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May the source be with you, but remember the KISS principle ;-)
Skepticism and critical thinking is not panacea, but can help to understand the world better

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 Neoliberal Propaganda: Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism The Deep State
Libertarian Philosophy Elite Theory Resurgence of neofascism as reaction on crisis of neoliberalism and neoliberal globalization US and British media are servants of security apparatus Neoliberalism as Trotskyism for the rich "Fuck the EU": neocons show EU its real place Neoconservatism as an attack dog of neoliberalism
Corporatism Harvard Mafia, Andrei Shleifer and the economic rape of Russia Demexit: Abandonment of Democratic party by working class and lower middle class Democratic Party Neoliberals Monday morning quarterbacking Globalization of Financial Flows Anti-globalization movement Brexit as the start of the reversal of neoliberal globalization
Amorality and criminality of neoliberal elite The Iron Law of Oligarchy "Clinton Cash" Scandal: Hillary Clinton links to foreign donors and financial industry Neo-conservatism National Security State Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ? Hypocrisy of British ruling elite as the template for hypocrisy of neoliberal elite
Russiagate -- a color revolution against Trump Anti-Russian hysteria DNC emails leak Anti Trump Hysteria Two Party System as Polyarchy Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners" Neoliberal war on reality or the importance of controlling the narrative
Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Demonization of Putin Media-Military-Industrial Complex Strzok-gate Fifth Column of Neoliberal Globalization Neoliberal corruption Neoliberalism and Christianity
Pathological Russophobia of the US elite Israel lobby IMF as the key institution for neoliberal debt enslavement Disaster capitalism American Exceptionalism Predator state Obama: a yet another Neocon
Corporatist Corruption: Systemic Fraud under Clinton-Bush-Obama Regime 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
Fake News scare and US NeoMcCartyism Ukraine: From EuroMaydan to EuroAnschluss Civil war in Ukraine Syria civil war Gas Wars Color revolutions New American Militarism
MSM Sochi Bashing Rampage Groupthink Crisis of legitimacy of neoliberal elite Deception as an art form Mayberry Machiavellians Immigration, wage depression and free movement of workers  Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17?
Compradors vs. national bourgeoisie Talleyrand quotes Otto Von Bismarck Quotes Kurt Vonnegut Quotes Somerset Maugham Quotes George Carlin Propaganda Quotes
Overcomplexity of society Paleoconservatism Non-Interventionism Key Myths of Neoliberalism Skeptic Quotations Humor Etc

Introduction

 

Skepticism is a useful quality that some people naturally possess and other can develop, but it not a panacea.  As such any "Skeptical" or even "Slightly skeptical" paged by definition suffer from "confirmation bias". They postulate that only information that does not correlate well with official position is worth presenting.  The reality is more complex than that.  There is no grantee that such skeptical openion is correct. And in retrospect many such opinion, which look highly plausible in the heat of the day, look naive and unsubstantiated ten years after. Been there, saw that.

Also, while not so lucrative as shilling for government, adhering to anything that differ to government position is too simplistic an approach. Especially in the long run, as historical forces in action at the particular moment are often unknown and not evident to participants of the events.

Those considerations probably should be kept in mind when reading those pages. While skeptical opinion is an excellent tool for destroying propaganda stereotypes it is your own task to integrate them into your new understanding of the situation. Sometime that requires integration under some new paradigm, or rejection based on the new paradigm for particular historical situation.  The problem with history is that the real meaning of events often became clear only a centruty or so after they occure.

The  central for this set of "slightly skeptical" Softpanorama pages is the idea that we live in neoliberal society and will continue to live in it for some type despite the crisis it experiences now. Because there is no viable alternative on the horizon and resurrection of New Deal capitalism is not possible as the countervailing forces that existed to keep financial oligarchy in check dissipated, and part of them (top management of corporations) joined the former enemy.


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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)

[Jan 21, 2020] Wikipedia is fine for non-political info. For political information it is CIApedia

Jan 21, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

NoOneYouKnow , Jan 21 2020 18:50 utc | 34

Wikipedia is fine for unimportant info. I hope anyone who relies on it for serious subjects reads this: https://medium.com/@helen.buyniski/wikipedia-rotten-to-the-core-dcc435781c45
Also, in the penultimate sentence of Nebenzia's statement, "shelled" should be "shelved."

"talk-embed-stream-container"> hootowl 11 hours ago remove Share link Copy The CIA is funded, populated, and controlled by sociopathic dual-staters and drug cartels. They don't give a damn about Americans or real American interests.

17 so-called "Intelligence Agencies" are an existential threat, a clear and present danger to what remains of our constitutional freedoms and prosperity.

Who the hell can possibly control 17 intelligence agencies run by sociopaths and corrupt politicians (is that redundant)?

hootowl 11 hours ago remove Share link Copy The CIA is funded, populated, and controlled by sociopathic dual-staters and drug cartels. They don't give a damn about Americans or real American interests.

17 so-called "Intelligence Agencies" are an existential threat, a clear and present danger to what remains of our constitutional freedoms and prosperity.

Who the hell can possibly control 17 intelligence agencies run by sociopaths and corrupt politicians (is that redundant)?

/div

[Jan 21, 2020] Warren is a political novice, and while she has sharp elbows she's extremely naive and makes blunder after blunder

Notable quotes:
"... I have no confidence in Elizabeth Warren "doing the right thing"; she might be susceptible to the pressure and to the ignominy attached to doing the disastrously wrong thing. ..."
"... *Donald Trump, for his part, is reportedly " privately obsessed " with Sanders, not, it seems, with Biden. ..."
"... From a recent episode of the Jimmy Dore Show, it's the cringe-worthy Warren "Selfie" Gimmick: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5JWIiVMj6g If this doesn't scream "political novice," I don't know what will. ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Jeff W , January 21, 2020 at 1:41 am

" if she does anything less than help elect the last and only progressive with a chance, she damages them both to Biden's benefit "

If Elizabeth Warren's candidacy becomes unviable, the pressure on her to combine her delegates with those of Sanders -- from those supporting Bernie Sanders and those legitimately concerned with Joe Biden's chances against Trump* -- will be enormous . And, if , instead, Warren helps nominate Biden and Biden then goes on to lose to Donald Trump -- as I'm all but certain he will -- it will be all too clear just who played a pivotal role in helping to make that match-up even possible.

I have no confidence in Elizabeth Warren "doing the right thing"; she might be susceptible to the pressure and to the ignominy attached to doing the disastrously wrong thing.

*Donald Trump, for his part, is reportedly " privately obsessed " with Sanders, not, it seems, with Biden.

rusti , January 21, 2020 at 2:07 am

In Sanders' case, his surge in the polls coincided with his emergence as the chief apologist for the Iranian regime. We needed to point out that he would be dangerous as president since he made clear he would appease terrorists and terror-sponsoring nations.

If this is really representative of a line of attack that the Trump campaign plans to use on him, that would be great. I can't imagine anything that would resonate less with voters. But I was a bit surprised to see this in a Bernie fundraising mail:

The wise course would have been to stick with that nuclear agreement, enforce its provisions, and use that diplomatic channel with Iran to address our other concerns with Iran, including their support of terrorism.

What groups are they referring to when they say this? Hezbollah, which is part of Parliament in Lebanon? Iraqi PMF that are loosely integrated with the Iraqi army?

Bill Carson , January 21, 2020 at 2:15 am

Yep, Warren is a political novice, and she's extremely naive. That Massachusetts senate seat was practically handed to her on a silver platter. She has no idea that she was played in '16 and she's being played now.

Arizona Slim , January 21, 2020 at 8:22 am

From a recent episode of the Jimmy Dore Show, it's the cringe-worthy Warren "Selfie" Gimmick: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z5JWIiVMj6g If this doesn't scream "political novice," I don't know what will.

[Jan 21, 2020] Warren "Willingness to compromise" = willingness to give obeisance to most of exploitative corporate capitalism

She endorced Hillary in 2016. That tells a lot about her... Now she backstabbed Bernie. What's next?
Notable quotes:
"... Warren has a track record of lying: lied about her dad being a janitor, hers kids going to public school, getting fired for being pregnant, and obviously the Native American heritage. ..."
"... My gut is she is going to endorse Joe Biden and prob got a tease of VP or some other role and all she had to do was kamikaze into Bernie with this. It's backfiring but at this rate and given she's too deep into it now when she drops out she'll prob back Biden as she hasn't shown the integrity to back a guy like Berni. ..."
"... She's toxic now. No one will want her has VP. Sanders supporters despise her, she comes from a small, Democratic state and she's loaded with baggage. She brings nothing to a ticket. She torpedoed any hopes or plans she might have had in that regard. ..."
"... Bernie is labeled as a socialist. Actually he is a real Roosevelt democrat. ..."
"... The most impressive thing I have witnessed about Bernie is that he can extemporaneously recall and explain exactly why he voted as he did on every piece of legislation that he has cast a vote on. in. his. life. It is a remarkable talent. ..."
"... The outcome of the upcoming Iowa Caucus is too hard to predict. All the candidates are very close. Sanders needs to turnout young and working class voters to win. ..."
"... My impression is her supporters are mostly older, mostly female, and mostly centrist. Many want to elect a female pres before they die. Prior to the she said event her supporters second choice were split fairly evenly between Bernie and Biden but the latest fracas is driving her most progressive supporters to Bernie. ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Massinissa , January 21, 2020 at 12:49 pm

"Willingness to compromise" = willingness to give obeisance to most of exploitative corporate capitalism.

Amit Chokshi , January 21, 2020 at 5:52 am

Warren has a track record of lying: lied about her dad being a janitor, hers kids going to public school, getting fired for being pregnant, and obviously the Native American heritage.

As pointed here on NC she's great at grandstanding when bank CEOs are in front of her and doing nothing following that.

My gut is she is going to endorse Joe Biden and prob got a tease of VP or some other role and all she had to do was kamikaze into Bernie with this. It's backfiring but at this rate and given she's too deep into it now when she drops out she'll prob back Biden as she hasn't shown the integrity to back a guy like Berni.

Yves Smith Post author , January 21, 2020 at 5:57 am

I don't see how she is anyone's VP. She is too old. You want someone under 60, better 50, particularly for an old presidential candidate. Treasury Secretary is a more powerful position. The big appeal of being VP is maybe it positions you later to be President but that last worked out for Bush the Senior.

Arizona Slim , January 21, 2020 at 8:24 am

And Bush the Senior lost his re-election bid.

pebird , January 21, 2020 at 9:41 am

Because he asked us to read his lips. And he didn't think we were lip readers.

Oh , January 21, 2020 at 10:57 am

She may be looking to be the Secretary of the Department of Agriculture. /s

Sue E Greenwald , January 21, 2020 at 8:19 am

She's toxic now. No one will want her has VP. Sanders supporters despise her, she comes from a small, Democratic state and she's loaded with baggage. She brings nothing to a ticket. She torpedoed any hopes or plans she might have had in that regard.

jackiebass , January 21, 2020 at 6:40 am

I've watched Bernie for years. Even long before he decided to run for president. He is the same today as he was then. Bernie isn't afraid to advocate for something , even though he will get a lot of backlash. I also believe he is sincere in his convictions. If he says something he believes in it.Something you can't say for the other candidates. Bernie is by far my first choice.

After that it would be Warren. Bernie is labeled as a socialist. Actually he is a real Roosevelt democrat. As a life long democrat, I can't support or vote for a Wall Street candidate. Unlike one of the other commenters, I will never vote for Trump but instead wold vote for a third party candidate. Unfortunate the DNC will do anything to prevent Bernie from being candidate. Progressive democrats need to get out and support a progressive or the nomination will again be stolen by a what I call a light republican.

Robert Hahl , January 21, 2020 at 7:26 am

What is great about Bernie is that he is so sure-footed. It was visible in the hot-mic trap Warren set for him where she got nothing, it actually hurt her.

Anonymous Coward , January 21, 2020 at 3:05 pm

The most impressive thing I have witnessed about Bernie is that he can extemporaneously recall and explain exactly why he voted as he did on every piece of legislation that he has cast a vote on. in. his. life. It is a remarkable talent.

Howard , January 21, 2020 at 6:48 am

The outcome of the upcoming Iowa Caucus is too hard to predict. All the candidates are very close. Sanders needs to turnout young and working class voters to win. By many reports, Warren has an excellent ground game in IA and The NY Times endorsement has given a path for her to pick up Klobuchar voters after round one of the caucus.

Biden is a mystery to me. How the heck is he even running. Obama pleaded with him not to. That being said, it wouldn't surprise me if he finishes in the top two. Buttigieg is the wild card. I think the "electability" argument will hurt him as he can't win after NH.

ALM , January 21, 2020 at 7:51 am

According to a recent poll, Elizabeth Warren is one of the most unpopular senators with voters in her own state as measured against approval rates of all other senators in their states. I find this very surprising for someone with a national profile. What do voters in Massachusetts not like about her?

As for me, I find it more and more difficult to trust Warren because she takes the bait and yields to pressure during a primary when the pressure to back down, moderate, and abandon once championed policy positions and principles is a great deal less than it is during the general election. Warren has gone from Medicare4All to a public option to, in the recent debate, tweaks to the ACA. Despite her roll-out of an ambitious $10 trillion Green New Deal plan, Warren is now to the right of Chuck "Wall Street" Schumer as evidenced by her support of NAFTA 2.0 which utterly fails to address climate change. WTF! Where will she be during a general election?

And her political instincts are awful as recently demonstrated by her woke, badly executed girl power attack against a candidate who has been a committed feminist for his entire political career.

Another Scott , January 21, 2020 at 9:18 am

She also has horrible constituent service. I had an issue with a federal student loan a few years ago (I believe it was the servicer depositing money but not crediting my account and charging me interest and late fees). After getting nowhere with the company, I tried calling her office, figuring that as this was one of her core issues, I would get some response, either help or at least someone who would want to record what happened to her actual constituent. I didn't hear back for about a month, by which time I had resolved the issue – no fees or additional interest through multiple phone calls and emails.

In other words, Elizabeth Warren's constituent service is worse than Sallie Mae's.

T , January 21, 2020 at 9:31 am

The stupid Ponds cold cream lie is the worst. Unless she teed up the "how do you look so young!" question , the corrected answer is to point out the nonsense of talking about a candidates looks and addressing actual sexism.

Instead she has a goofball answer about only using Ponds cold cream which lead to Derm pointing out her alleged method was not good advice and also pointing out that she appears to have used botex and fillers, which I don't think people were talking about before then, in public.

The most generous explanation is she was caught flat-footed and, once again, showed she has terrible instincts.

Just a dumb dumb move.

Stefan , January 21, 2020 at 8:43 am

If Bernie Sanders can get it through the thick noggin of the nation that he stands for and will implement the principles, policies, and values of the New Deal–the attitude that got us through the Great Depression and Wotld War II–he has every chance of being elected the next President of the United States.

Stefan , January 21, 2020 at 8:47 am

Btw, is Inauguration Day just a year away?

The Rev Kev , January 21, 2020 at 9:02 am

Google says Wednesday Jan 20, 2021: Swearing-In Ceremony. And here is a countdown page-

https://days.to/when-is/us-presidential-inauguration/2021

Trust me. By the time it comes around you won't care who gets sworn in as you will just be glad that all the vicious, wretched skullduggery of this year's elections will finally be over.

Pat , January 21, 2020 at 11:11 am

And hoping you get one day of rest before the vicious, wretched skullduggery of undermining the desires of the American people gets started. Obviously Sanders will make the Trump years look a cake walk. Anyone else (Democrat or Trump) we will see lots of 'working for' and 'resistance' type memes while largely doing nothing of the sort, but a whole lot of 'bipartisan' passage of terrible things.

Samuel Conner , January 21, 2020 at 10:25 am

It sounds like Sanders, in the famous 2018 conversation, may have been trying to politely encourage EW to not run in 2020. Her moment was 2016 and she declined to run then when a Progressive candidate was needed. Her run in 2020 to some extent divides the Progressive vote. EW interpreted, perhaps intentionally, Sanders' words to imply that he thinks "no woman can win in 2020", and then weaponized them against him.

The very fact that she is running at all suggests to me that she is not at heart a Progressive and in fact does not want a Progressive candidate to win. If she had run in 2016, Sanders would not have run in order to not divide the Progressive vote. EW knew that Sanders would run in 2020 and planned to run anyway. It is hard for me to not interpret this to be an intentional bid for some of the Progressive vote, in order to hold Sanders down.

Anon , January 21, 2020 at 11:59 am

I agree. She decides to do things based on her own self-interest, and uses progressives as pawns to work her way up in DC. My guess is that Warren chickened out in 2016 and didn't run because maybe she didn't think she had a chance against the Clintons. When Warren saw how well Sanders did against Clinton, how close he was at winning, I think only then she decided that 2020 was a good chance for a progressive, or someone running as a progressive candidate, to win the nomination.

She saw how Sanders had fired up loyal progressive support in the Democratic Party. She chickened out back then when she could have endorsed Bernie in '16, but chose not to, probably hoping not to burn bridges with Clinton in order to get a plum role in her administration. Her non-endorsement in '16 worries me because it shows once again that Warren makes decisions largely based on what is good for her career, not what she thinks is better for the country (if she really is the progressive she claims to be).

Knowing that there was now a strong progressive base ready to vote for a candidate left of Democratic candidates like Biden and Clinton, Warren saw her entry into having a good chance at winning the presidency. Rather than thinking about the implications for Bernie and the possibility of dividing left-wing voters, her desire to become president was more important. Remember, this is exactly what Bernie did not do in 2016 when he urged Warren to run, and was willing to step aside, if she had agreed to do so.

If I had been in Sanders position, I probably would have sat down and talked to Warren about the serious implications of the both of them running in 2020. How he had hoped to build on the momentum from his last campaign and the sexism that was used against Clinton in 2016. Hey, if I had been Sanders, I probably would have told Warren not to run. Not because she's a woman, but because it would have been obvious to Bernie that with Warren running alongside him, they would both end up splitting the progressive vote.

What is happening now between the two of them should have been no surprise to either Bernie or Warren. They are both popular among Democrats who identify as progressive or left-of-center. Democrats will always find a way to shoot themselves in the foot. And I agree that when it becomes evident that one of them cannot win, either Bernie or Warren must step aside for the good of the country and fully back the other. There is no other option if either of them truly wants the other to win the nomination rather than Biden. I'm hoping that Warren will do so since it is becoming more clear that Sanders is the stronger progressive and the stronger candidate who has a better chance at beating both Biden and Trump.

Lambert Strether , January 21, 2020 at 3:37 pm

> "no woman can win in 2020"

The claim was "no woman can win." It was not qualified in any way.

landline , January 21, 2020 at 10:34 am

If sheepdog St. Bernard Sanders begins to look like the presumptive nominee, look for a new candidate to throw her hat into the ring. Her name: Michelle Obama.

Lambert Strether , January 21, 2020 at 3:42 pm

> sheepdog St. Bernard Sanders

I'm so sick of that sheepdog meme (originated by, much as a respect BAR, by a GP activist bitter, I would say, over many years of GP ineffectuality). The elites seem to be pretty nervous about a sheepdog.

pretzelattack , January 21, 2020 at 3:52 pm

if he were a sheepdog, why would the shepherds have to intervene? they wouldn't.

Lee , January 21, 2020 at 10:51 am

And now we have Sanders apologizing for an op-ed in the Guardian by Zephyr Teachout accusing Biden of corruption.

The op-ed simply says what Sanders has said all along, the system is corrupted by big donors. Then she explicitly states the obvious, which Sanders won't at this point say but that Trump certainly will: Biden is a prime example of serving his donors' interests to the detriment of most of the rest of us. Sanders subsequently apologizes for Teachout's baldly true assertion, stating that he doesn't believe that Biden is corrupt.

I guess we're meant to draw a clear distinction between legalized and illegal corruption. I don't know. They both look like ducks to me.

Oh , January 21, 2020 at 11:05 am

Sometimes it's better for Bernie to keep his mouth shut.

Samuel Conner , January 21, 2020 at 11:07 am

I have read that Sanders is the #2 choice of many Iowans who favor JB; it makes a lot of sense for him to not "go negative" on JB in the run-up to the caucuses.

There will be time for plainer speaking. Sanders has been clear about his views on the corrupting influence of corporate money in politics. JB is exhibit #1 within the D primary field and there will be plenty of opportunity to note that.

I suspect that there is a great deal of "method" in what may look to us like "madness" in the Senator's civility.

Samuel Conner , January 21, 2020 at 11:18 am

To put it another way, I doubt very much that Sanders believes that JB's legislative agendas were not significantly influenced by the sources of his campaign funds. And I'm sure that attention will be drawn to this at the right time.

One can charitably affirm that one believes that JB is not a consciously corrupt , pay-for-play, kind of person, while also affirming that of course he has been influenced by the powerful interests that have funded his career, and that this has not served the interests of the American people. All in due course.

jrs , January 21, 2020 at 12:37 pm

The thing is Warren would make the right argument here: that it's the system that is corrupted, and make it well. Too bad she has shown so completely that can't be trusted as a person, because she often looks good on paper

inode_buddha , January 21, 2020 at 1:37 pm

I think Warren misses the key point that the reason why the system is corrupted is because the players in it are corrupted. They can be bought and sold. That is why they have no shame.

Lambert Strether , January 21, 2020 at 3:43 pm

> The thing is Warren would make the right argument here: that it's the system that is corrupted

That's not the right answer at all. The climate crisis, for example, is not caused by a lack of transparency in the oil industry. It is caused by capital allocation decisions by the billionaire class and their servicers in subaltern classes.

urblintz , January 21, 2020 at 11:12 am

"The real game changer around here, though, might be Iowa State University's decision, after years of pressure, to issue new student IDs, enabling 35,000 students to vote, even under Iowa's restrictive new voter-ID law. That's a progressive victory, and in a different media universe, it would be a story even juicier than a handshake." Iowa is not the Twittersphere – Laura Flanders

https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/01/21/iowa-is-not-the-twitterverse/

ptb , January 21, 2020 at 11:23 am

Thanks for giving this the attention it needs, analysis of the primary has been too light on estimation of delegate numbers and strategy.

Prior to Warren's apparent turn to some new direction, the setup for a 3way DNC with a progressive "coalition" was not only conceivable, but actually expected from the polls.

We are on pace for Sanders+Warren's combined delegate total to exceed Biden by a healthy amount (say 4:3) with all others falling below 15% state by state and getting few or no delegates. Obviously subject to snowballing in either direction, but that's the polls now and for most of the past year.

Warren's attack on Sanders, and NYT endorsement, say the national party doesn't expect any such coalition. Therefore Warren has made her choice. That's that.

The path to winning the Dem primary is a little narrower for Sanders, and also for Biden, since he seems to lack the confidence of his the top strata. The DNC screws a lot up but they know how to read polls. I'm pretty sure that running Warren in the General is not their plan A.

Voters in Iowa and the early states (incl. TX and CA) look like they will be deciding it all this year. The tremendous enthusiasm of Sanders followers gives him, IMO, the best ground game of the three. Will be an interesting 6 weeks.

jrs , January 21, 2020 at 12:40 pm

Running Warren in the general might be their plan A. They may not want to win. Of course they might rather have Klobuchar but

Hepativore , January 21, 2020 at 12:52 pm

I do not even trust Warren to hand any delegates she gets to Sanders at this point. Because her campaign staff is so full of Clintonites and neoliberals, she might give them to Biden instead.

She seems to have gone full establishment at this point.

Lambert Strether , January 21, 2020 at 3:39 pm

> I do not even trust Warren to hand any delegates she gets to Sanders at this point. Because her campaign staff is so full of Clintonites and neoliberals, she might give them to Biden instead.

Correct.

ambrit , January 21, 2020 at 1:10 pm

The youngish rehab therapist, a woman, said this morning that of the women running, she likes Klobuchar. "If only her voice wasn't so screechy. And I'm saying this as a woman." She was seriously disturbed by Clinton's attack on Sanders.
Several neighbors are leaning towards Yang.

John k , January 21, 2020 at 1:14 pm

The value of her endorsement

My impression is her supporters are mostly older, mostly female, and mostly centrist. Many want to elect a female pres before they die. Prior to the she said event her supporters second choice were split fairly evenly between Bernie and Biden but the latest fracas is driving her most progressive supporters to Bernie.

This means most of those remaining will probably migrate to Biden if when she drops out even if she recommends Bernie. (If 1/3 of her supporters that had Bernie as their second choice switch to Bernie, then 60% of her remaining supporters have Biden as their second choice.)

2016 was different, Clinton already had the older females. But there was a period where just a little support might have tipped the scale in what was a very tight race.

Anyway, I see going forward she will be mostly holding supporters whose second choice is Biden even as she maybe doesn't reach the 15% barrier
and same with Amy. So I hope they both stay in at least until super tue.

And While I previously thought she was a reasonable choice for veep, I now realize she'd be an awful choice. Maybe treasury if she does endorse which she will do if Bernie looks a winner.

worldblee , January 21, 2020 at 1:35 pm

How can anyone be surprised at the lack of trustworthiness from a politician who chose to endorse Clinton in 2016 rather than Bernie? Warren has been playing the DNC game for a long time now, which ideologically is in line with her lifelong Republican stance before changing to the more demographically favorable party when she was 47. She's not progressive now, and never has been or will be.

[Jan 21, 2020] Warren is a "damaged goods" now: the corporate press has gone all-in on Warren. She simply MUST be a political whore, like Obama, or Hilary/Bill Clinton.

Notable quotes:
"... Bottom line: the corporate press has gone all-in on Warren. ..."
"... I deprecate the comparison, as insulting to wh0res. See at NC here. ..."
"... "She simply MUST be a mercenary, like Obama; might be more apt. ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Both campaigns are backing away from greater public conflict. Whether that holds true in the long run is anyone's guess, but my guess is that it will. Still, the following is clear:

So far, in other words, most of the damage has been borne by Warren as a result of the incident. She may recover, but this could also end her candidacy by accelerating a decline that started with public reaction to her recent stand on Medicare For All. None of this is certain to continue, but these are the trends.

... ... ...

But if Warren's candidacy becomes unviable, as it seems it might -- and if the goal of both camps is truly to defeat Joe Biden -- it's incumbent on Warren to drop out and endorse her "friend and ally" Bernie Sanders as soon as it's clear she can no longer win . (The same is true if Sanders becomes unviable, though that seems much less likely.)

Ms. Warren can do whatever she wants, certainly. But if she does anything less than help elect the last and only progressive with a chance, she damages them both to Biden's benefit, and frankly, helps nominate Biden. She has the right to do that, but not to claim at the same time that she's working to further the progressive movement.


TG , January 21, 2020 at 12:19 am

Bottom line: the corporate press has gone all-in on Warren. She simply MUST be a whore, like Obama, or Hilary/Bill Clinton. If Warren were a real progressive, the big money would never go for her like this.

I will vote for Bernie Sanders. But I will vote for Trump over Warren. Better the moron and agent of chaos that you know, than the calculating vicious backstabber that you don't.

Lambert Strether , January 21, 2020 at 3:26 am

> She simply MUST be a wh0re,

I deprecate the comparison, as insulting to wh0res. See at NC here.

Phillip Allen , January 21, 2020 at 6:48 am

"She simply MUST be a mercenary, like Obama; might be more apt.

Lee , January 21, 2020 at 8:26 am

I favor the term "corporate lickspittle".

russell1200 , January 21, 2020 at 8:47 am

She's got the Clinton's and now Obama folks behind her.

I doubt they are thrilled with her, but probably view as someone they can work with and the other options are worse or too low in the poll numbers. I assume Buttigieg is fine with them, but his numbers are stuck.

doug , January 21, 2020 at 11:28 am

https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/21/politics/hillary-clinton-bernie-sanders-documentary/index.html

You are so right. Hillary says she will not support him if the nominee. Gloves are off. I hope the Sanders campaign has some Karl Rove types .

Amfortas the hippie , January 21, 2020 at 1:54 pm

from the sidebar of that link: https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/21/politics/hillary-clinton-bernie-sanders-2020/index.html

from cilizza, no less. that Hilary speaking thusly is actually good for sanders.

False Solace , January 21, 2020 at 11:17 am

Personally I cannot consider voting for a drone murderer like Trump, who cozies up to the Saudis and has tried to cut SS and Medicare. He's shown what he is, just as Warren has. We'll never get M4A from either one of them.

If it's not Bernie I'm voting Green. I live in a blue state that almost went for Trump last time – my vote potentially matters and will serve as a signal. Voting for the lesser murderous corporatist scum is what got us into this mess. I'm over it. I will not vote for evil.

HotFlash , January 21, 2020 at 3:49 pm

In 2016 I might just have voted for Trump, as a middle finger to the Dem establishment that crowned HRH HRC, since at that time he had not committed any war crimes. But now, no way. One of my unshakeable principles is that I will not vote for a war criminal. Green , write-in, or leave the Pres slot blank. But I hope and pray (and I'm an atheist!) that it doesn't come to this. We really don't have another 4 years to waste on this, the earth can't wait.

Anon , January 21, 2020 at 12:41 am

It's very unfortunate that it has come to this, but I've always been uneasy about Warren. This incident and her accusations against Bernie solidified my suspicions about her. Her being a Republican until her late 40s, her lies about sending her child to public school, her lies about her father being a janitor, her plagiarized cookbook recipes, and claiming to be Native American. It's all so bizarre to me and for a while I had believed her to have a personality disorder that caused compulsive lying. I wanted to feel good about my vote for Warren, but now? If she wins the nomination I'll hold my nose and vote for her, but I don't trust her to not sell out to the neoliberal wing of the Democratic Party. I also don't trust her to endorse Bernie if she drops out before the convention. She didn't endorse him in '16, so what makes progressives think she'll do so this time. It would not surprise me in the least if she endorsed Biden or agrees to be his running mate.

Lambert Strether , January 21, 2020 at 3:27 am

Warren is not agreement-capable. Much as it pains me to say this, the Obama administration was correct to hold her at arm's length.

Adding, that doesn't mean that Sanders can't negotiate with her, if that must be done (to defeat Trump). But any such negotiations cannot proceed on a basis of trust.

JohnnyGL , January 21, 2020 at 8:13 am

The most generous interpretation i can come up with is that i's possible she told the story to several of her clintonite staffers in confidence. Those staffers went to CNN and forced her to stand by her story, even if she didn't want to go public, because she was threatened with staffers calling her a liar.

She might have been mad at Bernie for not bailing her out.

This version, which i don't believe, but consider it possible (not plausible) would be arguably as bad because her staffers got the upper hand and pushed her around.

John Wright , January 21, 2020 at 10:17 am

Warren could have said something to the effect that

"Bernie and I had a private conversation and I believe he suggested that electing a woman president in the USA would be difficult."

"Unfortunately, I mentioned this private conversation to some staffers, who apparently mentioned this to the press."

"This does not mean that I believe Bernie to be sexist."

"I appreciate opinions and advice from someone as experienced as Bernie."

"I want others to know that, private advice supplied to me by anyone will be treated as private information, not to be divulged to the press."

"The staffer responsible for passing this information to the press has been released from the campaign."

"I apologize to Bernie for allowing this to happen."

Reply

jrs , January 21, 2020 at 12:29 pm

The problem is the country has become so irrational and susceptible to soundbites and twitter shame and etc. that you can't even say "electing a women president would be difficult" which might be true, or it becomes like Hillary's deplorable remark, we all know it's true some Trump supporters fit the description, but it gets taken way out of context and exaggerated beyond all recognition.

Reply

Oh , January 21, 2020 at 10:26 am

The "invisible hand" of the Clinton Staffers then forced her not to shake Bernie's hand, I take it.

Reply

jrs , January 21, 2020 at 12:25 pm

She didn't even have to deny it. Should could have just been "That was a private conversation, I will not go into what was said in private. Bernie is a good friend of mine, who has supported women candidates on many occasions".

Reply

none , January 21, 2020 at 12:46 am

Warren will never endorse Bernie. She is not a progressive and the Republican in her is back in operation. But, there is a new Jeep named after her:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EOuTYRlXsAg151I.jpg

Reply

Henry Moon Pie , January 21, 2020 at 1:41 am

But we already had the Tin Lizzie.

Reply

ambrit , January 21, 2020 at 6:30 am

I can't resist.
What we have here is an old fashioned "Lizzie-Faire Capitalist."

Reply

[Jan 21, 2020] Tulsi Gabbard and Rigged Elections by Kurt Nimmo

Notable quotes:
"... Tulsi is spot on about the "debates," which are nothing of the sort. Indeed, they are a form of televised bread and circuses -- bread because most Americans receive some kind of support from the government, and a circus because all circuses are comical, theatrical, and well-scripted. ..."
"... Elizabeth Warren will be unable to break the corporate stranglehold on America. It is pure insanity to believe otherwise. The Democrat and Republican parties -- one party disguised as two -- will not savage corporations with taxation and redoubled punitive regulation, not if they wish to remain in Congress and receive money to run obscenely expensive campaigns. ..."
"... It will take more than a "debate" boycott to send the message. It will take a revolution to finally drain Trump's swamp, end the endless wars, and force transnational corporations and foreign governments (most egregiously Israel) out of the bed they have shared for so long with our "representatives," who are largely nothing more than self-seeking sociopaths on short leashes ..."
"... Kurt Nimmo writes on his blog, Another Day in the Empire, where this article was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research. ..."
Oct 11, 2019 | www.globalresearch.ca

Tulsi Gabbard , who has at best minimal support by Democrats (around one percent), and zero from the corporate DNC, posted the following video earlier today.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/dPcGFjyGxI4

There are so many of you who I've met in Iowa and New Hampshire who have expressed to me how frustrated you are that the DNC and corporate media are essentially trying to usurp your role as voters in choosing who our Democratic nominee will be.

This, of course, is nothing new, but thanks to Tulsi for reminding us of how "elections" are conducted. In fact, the state long ago corrupted the process and has selected candidates for long as anybody can remember.

How is it possible a cognitively challenged and corrupt hack like Joe Biden is number one in the running -- or was until Elizabeth Warren took that spot away from him? It's possible because Biden is a trusted asset eager to do whatever he is told, same as Obama, Bush the lesser, Clinton (a "brother by another mother"), Bush the elder, Reagan on and on, down the line. Like Hillary Clinton, the Democrat establishment believes it is Biden's "turn" to read the teleprompter. All the others, well, they're spoilers.

They are attempting to replace the roles of voters in the early states, using polling and other arbitrary methods which are not transparent or democratic, and holding so-called debates which are not debates at all but rather commercialized reality television meant to entertain, not inform or enlighten.

That replacement happened decades ago. Trump won the election because our rulers left the election process intact, arrogantly confident their handpicked candidates will win because only those who have come up through the system are permitted to run. It's left intact as a public relations gimmick designed to fool the proles who are, regrettably, all too easy to control -- or were until Trump appeared on the scene.

Just Rumors or Is Hillary Clinton Seriously Considering Another Run for U.S. President in 2020?

Tulsi is spot on about the "debates," which are nothing of the sort. Indeed, they are a form of televised bread and circuses -- bread because most Americans receive some kind of support from the government, and a circus because all circuses are comical, theatrical, and well-scripted.

As for being informed, that's the last thing the ruling elite want. They have us believe in fantasies so absurd they may as well be props in a Luis Buñuel film -- for instance, killing people in foreign lands is humanitarian and the economy is doing great (never mind the unemployed, the homeless, and record debt, both governmental and personal).

In order to bring attention to this serious threat to our democracy, and ensure your voice is heard, I am giving serious consideration to boycotting the next debate on October 15th. I will announce my decision within the next few days. With my deepest aloha, thank you all again for your support.

This is commendable, although, sadly, an almost transparent blip on the political radar screen. Big corporate media will certainly not take notice, and if they perchance do it will be with snide commentary.

The soft totalitarian machine rejects the socialist palliatives of Elizabeth Warren. She appears to be anti-corporatist, and that is inexcusable. Many of our political and social problems are related to the domination of corporations, most of the crony variety.

Elizabeth Warren will be unable to break the corporate stranglehold on America. It is pure insanity to believe otherwise. The Democrat and Republican parties -- one party disguised as two -- will not savage corporations with taxation and redoubled punitive regulation, not if they wish to remain in Congress and receive money to run obscenely expensive campaigns.

Warren will be overshadowed by the Hildabeast, Hillary Clinton , who is determined to be president. She will enter the race sometime next year, overturning the apple cart of other hopefuls, all spouting the same wealth distribution nonsense because, after all, a well-trained and ceaselessly indoctrinated public, most on a modern version of the Roman Cura Annona grain dole, love free stuff (stolen from others).

No way will the DNC accept Elizabeth Warren as the nominee. She will be subverted, the same way Bernie Sanders was.

Most Americans don't trust or like Hillary, but that hardly matters.

The days of Trump may soon be over. If he's not impeached on spurious grounds, he will enter the race under a toxic cloud of accusation and unproven high crimes and misdemeanors greatly amplified by a propaganda media. Polls consistently show he is losing traction, and the MAGA crowd is increasingly disillusioned, unable to realize its populist agenda.

I'm sorry, Tulsi. Your effort to unmask the subversion of the election system will largely fall on deaf ears. As of this morning, the above video garnered a mere 800 views.

It will take more than a "debate" boycott to send the message. It will take a revolution to finally drain Trump's swamp, end the endless wars, and force transnational corporations and foreign governments (most egregiously Israel) out of the bed they have shared for so long with our "representatives," who are largely nothing more than self-seeking sociopaths on short leashes.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Kurt Nimmo writes on his blog, Another Day in the Empire, where this article was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

[Jan 21, 2020] A New Definition of Warfare by Philip Giraldi

Notable quotes:
"... Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | www.unz.com

Supporters of Donald Trump often make the point that he has not started any new wars. One might observe that it has not been for lack of trying, as his cruise missile attacks on Syria based on fabricated evidence and his recent assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani have been indisputably acts of war. Trump also has enhanced troop levels both in the Middle East and in Afghanistan while also increasing the frequency and lethality of armed drone attacks worldwide.

Congress has been somewhat unseriously toying around with a tightening of the war powers act of 1973 to make it more difficult for a president to carry out acts of war without any deliberation by or authorization from the legislature. But perhaps the definition of war itself should be expanded. The one area where Trump and his team of narcissistic sociopaths have been most active has been in the imposition of sanctions with lethal intent. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been explicit in his explanations that the assertion of "extreme pressure" on countries like Iran and Venezuela is intended to make the people suffer to such an extent that they rise up against their governments and bring about "regime change." In Pompeo's twisted reckoning that is how places that Washington disapproves of will again become "normal countries."

The sanctions can kill. Those imposed by the United States are backed up by the U.S. Treasury which is able to block cash transfers going through the dollar denominated international banking system. Banks that do not comply with America's imposed rules can themselves be sanctioned, meaning that U.S. sanctions are de facto globally applicable, even if foreign banks and governments do not agree with the policies that drive them. It is well documented how sanctions that have an impact on the importation of medicines have killed thousands of Iranians. In Venezuela, the effect of sanctions has been starvation as food imports have been blocked, forcing a large part of the population to flee the country just to survive.

The latest exercise of United States economic warfare has been directed against Iraq. In the space of one week from December 29 th to January 3 rd , the American military, which operates out of two major bases in Iraq, killed 25 Iraqi militiamen who were part of the Popular Mobilization Units of the Iraqi Army. The militiamen had most recently been engaged in the successful fight against ISIS. It followed up on that attack by killing Soleimani, Iraqi militia general Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and eight other Iraqis in a drone strike near Baghdad International Airport. As the attacks were not approved in any way by the Iraqi government, it was no surprise that rioting followed and the Iraqi Parliament voted to remove all foreign troops from its soil. The decree was signed off on by Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi, based on the fact that the U.S. military was in Iraq at the invitation of the country's government and that invitation had just been revoked by parliament.

That Iraq is to say the least unstable is attributable to the ill-advised U.S. invasion of 2003. The persistence of U.S. forces in the country is ostensibly to aid in the fight against ISIS, but the real reason is to serve as a check on Iranian influence in Iraq, which is a strategic demand made by Israel and not responsive to any actual American interest. Indeed, the Iraqi government is probably closer politically to Tehran than to Washington, though the neocon line that the country is dominated by the Iranians is far from true.

Washington's response to the legitimate Iraqi demand that its troops should be removed consisted of threats. When Prime Minister Mahdi spoke with Pompeo on the phone and asked for discussions and a time table to create a "withdrawal mechanism" the Secretary of State made it clear that there would be no negotiations. A State Department written response entitled "The U.S. Continued Partnership with Iraq" asserted that American troops are in Iraq to serve as a "force for good" in the Middle East and that it is "our right" to maintain "appropriate force posture" in the region.

The Iraqi position also immediately produced presidential threats and tweets about "sanctions like they have never seen," with the implication that the U.S. was more than willing to wreck the Iraqi economy if it did not get its way. The latest threat to emerge involves blocking Iraq access to its New York federal reserve bank account, where international oil sale revenue is kept, creating a devastating cash crunch in Iraq's financial system that might indeed destroy the Iraqi economy. If taking steps to ruin a country economically is not considered warfare by other means it is difficult to discern what might fit that description.

