel and will not end as long as the warmongers remain in power.

A good start to ending these problems would be to abolish the CIA!

Mike P , says: June 23, 2019 at 3:05 pm GMT
@MLK Yes, the sanctions on Iran are having an effect, and the recent Iranian actions acknowledge this; but that does not mean Iran is weak. Iran is telling the U.S. that it is NOT Venezuela or North Korea. Kim is all bark, but no bite; Trump was quite right to call him "little rocket man." Even he, with his singular lack of style and grace, is not doing this to the Iranian leadership.

The economic sanctions against Iran already constitute acts of war. The Iranians have just demonstrated that they can disrupt oil flow from the Middle East in retaliation, and not just in the Street of Hormuz. In addition, they have now shown that they can take down American aircraft, stealth or not, with precision. This means Iran is able and willing to strike back and escalate as it sees fit, both economically and militarily. If the U.S. don't relent, Iran WILL send the oil prices through the roof, and it will humiliate the U.S. on the world stage if they are stupid enough to go to war over it.

The Iranian messages are simple, clear, and consistent. Compare this to the confused cacophony that emerges from the clown troupe in Washington, and you can easily tell which side has been caught unawares by recent events.

This is a watershed moment for Trump – he will either assert himself, return to reason, and keep the peace; or he will stay aboard the sinking ship. No good options for him personally, of course; his choices are impeachment, assassination, or staying in office while presiding over the final act of the U.S. empire.

Johnny Walker Read , says: June 23, 2019 at 4:06 pm GMT
@Zumbuddi Let us never forget the "babies thrown from incubators" propaganda to help get it all started.

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

Andrei Martyanov , says: Website June 23, 2019 at 4:40 pm GMT
@Agent76

The US is committed to conflict not only most obviously against Iran, but also with Russia.

US, or rather a bunch of lunatics infesting Trump's Admin, might be committed, but it absolutely doesn't mean that the US has resources for that. In fact, US doesn't have resources to fight Iran, let alone Russia. By now most of it is nothing more than chest-thumping and posturing. Today Bolton's statement is a further proof of that.

denk , says: June 23, 2019 at 4:47 pm GMT

Instead, Bush saw that situation, within the unique moment of US no longer constrained by a rival superpower, as an opportunity to exert US global dominance.

The much derided Chomsky

There were once two gangsters in town, the USA and USSR, there's relative peace cuz each was constrained by the rival's threat.
NOW that the USSR is gone, the remaining gangster
is running amok with total impunity.

Now I dunno if the USSR was a 'gangster' ,
as for uncle scam, .. needs no introduction I presume ?

anon [356] Disclaimer , says: June 23, 2019 at 7:34 pm GMT
@peterAUS More to this downing .

"Iran's ability to target and destroy the high-altitude American drone, which was developed to evade the very surface-to-air missiles used to bring it down, surprised some Defense Department officials, who interpreted it as a show of how difficult Tehran can make things for the United States as it deploys more troops and steps up surveillance in the region.– "

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/20/world/middleeast/iran-us-drone.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

The Alarmist , says: June 23, 2019 at 8:49 pm GMT
@Wally It's all cashflow and OPM, on the hope of hitting the big-time when prices spike. A giant house of cards waiting to implode, and that is before one takes into account all the hugely negative externalities associated with fracking that give it any hope of profitability, which would vapourise if the costs of the externalities were charged to the operators.

https://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/will-fracking-industry-debts-set-off-financial-tremors/

https://energypolicy.columbia.edu/sites/default/files/CGEPReserveBaseLendingAndTheO

anon [770] Disclaimer , says: June 23, 2019 at 9:04 pm GMT
@Curmudgeon Fact:

According to preliminary data for 2018, oil demand surpassed 20 mmb/d for the first time since 2007 and will be just shy of the 2005 peak (20,524 mb/d versus 20,802 mb/d in 2005).

U.S. Oil Demand Recovers | CSIS | January 29, 2019
https://www.csis.org/analysis/us-oil-demand-recovers

Fact:


Source: https://www.eia.gov/outlooks/steo/report/global_oil.php

Cyrano , says: June 23, 2019 at 9:25 pm GMT
It's really tragic to see two brotherly ideologies Capitalism and Islam (both want to rule the world) go at each other throats in this manner. After all, they have fought shoulder to shoulder a holly jihad against socialism in such far flung places as Afghanistan, Iraq and now Syria.

I think that based on this latest conflict, people can see what a principled country US is. People used to think that US hates only socialist revolutions. Until Iran's Islamic revolution came along – and US was against it too. So, it's safe to say that US are against ANY revolutions – be they Socialist or Islamic. I guess we can call them contra-revolutionaries.

Simply Simon , says: June 23, 2019 at 9:38 pm GMT
At least 95% of the American people do not want war with Iran. For that matter the same percentage did not want war with Iraq, Afghanistan, Vietnam or Korea. But the powers that be do not ask the American people if they want to go to war, they just do it based on the authority they assume is theirs. Meanwhile, our elected representatives who do have the authority to start or prevent wars turn a deaf ear to their constituents because the voices they hear in protest are weak or muted. Let's face it, the wars since WWII have affected only a relatively minor segment of our population. A hell of a lot more people die in traffic accidents than on the battlefield so what's to get excited about. Keeping a large standing army, navy and air force is good for the economy, the troops have to be provided the latest best of everything and as for the troops themselves for many it's not a bad way to make a living with a retirement and health care system better than many jobs in the civilian sector. So my message to the American people is if you really do not want war with Iran you had better speak up louder than you are now.
anon [356] Disclaimer , says: June 23, 2019 at 9:40 pm GMT
CAN IRAN ENTER ITO NEGOTIATION WITH IRAN? IT CANT. BECAUSE ISRAEL WITH NO FOOT IN THE DOOR OF THE HELL IS WAGING THE WAR AND GETTING US PUNISHED .

UC Berkeley journalism professor Sandy Tolan, Los Angeles Times, December 1, 2002– [Richard] Perle, in the same 1998 article, told Forward that a coalition of pro-Israeli groups was 'at the forefront with the legislation with regard to Iran. One can only speculate what it might accomplish if it decided to focus its attention on Saddam Hussein.' Now, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has joined the call against Tehran, arguing in a November interview with the Times of London that the U.S. should shift its focus to Iran 'the day after' the Iraq war ends

[Hide MORE]
-- -- -
They want to foment revolution in Iran and use that to isolate and possibly attack Syria in [Lebanon's] Bekaa Valley, and force Syria out," says former Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs Edward S. Walker, now president of the Middle East Institute. http://prospect.org/article/just-beginning
03/14/03
--

in 2003 Morris Amitay and fellow neocon Michael Ledeen founded the Coalition for Democracy in Iran, an advocacy group pushing for regime change in Iran . According to the website, it will be un-American,immoral and unproductive to engage with any segment of the regime .
During a may 2003 conference at the AEI on the future of Iran,Amitay sharply criticized the U.S State Department's efforts to engage the Islamic Republic ,claimed the criticism of Newt Gingrich did not go far enough . Amiaty was introduced by M Ledeen as the "Godfather" of AIPAC Amitay admitted that direct action against Iran would be difficult before 2004 election.

Nostalgia for the last shah's son, Reza Pahlavi ? has again risen," says Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former CIA officer who, like Ledeen and Perle, is ensconced at the AEI. "We must be prepared, however, to take the battle more directly to the mullahs," says Gerecht, adding that the United States must consider strikes at both Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps and allies in Lebanon. "In fact, we have only two meaningful options: Confront clerical Iran and its proxies militarily or ring it with an oil embargo." http://prospect.org/article/just-beginning March 14,2003

"Neoconservatives in the Bush Administration have long targeted Iran. Richard Perle, former Defense Policy Board member, and David Frum, of the neo-com Weekly Standard, co-authored "An End to Evil," which calls for the overthrow of the "terrorist mullahs of Iran." Michael Ladeen of the influential American Enterprise Institute argues that "Tehran is a city just waiting for us." http://www.counterpunch.org/2004/05/26/the-oil-connection/

According to the 2016 documentary Zero Days by director Alex Gibney, Israel's incessant public threats to attack Iran coupled with intense secret demands for cyber warfare targeting Iran were the catalyst for massive new US black budget spending

NSA Director (1999-2005) and CIA Director (2006-2009) Michael Hayden claimed in Zero Days that the goal of any Israeli air attack against Iran's nuclear facilities would be to drag the United States into war.
"Our belief was that if they [Israel] went on their own, knowing the limitations No, they're a very good air force, alright? But it's small and the distances are great, and the targets dispersed and hardened, alright? If they would have attempted a raid on a military plane, we would have been assuming that they were assuming we would finish that which they started. In other words, there would be many of us in government thinking that the purpose of the raid wasn't to destroy the Iranian nuclear system, but the purpose of the raid was to put us [the United States] at war with Iran." https://original.antiwar.com/smith-grant/2018/11/06/israel-and-the-trillion-dollar-2005-2018-us-intelligence-budget

KA , says: June 23, 2019 at 9:47 pm GMT
Emergence of ISIS is linked to US efforts to weaken Iran

-In "The Redirection", written in 2008(!) – years before the 2011 uprising, Seymour Hersh wrote of plans to use extremists in Syria.
Excerpts:
To undermine Iran, which is predominantly Shiite, the Bush Administration has decided, in effect, to reconfigure its priorities in the Middle East. In Lebanon, the Administration has coöperated with Saudi Arabia's government, which is Sunni, in clandestine operations that are intended to weaken Hezbollah, the Shiite organization that is backed by Iran. The U.S. has also taken part in clandestine operations aimed at Iran and its ally Syria. A by-product of these activities has been the bolstering of Sunni extremist groups that espouse a militant vision of Islam and are hostile to America and sympathetic to Al Qaeda.
Nasr compared the current situation to the period in which Al Qaeda first emerged. In the nineteen-eighties and the early nineties, the Saudi government offered to subsidize the covert American C.I.A. proxy war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Hundreds of young Saudis were sent into the border areas of Pakistan, where they set up religious schools, training bases, and recruiting facilities. Then, as now, many of the operatives who were paid with Saudi money were Salafis. Among them, of course, were Osama bin Laden and his associates, who founded Al Qaeda, in 1988.
This time, "

Monty Ahwazi , says: June 23, 2019 at 10:00 pm GMT
@Simply Simon In the old days, the orders for the US government were coming down from the Tri-Lateral Commission and the 6-7 major companies. Rockefeller took the TLC underground ground with himself. The oil companies continue asking the US government for protecting the ME/NA resources. Then Neocons replaced the TLC which their focus was twofold.
1. Destabilize the regions for protecting Israel
2. Control the resources militarily
3. Keep the Chinese out and cut their access to the resources
Guess what, Chinese have penetrated the regions constructively and quietly. America with its unjustified fucking wars is being hated even more than 1953.
Monty Ahwazi , says: June 23, 2019 at 10:26 pm GMT
@KA Very true! Unfortunately the presidents were misinformed or uninformed about the proxies created by the CIA. The first created to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan manned and financed by the Saudis, recruited by Mossad and intelligence was provided by the CIA. Sound really really good to the Americans since it was free of charge with no loss of life! Then during the Iraq war its neighbor Syria was getting destabilized so the CIA replicated Al-Qaeda and formed a new gang which called themselves ISIS. The function of ISIS was to overthrow Al-Bashar of Syria. The secondary mission for both groups was to bug Iran from its western and eastern front.
Manning both of these groups with Sunnis was the biggest mistake that KSA, Mossad and the CIA made. See the Sunnis are not fighters without sophisticated weapons from the West. On the other Shiites can fight with a sword and empty handed if they have to. They remind me of VC's in Vietnam. The Shiites decimated the ISIS and most of AlQaeda now the US is trying to get credit for that but they know better now. So my recommendation to the US is please don't aggravate the Shiites otherwise they will embarrass us just the VC's
Avery , says: June 23, 2019 at 10:48 pm GMT
@Monty Ahwazi { All insurance companies will drop their coverage of the oil tankers immediately.}

During the Iran-Iraq war, US re-flagged Kuwaiti tankers and ran them under US flag and protection through the straight.
Same thing can be done again.

And if insurance companies drop coverage, US Treasury will provide the coverage: some US insurance company will be "convinced" by US Gov to provide the coverage and US Treasury will guarantee _any_ losses incurred by the insurance company or companies.
US can always add to the national debt ( .i.e. print more dollars).

So, no: declaration won't do.
Only destroying stuff works.

{You guys sitting here and making up these nonsensical policies}

Nobody is making policy here: we are not a government.
We are exchanging opinions.

btw: where are you sitting?
Are your personal opinions considered 'policy', because you are ..what?

RobinG , says: June 23, 2019 at 11:01 pm GMT
@anon That was buried deep in the article. (Thanks for posting link.) Next lines, the NYT is skeptical of US claims. Too bad this isn't first pararaphs!)

Lt. Gen. Joseph Guastella, the Air Force commander for the Central Command region in the Middle East, said the attack could have endangered "innocent civilians," even though officials at Central Command continued to assert that the drone was over international waters. He said that the closest that the drone got to the Iranian coast was 21 miles.

Late Thursday, the Defense Department released additional imagery in an email to support its case that the drone never entered Iranian airspace. But the department incorrectly called the flight path of the drone the location of the shooting down and offered little context for an image that appeared to be the drone exploding in midair.

It was the latest attempt by the Pentagon to try to prove that Iran has been the aggressor in a series of international incidents.

RobinG , says: June 23, 2019 at 11:16 pm GMT
@Zumbuddi Thank you. If the US were a real [HONEST] policeman, they would have stopped Kuwait from stealing Iraqi oil. But no, Bush was a dirty cop, on the take.
Robjil , says: June 24, 2019 at 12:09 am GMT
@dearieme Read "JFK and the Unspeakable" by James W. Douglass. JFK was getting us out of Vietnam. In his time, there was not massive amounts of US troops in Vietnam, only advisors. JFK planned to get all the troops out after he was re-elected.

It was during Johnson's presidency that the Vietnam war became a huge war for the US. Johnson set up the Gulf of Tonkin false flag on August 2 1964. This started the huge draft of young men for Vietnam war that dragged on till the early 1970s.

Johnson also allowed Israel to do a false flag on the US on June 8 1967. Israel attacked the USS Liberty. 34 servicemen killed and 174 injured. Israel wanted to kill them all and blame it on Egypt, so US would nuke Egypt. Lovely nation is little Israel. The song " Love is all you need" by the Beatles was released on June 7 1967. Summer of Love, Hippies in San Francisco, all planned to get Americans into drugs and forget about what Israel is doing in the Middle East. It worked, nobody noticed what Israel did since we have a "free" 500 Zion BC press in the US in 1967 and we still do these days.

Pft , says: June 24, 2019 at 12:12 am GMT
Iran is pretty self sufficient with minimal foreign debt. Their Central Bank is under their control and works for the people. They should just hunker down and hope Trumps crew is out of a job after the elections next year

If the US strikes they can block the straits. However, the US would probably knock out the refineries so that will hurt

They shot down the drone because it was collecting intelligence on targets the US plans to strike. Thats defensive not provocative

If the US wants to go at Iran they will manufacture something. People are so dumbed down they can made to believe anything, as events 18 years ago and since have proven

Hopefully this is just distraction to cover up some nefarious plan to loot the working class some more. Or maybe getting the straits closed is part of the plan. Who knows?

renfro , says: June 24, 2019 at 12:46 am GMT
this might be the real story

https://www.politico.com/newsletters/playbook/2019/06/22/why-trump-didnt-bomb-iran-449575

THE TICK TOCKS WHY TRUMP DIDN'T BOMB IRAN NYT'S PETER BAKER, MAGGIE HABERMAN and THOMAS GIBBONS-NEFF:

"Urged to Launch an Attack, Trump Listened to the Skeptics Who Said It Would Be a Costly Mistake": "He heard from his generals and his diplomats. Lawmakers weighed in and so did his advisers. But among the voices that rang powerfully for President Trump was that of one of his favorite Fox News hosts: Tucker Carlson.
"While national security advisers were urging a military strike against Iran, Mr. Carlson in recent days had told Mr. Trump that responding to Tehran's provocations with force was crazy. The hawks did not have the president's best interests at heart, he said. And if Mr. Trump got into a war with Iran, he could kiss his chances of re-election goodbye.

"The 150-dead casualty estimate came not from a general but from a lawyer, according to the official. The estimate was developed by Pentagon lawyers drafting worst-case scenarios that, the official said, did not account for whether the strike was carried out during daytime, when more people might be present at the targets, or in the dark hours before sunrise, as the military planned.
"That estimate was passed to the White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, without being cleared with [Patrick] Shanahan or General [Joseph] Dunford. It was then conveyed to the president by the White House lawyers, at which point Mr. Trump changed his mind and called off the strike." NYT NYT A1
"That estimate was passed to the White House counsel, Pat A. Cipollone, without being cleared with [Patrick] Shanahan or General [Joseph] Dunford. It was then conveyed to the president by the White House lawyers, at which point Mr. Trump changed his mind and called off the strike." NYT NYT A1

Iris , says: June 24, 2019 at 12:48 am GMT

Saddam was given plenty of time, and plenty of resolutions to pack up his troops and go home

.

Saddam was given the assurance by US ambassador to Iraq April Glaspie, that the USA supported his retaliatory action against Kuwait. Same usual trap and deliberate provocation; all the rest is obfuscation.

Thorfinnsson , says: June 24, 2019 at 12:52 am GMT
@AnonFromTN The loss of two American aircraft carriers appears to be the assumption you are making to guarantee an Iranian victory.

Such a loss is by no means assured.

The idea that American willpower will collapse in the event of the loss of two capital ships is your second assumption, and it's both a fanciful and dangerous assumption.

I'm not myself terribly impressed by American military power, but comparing naval combat to counterinsurgency operations is absurd.

Your economic assumptions appear to come from the permabear school. Actual economies and governments don't work that way. A major reduction in global supplies will result in compulsory conservation, rationing, price controls, etc. This was done in recent memory in the 1970s in both North America and Western Europe, when you were still behind the Iron Curtain and perhaps not aware.

Thorfinnsson , says: June 24, 2019 at 12:53 am GMT
@peterAUS Do you have any actual numbers?

Does anyone?

anon [284] Disclaimer , says: June 24, 2019 at 12:57 am GMT
@alexander Saddam was given plenty of time, and plenty of resolutions to pack up his troops and go home."

Efforts by Egypt to arrive an Arab initiated solution was ignored and dismissed by USA

Initial Saudi effort to find a face saving exit by Saddam was met with resistance and then a manufactured satellite image of Saddam massing his soldiers for invasion of Saudi was widely disseminated by US.

Saddam crimes was no less or more egregious than what Israel was enjoying with US dollars and with US support and with impunity ( It was still occupying Pastien and Parts of Syria and Lebanon )

It was Levy the Israeli FM who threatened that his country would attack Iraq if US did not.

