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Who Rules America ?

A slightly skeptical view on the US political establishment and foreign policy

If Ronald Reagan was America's neo-Julius Caesar, his adopted son was the first George Bush (just as J.C. adopted Augustus). And look what THAT progeny wrought. I fully expect that over the next century, no fewer than seven Bushes will have run or become president (mimicking the Roman Caesarian line). Goodbye, American Republic.

From review of Imperial America: Reflections on the United States of Amnesia by Gore Vidal

Skepticism -> Political Skeptic

News Neoliberalism Recommended books Recommended Links Libertarian Philosophy Neoliberal Brainwashing -- Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Fake News scare and US NeoMcCartyism
National Security State Key Myths of Neoliberalism Big Uncle is Watching You The Iron Law of Oligarchy Color revolutions Cold War II Two Party System as Polyarchy
Fifth Column of Neoliberal Globalization Predator state Corporatism Elite Theory Neo-conservatism Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Charlie Hebdo - more questions then answers
Anti-Russian hysteria in connection emailgate and DNC leak Demonization of Putin Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17? MSM Sochi Bashing Rampage Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia Pathological Russophobia of the US elite Compradors vs. national bourgeoisie
Resurgence of neofascism as reaction on crisis of neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization Ukraine: From EuroMaydan to EuroAnschluss Civil war in Ukraine Fuck the EU Odessa Massacre of May 2, 2014 Russian Ukrainian Gas Wars Neoliberalism and Christianity
Anti Trump Hysteria Anti-globalization movement Neoliberal corruption DNC emails leak Brexit as the start of the reversal of neoliberal globalization Disaster capitalism IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement
Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime Media-Military-Industrial Complex New American Militarism Ethno-lingustic Nationalism American Exceptionalism The Deep State Obama: a yet another Neocon
Neoliberal war on reality In Foreign Events Coverage Guardian Presstitutes Slip Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment Corruption of Regulators Ayn Rand and her Objectivism Cult  Neo-Theocracy as a drive to simpler society American Imperialism, Transnational Capitalist Class and Globalization of Capitalism Bureaucracy as a Political Coalition
Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Groupthink Crisis of legitimacy of neoliberal elite Deception as an art form Mayberry Machiavellians Immigration, wage depression and free movement of workers War and Peace Quotes
Famous quotes of John Kenneth Galbraith Talleyrand quotes Otto Von Bismarck Quotes Kurt Vonnegut Quotes Somerset Maugham Quotes George Carlin Propaganda Quotes
Overcomplexity of society Paleoconservatism Non-Interventionism   Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc

We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace — business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering.

They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob.

FDR. speech after the election (1936)

polyarchy: A system where the participation of masses of people is limited to voting among one or another representatives of the elite in periodic elections. Between elections the masses are now expected to keep quiet, to go back to life as usual while the elite make decisions and run the world until they can choose between one or another elite another four years later. So polyarchy is a system of elite rule, and a system of elite rule that is little bit more soft-core than the elite rule that we would see under a military dictatorship. But what we see is that under a polyarchy the basic socio-economic system does not change, it does not become democratized.

▬William I. Robinson, Behind the Veil, Minute 1:29:15

 

This site is very skeptical as for the viability of Neoliberalism as a social system and had distinct pro "New Deal" capitalism bias. You are warned.

And yes, my friends, like Molière's play Le Bourgeois gentilhomme character, who he was surprised and delighted to learn that he has been speaking prose all his life without knowing it., you are living under neoliberal regime without knowing it.  And this regime is not the same as democracy. See Two Party System as Polyarchy

What is really interesting is that the term "neoliberalism"  has the status of a semi-taboo in the USA, and seldom can be found in articles published by the USA MSM, due to some kind of "silence" pact ;-).

Due to the size an introduction was converted to a separate page Who Rules America


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It's easy to pretend to be a great strategist,
while sitting on the top of the hill,
at the safe distance from the battle in the valley

Shota Rustavelli(1172–1216)

[Jun 25, 2017] You know there is a saying falsely attributed to Churchill: "Those who choose shame between war and shame they end up by getting both". Russia chose shame in 2014, but will inevitable get war. Or hasn't it already? The "hybrid war", you know.

Jun 25, 2017 | www.unz.com

Boris N June 16, 2017 at 11:44 am GMT

@German_reader

any form of military escalation would be fraught with grave risks

You know there is a saying falsely attributed to Churchill: "Those who choose shame between war and shame they end up by getting both". Russia chose shame in 2014, but will inevitable get war. Or hasn't it already? The "hybrid war", you know.

Or another saying: "Better a terrible end than an endless terror".

Your views on the Syrian intervention are convincing to me, Russia should definitely avoid deeper involvement.

You pose a false ridiculous dilemma. How can a normal honest Russian equate some ragheads with Russians and hesitate whom to help and where to intervene?

Imagine East Germany has not united with the West Germany, but instead become a fascist country with a hostile anti-WG identity. Some people there want to WG anyway and they raise a rebellion, so the Berlin regime starts to oppress and even bomb and kill them. At the same time WG has got an opportunity to fight ISIS on the ground. So how do you think what an honest German from WG should choose having the limited military resources? To help your German brothers nearby and intervene (or occupy EG outright altogether) or to fight some damned ragheads somewhere far away in the damned desert?

Exactly if Putin has chosen an intervention in Syria over an intervention in Ukraine he is just saying to everybody that Russians do not matter but that Muslims do. When Putin was saying he's a nationalist "of some sort" we now know of what sort of nationalists he is. Muslim and Ukrainian ones! Or more generally any nationalists who are against Russians.

[Jun 25, 2017] The US doesnt really want to settle the Syrian war. Without permanent Jihad, how could Washington ever justify a permanent War on Terror? Ditto Ukraine: they need a constant crisis there to isolate the Europe from Russia. They did not appreciate Putins attempts at improving relations with Europe–Germany,

Jun 25, 2017 | www.unz.com

Seamus Padraig Show Comment Next New Comment June 16, 2017 at 11:44 am GMT

@Western Solidarity I will be brief here. Right now we are entering uncharted waters in Russo-American relations. What the investigations of Trump's ties to the Kremlin or at least to the Russian Mafia will reveal remains to be seen. Meanwhile the U.S. Senate is rushing to put more sanctions on Russia for alleged meddling in America's elections last year. This is simply insane. Russia and America have the two largest nuclear arsenals on earth. Russia sits at the crossroads of Asia, Europe and the Middle East and is Europe's first line of defense from invasion from the Orient or Moslem Middle East.

Russia's help is need to settle the Syrian civil war, end the Ukrainian crisis, keep Iran nuclear free, de=fang North Korea and curb China's growing appetite and ambition for worldwide resources, markets and "adventures". The U.S. should be working with Russia to manage these issues and make Western solidarity not just a slogan but a reality. Instead the Congress is going all out to alienate and aggravate the Russian Bear. I fear that one day President Putin will tire of the persecution of Russia and her proud people and the demonization of his regime and give orders to send long range nuclear missiles and atomic warheads to both North Korea and Iran.

Russia shares borders with both and could easily ship these weapons in piecemeal by train, truck, ship and plane to the tyrants in power in those countries and send technicians to assemble them and train the North Koreans and Iranians on how to use them.

This is I know a nightmare scenario, but it could easily occur. At that point two of America's closest dependents, Israel and Japan, would be directly threatened by virulent dictators. How would America react?

What could or would the U.S. President do to "retaliate"? This is very, very serious and Congress needs to stop playing games and realize it is vital to America's peace and security to be friends or at least neutral with Russia and work with them on areas of common agreement and need such as stopping the spread of weapons of mass destruction, settling ongoing wars, stopping the migrant invasion of Europe, etc., etc. Otherwise it could literally come to World War II and the end of the planet. No joking matter my friends.

Russia's help is need to settle the Syrian civil war, end the Ukrainian crisis, keep Iran nuclear free, de=fang North Korea and curb China's growing appetite and ambition for worldwide resources, markets and "adventures".

Except that the US doesn't really want to settle the Syrian war. Without permanent Jihad, how could Washington ever justify a permanent 'War on Terror'? Ditto Ukraine: they need a constant crisis there to isolate the Europe from Russia. They did not appreciate Putin's attempts at improving relations with Europe–Germany, especially–since coming to power in 1999. The Norks' nukes don't threaten Russia in the slightest–Russia has more than enough of a deterrent to handle such a small, isolated country. And Iran and Russia now have quite goods relations, and Iran still doesn't have a bomb. As far as China's resource appetites are concerned, well, that actually benefits Russia, as China is now one of their largest customers, both for natural resources as well as defense/aerospace technology.

[Jun 25, 2017] Alliance of Trump and the deep state ont he basis of neocon agenda is quite possible

Jun 25, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

libezkova, June 24, 2017 at 11:06 PM

This is a warning to several prominent commenters of this blog: it is quite possible that Faustian bargain of alliance with the deep state to depose Trump might backfire and produce completely opposite result -- strong and durable alliance of Trump and the deep state on the basis of the same model that existed from 2003 -- inverted totalitarism introduced by Bush II. In this case you can kiss hopes not only for impeachment, but also for 2020 reversal goodbye.

http://original.antiwar.com/Todd_Pierce/2017/06/23/criminal-laws-counterinsurgency/

Many "never-Trumpers" see the deep state's national security bureaucracy as their best hope to destroy Trump and thus defend constitutional government, but those hopes are misguided.

After all, the deep state's bureaucratic leadership has worked arduously for decades to subvert constitutional order.

As Michael Glennon, author of National Security and Double Government, pointed out in a June 2017 Harper's essay, if "the president maintains his attack, splintered and demoralized factions within the bureaucracy could actually support - not oppose - many potential Trump initiatives, such as stepped-up drone strikes, cyberattacks, covert action, immigration bans, and mass surveillance."

Inverted totalitarism is completely compatible with Trumpism ("bastard neoliberlaism"):

Princeton University political theorist Sheldon Wolin described the US political system in place by 2003 as "inverted totalitarianism." He reaffirmed that in 2009 after seeing a year of the Obama administration. Correctly identifying the threat against constitutional governance is the first step to restore it, and as Wolin understood, substantive constitutional government ended long before Donald Trump campaigned. He's just taking unconstitutional governance to the next level in following the same path as his recent predecessors.

However, even as some elements of the "deep state" seek to remove Trump, the President now has many "deep state" instruments in his own hands to be used at his unreviewable discretion.

[Jun 25, 2017] Obama basically decided against marketing his healthcare plan.

www.unz.com

JohnH -> kurt... , June 23, 2017 at 07:05 PM

Jun 25, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com
Obama basically decided against marketing his healthcare plan. In February, 2009 the Obama campaign contacted campaign workers and asked them to convene neighborhood groups to make suggestions for the plan. My wife and eye convened such a group. We believed it was to be part of a national grass roots push to overwhelm the naysayers.

We sent in the neighborhood's suggestions. We were told they would get back to us. They never did. Grassroots organizing was eliminated. There was no grassroots push. Obama hardly marketed his plan, letting Republicans define it for him.

That was when I began to smell a rat...

JohnH -> sanjait... , June 23, 2017 at 07:48 PM
"It's the Message, Stupid"
http://inthesetimes.com/article/5030/its_the_message_stupid

Back in 2009, Greenberg, Carville and Bauman developed a strategy for selling healthcare reform to the public...most of which Democrats just ignored. http://www.democracycorps.com/wp-content/files/dcorps-healthcare-062509.pdf

Much of it still applies today, but Democrats are clueless...they fear their big donors would revolt if they actually stated what the American people want and need.

JohnH -> mulp ... , June 23, 2017 at 08:06 PM
"actually works" is in the eye of the beholder.

Numbers of economists defended Bernie's proposals...but establishment ones linked with the Democratic Party did not.
http://observer.com/2016/02/liberal-economists-defend-bernie-sanders-against-a-chorus-of-critics/

Bill Black and Jaimie Galbraith were among the most prominent...but you never heard about their push-back because the liberal media blocked it out.

pgl , June 23, 2017 at 12:04 PM
Steve Beshear who was the Democratic Kentucky Governor who did a great job of implementing Obamacare for his state was asked about the stances of his state's two Senators. He really laid in McConnell which was no surprise. His comment re Rand Paul? Senator Paul wants to take our nation back to the 18th century.
jonny bakho -> Lee A. Arnold ... , June 23, 2017 at 05:12 PM
Please... Susan Collins is just as bad as the rest of them. Her carefully crafted public image is all show.

GOP moderates always cave because they are not moderates, they just play to the tastes of their purple states

The GOP will throw a few crumbs, make a big show about the "moderates" improving the bill and then they will be free to vote for it.
Trump, ever the con artist will sell it as Trump steak

JohnH -> kurt... , June 23, 2017 at 04:05 PM
Oh, BS. That the party is corrupt was made evident to anyone who watched Bubba sign away Glass-Steagall, just in time for Hillary to announce her run for Senator from New York/Wall Street. Of course, Bubba insists that there was no quid quo pro. Those who believe him would be good customers for buying the Brooklyn Bridge...

Since then, it's only gotten worse.

[Jun 25, 2017] UKRAINE meddled in US 2016 election. In conspiracy to blackmail Trump, Ukraine provided DNC with false accusations against Manafort, hoping to derail Trump and install Deep State figurehead Hillary Clinton

Jun 25, 2017 | www.unz.com

RobinG June 24, 2017 at 4:32 am GMT

DEMOCRATS & REPUBLICANS: ONE BIRD, 2 WINGS . SAME SHIT

UKRAINE meddled in US 2016 election. In conspiracy to blackmail Trump, Ukraine provided DNC with false accusations against Manafort, hoping to derail Trump and install Deep State figurehead Hillary Clinton.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEjZ5gI9GaM UNREAL: The real election interference scandal HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT

See the timeline, and smoking-gun email from Alexandra Chalupa. To steal election, DNC fabricated Trump-Russian collusion stories which have poisoned US-Russia relations in this administration and stoked impeachment fever. Anti-Russian hysteria serves Israel by killing Syria & Iran diplomacy. Great journalism by Lee Stranahan.

Exiled off mainstreet Show Comment Next New Comment June 24, 2017 at 5:59 am GMT

The fabricated collusion stories strike me as efforts to force Trump to put the US on an aggressive war footing against Russia in Syria and elsewhere. As such the constitute war crimes efforts and are not only criminal, but stupid in light of the unnecessary risk they put us to.

[Jun 24, 2017] The United States and Iran Two Tracks to Establish Hegemony by James Petras

Highly recommended!
Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... June 10, 2017 | unz.com ..."
"... US imperial policy in the Middle East focuses on encircling, destroying and dismantling Iran's allies (Syria, Lebanon (Hezbollah), Iraq (Shi'a Militia), Qatar and Yemen with the intent of overthrowing the government and installing a client regime in Teheran ..."
"... And yet the US destroyed Iran's most useful enemy, Saddam's Iraq. Sometimes I wonder whether US foreign policy has any guiding intelligence at all. Maybe it consists only of stupid, reckless flailing. ..."
www.unz.com
June 10, 2017 | unz.com

Introduction

US policy in the Middle East and South Asia is shaped by several basic considerations:

  1. US Imperialism is the force of global domination
  2. US imperial policy in the Middle East focuses on encircling, destroying and dismantling Iran's allies (Syria, Lebanon (Hezbollah), Iraq (Shi'a Militia), Qatar and Yemen with the intent of overthrowing the government and installing a client regime in Teheran.
  3. The return of Iran to the status of puppet regime will advance Washington's ultimate goal of encircling and isolating Russia and China.
  4. The US overthrow of the Islamic Republic of Iran will facilitate Israel's final seizure of Palestine, including Jerusalem, and establish Tel Aviv as the dominant regional power in the Middle East.

Washington's 'Two Track' Policy for Domination

US strategic planners rely on a two-track policy , combining and blending military and ideological weapons.

Its military strategy relies on slicing up the Middle East - 'salami tactics' – invading and conquering of each and every country and government, which shares the Islamic Republic of Iran's policy of national sovereignty and independence. US military success or failure depends on its alliances in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe. The US, Saudi Arabia and Israel all sponsor terrorist groups which have attacked Iran's scientists, its elected representatives and military leaders, as well as its sacred sites – inside Iran as well as abroad.

The political and ideological strategy involves the penetration and organization of domestic forces to destabilize and weaken Iran's internal security, defense capability and overseas alliances.

Ideological warfare involves: (1) exploiting regional, ethnic, class and religious differences to undermine stability and fragment the country; and (2) converting legitimate social critics and political opposition parties into imperial collaborators.

Ideological attacks are designed to attract Iranian writers, academics, intellectuals and artists who choose to ignore the history of US imperialism in fomenting bloody coups (Mossadegh 1954), launching proxy wars via Saddam Hussain's invasion (1980- 88) and the terrorist attacks by Israel and Saudi Arabia, as well as the terrorists backed by Iraq's former dictator.

US propaganda intervention in Iran's electoral process has been designed to promote a so-called "color revolution" regime change favored by neo-liberal, pro-West parties and candidates who seek US sponsorship in their ascent to power. The imperial collaborators and various Western 'human rights' NGOs hide the sordid history of Washington's overt and proxy wars/coups and occupations in Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, Libya and Palestine.

In order to intimidate and weaken overseas and domestic allies; and the (4) financing and arming of terrorists from Europe, the Middle East and North Africa to attack the Islamic Republic.

Linguistic and Conceptual Perversions

Imperial warfare depends on perverting political language and concepts. The US refers to invasion, which have killed and maimed millions of Muslims and Christians in Iraq (2003-2017) and Syria (2011-2017) as 'humanitarian interventions'. In reality its policy described an ongoing 'holocaust' – the massive genocidal violation of the human rights of scores of millions of people to sovereignty, peace and security of home, life, limb, culture and faith.

The millions of victims of the West's current holocaust in the Middle East reject and scorn Washington's imperialist claim of defending 'democratic values' and its so called 'responsibility to protect (R2P) ' as pronounced by a series of US Administrations through their mouthpieces in the United Nations.

In contrast, US support for the Saudi monarch's brutal bombing and blockade of Yemen has led to an entire population facing starvation and a massive, cholera epidemic, which now threatens over 26 million Yeminis. The campaign against Yemen by the brutal Saudis and their US-EU allies is the very definition of crimes against humanity and international law.

Sanctions: A Tool of Conquest

US sanctions against Iraq, Syria, Iran and Yemen have been designed to starve working people into submission while capturing the support of some middle class consumers. US policy of invading Libya and brutally murdering President Gadhafi and his family members was designed to systematically destroy a prosperous, independent republic and turn it into a backward, impoverished fiefdom of tribal warlords, exploited by Western oil companies. Saudi Arabia joined the European Union in financing terrorists, many trained in the destroyed remnants of Libya, who later killed innocent civilians in Paris, Nice, London, Manchester and other parts of Europe.

The strategic goal of the US invasion of Iraq, Syria and Yemen has been to violently divide these independent republics and turn them into ethnically cleansed, impoverished, mini-states – in the imperial tradition of 'divide and conquer'. Such tribal fiefdoms are easily dominated by imperial powers.

Regional and Global Strategy

Washington's imperial strategists have arrived at the conclusion that they cannot conquer independent states, like Iran, in a single attack, given its size, defense capability, internal cohesion and regional alliances.

Their strategy is to surround Iran by destroying its allies, one nation at a time.

The first phase of the US invasion, occupation and systematic destruction of Iraq and its entire governmental infrastructure was designed to overthrow the Baathist state, then neutralize the Shi'a militia and impose a servile client regime in Baghdad. The second step was to encourage Sunni tribal warlords to seize control of central Iraq. The third step was to arm the Kurds to form a mini-state in northern Iraq (so-called "Kurdistan"). This would entail large-scale ethnic cleansing, the total destruction of Iraq's ancient Christian community, the extermination of its multiethnic modern educated, scientific, cultural and technocratic work force. In other words, the US strategy was to obliterate any remnant of the Iraqi Republic in its war to 'remake the Middle East'.

After Iraq and Libya, the next target for US-EU aggression has been the government of the Syrian Arab Republic, Iran's ally. The EU, USA, Saudi Arabia and Turkey sponsored an invasion by mercenary Salafi forces under a network of Daesh-ISIS-al Queda terrorists. Israel, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates have provided military, logistical and financial support to the terrorists.

After Syria, the fourth target of Anglo-American-Saudi-Israeli military strategy would be to undermine the national sovereignty of Lebanon and destroy the armed political Hezbollah Party, the powerful Lebanese resistance organization (allied with Iran). It was consistent with this strategy for the West to support Israel's brutal air and ground attacks against the civilian population and infrastructure of Beirut, Lebanese port cities and villages. Tens of thousands of Lebanese Christians were not spared the Israeli terror bombing campaign.

If a Lebanese campaign were successful and Hezbollah was destroyed, the 'final' Israeli conquest of Palestine, the fifth objective, could commence: US and world Zionism would unconditionally celebrate Israel's massive ethnic purge of Palestine's native peoples and finish off the total confiscation of the homes, mosques, churches, land and resources of millions of Muslim and Christian Palestinians and other peoples. This would create history's first 'pure Jewish' state.

The sixth imperial objective would be to disarm Iran's military and security structure and weaken its economy in order to isolate the Islamic Republic and undermine its Middle Eastern alliances. This strategic objective explains why Washington promotes its one-sided nuclear arms agreement with Iran, while the nuclear-armed Israel is excluded! Despite Iran's abiding by the terms of the agreement, there have been no reciprocal lifting of economic sanctions or the normalization of trade and diplomatic relations.

Iran Counters the US Global Military Threat

Iran responded by developing economic, technical and military agreements with Russia and China in order to counter the US-Israeli-Saudi threats and sanctions. Russia provides advanced defensive weapons systems. China signs large-scale, long-term trade agreements while including Iran in its huge Central Asian infrastructure projects. Most importantly, Iran has succeeded in defending the legitimate government of Syria, while aiding Iraq and Yemen.

Iran undermined official US sanctions by signing multi-billion dollar agreements with the giant Boeing Corporation for the purchase of passenger airplanes as well as developing further agreements with US banks and agro-business exporters and oil companies. These profitable agreements with the US agro-business export sector can weaken the Pentagon-Zionist sanctions.

Iran has the diplomatic support of the Non-Aligned Movement opposing Israeli-US Zionist military threats.

Iran's principled opposition to Saudi Arabia's massive arms purchases, as well as the Kingdom's vicious alliance with Israel and its genocidal assault against the Yemeni people, has gained the support of world public opinion – especially the masses of independent Muslims throughout the world.

Iran's educational, scientific, military and political-electoral advances provide the basis for national security, economic growth, cultural enrichment, international alliances and the deepening of social democracy for its people. It provides an alternative independent vision for many millions of Muslims living under harsh monarchies, military dictators and imperial oppression.

Conclusion

Since the US and its allies launched their 'hot war' by surrounding, threatening and destabilizing Iran, Washington's strategy has suffered serious military defeats and political retreats.

Iraq is no longer encircled by the US. Shia-based militias have regional control, especially south of Baghdad and beyond. Syria, Iran's ally, has fought hard to finally liberate many towns, cities and territory taken by the terrorist mercenaries despite the EU-US-Saudi-Israel's initial advances.

Rival rebel forces and mercenary gangsters besiege the US puppet governments in Libya, Somalia and South Sudan. The classic CIA term, 'blowback', means these terrorists are now turning their guns on the West.

Washington has lost control of Afghanistan. Over a third of the Afghan military and police recruits defect to the resistance fighters. The central 'government' in Kabul influences less than a quarter of the country

Despite spending trillions of dollars on wars and propaganda over the past two decades, US military strategy to encircle and conquer Iran has been a military, diplomatic and economic failure. The American people have suffered thousands of casualties and its domestic economy is in permanent crisis with massive unemployment, poverty, recession and stagnation.

Despite US congressional, Presidential and Pentagon support for Israel's Jewish colonization of Palestine, more countries, trade unions and social movements, around the world, support the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel than ever before. Manu are speaking up despite government threats to outlaw 'criticism of Israel' as a 'hate crime'.

The turmoil and deep political divisions in the United States between the oligarchs allied to President Trump and the opposition oligarchs have created a profound institutional crisis, which has undermined domestic governance and disrupted US global alliances, US-EU relations and US-Asian trade links.

Despite the bizarre and often theatrical presentation by the US mass media, the American Congress and President Trump are fighting over fundamental issues, including control of the national security agencies (CIA, NSA, FBI, Homeland Security, etc.), foreign and military policy, the economy and environmental agenda, the federal budget, judiciary and the Presidency.

The political crisis has paralyzed the capacity of the US to start new wars and negotiate international agreements. President Trump is facing a serious coup d'état involving the political-intelligence elite, with the military looking warily on the chaos. The masses are increasingly polarized or disgusted.

In an attempt to deflect from his domestic problems, President Trump deepened the US alliance with Saudi Arabia and reiterated threats against Iran. Nevertheless he declined pressure to move the US embassy to Israel. The inconsistent and ad hoc nature of current US policy alienates friends and foes – with no redeeming features.

The domestic opposition demands an end of President Trump's diplomatic overtures to Russia. It uses the fake pretext of Russian interference in the US presidential election to move toward the president's impeachment.

The US faces a CLANDESTINE CIVIL WAR among its elite!

A financial bubble accompanies the American domestic political crisis. The economic elite, the banks and stock market have benefited through speculation, despite or because of, the paralysis among rival political oligarchs!

The emergence of Trump's so-called 'national-capitalist ideology' means a decline in US multi-lateral agreements, such as NATO, the EU, NAFTA and the Trans-

Pacific Trade Partnership (TPP). This explains Trump's effort to renegotiate bilateral agreements, which have failed

Trump's stated policy objectives have fallen between two chairs: the multi-lateral agreements have not been replaced by lucrative bilateral deals. Trump relies on big business offerings and 'nationalist' ideology to minimize his diplomatic failures and ideological isolation. Trump wants to win contracts for greater US exports and investment. This has been weakened by the previous administration's pursuit of economic sanctions and expanding wars, as well as his feckless propaganda.

The Trump regime is full of contradictions: It threatens to end the nuclear agreement with Iran but allows Boeing to sell billions of dollars of civilian aircraft to Teheran. It signs a $300 billion dollar arms sales agreement with Saudi Arabia (business for the for military industries) while losing political influence in the US, where the Saudis are widely despised.

At least, Trump does not blather on about humanitarian wars; he would prefer signing business deals. He mentions the need for 'regime change' in Syria and sending more troops to Afghanistan but does little to implement these goals.

President Trump is fighting for his own political (and personal) survival and to prevent his impeachment (via a Congressional coup). His strongest defense would be to strengthen the domestic economy and show some overseas economic successes.

Essentially, Trump's economic agenda depends on his avoiding politically and militarily costly wars. That was one of his campaign promises that resonated with the nation's core electorate.

Trump would like to balkanize Syria, while avoiding new troop commitments to Afghanistan. He would prefer profitable trade relations with Russia and China and perhaps, Iran, over war.

The impediments to any Trump policy success are massive: Trump's Administration includes zealous neo-conservative Russophobes and Zionist-Iranophobes. These are militarists who would provoke eventual armed conflict with Moscow and Teheran. Their current focus is on expanding the war in Syria, sending more US troops to Afghanistan and forging deeper ties with Israel and Saudi Arabia.

The current internal political contradictions between the Trump regime and the 'Deep' State apparatus, and between the Trump-allied business elite and the Zionist-neoconservative warmongers, preclude the development of a consequential Trump foreign policy.

In the meantime, domestic political warfare and the deepening divisions between the US and EU will create opportunities for Russia, China and Iran to join together in historic economic political and alliances, which might help re-balance a world on the brink of 'world war', economic collapse and environmental disaster.

The divisions among NATO countries undermine the establishment of a united front for greater imperial wars. The fragmentation of the European Union (Brexit, the collapse of Greece, the EU-sponsored putsch in Ukraine) lessens its global economic influence. The division between the US Presidential regime and the Opposition Security State apparatus paralyzes the US push for new imperial wars.

Divisions and conflicts within the imperial camp presents favorable opportunities for anti-imperialist countries in the Middle East, like Iran, Syria and Lebanon.

The strategic Russo-Chinese economic alliance may create a new global economy based on peaceful co-existence and greater economic co-operation.

This essay is dedicated to the memory of the innocent martyrs of the recent brutal terrorist attacks against the Iranian Parliament and the holy shrine and to honor the brave survivors and family members of the victims.

Republished from James Petras website

James Petras is a Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York. He is the author of 63 books published in 29 languages, and over 560 articles in professional journals, including the American Sociological Review, British Journal of Sociology, Social Research, Journal of Contemporary Asia, and Journal of Peasant Studies. He has published over 2000 articles in nonprofessional journals such as the New York Times, the Guardian, the Nation, Christian Science Monitor, Foreign Policy, New Left Review, Partisan Review, Temps Moderne, Le Monde Diplomatique, and his commentary is widely carried on the internet. His publishers have included Random House, John Wiley, Westview, Routledge, Macmillan, Verso, Zed Books and Pluto Books. He is winner of the Life Time Career Award, Marxist Section, of the American Sociology Association, the Robert Kenny Award for Best Book, 2002, and the Best Dissertation, Western Political Science Association in 1968. Some recent titles include Unmasking Globalization: Imperialism of the Twenty-First Century (2001); co-author The Dynamics of Social Change in Latin America (2000), Unmasking Globalisation (2001), System in Crisis (2003), co-author Social Movements and State Power (2003), co-author Empire With Imperialism (2005), co-author) Multinationals on Trial (2006). His most recent title, The Power of Israel in the United States (Clarity Press, Inc. 2006), has been acquired for Japanese, German, Italian, Indonesian and Arabic editions.He received his MA and Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. Among his books:

Joe Levantine Show Comment Next New Comment June 23, 2017 at 8:51 am GMT

Jun 24, 2017 | www.unz.com

A perfect article beyond any possible comments. Mr. Petras hits a perfect score as he often does. A dispassionate, lucid and thorough analysis of the greater geopolitical world that could teach the half brained and crooked congressional representatives a great many lessons.

jilles dykstra Show Comment Next New Comment June 24, 2017 at 6:12 am GMT

A very good description of the present world.
Alas western media present a quite different picture.

disturbed_robot Show Comment Next New Comment June 24, 2017 at 6:14 am GMT

Mr. Petras, my hats off to you. This is the most to-the-point, honest assessment of what's going on I've read in a long time.

My only complaint is the use of the term "Middle East". We should all drop this British colonial era term and just call it what it is: Southwest Asia. Please don't take that as being nit-picky and looking for fault (not my intention at all) your article is brilliant. But we have to start somewhere.

jilles dykstra Show Comment Next New Comment June 24, 2017 at 6:15 am GMT

@Joe Levantine Is it possible that many representatives know quite well what's going on, but have reasons, their own political survival, to pretend they do not know ?
Senator Hollings just dared to speak the truth shortly before he resigned, in 2004.

Hans Vogel Show Comment Next New Comment June 24, 2017 at 7:14 am GMT

With respect to Israel's supposedly assigned role, I beg to differ. The US, like Russia and Iran, is an assimilative empire, established on the basis of welcoming and incorporating any group or individual willing to adopt the imperial culture and language. In other words, these are non-exclusive states. Israel, on the other hand, is built on rigid and comprehensive racial and religious exclusiveness. Only jews can join. Israel is the quintessential nation state, built on an antiquated, romantic 19th-century idea. The self-defeating and ultimately untenable model of the nation state was demonstrated unequivocally in 1945, but ignoring historical proof, Israel resuscitated it in 1948. Therefore, it would seem to me Israel can never become the dominant force in the Middle East. Even if it somehow succeeds in attaining this position, it will definitely be of a very short duration. It is a bit like what Guizot once remarked: you can do anything with a bayonet, except sit on it.

Durruti Show Comment Next New Comment June 24, 2017 at 10:27 am GMT

A Nicely Written Article by Petras:

1. Could have used a bit of information on the Rothschilds and other dominant Jewish Banking Family Oligarchs, including their role in the assassination of John F. Kennedy (the last Constitutional President of the United States ), on November 22, 1963, in the Coup D'etat in Dallas, (the first successful Modern Arab Spring ).

2. Could have benefitted by references to the horrors of Vietnam and Indonesia (1965), 9/11, and the attack on the Liberty, among other dark pages of recent history, which would have taken a sentence.

3. Could have used a bit of a VISION advocacy of how to Cure this Zionist imperialist plague so nicely described by Petras. The Restoration of the Republic, destroyed on November 22, 1963, is the Revolutionary Cure so ignored by the earnest and not so earnest critics of the Zionist New World Order.

Oh for our own Decembrists!

God Bless America! Restore the Republic!

Durruti for The Anarchist Collective

jacques sheete Show Comment Next New Comment June 24, 2017 at 11:07 am GMT

The strategic Russo-Chinese economic alliance may create a new global economy based on peaceful co-existence and greater economic co-operation.

Let's hope so.

I, for one, am more than fed up with the one trick parasite, gangster politics.

Sergey Krieger Show Comment Next New Comment June 24, 2017 at 11:16 am GMT

As USA internal rot accelerates she is becoming increasingly erratic and desperate in her international policy. It increasingly looks like biten by white shark seal trashing desperately in the water while life along with blood leaving it's body. Others should keep their cool and patiently wait.

dearieme Show Comment Next New Comment June 24, 2017 at 11:37 am GMT

"2) US imperial policy in the Middle East focuses on encircling, destroying and dismantling Iran's allies (Syria, Lebanon (Hezbollah), Iraq (Shi'a Militia), Qatar and Yemen with the intent of overthrowing the government and installing a client regime in Teheran."

And yet the US destroyed Iran's most useful enemy, Saddam's Iraq. Sometimes I wonder whether US foreign policy has any guiding intelligence at all. Maybe it consists only of stupid, reckless flailing.

fnn Show Comment Next New Comment June 24, 2017 at 2:19 pm GMT

How many Americans and Europeans realize that all Islamic terrorism in the West is Sunni and none of it is Shia, and that all the demonization of Iran and Hezbollah is solely for the benefit of Israel?

Rurik Website Show Comment Next New Comment June 24, 2017 at 6:26 pm GMT

Excellent article and analysis

kudos and gratitude

If I were to offer any suggestion, I'd just prefer that the author amend the abbreviation of the US to the Z US (Zionist occupied US), as all of the things he mentions that the US is doing, are all in direct contravention of the principles and interests and people of the actual US, and are, rather, all being done to benefit the most sinister and intractable enemy of the of the US (and so many others including Iran); the Z US.

The American people have suffered thousands of casualties and its domestic economy is in permanent crisis with massive unemployment, poverty, recession and stagnation.

Trump's economic agenda depends on his avoiding politically and militarily costly wars. That was one of his campaign promises that resonated with the nation's core electorate.

I spell out my case for calling it the ZUS here:

(which I invite the moderators to including under a blue 'more' link so as not to clutter up the comment section)

saying US, by which I do not mean ordinary US people then the rotten elite running the show.

I sort of know that, but I hope you (and others) can understand why that distinction is so important to us genuine Americans who're horrified at the conduct of the US government on the world's stage.

The interests of the US government vs. the people of the US, could not be more diametrically opposed. They're looting our Treasury and our future to fund eternal wars for Israel- that do nothing but destroy any kind of long-term hope for this country. They're creating hatred for the American people that will reverberate over generations. They're systematically dismantling our sacred codified rights (earned in blood) going all the way back to the Magna Carta. They assassinate our citizens if they prove inconvenient to the regime, when they aren't burning them alive at places like Waco or the World Trade Center. There seems to be nothing too demonic that this government will do to us American citizens if they suspect that by doing so it will somehow augment their power to dominate us even more.

Today in America is much like the Russians during the Bolshevik / Soviet regime. Our government is our most intractable and dangerous enemy on the planet. We Americans have nothing to fear from Russia or Iran. That's laughable. But we have everything to fear from Washington DC. The drooling fiend that inhabits those think tanks and J-Street and K-Street and CFR and PNAC and CIA and all the other acronyms of Satan are our worst enemy on this planet, just as they threaten and menace the rest of the people of the planet, intending to use our children as cannon fodder even as they commit endless atrocities and war crimes in our name.