After dealing with Iraq, the Trump Administration turned its guns on one of its oldest and closest allies. Great Britain, like most of the other European signatories to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has been reluctant to withdraw from the agreement over concern that Iran will as a result decide to develop nuclear weapons. According to the Guardian , a United States representative from the National Security Council named Richard Goldberg, had visited London recently to make clear to the British government that if it does not follow the American lead and withdraw from the JCPOA and reapply sanctions it just might be difficult to work out a trade agreement with Washington post-Brexit. It is a significant threat as part of the pro-Brexit vote clearly was derived from a Trump pledge to make up for some of the anticipated decline in European trade by increasing U.K. access to the U.S. market. Now the quid pro quo is clear: Britain, which normally does in fact follow the Washington lead in foreign policy, will now be expected to be completely on board all of the time and everywhere, particularly in the Middle East.

During his visit, Goldberg told the BBC: "The question for prime minister Johnson is: 'As you are moving towards Brexit what are you going to do post-31 January as you come to Washington to negotiate a free-trade agreement with the United States?' It's absolutely in [your] interests and the people of Great Britain's interests to join with President Trump, with the United States, to realign your foreign policy away from Brussels, and to join the maximum pressure campaign to keep all of us safe."

And there is an interesting back story on Richard Goldberg, a John Bolton protégé anti-Iran hardliner, who threatened the British on behalf of Trump. James Carden, writing at The Nation , posits "Consider the following scenario: A Washington, DC–based, tax-exempt organization that bills itself as a think tank dedicated to the enhancement of a foreign country's reputation within the United States, funded by billionaires closely aligned with said foreign country, has one of its high-ranking operatives (often referred to as 'fellows') embedded within the White House national security staff in order to further the oft-stated agenda of his home organization, which, as it happens, is also paying his salary during his year-long stint there. As it happens, this is exactly what the pro-Israel think tank the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) reportedly achieved in an arrangement brokered by former Trump national security adviser John Bolton."

The FDD senior adviser in question, who was placed on the National Security Council, was Richard Goldberg. FDD is largely funded by Jewish American billionaires including vulture fund capitalist Paul Singer and Home Depot partner Bernard Marcus. Its officers meet regularly with Israeli government officials and the organization is best known for its unrelenting effort to bring about war with Iran. It has relentlessly pushed for a recklessly militaristic U.S. policy directed against Iran and also more generally in the Middle East. It is a reliable mouthpiece for Israel and, inevitably, it has never been required to register under the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938.

To be sure, Trump also has other neocons advising him on Iran, including David Wurmser, another Bolton associate, who has the president's ear and is a consultant to the National Security Council. Wurmser has recently submitted a series of memos to the White House advocating a policy of "regime disruption" with the Islamic Republic that will destabilize it and eventually lead to a change of government. He may have played a key role in giving the green light to the assassination of Soleimani.

The good news, if there is any, is that Goldberg resigned on January 3rd, allegedly because the war against Iran was not developing fast enough to suit him and FDD, but he is symptomatic of the many neoconservative hawks who have infiltrated the Trump Administration at secondary and tertiary levels, where much of the development and implementation of policy actually takes place. It also explains that when it comes to Iran and the irrational continuation of a significant U.S. military presence in the Middle East, it is Israel and its Lobby that are steering the ship of state.

Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org .


TG , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 12:53 am GMT

Blockades are traditionally considered to be acts of war. Surely a trade embargo of sufficient degree should be considered the same thing.
onebornfree , says: Website Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 1:18 am GMT
This " just" in:

1] "war is the health of the state" Randolph Bourne https://en.m.wikiquote.org/wiki/Randolph_Bourne

2] "Because they are all ultimately funded via both direct and indirect theft [taxes], and counterfeiting [central bank monopolies], all governments are essentially, at their very cores, 100% corrupt criminal scams which cannot be "reformed"or "improved",simply because of their innate criminal nature." onebornfree http://onebornfree-mythbusters.blogspot.com/

Therefor, if you have [always criminal] governments in the first place, then, as night follows day, you must have [always criminal] government-made wars .

Regards, onebornfree

Reality Check , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 2:16 am GMT
US President Donald Trump chose as the deputy chairwoman [also appointed by Trump, the current chairman is Steve Feinberg] of the intelligence advisory board a Jewish national security expert who is well known in the pro-Israel national security community.

Ravich, a former deputy national security adviser to vice president Dick Cheney, is a senior adviser to the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, an influential hawkish pro-Israel think tank. She is also a senior adviser to the Chertoff Group, founded by Michael Chertoff, a homeland security secretary in the George W. Bush administration, and has worked with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

She has also worked with the pro-Israel community helping to raise money for Israel Bonds.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/trump-names-jewish-security-expert-to-senior-intelligence-post/

Chepo , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 3:31 am GMT
It is evident that Trump will win re-election and go to war with Iran afterwards. All this Impeachment mania is simply theatre created by Jews from both sides of the political spectrum in order to prepare Trump for the Zionist vs. Iran war.

The Greater Israel Project has always been the main objective of American foreign policy. Now, Israel hacked the 2016 election and selected Trump as he attains the required personality, theatre and following in order to deepen the control towards the masses.

Chepo , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 3:36 am GMT
@Reality Check Trump destroyed the Republican contenders in the 2016 Primaries, easily. At the time, there was minimal Zionist influence over the Trump campaign – the Jewish factor was heavily focused on the other Republican rivals. Trump won the Primaries in a generic and motivational fashion. Afterwards, the Zionists took over Trump and related entities. The real MAGA Trump factor ended once the Primaries were won – enter the Zionists.

Israel rigged the election by fixing the actual voting numbers.
Robert Mercer and Zuckerberg rigged the election by compromising the masses on Facebook.

Tony Hall , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 5:49 am GMT
For the government of one country to designate another country's armed forces as a "terrorist organization" is essentially a declaration of war. When in April of 2019 Netanyahu claimed credit for Trump's designation of the IRGC as a terrorist organization, he created the pseudo-law framework which became part of the justification for the Israeli-US war crime of 2 Jan. 2020.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/netanyahu-says-trump-designated-iran-guards-a-terror-group-at-his-request/

Now the pressure is being placed squarely on the NATO countries, but especially Canada, to follow the Netanyahu-Trump lead by designating the IRGC as a terrorist organization. The Canadian branch of the ADL has even gone as far as giving an ultimatum to Justin Trudeau, an ultimatum to make the designation within a month or else. Is the agenda to get NATO ensnared in a US war against Iran to serve Israel?

https://ahtribune.com/world/americas/canada/3826-act-of-war-to-designate-irgc-a-terrorist-organization.html

Ever since the misrepresentation of the events of 9/11 we have been engulfed in a massive propaganda campaign aimed at giving the appearance of legitimacy to pseudo-laws founded in major war crimes extending from Sept. of 2001 until today. The continuing reign of the ongoing lies and crimes of 9/11 has brought us to this point where the Axis of Deception, whose mascot of human degradation is Jeffrey Epstein, stands against the Axis of Resistance. In recent days a guiding spirit of the Axis of Resistance has become the martyred holy warrior, Qassem Soleimani.

mikemikev , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 10:38 am GMT
Coincidentally the FDD just produced an article agreeing that sanctions are a form of war.
https://www.fdd.org/analysis/2020/1/20/war-by-other-means
Naturally they're only concerned about Israel.
peter mcloughlin , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 11:31 am GMT
Sanctions can kill and cause great human suffering. Sanctions are presented as a humane alternative to war, cheaper and means to avoid military action with uncertain consequences. But history warns that sanctions aimed at bringing about capitulation or regime change lead to full-scale conflict. If they are too effective or ineffective one side must escalate.
https://www.ghostsofhistory.wordpress.com/
World War Jew , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 1:42 pm GMT
Right TG, traditionally, as you said up there first, and legally too, under the supreme law of the land. Economic sanctions are subject to the same UNSC supervision as forcible coercion.

UN Charter Article 41: "The Security Council may decide what measures not involving the use of armed force are to be employed to give effect to its decisions, and it may call upon the Members of the United Nations to apply such measures. These may include complete or partial interruption of economic relations and of rail, sea, air, postal, telegraphic, radio, and other means of communication, and the severance of diplomatic relations."

https://www.un.org/en/charter-united-nations/index.html

US "sanctions" require UNSC authorization. Unilateral sanctions are nothing but illegal coercive intervention, as the non-intervention principle is customary international law, which is US federal common law.

The G-192, that is, the entire world, has affirmed this law. That's why the US is trying to defund UNCTAD as redundant with the WTO (UNCTAD is the G-192's primary forum.) In any case, now that the SCO is in a position to enforce this law at gunpoint with its overwhelmingly superior missile technology, the US is going to get stomped and tased until it complies and stops resisting.

almondflake , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 2:19 pm GMT
Sanctions are the modern day equivalent of laying a siege on the enemy's castle. Such tactic has been an integral part of warfare ever since the first castles were built by man.

This 21st century crusade against the muslim world is fast approaching its final climax. Everything is going as planned by the ruler-wannabes and the whole of middle earth seems destined to be theirs for once and for all.

We are all contemporary witnesses to the war campaign of the MILLENNIUM that was prescribed by the bible and the tora and few recognize the historic significance.

Will we get to see which of the New Testament and the Tora prevails, not that we want to, but because we have no choice but to see? Or will there be a rarest of rare black swan event that will produce an unanticipated course of history?

JUSA , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 2:41 pm GMT
Protocol #1:
The Basic Doctrine: "Right Lies in Might"

Protocol #2:
Economic War and Disorganization Lead to International Government

Desert Fox , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 3:04 pm GMT
The war on Iran is in the formative stage with sanctions and the murder of Soleimani who was helping defeat the AL CIADA aka ISIS terrorists who were created and funded and armed by the US and Israel and Britain and NATO and for that reason he was murdered...
anastasia , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 3:46 pm GMT
Terrific article, but I would not use the word "infiltrate" when speaking of theneocons in the Trump administration. They are there by open invitation by the biggest neo-con of them all – Trump.
If you review newspaper articles concerning Iran from 2003 onward, you see very clearly the slow escalation to war and that that war with Iran is inevitable no matter who is in office. In my opinion, that is why Trump is in office. Maybe they thought there would be too much lag time with theother Republican or Democrat candidates when he was running in 2016, but if he gets re-elected, we will see war with Iran. That is thepurpose of the sanctions. To provoke not only thepeople to war against the gov't, but to provoke the government to war. We did it to the Japanese, we did it to Iraq during Saddam Hussein's time, and we are doing it now.

It is pretty obvious that they wish to keep the mid east in a state of complete and utter chaos,. That is what Israel wants, and that is exactly what they are going to get. Israel has been trying to help themselves to the land of other countries for many years. You cannot do that with a vialbe and unified country. You have to break it all up first – turn it tribal.

But when it is all over, and the Shia Muslims who hate us now, hate us more after their countries have been all bombedto smithereens, and when China and Russia, who are biding their time, are strong enough, we will eventually get a taste our just desserts.

I doubt I will be here for that last course.

Sir Launcelot Canning , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 5:08 pm GMT
I hope that if any Iranian or English people are reading this, that they know that none of this was the idea of the average American. That we have actually lost our nation and have no control over it anymore. And that the only Americans left supporting this foreign "policy" are Evangelical holy rollers from the South and Midwest, dinosaur Baby Boomers who still think it is civil defense, dupes and suckers who buy into the "support the troops" cult of military, and the slowly decreasing number of misinformed and brainwashed Americans who get their "news" from the (((corporate media))).
9/11 Inside job , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 6:55 pm GMT
@anastasia Agree that "It is pretty obvious that they wish to keep the mid east in a state of complete and utter chaos ." In "Greater Israel and the Balkanization of the Middle East : Oded Yinon's Strategy for
Israel " globalresearch.ca , Adeyinke Makinde argues that balkanization has always formed a part of the rationalization of political Zionism stating "After the establishment of Israel in 1948 , a national policy of weakening Arab and Muslim states , balkanising them, or keeping them under a neo-colonial state of affairs has persisted . The prevailing logic was and always has been that any stable , nationalist government in the Arab world poses an existential threat to Israel ."

[Jan 21, 2020] The Warren attack backfired, hurt her. All sorts of people, even ones who don't support him, said it wasn't credible that he said what she claimed he said.

Notable quotes:
"... he just got betrayed by someone he probably considered a friend, he's getting smeared 24/7 by the dnc, which is in the process of trying to sabotage his candidacy again, he is recovering from a heart attack at 79–this on top of the normal crazy pressures of running a highly competitive presidential campaign. it could be a lot of things getting him down. ..."
"... He's stuck in D.C. at McConnell's and Pelosi's mercy (both of whom are threatened by him) right before the Iowa caucuses -- along with Warren and Klobuchar. Reason enough for him to look miserable. ..."
"... Warren has defined herself as a compromise candidate between the corporate and progressive wings, constantly making rhetorical overtures to each. She is not a neoliberal, but neither is she a committed progressive; ..."
"... She has been vetted as okay by Harry Reid, Barack Obama and the NYT (which attests to her "willingness to compromise", unlike Sanders). If, as seems likely, nobody comes to the convention with an overwhelming position, she will trade her voice and votes for a position with the stronger faction -- probably, unfortunately, the corporate wing. (I'm not at all sure that would be headed by Biden. Bloomberg? Clinton?!!) ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Yves Smith Post author , January 21, 2020 at 5:53 am

I don't understand your conclusion.

Sanders has been rising in the polls.

The Warren attack backfired. Gave him a bump, hurt her. All sorts of people, even ones who don't support him, said it wasn't credible that he said what she claimed he said.

He's doing way better than anyone would have forecast despite the media (until just recently) totally ignoring him. And his base is sufficiently committed that it is very effective in whacking back falsehoods on Twitter ..which journos follow. They aren't used to being dissed this way.

Fern , January 21, 2020 at 8:12 am

I'm worried about the internal polling. Sanders has been looking very tense and unhappy the last day or two, from the photos and clips I've seen.

pretzelattack , January 21, 2020 at 8:43 am

well, he just got betrayed by someone he probably considered a friend, he's getting smeared 24/7 by the dnc, which is in the process of trying to sabotage his candidacy again, he is recovering from a heart attack at 79–this on top of the normal crazy pressures of running a highly competitive presidential campaign. it could be a lot of things getting him down.

Carla , January 21, 2020 at 9:53 am

He's stuck in D.C. at McConnell's and Pelosi's mercy (both of whom are threatened by him) right before the Iowa caucuses -- along with Warren and Klobuchar. Reason enough for him to look miserable.

lordkoos , January 21, 2020 at 2:26 pm

Pelosi's timing on the impeachment was interesting. Conveniently, Biden is still able to campaign.

Daniel , January 21, 2020 at 2:57 am

Since at least 2016 (with her neutrality in the Sanders-Clinton race) Warren has defined herself as a compromise candidate between the corporate and progressive wings, constantly making rhetorical overtures to each. She is not a neoliberal, but neither is she a committed progressive; to the extent that she has firm convictions (and I am not convinced of that), she is more of a technocratic anti-corruption reformer.

She has been vetted as okay by Harry Reid, Barack Obama and the NYT (which attests to her "willingness to compromise", unlike Sanders). If, as seems likely, nobody comes to the convention with an overwhelming position, she will trade her voice and votes for a position with the stronger faction -- probably, unfortunately, the corporate wing. (I'm not at all sure that would be headed by Biden. Bloomberg? Clinton?!!)

[Jan 21, 2020] Now Bernie is apologizing to Biden for someone else pointing out Biden's corruption problem. What the heck is going on over there?

Notable quotes:
"... Hey Bernie -- now is the time to punch Biden in the mouth ..."
"... Biden on cutting SS, Medicare, and veterans' benefits. From 1995. When they tell you who they are twitter.com ..."
"... "It looks like "Middle Class" Joe has perfected the art of taking big contributions, then representing his corporate donors at the cost of middle- and working-class Americans. Converting campaign contributions into legislative favors and policy positions isn't being "moderate". It is the kind of transactional politics Americans have come to loathe. ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Bill Carson , January 21, 2020 at 2:12 am

Now Bernie is apologizing to Biden for someone else pointing out Biden's corruption problem.

What the heck is going on over there?? Hey Bernie -- now is the time to punch Biden in the mouth, HARD! It's what Trump is going to do to you if you get the nomination. If we don't test these Democratic candidates in the primary, then we're going to be in for some ugly surprises, just like Hillary was after she won the nomination after a soft primary. We've got to air the dirty laundry now! TODAY!

Lambert Strether , January 21, 2020 at 3:36 am

> now is the time to punch Biden in the mouth,

Iowa voters like nice. As does the large, conflict-averse portion of the Democrat Party that mainlines West Wing reruns. "Why can't we all get along?" is very powerful for such voters; and their model of politics is "good people having smart thoughts." Good, smart people like they are.

JohnnyGL , January 21, 2020 at 12:11 pm

I'm honestly terrified of Iowa dems and their very questionable decision-making. Yes, they did a good job in '08 in picking a winner in Obama (yes, Obama chose to govern terribly, but his campaign seemed very promising). This bunch picked John Kerry in 2004. They seriously plucked Kerry's failing campaign out of the doldrums and vaulted him to victory.

I'm really worried they might just opt for Klobuchar, or even Biden, at the last minute.

flora , January 21, 2020 at 11:53 am

Biden on cutting SS, Medicare, and veterans' benefits. From 1995. When they tell you who they are twitter.com

John k , January 21, 2020 at 12:04 pm

Yes. But it doesn't have to be Bernie that does it. There are plenty of supporters that can do that while Bernie is the nice guy above the fray,
I trust Bernie's political instincts.

flora , January 21, 2020 at 12:09 pm

Yes. Now, about Joe's corruption problem .

"It looks like "Middle Class" Joe has perfected the art of taking big contributions, then representing his corporate donors at the cost of middle- and working-class Americans. Converting campaign contributions into legislative favors and policy positions isn't being "moderate". It is the kind of transactional politics Americans have come to loathe.

"There are three clear examples."

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jan/20/joe-biden-corruption-donald-trump

Bill Carson , January 21, 2020 at 2:22 am

I haven't read Lambert's analysis of the NYT endorsement, but here's what the Establishment is trying to do: prop up Warren so she gets at least 15% in Iowa, thereby splitting the progressive votes and making sure Sanders doesn't get many delegates.

This is the DNC's entire strategy: bolster the number of candidates, change the rules in states like Colorado so Bernie can't get a majority of delegates in any state -- NO SURPRISES LIKE HIM WINNING COLORADO AND MICHIGAN LAST YEAR -- -and we'll go into the convention with Biden or another candidate having 51% of delegates OR, as Plan B, a brokered convention -- -Super Delegates chose an Establishment candidate.

Bernie's prospects are looking very grim.

[Jan 21, 2020] About Joe's corruption problem .

Notable quotes:
"... "It looks like "Middle Class" Joe has perfected the art of taking big contributions, then representing his corporate donors at the cost of middle- and working-class Americans. Converting campaign contributions into legislative favors and policy positions isn't being "moderate". It is the kind of transactional politics Americans have come to loathe. ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

flora , , January 21, 2020 at 12:09 pm

Yes. Now, about Joe's corruption problem .

"It looks like "Middle Class" Joe has perfected the art of taking big contributions, then representing his corporate donors at the cost of middle- and working-class Americans. Converting campaign contributions into legislative favors and policy positions isn't being "moderate". It is the kind of transactional politics Americans have come to loathe.

"There are three clear examples." https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jan/20/joe-biden-corruption-donald-trump

[Jan 21, 2020] Money Talks, Bullshit Walks on Cable News by Paul Street

Oct 30, 2019 | www.counterpunch.org

Is it any wonder that the nation's "liberal" cable news stations CNN and MSNBC can barely contain their disdain for Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign and even (to a lesser degree) for that of Elizabeth Warren while they promote the nauseating center-right candidacies of the bewildered racist and corporatist Joe Biden, the sinister neoliberal corporate-militarist Pete Butiggieg and even the marginal Wall Street "moderates" Amy Klobuchar and Kamala Harris? Next time you click on these stations, keep a pen and paper handy to write down the names of the corporations that pay for their broadcast content with big money commercial purchases.

I did that at various times of day on three separate occasions last week. Here are the companies I found buying ads at CNN and MSDNC:

American Advisors Group (AAG), the top lender the American reverse mortgage industry (with Tom Selleck telling seniors to trust him that reverse mortgages are not a rip off)

United Health Care, for-profit "managed health care company" with 300,000 employers and an annual revenue of $226 billion, ranked sixth on the 2019 Fortune 500.

Menards, the nation's third largest home improvement chain, with revenue over $10 billion in 2017.

CHANITX, a drug to get off cigarettes ("slow Turkey") sold by the pharmaceutical firm Pfizer, 65th on the Fortune 500.

Tom Steyer (billionaire for president)

Lincoln Financial, 187 th on the Fortune 500, an American holding company that controls multiple insurance and investment management businesses.

Liberty Mutual, an insurance company with more than 50,000 employees in more than 900 locations and ranked 68 th on the Fortune 500 two years ago.

Allstate Insurance: 79 th on the Fortune 500, with more than 45,000 employees.

INFINITI Suburban Utility Vehicle (new price ranging from 37K to 60K), produced by Nissan, the sixth largest auto-making corporation in the world.

RCN (annual revenue of $636 million) WiFi for business

Jaguar Elite luxury autos.

Porsche luxury autos, selling new models priced at $115,000, $145,000, and $163,00, and $294,000.

Mercedes Benz luxury auto, including an SRL-Class model that starts at $498,000

Capital Group, one of the world's oldest and biggest investment management firms, with $1.87 trillion in assets under its control.

Otezla, a plaque psoriasis drug, developed by the New Jersey drug company Celgene and owned by Amgene, a leading California-based biotechnology firm with total assets of $78 billion.

Trelegy, a CPD drug produced by the British company GSK, the world's seventh leading pharmaceutical corporation, with the fourth largest capitalization of any company on the London Stock Exchange.

HunterDouglass – elite windows made by a Dutch multinational corporation with more than 23,000 employees and locations in more than 70 countries.

Humira – drug for Crohn's disease and other ailments, manufactured by Abbvie, with 28,000 global employees and total assets of $59 billion.

Primateme Mist – for breathing, produced by Amphastar Pharmaceuticals.

Glucerna – drug for diabetes, produced by Abbot Laboratories, an American medical company with more than 100,00 employees and total assets of $67 billion.

Prevagen – a controversial drug for brain health produced by Quincy Bioscience

DISCOVER Credit Card, the third largest credit card brand in the U.S., with total assets of $92 billion.

Fidelity Investments, an American multinational financial services corporation with more than 50,000 employees and an operating income of $5.3 billion.

Cadillac XT-6 high-end SUV, starting at $53K, made by General Motors (no. 10 on the Fortune 500 for total revenue), which makes automobiles in 37 countries, employees 173,000 persons, and has total assets $227 billion.

Comfort Inn, owned by Choice Hotels, one of the largest hotel chains in the world, franchising 7,005 properties in 41 countries and territories.

Audible/Amazon – books on tape from the world's biggest mega-corporation Amazon, ranked fifth on the Fortune 500, with 647,000 employees and total assets of $163 billion.

Ring Home Security, owned by Amazon

Coventry Health Insurance, no. 168 on the Fortune 500

SANDALS Resorts International, with 16 elite resort properties in the Caribbean.

Cigna Medicare Advantage, owned by the national health insurer Cigna, no. 229 on the Fortune 500

SoFi Finance, an online personal finance company that provides student loan refinancing, mortgages and personal loans.

Ameriprise Finance, an investment services firm, no. 240 on F500.

It's not for nothing that bit Fortune 500 firms are represented in my anecdotal sponsor list above. Last summer, SQAD MediaCosts reported that a 30-second commercial during CNN's prime-time lineup (Anderson Cooper, Chris Cuomo, and Don Lemon), cost between $7,000 and $12,000. The price has certainly gone up significantly now that Trumpeachment is bringing in new eyeballs.

The three most prominent and recurrent advertising streams appear (anecdotally) to come from Big Pharma (the leading drug companies), insurance (health insurance above all), and finance (investment services/wealth management). These giant concentrated corporate and industry sectors are naturally opposed to the financial regulation and anti-trust policy that Senator Warren says she wants to advance. Amazon can hardly be expected to back the big-tech break-up that Warren advocates.

Big corporate lenders certainly have no interest in making college tuition free, a Sanders promise that would slash a major profit source for finance capital.

The big health insurance firms are naturally opposed both to the Single Payer national health insurance plan that Sanders puts at the top of his platform and to the milder version of Medicare for All that Warren says she backs. Warren and especially Sanders pledge to remove the parasitic, highly expensive profit motive from health insurance and to make publicly funded quality and affordable health care a human right in the U.S. The corporate insurance mafia is existentially opposed to such human decency.

Both of the "progressive Democratic candidates" (a description that fits Sanders far better than it does Warren) loudly promise to slash drug costs, something Pfizer, Abbvie, Amgene, Amphastar, and Abbot Labs can hardly be expected to relish.

None of the big companies buying advertising time on CNN and MSNBC have any interest in the progressive taxation and restored union organizing and collective bargaining rights that Sanders advocates.

The big financial services firms paying for media content on "liberal" cable news stations primarily serve affluent clients, many if not most of whom are likely to oppose increased taxes on the well off.

The resort, tourism, luxury car, and business travel firms that buy commercials on these networks are hardly about to back policies leading to the real or potential reduction of discretionary income enjoyed by upper middle class and rich people.

So, gosh, who do these corporate and financial interests favor in the 2020 presidential election? Neoliberal Corporatists like Joe Biden, Pete Butiggieg, Kamala Harris, and Amy Klobuchar, of course. Dutifully obedient to the preferences and commands of the nation's unelected dictatorship of money, these insipid corporate Democrats loyally claim that Sanders and Warren want to viciously "tax the middle class" to pay for supposedly unaffordable excesses like Medicare for All and the existentially necessary Green New Deal.

In reality, Single Payer and giant green jobs programs and more that We the People need and want are eminently affordable if the United States follows Sanders' counsel by adequately and progressively taxing its absurdly wealthy over-class (the top tenth of the upper 1% than owns more than 90% of U.S. wealth) and its giant, surplus-saturated corporations and financial institutions. At the same time, as Warren keeps trying to explain, the cost savings for ordinary Americans will be enormous with the profits system taken out of health insurance.

Sanders reminds voters that there's no way to calculate the cost savings of keeping livable ecology alive for future generations. The climate catastrophe is a grave existential threat to the whole species.

These are basic arguments of elementary social, environmental, and democratic decency that the investors and managers behind and atop big corporations buying commercials on CNN and MSNBC don't want heard. As a result, CNN and MSDNC "debate" moderators and talking heads persist in purveying the, well, fake news, that Sanders doesn't know how to pay Single Payer, free public college, and a Green New Deal.

It's not for nothing that CNN and MSNBC have promoted the hapless Biden over and above Sanders and Warren – this notwithstanding the former Vice President's ever more obvious and embarrassing inadequacy as a candidate.

It's not for nothing that MSNBC and CNN have habitually warned against the supposed "socialist" menace posed by the highly popular Sanders (a New Deal progressive at leftmost) while refusing to properly describe Trump's White House and his dedicated base as pro-fascists. MSDNC has even get a weekly segment to the silver-spooned multi-millionaire advertising executive Donny Deutsch after he said the following on the network last winter:

"I find Donald Trump reprehensible as a human being, but a socialist candidate is more dangerous to this company, country, as far as the strength and well-being of the country, than Donald Trump. I would vote for Donald Trump, a despicable human being I will be so distraught to the point that that could even come out of my mouth, if we have a socialist [Democratic presidential candidate or president] because that will take our country so down, and we are not Denmark. I love Denmark, but that's not who we are. And if you love who we are and all the great things that still have to have binders put on the side. Please step away from the socialism."

It's not for nothing that the liberal cable networks go out of their way to deny Sanders remotely appropriate broadcast time. Or that they habitually and absurdly frame Single Payer health insurance not as the great civilizing social and human rights victory it would be (the long-overdue cost-slashing de-commodification of health care coverage combined with the provision of health care for all regardless of social status and class) but rather as a dangerous and authoritarian assault on Americans' existing (and unmentionably inadequate and over-expensive) health insurance.

Dare we mention that the lords of capital who pay for cable news salaries and content are heavily invested in the fossil fuels and in the relentless economic growth that are pushing the planet rapidly towards environmental tipping points that gravely endanger prospects for a decent and organized human existence in coming decades?

It's not for nothing that the progressive measures advanced by Sanders and supported by most Americans are regularly treated as "unrealistic," "irresponsible," "too radical," "too idealistic," "impractical," and "too expensive."

It's for nothing that Sanders is commonly left out of the liberal cable networks' campaign coverage and "horse race" discussions even as he enjoys the highest approval rating among all the candidates in the running.

With their preferred centrist candidate Joe Biden having performed in a predictably poor and buffoonish fashion (Biden was a terrible, gaffe-prone politician well before his brains started coming out of his ears) falling back into something like a three-way tie with the liberal Warren and the populist progressive Sanders, the liberal cable talking heads and debate moderators have naturally tried to boost "moderate" neoliberal-corporatist "second" and "third tier" Democratic presidential candidates like Butiggieg, Klobuchar and the surprisingly weak Kamala Harris. It's not for nothing that these and other marginal corporate candidates (e.g. Beto O'Rourke) get outsized attention on "liberal" cable stations regardless of their tiny support bases. Even if they can't win, these small-time contenders take constant neoliberal jabs at Sanders and even at the more clearly corporate-co-optable Warren (who proudly describes herself as "capitalist in my bones").

Thanks to Harris's curiously weak showing, Biden's dotard-like absurdity, and the likely non-viability of Butiggieg (the U.S. is not yet primed for two men and a baby in the White House), the not-so liberal cable channels are now joining the New Yok Times and Washington Post in gently floating the possibility of a dark-horse neoliberal Democratic Party newcomer (Michael Bloomberg, John Kerry, Michelle Obama, Sherrod Brown, and maybe even Hillary Clinton herself) to fill Joke Biden's Goldman-and Citigroup-approved shoes in the coming primary and Caucus battles with "radical socialist" Bernie and (not-so) "left" Warren.

So what if running an establishment Obama-Clinton-Citigroup-Council on Foreign Relations Democrat in 2020 will de-mobilize much of the nation's progressive electoral base, helping the malignant white nationalist monster Donald Trump get a second term?

As the old working-class slogan says, "money talks and bullshit walks."

"Follow the money" is the longstanding mantra in campaign finance research and criminal prosecution. It should also apply to our understanding of the dominant media's political news content. U.S. media managers are employed by giant corporations (MSNBC is a division of Comcast NBC Universal, no. 71 on the Fortune 500 and CNN is owned by Turner Broadcasting, no, 68 on the Fortune 500) that are naturally reluctant to publish or broadcast material that might offend the wealthy capitalist interests that pay for broadcasting by purchasing advertisements. As Noam Chomsky has noted, large corporations are not only the major producers of the United States' mass commercial media. They are also that media's top market, something that deepens the captivity of nation's supposedly democratic and independent media to big capital:

"The reliance of a journal on advertisers shapes and controls and substantially determines what is presented to the public the very idea of advertiser reliance radically distorts the concept of free media. If you think about what the commercial media are, no matter what, they are businesses. And a business produces something for a market. The producers in this case, almost without exception, are major corporations. The market is other businesses – advertisers. The product that is presented to the market is readers (or viewers), so these are basically major corporations providing audiences to other businesses, and that significantly shapes the nature of the institution."

At the same time, both U.S. corporate media managers and the advertisers who supply revenue for their salaries are hesitant to produce content that might alienate affluent folks – the people who hire pricey investment advisors, go to Caribbean resorts and buy Jaguars and Mercedes Benzes and count for an ever-rising share of U.S. consumer purchases. It is those with the most purchasing power who are naturally most targeted by advertisers.

Money talks, bullshit talks on "liberal" cable news, as in the legal and party and elections systems and indeed across all of society.

Watch the wannabe fascist strongman Trump walk to a second term with no small help from a "liberal" corporate media whose primary goal is serving corporate sponsors and its own bottom line, not serving social justice, environmental sanity, and democracy – or even helping Democrats win elections.

[Jan 21, 2020] BBC faces existential threat. In the 21st century, it has nobody left to lie to -- RT Op-ed

Jan 21, 2020 | www.rt.com

George Galloway was a member of the British Parliament for nearly 30 years. He presents TV and radio shows (including on RT). He is a film-maker, writer and a renowned orator.

Whoever replaces outgoing BBC Director General Tony Hall, be sure that establishment interests will be in safe hands. But multiple scandals the broadcaster has been involved in damaged it quite possibly beyond repair.

... ... ...

Corbyn had to be destroyed at almost ANY cost. Their news and current affairs output (and appointments) over the Corbyn era of 2015-2019 was as crude, and crudely effective, as any screaming, screeching Rupert Murdoch tabloid. Perhaps they were worried the ghost of Sir Alasdair Milne would return to haunt them in the form of his son Seumas Milne, Corbyn's director of communications and strategy and right-hand man. The junior Milne – also Winchester and Oxford – is a considerably harder nut to crack than anyone the BBC had ever had to deal with before

[Jan 21, 2020] HBO hires 'king of fake news' Brian Stelter from CNN to produce documentary on the dangers of fake news

Notable quotes:
"... "disinformation and the cost of fake news." ..."
"... "how post-truth culture has become an increasingly dangerous part of the global information environment," ..."
"... To say Stelter's involvement in the documentary attracted mockery online would be an understatement. "This is like Harvey Weinstein doing a documentary on sexual assault," lawyer and journalist Rogan O'Handley wrote. ..."
"... "HBO has hired Brian Stelter to do a documentary on Fake News. That's like hiring Bernie Madoff to teach accounting. Like hiring Michael Moore to host a fashion show. Not to mention [Stelter] is the dullest human ever on television," ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | www.rt.com

If you were making a documentary on fake news and wanted to get journalists involved behind the scenes, there are a few people you may want to avoid. One of those is CNN host Brian Stelter. The HBO network is rightly being mocked for putting Stelter – the host of a CNN show ironically named 'Reliable Sources' – on the team for an upcoming documentary on fake news.

According to Stelter himself, the documentary will investigate "disinformation and the cost of fake news." The film, for which Stelter was executive producer, will dive into "how post-truth culture has become an increasingly dangerous part of the global information environment," according to WarnerMedia.

HBO just announced something I've been working on for a couple of years: A documentary titled "AFTER TRUTH: DISINFORMATION AND THE COST OF FAKE NEWS." The film will premiere on TV and online this March. Directed by @a_rossi !

-- Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) January 15, 2020

To say Stelter's involvement in the documentary attracted mockery online would be an understatement. "This is like Harvey Weinstein doing a documentary on sexual assault," lawyer and journalist Rogan O'Handley wrote.

"HBO has hired Brian Stelter to do a documentary on Fake News. That's like hiring Bernie Madoff to teach accounting. Like hiring Michael Moore to host a fashion show. Not to mention [Stelter] is the dullest human ever on television," radio host Mark Simone added.

[Jan 21, 2020] Phillip Cross, inhumanely active Wikipedia editor, is a nemesis of Craig Murray.

Jan 21, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Piotr Berman , Jan 21 2020 19:03 utc | 39

Re: 33

Phillip Cross, inhumanely active Wikipedia editor, is a nemesis of Craig Murray. Today I use "free one month" of Times of London on-line subscription, Times being only "mainstream" reporter of the Russian presentation on OPCW at UN. One of the oddities was that German ambassador viewed technical studies of a Russian NGO as unreliable because -- they are friendly to their own government, something unheard of in Western counties? -- No! because they have claims like "Ukraine invaded Russia". But I also clicked to see what other stories they have on Russia. Strangely enough, this was one of the hit

Israel conspiracy peddler Craig Murray to address SNP activists
Kieran Andrews, Scottish Political Editor
January 21 2020, 12:01am,
The Times

TAGS: Nicola Sturgeon
Scottish National Party
UK politics
Syria
Middle East
LINK: Craig Murray has written on his blog that Israel was more likely to be behind the Salisbury novichok poisoning than Russian agents

A former British diplomat who has promoted a series of conspiracy theories, including that Israelis might have been behind the Salisbury poisoning, has been invited to address SNP activists.

Craig Murray is due to speak at the nationalists' Braidburn branch in Edinburgh on Saturday on the same billing as Joanna Cherry, the party's justice spokeswoman at Westminster. It is understood that Ms Cherry will not be present for his speech.

----
The gist is that Craig Murray is a despicable person, and SNPs proves itself to be a non-serious party by tolerating it in a neighborhood forum. This piece of news was a revelation to me, I actually like Craig Murray. In any case, the effort to get one-month-free paid off. Incidentally, it provides some clues how a person or organization can be tagged as conspiracy theory peddler.

Murray did not write that Israel probably was responsible for Scripal poisoning, but that it is a more probable candidate than Russia. From a point of view of German government, that would mean a super-confident accusation of Israel, given that Russia is such a certain candidate. An occasional reader of Murray's blog is aware that he is passionate about many causes, justice for Chagos island natives, independence of Scotland, wrongdoing of Westminster authorities, and Israel-Palestine has relatively very low priority. He used the phrase precisely to describe his evaluation of Russian role. In any case, an isolated remark without much of an intention was selected as a title for the piece. Methodology is clear: download all the posts etc., text search for the most "inflamatory topic", Israel probably for the start, and pull the sentence out of context. Use it for a title or a key argument, if you are a German ambassador.

I do not have tools to do the same, but the best match for Foundation of Study of Problems of Democracy "peddling idea of Ukrainian invasion on Russia" is a series devoted to crimes of "Ukrainian security forces" in Eastern Ukraine (Donbass). In any case, I am pretty sore about German performance. It is typical "liberal moderation". After doing a few of "good deeds", in German case, insisting on Nord Stream 2 being legal and allowed to be built and moment of feistiness defending the agreement with Iran etc., a balance is needed, and the balance is restored by shows of exemplary behavior of an Imperial Apparatchik. Reform healthcare and rape a few countries, that is American model, German version is more passive by comparison.

[Jan 21, 2020] The Excellent 'Checkpoint Asia' News Site Rebrands to 'Anti-Empire'

Jan 21, 2020 | russia-insider.com

We highly recommend following this site. It does a great job of pulling some of the best writing about geopolitics (mostly), from around the internet, and presenting it in an easy-to-understand format. The world needs more of this kind of journalism. They are completely reader-funded, so if you find them useful, please send them a few $ every now and then. Marko Marjanović Mon, Jan 20, 2020 | 220 words 1,759 8


Anti-empire.com is shorter than checkpointasia.net , is a .com domain, and probably better reflects what the site has always been about . Except for the rebrand the site will remain as it has always been. Opposing the criminality of the empire is one focus, but broadening our horizons and learning new things is another.

As is it has done until now, the site will continue to cover more than just the latest imperial outrage . Equally important is to:

Anything in fact which helps to reveal a more accurate picture of the reality than the one official narrative managers are selling , and gives us a better idea of where the empire and the world are headed.

PS.: The migration went fine but I still have to solve the missing comments issue.



Source: Anti-Empire

[Jan 21, 2020] Tucker Carlson Warns 'Mistake' To Assume Trump Victory In November

Notable quotes:
"... RealClearPolitics ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

The president base is clarly more narrow then in 2016: he used anti-war repiblicansand independents aswell as "Anybody but Hillary" voters (large part of Sanders votrs). Part of military is now Tulsi supported and probalywill not vote at all, at least they will not vote for Trump.

Fox News 's Tucker Carlson on Monday warned Republicans not to get complacent, and that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) could wind up taking "many thousands " of votes from President Trump if he is able to secure the Democratic nomination, according to The Hill 's Joe Concha.

"A year from today, we'll be hosting this show from the National Mall as the next president of the United States takes the oath of office," said Carlson, adding "Will that president be Donald Trump? As of tonight, Republicans in Washington feel confident it will be."

https://youtu.be/3eR1Pm7ANLw

"The official economic numbers are strong. The Democratic primaries are a freak show -- elderly socialists accusing each other of thoughtcrimes. Republicans are starting to think victory is assured. That's a mistake ," said Carlson. "America remains as divided as it was three years ago. No matter what happens, nobody's going to win this election in a national landslide. Those don't happen anymore. Trump could lose. Will he? That depends on what he runs on. "

Carlson then showed numbers for Trump on the economy that show while the main indicators are strong, there are some other numbers that should concern the president. He pointed to a Pew Research study that shows just 31 percent of Americans say the economy is helping them and their families, and just 32 percent say they believe the current economy helps the middle class.

Carlson then pivoted to Sanders's potential appeal to certain voter groups and said Republicans need a plan to battle that appeal.

" Bernie Sanders may get the Democratic nomination ," Carlson said. " If he does, every Republican in Washington will spend the next 10 months reminding you that socialism doesn't work , and never has. They'll be right, obviously," Carlson explained. - The Hill

So what's Bernie's appeal?