War against Saddam was orchestrated by Jewish members of Thatcher and by Democrats of USA ) Solarz – NY Senator was one of the guys and the AIPAC whose president Mr. Dine confessed the crimes )

neprof , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:06 am GMT
@Robjil

Read "JFK and the Unspeakable" by James W. Douglass.

Should be required reading by all Americans.

anon [284] Disclaimer , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:08 am GMT
@alexander UN has been abused by USA taking the advantage of the collapse of Soviet . (This is what Wolf0owitz told Wesley Clarke in 1992 in Feb : This was the time we can and we should take care of these countries Iran Iraq Syria Libya and Yemen while Russia is still weakened and unable to help its erstwhile vassals states) .

USA had no right to ask Saddam to leave . Subsequent behaviors of USA has proved it.
Israel also in addition has no right to exist .

If correction had to come from Iran Hezbollah and Syria- then so be it. That news would be best thing that would happen to humanity within last 200 yrs .

KA , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:11 am GMT
@Robjil Wolfowitz has been trying to kill Saddam and dismember Iraq from 1979.

The rat got his hand the Cookie jar after Soviet collapsed.

( Ref- Sunshine Warrior NYT )

John Noughty , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:14 am GMT
@Jim Christian I hope you're right.
RobinG , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:16 am GMT
@alexander You're begging for a big "So What?"

There are UN resolutions about all kinds of things. Israel comes first to mind, of course. UN resolutions do not obligate military action.

anon [400] Disclaimer , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:20 am GMT
@Iris but -- but -- but (sputters Alexander the otherwise sage commenter), The UN -- that's the U-nited Nations!! fer pete's ache, Agreed!! ( Agreed is Diplomatese for: "Please stop twisting my arm; Please stop bankrupting my country; Please stop threatening to tell my wife -- ).

in other words, the UN is a toy and a ploy for someone like G H W Bush salivating at the once in a lifetime opportunity to exert world dominance -- 'scuse me: "Create a New World Order" -- in the context of a power vacuum / dissolution of the Soviet Empire, previously the only counterbalance to US superpower status.

No doubt the UN was got on board. It acted like the paid-for- judge and show-trial in a case the prosecutor had already rigged.
imho, what is more significant, and what it takes years to unearth, is the decision making and back-room dealing that came BEFORE the UN was induced to stamp its imprimatur.

Tony Blair endorsed Bush the Lesser's war on Iraq. Does that grant it legitimacy, or in any way explain why US waged that war?

peterAUS , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:23 am GMT
@Thorfinnsson

Do you have any actual numbers?

I don't care about numbers.
50 (proper) sea mines backed up by 20 air/land-sea missiles do the job. Block the Hormuz.
I am sure the regime in Tehran has that number.

Does anyone?

Don't think so.
Mines in particular.
While missiles could be tricky to produce even smart sea mines are not.
A lot of explosive-check.
A couple of sensors (acoustic/magnetic)-check.
A couple of hardened micro controller boards-check.
That's it.

In this very game there are, really, only two elements that interest me:
Tactical nukes.
Selective draft.

What hehe really interests me is the escalation from "tactical" to "strategic".

AnonFromTN , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:32 am GMT
@Thorfinnsson Let me make this clear: there won't be Iranian victory. Iran will pay a hefty price. There will be the defeat of the Empire, though, a major climb down. The worst (for the Empire) part would be that the whole world would see that the king has no clothes. Then the backlash against the Empire (hated by 6/7th of the Earth population) starts, and that would be extremely painful for everyone in the US, guilty and innocent alike (myself included).

Compulsory rationing and price controls were possible when the governments actually governed. When the whole governments and legislatures are full of corporations' marionettes, as is the case now in the US and EU, these measures are impossible. Profiteers will have their day. They will crush Western economies and therefore themselves, but never underestimate the blinding force of greed. The same greedy bastards are supplying the US military with airplanes that have trouble flying and with ships costing untold billions that break down in the Panama canal, of all places. The same greedy scum destroyed the US industry and moved all production to China, in effect spelling the doom of the only country that could have protected their loot from other thieves. That's the problem with greed: it makes people incredibly shortsighted.

Sergey Krieger , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:39 am GMT
@joeshittheragman You are parasites on the world neck. That's why your troops are all over the place.
anon [356] Disclaimer , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:48 am GMT
@alexander Is it true . possibly but so what ?

So what? That nice lessons are being imparted slowly to the Israeli slave USA.

USA does what other countries are accused of before invading . USA throws out any qualms any morality any legality . It uses UN . Right now it is illegally supplying arms to Saudi to Israel and to the rebels in Syria. These are the reasons US have gone to wars against other countries for. Now some countries are standing up and saying – those days are gone , you can't attack any country anymore just because someone has been raped or someone has been distributing Viagra.

alexander , says: June 24, 2019 at 1:48 am GMT
@RobinG I think you are right.

And so did George Bush Senior.

As a matter of fact, the whole world began to ask, you are willing to launch your military to eject Saddam from Kuwait Bravo! ..Now what are willing to do about Israels illegal seizure of Palestinian territory in the West bank .It is more or less the exact same crime, Isn't it?

George Bush Senior was the last US President in American History to withhold all loans to Israel, until it ceased and desisted from illegal settlement activity in the Palestinian Territories.

Many believe it was his willingness to hold Israel to the same standard as everyone else, which cost him his second term.

What do you think , Robin?

By-tor , says: June 24, 2019 at 2:02 am GMT
@Thorfinnsson Iran shot down a US Navy RQ-4A intel drone that cost $250: A model that is marketed as being hard to shoot down since it has an 11 mile high altitude ceiling and a long operational range. That a coastal AA missile battery knocked it down with one shot answers several questions.

[Jun 23, 2019] Brexit is the spawn of national neoliberalism....

Apr 10, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

shedexile , 10 Apr 2019 17:28

Brexit is the spawn of neoliberalism....

Holding up the EU as the root of all woes, while at the same time dominating political discourse and deflecting the blame from the real culprits.

All at a time when public spending cuts in the name of austerity (itself a direct reaction to the failings of the neoliberal economic system) are spreading untold misery. At a time when we finally have an opposition ready to challenge the policies of austerity, the issue has been conveniently brushed under the brexit rug.

[Jun 23, 2019] Right-wing ideology is often presented as a natural state and not ideological at all. This denial is a central feature, acting as a way of abdicating responsibility for harmful and selfish actions

Jan 10, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Apomorph -> GeorgeMonbiot , 10 Apr 2019 18:19

Right-wing ideology is often presented as a natural state and not ideological at all. This denial is a central feature, acting as a way of abdicating responsibility for harmful and selfish actions and providing means of fostering intellectual suspicion to prevent challenges or structured and coherent critiques like your own.

The right engenders coalitions of people disinterested in politics and distrustful of politicians with those who feel intellectually superior but see politics as an amoral game in the pursuit of "enlightened" self-interest.

As a result, everything about it is disingenous.

There is no alternative (that we want you to choose). It's not racist to (constantly, always negatively and to the expense of everything else) talk about immigration. Cutting taxes for the rich reduces inequality (because we change the criteria to exclude the richest from the calculations). This is also because there are dualities at play. Neoliberalism relies on immigration to increase worker competition and suppress wage demand but courts the xenophobic vote (which is why even with reduced EU migration Brexit has so far increased overall immigration and would continue to do so in the event of no deal or May's deal). Both Remainers and Leavers have accused the other of being a neoliberal project, and in certain aspects -because of these dualities - both sides are correct.

I also believe the disdain for "political correctness" is somewhat a result of neoliberalism, since marketisation is so fundamental to the project and the wedge of the market is advertising, the language of bullshit and manipulation. People railing against political correctness feel judged for their automatic thoughts that they identify as natural instead of culturally determined. Behavioural advertising encourages these thoughts and suppresses consideration. It is a recipe for resentment.

[Jun 23, 2019] The return of fundamentalist nationalism is arguably a radicalized form of neoliberalism

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... If 'free markets' of enterprising individuals have been tested to destruction, then capitalism is unable to articulate an ideology with which to legitimise itself. ..."
"... Therefore, neoliberal hegemony can only be perpetuated with authoritarian, nationalist ideologies and an order of market feudalism. ..."
"... The market is no longer an enabler of private enterprise, but something more like a medieval religion, conferring ultimate authority on a demagogue. ..."
"... Only in theory is neoliberalism a form of laissez-faire. Neoliberalism is not a case of the state saying, as it were: 'OK everyone, we'll impose some very broad legal parameters, so we'll make sure the police will turn up if someone breaks into your house; but otherwise we'll hang back and let you do what you want'. ..."
"... Hayek is perfectly clear that a strong state is required to force people to act according to market logic. If left to their own devices, they might collectivise, think up dangerous utopian ideologies, and the next thing you know there would be socialism. ..."
"... This the paradox of neoliberalism as an intellectual critique of government: a socialist state can only be prohibited with an equally strong state. That is, neoliberals are not opposed to a state as such, but to a specifically centrally-planned state based on principles of social justice - a state which, to Hayek's mind, could only end in t totalitarianism. ..."
"... It should be understood (and I speak above all as a critic of neoliberalism) that neoliberal ideology is not merely a system of class power, but an entire metaphysic, a way of understanding the world that has an emotional hold over people. For any ideology to universalize itself, it must be based on some very powerful ideas. Hayek and Von Mises were Jewish fugitives of Nazism, living through the worst horrors of twentieth-century totalitarianism. There are passages of Hayek's that describe a world operating according to the rules of a benign abstract system that make it sound rather lovely. To understand neoliberalism, we must see that it has an appeal. ..."
"... However, there is no perfect order of price signals. People do not simply act according to economic self-interest. Therefore, neoliberalism is a utopian political project like any other, requiring the brute power of the state to enforce ideological tenets. With tragic irony, the neoliberal order eventually becomes not dissimilar to the totalitarian regimes that Hayek railed against. ..."
Jun 23, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Pinkie123 , 12 Apr 2019 03:23

The other point to be made is that the return of fundamentalist nationalism is arguably a radicalized form of neoliberalism. If 'free markets' of enterprising individuals have been tested to destruction, then capitalism is unable to articulate an ideology with which to legitimise itself.

Therefore, neoliberal hegemony can only be perpetuated with authoritarian, nationalist ideologies and an order of market feudalism.

In other words, neoliberalism's authoritarian orientations, previously effaced beneath discourses of egalitarian free-enterprise, become overt.

The market is no longer an enabler of private enterprise, but something more like a medieval religion, conferring ultimate authority on a demagogue.

Individual entrepreneurs collectivise into a 'people' serving a market which has become synonymous with nationhood. A corporate state emerges, free of the regulatory fetters of democracy.

The final restriction on the market - democracy itself - is removed. There then is no separate market and state, just a totalitarian market state.

Pinkie123 -> economicalternative , 12 Apr 2019 02:57

Yes, the EU is an ordoliberal institution - the state imposing rules on the market from without. Thus, it is not the chief danger. The takeover of 5G, and therefore our entire economy and industry, by Huawei - now that would be a loss of state sovereignty. But because Huawei is nominally a corporation, people do not think about is a form of governmental bureaucracy, but if powerful enough that is exactly what it is.
economicalternative -> Pinkie123 , 11 Apr 2019 21:33
Pinkie123: So good to read your understandings of neoliberalism. The political project is the imposition of the all seeing all knowing 'market' on all aspects of human life. This version of the market is an 'information processor'. Speaking of the different idea of the laissez-faire version of market/non market areas and the function of the night watchman state are you aware there are different neoliberalisms? The EU for example runs on the version called 'ordoliberalism'. I understand that this still sees some areas of society as separate from 'the market'?
economicalternative -> ADamnSmith2016 , 11 Apr 2019 21:01
ADamnSmith: Philip Mirowski has discussed this 'under the radar' aspect of neoliberalism. How to impose 'the market' on human affairs - best not to be to explicit about what you are doing. Only recently has some knowledge about the actual neoliberal project been appearing. Most people think of neoliberalism as 'making the rich richer' - just a ramped up version of capitalism. That's how the left has thought of it and they have been ineffective in stopping its implementation.
subtropics , 11 Apr 2019 13:51
Neoliberalism allows with impunity pesticide businesses to apply high risk toxic pesticides everywhere seriously affecting the health of children, everyone as well as poisoning the biosphere and all its biodiversity. This freedom has gone far too far and is totally unacceptable and these chemicals should be banished immediately.
Pinkie123 , 11 Apr 2019 13:27
The left have been entirely wrong to believe that neoliberalism is a mobilisation of anarchic, 'free' markets. It never was so. Only a few more acute thinkers on the left (Jacques Ranciere, Foucault, Deleuze and, more recently, Mark Fisher, Wendy Brown, Will Davies and David Graeber) have understood neoliberalism to be a techno-economic order of control, requiring a state apparatus to enforce wholly artificial directives.

Also, the work of recent critics of data markets such as Shoshana Zuboff has shown capitalism to be evolving into a totalitarian system of control through cybernetic data aggregation.

Only in theory is neoliberalism a form of laissez-faire. Neoliberalism is not a case of the state saying, as it were: 'OK everyone, we'll impose some very broad legal parameters, so we'll make sure the police will turn up if someone breaks into your house; but otherwise we'll hang back and let you do what you want'.

Hayek is perfectly clear that a strong state is required to force people to act according to market logic. If left to their own devices, they might collectivise, think up dangerous utopian ideologies, and the next thing you know there would be socialism.

This the paradox of neoliberalism as an intellectual critique of government: a socialist state can only be prohibited with an equally strong state. That is, neoliberals are not opposed to a state as such, but to a specifically centrally-planned state based on principles of social justice - a state which, to Hayek's mind, could only end in t totalitarianism.

Because concepts of social justice are expressed in language, neoliberals are suspicious of linguistic concepts, regarding them as politically dangerous. Their preference has always been for numbers. Hence, market bureaucracy aims for the quantification of all values - translating the entirety of social reality into metrics, data, objectively measurable price signals. Numbers are safe. The laws of numbers never change. Numbers do not lead to revolutions. Hence, all the audit, performance review and tick-boxing that has been enforced into public institutions serves to render them forever subservient to numerical (market) logic. However, because social institutions are not measurable, attempts to make them so become increasingly mystical and absurd. Administrators manage data that has no relation to reality. Quantitatively unmeasurable things - like happiness or success - are measured, with absurd results.

It should be understood (and I speak above all as a critic of neoliberalism) that neoliberal ideology is not merely a system of class power, but an entire metaphysic, a way of understanding the world that has an emotional hold over people. For any ideology to universalize itself, it must be based on some very powerful ideas. Hayek and Von Mises were Jewish fugitives of Nazism, living through the worst horrors of twentieth-century totalitarianism. There are passages of Hayek's that describe a world operating according to the rules of a benign abstract system that make it sound rather lovely. To understand neoliberalism, we must see that it has an appeal.

However, there is no perfect order of price signals. People do not simply act according to economic self-interest. Therefore, neoliberalism is a utopian political project like any other, requiring the brute power of the state to enforce ideological tenets. With tragic irony, the neoliberal order eventually becomes not dissimilar to the totalitarian regimes that Hayek railed against.

[Jun 23, 2019] with Trump the ideological patina of faith in free markets has gone and he's more or less just engaged in an asset stripping exercise

Notable quotes:
"... In his first speech to a joint session of Congress, President Trump promised to deliver on his populist campaign pledges to protect Americans from globalization. "For too long," he bemoaned, "we've watched our middle class shrink as we've exported our jobs and wealth to foreign countries." But now, he asserted, the time has come to "restart the engine of the American economy" and "bring back millions of jobs." ..."
"... To achieve his goals, Trump proposed mixing massive tax-cuts and sweeping regulatory rollbacks with increased spending on the military, infrastructure and border control. ..."
Apr 10, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

hartebeest -> consumerx, 10 Apr 2019 19:24

...with Trump the ideological patina of faith in free markets has gone and he's more or less just engaged in an asset stripping exercise. Thing is, though, you can't get away with that without some kind of distraction, and in Trump's case it's his country club racist's understanding of geopolitics converted into campaign rhetoric and immigration policy.

I don't think this is some masterplan -- he just happened to stumble into the stage at a point where there was an opening for his kind of rhetoric. I'm just amazed someone smarter didn't see it earlier and capitalise.

consumerx -> hartebeest , 10 Apr 2019 18:57
Disagree,

Under Trumps tax plan, a single mother with 2 kids working fulltime at minumum wage gets 75 dollars a YEAR in childcare, about $-1.50 per week.
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While the rich, those making up to 400,000 per year get 2000.00 per year child credit off their taxes.
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Name a benefit for the poor, that the recent tax bill passed by Trump and GREEDY GOP.


-----------------------------------------------------

In his first speech to a joint session of Congress, President Trump promised to deliver on his populist campaign pledges to protect Americans from globalization. "For too long," he bemoaned, "we've watched our middle class shrink as we've exported our jobs and wealth to foreign countries." But now, he asserted, the time has come to "restart the engine of the American economy" and "bring back millions of jobs."

To achieve his goals, Trump proposed mixing massive tax-cuts and sweeping regulatory rollbacks with increased spending on the military, infrastructure and border control.

This same messy mix of free market fundamentalism and hyper-nationalistic populism is presently taking shape in Trump's proposed budget. But the apparent contradiction there isn't likely to slow down Trump's pro-market, pro-Wall Street, pro-wealth agenda.

His supporters may soon discover that his professions of care for those left behind by globalization are -- aside from some mostly symbolic moves on trade -- empty.

Just look at what has already happened with the GOP's proposed replacement for Obamacare, which if enacted would bring increased pain and suffering to the anxious voters who put their trust in Trump's populism in the first place.

While these Americans might have thought their votes would win them protection from the instabilities and austerities of market-led globalization, what they are getting is a neoliberal president in populist clothing.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/03/22/dont-let-his-trade-policy-fool-you-trump-is-a-neoliberal/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.94fa9481fd2a

[Jun 23, 2019] Ironic isn't it, America may end up becoming the Western world's first failed state? A kind of Somalia with hamburgers,obesity and better drainage; ruled by Christian fundamentalist neo liberal warlords and Ayn Rand inspired gangsters

Jun 23, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

OceaneBorgia , 6 Mar 2012 08:06

I adore the ill educated, unintentional, satirical nature of some of the Rand supporters comments here - unsurprisingly predominantly American. Who appear to have a tenuous grasp on the nature and meaning of philosophy. Who replace rational thought with cod philosophy and hysterical rants, - that would embarrass your average cargo cult worshiper - as a justification for their own sociopathy and intellectual inadequacy. Take a bow... MoreThanExists and the even more comic BruceMajors

Ironic isn't it, America may end up becoming the Western world's first failed state? A kind of Somalia with hamburgers,obesity and better drainage; ruled by Christian fundamentalist neo liberal warlords and Ayn Rand inspired gangsters, funded by Wall Street parasites, with the Tea Party as the Sturm Abteilung (SA), and "Atlas Shrugged" as their most sacred holy text written by a third rate Sadeian dominatrix.