So I guess my point is just that the interests of the US [zio-government], vs. the interests of the US people are so wildly at odds, that it would be nice if others could see this as glaringly as those of us American citizens, watching with horror- as our government perpetrates monstrous crimes all over the globe, and here at home.

The banking cartels are not run by patriotic American citizens, they're run by our enemies.

The Pentagon is not run by patriotic American citizens, it's run by our enemies.

the FBI and CIA and DEA and NSA are all operated by the enemies of the American people.

the media are the most sinister and committed enemy we have. No one hates our guts more.

the universities are nothing but kosher Marxist indoctrination centers, telling our young people (among other things) that the "US" liberated the people of Kosovo. (is that what happened?). They tell our students that our participation in the world wars was honorable and noble. They tell them that what we are doing in the Middle East today is honorable and noble. They even are attempting to make any criticism of Israel a crime on the universities and campuses. Outlawing any expression of support for the BDS movement. Does that sound like our universities are run by and for Americans?!

there are two entities here in the good ol' US of A. There is the ZUSA, that is an enemy to all of mankind, including the people of the US. And then there are the people of the US; represented by those who still cling to quaint notions like the Rule of Law, and our traditions like freedom of speech and fair play. People like Michael Hastings. People like Seth Rich. People like Pat Tillman or Ron Paul or all of his supporters. People like the ones that voted for Obama to end the wars, and who voted for Trump to end the wars. People like Ken O'keefe, who are Americans to the core, and still represent the spirit of what being an American was all about, until our nation was hijacked in 1913 for the greater glory of $atan.

the US goal in former Yugoslavia was primarily a rejuvenation of NATO which has lost its meaning with the demise of SU. Also, the Demoncrats have a natural propensity to package their imperialism into "humanitarian" interventions, the Republicans are much less sleazy – the Republicans just say you are with us or against us, no matter whether what we do is legal or illegal. Therefore, it was a perfect little war for the Clintons:
1) breath a new life into NATO,
2) clean up the Southern Europe of any residual Russia and/or socialist influence and
3) do a dress rehearsal for attacking Russia (using NATO).

sounds like a perfectly excellent analysis to me.

I remember how we scrambled at the time to make sense of it. WTF were they up to?!

why were they bombing a nation that had been 'our' ally during WWII, and seemingly so that some KLA terrorists could lay claim to their ancient and sacred lands? Hard won from the same Muslim hoards that had drenched Kosovo in Christian, Serbian blood for centuries.

Some of us figured it was kind of a payback for Palestine. 'Yes, we zio-scum are ravaging your people in Palestine, but as payback, we'll give you Kosovo!

We even wondered if there wasn't some secret, high-level negotiations going on between the representatives of Islam and the Zionists. 'OK, what do you want for Palestine?' / 'We'll take Kosovo'.

Then there was general Clarks quote regarding the necessity of bombing Serbia:

"Let's not forget what the origin of the problem is. There is no place in modern Europe for ethnically pure states. That's a 19th century idea and we are trying to transition into the 21st century, and we are going to do it with multi-ethnic states."

- General Wesley Clark

so it's been a conundrum, but your analysis sounds like the best so far.

travelling NGO EcoSystem

:-)

Yes we see it all over the place. But also please keep in mind that the original NGO that $ubverted and corrupted is the one that took control of the US.

The actions of the 'US' (ZUSA) today are no more a representation of the people of the US, than those in Kyiv or Kabul represent the typical Ukrainian or Afghan.

Washington DC no more represents the 300+ million people here than did the actions of Mubarak represented the Egyptian people, or Yeltsin represented the Russian people, or Tony Blair represented the people of England.

We have all of us been NGO'd by the Fiend, and none more so than us here in the US, where they declare from their pulpits that there is 'zero daylight between Israel and the ZUSA!'

So it stings to read about how this or that benefits the US, when all the benefits are going to the very same Beast that is drooling its putrid saliva all over US too.

[Jun 24, 2017] Many "never-Trumpers" of both parties see the deep state's national security bureaucracy as their best hope to destroy Trump and thus defend constitutional government, but those hopes are misguided by Todd E. Pierce

Notable quotes:
"... Many "never-Trumpers" of both parties see the deep state's national security bureaucracy as their best hope to destroy Trump and thus defend constitutional government, but those hopes are misguided. ..."
"... As Michael Glennon, author of National Security and Double Government, pointed out in a June 2017 Harper's essay, if "the president maintains his attack, splintered and demoralized factions within the bureaucracy could actually support - not oppose - many potential Trump initiatives, such as stepped-up drone strikes, cyberattacks, covert action, immigration bans, and mass surveillance." ..."
Jun 24, 2017 | original.antiwar.com

Douglas Valentine has once again added to the store of knowledge necessary for American citizens to understand how the U.S. government actually works today, in his most recent book entitled The CIA As Organized Crime . (Valentine previously wrote The Phoenix Program , which should be read with the current book.)

The US "deep state" – of which the CIA is an integral part – is an open secret now and the Phoenix Program (assassinations, death squads, torture, mass detentions, exploitation of information) has been its means of controlling populations. Consequently, knowing the deep state's methods is the only hope of building a democratic opposition to the deep state and to restore as much as possible the Constitutional system we had in previous centuries, as imperfect as it was.

Princeton University political theorist Sheldon Wolin described the US political system in place by 2003 as "inverted totalitarianism." He reaffirmed that in 2009 after seeing a year of the Obama administration. Correctly identifying the threat against constitutional governance is the first step to restore it, and as Wolin understood, substantive constitutional government ended long before Donald Trump campaigned. He's just taking unconstitutional governance to the next level in following the same path as his recent predecessors. However, even as some elements of the "deep state" seek to remove Trump, the President now has many "deep state" instruments in his own hands to be used at his unreviewable discretion.

Many "never-Trumpers" of both parties see the deep state's national security bureaucracy as their best hope to destroy Trump and thus defend constitutional government, but those hopes are misguided. After all, the deep state's bureaucratic leadership has worked arduously for decades to subvert constitutional order.

As Michael Glennon, author of National Security and Double Government, pointed out in a June 2017 Harper's essay, if "the president maintains his attack, splintered and demoralized factions within the bureaucracy could actually support - not oppose - many potential Trump initiatives, such as stepped-up drone strikes, cyberattacks, covert action, immigration bans, and mass surveillance."

Glennon noted that the propensity of "security managers" to back policies which ratchet up levels of security "will play into Trump's hands, so that if and when he finally does declare victory, a revamped security directorate could emerge more menacing than ever, with him its devoted new ally." Before that happens, it is incumbent for Americans to understand what Valentine explains in his book of CIA methods of "population control" as first fully developed in the Vietnam War's Phoenix Program.

[Jun 24, 2017] The Secret Republican Plan to Unravel Medicaid by Robert Reich

Jun 24, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

Christopher H, June 23, 2017 at 01:23 PM

http://robertreich.org/post/162168911075

The Secret Republican Plan to Unravel Medicaid

by Robert Reich

FRIDAY, JUNE 23, 2017

Bad enough that the Republican Senate bill would repeal much of the Affordable Care Act.

Even worse, it unravels the Medicaid Act of 1965 – which, even before Obamacare, provided health insurance to millions of poor households and elderly.

It's done with a sleight-of-hand intended to elude not only the public but also the Congressional Budget Office.

Here's how the Senate Republican bill does it. The bill sets a per-person cap on Medicaid spending in each state. That cap looks innocent enough because it rises every year with inflation.

But there's a catch. Starting 8 years from now, in 2025, the Senate bill switches its measure of inflation – from how rapidly medical costs are rising, to how rapidly overall costs in the economy are rising.

Yet medical costs are rising faster than overall costs. They'll almost surely continue to do so – as America's elderly population grows, and as new medical devices, technologies, and drugs prolong life.

Which means that after 2025, Medicaid will cover less and less of the costs of health care for the poor and elderly.

Over time, that gap becomes huge. The nonpartisan Urban Institute estimates that just between 2025 and 2035, about $467 billion less will be spent on Medicaid than would be spent than if Medicaid funding were to keep up with the expected rise in medical costs.

So millions of Americans will lose the Medicaid coverage they would have received under the 1965 Medicaid act. Over the long term, Medicaid will unravel.

Will anyone in future years know Medicaid's unraveling began with this Senate Republican bill ostensibly designed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act? Probably not. The unraveling will occur gradually.

Will future voters hold Republicans responsible? Again, unlikely. The effects of the unraveling won't become noticeable until most current Republican senators are long past reelection.

Does anyone now know this time bomb is buried in this bill?

It doesn't seem so. McConnell won't even hold hearings on it.

Next week the Congressional Budget Office will publish its analysis of the bill. CBO reports on major bills like this are widely disseminated in the media. The CBO's belated conclusion that the House's bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act would cause 23 million Americans to lose their health care prompted even Donald Trump to call it "mean, mean, mean."

But because the CBO's estimates of the consequences of bills are typically limited to 10 years (in this case, 2018 to 2028), the CBO's analysis of the Senate Republican bill will dramatically underestimate how many people will be knocked off Medicaid over the long term.

Which is exactly what Mitch McConnell has planned. This way, the public won't be tipped off to the Medicaid unraveling hidden inside the bill.

For years, Republicans have been looking for ways to undermine America's three core social insurance programs – Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. The three constitute the major legacies of the Democrats, of Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson. All continue to be immensely popular.

Now, McConnell and his Senate Republican colleagues think they've found a way to unravel Medicaid without anyone noticing.

Don't be fooled. Spread the word.

[Jun 24, 2017] This theme of alleged failure of Russian state relative to the West is very common. But then what is considered a successful society?

Notable quotes:
"... For example, let's take Japan, Germany or South Korea. On the face of it, you could argue that they have been extremely successful societies in terms of industrial development, standard of living, etc. But, all three of them are actually dying as communities, if we consider their population decline. ..."
Jun 24, 2017 | unz.com

Simpleguest says: June 24, 2017 at 8:16 pm GMT • 100 Words

@Priss Factor

The greatest mistake of all is thinking western model (in your particular case, the american model) will make russians better, or even being adopted by russians... While Russia can have a good work ethic, it's laughable to wish them to adopt Protestant-Work-Ethic (that by itself also has too much of a strong individual feeling that leads into complete atomized individuals as follows from the Great Generation to the Baby Boomers and the latter's legacy to the decline, lack of self-dependency and selfishness of later generations if it's not controlled).

I didn't say Russia should become like the US. I said Russians need to assess the reasons as to why they've comparatively failed in relation to other nations. Russians need to learn lessons from US, Germany, Japan, France, and etc., but of course, Russians must find their own way to fix the problems.

Still, the Big Questions must be asked as to WHY.

Japan asked this question when confronted with the Western threat in the 19th century. It wondered why the West made so many advances whereas Asia failed to. So, it went about reforms.

Of course, Russia has also raised this question, but it is such an underachiever given all the potentials.

Russia needed a Putin because things got so out of hand. Now, they must look to themselves to deal with the big challenges.

" I said Russians need to assess the reasons as to why they've comparatively failed in relation to other nations. etc"

This theme of alleged "failure" of Russian state relative to the West is very common. But then what is considered a "successful" society?

For example, let's take Japan, Germany or South Korea. On the face of it, you could argue that they have been extremely successful societies in terms of industrial development, standard of living, etc. But, all three of them are actually dying as communities, if we consider their population decline. Therefore, based on this criteria, let's call it a "sustainable existence" criteria, they might prove a failures in the end.

If we apply this same criteria to say, Roma people (gypsies), then they appear the big winners.

Anyway, have a nice weekend.

[Jun 24, 2017] Obama Ordered Cyberweapons Implanted Into Russias Infrastructure by Jason Ditz

Jun 23, 2017 | news.antiwar.com

Former Official: Implants Designed to 'Cause Them Pain and Discomfort'

A new report from the Washington Post today quoted a series of Obama Administration officials reiterating their official narrative on Russia's accused hacking of the 2016 election. While most of the article is simply rehashes and calls for sanctions, they also revealed a secret order by President Obama in the course of "retaliation" for the alleged hacking.

This previously secret order involved having US intelligence design and implant a series of cyberweapons into Russia's infrastructure systems, with officials saying they are meant to be activated remotely to hit the most important networks in Russia and are designed to " cause them pain and discomfort ."

The US has, of course, repeatedly threatened "retaliatory" cyberattacks against Russia, and promised to knock out broad parts of their economy in doing so. These appear to be the first specific plans to have actually infiltrate Russian networks and plant such weapons to do so.

Despite the long-standing nature of the threats, by the end of Obama's last term in office this was all still in the "planning" phases. It's not totally clear where this effort has gone from there, but officials say that the intelligence community, once given Obama's permission, did not need further approval from Trump to continue on with it, and he'd have actually had to issue a countermanding order, something they say he hasn't.

The details are actually pretty scant on how far along the effort is, but the goal is said to be for the US to have the ability to retaliate at a moment's notice the next time they have a cyberattack they intend to blame on Russia.

Unspoken in this lengthy report, which quotes unnamed former Obama Administration officials substantially, advocating the effort, is that in having reported that such a program exists, they've tipped off Russia about the threat.

This is, however, reflective of the priority of the former administration, which is to continuing hyping allegations that Russia got President Trump elected, a priority that's high enough to sacrifice what was supposed to be a highly secretive cyberattack operation.

[Jun 24, 2017] For neocons peace is a four-letter word by Uri Avnery

Jun 24, 2017 | original.antiwar.com

When a Briton or American speaks about a "four-letter word", he means a vulgar sexual term, a word not to be mentioned in polite society. In Israel we also have such a word, a word of four letters. A word not to mention. This word is "Shalom", peace. (In Hebrew, "sh" is one letter, and the "a" is not written.)

For years now this word has disappeared from intercourse (except as a greeting). Every politician knows that it is deadly. Every citizen knows that it is unmentionable. There are many words to replace it. "Political agreement". "Separation". "We are here and they are there". "Regional arrangement". To name a few.

And here comes Donald Trump and brings the word up again. Trump, a complete ignoramus, does not know that in this country it is taboo.

He wants to make peace here. SH-A-L-O-M. So he says. True, there is not the slightest chance that he really will make peace. But he has brought the word back into the language. Now people speak again about peace. Shalom.

Peace? What is peace?

There are all kind of peaces. Starting from a little peace, a baby-peace, to a large, even mighty peace.

Therefore, before opening a serious debate about peace, we must define what we mean. An intermission between two wars? Non-belligerence? Existence on different sides of walls and fences? A prolonged armistice? A Hudna (in Arabic culture, an armistice with a fixed expiry date)?

Something like the peace between India and Pakistan? The peace between Germany and France – and if so, the peace before World War I or the peace prevailing now? The Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States, or the Hot Peace between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump?

There are all kinds of peace situations. What kind of Israeli-Palestinian peace are we talking about? The peace between a horse and its rider? The peace between a people of masters and a people of slaves? Something like the peace between the South African Apartheid regime and the Bantustans it had created for the Blacks? Or a quite different kind of peace, a peace between equals?

It's about this peace I would like to speak. Not "real" peace. Not "perfect" peace. Not "complete" peace.

About peace. Peace pure and simple. Without qualifications, please.

When did it all start? The conflict that now dominates the lives of the two peoples, when did it begin?

Hard to say.

It is easy to say: it started when the first Jewish immigrant reached these shores.

Sounds simple. But it is not altogether true.

It seems that the pre-Zionist Bilu immigrants, who came here in the early 1800s, did not arouse hostility.

I have a theory about that: some time before the Bilu (short for "House of Jacob, Go!") came here, a religious German sect, the Templers, settled in this country. They had no political aims, just a religious vision. They set up model villages and townships, and the locals were grateful. When the first Jews arrived, the locals assumed that this was more of the same.

Then came the Zionist movement, which definitely had political aims. They spoke only about a "national home", but the founder, Theodor Herzl, had previously written a book called "The Jewish State" (or, more accurately, "The Jewstate"). The aim was hidden for a time, because the country belonged to the Ottoman Empire.

Only very few of the local population realized right from the beginning that this was a mortal danger for them. A large majority of the Muslims saw the Jews only as an inferior religious community, which the Prophet had commanded them to protect.

So when did the conflict start? There are various theories about that. I adhere to the theory of the almost-forgotten historian Aharon Cohen, who pointed to a particular event. In 1908, the revolution of the "Young Turks" broke out. The Islamic Ottoman Empire turned into a nationalist state. As a reaction, there arose in Palestine and the neighboring countries an Arab national movement, which called for the "decentralization" of the empire, giving autonomy to its many peoples.

A local Arab leader approached the Zionist representative in Jerusalem with a tempting offer: if the Jews support the Arab movement, the Arabs will support Zionist immigration.

In great excitement, the Zionist representative rushed to the then leader of the Zionist world movement, Max Nordau, a German Jew, and urged him to accept the offer. But Nordau treated the offer with contempt. After all, it was the Turks who were in possession of the country. What did the Arabs have to offer?

It is difficult to know how history would have evolved if such a Zionist-Arab cooperation had come into being. But a European Jew could not even imagine such a turn of events. Therefore the Zionists cooperated with the Turkish – and later with the British – colonial regime against the local Arab population.

Since then, the conflict between the two peoples has intensified from generation to generation. Now peace is further away than ever.

But what is peace?

The past cannot be obliterated. Anyone who suggests that the past should be ignored and that we "start again from the beginning" is dreaming.

Each of the two peoples lives in a past of its own. The past shapes their character and their behavior every day and every hour. But the past of one side is totally different from the past of the other.

This is not just a war between two peoples. It is also a war between two histories. Two histories which contradict each other in almost every particular, though they concern the very same events.

For example: Every Zionist knows that until the 1948 war, the Jews acquired land with good money, money contributed by Jews around the world. Every Arab knows that the Zionists bought the land from absentee landlords who lived in Haifa, Beirut or Monte Carlo, and then demanded that the Turkish (and later the British) police evict the fellahin who had tilled the land for many generations. (All the land had originally belonged to the Sultan, but when the empire was bankrupt the Sultan sold it to Arab speculators.)

Another example: Every Jew is proud of the Kibbutzim, a unique achievement of human progress and social justice, which were frequently attacked by their Arab neighbors. For the Arabs, the Kibbutzim were just sectarian instruments of displacement and deportation.

Another example: Every Jew knows that the Arabs started the 1948 war in order to exterminate the Jewish community. Every Arab knows that in that war, the Jews evicted half the Palestinian people from their homeland.

And so forth: nowadays the Israelis believe that the Palestinian Authority, which pays a monthly salary to the families of "murderers", supports terrorism. The Palestinians believe that the Authority is duty-bound to support the families whose sons and daughters have sacrificed their lives for their people.

And so forth, without end.

(By the way, I am very proud of having invented the only scientifically sound definition of "terrorist", which both sides can accept: "Freedom fighters are on my side, terrorists are on the other side.")

There will never be peace if the two peoples do not know the historical narrative of the other side. There is no need to accept the narrative of the opponent. One can deny it totally. But one has to know it, in order to understand the other people and respect it.

Peace does not have to be based on mutual love. But it must be based on mutual respect. Mutual respect can arise only when each people knows the historical narrative of the other side. When it understands that, it will also understand why the other people acts the way it does, and what is needed for peaceful co-existence.

That would be much easier if every Israeli Jew learned Arabic, and every Palestinian Arab learned Hebrew. That would not solve the problem, of course, but it would bring the solution much closer.

When each of the two peoples understands that the other side is not a bloodthirsty monster, but acts from natural motives, it will discover many positive points in the culture of the other side. Personal contacts will be established, perhaps even friendships.

This is already happening in Israel, though on a small scale. In the academic world, for example. And in the hospitals. Jewish patients are often surprised to discover that their nice and competent doctor is an Arab and that Arab male nurses are frequently more gentle than the Jewish ones.

That cannot replace dealing with the real problems. Our two peoples are divided by real, weighty controversies. There is a problem about land, about borders, about refugees. There are problems of security and innumerable other issues. A war of more than a hundred years will not end without painful compromises.

When there is a basis for negotiations between equals, a basis of mutual respect, insoluble problems will suddenly become soluble problems.

But the precondition for this process is the return of the four-letter-word to the language.

It is impossible to do something big, something historic, if there is no belief that it is possible.

A person will not plug an electric cord into a wall if they do not believe that they will be connected to electricity. They must believe that the lights will go on.

Nobody will start peace negotiations if they believe that peace is impossible.

The belief in peace will not make peace certain. But at least it will make peace possible.

Uri Avnery is a peace activist, journalist, writer, and former member of the Israeli Knesset. Read other articles by Uri , or visit Uri's website .

[Jun 24, 2017] The Criminal Laws of Counterinsurgency by Todd E. Pierce

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Many "never-Trumpers" of both parties see the deep state's national security bureaucracy as their best hope to destroy Trump and thus defend constitutional government, but those hopes are misguided. ..."
"... As Michael Glennon, author of National Security and Double Government, pointed out in a June 2017 Harper's essay, if "the president maintains his attack, splintered and demoralized factions within the bureaucracy could actually support - not oppose - many potential Trump initiatives, such as stepped-up drone strikes, cyberattacks, covert action, immigration bans, and mass surveillance." ..."
"... Corraborative evidence of Valentine's thesis is, perhaps surprisingly, provided by the CIA's own website where a number of redacted historical documents have been published. Presumably, they are documents first revealed under the Freedom of Information Act. A few however are copies of news articles once available to the public but now archived by the CIA which has blacked-out portions of the articles. ..."
"... This led to an investigation by New Times in a day when there were still "investigative reporters," and not the government sycophants of today. Based on firsthand accounts, their investigation concluded that Operation Phoenix was the "only systematized kidnapping, torture and assassination program ever sponsored by the United States government. . . . Its victims were noncombatants." At least 40,000 were murdered, with "only" about 8,000 supposed Viet Cong political cadres targeted for execution, with the rest civilians (including women and children) killed and "later conveniently labeled VCI. Hundreds of thousands were jailed without trial, often after sadistic abuse." The article notes that Phoenix was conceived, financed, and directed by the Central Intelligence Agency ..."
"... But the article noted that one of the most persistent criticisms of Phoenix was that it resulted "in the arrest and imprisonment of many innocent civilians." These were called "Class C Communist offenders," some of whom may actually have been forced to commit such "belligerent acts" as digging trenches or carrying rice. It was those alleged as the "hard core, full-time cadre" who were deemed to make up the "shadow government" designated as Class A and B Viet Cong. ..."
"... Ironically, by the Bush administration's broad definition of "unlawful combatants," CIA officers and their support structure also would fit the category. But the American public is generally forgiving of its own war criminals though most self-righteous and hypocritical in judging foreign war criminals. But perhaps given sufficient evidence, the American public could begin to see both the immorality of this behavior and its counterproductive consequences. ..."
"... Talleyrand is credited with saying, "They have learned nothing and forgotten nothing." Reportedly, that was borrowed from a 1796 letter by a French naval officer, which stated, in the original language: Personne n'est corrigé; personne n'a su ni rien oublier ni rien appendre. In English: "Nobody has been corrected; no one has known to forget, nor yet to learn anything." That sums up the CIA leadership entirely. ..."
Jun 24, 2017 | original.antiwar.com

Douglas Valentine has once again added to the store of knowledge necessary for American citizens to understand how the U.S. government actually works today, in his most recent book entitled The CIA As Organized Crime . (Valentine previously wrote The Phoenix Program , which should be read with the current book.)

The US "deep state" – of which the CIA is an integral part – is an open secret now and the Phoenix Program (assassinations, death squads, torture, mass detentions, exploitation of information) has been its means of controlling populations. Consequently, knowing the deep state's methods is the only hope of building a democratic opposition to the deep state and to restore as much as possible the Constitutional system we had in previous centuries, as imperfect as it was.

Princeton University political theorist Sheldon Wolin described the US political system in place by 2003 as "inverted totalitarianism." He reaffirmed that in 2009 after seeing a year of the Obama administration. Correctly identifying the threat against constitutional governance is the first step to restore it, and as Wolin understood, substantive constitutional government ended long before Donald Trump campaigned. He's just taking unconstitutional governance to the next level in following the same path as his recent predecessors. However, even as some elements of the "deep state" seek to remove Trump, the President now has many "deep state" instruments in his own hands to be used at his unreviewable discretion.

Many "never-Trumpers" of both parties see the deep state's national security bureaucracy as their best hope to destroy Trump and thus defend constitutional government, but those hopes are misguided. After all, the deep state's bureaucratic leadership has worked arduously for decades to subvert constitutional order.

As Michael Glennon, author of National Security and Double Government, pointed out in a June 2017 Harper's essay, if "the president maintains his attack, splintered and demoralized factions within the bureaucracy could actually support - not oppose - many potential Trump initiatives, such as stepped-up drone strikes, cyberattacks, covert action, immigration bans, and mass surveillance."

Glennon noted that the propensity of "security managers" to back policies which ratchet up levels of security "will play into Trump's hands, so that if and when he finally does declare victory, a revamped security directorate could emerge more menacing than ever, with him its devoted new ally." Before that happens, it is incumbent for Americans to understand what Valentine explains in his book of CIA methods of "population control" as first fully developed in the Vietnam War's Phoenix Program.

Hating the US

There also must be the realization that our "national security" apparatchiks - principally but not solely the CIA - have served to exponentially increase the numbers of those people who hate the US.

Some of these people turn to terrorism as an expression of that hostility. Anyone who is at all familiar with the CIA and Al Qaeda knows that the CIA has been Al Qaeda's most important "combat multiplier" since 9/11, and the CIA can be said to have birthed ISIS as well with the mistreatment of incarcerated Iraqi men in US prisons in Iraq.

Indeed, by following the model of the Phoenix Program, the CIA must be seen in the Twenty-first Century as a combination of the ultimate "Murder, Inc.," when judged by the CIA's methods such as drone warfare and its victims; and the Keystone Kops, when the multiple failures of CIA policies are considered. This is not to make light of what the CIA does, but the CIA's misguided policies and practices have served to generate wrath, hatred and violence against Americans, which we see manifested in cities such as San Bernardino, Orlando, New York and Boston.

Pointing out the harm to Americans is not to dismiss the havoc that Americans under the influence of the CIA have perpetrated on foreign populations. But "morality" seems a lost virtue today in the US, which is under the influence of so much militaristic war propaganda that morality no longer enters into the equation in determining foreign policy.

In addition to the harm the CIA has caused to people around the world, the CIA works tirelessly at subverting its own government at home, as was most visible in the spying on and subversion of the torture investigation by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. The subversion of democracy also includes the role the CIA plays in developing and disseminating war propaganda as "information warfare," upon the American people. This is what the Rand Corporation under the editorship of Zalmay Khalilzad has described as "conditioning the battlefield," which begins with the minds of the American population.

Douglas Valentine discusses and documents the role of the CIA in disseminating pro-war propaganda and disinformation as complementary to the violent tactics of the Phoenix Program in Vietnam. Valentine explains that "before Phoenix was adopted as the model for policing the American empire, many US military commanders in Vietnam resisted the Phoenix strategy of targeting civilians with Einsatzgruppen-style 'special forces' and Gestapo-style secret police."

Military Commanders considered that type of program a flagrant violation of the Law of War. "Their main job is to zap the in-betweeners – you know, the people who aren't all the way with the government and aren't all the way with the Viet Cong either. They figure if you zap enough in-betweeners, people will begin to get the idea," according to one quote from The Phoenix Program referring to the unit tasked with much of the Phoenix operations.

Nazi Influences

Comparing the Phoenix Program and its operatives to "Einsatzgruppen-style 'special forces' and Gestapo-style secret police" is not a distortion of the strategic understanding of each. Both programs were extreme forms of repression operating under martial law principles where the slightest form of dissent was deemed to represent the work of the "enemy." Hitler's Bandit Hunters: The SS and the Nazi Occupation of Europe by Philip W. Blood describes German "Security Warfare" as practiced in World War II, which can be seen as identical in form to the Phoenix Program as to how the enemy is defined as anyone who is "potentially" a threat, deemed either "partizans" or terrorists.

That the Germans included entire racial categories in that does not change the underlying logic, which was, anyone deemed an internal enemy in a territory in which their military operated had to be "neutralized" by any means necessary. The US military and the South Vietnamese military governments operated under the same principles but not based on race, rather the perception that certain areas and villages were loyal to the Viet Cong.

This repressive doctrine was also not unique to the Nazis in Europe and the US military in Vietnam. Similar though less sophisticated strategies were used against the American Indians and by the imperial powers of the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth centuries, including by the US in its newly acquired territories of the Philippines and in the Caribbean. This "imperial policing," i.e., counterinsurgency, simply moved to more manipulative and, in ways, more violent levels.

That the US drew upon German counterinsurgency doctrine, as brutal as it was, is well documented. This is shown explicitly in a 2011 article published in the Journal of Military and Strategic Studies entitled German Counterinsurgency Revisited by Charles D. Melson. He wrote that in 1942, Nazi commander Heinrich Himmler named a deputy for "anti-bandit warfare," (Bevollmachtigter fur die Bandenkampfung im Osten), SS-General von dem Bach, whose responsibilities expanded in 1943 to head all SS and police anti-bandit units and operations. He was one of the architects of the Einsatzguppen "concept of anti-partisan warfare," a German predecessor to the "Phoenix Program."

'Anti-Partisan' Lessons

It wasn't a coincidence that this "anti-partisan" warfare concept should be adopted by US forces in Vietnam and retained to the present day. Melson pointed out that a "post-war German special forces officer described hunter or ranger units as 'men who knew every possible ruse and tactic of guerrilla warfare. They had gone through the hell of combat against the crafty partisans in the endless swamps and forests of Russia.'"

Consequently, "The German special forces and reconnaissance school was a sought after posting for North Atlantic Treaty Organization special operations personnel," who presumably included members of the newly created US Army Special Forces soldiers, which was in part headquartered at Bad Tolz in Germany, as well as CIA paramilitary officers.

Just as with the later Phoenix Program to the present-day US global counterinsurgency, Melson wrote that the "attitude of the [local] population and the amount of assistance it was willing to give guerilla units was of great concern to the Germans. Different treatment was supposed to be accorded to affected populations, bandit supporters, and bandits, while so-called population and resource control measures for each were noted (but were in practice, treated apparently one and the same). 'Action against enemy agitation' was the psychological or information operations of the Nazi period. The Nazis believed that, 'Because of the close relationship of guerilla warfare and politics, actions against enemy agitation are a task that is just as important as interdiction and combat actions. All means must be used to ward off enemy influence and waken and maintain a clear political will.'"

This is typical of any totalitarian system – a movement or a government – whether the process is characterized as counterinsurgency or internal security. The idea of any civilian collaboration with the "enemy" is the basis for what the US government charges as "conspiracy" in the Guantanamo Military Commissions.

Valentine explains the Phoenix program as having been developed by the CIA in 1967 to combine "existing counterinsurgency programs in a concerted effort to 'neutralize' the Vietcong infrastructure (VCI)." He explained further that "neutralize" meant "to kill, capture, or make to defect." "Infrastructure" meant civilians suspected of supporting North Vietnamese and Vietcong soldiers. Central to the Phoenix program was that its targets were civilians, making the operation a violation of the Geneva Conventions which guaranteed protection to civilians in time of war.

"The Vietnam's War's Silver Lining: A Bureaucratic Model for Population Control Emerges" is the title of Chapter 3. Valentine writes that the "CIA's Phoenix program changed how America fights its wars and how the public views this new type of political and psychological warfare, in which civilian casualties are an explicit objective." The intent of the Phoenix program evolved from "neutralizing" enemy leaders into "a program of systematic repression for the political control of the South Vietnamese people. It sought to accomplish this through a highly bureaucratized system of disposing of people who could not be ideologically assimilated." The CIA claimed a legal basis for the program in "emergency decrees" and orders for "administrative detention."

Lauding Petraeus

Valentine refers to a paper by David Kilcullen entitled Countering Global Insurgency. Kilcullen is one of the so-called "counterinsurgency experts" whom General David Petraeus gathered together in a cell to promote and refine "counterinsurgency," or COIN, for the modern era. Fred Kaplan, who is considered a "liberal author and journalist" at Slate, wrote a panegyric to these cultists entitled, The Insurgents: David Petraeus and the Plot to Change the American Way of War. The purpose of this cell was to change the practices of the US military into that of "imperial policing," or COIN, as they preferred to call it.

But Kilcullen argued in his paper that "The 'War on Terrorism'" is actually a campaign to counter a global insurgency. Therefore, Kilcullen argued, "we need a new paradigm, capable of addressing globalised insurgency." His "disaggregation strategy" called for "actions to target the insurgent infrastructure that would resemble the unfairly maligned (but highly effective) Vietnam-era Phoenix program."

He went on, "Contrary to popular mythology, this was largely a civilian aid and development program, supported by targeted military pacification operations and intelligence activity to disrupt the Viet Cong Infrastructure. A global Phoenix program (including the other key elements that formed part of the successful Vietnam CORDS system) would provide a useful start point to consider how Disaggregation would develop in practice."

It is readily apparent that, in fact, a Phoenix-type program is now US global policy and - just like in Vietnam - it is applying "death squad" strategies that eliminate not only active combatants but also civilians who simply find themselves in the same vicinity, thus creating antagonisms that expand the number of fighters.

Corraborative evidence of Valentine's thesis is, perhaps surprisingly, provided by the CIA's own website where a number of redacted historical documents have been published. Presumably, they are documents first revealed under the Freedom of Information Act. A few however are copies of news articles once available to the public but now archived by the CIA which has blacked-out portions of the articles.

The Bloody Reality

One "sanitized" article - approved for release in 2011 - is a partially redacted New Times article of Aug. 22, 1975, by Michael Drosnin. The article recounts a story of a US Army counterintelligence officer "who directed a small part of a secret war aimed not at the enemy's soldiers but at its civilian leaders." He describes how a CIA-directed Phoenix operative dumped a bag of "eleven bloody ears" as proof of six people killed.

The officer, who recalled this incident in 1971, said, "It made me sick. I couldn't go on with what I was doing in Vietnam. . . . It was an assassination campaign . . . my job was to identify and eliminate VCI, the Viet Cong 'infrastructure' – the communist's shadow government. I worked directly with two Vietnamese units, very tough guys who didn't wear uniforms . . . In the beginning they brought back about 10 percent alive. By the end they had stopped taking prisoners.

"How many VC they got I don't know. I saw a hell of a lot of dead bodies. We'd put a tag on saying VCI, but no one really knew – it was just some native in black pajamas with 16 bullet holes."

This led to an investigation by New Times in a day when there were still "investigative reporters," and not the government sycophants of today. Based on firsthand accounts, their investigation concluded that Operation Phoenix was the "only systematized kidnapping, torture and assassination program ever sponsored by the United States government. . . . Its victims were noncombatants." At least 40,000 were murdered, with "only" about 8,000 supposed Viet Cong political cadres targeted for execution, with the rest civilians (including women and children) killed and "later conveniently labeled VCI. Hundreds of thousands were jailed without trial, often after sadistic abuse." The article notes that Phoenix was conceived, financed, and directed by the Central Intelligence Agency, as Mr. Valentine writes.

A second article archived by the CIA was by the Christian Science Monitor, dated Jan. 5, 1971, describing how the Saigon government was "taking steps that could help eliminate one of the most glaring abuses of its controversial Phoenix program, which is aimed against the Viet Cong political and administrative apparatus." Note how the Monitor shifted blame away from the CIA and onto the South Vietnamese government.

But the article noted that one of the most persistent criticisms of Phoenix was that it resulted "in the arrest and imprisonment of many innocent civilians." These were called "Class C Communist offenders," some of whom may actually have been forced to commit such "belligerent acts" as digging trenches or carrying rice. It was those alleged as the "hard core, full-time cadre" who were deemed to make up the "shadow government" designated as Class A and B Viet Cong.

Yet "security committees" throughout South Vietnam, under the direction of the CIA, sentenced at least 10,000 "Class C civilians" to prison each year, far more than Class A and B combined. The article stated, "Thousands of these prisoners are never brought to court trial, and thousands of other have never been sentenced." The latter statement would mean they were just held in "indefinite detention," like the prisoners held at Guantanamo and other US detention centers with high levels of CIA involvement.