Recall that a not-insignificant Sanders supporters voted for Trump out of disgust following revelations that Hillary Clinton and the DNC conspirted to rig the 2016 primary against him.

According to Carlson, however, "if Sanders pledges to forgive student loans, he'll still win many thousands of voters who went for Donald Trump last time. Debt is crushing an entire generation of Americans. Republicans need a plan to make it better, or they'll be left behind."

"They're conservative in the most basic sense: They love their families above all," the host concluded. "They distrust radical theories of anything because they know that when the world turns upside down, ordinary people get hurt. They don't want to burn it down. They just want things to get better. The candidate who promises to make them better -- incrementally, but tangibly -- will be inaugurated president a year from today."

According to a RealClearPolitics average of seven (oh so reliable) polls, Sanders would take Trump if he gets the nomination. Tags Politics


MANvsMACHINE , 3 minutes ago link

Bernie doesn't have a ******* chance once he has to debate Trump. Trump will pull every straggly hair from Bernie's nearly bald head.

Mustafa Kemal , 2 minutes ago link

I disagree. Trump hasnt had to debate someone with character and intelligence before.

Boogity , 6 minutes ago link

Carlson is right. The overwhelming majority of Americans live paycheck to paycheck with many working two jobs to make ends meet. The economy sucks for the working and middle class. Facts are stubborn things.

[Jan 21, 2020] Trump Is Pulling the Wool Over Voters' Eyes About What Is in the China Deal

Return to quote-based trade means total bankruptcy of neoliberalism ideology and practice. Another nail in the coffin so to speak.
Jan 21, 2020 | www.anti-empire.com

The Chinese, for now, are not contradicting the Trump administration on the promise of Chinese mega-purchases, because when Trump is more amicable their interests align. If an empty promise that wasn't even made means the trade war de-escalation goes on, that is fine with them. They would like to calm the markets as much as Trump would, and in this way they have added leverage on Trump. Should they change their minds they can always explode the fiction later on and injure Trump, perhaps strategically right around October.


Now that the dust has settled on the US-China trade deal and analysts have had some time to pore over its 90+ pages, various chapters and (non-binding) terms that comprise the body of the agreement, one high-level observation noted by Rabobank, is that the agreement foresees the total amount of goods exports from the US to China to reach above $ 290BN by end-2021.

The implication of this is that the chart for US exports to China should basically look like this for the next two years:

As Rabobank's senior economist Bjorn Giesbergen writes, t here are probably very few economists that would deem such a trajectory feasible (except for the perpetually cheerful economics team at Goldman , of course), seeing that it took the US more than 15 years to raise exports from around USD16bn in 2000 to USD 130bn in 2017.

Moreover, the Chinese purchases of goods are beneficial to US companies, but at the cost of other countries, and the agreement is only for two years. If China will buy more aircraft from the US, that could be to the detriment of the EU.

According to the document "the parties project that the trajectory of increases will continue in calendar years 2020 through 2025." But "to project" does not sound as firm as "shall ensure." So, as the Rabo economist asks, "are we going to see a repetition of the 2019 turmoil caused by the phase 1 trade negotiations after those two years? Or is this supposed to be solved in the phase 2 deal that is very unlikely to be made? What's more, while the remaining tariffs provide leverage for US trade negotiators, they are still a tax on US importers and US consumers of Chinese goods."

But before we even get there, going back to the chart shown above, Bloomberg today points out something we have pointed out in the past, namely that China's $200 billion, two-year spending spree negotiated with the Trump administration appears increasingly difficult to deliver, and now a $50 billion "hole" appears to have opened up : that is the amount of U.S. exports annually left out and many American businesses still uncertain about just what the expectations are.

Some background: while Trump officials stressed the reforms aimed at curbing intellectual-property theft and currency manipulation that China has agreed to in the "phase one" trade deal signed Wednesday, the Chinese pledge to buy more American exports has become an emblem of the deal to critics and supporters alike.

The administration has said those new exports in manufactured goods, energy, farm shipments and services will come over two years on top of the $130 billion in goods and $57.6 billion in services that the U.S. sent to China in 2017 -- the year before the trade war started and exports were hit by Beijing's retaliatory measures to President Donald Trump's tariffs.

And while Goldman said it is certainly feasible that China can ramp up its purchases of US goods , going so far as providing a matrix "scenario" of what such purchases could look like

that now appears virtually impossible, because as Bloomberg notes, the list of goods categories in the agreement covers a narrower group of exports to China that added up to $78.8 billion in 2017, or $51.6 billion less than the overall goods exports to the Asian nation that year. The goods trade commitment makes up $162.1 billion of the $200 billion total, with $37.9 billion to come from a boost in services trade such as travel and insurance.

Here, the math gets even more ridiculous:

The target for the first year that the deal takes effect is to add $63.9 billion in manufactured goods, agriculture and energy exports. According to Bloomberg economist Maeva Cousin's analysis, that would be an increase of 81% over the 2017 baseline. In year two, the agreement calls for $98.2 billion surge in Chinese imports, which would require a 125% increase over 2017.

Importantly for China, the deal requires those purchases to be "made at market prices based on commercial considerations," a caveat which spooked commodities traders, and led to a sharp drop in ags in the day following the deal's announcement.

Can China pull this off? Yes, if Beijing tears up existing trade deals and supply chains and imposes explicit procurement targets and demands on China's local business. As Bloomberg notes, "critics argue that such pre-ordained demand amounts to a slide into the sort of government-managed trade that U.S. presidents abandoned decades ago" and the very sort of act of central planning that U.S. officials have , paradoxically, spent years trying to convince China to walk away from.

This may also explain why a key part of the trade deal will remain secret: the purchase plan is based on what the administration insists is a specific – if classified – annex of Chinese commitments. "The 20-page public version of that annex lists hundreds of products and services from nuclear reactors to aircraft, printed circuits, pig iron, soybeans, crude oil and computer services but no figures for purchases."

Going back to the critics, it is this convoluted mechanism that has them arguing that China's stated targets will likely never be met: "This is ambitious and it will create some stresses within the supply system," said Craig Allen, the president of the U.S.-China Business Council.

That's not all: as Allen said, among the outstanding questions was whether China would lift its retaliatory duties on American products as the US keeps its tariffs on some $360 billion in imports from China as Trump seeks to maintain leverage for the second phase of negotiations.

Allen also made clear the overall purchase schedule left many U.S. companies uncomfortable even as they saw benefits in other parts of the deal. "The vast majority of our members are looking for no more than a level playing field in China," Allen said. "We are not looking for quotas or special treatment."

As a result, for many manufacturers what is actually changing -- and what China has committed to instead of given a "best efforts" promise to achieve -- remains unclear.

Major exporters such as Boeing Co., whose CEO Dave Calhoun attended Wednesday's signing ceremony, have stayed mum about what exactly the deal will mean for their business with China. In an attempt to "clarify", Trump tweeted that the deal includes a Chinese commitment to buy $16 billion to $20 billion in Boeing planes. It was unclear if he meant 737 MAX planes which nobody in the world will ever voluntarily fly inside again.

Finally, prompting the latest round of cronyism allegations, Trump's new China pact also includes plans for exports of American iron and steel , "a potential gain for an industry close to the president that has benefited from his tariffs and complained about Chinese production and overcapacity for years." As Bloomberg adds, the text of the agreement lists iron and steel products ranging from pig iron to stainless steel wire and railway tracks, but steel industry sources said they had been caught by surprise and not been given any additional details on China's purchase commitments.

It is unclear why Beijing would need US product s: after all, in its scramble to erect ghost cities and hit a goalseeked GDP print, China produces more than 50% of the world's steel, drawning criticism from around the world – if not Greta Thunberg – for the massive coal-derived pollution that comes from flooding global markets with cheap steel.

[Jan 21, 2020] Those neocon crazies still dream about Full Spectrum Dominance

Jan 21, 2020 | news.yahoo.com

Michael Peck , The National Interest January 20, 2020

... The Tomahawk land-attack cruise missile has been a favorite tool of U.S. foreign policy and warfighting for 30 years

[Jan 21, 2020] US Officials Admit Covert Tech Program Is Fueling Iran Protests

Notable quotes:
"... Image source: Zuma Press/DW.com ..."
"... Financial Times ..."
"... "We work with technological companies to help free flow of information and provide circumvention tools that helped in [last week's] protest ," ..."
"... they were actively assisting in organizing recent protests ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

US Officials Admit Covert Tech Program Is Fueling Iran Protests by Tyler Durden Mon, 01/20/2020 - 21:55 0 SHARES

After major protests hit multiple cities across Iran in November following a drastic government slash in gasoline subsidies which quickly turned anti-regime, broad internet outages were reported -- some lasting as long as a week or more nationwide -- following Tehran authorities ordering the blockage of external access.

And during smaller January protests over downed Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, more widespread internet outages were reported recently, likely as Iranian security services fear protest "crackdown" videos would fuel outrage in western media , and after months ago Mike Pompeo expressly urged Iranians in the streets to send the State Department damning videos that would implicate Tehran's leaders and police.

But now Washington appears to have initiated the "Syria option" inside Iran: covertly fueling and driving "popular protests " to eventually create conditions for large-scale confrontation on the ground geared toward regime change.

Image source: Zuma Press/DW.com

Financial Times reports Washington's 'covert' efforts are now increasing, and are more out in the open :

US government-funded technology companies have recorded an increase in the use of circumvention software in Iran in recent weeks after boosting efforts to help Iranian anti-regime protesters thwart internet censorship and use secure mobile messaging .

The outreach is part of a US government program dedicated to internet freedom that supports dissident pressure inside Iran and complements America's policy of "maximum pressure" over the regime. A US state department official told the Financial Times that since protests in Iran in 2018 -- at the time the largest in almost a decade -- Washington had accelerated efforts to provide Iranians more options on how they communicate with each other and the outside world .

Similar efforts had long been in place with anti-Assad groups prior to the outbreak of conflict in Syria in 2011, WikiLeaks cables previously revealed.

The US State Department is now openly boasting it's enacted this program for Iran , which includes "providing apps, servers and other technology to help people communicate, visit banned websites, install anti-tracking software and navigate data shutdowns," according to FT .

Confirmed: Drop in internet connectivity registered at #Sharif University, Tehran from 11:50 UTC where students are protesting for colleagues and alumni killed on flight #PS752 ; national connectivity remains stable despite sporadic disruptions on third day of #Iran protests📉 pic.twitter.com/LjaNNd4Ut2

-- NetBlocks.org (@netblocks) January 13, 2020

And dangerously, many Iranians may not even realize they could be in some instances relying on such US-funded countermeasures to circumvent domestic internet blockages:

"Many Iranians rely on virtual private networks (VPNs) that receive US funding or are beamed in with US support , not knowing they are relying on Washington-backed tools."

Iran is on occasion known to round of citizen-journalists and accuse them of being CIA assets -- thus the State Department's open boasting about its program, which is further connected to a broader $65.5 million "Internet Freedom program" in troubled spots throughout the world -- could only serve to increase this trend.

"We work with technological companies to help free flow of information and provide circumvention tools that helped in [last week's] protest ," one US state department official told the FT. "We are able to sponsor VPNs -- and that allows Iranians to use the internet."

So there it is: US officials explicitly admitting they were actively assisting in organizing recent protests which followed Soleimani's killing and the Ukrainian airliner shoot down.

I have asked the Iranian protestors to send us their videos, photos, and information documenting the regime's crackdown on protestors. The U.S. will expose and sanction the abuses. https://t.co/korr5p0woA

-- Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) November 21, 2019

At least one circumvention software is actually identified in the report as being produced by Canada-based Psiphon, which receives American government funds. Of course the company sees its role more as facilitating "free flow of information" and less as essentially a willing asset in pursuing covert regime change in Tehran.

Interestingly, the revelation comes just as other US-funded propaganda campaigns related to Iran are coming to light:

One of the most viral videos about Iran last week -- and a reason #IraniansDetestSoleimani was trending -- was made by a lobbyist who had worked for a militia group in Libya https://t.co/fN7v6Vztyo

-- BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) January 17, 2020

All of this suggests neocons in Washington could be a big step closer to fulfilling their long-term dream of seeing US-sponsored regime change come to Iran -- a policy plan which goes back to at least the 1990's and was given greater impetus and urgency under the Bush administration.


VodkaInKrakow , 6 hours ago link

"We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false" - Wm. Casey, former Director of the CIA under President (and Iranian arms dealer) Ronald Reagan(R).

So, when does Trump send ISIS to Iran? Oh, MEK is already there.

I remember when Trump supporters pointed out how Hillary supported a coup in Honduras. Well, Trump has Bolivia.

Then Obama created ISIS. Well, ISIS has been around since about 2000. And Trump signed NDAA's that sent money to "freedom fighters" in Syria.. .guess who...

Obama is a loser in Afghanistan and so are the Generals. Well, there was Bush. And now? Trump... going on 4 years of losing in Afghanistan with his own Generals.

Hillary and Libya. Trump and Libya.

Obama and NK? Trump and NK.

Obama and Venezuela? Trump and Venezuela. And what threat does Venezuela pose to The US? No one can answer that question.

Trump says "no more wars", is engaged in wars and trying to start one with Iran.

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE, THE MORE THEY REMAIN THE SAME.

The Program is complete...

QABubba , 9 hours ago link

And are the protesters in Iran getting a paycheck too?
Those in the Ukraine did. Those in Libya did. Those in Syria did.

Put's the lie to indigenous protest.

Son of Captain Nemo , 10 hours ago link

"The outreach is part of a US government program dedicated to internet freedom that supports dissident pressure inside Iran and complements America's policy of "maximum pressure" over the regime. A US state department official told the Financial Times that since protests in Iran in 2018 -- at the time the largest in almost a decade -- Washington had accelerated efforts to provide Iranians more options on how they communicate with each other and the outside world ."...

VOA LIVE$...

Sure wish somebody in our government could have alerted Bobby McIIlvaine ( https://www.ae911truth.org/get-involved/bobby-mcilvaine-act ) with "emergency" internet services to his phone nearly 18 1/2 years ago to what his own government was about to do to him before he went into the office that day along with the other 2,976 victims?!!!

One thing I'll say for the American government since the banker bailouts, they "don't hide what they are doing" when it comes to subverting governments for looting purposes ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CL_GShyGv3o )!... At least the Iranian leadership knows what is coming before it happens these days!...

Davidduke2000 , 15 hours ago link

The Iranian people are not stupid to commit suicide , they have seen the us handy work in 1953 when Iran had the first democracy in the middle east to be bamboozled by the cia who removed their elected prime minister and installed the shah.

of course some university students want a sexual revolution like in the us are revolting but they are a handful and they are being subdued .

mark1955 , 13 hours ago link

Agree 100%!

The Iranian people lived through CIA/MOSSAD style "Democracy" from 1953-1980 and will fight "Tooth and nail" not to return to those Horrific days of the Shah!

MARDUKTA , 15 hours ago link

BEHIND IT ALL:

https://truthernews.wordpress.com/2015/03/31/10-reasons-why-switzerland-is-home-to-the-cia-central-intelligence-agency/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

Thinking123 , 18 hours ago link

Yes, this is what US government has been doing all over the world "Wars and Regime Changes".. Bowing down to Israel to accomplish "The Greater Israel Project". : https://www.globalresearch.ca/greater-israel-the-zionist-plan-for-the-middle-east/5324815

STR88 , 18 hours ago link

How naive do you have to be to think the US is just giving out free internet for the sake of the Iranian people? even after they've done the same thing all throughout the middle east to cause mass riots and civil unrest.

The last thing you will ever get from the US government is the truth.

[Jan 21, 2020] The first term of the Trump administration has revealed that the US war empire is run by the military-intelligence apparatus, not by President administration. Trump is simply a puppet.

Notable quotes:
"... Are You Tired Of The Lies And Non-Stop Propaganda? ..."
"... Get Your FREE Daily Newsletter No Advertising - No Government Grants - This Is Independent Media ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | www.informationclearinghouse.info

Originally from: Opinion - The Angry Arab US Violated Unspoken Rule of Engagement with Iran

As'ad AbuKhalil analyzes the Trump administration's decision

to escalate hostilities with Iran and its regional allies.

By As`ad AbuKhalil

January 21, 2020 " Information Clearing House " - S omething big and unprecedented has happened in the Middle East after the assassination of one of Iran's top commanders, Qasim Suleimani.

The U.S. has long assumed that assassinations of major figures in the Iranian "resistance-axis" in the Middle East would bring risk to the U.S. military-intelligence presence in the Middle East. Western and Arab media reported that the U.S. had prevented Israel in the past from killing Suleimani. But with the top commander's death, the Trump administration seems to think a key barrier to U.S. military operations in the Middle East has been removed.

The U.S. and Israel had noticed that Hizbullah and Iran did not retaliate against previous assassinations by Israel (or the U.S.) that took place in Syria (of Imad Mughniyyah, Jihad Mughniyyah, Samir Quntar); or for other attacks on Palestinian and Lebanese commanders in Syria.

The U.S. thus assumed that this assassination would not bring repercussions or harm to U.S. interests. Iranian reluctance to retaliate has only increased the willingness of Israel and the U.S. to violate the unspoken rules of engagement with Iran in the Arab East.

For many years Israel did perpetrate various assassinations against Iranian scientists and officers in Syria during the on-going war. But Israel and the U.S. avoided targeting leaders or commanders of Iran. During the U.S. occupation of Iraq, the U.S. and Iran collided directly and indirectly, but avoided engaging in assassinations for fear that this would unleash a series of tit-for-tat.

But the Trump administration has become known for not playing by the book, and for operating often according to the whims and impulses of President Donald Trump.

Different Level of Escalation

The decision to strike at Baghdad airport, however, was a different level of escalation. In addition to killing Suleimani it also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a key leader of Hashd forces in Iraq. Like Suleimani, al-Muhandis was known for waging the long fight against ISIS. (Despite this, the U.S. media only give credit to the U.S. and its clients who barely lifted a finger in the fight against ISIS.)

On the surface of it, the strike was uncharacteristic of Trump. Here is a man who pledged to pull the U.S. out of the Middle East turmoil -- turmoil for which the U.S and Israel bear the primary responsibility. And yet he seems willing to order a strike that will guarantee intensification of the conflict in the region, and even the deployment of more U.S. forces.

Are You Tired Of The Lies And Non-Stop Propaganda?

Get Your FREE Daily Newsletter No Advertising - No Government Grants - This Is Independent Media

The first term of the Trump administration has revealed the extent to which the U.S. war empire is run by the military-intelligence apparatus. There is not much a president -- even a popular president like Barack Obama in his second term -- can do to change the course of empire. It is not that Obama wanted to end U.S. wars in the region, but Trump has tried to retreat from Middle East conflicts and yet he has been unable due to pressures not only from the military-intelligence apparatus but also from their war advocates in the U.S. Congress and Western media, D.C. think tanks and the human-rights industry. The pressures to preserve the war agenda is too powerful on a U.S. president for it to cease in the foreseeable future. But Trump has managed to start fewer new wars than his predecessors -- until this strike.

Trump's Obama Obsession

Trump in his foreign policy is obsessed with the legacy and image of Obama. He decided to violate the Iran nuclear agreement (which carried the weight of international law after its adoption by the UN Security Council) largely because he wanted to prove that he is tougher than Obama, and also because he wanted an international agreement that carries his imprint. Just as Trump relishes putting his name on buildings, hotels, and casinos he wants to put his name on international agreements. His decision, to strike at a convoy carrying perhaps the second most important person in Iran was presumably attached to an intelligence assessment that calculated that Iran is too weakened and too fatigued to strike back directly at the U.S.

Iran faced difficult choices in response to the assassination of Suleimani. On the one hand, Iran would appear weak and vulnerable if it did not retaliate and that would only invite more direct U.S. and Israeli attacks on Iranian targets.

On the other hand, the decision to respond in a large-scale attack on U.S. military or diplomatic targets in the Middle East would invite an immediate massive U.S. strike inside Iran. Such an attack has been on the books; the U.S military (and Israel, of course) have been waiting for the right moment for the U.S. to destroy key strategic sites inside Iran.

Furthermore, there is no question that the cruel U.S.-imposed sanctions on Iran have made life difficult for the Iranian people and have limited the choices of the government, and weakened its political legitimacy, especially in the face of vast Gulf-Western attempts to exploit internal dissent and divisions inside Iran. (Not that dissent inside Iran is not real, and not that repression by the regime is not real).

Nonetheless, if the Iranian regime were to open an all-out war against the U.S., this would certainly cause great harm and damage to U.S. and Israeli interests.

Iran Sending Messages

In the last year, however, Iran successfully sent messages to Gulf regimes (through attacks on oil shipping in the Gulf, for which Iran did not claim responsibility, nor did it take responsibility for the pin-point attack on ARAMCO oil installations) that any future conflict would not spare their territories.

That quickly reversed the policy orientations of both Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which suddenly became weary of confrontation with Iran, and both are now negotiating (openly and secretively) with the Iranian government. Ironically, both the UAE and Saudi regimes -- which constituted a lobby for war against Iran in Western capitals -- are also eager to distance themselves from U.S. military action against Iran . And Kuwait quickly denied that the U.S. used its territory in the U.S. attack on Baghdad airport, while Qatar dispatched its foreign minister to Iran (officially to offer condolences over the death of Suleimani, but presumably also to distance itself and its territory from the U.S. attack).

The Iranian response was very measured and very specific. It was purposefully intended to avoid causing U.S. casualties; it was intended more as a message of Iranian missile capabilities and their pin point accuracy. And that message was not lost on Israel.

Hasan Nasrallah, the leader of Hizbullah, sent a more strident message. He basically implied that it would be left to Iran's allies to engineer military responses. He also declared a war on the U.S. military presence in the Middle East, although he was at pains to stress that U.S. civilians are to be spared in any attack or retaliation.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/6yyC897UliI

Supporters of the Iran resistance axis have been quite angry in the wake of the assassination. The status of Suleimani in his camp is similar to the status of Nasrallah although Nasrallah -- due to his charisma and to his performance and the performance of his party in the July 2006 war -- may have attained a higher status.

It would be easy for the Trump administration to ignite a Middle East war by provoking Iran once again, and wrongly assuming that there are no limits to Iranian caution and self-restraint. But if the U.S. (and Israel with it or behind it) were to start a Middle East war, it will spread far wider and last far longer than the last war in Iraq, which the U.S. is yet to complete.

As'ad AbuKhalil is a Lebanese-American professor of political science at California State University, Stanislaus. He is the author of the "Historical Dictionary of Lebanon" (1998), "Bin Laden, Islam and America's New War on Terrorism (2002), and "The Battle for Saudi Arabia" (2004). He tweets as @asadabukhal

This article was originally published by " Consortium News " -

[Jan 21, 2020] Propaganda and Lies Iran and Ukrainian Flight PS752 - Global ResearchGlobal Research - Centre for Research on Globalization

Jan 21, 2020 | www.globalresearch.ca

Propaganda and Lies: Iran and Ukrainian Flight PS752 Exploited to further fan the flames of unrest in Iran. By Kurt Nimmo Global Research, January 21, 2020 Region: Middle East & North Africa Theme: Intelligence , Media Disinformation , US NATO War Agenda In-depth Report: IRAN: THE NEXT WAR?

Here is the cardinal rule about government -- everything it says through its spokespersons, hired guns, public relations adepts, and the mockingbird corporate media should be considered a self-serving lie, or at best a distortion hammered into shape to fit a predefined agenda.

For instance, we should question who is ultimately responsible for the shootdown of the Ukrainian airliner in Tehran following the assassination of Qassem Soleimani.

Former CIA military intelligence officer Philip Giraldi believes there is a possibility Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 was a false flag designed to put further pressure on the government of Iran and feed the USAID "opposition" to the mullahs.

Giraldi writes "there just might be considerably more to the story involving cyberwarfare carried out by the U.S. and possibly Israeli governments."

False Flag? Fmr CIA Officer Suggests US Hacked Ukrainian Plane Transponder To Provoke Iran Shootdown https://t.co/DHpDjGrIGf

-- zerohedge (@zerohedge) January 19, 2020

What seems to have been a case of bad judgements and human error does, however, include some elements that have yet to be explained. The Iranian missile operator reportedly experienced considerable "jamming" and the planes transponder switched off and stopped transmitting several minutes before the missiles were launched. There were also problems with the communication network of the air defense command, which may have been related.

Giraldi explains the

SA-15 Tor defense system used by Iran has one major vulnerability. It can be hacked or "spoofed," permitting an intruder to impersonate a legitimate user and take control. The United States Navy and Air Force reportedly have developed technologies "that can fool enemy radar systems with false and deceptively moving targets." Fooling the system also means fooling the operator. The Guardian has also reported independently how the United States military has long been developing systems that can from a distance alter the electronics and targeting of Iran's available missiles.

Naturally, this possibility is not even mentioned by the corporate war propaganda media, with the notable exception of The Guardian. Instead, we are pelted with tweets and news articles purporting to show just how angry the Iranian people supposedly are over the shootdown, accidental or otherwise.

Kimia Alizadeh, the only Iranian woman to win an Olympic medal, announced that she had defected. She is part of growing public outrage in Iran after the military admitted to shooting down a Ukraine International Airlines jet. https://t.co/NkwtCTP0yw

-- New York Times World (@nytimesworld) January 13, 2020

Protests erupt in Iran after country admits to downing Ukraine plane https://t.co/Nsg0v34rGQ pic.twitter.com/MJk17XVJV9

-- The Hill (@thehill) January 12, 2020

Iran reporters quit state TV amid protests over Ukraine flight shootdown https://t.co/0ZOQWT2K8l

-- Newsweek (@Newsweek) January 13, 2020

The establishment media, long-serving as war propagandists, would have you believe the people of Iran care more about the shootdown of an passenger airliner than the four-decade long economic war against them waged by the USG, Israel, and Saudia Arabia -- a war that has the possibility of breaking out into a conflict that will kill far more than the 176 who died when two missiles hit flight PS752.

This reminds me of a murderous trick pulled by the Israelis. In September 2018, Syrian anti-aircraft defenses shot down a Russian military plane near the Hmeimim airbase where the Russians stage military operations against USG supported terrorists in Syria (and invited, along with Iran and Hezbollah, to do so by Syria, unlike the illegal American occupation and the apparently endless Israeli air raids).

"A Russian military spokesman said Israeli F-16 pilots were using the Russian plane as a shield while carrying out missile strikes against targets in Syria's Latakia province and put it in the line of fire from Syrian anti-aircraft batteries," The Guardian reported at the time.

Russia's defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, told a senior Israeli official that Israel bore "full responsibility" for the incident and the death of the Russian crew, a military spokesman said later on Tuesday. Israel's ambassador in Moscow was summoned to the Russian foreign ministry over the incident.

Putin let it go, however, realizing that pushing the issue too far would worsen the conflict and possibly result in further Russian casualities.

Such caution, however, cannot be attributed to the USG and certainly not Israel. Bibi Netanyahu, the Israeli PM, said Bashar al-Assad and the Syrians were solely responsible for the attack.

No such caution or diplomacy can be expected from the USG and its current loudmouth know-nothing president, Donald Trump. The death of nearly two hundred people is simply an excuse to whip up hysteria and push forward the covert war against Iran.

First and foremost, when you read the "news" dispensed by the war propaganda media, you should assume, unless otherwise proven and verified independently, that what they say about Iran and the Middle East is nothing less than a carelessly and hastily assembled pack of lies, distortion, and omissions, all designed to destroy Iran and kill thousands, possibly millions of innocent men, women, and children.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

Kurt Nimmo writes on his blog, Another Day in the Empire, where this article was originally published. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

[Jan 21, 2020] Given that the US military has known capabilities to alter or mask IFF transponder signals, as does the Israeli regime, it is entirely possible that this tragedy, which led some protesters to blame the Iranian government, may have been deliberately caused by the US in collusion with its Zionist ally in hopes of triggering their goal of regime change

Jan 21, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Smith , Jan 21 2020 18:53 utc | 36

An update for Flight 752 storey from Press TV:

"The accidental and most regrettable downing of Ukrainian International Airlines Flight PS-752, may involve more than human error under incredibly tense conditions. With the plane's IFF transponder switched off, the Tor missile defense system, which had reverted to manual operation because of an unknown source jamming communications, would have automatically identified the plane as "hostile". The Iranian missile operator, unable to contact higher-ups for verification due to the disrupted communications and given the high level of alert, had little basis to question the hostile tag applied by Tor to the aircraft.

Given that the US military has known capabilities to alter or mask IFF transponder signals, as does the Israeli regime, it is entirely possible that this tragedy, which led some protesters to blame the Iranian government, may have been deliberately caused by the US in collusion with its Zionist ally in hopes of triggering their goal of regime change.

While no clear evidence of tampering with the transponder has surfaced as yet, it is known that the 737-800, whose registration or "tail number" was UR-PSR, was photographed at the Israeli entity's Ben Gurion Airport five times since March of 2017, the last time being on October 18, 2019 at approximately 2:40 in the afternoon."


ADKC , Jan 21 2020 19:02 utc | 38

According to Reuters, Iran have confirmed that two Tor missiles were fired at PS752.

Iran Seeks Help Reading Downed Planes Black Boxes in New Standoff

PavewayIV , Jan 21 2020 19:39 utc | 45
Smith@36 - PressTV: "..With the plane's IFF transponder switched off,..."

Civilian aircraft have ATC SSR radar transponders, not military IFF transponders.

IFF aircraft interrogations are ALWAYS military only and ALWAYS encrypted. Their only job, if used by the TOR, is to confirm that a radar target was an Iranian military aircraft. PS752 1) couldn't understand encrypted TOR IFF interrogations, 2) wouldn't be able to provide encrypted replies to any TOR IFF interrogations, and 3) would still be considered "not an Iranian military aircraft" by the TOR. PS752's transponder would need a military IFF encoder/decoder which it does not have.

Likewise, TORs and their acquisition radars DO NOT have civilian ATC SSR radar capabilities to identify civilian aircraft. They do NOT interrogate civilian aircraft for ID, altitude, GPS or any other information, nor do they listen for civilian aircraft ADS-B broadcasts which also provide that information.

Surveillance radars higher up in the air defense network may have civilian aircraft ID capability and can assign appropriate IDs to radar targets BEFORE they appear on the TORs radar screen, but that requires a good data link to the network. That encrypted data link (also used for voice communications) was down at the time, and any ID information that may have been assigned by higher layers of the Iranian AD network wouldn't have appeared on the TOR or been considered by its classification and targeting software.

Sorry - I don't know how else to explain this. PressTV doesn't understand the distinction, nor does it understand the TORs capabilities.

Hausmeister , Jan 21 2020 22:26 utc | 58
"Sorry - I don't know how else to explain this. PressTV doesn't understand the distinction, nor does it understand the TORs capabilities."

Posted by: PavewayIV | Jan 21 2020 19:39 utc | 45

But 7 civilian planes had passed that area before. How to explain that?

/div> schroedingersrat 11 hours ago remove Share link Copy Key Architect of 2003 Iraq War Is Now a Key Architect of Trump Iran Policy

https://theintercept.com/2020/01/16/david-wurmser-iran-suleimani-iraq-war/

schroedingersrat 11 hours ago remove Share link Copy Key Architect of 2003 Iraq War Is Now a Key Architect of Trump Iran Policy

https://theintercept.com/2020/01/16/david-wurmser-iran-suleimani-iraq-war/ /div

[Jan 21, 2020] Russian Hackers May Have Interfered With Vote on Church Potluck, Local Man Suspects

Dec 23, 2019 | www.anti-empire.com

Putin “needs to keep his commie hands” off of the sovereign Independent Baptist church’s affairs

According to sources, local man Clarence Williams has urged his church’s lead pastor as well as local law enforcement to move forward with an investigation into Russian hacking, claiming that there was ample evidence to support the theory that malicious foreign agents infiltrated and influenced the outcome of a vote on the date for next month’s potluck at Second Baptist Church.

... ... ...

The Babylon Bee 23 Dec 19 Society 625 0

[Jan 21, 2020] Its a mystery to me why Donald's mouth never got the shit beat out him during his NY days

Jan 21, 2020 | www.unz.com

Alfred , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 4:55 pm GMT

@renfro Its a mystery to me why Donald's mouth never got the shit beat out him during his NY days

Because these officers are essentially cowards. They are afraid of losing their pensions, bits of tin and limousines.

I am sure Trump was much more polite to the "made men" of NYC

[Jan 21, 2020] Iran War Would Be Only One Letter Different From Iraq War

Jan 21, 2020 | www.anti-empire.com

The Raytheon Institute, a bipartisan think tank that specializes in starting Middle Eastern wars, has released a report that estimates the imminent Iran War will be approximately one letter different from the ongoing Iraq War.

"We based our analysis primarily on the words themselves," explained Richard Cheney, the institute's Bonelli Fellow. "If you look closely, you'll see that both countries' names start 'IRA,' but 'IRAN' ends with an 'N' while 'IRAQ' ends with a 'Q.'"

The report spelled out further similarities , including America's total lack of justification for initiating hostilities, a draft dodging Republican president who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth, spinelessness on the left during the buildup despite virtue signaling of being antiwar, simmering sectarian tensions in the country to be invaded, the prospective enemy's large standing military that won't be able to face down America's initial assault but could become deadly in a drawn out guerilla campaign, a complete lack of support from the rest of the world, large amounts of oil at stake, media reports that have inflamed overwrought concerns about weapons of mass destruction, and relief from service members in Kuwait that they finally have something to do

[Jan 21, 2020] Flashback from Orwell's Animal Farm

Jan 21, 2020 | consortiumnews.com

ML , January 21, 2020 at 10:31

Pompeo reminds me of the pigs in Animal Farm. He is a grotesque figure, steely-eyed, cold-blooded, fanatical, and hateful. "We lied, cheated, and stole" Pompous Maximus will get his comeuppance one of these days. I hope he plans more overseas trips for himself. He is a vile person, a psychopath proud of his psychopathy. He alone would make anyone considering conversion to Christianity, his brand of it, run screaming into the night. Repulsive man.

[Jan 21, 2020] Warren as Lizzie-Faire Capitalist.

Jan 21, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

none , January 21, 2020 at 12:46 am

Warren will never endorse Bernie. She is not a progressive and the Republican in her is back in operation. But, there is a new Jeep named after her:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EOuTYRlXsAg151I.jpg

Henry Moon Pie , January 21, 2020 at 1:41 am

But we already had the Tin Lizzie.

ambrit , January 21, 2020 at 6:30 am

I can't resist. What we have here is an old fashioned "Lizzie-Faire Capitalist."

John Zelnicker , January 21, 2020 at 10:28 am

@ambrit
January 21, 2020 at 6:30 am
-- -- -

"Strike three! A sizzling fast ball over the middle of the plate, while the batter just looked dumbfounded"

[Jan 21, 2020] Maybe we should put sanctions on Pompeo

Jan 21, 2020 | www.unz.com

Old and grumpy , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 3:48 pm GMT

Maybe we should put sanctions on Pompeo. He could use the diet. Maybe raiding his pantry would feed Iraqi for a couple months. He is truly perfect spokesman American empire. Sadistic, bloated, and corrupt.
Just passing through , says: Show Comment January 21, 2020 at 4:20 pm GMT
@Old and grumpy Trump also needs to have food sanctions placed on him. His body is being oppressed and is crying out for (diet) regime change.

[Jan 21, 2020] Putin Eliminates the Medvedev Faction From the Kremlin

Jan 21, 2020 | www.anti-empire.com

Putin Eliminates the Medvedev Faction From the Kremlin Putin's reorganization a huge setback for system liberals John Helmer 17 Jan 20 17 Jan 20 Politics 2051 9

In law courts, justice must not only be done but be seen to be done. In politics, too.

The problem with what President Vladimir Putin announced in his Federal Assembly address this week, and what he did immediately after, is that things don't look the way he says they should.

The difference was written on Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev's face. He thinks Putin has destroyed the political forces of the candidate with the best chance of winning the presidential election of 2024 -- himself. The businessmen and government officials who have depended on Medvedev are acknowledging this realization on the telephone.

An hour after this picture was taken, at a meeting with Putin of the assembled ministers at Government House (Kremlin term for White House), Medvedev announced : "as the Government of the Russian Federation we must give the President of this country an opportunity to make all the necessary decisions for this. Under the circumstances, it would be correct for the entire Government of the Russian Federation to resign in accordance with Article 117 of the Constitution."

He looked and sounded unconvinced that his exit was "correct".

The constitutional provision to which Medvedev referred is a notorious relic. Article 117 was created by President Boris Yeltsin after he used the military to crush parliament's opposition in October 1993. Several hundred people inside the White House were killed.

The new constitution was voted two months later by the disputable margin of 58% in a disputable turnout of 54%. Article 117 then gave the president the power to block a prime minister's resignation ; veto a vote of no-confidence in the government by the State Duma; and the power to decide whether and when to dissolve parliament and hold new elections.

In Putin's speech on Wednesday, he began his proposals for a constitutional amendment with the announcement: "We have overcome the situation when certain powers in the government were essentially usurped by oligarch clans." Usurpation of power by Yeltsin at the expense of the Congress of People's Deputies in 1993 was not explained then, nor since, by the operations of the oligarchs. They came later. In Russian public opinion, the oligarchs continue to be extra-constitutionally powerful today. The polls show Putin's claim is not believed.

The proposals Putin has announced change the balance of power between the presidency and the parliament. But they also change the balance of power between the houses of parliament, and also between the central power in Moscow and the regions. The State Duma, according to Putin, will have the new power to appoint "the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, and then all deputy prime ministers and federal ministers at the Prime Minister's recommendation. At the same time the President will have to appoint them, so he will have no right to turn down the candidates approved by the Parliament." This implies the State Duma will be able to exercise a veto over ministers' performance with votes of no-confidence the president cannot override. This is not yet certain.

Also unclear is who would prevail if the president decides to dismiss the government which holds the confidence of parliament. Putin said he proposes to keep "the right to dismiss the prime minister, his deputies and federal ministers in case of improper execution of duties or due to loss of trust." The constitution is silent on the terms, improper execution and loss of trust. They are powder the president aims to keep dry for himself.

The Kremlin has immediately convened what it calls a "working group on drafting proposals for amendments to the Constitution". No elected constitutional convention; no constitutional assembly provided for in Chapter 9 of the present charter; no principle of representation; no decision or voting rules for the novel body. It was hand-picked by the President's staff -- "75 politicians, legislators, scholars and public figures". The Kremlin has published photographs, but no list of the names yet.

The oligarch class, as Putin calls them, is represented by Alexander Shokhin (centre picture above, left); the working class – to whom no one refers – is represented by the man seated by the Kremlin next to Shokhin, Mikhail Shmakov, head of the trade union federation.

Noone in uniform is seated at the Kremlin table. The military appears to have one seat; that's occupied by retired Army General Boris Gromov (above right), 76, now titled "Chairman of the Brothers in Arms National Veteran Public Organisation". Gromov's political career after the Army rules him out as representing the General Staff or the Defence Ministry.

Putin's proposals create a fork in the balance of power by assigning domestic policy-making, including the budget, to the parliament's appointees to government; while reserving defence, military, and security powers, and their budgets, to the executive. "The president also exercises direct command over the Armed Forces and the entire law enforcement system. In this regard, I believe another step is necessary to provide a greater balance between the branches of power. In this connection, point six: I propose that the president should appoint heads of all security agencies following consultations with the Federation Council."

This preserves the imbalance – Putin's terminology -- let's say concentration of policy-making and enforcement powers in the Kremlin; it also guards the incumbent president during the transition between now and 2024, as well as afterwards. "I believe," said Putin, "this approach will make the work of security and law enforcement agencies more transparent and accountable to citizens." The Russian public opinion polls are very sceptical.

The first test of what this step will mean in practice will be the names of the new ministers of defence, internal affairs, foreign affairs, the Federal Security Service, the intelligence agencies, and the two state law enforcement organs, the Prosecutor-General and the Investigative Committee. In the small print of Putin's speech, he proposes to centralize authority even more than the present by reducing the power of regional authorities to control their prosecutors. "I am confident that a greater independence of prosecution agencies from local authorities would be beneficial for citizens regardless of the region," Putin said. Public distrust of both federal and regional prosecutors, recorded in the polls, suggests otherwise.

The Putin scheme also creates a competing source of legislative power by expanding the State Council , hitherto a talking shop; and by expanding the powers of the Constitutional Court to rule, on the Kremlin's application, against parliament, as well as against regional governors and regional parliaments.

The State Council in its last Kremlin session, December 26, 2019. In his speech on Wednesday Putin proposed to "cardinally increase the role of governors in decision-making at the federal level . As you know, back in 2000 the State Council was restored at my initiative, where the heads of all regions participate. Over the past period the State Council has proven its high effectiveness; its working groups provide for the professional, comprehensive and qualified examination of issues that are most important for people and Russia. I believe it would be appropriate to fix the status and role of the State Council in the Russian Constitution." On Thursday he ignored the State Council by appointing a different group to consider the constitutional amendments. No Russian commentator has published the question, why

In theory, Putin is creating more checks and balances than have existed before . Differences of view and interest between experts, parties, factions, the military, and classes – Putin's term – are inevitable and natural. The vote to adopt the proposals will, however, be an all-or-nothing one. "I believe it necessary to hold a vote of Russian citizens on the entire package of the proposed amendments to the Constitution of the Russian Federation. The final decision must be made only on the basis of its results," the president concluded in his speech.