Remember the fascist war cry as they went into battle against Republican troops during the Spanish Civil War, "Death to the intellect! Long live death!". How appropriate?!! Maybe Rand's disciples could work that into a revised version of "The Star-Spangled Banner.?"

[Jun 23, 2019] Iranian UN envoy condemns unlawful destabilizing measures by US

Jun 20, 2019 | www.rt.com

Iran's envoy to the United Nations has called on the international community to end "unlawful destabilizing measures" by the US, declaring that while Iran does not seek war, it "reserves the right to counter any hostile act."

Iranian envoy to the UN Majid Takht Ravanchi has condemned continuing US provocations that culminated Thursday morning in the downing of an American surveillance drone by the Iranian air force over Hormozgan province.

The drone "had turned off its identification equipment and [was] engaged in a clear spying operation," Ravanchi confirmed in a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, adding that the aircraft had ignored "repeated radio warnings" in order to enter Iranian airspace near the Strait of Hormuz.

[Jun 23, 2019] Trump has enough rat cunning to know when he s cornered

Notable quotes:
"... Hire B-team actors whom he can fire at will, and for effect, as required to maintain the facade of 'dominance.' Let the dogs loose and then yank on their chains at the last minute. The master's voice etc. ..."
"... His problem is: it only works in TV Reality Show land -- and only for a limited time between business-as-usual advertising. ..."
"... He, and his cast of zio-policy diplomatic zombies have a much harder time when it comes to the real world and real national boundaries that resist and are likely to fight back. ..."
"... Seems the US is perpetually seeking war or at the very least threatening war. War on drugs, war on poverty war on disinfo war, trade wars , unending list of WAR, WAR, WAR. ..."
"... Sanctions were never justified in the first place. Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and has submitted to extra-ordinary inspections by the IAEA for decades. And gets ticks on the boxes. Anyone that thinks Iran is trying to 'build the bomb' probably believes unicorns live in the White House (the American one), and that Saddam blew up the Twin Towers. ..."
"... Compare the western attitudes towards Iran, and those towards India and Pakistan. Neither of which have signed up to the NPT. Not a single whimper from western governments or their MSM propaganda channels, when those countries developed an arsenal of nuclear WMD's. ..."
"... My guess on what happened with Trump was the same MO as in Syria, he has a temper tantrum ("kill them all, even the Russians" as was rumored) and he was informed of the possible fallout from such an attack. ..."
Jun 23, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

GeorgeV , Jun 21, 2019 9:25:57 AM | 48

Whether Generalissimo Bone Spur and President Chief Kaiser of the USA, His Imperial Majesty Donald Trump, actually called for a stand down of any attack on Iran for the shooting down of a surveillance UAV, or he suddenly realized that such an act would touch off another unneeded war, is at this point in time a matter of some debate. What is clear however is that his Imperial Majesty must clean out his current foreign policy and national defense staff (Bolton, Pompeo, Haspel etc.) before another crisis develops. Otherwise the neocons that currently inhabit the Oval Office chicken hawk coop will be back at fomenting another crisis, which might actually give them the war they so dearly want. His Imperial Majesty appointed them and he can fire them.

imo , Jun 21, 2019 9:36:44 AM | 49

All this narrative fits Trump's modus operandi and his fake Alpha male persona.

Hire B-team actors whom he can fire at will, and for effect, as required to maintain the facade of 'dominance.' Let the dogs loose and then yank on their chains at the last minute. The master's voice etc.

His problem is: it only works in TV Reality Show land -- and only for a limited time between business-as-usual advertising.

He, and his cast of zio-policy diplomatic zombies have a much harder time when it comes to the real world and real national boundaries that resist and are likely to fight back.

Trump and US MIC is dangerous of course. But Trump has enough rat cunning to know when he's cornered. All he's done here with this alleged last minute "call back" is test prove his chain of command is working. (...or is it?)

arby , Jun 21, 2019 9:39:25 AM | 50
George V---
As far as I can tell it doesn't matter who the president has or who he is. Seems the US is perpetually seeking war or at the very least threatening war. War on drugs, war on poverty war on disinfo war, trade wars , unending list of WAR, WAR, WAR.
Ant. , Jun 21, 2019 9:48:30 AM | 53
I cannot see any way that the current irrational sanctions against Iran by the US can be rolled back. All US administrations are full of hubris and in love with their own imagined gloriously supreme power. The only way they can be rolled back is if Iran offers some face-saving excuse, which they can't do. They have nothing else to give (Pompeo's 'conditions for international re-alignment' were essentially a demand for surrender and 'regime' change, probably authored by Maniac Walrus Bolton).

Sanctions were never justified in the first place. Iran is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and has submitted to extra-ordinary inspections by the IAEA for decades. And gets ticks on the boxes. Anyone that thinks Iran is trying to 'build the bomb' probably believes unicorns live in the White House (the American one), and that Saddam blew up the Twin Towers.

Compare the western attitudes towards Iran, and those towards India and Pakistan. Neither of which have signed up to the NPT. Not a single whimper from western governments or their MSM propaganda channels, when those countries developed an arsenal of nuclear WMD's.

Sorghum , Jun 21, 2019 9:50:51 AM | 54
My guess on what happened with Trump was the same MO as in Syria, he has a temper tantrum ("kill them all, even the Russians" as was rumored) and he was informed of the possible fallout from such an attack.

Trump will attack, just not yet. There is some new toy they want to try out. Shock and Awe style.

[Jun 22, 2019] The USA MSM uses Bolton and Pompeo bellicosity as clickbait to generate revenue for their business at the expense of whats best for the nation

Notable quotes:
"... Russia, China and the Europeans all want Iran to remain in JCPOA and Putin is worried about Iran acting irrationally. ..."
"... Asians all worried about the security of oil flows to Asia. Japan especially dependent on Middle East oil flows, even if they've moved out of Iranian purchases. ..."
"... The IRGC knuckle dragger in charge at Hormuz will get a medal or two, and a promotion. The U.S. is waging a total economic war on Iran. It cuts off all its exports and imports. Iran is fighting back by all means. It has no other choice. Iran now implements a "strategy of tension" that is designed to put "maximum pressure" on Trump. The tanker attacks, the mortars on U.S. troops in Iraq, the Houthi strikes an Saudi desalination plants and the shoot down of that drone are all part of that Iranian strategy. ..."
"... High Iranian officials, including its president, have multiple times announced: "If we can sell no sell oil than none of our neighbors in the gulf will be able to sell their oil." They mean that and they have the plans and means to achieve that. ..."
"... These strikes will continue, and will become stronger. I most cases Iran will have plausible deniability. That is easy to create when CentCom and the White House are know to lie left and right as they do. ..."
"... It is Trump, not Iran, who killed JCPOA. It is Trump, not Iran, who will be blamed for that war. ..."
"... Exactly! There's one striking characteristic of the "resistance" leaders, including Khamenei, Syrian President Assad, and Hezbollah's Nasrallah, and that is that they are reliable: they do what they say they are going to do. They have integrity, that quality so clearly absent from all US and Western European leaders, all beholden to their Ziodonors to assure reelection. ..."
"... Additionally, any standoff missile attack or "March of the B52s" will be met with immediate regional attacks on US (Saudi and Israeli) assets, military personnel and civilians that will destabilize the entire region and destroy the global economy. Not the best scenario for a reelection bid, is it? I'm with b. There is no knuckle dragger at Hormuz, only competent officers carrying out their orders. ..."
"... How blame is apportioned will matter little to Iran if it miscalculates one iota. Yes it cannot sit idle until it is strangled by economic sanctions. But neither can it escalate beyond the destruction of civil and military hardware alone. One dead American is all the neocons need. A counter strike would then be inevitable and the uncontrollable escalation they are counting on the likely result. ..."
"... Col. Lang has described here the catastrophic consequences for America's enemies when they have doubted its resolve. And the sure route to galvanizing that resolve is for Iran to escalate into targeting US forces. ..."
"... The only way this ends without a war which would be catastrophic for both sides is if Trump realizes the reality of the situation he is in and ditches the neocons right now. Iran has got its message across and must now desist to allow Trump breathing room to de-escalate. Let us pray that Suleimani and the Iranian leadership are men enough to understand that holding the moral high ground confers no advantage in warfare. ..."
"... Privately, phone calls to China and Russia begging for assurances of support ..."
"... This is delusional thinking. The Iranians realized a long time ago not to rely on other countries for assistance. Every Iranian knows not to trust Russians from history. China might be the only hope, not for support, but to convince that this war is as much about them. ..."
"... The Chinese should close Adelson's Macau casinos for health and safety violations. Zionist donors for Trump's election campaign are driving this. Adelson's boy Bolton needs removing before anything positive can happen, Tucker Carlson needs some help with his campaign to oust him. ..."
"... Could you explain how the concept that economic sanctions are a belligerent act of war is anti-American? This is a historical concept that you, as a teacher and student of military history, are well aware of. The Iranians are using the means that they have available to respond to these acts of war. ..."
"... They are not equipped to confront the US military directly, so they are using tactics to place pressure on the US in other areas, primarily by threatening the global economy by plausibly deniable acts against shipping in the Persian Gulf. This is a masterstroke right out of the pages of Sun Tze's Art of War. ..."
"... Trump has painted himself into a corner. He can offer sanctions relief if he wants to negotiate, or he can attack, and we can hope that the US military learned some of the lessons taught by Lt. Gen. Paul Van Riper in the Millennium Challenge 2002. ..."
"... The neocons are playing out provocations until Congress is forced to vote on War just before election. The provocations will continue -- Israel's Rational Institute & expert game theorists have done this so many times they're just going through the motions. Iranians have watched that game play out before and, perhaps, know how to handle provocations in a disruptive manner. ..."
"... Hook repeated, emphasized & repeated again that "finance is the basis of war," and US / Trump strategy is to "not to bankrupt Iran," but to "deny Iran access to financial ability to fund Hezbollah, Hamas, and other of the #1 state sponsor of terror's proxies." ..."
"... The congressmen questioning Hook nodded sagely. None of them so much as hinted at the fact that the USA is so deep in debt it can never pay its way out. ..."
"... --One of the expectations of the JCPOA was that with sanctions lifted, Iran would enter into the mainstream economy, trading with states throughout the world. This normalization of commerce would constrain Iran from taking actions that would jeopardize its trade relationships. Why does Trump & the zioncons not wish Iran's commercial normalization to take place? Is it because Israel cannot stand the competition? ..."
"... -- by what right USA violates UN Charter demands that internal affairs of a member state must not be interfered with. Congressmen crowned themselves with laurel as they proclaimed that "the people of Iran are not our enemy; it is the government; we act on behalf of the Iranian people, especially Iranian women." ..."
"... Trump thinks that he can f*** Iran and sit it out? Not gonna happen. ..."
"... He gets that he cannot be an LBJ or a Harry Truman with the Albatross of an unwinnable war hung around his neck. ..."
"... But, I am afraid the chosen true believers on his staff do not believe nor care that Iran has prepared a massive disproportionate non-nuclear response that will destroy the global economy. ..."
"... John Bolton and Mike Pompeo have other agendas than the President's re-election and what is in the USA's national interests. We are not out of the woods. ..."
"... The IRGC knuckle dragger at Hormuz wisely and prudently targeted the unmanned drone and not the manned P8 aircraft. ..."
"... No, this action was appropriate in the face of our policy of maximum pressure to starve out the Iranian people and force a regime change. ..."
"... I applaud Trump's decision not to engage in a shooting war. The way he got to that decision was messy, but the final decision was right. Those calling him weak for not engaging in a war of choice are craven fools. Chief among those is Bolton. ..."
"... Trump should throw his ass and his mustache out of the WH before the sun goes down. Trump brought this situation upon himself with his pulling out of the JCPOA and initiating his "war" of maximum pressure. It is he who can deflate this crisis, not Kamenei. ..."
"... This is all one big PsyOp imo. The US has no popular support for an attack on Iran, internally or externally. We are going to attack, but want to make it seem like they showed restraint and have been left with no choice. ..."
"... And this nonsense about Iran allowing the US to make some window dressing attack on innocuous targets to save face/ All I can say is Iranians are not Arabs. ..."
"... PS -- C Span ramped up an orgy of war hysteria over Trump's threat, then stand-down over Iran's shoot-down of an un-manned drone. The public was, as usual, confined to a narrow frame of reference and range of responses: "Trump was a coward," vs. "Trump was wise." Congressmen who were interviewed emphasized that "no American was killed." ..."
"... No one mentioned that Lyndon Johnson called back flights sent to rescue crewmen on the USS Liberty when Israel attacked the ship, strafed the wounded and those in life boats. ..."
"... Everyone remembers the shootdown of Iranian Air flight 655 on July 3, 1988 by the guided missile cruiser Vincennes, under the command of the late Captain Will Rogers, in which 290 people were killed. President Reagan said America will never apologize. President Clinton ultimately paid the Iranians $130 million. ..."
"... Tucker Carlson seems like the only realist in the MSM. https://youtu.be/Rf2cS4g0pes ..."
"... It is no secret that the Neocons and the Israeli zionists (I am repeating myself here) do want a war between Iran and the United States. First, there were a few tanker attacks which were brushed off by Trump. Then this, which was more difficult to brush off. Is it possible that the drone actually went to Iranian airspace but GPS coordinates were spoofed (by insiders on the American side) so that Trump (and the administration) believed that it stayed in international airspace? ..."
"... Sorry. Here's the ink to Tucker on the Iran war brink. https://youtu.be/3PQW2tMMn2A ..."
"... Why did Donald Trump hire neocons Bolton & Pompeo as well as torturer Gina Haspel? Couldn't he find people who shared his views (at least what he said during the last campaign) that our ME regime change wars were a disaster that we shouldn't repeat? ..."
"... As Tucker noted in his segment yesterday Bolton & the neocons have been plotting a war with Iran for some time. They don't care if it sinks Trump's presidency. They have no loyalty to him only condescension. ..."
"... Yet as Tucker notes in his segment yesterday the neocons are "bureaucratic tapeworms" that some how manage to survive failure after failure with the same regime change prescriptions. Trump better wise up like right now or he can kiss his re-election goodbye. ..."
Jun 22, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

David Solomon , 21 June 2019 at 12:54 PM

Colonel Lang,

I am not now nor have I ever been a fan of Trump. However, if he does not start a war, he will end (in my mind, at least) as a vast improvement over his immediate predecessors.

Robert C said in reply to David Solomon... , 21 June 2019 at 08:56 PM
Wait a minute. Obama blew it with Libya. However,
-he reached a good deal with Iran
-he didn't bomb Syria when the crossed his "red line" and managed to make it look like the R controlled Senate made the decision .
-He didn't kiss Bibi's ring.
ted richard said in reply to David Solomon... , 21 June 2019 at 09:38 PM
look at a decent map of this area. the us naval base in Bahrain and air base Qatar are an Iranian missiles equivalent of firing from lower Manhattan to hit something in Hoboken.

The USA military assets within the Persian gulf have if war breaks out checked into the hotel California.

It is a logistical nightmare for the Pentagon to protect and resupply in the event of serious hostilities. Trump surely has been told by real us military professionals the giant hairball he takes on if he gets into a war with Iran and what it means for us servicemen station there and throughout the larger middle east.

it is unfortunate that the usa media uses fools like bolton and pompeo as clickbait to generate revenue fore their business at the expense of whats best for the nation but there it is... the msm has an agenda which is not at all in the service of the nation.

Harper , 21 June 2019 at 01:28 PM
Yes, a grown up has the right to change a decision. Now, ball is in Khomeini court. Abe asked him to release some Iranian-American prisoners. If Khomeini wants to lower threshold of conflict, he can do this gesture without losing any face. Humanitarian action.

Russia, China and the Europeans all want Iran to remain in JCPOA and Putin is worried about Iran acting irrationally.

See what kind of other pressure comes down on Iranians. Asians all worried about the security of oil flows to Asia. Japan especially dependent on Middle East oil flows, even if they've moved out of Iranian purchases. US more able to go it alone with extensive domestic and other sources.

blue peacock , 21 June 2019 at 01:36 PM
Col. Lang,

Khamenei should call Trump and setup a media spectacle of a summit in Switzerland. They can agree on the same deal as before but as long as the headline says "Iran agrees to not build nukes", Trump will be happy and Khamenei will be his new best pal.

The same playbook as KJU where nothing tangible is likely to happen except that KJU has stopped nuke & missile tests that create media hysteria among the Never Trumpers.

IMO, the ball hasn't left Trump's court. How long is he going to tolerate the neocons in his inner circle who are likely to keep coming up with another casus belli? Can he find some distance from being Bibi's lapdog? How long is he going to allow his conflicted son-in-law to meddle in the Middle East?

Trump must calculate the potential of where escalation leads and what a full on war with Iran and its allies in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon means for his re-election campaign. Bernie is banging the table hard against any military action in Iran. The probability that 50,000 votes in Michigan, Pennsylvania & Wisconsin changes sides the next election would be rather high in the event of an unpredictable full-scale war.

Christian J Chuba , 21 June 2019 at 01:56 PM
I hope Khamenei takes any offer Trump makes for direct talks. Trump is heavily influenced by the last person he meets.

I get that Khamenei doesn't want to meet on the premise that the JCPOA is flawed and must be changed but if he can get an audience on the basis of airing mutual grievances in an unfiltered environment, it would be an opportunity. Currently, the only people Trump talks to are Neocon loons. They are innumerable but the FDD seems to be the center of gravity.

I must say that Clifford May does sport quite the impressive beard, who wouldn't think that he's an expert on anything he talks about http://www.vipfaq.com/nested/c/l/Clifford_May-1.jpg

robt willmann , 21 June 2019 at 02:04 PM
In an interview with NBC News and Chuck Todd, Trump reiterates his position about a response being proportionate--

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/trump-says-he-did-not-given-final-approval-iran-strikes-n1020386

Widowson , 21 June 2019 at 02:41 PM
I was shocked-- but not surprised-- to see visibly-pained CBS Pentagon flack David Martin on the boob tube this morning quoting an unnamed source that speculated that the reason Trump cancelled the bombing of Iran was that he got "cold-feet." Thank you, Vasili Arkhipov, for getting cold-feet, too! Madness, our nation is afflicted with madness.
b , 21 June 2019 at 02:47 PM
The IRGC knuckle dragger in charge at Hormuz will get a medal or two, and a promotion. The U.S. is waging a total economic war on Iran. It cuts off all its exports and imports. Iran is fighting back by all means. It has no other choice. Iran now implements a "strategy of tension" that is designed to put "maximum pressure" on Trump. The tanker attacks, the mortars on U.S. troops in Iraq, the Houthi strikes an Saudi desalination plants and the shoot down of that drone are all part of that Iranian strategy.