Not surprisingly to someone not affiliated with the CIA, the article found as well that "Individual case histories indicate that many who have gone to prison as active supporters of neither the government nor the Viet Cong come out as active backers of the Viet Cong and with an implacable hatred of the government." In other words, the CIA and the COIN enthusiasts are achieving the same results today with the prisons they set up in Iraq and Afghanistan.

CIA Crimes

Valentine broadly covers the illegalities of the CIA over the years, including its well-documented role in facilitating the drug trade over the years. But, in this reviewer's opinion, his most valuable contribution is his description of the CIA's participation going back at least to the Vietnam War in the treatment of what the US government today calls "unlawful combatants."

"Unlawful combatants" is a descriptive term made up by the Bush administration to remove people whom US officials alleged were "terrorists" from the legal protections of the Geneva Conventions and Human Rights Law and thus to justify their capture or killing in the so-called "Global War on Terror." Since the US government deems them "unlawful" – because they do not belong to an organized military structure and do not wear insignia – they are denied the "privilege" of belligerency that applies to traditional soldiers. But – unless they take a "direct part in hostilities" – they would still maintain their civilian status under the law of war and thus not lose the legal protection due to civilians even if they exhibit sympathy or support to one side in a conflict.

Ironically, by the Bush administration's broad definition of "unlawful combatants," CIA officers and their support structure also would fit the category. But the American public is generally forgiving of its own war criminals though most self-righteous and hypocritical in judging foreign war criminals. But perhaps given sufficient evidence, the American public could begin to see both the immorality of this behavior and its counterproductive consequences.

This is not to condemn all CIA officers, some of whom acted in good faith that they were actually defending the United States by acquiring information on a professed enemy in the tradition of Nathan Hale. But it is to harshly condemn those CIA officials and officers who betrayed the United States by subverting its Constitution, including waging secret wars against foreign countries without a declaration of war by Congress. And it decidedly condemns the CIA war criminals who acted as a law unto themselves in the torture and murder of foreign nationals, as Valentine's book describes.

Talleyrand is credited with saying, "They have learned nothing and forgotten nothing." Reportedly, that was borrowed from a 1796 letter by a French naval officer, which stated, in the original language: Personne n'est corrigé; personne n'a su ni rien oublier ni rien appendre. In English: "Nobody has been corrected; no one has known to forget, nor yet to learn anything." That sums up the CIA leadership entirely.

Douglas Valentine's book is a thorough documentation of that fact and it is essential reading for all Americans if we are to have any hope for salvaging a remnant of representative government.

Todd E. Pierce retired as a Major in the US Army Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps in November 2012. His most recent assignment was defense counsel in the Office of Chief Defense Counsel, Office of Military Commissions. This originally appeared at ConsortiumNews.com .

Read more by Todd E. Pierce Inciting Wars the American Way – August 14th, 2016 Chicago Police Adopt Israeli Tactics – December 13th, 2015 US War Theories Target Dissenters – September 13th, 2015 Ron Paul and Lost Lessons of War – September 1st, 2015 Has the US Constitution Been Lost to Military Rule?– January 4th, 2015

[Jun 24, 2017] The Saudi-Qatar Spat - An Offer To Be Refused

Notable quotes:
"... "In my view this is a deep power struggle between Qatar and Saudi Arabia that has little to do with stated reasons regarding Muslim Brotherhood and Iran. The action to isolate Qatar was clearly instigated during US President Trump's recent visit in Riyadh where he pushed the unfortunate idea of a Saudi-led "Arab NATO" to oppose Iranian influence in the region. ..."
"... Moreover, Qatar was acting increasingly independent of the heavy Wahhabite hand of Saudi Arabia and threatening Saudi domination over the Gulf States. Kuwait, Oman, as well as non-Gulf Turkey were coming closer to Qatar and even Pakistan now may think twice about joining a Saudi-led "Arab NATO". Bin Salman has proven a disaster as a defense strategist, as proven in the Yemen debacle. ..."
"... KSA could not have taken this course of action all by itself. Someone somewhere must be egging them on. But who? The US seems to have no interest in a Saudi-Qatari conflict. Israel might, but only if said conflict is resolved in Saudi favor. ..."
"... I am therefore coming to the conclusion that there is no longer clear leadership of US policy and there are different factions within the US government. The white house and CIA are supporting the Saudis while the Pentagon supports Qatar. This is just a hunch, but it seems like it could make sense. Perhaps this is what happens when a government is in a state of decompensation. ..."
"... I quite like the WWI parallel. Trump as Kaiser Wilhelm? There certainly are some striking similarities in character. ..."
"... "...gifted, with a quick understanding, sometimes brilliant, with a taste for the modern,-technology, industry, science -- but at the same time superficial, hasty, restless, unable to relax, without any deeper level of seriousness, without any desire for hard work or drive to see things through to the end, without any sense of sobriety, for balance and boundaries, or even for reality and real problems, uncontrollable and scarcely capable of learning from experience, desperate for applause and success, -- as Bismarck said early on in his life, he wanted every day to be his birthday-romantic, sentimental and theatrical, unsure and arrogant, with an immeasurably exaggerated self-confidence and desire to show off, a juvenile cadet, who never took the tone of the officers' mess out of his voice, and brashly wanted to play the part of the supreme warlord, full of panicky fear of a monotonous life without any diversions, and yet aimless, pathological in his hatred against his English mother." ..."
"... It also stands to reason if you simply consider Saudi's importance regionally: A lot is made of Iran's threat to Saudi influence, but Turkey - thanks in part to considerable investment by Qatar currently while investment from elsewhere has reduced massively -- is also very threatening to Saudi's influence, especially on the religious front. ..."
"... Iran representing Shia interests in the region and Turkey representing Sunni interests is not a difficult future to imagine. It would of course grate with Saudi Arabia given that it had poured vast amounts of money into the Turkish economy and the diyanet. ..."
"... Hassan Nasrallah has given his annual International Al-Quds Day speech with plenty of fire aimed at the usual suspects. The Daily Star reports: 'Nasrallah accused Saudi Arabia of "paving way for Israel" in the region. '"It's unfortunate that Saudi Arabia is the head of terrorism and today it's holding its neighbors accountable for supporting terrorism," Nasrallah said, hinting to the recent economic sanctions against Qatar.' https://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Lebanon-News/2017/Jun-23/410688-nasrallah-says-regional-conflicts-seek-to-serve-israel-interest.ashx Al-Manar provides this report, http://english.almanar.com.lb/292250 Unfortunately, I cannot locate an English language transcript, although one might become available eventually as is usually the case. Piotr Berman | Jun 23, 2017 6:42:14 PM | 36 Piotr Berman Aljazeera evil? Are you joking? .... @Anon | Jun 23, 2017 3:47:56 PM | 24 You did not address the argument I made, namely, that Aljazeera editors apparently belong to "Muslims, who immediately set out to support it [Darwinian theory of evolution] unaware of the blasphemy and error in it." These guys pretend to be nice Wahhabis, dressing in dishdashas, their womenfolks in abayas, but in fact they spread heretical and blasphemous doctrines. However, I am more of a Khazar than a Wahhabi and I do not treat this argument seriously. It is the fact that compared to other government supported TV/online venues, say RT or PressTV, Aljazeera is well written and edited, has plenty of valuable material, etc. It is a worthwhile place to check when you want to get a composite picture on some issues. And it irritates KSA potentates in a myriad of ways, precisely because it targets "politically engaged Muslim". It is a good example that pluralism has inherent positive aspects, devils that quarrel are better than "One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them." ==== Actually, I hope for many more benefits will show up from this quarrel than improved profits for Iranian produce growers. It is worthwhile to observe that Dubai, a component emirate of UAE, has gigantic economic links with Iran, which must be tolerated by overlords from Abu Dhabi: they had to bail out their cousins after real estate collapse, so they have big money stake in Dubai being prosperous. Potentially, Dubai and especially the hapless vegetable and dairy producers in KSA can lose a bundle (the latter had to invest a lot in farms for Qatari market, it is not like letting cows graze on abundant grasslands plus planting cucumbers and waiting for the rain to water them). Aljazeera and Muslim Brotherhood are more irritating to KSA and UAE than an occasional polite missive to Iran. ..."
"... The only hope for Saudi Arabia is to re-denominate oil sales in multiple currencies such as the WTO drawing rights, of course based on another formula, perhaps based on the countries that purchase the most oil. This would be the only way for the royalty to gain longevity as rulers of the country. Any other scenario spells disaster. ..."
Jun 24, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org
Pft | Jun 23, 2017 8:43:28 PM | 45
William Engdahls views. "In my view this is a deep power struggle between Qatar and Saudi Arabia that has little to do with stated reasons regarding Muslim Brotherhood and Iran. The action to isolate Qatar was clearly instigated during US President Trump's recent visit in Riyadh where he pushed the unfortunate idea of a Saudi-led "Arab NATO" to oppose Iranian influence in the region.

The Saudi move, clearly instigated by Prince Bin Salman, Minister of Defense, was not about going against terrorism. If it were about terrorism, bin Salman would have to arrest himself and most of his Saudi cabinet as one of the largest financiers of terrorism in the world, and shut all Saudi-financed madrasses around the world, from Pakistan to Bosnia-Herzgovina to Kosovo. Another factor according to informed sources in Holland is that Washington wanted to punish Qatar for seeking natural gas sales with China priced not in US dollars but in Renminbi. That apparently alarmed Washington, as Qatar is the world's largest LNG exporter and most to Asia.

Moreover, Qatar was acting increasingly independent of the heavy Wahhabite hand of Saudi Arabia and threatening Saudi domination over the Gulf States. Kuwait, Oman, as well as non-Gulf Turkey were coming closer to Qatar and even Pakistan now may think twice about joining a Saudi-led "Arab NATO". Bin Salman has proven a disaster as a defense strategist, as proven in the Yemen debacle.

As to the future, it appears that Qatar is not about to rollover and surrender in face of Saudi actions. Already Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani is moving to establish closer ties with Iran, with Turkey that might include Turkish military support, and most recently with Russia.

Kuwait and Oman are urgently trying to get Saudi to backdown on this, but that is unlikely as behind Saudi Arabia stands the US and promises of tens of billions of dollars in US arms. This foolish US move to use their proxy, in this case Riyadh, to discipline those not "behaving" according to Washington wishes, could well be the turning point, the point of collapse of US remaining influence in the entire Middle East in the next several years."

lysander | Jun 23, 2017 7:43:17 PM | 42
KSA could not have taken this course of action all by itself. Someone somewhere must be egging them on. But who? The US seems to have no interest in a Saudi-Qatari conflict. Israel might, but only if said conflict is resolved in Saudi favor.

I am therefore coming to the conclusion that there is no longer clear leadership of US policy and there are different factions within the US government. The white house and CIA are supporting the Saudis while the Pentagon supports Qatar. This is just a hunch, but it seems like it could make sense. Perhaps this is what happens when a government is in a state of decompensation.

R Winner | Jun 23, 2017 1:41:04 PM | 4

It is mind boggling that a fundamental reshaping of the Middle East was most likely put in motion by Trump completely oblivious of what he was doing shooting from the hip on his Saudi trip. Outside of an outright invasion of Qatar by Saudi Arabia, it is hard to see this as a once in a life time geopolitical gift to Russia, Iran, Turkey, Syria, and Iran.

Juggs | Jun 23, 2017 2:24:33 PM | 9
Now when July 3 comes and goes, Saudi Arabia will look completely impotent in the eyes of the countries in the region. I wonder if there is some sort of interest between Russia, Turkey, Qatar, and Iran on a coup in Saudi Arabia. I can't imagine it would be that difficult. I know it is not Putin's policy to play these types of games like the US Regime, but one has to assume that people are just fucking done with the clowns running Saudi Arabia.
harrylaw | Jun 23, 2017 2:36:39 PM | 10
Gaddafi's speech to the Arab League in Syria 2008 was so prescient..

"We [the Arabs] are the enemies of one another I'm sad to say, we deceive one another, we gloat at the misfortune of one another, and we conspire against one another, and an Arab's enemy is another Arab's friend.

Along comes a foreign power, occupies an Arab country [Iraq] and hangs its President,and we all sit on the sidelines laughing. Any one of you might be next, yes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZZvPlGCt_8

okie farmer | Jun 23, 2017 2:37:39 PM | 11
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/23/close-al-jazeera-saudi-arabia-issues-qatar-with-13-demands-to-end-blockade
Qatar given 10 days to meet 13 sweeping demands by Saudi Arabia
Gulf dispute deepens as allies issue ultimatum for ending blockade that includes closing al-Jazeera and cutting back ties with Iran
Juggs | Jun 23, 2017 2:41:55 PM | 13
Peter AU "Is Qatar, like Turkey, already heading for a multi-polar world? For 25 years, the US was the only game in town, but with Russia's move into Syria there are now options."

Hard to see the world heading in that direction:

I wonder if Qatar is already in talks with China about joining the Silk Road Initiative now that it is openly moving into the Russia and Iran sphere.

karlof1 | Jun 23, 2017 3:06:36 PM | 16
Juggs 13--

"I wonder if Qatar is already in talks with China about joining the Silk Road Initiative..."

You'll find the answer's yes as Pepe explains, https://sputniknews.com/columnists/201706161054701807-west-cannot-smell-what-eurasia-cooking/ and http://www.atimes.com/article/blood-tracks-new-silk-roads/

dh | Jun 23, 2017 3:20:35 PM | 19
@17 The best is yet to come. There's a chance Netanyahu will fly into Riyadh to tell everybody what to do. I'm sure he wants what's best for the region.
L'Akratique | Jun 23, 2017 3:29:54 PM | 20
I quite like the WWI parallel. Trump as Kaiser Wilhelm? There certainly are some striking similarities in character.

Quote from Thomas Nipperdey:

"...gifted, with a quick understanding, sometimes brilliant, with a taste for the modern,-technology, industry, science -- but at the same time superficial, hasty, restless, unable to relax, without any deeper level of seriousness, without any desire for hard work or drive to see things through to the end, without any sense of sobriety, for balance and boundaries, or even for reality and real problems, uncontrollable and scarcely capable of learning from experience, desperate for applause and success, -- as Bismarck said early on in his life, he wanted every day to be his birthday-romantic, sentimental and theatrical, unsure and arrogant, with an immeasurably exaggerated self-confidence and desire to show off, a juvenile cadet, who never took the tone of the officers' mess out of his voice, and brashly wanted to play the part of the supreme warlord, full of panicky fear of a monotonous life without any diversions, and yet aimless, pathological in his hatred against his English mother."

cankles | Jun 23, 2017 4:05:49 PM | 25
@Laguerre #23
I have difficulty in seeing a relationship with the Silk Road Initiative, other than that Qatar exports a lot of LNG to China.

China Eyes Qatar in its Quest to Build a New Silk Road

Last month at the China-Arab Cooperation Forum in Doha, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi postulated that Qatar should take part in the realization of China's Silk Road Initiatives.
Laguerre | Jun 23, 2017 4:42:05 PM | 27
@cankles | Jun 23, 2017 4:05:49 PM | 25

Yeah, you're right. I hadn't looked into the question sufficiently. Of course the Chinese are looking for more external finance for the project. They don't want to be the only ones who pay. Fat chance, though. The Qataris have been in austerity since the decline in the oil price. Someone I know who works in the Qatar Museum has seen all her colleagues let go. And now the crisis with Saudi.

The Qataris may even have signed contracts with China. But if you know anything about the Gulf, there's a wide gap between signing a contract, and actually getting paid. It depends upon how the prince concerned feels about the project when the question of payment comes up. A company I worked for in the 80s took two years to get payment, even though they were experts in Gulfi relations.

AtaBrit | Jun 23, 2017 4:51:40 PM | 28
Great piece.

The issue of the threat regarding the Turkish base didn't surprise me much, though. I think it's clear that if MB is the target, then of course Turkey has to become a target, and Qatar - Turkey ties have to be broken. It stands to reason.

It also stands to reason if you simply consider Saudi's importance regionally: A lot is made of Iran's threat to Saudi influence, but Turkey - thanks in part to considerable investment by Qatar currently while investment from elsewhere has reduced massively -- is also very threatening to Saudi's influence, especially on the religious front.

Iran representing Shia interests in the region and Turkey representing Sunni interests is not a difficult future to imagine. It would of course grate with Saudi Arabia given that it had poured vast amounts of money into the Turkish economy and the diyanet.

On a slightly different note there's a scandal going on in western Turkey, in Duzce, at the moment because the local authority has unveiled a statue of Rabia - the four fingered Muslim Brotherhood salute! :-)

Mina | Jun 23, 2017 5:09:45 PM | 29
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/271450/World/Region/UN-blames-warring-sides-for-Yemens-cholera-catastr.aspx
let's blame underfed guys in skirts for fun
karlof1 | Jun 23, 2017 5:16:47 PM | 30
Hassan Nasrallah has given his annual International Al-Quds Day speech with plenty of fire aimed at the usual suspects. The Daily Star reports: 'Nasrallah accused Saudi Arabia of "paving way for Israel" in the region.

'"It's unfortunate that Saudi Arabia is the head of terrorism and today it's holding its neighbors accountable for supporting terrorism," Nasrallah said, hinting to the recent economic sanctions against Qatar.' https://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Lebanon-News/2017/Jun-23/410688-nasrallah-says-regional-conflicts-seek-to-serve-israel-interest.ashx

Al-Manar provides this report, http://english.almanar.com.lb/292250

Unfortunately, I cannot locate an English language transcript, although one might become available eventually as is usually the case.

Piotr Berman | Jun 23, 2017 6:42:14 PM | 36
Piotr Berman

Aljazeera evil? Are you joking? ....

@Anon | Jun 23, 2017 3:47:56 PM | 24

You did not address the argument I made, namely, that Aljazeera editors apparently belong to "Muslims, who immediately set out to support it [Darwinian theory of evolution] unaware of the blasphemy and error in it." These guys pretend to be nice Wahhabis, dressing in dishdashas, their womenfolks in abayas, but in fact they spread heretical and blasphemous doctrines. However, I am more of a Khazar than a Wahhabi and I do not treat this argument seriously.

It is the fact that compared to other government supported TV/online venues, say RT or PressTV, Aljazeera is well written and edited, has plenty of valuable material, etc. It is a worthwhile place to check when you want to get a composite picture on some issues. And it irritates KSA potentates in a myriad of ways, precisely because it targets "politically engaged Muslim".

It is a good example that pluralism has inherent positive aspects, devils that quarrel are better than "One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them."

====

Actually, I hope for many more benefits will show up from this quarrel than improved profits for Iranian produce growers. It is worthwhile to observe that Dubai, a component emirate of UAE, has gigantic economic links with Iran, which must be tolerated by overlords from Abu Dhabi: they had to bail out their cousins after real estate collapse, so they have big money stake in Dubai being prosperous. Potentially, Dubai and especially the hapless vegetable and dairy producers in KSA can lose a bundle (the latter had to invest a lot in farms for Qatari market, it is not like letting cows graze on abundant grasslands plus planting cucumbers and waiting for the rain to water them). Aljazeera and Muslim Brotherhood are more irritating to KSA and UAE than an occasional polite missive to Iran.

One pattern in Syrian civil war were persistent and bloody feuds between jihadists that formed roughly four groups:

  1. "salafi", presumably funded by KSA,
  2. "brothers", presumably funded by Qatar and Turkey,
  3. al-Qaeda/al-Nusra/something new that was forcing the first two groups to surrender some weapons (and money?),
  4. and ISIS that had more complex sources (or more hidden).

Medium term strategy of Syrian government and allies for the near future is to "de-escalate" in the western part of the country and finish off ISIS, partitioning hitherto ISIS territories in some satisfactory way, while maintaining some type of truce with the Kurds. Then finish off the jihadists, except those most directly protected by Turkey. Finally, take care of the Kurds. Some sufficiently safe federalism can be part of the solution, but nothing that would lead to enclaves with their own military forces and their own foreign policy, like Iraqi Kurdistan.

That requires the opposing parties to exhibit somewhat suicidal behavior. A big time official feud between "brothers" and "salafi + Kurds" (a pair that shares some funding but with scant mutual affection" can help a lot. Most of all, a big time feud between Turkey and KSA can stabilize the situation in which jihadists from Idlib and northern Hama observe a truce/de-escalation, while their colleagues from south Syria get clobbered, and definitely will induce them to refrain from attacking Syrian government while it is busy against ISIS. After Erdogan was prevented from marching onto Raqqa, he has two options: "Sunnistan" in eastern Syria under domination of YPG or a much smaller YPG dominated territory that can be subsequently digested. Option one is a true nightmare for Erdogan, more than a mere paranoia. However, Erdogan is also "pan-Sunni" Islamist, so he could be tempted to backstab infidels from Damascus, as he was doing before. An open feud with Sunnistan sponsors should help him to choose.

likklemore | Jun 23, 2017 6:49:14 PM | 37
Cankles @ 25 Is that really you? If so, you should know -

Look behind the curtain. This has to do with maintaining the price of oil in US$.

Qatar launches first Chinese yuan clearing hub in Middle East .

Qatar opened the Middle East's first centre for clearing transactions in the Chinese yuan on Tuesday, saying it would boost trade and investment between China and Gulf Arab economies.

"The launch of the region's first renminbi clearing center in Doha creates the necessary platform to realise the full potential of Qatar and the region's trade relationship with China," Qatar's central bank governor Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud al-Thani said at a ceremony.

"It will facilitate greater cross-border renminbi investment and financing business, and promote greater trade and economic links between China and the region, paving the way for better financial cooperation and enhancing the pre-eminence of Qatar as a financial hub in MENA (Middle East and North Africa)."
Industrial and Commercial Bank of China's (ICBC) Doha branch is the clearing bank for the centre, which intends to serve companies from around the Middle East.

A clearing bank can handle all parts of a currency transaction from when a commitment is made until it is settled, reducing costs and time taken for trading.

The centre "will improve the ease of transactions between companies in the region and China by allowing them to settle their trade directly in renminbi, drawing increased trade through Qatar and boosting bilateral and economic collaboration between Qatar and China," said ICBC chairman Jiang Jianqing.

At present, Qatar and the Gulf's other wealthy oil and gas exporters use the U.S. dollar much more than the yuan. Most of their currencies are pegged to the dollar, and most of their huge foreign currency reserves are denominated in dollars.

Laguerre @27

Date of article April 24, 2017

In April 2015, Qatar opened Qatar Renminbi Centre (QRC), the region's first clearing centre for the Chinese currency. This allows for trades priced in RMB to be cleared locally in Qatar rather than in other centres such as Shanghai or Hong Kong.ICBC has since become the designated clearance bank servicing the QRC, which has handled more than 350bn yuan ($52.6bn) since its inception.
http://emerge85.io/blog/the-middle-kingdoms-big-four-and-the-gulf

~ ~ ~ ~
Trending and not very far to seeing what is now held under the table. Oil will also be priced in RMB because KSA, to maintain their share of exports to China, will need to get on board. For now, it's been reaffirmed, SA does the whipping and USA protects the Royals.

rawdawgbugfalo | Jun 23, 2017 6:54:19 PM | 38
Well said, I still think this is all dreamlike. Having natural gas and sharing it with Iran is a mf.

Qatar: Is it about Trump, Israel or Nascent Influence? http://wsenmw.blogspot.com/2017/06/qatar-is-it-about-trump-israel-or.html

Piotr Berman | Jun 23, 2017 7:34:43 PM | 40
About Sunni-Shia split. My impression is that this is mostly KSA + UAE obsession. For example, there is a substantial Shia minority in Pakistan, but the dominant thinking among the Sunnis seems to be "Muslim solidarity". There is a minority that is virulently anti-Shia, but they are politically isolated and despised exactly on the account of breaking that solidarity. After all, Pakistan forms the boundary of the Umma with non-Muslim India. I base that opinion on comments in online Pakistani newspapers, and what I have heard from an acquaintance who was a religiously conservative Sunni Pakistani. To him, the attack on Yemen by KSA was wrong "because they are Muslim". So even if Pakistan is to a certain extend in Saudi pocket, and its deep state has an extremist Sunni component, overt siding against "fellow Muslim" is out of the question.

Egypt is another case. One can find rather isolated anti-Shia outbursts, like writings of some fossils in Al-Azhar (who are responsible for the state religion), but the government steers away from that, and in spite of hefty subsidies, it joined Yemen war only symbolically and for a very short time (unlike Sudan that really needs the cash for its mercenaries). As you move further away from the Persian Gulf, the indifference to the "split" increases. As far as Qatar and Aljazeera are concerned, probably no one detests them more than Egyptian elite, as they were valiantly fighting Muslim Brotherhood for the sake of progress with some occasional large massacres (killing several hundreds of protesters, issuing hundreds of death penalties to participants in a single protest, in absentia! incredible idiocy+cruelty). That explains why al-Sisi joined KSA against Qatar.

However, the civil war in Libya that embroils Egypt is a classic case of unexpected alliances. Egypt with a help from Russia, KSA and UAE supports the "eastern government" that bases legitimacy on democratic parliament re-assembled in Tobruq on Egyptian border, and dominated by military strongman Haftar. The latter has the best chance of all people to become a military strongman of all Libya, but apparently has meager popularity and thus, too few troops. He patched that problem by an alliance with a Salafi group that had a numerous militia, currently partitioned into smaller units and incorporated into Haftar's brigades. Even with that, his progress on the ground is very, very gradual. Against him is the government in Tripolis, legitimized by a more fresh parliament and UN/EU, plus a military force that includes several militias. Part of the parliamentary support stems from Muslim Brotherhood, and some part of military support comes from Salafi militias. There are also aspects of a "war of all against all", seems that Saharan tribes collected a lot of fresh blood feuds.

Thus Qatari+Turkish support for Tripoli government is aligned with EU, and Egyptian support for Tobruq government is aligned with Russia and KSA.

Dusty | Jun 23, 2017 7:38:26 PM | 41
I thought I might just throw this out there and see what sticks. US policy is based on power and control. Saudi Arabia has been a good ally but it does not serve use policy or strategic goals any longer. Not really. I think the grand prize for destabilizing the middle east is Saudi Arabia. It would be the only way to truly control the development of other nations or more specifically, to control their rivalries and save the the US from complete economic breakdown. The Saudi's are being plumbed by the best of them, telling them they are you friends, we have your back and so long as Saudi Arabia loses more money and keeps lossing money in needless wars etc.

The only hope for Saudi Arabia is to re-denominate oil sales in multiple currencies such as the WTO drawing rights, of course based on another formula, perhaps based on the countries that purchase the most oil. This would be the only way for the royalty to gain longevity as rulers of the country. Any other scenario spells disaster. Of course, it would be a rough go for them for a while, but in the end, a slight change in outlook and the unfair advantage given to the US would go a long way, economically to stabilizing large blocks of countries. They also could of course change their outlook on the world, but that is certainly a difficult challenge. If the Muslim world came together based on their similarities, they could be a very powerful block.

The US no longer has the financial velocity it once maintained and this is much more due to insane ideas about being a hegemon. I never thought revolution would be possible in the US, but it is coming and it won't take much. The country does not appear to have intelligence peddle back a number of policies, drunk on its own poison, it makes capitalism look disgusting. A new business model is needed, one that developes mutual trade based on respect from within the exchange itself. Saudi Arabia needs to cultivate multi-channel support for its biggest resource so that when the returns are no longer there, they will have also developed multiple avenues to prosperity. Just a thought.

[Jun 24, 2017] Ukraine had ceased to exist as an independent country in 2014, with arrival of Nuland (ziocon) and Brennan (the CIA)

Ukraine is now debt slave. Debt slave is not an independent country. No way. It is a neo-colony.
Notable quotes:
"... The scale of de-industrialization and of de-modernization Ukraine achieved in short 26 years since the collapse of the Soviet Union is nothing short of mind-boggling and unprecedented. ..."
Jun 24, 2017 | www.unz.com

annamaria June 23, 2017 at 1:48 am GMT

@Mr. Hack

who give a damn about what Ukrainians feel.
Why Ukrainians of course, it's their country after all. " it's their country after all."

Their country?

Ukraine had ceased to exist as an independent country in 2014, with arrival of Nuland (ziocon) and Brennan (the CIA). Hence the spectacular appointments of Misha Saakishvilli (wanted in his native Georgia), Natali Yaresko (an American felon), Pravyj sector (local neo-nazi), and finally, Groysman, a Jewish entrepreneur and current prime minister of Ukraine. Jews make 0.4% of Ukrainian population: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jewish-population-of-the-world

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-06-22/stockman-warns-great-big-coup-way

"While Putin was basking in the glory of the 2014 winter Olympics at Sochi, the entire apparatus of Imperial Washington - the CIA, the National Endowment for Democracy, the State Department and a long string of Washington funded NGOs - was on the ground in Kiev assisting the putsch that overthrew Ukraine's constitutionally elected President and Russian ally.

From there, the Ukrainian civil war and partition of Crimea inexorably followed, as did the escalating campaign against Russia and its leader.

So as it turned out, the War Party could not have planned a better outcome - especially after Russia moved to protect its legitimate interests in its own backyard resulting from the Washington-instigated civil war in Ukraine. That included protecting its 200-year old naval base at Sevastopol in Crimea."

Moreover, the Ukrainian territory is the result of Soviet annexations of Rumanian, Polish, and Hungarian territories; without the generous provisions by the USSR, Ukraine would be a puny patch of land: http://ukrmap.su/en-uh10/273.html

Rmthoughs Show Comment Next New Comment June 22, 2017 at 10:58 pm GMT

@Boris N
Get it, boys and girls? Everyone owes it to Ukraine to "put her on her feet". Russia owes her gas transit, buying everything Ukraine (less and less) produces. And, of course, Ukraine's main idea about Europe, as even her former President still thinks so, is to get to EU, get a truck load of free money (aka investments) and start living as European upper middle class. I am not exaggerating. Of course, the fact that Ukraine became what it became by 1990 was largely thanks to the Soviet economic system somehow got lost on such people as Kuchma, not to speak of very many average Ukrainians.

The scale of de-industrialization and of de-modernization Ukraine achieved in short 26 years since the collapse of the Soviet Union is nothing short of mind-boggling and unprecedented.

[Jun 24, 2017] Kissing the Specious Present Goodbye - The Unz Review

Notable quotes:
"... Put another way, historical perspectives conceived in what Becker termed "the specious present" have a sell-by date. Beyond their time, they become stale and outmoded, and so should be revised or discarded. This process of rejecting truths previously treated as authoritative is inexorable and essential. ..."
"... Memories, whether directly or vicariously acquired, are "necessary to orient us in our little world of endeavor." Yet the specious present that we inhabit is inherently unstable and constantly in flux, which means that history itself must be pliable. Crafting history necessarily becomes an exercise in "imaginative creation" in which all participate. However unconsciously, Everyman adapts the past to serve his most pressing needs, thereby functioning as "his own historian." ..."
"... New York Times ..."
"... This idée fixe ..."
"... my sense is that many Americans have an inkling that history of late has played them for suckers. This is notably true with respect to the post-Cold War era, in which the glories of openness, diversity, and neoliberal economics, of advanced technology and unparalleled U.S. military power all promised in combination to produce something like a new utopia in which Americans would indisputably enjoy a privileged status globally. ..."
"... "Of course money-lovers will want the United States Government, because it's the one government that exists simply and solely to protect money. " ..."
"... Nah, they'll put a few more bricks in the wall, reinforce the gates, and hire more guards so they can rest well at night while bathed in the glow that they continue to advance the best interests of human-kind over the objections of the unwashed masses on the other side of the wall. ..."
Jun 24, 2017 | www.unz.com

Paging Professor Becker

"For all practical purposes history is, for us and for the time being, what we know it to be." So remarked Carl Becker in 1931 at the annual meeting of the American Historical Association. Professor Becker, a towering figure among historians of his day, was president of the AHA that year. His message to his colleagues amounted to a warning of sorts: Don't think you're so smart. The study of the past may reveal truths, he allowed, but those truths are contingent, incomplete, and valid only "for the time being."

Put another way, historical perspectives conceived in what Becker termed "the specious present" have a sell-by date. Beyond their time, they become stale and outmoded, and so should be revised or discarded. This process of rejecting truths previously treated as authoritative is inexorable and essential. Yet it also tends to be fiercely contentious. The present may be specious, but it confers real privileges, which a particular reading of the past can sustain or undermine. Becker believed it inevitable that "our now valid versions" of history "will in due course be relegated to the category of discarded myths." It was no less inevitable that beneficiaries of the prevailing version of truth should fight to preserve it.

Who exercises the authority to relegate? Who gets to decide when a historical truth no longer qualifies as true? Here, Becker insisted that "Mr. Everyman" plays a crucial role. For Becker, Mr. Everyman was Joe Doakes, John Q. Public, or the man in the street. He was "every normal person," a phrase broad enough to include all manner of people. Yet nothing in Becker's presentation suggested that he had the slightest interest in race, sexuality, or gender. His Mr. Everyman belonged to the tribe of WHAM.

Memories, whether directly or vicariously acquired, are "necessary to orient us in our little world of endeavor." Yet the specious present that we inhabit is inherently unstable and constantly in flux, which means that history itself must be pliable. Crafting history necessarily becomes an exercise in "imaginative creation" in which all participate. However unconsciously, Everyman adapts the past to serve his most pressing needs, thereby functioning as "his own historian."

Yet he does so in collaboration with others. Since time immemorial, purveyors of the past - the "ancient and honorable company of wise men of the tribe, of bards and story-tellers and minstrels, of soothsayers and priests, to whom in successive ages has been entrusted the keeping of the useful myths" - have enabled him to "hold in memory those things only which can be related with some reasonable degree of relevance" to his own experience and aspirations. In Becker's lifetime it had become incumbent upon members of the professoriate, successors to the bards and minstrels of yesteryear, "to enlarge and enrich the specious present common to us all to the end that 'society' (the tribe, the nation, or all mankind) may judge of what it is doing in the light of what it has done and what it hopes to do."

Yet Becker took pains to emphasize that professional historians disdained Mr. Everyman at their peril:

"Berate him as we will for not reading our books, Mr. Everyman is stronger than we are, and sooner or later we must adapt our knowledge to his necessities. Otherwise he will leave us to our own devices The history that does work in the world, the history that influences the course of history, is living history It is for this reason that the history of history is a record of the 'new history' that in every age rises to confound and supplant the old."

Becker stressed that the process of formulating new history to supplant the old is organic rather than contrived; it comes from the bottom up, not the top down. "We, historians by profession, share in this necessary effort," he concluded. "But we do not impose our version of the human story on Mr. Everyman; in the end it is rather Mr. Everyman who imposes his version on us."

Donald Trump as Everyman's Champion?

Becker offered his reflections on "Everyman His Own Historian" in the midst of the Great Depression. Perhaps because that economic crisis found so many Americans burdened with deprivation and uncertainty, he implicitly attributed to his everyman a unitary perspective, as if shared distress imbued members of the public with a common outlook. That was not, in fact, the case in 1931 and is, if anything, even less so in our own day.

Still, Becker's construct retains considerable utility. Today finds more than a few White Heterosexual American males (WHAM), our own equivalent of Mr. Everyman, in a state of high dudgeon. From their perspective, the specious present has not panned out as it was supposed to. As a consequence, they are pissed. In November 2016, to make clear just how pissed they were, they elected Donald Trump as president of the United States.

This was, to put it mildly, not supposed to happen. For months prior to the election, the custodians of the past in its "now valid version" had judged the prospect all but inconceivable. Yet WHAMs (with shocking support from other tribes) intervened to decide otherwise. Rarely has a single event so thoroughly confounded history's self-assigned proctors. One can imagine the shade of Professor Becker whispering, "I warned you, didn't I?"

Those deeply invested in drawing a straight line from the specious present into the indefinite future blame Trump himself for having knocked history off its prescribed course. Remove Trump from the scene, they appear to believe, and all will once again be well. The urgent imperative of doing just that - immediately, now, no later than this afternoon - has produced what New York Times columnist Charles Blow aptly calls a "throbbing anxiety" among those who (like Blow himself) find "the relentless onslaught of awfulness erupting from this White House" intolerable. They will not rest until Trump is gone.