This looks like a referendum, but Article 136 of the current Constitution is ambiguous. The 2008 amendments to the Constitution were adopted , not by referendum but by votes of the State Duma and the Federation Council. There has been no referendum under the present constitution.

How much of the proposed scheme is a fine distinction of powers without a change in their division? Putin told Medvedev at the meeting with the outgoing ministers:

"There is a clear-cut presidential block of issues, and there is a Government block of issues, even though the President, of course, is responsible for everything, but the presidential block includes primarily matters of security, defence and the like. Mr Medvedev has always been in charge of these matters. From the point of view of increasing our defence capability and security, I consider it possible and have asked him to deal with these matters in the future. I consider it possible and will, in the near future, introduce the position of Deputy Chairman of the Security Council. As you are aware, the President is its Chairman. If we need to amend the applicable law, I will do so soon and I want State Duma deputies to support this as well. We just need the lawyers to provide assessments on this account."

Sources in Russian business and government interpret Medvedev's new job as a gold-plated watch -- consolation prize for losing the presidential succession race. Sources are unanimous in judging what has happened to be the liquidation of the Medvedev faction.

Politically, the rationale is obvious. Public disapproval of the government's performance, and the stress which the ongoing US war is inflicting on Russia's domestic growth, have been showing a consistent trend.

It is equally clear that the Medvedev faction, and also the pro-American supporters behind Alexei Kudrin at the Accounting Chamber, German Gref at Sberbank, and Anatoly Chubais at the state high-technology conglomerate Rusnano, are the short-term losers of the reorganisation Putin has proposed. The short-term gainers are not so obvious. Sources among them ask why the Kremlin staff calculated that a renovation of the government ministers should be dressed up as a constitutional reform.

These sources suggest that on the sincerity test, Putin's proposals will not be believed for what he says they are. They add they are encouraged, also hopeful, that he is acting now to restrict the damage that faction-fighting over the succession can do over the next three years. Liquidating one of the factions has been an option advocated by many for some time. On the other hand, the sources point out that if Putin were sincere in his commitment to enhanced power-sharing with the parliamentary political parties, why sack the present prime minister now, and not wait for the State Duma to vote its approval for the new man under the new rules? This is a question which answers itself, most Russians think.

By the war test -- how the proposals will affect the regime-change strategy of the US and NATO – the combination of constitutional plans and the replacement of Medvedev by Mikhail Mishustin (lead image, in car next to Putin) is judged to be no gain, no concession to the other side. Not yet.

That leaves the poll test. To choose Mishustin to become the prime minister is the biggest surprise of the week , and a curious selection to win public approval. If Gogol were to use the name, he would be tagging its possessor with something like the caricature, "busy baker", since to the Russian ear, the roots of the word suggest someone who makes his living mixing things, like a baker; and who is visibly busy at that work. Mishustin himself likes to identify his recreation as ice-hockey. On the rink he plays forward and back, but not goalie.

Left: Mikhail Mishustin makes his nomination speech at the State Duma, his debut as a national political figure. Watch the speech , which was read from a paper script and lacked direct eye or any other personal contact with the deputies. They responded to the speech with brief, tepid applause. Right: Mishustin in his hockey uniform

The Russian biographic record for Mishustin, records his long technocratic training in computer science and economics; his PhD was on tax administration. He first started in state tax agency in 1998.

A 53-year old native of Moscow, Mishustin is reported to be part-Armenian by origin ; his Soviet birth certificate may indicate that at birth one of his parents held Armenian nationality. If so, he would automatically hold Armenian citizenship . According to Putin's constitutional proposals, the prime minister and other senior officials may "have no foreign citizenship or residence permit or any other document that allows them to live permanently in a foreign state."

A protιgι of Boris Fyodorov in the Yeltsin-era finance administration, Mishustin spent a brief period, 2008-2010, working in the Moscow investment banking business of UFG Partners, first established by Fyodorov. By the time Mishustin arrived, the company was owned by Deutsche Bank and run by Charles Ryan, an American; Fyodorov died of a stroke a few months into Mishustin's term at UFG. In April 2010, Mishustin returned to run the tax agency, and he has remained there for a decade. Tax evasion and embezzlement of value added tax (VAT) fill the kompromat records which have been published about Mishustin over this period.

Mishustin told the State Duma yesterday he is in favour of reducing the regulatory burden on Russian business. The Communist Party faction announced it would abstain from voting to confirm the prime minister because it was impossible to know what policies he stands for. Suspicion that Mishustin will try to cut social welfare benefits is widespread. The confirmation vote was 383 in favour; 41 abstentions; no one opposed. For the record of the Duma vote, read this .

One oligarch vote of confidence in Mishustin has been announced. Vladimir Lisin , head of the Novolipetsk steel and coal-mining group, told a Moscow newspaper: "We evaluate Mikhail Mishustin's work as head of the Federal Tax Service positively. Under his leadership, the service increased tax collection, virtually eliminated schemes used by unscrupulous businesses in competition, and reduced the number of on-site inspections several times by introducing a risk-based approach. Despite the fact that we had quite difficult debates, we always found a common
civilized solution."

Mishustin has appeared only once before this week in Putin's Kremlin office. That was on November 21, 2016, Tax Workers' Day. In their meeting Mishustin's recital of his agency's performance was unexceptional. Putin said nothing out of the ordinary. In the Russian photo archive for Mishustin, not one picture shows a smile on his face. A reluctant grin he managed for his last birthday, March 3, 2019, according to the Russian Ice Hockey Federation.

Putin has selected factotums before, men whose technical expertise was their asset, along with their lack of political constituency and electoral ambition. Mikhail Fradkov was the first, between 2004 and 2008; Victor Zubkov the second, between 2007 and 2008. When Putin appointed them, they made no changes to the power ministries. Mishustin is the third in this line. If he announces the end of the long terms in office of Sergei Shoigu and Sergei Lavrov, and General Valery Gerasimov is replaced at the General Staff, then Putin is deciding much more than he has admitted so far.

Source: Dances With Bears

[Jan 21, 2020] Opinion - Joe Biden, Friend Or Foe Of Corruption

Notable quotes:
"... This article was originally published by " ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | www.informationclearinghouse.info

UkraineGate - Inconvenient Facts


Watch

Joe Biden, Friend Or Foe Of Corruption?

Although Joe Biden very often denounces the "cancer of corruption", this first episode shows that he has lied several times, and that his attitude remains very questionable on this subject.

You will discover three characters at the heart of UkraineGate. First, Mykola Zlochevsky, the Ukrainian oligarch through whom the scandal happened. Then, General prosecutor Viktor Shokin, whose resignation was obtained under pressure from Joe Biden, less than ten months after his appointment. And finally, the latter's successor, Yuriy Lutsenko, whom Biden was quick to describe as a "solid man"

Summary – Part 1 – A Not So Solid Prosecutor

https://videos.les-crises.fr/embed/player.php?video=ukgate_short_s1e1_en_43p4orvx0fqmvdye

Full Version

https://videos.les-crises.fr/embed/player.php?video=ukgate_long_s1e1_en_jovv1vhy4zcnqlvof

Part II

Not so "dormant" investigations

This second episode focuses on the investigations of General prosecutor Shokin, described as "dormant" by the Biden clan. It demonstrates the fallacy of the narrative launched by Biden's communication advisors. But you will also discover that Biden's defense - widely reported by the mainstream media without any verification - has been challenged by Viktor Shokin in various interviews, of which we reveal several excerpts that have never been broadcast...

https://videos.les-crises.fr/embed/player.php?video=ukgate_long_s1e2_en_i0q1ez5vjqmetagp

- We will post other sections of this documentary as the become available-

This article was originally published by " UkraineGate " -

[Jan 21, 2020] App Warning With One Photo, Strangers Can Find All Your Information

Women now can appreciate the usefulness of veil ;-)
Jan 21, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com
Authored by Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com,

An app called Clearview allows the user to snap a photo of anyone. Once that's done, the person who took your picture will have access to all of your information. Privacy is now all but obsolete.

People will not, for much longer, be able to walk down the street minding their own business anonymously. According to a report by The New York Times, it won't be long before anyone at any time knows exactly who you are while you're in public.

What if a stranger could snap your picture on the sidewalk then use an app to quickly discover your name, address and other details? A startup called Clearview AI has made that possible. Perhaps the worst news is that the police state is already using this technology in some parts of the "land of the free." The app is currently being used by hundreds of law enforcement agencies in the United States, including the deep state FBI, says a Saturday report in The New York Times.

Our Orwellian future has arrived. We are to be tracked, monitored, spied on, and have no privacy whatsoever at any time. And now, other strangers will have access to your private information is you dare to show your face in public.

According to the Times, this human rights violating app works by comparing a photo snapped to a database of more than 3 billion pictures that Clearview says it's scraped off Facebook, Venmo, YouTube and other sites. It then serves up matches, along with links to the sites where those database photos originally appeared. A name might easily be unearthed, and from there, other info could be dug up online.

The size of the Clearview database dwarfs others in use by law enforcement. The FBI's own database, which taps passport and driver's license photos, is one of the largest, with over 641 million images of US citizens.

The Clearview app isn't currently available to the public, but the Times says police officers and Clearview investors think it will be in the future. – CNET

Even though law enforcement says they've used the app's technology to solve horrible crimes, human rights advocates warn that the privacy violations are going to be immense. Privacy advocates are warning that the app could return false matches to police and that it could also be used by stalkers and other creeps. They've also warned that facial recognition technologies , in general, could be used to conduct mass surveillance.

Most facial recognition technology is already used for Orwellian and tyrannical purposes by the powers that shouldn't be. It should come as no surprise that this will also be used by the ruling class to eliminate basic human rights.

[Jan 21, 2020] Now with Warren blunder Trump might be able to wipe the floor with her but not only called her "Pocahontas" but also "Bernie backstabber": betrayl of her "friend" Bernie is unforgivable

She made a blunder. That's for sure. but still Warren is a better candidate then Trump.
The shell game between Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders has transmogrified. The brutal, post-debate exchange between the duo has the progressive left fearing repeat business from '04: it happened at just the wrong time, only weeks ahead of the first primaries.
Jan 21, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
sounds very much like it, in a kind of ham-fisted, virtue-signaling way -- "Sometimes I fear the American people are still too bigoted to vote for a woman," or something like that. Yet every Clinton staffer was muttering the same thing under her breath at 3 a.m. on November 9, 2016.

What's more, Mrs. Warren never denied that Mr. Sanders only ran in the last election cycle because she declined to do so. Nor can anyone forget how vigorously he campaigned for Mrs. Clinton, even after she and the DNC rigged the primary against him. If Mrs. Warren and her surrogates at CNN are claiming that Bernie meant that a person with two X chromosomes is biologically incapable of serving as president, they're lying through their teeth.

This is how Liz treats her "friend" Bernie -- and when he denies that absurd smear, she refuses to shake his hand and accuses him of calling her a liar on national television. Then, of course, the #MeToo brigades line up to castigate him for having the temerity to defend himself -- further evidence, of course, of his sexism. I mean, like, Bernie is, like, literally Weinstein.

Then there's the "Latinx" thing, which is the absolute summit of progressive elites' disconnect with ordinary Americans. In case you didn't know, Mrs. Warren has been roundly panned for referring to Hispanics by this weird neologism, which was invented by her comrades in the ivory tower as a gender-neutral alternative to Latino or Latina . The thing is, Spanish is a gendered language. What's more, a poll by the left-wing market research group Think Now found that just 2 percent of Hispanics call themselves "Latinx." (In fact, most prefer the conventional "Hispanic," which is now verboten on the Left because it hearkens back to Christopher Columbus's discovery of La Española .)

So here comes Professor Warren -- white as Wonder Bread, the mattress in her Cambridge townhouse stuffed with 12 million big ones -- trying to rewrite the Spanish language because she thinks it's sexist. How she's made it this far in the primary is absolutely mind-boggling. She doesn't care about Hispanics, much less their culture. Like every employee of the modern education system, she's only interested in processing American citizens into gluten-free offal tubes of political correctness.

Of course, if one of her primary opponents or a cable news "Democratic strategist" (whatever that is) dared to say as much, they'd be hung, drawn, and quartered. Partisan Democrats have trained themselves not to think in such terms. That might not matter much if Mrs. Warren was facing Mitt Romney or John McCain in the general. But she's not. If she wins the primary, she'll be up against Donald Trump. And if you don't think he'll say all of this -- and a whole lot more -- you should apply for a job at CNN.


Very Funny Mr. President a day ago

... running against Mrs. Warren would be a walk in the park

Your imaginary Trump anti-Warren schtick might have worked in 2016, but boy does it come off as unfunny and stale in 2020. He's done too much damage. Not funny anymore. I voted for Trump. After all his betrayals, Warren could rip him to pieces just by standing next to him without saying a word. Her WASP reserve and Okie roots might even seem refreshing after our four-year long cesspool shower with this New York City creep.

Up North Very Funny Mr. President 11 hours ago • edited
Didn't vote for Trump, or Clinton for that matter, cast a protest Libertarian vote. In my red state it hardly matters, but the electoral college is another story. But observed long ago that indeed Warren is just what the author says, a too politically correct north east liberal who would be demolished in the presidential election against Trump. Only Biden or Klobuchar has a chance to unseat the orange man, or maybe better yet a Biden - Klobuchar ticket.
Great CoB Up North 6 hours ago
I've sometimes voted red and sometimes blue, but a Trump Vs Biden contest might well make me bored and disappointed enough to join you going libertarian.
cka2nd Up North 4 hours ago
If the Dems want to lose, Biden and Klobuchar would be a quick ticket to doing so. Warren would get the job done not much slower, unless she pivoted away from social issues.

To quote Phyllis Schlafly's advice to conservatives and the GOP, what the Dems need is "A choice, not an echo." Sanders is the closest the Dems have of offering the voters a real choice, and is the best option to defeat Trump. The D establishment will still pull out all the stops to try to block him, of course, because even they and their big donors would prefer a second Trump term over a New Deal liberal with a socialist gloss, but they may not succeed this time.

Lloyd Conway cka2nd 3 hours ago
Bernie and Tulsi are the most honest and interesting of the Democratic field, even though their politics generally aren't mine. Nonetheless, I wish them well, because they appear to say what they actually think, as opposed to whatever their operatives have focus-group tested.
Mediaistheenemy Up North 4 hours ago
Biden's corruption will come out in the general. We could write up articles of impeachment now. After all, Biden, did actually bribe the Ukraine. He said so himself. On video.
Great CoB Very Funny Mr. President 6 hours ago
I think Trump's unfortunately stronger now than he was in 2016. Clinton's attacks on him were painting him as an apocalyptic candidate who would bring America crashing down. By serving as president for 4 years with a mostly booming economy, Trump's proven them wrong. The corporate media will continue their hysterical attacks on him though, and that will boost his support. I think Hillary Clinton was more dislikeable back then than Warren is now, but Warren is probably even more out of touch. The others might also lose, but she really as a terrible candidate.
Mediaistheenemy Very Funny Mr. President 4 hours ago
What damage has Trump done, as opposed to the damage the media/Dems/deepstate's RESPONSE to Trump has done?
Trump has reduced illegal immigration with the expected subsequent increases in employment and wages, saved taxpayer 1 TRILLION dollars by withdrawing from the Paris accord, killed 2 leading terrorists (finally showing Iran that we aren't their bakshi boys), cut taxes, stood up for gun rights, reduced harmful governmental regulation, and appointed judges that will follow the law instead of feelings and popular culture.
He is also exposing the deep underbelly of the corrupt government in Washington, especially the coup organized between Obama, Hillary, the DNC, Brennan, Comey, Clapper and the hyperpartisan acts of the FBI, CIA, DOJ, IRS and now the GAO (unless you believe that the "non-partisan" GAO released their report which claimed Trump violated the law by holding up Ukranian funds for a few months within the same fiscal year on the same day Nancy forwarded the articles of impeachment by some amazing coincidence).
The problem isn't Trump. The problem is the liars opposing the existential threat Trump poses to the elitists who despise America.
John D 21 hours ago
Three years of Trump has made "academic elitist" look pretty appealing.
Mediaistheenemy John D 4 hours ago
To whom?
New Pres Please 19 hours ago
"For all my reservations about Mr. Trump -- his lagging commitment to
protectionism, his shafting of Amy Coney Barrett, his deportation of
Iraqi Christians, his burgeoning hawkishness, his total lack of
decorum -- he's infinitely preferable to anyone the Democrats could
nominate."

You gloss over a few dozen other failures, most of them bigger than anything you mention here (immigration, infrastructure, more mass surveillance and privacy violations by govt and corporations than even Obama).

Mediaistheenemy New Pres Please 4 hours ago
You realize that the progress Trump has made on immigration is why unemployment is down and wages are up, right?
Most Americans think that's a good thing.
Democrats, not so much.
Ray Woodcock 17 hours ago
I think I disliked the last thing I saw by Davis. Whatever. This one is better. Not perfect -- some of it is out of touch -- but he makes a case. And, sad to say, I concur with his prediction for the election, with or without Warren.
Maybe 14 hours ago
I'm starting to like her. I thought she handled herself well at the last debate. "Presidential". It's been quite a while since we had a real president. Too long.
cka2nd Maybe 4 hours ago
Forgive me, but Democratic voters put way too much store in presidents being Presidential. And they spent way too much time talking about Bush's verbal gaffes and Trump's disgusting personality to get Gore, Kerry or H. Clinton elected.
Angelo Bonilla 11 hours ago • edited
I am Hispanic and don't know anybody that call himself by that silly term "Latinx".
Connecticut Farmer Angelo Bonilla 9 hours ago
As the author wrote, it was invented by academics. One problem with the Democrat Party is that it is teeming with Professor Kingsfield types who are as much connected with the rest of the population as I am with aborigines.
Kevin Burke 10 hours ago
Finally someone said what most people think. Love the imagined Trump comments to Warren..."Relax. Put on a nice sweater, have a cup of tea, grade some papers." As i read those I heard Trump's unique way of speech and was laughing out loud. BTW...Tulsi Gabbard is such an attractive candidate...heard her interviewed on Tucker Carlson and I think could present a real challenge to Trump if she ever rose up to face him in a debate. It's curious someone like Warren shoots to the top, while she remains in the back of the line.
Mediaistheenemy Kevin Burke 3 hours ago
The media deliberately shut her down, just like they are shutting down Bernie. The DNC also doesn't like her (possibly because she resigned as cochair and is critical of Hillary) and seems to have chosen their debate criteria -which surveys they accept-in order to shut her out. I liked her up until she objected to taking out Soleimani-a known terrorist in the middle of a war zone planning attacks on US assets.
Sorry, Trump was spot on in this attack. Tulsi was completely wrong. However, she is honest, experienced, knowledgeable and not psychotic, a refreshing change from the other Dem Presidential candidates. If you haven't figured out yet that CNN is basically the media arm of Warren's campaign, you haven't been paying attention. That is how Warren continues to poll reasonably well.
wakeupmorons 10 hours ago • edited
These arguments amaze me. "Since your candidate is too school marmy, or elitist, or (insert usual democrat insult here), you're giving the electorate no choice but to vote for the most corrupt, openly racist, sexist, psychologically lying, dangerously mentally deranged imbecile in the country".

Because rather than an educated person who maybe comes off as an elitist, we'd rather have a disgusting deplorable who no sane parent would allow in the same room with their daughter.

Lol, and yet writers like this don't even realize the insanity of what they're saying, which is basically "that bagel is 2 days old, so I have choice but to eat this steaming pile of dog crap instead".

Connecticut Farmer wakeupmorons 8 hours ago
"Because rather than an educated person who maybe comes off as an elitist, we'd rather have a disgusting deplorable who no sane parent would allow in the same room with their daughter."

No need for the ad hominem, you are overstating your case. Remember, Trump is "educated" too. And a card-carrying member of the elite. Leave us not kid ourselves, they're all "elites" of one stripe or another. It only matters which stripe we prefer, meaning of course whether they are saying what we want to hear. Of all of the candidates, the only one who does not come off as an "elite" is Tulsi Gabbard, an intelligent woman who is arguably the most interesting of all the candidates--in part because of her active military service. I'd even throw in Andrew Yang, a friendly, engaging person who didn't seem to have an ax to grind. It matters not. Yang is out of the picture and Gabbard has as much of a crack at the Democratic nomination in 2020 as Rand Paul had at the Republican nomination in 2016--essentially zero.

wakeupmorons Connecticut Farmer 8 hours ago
Lol trump is educated too? You've lose all credibility with such comical false equivalencies.

Trump is an absolute imbecile who has failed up his entire life thanks to daddy's endless fortune. If he we born Donald Smith he'd be pumping gas in Jersey, or in jail as a low life con man.

David Naas wakeupmorons 7 hours ago
While I find myself shocked to be found defending anything Trumpean, in all fairness, he is a college grad-u-ate (shades of Lily Tomlin). The value, depth, or scope of his degree may be in question, but he does possess a sheep-skin, and hence must be considered "educated". If one wants to demean his "education" because of his personality, one must also demean a rather broad segment of college grad-u-ates as well.
Connecticut Farmer wakeupmorons 7 hours ago
He graduated from Penn's Wharton School of Business, ergo he is educated. Because a person doesn't hold the same political beliefs as another doesn't mean they can't be "educated." Liz Warren may not hold the same political beliefs as I, but I cannot argue that she isn't educated.
wakeupmorons Connecticut Farmer 6 hours ago
Lol wow, well I'd say it's hilarious that anyone can be so naive to actually think a compete imbecile like trump, who so clearly has never read a book in his life, actually earned his way into college; let alone actually studied and earned a degree.....but then I remember this country is obviously filled with people this remarkable gullible and stupid, as this walking SNL sketch is actually President.
cka2nd wakeupmorons 4 hours ago
I actually think you are spot on in your assessment of what Trump would have become if he wasn't born to money, but you really are behaving like exactly that kind of Democratic voter who gets more exorcised by Trump's personal faults than by his policy ones, the kind of Democrats who couldn't get Al Gore, John Kerry and Hilary Clinton elected.
Mediaistheenemy cka2nd 3 hours ago
Really. You think someone that managed to become President of the United States with no political or military experience would have failed at life if he hadn't had a wealthy father. You really believe that. You don't think any of Trump's success and accomplishments are due to his ambition, drive, energy, determination, executive skills, ruthlessness or media savvy. It was all due to his having a rich father.
Fascinating.
wakeupmorons Mediaistheenemy 3 hours ago • edited
Trump has had no success. He's failed at everything he's ever done. You obviously just know nothing about his actual life, and believe the made up reality TV bullshit.

The only thing he's good at is playing a rich successful man on TV to really, really, stupid, unread, unworldly, naive people....well that and giving racists white nationalists, the billionaire owner class, sexists, bigots, and deplorables, a political home.

cka2nd Mediaistheenemy 2 hours ago
I think Trump is and would have been, sans his father's wealth, one hell of a con man. And I hope to God that he would have ended up in jail for it rather than running a private equity fund, but the latter would have been just as likely.

However, I should have made that distinction in my original comment. No, I do not think that Trump would have ended up a gas station attendant.

wakeupmorons cka2nd 2 hours ago • edited
It's very hard for me to understand how anyone could be so, shall we say sheltered, that they couldn't see him coming a mile away and laugh their ass off.

He's so bad, so transparent with his obvious lies and self aggrandizing, so clearly ignorant and unread and trying to fake it, he's literally like a cartoon's funny over the top version of an idiot con man. I'll never understand how anyone could ever be fooled by it.

In fact sometimes I think 90% of his base isn't fooled, they know he's a joke, but they just don't care. He gives them the white nationalist hate and rhetoric they want, makes "liberals cry", and that all they care about.

It's a lot easier for me to believe THAT then so many people can actually be so stupid and gullible.

wakeupmorons cka2nd 2 hours ago
Say what? What policies? The trillion dollar hand out to the richest corporations in the world, double the deficit? His mind blowing disastrous foreign policy decisions that have done nothing but empowered Russia, Iran and North Korea while destabilizing western alliances? The trade wars that have cost fairness and others billions (forcing taxpayers to bail them out with tens of millions of dollars)? The xenophobia, separating and caging children? Stoking violence and hate and anger among his white nationalist base? His attacks on women reproductive rights? His attacks on all of our democratic institutions, from our free press to our intelligence agencies and congressional oversights?

A pathologically lying racist sexist self serving criminal is enough to disqualify this miscreant from being dog catcher, let alone president. But his policies are even worse.

CrossTieWalker wakeupmorons 2 hours ago
You don't seem to know that the University of Pennsylvania is an Ivy League school, or what the Wharton School of Business actually is. Imbeciles do not graduate from the Wharton School.
Mediaistheenemy wakeupmorons 3 hours ago
You think Trump won the US Presidency as his first elected office by being an imbecile?
Interesting "analysis".
wakeupmorons Mediaistheenemy 3 hours ago
Lol, trump is an imbecile, that's not even debatable. What amazes the rest of the entire civilized world outside of the batshit fringe 20% of Americans who make up the Republican voting base is how anyone could possible be conned by such a cartoonish idiot wanna be con man.

It's truly something sane people can't even begin to wrap their heads around.

Tony55398 9 hours ago
Pocahontas speak with forked tongue.
Lloyd Conway 9 hours ago
The Dowager Countess (Downton Abbey, for the un-initiated) nailed her type. In referring to her do-gooder cousin Mrs. Isobel Crawley, she said: "Some people run on greed, lust, even love. She runs on indignation." That sums up Warren perfectly.
I'll take it one step further. I bought one of her books, on the 'two-income trap' and how middle-class families go to the wall to get into good school districts for their children. She and her co-author make some valid points, but the book is replete with cliches about men abandoning their families and similar leftist tropes. If that's the best Harvard Law Warren has to offer, she's not as sharp as she thinks she is, and a bully like Trump will school her fast.
David Naas Lloyd Conway 7 hours ago
Perhaps he would use "Harvard Law Liz" as an epithet?
Lloyd Conway David Naas 3 hours ago • edited
Maybe. Perhaps she'll coin 'Wharton Hog' for the POTUS - or try correcting his English during one of the debates.
Stephen Gould 8 hours ago
Evidently Mr Davis dislikes Warren because of her personal style - but all of Trump's substantive (or even, substance...) issues are acceptable. How shallow of him.
Mediaistheenemy Stephen Gould 3 hours ago
I think he also dislikes her fundamental dishonesty and completely unworkable policies, but I may be projecting.
Stephen Gould Mediaistheenemy 2 hours ago
But those he did not mention in his article. And surely nobody thinks that Warren is more dishonest than Trump?
Tim 7 hours ago
I can't say the two of us exactly line up on everything. But, like Wow: "gluten-free offal tubes of political correctness." Now that's funny! Wish I'd thought of it.
Osse 7 hours ago • edited
I liked Warren until this attempt to stab Bernie in the back plus that childish refusal to shake his hand on national TV. I still don't dislike her, but that was embarrassing. She definitely has character flaws.

But this piece goes over the top. It's Trumpian. Warren certainly has flaws but if you are going to judge a politician by their character, in what universe would Trump come out on top?

Mediaistheenemy Osse 3 hours ago
Better than Warren.
The problem with affirmative action is when you abuse it, as Warren did, you actually rob a genuine minority from a genuine disadvantaged background of their chance.
Warren deliberately misrepresented herself as a Native American, solely for career advancement, and then abandoned her fake identity once she got tenure at Harvard. There was another woman who was an actual minority that had a teaching appointment at Harvard, but Warren beat her out, using her false claims of minority heritage to overcome her competition's actual minority status.
Trump competes on his own.
wakeupmorons Osse 2 hours ago
There what's funny about these arguments. They're basically saying, "your candidate has some flaws, she's very school marmy, and thinks she knows everything."

"Therefore, OBVIOUSLY people have no choice but to instead vote for the raging imbecile, the pathologically lying, corrupt to his core, racist, morally bankrupt, sexist imbecile with the literal temperament of of an emotionally troubled 10 year old."

Lol, and they're serious!

David Naas 7 hours ago
What unpleasant memories Mister Davis has elicited - - - i once had a schoolmarm like that. (Shudder)

It is, however, disturbing that Davis has almost captured the style of Trumptweets. The give-away is a shade more literacy and better grammar in Davis' offerings.

But what of the possibility, as suggested above, that Trump loses to Biden or (Generic Democratic candidate)?

As I tell my liberal friends, the country survived eight years of Priapic Bill, eight years of Dubya and Dubyaer, eight years of BHO, and after four years of Trump is yet standing, however drunkenly.

I think, contra many alarmists, the Republic is much stronger than the average pundit or combox warrior gives it credit.

And, who knows? Maybe the outrage pornography we get from Tweeting birdies will grow stale and passe, and people will yearn for more civil discourse? (Not likely, but one never knows.)

Night King 7 hours ago
I think she's already died and been reincarnated as Greta Thunberg.
Liam781 7 hours ago • edited
Someone hasn't lived that long in Massachusetts, it would seem. "Massachusettsian" is not the word the writer is looking for. It's "Bay Stater".

Likewise, for Connecticut residents, use "Nutmegger" rather than some (always wrong) derivative of the state name.

Michael Warren Davis Liam781 6 hours ago
I refuse to use "Bay Stater" for the same reason I dislike being called "Mike": nicknames are irritating, unless they're outlandish, like "Beanie" or "Boko" or "Buttigieg."

Massachusetts is a beautiful name -- slow and smooth, like the Merrimack. "Massachusettsian" adds a little skip at the end, as the river crashes into the Atlantic at Newburyport. It's the perfect demonym.

Speaking of, I was born and spent the first 18 years of my life in Massachusetts -- about 10 minutes outside Newburyport, where my great-great-something grandparents lived when the Revolution broke out. I don't know how much further back the family tree goes in Mass., but probably further than yours.

Liam781 Michael Warren Davis 5 hours ago • edited
Good luck with that utter nonsense word, then. Bay Stater is not a nickname - it's the longstanding term (and, for some reason, the Massachusetts General Court also blessed it legislatively), from long before my folk lived in New England since the mid-19th century (Connecticut and Massachusetts - hence my reference to Nutmeggers, as my parents made quite clear to us that there were no such things as Connecticutters or Massachusetters or the like and not to go around sounding like fools using the like.)

https://malegislature.gov/L...

Of course, I'd like to recover the old usage of the Eastern States to refer to New England. Right now, its sole prominent residue is the Big E in Springfield....

[Jan 21, 2020] Iran, Trump, and the neoliberal/neoconservative compact by Bill Martin

Notable quotes:
"... In the larger global picture, if the U.S. is to find its own balance in the contemporary world, Friedman argues that the seemingly-endless instability in the Middle East is the first and foremost problem that must be solved. Iran is a major problem here, but so is Israel, and Friedman argues that the US must find the path toward "quietly distanc[ing] itself from Israel" (p.6). ..."
"... This course of action regarding Iran and Israel (and other actors in the Muslim world, including Pakistan and Turkey) is, in Friedman's geopolitical perspective, not so much a matter of supporting U.S. global hegemony as it is recognizing the larger course that the U.S. will be compelled to take. ..."
"... So, it's back to Plan A for the Democrats and the "Left" that would be laughably absurd if it wasn't so reactionary, to get the neoliberal/ neoconservative endless-war agenda back on track, so that the march toward Iran can continue sooner rather than later. For now, the more spectacular the failure of this impeachment nonsense, the better! ..."
Jan 19, 2020 | off-guardian.org

Let's be clear, there is a difference between substituting geopolitical power calculations for a universal perspective on the good of humanity, and, on the other hand, recognizing that the existing layout of the world has to be taken into account in attempts to open up a true politics. (My larger perspective on the problem of "opening" is presented in the long essay, "The Fourth Hypothesis," at counterpunch.org.)

Personally, I find the geopolitical analyses of George Friedman very much worthwhile to consider, especially when he is looking at things long-range, as in his books The Next 100 Years and The Next Decade. The latter was published at the beginning of 2012, and so we are coming to the close of the ten-year period that Friedman discusses.

One of the major arguments that Friedman makes in The Next Decade is that the United States will have to reach some sort of accommodation with Iran and its regional ambitions. The key to this, Friedman argues, is to bring about some kind of balance of power again, such as existed before Iraq was torn apart.

This is the key in general to continued U.S. hegemony in the world, in Friedman's view -- regional balances that keep regional powers tied up and unable to rise on the world stage. (An especially interesting example here is that Friedman says that Poland will be built up as a bulwark between Russia and Germany.)

In the larger global picture, if the U.S. is to find its own balance in the contemporary world, Friedman argues that the seemingly-endless instability in the Middle East is the first and foremost problem that must be solved. Iran is a major problem here, but so is Israel, and Friedman argues that the US must find the path toward "quietly distanc[ing] itself from Israel" (p.6).

This course of action regarding Iran and Israel (and other actors in the Muslim world, including Pakistan and Turkey) is, in Friedman's geopolitical perspective, not so much a matter of supporting U.S. global hegemony as it is recognizing the larger course that the U.S. will be compelled to take.

(As the founder, CEO, and "Chief Intelligence Officer" of Stratfor, Friedman aimed to provide "non-ideological" strategic intelligence. My understanding of "non-ideological" is that the analysis was not formulated to suit the agendas of the two mainstream political parties in the U.S. However, my sense is that Friedman does believe that U.S. global hegemony is on the whole good for the world.)

In his book that came out before The Next Decade (2011), The Next 100 Years (2009), Friedman makes the case that the U.S. will not be seriously challenged globally for decades to come -- in fact, all the way until about 2080!

Just to give a different spin to something I said earlier, and that I've tried to emphasize in my articles since March 2016: questions of mere power are not questions of politics. Geopolitics is not politics, either -- in my terminology, it is "anti-politics."

For my part, I am not interested in supporting U.S. hegemony, not in the present and not in the future, and for the most part not in the past, either.

For the moment, let us simply say that the historical periods of the U.S. that are more supportable -- because they make some contribution, however flawed, to the greater, universal, human project -- are either from before the U.S. entered the road of seeking to compete with other "great powers" on the world stage, or quite apart from this road.

In my view, the end of U.S. global hegemony and, for that matter, the end of any "great nation-state" global hegemony, is a condition sine qua non of a human future that is just and sustainable. So, again, the brilliance that George Friedman often brings to geopolitical analysis is to be understood in terms of a coldly-realistic perspective, not a warmly-normative one.)

Of course, this continued U.S. hegemony depends on certain "wise" courses of action being taken by U.S. leaders (Friedman doesn't really get into the question of what might be behind these leaders), including a "subtle" approach to the aforementioned questions of Israel and Iran.

Obviously, anything associated with Donald Trump is not going to be overly subtle! On the other hand, here we are almost at the end of Friedman's decade, so perhaps the time for subtlety has passed, and the U.S. is compelled to be a bit heavy-handed if there is to be any chance of extricating itself from the endless quagmire.

However, there's a certain fly, a rather large one, in the ointment that seems to have eluded Friedman's calculations: "the rise of China."

It isn't that Friedman avoids the China question, not at all; Friedman argues, however, that by 2020 China will not only not be contending with the United States to have the largest economy in the world, but instead that China will fragment, perhaps even devolve into civil war, because of deep inequalities between the relatively prosperous coastal urban areas, and the rural interior.

Certainly I know from study, and many conversations with people in China, this was a real concern going into the 2010s and in the first half of the decade.

The chapter dealing with all this in The Next 100 Years (Ch. 5) is titled, "China 2020: Paper Tiger," the latter term being one that Chairman Mao used regarding U.S. imperialism. Friedman writes of another "figure like Mao emerg[ing] to close the country off from the outside, [to] equalize the wealth -- or poverty " (p.7).

Being an anti-necessitarian in philosophy, I certainly believe anything can happen in social matters, but it seems as though President Xi Jinping and the current leadership of the Communist Party of China have, at least for the time being, managed to head off fragmentation at the pass, so to speak.

Friedman argued that the "pass" that China especially had to deal with is unsustainable growth rates; but it appears that China has accomplished this, by purposely slowing its economy down.

One of the things that Friedman is especially helpful with, in his larger geopolitical analysis, is understanding the role that naval power plays in sustaining U.S. hegemony. (In global terms, such power is what keeps the neoliberal "free market" running, and this power is far from free.)

*

... ... ...

Two of the best supporters of Trump's stated agenda are Tucker Carlson and Steve Hilton. Neither of them pull any punches on this issue when it comes to Republicans, and both of them go some distance beyond Trump in stating an explicitly anti-war agenda.

They perhaps do not entirely fit the mold of leftist anti-imperialism as it existed from the 1890s through the Sixties (as in the political decade, perhaps 1964-1974 or so) and 1970s, but they do in fact fit this mold vastly better than almost any major figure of the Democratic Party, with the possible exceptions of Bernie Sanders, Tulsi Gabbard, and Andrew Yang. (But none of them has gone as far as Trump on this question!)

Certainly Elizabeth Warren is no exception, and at the moment of this writing she has made the crucial turn toward sticking the knife back into Bernie's back. That is her job, in my view, and part of it is to seem close to Bernie's positions (whatever their defects, which I'll discuss elsewhere), at least the ones that are more directly "economic," while winking at the ruling class.

There are a few things Carlson and Hilton say on the Iran situation and the Middle East in general that I don't agree with. But in the main I think both are right on where these issues are concerned.

As I've quoted Carlson a number of times previously, and as I also want to put forward Hilton as an important voice for a politics subservient to neither the liberal nor the conservative establishments, here let me quote what Hilton said in the midst of the Iran crisis, on January 5, 2020:

The best thing America can do to put the Middle East on a path that leads to more democracy, less terrorism, human rights and economic growth is to get the hell out of there while showing an absolute crystal clear determination to defend American interests with force whenever they are threatened.

That doesn't mean not doing anything, it means intervening only in ways that help America.

It means responding only to attacks on Americans disproportionately as a deterrent, just as we saw this week and it means finally accepting that it's not our job to fix the Middle East from afar.

The only part of this I take exception to is the "intervening only in ways that help America"-bit -- that opens the door to exactly the kinds of problems that Hilton wants the U.S. to avoid, besides the (to me, more important) fact that it is just morally wrong to think it is acceptable to intervene if it is in one's "interests."

My guess is that Hilton thinks that there is some built-in utilitarian or pragmatic calculus that means the morally-problematic interventions will not occur. I do not see where this has ever worked, but more importantly, this is where philosophy is important, theoretical work and abstract thinking are important.

It used to be that the Left was pretty good at this sort of thing, and there were some thoughtful conservatives who weren't bad, either. (A decent number of the latter, significantly, come from the Catholic intellectual tradition.) Now there are still a few of the latter, and there are ordinary people who are "thoughtful conservatives" in their "unschooled way" -- which is often better! -- but the Left has sold its intellectual soul along with its political soul.

That's a story for elsewhere (I have told parts of it in previous articles in this series); the point here is that the utilitarianism and "pragmatism" of merely calculating interests is not nearly going to cut it. (I have partly gone into this here because Hilton also advocates "pragmatism" in his very worthwhile book, Positive Populism -- it is the "affirmative" other side to Tucker Carlson's critical, "negative" expose, Ship of Fools.)

The wonderful philosophical pragmatism of William James is another matter; this is important because James, along with his friend Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain), were leading figures of the Anti-Imperialist League back in the 1890s, when the U.S. establishment was beating the drums loudly to get into the race with Europeans for colonies.

They were for never getting "in" -- and of course they were not successful, which is why "get the hell out" is as important as anything people can say today.

What an insane world when the U.S. president says this and the political establishment opposes him, and "progressives" and "the Left" join in with the denunciations!

It has often been argued that the major utilitarian philosophers, from Bentham and Mill to Peter Singer, have implicit principles that go beyond the utilitarian calculus; I agree with this, and I think this is true of Steve Hilton as well.

In this light, allow me to quote a little more from the important statement he made on his Fox News Channel program, "The Next Revolution," on January 5; all of this is stuff I entirely agree with, and that expresses some very good principles:

The West's involvement in the Middle East has been a disaster from the start and finally, with President Trump, America is in a position to bring it to an end. We don't need their oil and we don't need their problems.

Finally, we have a U.S. president who gets that and wants to get out. There are no prospects for Middle East peace as long as we are there.

We're never going to defeat the ideology of Islamist terror as long as these countries are basket cases and one of the reasons they are basket cases is that our preposterous foreign policy establishment with monumental arrogance have treated the middle east like some chess game played out in the board rooms in Washington and London.

– [foxnews.com, transcribed by Yael Halon]

So then there is the usual tittering about this and that regarding Carlson and Hilton from liberal and progressive Democrats and leftists who support the Democrats, and it seems to me that there is one major reason why there is this foolish tittering: It is because these liberals and leftists really don't care about, for example, the destruction of Libya, or the murder of Berta Caceres.