High Iranian officials, including its president, have multiple times announced: "If we can sell no sell oil than none of our neighbors in the gulf will be able to sell their oil." They mean that and they have the plans and means to achieve that.

These strikes will continue, and will become stronger. I most cases Iran will have plausible deniability. That is easy to create when CentCom and the White House are know to lie left and right as they do.

Trump has two choices.

He can pull back on the sanctions and other U.S. violations of JCPOA, or he can start a full war against Iran that will drown his presidency, put the world economy into a depression ($300/bl oil) and kill many U.S. soldiers.

It is Trump, not Iran, who killed JCPOA. It is Trump, not Iran, who will be blamed for that war.

frankie p said in reply to b ... , 21 June 2019 at 07:05 PM

Exactly! There's one striking characteristic of the "resistance" leaders, including Khamenei, Syrian President Assad, and Hezbollah's Nasrallah, and that is that they are reliable: they do what they say they are going to do. They have integrity, that quality so clearly absent from all US and Western European leaders, all beholden to their Ziodonors to assure reelection.

The Iranians will NOT contact Trump to arrange a meeting. The Iranians will NOT meet with Trump because the JCPOA is flawed. The Iranians will NOT meet with Trump after a brief suspension in sanctions to ask for permanent sanctions relief. The Iranians WILL meet with Trump when he lifts most or all of the sanctions in good faith and rejoins the JCPOA. Is it just a coincidence that the two ships attacked last week were carrying petrochemicals, just days after Trump and the US placed sanctions on the largest Iranian petrochemical producer? What is it about "If we cannot ship oil/petrochemicals, nobody can." that people don't understand?

Additionally, any standoff missile attack or "March of the B52s" will be met with immediate regional attacks on US (Saudi and Israeli) assets, military personnel and civilians that will destabilize the entire region and destroy the global economy. Not the best scenario for a reelection bid, is it? I'm with b. There is no knuckle dragger at Hormuz, only competent officers carrying out their orders.

Frankie P

Barbara Ann said in reply to b ... , 21 June 2019 at 07:46 PM
b

How blame is apportioned will matter little to Iran if it miscalculates one iota. Yes it cannot sit idle until it is strangled by economic sanctions. But neither can it escalate beyond the destruction of civil and military hardware alone. One dead American is all the neocons need. A counter strike would then be inevitable and the uncontrollable escalation they are counting on the likely result.

Col. Lang has described here the catastrophic consequences for America's enemies when they have doubted its resolve. And the sure route to galvanizing that resolve is for Iran to escalate into targeting US forces.

The only way this ends without a war which would be catastrophic for both sides is if Trump realizes the reality of the situation he is in and ditches the neocons right now. Iran has got its message across and must now desist to allow Trump breathing room to de-escalate. Let us pray that Suleimani and the Iranian leadership are men enough to understand that holding the moral high ground confers no advantage in warfare.

Fred -> b ... , 22 June 2019 at 11:06 AM
b,

Only two choices? That doesn't sound very realistic in the terms of actual options. How about leaving the sanctions in place? What prevents that?

Eric Newhill , 21 June 2019 at 03:32 PM
Publicly, much chest thumping over how Iran has the cowardly Great Satan on the run like a beaten dog. Privately, phone calls to China and Russia begging for assurances of support and attempted offers of negotiations with Trump complete with wildly unrealistic demands.
eakens said in reply to Eric Newhill... , 21 June 2019 at 06:57 PM
This is delusional thinking. The Iranians realized a long time ago not to rely on other countries for assistance. Every Iranian knows not to trust Russians from history. China might be the only hope, not for support, but to convince that this war is as much about them.
LondonBob said in reply to Jack... , 22 June 2019 at 04:19 AM
The Chinese should close Adelson's Macau casinos for health and safety violations. Zionist donors for Trump's election campaign are driving this. Adelson's boy Bolton needs removing before anything positive can happen, Tucker Carlson needs some help with his campaign to oust him.
turcopolier , 21 June 2019 at 05:44 PM
b

Your usual deeply bigoted anti-Americanism.

frankie p said in reply to turcopolier ... , 21 June 2019 at 07:23 PM
Could you explain how the concept that economic sanctions are a belligerent act of war is anti-American? This is a historical concept that you, as a teacher and student of military history, are well aware of. The Iranians are using the means that they have available to respond to these acts of war.

They are not equipped to confront the US military directly, so they are using tactics to place pressure on the US in other areas, primarily by threatening the global economy by plausibly deniable acts against shipping in the Persian Gulf. This is a masterstroke right out of the pages of Sun Tze's Art of War.

Trump has painted himself into a corner. He can offer sanctions relief if he wants to negotiate, or he can attack, and we can hope that the US military learned some of the lessons taught by Lt. Gen. Paul Van Riper in the Millennium Challenge 2002.

Artemesia said in reply to turcopolier ... , 21 June 2019 at 07:28 PM
At the risk of ---
I think b is on to something.

The neocons are playing out provocations until Congress is forced to vote on War just before election. The provocations will continue -- Israel's Rational Institute & expert game theorists have done this so many times they're just going through the motions. Iranians have watched that game play out before and, perhaps, know how to handle provocations in a disruptive manner.

Did you listen to Foreign Affairs subcommittee questioning State Department undersecretary Brian Hook? https://www.c-span.org/video/?461811-1/house-foreign-affairs-subcommittee-hearing-iran-policy

Hook repeated, emphasized & repeated again that "finance is the basis of war," and US / Trump strategy is to "not to bankrupt Iran," but to "deny Iran access to financial ability to fund Hezbollah, Hamas, and other of the #1 state sponsor of terror's proxies."

The congressmen questioning Hook nodded sagely. None of them so much as hinted at the fact that the USA is so deep in debt it can never pay its way out. Nor was any congressman sage enough, or moral enough, or consistent enough, to question:

-- International policy pundits & think tankers opine that the greatest guarantee of peace is economic stability. US is deliberately seeking to destabilize Iran economically. To what end?

--One of the expectations of the JCPOA was that with sanctions lifted, Iran would enter into the mainstream economy, trading with states throughout the world. This normalization of commerce would constrain Iran from taking actions that would jeopardize its trade relationships. Why does Trump & the zioncons not wish Iran's commercial normalization to take place? Is it because Israel cannot stand the competition?

-- by what right USA violates UN Charter demands that internal affairs of a member state must not be interfered with. Congressmen crowned themselves with laurel as they proclaimed that "the people of Iran are not our enemy; it is the government; we act on behalf of the Iranian people, especially Iranian women."

When I visited Iran in 2008, "Iranian women" spoke with us and asked if we could please provide several days' warning before bombing Iran so that they could shelter their children. Iranian women are some of the toughest you'll meet.

-- what casus belli legitimizes aggression against Iran? Does the USA no longer subscribe to Just War theory? Several years ago I heard Notre Dame's Mary Ellen O'Connell discuss Just War theory with respect to Iran -- https://elibrary.law.psu.edu/jlia/vol2/iss2/6/. US claims to uphold "universal values" ring hollow if such basic steps in framing policy are ignored.

b -> turcopolier ... , 22 June 2019 at 12:10 AM
I deal in facts, not in 'deeply bigoted anti-Americanism'. Interesting that you do not want to recognize those facts. They are right before your eyes. Just I give it a day or two until the next 'incident' happens.

Trump thinks that he can f*** Iran and sit it out? Not gonna happen.

turcopolier -> b ... , 22 June 2019 at 09:39 AM
All

The question has been raised of my denigration of b. He has a long history on SST He is an excellent military analyst but the long and so far as I can remember unbroken record of interpreting EVERY situation as demonstrating the demonic nature of the US causes me to discount anything he writes on other than military subjects narrowly defined. IMO b's hostility to the US is a permanent burden that he carries.

Eric Newhill said in reply to turcopolier ... , 22 June 2019 at 10:54 AM
Sir,

Also, B's minions, who follow him around, have absorbed his anti-US attitude so completely it's like a religion to them.

Charlie Wilson -> turcopolier ... , 22 June 2019 at 01:40 AM
b is a hater, colonel. And his English sucks too!

Charlie

Eugene Owens said in reply to turcopolier ... , 22 June 2019 at 01:56 AM
Agree regarding b's anti America stance. Yet b's prediction that the guy in charge at Hormuz will get a medal and promotion is correct IMO.

Ditto for his prediction that Iranian attacks will continue with some measure of deniability.

VietnamVet , 21 June 2019 at 07:13 PM
Colonel,

The NYT report that Donald Trump ordered the attack and then pulled back is in Jimmy Carter's "been there done that" territory. Although a New Yorker and he never had to sit in a gasoline line, Donald Trump, personally and legally, cannot be a one term President. He is a political savant.

He gets that he cannot be an LBJ or a Harry Truman with the Albatross of an unwinnable war hung around his neck.

My assumption is that someone in the chain of command after the surveillance drone was shot down triggered a preplanned strike package that was stopped once it got to the President for approval. Once again global media moguls strike back at the nationalist President with Fake News.

But, I am afraid the chosen true believers on his staff do not believe nor care that Iran has prepared a massive disproportionate non-nuclear response that will destroy the global economy.

John Bolton and Mike Pompeo have other agendas than the President's re-election and what is in the USA's national interests. We are not out of the woods.

ex-PFC Chuck , 21 June 2019 at 07:14 PM
Do we know for sure Trump is the one who initially ordered the strike? Or did someone down the line interpret the rules of engagement (do I presume correctly that some such would be in place at the present time?) to allow him or her to order it?
turcopolier -> ex-PFC Chuck... , 22 June 2019 at 09:35 AM
All

In a situation of this degree of geo-political gravity, nobody in the chain of command below the CinC would have had the authority or temerity to attempt to order this strike package.

Neither Pompeo nor Bolton is in the chain of command and attempts by them to order such attacks would have been rejected by the military. BTW if Trump aborted the strikes only 10 minutes out from the targets he was cutting it too close. Communications can always fail.

The Twisted Genius , 21 June 2019 at 07:31 PM
The IRGC knuckle dragger at Hormuz wisely and prudently targeted the unmanned drone and not the manned P8 aircraft. Since it was the Iranians who recovered the wreckage, it will be hard for the US to maintain the drone was well outside Iranian airspace.

No, this action was appropriate in the face of our policy of maximum pressure to starve out the Iranian people and force a regime change.

I applaud Trump's decision not to engage in a shooting war. The way he got to that decision was messy, but the final decision was right. Those calling him weak for not engaging in a war of choice are craven fools. Chief among those is Bolton.

Trump should throw his ass and his mustache out of the WH before the sun goes down. Trump brought this situation upon himself with his pulling out of the JCPOA and initiating his "war" of maximum pressure. It is he who can deflate this crisis, not Kamenei.

eakens said in reply to The Twisted Genius ... , 22 June 2019 at 12:02 PM
This is all one big PsyOp imo. The US has no popular support for an attack on Iran, internally or externally. We are going to attack, but want to make it seem like they showed restraint and have been left with no choice.

I don't foresee the Iranians talking to Trump unless and until the US walks back its sanctions, or Trump himself goes and sits down with the Ayatollah.

And this nonsense about Iran allowing the US to make some window dressing attack on innocuous targets to save face/ All I can say is Iranians are not Arabs.

Artemesia , 21 June 2019 at 07:32 PM
PS -- C Span ramped up an orgy of war hysteria over Trump's threat, then stand-down over Iran's shoot-down of an un-manned drone. The public was, as usual, confined to a narrow frame of reference and range of responses: "Trump was a coward," vs. "Trump was wise." Congressmen who were interviewed emphasized that "no American was killed."

No one mentioned that Lyndon Johnson called back flights sent to rescue crewmen on the USS Liberty when Israel attacked the ship, strafed the wounded and those in life boats.

SAC Brat said in reply to Harlan Easley ... , 22 June 2019 at 01:13 PM
This seems like Professional Wrestling theater where you have the wrestlers hamming it up for the drama and you wonder what the script is. We only get to see what the camera frames.
NarcoRepublican , 21 June 2019 at 09:17 PM
I am thankful that our military acknowledges that our President is the Commander-in-Chief. He commanded, they obeyed. As for all the pundits on all sides, their lack of perspective or even understanding of history leaves me terrified. There seems to be no understanding of how Iran is capable of retaliation. An example:

Everyone remembers the shootdown of Iranian Air flight 655 on July 3, 1988 by the guided missile cruiser Vincennes, under the command of the late Captain Will Rogers, in which 290 people were killed. President Reagan said America will never apologize. President Clinton ultimately paid the Iranians $130 million.

Few remember what happened next -- some 8 months later, in March, 1989, Capt. Roger's spouse Sharon, was in her van stopped at a traffic light in San Diego. A pipe bomb went off under the back of the van. It was small -- she was unhurt, fortunately, but definitely shaken up, and the van did catch fire. Despite an intensive investigation, the FBI has never solved this case.

Never let us become so blind and arrogant in our strength that we are unable to conceive retaliation by those weaker.

blue peacock , 22 June 2019 at 01:47 AM
Tucker Carlson seems like the only realist in the MSM. https://youtu.be/Rf2cS4g0pes
ancientarcher , 22 June 2019 at 02:07 AM
Has anyone considered the possibility that the drone was sent there to be shot down by the Iranians?

It is no secret that the Neocons and the Israeli zionists (I am repeating myself here) do want a war between Iran and the United States. First, there were a few tanker attacks which were brushed off by Trump. Then this, which was more difficult to brush off. Is it possible that the drone actually went to Iranian airspace but GPS coordinates were spoofed (by insiders on the American side) so that Trump (and the administration) believed that it stayed in international airspace?

The Americans do seem to really believe that the drone was in international airspace and no one can make a point that it is to Iran's benefit to target an American asset in international airspace, especially now when tensions are so high. Iran has the most to lose in the event of a war with the Americans (no points for guessing which country has the most to win - Israel). And it is a coincidence that the guy heading the Iran mission Centre, Michael D'Andrea, was previously the head of drone operations. Or is it a coincidence?

What would I do if I were a neocon who wants war between the US and Iran, a war that Trump doesn't. For the start of hostilities, it is essential that both sides, US and Iran, feel that they are in the right - which of course this situation is. I would create a context, an excuse/rationale for the start of actual hostilities to the US administration (and of course for the consumption of the American public). Then I will make the case to Trump that we should have a 'limited' retaliation. I know that the Iranians will strike back after the 'small scale' bombing. And the Americans have to retaliate to that also. What chances are there that any retaliation by the Americans will not end up in total war with Iran??

Trump doesn't want war and probably saw through the machinations to get him to agree to a 'small' bombing campaign as retaliation that would surely lead to a larger conflagration and total war with Iran that the neocons want so much. This particular provocation was unsuccessful in its aim. However, I think that provocations by the neocons will continue and at an ever increasing pitch - enabled by the neocons within the administration and the Israelis. Trump doesn't want war but his administration filled with neocons does and they will find a way maneuver Trump into it. Israel will fight Iran till the last standing American in the Middle East.

blue peacock , 22 June 2019 at 02:15 AM
Sorry. Here's the ink to Tucker on the Iran war brink. https://youtu.be/3PQW2tMMn2A
blue peacock , 22 June 2019 at 01:17 PM
Why did Donald Trump hire neocons Bolton & Pompeo as well as torturer Gina Haspel? Couldn't he find people who shared his views (at least what he said during the last campaign) that our ME regime change wars were a disaster that we shouldn't repeat?

As Tucker noted in his segment yesterday Bolton & the neocons have been plotting a war with Iran for some time. They don't care if it sinks Trump's presidency. They have no loyalty to him only condescension.

Hopefully Trump learns from this near miss of a catastrophe for his presidency. But he has seemed weak and indecisive on these matters all along. He never fought back for example with all the tools at his disposal against the attempted coup by law enforcement & the intelligence agencies.

All he did was constantly tweet witch hunt. He's once again delegated it to Barr after Sessions sat on it.

He allowed Pompeo & Bolton to bring on fellow neocon Elliott Abrams who previously screwed up in Nicaragua to attempt another regime change in Venezuela, which has been another botched example of how everything that the neocons touch turns to shit.

Yet as Tucker notes in his segment yesterday the neocons are "bureaucratic tapeworms" that some how manage to survive failure after failure with the same regime change prescriptions. Trump better wise up like right now or he can kiss his re-election goodbye.

[Jun 22, 2019] US Empire faces a growing international coalition against its actions, which results from sentiments made at the rather many recent international conferences that have already occurred in June that will be topped by G-20 in 8 days.

Notable quotes:
"... That admission along with the stark mostly unreported economic realities of any armed conflict in the Gulf region is what restrains the war mongers. The Money Power and the Current Oligarchy won't allow war is what I see. And that makes this Friday morning pleasant despite the fog. ..."
"... The risks are just too great (for what the US public is prepared to accept). And we've just seen it happen again. They might be able to screw themselves up to go through with it, and accept the losses and stalemate that will come, but it will do no good at all for Trump's re-election chances. ..."
"... Netanyahu has reiterated his desire for war with Iran -- a war that the US will fight–and is meeting with his Arab allies to help bring it about. As Ha'aretz described Netanyahu's Iran dilemma last month, the goal is to get Trump to go to war without putting Israel on the front line. ..."
"... Listen to this horse manure coming from Brain Hook, "special" representative for Iran: "According to him, Washington was doing everything possible to defuse tensions with Iran and return the containment system in the region. ..."
"... The Zionists are smack dab in the middle of the front line with a massive crosshairs imprinted on their entirety. Occupied Palestine sits at Ground Zero, and it seems that the Zionists are finally waking up to the ultimate betrayal they'll experience at the hands of The Christian Rapturists -- they are to be Genocided in the pursuit of attempting to make a myth come to life. ..."
"... Watch the brilliant George Galloway on the consequences of war with Iran. Bottom line: only hardline Likudniks and FDD Likud USA types would approve such a disastrous move. ..."
"... If America attacks and destroys Iran after doing the same to Iraq, Palestine, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, and Lebanon, the Islamic religion should semi-officially adopt anti-Americanism until the Empire falls, and it would be totally deserved. If we all go in, let us get a good thrashing. ..."
"... It is true that Trump needs to fire acting President Bolton. Bolton who was appointed to the NSA by Sheldon Adelson, the Israeli/American oligarch, will not allow Trump to fire Bolton; otherwise, he loses millions of $$$$. The pressure is also from Adelson and his neocon ilk. ..."
"... Iran is a big country, and won't be defeated unless the people are ready to abandon the regime. They aren't as far as I can detect. The exiles, and the middle class in Iran, hate the regime. I've just had a lot of that poured into my ears, during my visit to Iran a month ago. The popular feeling though doesn't seem to have abandoned the regime. I think we can expect a nationalist resistance, if indeed Trump does attack Iran. ..."
"... China has been complying with US sanctions on Iran, for example this article notes that China stopped buying oil from Iran . US direct trade with Iran isn't so much as issue as the US stopping Europe and China from trading with Iran. ..."
Jun 22, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Jun 21, 2019 12:01:59 PM | 86

The most important Item I've read so far this morning is this report on the Ufa, Russia Security Conference that was attended by both Iranian and Outlaw US Empire officials. The entire article requires reading, but this is the most relevant excerpt that has some links in the original I won't duplicate:

"Given current global events, the most significant attendees in Ufa are a senior US National Security Council member and the Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), Ali Shamkhani.