This idée fixe , reinforced on a daily basis by ever more preposterous presidential antics, finds the nation trapped in a sort of bizarre do-loop. The media's obsession with Trump reinforces his obsession with the media and between them they simply crowd out all possibility of thoughtful reflection. Their fetish is his and his theirs. The result is a cycle of mutual contempt that only deepens the longer it persists.

Both sides agree on one point only: that history began anew last November 8th, when (take your pick) America either took leave of its senses or chose greatness. How the United States got to November 8th qualifies, at best, as an afterthought or curiosity. It's almost as if the years and decades that had preceded Trump's election had all disappeared into some vast sinkhole.

... ... ...

...my sense is that many Americans have an inkling that history of late has played them for suckers. This is notably true with respect to the post-Cold War era, in which the glories of openness, diversity, and neoliberal economics, of advanced technology and unparalleled U.S. military power all promised in combination to produce something like a new utopia in which Americans would indisputably enjoy a privileged status globally.

In almost every respect, those expectations remain painfully unfulfilled. The history that "served for the time being" and was endlessly reiterated during the presidencies of Bush 41, Clinton, Bush 43, and Obama no longer serves. It has yielded a mess of pottage: grotesque inequality, worrisome insecurity, moral confusion, an epidemic of self-destructive behavior, endless wars, and basic institutions that work poorly if at all. Nor is it just WHAMs who have suffered the consequences. The history with which Americans are familiar cannot explain this outcome.

... ... ...

The author of several books, including most recently America's War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History , Andrew Bacevich, a TomDispatch regular , is currently trying to decipher the history of the post-Cold War era. (Reprinted from TomDispatch by permission of author or representative) ← Forbidden Questions? RSS Category: Ideology Tags: Donald Trump , TomDispatch Archives , White Americans

Robert Magill Show Comment Next New Comment June 23, 2017 at 12:57 am GMT

The Mandate of Heaven, which members of my tribe once took as theirs by right, has been cruelly withdrawn. History itself has betrayed us.

How did we manage to sleepwalk for two plus centuries with dreams of "the city on a hill", our "exceptional nation" etc etc and quite freely disparage others for their war making proclivities without getting wise to it all?

This line from D.H.Lawrence in his graphic novel "Quetzalcoatl" charges Mexico and other governments with encouraging our nefarious actions.

"Of course money-lovers will want the United States Government, because it's the one government that exists simply and solely to protect money. "

robertmagill.wordpress.com

Carlton Meyer Website Show Comment Next New Comment June 23, 2017 at 5:14 am GMT

Trump only exists because the two political parties have become so corrupt and arrogant they don't give a damn about working people. In theory, the Democratic party represents workers, but as profane lefty Jimmy Dore recently explained, the Dems are worse than Trump:

Miro23 Show Comment Next New Comment June 23, 2017 at 6:44 am GMT

When that happens, when promises of American greatness restored prove empty, there will be hell to pay. Joe Doakes, John Q. Public, and the man in the street will be even more pissed. Should that moment arrive, historians would do well to listen seriously to what Everyman has to say.

Some thoughts on this would be that American greatness needed 1) a high level of national unity 2) a lot of discipline and hard work. There's a tendency to look back to the 1950′s when talking about "American Greatness", but in reality this was a very unusual time. America lacked industrial competitors. After WW2, Germany and Japan were in ruins. China was still an economic basket case and Europe was recovering with the help of US multi-nationals and US investment.

Rather than start partying, the US needed an awareness of the coming challenges and needed from the 1950′s to develop a modern industrial base in new technologies with top class technological skills among its workforce as a national project. The aim should have been to build a world class education system at least to match the STEM results of the best Europeans and N/E Asians.

In the event, the US disappeared into counter cultural Hippiedom and sent all its industries to Asian for cheaper and more efficient production. A government stuffed with commercial special interests is obviously going to do what is best for their bottom lines i.e. produce in Asia and sell in the US – they're not in business to look after the US public. The public are Consumers and they are Vendors.

The Alarmist Show Comment Next New Comment June 23, 2017 at 8:09 am GMT

Nah, they'll put a few more bricks in the wall, reinforce the gates, and hire more guards so they can rest well at night while bathed in the glow that they continue to advance the best interests of human-kind over the objections of the unwashed masses on the other side of the wall.

Greg Bacon Website Show Comment Next New Comment June 23, 2017 at 8:32 am GMT

"Are we any better off than we were 50 years ago? Absolutely . . . White dominance is on the decline as the demographic white majority heads for oblivion over the course of the next 30 years."

Mark Potok in an August 2013 column for the white-hating SPLC. http://en.metapedia.org/wiki/Mark_Potok#Quotes Us WHAMs are in the bulls eye of many a group who would like to see us join the dinosaurs.

War for Blair Mountain Show Comment Next New Comment June 23, 2017 at 12:40 pm GMT

Colonel Bacevich

There is very strong trans-species-trans phylum evidence for what is going to happen in response to betrayal-deception .and it ain't pretty as they say. Harvard biologist Robert Trivers I believe Comrade Unz mentioned that he was a research assistant for Robert Trivers at Harvard wrote a book about the biology of betrayal and revenge using a massive amount of trans-species and trans-phylum evidence-data

So I recommend that you read Robert Triver's book I also recommend that you read the conversation betwern Noam Chomsky and Robert Trivers ..where Trivers discusses the overwhelming ethnological evidence for this which you can very easily google for

Larger point being made by Noam Chomsky these days: White Males are dying at an historically unprecedented rate .worse than if there was a plague-epidemic at higher rate than WW2

Donald Trump's MAGA!!! Jobs Program for Working Class Native Born White Teenage Males from economically distressed Native Born White Working Class Families from the American Heartland=a Tour of Duty on patrol with a US Army issued M-16 in Afghanistan .Iraq Syria .coming back to their Mother's as limbless freaks .human sausages .canon fodder for Donald Trump's precious Jew only Israel .

"War is a Racket" ..as USMC General and two time Congressional Medal winner .Smedley Butler wrote over 75 years ago

War for Blair Mountain Show Comment Next New Comment June 23, 2017 at 1:26 pm GMT

I'm a big fan of the late Dick Winters and 101 Airborne Easy Company Band of Brothers WW2. But I just found out recently that Easy Company members Ronald Spiers and Robert "Burr" Smith were at a high level actively involved in the destruction of Laos which was bombed back to the Stone Age by the USAF

Interestingly Robert "Burr" Smith trained the US Army Delta Force Team that died in the Iranianian desert in 1980 .Smith avoided dying in that desert crash when the CIA yanked him out of this doomed mission at the last minute out of fear that if Smith a CIA Operative .was captured .risk of spilling the beans to the Iranians about what the CIA was up to Robert "Burr" Smith was the embodiment of "Invade the World-Invite the World with his role in the destruction of Laotian Society and his adopted Laotian teenage "son" .

Corvinus Show Comment Next New Comment June 23, 2017 at 4:05 pm GMT

@Stogumber

"We only want to be life as easy as it was under Eisenhower (to be fair, from Truman to LBJ)."

Nostalgia has a funny way of warping our sense of reality. Life for some people was "easy" in the 1950′s, but for a number of people, it was cold, hard, and dark.

Wally Show Comment Next New Comment June 23, 2017 at 4:48 pm GMT

@Greg Bacon But then who will pay the bills?

Another of the usual enemies of free speech & Israeli citizen, Potok, supports strict Israeli immigration laws which specify JEWS ONLY, while he demands massive 3rd world immigration into the US & Europe.

anonymous Show Comment Next New Comment June 23, 2017 at 5:35 pm GMT

@Corvinus Life--has NEVER been easy!

For anyone!

edNels Show Comment Next New Comment June 23, 2017 at 5:44 pm GMT

Interesting post, I've read it through twice, but it has complicated issues.

WHAMs

Wherever corporate CEOs,] . etc.etc.etc.--, [politicians, and generals congregate to pat each other on the back, you can count on WHAMs -reciting bromides about the importance of diversity!

Important detail:

some of my brethren - let's call them one percenters -

YEah, SOME "brethren"! THat tiny fraction of a %point, that lives large!

Some Brethren to the name WHAMs! they are.

Sociopaths who some kind of way masquerade as W H A M. And what they do is done in the name of the W H A M , which is my sticking point.

That small fraction of a %point does all the bad , and shifts the blame ( from the World!!) on to the real WHAMs, what's left of 'em, ( what's left of the White Hetero part
of 'em, ) who aren't polluted from the social scientist/ ongoing war to turn WHAMs into WIAMPs! (White Inverted American Male/Tranny Punks.)!! That the world will hate, and eventually probably be encouraged to completely get rid of, while the fraction of the %point rides off into the sunset! Then you can see the real perverts in action!

Anon Show Comment Next New Comment June 23, 2017 at 6:03 pm GMT

@Wally Potok is an Israeli citizen? Prove it.

Anonymous Show Comment Next New Comment June 23, 2017 at 6:26 pm GMT

I've been saying this for two years now:

What happens if you get rid of Trump? The people who voted for him will most likely replace him with someone very similar in almost every way, but more competent. Probably a professional politician version of him. Is that what you want?

Priss Factor Show Comment Next New Comment June 23, 2017 at 7:10 pm GMT

On the surface, it may seem like changes took place.

But power is firmly in hands of Deep State. Look at the continuing mess in Syria.

Look at never-ending 'new cold war' with Russia and globalist hysteria.

And ACOWW or Afro-Colonization-of-White-Wombs continues all over the West.

While morons worry about Russian jets and North Korean missiles, it is Negro dongs that are destroying the white race by conquering white wombs.

https://www.facebook.com/capitalxtra/videos/10155312936841585/

And just when black males are emasculating white males and conquering white wombs(the source of life), what do white males have as their new faith?

The Police Department, bastion of male power and security, is celebrating the New 'Pride' of Homo Poo-Ride.

https://www.facebook.com/FOX5NY/videos/10155617226221320/

In the past, babies and things used to be Christened.
Now, they are Fruitsened.

Sean Show Comment Next New Comment June 23, 2017 at 7:27 pm GMT

Yes, in ancient Greek history Trump is analogous to the Tyrants of Athens, who were a transition from aristocratic to truly democratic rule. Of course once democracy was installed the common people of Athens demanded and got wars against a variety of enemies. Trump rise is an alarming portent. A few decades from now George W. Bush will be regarded as the last of the cautious Skull and Bones aristocrats. It is a bit silly to talk of WHAMS, as if the displacement of white gentiles is less important that open acceptance of homosexuality. It is WASPs, gay or straight, who have lost.

restless94110 Show Comment Next New Comment June 23, 2017 at 10:47 pm GMT

As was said above, so many words, so little content.

Bacevich has gone off the deep end. Truly.

The idea that white males were sitting around lording it up with their privilege is absolutely preposterous. No white male ever has done that, and Bacevich certainly know that. Andrew? Exactly how many times in your long lifetime have you been slapping backs with other white men laughing about how great you have it because of your gender and your race?

I'll help you out. It's zero, Andrew. You know it. I know it. We know it.

So this writing is horseshit. Col. Bacevich, you do really great military anlysis and opinion.

Stop with the virtual signalling fairy tales.

As a white male nothing was ever easy. Yeah, perhaps I did not get my head beat a few times and avoided some jail. Maybe.

And that makes how much difference in anyone's life?

You really need to get back to the military analysis, bud. You are sounding like a lunatic with this stuff. But more than that. Dishonest.

davidd Show Comment Next New Comment June 23, 2017 at 11:09 pm GMT

I tuned out when he started saying WHAMS misguidedly didn't consider non-WHAMS in their history, which was completely rational considering before very recent times there was no reason to.

Wally Website Show Comment Next New Comment June 23, 2017 at 11:27 pm GMT

@Anon Seriously?
You have got to be the thickest person at this forum.

But then leave it to a racist Zionist to attempt to cover for another racist Zionist.

'quotes from Gerard Menuhin: Revisionist Jew, Son of Famous Violinist'

https://forum.codoh.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=10013

Anon Show Comment Next New Comment June 24, 2017 at 12:33 am GMT

@Wally So you have no proof. Thought so.

Funny that you use the word "racist" but claim you don't know what it means.

Che Guava Show Comment Next New Comment June 24, 2017 at 12:48 am GMT

Interesting but nowhere near your better pieces, too meandering. Although I only hit the H in the WHAM formulation you have. WHAM doesn't work on two counts.

i. The pop band, Wham, still well-known due to pop music being in stasis, and they had one great single and a few others that tasteless people like.

ii. H also stands for homosexual. It is funny how that word is not goodspeak in English of now, and heterosexual almost has a pejorative quality but is widely used. The sickness of western culture. The equivalent in Japanese of homosexual is used to refer to people who are, well, homosexual. The equivalent of heterosexual is just about never heard. That is not discrimination, simply that it is naturally, as it should be, seen as the norm.

Anon Show Comment Next New Comment June 24, 2017 at 2:08 am GMT

@restless94110 The traditional role of the white male is to support a family by bringing home the bacon; be courageous when things get rough and defend your family and friends with your blood; fix everything that's broken; build everything you need with your hands, or build the machines necessary to build everything; run everything with competence and man up and take the blame if you screw up; teach your children how to deal with life; teach people right from wrong and set the example for them to follow; create high-level science, medicine, art, physics, math, engineering, etc.

It's a very tall order, and anyone who thinks it's easy, is a fool.

ANON Show Comment Next New Comment June 24, 2017 at 2:16 am GMT

@anonymous Do you really mean NEVER?

What about the likes of my aunt who was the second wife of a childless mega millionaire who died when she was 38 leaving her to enjoy 50 healthy years as a rich woman until she suddenly died in her sleep?

Backwoods Bob Show Comment Next New Comment June 24, 2017 at 2:43 am GMT

The first paragraph was enough social justice warrior crap to make it unnecessary reading the rest. Yet, I did try for another five paragraphs and it's just more of the same tripe.

Yeah, all of us stand in line and get free hand-outs. White people at the front of the line. Nobody works for what they have. Everyone has the same IQ, the same work ethic, the same adherence to law. I'm upset because the color of my skin is supposed to dictate my place in the line for free hand-outs and I am no longer at the front of the line. God what arrogant, malicious crap.

We just went through IQ scores by country in homeschool today. My kids are muti-racial, SE Asians, who occupy the top five spots worldwide. They have the highest average income in this country, the highest academic performance, and the lowest crime rates.

Of course, we sat around talking about their "privilege" as SE Asians and how everything is handed to them for free. How they just go up to any line and cut in front. Right? No.

What I just did was show them your article as a perfect example of why we don't go to government school.

We are not your "peeps" for the white blood in us and you are not some hero of ours for having the arrogance to speak for our non-white blood either.

You are disgusting and worthy of nothing but contempt. I'm majority white, not pure blood (Seneca Indian) but don't buy into the cult of victimology where I am supposed to get job preferences, school preferences, etc. because I am quantum blood Indian. That doesn't make me an "Indian". I am an American. Our kids are Americans.

The idea that we should knock off "whitey" because we're mixed blood, like it's "our" turn now – how nonsensical and revolting.

Wizard of Oz Show Comment Next New Comment June 24, 2017 at 3:02 am GMT

@Backwoods Bob You are obviously a slow reader but apparently handicapped in dealing with numbers too. If you had actually read "another five paragraphs" you would have read the author's "All of which is nonsense of course" at the beginning of his sixth par.

Fortunately I didn't waste time on many of your paragraphs.

restless94110 Show Comment Next New Comment June 24, 2017 at 4:36 am GMT

@Anon The traditional role of ANY male is to support a family by bringing home the bacon, etc.

It's just what males do, anon.

Bacevich's idiotic virtue signaling nonsense that posits that all white males knew this and knew that. and that we all had secret meetings in the basement of the church is ridiculous.

I've known whites who had racist views on black people. I've also known blacks who have racist views on white people.

But even racists never had any thought that they were suddenly privileged because of their skin color and/or they were smirking about it in secret or whatever it is that this guy is claiming in his long, long, long, overly long piece.

In other words, men did those things, anon, white ones, black one, etc.

This white privilege stuff is just bullshit. It has to go. Andrew B., let it die it's own irrelevant death.

Bruce Marshall Show Comment Next New Comment June 24, 2017 at 6:07 am GMT

@Stogumber Yes if you want life as it was in the 1950′s, then you need to recognize that we got out of the Great Depression because we started to pay farmers their fair share. Today they only get 35% of the Parity Dollar, the dollar that provided for the prosperity across the nation, because it was not stolen from the producer of that which keeps us alive, literally, and literally kept the economy afloat, because it was based upon real wealth properly monetized, meaning not stolen as is the system today .but we lost that when we stopped Parity, which created earned income at sufficient levels to not have to borrow as we are now addicted .. as the "interests whose interest is interest" intend.

Here is a letter to Trump with an important chart.

http://normeconomics.org/parity_table_45-16eb.pdf

[Jun 24, 2017] Deceit and Self-Deception by Robert Trivers – review

Notable quotes:
"... What I Don't Know About Animals ..."
Jun 24, 2017 | www.theguardian.com
Konrad Lorenz and Desmond Morris , or anthropologists such as Lionel Tiger . They linked studies of animal behaviour to the idea of Darwinian evolutionary principles to tell readers just how very like the beasts we were in our sex lives, our workplaces and our recreational behaviours. We were advised to look at chimps and other primates and derive understanding of ourselves from their apparently culture-free activities and traits. Underneath all our fancy culture and language, we were simply naked apes enacting primitive territorial imperatives.

The reading public lapped it up as both a neat, satisfying narrative, and as an excuse for all manner of not-so-civilised behaviours for which we no longer had to take personal and moral blame. We go to war – well, so do baboons; it's in our genes, we can try to overcome it, but in the end as in the beginning we're all just animals. By 1976 we didn't even have to blame the animal in ourselves: Richard Dawkins gave us the selfish gene, whose sole reason for existence was to reproduce itself. And we, that is the body and brain of you and me, were nothing but vehicles for these genes which compelled us to optimise their chances of replicating. Talk to the gene, the conscience isn't listening.

Much of this was based on algebraic theories of altruism developed by WD Hamilton , who shifted the mechanism of evolution from making groups fitter to survive to a new insistence on individual inclusive fitness. This was via kin selection, which drills down deeper than the inter-relatedness of individual organisms, to the separate alleles (of which genes are made) in every organism: these preferentially promote only those vehicles which contain alleles most closely related to themselves. Genes were responsible, somehow, for you fighting the whirlwind to save your sister, but probably not your less related cousin, and certainly not the stranger from down the road.

Some people were not crazy about this view of the human race. Genes doing algebra didn't suit a more macrocosmic idea of a fallible but responsible humanity.

Robert Trivers was the man who produced the unifying theory of kin selection and altruism. Now, decades on, he has arrived at a big, new universal theory, also essentially based on the arithmetic of gene selection. Deceit is useful where telling the (unpleasant) truth would hamper your progress. Progress towards what? Trivers would say your fitness, which is defined as raising the chances of replicating your genes into the next generation.

Your genes, apparently, would agree with him; but they would, wouldn't they? That is if they were capable of agreeing. I want to hang on to the fact that the building blocks of ourselves do not want or intend anything. Chemicals aren't conscious, although by amazing chance they can combine to make a conscious organism.

Once self-conscious humans begin to do science, and with the benefit of language, start to describe the nature of the chemicals that make them what they are, but having to use regular language if they want a large audience (maths is a much better language, but fewer people can read it), they cannot help but slide into the notion of intention. Dawkins's selfish gene gained an absurd life of its own because most people don't speak arithmetic.

The biological mechanism by which we conceal inconvenient truths from ourselves and others is shown, says Trivers, in functional MRI scans of blood flow associated with neural activity in the brain: "It is estimated that fully ten seconds before consciousness of intent, the neural signals begin that will later give rise to the consciousness and then the behaviour itself." Freud, who always believed that neurology would discover a physical basis for the unconscious, would be delighted, though according to Trivers, psychoanalysis is nothing more than a money-grabbing hoax. Yet there remains a void between brain chemicals doing what they do and the emergence of the sense we all have of possessing a mind.

Trivers's theories of deceit and self-deceit are based on multiple gleanings from experimental psychology. A trial with rats shows this, another with students suggests that. The actual experiments are referenced, rather minimally, in page-related endnotes, but Trivers's writing is full of halting phraseology as he slips from findings in the lab or questionnaire to the generality of human social behaviour.

He suggests from relatedness theory that fathers should show a "slight genetic bias towards their daughters", but "no one knows if this is true". General assertions about human behaviour are peppered with such phrases as "One is tempted to imagine ", "in mice at least ", "work still in its infancy ", "first speculations ", "Whether any of my speculations are true I have no idea ". And, really, if he doesn't, I certainly don't.

Once he has laid out his evidence, our biologically determined deceit behaviour is ready to account for just about everything Trivers doesn't like about the world, such as the false justifications for the invasion of Iraq, the self-deceiving use, by the US and UK, of 9/11 to declare war on oil-rich countries and on to torture, religion and stock-market trading. It so happens that Trivers and I dislike much the same things but, though I daresay knowledge is generally better than lack of it, I'm not convinced of the benefits of offering us the excuse of having been manipulated by our genes for our repeatedly scurrilous behaviour.

While the first part of the book explains the theory, and the second part discusses how deceit was responsible for all the political and social injustices both he and I perceive in the world, there is a third element woven through both. An actual individual life, that of Trivers himself, emerges, like a gene in the organism, offered perhaps as a consciously self-deprecating example of what evolutionary pressure to deceive can do to a person. Somehow, though, it comes across as back-handed boasting.

The man whom Trivers calls "I" is a compulsive thief who can't go into a room without coming away with a trophy. He talks of his "'inadvertent' touching of women", which occurs exclusively with his left (unconscious) hand. Apropos chimps turning their backs to hide an erection from a dominant male, he explains that he finds it very hard "in the presence of a woman with whom I am close, to receive a phone call from another woman with whom I may have, or only wish to have, a relationship, without turning my back to pursue the conversation".

He understands the male/female gender split by recollecting "trying to poison the minds of my three daughters against their mother". He nearly killed his girlfriend and nephew by driving the nephew's "cool car" too fast on a precipitous road, when he noticed her interest in the younger man. And after pages and pages on biological selection, evolutionary pressure and the dangerous deception that is religion, it not only turns out that he prays regularly, but he gives a short lecture on the proper way to say the "Lord's Prayer" (emphasise "thy"). I wasn't surprised to discover that he is on prescription antidepressants, as well as using ganja and cocaine.

There will be Iron Johns who read this book and cheer, and although he explains that each sex (abhorring the word "gender", which he calls a euphemism) contains both male and female genes, my male genes are just too wimpy to find any charm in Trivers's display of self-disclosure – machismo and pet peeves – dressed up as an important new evolutionary understanding of humanity.

Jenny Diski's What I Don't Know About Animals is published by Virago.

frustratedartist , 11 Oct 2011 03:20

@greaterzog

Oh dear- could you then...disentangle your own behaviour from your 'human nature".

In general- Yes. Human behaviour changes rapidly and depends on culture and individual choices. Human nature changes very very slowly, in 'evolutionary time'. Too slowly for it to be observed.

On the level of the individual -- No. I can't disentangle my personal choices from my inherited tendencies. To what extent does my behaviour (or my character)reflect my genes or upbringing, to what extent is it my own free will? Nature, Nurture, or Nietzsche?, as Stephen Fry would say. I can't say- except that I believe that we all have free will and are therefore in most cases responsible for our actions.

As for 'my' human nature, that is a meaningless phrase. Human nature I would define as the (evolved) psychological traits humans have in common .

greatherzog , 10 Oct 2011 15:57

In his article Pinker gives (I think) quite a convincing explanation of how human behaviour can be changing for the better, while human nature (perforce) remains the same.

Oh dear- could you then-with the help of Pinker's pseudo-scientific, deterministic, eurocentric tosh and/or Dawkins overly simplistic, to the point of idiocy take on genes and evolution- disentangle your own behaviour from your 'human nature.' I am really curious.

[Jun 24, 2017] Michael Hudson: Are Students a Class?

Notable quotes:
"... the use of debt as a primary weapon in class warfare ..."
"... They were in hock to the man, and eventually became slaves to him. This structure, of sharecropping and usury, held together by political violence, continued into the 1960s in some areas of the South. As late as the 1960s, Kennedy would see rural poverty in Arkansas and pronounce it 'shocking'. These were the fruits of usury, a society built on unsustainable debt peonage. ..."
"... Today, we are in the midst of creating a second sharecropper society ..."
"... Today, the debts do not involve liens against crops. People in modern America carry student loans, credit card debt, and mortgages. All of these are hard to pay back, often bringing with them impenetrable contracts and illegal fees. Credit card debt is difficult to discharge in bankruptcy and a default on a home loan can leave you homeless. A student loan debt is literally a claim against a life - you cannot discharge it in bankruptcy, and if you die, your parents are obligated to pay it. If the banks have their way, mortgages and deficiency judgments will follow you around forever, as they do in Spain. ..."
"... By Michael Hudson, a research professor of Economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City, and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. His latest book is J is for Junk Economics ..."
"... Students usually don't think of themselves as a class. They seem "pre-class," because they have not yet entered the labor force. They can only hope to become part of the middle class after they graduate. And that means becoming a wage earner – what impolitely is called the working class. ..."
"... But as soon as they take out a student debt, they become part of the economy. They are in this sense a debtor class. But to be a debtor, one needs a means to pay – and the student's means to pay is out of the wages and salaries they may earn after they graduate. And after all, the reason most students get an education is so that they can qualify for a middle-class job. ..."
"... Shedding crocodile tears for the slow growth of U.S. employment in the post-2008 doldrums (the "permanent Obama economy" in which only the banks were bailed out, not the economy), the financial class views the role industry and the economy at large as being to pay its employees enough so that they can take on an exponentially rising volume of debt. Interest and fees (late fees and penalties now yield credit card companies more than they receive in interest charges) are soaring, leaving the economy of goods and services languishing. ..."
"... Students are the new NINJAs: No Income, No Jobs, No Assets. But their parents have assets, and these are now being grabbed, even from retirees. Most of all, the government has assets – the power to tax (mainly labor these days), and something even better: the power to simply print money (mainly Quantitative Easing to try and re-inflate housing, stock and bond prices these days). Most students hope to become independent of their parents. But burdened by debt and facing a tough job market, they are left even more dependent. That's why so many have to keep living at home. ..."
"... A must-read primer on debt peonage and how universities are basically real estate hoarders and debtor magnets for the banks. ..."
"... Not to mention the incredible amount of cheating that goes on at universities. I guess cheating at college is training for joining the Kleptocracy. ..."
"... The question to ask, I think, is about the sustainability of this inversion of the dream of education as the path to upward mobility. People do not need to fully, or even partially, intellectually grasp the causes of their misery and sense of failure and futility to overthrow the status quo. This is the ideal -typically coming from the left- where informed citizens will recognize class conflict in its current form, neoliberal policies enriching the 1% and impoverishing most of the rest, and take over the government by voting out corrupt and captured politicians. ..."
"... Once the difference between education and indoctrination is learned, thee student and debtors in general can be "woke." How many students even think they should put themselves through a process of de-institutionalization, especially if they've followed the course of 1st grade to college graduation without a break? ..."
"... Today, the debts do not involve liens against crops. People in modern America carry student loans, credit card debt, and mortgages ..."
"... Perhaps Michael Hudson is – somewhat sloppily – referring to the IIRC typical case where getting the loan requires someone to sign on as guarantor, normally the student's parents. ..."
Jun 01, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Yves here. Matt Stoller anticipated the situation Michael Hudson describes, the use of debt as a primary weapon in class warfare. From a 2010 post :

A lot of people forget that having debt you can't pay back really sucks. Debt is not just a credit instrument, it is an instrument of political and economic control.

It's actually baked into our culture. The phrase 'the man', as in 'fight the man', referred originally to creditors. 'The man' in the 19th century stood for 'furnishing man', the merchant that sold 19th century sharecroppers and Southern farmers their supplies for the year, usually on credit. Farmers, often illiterate and certainly unable to understand the arrangements into which they were entering, were charged interest rates of 80-100 percent a year, with a lien places on their crops. When approaching a furnishing agent, who could grant them credit for seeds, equipment, even food itself, a farmer would meekly look down nervously as his debts were marked down in a notebook. At the end of a year, due to deflation and usury, farmers usually owed more than they started the year owing. Their land was often forfeit, and eventually most of them became tenant farmers.

They were in hock to the man, and eventually became slaves to him. This structure, of sharecropping and usury, held together by political violence, continued into the 1960s in some areas of the South. As late as the 1960s, Kennedy would see rural poverty in Arkansas and pronounce it 'shocking'. These were the fruits of usury, a society built on unsustainable debt peonage.

Today, we are in the midst of creating a second sharecropper society

Today, the debts do not involve liens against crops. People in modern America carry student loans, credit card debt, and mortgages. All of these are hard to pay back, often bringing with them impenetrable contracts and illegal fees. Credit card debt is difficult to discharge in bankruptcy and a default on a home loan can leave you homeless. A student loan debt is literally a claim against a life - you cannot discharge it in bankruptcy, and if you die, your parents are obligated to pay it. If the banks have their way, mortgages and deficiency judgments will follow you around forever, as they do in Spain.

Young people and what only cynics might call 'homeowners' have no choice but to jump on the treadmill of debt, as debtcroppers. The goal is not to have them pay off their debts, but to owe forever. Whatever a debtcropper owes, a wealthy creditor owns.

And as a bonus, the heavier the debt burden of American citizenry, the less able we are able to organize and claim our democratic rights as citizens. Debtcroppers don't start companies and innovate, they don't take chances, and they don't claim their political rights. Think about this when you hear the calls from ex-Morgan Stanley banker and current World Bank President Robert Zoellick and his nebulous mutterings pining for the gold standard. Or when you hear Warren Buffett partner Charlie Munger talk about how the bailouts of the wealthy were patriotic, but we mustn't bail out homeowners for fear of 'moral hazard'.

Or when you hear Pete Peterson Foundation President and former Comptroller General David Walker yearn nostalgically for debtor's prisons.

Focusing on students, Hudson shows how much "progress" has been made in a mere seven years.

By Michael Hudson, a research professor of Economics at University of Missouri, Kansas City, and a research associate at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College. His latest book is J is for Junk Economics

Students usually don't think of themselves as a class. They seem "pre-class," because they have not yet entered the labor force. They can only hope to become part of the middle class after they graduate. And that means becoming a wage earner – what impolitely is called the working class.

But as soon as they take out a student debt, they become part of the economy. They are in this sense a debtor class. But to be a debtor, one needs a means to pay – and the student's means to pay is out of the wages and salaries they may earn after they graduate. And after all, the reason most students get an education is so that they can qualify for a middle-class job.

The middle class in America consists of the widening sector of the working class that qualifies for bank loans – not merely usurious short-term payday loans, but a lifetime of debt. So the middle class today is a debtor class.

Shedding crocodile tears for the slow growth of U.S. employment in the post-2008 doldrums (the "permanent Obama economy" in which only the banks were bailed out, not the economy), the financial class views the role industry and the economy at large as being to pay its employees enough so that they can take on an exponentially rising volume of debt. Interest and fees (late fees and penalties now yield credit card companies more than they receive in interest charges) are soaring, leaving the economy of goods and services languishing.

Although money and banking textbooks say that all interest (and fees) are a compensation for risk, any banker who actually takes a risk is quickly fired. Banks don't take risks. That's what the governments are for. (Socializing the risk, privatizing the profits.) Anticipating that the U.S. economy may be unable to recover under the weight of the junk mortgages and other bad debts that the Obama administration left on the books in 2008, banks insisted that the government guarantee all student debt. They also insisted that the government guarantees the financial gold-mine buried in such indebtedness: the late fees that accumulate. So whether students actually succeed in becoming wage-earners or not, the banks will receive payments in today's emerging fictitious "as if" economy. The government will pay the banks "as if" there is actually a recovery.

And if there were to be a recovery, then it would mean that the banks were taking a risk – a big enough risk to justify the high interest rates charge on student loans.

This is simply a replay of what banks have negotiated for real estate mortgage lending. Students who do succeed in getting a job hope to start a family, or at least joining the middle class. The most typical criterion of middle-class life in today's world (apart from having a college education) is to own a home. But almost nobody can buy a home without getting a mortgage. And the price of such a mortgage is to pay up to 43 percent of one's income for thirty years, that is, one's prospective working life (in today's as-if world that assumes full employment, not just a gig economy).

Banks know how unlikely it is that workers actually will be able to earn enough to carry the costs of their education and real estate debt. The costs of housing are so high, the price of education is so high, the amount of debt that workers must pay off the top of every paycheck is so high that American labor is priced out of world markets (except for military hardware sold to the Saudis and other U.S. protectorates). So the banks insist that the government pretends that housing as well as education loans not involve any risk for bankers.

The Federal Housing Authority guarantees mortgages that absorb up to the afore-mentioned 43 percent of the applicant's income. Income is not growing these days, but job-loss is. Formerly middle-class labor is being downsized to minimum-wage labor (MacDonald's and other fast foods) or "gig" labor (Uber). Here too, the fees mount up rapidly when there are defaults – all covered by the government, as if it is this compensates the banks for risks that the government itself bears.

From Debt Peons to Wage Slaves

In view of the fact that a college education is a precondition for joining the working class (except for billionaire dropouts), the middle class is a debtor class – so deep in debt that once they manage to get a job, they have no leeway to go on strike, much less to protest against bad working conditions. This is what Alan Greenspan described as the "traumatized worker effect" of debt.

Do students think about their future in these terms? How do they think of their place in the world?

Students are the new NINJAs: No Income, No Jobs, No Assets. But their parents have assets, and these are now being grabbed, even from retirees. Most of all, the government has assets – the power to tax (mainly labor these days), and something even better: the power to simply print money (mainly Quantitative Easing to try and re-inflate housing, stock and bond prices these days). Most students hope to become independent of their parents. But burdened by debt and facing a tough job market, they are left even more dependent. That's why so many have to keep living at home.

The problem is that as they do get a job and become independent, they remain dependent on the banks. And to pay the banks, they must be even more abjectly dependent on their employers.

It may be enlightening to view matters from the vantage point of bankers. After all, they have $1.3 trillion in student loan claims. In fact, despite the fact that college tuitions are soaring throughout the United States even more than health care (financialized health care, not socialized health care), the banks often end up with more education expense than the colleges. That is because any interest rate is a doubling time, and student loan rates of, say, 7 percent mean that the interest payments double the original loan value in just 10 years. (The Rule of 72 provides an easy way to calculate doubling times of interest-bearing debt. Just divide 72 by the interest rate, and you get the doubling time.)

A fatal symbiosis has emerged between banking and higher education in America. Bankers sit on the boards of the leading universities – not simply by buying their way in as donors, but because they finance the transformation of universities into real estate companies. Columbia and New York University are major real estate holders in New York City. Like the churches, they pay no property or income tax, being considered to play a vital social role. But from the bankers' vantage point, their role is to provide a market for debt whose magnitude now outstrips even that of credit card debt!

Citibank in New York City made what has been accused of being a sweetheart deal with New York University, which steers incoming students to it to finance their studies with loans. In today's world a school can charge as much for an education as banks are willing to lend students – and banks are willing to lend as much as governments will guarantee to cover, no questions asked. So the bankers on the school boards endorse bloated costs of education, knowing that however much more universities make, the bankers will receive just as much in interest and penalties.

It is the same thing with housing, of course. However much the owner of a home receives when he sells it, the bank will make an even larger sum of money on the interest charges on the mortgage. That is why all the growth in the U.S. economy is going to the FIRE sector, owned mainly by the One Percent.

Under these terms, a "more educated society" does not mean a more employable labor force. It means a less employable society, because more and more wage and consumer income is used not to buy goods and services, not to eat out in restaurants or buy the products of labor, but to pay the financial sector and its allied rentier class. A more educated society under these rules is simply a more indebted society, an economy succumbing to debt deflation, austerity and unemployment except at minimum-wage levels.

For half a century Americans imagined themselves getting richer and richer by going into debt to buy their own homes and educate their children. Their riches have turned out to be riches for the banks, bondholders and other creditors, not for the debtors. What used to be applauded as "the middle class" turns out to be simply an indebted working class.