Or, maybe they do care, but they have convinced themselves that these things have to swept under the rug in the name of defeating the pure evil of Trump. What this amounts to, in the "nationalist" discourse, is that Trump is some kind of nationalist (as he has said numerous times), perhaps of an "isolationist" sort, while the Democrats are in fact what can be called "nationalists of the neoliberal/neoconservative compact."

My liberal and leftist friends (some of them Maoists and post-Maoists and Trotskyists or some other kinds of Marxists or purported radicals -- feminists or antifa or whatever) just cannot see, it simply appears to be completely beyond the realm of their imaginations, that the latter kind of nationalism is much worse and qualitatively worse than what Trump represents, and it completely lacks the substantial good elements of Trump's agenda.

But hey, don't worry my liberal and leftist friends, it is hard to imagine that Joe Biden's "return to normalcy" won't happen at some point -- it will take not only an immense movement to even have a chance of things working out otherwise, but a movement that likes of which is beyond everyone's imagination at this point -- a movement of a revolutionary politics that remains to be invented, as all real politics are, by the masses.

Liberals and leftists have little to worry about here, they're okay with a Deep State society with a bullshit-democratic veneer and a neoliberal world order; this set-up doesn't really affect them all that much, not negatively at any rate, and the deplorables can just go to hell.

*

The Left I grew up with was the Sixties Left, and they used to be a great source of historical memory, and of anti-imperialism, civil rights, and ordinary working-people empowerment.

The current Left, and whatever array of Democratic-Party supporters, have received their marching orders, finally, from commander Pelosi (in reality, something more like a lieutenant), so the two weeks or so of "immense concern" about Iran has given way again to the extraordinarily-important and solemn work of impeachment.

But then, impeachment is about derailing the three main aspects of Trump's agenda, so you see how that works. Indeed, perhaps the way this is working is that Trump did in fact head off, whatever one thinks of the methods, a war with Iran (at this time! – and I do think this is but a temporary respite), or more accurately, a war between Iran and Israel that the U.S. would almost certainly be sucked into immediately.

So, it's back to Plan A for the Democrats and the "Left" that would be laughably absurd if it wasn't so reactionary, to get the neoliberal/ neoconservative endless-war agenda back on track, so that the march toward Iran can continue sooner rather than later. For now, the more spectacular the failure of this impeachment nonsense, the better!

Bill Martin is a philosopher and musician, retired from DePaul University. He is completing a book with the title, "The Trump Clarification: Disruption at the Edge of the System (toward a theory)." His most recent albums are "Raga Chaturanga" (Bill Martin + Zugzwang; Avant-Bass 3) and "Emptiness, Garden: String Quartets nos. 1 and 2 (Ryokucha Bass Guitar Quartet; Avant-Bass 4). He lives in Salina, Kansas, and plays bass guitar with The Radicles.


Dungroanin ,

I have read through finally. And comments too.

My opinion is Bill Martin is on the ball except for one personage- Hilton. If he is Camerons Hilton and architect of the Brexit referendum – for which he is rewarded with a 'seat at the table' of the crumbling Empire. The Strafor man too is just as complicit in the Empires wickedness.

But I'll let Bill off with that because he mentioned the Anti-Imperialist Mark Twain – always a joy to be reminded of Americas Dickens.

On Trump – he didn't use the Nuclear codes 10 minutes after getting them as warned by EVERYONE. Nor start a war with RocketMan, or Russia in Syria, or in Ukraine or with the Chinese using the proxy Uighars, or push through with attempted Bay of Pigs in Venezuela or just now Hong Kong. The Wall is not built and the ineffectual ripoff Obamacare version of a NHS is still there.
Judge by deeds not words.

Soleimani aside – He may have stopped the drive for war. Trumps direct contact with fellow world leaders HAS largely bypassed the war mongering State Department and also the Trillion dollar tax free Foundations set up last century to deliver the world Empire, that has so abused the American peoples and environment. He probably wasn't able to stop Bolivia.
The appointments of various players were not necessarily in his hands as Assad identified- the modern potus is merely a CEO/Chair of a board of directors who are put into place by the special interests who pour billions, 10's of billions into getting their politicians elected. They determine 'National Interests'. All he can do is accept their appointment and give them enough rope to hang themselves – which most have done!
These are that fight clubs rules.

On the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation – after 20 full years of working towards cohesion- they have succeeded. Iran is due to become a full member – once it is free of UN sanctions, which is why Trump was forced into pulling the treaty with them, so that technicality could stop that membership. China is not having it nor is Russia – Putins clear statement re the 'international rules' not being mandatory for them dovetails with the US position of Exceptionality. Checkmate.

As for the Old Robber Baron Banker Pirates idea that they should be allowed a Maritime Empire as consolation- ha ha ha, pull the other one.

The ancient sea trading routes from Africa to China were active for thousands of years before the Europeans turned up and used unequal power to disrupt and pillage at their hearts content.

What made that possible was of course explained in the brilliant Guns, Germs and Steel.

These ancients have ALL these and are equal or advanced in all else including Space, Comms and AI. A navy is not so vital when even nuclear subs are visible from low orbit satellites except in the deepest trenches – not a safe place to hide for months and also pretty crowded with all the other subs trying to hide there. As for Aircraft carrier groups – just build an island! Diego Garcia has a rival.

Double Checkmate.

The Empire is Dead. Long live the Empire.

Dungroanin ,

And this is hilarious about potus turning the tables on the brass who tried to drag him into the 'tank'.

https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2020/01/the-betrayal-of-trump-by-larry-c-johnson.html

'Grab the damn fainting couch. Trump told the assembled military leaders who had presided over a military stalemate in Afghanistan and the rise of ISIS as "losers." Not a one of them had the balls to stand up, tell him to his face he was wrong and offer their resignation. Nope. They preferred to endure such abuse in order to keep their jobs. Pathetic.

This excerpt in the Washington Post tells the reader more about the corruption of the Deep State and their mindset than it does about Trump's so-called mental state. Trump acted no differently in front of these senior officers and diplomats than he did on the campaign trail. He was honest. That is something the liars in Washington cannot stomach. '

Rhys Jaggar ,

I am not an expert on US Constitutional Law, but is there any legal mechanism for a US President to hold a Referendum in the way that the UK held a 'Brexit Referendum' and Scotland held an 'Independence Referendum'?

How would a US Referendum in 'Getting the hell out of the Middle East, bringing our boys and girls home before the year is out' play out, I wonder?

That takes the argument away from arch hawks like Bolton et al and puts it firmly in the ambit of Joe Schmo of Main Street, Oshkosh

wardropper ,

Great idea.
Main problem is that most Americans are brought up to think their government is separate from themselves, and should not be seriously criticized.
By "criticized", I mean, taken to task in a way which actually puts them on a playing field where they are confronted by real people.
Shouting insults at the government from the rooftops is simply greeted with indulgent smiles from the guilty elite.

Richard Le Sarc ,

George Friedman is a bog standard Zionist, therefore, out of fear, a virulent Sinophobe, because the Zionists will never control China as they do the Western slave regimes. China surpassed the USA as the world' s largest economy in 2014, on the PPP calculus that the CIA,IMF and just about everyone uses. It' s growing three times as fast as the USA, too. The chance of China fragmenting by 2020 is minuscule, certainly far less than that of the USA. The Chinese have almost totally eliminated poverty, and will raise the living standard of all to a ' middle income' by 2049. It is, however, the genocidal policy of the USA, on which it expend billions EVERY year, to do its diabolical worst to attempt to foment and foster such a hideous fate inside China, by supporting vermin like the Hong Kong fascist thugs, the Uighur salafist terrorist butchers, the medieval theocrats of the Dalai clique and separatist movements in Inner Mongolia, ' Manchuria', Taiwan, even Guandong and Guangxi. It takes a real Western thug to look forward to the ghastly suffering that these villainous ambitions would unleash.

Antonym ,

In RlS's nut shell: China can annex area but Israel: no way!

Dungroanin ,

Which area is China looking to annex?

Richard Le Sarc ,

Ant is a pathological Zionist liar, but you can see his loyalty to ' Eretz Yisrael' , ' ..from the Nile to the Euphrates', and ' cleansed' of non-Jews, can' t you.

alsdkjf ,

I'm surprised that this author can even remember the counter culture of the 60s given his Trump love.

Yet more Trumpism from Off Guardian. One doesn't have to buy into the politics of post DLC corporate owned DNC to know Trump for what he is. A fascist.

It's just amazing this Trump "left". Pathetic.

Antonym ,

Trump .. better than HRC but the guy is totally hypnotized by the level of the New York stock exchanges: even his foreign policy is improvised around that. He simply thinks higher is a proof of better forgetting that 90% of Americans don't own serious quantity of stock and that levels are manipulated by big players and the FED. https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/08/business/economy/stocks-economy.html

Look at his dealing with China: tough as much as the US stock market stays benign in the short term. Same for Iran etc.

Sure, he is crippled by Pelosi & the FBI / CIA, but he is also by his own stock dependent mind. Might be the reason he is still alive ???

alsdkjf ,

Trump crippled by the CIA? Trump?

I mean the fascist jerk appointed ex CIA torture loving Pompeo to replace swamp creature oil tycoon as Secretary of State, no?

He appointed torture queen within the CIA to become CIA Director, no?

He went to the CIA headquarters on day one of his Administration to lavish praise, no?

He took on ex CIA Director Woolsey as advisor on foreign policy during his campaign, no?

I tell ya that Trump is a real adversary of the CIA!

Gall ,

Roger that. Trump appoints a dominatrix as DCI. Only a masochist or a sadist would Dream of Gina..you know the head of the torture squad under Bush. Otherwise nice girl. PompAss is a total clown but a dangerous one who even makes John Bolton look sane. Now that's scary!

This guy is Hilary Clinton in drag. The only thing missing is the evil triumphalist cackle after whacking Soleimani. Maybe it wasn't recorded.

So much for "draining the swamp". The Whitehouse has become an even bigger swamp.

Antonym ,

Forgot about John Brennan ex- CIA head or James Clapper ex-DNI honcho?
John Brennan On 'All Roads With Trump Lead To Putin' | The Last Word | MSNBC
They practically too Trump hostage in his first year.

one ,

my take from this article:
There are, among the murderers and assassins in Washington, a couple of characters who appear to have 2% of human DNA.
They author may confirm.

two ,

"israel is right in the cen "
sorry, the muderous regime israel has repeatedly proven, it's never never right . please avoid this usage.

three ,

There are 53 or 54 'I's in the article, including his partner's Is. The author may confirm.

Dungroanin ,

Phew!

That is a lot of words mate. Fingers must be sore. I won't comment more until trying to re-read again except quote this:

"Being an anti-necessitarian in philosophy,.."

I must say i had a wtf moment at that point see ya later.

paul ,

The idea that Trump's recent actions in the Middle East were part of some incredibly cunning plan to avoid war with Iran, strikes me as somewhat implausible, to put it (very) charitably.

Even Hitler didn't want war. He wanted to achieve his objectives without fighting. When that didn't work, war was Plan B. Trump probably has very little actual control over foreign policy. He is surrounded by people who have been plotting and scheming against him from long before he was elected. He heads a chaotic and dysfunctional administration of billionaires, chancers, grifters, conmen, superannuated generals, religious nut jobs, swamp creatures, halfwits and outright criminals, lurching from one crisis and one fiasco to the next. Some of these people like Bolton were foisted upon him by Adelson and various other backers and wire pullers, but that is not to absolve Trump of personal responsibility.

Competing agencies which are a law unto themselves have been free to pursue their own turf wars at the expense of anything remotely resembling a rational and coherent strategy. So have quite low level bureaucrats, formulating and implementing their own policies with little regard for the White House. In Syria, the Pentagon, the CIA, and the State Department went their own way, each supporting competing and mutually antagonistic factions and terrorist groups. Agreements that were reached with Russia over Syria, for example, were deliberately sabotaged by Ashton Carter in 24 hours. Likewise, Bolton did everything he could to wreck Trump's delicate negotiations with N. Korea.

paul ,

Seen in this light, US policy (or the absence of any coherent policy) is more understandable. What passes for US leadership is the worst in its history, even given a very low bar. Arrogant, venal, corrupt, delusional, irredeemably ignorant, and ideologically driven. The only positive thing that can be said is that the alternative (Clinton) would probably have been even worse, if that is possible.

That may also be the key to understanding the current situation. For all his pandering to Israel, Trump is more of a self serving unprincipled opportunist than a true Neocon/ Zionist believer in the mould of Pence, Bolton and Pompeo. For that reason he is not trusted by the Zionist Power Elite. He is too much of a loose cannon. They will take all his Gives, like Jerusalem and the JCPOA, but without any gratitude.

It has taken them a century of plotting, scheming and manoeuvring to achieve their political, financial, and media stranglehold over the US. but America is a wasting asset and they are under time pressure. It is visibly declining and losing its influence. And the parasite will find it difficult to find a similar host. Who else is going to give Israel billions a year in tribute, unlimited free weaponry and diplomatic cover? Russia? Are Chinese troops "happy to die for Israel" asUS ones are (according to their general)?

paul ,

And they are way behind schedule. Assad was supposed to be dead by now, and Syria another defenceless failed state, broken up into feuding little cantons, with Israel expanding into the south of the country. The main event, the war with Iran, should have started lond ago.

That is the reason for the impeachment circus. This is not intended to be resolved one way or the other. It is intended to drag on indefinitely, for months and years, to distract and weaken Trump and make it possible to extract what they want. One of the reasons Trump agreed to the murder of Soleimani and his Iraqi opposite number was to appease some Republican senators like Graham whose support is essential to survive impeachment. They were the ones who wanted it, along with Bolton and Netanyahu.

paul ,

It is instructive that all the main players in the impeachment circus are Jews, under Sanhedrin Chief Priests Schiff and Nadler, apart from a few token goys thrown in to make up the numbers. That even goes for those defending Trump.

Richard Le Sarc ,

Don' t forget that Lebanon up to the Litani is the patrimony of the Jewish tribes of Asher and Naphtali, and, as Smotrich, Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, said on Israeli TV a few years ago, ' Damascus belongs to the Jews'.

bevin ,

" China will fragment, perhaps even devolve into civil war, because of deep inequalities between the relatively prosperous coastal urban areas, and the rural interior."

This is not Bill, but Bill's mate the Stratcor geopolitical theorist for hire.

What is happening in the world is that the only empire the globe, as a whole, has ever seen- the pirate kingdom that the Dutch, then the British and finally the US, leveraged out of the plunder and conquest of America -the maritime empire, of sea routes and navies is under challenge by a revival of the Eurasian proto-empires that preceded it and drove its merchants and princes on the Atlantic coast, to sea.

We know who the neo-liberals are the current iteration of the gloomy philosophies of the Scots Enlightenment, (Cobbett's 'Scotch Feelosophy') utilitarianism in its crudest form and the principles of necessary inequalities, from the Austrian School back to the various crude racisms which became characteristic of the C19th.
The neo-cons are the latest expression of the maritime powers' fear of Eurasia and its interior lines of communication. Besides which the importance of navies and of maritime agility crumble.
Bill mentions that China has not got much of a navy. I'm not so sure about that, but isn't it becoming clear that navies-except to shipyards, prostitutes and arms contractors- are no longer of sovereign importance? There must be missile commanders in China drooling over the prospect of catching a US Fleet in all its glory within 500 miles of the mainland. Not to mention on the east coast of the Persian Gulf.
The neo-cons are the last in a long line of strategists, ideologists and, for the most part, mercenary publicists defying the logic of Halford Mackinder's geo-strategy for a lot more than a penny a line. And what they urge, is all that they can without crossing the line from deceitfulness to complete dishonesty: chaos and destabilisation within Eurasia, surrounding Russia, subverting Sinkiang and Tibet, employing sectarian guerrillas, fabricating nationalists and nationalisms.. recreate the land piracy, the raiding and the ethnic explosions that drove trade from the land to the sea and crippled the Qing empire.
The clash is between war, necessary to the Maritime Empire and Peace, vital to the consolidation and flowering of Eurasia.

As to Israel, and perhaps we can go into this later: it looms much larger in the US imagination (and the imaginations the 'west' borrows from the US) than anywhere else. It is a tiny sliver of a country. Far from being an elephant in any room, it is simply a highly perfumed lapdog which also serves as its master's ventriloquist's dummy. Its danger lies in the fact that after decades of neglect by its idiotic self indulgent masters, it has become an openly fascist regime, which was definitely not meant to happen, and, misled by its own exotic theories of race, has come to believe that it can do what it wants. It can't-and this is one reason why Bill misjudges the reasoning behind the Soleimani killing- but it likes to act, or rather threaten to act, as if it could.

(By the way-note to morons across the web-Bill's partner quotes Adorno and writes about him too: cue rants about Cultural Marxism.)

Hugh O'Neill ,

Thanks, Bevin. The article was so long, I had quite forgotten that he laid too much emphasis on the Stratcor Unspeakable. Clever he may be, but not much use without a moral compass. Talking of geo-strategists, you will doubtless be aware of the work of A.T. Mahan whose blueprint for acquisition of inspired Teddy Roosevelt and leaders throughout Europe, Russia, Japan.

Richard Le Sarc ,

Friedman is a snake oil peddler. He tells the ruling psychopaths what they want to hear, like ' China crumbling', their favourite wet-dream.

bevin ,

I agree about Mahan's importance. He understood what lay behind the Empire on which the sun never set but he had enough brains to have been able to realise that current conditions make those fleets obsolete. In fact the Germans in the last War realised that too- their strategy was Eurasian, it broke down over the small matter of devouring the USSR. The expiry date on the tin of Empire has been obvious for a long time- there is simply too much money to be made by ignoring it.
Russia has always been the problem, either real (very occasionally) or latent for the Dutch/British/US Empire because it is just so clear that the quickest and most efficient communications between Shanghai and Lisbon do not go through the Straits of Malacca, the Suez Canal, or round the cape . Russia never had to do a thing to earn the enmity of the Empire, simply existing was a challenge. And that remains the case- for centuries the Empire denounced the Russians because of the Autocracy, then it was the anarchism of the Bolsheviks, then it was the autocracy again, this time featuring Stalin, then it was the chaos of the oligarchs and now we are back with the Tsar/Stalin Putin.

Hugh O'Neill ,

Phenomenal diagnosis, Bevin. However, one suspects that there is still too much profit to be made by the MIC in pursuing useless strategies. I imagine Mahan turning in his grave in his final geo-strategic twist.

Richard Le Sarc ,

Yes-Zionist hubris will get Israel into a whole world of sorrow.

MASTER OF UNIVE ,

More USA Deep State conspiracy theorizing which makes the author American paternalism posing as authorship that is revenue neutral when it ain't.

Any article with mention of mother-'Tucker' Carlson is one that is pure propagandistic tripe in the extreme. Off-G is a UK blog yet this Americanism & worn out aged propaganda still prevails in the minds of US centric myopics writ large across all states in the disunity equally divided from cities to rural towns all.

MOU

johny conspiranoid ,

"More USA Deep State conspiracy theorizing which makes the author American paternalism posing as authorship that is revenue neutral when it ain'"
Is this even a sentence?

MASTER OF UNIVE ,

It was a sentence when I was smoking marijuana yesterday, Johnny C. Today it is still a sentence IMHO, but you transcribed it incorrectly, and forgot the end of the sentence.

NOTE: When I smoke marijuana I am allowed to write uncoordinated sentences. These are the rules in CANADA. If you don't like it write to your local politician and complain bitterly.

MOU

Charlotte Russe ,

Bush, Obama, and Clinton are despicable. In fact, they're particularly disgusting, inasmuch, as they were much more "cognizant" than Trump of how their actions would lead to very specific insidious consequences. In addition, they were more able to cleverly conceal their malevolent deeds from the public. And that's why Trump is now sitting in the Oval Office–he won because of public disgust for lying politicians.

However, Trump is "dangerous" because he's a "misinformed idiot," and as such is extremely malleable. Of course, ignorance is no excuse when the future of humanity is on the line

In any event, Trump is often not aware of the outcome of his actions. And when you're surrounded and misinformed by warmongering neoconservative nutcases, especially ones who donated to your campaign chances are you'll do stupid things. And that's what they're counting on.

alsdkfj ,

Trump is some virtuous example of a truth teller? Trump?

The biggest liar to every occupy the White House and that is saying a lot.

Swamp Monster fascist Trump. So much to love, right?

He could murder one of your friends and you'd still apologize for him, is my guess.

Hugh O'Neill ,

It was a long read, but I got there. In essence, I agreed with 99%, but I hesitate to share too much praise for Trump's qualities as a Human Being – though he may be marginally more Human than the entire US body politic. I was walking our new puppy yesterday when he did his usual attempt to leap all over other walkers. I pleaded their forgiveness and explained that his big heart was in inverse proportion to his small brain. It occurred to me later that the opposite would be pure evil i.e. a small heart but big brain. Capitalism as is now infects the Human Experiment, has reduced both brains and hearts: propagandists believe their own lies, and too few trust their own instincts and innate compassion, ground down by the relentless distractions of lies and 'entertainment' (at least the Romas gave you free bread!).
I get the impression that Trump's world view hasn't altered much since he was about 11 years old. I do not intend to insult all eleven-year-olds, but his naivety is not a redeeming feature of his spoilt brat bully personality. He has swallowed hook, line and sinker every John Wayne cowboy movie and thinks the world can be divided into good guys and bad guys depending on what colour hat they wear. In the days of Black & White TV, it was either black or white. The world seemed so much simpler aged 11 .(1966).

Dungroanin ,

Yet I have yet to see one photo of Trump with a gun or in uniform.

MASTER OF UNIVE ,

The Duck learned to dress appropriately for business, I'll give him that. As a New York Real Estate scion you will never see him dress otherwise. Protocol in business is a contemporary business suit. No other manner of dress is allowed for the executive class in North America or UK.

[Jan 21, 2020] The Middle East Strategic "Balance" Shredded -- Strategic Culture

Jan 21, 2020 | www.strategic-culture.org

The U.S. was having some success with turning protest messaging against Iran – until, that is – its killing and wounding of so many Iraqi security force members last week (Ketaib Hizbullah is a part of Iraq's armed forces).

Escalation of maximum-pressure was one thing (Iran was confident of weathering that); but assassinating such a senior official on his state duties, was quite something else. We have not observed a state assassinating a most senior official of another state before.

And the manner of its doing, was unprecedented too. Soleimani was officially visiting Iraq. He arrived openly as a VIP guest from Syria, and was met on the tarmac by an equally senior Iraqi official, Al-Muhandis, who was assassinated also, (together with seven others). It was all open. General Soleimani regularly used his mobile phone as he argued that as a senior state official, if he were to be assassinated by another state, it would only be as an act of war.

This act, performed at the international airport of Baghdad, constitutes not just the sundering of red lines, but a humiliation inflicted on Iraq – its government and people. It will upend Iraq's strategic positioning. The erstwhile Iraqi attempt at balancing between Washington and Iran will be swept away by Trump's hubristic trampling on the country's sovereignty. It may well mark the beginning of the end of the U.S. presence in Iraq (and therefore Syria, too), and ultimately, of America's footprint in the Middle East.

Trump may earn easy plaudits now for his "We're America, Bitch!", as one senior White House official defined the Trump foreign policy doctrine; but the doubts – and unforeseen consequences soon may come home to roost.

Why did he do it? If no one really wanted 'war', why did Trump escalate and smash up all the crockery? He has had an easy run (so far) towards re-election, so why play the always unpredictable 'wild card' of a yet another Mid-East conflict?

Was it that he wanted to show 'no Benghazi'; no U.S. embassy siege 'on my watch' – unlike Obama's handling of that situation? Was he persuaded that these assassinations would play well to his constituency (Israeli and Evangelical)? Or was he offered this option baldly by the Netanyahu faction in Washington? Maybe.

Some in Israel are worried about a three or four front war reaching Israel. Senior Israeli officials recently have been speculating about the likelihood of regional conflict occurring within the coming months. Israel's PM however, is fighting for his political life, and has requested immunity from prosecution on three indictments – pleading that this was his legal right, and that it was needed for him to "continue to lead Israel" for the sake of its future. Effectively, Netanyahu has nothing to lose from escalating tensions with Iran -- but much to gain.

Opposition Israeli political and military leaders have warned that the PM needs 'war' with Iran -- effectively to underscore the country's 'need' for his continued leadership. And for technical reasons in the Israeli parliament, his plea is unlikely to be settled before the March general elections. Netanyahu thus may still have some time to wind up the case for his continued tenure of the premiership.

One prime factor in the Israeli caution towards Iran rests not so much on the waywardness of Netanyahu, but on the inconstancy of President Trump: Can it be guaranteed that the U.S. will back Israel unreservedly -- were it to again to become enmeshed in a Mid-East war? The Israeli and Gulf answer seemingly is 'no'. The import of this assessment is significant. Trump now is seen by some in Israel – and by some insiders in Washington – as a threat to Israel's future security vis à vis Iran. Was Trump aware of this? Was this act a gamble to guarantee no slippage in that vital constituency in the lead up to the U.S. elections? We do not know.

So we arrive at three final questions: How far will Iran absorb this new escalation? Will Iran confine its retaliation to within Iraq? Or will the U.S. cross another 'red line' by striking inside Iran itself, in any subsequent tit for tat?

Is it deliberate (or is it political autism) that makes Secretary Pompeo term all the Iraqi Hash'd a-Sha'abi forces – whether or not part of official Iraqi forces – as "Iran-led"? The term seems to be used as a laissez-passer to attack all the many Hash'd a-Sha'abi units on the grounds that, being "Iran-linked", they therefore count as 'terrorist forces'. This formulation gives rise to the false sequitur that all other Iraqis would somehow approve of the killings. This would be laughable, if it were not so serious. The Hash'd forces led the war against ISIS and are esteemed by the vast majority of Iraqis. And Soleimani was on the ground at the front line, with those Iraqi forces.

These forces are not Iranian 'proxies'. They are Iraqi nationalists who share a common Shi'a identity with their co-religionists in Iran, and across the region. They share a common zeitgeist, they see politics similarly, but they are no puppets (we write from direct experience).

But what this formulation does do is to invite a widening conflict: Many Iraqis will be outraged by the U.S. attacks on fellow Iraqis and will revenge them. Pompeo (falsely) will then blame Iran. Is that Pompeo's purpose: casus belli?

But where is the off-ramp? Iran will respond Is this affair simply set to escalate from limited military exchanges and from thence, to escalate until what? We understand that this was not addressed in Washington before the President's decision was made. There are no real U.S. channels of communication (other than low level) with Iran; nor is there a plan for the next days. Nor an obvious exit. Is Trump relying on gut instinct again?

[Jan 21, 2020] The Many Matryoska Dolls to America's Way of Imagining Iran -- Strategic Culture

Notable quotes:
"... The Open Society and its Enemies ..."
"... "Since President Donald Trump ordered the drone strike that killed [Soleimani – justified in terms of deterrence, and allegedly halting an attack] a handful of Trump's advisers, however, [espied another] strategic benefit to killing Soleimani: Call it regime disruption ..."
"... "The case for disruption is outlined in a series of unclassified memos sent to [John Bolton]in May and June 2019 their author, David Wurmser, is a longtime adviser to Bolton who then served as a consultant to the National Security Council. Wurmser argues that Iran is in the midst of a legitimacy crisis. Its leadership, he writes, is divided between camps that seek an apocalyptic return of the Hidden Imam, and those that favour of the preservation of the Islamic Republic. All the while, many Iranians have grown disgusted with the regime's incompetence and corruption. ..."
"... "Wurmser's crucial insight [is that] – were unexpected, rule-changing actions taken against Iran, it would confuse the regime. It would need to scramble," he writes. Such a U.S. attack would "rattle the delicate internal balance of forces and the control over them upon which the regime depends for stability and survival." Such a moment of confusion, Wurmser writes, will create momentary paralysis -- and the perception among the Iranian public that its leaders are weak. ..."
"... "Wurmser's memos show that the Trump administration has been debating the blow against Soleimani since the current crisis began, some seven months ago After Iran downed a U.S. drone [in June], Wurmser advised Bolton that the U.S. response should be overt and designed to send a message that the U.S. holds the Iranian regime, not the Iranian people, responsible. "This could even involve something as a targeted strike on someone like Soleimani or his top deputies," Wurmser wrote in a June 22 memo. ..."
"... In these memos, Wurmser is careful to counsel against a ground invasion of Iran. He says the U.S. response "does not need to be boots on the ground (in fact, it should not be)." Rather, he stresses that the U.S. response should be calibrated to exacerbate the regime's domestic legitimacy crisis. ..."
"... Coping with Crumbling States ..."
"... Clean Break ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | www.strategic-culture.org

lastair Crooke January 20, 2020 © Photo: Flickr / DonkeyHotey On the 17 September 1656, Oliver Cromwell, a Protestant Puritan, who had won a civil war, and had the English king beheaded in public, railed against England's enemies. There was, he told Parliament that day, an axis of evil abroad in the world. And this axis – led by Catholic Spain – was, at root, the problem of a people that had placed themselves at the service of 'evil'. This 'evil', and the servitude that it beget, was the evil of a religion – Catholicism – that refused the English peoples' desire for simple liberties: " [an evil] that put men under restraint under which there was no freedom and under which, there could be 'no liberty of individual consciousness'".

That was how the English protestant leader saw Catholic Spain in 1656. And it is very close to how key orientations in the U.S. sees Iran today : The evil of religion – of Shi'ism – subjecting (they believe) Iranians to repression, and to serfdom. In Europe, this ideological struggle against the 'evil' of an imposed religious community (the Holy 'Roman' Axis, then) brought Europe to 'near-Armageddon', with the worst affected parts of Europe seeing their population decimated by up to 60% during the conflict.

Is this faction in the U.S. now intent on invoking a new, near-Armageddon – on this occasion, in the Middle East – in order, like Cromwell, to destroy the religious 'community known' as the Shi'a Resistance Axis, seen to stretch across the region, in order to preserve the Jewish "peoples' desire for simple liberties"?

Of course, today's leaders of this ideological faction are no longer Puritan Protestants (though the Christian Evangelicals are at one with Cromwell's 'Old Testament' literalism and prophesy). No, its lead ideologues are the neo-conservatives, who have leveraged Karl Popper's hugely influential The Open Society and its Enemies – a seminal treatise, which to a large extent, has shaped how many Americans imagine their 'world'. Popper's was history understood as a series of attempts, by the forces of reaction, to smother an open society with the weapons of traditional religion and traditional culture:

Marx and Russia were cast as the archetypal reactionary threat to open societies. This construct was taken up by Reagan, and re-connected to the Christian apocalyptic tradition (hence the neo-conservative coalition with Evangelists yearning for Redemption , and with liberal interventionists, yearning for a secular millenarianism). All concur that Iran is reactionary, and furthermore, the posit, poses a grave threat to Israel's self-proclaimed 'open society'.

The point here is that there is little point in arguing with these people that Iran poses no threat to the U.S. (which is obvious) – for the 'project' is ideological through and through. It has to be understood by these lights. Popper's purpose was to propose that only liberal globalism would bring about a "growing measure of humane and enlightened life" and a free and open society – period.

All this is but the outer Matryoshka – a suitable public rhetoric, a painted image – that can be used to encase the secret, inner dolls. Eli Lake, writing in Bloomberg , however, gives away the next doll:

"Since President Donald Trump ordered the drone strike that killed [Soleimani – justified in terms of deterrence, and allegedly halting an attack] a handful of Trump's advisers, however, [espied another] strategic benefit to killing Soleimani: Call it regime disruption

"The case for disruption is outlined in a series of unclassified memos sent to [John Bolton]in May and June 2019 their author, David Wurmser, is a longtime adviser to Bolton who then served as a consultant to the National Security Council. Wurmser argues that Iran is in the midst of a legitimacy crisis. Its leadership, he writes, is divided between camps that seek an apocalyptic return of the Hidden Imam, and those that favour of the preservation of the Islamic Republic. All the while, many Iranians have grown disgusted with the regime's incompetence and corruption.

"Wurmser's crucial insight [is that] – were unexpected, rule-changing actions taken against Iran, it would confuse the regime. It would need to scramble," he writes. Such a U.S. attack would "rattle the delicate internal balance of forces and the control over them upon which the regime depends for stability and survival." Such a moment of confusion, Wurmser writes, will create momentary paralysis -- and the perception among the Iranian public that its leaders are weak.

"Wurmser's memos show that the Trump administration has been debating the blow against Soleimani since the current crisis began, some seven months ago After Iran downed a U.S. drone [in June], Wurmser advised Bolton that the U.S. response should be overt and designed to send a message that the U.S. holds the Iranian regime, not the Iranian people, responsible. "This could even involve something as a targeted strike on someone like Soleimani or his top deputies," Wurmser wrote in a June 22 memo.

In these memos, Wurmser is careful to counsel against a ground invasion of Iran. He says the U.S. response "does not need to be boots on the ground (in fact, it should not be)." Rather, he stresses that the U.S. response should be calibrated to exacerbate the regime's domestic legitimacy crisis.

So there it is – David Wurmser is the 'doll' within: no military invasion, but just a strategy to blow apart the Iranian Republic. Wurmser, Eli Lake reveals, has quietly been advising Bolton and the Trump Administration all along. This was the neo-con, who in 1996, compiled Coping with Crumbling States (which flowed on from the infamous Clean Break policy strategy paper, written for Netanyahu, as a blueprint for destructing Israel's enemies). Both these papers advocated the overthrow of the Secular-Arab nationalist states – excoriated both as "crumbling relics of the 'evil' USSR" (using Popperian language, of course) – and inherently hostile to Israel (the real message).

Well ( big surprise ), Wurmser has now been at work as the author of how to 'implode' and destroy Iran. And his insight? "A targeted strike on someone like Soleimani"; split the Iranian leadership into warring factions; cut an open wound into the flesh of Iran's domestic legitimacy; put a finger into that open wound, and twist it; disrupt – and pretend that the U.S. sides with the Iranian people, against its government.

Eli Lake seems, in his Bloomberg piece, to think that the Wurmser strategy has worked. Really? The problem here is that narratives in Washington are so far apart from the reality that exists on the ground – they simply do not touch at any point. Millions attended Soleimani's cortege. His killing gave a renewed cohesion to Iran. Little more than a dribble have protested.

Now let us unpack the next 'doll': Trump bought into Wurmser's 'play', albeit, with Trump subsequently admitting that he did the assassination under intense pressure from Republican Senators. Maybe he believed the patently absurd narrative that Iranians would 'be dancing in the street' at Soleimani's killing. In any event, Trump is not known, exactly, for admitting his mistakes. Rather, when something is portrayed as his error, the President adopts the full 'salesman' persona: trying to convince his base that the murder was no error, but a great strategic success – "They like us", Trump claimed of protestors in Iran.

Tom Luongo has observed : "Trump's impeachment trial in the Senate begins next week, and it's clear that this will not be a walk in the park for the President. Anyone dismissing this because the Republicans hold the Senate, simply do not understand why this impeachment exists in the first place. It is [occurring because it offers] the ultimate form of leverage over a President whose desire to end the wars in the Middle East is anathema to the entrenched powers in the D.C. Swamp." Ah, so here we arrive at another inner Matryoshka.

This is Luongo's point: Impeachment was the leverage to drive open a wedge between Republican neo-conservatives in the Senate – and Trump. And now the Pelosi pressure on Republican Senators is escalating . The Establishment threw cold water over Trump's assertion of imminent attack, as justification for murdering Soleimani, and Trump responds by painting himself further into a corner on Iran – by going the full salesman 'monte'.

On the campaign trail, the President goes way over-the-top, calling Soleimani a "son of a b -- -", who killed 'thousands' and furthermore was responsible for every U.S. veteran who lost a limb in Iraq. And he then conjures up a fantasy picture of protesters pouring onto the streets of Tehran, tearing down images of Soleimani, and screaming abuse at the Iranian leadership.

It is nonsense. There are no mass protests (there have been a few hundred students protesting at one main Tehran University). But Trump has dived in pretty deep, now threatening the Euro-Three signatories to the JCPOA, that unless they brand Iran as having defaulted on JCPOA at the UNSC disputes mechanism, he will slap an eye-watering 25% tariff on their automobiles.

So, how will Trump avoid plunging in even deeper to conflict if – and when – Americans die in Iraq or Syria at the hands of militia – and when Pompeo or Lindsay Graham will claim, baldly, 'Iran's proxies did it'? Sending emollient faxes to the Swiss to pass to Tehran will not do. Tehran will not read them, or believe them, even if they did.

It all reeks of stage-management; a set up: a very clever stage-management, designed to end with the U.S. crossing Iran's 'red line', by striking at a target within Iranian territory. Here, finally, we arrive at the innermost doll.

Cui bono ? Some Senators who never liked Trump, and would prefer Pence as President; the Democrats, who would prefer to run their candidate against Pence in November, rather than Trump. But also, as someone who once worked with Wurmser observed tartly: when you hear that name (Wurmser), immediately you think Netanyahu, his intimate associate.

Matryoshka herself?

[Jan 21, 2020] A response to a different Wapo opinion hit job.

Jan 21, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

Let's talk about winning. Bernie was was elected to Congress as a socialist, in a red state, during the Cold War.

That was 1990. He won re-election in 92, 94, 96, 98, 00, 02, and 04.

In 06, he ran for Senate, and won by a 33% margin. In 12, he won by 46%.
In 18, he won by 40%. pic.twitter.com/K9I4NkuIzZ

-- Samuel D. Finkelstein II (@CANCEL_SAM) January 20, 2020

Not Henry Kissinger on Mon, 01/20/2020 - 7:41pm

He also won 23 elections in 2016 ...

@humphrey @humphrey

even though the primaries were rigged against him.

[Jan 21, 2020] The Geopolitics Of Epistemological Warfare From Babylon To Neocon

Jan 21, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

The Geopolitics Of Epistemological Warfare: From Babylon To Neocon by Tyler Durden Tue, 01/21/2020 - 00:00 0 SHARES

Authored by Matthew Ehret via The Strategic Culture Foundation,

I think any sane human being can agree that while war was never a good idea, war in the 21st century is an absolutely intolerable one. The problem we currently face is that many of the forces driving world events towards an all-out war of "Mutually Assured Annihilation" are anything but sane.

While I'm obviously referring here to a certain category of people who fall under a particularly virulent strain of imperial thinking which can be labelled "neo-conservative" and while many of these disturbing figures honestly believe that a total war of annihilation is a risk worth taking in order to achieve their goals of total global hegemony, I would like to make one subtle yet very important distinction which is often overlooked.

What is this distinction?

Under the broad umbrella of "neo-conservative" one should properly differentiate those who really believe in their ideology and are trapped under the invisible cage of its unexamined assumptions vs. that smaller yet more important segment that created and manages the ideology from the top. I brushed on this grouping in a recent 3 part study called Origins of the Deep State and Myth of the Jewish Conspiracy .

To re-state my meaning: This group doesn't necessarily believe in the ideological group they manage any more than a parent believes in that tooth fairy which they promote in order to achieve certain behavioral patterns in their children.

While belief in the tooth fairy is slightly less destructive than belief in a misanthropic neocon worldview of a Bolton, Pompeo or Cheney, the analogy is useful to communicate the point.

Cult Managers: Ancient Babylon and Now

Modern ideology-shapers serve the same role as those ancient high priests of Babylon, Persia and Rome who managed the many cults and countless pagan mystery religions recorded throughout the ages. It is well documented that any cult could comfortably exist under Rome's control, as long as said cult denied any claim to objective truthfulness- making the rise of Abrahamic monotheistic faiths more than a little antagonistic to empire.

Did the high priests necessarily BELIEVE in those dogmas which they created and managed?

Hell no.

Was it politically necessary to create them?

Of course.

Why?

Because an Empire, like everything in the world, exist as a whole with parts but since they deny any principle of natural law (justice, love, goodness, etc) , empires are merely a sum of parts and their rules of organization can be nothing but zero sum. Each cultish group may coexist as an echo chamber alongside other groups sacrificing to whatever deity they wish without judgement of moral right or wrong bounded only by a common blind faith in their group's beliefs- but nothing universal about justice, creative reason, or human nature is otherwise permitted. Here the a-moral "peace" of "equilibrium" can be achieved by an oligarchy which wishes to lord over the slaves. Whether we are dealing with Caesar Augustus, Lord Metternich's Congress of Vienna, Aldous Huxley, Sir Henry Kissinger, or Leo Strauss (father of modern neo-conservativism), "Peace" can never be anything more than a mathematical "balancing of parts".

Now it is a good moment to ask: What does this phenomenon look like in our modern age?

To answer this, let us leap over a couple of millennia and take a look at something a bit more personal: Adam Smith and the doctrine of free trade.

Smith at Her Majesty's Service

Do Smith's modern followers sincerely believe in the "self-regulating forces of the free market"?

Sure they do.

Did Adam Smith actually believe in his own system?