As of now, the only official news comes from Ali Shamkhani's words concerning the possibility of mediation with the US and the possibility of Iran acquiring weapons systems to fend off US threats. Shamkhani stated:

"'We currently face demonstrative threats. Nevertheless, when it comes to air defense of our country, we consider using the foreign potential in addition to our domestic capacities Mediation is out of question in the current situation. The United States has unilaterally withdrawn from the JCPOA, it has flouted its obligations and it has introduced illegal sanctions against Iran. The United States should return to the starting point and correct its own mistakes. This process needs no mediation.'

"'This [gradually boosting of uranium enrichment and heavy water production beyond the levels outlined in the JCPOA] is a serious decision of the Islamic Republic [of Iran] and we will continue doing it step by step until JCPOA violators move toward agreement and return to fulfilling their obligations. [If JCPOA participants do not comply with the deal, Iran will be reducing its commitments] step by step within legal mechanisms that the JCPOA envisions.'"

It was noted by b that the Outlaw US Empire faces a growing international coalition against its actions, which results from sentiments made at the rather many recent international conferences that have already occurred in June that will be topped by G-20 in 8 days.

That admission along with the stark mostly unreported economic realities of any armed conflict in the Gulf region is what restrains the war mongers. The Money Power and the Current Oligarchy won't allow war is what I see. And that makes this Friday morning pleasant despite the fog.

Laguerre , Jun 21, 2019 12:05:23 PM | 88

Posted by: Anon | Jun 21, 2019 8:04:55 AM | 29 (boring that it's yet another Anon, who can't be bothered to distinguish himself all from the other thousands of Anons)
the stage is now maximum restraint and effort at co-operation, which Iran will be expected to respect. That means one more act against US (or false flag by US) and strikes will occur. Not comparable to hostage crisis, here US is projecting being reasonable, even if you read that as being weak.
It's not me who reading the US as weak. It will be the attitude of the Iranians, who haven't forgotten the US failure in 1980 (April 24, 1980), as opposed to the US public for whom it is so many crises ago that they've forgotten. And the Iranians are right.

Trump hesitated, as every previous attempt to launch a strike on Iran has finished finally in a stand-down.

The risks are just too great (for what the US public is prepared to accept). And we've just seen it happen again. They might be able to screw themselves up to go through with it, and accept the losses and stalemate that will come, but it will do no good at all for Trump's re-election chances.

Mikael Kallavuo , Jun 21, 2019 12:19:06 PM | 91 jsb , Jun 21, 2019 12:20:15 PM | 92
Well it looks like Elijah Magnier has finally written the piece he was hinting at releasing yesterday. Here it is:
Iran is pushing US President Donald Trump to the edge of the abyss, raising the level of tensions to new heights in the Middle East. After the sabotage of four tankers at al-Fujairah and the attack on the Aramco pipeline a month ago, and last week's attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC – now categorized by the USA as a terrorist body) yesterday shot down a US Navy drone, sending two clear messages. The first message is that Iran is ready for an all-out war, no matter what the consequences. The second message is that Iran is aware that the US President has cornered himself; the embarrassing attack came a week after Trump launched his electoral campaign.

According to well-informed sources, Iran rejected a proposal by US intelligence – made via a third party – that Trump be allowed to bomb one, two or three clear objectives, to be chosen by Iran, so that both countries could appear to come out as winners and Trump could save face. Iran categorically rejected the offer and sent its reply: even an attack against an empty sandy beach in Iran would trigger a missile launch against US objectives in the Gulf.

...

Moreover, Iran has established a joint operations room to inform all its allies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan of every step it is adopting in confronting the US in case of all-out war in the Middle East. Iran's allies have increased their level of readiness and alert to the highest level; they will participate in the war from the moment it begins if necessary. According to sources, Iran's allies will not hesitate to open fire against an already agreed on bank of objectives in a perfectly organised, orchestrated, synchronised and graduated response, anticipating a war that may last many months.

Sources confirmed that, in case of war, Iran aims to stop the flow of oil from the Middle East completely, not by targeting tankers but by hitting the sources of oil in every single Middle Eastern country, whether these countries are considered allies or enemies. The objective will be to cease all oil exports from the Middle East to the rest of the world.

...

Iran's economy is under attack by Trump's embargo on Iranian oil exports. Trump refuses to lift the embargo and wants to negotiate first. Trump, unlike Israel and the hawks in his administration, is trying to avoid a shooting war. Netanyahu has reiterated his desire for war with Iran -- a war that the US will fight–and is meeting with his Arab allies to help bring it about. As Ha'aretz described Netanyahu's Iran dilemma last month, the goal is to get Trump to go to war without putting Israel on the front line.

b , Jun 21, 2019 1:23:18 PM | 107
Trump just confirmed my hunch that there was no final decision to strike.
Meet the Press @MeetThePress - 16:50 UTC - 21 Jun 2019

EXCLUSIVE: In an exclusive interview with Chuck Todd, President Donald Trump says he hadn't given final approval to Iran strikes, no planes were in the air.

Also Elijah Magnier's piece is out:

Iran and Trump on the edge of the abyss

The first message is that Iran is ready for an all-out war, no matter what the consequences. The second message is that Iran is aware that the US President has cornered himself; the embarrassing attack came a week after Trump launched his electoral campaign. According to well-informed sources, Iran rejected a proposal by US intelligence – made via a third party – that Trump be allowed to bomb one or two clear objectives, to be chosen by Iran, so that both countries could appear to come out as winners and Trump could save face. Iran categorically rejected the offer and sent its reply: even an attack against an empty sandy beach in Iran would trigger a missile launch against US objectives in the Gulf.
...
Iran has established a joint operations room to inform all its allies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan of every step it is adopting in confronting the US in case of all-out war in the Middle East. Iran's allies have increased their level of readiness and alert to the highest level; they will participate in the war from the moment it begins if necessary. According to sources, Iran's allies will not hesitate to open fire against an already agreed on bank of objectives in a perfectly organised, orchestrated, synchronised and graduated response, anticipating a war that may last many months.
...
Sources confirmed that, in case of war, Iran aims to stop the flow of oil from the Middle East completely, not by targeting tankers but by hitting the sources of oil in every single Middle Eastern country, whether these countries are considered allies or enemies. The objective will be to cease all oil exports from the Middle East to the rest of the world.

The NYT reports that the CentCom claim that the drone was in international airspace is in doubt: Trump Stopped Strike on Iran Because It Was 'Not Proportionate'

Still, there remained doubt inside the United States government over whether the drone, or another American surveillance aircraft, this one flown by a military aircrew, did violate Iranian airspace at some point, according to a senior administration official.
..
The delay by United States Central Command in publicly releasing GPS coordinates of the drone when it was shot down -- hours after Iran did -- and errors in the labeling of the drone's flight path when the imagery was released, contributed to that doubt, officials said.

A lack of provable "hard evidence" about the location of the drone when it was hit, a defense official said, put the administration in an isolated position at what could easily end up being the start of yet another war with a Middle East adversary -- this one with a proven ability to strike back.

Laguerre , Jun 21, 2019 1:29:48 PM | 109
b, how can you believe any of Trump's versions? I can't see that one is more trustworthy than another
Uncle Jon , Jun 21, 2019 2:53:41 PM | 131
Listen to this horse manure coming from Brain Hook, "special" representative for Iran: "According to him, Washington was doing everything possible to defuse tensions with Iran and return the containment system in the region.

However, Hook blamed Tehran for rising tension in the region because of the refusal of any diplomatic initiatives.

"Our diplomacy does not give Iran the right to respond with military force. Iran needs to meet diplomacy with diplomacy, not military force," the envoy added."

Diplomacy needs to be met with diplomacy......Really???

Iran should impose sanctions on all of SA, UAE and US oil exports. How's that for diplomacy Mr. Hook? In case you missed it that is exactly what they are doing. Meeting your brand of diplomacy head on.

We are living in the realm of absurd. How is it that we have left the welfare of our kids, families and the future of our country in the hands of these incompetent morons?

And why is the rest of the world sitting with their popcorn watching this horror show?

karlof1 , Jun 21, 2019 2:58:26 PM | 132
h @124--

After reading the wiki item on P-8s having a normal crew of 7, I got to thinking about the 35 number either being a botched translation or how many bodies were noted via thermal imaging radar, something I doubt Iran was thought to possess. As I wrote, Iran can see everything to its West, which is a very BigDeal.

I digested Magnier's latest. The following is an extremely important point:

"Ha'aretz described Netanyahu's Iran dilemma last month, the goal is to get Trump to go to war without putting Israel on the front line ."

Except that is an impossibility. The Zionists are smack dab in the middle of the front line with a massive crosshairs imprinted on their entirety. Occupied Palestine sits at Ground Zero, and it seems that the Zionists are finally waking up to the ultimate betrayal they'll experience at the hands of The Christian Rapturists -- they are to be Genocided in the pursuit of attempting to make a myth come to life.

Every writer, Magnier, b, Escobar, and most all barflies, etc, are saying the decision lies with Trump. As I've written before and again above, I disagree. The decision to go to war with Iran rests with the Current Oligarchy running the Outlaw US Empire. And it's my belief that such a war will not bring them A Few Dollars More and instead make their Fistful of Dollars evaporate rapidly. thanks to their great outstanding, naked, risks. For perhaps the very first time, the Current Oligarchy is exposed to the risks involved in a war it initially though it could win. Last night, it seemed to awaken to the potential consequences and blinked. The Philadelphia refinery blast may be shear coincidence or not, but it also has likely helped since its right down the street from the Current Oligarchies penthouses.

Now, it's just about the time of day when the Houthis launch their attacks.

Blooming Barricade , Jun 21, 2019 4:14:14 PM | 155
Watch the brilliant George Galloway on the consequences of war with Iran. Bottom line: only hardline Likudniks and FDD Likud USA types would approve such a disastrous move.

If America attacks and destroys Iran after doing the same to Iraq, Palestine, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, and Lebanon, the Islamic religion should semi-officially adopt anti-Americanism until the Empire falls, and it would be totally deserved. If we all go in, let us get a good thrashing.
_____

George Galloway has warned the US and its allies in the Gulf that if they were to start "World War III" with an attack on Iran they will live to regret it because, unlike Iraq in 2003, they are capable of fighting back.

The Scottish firebrand, who famously took US lawmakers to task over the Iraq war when he testified in front of the senate in 2005, has given his take on the recent ratcheting-up of tension in the Gulf region after Iran shot down a US drone, which, it says, had entered its airspace.

Washington maintains its UAV was shot down while patrolling over international waters in an "unprovoked attack." On Friday President Donald Trump took to Twitter to claim the US were 10 minutes away from bombing three Iranian sites, before calling off the strikes.

Galloway believes that many Iranians would see it as a great "pleasure to fight the United States and its allies in the region."

In a stark warning to US allies such as Qatar, the UAE and Saudia Arabia, Galloway insisted that any country that allows "its land to be used for the launching for an American attack on Iran will itself be immediately in flames."

The former Labour MP concludes his passionate message to the world by declaring: "No more war. No more war in the Gulf. No war on Iran."

https://youtu.be/ejvTPVvj_IE

El Cid , Jun 21, 2019 4:36:44 PM | 160
It is true that Trump needs to fire acting President Bolton. Bolton who was appointed to the NSA by Sheldon Adelson, the Israeli/American oligarch, will not allow Trump to fire Bolton; otherwise, he loses millions of $$$$. The pressure is also from Adelson and his neocon ilk.
Laguerre , Jun 21, 2019 4:40:29 PM | 163
I don't think my opinion has changed. There've been several cases where they've been about to attack Iran, but then have drawn back. Spring 2018 (Israel), 2012, even the event of 1980, where they tried but failed. Trump's aborted attack is just another case.

Iran is a big country, and won't be defeated unless the people are ready to abandon the regime. They aren't as far as I can detect. The exiles, and the middle class in Iran, hate the regime. I've just had a lot of that poured into my ears, during my visit to Iran a month ago. The popular feeling though doesn't seem to have abandoned the regime. I think we can expect a nationalist resistance, if indeed Trump does attack Iran.

c1ue , Jun 21, 2019 4:54:59 PM | 165
@Oscar Peterson #151

China has been complying with US sanctions on Iran, for example this article notes that China stopped buying oil from Iran . US direct trade with Iran isn't so much as issue as the US stopping Europe and China from trading with Iran.

[Jun 22, 2019] The US population is sick of endless wars, regardless of party

Jun 22, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

Oh just..... @gjohnsit The notion that the US needs to quit warring is hardly new.

The US population is sick of endless wars, regardless of party. Trump campaigned on ending endless wars. If he starts new wars, he is toast with his base. They are already mad at him about not getting immigration resolved while he had both chambers of Congress.

[Jun 22, 2019] Comparing Biden to Sanders on racism

Jun 22, 2019 | caucus99percent.com

snoopydawg on Fri, 06/21/2019 - 10:09pm

I disagree that Biden isn't/wasn't racist

@gjohnsit

Here's a letter he wrote to one of the worst racists that ever served in congress.

Joe Biden's history of dubious stances on racially charged issues came back to haunt him again Friday with the disclosure of old letters he wrote to a racist Southern senator thanking him for helping him to fight forced school busing.

"I want you to know that I very much appreciate your help during this week's Committee meeting in attempting to bring my anti-busing legislation to a vote," Biden wrote on June 30, 1977, to Sen. James Eastland, the Washington Post reported.

Eastland was a plantation owner who believed blacks were an inferior race, and forcefully fought desegregation throughout his career as a Democratic lawmaker from Mississippi.
....
But the letters show that Biden's friendship with Eastland began in 1972, before he had taken office, and that he wrote to him listing his top six committee assignment requests, with Foreign Relations and Judiciary at the top.

Later, Biden wrote to thank Eastland, saying he was "flattered and grateful" for his help.

There is no way to take what Biden said in any way but racist. Keeping schools segregated?

Strom Thurmond, Jesse Helms and James Eastland were some of his BFFs who he said were good people.

[Jun 22, 2019] Chuck Schumer 'The American People Deserve A President Who Can More Credibly Justify War With Iran'

Highly recommended!
Jun 20, 2019 | politics.theonion.com

In a pointed critique of President Trump's foreign policy leadership, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer stated to members of the press Thursday that "the American people deserve a president who can more credibly justify war with Iran."

"What the American people need is a president who can make a much more convincing case for going to war with Iran," said Schumer (D-NY), adding that the Trump administration's corruption and dishonesty have "proven time and time again" that it lacks the conviction necessary to act as an effective cheerleader for the conflict.

"Donald Trump is completely unfit to assume the mantle of telling the American people what they need to hear in order to convince them a war with Iran is a good idea.

One of the key duties of the president is to gain the trust of the people so that they feel comfortable going along with whatever he says. President Trump's failure to serve as a credible advocate for this war is yet another instance in which he has disappointed not only his colleagues in Washington, but also the entire nation."

Schumer later concluded his statement with a vow that he and his fellow Democrats will continue working toward a more palatable case in favor of bombing Iran.

[Jun 22, 2019] US Department of State officials claimed Thursday that one of their drones was minding its own business on its way to church when Iran attacked it

Jun 22, 2019 | www.unz.com

RobinG , says: June 22, 2019 at 5:54 am GMT

@lavoisier https://politics.theonion.com/u-s-claims-drone-was-minding-own-business-on-its-way-t-1835695562

WASHINGTON -- Maintaining that the unmanned aerial vehicle was simply going about its day without posing a threat to anyone, U.S. Department of State officials claimed Thursday that one of their drones was minding its own business on its way to church when Iran attacked it out of nowhere. "This was an outrageous, unprovoked attack by the Islamic Republic of Iran on an innocent drone who merely wanted to attend mass in peace," said acting Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, emphasizing the drone's upstanding moral character by pointing out its history of donating to charity, volunteering at soup kitchens, and making homemade cookies for school bake sales. "We're talking about a drone that sings in the church choir and coaches little league baseball games on the weekends -- an absolute pillar of the community. This is an upstanding family drone who did nothing to deserve any sort of attack. What kind of world do we live in where an innocent drone can't fly through Iranian air space on its way to church?" At press time, Department of Defense officials confirmed that their request for Iran to return the drone's body back to the U.S. for a proper burial had gone unanswered.

[Jun 22, 2019] Americans hardly care who dies wherever as long as they can find themselves shoping goods they do not need with the money they do not have

Jun 21, 2019 | www.unz.com

Amused , says: June 19, 2019 at 2:50 pm GMT

It is a very lightly written article but it touches on a very sensitive nerve rather hard. I liked the entire premise of this story and have ome to agree with the writer that Americans hardly care who dies wherever as long as they can find themselves shoping goods they dont need with the money they don't have and stuffing their mouth with food they don't deserve.

[Jun 22, 2019] Donald Trump likes to think of himself as a statesman, an author, an A-level negotiator but at heart, he's one thing: an insult comic

Add to this that he is in the pocket of Israel lobby and that helps to explain most of his actions.
Jun 16, 2019 | www.politico.com

President Donald Trump likes to think of himself as a statesman, an author, an A-level negotiator, but at heart, he's one thing: an insult comic.

Every day in D.C. is a roast, the insults and belittling nicknames wielded like tiny comedy bullets. And if you haven't seen enough of the fusillade on Twitter, all you need to do is turn on late night TV. Television comedy has a strange, symbiotic relationship with the real political world, something between a feedback loop and a funhouse mirror....

... ... ...

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

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

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

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

[Jun 22, 2019] Trump on Iran threat now and then

Oct 22, 2012 | www.unz.com

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump

Don't let Obama play the Iran card in order to start a war in order to get elected--be careful Republicans!

11:43 AM 22 Oct 12 Twitter Web Client

[Jun 22, 2019] I was shocked -- but not surprised -- to see visibly-pained CBS Pentagon flack David Martin on the boob tube this morning. Thank you, Vasili Arkhipov

Notable quotes:
"... Thank you, Vasili Arkhipov, for getting cold-feet, too! Madness, our nation is afflicted with madness. ..."
Jun 22, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Widowson , 21 June 2019 at 02:41 PM

I was shocked-- but not surprised-- to see visibly-pained CBS Pentagon flack David Martin on the boob tube this morning quoting an unnamed source that speculated that the reason Trump cancelled the bombing of Iran was that he got "cold-feet."

Thank you, Vasili Arkhipov, for getting cold-feet, too! Madness, our nation is afflicted with madness.