HBE , June 1, 2017 at 8:21 am

In today's world a school can charge as much for an education as banks are willing to lend students – and banks are willing to lend as much as governments will guarantee to cover, no questions asked.

Banks are (debt) slave owners, but universities are the (debt) slave merchants and overseers. Which is probably why campuses aren't filled with groups fighting for labor rights or discussing the abysmal economic reality they face.

Instead virtue signalling, woke IdPol is the dominant focus, which is just fine with the overseer, and nurtured by the comfortable tenured faculty, who are often quite happy having little debt slave house servants of their own (grad students, adjuncts).

And even worse the overseers (universities) don't put the revenue generated by slaves into improving classes, hiring more full time faculty, or a host of other factors that improve the quality of education.

They funnel it into aesthetics to make things look more appealing on tours, and materials, they use to attract more slaves, all the while crapifying quality of education. Which is the moat odious aspect of their role, they arent using the slaves to build a better educational system, but to get more slaves. The number of useless PowerPoint lectures I sat through makes me angry when I think about it.

Universities are the wives (or husbands) that look on and enable child abuse Almost, if not more disgusting than the abuser (banks).

And this is coming from a lucky grad who managed to stay out of the gig economy.

nycTerrierist , June 1, 2017 at 8:42 am

Well put. Outstanding posts by Stoller and Hudson. A must-read primer on debt peonage and how universities are basically real estate hoarders and debtor magnets for the banks.

hemeantwell , June 1, 2017 at 5:59 pm

Credit where it's due: I'm a fan of both Stoller and Hudson, but I believe Hudson has been emphasizing debt in his writings far longer than Stoller. From Wikipedia:

Hudson [aged 78] devoted his entire scientific career to the study of debts: both domestic (loans, mortgages, interest payments) and external. In his works he consistently advocates the idea that loans and exponentially growing debts that outstrip profits from the economy of the "real" sphere are disastrous for both the government and the people of the borrowing state: they are washing money (going to payments to usurers and rentiers) from turnover, not leaving them to buy goods and services, and thus lead to "debt deflation" of the economy "

Stephen Gardner , June 1, 2017 at 9:05 am

The rentier class is just a bit out over its skis on this. First, college debt is not "out of sight our of mind" the way rural poverty in the deep south is and was. The victims of the banks are geographically well distributed and numerically much greater than southern sharecroppers. I don't think the demographics of the Bernie Sanders movement is any accident. Young people in this country are not illiterate farmers. They often are well educated. Furthermore an education is something that cannot be confiscated by a bank in lieu of payment on a loan. Geographic distribution of victims is very important from the point of view of networking. As much as we have become more isolated as individuals due to some of the forces present in American society, victims of the rentier class are in close proximity to one another and in contact. They are also present all over the US. Like a fire fed by uncut underbrush in a forest the flames may spread quickly. When it happens, none of the prognosticators will have seen it coming–not even those of the left.

justanotherprogressive , June 1, 2017 at 10:09 am

While I agree with your post, I quibble with your first line. I don't think the rentier class is "over its skis" with this one any more than the airline industry is "over its skis" with what it has been doing. As long as people are willing to put up with these tactics, they will continue .and get worse. There is no incentive for them to stop or slow down .

UserFriendly , June 2, 2017 at 12:30 am

It's not that people put up with it I know dozens that just have no hope, faith, or sense that change is even possible; so crippled with anxiety over their finances that they are utterly useless, myself included. When there is no light at the end of the tunnel it is almost impossible to muster the effort to do anything.

David , June 1, 2017 at 10:36 am

"Furthermore an education is something that cannot be confiscated by a bank in lieu of payment on a loan."

..which is why the government guarantee exists – coupled with the fact that the "education" for most is largely a myth – a degree is not an education.

As widely reported in NYC public schools last year – the graduation rate is 86%, but tests show less than 4% comprehension for math and english as reported in the NYP last year – same is largely true for higher education except for the price tag. The sharecroppers at least had tangibles to show from the financing exercise however meager they might be at the end of the day – the degree is largely worthless.

The banks will do .. fine

Allegorio , June 1, 2017 at 12:22 pm

Not to mention the incredible amount of cheating that goes on at universities. I guess cheating at college is training for joining the Kleptocracy.

DanB , June 1, 2017 at 11:43 am

The question to ask, I think, is about the sustainability of this inversion of the dream of education as the path to upward mobility. People do not need to fully, or even partially, intellectually grasp the causes of their misery and sense of failure and futility to overthrow the status quo. This is the ideal -typically coming from the left- where informed citizens will recognize class conflict in its current form, neoliberal policies enriching the 1% and impoverishing most of the rest, and take over the government by voting out corrupt and captured politicians.

What is far more likely is that scapegoats are offered -a la Trump or some other demagogue. (But scapegoating leaves exploitation unresolved.) Whichever occurs, the current system of exploitation cannot go on, especially when all the other factors associated with hitting the limits to growth are considered.

LT , June 1, 2017 at 12:16 pm

Once the difference between education and indoctrination is learned, thee student and debtors in general can be "woke." How many students even think they should put themselves through a process of de-institutionalization, especially if they've followed the course of 1st grade to college graduation without a break?

Dead Dog , June 1, 2017 at 10:20 am

Thank you Michael. I studied economics at ANU and went through the period when Australia considered the cost of a university education, which back in the early 80s was free (I think we paid around $150 by way of Union subs). One of the new questions for students was the issue of education being a private or public good.

The Labor Treasurer at the time (and later Prime Minister), Paul Keating, made it quite clear that education had more of the characteristics of a private good and the benefits (public good aspect) of a quality education for the country were erased and have never been seen (discussed) again.

Money changed university and that change has not been positive for the institutions or the citizens they serve.

Grumpy Engineer , June 1, 2017 at 10:21 am

This article is a little misguided. I absolutely agree that excess student debt is becoming a major problem in American society that is causing all sorts of real problems, but to blame "the bankers" is to point a finger at the wrong culprit.

The true culprit is grotesque symbiosis between the colleges & universities and the US Department of Education , which issues over 90% of student loans. If you want to know who the predatory lender is here, look to Washington. The banks are just participating at the edges of our student loan fiasco.

Part of the problem is the popular concept of "good debt" vs. "bad debt", as espoused by economists such as Jared Bernstein. "Good debt" helps increase your earning potential, so the more good debt the government pushes on the populace, the better. Right? It's a popular concept in DC.

And it's crap. And the government is crushing an entire generation of students with excess debt in the process. I think Michelle Singletary summarized it well: Yes, All Debt is Bad Debt .

diptherio , June 1, 2017 at 11:05 am

So you think that the banksters are only profiting on this by accident? Who do you think is lobbying to have student loan debt made non-dischargeable? Who do you think is lobbying the Dept. of Ed. to guarantee all those loans?

For sure, there is more than enough blame to go around, and multiple actors have earned their share. But to place the majority of the blame outside the financial sector that, as Hudson points out, always profits MORE from debt than the people whose products that debt is used to buy, is a bit on the bizarre side.

Banks make money by creating debt and getting their victims er, customers to take that debt on. Therefore, bankers have an interest in increasing the overall level of debt in an economy. When you see debt skyrocketing, look around for an unscrupulous banker.

Grumpy Engineer , June 1, 2017 at 11:34 am

Your understanding of student loans is behind the times. The federal government hasn't guaranteed any privately-issued student loans since June of 2010. That was seven years ago.

This was Obama's great "improvement" to student lending. Cut the bankers out of the loop and have the government issue loans directly. And somehow the total amount of debt being carried by students managed to skyrocket anyway. It actually accelerated . And the government routinely employs debt collection practices (like seizing Social Security checks) that were rightly outlawed in the private sector. Those evil debt-collection companies that you regularly hear about in the news? Hired by our government for purposes of collecting on federal student loans.

Private banks only hold $150 billion out of $1.44 trillion in total student debt. That's barely 10%. Sure, the banks make some profit here. But the bulk of the problem is the federal loans. It's our own government that is crushing an entire generation of students with excess debt.

Eleanor Rigby , June 1, 2017 at 12:21 pm

If I understand correctly, this change was implemented as a part of Obamacare. "We won't know what is in it until we pass it." I wonder what else is in that bill.

Allegorio , June 1, 2017 at 12:38 pm

Your comment does not contradict Hudson's assertion that student debt creates compliant employees, making it difficult to change employment or stand up to employers. Likewise all the surveillance makes people afraid to protest and demonstrate, in case they lose their jobs.

The true evil is compound interest where the interest on a loan far exceeds the original loan. Economic activity increases linearly, interest geometrically. Does risking x dollars entitle you to x^n compensation. It is interesting to note, that in the ancient world the majority of slaves were not due to conquest but default on debt. The revival of slavery and serfdom is an obsession with the .001%ers. No robot can ever match the service of a subjugated human being. This country is ruled by murderers and thieves, sad to say.

Alejandro , June 1, 2017 at 2:50 pm

In this latest mutation, how and who does the loan servicing?

Left in Wisconsin , June 1, 2017 at 3:29 pm

Someone else may know better but I believe the govt hired 4 of the former loan originators/servicers to do all of the servicing nationwide.

Grumpy Engineer , June 1, 2017 at 4:25 pm

The Department of Education has contracted out the loan servicing, a practice that has led to even further abuse of borrowers. I found this list of about a dozen different servicers, but it's from 2013 and is likely out of date:

http://thecollegeinvestor.com/9892/the-complete-list-of-federal-student-loan-servicers/

Sam Adams , June 1, 2017 at 1:21 pm

Uncle Joe Biden.
Contribute to the Joe Biden (student debt peonage fund) 2020 PAC.

Paul art , June 1, 2017 at 3:35 pm

Marvelous hijack of the thread here buddy. Start talking about lousy Government instead of everything else. Brilliant move. You should apply to some Right Wing Think Tanks. I reckon they will pay handsomely for a brain like yours.

PhilM , June 1, 2017 at 6:41 pm

Yeah, buster, don't be going and confusing people with interesting facts and points of view that haven't already been expressed thousands of times! What do you think this is, an anechoic chamber?

djrichard , June 1, 2017 at 11:30 am

the US Department of Education, which issues over 90% of student loans

Usually something like this would trigger hand waving about the Fed Gov crowding out the private sector. But in this case, crickets. I wonder why.

In a related note, presumably any loans issued by the Fed Gov do not actually increase the monetary base. So in a way, the Fed Gov is at cross purposes with the Fed Reserve which is doing everything in its power to create private debt inflation (increase of the monetary base). Banks to indebted students: "wake me up when you paid off Uncle Sam and we can do bidness."

Which triggers my suspicion on why the banks are pro immigration – because I believe immigrants would more or less be free of debt. Banks to themselves: "what's not to love? Oops, I mean give us your down-trodden, your poor".

Lynne , June 1, 2017 at 10:34 am

Today, the debts do not involve liens against crops. People in modern America carry student loans, credit card debt, and mortgages

Hard to say just how angry this makes me. I know most of the county likes to sneer at farmers, even more than others in flyover country. But to read this statement in a supposedly thoughtful article makes my blood boil. Given the vast consolidation in land ownership (Zuckerberg's attempt to strong arm Hawaiians was merely an attempt to follow the example of Ted Turner, after all), and the way Tyson destroyed whole segments of the market, crops are a large lever. Used to be crops and equipment, but John Deere has done its best to make farmers captives as well. But no, they don't exist (except to pay outrageous tuition to ag and vo-tech colleges) and MODERN Americans eat food that springs magically into existence in Trader Joe's. Bah, a plague on their houses. /sarc

Maybe the student loan debtors should start picketing the home of that Democratic hero, Joe Biden. Or take a look at just why post grad tuition has skyrocketed.

Grumpy Engineer , June 1, 2017 at 10:57 am

Why has post-graduate tuition skyrocketed? Because federal loan limits for graduate school are higher:

$57,500 for undergraduates and $138,500 for graduate or professional students, per https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/types/loans/subsidized-unsubsidized .

The objective of this game is for schools to extract as much money as possible from the government, with the students being held responsible for paying it back. Higher loan limits are the cause of higher tuition rates, not the effect.

diptherio , June 1, 2017 at 11:21 am

Being from MT and a (one-time) ag family, I hear you on the issue of farmer indebtedness that is a serious problem, as it always has been. I've been hearing forever about the realities of farming - go into debt during planting and hope you get enough at harvest to pay it off and still have a little left over to live on.

However, as you point out, land consolidation by the likes of Cargill and their ilk has greatly reduced the number of family farms and the amount of family farm debt along with it. Total student loan debt right now is over $1.4T, whereas total ag debt is only $395B i.e. there is 4 times as much student loan debt as ag debt.

I'm pretty sure that Hudson wasn't trying to downplay the plight of family farmers in this country, or the crushing amounts of debt that they, individually, often end up taking on. I think he's just pointing out that on the macro-level, student debt has become the main contributor to overall indebtedness (along with mortgages).

Allegorio , June 1, 2017 at 12:49 pm

Not that all that money goes to hiring teaching staff. The majority of courses are taught by poorly paid adjutants and grad students. There is however an ever burgeoning class of college administrators all with six figure incomes pensions and medical care. It is jobs program for the well connected and ethnically privileged. Try getting a job at a university, not if you don't know somebody. The level of corruption at universities is truly astounding. I guess it is par for the course in our mafia culture. Free tuition would certainly increase pressure on cleansing the Stygian Stables, but until the electoral system is reformed and publicly financed there can be no reform of our education system. Finally, I second the emotion, may Joe Biden rot in hell.

shinola , June 1, 2017 at 10:39 am

I am reminded of an old coal miners song:

Ya load 16 tons and what do ya get
Another day older and deeper in debt
St. Peter don't ya call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store

Off The Street , June 1, 2017 at 7:59 pm

I came across the term leet-man the other day. That was in reference to John Locke, yes, that John Locke . He used the term in reference to his work on the South Carolina constitution of a few centuries ago. That was a bad idea then, and has gotten worse in the current context.
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Locke's preamble stated: "that we may avoid erecting a numerous democracy;" Locke's "constitution" established the eight lords proprietors as a hereditary nobility, with absolute control over their serfs, called "leet-men":

"XIX: Any lord of a manor may alienate, sell, or dispose to any other person and his heirs forever, his manor, all entirely together, with all the privileges and leet-men there unto belonging .

"XXII: In every signory, barony and manor, all the leet-men shall be under the jurisdiction of the respective lords of the said signory, barony, or manor, without appeal from him. Nor shall any leet-man, or leet-woman, have liberty to go off from the land of their particular lord, and live anywhere else, without license from their said lord, under hand and seal.

"XXIII: All the children of leet-men shall be leet-men, and so to all generations."

Jesper , June 1, 2017 at 10:42 am

& the risk versus reward is completely skewed . The risk of default is (should be) based on the best credit rating of the borrower or the guarantor. In this case it seems that the risk premium is based on the worst credit rating so difference between risk and reward is completely off.
Personally I'd never ever guarantee someone elses debt – I'd rather borrow the money and lend it myself to whoever wanted me to be guarantor as in effect the risk would be the same as being a guarantor and the costs would be less as the middle man would be cut out.
Therefore I consider this:

banks insisted that the government guarantee all student debt

an unsurprising ask by banks but agreeing to it is idiocy. "Yes we can" does (or should not) mean saying yes to everything
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barack_Obama_presidential_campaign,_2008#Slogan

Grumpy Engineer , June 1, 2017 at 11:08 am

Aye. Saying "yes" to somebody who wants to borrow $120k for a masters in "motivational speaking" from a crappy knockoff of Trump University isn't exactly doing them a favor. But the US government will do it anyway. They pretty much say "yes" to everything when it comes to student borrowing, regardless of how likely it is that the student will be able to repay.

Assessing a potential borrower's ability to repay (a.k.a., underwriting) and sometimes saying "no" is an important part of lending. Keeps people from getting in over their heads. Well, it used to be. Nobody seems to bother these days. Especially the US government.

Allegorio , June 1, 2017 at 12:53 pm

The point being that the banks and the government want people to get in over their heads to feed the beast and to marginalize them with debt.

PhilM , June 1, 2017 at 6:44 pm

There's another way to look at it. If the government takes on all this debt, then forgives it, hasn't it given a tuition-free education "by the back door"? This could have been an outrageously ingenious move by Obama to slide free education in via the MMT back door.

Yves Smith Post author , June 1, 2017 at 7:20 pm

Coming off as an ideologue isn't a way to persuade people.

No one here likes making students borrow to pay for education. Even the Fed has found tuition subsides will lower default rates. But you don't get what the objective is. It is ostensibly to get more people educated, which of course allows for the continued inflation of college costs.

The Fed article pointed the issue of what the apparent real aims are:

Our results suggest that if the goal of education policy is to improve aggregate welfare, then merit-based tuition subsidies are preferable to both need-based subsidies and higher government borrowing limits, as merit-based subsidies promote college investment without increasing default rates in the student loan market. However, if the goal is to deliver high college enrollment rates, then need-based subsidies are preferable to merit-based subsidies and higher government borrowing limits, but come at the cost of higher default rates on student loans.

https://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/feds/2014/201466/201466pap.pdf

And the payoff to having a degree is even higher than before given rising income inequality (one of my buddies was just at an investment conference where this was a prominent point made). So if you can't get a college education, you will be left out of what is left of the middle class. But one of many problems is only something like 57% of the students complete their degrees even in 6 years.

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-mcpherson-complete-college-20160822-snap-story.html

jerry , June 1, 2017 at 10:48 am

Any bankruptcy attorneys out there who can give me a good reason not to declare chapter 7 with 10-15k in unsecured debt, low income, and no medium term (5-10 years) prospects of needing a good credit score? Seems like the only tool left in the toolkit for us wage slaves these days?

LT , June 1, 2017 at 12:07 pm

In the 90s, a radio promotion man from a music label was the first person to explain the the sharecropper analogy to me during a discussion about recording artist contracts. And the internet (or the information people give in service of it) has not changed the dynamic in music or any other industry because it concentrated power and made creditors and credit reporting agencies more powerful.

WeakenedSquire , June 1, 2017 at 12:46 pm

A student loan debt is literally a claim against a life - you cannot discharge it in bankruptcy, and if you die, your parents are obligated to pay it.

No. The second half of that is a flat-out wrong statement. Student loans are discharged upon the borrower's death. Every time I read Hudson, I find myself incredibly frustrated that a man of such brilliance resorts to lazy and hyperbolic exaggerations to make a point when there is no bloody need to do so. Reality is grotesque enough.

JustAnObserver , June 1, 2017 at 1:40 pm

Perhaps Michael Hudson is – somewhat sloppily – referring to the IIRC typical case where getting the loan requires someone to sign on as guarantor, normally the student's parents.

Q for those who know: Am I right in thinking this ?

nycTerrierist , June 1, 2017 at 12:48 pm

As if it isn't bad enough, enter Betsy Devos:

http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2017/04/18/betsy_devos_is_wasting_no_time_screwing_over_student_borrowers.html

http://www.prwatch.org/news/2017/01/13207/betsy-devos-ethics-report-reveals-ties-student-debt-collection-firm

Gordon , June 1, 2017 at 12:50 pm

Here in the UK today's undergraduates are graduating with a debt in the high £40ks. That is getting on for twice the per capita national debt (around £27k if memory serves) so, given that about half now go to university, that will in time nearly double the national debt – except it will have been privatised so that's ok (/sarc).

Actually, it's not ok. After buying or renting (mostly renting) ridiculously expensive houses and paying off their student loans, today's graduates will not/cannot possibly generate enough economic surplus to pay the pensions of their parents. Somehow/sometime this is going to break.

Wisdom Seeker , June 1, 2017 at 3:16 pm

One aspect of this needs additional consideration: one person's debt is another person's asset. But whose asset? Blaming "rentiers" is insufficiently precise; we ought to know who lent the money. Demand for "bonds" comes from many sources, including retiree pensions, 401Ks, and so on.

Most of the student loans are federally guaranteed, but are the principal and interest payments actually going to Uncle Sam, or to Sallie Mae bond tranche owners? Are the boomers – at least those with pensions and 401ks – enslaving students through their ravenous demand for income-producing assets to fund their retirements?

Most people are blindly funding "life cycle" retirement funds, not realizing that those very "investments" are enabling all the behavior they decry as exploitative. The huge national debt, student loan, housing and auto loan bubbles are all funded by people who think of themselves as "investors", but are actually ENABLERS.

I fear the abuses won't end until people wake up and realize that their 401K retirement fund is abetting all the evils they abhor, and start demanding better investment options. But many simply won't care, and the finance industry will fight tooth and claw to prevent reform of their gravy train

P.S. In past years, when I searched I was not able to easily find a single bond mutual fund or ETF of any size that doesn't fund either the national debt, the TBTF banks, the housing, student loan or auto bubbles. One would think there would be some funds investing in bonds issued by non financial productive corporations; are there any? I would give good coin to a 401K or IRA-compatible fund or ETF which indexed non-financial corporate bonds, especially if it used a socially-responsible overlay to screen out the other forms of corporate abuse (monopolies, pollution, slave-labor practices etc.).

bob , June 1, 2017 at 7:43 pm

Are the boomers – at least those with pensions and 401ks – enslaving students through their ravenous demand for income-producing assets to fund their retirements?

– YES –

VietnamVet , June 1, 2017 at 7:08 pm

Two industries not yet outsourced are education and healthcare. Rural college towns are the only oases of prosperity in mid-America. This article explains why. All the money being spent there is coming from the student's future earnings. It is unsustainable. The percentage of middle class families have fallen from 62% in 1970 to 43% in 2014. This is why government took over student loans. To keep the scam going. Debt that can't be paid back won't be. Healthcare has likewise been finanicizlized. Housing is well into its second bubble blown in part by Chinese flight capital. Something will pop. The prick could be as simple as a successful soft coup by the global media and the intelligence community that forces Donald J Trump to resign.

[Jun 23, 2017] Mass Incarceration's Dangerous New Equilibrium by Peter Temin

Notable quotes:
"... Imprisoning Communities: How Mass Incarceration Makes Disadvantaged Neighborhoods Worse ..."
"... See original post for references ..."
"... Prison Industrial Complex ..."
"... Business Behind Bars Former Reagan Attorney General Ed Meese has a way to slow the exodus of jobs overseas: Put prisoners to work ..."
"... even if drugs were legalized – the same people would be in jail for something else. ..."
"... Minority Heroin dealers are given intolerable sentences, but Perdue Pharmaceuticals floods the market with opiates with an ever increasing death toll, yet Raymond and Mortimer Sackler are billionaires. Go figure. ..."
"... Police and prison guards' unions = sweet spot of the Dem base (particularly in California) ..."
"... "But terror can be very efficient against a reactionary class which does not want to leave the scene of operations. Intimidation is a powerful weapon of policy, both internationally and internally. War, like revolution, is founded upon intimidation. A victorious war, generally speaking, destroys only an insignificant part of the conquered army, intimidating the remainder and breaking their will. The revolution works in the same way: it kills individuals, and intimidates thousands." Leon Trotsky, 1920 ..."
Jun 23, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
By Peter Temin, Elisha Gray II Professor Emeritus of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Originally published at the Institute for New Economic Thinking website

Mass incarceration in the United States has mushroomed to the point where we look more like the authoritarian regimes of Eastern Europe and the Middle East than the democracies of Western Europe. Yet it vanished from political discussions in campaigns in the 2016 election. In a new INET Working Paper , I describe in detail how the US arrived at this point. Drawing on a new model that synthesizes recent research, I demonstrate how the recent stability in the number of American prisoners indicates that we have settled into a new equilibrium of mass incarceration. I explain why it will hard to dislodge ourselves from this damaging and shameful status quo.

Mass incarceration started from Nixon's War on Drugs, in a process described vividly by John Ehrlichman, Nixon's domestic-policy adviser, in 1994:

The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I'm saying? We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.

This was the origin of mass incarceration in the United States, which has been directed at African Americans from Nixon's time to today, when one third of black men go to prison (Bonczar, 2003; Baum, 2016; Alexander, 2010).

Federal laws were expanded in state laws that ranged from three-strike laws to harsh penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana. The laws also shifted the judicial process from judges to prosecutors, from the courtroom to offices where prosecutors pressure accused people to plea-bargain. The threat of harsh minimum sentences gives prosecutors the option of reducing the charge to a lesser one if the accused is reluctant to languish in jail awaiting trial-if he or she is unable to make bail-and then face the possibility of long years in prison. And the shift of power was eased by the pattern of financing. Prosecutors are paid by localities, while the costs of prisons are borne by states. The trip to the penitentiary does not cost prosecutor at all. "Instead of juries and trial judges deciding whether this or that defendant merits punishing, prosecutors decide who deserves a trip to the nearest penitentiary (Stuntz, 2011, 286; Pfaff, 2017, 127)."

In a recent book, Pfaff minimized the role of drug laws in mass incarceration on the grounds that most state prisoners were convicted of violent crimes; only federal prisoners were predominantly convicted of drug violations. But the importance of public prosecutors and plea bargains contaminates this inference because the listed crimes in state prisons were produced in plea bargains. Since drug laws contain so many minimum sentences, plea bargains were driven toward lesser charges that did not fall under the drug laws. The results of the plea bargains do not indicate why prisoners were originally arrested and charged (Pfaff, 2017).

Both political parties were engaged at different times in legislation that gave rise to mass incarceration. It would seem likely that they could get together to try to reduce the rate of incarceration, but the prospects are not good in our current political impasse. The reduction of incarceration always has some risks, and political figures are very risk averse. Some people want to reduce the cost of prisons to help fund other government programs, but they have not produced many proposals to accomplish this goal or how to allocate the gains.

As Todd Clear stated in his 2007 book, Imprisoning Communities: How Mass Incarceration Makes Disadvantaged Neighborhoods Worse :

Imprisonment in America is concentrated among young, poor-dominantly minority-men and (to a lesser extent) women who come from impoverished communities. The way these young people cycle through our system of prisons and jails, then back into the community, leaves considerable collateral damage in its wake. Families are disrupted, social networks and other forms of social support are weakened, health is endangered, labor markets are thinned, and-more important than anything else-children are put at risk of the depleted human and social capital that promotes delinquency. After a certain point, the collateral effects of these high rates of incarceration seem to contribute to more crime in these places. Crime fuels a public call for ever-tougher responses to crime. The increasing way in which the face of criminality is the face of person of color contributes to an unarticulated public sense that race and crime are closely linked. The politics of race and justice coexist malignantly, sustaining an ever-growing policy base that guarantees new supplies of penal subjects in a self-sustaining and self-justifying manner (Clear, 2007, 175).

We seem to be in a new equilibrium. It took forty years to get to this point, and it may take at least that long to get back to what we can consider a normal incarceration rate typical of advanced economies. We have not yet started down that road.

See original post for references

paul , June 23, 2017 at 7:01 am

Anyone who thinks it will take 40 years to undo a stroke of the pen, which the war on drugs was, is pissing (in a humanitarian direction) into the wind.

Removing the prison population would give janet yelllen an enormous migraine.

Metrics!

funemployed , June 23, 2017 at 7:25 am

I'd add that the distinction between violent crime and drug violations misses the mark in another way too. The massive scale of the US black market, the cruelty of life in US prisons, the massive distrust and animosity between law enforcement and many communities, the disruption caused to families and communities by mass incarceration, and our high rate of violent crimes are hardly unrelated phenomena.

I'd wager decriminalization of drugs would lead to a pretty large decrease in supposedly unrelated violent crimes.

QuarterBack , June 23, 2017 at 7:40 am

True enough, but I'm sure the Prison Industrial Complex loves the idea of long term studies on impact followed by long term debates on methodology and findings. IMO, it is the monopolistic profitability of corporations like UNICOR that split their profits and governance with the very same people who control the mass incarceration and competitive bidding laws and policies, that far outweigh any other factor. Without substantial changes to the monetization and conflict of interest laws at the top, all the findings in the world are just noise to the entrenched system.

Consider this 2003 Fortune article Business Behind Bars Former Reagan Attorney General Ed Meese has a way to slow the exodus of jobs overseas: Put prisoners to work

archive.fortune.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2003/09/15/349159/index.htm?iid=sr-link1

Prominent conservatives have been encouraging prisons to put inmates to work for years. Led by Edwin Meese, the former U.S. Attorney General and head of the Heritage Foundation, and Morgan Reynolds, one of the first President Bush's economic advisors, they have lobbied for real prison employment by the private sector–not just make-work projects like stamping license plates or building courthouse furniture. The benefits are difficult to ignore: Businesses get cheap, reliable workers; inmates receive valuable job training and earn more than they would in traditional prison jobs; and the government offsets the cost of incarceration and keeps jobs and tax dollars in the U.S.

Who do you think legislators are going to take their guidance from? Former AGs (who just happened to build and grow the prison workforce), or scholarly studies?

TheCatSaid , June 23, 2017 at 7:42 am

Social engineering described in this post was also a continuation of corporate / elite commercial interes. Free labor–what's not to like? Legal slavery, more profits from multiple directions of all kinds–legit, corrupt and criminal. Plus serving as a method to keep the downtrodden unable to respond in a way to create change (COINTELPRO and its contemporary descendants). . .

No way out but through but what will that look like? Comes down to individual understanding and action, no single uniform "solution". I gradually become more conscious of what I create. It's not a process that can be urged on others. "Be the change . . ."

cnchal , June 23, 2017 at 8:04 am

. . . The politics of race and justice coexist malignantly, sustaining an ever-growing policy base that guarantees new supplies of penal subjects in a self-sustaining and self-justifying manner (Clear, 2007, 175).

I am pissed at Ford. What a golden opportunity missed. Instead of moving Ford Fusion production to China, it could move production to a few prisons and use homegrown slaves instead of Chinese ones.

David , June 23, 2017 at 9:39 am

"The increasing way in which the face of criminality is the face of person of color contributes to an unarticulated public sense that race and crime are closely linked."

so no drug laws means no black inmates?

even if drugs were legalized – the same people would be in jail for something else.

There are no jobs – 40%+ UE Rate for this demographic – so what do you expect them to do?

Eric Gardner was selling cigarettes "for money" – joke crime – yet five cops descended on him.

cnchal , June 23, 2017 at 9:50 am

> so what do you expect them to do?

Globalization is a disaster wherever you care to look.

HotFlash , June 23, 2017 at 11:02 am

even if drugs were legalized – the same people would be in jail for something else.

I have read your comment 4 times, so far, and still cannot see how you can say this. Pls explain.

kurtismayfield , June 23, 2017 at 11:38 am

The reason why the people are getting arrested and jailed for drug crimes is poverty. These people lack the economic opportunity to bring them out of it, so they drift to illegal enterprises. Even if you made all drug use and distribution/sales legal, this does not change the economic realities that make people choose an illicit activity in the first place. So they would be arrested for something else that is illegal.

Michael Fiorillo , June 23, 2017 at 12:26 pm

If there's the political will and power to repeal abusive drug laws, why wouldn't it be (theoretically) possible to do the same with laws that target the poor?

When I was growing up in the "bad old days" of '70's NYC, police officers would have rightfully laughed in the face of of a superior or elected official who told them to go after people selling "loosies" (a la Eric Garner).

I'm not saying it will happen, but popular revolts could go a long way toward loosening the vise on poor communities.

Ptolemy Philopater , June 23, 2017 at 3:49 pm

Recreational Cannabis is legal in Colorado. It is a state granted monopoly. Already Colorado is cracking down on home grown weed production. There is legalization, and there is state granted monopoly legalization. The outcome for poor people is the same. Cigarettes are legal, yet Eric Gardner was murdered for selling them. Go figure.

Minority Heroin dealers are given intolerable sentences, but Perdue Pharmaceuticals floods the market with opiates with an ever increasing death toll, yet Raymond and Mortimer Sackler are billionaires. Go figure.

We live in a mafia culture. It's called ethnic privilege. Drugs are already legalized for the ethnically privileged. Mass incarceration, Genocide by Other Means, for the ethnically unprivileged. Go figure!

Disturbed Voter , June 23, 2017 at 12:22 pm

Unfortunately it take an outbreak of Black Death to make labor more valuable ;-(

Allegorio , June 23, 2017 at 3:51 pm

Or a revolution. Talk is cheap, action is not.

Kevin Horlock , June 23, 2017 at 12:40 pm

Police and prison guards' unions = sweet spot of the Dem base (particularly in California)

"Law and order" and disproportional impact on minorities = sweet spot of the Rethuglican base.

To me, all analyses of this issue pretty well begins right there.

clarky90 , June 23, 2017 at 6:31 pm

I believe that we, the 80% , are being classed as the present day, Neo-Peasants and Neo-Kulaks. (Hillbillies, working class, uneducated, not woke, Nazis, deplorables, reactionaries, homeless, right-wing, religious bigots, addicts, petty criminals, progressives, Bernie-bros, conspiracy nuts ..) by the Neo-Apparatchiks.

There is a Revolution going on! It is being waged against us .

Gulag
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gulag

"During 1920–50, the leaders of the Communist Party considered repression to be a tool that was to be used for securing the normal functioning of the Soviet state system, as well as for preserving and strengthening their positions within their social base, the (The 20%) Working Class. (The Bolshevik Leadership were not really "working class", but usually, "Intellectuals"!) ( peasants , who were NOT considered "working class", represented 80%!!!! of the USSR population then ).

The GULAG system was introduced in order to isolate and eliminate class-alien, socially dangerous, disruptive, suspicious, and other disloyal elements, whose deeds and thoughts were not contributing to the strengthening of the dictatorship of the proletariat. Forced labor (was used) as a "method of reeducation" ."

Terrorism and Communism: A Reply to Karl Kautsky

https://www.marxists.org/archive/trotsky/1920/terrcomm/ch04.htm

"But terror can be very efficient against a reactionary class which does not want to leave the scene of operations. Intimidation is a powerful weapon of policy, both internationally and internally. War, like revolution, is founded upon intimidation. A victorious war, generally speaking, destroys only an insignificant part of the conquered army, intimidating the remainder and breaking their will. The revolution works in the same way: it kills individuals, and intimidates thousands." Leon Trotsky, 1920

[Jun 23, 2017] Some People "Would Rather Have 1st Class Seats on the Titanic Than Change the Course of the Ship"

Notable quotes:
"... Being in control of the losing party is still being in control: deals can be made, hands can be shaken, backs can be rubbed. A reformed progressive party means that the current elite lose their relevance, influence and power. And they will have none of that. ..."
"... "Change cannot occur if the displaced ruling class is left intact after a revolution against them." Dems have been running away from Henry Wallace (Roosevelt too) since way before my time. ..."
"... outside ..."
"... The Dems are never going to change unless challenged from outside the party. Sanders' Titanic analogy isn't particularly valid since the first class passengers in this case have their own private lifeboats. ..."
"... Pelosi, Schumer, Clinton, Hoyer. They are all old. In 5 years time, the whole Democratic party could change. There is a saying attributed to Max Planck, "Science advances one funeral at a time.", I suggest the same applies to politics. ..."
"... I'm not sure how you look at the last election cycle and conclude that the 'Democrat' party is even remotely capable of reform from within. For all of Mr. Sanders laudable goals, I think he is still suffering from the delusion that enough people in the party have the courage and moral conviction to do the right thing rather than looking out for their own skin. The money suggests otherwise. ..."
"... These closet elitists espouse popular progressive policies on their face, but when push comes to shove they will happily throw a few people under the bus if it means they won't have to wait in line for their morning latte at Starbucks. ..."
"... Freud, referring to nationalism. called it "the narcissism of superficial differences." It seems to apply very well here, too. ..."
"... Fascinating stuff really, how in America Socialism=USSR=Stalin=Terrorism=Obama. Reminds me of that excellent wikileaks document talking about how they are content to have erased civics and worked to create a clueless population ..."
Jun 23, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
Posted on June 23, 2017 by Yves Smith By Gaius Publius , a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States and frequent contributor to DownWithTyranny, digby, Truthout, and Naked Capitalism. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius , Tumblr and Facebook . GP article archive here . Originally published at DownWithTyranny

... ... ..

Protecting Their First Class Seats on the Titanic

The quote in the title of this piece is from Bernie Sanders , said in a recent interview with David Sirota. Here's just a part (emphasis and paragraphing mine):

Sirota: The Democratic Party leadership has lost the White House, Congress, 1,000 state legislative seats and many governorships. Why is the party still run by the same group of people who delivered that electoral record?