Whether he did or not, according to recent research conducted by historian Jeffrey Steinberg, Smith received his commission to compose his seminal book Wealth of Nations (published 1776) while riding with Lord Shelburne himself in a carriage ride from Edinburgh to London in 1763. The date 1776 is not a coincidence as this was the same Lord Shelburne who essentially managed the British Empire during the American Revolution and who always despised all colonial aspirations to use protective tariffs, emit productive credit or channel said credit towards internal improvements as Benjamin Franklin had championed in his 1729 Necessity of Paper Currency and Colonial Script.

Why develop Industry, asked Smith, when the new "Law" of "absolute advantage" demanded that everyone just do what they are good at for the best price possible? America has a lot of land, so they should stick with agriculture and slave-driven cotton. Britain had a lot of industry (don't ask how that happened because it wasn't through free trade), so they should stick with that! India had advanced textiles, but Britain had to destroy that so that India could then have a lot of opium fields so she could do that which China could then smoke to death under the watch of British Gunships. "Free Trade" demanded it so.

Let's look at another example: Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection

A Not-too-Natural Selection

Darwin's theory published in his Origins of Species (1859) was based on the assumption that all changes in the biosphere are driven by "laws" of "survival of the fittest" within an assumed closed ecosystem of diminishing returns. Just as Smith asserted that an "invisible hand" brought creative order to the chaos of unregulated vice and self-interest, Darwin asserted that creative order on the large scale evolution of species could be explained by chaotic mutations on the micro level beyond a wall that no power of reason, free will or God could pass.

Did Charles Darwin believe his system? Probably.

But how about Thomas Huxley (aka: "Darwin's Bulldog") whose efforts to destroy all competing theories which included "purpose", "meaning", or "design" were crushed and ridiculed into obscurity? Huxley himself was on record saying he did not believe in Darwin's system. So why was this theory promoted by forces (like Huxley's X Club ) who recognized its many flaws? Well, here again it helps to refer to Darwin's own account of his discovery from his autobiography where he wrote:

"In October 1838, fifteen months after I had begun my systematic inquiry, I happened to read for amusement Malthus on Population, and being prepared to appreciate the struggle for existence which everywhere goes on, from long-continued observation of the habits of animals and plants, it at once struck me that under these circumstances favourable variations would tend to be preserved, and unfavourable ones to be destroyed. The result would be the formation of a new species. Here then, I had at last got a theory by which to work".

Malthus's 'Dismal Science'

And here we have it! Reverend Thomas Malthus (the cold hearted "Man of God" who taught economics at the British East India Company's Haileybury College) provided the very foundation upon which Darwin's system stood! Thomas Huxley and the other "high priests" of Huxley's X Club were always Malthusian (even before there was Malthus) since empires have always been more focused on monopolizing the finite resources of an age, rather than encouraging creative discoveries and new inventions which would bring new resources into being- overcoming nature's "limits to growth" (a dis-equilibrium not to be tolerated). Whether Malthus actually believed in the system which bears his name, as generations of his adherents sincerely do, remains to be seen. However his own awareness of the needed extermination of the "unfit" by the Ubermenschen of the British Aristocracy preceded Social Darwinism by a full century when he coldly called for the encouragement of the plague and other "natural forms of destruction" to cull the herd of the unfit in his Essay on the Principle of Population ( 1799):

"We should facilitate, instead of foolishly and vainly endeavoring to impede, the operations of nature in producing this mortality; and if we dread the too frequent visitation of the horrid form of famine, we should sedulously encourage the other forms of destruction, which we compel nature to use. In our towns we should make the streets narrower, crowd more people into the houses, and court the return of the plague."

A little later, Malthus even argued for the early extermination of poor babies who were of low value to society when he said:

"I should propose a regulation to be made, declaring that no child born from any marriage taking place after the expiration of a year from the date of the law, and no illegitimate child born two years from the same date, should ever be entitled to parish assistance The infant is, comparatively speaking, of little value to society, as others will immediately supply its place."

The neo-Malthusian revivalists such as Princes Bernhardt, Philip Mountbatten and Huxley's own grandson Sir Julian who birthed the misanthropic deformity today called the Green New Deal were not ignorant to this tradition. The disastrous effect of this worldview upon races deemed "unfit" in the global south should also not be ignored. It is no coincidence that those three neo-Malthusian oligarchs founded the World Wildlife Fund, 1001 Nature Trust and Club of Rome which imposed a technological apartheid upon the third world over the bodies of countless statesmen during the Cold War.

The Danger of Creative Thought to an Empire

Encouraging creative thought and cooperation among diverse nations, linguistic, religious and ethnic groups tends to result in new uncontrolled systems of potential as humanity increases its capacity to sustain itself while imperial systems lose their ability to parasitically drain their host. In Lincoln's great 1859 speech , the martyred leader stood up against this Malthusian paradigm endemic of the British Empire when he said:

"All creation is a mine, and every man, a miner. The whole earth, and all within it, upon it, and round about it, including himself, in his physical, moral, and intellectual nature, and his susceptibilities, are the infinitely various "leads" from which, man, from the first, was to dig out his destiny Man is not the only animal who labors; but he is the only one who improves his workmanship. This improvement, he effects by Discoveries, and Inventions."

Lincoln's economic commitments to protective tariffs, state credit (greenbacks) and internal improvements are inextricably linked to this view of man also shared by the earlier Ben Franklin.

Today, the positive paradigm which Lincoln died to defend is most clearly represented by the leaders of such nations as Russia and China- both of whom have come out repeatedly attacking the post-truth neo-liberal order and also the win-lose philosophy of Hobbesian geopolitics. The folly of America's new dance with impeachment and the neocon hand shaping Trump's disastrous foreign policy agenda is tied to the oligarchy's absolute fear of losing America to a new Eurasian partnership which Trump has promoted repeatedly since entering office in 2017.

Xi Jinping and Putin have not only responded to this obsolete system by creating an alternative system of win-win cooperation driven by unbounded scientific and technological progress but they have also managed to expose the Achilles heal of the empire. These statesmen have demonstrated a clear recognition that those ideologies ranging from neo-liberalism to neo-conservativism are entirely unsustainable, and defeatable (but not militarily) . Xi expressed this insight most clearly during his recent trip to Greece.

Even though leaders like Putin and Xi understand this, citizens of the west will continue to be woefully unequipped to either make sense of these chaotic systems of belief, extract them from their own hearts if they are so contaminated or resist them effectively, without understanding that those who fabricated and manage these belief structures never truly believed in them.

Neoconservative founding fathers such as Leo Strauss, Sir Henry Kissinger and Sir Bernard Lewis absolutely never believed in the ideologies their cultish golems like Bolton, Cheney or Kristol have adhered to so religiously. Their belief was only that the sum-of-parts called humanity must ultimately be governed by a Hobbesian Leviathan (aka: a new globalized Roman Empire), and that Leviathan could only be created in response to an intolerably painful period of chaos which their twisted tooth fairies would usher into this world.

[Jan 21, 2020] Russia Asks OPCW to Meet to Resolve Issues Over Report on Chemical Use in Syria Envoy - Sputnik International

Notable quotes:
"... Reports about an alleged chemical attack in Eastern Ghouta's Duma emerged on April 7, 2018. The European Union and the United States promptly accused Damascus of being behind it, while the Syrian government denied any involvement. Syria and Russia, a close ally of the former, said that the attack was staged by local militants and the White Helmets group. ..."
"... A week later, without waiting for the results of an international investigation, the United States, the United Kingdom and France hit what they called Syria's chemical weapons facilities with over 100 missiles in response to the reported attack. ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | sputniknews.com

Russia urged to convene a briefing with the participation of OPCW Fact-Finding-Mission (FFM) experts, who worked on the report on alleged chemical attack in Syria's Duma in April 2018, to reach an agreement on this controversial case, Alexander Shulgin, Russia's envoy to OPCW, said at a Security Council meeting. On Monday, members of the UN Security Council, at the request of the Russian mission, held an informal meeting to assess the situation around the FMM's Final Report on the incident in the Arab Republic .

In November, whistleblowing website WikiLeaks published an email, sent by a member of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) mission to Syria to his superiors, in which he voiced his "gravest" concerns over the redacted version of the report in question, which he co-authored. According to the OPCW employee, the document, which is understood to have been edited by the secretariat, misrepresented facts, omitted certain details and introduced "unintended bias," having "morphed into something quite different to what was originally drafted."

"We once again propose to resolve the conflicting situation through the means of holding of a briefing under the auspices of the OPCW and, possibly, with the assistance of all concerned countries and with the participation of all experts of the Fact-Finding-Mission, who worked on the Duma incident, to find a consensus on this resonant incident," Shulgin said on Monday.

Shulgin also suggested that the working methods of FFM must be improved, stressing the necessity for its members to personally visit sites of alleged use of chemical weapons and collect evidence samples, as well as strictly adhere to the chain of custody over the items of evidence and guarantee geographically-balanced makeup of the mission.

In July, Shulgin said that the head of the mission probing claims of a chemical attack in Duma had never travelled to this city.

Reports about an alleged chemical attack in Eastern Ghouta's Duma emerged on April 7, 2018. The European Union and the United States promptly accused Damascus of being behind it, while the Syrian government denied any involvement. Syria and Russia, a close ally of the former, said that the attack was staged by local militants and the White Helmets group.

A week later, without waiting for the results of an international investigation, the United States, the United Kingdom and France hit what they called Syria's chemical weapons facilities with over 100 missiles in response to the reported attack.

[Jan 21, 2020] Goldstein 2.0 ISIS has a new big bad leader

Notable quotes:
"... For starters, don't be surprised if his "fortification" of ISIS means Donald Trump can't pull out of Syria after all. Or maybe if ISIS attacks on Iraqi civilians/militias result in the Iraqi parliament revoking their request for the US to remove their troops from Iraqi soil. ..."
"... There's the possibility that ISIS will start a resurgence in Libya, meaning that NATO has to get in there and sort things out. Maybe some furious ISIS fighters will be the ones who assassinate Iranian generals in future. It's much less messy that way. ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | off-guardian.org

For starters, don't be surprised if his "fortification" of ISIS means Donald Trump can't pull out of Syria after all. Or maybe if ISIS attacks on Iraqi civilians/militias result in the Iraqi parliament revoking their request for the US to remove their troops from Iraqi soil.

There's the possibility that ISIS will start a resurgence in Libya, meaning that NATO has to get in there and sort things out. Maybe some furious ISIS fighters will be the ones who assassinate Iranian generals in future. It's much less messy that way.

Or, hell, maybe we'll return to the hits of the 90s and early 2000s, and Islamic jihadists will get back to work in Chechnya.

Whatever happens, ISIS are back baby. And that means that some way, somehow, Mr al-Salbi is about to make the foreign policy goals of the United States much easier.

That's what Goldsteins are for.

harry law ,

.... The US have used Islamic state against both Syria and Iraq, [the enemy of my enemy is my friend].

There can be no doubt that the US are going to use Islamic state to disrupt Iraq, just as they had no qualms about watching [from satellites and spotter aircraft] Islamic state travel 100's of kilometres from Syria to Northern Iraq [Mosul] across the desert, whipping up tons of dust in their Toyota jeeps to put pressure on the Iraqi government. Also as they watched on with equanimity when the Islamic state transported thousands of tanker loads of oil from Syria to Turkey, that is until the Russians bombed those convoys, the US must think everyone is as stupid as they are. If the Iraqis don't drive the US out using all means including violence, they deserve to be slaves.

"Sergey Lavrov earlier called the US-led coalition's refusal to combat al-Nusra "absolutely unacceptable."

"Iraqi security expert Kazim al-Haaj said "US Army troops are preparing and training the ISIL militants in al-Qadaf and Wadi al-Houran regions of Al-Anbar province with the aim of carrying out terrorist attacks and restarting insecurity in Iraq." https://stephenlendman.org/2020/01/trump-regime-shifting-isis-terrorists-from-syria-to-iraq/

[Jan 21, 2020] Lavrov expressed his condolences over the killing," the statement said. "The ministers stressed that such actions by the United States grossly violate the norms of international law

Jan 21, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jen , Jan 20 2020 22:07 utc | 45

BJD @ 39:

Russia's Lavrov, Iran's Zarif discuss Soleimani killing: statement

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif over the phone on Friday to discuss the killing of Iran's military chief Qassem Soleimani, the Russian foreign ministry said in a statement.

"Lavrov expressed his condolences over the killing," the statement said. "The ministers stressed that such actions by the United States grossly violate the norms of international law."


Likklemore , Jan 20 2020 21:41 utc | 36

Well, today Moscow Warns Iran Against Reckless Steps as Tehran Threatens to Quit Non-Proliferation Treaty
Earlier, Iranian Foreign Ministry's spokesman Seyyed Abbas Mousavi said that Tehran continues to adhere to the 2015 nuclear deal, adding that the European powers' claims about Iran violating the deal were unfounded.

Moscow warns Tehran against making 'reckless steps' to quit the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Russia's deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said. He added that Russia urges Iran to comply with its obligations to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, giving those who oppose the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) further reasons for escalation is "counterproductive".

Is there a friend anywhere? Kim or Khan of Pakistan to ship one in.
Alternative, Moscow could declare its nuclear capabilities are extended to Iran. Just can't leave Iran hanging on a twig.

Bubbles , Jan 20 2020 22:29 utc | 53

Posted by: Likklemore | Jan 20 2020 21:41 utc | 36

Maybe it's because trump has a history with Russian mobsters and money laundering?


Or maybe it's just smart to say that? What's to be gained by setting off man child trump and spurring yet another temper tantrum via twitter?

trump did lotsa bidnezz with the International cabal that plundered Russia after the disillusion of the USSR. They stole from the Russian people, and laundered their ill begotten gains with chumps, like trump.

[Jan 21, 2020] $6.4 Trillion And Counting - How The Military-Industrial Complex Hijacked The War On Terror by Eric Margolis

Jan 21, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Ike Was Right!

"In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist.

Now this conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet, we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved. So is the very structure of our society."

General Dwight D Eisenhower
Farewell address 1961

Congress just passed a near trillion dollar military budget at a time when the United States faces no evident state threats at home or abroad. Ike was right.

Illustrating Ike's prescient warning, Brown University's respected Watson Institute just released a major study which found that the so-called 'wars on terror' in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Pakistan have cost US taxpayers $6.4 trillion since they began in 2001.

The extensive study found that over 800,000 people have died as a result of these military operations, a third of them civilians. An additional 21 million civilians have been displaced by US military operations. According to the Pentagon, these US wars have so far cost each American taxpayer $7,623 – and that's a very conservative estimate.

Most of this money has been quietly added to the US national debt of over $23 trillion. Wars on credit hide the true cost and pain from the public.

As General Eisenhower warned, military spending has engulfed the nation.

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

A trillion annual military budget represents just about half the world's military expenditures. The Pentagon, which I've visited numerous times, is bustling with activity as if the nation was on a permanent war footing.

The combined US intelligence budget of some $80 billion is larger than Russia's total military budget of $63 billion. US troops, warplanes and naval vessels are stationed around the globe, including, most lately, across Africa. And yet every day the media trumpets new 'threats' to the US. Trump is sending more troops to the Mideast while claiming he wants to reduce America's powerful military footprint there. Our military is always in search of new missions. These operations generate promotions and pay raises, new equipment and a reason for being.

Back in the day, the Republican Party of General Eisenhower was a centrist conservative's party with a broad world view, dedicated to lower taxes and somewhat smaller government. It was led by the Rockefellers and educated Easterners with a broad world view and respect for tradition.

Today's Republican Party is a collection of rural interests from flyover country, handmaidens of the military industrial complex and, most important, militant evangelical Christians who see the world through the spectrum of the Old Testament. Israel's far right has come to dominate American evangelists by selling them a bill of goods about the End of Days and the Messiah's return. Many of these rubes see Trump as a quasi-religious figure.

Mix the religious cultists – about 25% of the US population – with the farm and Israel lobbies and the mighty military industrial complex and no wonder the United States has veered off into the deep waters of irrationality and crusading ardor. The US can still afford such bizarre behavior thanks to its riches, magic green dollar, endless supply of credit and a poorly educated, apathetic public too besotted by sports and TV sitcoms to understand what's going on abroad.

All the war party needs is a steady supply of foreign villains (preferably Muslims) who can be occasionally bombed back to the early Islamic age. Americans have largely forgotten George W. Bush's lurid claims that Iraqi drones of death were poised to shower poisons on the sleeping nation. Even the Soviets never ventured so deep into the sea of absurdity.

The military industrial complex does not care to endanger its gold-plated F-35 stealth aircraft and $13 billion apiece aircraft carriers in a real war against real powers. Instead, the war party likes little wars against weak opponents who can barely shoot back. State-run TV networks thrill to such minor scraps with fancy headlines and martial music. Think of the glorious little wars against Panama, Grenada, Somalia, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Libya. Iran looks next.

The more I listen to his words, the more I like Ike.

[Jan 21, 2020] WaPo columnist endorses all twelve candidates

Highly recommended!
Are WaPo and NYT both encouraging their readerships to split the 'Anybody But Bernie' vote six ways from Super Tuesday? Fantastic!
Jan 21, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

Cassiodorus on Mon, 01/20/2020 - 11:44am Alexandra Petri tells us:

In a break from tradition, I am endorsing all 12 Democratic candidates.

Of course, this is a parody of the NYT's endorsement of Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren , trying to encourage the "who cares about policy we want an identity-politics win" vote. Petri's funniest moment is:

One of two things is wrong with America: Either the entire system is broken or is on the verge of breaking, and we need someone to bring about radical, structural change, or -- we don't need that at all! Which is it? Who can say? Certainly not me, and that is why I am telling you now which candidate to vote for.

[Jan 21, 2020] Definition of cynicism

Jan 21, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Sasha , Jan 20 2020 21:07 utc | 28

Definition of cynicism: that the Colombian State, world-renowned for killing social leaders, financing narco and paramilitarism, is the organizer of a summit against terrorism where Mike Pompeo, intellectual author of the murder of Soleimani, is the star.

https://twitter.com/williamserafino/status/1219277223913496578

[Jan 21, 2020] Russia A Groundbreaking Powershift by Peter Koenig

Jan 16, 2020 | dissidentvoice.org
In groundbreaking news President Putin announced today, 15 January, in his annual address to the Nation, major changes in his government. First, he announced that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and his entire cabinet resigned and will eventually be replaced by a new PM and a new cabinet. A timeline was not given. In the meantime, they would carry on with their functions as 'normal'. Well, how normal can this be for a group of "lame ducks"?

A second important point of Mr. Putin's speech focused on shifting power away from the Presidency to the Duma, or Parliament. The Duma shall have more power in a better balancing act between the Presidency and the voice of the people; i.e., the Parliament. The possibility of referenda, with people voting, is also foreseen. A move towards more 'democracy'. Some interpret this as a reaction to western criticism of Russia being a dictatorial state and this move should alleviate Russia from this accusation. I don't think so. Western accusations are random, when it suits them, never based on facts, but on lies.

For example, the change in government power foresees some changes in the Russian Constitution, but not a rewrite at all, as Mr. Putin stressed. The term-limitation of the Presidency should also not change, no more than two. It appears the "no more than two in a row" – should be amended, and the "in a row" deleted. That would mean, that President Putin would have to leave the Presidency definitely in 2024 when his current term is up. This may be one of those Constitutional areas to be confirmed by the Duma – or not.

But could Mr. Putin become PM and still run Russia from behind the scene as he did from 2008 – 2012, under then President Dmitry Medvedev? This was not discussed.

When PM Medvedev explained his resignation, he referred to Article 117 of the Russian Constitution, which states that the government can offer its resignation to the president, who, in turn, can either accept or reject it. Mr. Putin, of course, accepted it, thanking PM Medvedev and his Ministers for their good work and service to Russia. Although there was no visible hostility between Putin and Medvedev, this move has most likely been discussed and negotiated months ago.

Mr. Medvedev was offered the post of Deputy Secretary of Russia's Security Council, a job that first had to be created, according to Mr. Putin. This rank is clearly a few steps down from Prime-Minister. PM Medvedev and President Putin are both members of the United Russia Party , but Medvedev has the reputation of being an Atlantist, meaning, leaning strongly towards the west, western political philosophy. The Russian financial sector is still infiltrated with Atlantists, some may call them Fifth Columnists.

All the while seeking to improve relations with Europe – a logical step – President Putin is adamant to detach from the US-dollar dominated "sanction-prone" economy. And rightly so. Might this explain the departure of PM Medvedev? As of this morning, there was no mention of a favored replacement as PM. This may take a while. Seemingly no problem as all the key activities are still covered by the "caretaker" government. The entire change of government was presented as "relaxed", "no big deal", a natural process for improving the functioning of the Russian government. Yet, this has never happened in "modern" Russia, in the last 20 years, under Mr. Putin's leadership.

Duma members interviewed saw it generally as a positive move. They will now have more power, and more responsibility. They will have a say in key appointments, including of the Prime-Minister and his cabinet, while the final decision rests still with the President.

What is important to notice is that the present "democratization" of the Russian government comes at a time when Mr. Putin's public approval is still around 70%, a slight drop since his reelection in 2018 with 77%.

The Duma, with its new powers, will be asked to look at some aspects of the Constitution (as of yet no details are officially defined) with a view of possibly modifying them. Given Mr. Putin's high popularity and Russia's economic and political stability, Russia's military superiority – despite the constant western interference, or attempted interferences – preserving that stability and continuous economic prosperity is important; i.e., continuity in the Presidency and the Government is crucial. Thus, wouldn't it be conceivable that the Duma might lift the term-limit for the Presidency altogether?

Although, at this stage much of this is speculation. But assuming that some of the strategy behind this change – the "power equalizing move" – goes in this direction, then the timing is perfect. A new Decade, a new Era. And Putin remains the key player – the one who has made of Russia what she is today – a proud, independent, autonomous nation, that has despite all sanctions and western demonization not only prevailed, but come out on top brilliantly as a sovereign world super power. Why would the Russian people want to risk giving up this hard-deserved privilege?

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for independent media. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed - fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! - Essays from the Resistance . Read other articles by Peter .

This article was posted on Thursday, January 16th, 2020 at 7:02am and is filed under President Vladimir Putin , Russia .

[Jan 21, 2020] DemoRats blowed thier change to impech Trump due to thier own dishonesty, jingoism and cowardice

Jan 21, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Alex (the one that likes Ike) fuow 15 hours ago • edited

If that means Uncle Joe, then Trump may bloody well already uncork the champagne. Remember that recent Iranian debacle of his, which is already starting being forgotten? That was the *only* real chance for Democrats to look solid in the Senate when trying to impeach him. The only way to make Republican senators look dishonest and partisan when defending him. An unexpected and unprovoked electoral gift to them from Trump (a would-have-been-serious gift - read Daniel Larison's articles as to how many American voters, no matter their partisan leanings, are anti-war now). How did the DNC manage that gift? Exactly. By directly bringing it to the trash bin without a moment of hesitation and keeping on desperately clinging to the politically stillborn clownery around Ukraine which will allow the Republican senators to laugh their Democratic colleagues out of the stage and seal Trump's victory the very moment the said clownery is brought to the upper chamber of the parliament. Now Democrats look like a poor feller in front of an insurmountable wall, who, having witnessed a door which magically/quantumly appeared in that wall, screamed "To battle!/Arriva!/Kovfefe!", slammed the said door shut, industriously broke the handle so that it could never be opened again in the quantum dimension he exists and resumed his attempts to - how to put it mildly? - shatter the reinforced concrete with his forehead.

So please spare me the righteous posturing. Be honest at least to yourself and admit that America's mainstream parties are owned by the same people, hence the only thing you choose is the ideological agenda on cultural issues you prefer. The battle between them is as much of a battle between good and evil and of the rule of law against the lawlessness as the one between Pol Pot and D'Aubuisson Arrieta.

[Jan 21, 2020] I don't see how Trump has actually governed much differently from any other contemporary Republican. The difference between Trump and, say Ted Cruz, or Marco Rubio, is mostly style, not policy.

Jan 21, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

one vote fuow 21 hours ago

I'm a former Trump voter who could vote for Warren or Sanders but not Biden. Trump has been the biggest disappointment of my political life, and I'll never forgive him for the failures on immigration, but Biden and bis family looks to be at least as personally sleazy and corrupt as the Trumps, if not as outright sickening.
Clyde Schechter fuow 21 hours ago
Well, I'm a non-Democrat leftist (except for conservative leanings on social issues and a vehemently anti-war posture that is a minority view on both the left and right). I have voted for third-party candidates for President most of my life (and I'm a septuagenarian). For reasons of foreign policy and economics, I would probably vote for either Sanders or Warren, at least if they don't get too bonkers on identity politics. But there is no way I would vote for any of the other Democratic contenders, and there is no way I would vote for Trump.

For what it's worth, I think the whole frenzy to defeat Trump no matter what is overblown. Except for the Twitter feed, I don't see how Trump has actually governed much differently from any other contemporary Republican. The difference between Trump and, say Ted Cruz, or Marco Rubio, is mostly style, not policy.

Osse Clyde Schechter 7 hours ago
That last sentence is true. But it is style that really matters to many Democrats. Obama was their ideal President almost entirely because of his style.

And Trump's style is what attracts his hard core supporters.

Alex (the one that likes Ike) fuow 15 hours ago • edited
If that means Uncle Joe, then Trump may bloody well already uncork the champagne. Remember that recent Iranian debacle of his, which is already starting being forgotten? That was the *only* real chance for Democrats to look solid in the Senate when trying to impeach him. The only way to make Republican senators look dishonest and partisan when defending him. An unexpected and unprovoked electoral gift to them from Trump (a would-have-been-serious gift - read Daniel Larison's articles as to how many American voters, no matter their partisan leanings, are anti-war now). How did the DNC manage that gift? Exactly. By directly bringing it to the trash bin without a moment of hesitation and keeping on desperately clinging to the politically stillborn clownery around Ukraine which will allow the Republican senators to laugh their Democratic colleagues out of the stage and seal Trump's victory the very moment the said clownery is brought to the upper chamber of the parliament. Now Democrats look like a poor feller in front of an insurmountable wall, who, having witnessed a door which magically/quantumly appeared in that wall, screamed "To battle!/Arriva!/Kovfefe!", slammed the said door shut, industriously broke the handle so that it could never be opened again in the quantum dimension he exists and resumed his attempts to - how to put it mildly? - shatter the reinforced concrete with his forehead.

[Jan 21, 2020] Iran, Trump, and the neoliberal-neoconservative compact

Jan 21, 2020 | off-guardian.org

The author asks an interesting question: what is the urgency to remove Turmp before the election. Why notwait Novemebr and see if he is removed by voters?

One of the best articles I've seen on both sides of the current scene is Jim Kavanaugh's "Impeachment: What Lies Beneath?" Let us note that this essay was first published at the author's website, The Polemicist, on Dec. 17, 2019.

In the first half of the essay, "The Raw," the author is discussing the remarkable weakness of the impeachment case and articles; the second half of the essay, "The Cooked," begins with the following two paragraphs:

Which makes me wonder. The obviousness of this losing hand, and the fact that the most politically-seasoned, can't-be-that-stupid Democrats seem determined to play it out, have my paranoid political Spidey senses all atingle. What are the cards they're not showing? What lies beneath the thin ice of these Articles of Impeachment?

If the apparent agenda makes no sense, look for the hidden. Something that better explains why Pelosi, et. al. find it so urgent to replace Trump before the election and why they think they can succeed in doing that.

There is one thing that I can think of that drives such frantic urgency: War. That would also explain why Trump's "national security" problem -- embedded in the focus on Ukraine arms shipments, Russian aggression, etc. -- is the real issue, the whistle to Republican war dogs.

But if so, the Ukro-Russian motif is itself a screen for another "national security"/war issue that cannot be stated explicitly. There's no urgency about aggression towards Russia. There is for Iran.

These paragraphs mirror the structure of the essay altogether: beginning with impeachment and ending with Iran. In the next paragraph we see Kavanaugh's prognosis, his proposal for how things might unfold:

So here's my entirely speculative tea-leaf reading: If there's a hidden agenda behind the urgency to remove Trump, one that might actually garner the votes of Republican Senators, it is to replace him with a president who will be a more reliable and effective leader for a military attack on Iran that Israel wants to initiate before next November. Spring is the cruelest season for launching wars."

This was striking to read on December 17 and even more striking to reflect upon as of Friday, January 3. Kavanaugh's arguments make a lot of sense, and perhaps it will turn out that "April is the cruelest month" (as he says at the end of the essay) -- but don't we have to consider that perhaps Trump has once again outplayed both Democrats and Republicans, and, even more, the Deep State?

As Trump said in announcing the drone strike that killed Gen. Soleimani, "We took action last night to stop a war; we did not take action to start a war."

Attacks in/on other countries by the U.S. will not receive praise from me, not any more than did the U.S.-abetted coup in Bolivia. I will say, though, that I sure wish the party of the King of Drones, Barack Obama (who openly bragged about being "very good at killing people") would shut the hell up.

That's not going to happen, of course -- the only thing here that will restrain them is the role of Israel in this.

Again, there's no mystery to any of this -- but what is a mystery to me is why anybody listens to the Democrats on this or any other issue.

Undoubtedly there are elements to this situation I don't see or understand -- but what we all have as a helpful guide is the fact that whatever the Democratic Party leadership says here, and whatever the conventional Left narrative presents on this situation, absolutely cannot be trusted.

[Jan 21, 2020] Trump is a bully who openly violates international law as well as basic constitutional norms and rules by Paul Street

I think Paul is wrong. Neo-fascist movements are based on far right party. Trump does not have its own party. He has a faction with the Republican Party, and this faction is not even a majority.
Notable quotes:
"... an incoherent program of national revenge led by a strongman; a contempt for parliamentary government and procedures; an insistence that the existing, democratically elected government, whether Léon Blum's or Barack Obama's, is in league with evil outsiders and has been secretly trying to undermine the nation; a hysterical militarism designed to no particular end than the sheer spectacle of strength; an equally hysterical sense of beleaguerment and victimization; and a supposed suspicion of big capitalism entirely reconciled to the worship of wealth and "success." ..."
"... The idea that it can be bounded in by honest conservatives in a Cabinet or restrained by normal constitutional limits is, to put it mildly, unsupported by history ..."
"... Paul Street's latest book is They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy (Paradigm, 2014) ..."
Jan 21, 2020 | www.counterpunch.org

When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.

– Maya Angelou

"It's amazing," fellow CounterPuncher Eric Draitser recently wrote me, "that people ever thought a Trump administration would be something other than this."

"This" is the demented neofascistic Trump-Pence regime, which openly violates basic constitutional norms and rules while conducting itself in barefacedly racist, sexist, and eco-cidal ways.

The long record of this presidency's transgressions now includes the open dog-wagging assassination – on brazenly false pretexts – of a foreign military commander atop a state (Iran) with which the United States is not at war and without the permission of a government (Iraq) on whose soil the monumental war crime took place.

... ... ...

Another person likely unsurprised by Trump's horrifying presidency is New Yorker columnist Adam Gopnik. "Trump," Gopnik wrote in July of 2016, summarizing elementary facts of Trump' life: "is unstable, a liar, narcissistic, contemptuous of the basic norms of political life, and deeply embedded among the most paranoid and irrational of conspiracy theorists. There may indeed be a pathos to his followers' dreams of some populist rescue for their plights. But he did not come to political attention as a 'populist'; he came to politics as a racist, a proponent of birtherism." As Gopnik had explained two months before, the correct description of Trump needed to include the world "fascist" in one way or another:

"There is a simple formula for descriptions of Donald Trump: add together a qualification, a hyphen, and the word "fascist." The sum may be crypto-fascist, neo-fascist, latent fascist, proto-fascist, or American-variety fascist -- one of that kind, all the same. Future political scientists will analyze (let us hope in amused retrospect, rather than in exile in New Zealand or Alberta) the precise elements of Poujadisme, Peronism and Huck Finn's Pap that compound in Trump's 'ideology.' But his personality and his program belong exclusively to the same dark strain of modern politics: an incoherent program of national revenge led by a strongman; a contempt for parliamentary government and procedures; an insistence that the existing, democratically elected government, whether Léon Blum's or Barack Obama's, is in league with evil outsiders and has been secretly trying to undermine the nation; a hysterical militarism designed to no particular end than the sheer spectacle of strength; an equally hysterical sense of beleaguerment and victimization; and a supposed suspicion of big capitalism entirely reconciled to the worship of wealth and "success." It is always alike, and always leads inexorably to the same place: failure, met not by self-correction but by an inflation of the original program of grievances, and so then on to catastrophe. The idea that it can be bounded in by honest conservatives in a Cabinet or restrained by normal constitutional limits is, to put it mildly, unsupported by history (emphasis liberally added) ." [Adam Gopnik, "Going There With Donald Trump," The New Yorker , May 11, 2016].

Paul Street's latest book is They Rule: The 1% v. Democracy (Paradigm, 2014)

[Jan 21, 2020] Bernie Sanders Walks Straight Into the Russiagate Trap

Jan 21, 2020 | www.strategic-culture.org

Daniel Lazare January 20, 2020 © Photo: Wikimedia The New York Times caused a mini-commotion last week with a front-page story suggesting that Russian intelligence had hacked a Ukrainian energy firm known as Burisma Holdings in order to get dirt on Joe Biden and help Donald Trump win re-election.

But the article was flimsy even by Russiagate standards, and so certain questions inevitably arise. What was it really about? Who's behind it? Who's the real target?

Here's a quick answer. It was about boosting Joe Biden, and its real target was his chief rival, Bernie Sanders. And poor, inept Bernie walked straight into the trap.

The article was flimsy because rather than saying straight out that Russian intelligence hacked Burisma, the company notorious for hiring Biden's son, Hunter, for $50,000 a month job, reporters Nicole Perlroth and Matthew Rosenberg had to rely on unnamed "security experts" to say it for them. While suggesting that the hackers were looking for dirt, they didn't quite say that as well. Instead, they admitted that "it is not yet clear what the hackers found, or precisely what they were searching for."

So we have no idea what they were up to, if anything at all. But the Times then quoted "experts" to the effect that "the timing and scale of the attacks suggest that the Russians could be searching for potentially embarrassing material on the Bidens – the same kind of information that Mr. Trump wanted from Ukraine when he pressed for an investigation of the Bidens and Burisma, setting off a chain of events that led to his impeachment." Since Trump and the Russians are seeking the same information, they must be in cahoots, which is what Democrats have been saying from the moment Trump took office. Given the lack of evidence, this was meaningless as well.

But then came the kicker: two full paragraphs in which a Biden campaign spokesman was permitted to expound on the notion that the Russians hacked Burisma because Biden is the candidate that they and Trump fear the most.

"Donald Trump tried to coerce Ukraine into lying about Joe Biden and a major bipartisan, international anti-corruption victory because he recognized that he can't beat the vice president," the spokesman, Andrew Bates, said. "Now we know that Vladimir Putin also sees Joe Biden as a threat. Any American president who had not repeatedly encouraged foreign interventions of this kind would immediately condemn this attack on the sovereignty of our elections."

If Biden is the number-one threat, then Sanders is not, presumably because the Times sees him as soft on Moscow. If so, it means that he could be in for the same neo-McCarthyism that antiwar candidate Tulsi Gabbard encountered last October when Hillary Clinton blasted her as "the favorite of the Russians." Gabbard had the good sense to blast her right back.

"Thank you @Hillary Clinton. You, the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long, have finally come out from behind the curtain. From the day I announced my candidacy, there has been a concerted campaign to destroy my reputation. We wondered who was behind it and why. Now we know – it was always you, through your proxies and powerful allies in the corporate media and war machine ."

If only Sanders did the same. But instead he put out a statement filled with the usual anti-Russian clichés:

"The 2020 election is likely to be the most consequential election in modern American history, and I am alarmed by new reports that Russia recently hacked into the Ukrainian gas company at the center of the impeachment trial, as well as Russia's plans to once again meddle in our elections and in our democracy. After our intelligence agencies unanimously agreed that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, including with thousands of paid ads on Facebook, the New York Times now reports that Russia likely represents the biggest threat of election meddle in 2020, including through disinformation campaigns, promoting hatred, hacking into voting systems, and by exploiting the political divisions sewn [sic] by Donald Trump ."

And so on for another 250 words. Not only did the statement put him in bed with the intelligence agencies, but it makes him party to the big lie that the Kremlin was responsible for putting Trump over the top in 2016.

Let's get one thing straight. Yes, Russian intelligence may have hacked the Democratic National Committee. But cybersecurity was so lax that others may have been rummaging about as well. (CrowdStrike, the company called in to investigate the hack, says it found not one but two cyber-intruders.) Notwithstanding the Mueller report, all the available evidence indicates that Russia did not then pass along thousands of DNC emails that Wikileaks published in July 2016. (Julian Assange's statement six months later that "our source is not the Russian government and it is not a state party" remains uncontroverted.) Similarly, there's no evidence that the Kremlin had anything to do with the $45,000 worth of Facebook ads purchased by a St. Petersburg company known as the Internet Research Agency – Robert Mueller's 2018 indictment of the IRA was completely silent on the subject of a Kremlin connection – and no evidence that the ads, which were politically all over the map, had a remotely significant impact on the 2016 election.

All the rest is a classic CIA disinformation campaign aimed at drumming up anti-Russian hysteria and delegitimizing anyone who fails to go along. And now Bernie Sanders is trying to cover his derrière by hopping on board.

It won't work. Sanders will find himself having to take one loyalty oath after another as the anti-Russia campaign flares anew. But it will never be enough, and he'll only wind up looking tired and weak. Voters will opt for the supposedly more formidable Biden, who will end up as a bug splat on the windshield of Donald Trump's speeding election campaign. With impeachment no longer an issue, he'll be free to behave as dictatorially as he wishes as he settles into his second term.

After inveighing against billionaire's wars, he'll find himself ensnared by the same billionaire war machine. The trouble with Sanders is that he thinks he can win by playing by the rules. But he can't because the rules are stacked against him. He'd know that if his outlook was more radical. His problem is not that he's too much of a socialist. Rather, it's that he's not enough.

[Jan 21, 2020] Iran Counters EU Threat Of Snapback Sanctions

Jan 21, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Peter AU1 , Jan 20 2020 19:06 utc | 3

U.S. President Donald Trump wants to destroy the nuclear agreement with Iran. He has threatened the EU-3 poodles in Germany, Britain and France with a 25% tariff on their car exports to the U.S. unless they end their role in the JCPOA deal.

In their usual gutlessness the Europeans gave in to the blackmail. They triggered the Dispute Resolution Mechanism of the deal. The mechanism foresees two 15 day periods of negotiations and a five day decision period after which any of the involved countries can escalate the issues to the UN Security Council. The reference to the UNSC would then lead to an automatic reactivation or "snapback" of those UN sanction against Iran that existed before the nuclear deal was signed.

Iran is now countering the European move. Its Foreign Minister Javad Zarif announced that Iran may leave the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) if any of the European countries escalates the issue to the UNSC:

Zarif said that Iran is following up the late decision by European states to trigger the Dispute Resolution Mechanism in the context of the JCPOA, adding that Tehran officially started the discussion on the mechanism on May 8, 2018 when the US withdrew from the deal.

He underlined that Iran sent three letters dated May 10, August 26 and November 2018 to the then EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, announcing in the latter that Iran had officially triggered and ended the dispute resolution mechanism and thus would begin reducing its commitments to the JCPOA.

However, Iran gave a seven-month opportunity to the European Union before it began reducing its commitments in May 8, 2019 which had operational effects two months later, according to Zarif.

Iran's top diplomat said that the country's five steps in compliance reduction would have no similar follow-ups, but Europeans' measure to refer the case to the United Nations Security Council may be followed by Tehran's decision to leave NPT as stated in President Hassan Rouhani's May 2018 letter to other parties to the deal.

He stressed that all the steps are reversible if the European parties to the JCPOA restore their obligations under the deal.

The Europeans certainly do not want Iran to leave the NPT. But as they are cowards and likely to continue to submit themselves to Trump's blackmail that is what they will end up with. Britain is the most likely country to move the issue to the UNSC as it is in urgent need of a trade deal with the U.S. after leaving the EU. Cooke has piece at Strategic Culture on Wurmser who may be the strategist behind Trump admin moves on Iran. Adds to this piece by b.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/01/20/many-matryoska-dolls-america-way-imagining-iran/
"Well (big surprise), Wurmser has now been at work as the author of how to 'implode' and destroy Iran. And his insight? "A targeted strike on someone like Soleimani"; split the Iranian leadership into warring factions; cut an open wound into the flesh of Iran's domestic legitimacy; put a finger into that open wound, and twist it; disrupt – and pretend that the U.S. sides with the Iranian people, against its government."

Overall, the strategy looks to be aimed at weakening and disrupting Iran and removing its allies in the region from the game before US strikes begin.

The downing of the Uki plane and Trump Pompeo immediately saying they were with the Iranian people would fit very well into this strategy though it is not mentioned by Crooke.