[Jun 22, 2019] this report on the Ufa, Russia Security Conference by both Iranian and Outlaw US Empire officials. The entire article requires reading, but this is the most relevant excerpt that has some links in the original I won't duplicate:

Jun 22, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org

"Given current global events, the most significant attendees in Ufa are a senior US National Security Council member and the Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), Ali Shamkhani. As of now, the only official news comes from Ali Shamkhani's words concerning the possibility of mediation with the US and the possibility of Iran acquiring weapons systems to fend off US threats. Shamkhani stated:

"'We currently face demonstrative threats. Nevertheless, when it comes to air defense of our country, we consider using the foreign potential in addition to our domestic capacities Mediation is out of question in the current situation. The United States has unilaterally withdrawn from the JCPOA, it has flouted its obligations and it has introduced illegal sanctions against Iran. The United States should return to the starting point and correct its own mistakes. This process needs no mediation.'

"'This [gradually boosting of uranium enrichment and heavy water production beyond the levels outlined in the JCPOA] is a serious decision of the Islamic Republic [of Iran] and we will continue doing it step by step until JCPOA violators move toward agreement and return to fulfilling their obligations. [If JCPOA participants do not comply with the deal, Iran will be reducing its commitments] step by step within legal mechanisms that the JCPOA envisions.'"

It was noted by b that the Outlaw US Empire faces a growing international coalition against its actions, which results from sentiments made at the rather many recent international conferences that have already occurred in June that will be topped by G-20 in 8 days. That admission along with the stark mostly unreported economic realities of any armed conflict in the Gulf region is what restrains the war mongers. The Money Power and the Current Oligarchy won't allow war is what I see. And that makes this Friday morning pleasant despite the fog.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 21, 2019 12:01:59 PM | 86

Posted by: Anon | Jun 21, 2019 8:04:55 AM | 29 (boring that it's yet another Anon, who can't be bothered to distinguish himself all from the other thousands of Anons)
the stage is now maximum restraint and effort at co-operation, which Iran will be expected to respect. That means one more act against US (or false flag by US) and strikes will occur. Not comparable to hostage crisis, here US is projecting being reasonable, even if you read that as being weak.
It's not me who reading the US as weak. It will be the attitude of the Iranians, who haven't forgotten the US failure in 1980 (April 24, 1980), as opposed to the US public for whom it is so many crises ago that they've forgotten. And the Iranians are right. Trump hesitated, as every previous attempt to launch a strike on Iran has finished finally in a stand-down. The risks are just too great (for what the US public is prepared to accept). And we've just seen it happen again. They might be able to screw themselves up to go through with it, and accept the losses and stalemate that will come, but it will do no good at all for Trump's re-election chances.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jun 21, 2019 12:05:23 PM | 88

Posted by: Mikael Kallavuo | Jun 21, 2019 12:19:06 PM | 91 Well it looks like Elijah Magnier has finally written the piece he was hinting at releasing yesterday. Here it is:


Iran is pushing US President Donald Trump to the edge of the abyss, raising the level of tensions to new heights in the Middle East. After the sabotage of four tankers at al-Fujairah and the attack on the Aramco pipeline a month ago, and last week's attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC – now categorized by the USA as a terrorist body) yesterday shot down a US Navy drone, sending two clear messages. The first message is that Iran is ready for an all-out war, no matter what the consequences. The second message is that Iran is aware that the US President has cornered himself; the embarrassing attack came a week after Trump launched his electoral campaign.

According to well-informed sources, Iran rejected a proposal by US intelligence – made via a third party – that Trump be allowed to bomb one, two or three clear objectives, to be chosen by Iran, so that both countries could appear to come out as winners and Trump could save face. Iran categorically rejected the offer and sent its reply: even an attack against an empty sandy beach in Iran would trigger a missile launch against US objectives in the Gulf.

...

Moreover, Iran has established a joint operations room to inform all its allies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan of every step it is adopting in confronting the US in case of all-out war in the Middle East. Iran's allies have increased their level of readiness and alert to the highest level; they will participate in the war from the moment it begins if necessary. According to sources, Iran's allies will not hesitate to open fire against an already agreed on bank of objectives in a perfectly organised, orchestrated, synchronised and graduated response, anticipating a war that may last many months.

Sources confirmed that, in case of war, Iran aims to stop the flow of oil from the Middle East completely, not by targeting tankers but by hitting the sources of oil in every single Middle Eastern country, whether these countries are considered allies or enemies. The objective will be to cease all oil exports from the Middle East to the rest of the world.

...

Iran's economy is under attack by Trump's embargo on Iranian oil exports. Trump refuses to lift the embargo and wants to negotiate first. Trump, unlike Israel and the hawks in his administration, is trying to avoid a shooting war. Netanyahu has reiteratedhis desire for war with Iran -- a war that the US will fight–and is meeting with his Arab allies to help bring it about. As Ha'aretz described Netanyahu's Iran dilemma last month, the goal is to get Trump to go to war without putting Israel on the front line.


Posted by: jsb | Jun 21, 2019 12:20:15 PM | 92

Trump just confirmed my hunch that there was no final decision to strike.
Meet the Press @MeetThePress - 16:50 UTC - 21 Jun 2019

EXCLUSIVE: In an exclusive interview with Chuck Todd, President Donald Trump says he hadn't given final approval to Iran strikes, no planes were in the air.

Also Elijah Magnier's piece is out:

Iran and Trump on the edge of the abyss

The first message is that Iran is ready for an all-out war, no matter what the consequences. The second message is that Iran is aware that the US President has cornered himself; the embarrassing attack came a week after Trump launched his electoral campaign. According to well-informed sources, Iran rejected a proposal by US intelligence – made via a third party – that Trump be allowed to bomb one or two clear objectives, to be chosen by Iran, so that both countries could appear to come out as winners and Trump could save face. Iran categorically rejected the offer and sent its reply: even an attack against an empty sandy beach in Iran would trigger a missile launch against US objectives in the Gulf.
...
Iran has established a joint operations room to inform all its allies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Afghanistan of every step it is adopting in confronting the US in case of all-out war in the Middle East. Iran's allies have increased their level of readiness and alert to the highest level; they will participate in the war from the moment it begins if necessary. According to sources, Iran's allies will not hesitate to open fire against an already agreed on bank of objectives in a perfectly organised, orchestrated, synchronised and graduated response, anticipating a war that may last many months.
...
Sources confirmed that, in case of war, Iran aims to stop the flow of oil from the Middle East completely, not by targeting tankers but by hitting the sources of oil in every single Middle Eastern country, whether these countries are considered allies or enemies. The objective will be to cease all oil exports from the Middle East to the rest of the world.

The NYT reports that the CentCom claim that the drone was in international airspace is in doubt:
Trump Stopped Strike on Iran Because It Was 'Not Proportionate'

Still, there remained doubt inside the United States government over whether the drone, or another American surveillance aircraft, this one flown by a military aircrew, did violate Iranian airspace at some point, according to a senior administration official.
..
The delay by United States Central Command in publicly releasing GPS coordinates of the drone when it was shot down -- hours after Iran did -- and errors in the labeling of the drone's flight path when the imagery was released, contributed to that doubt, officials said.

A lack of provable "hard evidence" about the location of the drone when it was hit, a defense official said, put the administration in an isolated position at what could easily end up being the start of yet another war with a Middle East adversary -- this one with a proven ability to strike back.


Posted by: b | Jun 21, 2019 1:23:18 PM | 107 b, how can you believe any of Trump's versions? I can't see that one is more trustworthy than another

Posted by: Laguerre | Jun 21, 2019 1:29:48 PM | 109

Listen to this horse manure coming from Brain Hook, "special" representative for Iran:

"According to him, Washington was doing everything possible to defuse tensions with Iran and return the containment system in the region.

However, Hook blamed Tehran for rising tension in the region because of the refusal of any diplomatic initiatives.

"Our diplomacy does not give Iran the right to respond with military force. Iran needs to meet diplomacy with diplomacy, not military force," the envoy added."

Diplomacy needs to be met with diplomacy......Really???

Iran should impose sanctions on all of SA, UAE and US oil exports. How's that for diplomacy Mr. Hook? In case you missed it that is exactly what they are doing. Meeting your brand of diplomacy head on.

We are living in the realm of absurd. How is it that we have left the welfare of our kids, families and the future of our country in the hands of these incompetent morons?

And why is the rest of the world sitting with their popcorn watching this horror show?

Posted by: Uncle Jon | Jun 21, 2019 2:53:41 PM | 131 h @124--

After reading the wiki item on P-8s having a normal crew of 7, I got to thinking about the 35 number either being a botched translation or how many bodies were noted via thermal imaging radar, something I doubt Iran was thought to possess. As I wrote, Iran can see everything to its West, which is a very BigDeal.

I digested Magnier's latest. The following is an extremely important point:

"Ha'aretz described Netanyahu's Iran dilemma last month, the goal is to get Trump to go to war without putting Israel on the front line ."

Except that is an impossibility. The Zionists are smack dab in the middle of the front line with a massive crosshairs imprinted on their entirety. Occupied Palestine sits at Ground Zero, and it seems that the Zionists are finally waking up to the ultimate betrayal they'll experience at the hands of The Christian Rapturists--they are to be Genocided in the pursuit of attempting to make a myth come to life.

Every writer, Magnier, b, Escobar, and most all barflies, etc, are saying the decision lies with Trump. As I've written before and again above, I disagree. The decision to go to war with Iran rests with the Current Oligarchy running the Outlaw US Empire. And it's my belief that such a war will not bring them A Few Dollars More and instead make their Fistful of Dollars evaporate rapidly. thanks to their great outstanding, naked, risks. For perhaps the very first time, the Current Oligarchy is exposed to the risks involved in a war it initially though it could win. Last night, it seemed to awaken to the potential consequences and blinked. The Philadelphia refinery blast may be shear coincidence or not, but it also has likely helped since its right down the street from the Current Oligarchies penthouses.

Now, it's just about the time of day when the Houthis launch their attacks.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 21, 2019 2:58:26 PM | 132

Watch the brilliant George Galloway on the consequences of war with Iran. Bottom line: only hardline Likudniks and FDD Likud USA types would approve such a disastrous move.

If America attacks and destroys Iran after doing the same to Iraq, Palestine, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan, and Lebanon, the Islamic religion should semi-officially adopt anti-Americanism until the Empire falls, and it would be totally deserved. If we all go in, let us get a good thrashing.
_____

George Galloway has warned the US and its allies in the Gulf that if they were to start "World War III" with an attack on Iran they will live to regret it because, unlike Iraq in 2003, they are capable of fighting back.

The Scottish firebrand, who famously took US lawmakers to task over the Iraq war when he testified in front of the senate in 2005, has given his take on the recent ratcheting-up of tension in the Gulf region after Iran shot down a US drone, which, it says, had entered its airspace.

Washington maintains its UAV was shot down while patrolling over international waters in an "unprovoked attack." On Friday President Donald Trump took to Twitter to claim the US were 10 minutes away from bombing three Iranian sites, before calling off the strikes.

Galloway believes that many Iranians would see it as a great "pleasure to fight the United States and its allies in the region."

In a stark warning to US allies such as Qatar, the UAE and Saudia Arabia, Galloway insisted that any country that allows "its land to be used for the launching for an American attack on Iran will itself be immediately in flames."

The former Labour MP concludes his passionate message to the world by declaring: "No more war. No more war in the Gulf. No war on Iran."

https://youtu.be/ejvTPVvj_IE

Posted by: Blooming Barricade | Jun 21, 2019 4:14:14 PM | 155

It is true that Trump needs to fire acting President Bolton. Bolton who was appointed to the NSA by Sheldon Adelson, the Israeli/American oligarch, will not allow Trump to fire Bolton; otherwise, he loses millions of $$$$. The pressure is also from Adelson and his neocon ilk.

Posted by: El Cid | Jun 21, 2019 4:36:44 PM | 160

I don't think my opinion has changed. There've been several cases where they've been about to attack Iran, but then have drawn back. Spring 2018 (Israel), 2012, even the event of 1980, where they tried but failed. Trump's aborted attack is just another case.

Iran is a big country, and won't be defeated unless the people are ready to abandon the regime. They aren't as far as I can detect. The exiles, and the middle class in Iran, hate the regime. I've just had a lot of that poured into my ears, during my visit to Iran a month ago. The popular feeling though doesn't seem to have abandoned the regime. I think we can expect a nationalist resistance, if indeed Trump does attack Iran.

Posted by: Laguerre | Jun 21, 2019 4:40:29 PM | 163

@Oscar Peterson #151
China has been complying with US sanctions on Iran, for example this article notes that China stopped buying oil from Iran .
US direct trade with Iran isn't so much as issue as the US stopping Europe and China from trading with Iran.

Posted by: c1ue | Jun 21, 2019 4:54:59 PM | 165

[Jun 22, 2019] 'Sleepy Joe' Biden taunt strikes chord with Democrats by Seth McLaughlin and S.A. Miller

Jun 20, 2019 | www.washingtontimes.com

The 76-year-old third-time candidate's uneven performance on the stump has unearthed lingering concerns about whether Mr. Biden has the stamina to beat Mr. Trump , much less to serve as president should he win the election.

... ... ...

Since he entered the race in late April, Mr. Biden has been dogged by the concerns and has fueled them by keeping a lighter schedule than many of his rivals.

He has skipped some of the multicandidate gatherings and instead put efforts into big-dollar fundraisers that grassroots activists loathe. Those activists have also been irked that Mr. Biden won't embrace the left-wingers' top policy priorities.

[Jun 22, 2019] Why a U.S.-Iran War Could End Up Being a Historic Disaster by Doug Bandow

Highly recommended!
The current conflict is about the US hegemony in the region, not anything else.
The analysis is really good. I especially like "The Trump administration is essentially a one-trick pony when it comes to foreign policy toward hostile states. The standard quo is to apply massive economic pressure and demand surrender"
That means that Doug Bandow proposals while good are completely unrealistic.
Notable quotes:
"... Sixteen years ago, the George W. Bush administration manipulated intelligence to scare the public into backing an aggressive war against Iraq. The smoking gun mushroom clouds that National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice warned against didn’t exist, but the invasion long desired by neoconservatives and other hawks proceeded. Liberated Iraqis rejected U.S. plans to create an American puppet state on the Euphrates and the aftermath turned into a humanitarian and geopolitical catastrophe which continues to roil the Middle East. ..."
"... Now the Trump administration appears to be following the same well-worn path. The president has fixated on Iran, tearing up the nuclear accord with Tehran and declaring economic war on it—as well as anyone dealing with Iran. He is pushing America toward war even as he insists that he wants peace. How stupid does he believe we are? ..."
"... Washington did much to encourage a violent, extremist revolution in Tehran. The average Iranian could be forgiven for viewing America as a virulently hostile power determined to do his or her nation ill at almost every turn. ..."
"... The Shah was ousted in 1979. Following his departure the Reagan administration backed Iraq’s Saddam Hussein when he invaded Iran, triggering an eight-year war which killed at least half a million people. Washington reflagged Kuwaiti oil tankers to protect revenue subsequently lent to Baghdad, provided Iraq with intelligence for military operations, and supplied components for chemical weapons employed against Iranian forces. In 1988 the U.S. Navy shot down an Iranian civilian airliner in international airspace. ..."
"... Economic sanctions were first imposed on Iran in 1979 and regularly expanded thereafter. Washington forged a close military partnership with Iran’s even more repressive rival, Saudi Arabia. In the immediate aftermath of its 2003 victory over Saddam Hussein, the Bush administration rejected Iran’s offer to negotiate; neoconservatives casually suggested that “real men” would conquer Tehran as well. Even the Obama administration threatened to take military action against Iran. ..."
"... Contrary to the common assumption in Washington that average Iranians would love the United States for attempting to destroy their nation’s economy, the latest round of sanctions apparently triggered a notable rise in anti-American sentiment. Nationalism trumped anti-clericalism. ..."
"... Iran also has no desire for war, which it would lose. However, Washington’s aggressive economic and military policies create pressure on Tehran to respond. Especially since administration policy—sanctions designed to crash the economy, military moves preparing for war — almost certainly have left hardliners, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, who opposed negotiations with Washington, ascendant in Tehran. ..."
"... Europeans also point to Bush administration lies about Iraq and the fabricated 1964 Tonkin Gulf incident used to justify America’s entry into the Vietnam War. Even more important, the administration ostentatiously fomented the current crisis by trashing the JCPOA, launching economic war against Iran, threatening Tehran’s economic partners, and insisting on Iran’s submission. A cynic might reasonably conclude that the president and his aides hoped to trigger a violent Iranian response. ..."
"... Indeed, a newspaper owned by the Saudi royal family recently called for U.S. strikes on Iran. One or the reasons Al Qaeda launched the 9/11 attacks was to trigger an American military response against a Muslim nation. A U.S.-Iran war would be the mother of all Mideast conflagrations. ..."
"... In parallel, Washington should propose negotiations to lower tensions in other issues. But there truly should be no preconditions, requiring the president to consign the Pompeo list to a White House fireplace. In return for Iranian willingness to drop confrontational behavior in the region, the U.S. should offer to reciprocate—for instance, indicate a willingness to cut arms sales to the Saudis and Emiratis, end support for the Yemen war, and withdraw American forces from Syria and Iraq. ..."
"... Most important, American policymakers should play the long-game. Rather than try to crash the Islamic Republic and hope for the best, Washington should encourage Iran to open up, creating more opportunity and influence for a younger generation that desires a freer society. ..."
Jun 22, 2019 | nationalinterest.org

Sixteen years ago, the George W. Bush administration manipulated intelligence to scare the public into backing an aggressive war against Iraq. The smoking gun mushroom clouds that National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice warned against didn’t exist, but the invasion long desired by neoconservatives and other hawks proceeded. Liberated Iraqis rejected U.S. plans to create an American puppet state on the Euphrates and the aftermath turned into a humanitarian and geopolitical catastrophe which continues to roil the Middle East.

Thousands of dead Americans, tens of thousands of wounded and maimed U.S. personnel, hundreds of thousands of dead Iraqis, and millions of Iraqis displaced. There was the sectarian conflict, destruction of the historic Christian community, the creation of Al Qaeda in Iraq—which morphed into the far deadlier Islamic State—and the enhanced influence of Iran. The prime question was how could so many supposedly smart people be so stupid?

Now the Trump administration appears to be following the same well-worn path. The president has fixated on Iran, tearing up the nuclear accord with Tehran and declaring economic war on it—as well as anyone dealing with Iran. He is pushing America toward war even as he insists that he wants peace. How stupid does he believe we are?

The Iranian regime is malign. Nevertheless, despite being under almost constant siege it has survived longer than the U.S.-crafted dictatorship which preceded the Islamic Republic. And the latter did not arise in a vacuum. Washington did much to encourage a violent, extremist revolution in Tehran. The average Iranian could be forgiven for viewing America as a virulently hostile power determined to do his or her nation ill at almost every turn.