Sanders: Because there are people who, as I often say, would rather have first class seats going down with the Titanic, rather than change the course of the ship . There are people who have spent their entire lives in the Democratic Party, there are people who've invested a whole lot of money into the Democratic Party, they think the Democratic Party belongs to them . You know, they own a home, they may own a boat, they may own the Democratic Party.

I mean, that's just the way people are, and I think there is reluctance on some, not all, by the way - I mean, I ran around this country and I met with the Democratic Party leaders in almost every state in the country. Some of them made it very clear they did not want to open the door to working people, they did not want to open to door to young people. They wanted to maintain the status quo.

On the other hand, I will tell you, there are party leaders around the country that said, "You know what, Bernie? There's a lot of young people out there who want to get involved. We think that's a great idea, and we want them involved."

Those who said "You know what, Bernie? There's a lot of young people out there who want to get involved. We think that's a great idea" - they don't run the Party when it comes to its top layers of leadership. Not by a very long shot.

For the Message to Change, the Leadership Must Change

So what's a progressive to do? It should be obvious. The Democratic Party has to change its policy offering, from "You can't have what all of you want" to "If the people want a better life, we will give it to them."

Yet this is not so easily done. For the message to change, the leadership must also change.

Which raises the critical question: How do we depose Chuc​k Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, and the rest of their kind and make people like Bernie Sanders and Jeff Merkley the Party leaders instead?

After all, if someone like Bernie Sanders isn't Senate Majority Leader, if a Sanders-like politician (Ted Lieu perhaps) isn't Speaker of the House, what's the point of electing more back-bench progressives, more "supporting cast" players? ​

If there's no way to do that - and soon, given the ticking clock - we're Sisphus pushing the same heavy bolder up the same high hill, year after year, decade after decade, till we die or the game is finally truly over. 2018 is around the bend. 2020 is coming. Après ça, le déluge . Not much time to solve this one.

Completely filling the Second Class cabins on the Titanic with our people (that is, populating Congress with progressives who are nevertheless kept from leadership and control) won't change what goes on in the Captain's cabin and on the bridge.

Put more simply, we need to control the Party , or when the clock truly runs out, all this effort will truly have been pointless. I'm not fatalistic. I assume there's a way. So here's my first shot at an answer.

Elected Progressives Must Openly Rebel Against Their "Leaders"

In order for the revolution inside the Democratic Party to work, our elected progressive congressional representatives senators, must work to depose Pelosi and Schumer (etc.) and take power. More - they must do it visibly, effectively and now , in order to convince the 42% of voters that someone inside the Party is trying to knock these people out of the Captain's chair.

We voters and activists have our own challenges. This is the challenge for the electeds we've already put in place. If our elected progressives don't do this - or won't do this - "tick-tick-tick" says the world-historical clock on the wall. And we can all go down together, steerage and First Class alike.

It's time to step up, elected progressives. It's also time to be seen to step up . Read the Paul Craig Roberts quote at the top again. If the Party's failed leaders aren't deposed, the revolution will have failed.

It's a moment for real courage, and moments of courage bring moments of great fear. I understand that this kind of open rebellion, open public confrontation, a palace coup in front of the TV cameras, is frightening.

It's also necessary.

My ask: If you agree, write to your favorite elected progressive and say so. No more gravy train for Democratic elites. Meat and potatoes for voters instead. Complete the Sanders revolution by changing House and Senate leadership - now.

I know this puts some very good people on the spot. But maybe that's a feature, yes?

Isotope_C14 , June 23, 2017 at 12:42 am

Though I believe climate change is well past the point that it can be mitigated, the attempt to depose the corporate democrats is a noble enough endeavor. Stephen Jaffe is running against Nancy Pelosi, a very thoughtful and progressive candidate.

https://twitter.com/Jaffe4Congress

David Hildebrand is running against Feinstein. Also very progressive and well worth some research. https://twitter.com/David4SenateCA

I'm sure these guys could use any help anyone is willing to offer. I believe they are both against PAC money, but they can accept donations through actblue.

xxxx, June 23, 2017 at 9:04 am

Yeah but so we have two white men running against women, and on top of that if my google is correct Jaffe is > 70yrs old?

No disrespect to the quality of the candidates, but . seems like more wheel spinning. Like I keep saying, I don't trust Tulsi as far as I can throw my gas guzzler, but she has the kind of profile we need.

Vatch , June 23, 2017 at 11:07 am

[Tulsi Gabbard] has the kind of profile we need.

Yes, she does. But she's from Hawai'i, and a 50 state strategy is needed. Nancy Pelosi and Dianne Feinstein are both Californians, and they're a couple of phonies. Despite the difficulties, any progressive Democrats who oppose them in the primaries deserve to be seriously considered for support. Here are some more web sites for these candidates:

David Hildebrand http://www.davidforcalifornia.com/

Stephen Jaffe https://jaffe4congress.com/

Tim Canova, who opposed Debbie Wasserman Schultz in the 2016 Democratic primary, has endorsed Stephen Jaffe:

https://jaffe4congress.com/endorsements/

Jaffe is 6 years younger than the 77 year old Pelosi:

http://www.latimes.com/politics/essential/la-pol-ca-essential-politics-updates-meet-the-liberal-who-is-trying-to-1494004055-htmlstory.html

Kim Kaufman , June 23, 2017 at 1:43 am

I love the spike in 2007 from Dems to Independents. That would be about the time Pelosi said "impeachment is off the table." They came back to vote for Obama and have been cratering ever since. And Pelosi is still there. But the problem is: the leadership has not been developing any new leaders. Pelosi is a disaster but whoever might replace could easily be worse.

jefemt , June 23, 2017 at 9:01 am

I shake my head in wonder at how 'middle America" seems to have been suckered by Trump, and continues to vote against its self-interest. Yet I see a comment with a 'conditional but(t) about Pelosi, and I think, "Well, that is just as inane?"

We need to dump BOTH sides of the same neocon , self-interested corrupt to the core coin, BOTH parties, and completely re-tool.

The collective 'we' must come up with a simple platform, over 300 new candidates for congress, as many candidates as there are for the upcoming Senate seats, in the next 18 months. Tall order, but, it really is up to 'us'. We 'the people'.

The platform that would rally the votes, or a Constitutional convention and re-work that would satiate the broad center of America is daunting if even possible.

I have trotted out some ideas, and they just don't resonate with closest like-minded friends, so how am I going to gain traction with folks that are of a deeper opposite philosophical perspective?

– Single payor, one system, NOT insurance, but care: same one for congress, the president, the military, and lowly tax mules like me
– No-deduction, simplified flat-rate income tax with four tiers, 5% 12% 20% top rate 40%- you tell me where we draw the gross income lines between the % rates
-Tax return has taxpayer- directed check boxes in front of a simplified matrix of 'government' , where individuals choose where they want their money to go. Initial 10 year period of a declining sliding scale- 90% goes general fund first year, 80% 2nd year, and so on so that by year 10 each taxpayor only gives 10% to the general fund, 90% is taxpayor-directed (direct democracy?) Allows lead time for the government to see the direction the nation, and not the elected officials, want to see their money go (infrastructure? Bombs and depleted uranium bullets destined for distant shores and brown people? National Parks and monuments? Starving disabled widows and children? Public universities and Community College/ Trade Schools?
-Currency tied to BTU/ energy– value of BTUs based on full-life cycle costs- including carbon or waste management externalities (Coal, oil/gas, nukes, hydro) analyzed energy units– incentivize individuals to print their own money with rooftop solar, wind, conservation, etc ( a new Gold standard :This is where all the displaced accountants and insurance/ medical staff can go after the tax code is simplified )
-Reintroduce The Draft, with mandatory service to include civilian work corps, get parents involved in directing our elected 'reps' to ponder the slelf licking ice cream cone of perpetual war

I'm sure I am missing many things but boy, between Trump. Pelosi, McConnell, Schumer, Ryan, Gianforte, we are according to my values and preferences headed in a 180 degree wrong direction!

B1whois , June 23, 2017 at 12:59 pm

Honestly, at this point, every single vote cast in the presidential election could be argued as being "against one's best interests". This hackneyed phrase needs to subsume under real qualitative analysis.

jrs , June 23, 2017 at 2:12 pm

it's going to be against one's self interest in all likelihood as the system one lives in is against most of our self-interest (including our corrupt money drenched political system). Some votes can at best be damage control, which I suppose is in one's self interest to a degree, but only to a degree.

Crazy Horse , June 23, 2017 at 3:40 pm

This entire discussion is based upon the false premise that there are two political parties in the United States. Objectively there is only one party- the War Party, Empire Party, Kleptocracy Party- call it whatever you wish. Within it are two factions with slightly different players and ownership, but both are totally unrepresentative of the real interests of 99.99% of the citizens.

From the standpoint of the commoners, the two parties are similar to football teams where fan support is based upon social conformity and quasi-religious delusion. Loyalty is fostered by staging huge circuses where the two contestants compete to see which one can fabricate the most appealing set of lies which they never intend to try to implement.

"Change cannot occur if the displaced ruling class is left intact after a revolution against them" The idea that one of these "political parties" can be captured and transformed into something other than its very essence is ludicrous. What exactly does the displaced ruling class (not being) left intact mean? Nancy Pelosi finally succumbing to old age? Pelosi, Obama, or Trump are hardly the ruling class- merely its' hired servants who can be replaced. Having the ruling class overthrown is more likely to mean the Buffets, Bezos', and Dimons of the world thrown into a maximum security cell In Guantanamo or burned at the stake than a mere shuffling of political actors.

And Gaius, what basis do you have for calling Trump the worst presidential candidate in modern history? In order to achieve that honor he will have to outperform Obama, he of the silver tongue who ruled for 8 years as a "progressive" while overseeing the destruction of the middle class, enabling the financialiization of the economy and the greatest transfer of wealth in history, and becoming the world's most prolific assassin using a fleet of remote controlled drones. Or be more evil than George Bush, who sat in the back row of an elementary classroom while Dick Cheney stage managed the false flag attack upon New York and the Pentagon and used that to turn the country into a Homeland Insecurity police state. Granted, Trump is trying hard to be even more destructive than his predecessors, but he hasn't yet succeeded.

Johnny Pistola , June 23, 2017 at 6:33 pm

You effectively echo my thoughts, Mr Horse. The children of the American Revolution are afraid to revolt perhaps they fear they will be demoted to economy class on the Titanic if they rebel?

Rhondda , June 23, 2017 at 6:45 pm

Excellent comment.

redleg , June 23, 2017 at 1:51 pm

Missing 2 big ones:
1. MONEY IS NOT SPEECH, and shall be subject to regulation by legislation and/or administrative rules;
2. Corporations ARE NOT PEOPLE and have absolutely ZERO inherent rights. Any rights assigned to corporations by legislation shall be subordinate to those of living beings.

Yes, I'm shouting.

jrs , June 23, 2017 at 2:18 pm

The U.S. Constitution IS ONE F'D UP DOCUMENT, that makes things so hard to change.

But really since it seems this requires an amendment to change these things, and that is nearly impossible to achieve (well we haven't had a new amendment in 45 years unless you count congressional pay – yea approaching near half a century without one), it does just underscore what a screwed up political construct we live under.

UserFriendly , June 23, 2017 at 2:00 am

I could not agree more if you paid me to.

Kim Kaufman , June 23, 2017 at 2:05 am

And here's something to listen to on the good ship Titanic:

Gavin Bryars – The Sinking Of The Titanic (1975, Obscure)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oVMRADOq5s

I've always liked Gavin Bryars but just read the above is on Tom Waits' top ten list of music favorites. So here's something he did with Bryars, also part of the sinking of the Titanic:

Gavin Bryars Feat. Tom Waits – Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet (Long version)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gT0wonCq_MY

Lambert Strether , June 23, 2017 at 2:10 am

> They've totally had it.

Exactly.

Ignacio , June 23, 2017 at 3:13 am

This article shows that the Democratic party, all political parties with possibilities, are run like corporations. Period.

WobblyTelomeres , June 23, 2017 at 9:54 am

Or a crime syndicate.

allan , June 23, 2017 at 11:14 am

Or a lobbying firm. A flexian lobbying firm:

Prominent Democratic Fundraisers Realign to Lobby For Trump's Agenda [Intercept]

[ Long laundry list horror show of Obama/Clinton bundlers lobbying to advance Trump agenda. At the end:]

The Intercept spoke to several progressive activists who expressed outrage that leading Democratic Party officials are now advancing the Trump agenda, but were reluctant to comment on the record, for fear of angering powerful Democrats. But a few activists, like Democracy Sping's Newkirk, decided to speak on the record.

Becky Bond, an activist and former Bernie Sanders adviser who also spoke out, said, "When Democratic insiders team up with Comcast and the private prison industry, they make it pretty difficult to see how the party can recruit relationships with the voters it needs to bring back into the fold."

"Destroying the internet and maximizing the profitability of mass incarceration," she added, "is not what I would call a winning strategy for Democrats who want to take back power in 2018."

If the DNC wanted input from granola crunchers, they would ask for it.
Or, rather, have Blue State Digital ask for it and bill the DNC six figures.

I Have Strange Dreams , June 23, 2017 at 3:23 am

The doctor has correctly diagnosed the disease, but there is no cure; the prognosis is terminal. The D party are American to the core: grifting, hustling, murdering, stealing, tech-douchebaggery, vagina-hatted buffoonery, egotistical, self-obsessed anti-social psychopathic angry drunks of selfish parents. I.e, all-American.

HotFlash , June 23, 2017 at 8:56 am

There is a lot of truth in what you say. But perhaps you could make some new friends?

relstprof , June 23, 2017 at 3:29 am

"By my count, with the Georgia election Democrats have just blown their fifth chance in a row to make a new first impression"

Direct and simple. Publius has it right, like Hillel:

"There was an incident involving a Gentile who came before Shammai and said to him: 'Convert me to Judaism on condition that you will teach me the entire Torah while I stand on one foot.' Shammai pushed the man away with the building rod he was holding. Undeterred, the man then came before Hillel with the same request. Hillel said to him, 'That which is hateful unto you, do not do unto your neighbor. This is the whole Torah, all the rest is commentary.'" ( Shabbat 31a)

Imagine this scenario with a fast-food worker, a coal miner, an adjunct professor, a docks trucker. (Evidently Ossoff didn't imagine this, as reports surface that he didn't campaign for these kind of voters.)

Do not exploit. Single-payer. Debt relief. Free tuition. It's not going to be easy, but there's no need for fear.

relstprof , June 23, 2017 at 3:36 am

Edit: fearmongering ought to be the last word above.

HotFlash , June 23, 2017 at 10:47 am

I think leaving it at 'fear' is better.

Carla , June 23, 2017 at 7:53 am

"Do not exploit. Single-payer. Debt relief. Free tuition. It's not going to be easy, but there's no need for fearmongering."

As long as we keep bombing the shit out of Syria, Yemen, and anywhere else we please?

Oh, I forgot. "Do not exploit" only applies to Amuricans

cripes , June 23, 2017 at 3:47 am

As much as I would like to see a viable third party that owes nothing to the POS legacy Dems, it does seem like the more likely scenario is a takeover of the entire party apparatus and leadership.

The hour is getting late. (hat tip J Hendrix)

Hayek's Heelbiter , June 23, 2017 at 5:19 am

Actually, the line is by Nobel Laureate, Bob Dylan, from "All Along the Watchtower." which was, importantly, preceded by the line, "There's no reason to talk softly now."

ratefink , June 23, 2017 at 10:56 am

Eeeee

"Let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late."

voteforno6 , June 23, 2017 at 6:28 am

Actually, hat tip B. Dylan (b. R. Zimmerman).

Johnny Pistola , June 23, 2017 at 6:41 pm

Yeah, but I still like Jimi's version better.

Eureka Springs , June 23, 2017 at 8:17 am

I like PCR's quote.

"Change cannot occur if the displaced ruling class is left intact after a revolution against them .

I don't even detect this as a sincere goal among progressives/demos which is yet another reason I'm not d partying.

If anyone takes over the party without changing nearly every process then they are just seeking the same results by new faces.

Binding platform/policy established and maintained by as many people/votes as possible. And this should be done by nearly anyone but candidates/office holders. Officeholders should represent with instructions much like a jurist.

True party membership.

No more caucus. Individual private votes on paper ballots for all party processes. All off which must be counted immediately. Votes should be scheduled far in advance, with no last minute changes to questions/issues as we witnessed when given glimpses of inner party shenanigans.

Transparent, real time monitoring of all incoming and outgoing funds. Down to the office pencils and after hours beers if on party or contracted dimes.

Otherwise it's a private anti-democratic exclusionary party and you ain't in it.

Eclectic , June 23, 2017 at 4:59 am

Being in control of the losing party is still being in control: deals can be made, hands can be shaken, backs can be rubbed. A reformed progressive party means that the current elite lose their relevance, influence and power. And they will have none of that.

wellclosed , June 23, 2017 at 5:38 am

"Change cannot occur if the displaced ruling class is left intact after a revolution against them." Dems have been running away from Henry Wallace (Roosevelt too) since way before my time.

habenicht , June 23, 2017 at 6:26 am

Michael Hudson said this back on this site in March:

"It seems that only a new party can achieve these aims. At the time these essays are going to press, Sanders has committed himself to working within the Democratic Party. But that stance is based on his assumption that somehow he can recruit enough activists to take over the party from Its Donor Class.

I suspect he will fail. In any case, it is easier to begin afresh than to try to re-design a party (or any institution) dominated by resistance to change, and whose idea of economic growth is a pastiche of tax cuts and deregulation. Both U.S. parties are committed to this neoliberal program – and seek to blame foreign enemies for the fact that its effect is to continue squeezing living standards and bloating the financial sector."

Further I find it hard to conclude that the Democratic party is salvagable reading the post here. They have proven time and time again where their interest lie.

Unless there is a mutiny on the horizon for the democrats, maybe it is better to abandon ship!

Moneta , June 23, 2017 at 7:41 am

Donor money attracts the status seekers pushing for the status quo, guaranteeing low voter turnout. Leaders probably love it when the dissenters just give up and become even more individualistic.

A new party needs to get started promoting:
– pension protections
– universal healthcare
– affordable post secondary education

Susan the other , June 23, 2017 at 11:21 am

Interesting how Macron managed to recruit enough members of parliament to make his EM party viable – just that easily he ousted and replaced people. I thought it was all too smooth. Here it's a cat fight all the way. And in the end party politics gets corroded anyway. I'm thinking a party is secondary to policy, because it is always shifting. Whereas some bedrock policy, regardless of which "party" might be marching for it, can survive all the ups and downs of sack-of-potato politics. What we need is a movement that demands human rights. A constitutional convention would just be another cat fight – we need to start demanding the basics, as you list them and maybe a few more like a jobs guarantee program – the right to work for a living wage.

Moneta , June 23, 2017 at 11:45 am

IMO, the manifesto has to list requests that are

Human rights are too nebulous: one could see walking down the street holding a gun a god given right while the other sees being able to walk in a gun free city
a god given right.

Job guarantees are just as nebulous. Instead of offering job guarantees, you'd have to guarantee the creation of specific jobs: cleaning polluted areas, universal daycare, research into X, etc.

Moneta , June 23, 2017 at 11:50 am

Very specific.

Rhondda , June 23, 2017 at 6:53 pm

I don't think you can compare the situ with the Dems to Macron's feeble sweep up. He's a Globalist banker construct, a cutout. Obama v 2.0 a la Français. IMHO, of course.

Carolinian , June 23, 2017 at 7:47 am

Thank you. The Dems are never going to change unless challenged from outside the party. Sanders' Titanic analogy isn't particularly valid since the first class passengers in this case have their own private lifeboats. Of course you can get melodramatic and claim the fate of the world is at stake and therefore the planet itself is the Titanic due to AGW but that's a problem much bigger than political parties and changing one for the other isn't likely to make much of a difference.

Since the article brings up Walmart and Amazon perhaps they could serve as better analogies. They aren't really monopolies of course since they fear competition including each other and that may be all they fear. I see this in my own town as new competitors move in and Walmart cleans up its stores, offers new services etc.

So Michael Hudson had it right. Sanders would have made far more of a difference if he had started a third party rather than sheepdogging for the Dems. The barriers are huge and designed to be so but the people running the Dem party are not going to step aside for our convenience. It's the duopoly system itself that needs to be overturned and not this perpetual suggestion–that we've been hearing forever–that the Dems somehow reform themselves. Their idea of reform is to bring on somebody like Obama to fix the p.r.

a different chris , June 23, 2017 at 9:11 am

Lifeboats? They have manned helicopters.

a different chris , June 23, 2017 at 9:16 am

>Sanders would have made far more of a difference if he had started a third party

Not sure I agree with this. Now you can possibly convince me that he should, but I feel strongly that the initial attack right in the belly of the beast was necessary. Now everybody's heard of him, know who he is. He's on the TeeVee, he brings them eyeballs.

If he started a third party he would have just been ignored in the media, and the media is all.

DanB , June 23, 2017 at 11:09 am

He could have started a third party with the justification that the DNC sabotaged him. We'll never know what would have been the outcome in 2016, but since I see Bernie as a "first pancake" (don't eat it but it's necessary to get things going) breaking with the Dem. Party would have been important on several levels.

Vatch , June 23, 2017 at 11:16 am

You are absolutely correct - as a third party candidate, Sanders would have received even less media coverage than he did get from the mainstream media. I think he would have done better than the Greens, but he still would have lost badly. One of the major lessons of 2016 is that the deck is heavily stacked against third parties in the United States; neither the Greens nor the Libertarians in combination could muster 5% of the Presidential vote. To ignore that lesson would be tragic.

UserFriendly , June 23, 2017 at 2:09 pm

At the end of the primary this poll came out.
http://www.surveyusa.com/client/PollReport.aspx?g=16a737fe-f202-42b4-965f-e76b137ba826

In a 4-way election for President of the United States today, 06/10/16, with Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Gary Johnson all candidates on the ballot, Trump defeats Clinton 35% to 32%, with Sanders at 18% and Johnson at 4%, according to SurveyUSA research conducted for The Guardian. Of those who vote for Sanders if his name is on the ballot, 73% say theirs is a vote "for" Sanders, 19% say theirs is a vote "against" Trump, and 7% say theirs is a vote "against" Clinton.

In a 4-way election for President with Sanders' name not on the ballot, Clinton defeats Trump 39% to 36%, with Johnson at 6% and Jill Stein at 4%. 5% of all voters tell SurveyUSA they would "stay home and not vote" in this ballot constellation. Of those who vote for Sanders when Sanders' name appears on the ballot, 13% say they will stay home if Sanders name is not on the ballot, 41% vote for Clinton, 15% vote for Johnson, 11% vote for Stein, and 7% defect to Trump.

I can't help but think that as Sanders got to put his message out at the debates, when most voters are just starting to tune in, and then with comey and pussy grabbing there would be a significant shift to the only not insane candidate with a shot. That is if the media didn't go ape shit on him for 'handing the election to trump' as soon as he decided to go 3rd party. That is a big IF, but now I wonder how much of an effect that would have had with how much everyone loves the media ..

charles leseau , June 23, 2017 at 2:21 pm

If he started a third party he would have just been ignored in the media, and the media is all.

Exactly.

HotFlash , June 23, 2017 at 9:46 am

The Dems are never going to change unless challenged from outside the party.

Sanders' Titanic analogy isn't particularly valid since the first class passengers in this case have their own private lifeboats.

To your point the first, it is not an either-or situation. And think how effective it would be if the Dem Party leadership was challenged from *both* inside and outside!

To your point the second, the *very* first class passengers feel assured that they have lifeboats (and they could be wrong), but the hangers on? Not really. They have not adequately prepared, they are as few paychecks from disaster as the rest of us are, they are riding on their employers' ticket, and that is why they are hanging on to the "donor class" like grim death. The actual "donor class" doesn't pull the levers of power, they have staff to do that. It is the staff that we are after.

EricT , June 23, 2017 at 10:18 am

Pelosi, Schumer, Clinton, Hoyer. They are all old. In 5 years time, the whole Democratic party could change. There is a saying attributed to Max Planck, "Science advances one funeral at a time.", I suggest the same applies to politics.

Jeremy Grimm , June 23, 2017 at 12:18 pm

The history of third parties in the U.S. is not encouraging. Much as I respect Michael Hudson's writings on economics I tend to adhere to the writings of G. William Domhoff for analysis of power. [ http://www2.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/power/class_domination.html ] From the section "The Power Elite and Government":

" there can be only two main parties due to the structure of the government and the nature of the electoral rules."

"The fact that Americans select a president instead of a parliament, and elect legislators from "single-member" geographical areas (states for the Senate, districts for the House) leads to a two-party system because in these "winner-take-all" elections a vote for a third party is a vote for the person's least desired choice. A vote for a very liberal party instead of the Democrats, for example, actually helps the Republicans."

This last election cycle the Democratic Party too plainly exposed its empty hull within. It appears vulnerable to take over by mutiny or pirates from within.

Abandoning ship? - That sounds like a good way to drown. Neither of the main alternative parties show promise and riding the currents of the present seas will not carry us to a new island home.

Adam Eran , June 23, 2017 at 1:53 pm

The current situation is an echo of the post-Civil-War elections when the Farmers' Alliance and Peoples' Party actually elected officials from local to Federal. They lost, ultimately, to J.P.Morgan and his interests, but sparked genuine change (a central bank, among other things).

Hard to say we'll do much better now.

Chronic Illness , June 23, 2017 at 7:02 am

I'm not sure how you look at the last election cycle and conclude that the 'Democrat' party is even remotely capable of reform from within. For all of Mr. Sanders laudable goals, I think he is still suffering from the delusion that enough people in the party have the courage and moral conviction to do the right thing rather than looking out for their own skin. The money suggests otherwise.

I think it has been proven rather conclusively that political animals are first and foremost self-serving creatures. That being said, it's probably time people take the bull by the horns and proceed with forming a party that actually represents their collective interests rather than "the system".

I have been involved in a discussion group with some highly intelligent people (mostly PhD types here), and it is fascinating how many of them will apologize for the destruction created by the previous administration's policies. These people aren't necessarily wealthy, but they see themselves as the "resistance" when they are part and parcel part of the problem.

They, like many in the 'Democrat' party, still cling to the Hamiltonian principles that have alienated so much of the country. Obama was a perfect example of how destructive this mindset can be. These closet elitists espouse popular progressive policies on their face, but when push comes to shove they will happily throw a few people under the bus if it means they won't have to wait in line for their morning latte at Starbucks. These faux progressives see themselves as the thinkers and leaders in modern society (much like Orwell's Animal Farm pigs), and they have no intention of letting the peons without proper pedigrees institute change which would level the playing field for a more just and humane social and economic structure.

HBE , June 23, 2017 at 10:08 am

These closet elitists espouse popular progressive policies on their face, but when push comes to shove they will happily throw a few people under the bus if it means they won't have to wait in line for their morning latte at Starbucks.

This is a perfect definition of a dem tribalist, in all but words they are the exact same as those suburban republicans the dem party so desperately longs for, but will never have for the simple reason they are tribalists as well.

Dems are enraged enough to don little pink hats and march by the millions, not because of gross inequality, injustice or global warming, but because their moderate Republican lost.

They say they hate racists and racism, but they steadfastly support the policies that institutionalize racism. Mass incarceration, economic injustice, global war, the biggest drivers are just fine with them. The racism they don't like is the crass kind displayed by individuals that they see or here. Not really because it's racist but because it tarnishes their virtue bubble.

Dems are moderate suburban Republicans who don't have stiff enough constitutions to see, and own the effects of the policies they support. They are delusional hypocrites.

Third party please.

Michael Fiorillo , June 23, 2017 at 11:46 am

" they are they exact same as those suburban republicans the dem party so desperately longs for "

Freud, referring to nationalism. called it "the narcissism of superficial differences." It seems to apply very well here, too.

oh , June 23, 2017 at 4:45 pm

The crooked leadership in the DimRat party are only interested in fooling people so they can collect campaign contributions which they promptly lop off for their personal gain. They don't if they win or lose an election as long as they can fool people and loot campaign money. They'll swindle the honest people who stay within the DimRat party and throw them away like used rags. The people who desire to change the party from within are deluded. Bernie might have meant well and spoken some truths but when push came to shove, he ran back to Momma! Let's get with the program and support a third pary like the Greens who already have registration in ove 40 states.

David, by the lake , June 23, 2017 at 7:04 am

I washed my hands of the Democrat Party and national politics after the primary, with the exception of a possible Constitutional convention, which I see as the best chance we have to dismantle the American empire peaceably. I'll still vote, as disruptively as I can, but I'm not investing my energy in national issues only to be left a dry husk. Rather, that energy is being focused on my garden, my community, and my family.

David, by the lake , June 23, 2017 at 9:02 am

Your comment is appreciated, perhaps more than you realize. One can feel quite alone in a decision like this when the massed crowd insists on marching off the cliff and expects me to not only go along, but to agree that it is a good idea. Thank you.

Arizona Slim , June 23, 2017 at 9:40 am

You're very welcome.

And, shhh, don't tell anyone, but there are many more people like us. Our numbers are growing.

ErnestMold , June 23, 2017 at 10:44 am

Yep. Many, many more. We should create a secret handshake to identify one another in public. Or maybe we identify our comrades by the dirt under their fingernails, or the beet left dangling from their back pocket as a sign of solidarity.

freedeomny , June 23, 2017 at 2:16 pm

I don't think you are alone at all. I have been planning similarly for the past 3 years and know several other people who are doing the same. We have paid off mortgages, pinched pennies and are living a simple, anti-materialistic life with the end goal of moving to a rural/small town where we can be largely self-sustaining, focus on our communities and make due with a much smaller income.

That being said-I will continue to use my voice (in any way that I can) to express my outrage at the current state of the USA .

Johnny Pistola , June 23, 2017 at 7:19 pm

Yes! And you can find us at the local community food and music festivals across North America. National politics has become a toxic playground for futile argument.

Vatch , June 23, 2017 at 11:19 am

I'm not investing my energy in national issues only to be left a dry husk. Rather, that energy is being focused on my garden, my community, and my family.

Simply voting in the Democratic primary doesn't take a lot of energy. Your family and your community could benefit if you do so (I'm not sure about your garden).

Jeremy Grimm , June 23, 2017 at 1:14 pm

I strongly second this view! Independents and the alienated [David, by the lake you seem "alienated"] should register to one of the two parties - preferably Democratic. Registering for a party means you can vote in that party's primary and it means you might be called by pollsters and receive requests for contributions - all offering great potential for disrupting which are not otherwise available to Independents and the alienated.

Michael Fiorillo , June 23, 2017 at 12:00 pm

Not that I'm happy with what he does or plans to do, but isn't Trump already doing a pretty good job of dismantling the American empire?

Given our circumstances, and the patterns of history, isn't it a delusion for the anti-imperialist Left to think that the empire will shrink/dissolve into something resembling its preferred model, whatever that is? In fact, doesn't history show cronies/grifters/looters/shitheel relatives (think Kushner) as the ones who inherit a failing empire, and get their skim from the excess energy/capital generated by it collapse?

I've no patience at all for the "Putin did it" memes, but according to the Caligula/Nero model of imperial decline, he'd have been wise to do everything in his power to get Trump elected, since Donnie is likely to do more to undermine the empire than anyone imaginable.

Jeremy Grimm , June 23, 2017 at 1:25 pm

In the BBC series "I Claudius" - Claudius believed favoring Nero would help bring a return of the Republic.

My chief hope from Trump was that he might draw down our Military and stop a few of our ruinous wars. Instead he seems to have "outsourced" control and direction of the Military to the Military. And Trump's domestic agenda seems oriented toward reducing most of the population to the condition of self-supporting slaves transferring what wealth they still hold into the hands of the very wealthy. I suppose this is one way to dismantle the American Empire.

redleg , June 23, 2017 at 2:47 pm

Trump and the GOP are doing exactly what they do. This might be dismantling (privatizing) society, but this is what they are and have been so for many years. They are malevolent, but relatively honest about it.

The Dems, however, speak through their hats. They are also malevolent, but do not broadcast it. They are masters of scapegoating and rationalization. They have been moving right since at least the Carter Presidency (yes, Carter) and appear to covet the GOP so much that they have effectively become the GOP of 5 to 10 years ago on a sliding scale. Since every election is The Most Important EVAH ™, they have kept those attempting to move the party back to the left unhappily in the party as "they have nowhere else to go". But the results over the last 50 years reveal the Dems as liars, and eventually the lessor of 2 evils strategy (not a typo – they are for lease) stops working as people slowly realize that the benefits of voting blue no matter who are minimal. Thus the increase in independents on the above graph.

We have hit the point, globally IMO, where people have had enough. "Vote GOP/fascist, and those empty-promise Dems/liberals will suffer with us- and we get to keep our guns." Or don't vote at all. Schadenfreude is a powerful motivator.

The Dems were the party of conservatives back in the 1800s (remember slavery?), took a little detour in the 1930s, and have reverted to what they were. The left (not the vichy-left that is left only relative to the GOP, but the progressive left) has no representation in US politics. The future for progressives lies outside of the Dem party – let the aristocratic Dems and GOP become one party with 2 factions discriminated by the amount of bible thumping they do.

Progressives need to start over very publicly, and the sooner the better. They need to clearly, loudly describe what they will do, how they intend to do it, and how it will benefit people. Corbyn and Sanders have demonstrated that there is a significant fraction of the population that will support this. It also uses the existing Schadenfreude as a political tool.
\rant)

FWX341844 , June 23, 2017 at 7:15 am

"For the message to change, the leadership must change."

For the Democratic-Party leadership to change, we have to get the new message [we will give you a better life] through to them. They're not listening to that new [old-school] message, because roughly half of us will vote for them no matter what the message is [say, the alternative is worse, ya' know] and the other half of us don't vote at all [read: what difference does it make?].

Let's address that last part first. We should be able to convince the people that their votes would make a difference if only they'd cast them for at least five consecutive election cycles. That might entail electing more of the same sort of Democrats that we have today. But if voter participation on the Democratic side of the choice increased sufficiently and persistently, then even the worst of the Democrats would have to remove the tampons from their ears to hear the people demanding a better life.

Be advised, though, that when the better life arrives–as it briefly did following the GI Bill, The Interstate Highway Act, the expansion of the suburbs, the era of urban decay and municipal budget crises wrought by bond down-grading–a fair number of the people will become Republicans and the great cycle of rent-seeking expropriation will begin anew.

Kokuanani , June 23, 2017 at 7:19 am

The foolish Democrats continue to send our house "surveys" as part of their begging. Usually I just throw them out or write a brief, nasty message in red marker. This time, with the two that are awaiting my action, I'm going to add a more detailed "get rid of Pelosi, Schumer, Hoyer etc." message.

Having worked in a Congressional office, I know that I'm not really "communicating" with anyone, but perhaps if they get a few more of these specific "suggestions," a light will go on in their lizard brains.

Northeaster , June 23, 2017 at 8:44 am

Bernie Sanders? Really? He is a hypocrite and a Socialist – GTFO of here with that nonsense.

This country may just have to duke it out and see what's left after the ashes fizzle out. It won't be Bernie Sanders, that's for sure.

Arizona Slim , June 23, 2017 at 9:45 am

You are saying "socialist" like it's a bad thing. Ever gone for a drive? To the library? You just dealt with two socialist entities, roads and libraries. I could go on, but the hour is getting late.

IsotopeC14 , June 23, 2017 at 9:54 am

Fascinating stuff really, how in America Socialism=USSR=Stalin=Terrorism=Obama. Reminds me of that excellent wikileaks document talking about how they are content to have erased civics and worked to create a clueless population

tegnost , June 23, 2017 at 10:49 am

Bernie played it masterfully, disrupting the democrat party and exposing the fraud, while maintaining an operational voice as a senator. The aforementioned elites would like nothing more than seeing him go away.

Big River Bandido , June 23, 2017 at 10:29 am

The entrenched power within the Democrat Party in Washington lies with the campaign committees (DNC, DCCC, DSCC) who are under the thumb of some of the most sleazy, corrupt people in politics - Democrat "consultants".