Peter AU1 , Jan 20 2020 19:14 utc | 4

And in Syria, US territory is becoming more defined. US intends to keep control of both Dier Ezzor and Hasakah oilfields along the Iraq border. Iraq Kurdistan is a secure base for the US and as well as being on Iran's border gives access through Hasakah province to the Syrian oilfields.
https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/us-forces-block-syrian-russian-troops-from-access-to-key-highway-photos/
vk , Jan 20 2020 19:17 utc | 5
The Europeans certainly do not want Iran to leave the NPT. But as they are cowards and likely to continue to submit themselves to Trump's blackmail that is what they will end up with. Britain is the most likely country to move the issue to the UNSC as it is in urgent need of a trade deal with the U.S. after leaving the EU.

We shouldn't humanize entire nations when analyzing geopolitics.

The Europeans are simply aware of the objective fact they are de facto occupied countries thanks to the many de facto American bases scattered around Western and Central Europe (Germany being the country with the most American bases in the world). They obey the USA for the simple fact they are occupied by the USA.

That's why some neocarolingians/European nationalists mainly from Germany, France and the Benelux (e.g. Macron, Juncker) avidly defend the creation of an European Army. You don't need to be a geopolitics genius to infer the grave consequences such move would have to the European peoples' welfare.

As long as NATO exists, Western Europe will remain firmly in American hands.

Besides, there's also the ideological factor.

Many Europeans still see today the USA as their "most illustrious child", their continuation as the Western Civilization's center. New York is the new Paris+London. They see themselves as the dwarf countries they really are and rationalize that, ultimately, it is better to live under the hegemony of another Western nation than under the hegemony of the "yellows" (i.e. Chinese) or the "slavics" (i.e. Russia). They really see themselves as a true North Atlantic family, which share the same race and the same cultural values.

These Atlanticists are specially numerous in the UK, which is not surprising, given its geographic location and the fact that it was indeed the country that founded the USA.

Walter , Jan 20 2020 19:17 utc | 6
Of course Iran and what happens in Iraq are joined at the hip...

Professor Maranadi>

"Seyed Mohammad Marandi
@s_m_marandi
·
10m
Many believe an economic crisis lies ahead of the US & the timing of the crash will determine the fate of Trump's re-election bid. However, another threat looms. If the US fails to swiftly comply with Iraqi demands to end the occupation, the resistance will become very violent."

and in Germany?

USA warnen: "Unmittelbar bevorstehender Angriff auf US-Militärs in Deutschland". RT/D

"Pulling back" may suit the Clowns, but agreement requires more than that if there's to be no child.

The Clowns are not contract capable. The only "deal" is for the imperial forces to leave the ME... the only deal is action....Of one sort or another. The clowns imagine a glorious victory over smoking ruins.

Careful what ya' wish fer, fellas...

erik , Jan 20 2020 19:21 utc | 7
Fatwa or not, Iran must have the bomb, for the same reason NoKo had to build it. It's the only way to lance the boil and move on from under the incessant threats from the United States. We won't let up, even if it takes 100 years, and they have to know this. They do have the engineering know how to do it; now they must, but they will have to be discrete and stockpile enough 90% U235, then fiddle around with the details involved in assembling a staged device with enough yield so it's understood by all. I expect this whole process will now move forward.
bjd , Jan 20 2020 19:21 utc | 8
Iran should finally make haste with:
a. developing nukes
b. the asymmetric warfare as we move into election season


tucenz , Jan 20 2020 19:25 utc | 9
So, what does Iran actually gain by leaving the NPT?
Guy THORNTON , Jan 20 2020 19:28 utc | 10
One is reminded of Austria-Hungary's ultimatum to Serbia in 1914: "As the German ambassador to Vienna reported to his government on July 14, the [note] to Serbia is being composed so that the possibility of its being accepted is practically excluded." As Churchill wrote at the time: "it seemed absolutely impossible that any State in the world could accept it, or that any acceptance, however abject, would satisfy the aggressor."

Uncle Sam is fooling nobody.

SteveK9 , Jan 20 2020 19:31 utc | 11
Many people refer to the European countries as 'occupied' (vk) and that is the reason they submit to American policy. I don't believe that is the case. The number of troops is far too small to 'occupy' a country that was resisting an occupation. Those troops were there as a 'trigger' to initiate a conflict with the Soviet Union if it invaded Europe. These days they are just there as some kind of vestigial legacy, and don't really mean anything. The US exercises its control over the EU and elsewhere through its control of international finance and trade. This system benefits the elite of those countries that are part of the 'empire', so has substantial support from influential people inside those countries. Unless and until there is some groundswell of support among the peoples of those countries to change that system, they will continue to be an obedient part of the US empire.

It's not even clear that resistance isn't futile. Those countries that want to maintain independence like Russia, China, Iran, Turkey (?), India (?) also have a strong internal attraction to Western 'culture'. As much as some denigrate that culture as shallow, materialistic, and worthless, it seems to have a very universal attraction around the World, particularly among the young. There are a lot of people everywhere that would like to be a part of a global empire, with a hedonistic Western-style culture. Sad, but true.

Abe , Jan 20 2020 19:32 utc | 12
I tend to agree with comments here saying Iran needs to make bomb.

North Korea proved that truth 100%. No amount of agreements or "guarantees" with usual lying suspects will provide security to Iran - only hard cold nuclear deterrence will.

This time, now, Iran has enough conventional & asymmetrical firepower to deter its enemies long enough for it to develop nukes (few years?).

It already has proven means to deliver warheads, now it needs them.

time2wakeup , Jan 20 2020 19:50 utc | 13
I strongly concur with several other commentators here. Iran should immediately commence enriching uranium to weapons grade levels and assemble at least 10-20 nuclear warheads ASAP if they ever hope to remain an intact, non-US/Israeli dominated country.

The US understands ONLY raw power and who it perceives has it (Israel, North Korea..etc.), and who doesn't (Libya, Syria, Iraq..etc.).

The NPT "Treaty" is nothing more than a cabal of nuclear armed countries attempting to cartel who's allowed to posses a nuclear weapons arsenal and all the rest of the world countries that's ultimately at their mercy.

Cornelius von Hamb , Jan 20 2020 19:59 utc | 14
"So, what does Iran actually gain by leaving the NPT?"

For one thing, it means they won't have to violate that treaty and international law if they decide to take steps that wouldn't be allowed under the NPT terms. It's easy to look at the lawless rogue US regime and forget this, but: some countries actually do try to have some semblance of abiding by and respecting treaties and the rule of law.

Nemesiscalling , Jan 20 2020 20:01 utc | 15
@2 Nemo

I am always taken aback when people compare unsavory characters to members of the primate family. Please do not engage in "zoomorphism." And I am dead fucking serious. Animals do not deserve to be denigrated in such a way. Keep your insults grounded in the human sphere.

lgfocus , Jan 20 2020 20:02 utc | 16
PIERACCINI has a very good article on Strategic Culture on what is happening to The Evil Empires dominance
The End of U.S. Military Dominance: Unintended Consequences Forge a Multipolar World Order
lysias , Jan 20 2020 20:03 utc | 17
The U.S. has already used that tactic of insisting on concessions known to be unacceptable to the other side with the intention of causing war at least twice: to Japan in 1941 and to Yugoslavia before the Kosovo War.
goldhoarder , Jan 20 2020 20:08 utc | 18
Does Iran really need a nuke? They have proven they can hit a US base and Saudi oil infrastructure. It is believed they already have.... or at least have the capability of mining the Strait of Hormuz. If the global financial elite can't get oil out of the gulf... what happens to the global economy? My guess is it would implode. Isn't this the real and only reason the US hasn't bombed Iran back to the stone age yet? They already have deterrence. The US claims about restoring deterrence was just the projection of sociopaths and psychopaths.
tucenz , Jan 20 2020 20:12 utc | 19
re:Cornelius von Hamb | Jan 20 2020 19:59 utc | 14
"For one thing, it means they won't have to violate that treaty and international law if they decide to take steps that wouldn't be allowed under the NPT terms."

Iran says it won't develop nuclear weapons (anti Islamic), so what steps could they possibly be not wanting to rule out?

Virgile , Jan 20 2020 20:17 utc | 20
The state of the JCPOA today bears a lot on Trump's negotiations with North Korea.
Kim Un Jung has be spooked by Bolton comparing North Korea's fate to Libya and by the ease with which US withdrew from the JCPOA. Negotiations have halted.
Trump needs to show that he is serious with deals that he guaranties will be binding the partners more seriously than the flawed JCPOA.
Iran has only one choice: Press Europe to take a stand against the USA, (which will probably not happen) then pull out officially from the JCPOA that has become a liability with no advantages and calls for re-negotiation. Trump will certainly jump in and will try to get the best deal possible by squeezing Iran on its regional role. Yet he can't have too excessive demands as he wants to make a similar deal with North Korea.
Iran could ask for withholding sanctions during negotiations. It could take years to finalize the deal. In the meantime the regional situation could change greatly
That seems to be the only path for Iran.
Laguerre , Jan 20 2020 20:27 utc | 21
According to what is said here, the US is still afraid of attacking Iran, and is going for internal disruption, and sanctions. So what's new? It's been the same policy for forty years. The fact that Trump doesn't like long-term wars, and will only go for a big bang without consequences, is neither here nor there.

Rouhani and his team, including Zarif, seem to me pretty bright, and capable of coping with the politics. Relighting nuclear refinement is essentially a political move.

jared , Jan 20 2020 20:30 utc | 22
Again, find it hard to believe that they are in fact such quisling sycophants to the US.
Suspect they rely on Trump to provide cover for the fact that they (like him) are beholden to higher powers.
winston2 , Jan 20 2020 20:35 utc | 23
The USE of WMDs is haram.
Words mean things B, much as the PC police have twisted their meanings,and even fatwas can be reversed.
The frantic efforts to corral the USSRs nukes were never anything like 100% effective,500+ warheads and tonnes of
plutonium were NEVER accounted for from the KNOWN inventory,who knows what the unknown inventory was ?
Generals of Rocket Forces had to eat,and there were willing buyers for their only wares.
A CIA assessment I was made privy to,the old boys network for an opinion from outside, claimed the Iranians did not have the ability to keep those warheads in working order,which begs a question,how many ?
I told my old schoolmate they were wrong in their assessment, they've had the capability since the Shahs nuclear program.I know Iran very well,worked and lived there ,during the Shah times.

[Jan 20, 2020] NYT Editors Hedge Their Bets, Endorse Warren Klobuchar

Fake news are consistent: Klobuchar and not Tulsi ?
Jan 20, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

...

in what the paper described as a "significant break with convention", the members of its editorial board have selected not one, but two candidates - both of them women.

Its chosen candidates are: Elizabeth Warren, the Republican-turned-progressive who for years posed as a Native American to game America's system of affirmative action - and Amy Klobuchar, the midwestern senator from the great state of Minneapolis with a reputation for being an unhinged dragon-lady boss.

That the NYT selected the two remaining women among the top tier of contenders is hardly a surprise: This is, after all, the same newspaper that kicked off #MeToo by dropping the first expose about Harvey Weinstein's history of abusing, harassing and assaulting women just days before the New Yorker followed up with the first piece from Ronan Farrow.

...After all, if the editors went ahead with their true No. 1 choice, Klobuchar, a candidate who has very little chance of actually capturing the nomination, they would look foolish.


DeePeePDX , 2 hours ago link

NYT is like that ex you dumped that won't stop trying to get your attention with increasingly desperate and pathetic acts.

Griffin , 2 hours ago link

Warren is a much better candidate than Biden is in my view.

Warren seems to get into trouble sometimes for all kinds of reasons like most people do, but the problems are usually trivial, more silly than dangerous. There is tendency in her to stick to her guns even when she does not know what she is doing.

When i run into something unexpected or something that seems to be something i don't understand, i usually backtrack and look at the problem from some distance to see what happened and why before trying to correct or fix the problem, rather than just doing something.

Its not a perfect plan, but it seems to work most of the time.

https://9gag.com/gag/ap5AO19

Someone Else , 2 hours ago link

The tennis shoe I threw away last week is a better candidate than Biden. So that's not saying much.

TheManj , 3 hours ago link

NYT remains a joke. Their endorsement is straight up virtue-signalling.

Here's some reality: Warren's latest antics have cemented her image as dishonest and high-strung. Knoblocker has no charisma and remains practically unknown.

John Hansen , 3 hours ago link

Why are foreign ownedNew York Times allowed to meddle in the election?

Where is the investigation?

pitz , 4 hours ago link

I've personally sat down and talked with Klobuchar. Not a lot of depth of intelligence in her, that's for sure, easily manipulated by lobbyists. Warren, at least, knows what the problem is, although she might have swallowed the proverbial Democratic party "kool aid".

spam filter , 4 hours ago link

Warren is the deep state establishment pick. If you must vote Dem, pick someone that isn't, or one the establishment seems to work against. Better yet, vote Trump, safe bet on gun rights, freedoms.

SheHunter , 5 hours ago link

Here's the link. It is a gd editorial.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/01/19/opinion/amy-klobuchar-elizabeth-warren-nytimes-endorsement.html

[Jan 20, 2020] Documentary Released Monday Sheds New Light on Ukrainegate

Notable quotes:
"... I appears to me that Biden stepped into something and it's stuck to his foot. IMPOTUS never seeming to have the ability grasp victory from the jaws of defeat failed, again and stepped into the same mess. ..."
"... Viktor Shokin said under oath in a case in Austria that he was investigating Burisma and that's why Biden had him fired ..."
"... We now know that whenever Biden virtue signals, the exact opposite applies. When he talks about how democratic we are, or about transparency and what not, it's because we are not. Snake Oil salesman. ..."
"... So basically Joe Biden did everything that the Democrats accuse Trump of doing. And Biden is so brazen about the whole thing, he brags on tape at the Council of Foreign Relations and admits to his crime. And Biden is running for president? Image if people like Rachel Maddow did this kind of reporting and truly informed the citizens about the abuses in our own gov't instead of the establishment bullshit she has been spewing for years. We are a banana republic. ..."
"... Biden is the poster boy for nepotism and corruption. ..."
"... This report provides overwhelming evidence that Joe Biden intervened directly to coerce the president of Ukraine to fire an honest and competent prosecutor general, and to put in place a corrupt one. ..."
Jan 15, 2020 | consortiumnews.com

A new documentary by Olivier Berruyer, editor of the website les-crises.fr , released in conjunction with Consortium News on Monday, sorts out the complicated scandal and the role Joe Biden played in it.

UkraineGate – Inconvenient Facts

Part One: "A Not So 'Solid' Prosecutor"

https://videos.les-crises.fr/embed/player.php?video=ukgate_long_s1e1_en_jovv1vhy4zcnqlvof

Tags: Hunter Biden Joe Biden Petro Poroshenko Viktor Shokin


Skip Intro , January 15, 2020 at 22:34

Great video, thanks. I fear you may have misinterpreted the word "solid" in Biden's statement. I believe he meant something more like "reliable", in the sense of being compliant with US wishes. The opposite of 'not corrupt' really. Look at the body language, and it's the CFR, ffs.

robert e williamson jr , January 15, 2020 at 21:06

Right on Joe Lauria !

I have watched this video three times. A long cast of characters with similar, unfamiliar names here, some making multiple appearances.

I appears to me that Biden stepped into something and it's stuck to his foot. IMPOTUS never seeming to have the ability grasp victory from the jaws of defeat failed, again and stepped into the same mess.

A case exists to fry both Biden and the IMPOTUS over the same fire in their own fat, greedy little piggy's. Great stuff for non-partisans.

Now this video needs to go viral. like ASAP!

Three Cheers for" Inspector Clouseau", great job.

Nicolas , January 17, 2020 at 14:06

Merci beaucoup Robert! What a great compliment!

I absolutely agree with you, and we (a very small French team, I mostly researched material in Russian and Ukrainian) didn't do this documentary to help your president, and I don't think it will. It could be the opposite, depending on what happens with the primaries.

We're French (not Russian hackers, LOL!), what matters is that there are wrongdoings that had not been investigated properly until us, and therefore we had a great opportunity to do something serious to let the public know the truth, and make a name for ourselves in the process. If this series does go viral (and I have hopes it will :) ), then, well, it could generate enough donations for us to continue investigating, on other subjects. That would be really cool.

Stay tuned on ukrainegate.info for the next episodes :)

A one minute teaser you can share is available on twitter.com/Ukraine_Gate/

Again, thank you for the compliment, you made me smile.

Eugenie Basile , January 15, 2020 at 02:01

I guess this makes Biden the most solid candidate MSM and DNC can deliver.

DW Bartoo , January 16, 2020 at 15:07

Much appreciation to Olivier Berruyer, les-crises.fr, and CN.

Genuine investigative journalism of the highest order.

(The truth is a powerful gift and critically necessary to empowering understanding, which might even allow the many to find both the courage and imagination to bring about needful change and even permit humanity to have a future, that is not corrupted by crony finance capitalism, endless war, and a global political class intent on extraction on all levels, but rather is premised upon humane and sustainable behaviors and fundamental moral principles that value life above brute domination and cooperation above violent tyrannical oppression.)

Putting U$ MSM, for which only money and sycophantic propaganda pandering is all that matters, to well-deserved shame.

Jonathan Marshall , January 14, 2020 at 19:39

Here's another take from Daria Kaleniuk, executive director of Ukraine's Anti-Corruption Action Center, who is quoted in this video:

"Lutsenko and prosecutor Konstantin Kulik have been giving Giuliani information on this case purely with an agenda to save their careers, inventing the story about the Biden investigation."

In 2016, Vice President Biden demanded that Ukraine fire Prosecutor General Victor Shokin, who Trump might have called a "very good prosecutor," but he was seen by reformers in Kyiv as a disaster. A year earlier, Kalemniuk's watchdog organization had pushed to dismiss Shokin for neglecting multiple corruption cases.

"Here is why I do not say anything about Hunter Biden," Kaleniuk explained. "Vice President Biden called for Ukraine to fire Shokin not because of the Burisma investigation, absolutely not, but because Ukraine's prosecutor general did not investigate Burisma. U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt insisted [in early 2016] that Shokin should be investigating Burisma.

The U.S. government had a clear position: The Burisma probe was killed by Shokin."

www (dot)thedailybeast(dot)com/trump-zelensky-phone-call-shocks-daria-kaleniuk-one-of-ukraines-top-independent-corruption-fighters

Joe Lauria , January 15, 2020 at 02:09

Viktor Shokin said under oath in a case in Austria that he was investigating Burisma and that's why Biden had him fired. Are we supposed to believe the Daily Beast over sworn testimony? The idea that Biden got ride of Shokin because he wouldn't investigate his son's company is way too fantastic to believe.

Jason M Homer , January 15, 2020 at 13:00

Interesting until realizing your sourcing your information from the Daily Beast. Please find new sources of information. The Daily Beast has been repeatedly proven to be pure propaganda.

Clark M Shanahan , January 15, 2020 at 21:49

BTW: Chelsea Clinton is on the Daily Beast's board of directors.

Debra L. Carr de Legorreta , January 14, 2020 at 17:22

We now know that whenever Biden virtue signals, the exact opposite applies. When he talks about how democratic we are, or about transparency and what not, it's because we are not. Snake Oil salesman.

Erin , January 14, 2020 at 16:59

I can't wait to see part 2. When is that coming out? This is an incredible deep dive into the whole stinking Urkrainegate/Biden issue. I paused the film several times because there is so much information provided.

So basically Joe Biden did everything that the Democrats accuse Trump of doing. And Biden is so brazen about the whole thing, he brags on tape at the Council of Foreign Relations and admits to his crime. And Biden is running for president? Image if people like Rachel Maddow did this kind of reporting and truly informed the citizens about the abuses in our own gov't instead of the establishment bullshit she has been spewing for years. We are a banana republic.

Blessthebeasts , January 15, 2020 at 13:15

I almost think the Democrats are deliberately sandbagging Biden with the impeachment farce. They know he would likely lose as Hillary did, but he feels "entitled" like she did, so they think this will finish him once and for all.

Our government is useless.

VallejoD , January 15, 2020 at 13:42

Agreed. Biden is the poster boy for nepotism and corruption.

DC_rez , January 16, 2020 at 16:08

Are you insinuating Rachel Maddow is a journalist?

Nicolas , January 17, 2020 at 14:13

Thank you very much for the compliment!
Part 2 is ready (and it's fun!), if everything is OK you'll see it next week, if you stay tuned to ukrainegate.info and/or twitter.com/Ukraine_Gate
Don't hesitate to share and help us go viral :)

Brewer , January 14, 2020 at 16:13

Spent this morning promoting this documentary on my regular alt-media haunts and sent it to journos and politicians I know. Strongly urge others to do likewise. MSM already blocking it so it is important to get it out there.
Many thanks to Consortium News. A real scoop.

Debra L. Carr de Legorreta , January 14, 2020 at 16:07

It's not surprising that the the CEO of Burisma, Mykola Zlockevsky looks like a mobster. What kind of a person heads a fossil fuel company, an enterprise hell bent on increasing CO2 emissions? not someone you'd like to bump into in a dark alley.

Ruth Harris , January 14, 2020 at 14:48

Some points to ponder:
1. Biden was sent to Ukraine with the backing of both parties in congress and the IMF to remove Shokin in exchange for $5 Bn in aid to the Ukrainian gas industry.
Question: Was any of that money intended for or received by Burisma?
2. Hunter Biden's position at Burisma facilitated connections with a NATO think tank, the Atlantic Council, which was the recipient of million$ from Burisma.
Question: Did any of that money originate from the aid money?
3. The Atlantic Council, an anti Russian organization, sits amid a web of US defense contractors, Raytheon and Lockheed, producers of the Javelin missiles, being two of them. Some of the $300 + million Trump withheld, was to purchase those weapons.
Question: What part did the Atlantic Council and those defense contractors play in the whistle blowing incident that revealed Trump's quid pro quo?
consortiumnews(dot)com/2019/10/14/dcs-atlantic-council-raked-in-funding-from-hunter-bidens-corruption-stained-ukrainian-employer-while-courting-his-vp-father/

Desmond , January 14, 2020 at 18:29

Excellent questions. Thank you.

Dianne Foster , January 15, 2020 at 04:07

Interesting. So far, I only knew that Biden and McCain enabled Nuland to replace Yanukovich with a neo-Nazi-filled government in 2014. Thus to re-start the Cold War with Russia .0

Fred Grosso , January 14, 2020 at 14:05

Thank you for this information. I don't think this vindicates Trump. It shows how he fits so nicely into our corrupt politics. He is of value because he commits immoral acts that he believes others have committed, but he doubles down and he is ruthlessly transparent. Biden is what he is and not as he is presented to us by the media and his gang. How we get the fanatical supporters of these corrupt demons to stop empowering them is a puzzling dilemma.

Louis Robert , January 14, 2020 at 18:02

Gramsci:

" The old world is dying, and the new world struggles to be born: now is the time of monsters."

rosemerry , January 14, 2020 at 14:01

I would be delighted to see Facebook allowing "The Magnitsky Act-Behind the Scenes", as NOBODY else online is allowed to or brave enough to let the truth be told about that Browder action.

Frank Munley , January 14, 2020 at 12:07

I do not use FB for sending links. I hardly use my FB account at all. But I did access ukrainegate.info through my Safari browser. I noticed immediately that there is an 8:50 short summary of the video posted by CN. I hope there is a transcript of the longer version, because like some others, I don't like to watch videos.

Tim Slater , January 14, 2020 at 11:39

This is what investigative journalism should be!

Nicolas , January 17, 2020 at 14:18

Thank you very much for the compliment!
For the next episodes, see ukrainegate.info
There's also a one-minute teaser on twitter.com/Ukraine_Gate that you can share to help us go viral.

Linda C , January 14, 2020 at 11:06

Corruption has tarnished Joe Biden. He is no longer a viable Democratic candidate in the U.S. This is what Trump was after, even if it was for his own political gain. Impeaching one president and preparing to elect another crooked one is what American politics looks like these days. Ukraine doesn't have a corner on the market of corruption.

Mike from Jersey , January 14, 2020 at 17:49

Linda,

Biden is unfit for office.

The problem is that the Corporate Media will suppress info like this.

That is why sites like this one are important.

The more people get the word out the better.

Adele A Roof , January 14, 2020 at 11:05

I very much appreciated this video, that clearly confirms how corrupt Biden would be were he elected president.

I tried to send a donation to the French company that investigated and produced this and have not yet figured out a way to do that.

Please suggest an alternative link.

Iovleff , January 15, 2020 at 10:48

The page is in french but after filling the form (first name, second name, . In fact you can put what you want, there is no check)
and clicking on the button "Faire un don avec Paypal", you will be able to donate

https://www.les-crises.fr/faire-un-don-a-diacrisis/

Antiwar7 , January 15, 2020 at 13:31

An English-language support page for that site is at:
https(colon)//www(dot)les-crises(dot)fr/support/

Nicolas , January 17, 2020 at 14:28

Thank you very much for your compliment (I'm one of the few members of the investigative team), Adele, and thank you very much to Antiwar for providing the link. I hope it's OK to repeat this link in clear www(dot)les-crises (dot)fr/support/

OK, I think this is the 4th thank you message I write, and I should stop here before CN bans me for flooding the comment section, but I'm really extremely moved by all the compliments on this page.
See you soon for the next videos :)

AnneR , January 14, 2020 at 10:41

Additional and hardly coincidental that NPR should use Area 1 Security as a "source" for "insightful," "reliable and true" information (ho ho) Wikipedia (not itself a reliable, unaffiliated source, but likely so in this case, informs that the Oren Falkowitz and his two co-founders of this (supposed independent) cybersecurity firm, prior to their establishing this "cybersecurity" company they (all three) worked for – guess who? – the US National Security Agency (NSA). You know, that abominable snooping, spy cyber-agency that hacked into everyone's cell/smartphone around the world, including Frau Merkel's.

You have to admire the hubris and arrogance of these men; and the reliance of the NPR on their loyal audience members either fully accepting what any *American* cyber *security* company says about the Reds, the black hats or should they bother to check out the Wiki that audience trusting utterly anything and everything such men and their company say (and do). Mind-boggling.

Charles K. Hof , January 14, 2020 at 10:34

And Joe Biden wants to be the US president. I also note Obama willing to go along with this "change", and use funds for leverage. Unfortunately it seems this is how not only the US but other countries work.
Trump is corrupt, and we may not like what he does, and yes he got caught. The fact that the Republicans do not reign him in is equally as bad.
Enough of the "Old Gard and their version of Ethics/Morality"

AnneR , January 14, 2020 at 10:29

I'd much rather read than watch (bad for my eyes) or listen, so have missed out on this revealing item. However, it is excellent that CN has posted the access to this video for those more than willing to view (I'd love to read a transcript, mind) it.

Makes me wonder if the existence of this evidence has *anything* to do with NPR's Morning Edition today and the new (?) "Russia (GRU) did it" story they are happily broadcasting about the (purported) hacking of Burisma's email accounts. Their source of info? Some CA based "cybersecurity" company called Area 1 Security. Yep, those scary, dastardly Russians (the *only* country with hackers, let alone government funded hackers) have been at it again – and, of course, they have had ill intent, just as they did vis a vis Killary's election campaign

This is from NPR's website, what was said by the Security firm's co-founder: " "What we've uncovered is that the same Russian cyber actors who targeted the DNC in 2016 have been actively launching a phishing campaign against employees of Burisma Holdings and its subsidiaries, to try to steal their email usernames and passwords," Area 1 co-founder Oren Falkowitz tells NPR's Noel King."

Well, of course.

Just in case anyone in the US population begins to raise their head above the Huxleyan-Orwellian propaganda and gets other ideas about what reality really looks like And perhaps in preparation for an impeachment trial taking place in the Senate and the Biden gangsters being subpoenaed .Gotta keep the lid on it.

DH Fabian , January 15, 2020 at 00:28

In fairness, Russia-gate is all that the Democrats have left to sell. They sold out their values, and a good portion of their voters, years ago.

Blessthebeasts , January 15, 2020 at 13:28

I don't usually watch longer videos but I watched this while working in the kitchen and it was easy to follow and clearly laid out. I recommend it; you will gain even more insight into the corruption of these evil people.

ML , January 14, 2020 at 09:12

Remember the older gentleman Merle Gorman, who Joe Biden savaged at an Iowa town hall meeting a few weeks ago? The story ran on CBS nightly news one night. All the retired farmer asked Joe was two questions: 1. That he himself at 83, knew he was too old to have the job of president of the U.S. and how did Biden feel about his own age and job aspirations? 2. What was the deal about Ukraine's Burisma hiring Hunter to their board when Hunter had no experience in oil and gas? And Biden called him a "damned liar" and "fat," challenged him to a physical competition and attacked Mr. Gorman terribly. It was a disgusting display by Biden. Well, I looked up Merle in Hampton, Iowa and wrote him a letter, telling him he was a hero for bringing these issues up so bravely in front of a big crowd. A couple weeks later, I received a two page, hand-written letter from Mr. Gorman himself. Many Americans had written or called him to offer their support. It was delightful to be able to converse with a fellow American on this issue, a complete stranger who had the temerity to confront Biden directly on his corruption. Mr. Gorman, I told you about Consortium News in my letter to you. So if you are reading this, once again, BRAVO! Great video here that proves the point he so courageously made at that Iowa town hall. And Joe is tanking. I hope he continues to tank.

Helga I. Fellay , January 14, 2020 at 21:27

ML – I believe you are correct, that Biden is tanking, as he should be. However, the democrats and their supine MSM are still holding him up as if he were a shoo-in to win the nomination. CBS evening news tonight declared him way out in front, although other polls put Sanders first and Biden way behind. There is only one reason the Dems and the media insist that he is the front runner: because without that pretext, their entire impeachment hoax would collapse. The President has every right to ask that an obviously corrupt senator meddling in foreign affairs be investigated. It's only "illegal" IF that senator is his political rival. But as long as Biden can't win the primary, that would pull the rug out from under the entire impeachment hoax. So between now and the primary, we will hear and read again and again that Biden is the front runner, the truth be damned.

VallejoD , January 15, 2020 at 13:50

Good for you! I was absolutely disgusted with Biden. The man is an ethical sinkhole and then attacks an elder American citizen in the vilest way.

I would not vote for Biden to collect my trash.

James Whitney , January 14, 2020 at 08:18

Les Crises is the most important economic blog in France during the last several years. It welcomed the well-known economist Jacques Sapir who had been kicked out of his previous blog position for criticizing president Macron. One of the best features of Les Crises is the people who leave excellent comments on the many articles published. I am one of these commentators, although I comment a lot less often than some of the best (my comments generally well received all the same).

Robyn , January 14, 2020 at 07:46

I agree with Dingleberry's rhetorical question about why people continue using FB etc. So many people object to being spied on and lament social media's increasing censorship, yet they keep on using them – just as they keep going to MSM sites. I'd like to see a huge boycott of them all, even for just 24 hours.

People – take back the power.

Fran Macadam , January 14, 2020 at 07:28

You've been zucked.

countykerry , January 14, 2020 at 06:10

Joe, Joe say it ain't so !

Thank you for sharing this documentary with us, another example of the corrupt behavior of Joe Biden.

And brought to us not by our own MSM but from France.

Michael Meo , January 14, 2020 at 02:02

This report provides overwhelming evidence that Joe Biden intervened directly to coerce the president of Ukraine to fire an honest and competent prosecutor general, and to put in place a corrupt one.

I am interested to see how the honest prosecutor was presented in European and American mass media as corrupt. I donated 50 dollars, and hope to see the explanation in the second installment.

mbob , January 13, 2020 at 23:14

This video is astonishing! I couldn't stop watching. I normally don't bother with videos, since it's much faster to read than to watch and listen. And this video is very lengthy -- over 50 minutes.

But it's one of the most amazing and compelling things I've ever viewed.

I'll admit: I believe everything that Berruyer says and shows here. The video should completely demolish Biden's candidacy. Although not very explicit about him, it sheds enormous shade on Obama and on the impeachment hearing. It comes near to completely vindicating Trump on the UkraineGate charge, while essentially convicting Biden of what Trump was accused of.

I'll try to learn more about Berruyer to see if he is as objective as this video appears to make him out to be.

And if he is . wow!

Thanks ConsortiumNews for finding and showing this. As I said, I've seen nothing like it. And I'll make a contribution shortly.

If, as Ville from Finland write, the video violates Facebook's norms, then that opens up very troubling issues in itself.

Keep up the good work!

Olivier Berruyer , January 14, 2020 at 08:31

Thanks a lot ! You know, we are french, not americans. We are not politically motivated : we are not pro-democrats, or pro-republicans. We just try to be each day pro-journalism.

As Robert Parry told it : https://consortiumnews.com/2019/12/29/an-apology-and-explanation-two-years-on/

ElderD , January 14, 2020 at 09:08

>>> " It comes near to completely vindicating Trump on the UkraineGate charge . . ."

I don't think that's true. Trump clearly used the leverage of withholding aid authorized by Congress, in order to coerce Ukraine into taking action that would help his reelection campaign. That's seriously bad stuff, regardless of the actions of the Biden family.

>>>". . . while essentially convicting Biden of what Trump was accused of."

Yes. It definitely does that.

John Wright , January 13, 2020 at 22:00

Excellent and important documentary that everyone should watch if they want to understand the roots of UkraineGate.

Thanks for posting this CN !

michael , January 13, 2020 at 17:26

Excellent video! Ukraine is laughably corrupt. American politicians must feel they have died and gone to Paradise!

Piotr Berman , January 14, 2020 at 11:56

Funny countries are laughably corrupt. USA is a serious country. American corruption is .. [exercise for high school kids]

Paul , January 13, 2020 at 18:22

This was remarkable and important. Well done.

Eugenie Basile , January 14, 2020 at 08:30

I wonder if this falls under meddling with U.S. elections by a foreign agent providing kompromat on a U.S. political frontrunner. Mr. Berruyer you are a very courageous man.

[Jan 20, 2020] Fake Investigations... Designed To Fool by Bryce Buchanan

Highly recommended!
Money quote: "The Deep State and the media appear to believe that we are fooled by these fraudulent investigations. We are not fooled. We are tired of the lies and the arrogance."
Notable quotes:
"... For the Deep State, hiding and destroying evidence of guilt is standard operating procedure. They simply report a "glitch" that destroyed the key evidence and that's the end of it. Or, they simply redact the portions of the record that would expose the truth. To my memory, no one ever suffers any consequences for this. Even now, Director Wray and others are tenaciously withholding evidence. ..."
"... When Anthony Weiner's laptop was found to contain over 340,000 Hillary emails in a file named "insurance", the FBI did not rejoice about finally getting the 'lost' email. No, they hid the discovery for weeks until a New York agent threatened to go public. Then, quite miraculously, Peter Strzok found a way to very quickly examine 340,000 messages and found that there was nothing at all that was incriminating. No rational person would believe that. ..."
"... The dirty cops are so confident in their ability to deceive the public that they just announced that the FISA court reforms will be managed by David Kris. Kris has been a defender of FBI misconduct and he attacked Devin Nunes for telling the truth about the FISA court. They don't even care about the appearance of fairness. They do what they want. ..."
"... Because there was nothing, and because it was known from the start that, " there is no big there, there ", the Mueller Team used several irrelevant legal actions to prolong the belief that they were closing in on Trump. Mueller arranged for their media partner, CNN, to film the early morning swat team raid on 67 year old Roger Stone's home. It was very dramatic and very un-necessary. Also, some small-time Russian troll farms were indicted so that the word "Russia" could fill the news, prolonging the desired myth. One of the indicted firms did not even exist. The others did not appear to favor any one candidate and much of their activity was after the election ..."
"... Mueller led a 40 million dollar investigation looking for a crime. That effort failed at finding any collusion, but it did play a role in the Democrats winning a majority in the House of Representatives. That then enabled another investigation of an imaginary crime for political purposes. A scripted hearsay 'whistleblower' submitted lies that allowed Adam Schiff to continue his own campaign of lies. You know the rest of the story. Trump is being falsely charged for doing what Biden bragged about doing. ..."
Jan 20, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Bryce Buchanan via The Burning Platform blog,

Many government officials with long entrenched power are unwilling to give up any of that power. In their minds, they have a right to control our lives as they see fit, with complete indifference to our wishes. To avoid rebellion, they need to hide this fact as much as possible. They want the citizens to believe the lie that we are a nation of laws with equal justice under the law. To advance this lie, they have staged many theatrical productions that they call "investigations". They try to give us the impression that they want to expose the facts and punish wrongdoing.

Most of the big 'investigations' in the news in recent years have not been at all what they pretended to be. The sham investigations of Hillary's email, or the Clinton Foundation, or Weiner's laptop, or Uranium One, or Mueller's witch hunt, or Huber's big nothing, or the IG's whitewash, or the Schiff-Pelosi charades, have all been premeditated deceptions.

There are three types of investigations that call for different deceptions by the Deep State.
  1. The first type is the rare honest investigation . Examples would be the attempt to find the truth about Fast and Furious (Obama's gunrunning operation), or the IRS scandal (Obama's weaponizing of government). In response to real investigations, the criminals do two things lie and hide evidence. Key evidence, even if it is under subpoena, just disappears. In the IRS case, Lois Lerner's relevant email and the email of 6 others involved in the scheme was just "lost". The IRS "worked tirelessly" to find the email, but hard drives had been destroyed and back-up drives were missing, so the subpoenaed evidence could not be provided.

    For the Deep State, hiding and destroying evidence of guilt is standard operating procedure. They simply report a "glitch" that destroyed the key evidence and that's the end of it. Or, they simply redact the portions of the record that would expose the truth. To my memory, no one ever suffers any consequences for this. Even now, Director Wray and others are tenaciously withholding evidence.

  2. The second type of 'investigation' is when the Deep State pretends to investigate the Deep State . In these 'investigations' the outcome is known in advance, but the script calls for pretending, sometimes for years, that it an honest investigation is underway.

    There was nothing about the Hillary investigations that had anything to do with finding facts. The purpose from the beginning was exoneration. Key witnesses were given immunity and many were allowed to attend each other's interviews. There were no early morning swat team raids to gather evidence. Evidence was destroyed with no consequences.

    When Anthony Weiner's laptop was found to contain over 340,000 Hillary emails in a file named "insurance", the FBI did not rejoice about finally getting the 'lost' email. No, they hid the discovery for weeks until a New York agent threatened to go public. Then, quite miraculously, Peter Strzok found a way to very quickly examine 340,000 messages and found that there was nothing at all that was incriminating. No rational person would believe that.

    The dirty cops are so comfortable about getting away with lies like this that Huber can announce that he found no corruption, when it is readily apparent that he did not interview key witnesses . He even turned away whistleblowers who wanted to submit evidence. A real investigator, Charles Ortel, could have given Huber a long list of Clinton Foundation crimes . Like the Weiner laptop fake investigation, you don't find crimes if you don't really look for them.

    The dirty cops are so confident in their ability to deceive the public that they just announced that the FISA court reforms will be managed by David Kris. Kris has been a defender of FBI misconduct and he attacked Devin Nunes for telling the truth about the FISA court. They don't even care about the appearance of fairness. They do what they want.

    IG investigations have proven to be flimsy exonerations of Deep State criminality. Any honest observer can see that there was a carefully organized plan by top officials to control the outcome of the Presidential election. This corrupt plan involved lying to the FISA court, illegal surveillance and unmasking of citizens and conspiring with media partners to make sure lies were widely circulated to voters. The government conspirators and the majority of the media were functioning as nothing more than a branch of Hillary's campaign. That's a lot of power aimed at destroying Trump.

    To an IG investigator, this monumental scandal was presented to us as nothing to be very concerned about. Yes, a few minor rules were inadvertently broken and there did appear to be some bias, but there was no reason at all to think that bias effected any actions. If the agencies involved make a training video and set aside a day for a training meeting, then that should satisfy us completely.

  3. The third type of investigation involves investigating an imaginary crime for political reasons . The Mueller investigation and the impeachment investigation are two examples of this. Probably as a justification for illegal surveillance they were already doing, the conspirators pretended that there was powerful evidence that Trump was colluding with Putin to win the election. Lies about this issue propelled the country into 3 years of stories about nothing stories and investigations about something that never happened. Never in the history of nothing has nothing been so thoroughly covered.

    Because there was nothing, and because it was known from the start that, " there is no big there, there ", the Mueller Team used several irrelevant legal actions to prolong the belief that they were closing in on Trump. Mueller arranged for their media partner, CNN, to film the early morning swat team raid on 67 year old Roger Stone's home. It was very dramatic and very un-necessary. Also, some small-time Russian troll farms were indicted so that the word "Russia" could fill the news, prolonging the desired myth. One of the indicted firms did not even exist. The others did not appear to favor any one candidate and much of their activity was after the election .

    Mueller led a 40 million dollar investigation looking for a crime. That effort failed at finding any collusion, but it did play a role in the Democrats winning a majority in the House of Representatives. That then enabled another investigation of an imaginary crime for political purposes. A scripted hearsay 'whistleblower' submitted lies that allowed Adam Schiff to continue his own campaign of lies. You know the rest of the story. Trump is being falsely charged for doing what Biden bragged about doing.

The Deep State and the media appear to believe that we are fooled by these fraudulent investigations. We are not fooled. We are tired of the lies and the arrogance.