In 1953 the United States backed a coup against democratically selected prime minister, Mohammad Mosaddegh. Washington then aided the Shah in consolidating power, including the creation of the secret police, known as SAVAK. He forcibly modernized Iran’s still conservative Islamic society, while his corrupt and repressive rule united secular and religious Iranians against him.

The Shah was ousted in 1979. Following his departure the Reagan administration backed Iraq’s Saddam Hussein when he invaded Iran, triggering an eight-year war which killed at least half a million people. Washington reflagged Kuwaiti oil tankers to protect revenue subsequently lent to Baghdad, provided Iraq with intelligence for military operations, and supplied components for chemical weapons employed against Iranian forces. In 1988 the U.S. Navy shot down an Iranian civilian airliner in international airspace.

Economic sanctions were first imposed on Iran in 1979 and regularly expanded thereafter. Washington forged a close military partnership with Iran’s even more repressive rival, Saudi Arabia. In the immediate aftermath of its 2003 victory over Saddam Hussein, the Bush administration rejected Iran’s offer to negotiate; neoconservatives casually suggested that “real men” would conquer Tehran as well. Even the Obama administration threatened to take military action against Iran.

As Henry Kissinger reportedly once said, even a paranoid can have enemies. Contrary to the common assumption in Washington that average Iranians would love the United States for attempting to destroy their nation’s economy, the latest round of sanctions apparently triggered a notable rise in anti-American sentiment. Nationalism trumped anti-clericalism.

The hostile relationship with Iran also has allowed Saudi Arabia, which routinely undercuts American interests and values, to gain a dangerous stranglehold over U.S. policy. To his credit President Barack Obama attempted to rebalance Washington’s Mideast policy. The result was the multilateral Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. It provided for an intrusive inspection regime designed to discourage any future Iranian nuclear weapons program—which U.S. intelligence indicated had been inactive since 2003.

However, candidate Donald Trump had an intense and perverse desire to overturn every Obama policy. His tight embrace of Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who ignored the advice of his security chiefs in denouncing the accord, and the Saudi royals, who Robert Gates once warned would fight Iran to the last American, also likely played an important role.

Last year the president withdrew from the accord and followed with a declaration of economic war. He then declared the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, a military organization, to be a terrorist group. (Washington routinely uses the “terrorist” designation for purely political purposes.) Finally, there are reports, officially denied by Washington, that U.S. forces, allied with Islamist radicals—the kind of extremists responsible for most terrorist attacks on Americans—have been waging a covert war against Iranian smuggling operations.

The president claimed that he wanted to negotiate: “We aren’t looking for regime change,” he said. “We are looking for no nuclear weapons.” But that is what the JCPOA addressed. His policy is actually pushing Tehran to expand its nuclear program. Moreover, last year Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave a speech that the Washington Post’s Jason Rezaian, who spent more than a year in Iranian prison, called “silly” and “completely divorced from reality.”

In a talk to an obsequious Heritage Foundation audience, Pompeo set forth the terms of Tehran’s surrender: Iran would be expected to abandon any pretense of maintaining an independent foreign policy and yield its deterrent missile capabilities, leaving it subservient to Saudi Arabia, with the latter’s U.S.-supplied and -trained military. Tehran could not even cooperate with other governments, such as Syria, at their request. The only thing missing from Pompeo’s remarks was insistence that Iran accept an American governor-general in residence.

The proposal was a nonstarter and looked like the infamous 1914 Austro-Hungarian ultimatum to Serbia, which was intended to be rejected and thereby justify war. After all, National Security Advisor John Bolton expressed his policy preference in a 2015 New York Times op-ed titled: “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran.” Whatever the president’s true intentions, Tehran can be forgiven for seeing Washington’s position as one of regime change, by war if necessary.

The administration apparently assumed that new, back-breaking sanctions would either force the regime to surrender at the conference table or collapse amid political and social conflict. Indeed, when asked if he really believed sanctions would change Tehran’s behavior, Pompeo answered that “what can change is, the people can change the government.” Both Reuel Marc Gerecht of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and Ray Takeyh of the Council on Foreign Relations have recently argued that the Islamic Republic is an exhausted regime, one that is perhaps on its way to extinction.

However, Rezaian says “there is nothing new” about Tehran’s difficult Iranian economic problems. “Assuming that this time around the Iranian people can compel their government to bend to America’s will seems—at least to anyone who has spent significant time in Iran in recent decades—fantastical,” he said. Gerecht enthusiasm for U.S. warmaking has led to mistakes in the past. He got Iraq wrong seventeen years ago when he wrote that “a war with Iraq might not shake up the Middle East much at all.

Today the administration is using a similar strategy against Russia, North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela. The citizens of these countries have not risen against their oppressors to establish a new, democratic, pro-American regime. Numerous observers wrongly predicted that the Castro regime would die after the end of Soviet subsidies and North Korea’s inevitable fall in the midst of a devastating famine. Moreover, regime collapse isn’t likely to yield a liberal, democratic republic when the most radical, authoritarian elites remain best-armed.

... ... ...

More important, Washington does not want to go to war with Iran, which is larger than Iraq, has three times the population, and is a real country. The regime, while unpopular with many Iranians, is much better rooted than Saddam Hussein’s dictatorship. Tehran possesses unconventional weapons, missiles, and allies which could spread chaos throughout the region. American forces in Syria and Iraq would be vulnerable, while Baghdad’s stability could be put at risk. If Americans liked the Iraq debacle, then they would love the chaos likely to result from attempting to violently destroy the Iranian state. David Frum, one of the most avid neoconservative advocates of the Iraq invasion, warned that war with Iran would repeat Iraqi blunders on “a much bigger sale, without allies, without justification, and without any plan at all for what comes next.”

Iran also has no desire for war, which it would lose. However, Washington’s aggressive economic and military policies create pressure on Tehran to respond. Especially since administration policy—sanctions designed to crash the economy, military moves preparing for war — almost certainly have left hardliners, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, who opposed negotiations with Washington, ascendant in Tehran.

Carefully calibrated military action, such as tanker attacks, might be intended to show “resolve” to gain credibility. Washington policymakers constantly justify military action as necessary to demonstrate that they are willing to take military action. Doing so is even more important for a weaker power. Moreover, observed the Eurasia Group, Iranian security agencies “have a decades-long history of conducting attacks and other operations aimed precisely at undermining the diplomatic objectives of a country’s elected representatives.” If Iran is responsible, observed Ali Vaez of the International Crisis Group, then administration policy perversely “is rendering Iran more aggressive, not less,” thereby making the Mideast more, not less dangerous

Of course, Tehran has denied any role in the attacks and there is good reason to question unsupported Trump administration claims of Iranian guilt. The president’s indifferent relationship to the truth alone raises serious questions. Europeans also point to Bush administration lies about Iraq and the fabricated 1964 Tonkin Gulf incident used to justify America’s entry into the Vietnam War. Even more important, the administration ostentatiously fomented the current crisis by trashing the JCPOA, launching economic war against Iran, threatening Tehran’s economic partners, and insisting on Iran’s submission. A cynic might reasonably conclude that the president and his aides hoped to trigger a violent Iranian response.

Other malicious actors also could be responsible for tanker attacks. Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Israel, ISIS, and Al Qaeda all likely believe they would benefit from an American war on Tehran and might decide to speed the process along by fomenting an incident. Indeed, a newspaper owned by the Saudi royal family recently called for U.S. strikes on Iran. One or the reasons Al Qaeda launched the 9/11 attacks was to trigger an American military response against a Muslim nation. A U.S.-Iran war would be the mother of all Mideast conflagrations.

Rather than continue a military spiral upward, Washington should defuse Gulf tensions. The administration brought the Middle East to a boil. It can calm the waters. Washington should stand down its military, offering to host multilateral discussions with oil consuming nations, energy companies, and tanker operators over establishing shared naval security in sensitive waterways, including in the Middle East. Given America’s growing domestic energy production, the issue no longer should be considered Washington’s responsibility. Other wealthy industrialized states should do what is necessary for their economic security.

The administration also should make a serious proposal for talks. It won’t be easy. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared “negotiation has no benefit and carries harm.” He further argued that “negotiations are a tactic of this pressure,” which is the ultimate “strategic aim.” Even President Hassan Rouhani rejected contact without a change in U.S. policy. “Whenever they lift the unjust sanctions and fulfill their commitments and return to the negotiations table, which they left themselves, the door is not closed,” he said. In back channel discussions Iranians supposedly suggested that the U.S. reverse the latest sanctions, at least on oil sales, ending attempts to wreck Iran’s economy.

If the president seriously desires talks with Tehran, then he should demonstrate that he does not expect preemptive surrender. The administration should suspend its “maximum pressure” campaign and propose multilateral talks on tightening the nuclear agreement in return for additional American and allied concessions, such as further sanctions relief.

In parallel, Washington should propose negotiations to lower tensions in other issues. But there truly should be no preconditions, requiring the president to consign the Pompeo list to a White House fireplace. In return for Iranian willingness to drop confrontational behavior in the region, the U.S. should offer to reciprocate—for instance, indicate a willingness to cut arms sales to the Saudis and Emiratis, end support for the Yemen war, and withdraw American forces from Syria and Iraq. Tehran has far greater interest in neighborhood security than the United States, which Washington must respect if the latter seeks to effectively disarm Iran. The administration should invite the Europeans to join such an initiative, since they have an even greater reason to worry about Iranian missiles and more.

Most important, American policymakers should play the long-game. Rather than try to crash the Islamic Republic and hope for the best, Washington should encourage Iran to open up, creating more opportunity and influence for a younger generation that desires a freer society. That requires greater engagement, not isolation. Washington’s ultimate objective should be the liberal transformation of Iran, freeing an ancient civilization to regain its leading role in today’s world, which would have a huge impact on the region.

The Trump administration is essentially a one-trick pony when it comes to foreign policy toward hostile states. The standard quo is to apply massive economic pressure and demand surrender. This approach has failed in every case. Washington has caused enormous economic hardship, but no target regime has capitulated. In Iran, like North Korea, U.S. policy sharply raised tensions and the chances of conflict.

War would be a disaster. Instead, the administration must, explained James Fallows, “through bluff and patience, change the actions of a government whose motives he does not understand well, and over which his influence is limited.” Which requires the administration to adopt a new, more serious strategy toward Tehran, and quickly.

Doug Bandow is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and a former special assistant to President Ronald Reagan. He is the author of Foreign Follies: America’s New Global Empire.

[Jun 22, 2019] The Myopia of Interventionists by Daniel Lariso

Feb 22, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Andrew Bacevich recalls Madeleine Albright's infamous statement about American indispensability, and notes how poorly it has held up over the last twenty-one years:

Back then, it was Albright's claim to American indispensability that stuck in my craw. Yet as a testimony to ruling class hubris, the assertion of indispensability pales in comparison to Albright's insistence that "we see further into the future."

In fact, from February 1998 down to the present, events have time and again caught Albright's "we" napping.

Albright's statement is even more damning for her and her fellow interventionists when we consider that the context of her remarks was a discussion of the supposed threat from Iraq. The full sentence went like this: "We stand tall and we see further than other countries into the future, and we see the danger here to all of us." Albright was making a general claim about our supposed superiority to other nations when it came to looking into the future, but she was also specifically warning against a "danger" from Iraq that she claimed threatened "all of us." She answered one of Matt Lauer's questions with this assertion:

I think that we know what we have to do, and that is help enforce the UN Security Council resolutions, which demand that Saddam Hussein abide by those resolutions, and get rid of his weapons of mass destruction, and allow the inspectors to have unfettered and unconditional access.

Albright's rhetoric from 1998 is a grim reminder that policymakers from both parties accepted the existence of Iraq's "weapons of mass destruction" as a given and never seriously questioned a policy aimed at eliminating something that did not exist. American hawks couldn't see further in the future. They weren't even perceiving the present correctly, and tens of thousands of Americans and millions of Iraqis would suffer because they insisted that they saw something that wasn't there.

A little more than five years after she uttered these words, the same wild threat inflation that Albright was engaged in led to the invasion of Iraq, the greatest blunder and one of the worst crimes in the history of modern U.S. foreign policy . Not only did Albright and other later war supporters not see what was coming, but their deluded belief in being able to anticipate future threats caused them to buy into and promote a bogus case for a war that was completely unnecessary and should never have been fought.

[Jun 22, 2019] Tucker Carlson Tonight 6-21-19

Douglas Macgregor is right -- Trump have surrounded himself with neocons and now put himself against the wall. Wars destroy presidency -- George Bush II is not viewed favorable by the US people now, not is Obama with his Libya adventure.
With the amount of derivatives in the US financial system the rise of the price of oil above $100 can produce some interesting and unanticipated effects.
Notable quotes:
"... PRESIDENT TRUMP don't let them sucker you. ..."
"... The true American people, do never believe what this congress, house, and senate want they are cramming down your throats... ..."
Jun 19, 2019 | www.youtube.com
Carol Widerski , 2 days ago

Thanks Tucker, happy to hear you talking about this. PRESIDENT TRUMP don't let them sucker you.

Andrea Bandish , 1 day ago (edited)

The true American people, do never believe what this congress, house, and senate want they are cramming down your throats...

Again.. No More. Americans are tired of being lied to by our government, enough...

Look back of Cummings sit down on the floor "FLOOR RUG their sit in" of American people in congress a fool...

[Jun 22, 2019] http://www.unz.com/tsaker/trump-claims-he-canceled-an-airstrike-against-iran-at-the-very-last-minute/

Jun 22, 2019 | www.unz.com

The first thing to say here is that we have no means to know what really happened. At the very least, there are two possible hypotheses which could explain what took place:

1) a US provocation: it is quite possible that somebody in the US chain of command decided that Iran should be put under pressure and that having US UAV fly right next to, or even just inside, the international border of Iran would be a great way to show Iran that the US is ready to attack. If that is the case, this was a semi-success (the Iranians had to switch on their radars and attack the UAV which is very good for US intelligence gathering) and a semi-failure (since the Iranians were clearly unimpressed by the US show of resolve).

2) an Iranian provocation: yup, that is a theoretical possibility which cannot reject prima facie : in this scenario it was indeed the Iranians who blew up the two tankers last week and they also deliberately shot down the US UAV over international waters. The goal? Simple: to show that the Iranians are willing and ready to escalate and that they are confident that they will prevail.

Now, in the real world, there are many more options, including even mixes of various options. What matters is now not this, as much as Trump's reaction:

Now, whether this was a US provocation or an Iranian one – Trump's reaction was the only correct one. Why? Because the risks involved in any US "more than symbolic strike" would be so great as to void any rationale for such a strike in the first place. Think of it: we can be very confident that the Iranian military installations along the Persian Gulf and the southern border of Iran are highly redundant and that no matter how successful any limited US missile strike would have been, the actual military capabilities of Iran would not have been affected. The only way for the US to effectively degrade Iranian capabilities would be to have a sustained, multi-day, attack on the entire southern periphery of Iran. In other words, a real war. Anything short of that would simply be meaningless. The consequences of such an attack, however, would be, in Putin's words "catastrophic" for the entire region.

If this was an Iranian provocation, then it was one designed to impress upon the Empire that Iran is also very much "locked, cocked and ready to rock". But if that is the case, there is zero change that any limited strike would achieve anything. In fact, any symbolic US attack would only signal to the Iranians that the US has cold feet and that all the US sabre-rattling is totally useless.

I have not said such a thing in many months, but in this case I can only admit that Trump did the right thing. No limited attack also makes sense even if we assume that the Empire has made the decision to attack Iran and is just waiting for the perfect time. Why? Because the longer the Iranian feel that an attack is possible, the more time, energy and money they need to spend remaining on very high alert.

The basic theory of attack and defense clearly states that the attacking side can gain as a major advantage if it can leave the other side in the dark about its plans and if the costs of being ready for a surprise attack are lower than the costs of being on high alert (those interested in the role and importance of surprise attack in the theory of deterrence can read Richard Betts' excellent book "


peterAUS says: June 21, 2019 at 8:30 pm GMT 100 Words

the longer the Iranian feel that an attack is possible, the more time, energy and money they need to spend remaining on very high alert.

Yep.
Men and material getting tired.
Tired men and material make mistakes.

Smart.

As I've said plenty of times before, the "beauty" of the setup is that TPTBs simply create a climate for a mistake resulting in loss of life of American personnel.
BANG.

Or, you put two combat forces next to each other and ramp up the tension.
Just a matter of time.

I am currently very slightly optimistic (48-52%) that the US will not attack Iran in the short term.
In the long term, however, I consider that an AngloZionist attack is a quasi certainty.

Yep.
Short term being 3 months (related to the first paragraph).

War for Blair Mountain , says: June 21, 2019 at 8:49 pm GMT

Sean Hannity lives in the largest Mansion in Lloyd Neck I have driven past his Mansion to get a look as to just how big it is IT'S HUGE ..Lloyd Neck has the most expensive zip code in the US ..Hannity the Chicken-Hawk thinks he is even tougher Chicken-Hawk War Hawk now that he studies MMA Serra Brazilian Ji-jitsu on Jericho Turnpike ..Yesterday Sean Hannity"My philosophy is you hit me .I hit you back ten times harder" .of course, Sean will be hiding in his mega-Mansion in Lloyd Neck .as the US Cargo Planes land in Virginia with a 100 stainless steel coffins containing the bodies headless bodies of Native Born White American Working Class Young Men Donald and Melania step inside the cargo bay to view the stainless steel coffins ..

... ... ...

A123 , says: June 21, 2019 at 8:50 pm GMT

Military action needs to support the underlying political goals. And, the political goal is to stop the Iranian regime from threatening and destabilizing the region. Would killing 150+ Iranians help dislodge the violent regime? No. Thus, the proposed strike did not align with the political goal. Trump was right to cancel it.

Think of it as the Putin Playbook. Did Putin go for mass casualties when Turkey shot down one of its fighters in 2015? No. Both Putin and Trump show similar strength. Restraint against precipitous, ill conceived, and overly bloody actions.

_____

Trump realizes that the Iranian people are the victims of sociopath Kahmeni. There will be a response with minimal bloodshed. Instead it will focus on the regime. Deepening the divide between the Iranian people and their despotic leaders prepares the path for internal forces to replace those leaders.

Oil storage is a likely choice. The tanks are large and spilled oil is highly visible. It would demonstrate the inability of the regime to stop the U.S. Storage facilities are visible to the public, so the government would have trouble denying or misrepresenting the event. Port facilities would also be a good choice, although that would be harder to time for few to no casualties.

PEACE

El Dato , says: June 21, 2019 at 8:57 pm GMT

very slightly optimistic (48-52%)

That's going overboard on precision though. And what's with the oil refinery in Pennsylvania going up into balls of flame. I hope this won't get dragooned into an "Iranian sleeper cell attack".

2stateshmustate , says: June 21, 2019 at 9:12 pm GMT
@A123

Another Israeli telling Americans they will be welcomed in Iran with flower covered streets. This guy doesn't give a shit about the US.