There will be no kind of change without decapitating the party of those scumbags. They, in turn, owe their jobs to the members of Congress who are elected by their caucus to "oversee" those campaign committees. DCCC is headed by Pelosi apparatchiks Lujan and Israel. Israel, in particular, is a poster child for the corrupt, antideluvian Democrat Party hack. Similar dynamics apply in the Senate, although the caucus "leaders" are not always what they appear to be on paper. (Feinstein has long been the "leader" of the Senate Democrats, though she has never held the title.)

roadrider , June 23, 2017 at 8:57 am

You might as well try to reform the Mafia.

The Democrats are dead to me and have been since 2006 when they "took impeachment off the table" and acquiesced to the "surge" in Iraq. Whatever inclination I might have had to remain with them was shattered in the 2008 primaries when any candidate voicing actual progressive thoughts was shunted aside by the party leadership and their media sycophants in favor of the two most conservative, war mongering (take another look at the second Obama-McCain debate if you think only Hellary was a war monger) , corporate/MIC lackeys.

It doesn't matter how many elections Pelosi, Schumer, et. al. lose or how hollowed out their representation in Congress and state houses become, They will continue to be supported by the mega-rich neoliberal establishment, celebrities, tech elites and the coastal intelligentsia. Without an outside challenge from the left nothing will change inside the party since they are correct in their observation that the left "have nowhere else to go", well except to stay home (like they did in 2016). This will result in more Trumps (who are smarter and more competent than the original model) and then the Dems will play the "unity" and "resistance" cards.

a different chris , June 23, 2017 at 9:29 am

I agree with 99% of what you say but, if they continue to lose then they will not be supported by the mega-rich etc.

The sad thing is we now have the Imperial Presidency, and I'd still probably bet (lightly) against Trump in 2020 so the Dems will probably get the Presidency again without Congress and the country will continue to spin its wheels.

lyman alpha blob , June 23, 2017 at 2:00 pm

They have been losing for decades now and yet they do continue to be supported by the mega rich. That's not going to dry up any time soon as those types do like to hedge their bets.

The Imperial Presidency didn't start in January. And I'll remind you that statusquObama had a Democrat majority in the House and a supermajority in the Senate when he took office. He had no need to compromise with the other side and could have pushed through any truly progressive reforms that he and the Democrats wanted to and yet the wheels continued to spin. All that came of that was a pro-corporate health insurance scam that is now on its last legs.

Please don't continue to labor under the delusion that if only they controlled more branches of government things would be different. If they actually wanted to help out the working class in this country they would have done so already. That they'd rather lose than help the 'deplorables' has become abundantly clear.

RenoDino , June 23, 2017 at 8:57 am

It's ALL one party with a scrum at the margins. St. Bernie stands atop the burning dumpster, railing about the injustice of it all, while being consumed by its flames. This is an Empire backed by a full-blown Police State. Nobody is going anywhere.

You are now free to go about your business enjoying the benefits of our consumer society. Thank you.

PKMKII , June 23, 2017 at 9:20 am

Democratic consultants are to politics as mutual fund managers are to Wall Street: Put on fronts of intelligence, talent, and insight well beyond their abilities, act like their expertise is crucial for success when their actual track record is mixed at best, act like their much more important to the process than they really are, and it doesn't matter if they win or lose, they get their hefty fees regardless.

Arizona Slim , June 23, 2017 at 9:52 am

I know such a consultant. He is oh-for-two with his last couple of candidates.

An acquaintance just hired this consultant to manage his campaign. Said acquaintance reminds me of Ossoff. And not in a good way.

Methinks that the well-paid consultant is about to go oh-for-three.

Daniel F. , June 23, 2017 at 9:47 am

Reforming the so-called Democratic Party is impossible in my opinion. It's torn between a corporate leadership (appeal progressives) and its regressive fringes. Let it burn to the ground and make a new party, for true progressives (am I going in the direction of a "no true Scotsman"?), who would represent the interests of "We, the people".

Then you have the real radicals, BLM, AntiFa, and the n th wave intersectional feminists, respectively crying about "systemic oppression", "goddamn nazis everywhere", "the Patriarchy", and collectively: "fugg da po-pos!". Yes, the Republicans also have their corporate leadership and fringes, but actual nazis and delusional AnCaps seem a lot less vocal or significant (at least from Europe) compared to any riot or the madness at the Evergreen State College. Then again, this is coming from someone living in Europe, so my perspective isn't very good. Still, I don't feel really good about the self-proclaimed Leader of the Free World (which it actually used to be) devolving further.

Louis Fyne , June 23, 2017 at 9:49 am

That's why as small donors, people need to starve the beast--no contributions to the any DC-based organization (to culturally appropriate Ronald Reagan). Support local individuals. Even $20 spent on a losing well-chosen local state rep. is better spent than $10 for the DNC.

Carolinian , June 23, 2017 at 10:01 am

Some relevant observations from St. Clair https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/06/23/democrats-in-the-dead-zone/

Left in Wisconsin , June 23, 2017 at 1:37 pm

I like the description of the Ossoff race as a Pyrrhic loss – so much invested by Dems into a candidate with so little to offer, that the loss looms larger than it would otherwise.

I'm for trying anything that might work, inside or outside the D Party. I am convinced the rules of the game in the US make it almost impossible for a 3rd Party to succeed. But there is no permanent reason the D Party has to be one of the two.

The problem/difficulty with taking over the D Party is not just the handful of leaders in DC. By my count, there are maybe 20 truly left-progressive Dems in the House and no more than 5 in the Senate (being truly charitable to people like Warren). So changing the nature of D representation in DC with require primary-ing the vast majority of current DC Dems. So the question is, does it make more sense to try to do this in D primaries and try to take over the D Party apparatus – no doubt against virtually the entire existing apparatus – or to run a complete slate of 3rd party candidates in Nov elections. I used to think the former strategy has a much higher likelihood of success. Now I am not so sure.

DJG , June 23, 2017 at 10:09 am

One concept that may help here is "party system." We are in the sixth party system of the U S of A. And it sure looks like we are opening the door to the seventh party system. So ruling out "third parties" isn't a great idea: Both of the political parties (D and R) are structures that are dry-rotted. One kick may send either or both tumbling. In some respects, Trump won the nomination because Republican voters perceived how corrupted the Republican party is. (He may be the stereotypical spoiled American businessperson, but to Republican voters, he was somehow more "real" and "new" than Romney, the well-scrubbed spoiled Republican businessperson.)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Party_system#United_States

The parties aren't permanent. Is anyone nostalgic for the Whigs? Should we argue that there was no way to get rid of the American Party (the Know-Nothings)?

justanotherprogressive , June 23, 2017 at 10:30 am

Sanders: "Because there are people who, as I often say, would rather have first class seats going down with the Titanic, rather than change the course of the ship."

And then there are those propaganda-gulping people who think that someday they too will get one of those 1st class berths if they just keep going along with what the elite wants

I can't believe some of the people I meet who think that somehow that the neoliberal game plan is going to make their lives better someday

Mike , June 23, 2017 at 11:08 am

Many here commenting upon G. P.'s post truly hope and wish for change (heard this one before?), both within the Democratic Party and outside. In both cases, the answers and suggestions given are very innocent.

To cleanse the entire nation of the influence of corporate cash, corrupted lackeys, and warmongers is absolutely necessary to accomplish both of those goals, and we often do not see this nor do we see any method to be used. How can anyone have the slimmest belief that the moneyed interests, their toadies, and the hired hands at DoD, State, the Fed, and NSA, FBI, CIA, etc. will go peacefully into the night when we challenge their puppets within the twin parties of death? Will they not double down on preserving this system that promises so much to them? Have they not killed those opposing them in other countries, as well as here in the good ol' USA? What do we do when we go to phase two (sorry- a wannabe poet)?

I'd like to see a discussion based upon that reality, with backup plans to initiate and defend a strategy that knows a "win" in one area of division of this system guarantees nothing until total victory over the entire ball of wax is accomplished. In short, we have no global ideology, no encompassing

My gut feeling is that the working poor know, deep in their bones, it was never as simple as presented by radicals of the sixties or those of us who have not thought this through to its conclusion. That is why they "oppose" such ideas and presentations (and, partly, due to well-earned suspicion that some ideas are meant to rope the poor into a losing proposition, all the better to hang them out to dry, eh?).

Plan piecemeal, if you must, but "act locally, think globally" means more than just a surrender to local politics and school board elections. It can also mean your whole philosophical outlook and approach to the question " after this, what do we do?".

tegnost , June 23, 2017 at 11:27 am

"around here" it's long been known that the reality is the dems can't win a school board election. You don't need a gut feeling. Their demise is as certain as their inability to see it coming.

Carolinian , June 23, 2017 at 12:10 pm

OK I'll bite .what do we do?

The sad truth is that history's lurches and spurts are usually the result of great violence–wars, revolutions. The Russian revolution shaped the history of the 20th century because the western oligarchs were so afraid that would happen to them that they had–temporarily it seems–to make concessions to the welfare state. Their other tactic was to try to destroy the source of the infection. Hitler and those backing him really had eliminating the Commies as their principal concern. Lots in the west were hoping he'd do it and this carried on into the Cold War.

At any rate while waiting for the cataclysm we can at least nibble at the edges and try to revive the Left to a degree. Sitting around worrying about what's going on with the hopeless Dems probably isn't all that useful.

Left in Wisconsin , June 23, 2017 at 1:46 pm

All true. But we are a young species still, and the world has changed so much in the last 100 years that I'm not sure how much of what happened before sets limits on what we can achieve going forward.

OTOH I certainly agree with Mike that electoral politics is just the tip of the iceberg. OTO we won't really know what we are up against until we have some electoral power. But, just as one example, I am not at all convinced that the grunts in the military would back a soft (or hard) coup against a left populist with a real strategy and political operation to improve the lives of most people. (I do think most cops probably would.) And it is still the case that corporations need customers to make money – in both the 1910's and 1930's, there were important splits in the world of big business that provided openings for left politics. One of our biggest problems is that a huge proportion of the remaining manufacturing in this country feeds the MIC and it will be hard to get working people to oppose that.

casino implosion , June 23, 2017 at 11:17 am

I did my part for the Sanders revolution by voting for Trump, who campaigned far to the left of Clinton. But I'm just a het white male brocialist, so what do I know.

Susan the other , June 23, 2017 at 11:34 am

Just one quibble. I don't want us to be at cross purposes. We have a global way of doing things – for lack of a better description it is "capitalism" but it falls way short of replacing government – even tho' it has been trying to do just that for a century. Government is basically a distribution system – the more equitable the better – and we still rely on Government to deliver. That is one side of the coin. And it is, so far, all about money. The other side of the coin is the planet, which has been polluted and exploited almost beyond recovery by a human population that is way too big and a blind faith in capitalism and trade. We are already living a contradiction. And we need to fix it quickly. In order for policies to do us any good they have to repair the planet while they keep us all alive at some level of comfort. An angry revolution that has all sides talking past each other won't help anybody. It will just waste precious time. And I submit that politics is the art of talking past each other. We need to get above it.

Left in Wisconsin , June 23, 2017 at 1:48 pm

Gov't is more than just distribution – it also structures the whole capitalist market system – there is no capitalism without limited liability, bankruptcy, contract law, etc. None of that should be taken as given or unchangeable.

Bobby Gladd , June 23, 2017 at 3:00 pm

Nice. Depressing that you have to point that out.

"If there were only one man in the world, he would have a lot of problems, but none of them would be legal ones. Add a second inhabitant, and we have the possibility of conflict. Both of us try to pick the same apple from the same branch. I track the deer I wounded only to find that y ou have killed it, butchered it, and are in the process of cooking and eating it.

The obvious solution is violence. It is not a very good solution; if we employ it, our little world may shrink back down to one person, or perhaps none. A better solution, one that all known human societies have found, is a system of legal rules explicit or implicit, some reasonably peaceful way of determining, when desires conflict, who gets to do what and what happens if he doesn't "

David Friedman, "Law's Order: What Economics Has to Do with Law and Why It Matters"

Oregoncharles , June 23, 2017 at 2:21 pm

", unless one wishes to scale the mountain of deliberate, structural impediments to forming a viable, 50-state third party."

Excuses, excuses. You'd rather scale the mountain of impediments to reforming the "Democrat" party?

After many years of mountain climbing (figurative), and many, many discussions with apologists for repeating what didn't work before, I've concluded the real determinant is not a rational calculation implied by Gaius' above quote; it's personality. Some people have a much lower tolerance for betrayal, and a lower attachment to institutions, than others. Personally, I walked away in disgust when Slick Willy was president and I realized he was really a Republican – only worse, because of the betrayal. So did others.

Others don't react that way; instead, they stay attached to the institution and hope to overturn its power structure. I think Bernie's extremely impressive campaign demonstrated the essential futility of that approach. So did thousands of Bernie supporters who turned around and joined the Green Party as soon as he lost. (Oregon has other more-or-less leftwing parties, so I don't think we caught them all.) The proportion changes over time because it depends on the severity of the provocation; deliberately choosing the weaker candidate, and cheating to do it, even in the face of a Trump candidacy, was a very severe provocation.

OTOH, I'm beginning to wonder what it will take to finish the job; the total self-immolation of the Dems – or maybe of the country? Just as individuals have breaking points, so do populations; where is it? My worst fear, and I now consider it quite likely, is that we shoot right past overturning the party structure to outright violent insurrection. It's easy to joke about torches-and-pitchforks, but I'm getting too old for that sort of thing, and the human costs are truly forbidding.

Cujo359 , June 23, 2017 at 4:02 pm

Politicians, like most people, do difficult things for only two reasons. Either they have to do them, or they really want to do them. No one does them because they think it would be a fine idea if someone does them someday.

This means that any strategy like the one proposed in this article needs to explain how we're going to convince our congress people that they have to oppose their leaders, not that it's a good idea. When progressives are willing, in sufficient numbers, to either vote for and support someone else or keep their votes and support in their pockets will those politicians think that what we want them to do this. Short of that, no amount of pleading or shaking our fists is going to matter.

If enough progressives in each Democratically-controlled district are willing to publicly state they'll withhold their votes and support until this happens, it has a chance of happening. Otherwise, I don't see how it's going to be any more of a priority than all the other things we want that aren't being done.

Synoia , June 23, 2017 at 6:04 pm

Change the funding: Candidates can only accept money from natural people in the constituency they wish to represent.

Ed , June 23, 2017 at 6:14 pm

I think most voters are very wary of the government's ability to deliver anything in terms of actual services what they want is money from them in some form or another.

People will vote Democrat again and then they will vote Republican but there isn't going to be some sea change in the actual policies either way.

[Jun 23, 2017] King Faisal, supporter of Palestine, became too demanding in 1974. He was killed in 1975

Notable quotes:
"... The CIA As Organized Crime ..."
"... It's pretty obvious that Trump is picking his friends in the ME based on his attitude towards Iran and a seeming desire to do Israel's bidding. For all his faults Obama chose to keep Israel at arm's length and ramrodded a nuclear deal with Iran that was intended to bring that country in from the cold and open opportunities for commerce that had been shut down by years of sanctions. ..."
"... In his zeal to undo all of Obama's initiatives Trump has placed the US in an intractable position in the ME. The scope of his long term plans will become more evident as the IS is driven out of Raqqa and Mosul. A lot of posters have postulated that he intends to grab a chunk of eastern Syria and western Iraq and engineer the geography so that Iranian influence in Syria and Lebanon is minimized. They are very likely right. ..."
"... The saving grace might be Mueller and his posse of investigators. They are going to forensically break down any dealings that Trump and Kushner had with foreign entities before and during the presidential campaign. There may be reasons for transition type meetings with foreign diplomats but the meetings with bankers and businessmen that were so blithely left off the required documentation when applying for security clearances will come under full scrutiny in a very focused way. This focus on his foreign dealings is apparently what has been causing Trump to act in such an unhinged fashion. He's too frazzled by his domestic problems to concentrate on his foreign policy. That's because he's corrupt and it's going to be fully exposed. ..."
"... That was a good point that Putin raised with Kelly in her interview. It's one thing to point a finger at any Russian affects on elections when the US does it on such a massive scale. I wish he would release a white paper documenting this especially US efforts in Ukraine as well as Russia (to include NED and IRI). ..."
Jun 23, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org
fastfreddy | Jun 22, 2017 9:49:27 AM | 10
King Faisal, supporter of Palestine, became too demanding in 1974. He was killed in 1975. Official story - One of Faisal's nephews, after returning to SA from a trip to the US, shot and killed his uncle king. Official Story - nephew was beheaded.

This craven batch of successors are kin and they do what is required of them by the west.

Of course, human rights issues are a sick joke. SA is member of the UN Human Rights Committee!

jfl | Jun 22, 2017 9:50:11 AM | 11
@8

that's a farsnews article i saw at sf ...

Nearly 3.3 million Yemeni people, including 2.1 million children, are currently suffering from acute malnutrition. The Al-Saud aggression has also taken a heavy toll on the country's facilities and infrastructure, destroying many hospitals, schools, and factories.

The WHO now classifies Yemen as one of the worst humanitarian emergencies in the world alongside Syria, South Sudan, Nigeria and Iraq.

humanitarian emergency? where's the r2p nato crowd? right 2 protect/resources 2 plunder - either way it's got saudi arabia written all over it. so how come nato hasn't bombed saudi arabia yet? syria, south sudan, nigeria, and iraq ... at least 3 of the four are directly attributable to the usofa. so who's the world's leading terrorist?
Don Wiscacho | Jun 22, 2017 10:37:05 AM | 12
Set the clock ticking on the al-Saud clan

Universally, every citizen of Saudi Arabia that I've ever talked to has unreserved hatred for "their" royals. I assume that only members of that family feel differently. Even people from the elite who have benefited from the monarchy harbor no love. The masses of poor in the country absolutely despise these clowns.

Let's run down a quick list of MSB's achievements:

  1. Cakewalk war in Yemen to reinstall compliant dictator -- current clusterfuck
  2. 'Prosperity by Austerity' economic plan -- incipient clusterfuck
  3. Cutting in the Royal Line -- probable clusterfuck
  4. Hoes before Bros coddling up to Israel against Iran -- guaranteed clusterfuck

I'm not sure it's popcorn time just yet, but if I were a Saudi Prince, I'd be moving all my non-earned cash to Swiss accounts

Ghostship | Jun 22, 2017 10:42:47 AM | 13
One man becomes ill for some unknown reason while imprisoned in a foreign country, is repatriated on "compassonate grounds" and then dies, and the whole world is supposed to be shocked and upset. What b reports above..............

karlof1 | Jun 22, 2017 11:01:24 AM | 16
I see the Sauds as trashmen: Their job is to take US trash-cash in payment for their hydrocarbons and recycle it via weapons and T-bond purchases--which are also trash.
political fiction | Jun 22, 2017 11:12:12 AM | 18
@8
There is also a possibility that Israel is preparing an attack against Iran. The whole situation around Qatar and Saudi Arabia is quite suspicious. Dispute among family members? Gulf states are infiltrated by the CIA, they have no an independent foreign policy. So, what is going on? Maybe a big war is coming. Qatar is located near Iran so Iran can heavily damage Qatari infrastructure if war break out. Because of that Qatar pretends to be Saudi's enemy.

It can be a really big war. Turkish army at the same time could try to attack Aleppo. US troops from bases in Jordan can move towards Deir Ezzor. At the end of the day Turkey seizes Aleppo and Idlib Governorate (Ottoman Empire), Kurdistan is created (from Raqqa through Deir Ezzor to Kirkuk and Iran), Iranian facilities and plants don't exist anymore (regime change also possible), the Golan Height and part of Syria are under Israeli control. The dissolution of Syria - that was the plan from the very beginning. Today this sounds rather as a political fiction (because of Russia), nonetheless something strange is looming on the horizon there.

Michael | Jun 22, 2017 11:14:18 AM | 20
@Don Wiscacho | Jun 22, 2017 10:37:05 AM | 12

If you've been following the "economic stimulation" plan in US infrastructure, Orange One may provide the Wahabis a stake in the privatized road and infrastructure in the US. As he flees the desert wasteland after the oil markets crash, he will be able to own a "piece of the rock" and continue to bilk Americans out of their livelihood in into perpetuity via tolls, and could retire in splendor in Beverly Hills or Palm Beach. It's the "free market" at work.

xxx 21
@ karlof1 | Jun 22, 2017 11:01:24 AM | 16

Exactly. I would add that they also use some of that "trash-cash" to pay idiots all over the world to follow their satanic wahabi cult.

Anonymous | Jun 22, 2017 11:34:05 AM | 22
A report of the Russians using an S-300 to shoot down a US Global Hawk over the eastern Med. US and Russian military are silent. There is a report that a Global Hawk has crashed .... in California.

https://z5h64q92x9.net/proxy_u/ru-en.en/colonelcassad.livejournal.com/3497216.html

Anonymous | Jun 22, 2017 11:39:17 AM | 23
Normally the US comes to the rescue of ISIS in Syria. Now it looks like ISIS is coming to the rescue of US forces. There is a report that ISIS is trying to break the recently created SAA/Hezbollah/Iranian buffer zone east of the US base near al Tanf. The US forces were there supposedly to attack ISIS. The buffer zone removed that and effectively any need for the forces to be there in the first place. ISIS trying to break the buffer in order to allow the US forces to attack ISIS - a self-licking kebab.

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/pictures-isis-storms-iraqi-border-crossing-near-us-military-base-map-update/

Anonymous | Jun 22, 2017 11:46:17 AM | 24
Back in the days, the Syrians offered to interrogate (presumably at 'enhanced' level) some people renditioned from Afghanistan that were sold to the US as members of whichever Islamic group the US was supposed to be fighting at the time. The Syrians presumably did this to try to get in the good books of the US (as did Iran when it captured al Qaeda operatives escaping Afghanistan into Iran). The Syrians interrogated these people and concluded they were innocent. I believe the US still has these innocent people in their Gulag at Guantanamo.
Laguerre | Jun 22, 2017 11:52:38 AM | 25
I have a strong feeling that it's Saudi that will go bang first. Austerity on the Saudis just doesn't work. It's only the money which is keeping the tribes loyal to the Najdis. If Al Saud can't pay (or if the Kinsey consultants are advising him not to pay (as if they would understand the politics of Saudi)), why should all the others stick with the Sauds? I was very struck by the photo of what the Saudis have down to the Shi'ite town of Awamiyyah in the Eastern Province. They've walled it off with those 4m high concrete blocks, with only one checkpoint for going in or out. It's a complete siege. MbS must be getting more and more paranoiac, and now he's carried out his coup to take over the King.
james | Jun 22, 2017 12:15:53 PM | 28
the usa as torture supporter? why am i not surprised? they have been torturing the planet literally and figuratively for quite a few years... the revelations of manning was enough of an eye opener for anyone paying attention.. the thought that they would change their ways is a joke...

@25 laguerre... yeah, those pics of the shite town in saudi arabia stuck in my mind as well.. things ain't well in the saudi headchopper/torture paradise that the usa/isael and etc have sidled up with.. this new kid as the head of the saudi money dictatorship ain't all that inspiring either..

Jackrabbit | Jun 22, 2017 12:16:05 PM | 29
As perceptive as he is, b stll can't bring himself to see that Trump is a Clinton protege and Sanders was a Clinton sheep-dog.
>> How Things Work: Betrayal by Faux Populist Leaders

>> Taken In: Fake News Distracts Us From Fake Election

Martin Finnucane | Jun 22, 2017 12:18:53 PM | 30
@karlof1 #16

Their job is to take US trash-cash in payment for their hydrocarbons and recycle it via weapons and T-bond purchases--which are also trash.

Sounds like you may appreciate a tidying up. I will be happy to take any such trash off your hands. I will collect any such cash and Treasury notes that you may have in your possession or about your premises. I will be in-and-out in a flash, so that you and your family will barely know that I was there. Then neither I nor your trash will be a nuisance in any way. I provide this service free of charge. (And even if I did charge, what form would payment take?) How's that for trash man?

Don Wiscacho | Jun 22, 2017 12:22:52 PM | 31
Michael @20

I haven't heard about cutting the Wahhabis in on road privatization in the US but it wouldn't surprise me in the least. Donald and MBS in many ways are cut from a similar cloth. Birds of a feather...

Thucydides | Jun 22, 2017 12:33:49 PM | 32
@18 @political fiction

They need Idlip and Aleppo if they want a land connection between Israel and the EU. Lebanon will be fragmentized and Hezbollah destroyed (Balkanization).

Jackrabbit | Jun 22, 2017 12:35:34 PM |
political fiction @18

Yes, there is something fishy with the Qatar-Saudi spat. It may well be that they want to remove themselves as a target as you speculate.

My first thought was that (any) conflict in the Gulf is an excuse to add military resources. Also, Iran's support for the Qatari's could be spun as "aggression" and used to unite Sunnis under Saudi leadership (we see the setting up of a false choice all the time: your with *us* or you're with the 'terrorists') . I wrote about it here: Saudi-Qatar: Gambit du Roi .

nonsense factory | Jun 22, 2017 1:05:53 PM | 34
That WSJ-UAE-CIA arms deal story is pretty enlightening:
Two other Denx partners - ex-CIA employees Gary Bernsten and Scott Modell - told the AP that Solomon was involved in discussing proposed deals with Azima at the same time he continued to cultivate the businessman as a source for his stories for the Journal. . .

In an April 2015 email, Azima wrote to Solomon about a proposal for a $725 million air-operations, surveillance and reconnaissance support contract with the United Arab Emirates that would allow planes to spy on activity inside nearby Iran. Solomon was supposed to ferry the proposal to UAE government representatives at a lunch the following day, the email said.

"We all wish best of luck to Jay on his first defense sale," Azima wrote to Solomon, Bernsten and Modell.

Under the proposed UAE deal, Azima's firms were to manage specially equipped surveillance planes to monitor activity in Iran, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

UAE has long-standing ties to various covert and overt U.S.-led operations in the region. Just another puppet client state of the empire. See 2003-2010, Wikileaks (search for "MbZ", State Department code for UAE's clown prince)
2003 UAE POISED FOR IRAQ RECONSTRUCTION OPPORTUNITIES"

This one in particular:
2010 https://search.wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/10ABUDHABI69_a.html

(S/NF) The UAE is one of our closest partners in the Middle East and one of our most useful friends worldwide.
-- Al-Dhafra Air Force Base is the high altitude ISR hub for the AOR, and supports 50 percent of aerial refueling in the AOR.
-- Ports in Dubai and Fujairah are the logistics backbone for the U.S. Fifth. Jebel Ali (Dubai) is the most frequented USN liberty port after Norfolk.
-- Minhad Air Base is a critical hub for Coalition/ISAF partners in Afghanistan, including the Australians, Dutch, Canadians, Brits and Kiwis.
-- The UAE is a cash customer with FMS [foreign military sales] sales in excess of $11 billion. Commercial sales have an equivalent value. An additional $12 billion of FMS cases are in development with approximately the same volume of commercial sales in the works.
-- The UAE recently purchased nine Patriot batteries, and expects to move forward on the purchase of THAAD as the first non US customer.
-- The UAE currently commands CJTF-152 (Arabian Gulf) and maintains an active exercise schedule with U.S. (Red Flag) and other multi-lateral partners.
-- The UAE recently hosted an AFCENT survey team to consider U.S. access to Liwa (Safran) Air Base in support of contingency operations.
-- Additionally, the UAE is considering hosting the Regional Integrated Air and Missile Defense Center of Excellence.
Mina | Jun 22, 2017 1:33:32 PM | 35
http://english.ahram.org.eg/NewsContent/2/8/271442/World/Region/Erdogan-spokesman-says-Turkey-and-Russia-to-deploy.aspx
BRF | Jun 22, 2017 1:48:47 PM | 36
Not really much new about CIA instigated torture, the purpose of which as Orwell truly determined is only to torture. The rest of western intrigue in the Middle East and various other locales around the world is all part of the business plan. That plan "is to inventory and control: all finances, land, water, plants, animals, minerals, energy, means of production, construction, transportation, information, education, policing, human habitation and all humans on this planet" - Rosa Koire

karlof1 | Jun 22, 2017 2:12:22 PM | 39
Martin Finnucane @30--

"Sounds like you may appreciate a tidying up." Certainly, but not the sort you proposed. More like a complete game-changer of the sort outlined in this fine overview, https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/06/20/leading-multipolar-revolution-how-russia-china-creating-new-world-order.html

ex-SA @21--

I refrained from mentioning the Wahhabbi trash cult; but yes, like Hitlerism, it too must go into the dustbin. It appears that trash cult is interwoven into Zionist and Outlaw US Empire philosophies since all three promote a terroristic, oligarchic elite rule and policy toward neighbors and share their own version of Manifest Destiny stemming from their common Abrahamic roots.

The author of the linked article easily presumes the Outlaw US Empire will continue to use terrorists as its preferred foreign policy tool for the foreseeable future since it shows no signs of terminating its announced goal of Full Spectrum Domination, a policy energetically opposed by the SCO and suite of other organizations the author lists. Just as Hitlerian Germany and Tojo's Japan were doomed to failure in WW2 due to the overwhelming amount of resources available to United Nations forces, the Outlaw US Empire is doomed to defeat thanks to the overwhelming resource base of the Multipolar Alliance and its superior Win-Win philosophy of relations.

Brad | Jun 22, 2017 2:30:13 PM | 40
Old Saudi King and Queen oil fields are water/gas injection. The coastal desalination plants are key to keeping these old Fields producing.

Iran's Ballistic Missile strike on ISUS in Deir Ezzor from 100s klms away - Iran to Syria. ...proves Iran can strike Gulf states along with ships in the Persian Gulf.

If Saudi go to war with Iran...they can kiss the desalination and power plants goodbye. The old oil fields would collapse, the end of Idiot Arabia.

Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 22, 2017 2:50:04 PM | 41
In a thread with the the word "Torture" in its title, shouldn't we be exploring the role torture plays in radicalising Ter'rists? Wasn't one of History's recent Ter'rist masterminds water-boarded umpteen dozen times to tip him over the edge? The only thing we know for certain about torture is that it's a great way to extract false confessions. Can it also be used to inspire false beliefs - keeping in mind that torture is conducted in a Totally Controlled Environment in which the victim "knows" only what the torturer wants/needs him to know?

I don't buy all the Jew-controlled MSM's horseshit about people being radicalised by hare-brained hokum on the www, or the ravings of a local imam.
There's got to be more to it...

karlof1 | Jun 22, 2017 3:42:22 PM | 46
Hoarsewhisperer @40--

Yes, very valid points. Given the vast amount of torture that allegedly occurred in Vietnam during its very long war for independence, what became of all the potential terrorists? What of all those tortured within Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. Then of course, we have the longstanding Gulag System begun by Tsars and expanded by War Communism; Solzhenitsyn never mentions anyone being radicalized by their Gulag time in his trilogy on the subject. If torture breeds terrorists, then South America ought to be awash with them thanks to the decades of Outlaw US Empire directed torture there.

In a very high-profile film seen by many millions, Luke Skywalker gets radicalized by the presumed torture and subsequent immolation of his kin and becomes what the Galactic Empire/ Outlaw US Empire would consider a terrorist. His own personal torture is knowing his father is his enemy, yet he cannot kill him since he senses redemption within him. More Hollywood; the Outlaw Josey Wales continues his fight against what he perceives as terrorist Red Legs well after the Civil War ends, while the Red Legs and their government connections consider Josey to be a terrorist--radicalized twice through massacres.

So, is the torture something seen/witnessed, personally experienced, or both? Can a system be terroristic, such as slavery, colonialism, debt peonage, apartheid, and thus provide the required radicalization to resist/destroy them--such resistance being seen by the system's controllers as terrorism? Just how fine a line is there between the genuine Freedom Fighter and Terrorist? Within the Outlaw US Empire, the Black Panther Movement certainly sew themselves as genuine Freedom Fighters, but Hoover, Nixon, and such clearly saw them as terrorist threats to their system of control--Nelson Mandela was named a terrorist for that very reason by Reagan while calling al-Ciada Freedom Fighters.

As a former teacher, I like to fallback on a truism brought forth by Rodgers, Hammerstein, and Logan in the Broadway musical South Pacific tune You've Got to Be Carefully Taught, which the Powers That Be tried to get them to drop, thus providing further incentive to include it--lyrics here, http://www.metrolyrics.com/youve-got-to-be-carefully-taught-lyrics-south-pacific.html So, unless you can become enlightened like Lt. Cable in the musical or myself, you're very likely to hate/stigmatize those you were socialized--taught, indoctrinated, through delivery systems like church, school, propaganda, etc. Yet another question: What differs between a Banzai Charge and a coordinated assault by several people wearing bomb belts--are they both terrorist acts or just one?

Peter AU | Jun 22, 2017 3:47:20 PM | 48
Part of the Saudi Qatar spat seems to be a re-alignment of Saudi and GCC behind the SDF-Kurd plus ISIS with haircut - and whatever the US call their proxies in the south. Moving from outing the Syrian government to a land grab for whatever they can, with a land bridge to Jordan and a focus on Iran?
Laguerre | Jun 22, 2017 4:37:53 PM | 49
I am not sure that I want to do a Debs-style rant on Saudi Arabia (not to criticise Debs, whose rants I greatly appreciate), but I increasingly think that Saudi is in serious danger of implosion.

Passing over the 18th century Saudi empire, the point where the Saudis made the alliance with Muhammad ibn Abd ul-Wahhab, the real Saudi state began in 1908, when Ibn Saud, Abd al-Aziz Al Sa'ud, took the Dasmak fort in Riyadh. After the WW1, where he was not particularly supported by the Brits, he launched a successful war of conquest, supported by a bunch of jihadis, called muhajirun. These jihadis were later suppressed by violence in the 1930s. In 1925 they took Mecca from the Hussainis (Faisal and Lawrence's lot), and spread out to the borders of Yemen, including Najran by 1935. Note that the state was, and is, called in Arabic, al-mamlaka al-'arabiyya al-sa'udiyya, the Arab Kingdom of Al Sa'ud. There is no sense of nationality; it is what the Saudi family has conquered. They've since tried to introduce the notion of nationality, with doubtful success.

In the old days, that is late antiquity and medieval Islamic times, the way you got the loyalty of the tribes was by simply paying them in gold. Which has only been repeated in the oil-rich today.

What you have today in what is called Saudi Arabia, is a number of peoples who haven't been integrated into a nation, but been paid to keep quiet, under the domination of the Najdis from Riyadh. The Hijazis in the west aren't particularly wahhabi, but accept the situation. The Najranis are Isma'ilis,and had a small revolt in 2000 according to the War Nerd. The Shi'a in the east are sitting on the only oil-fields, and are the greatest problem for the Saudi regime, as mentioned above.

However we now have the new young punk, Muhammad ibn Salman, who now has control of his father (who has perhaps dementia), and has appointed himself crown prince. He has already launched one war against Yemen, and a second quasi-war against Qatar, apart from the Saudi activities in Syria. He's quite like Saddam, it can't end well. The weak point is the loyalty of the Saudi people. Why stick with Riyadh if they're not paying? Mbs wants to introduce efficiency savings, under the advice of Kinsey, without apparently any idea of how Saudi works.

karlof1 | Jun 22, 2017 4:41:01 PM | 50
A new twist may soon allow SCO and CSTO members Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan troops into Syria in the form of Peace Keepers. From Ria Novosti--Sputnik in Russian:

"The head of the State Duma Defense Committee, Vladimir Shamanov, confirmed to RIA Novosti that Russia is negotiating with Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan to send their military to Syria." SCO and CSTO have a heavy anti-terrorism emphasis, and including troops from those nations would provide excellent training for the new Daesh offensive likely to emerge from Afghanistan. Apparently, Turkey agrees with the proposal and has provided its own related to Idlib, https://ria.ru/syria/20170622/1497104098.html

fast freddy | Jun 22, 2017 4:48:38 PM | 51
If you are born into a society wherein headchopping is the standard for capital punishment, then it would seem to be a normal act to you. (Also the chopping off of hands, noses, etc.) Now if you are also very poor (which is generally the case) then a representative of the CIA, for example could entice you with a fat paycheck like you've never seen ($400 per month). You might also be inclined to perform other tasks for bonus money. Further - important inspiration is derived from religious and cultural differences btw you and your designated foes.