We are increasingly angry that there is a double standard of justice in this country. There is a protected class of people who are not prosecuted for their crimes. This needs to end.


insanelysane , 9 minutes ago link

The sheeple are easily led including the opposition sheeple. Two quick examples:

1. In the email scandal, Hillary was guilty, beyond a shadow of a doubt, of violating the FOIA by conducting all State Department business via a personal email She was guilty. Yet her team, listen up sheeple, her team made it about whether or not classified information was transmitted. This is a gray area which could be defended. She knew she was guilty of the FOIA violation because it was the whole reason the server was set up in the first place. Yet she got away with it because everyone focused on the classifications of emails which was a gray area.

2. In the Weiner / Abedin laptop matter, it is and was illegal for any of these emails to be on a personal computer. Again, guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt. Yet again everyone focused on what was in the emails and not the fact that just possessing the emails was illegal. So the FBI was able to say nothing new here and let it drop. If another group such as the US Marshals was in charge of this investigation, Weiner / Abedin would have been fully charged with possessing these emails. They would have been pressured to reveal why it was named Insurance and have been asked to cut a deal.

DonGenaro , 10 minutes ago link

Assange rots in jail, and Maxwell walks free, while Trump is busy pleasuring every Zionist in sight

East Indian , 23 minutes ago link

A comment in 'The Gateway Pundit':

"Andy McCabe admits lying to the FBI and nothing happens. The FBI lies to Gen. Flynn and he faces jail time. Justice in Deep State America."

- reader ricocat1

hardmedicine , 38 minutes ago link

his name was Seth Rich!

hoffstetter , 40 minutes ago link

The purpose of show trials is to fool those that don't pay attention. There are millions of US citizens that get their news from their neighbor or a narrow set of information that is disseminated by media that parrot their providers verbatim without challenge. Such people are quite regularly fooled and some vote.

buckboy , 57 minutes ago link

We, the People are free to bitch and moan.

marlin2009 , 1 hour ago link

The double standard justice system in America is appalling and even worse than communists. Americans really don’t have any credit to criticize communist countries. The ruling class is no better than them.

The media and ruling classes have tried decades to brainwashed the mass to believe that the less or even not corrupted.

Deep Snorkeler , 1 hour ago link

Trump's Non-Crimes

Trump University Fraud: Trump paid fine

Trump Taj Mahal Casino Money Laundering: Trump paid fine

Trump Foundation Fraud: Trump paid fine

Trump Campaign Law Violations: pending

Trump Obstruction:

Trump Abuse of Power:

Trump...

Old Hippie Patriot , 1 hour ago link

They could have never pulled off the JFK assassination had the internet existed back in 1963. Time for the Epstein *********** to be posted on the internet. Even the asleep would realize the unimaginable evil that has been controlling this world for millenia.

HANGTHEOWL , 1 hour ago link

I am not sure about that,,we have the net now,,and although there are many of us that pay attention and figure out their crimes and hoax's,,,,they still get away with them,,,,,,NASA still gets 59 million a day to fake the space program,,,

monty42 , 1 hour ago link

Why not? They pulled off 9/11. And what do we have? The same as with the JFK murder. People still arguing over how it was done, and ignoring the obvious, historically established now, of who benefited and why. Grassy knoll, 2nd shooter, or directed energy weapons or explosives, internet or not, still chasing the tail.

HANGTHEOWL , 57 minutes ago link

True, they murdered 3,000 of us on 9-11,,right on TV, using plainly obvious controlled demolitions, and to date they have still gotten away with it...

[Jan 20, 2020] The Iraqis want American out, and one day American will leave.

Jan 20, 2020 | www.unz.com

Ko , says: Show Comment January 20, 2020 at 7:23 pm GMT

American interests are to protect oil companies, and fight the inevtible douche (british definition) American's will feel once the dollar is deflated. In a lesser way, wars and interventions are indeed to protect americans – from a massive, sudden, econimic depression of the likes the world has never seen. China and the rest of the world no American empire is going to retract. I only hope we have a sensible leader who can parlay Ameria's role in the world to become a partner in the BRI – ion some way.

The Asia Pivot was never destined to be anything but bluster. Asia is lost, the Asian nations will satellite around China. Southeast Asia is even more lost, Cambodia mioght as well fly the Chinese flag, Thailand will pretend, as it always has, to never have been colonized. Well, Thailand was/is a dog of a nation that's laid down on its back for every nation advancing on it's border.

Myanmar just signed on to the BRI and has given China its derired dams. It's already full of Chinese. The only thing holding China back in Myanmar is the amount of money it has to give spoon to the military, generals, cronies,etc. China already owns almost all of Manadaly and thousands of square milies surrounding Mandalay. It has gas and oil fields in a warm water where those pesky Bengali Jihadis once tried to dominate.
https://www.irrawaddy.com/news/burma/myanmar-china-sign-dozens-deals-bri-projects-cooperation-xis-visit.html

Indial too has bought into Myanmar.
https://www.irrawaddy.com/opinion/guest-column/india-many-reasons-engage-myanmar.html

So, it's no wonder Iraq is the last stop of the retreat from the Middle East. The Chinese are moving forward with only the Saudis standing in the way. And who the hell really likes the House of Saud? They're doomed soon, and good riddence. The Iraqis want American out, and one day American will leave.

[Jan 20, 2020] Some people, in the US, still do not understand why Iranian people do not "love" America...If you had around 100.000 casualties by nerve gas that was sold by the US and his poodles (forget other western countries, you know who is "the boss" in the game) full aligned with Iraq,

Jan 20, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

DFC , Jan 20 2020 20:36 utc | 25

b said:

"During the Iran-Iraq war Iraq's Saddam Hussein ordered the use of chemical weapons against Iranian front lines and cities. Ten thousand Iranians died of those and many more were wounded by them"

Nope, in fact the estimate body count is much higher:

"According to a 2002 article in the Star-Ledger, 20,000 Iranian combatants and combat medics were killed on the spot by nerve gas." (this was only a part, there were also many civilians killed)

"In a declassified 1991 report, the CIA estimated that Iran had suffered more than 50,000 casualties from Iraq's use of several chemical weapons,[10] though current estimates are more than 100,000"

"Reporter Michael Dobbs of the Washington Post stated that Reagan's administration was well aware that the materials sold to Iraq would be used to manufacture chemical weapons for use in the war against Iran"
"According to Reagan's foreign policy, every attempt to save Iraq was necessary and legal.[4]"

All of this is in the wikipedia, hardly a "hardcore iranian trolls" web:

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

Some people, in the US, still do not understand why Iranian people do not "love" America...If you had around 100.000 casualties by nerve gas that was sold by the US and his poodles (forget other western countries, you know who is "the boss" in the game) full aligned with Iraq, and then you attack Iran with sanctions and threats again and again, and at the peak of hypocrisy in 2003 USA invaded Iraq "to counter the threat of WMD" (sold by the US)...What do you think of the US if you are an Iranian were living all your live under the "Damocles sword" of the threats and sactions of the Empire?

DFC , Jan 20 2020 22:27 utc | 52

@ Posted by: Laguerre | Jan 20 2020 21:48 utc | 38

Let me see if I understand your point:

First US give permissions in September 1980 (if not encouraged) to Saddam to invade Iran, to finish the new Islamic regime that was seen as an enemy by Washington; and then when Iranians, at a huge costs, retaliates and turn the tide, then the US thought it was justified to supply Iraq with the chemicals (the "dual-use" technology) to make huge amounts of nerve gases and support the use against Iranian soldiers (with some unavoidable thousands of "collateral damages"), and also helping them with intelligence, satellite imagery and etc...Is that your point?

Do you think US would have permitted Iraq attacks Iran if the Shah was governing Iran? Do you think all the US did is justified? Do you think the people of Iran has no reasons for not "loving" America?

[Jan 20, 2020] I don't want to be cruel. But in the Trump Era, we must be prepared to face a certain amount of callousness in politics. Just imagine all the terrible shots Mr. Trump could take at Mrs. Warren:

"Mrs. Warren is singularly and excruciatingly unpleasant."
Jan 20, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Elizabeth Warren is a Professional Scold and an Academic Elitist

... ... ...

Again, I don't want to be cruel. But in the Trump Era, we must be prepared to face a certain amount of callousness in politics. Just imagine all the terrible shots Mr. Trump could take at Mrs. Warren:

"Liz, I like you a lot. I think you're a nice person. But you need to calm down. I don't know if you take any medication -- your blood pressure must be very high. I'm worried about you. I really am. Relax. Put on a nice sweater, have a cup of tea, grade some papers."

"I went to Wharton, okay? A much better school than Harvard, by the way. Harvard used to be a very good school. Now it's failing, because of people like you. And I did very well at Wharton. Very well. I don't need any more lectures. Save it for your students, professor."

"Professor Pocahontas, I call her. Iron Eyes Cody had more Indian blood than Liz! Remember him? 'Keep America Beautiful.' That was his thing. I like that. He would vote for Trump. But maybe he'd vote for his fellow Native American. I don't know."

"I'm doing very well with the Latino community, even the Latina community. Not so much with the Lateen-ex community. But that's okay. Liz can have them. All seven of them. What do you do with a Lateen-ex ? Blow your nose with it?"

[Jan 20, 2020] Important clarification about MadCow disease

Jan 15, 2020 | consortiumnews.com

DC_rez , January 16, 2020 at 16:08

Are you insinuating Rachel Maddow is a journalist?

[Jan 20, 2020] Devastating documentary sheds new light on Ukrainegate: Biden as the poster boy for nepotism and corruption.

A new documentary by Olivier Berruyer, editor of the website les-crises.fr . See https://videos.les-crises.fr/embed/player.php
Jan 15, 2020 | consortiumnews.com

Eugenie Basile , January 15, 2020 at 02:01

I guess this makes Biden the most solid candidate MSM and DNC can deliver.

[Jan 20, 2020] The US has turned into such a fake bullshit nation that nothing the people say who run the place can be trusted.

Jan 20, 2020 | www.unz.com

zard , says: Show Comment January 20, 2020 at 6:29 pm GMT

The US has turned into such a fake bullshit nation that nothing the people say who run the place can be trusted. It is totally a Masonic land where money is God and the decent people are exploited and oppressed. Free speech and democracy are only kosher if the issue is something like Pooper-Scooper Enforcement Officer with no real money or power involved, unless of course there is an impressive uniform which goes with the position.

The brainwashed masses are presently transfixed to their TV's watching the theatre of the fake-impeachment pageant unfold, dutifully believing it is all real. All the performers strut about keeping to their carefully-scripted lines. Like the establishment-hatched fake Russia-bashing campaign, it is all theater. With the impeachment drama intended the polarize the entire nation, the people are once-again being caresully herded into their red and blue stalls in ensure nothing really populist, and not controlled by the establishment cabal running things, gets off of the ground. the entire performance will be so carefully choreographed, on a pro and anti Trump basis that it will also ensure that whomever the ruling cabal anoints will be chosen for the top puppet job.

Like in the US midterm elections in 2018, issues involving US foreign policy were mum. In the coming presidential election, Americans will see no real difference in the leading contenders' position regarding foreign affairs, which most Americans in any case now believe should be left to the military and the agencies who know best how to protect and advance their interests. Once again, any real discussion or debate on foreign policy during the coming election campaign will be taboo, and with the careful censorship of the alternate media, and with no real protest from the American people, who in fact become willing accomplices to any further unjust wars and atrocities their so-called "free" nation commits.

Americans are brought up on Hollywood imagery, life-styles and fantasy. The corporate media and entertainment industry is so pervasive that most of the people cannot discern the difference between fantasy and reality, and as result of their constantly-fed addiction, they now demand more and more theatre and even wars to satisfy their cravings. A false-flag attack, 9/11, on their own people coming from their diabolical "owners", results in being no more than a thrilling performance to make life seem more real. If there was any reality to the people they would long ago have arrested the thousands of insider perps involved, (especially deep-state ones in and out of the US), and long ago they would hung everyone of them.

[Jan 20, 2020] Trump s erraticness is a strong signal he fits to a pattern the Russians have used to depict the US: not agreement capable

Jan 14, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

January 14, 2020 at 12:31 pm

I would put it a bit differently. Trump's erraticness is a strong signal he fits to a pattern the Russians have used to depict the US: "not agreement capable". That's what I meant by he selects for weak partners. His negotiating style signals that he is a bad faith actor. Who would put up with that unless you had to, or you could somehow build that into your price?

Yves Smith Post author, January 15, 2020 at 12:16 am

I have no idea who your mythical Russians are. I know two people who did business in Russia before things got stupid and they never had problems with getting paid. Did you also miss that "Russians" have bought so much real estate in London that they mainly don't live in that you could drop a neutron bomb in the better parts of Chelsea and South Kensington and not kill anyone?

Pray tell, how could they acquire high end property if they are such cheats?

Boomka, January 15, 2020 at 6:38 am

somebody was eating too much US propaganda? how about this for starters:

https://www.straitstimes.com/world/europe/26-years-on-russia-set-to-repay-all-soviet-unions-foreign-debt

"It is politically important: Russia has paid off the USSR's debt to a country that no longer exists," said Mr Yuri Yudenkov, a professor at the Russian University of Economics and Public Administration. "This is very important in terms of reputation: the ability to repay on time, the responsibility," he told AFP.

It would have been very easy for Russia to say it cannot be held responsible for USSR's debts, especially in this case where debt is to a non-existent entity.

drumlin woodchuckles, January 14, 2020 at 7:09 pm

In Syria, the Department of Defense was supporting one group of pet jihadis. The CIA was supporting a different group of pet jihadis.

At times the two groups of pet jihadis were actively fighting each other. I am not sure how the DoD and CIA felt about their respective pet jihadis fighting each other. However they felt, they kept right on arming and supporting their respective groups ...

[Jan 19, 2020] Putin Proposes Changes to Constitution, Medvedev Resigns What's Going On Consortiumnews

Jan 19, 2020 | consortiumnews.com

As I've discussed many times before, Russia was on the verge of being a failed state in 2000 when Putin took the helm. There were crises in every major area of state governance: the military was in shambles, the economy had collapsed, crime was rampant, massive poverty pervaded the country, and Russians were experiencing the worst mortality crisis since World War II.

Putin's Three Priorities

Having studied Putin's governance and how Russia has fared over the two decades in which he has ruled, it's clear that he's had three main priorities for Russia in the following order:

Ensuring Russia's national security and sovereignty as an independent nation. In previous writings, I've explained the importance of national security to Russians as a result of their history and geography; Improving the economy and living standards for Russians; and, The gradual democratization of the country.

These three priorities are reflected in this week's address to the Federal Assembly, the equivalent of the U.S. president's annual state of the union. Putin reiterated to his audience that the first priority of national security and state sovereignty had been secured:

"For the first time ever – I want to emphasise this – for the first time in the history of nuclear missile weapons, including the Soviet period and modern times, we are not catching up with anyone, but, on the contrary, other leading states have yet to create the weapons that Russia already possesses.

The country's defence capability is ensured for decades to come, but we cannot rest on our laurels and do nothing. We must keep moving forward, carefully observing and analysing the developments in this area across the world, and create next-generation combat systems and complexes. This is what we are doing today."

Putin goes on to emphasize that success on this first priority enables Russia to focus even more seriously on the second priority:

"Reliable security creates the basis for Russia's progressive and peaceful development and allows us to do much more to overcome the most pressing internal challenges, to focus on the economic and social growth of all our regions in the interest of the people, because Russia's greatness is inseparable from dignified life of its every citizen. I see this harmony of a strong power and well-being of the people as a foundation of our future."

In light of the abysmal living conditions that Putin inherited in 2000, he did a remarkable job over the next decade of cutting poverty, improving infrastructure, restoring regular pension payments as well as increasing the amount, raising wages, etc. Russians, whether they agree with everything Putin does or not, no matter how frustrated they may get with him regarding particular issues, are generally grateful to him for this turnaround in their country. This progress on his second priority has underpinned his approval ratings, which have never dipped below the 60's.

But his comments during his address reflected mixed success currently as economic conditions for Russians have stagnated over the past few years. One contributing factor has been the sanctions imposed by the West in response to Russia's reunification with Crimea as a result of the 2014 coup in Ukraine.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko climb the stairs in the House of Chimeras in Kyiv, Ukraine, en route to a working lunch following a bilateral meeting and news conference on July 7, 2016. (State Department)

Putin has done a respectable job of cushioning the Russian economy from the worst effects of the sanctions and even using them to advantage with respect to import substitution in the agricultural and industrial sectors. However, polls of the population have consistently shown over the past two-to-three years that Russians are losing patience with the lack of improvement in living standards.

Another problem that is limiting economic progress is the pattern of local bureaucrats not implementing Putin's edicts. For example, in his 2018 and 2019 addresses, Putin laid out an expensive plan for economic improvement based on infrastructure projects throughout the country as well as improving health and education. Budget allocations were made for these projects and the funds released, but many have only been partially realized. Confirming what has been reported in some quarters , Putin complained about the deficiencies in the roll-out of these policies during his address.

I believe this is connected to the subsequent resignation of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev who will now step into the newly created role of deputy chairman of the Security Council, while his cabinet remains in a caretaker capacity until a new government is formed.

Medvedev has not been particularly effective as prime minister and has been very unpopular over the past several years as suspicions of corruption have swirled around him. He is also problematic ideologically as he has always embraced neoliberal economic policy which has no traction with most of the Russian people due to the experience of the 1990's when neoliberal capitalists ran amok. He also lacks the charisma and creative problem-solving skills of Putin.

Dmitry Medvedev with Vladimir Putin in 2008. (Wikimedia Commons)

But in all fairness, no prime minister will have an easy job in Russia if significant changes are needed or a transition is still in progress. Throughout Russia's history, whenever leaders wanted to reform the system, they've always encountered the problem of implementation in terms of the bureaucracy. Whether out of malevolence, fear of losing perceived benefits, inertia, or incompetence, bureaucrats lower down the chain don't always put the reforms effectively or consistently in place. Putin has complained at various times of local bureaucrats' intransigence and its negative effects on average citizens whom they are supposed to be serving.

Mikhail Mishustin. (Wikimedia Commons)

Not much is known about Medvedev's immediate replacement , Mikhail Mishustin , except that he is a former businessman and has served as head of Russia's Tax Service since 2010. In his capacity leading the tax agency, he is held in positive regard, credited with modernizing and streamlining the historically onerous tax collection system.

The third priority of Putin has been gradual democratization of the country. Putin is often characterized in the west as an autocrat and a dictator. However, as I've written before, there are many democratic reforms that have been implemented under Putin's rule that are often ignored by Western media and analysts. It is not that democracy has not been a priority for Putin, it's that it was to be subordinated to the other two priorities. Putin, as well as many other Russians, have been nervous about possible instability. With their history of constant upheaval over the past 120 years – two revolutions, two world wars, numerous famines, the Great Terror, and a national collapse – this is understandable.

Putin inherited a system of governance that featured a strong president and a weak parliamentary system as reflected in the 1993 constitution ushered in by Yeltsin – the origins of which are explained here . Putin has used this system effectively throughout his 20 years in power – 16 of them as president – to try to solve the various crises mentioned earlier. Such strong, centralized power is necessary when a state is dealing with multiple existential emergencies.

At this point, I think Putin realizes that Russia, though it still has significant problems to be addressed, is no longer in a state of emergency. Therefore, it is no longer necessary to keep quite the same level of power concentrated in the office of the presidency, which is open to abuse by future occupants. Here is what Putin said about this:

"Russian society is becoming more mature, responsible and demanding. Despite the differences in the ways to address their tasks, the main political forces speak from the position of patriotism and reflect the interests of their followers and voters."

The constitutional reforms Putin goes on to discuss include giving the parliament the right to appoint the prime minister and his/her cabinet, no foreign citizenship or residency of major office holders at the federal level (president, prime minister, cabinet members, parliamentarians, national security agents, judges, etc.), expanding the authority of local governmental bodies, and strengthening the Constitutional Court and the independence of judges. He also mentioned codifying certain aspects of socioeconomic justice into the constitution:

"And lastly, the state must honour its social responsibility under any conditions throughout the country. Therefore, I believe that the Constitution should include a provision that the minimum wage in Russia must not be below the subsistence minimum of the economically active people. We have a law on this, but we should formalise this requirement in the Constitution along with the principles of decent pensions, which implies a regular adjustment of pensions according to inflation."

In other words, Putin realizes that the system as it is currently constructed has outlived its usefulness and some modest changes are needed to keep the country moving forward. Despite the constant nonsense that passes for news and analysis of Russia in the west, civil society is alive and well in Russia. Putin is aware of the citizen-led initiatives that have been occurring throughout the country to improve local communities and it appears that he is ready to allow more space for this new participation of average Russians to solve problems for which the official bureaucracy seems to be stuck:

"Our society is clearly calling for change. People want development, and they strive to move forward in their careers and knowledge, in achieving prosperity, and they are ready to assume responsibility for specific work. Quite often, they have better knowledge of what, how and when should be changed where they live and work, that is, in cities, districts, villages and all across the nation.

The pace of change must be expedited every year and produce tangible results in attaining worthy living standards that would be clearly perceived by the people. And, I repeat, they must be actively involved in this process."

How these changes will actually be instituted and what the results will be is, of course, unknown at this time. Putin suggested that the eventual package of constitutional amendments will be voted on by the Russian people. It also appears that Putin will indeed step down at the end of his presidential term in 2024, but it is still very likely that he will remain in an active advisory role.

Unlike the knee-jerk malign motives that are automatically attributed to anything Putin does by the western political class, I see this as a calculated risk that Putin is ready to take to make further progress on his second and third priorities for Russia.

Natylie Baldwin is author of "The View from Moscow: Understanding Russia and U.S.-Russia Relations." She is co-author of "Ukraine: Zbig's Grand Chessboard & How the West Was Checkmated." She has traveled throughout western Russia since 2015 and has written several articles based on her conversations and interviews with a cross-section of Russians. She blogs at natyliesbaldwin.com .

This article is from natyliesbaldwin.com .

Eddie S , January 19, 2020 at 17:03

Good analysis/deep-background article! It's SO refreshing to read something about Russia here in the US press that isn't the simplistic 'Russia bad! US good! Anything else is Putin-stooge talk or what-about-ism'. I'm sure that the US & British MSM will attribute only evil motives by Putin for all of this and will somehow try to ascribe Russian world-domination designs to it, no-matter how much contortion and out-of-left-field fantasizing that requires, after all that's their job, they've had a lot of practice, and they get amply rewarded

ranney , January 19, 2020 at 16:29

Thank you Natalie ( and CN for publishing this); your explanations are extremely helpful . Also what a relief to finally read something that isn't filled with hate and false assumptions about Russia. When Rachel at MSNBC starts in on Putin I start to feel sick and I have to turn off the TV Her hatred is frightening.
I hope we'll see more of your writing, Natalie.

[Jan 19, 2020] The neoliberal hopes -- and that is the mark of him, that he can have his cake and eat it too

Jan 19, 2020 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com

"In sorrow we must go, but not in despair. Behold! we are not bound for ever to the circles of the world, and beyond them is more than memory."

J.R.R. Tolkien

"We were promised sufferings. They were part of the program. We were even told, 'Blessed are they that mourn,' and I accept it. I've got nothing that I hadn't bargained for. Of course it is different when the thing happens to oneself, not to others, and in reality, not imagination."

C.S. Lewis

"If the devil tells you something is too fearful to look at, look at it. If he says something is too terrible to hear, hear it. If you think some truth unbearable, bear it."

G.K. Chesterton

"The barbarian hopes -- and that is the mark of him, that he can have his cake and eat it too. He will consume what civilization has slowly produced after generations of selection and effort, but he will not be at pains to replace such goods, nor indeed has he a comprehension of the virtue that has brought them into being.

We sit by and watch the barbarian. We tolerate him in the long stretches of peace, we are not afraid. We are tickled by his irreverence; his comic inversion of our old certitudes; we laugh. But as we laugh we are watched by large and awful faces from beyond, and on these faces there are no smiles."

Hilaire Belloc

"In an ever-changing, incomprehensible world the masses had reached the point where they would, at the same time, believe everything and nothing, think that everything was possible and that nothing was true. The ideal subject of totalitarian rule is not the convinced Nazi or the dedicated communist, but people for whom the distinction between fact and fiction, true and false, no longer exists."

Hannah Arendt

[Jan 19, 2020] It is unclear what percentage of Congress are alcoholics, but judging from their statements looks like more then half

The situation in neoliberal MSM probably is close to a real epidemics ;-)
Jan 19, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

Last of the Middle Class , 2 hours ago link

Finally, a group Pelosi can lead and be proud of .

[Jan 19, 2020] The anti-China conservative faction which Trump represents is screwing up the Pax Americana and petrodollar recycling into Treasury Bonds, by destroying the monetary scam they set up to control the world

Notable quotes:
"... The "movement conservatives" leader was Barry Goldwater who Trump's dad was a big supporter of, and Trump was raised in and among AND represents that faction of elite power. ..."
"... The LIEO or Rules Based Order is based on being closely allied with European elites against Russia to contain the Middle East and Central Asia (Iran and Afghanistan) based on Zbigniew Brzezinski's Grand Chessboard theory. ..."
"... The 1950's triangle of power was superseded by the oligarch's counter revolution that led to supranational trade institutions. Democracies were relegated to a secondary status and run by technocrats for the benefit of oligarchs until Donald Trump. He is a nationalist plutocrat; admittedly a lower level one, a NY casino owner who went bankrupt. Mike Bloomberg represents the other side, a globalist billionaire. Elizabeth Warren is a top level technocrat but no politician. ..."
"... The endless wars are fought to make a profit for the plutocracy and destabilize nations to make foreign corporate exploitation possible. That was why Hunter Biden was in Ukraine. The conflicts are not meant to be won. ..."
"... He makes stupid mistakes. Through the barrage of propaganda, reports of shell shocked troops, destroyed buildings and 11 concussion causalities from Iran's missile attack made it into the news. The military must be pissed. The aura of invincibility is gone. ..."
"... Donald Trump should be removed by the 25th amendment before he mistakenly triggers the Apocalypse. Except the 1% politician VP, Mike Pence, believes that the End of Time is God's Will and necessary for his Ascension. ..."
"... The power triangle theory is less in line with the facts than a simple duality: Wall Street & the MIC, you have to advance interests of both or you're out. ..."
"... Second, the 'meeting in the Tank' sounds like complete b.s. designed to sell books ..."
"... And the 'rules-based international order' rings very false as something that would be said with a straight face by real MIC insiders, which those generals are. ..."
"... Not only sick of wars, his mobster approach to foreign policy and allies is an embarrassment to RINO and Independents. ..."
"... Humanity is in a civilization war about public/private finance being fought by proxies and character actors like Trump. Maybe after this war is over, and if we survive, we can all communicate about the social contract directly instead of through proxy fronts. Do you want to live in a sharing/caring world or a selfish/competitive one?....socialism or barbarism? ..."
Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Kali , Jan 17 2020 19:26 utc | 7

That Power Elite theory which was written in the 50s by C.W. Mills is incomplete for today because in the 60s there was a split among the power elite between the new "movement conservatives" and the old eastern bank establishment. The conservatives were more focused on the pacific region and containing China, and the liberal establishment were more focused on Europe and containing Russia.

The "movement conservatives" leader was Barry Goldwater who Trump's dad was a big supporter of, and Trump was raised in and among AND represents that faction of elite power. In fact he is the 1st president from that faction of the elites to hold the oval office, many people thought Reagan was, but he was brought under the control of George Bush and the liberal elites after taking office after he was injured by a Bush related person. The different agendas of the the two factions are out in the open today with one being focused on anti-Russia and the other being focused on anti-China. It has been like that since the 1960s.

The anti-China conservative faction which Trump represents (and which unleashed the VietNam War) is screwing up the "rules based order" aka "Liberal International Economic Order" aka Pax Americana which was set up after WWII at Bretton Woods and then altered in the 1970s with the creation of the petrodollar and petrodollar recycling into Treasury Bonds, by destroying the monetary scam they set up to control the world

It needed the cooperation of the elites of Europe and elsewhere, which Trump and his faction doesn't care about -- they only care about short term profits on Wall St.

The LIEO or Rules Based Order is based on being closely allied with European elites against Russia to contain the Middle East and Central Asia (Iran and Afghanistan) based on Zbigniew Brzezinski's Grand Chessboard theory. China trade is important for them, Russia is their main enemy. ( War of the Worlds: The New Class ). Trump and his movement conservative faction is ruining their world order for their own short term gain on Wall St.


VietnamVet , Jan 17 2020 22:34 utc | 44
The 1950's triangle of power was superseded by the oligarch's counter revolution that led to supranational trade institutions. Democracies were relegated to a secondary status and run by technocrats for the benefit of oligarchs until Donald Trump. He is a nationalist plutocrat; admittedly a lower level one, a NY casino owner who went bankrupt. Mike Bloomberg represents the other side, a globalist billionaire. Elizabeth Warren is a top level technocrat but no politician.

The endless wars are fought to make a profit for the plutocracy and destabilize nations to make foreign corporate exploitation possible. That was why Hunter Biden was in Ukraine. The conflicts are not meant to be won.

Donald Trump is way for over his head and getting old. His competent staff are in jail or fired. Apparently no one told him about the thousands of ballistic missiles that can destroy the Gulf States' oil facilities at will and make the buildup for the invasion of Iran impossible. He makes stupid mistakes. Through the barrage of propaganda, reports of shell shocked troops, destroyed buildings and 11 concussion causalities from Iran's missile attack made it into the news. The military must be pissed. The aura of invincibility is gone.

Donald Trump should be removed by the 25th amendment before he mistakenly triggers the Apocalypse. Except the 1% politician VP, Mike Pence, believes that the End of Time is God's Will and necessary for his Ascension.

fairleft , Jan 18 2020 1:21 utc | 81
The power triangle theory is less in line with the facts than a simple duality: Wall Street & the MIC, you have to advance interests of both or you're out.

Second, the 'meeting in the Tank' sounds like complete b.s. designed to sell books, with an obvious sales strategy, as b said, of pleasuring both the pro/anti Trump sides of the book-buying bourgeoisie.

And the 'rules-based international order' rings very false as something that would be said with a straight face by real MIC insiders, which those generals are.

Finally, whether Trump ridiculed the generals or not, that's a sideshow to entertain the rubes. Trump's always been on side with the big picture Neocon approach essential to the MIC. Their global dominance or chaos approach is essential to keeping military budgets gigantic until 'forever'. True that Trump whined about endless wars as a 2016 campaign strategy, but he was either b.s.-ing or at the time didn't get that they are part of the overall Neocon approach he backs.

Passer by , Jan 17 2020 22:04 utc | 35

Not a very good analysis by b because this does not explain why 90 % of US corporate media is hostile to Trump. This does not happen without significant elite support.

That Trump is backed by the military faction is something i have been saying often. But there are forces within the government faction that dislike him, for example the CIA.

As for the corporate faction, it is not true that free money made them supportive of Trump. Rather the faction is divided - between the globalist corporate faction, relying on globalisation, including most tech companies, and US nationalist faction, such as local US businesses, big oil, shale gas, etc.

Another point - jews have large influence within the US, and 80 % voted against Trump regardless of his Israeli support. They again voted 80 % Dem in 2018. Having 80 % of US jews against you means encountering significant resistance.

Demographically speaking, most women, jews, muslims, latinos, asians, afroamericans, lgbt people, young people, etc. are strongly against him so i think that he will lose. Unless for some reason they do not vote.

Even if he somehow wins again, this will lead to civil war like situation and extreme polarisation in the US.

A P , Jan 17 2020 19:33 utc | 9

The US military, the various factions within the Deep State, political and corporate cabals has the attitude of a spoiled 3-year-old: If I can't have it, I'll break it so it is of little use to others.

Unfortunately, breaking other countries is just fine for the MIC... arms sales all around and chaos to impede non-military commerce with other major power centers like Russia or China.

Trump is the product of a dysfunctional family, a "greed is good" trust-fund social circle and a sociopathic US bully/gun culture.

The fact "bone spurs" Trump weaseled out of the draft will also not play well with the generals, let alone the grunts who suffer most from endless POTUS idiocy (not limited to Trump, see Prince Bush/Bandar the 2nd)

All the more proof that most Western "democracies" would be better served with a lottery to choose their Congressional and POTUS chair-warmers. Joe Sixpack could do a better job. A 200-lb sack of flour would do better than any POTUS since Kennedy.

Walter , Jan 17 2020 23:25 utc | 56

@ wagelaborer | Jan 17 2020 19:04 utc | 3

your: "Trump can't start a war without ruling class backing any more than he can end the wars if the rulers veto it."

May be, I think is, true in one sense. But Trump is far from the sole agent capable of starting a war. War, as opposed to simple murder, involve 2 or more parties. Whatever the intentions, the recent murders by drone in Baghdad hav,e it seems, brought Iran to consider war exists now...and they have a nifty MAGA policy. On Press TV today they hosted an expert who called for the execution of several exceptional American leaders...sounds like war to me.

(Make America Go Away)

The system is so screwy and peopled by such uneducated and delusional people that it's quite simple that they would do some stupid that that caused a war. Looks like war to me. I await the horrors.

Decaying empires usually start wars that bring about their rapid ruin. Does it matter how they do this?

............

The thesis of the triangle of elite factions is fascinating.

Walter recalls that JFK got the reports from Vietnam that said we were winning, while at the same time Johnson got the true story. And also what happened then with the "correction" of 1963 (their words) and the immediate change of war policy. Can't help an old guy from remembering old folly. And noting that history repeats as farce.

The Iran affair is liable to coordinate with NATO. Lavrov spoke to the NATO preparations today @ TASS...

Some say Trumpie screwed up the schedule, which goes hot in April as a showdown with the Roooskies. I take that with a grain of salt. But I think the sources I've seen might be right. They say that if Barbarossa had not been delayed, the nazis woulda won in Russia. Screwups can be very important.

I can't see any way the US won't use atomic bangers. But maybe...

Likklemore , Jan 17 2020 21:50 utc | 29

@ wagelaborer 3

Good points. I endorse. However the USD have been weaponized, is being sidelined and will be shunned U.S. dollar: Russia, China, EU are motivated to shift from

@ juiliana 22

I posted an article by Shedlock essentially saying all it will take is 3 states to flip and Trump loses: Trump will be easily defeated in 2020 perhaps by a landslide.

Not only sick of wars, his mobster approach to foreign policy and allies is an embarrassment to RINO and Independents.

psychohistorian , Jan 17 2020 19:52 utc | 11

I agree with wagelaborer in comment #3 and worth a repeat of most of it

"Trump can't start a war without ruling class backing any more than he can end the wars if the rulers veto it.

US foreign policy is not run by White House puppets.

The US trash-talked Saddam Hussein and starved Iraqis for 14 years, but didn't actually invade until he started trading oil in Euros.

The US trash-talked Ghaddafi for decades, and even launched missiles which killed his child in the 80s, but didn't destroy Libya until Ghaddafi decided to sell oil in dinars.

The US has trash-talked and sanctioned Iran for decades, but it was the threat of Iran and Saudi Arabia making peace that pushed them to assassinate General Soleimani, as he arrived at the airport on that diplomatic mission.

If Iran and Saudi Arabia make peace, and the Saudis drop the petro-dollar, the US Empire crumbles. It doesn't matter at all who is in the White House at the time, the Empire will never allow that."

Humanity is in a civilization war about public/private finance being fought by proxies and character actors like Trump. Maybe after this war is over, and if we survive, we can all communicate about the social contract directly instead of through proxy fronts. Do you want to live in a sharing/caring world or a selfish/competitive one?....socialism or barbarism?

[Jan 19, 2020] At the lower level, there's the division of the American people about how the spoils that come from the imperial conquests should be better shared

Jan 19, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

vk , Jan 18 2020 2:37 utc | 90

I think the "triangle of power" theory walks towards the truth, but is not the truth.

For starters, the USA is a very large and complex society. There are a lot of classes and a lot of groups which clash and prop up each other all the time. The only consensus is that it is and must remain a capitalist society, i.e. that capitalism must be preserved at any cost.

That said, I see many interests involved, but a hierarchy, in layered form. Here's my opinion on the state of the art of the USA right now:

1) at the highest level, there's the division between the most powerful members of the capitalist class between what should be the American foreign policy strategy for the rest of this century. It is divided between two different ideologies: russophobes (i.e. the "establishment") and the believers of the "clash of civilizations" (i.e. the far-right, sinophobes). The only thing that unites both groups is the conviction Eurasia should remain divided, i.e. that Russia and China should not consolidate their newborn alliance. If that alliance consolidates a century from now, then this contradiction will disappear, but America's new enemy will be stronger than ever - possibly more powerful than the USA.

2) at the lower level, there's the division of the American people about how the spoils that come from the imperial conquests should be better shared. This division manifests itself in the battle between social-democracy and fascism. Neoliberalism is basically a rotten corpse after 2008, but it is important to state it is not an ideology per se, but a political doctrine, from which both American social-democracy and American fascism lend some aspects.

3) at the vestigial level, you have many micro battles which shock with each other. For example, the good part of the American middle class imploded Elizabeth Warren's support for universal healthcare because they wanted to keep their class distinction as the class which has access to healthcare through expensive health insurances (which are often directly linked to distinct jobs they probably have) - but they still will vote Democrat, and probably will support Warren as long as she's viable. In the far-right camp, there are those who want to emphasize the fight against China must happen because China represents modern socialism, while another part wants to fight China for the simple fact they want some jobs back. In the deep state, there's the usual Pentagon vs CIA clash of philosophies about how to better operate overseas. In the lobby industry, each one is fending for themselves.

In conclusion, my take is all of these conflicts have one ultimate cause: the exhaustion of the American imperial system installed in 1945 . Capitalism doesn't know national barriers; in 1945, the USA was both the industrial and financial superpower, but capital must spread and expand or it dies. The Marshall Plan soon begun and, in two decades, Germany and Japan - both spawns of the American post-war doctrine - directly threatened the USA as the industrial superpower. It still managed to fend off these two nations with the Plaza Accord (1985), but at a huge cost: outsourcing its own industrial capacity to China. In 2011, China definitely overcame the USA and now holds the belt of the industrial superpower. It is now trying to be also the financial superpower, with the "opening up" reforms.

This generated a structural contradiction: the loss of the industrial superpower title left the USA only with the financial superpower title. But the financial superpower title can only be maintained, in a nation-State architecture, with increased submission of the rest of the world - naturally, through violent means and financial sanctions.

However, that was not the way the USA was able to build its overwhelming post-war alliance: it did so with nation building , i.e. the proverbial "carrot", the massive investments in infrastructure and better living standards for Western Europe, Japan, Asian Tigers and Australia. But without the industrial superpower title, the USA cannot maintain its "alliance" (i.e. the empire), which reinforces its condition as the financial superpower - which, in turn, increases its necessity to maintain the alliance (empire) which, in turn, weakens more and more said alliance, which, in turn, increases even more its necessity to maintain said alliance, and so on, in a downward spiral movement.

The result of this dialectical contradiction is that the USA will, over time, resort to ever more violent methods to keep the corners of its empire whole, which will drive it ever closer to an epic war against its ultimate enemy: socialism (China/Eurasia).


Duncan Idaho , Jan 18 2020 2:41 utc | 91

Well-----

"And many of them may actually be as mind-blowingly stupid as he is as well and they don't see what a problem it is to have such an arrogant moron running the world's only superpower. If there's one thing right-wingers take as an article of faith it's that expertise is nothing but a scam and the guy at the end of the bar can run the world better than the pointy-headed elites. They got what they wanted."

Trump might be appropriate. The survivors, if any, will have more resources, as the ditch he is heading into.
A slow death by Dims would be worse.

Patroklos , Jan 18 2020 4:52 utc | 100
@ vk 90

Your analysis nicely maps onto the Braudelian model of the phases of capitalism, especially as articulated in the chapter by Arrighi and Moore in Phases of Capitalist Development . They argue that the historical signal that the US had begun to lose its hegemony in commodity production (M-C-M') was the Nixon shock/Oil Shock (1970-73). They further argue that the inevitable shift to financial hegemony (M-M'), which has occurred in every other phase (Genovese, Dutch, British), has taken place more quickly than the one before it. As a result, they predicted (in 2001) very broadly that the terminal point of this financial (self-)vampirism -- when the system reaches a point of complete contradiction -- would take place around 2020. One key difference they note between the US global regime with all prior hegemonic orders is the reach and power of the military. The British Empire was able to deploy its navy to support its hegemony only up to a point -- and then became a paper tiger overnight. But the US military has not been deployed to any extent comparable to 1941-45. If it saw a real existential threat to dollar hegemony their military capacity would postpone any collapse indefinitely -- and throw the world into utter chaos.

My question to you and all is this: where are we in the timeline between their loss of industrial hegemony and the real crisis of their financial hegemony? Is this the decade of hegemonic challenge and change -- and therefore war? And to what extent will Iran be the trigger? Or will it be another GFC and de-dollarization?

[Jan 19, 2020] Inequality in the USA has reached an 100-year record high

Jan 19, 2020 |