Fran Macadam , says: June 21, 2019 at 9:26 pm GMT
The provocations have to be such that domestic acquiescence in elite war profit taking will not be disturbed. That requires a series of propaganda events ramping up for domestic consumption.
El Dato , says: June 21, 2019 at 9:46 pm GMT
https://news.antiwar.com/2019/06/21/trump-called-off-attack-on-iran-with-10-minutes-to-spare/

10 minutes from striking is worryingly close, and Trump's disclosures on the matter are troubling. Apparently it was only at this late hour that Trump came around to asking for specifics on how many Iranians his order would kill. The generals told him approximately 150.

This was the game-changer, and Trump was nominally ordering this attack over the shoot down of a single US surveillance drone, and he rightly noticed that killing 150 people was not very proportionate to that, fortunately, he called the attack off before the first missiles were fired.

Trump went on to issue a flurry of Tweets saying Iran would never be allowed to have nuclear weapons, which of course this entire almost-attack had not a thing to do with. He also bragged about how much damage the US sanctions have done to Iran and how weakened Iran already is.

Troublingly though, administration hawks were still able to get Trump to sign off on the attack earlier on Thursday, and his assurances on Twitter suggest that the loss of the single drone really didn't enter into it as a big issue for him. This raises ongoing concerns that having called off the Thursday attack, Trump might be sold on a lesser attack at any time, or at least something nominally different that gets carried out before he gets around to asking about the casualties.

HONK! HONK!

restless94110 , says: June 21, 2019 at 9:48 pm GMT
@A123

Why would you end your mis-analysis where you justify war with the word PEACE? Spelling it out in all CAPS? You are seriously proposing that the US has the right to judge the government of another country and to deliberately destabilize that country in order to oerturn its governemtn?

Do you realize that economic sanctions are considered to be acts of war? In other words, you support acts of war and think that is PEACE? Are you insane?

El Dato , says: June 21, 2019 at 9:51 pm GMT
@A123

Military action needs to support the underlying political goals. And, the political goal is to stop the Iranian regime from threatening and destabilizing the region.

Yeah. Makes total sense from an Israeli/Saudi perspective. When bullshit is all there is, Hollywood logic can be used to explain the world!

Trump realizes that the Iranian people are the victims of sociopath Kahmeni.

I hope you have been given a sheet with talking points, otherwise I pity you.

PEACE

Top Ironik.

El Dato , says: June 21, 2019 at 9:59 pm GMT
The Deep State never rests. Dual treason sandwich via Reuters for Mr. Trump. It's really like living in a Nazi regime, with Heydrich walking the corridors, blackmailing and manipulating and "disposing of" problem factors.

Iran's top national security official has denied a Reuters report claiming that Tehran had received a low-key message via Oman from the US warning of an imminent attack on the Islamic Republic.

"The US didn't send any message," Keyvan Khosravi, spokesman for the National Security Council, told Iranian television.

The comment dismissed a previous report by Reuters, which cited unnamed Iranian officials as saying that Donald Trump had warned Tehran of a military strike and also gave a time to respond. The message was reportedly delivered via Oman and followed the downing of a US spy UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) earlier in the week.

HEREDOT , says: June 21, 2019 at 10:06 pm GMT
A handful of psychopaths determine our destiny. What makes us different from animals?
Priss Factor , says: June 21, 2019 at 10:23 pm GMT
A political coitus interruptus. DR. STRANGELOVE lite.
kerdasi amaq , says: June 22, 2019 at 12:35 am GMT
Hmm, so they shot down a drone; would they be able to shoot down every American plane that entered their airspace? A good reason to call off the strike; if the Iranians had a missile lock on every American plane. Having all their planes shot down would be an even worse defeat for the United States than just calling off an attack. Putin checks Trump.
lavoisier , says: Website June 22, 2019 at 12:52 am GMT
@War for Blair Mountain

Sean Hannity is a PUSSY AND A FAGGOT!!!

Mostly just an idiot and a Zionist whore.

TheJester , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:10 am GMT
The Iranians might be deciding to stand firm against US sanctions and other provocations as de facto acts of war before the sanctions do materially impact the Iranian economy and its military capability.

Recall the chicanery through which the United States surreptitiously provoked Japan into attacking the United States at Pearl Harbor so that FDR, a committed Anglophile, could enter the European war through the back door to save his British friends.

1. Via economic sanctions, the United States and its European colonial allies systematically denied Japan the resources it needed to sustain its population and its industrial economy.

2. Japan decided that it would have to act to obtain those resources or, accept its eventual demise as a nation state.

3. FDR hinted to the Dutch that the newly-positioned naval resources at Pearl Harbor would attack and cut the Japanese lines-of-communication per chance Japan struck south to obtain oil, rubber, and other resources in Southeast Asia. This was intentionally leaked to the Japanese.

4. The United States monitored the locations and progress of the Japanese fleet en route to Pearl Harbor to protect its exposed flank per the above. Japanese naval resources were under a communications blackout. However, the Japanese merchant marine supporting those forces were not. The US monitored their locations as a proxy for the location of the Japanese fleet. The rest is history

The Iranians are in a similar position: either fight now at the peak of their military power or, fight for survival later at a significant economic and military disadvantage. Like the Japanese, the Iranians would be wise to do the former. This strategy optimizes their chances for national survival.

MarkinLA , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:32 am GMT
@kerdasi amaq

The first thing in is missiles that target air defense batteries. I doubt the US is worried about Iran shooting down every plane. The drone probably was flying a steady even course and took no evasive maneuvers unlike an attacking aircraft. The success rate of surface to air missiles is not very high.

MarkinLA , says: June 22, 2019 at 1:36 am GMT
@TheJester 1. Via economic sanctions, the United States and its European colonial allies systematically denied Japan the resources it needed to sustain its population and its industrial economy.

BS. The embargo was because Japan continued to occupy part of China. All they had to do was go back home. Did FDR do it to get us into the war? Maybe, but Hitler was under no obligation to declare war on the US since Japan did not declare war on the USSR when Hitler attacked the USSR.

Biff , says: June 22, 2019 at 3:03 am GMT

No limited attack also makes sense even if we assume that the Empire has made the decision to attack Iran and is just waiting for the perfect time. Why? Because the longer the Iranian feel that an attack is possible, the more time, energy and money they need to spend remaining on very high alert.

Then

this might also be a strategic PSYOP destined to lull the Iranians into a false sense of security. If that is the plan, it will fail: the Iranians have lived with a AngloZionist bullseye painted on their heads ever since 1979 and they are used to live under constant threat of war.

Make up your mind.

BengaliCanadianDude , says: June 22, 2019 at 3:32 am GMT
@A123

Tell your masters in Haifa that they really are not churning out the good ones. We see right through you.

Talha , says: June 22, 2019 at 5:11 am GMT

Trump Claims He Canceled an Airstrike Against Iran at the Very Last Minute

I one hundred percent support letting The Orange One continue on with his awesome cowboy delusions as long as it keeps a war from starting.

My reaction: "Wow, sir! You have such self-control! Those Iranians don't know how close they were to you just kicking them back to the Stone Age! It's great that the better (wiser and more patient) side of you won out in the end – you are awesome!"

Peace.

Ilya G Poimandres , says: June 22, 2019 at 5:34 am GMT
@A123

Iran – no aggressive use of force for over 200 years. Sorry, you're choosing the wrong people for your propaganda.

RobinG , says: June 22, 2019 at 5:44 am GMT
TUCKER CARLSON IS A HERO: Tucker: US came within minutes of war with Iran

https://www.youtube.com/embed/-c0jMsspE7Y?feature=oembed

RobinG , says: June 22, 2019 at 5:54 am GMT
@lavoisier https://politics.theonion.com/u-s-claims-drone-was-minding-own-business-on-its-way-t-1835695562

WASHINGTON -- Maintaining that the unmanned aerial vehicle was simply going about its day without posing a threat to anyone, U.S. Department of State officials claimed Thursday that one of their drones was minding its own business on its way to church when Iran attacked it out of nowhere. "This was an outrageous, unprovoked attack by the Islamic Republic of Iran on an innocent drone who merely wanted to attend mass in peace," said acting Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, emphasizing the drone's upstanding moral character by pointing out its history of donating to charity, volunteering at soup kitchens, and making homemade cookies for school bake sales. "We're talking about a drone that sings in the church choir and coaches little league baseball games on the weekends -- an absolute pillar of the community. This is an upstanding family drone who did nothing to deserve any sort of attack. What kind of world do we live in where an innocent drone can't fly through Iranian air space on its way to church?" At press time, Department of Defense officials confirmed that their request for Iran to return the drone's body back to the U.S. for a proper burial had gone unanswered.

Miggle , says: June 22, 2019 at 6:08 am GMT
@MarkinLA Read Frazier Hunt, The Untold Story of Douglas MacArthur.

TheJester is right.

Yes, China was under Japanese occupation. The Chinese Communists were fighting the Japs. The USA was supporting the side that was not fighting the Japs but the Communists, being, the USA, fanatically anti-communist.

My guess is that the USA forced Japan into war because of the economic potential of China, i.e. they wanted to take Japan's place.

And the USA didn't side with Hitler but with the other side because they didn't know Indian independence would come immediately after the War. So they sided with the Brits because of the apparent economic potential of the British Empire. If India had gained independence just before the war the USA would have sided with Hitler, because then, without India, German Europe would have had a greater economic potential than the British Empire.

Alfred , says: June 22, 2019 at 6:18 am GMT
The Iranians claim that a manned spy plane was next to the drone (i.e. that it also was in their territory) but that they chose not to shoot it down since 35 soldiers were on board.

"Along with the American drone was an American P8 aircraft with 35 on board, and it was also violating our airspace and we could have downed it too," he said, adding, "But we did not do [shoot down] it, because our aim was to warn the terrorist forces of the US."

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980331000471

To me, a total cynic, it looks like the Americans attempted a repeat of the incident when they deliberately misled their sailors so that they sailed into Iranian territorial waters. I guess they messed up the GPS for them.

"Iran releases video of captured American sailor crying "

https://nypost.com/2016/02/10/iran-releases-video-of-captured-american-sailor-crying/

I too would cry if I realised that my superiors had set me up as a sacrificial lamb.

Let's not forget the attempt to sink the USS Liberty. That was a joint operation between the US Deep State and Israel to try and get the US to attack Egypt.

"'But Sir, It's an American Ship.' 'Never Mind, Hit Her!' When Israel Attacked USS Liberty"

https://www.haaretz.com/us-news/but-sir-its-an-american-ship-never-mind-hit-her-1.5492908

Popeye , says: June 22, 2019 at 6:19 am GMT
@TheJester But why were sanctions imposed on Japan? Because Japan was acting in violation of international law? Well yes due to Japanese imperial aggression against China. In 1935-40 Japan was no angelic virgin. It committed unprovoked aggression against China, committed massive war crimes and crimes against humanity. Yes FDR likely wanted to have USA enter the Pacific war to enable war against Hitler but the crippling sanctions against Japan had a legitimate basis. To punish Japan for aggression in China
Alfred , says: June 22, 2019 at 6:21 am GMT
It looks like the Americans are having a false flag feast.

The positions in Iraq – whether directly or indirectly connected to the US interests in Iraq – for example Baghdad, Basra and al-Taji base to Northwest of Baghdad and Nineveh operations command headquarters in Northern Iraq have come under Katyusha missile attacks in recent day, the Al-Akhbar newspaper reported.

The paper reiterated that the missile attacks have taken place as a result of recent regional tensions, and said that the US officials are trying to portray the attacks as messages by Iran after al-Fujaira and the Sea of Oman mishaps.

It noted that no group has claimed responsibility for the recent missile attacks on Iraqi cities.

Sources close to Hashd al-Sha'abi Commander Abu Mohandes al-Mahdi, meantime, categorically dismissed any accusations against the Iraqi popular and resistance forces, and said that the Americans themselves are most probably behind some of these attacks because some of the missiles are made in the US.

http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13980331000382

anonymous [340] Disclaimer , says: June 22, 2019 at 6:58 am GMT
Has there been any mention of ahem the need for a Congressional declaration before the President can act as Commander-In-Chief?

Further evidence that the Constitution is dead.

Greg Bacon , says: Website June 22, 2019 at 8:19 am GMT
@HEREDOT Mr. Saker left out the inconvenient fact that while that drone was indeed flying over Iranian air space, a much larger target, the Poseidon P8 was flying nearby. The P8 is a converted Boeing 737, making for a much larger radar profile for that missile. The P8 has many ASW capabilities, and also can control drones.

It's usual crew numbers nine, but this one had 35 sacrificial lambs packed onboard, to be murdered by the (((Deep State))) to push Trump into the corner, with the (((MSM))) screaming that it was Iran's fault, no proof needed or lies fabricated–just like the illegal invasion of Iraq–to give Israel what it's demanding that its American colony do: Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran.

My guess is that the American thugs behind this latest FF attempt were hoping the Iranian surface-to-air missile would of shifted its initial target–the drone– and went for the much larger P8.

That Butcher Boy Bolton and his fellow homicidal maniacs failed means that more Americans are being lined up in their cross-hairs, ready to be sacrificed for the glory of Apartheid Israel.

If that is the plan, it will fail: the Iranians have lived with a AngloZionist bullseye painted on their heads ever since 1979 and they are used to live under constant threat of war.

Wrong, Saker, the Iranians have been getting attacked by America and the Brits since we overthrew their democratically elected prez in 1953, because he had the audacity to think and say that the majority of Iran's oil revenues should be going to Iranians, not Wall Street .

Greg Bacon , says: June 22, 2019 at 8:23 am GMT
@BengaliCanadianDude Agreed. If Israel want to attack Iran, go ahead, but they won't, because they know they'd get their asses kicked unless Uncle Sucker was leading the way.

Or maybe Israel could send in its fearsome DIAPER BRIGADES to wreak havoc in Tehran?

The diaper reference is not a joke, it's fact that the IDF has issued combat nappies to their troops, who let loose their bladder anytime they engage REAL men with guns who shoot back. But let's give credit where its due, when it comes to shooting Palestinian kids with slingshots or medics, Israel is #1.

Rabbitnexus , says: June 22, 2019 at 8:25 am GMT
@peterAUS Iran has been living with the same threat since 1979. The result is a hugely popular military and IRGC which is one of the best career choices in the country. It's a way of life for the nation to be under siege by now and for Shia Muslims the idea of being ready to fight to the death always hovers due to the history of Islam with respect to the Sunni/Shia divide. This disagreement is extreme, to be a Muslim and understand it is to feel horror! ; and despair at the idea any reconciliation is even possible between the two sects and a shared history does not make for a shared point of view. Shias have always been outnumbered and it was us who were targeted for extreme violence in the end (or the begginning) when a dispute over leadership turned bitter. Successive Islamic powers have attempted to exterminate Shias and the latest incarnation of the Salafis begginning with Wahhabism (nurtured by the Rothschild controlled British SS at the end of the Ottoman Empire) and lately morphed into Takfirism which is Daesh and their ilk, have always sought out Shias first and foremost for attack.

The Islamic Republic of Iran is firstly an Islamic Republic in full revolutionary mode, (as opposed to 'fundamentalist') it is also in a close second the "Capital" of Shia Islam and what I have described is the history of Iran and the times the Persian state was not an Islamic one are no less a part of the historical memory of the nation. Even those times (which invariably ended in defeat for Persia) reinforce the idea that it is as an Islamic state Iran stands best chance of survival and the confidence that if they remain true to these principles they will prevail is backed by an unbroken history of successful defense as a righteous Islamic state. This may be beyond many of the younger generation and ignored by the wealthy older generation Iranians but it must be ingrained in the political and social cosnciousness of the political and religious and intellectual elite.

Iran is ready. They have always been ready in one sense. Saddan Hussein who attacked them when they were at their weakest and still lived to regret it could attest to that if he was still around to talk. That war in which the USA gave full and unconditional support to their protege Saddam who only became their enemy when he became a better man and leader later on in time, was a wake up call to Iranian leadership and the nation as one. They knew that they needed missiles and a very strong defensive posture and that is what they have. F^ck with them at your peril I say.

I doubt myself the USA will attack Iran, at least as long as they have ships and troops within 1000 miles of Iran. That includes towing their static aircraft carrier "Israel" out of range as well.

sally , says: June 22, 2019 at 8:34 am GMT
@2stateshmustate agree, the comment that "the USA is taking the events to the UN is loaded with false something or other..

Iran initiated the UN hearing AFAIK and IRAN says it will present evidence that it was the USA's intention.. to do the deeds ..<=personally, my feeling is neither Russia nor China will veto .. anything about these deeds.. the only veto will come from Article II of the COUS , present leader [one Mr. Trumpy]. who is elected not by popular vote of the govern people in America but instead by the hidden behind the scene, state to state vote of the electoral college.. .. <== you mean all that to-do every four years to elect a president: democrats vs republicans beating each other up, newspapers collecting billions in contribution dollars to publish fake I hate you slogans, and he saids, you saids: dey all be fake news, propaganda erotic ? yep.. sure enough is. dem guys dat rites dem Konstitutions ain't no dummies deys knows vat ve good fore dem. Read Article II, sections 2 and 3.. you see..
Popular vote elects the Article I folks ( 525 in all: 425 members of the house of congressional districts (Art. 1, Section 2), and 100 Senators (amendment 17, proposed 1912, approved 1913federal reserve(act of congress), income tax (amendment 16) both also 1913 ),

=>but Article I (section 2 and amendment 17 ) folks have no power to act.. as powerless buffoons ..they are authorized only to approve a few things, try cases of Treason, and make the laws, fund the actions, wants and needs demanded by Article II persons. It takes 2/3 of each a divided Senate and 2/3 of a divided House [Art. I, sec 7[2,3] to over-power the Art II privilege of veto.. and

==get this=> Article II persons are charged to enforce the law( Art II, section 2 [3] he[the President} shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed. Where is Hillary? I see no words making such duty to enforce the law optional (so does the AG have an option that the President does not, .) ?

misguided Saker ?

Zumbuddi , says: June 22, 2019 at 8:38 am GMT
@Fran Macadam . . . Timed to force Congress to vote on a declaration of war just before elections.
Zumbuddi , says: June 22, 2019 at 8:42 am GMT
@HEREDOT Have you ever seen an obese deer?
Rabbitnexus , says: June 22, 2019 at 8:53 am GMT
I am in full agreement with the author about who was most likely behind the attacks on the ships and how the two separate attacks were done. Even down to accepting the possibility Iran was behind some or all of this as provocation for the reasons given. If so it would mean they are hurting badly and need to bring things to a head fast. This does not fit with my observations of Iranian leadership which has always demonstrated a very long term and patient, typically oriental approach to logjams in diplomacy and nothing has happened to suggest they are suddenly feeling extremely more pain than previously. In short it is possible but I doubt it.

To my mind the things which speak a