The extraction of false confessions does serve to legitimize torture, because a false confession is as good as a legitimate confession when the goal from the start is to uphold a pre-determined false narrative.

karlof1 | Jun 22, 2017 4:53:07 PM | 52
Laguerre @48--

Andrew Korybko has a different view of what MBS's rise means for Russia and China, https://sputniknews.com/columnists/201706211054852980-saudi-shake-up-russia-china/ The ties already made between the three make it a curious dance to watch.

Alaric | Jun 22, 2017 4:55:40 PM | 53
Hmm..

I wonder how long it will be before we see a provocation against Iran or against the SAA in Syria by the new King to be. I suspect even neocons would be delighted if the Russians or Syrians shot down a UAE, Kuwaiti or Saudi plane. That makes we wonder if Iran will not reply to the new idiot king via more support for the houthi.

brian | Jun 22, 2017 6:36:57 PM | 56
Amnesty and its mouthpiece Kreasechan try to outdo HRW & Ken in their support for the jihadis war on syrians
kristyan benedict‏Verified account @KreaseChan 11h11 hours ago

In an alternative universe, Russia slams Syrian warplane's attacks on civilians as violation of international law

http://tass.com/politics/952763 https://twitter.com/tassagency_en/status/877853678908182528

Curtis | Jun 22, 2017 7:33:57 PM | 57
The Yemen program sounds like the one run in Afghanistan sort of like a dragnet run by corrupt allies who may be paid "per head." And it's cheaper than paid trip to Gitmo.
ben | Jun 22, 2017 7:36:49 PM | 58
Hoarsewhisper @ 40 speculated:"There's got to be more to it..."

Bingo! This might have something to do with it..

http://www.globalresearch.ca/military-coups-regime-change-the-cia-has-interfered-in-over-81-foreign-elections/5567422

jfl | Jun 22, 2017 8:36:41 PM | 60
@40 hoarse, 'keeping in mind that torture is conducted in a Totally Controlled Environment in which the victim "knows" only what the torturer wants/needs him to know?'

that's always struck me about the caliph of the islamic state, abu bakr al-baghdadi . He is acknowledged to have been held by the cia - after his stint at abu ghraib - in a prison camp in iraq ... camp bucca, 'along with other future leaders of ISIL' ... that's where he 'got the idea' of the islamic state itself.

I think al-Baghdadi and isis are much more closely tied to the usofa than is generally acknowledged.

jfl | Jun 22, 2017 8:48:12 PM | 61
@54 karlof

i've never taken Korybko - or sputnik - as anything other than a propaganda trumpet. he does remind of 'inconvenient' facts from time to time ...

[T]he $65 billion in deals that King Salman signed in Beijing include a plan to construct a Chinese drone factory in the Kingdom, which shows that Saudi Arabia's August 2016 purchase of this technology from China was successful in serving as the foundation for an expanded military partnership.
what the hell is china doing, selling drones ... building factories to build drones, and 65 billion worth of other projects ... in saudi arabia?

doing a takeover ... via chinese 'entrepreneurs', xi's cronies ... a la greece?

China has long begun an investment plan for Greece that allows Athens to pay salaries, maintain the infrastructures and sustain the impact of debt repayment plans as well as interests. China has capital to invest, trade empowerments to be created and a new Silk Road to be implemented, with Greece being one of the terminals where to channel Beijing's global investments. In 2015, the Chinese giant Cosco bought most of the Piraeus port for a total of 368.5 million Euros, 280 million of which were cashed in Athens for 51% of the port area and the other 88 million will be delivered after five years for the acquisition of a further 6%, but only for completed compulsory infrastructure investments. On June 17, with reference to the port of Piraeus, Cosco, the Piraeus port authority, and the port of Shanghai concluded an agreement that provides for a great collaboration between the Chinese and the Greek ports, effectively transforming Piraeus in a freight hub from the gigantic port of the Far East.

China's interests in Greece are several and multi-faceted, and the crisis can only help investments by lowering their costs. The Beijing funds are interested in strategic sectors of the Greek economy, which – for Chinese companies – are very attractive assets, by reason of the weak local competition due to the devastation of the Greek state system and the impoverishment of local entrepreneurship. Beijing's interests span from boating, tourism, road and port networks to real estate – anywhere big Chinese companies and funds from the central state can find a place to become sector leaders.

Dalian Wanda, one of the Chinese investment giants, is interested in many areas of the Greek economy, and is ready to invest in less strategic, but equally profitable sectors such as football. The same fund owns a third of Atletico Madrid.

jfl | Jun 22, 2017 9:38:58 PM | 62
@40 hoarse

there's a review of douglas valentine's The CIA As Organized Crime at The Criminal 'Laws' of Counterinsurgency

The U.S. "deep state" – of which the CIA is an integral part – is an open secret now and the Phoenix Program (assassinations, death squads, torture, mass detentions, exploitation of information) has been its means of controlling populations. Consequently, knowing the deep state's methods is the only hope of building a democratic opposition to the deep state and to restore as much as possible the Constitutional system we had in previous centuries, as imperfect as it was.
douglas valentine has apparently tied the historical knot between today's assassinations, death squads, torture, mass detentions, exploitation of information and that of vietnam. that's important. the fact that it's been going on for so long points to it's structural significance : it's built-in to the us system at this point, and will remain so, unless and until it's 'built-out' by ordinary americans, ourselves.

the present structure is rotten, incapable of reform

Talleyrand is credited with saying, "They have learned nothing and forgotten nothing." Reportedly, that was borrowed from a 1796 letter by a French naval officer, which stated, in the original language: Personne n'est corrigé; personne n'a su ni rien oublier ni rien appendre. In English:

"Nobody has been corrected; no one has known to forget, nor yet to learn anything."

That sums up the CIA leadership entirely.

smuks | Jun 22, 2017 10:25:17 PM | 63
@Laguerre 48, jfl 60

I was equally pessimistic about Saudi A. for years, but have become somewhat doubtful now.

Beijing and Riyadh have a long-running (hidden) strategic partnership, with the Saudis buying Chinese missiles, China investing, and both (together with Russia) engineering the fall of the oil price in 2014.

Europe and Russia don't want the kingdom to implode, as this would destabilize the entire region, uproot millions more and probably cause jihadis everywhere to run amok. China & other Asian states don't want oil to rise dramatically. The only major power which wouldn't be affected by the turmoil, and would benefit from a higher oil price, is the US.

If both China/ Russia and Europe support MbS in his attempts to reform the country, shouldn't this be enough for him to have a chance of success? I sure hope so, though it's hard to tell. At the very least we should see some serious efforts to modernize KSA society and economy.

Greece seems to be increasingly swarming with Chinese tourists. The country has basically nothing but logistics and tourism to offer, and China has seized the crisis opportunity to get a foot in the European door. A bit vulture fund style I guess, but Athens had little choice, and Tsipras & colleagues had this planned long before coming to power imo.

Ghostship | Jun 22, 2017 10:34:19 PM | 64
Alaric | Jun 22, 2017 4:55:40 PM | 52
...if Iran will not reply to the new idiot king via more support for the houthi.

What support for the Houthi? You give too much credence to the MSM and their sources in Washington and you're expecting other cultures to be as arrogant, ignorant and stupid as the American one.

Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 23, 2017 12:50:22 AM | 65
Thanks to james, karlof1, ben, jfl et al for broadening the spectrum of a torture discussion; and fast freddy for making sure that the $$$ factor isn't overlooked...

Posted by: jfl | Jun 22, 2017 8:36:41 PM | 59
(Totally Controlled Environment)

I threw that in because the torturers have control over the range and mix of techniques to be used. Good Cop / Bad Cop is a successful and evergreen interrogation style. And in a TC Environment, with psychiatrists and psychologists on the team, it's possible that the geniuses have developed a production-line method of fast-tracking and exploiting the onset of Stockholm Syndrome to enhance the Good Cop / Bad Cop experience.

jfl | Jun 23, 2017 1:51:08 AM | 66
@62 smuks
Beijing and Riyadh have a long-running (hidden) strategic partnership, with the Saudis ... [and chinese] ... both (together with Russia) engineering the fall of the oil price in 2014.
have you got any proof at all, even speculation as to why, the russians engineered the fall of the oil price in 2014? i think it was the saudis and us who engineered the fall of the oil price in 2014, to the detriment of russia.
If both China/ Russia and Europe support MbS in his attempts to reform the country, shouldn't this be enough for him to have a chance of success?
The country has basically nothing but ... [oil] ... to offer, and China has seized the crisis opportunity to get a foot in the ... [middle eastern oilpatch] ... door. A bit vulture fund style I guess, but ... [riyadh] ... had little choice, ... [mbs] & colleagues had [not had] this planned ... before coming to power, imo.
Mina | Jun 23, 2017 4:22:01 AM | 68
sovereignty? what sovereignty? http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-40378221 KSA asks Qatar to become a province just like Bahrein was force to some years ago!
harrylaw | Jun 23, 2017 5:14:47 AM | 69
Who are the idiots here.... The United States has told Turkey it will take back weapons supplied to the Kurdish YPG militia in northern Syria after the defeat of Islamic State, Ankara said on Thursday, seeking to address Turkish concerns about arming Kurds on its border.

Turkish defense ministry sources said U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis also promised his Turkish counterpart to provide a monthly list of weapons handed to the YPG, saying the first inventory had already been sent to Ankara. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mideast-crisis-syria-turkey-usa-idUSKBN19D10J
It beggars belief that an arrangement like this could be thought about, let alone work.

The US to the Kurds 'you fight and die for our objectives, then we throw you under the bus' the Kurds 'OK boss'. This is what US policy in the Middle East consists of. You could not make it up.

Mina | Jun 23, 2017 6:25:47 AM | 70
A Marshall plan spend on Afghanistan. Not on hunger in Africa. http://www.atimes.com/article/fear-loathing-afghan-silk-road/
jfl | Jun 23, 2017 7:48:06 AM | 75
i now it's been published here many times before, but it should be periodically published here, i think ...

Overthrowing other people's governments: The Master List

by William Blum – Published February 2013

Instances of the United States overthrowing, or attempting to overthrow, a foreign government since the Second World War. (* indicates successful ouster of a government)

1. 1949-1960s China
2. 1949-53 Albania
3. 1950s East Germany
4. 1953 Iran *
5. 1954 Guatemala *
6. mid-1950s Costa Rica
7. 1956-7 Syria
8. 1957 Egypt
9. 1957-8 Indonesia
10. 1953-64 British Guiana *
11. 1963 Iraq *
12. 1945-73 North Vietnam
13. 1955-70 Cambodia *
14. 1958-60 Laos * * *
15. 1960-63 Ecuador *
16. 1960 Congo *
17. 1965 France
18. 1962-64 Brazil *
19. 1963 Dominican Republic *
20. 1959-present Cuba
21. 1964 Bolivia *
22. 1965 Indonesia *
23. 1966 Ghana *
24. 1964 Chile-73 *
25. 1967 Greece *
26. 1970-71 Costa Rica
27. 1971 Bolivia *
28. 1973-75 Australia *
29. 1975, 1980s Angola
30. 1975 Zaire
31. 1974-76 Portugal *
32. 1976-80 Jamaica *
33. 1979-81 Seychelles
34. 1981-82 Chad *
35. 1983 Grenada *
36. 1982-84 South Yemen
37. 1982-84 Suriname
38. 1987 Fiji *
39. 1980 Libyas
40. 1981-90 Nicaragua *
41. 1989 Panama *
42. 1990 Bulgaria *
43. 1991 Albania *
44. 1991 Iraq
45. 1980 Afghanistans *
46. 1993 Somalia
47. 1999-2000 Yugoslavia *
48. 2000 Ecuador *
49. 2001 Afghanistan *
50. 2002 Venezuela *
51. 2003 Iraq *
52. 2004 Haiti *
53. 2007-present Somalia
54. 2009 Honduras
55. 2011 Libya *
56. 2012 Syria
57. 2014 Ukraine *

37 of 57 'successful', 65% (counting all 3 of the 'victories' over lao)

is there a year since 1945 that the usofa has not been engaged in overthrowing other peoples' politics somewhere around the world ?

i don't see one.

Piotr Berman | Jun 23, 2017 10:40:01 AM | 80
ex-SA @77

stile (noun) an arrangement of steps that allows people but not animals to climb over a fence or wall

What does it have to do with substance?

More seriously, I do not see the Canadian exercise in rhetoric as brainwashing. Kids should know that there is no connection between the validity of an argument and the polish in its presentation. OTOH, this is information that should be withheld from the future sheeple, so it should be restricted to special programs for the future helpers of the ruling class.

peter | Jun 23, 2017 11:52:16 AM | 82
It's pretty obvious that Trump is picking his friends in the ME based on his attitude towards Iran and a seeming desire to do Israel's bidding. For all his faults Obama chose to keep Israel at arm's length and ramrodded a nuclear deal with Iran that was intended to bring that country in from the cold and open opportunities for commerce that had been shut down by years of sanctions.

In his zeal to undo all of Obama's initiatives Trump has placed the US in an intractable position in the ME. The scope of his long term plans will become more evident as the IS is driven out of Raqqa and Mosul. A lot of posters have postulated that he intends to grab a chunk of eastern Syria and western Iraq and engineer the geography so that Iranian influence in Syria and Lebanon is minimized. They are very likely right.

Because of his problems at home Trump has delegated his ME and other foreign policy to his generals. It's probably a good thing that there are old Pentagon hands that deal with reality and recognize that there's only so much the US can do given the circumstances. It's not so long ago that the "surge" in Iraq resulted in stop-loss reenlistment and numerous deployments of state reserves that must have come as the rudest of shocks to enlistees who thought they were joining to go play with tanks at some base every other weekend. These Pentagon folks realize that to fully meet the expectations of the Saudis and Israelis they would have to instigate a buildup that would mirror those of the two Iraq Wars. With the possibility of hostilities in the far western Pacific the options for the ME aren't very appealing. The American people don't give a fuck about Syria and might get irate if they see the country moving towards war.

The saving grace might be Mueller and his posse of investigators. They are going to forensically break down any dealings that Trump and Kushner had with foreign entities before and during the presidential campaign. There may be reasons for transition type meetings with foreign diplomats but the meetings with bankers and businessmen that were so blithely left off the required documentation when applying for security clearances will come under full scrutiny in a very focused way. This focus on his foreign dealings is apparently what has been causing Trump to act in such an unhinged fashion. He's too frazzled by his domestic problems to concentrate on his foreign policy. That's because he's corrupt and it's going to be fully exposed.

if his dodgy business dealings abroad weren't enough the emoluments clause is waiting to bite him in the ass. There are already several lawsuits in the works and more to come. His brazen milking of his position will be the end of him if the Russian connection isn't. Other presidents would at least wait till their terms were over to cash in on on multi-million dollar book deals and 400 grand speeches. With the sole exception of Jimmy Carter. Trump couldn't wait even months before he started leveraging his position for personal gain.

But still the focus of this and most threads is what a despicable evil man Obama was and how Trump's shortcomings all have their roots in the can of worms left by the previous administrations. Well, Obama is gone now and so is Clinton and the Chief Executive has the power to set things right. It ain't happening and it's time to put responsibility where it belongs. Trump's made Iran the new Public Enemy #1 and speaks of cancelling the nuclear deal. He's called climate change a hoax and and pulled out of the Paris Accord. He's taking away healthcare for the hoi polloi because it was Obama that provided it. He's undone the Cuba initiative. The joke in DC is that he's going to hunt down the Thanksgiving turkeys that Obama pardoned and kill them. But still whenever the subject of American impropriety rises the peanut gallery starts in with how it was all Obama and Trump's not so bad. Well, guess what sport fans, Trump is a crooked son of a bitch who wants to run a kleptocracy and can't understand why all these people are gunning for him. He will find out though when Flynn starts to testify. Because that motherfucker has flipped. Flynn is the key and will bring down the whole rotten structure.

Curtis | Jun 23, 2017 11:58:59 AM | 83
ben 57
That was a good point that Putin raised with Kelly in her interview. It's one thing to point a finger at any Russian affects on elections when the US does it on such a massive scale. I wish he would release a white paper documenting this especially US efforts in Ukraine as well as Russia (to include NED and IRI).
CarlD | Jun 23, 2017 12:16:25 PM | 85
@74

Quite a few missing 1949 Haiti*, 1986 Haiti*, 1989*Haiti,, 1992

hopehely | Jun 23, 2017 12:40:59 PM | 87
@85
Torture and suffering is the crucial and integral part of Christianity. Do you realize that the cross is a torture device? And that the word 'passion' in Passion of Christ means a suffering, not a lust or a drive? Not to mention the Inquisition....

Penelope | Jun 23, 2017 7:24:15 PM | 91
Regarding torture. It's been persistently reported in booklength works for more than a decade that the purpose is not to elicit information. This makes sense. Really, can you imagine that so many people have such valuable info? Rather, we're told that they're tortured to see if they can be made to confess to falsity-- that is, as a way to further the technology of breaking people down. Also, sometimes individuals can be made into "split personalities"-- that is, they can be programmed to commit acts not of their own volition, upon receiving a stimulus-- like Sirhan Sirhan or like the 1962 version of the Manchurian Candidate with Laurence Harvey.

Ah, who knows what evil can lurk in the minds of oligarchs and their lackeys? It makes me feel unclean to contemplate it.

[Jun 23, 2017] Hannity starts talking about murdered DNC staffer again

Jun 23, 2017 | www.msn.com

Sean Hannity spoke about the murder of late Democratic National Committee (DNC) staffer Seth Rich during his Thursday radio program, ending a temporary hiatus from the topic.

Hannity brought up the murder while speculating about leaks of damaging DNC emails that he believes may have come from "dissatisfied, disgruntled" staffers within the group.

"My guess is there are a lot of angry, disgruntled, whistleblowing truth tellers within the DNC that were there that saw the collusion, that saw that the fix was in against Bernie Sanders, that saw that there was corruption at the highest levels," Hannity said on his nationally-syndicated radio program.

Released emails via Wikileaks revealed an effort from top officials of the DNC to undermine the campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) during the primary campaign despite the organization insistence it was neutral in the race.

"Now I don't know anything about Seth Rich in this sense. I don't have any information about why he was murdered except that it was suspicious," Hannity continued. "And suspicious meaning it wasn't a robbery as they've claimed but otherwise why would you not steal his wallet, his phone, his necklace, his jewelry and watch and everything else."

[Jun 22, 2017] What is Thucydidess Trap, and how does it inform U.S.-China relations in the 21st century

Nuclear weapons changes the situation and that makes all those Thucydides Trap considerations pretty shaky indeed... Displacement of the British empire by the USA is another counterexample.
Jun 22, 2017 | www.quora.com
What is Thucydides's Trap, and how does it inform U.S.-China relations in the 21st century? The Thucydides Trap: Are the U.S. and China Headed for War? Harold Kingsberg , Reader Updated Oct 20, 2015 · Upvoted by Marc Bodnick , Former Stanford PhD student in Politics The Thucydides Trap is a term coined by Graham T. Allison, a Harvard professor and recognized US national security and defense policy expert. The concept itself comes from, fittingly, Thucydides, a Greek historian from about 2400 years ago who wrote a book entitled The History of the Peloponnesian War , generally regarded as the first work of history as we'd recognize it.[1] Thucydides argued that the cause of the Peloponnesian War was "the growth of Athenian power and the fear which this caused in Sparta." In other words, as one power rises, an already established power gets nervous and gears up for war, with this devolving into a vicious cycle that eventually results in war.

Now, if we apply the Thucydides Trap to the US-China relationship, China is the counterpart of Athens, the US is the counterpart of Sparta, and there's going to inevitably be war between the two. And certainly, there are people in the US who feel that the rise of China is a direct threat to the dominance of the US and we should all gear up for war because... well, mostly yellow peril.

Thirty years ago, there was another East Asian power on the rapid economic rise. It owned a massive chunk of US debt, it was buying up US property left, right and center, it had a well-funded military and a history of using it. Of course, as Japan is in its third Lost Decade, it's fairly clear to see that Japan's meteoric rise came crashing to a halt, and most of the comments made about how the Japanese would eat the US' lunch now seem dated in the extreme. Which is to say that the Thucydides Trap requires the continued rise of the emerging power. It is not difficult to imagine China continuing to rise; however, it is also not difficult to imagine China stalling out for a few years. It is this latter possibility that makes the Thucydides Trap eminently avoidable.

China's economy has boomed in a frankly unparalleled way since Deng Xiaoping introduced the socialist market economy. Much of this growth has been genuine. Some of it has been anything but. The latter is most evidently seen in China's ghost cities, which the government keeps erecting. Ordos, in Inner Mongolia, is probably the most famous of these, but the basic problem is that the city was erected with the idea that people would flock to it and that didn't happen.[2] This constitutes a pretty stunning waste of resources, and it's not a tenable strategy for long-term growth. Similarly, when the Shanghai Stock Exchange tanked in August of 2015, the Chinese government's management of the situation was to pour money into it – again, not a viable strategy for maintaining a robust market economy in the long-term. It's clear that the Chinese government has done something right these past few decades, but it's increasingly unclear if the Chinese government can continue that record of success for very much longer.

There's also another problem China's looking at that makes the parallel to Japan even more pronounced: an aging population. China's attempts at controlling demography have been deeply problematic and left it with serious issues. Mao Zedong's attempts to boost the population beyond sustainable levels was overly successful and led to problems, but the subsequent walking back of Mao's demography with the One Child Policy has led to a gender imbalance and a smaller younger generation than the older one. This is the exact opposite of what you want in an age pyramid, because the elderly produce less than do young adults, and consume considerably more health care (among other things). This is a problem that Japan has been trying to figure out for years, and they've had no success. Singapore has had issues reversing their own highly successful demographic programs. China may figure out how to crack the tough nut, but it's not going to have an easy time of it.

This is all very well-known to the people at the helm of American foreign policy, so it's quite unlikely that they're going to fall into the Thucydides Trap, simply because they're going to be a little leery of China's continued rapid growth. Yes, the IMF cites China as having a larger economy (based on GDP PPP) than the US', but when you look at it per capita, China lags Turkmenistan. It's therefore a country still punching well below its weight. Now, it's true that if China continues to rise, it may yet get the US nervous – but most economists predict a slowdown in China, so we're a ways from that happening, anyway. Most of the people worrying about China's rise would worry about any Asian country doing well, even an ally's.

However, the slowdown in the Chinese economy does cause issues of its own. Like many other governments facing economic worries, the Chinese government has engaged in some nationalist saber-rattling and expansionism in recent years. Combine this with Japan's recent law allowing the JSDF to be deployed away from Japan, and Japan being a key US ally, and you're looking at a very uncomfortable situation. The majority of analysts don't expect a war between Japan and China over the Senkaku/Diayou Islands, but then, most didn't expect a war between the UK and Argentina over the Falklands, either.[3] So long as it all remains just talk, this is fine, but if either side actually does something, that could destabilize quickly, and the US isn't about to hang Japan out to dry. This is known by all parties, and seeing as how war would be terrible for everyone's bottom line, everyone's generally trying to avoid it while still getting a little bump in the polls all the same. This isn't so much the Thucydides Trap so much as it is a rough analogue of what's going in with Russia and Ukraine or what happened with Russia and Georgia back in 2008. Thus, in many ways, the continued rise of China is a preferable outcome from the perspective of a US foreign policy analyst.[4] Now, you can argue that this is another manifestation of Thucydides' Trap, but frankly, I don't think that doing so is a valuable exercise. Thucydides was specifically referring to the continuing rise of one country causing another to react with great hostility, and this paragraph does not describe that in the slightest.

And even ignoring all of the above, Thucydides lived 2400 years ago and some of the facts on the ground have changed. We spent forty years following the Second World War of the rising power not getting into a big fight with the established one,[5] the US and the UK didn't go to war during the early twentieth century and neither did the US and Japan in the back half of the twentieth century. I'm not saying that Thucydides has stopped being accurate altogether, but it was always a massive generalization and it seems to be holding less and less true the longer the Long Peace goes. The bottom line is that Daniel Defoe's more applicable than Thucydides here: the only things certain in life are death and taxes.

[1] Yes, Herodotus is called the "Father of History," but he tended to attribute events to the wills of specific gods. Thucydides kept everything grounded in the human sphere, although precisely how much of the History is dead accurate and how much he invented is a matter of some controversy. His records of speeches – for example, Pericles' funeral oration and the Melian dialogue – are generally viewed with a little bit of suspicion.

[2] Alternatively, one can take the view that the city was built to prop up the construction industry, but I tend to doubt that. In any event, here's a link to an article about the deserted city: Welcome to The World's Largest Ghost City: Ordos, China

[3] And remember, that was another case of a country whose growth rate had stalled but good going up against an established power.

[4] It would also be preferable if Japan could also get its internal issues sorted for the same reason.

[5] Not counting proxy conflicts, of course. There were US-USSR dust-ups, but no direct fighting between the two.

[Jun 22, 2017] Can America and China Escape Thucydidess Trap?

Thucydides's Trap is a fake notion... This is unproven hypothesis. for example GB lost the power to the USA without major war between them.
The Thucydides Trap is a term coined by Graham T. Allison, a Harvard professor and recognized US national security and defense policy expert. The concept itself comes from, fittingly, Thucydides, a Greek historian from about 2400 years ago who wrote a book entitled The History of the Peloponnesian War, generally regarded as the first work of history as we'd recognize it.[1] Thucydides argued that the cause of the Peloponnesian War was "the growth of Athenian power and the fear which this caused in Sparta." In other words, as one power rises, an already established power gets nervous and gears up for war, with this devolving into a vicious cycle that eventually results in war.
See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thucydides
Jun 16, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne -> anne... , June 21, 2017 at 04:33 AM

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/15/books/review/everything-under-the-heavens-howard-french-destined-for-war-graham-allison.html

America's Collision Course With China
By JUDITH SHAPIRO

EVERYTHING UNDER THE HEAVENS
How the Past Helps Shape China's Push for Global Power By Howard W. French

DESTINED FOR WAR
Can America and China Escape Thucydides's Trap?
By Graham Allison

The Chinese superpower has arrived. Could America's failure to grasp this reality pull the United States and China into war? Here are two books that warn of that serious possibility. Howard W. French's "Everything Under the Heavens: How the Past Helps Shape China's Push for Global Power" does so through a deep historical and cultural study of the meaning of China's rise from the point of view of the Chinese themselves. Graham Allison's "Destined for War: Can American and China Escape Thucydides's Trap?" makes his arguments through historical case studies that illuminate the pressure toward military confrontation when a rising power challenges a dominant one. Both books urge us to be ready for a radically different world order, one in which China presides over Asia, even as Chinese politicians tell a public story about "peaceful rise." The books argue persuasively that adjusting to this global power shift will require great skill on both sides if conflagration is to be avoided.

French says in his exhaustively researched and fascinating account of geopolitics, China style, that the Chinese era is upon us. But, he asks, "How will the coming China-driven world look?" To what extent will China support the international order that emerged when it was suffering humiliation at the hands of foreign powers? What are the drivers and motivations for the new ways China projects its power? How best should its neighbors and its rival North American superpower respond?

French, a former reporter for The Washington Post and The New York Times, argues that China's historical and cultural legacy governs its conduct of international relations, a legacy that sits uncomfortably with the Western notions of equality and noninterference among states. China's relations with its neighbors in Japan and Southeast Asia were for millenniums governed by the concept of tian xia, which held that everything "under the heavens" belonged to the empire. A superior civilization demanded deference and tribute from vassal neighbors and did not hesitate to use military force. China's testy relationship with Vietnam became fraught whenever a Vietnamese leader dared to demand equal footing with a Chinese emperor; the Japanese claim to divine origins was unacceptable.

When China lost its regional dominance at the hands of colonial powers and invading armies, it saw the situation as temporary. The struggle in the East China Sea over the Senkaku Islands claimed by Japan since 1895, for example, has long been a sore point in Sino-Japanese relations. But the reform-era strongman Deng Xiaoping advised China to "hide our capacities and bide our time" on this and many other issues. Hostility between China and Japan simmers in disputes over hierarchy, wartime apology and historical narrative, with the two "in a situation resembling galaxies locked in each other's gravitational fields, destined to collide repeatedly only to sail past each other after wreaking their damage." French shows convincingly that China's goal is now to displace the American barbarians and correct historic humiliations imposed by those who dethroned China from its rightful position at the center of the world.

China's recent spectacular land grab in the South China Sea is a fait accompli, given China's superior power in the area and its assertion that the region is a core national interest. Arbitrators for the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea issued a 500-plus-page decision against China and in favor of the Philippines in a dispute over the definitions of islands versus rock formations; they concluded that Chinese arguments had no legal basis. But as French explains in sobering detail, China has unilaterally determined to claim much of the sea as its own. The country rejected the arbitration tribunal, knowing that its growing surface naval power and nuclear submarine capability support a highly uneven contest. Oil rigs have been established in contested waters, while artificial "islands" constructed from coral reefs are serving as military bases just miles from the Southeast Asian coastline. Similarly, China's projection of economic might through the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and One Belt, One Road initiative, which intends to bind a huge swath of Asia to China economically via new land infrastructure and consolidated control of the seas, generates "a kind of fatalism or resignation about the futility of trying to defy it." ...

Paine -> anne... , June 21, 2017 at 05:34 AM
Raw Bait for the ignorant bellicose masses

"China's relations with its neighbors in Japan and Southeast Asia
were for millenniums governed by the concept of tian xia,
which held that everything "under the heavens" belonged to the empire."

Evil Clown talk

anne -> Paine ... , June 21, 2017 at 06:51 AM
Howard French, a former reporter for The Washington Post and The New York Times, argues that China's historical and cultural legacy governs its conduct of international relations, a legacy that sits uncomfortably with the Western notions of equality and noninterference among states. China's relations with its neighbors in Japan and Southeast Asia were for millenniums governed by the concept of tian xia, which held that everything "under the heavens" belonged to the empire....

-- Judith Shapiro

Evil Clown talk

-- Paine

ilsm -> anne... , June 21, 2017 at 04:19 PM
US is too busy making sure al Qaeda is around for decades consuming trillions of US war funding.

No time for China who spend a mere 1.7% of GDP for war!

And who are investing in a route to negate US navy power to blockade.

[Jun 22, 2017] These are dark times for neoliberal free marketeers.

Jun 22, 2017 | economistsview.typepad.com

Christopher H., June 21, 2017 at 06:56 AM

http://stumblingandmumbling.typepad.com/stumbling_and_mumbling/2017/06/free-markets-need-equality.html

June 21, 2017

FREE MARKETS NEED EQUALITY
by Chris Dillow

These are dark times for free marketeers. Voters are only lukewarm about the virtues of capitalism; the Grenfell disaster is widely regarded as showing the case for greater regulation; and, as Sam Bowman says, even the Tories "have totally failed to make a broad-brush case for free markets."

I share some of their disquiet. Flawed as they are, markets have virtues as selection and information-aggregation mechanisms.

What, then, can be done to strengthen the case for markets?

There's one thing that's crucial – equality of power. For free markets to have public acceptance, the worst-off must have bargaining power. Without this, "free" markets merely become a device for exploitation.

Imagine, for example, that we had overfull employment and/or high out-of-work benefits. Workers would then be able to reject low wages and bad working conditions. Market forces would then deliver higher wages and good, safer, conditions simply because employers that didn't offer these wouldn't have any workers. Equally – though it's harder to imagine – if we had an abundance of housing, landlords who offered shoddy or dangerous accommodation would either have to refurbish their property to acceptable standards or suffer a lack of tenants.

We wouldn't, therefore need "red tape." The market would raise working and living standards.

We don't need thought experiments to see this. We have empirical evidence too.

Philippe Aghion and colleagues have shown that there's a negative correlation across countries between unions density and minimum wage laws. Countries with strong unions have less stringent minimum wage laws – because greater bargaining power reduces the need for such laws. Remember that the UK adopted minimum wages in the 1990s, when unions had been emasculated. In the 60s and 70s, when unions were strong, the market raised wages.

Also, there is a negative correlation across developed countries between inequality (as measured, imperfectly, by Gini coefficients) and business freedom. Egalitarian Denmark and Sweden, for example, score better on the Heritage Foundation's index of freedom than the unequal US. There's a simple reason for this. Working people want what they regard as a fair deal. If they can't get it through bargaining in free markets, they'll seek it through politics and regulation.

The inference here is, for me, obvious. If you are serious about wanting free markets you must put in place the conditions which are necessary for them – namely, greater bargaining power for tenants, customers and workers. This requires not just strong anti-monopoly policies but also policies such as a high citizens income, full employment and mass housebuilding.

In short, free markets require egalitarian policies. Free marketeers who don't support these are not the friends of freedom at all, but are merely shills for exploiters.

Christopher H. -> Christopher H.... , June 21, 2017 at 07:02 AM
"Egalitarian Denmark and Sweden, for example, score better on the Heritage Foundation's index of freedom than the unequal US. There's a simple reason for this. Working people want what they regard as a fair deal. If they can't get it through bargaining in free markets, they'll seek it through politics and regulation."

Hillary Clinton famously said "we're not Denmark" to distinguish herself from the "unserious" Bernie Sanders in the primary debates.

She was trying to appeal to meritocratic Democrats and Republicans. As Josh Marshall wrote of yesterday's special election:

"The district is relatively diverse for a GOP district and educated and affluent. In other words, it's made up of just the kind of Republicans who proved most resistant to Trump."

Hillary was trying to appeal to the affluent and indoctrinated and educated meritocrats. The "non-deploreables."

And she lost. Corbyn running on an anti-austerity platform and a manifesto that pointed more in the direction of Denmark pulled off a biggest swing in votes since 1945.

Of course the center left, PGL and Krugman were silent about Corbyn's great showing and complained about people who wanted to discuss it. But it's okay to discuss the disappointing outcome in yesterday's special election.

RGC -> Christopher H.... , June 21, 2017 at 07:18 AM
Free markets need "a comprehensive socialization of investment":

"In some other respects the foregoing theory is moderately conservative in its implications. For whilst it indicates the vital importance of establishing certain central controls in matters which are now left in the main to individual initiative, there are wide fields of activity which are unaffected. The State will have to exercise a guiding influence on the propensity to consume partly through its scheme of taxation, partly by fixing the rate of interest, and partly, perhaps, in other ways. Furthermore, it seems unlikely that the influence of banking policy on the rate of interest will be sufficient by itself to determine an optimum rate of investment. I conceive, therefore, that a somewhat comprehensive socialisation of investment will prove the only means of securing an approximation to full employment; though this need not exclude all manner of compromises and of devices by which public authority will co-operate with private initiative. But beyond this no obvious case is made out for a system of State Socialism which would embrace most of the economic life of the community. It is not the ownership of the instruments of production which it is important for the State to assume. If the State is able to determine the aggregate amount of resources devoted to augmenting the instruments and the basic rate of reward to those who own them, it will have accomplished all that is necessary. Moreover, the necessary measures of socialisation can be introduced gradually and without a break in the general traditions of society"

-J M Keynes

https://www.marxists.org/reference/subject/economics/keynes/general-theory/ch24.htm

Paine -> RGC... , June 21, 2017 at 06:09 PM
Caution
The path to Keynesian futures turned out to have a long back traverse
From 1973 to 2008 and beyond

As yet we have not moved forward
but at least the power
driving the back traverse is over
We can recommence the advance toward greater socialization of net investment

[Jun 22, 2017] Neocons influence on US foreign policy

Equating critique of Israel with anti-Semitism is like equating critique of Nazi Germany with with denigrating everything German.
Jun 22, 2017 | www.unz.com

lavoisier Website June 21, 2017 at 10:27 am GMT

@Sam J. "...In the end, it is the American people who decide whether Israel is to be or not to be a vital American ally and friend..."

To make informed decisions you have to have information. The American people don't have that. So they really haven't made a decision at all. They've been tricked into doing things that are covered up in lies. The American people are responsible even if they are being manipulated by the MSM.

Too many Americans are woefully ignorant about the world, particularly about the extent that Jewish interests have manipulated so many aspects of our government and our culture. If