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From Military-Industrial Complex to Media-Military-Industrial Complex: Review of literature

a

The mainstream media of the US is owned lock, stock, and barrel by the military industrial complex.
 If you want to call it anything, you can call it the ‘military [industrial] media,’  The military makes money by making war;
they buy the media to promote war... The military industrial media in the United States is depending on being able to speak
to a captive audience of uninformed viewers… The military controls the media because they own them.- John Bosnitch

Pseudoscience  > Who Rules America

News National Security State Recommended Links The Deep State The problem of control of intelligence services in democratic societies Classified America: Is national security state in the USA gone rogue ? Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism
Neo-fascism Neoconservatism Predator state American Exceptionalism New American Militarism Ethno-lingustic Nationalism Nation under attack meme
Corporatism War is racket Totalitarian Decisionism & Human Rights: The Re-emergence of Nazi Law National Socialism and Military Keysianism US and British media are servants of security apparatus War is a Racket - Incredible Essay by General Smedley Butler Economics of Peak Energy
National Security State / Surveillance State Big Uncle is Watching You Social Sites as intelligence collection tools Is Google evil ? Bureaucracy as a Political Coalition Military Bureaucracy and Military Incompetence Bureaucratic Collectivism
Color revolutions Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Nulandgate Sanctions against Russia Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17? The Far Right Forces in Ukraine Russian Ukrainian Gas wars
The Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum Homepage Neoliberal Brainwashing: Journalism in the Service of the Powerful Few History of American False Flag Operations JFK assassination as a turning event in US history Mystery of Building 7 Collapse Allan Dulles  
Understanding Mayberry Machiavellis  Ron Paul War and Peace Quotes Corporatism quotes Politically Incorrect Humor Humor Etc

Due to the size the introduction was moves to a separate page

Abstract

If the ability to anticipate future dangers for the nation is the mark of a truly great president then Dwight D. Eisenhower would be the greatest president of the XX century. But because he appointed such a devious person as Allen Dulles as the head of CIA his record is very mixed and contradictory.

In any case, he was the last Republican president to deliver broad-based prosperity. During his presidency, the gains from growth were widely shared and the incomes of the poorest fifth actually grew faster than the incomes of the top fifth. As a result, America became more equal than ever before or since. Under Ike, the marginal tax rate on the richest Americans reached 91%. Eisenhower also presided over the creation of the interstate highway system – the largest infrastructure project in American history — as well as the nation’s biggest expansion of public schools. It’s no coincidence that when Eisenhower was president, over a third of all private sector workers were unionized. Ike can’t be credited for this but at least he didn’t try to stop it or legitimize firing striking workers, as did Ronald Reagan.

At the same time Dwight D. Eisenhower was an architect of the USA "deep state" and subverting by deep state of the remnants of constitutional republic that survived WWII. As part of his own contribution to the creation of military-industrial complex, Eisenhower had overseen the creation of both the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA, and a "high-risk, high-gain" research unit called the Advanced Research Projects Agency, or ARPA, that later added the word "Defense" to its name and became DARPA.

The backbone of military industrial complex is not Pentagon (although it is definitely the important part of it). It is three letter agencies such as CIA, FBI, NSA and ONI.  David Talbot's book The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government fingers CIA director Allen Dulles as the person who plotted and directed the JFK assassination, and portrays him as a psychopath who managed to rise to the high echelons of power. Unfortunately, the book has problems with  history, as explained by David M. Barrett in this review.   And the story of rise of power and influence of CIA, FBI and NSA is the key part of the story of the US military industrial complex.  With the key personal role of Eisenhower in this rise.  In other words he was the actual creator of "regime change" machine within the CIA (America's Legacy of Regime Change by Stephen Kinzer):

It was not only the Dulles brothers, however, who brought the United States into the regime-change era in the early 1950s. Eisenhower himself was a fervent advocate of covert action. Officially his defense and security policy, which he called the "New Look," rested on two foundations, a smaller army and an increased nuclear arsenal. In reality, the "New Look" had a third foundation: covert action. Eisenhower may have been the last president to believe that no one would ever discover what he sent the CIA to do. With a soldier's commitment to keeping secrets, he never admitted that he had ordered covert regime-change operations, much less explained why he favored them.

BTW it was Dwight D. Eisenhower who appointed Dulles brothers to CIA and State Department creating the most dangerous and reckless tandem the USA history ever known and putting the last nail into the coffin of constitutional republic.  It was his administration that organized coupe on Iran deposing legitimate government and installing a puppet regime, the prolog of many color revolutions accomplished the USA ever since (including Chile, and many other Latin American republics, and later the xUSSR space). See The Brothers John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War Stephen Kinzer. 


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"All democracies turn into dictatorships - but not by coup. The people give their democracy to a dictator, whether it's Julius Caesar or Napoleon or Adolf Hitler. Ultimately, the general population goes along with the idea... That's the issue that I've been exploring: How did the Republic turn into the Empire ... and how does a democracy become a dictatorship? "

Star Wars filmmaker George Lucas

[Nov 14, 2019] Alert! Court Actually Claws Back Post-9-11 Search Creep by Kelley Beaucar Vlahos

Notable quotes:
"... "The border has become a rights-free zone for Americans who have to travel," Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) said in a statement given to Boland at the time. "The founders never could have imagined that the government would be able to sift through your entire digital life, from pictures to emails and even where you've been, just because you decide to take a vacation or travel for work." ..."
Nov 13, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Alert! Court Actually Claws Back Post-9/11 Search Creep

New ruling puts the brakes on practice of seizing travelers' laptops and cell phones. (Shutterstock/By Carolina K. Smith MD)

At last a victory for citizens. For nearly 20 years, the federal government has used and abused the memory of the 9/11 attacks to expand its law enforcement authorities at the nation's airports, even if that has meant broaching one of our most sacrosanct constitutional freedoms: the right against illegal search and seizure, otherwise known as the 4th Amendment.

On Tuesday, a federal court in Boston ruled that the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can no longer detain Americans coming back over the border to search their laptops, cell phones and other electronic devices, without cause. One would think this is a no-brainer, but the number of these incidents has actually escalated to over 33,000 last year -- nearly four times as many as the previous three years, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation:

The ruling came in a lawsuit, Alasaad v. McAleenan , filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and ACLU of Massachusetts, on behalf of 11 travelers whose smartphones and laptops were searched without individualized suspicion at U.S. ports of entry.

International travelers returning to the United States have reported numerous cases of abusive searches in recent months. While searching through the phone of Zainab Merchant, a plaintiff in the Alasaad case, a border agent knowingly rifled through privileged attorney-client communications. An immigration officer at Boston Logan Airport reportedly searched an incoming Harvard freshman's cell phone and laptop, reprimanded the student for friends' social media postings expressing views critical of the U.S. government, and denied the student entry into the country following the search.

According to EFF, border officers "must now demonstrate individualized suspicion of illegal contraband before they can search a traveler's device."

TAC's Barbara Boland reported on this over the summer . The number of electronic devices accessed in 2018 was six times the number in 2012, suggesting that this is not only a post-9/11 issue, but that somewhere along the line the Trump Administration signaled to these agencies, which are all under the umbrella of the Department of Homeland Security, that it was gloves-off at the border -- even for American citizens. Lest you think this is just an extension of the president's tough illegal immigration policies, be warned, many of the folks targeted were typical international visitors and U.S. citizens -- think students, journalists, academics, doctors -- and not travelers to this country for the first time. And they were treated like they were coming into the Third World. From Boland:

One person detailed to Amnesty International how she was selected for secondary screening at the border, locked in a cramped, narrow concrete cell, and subjected to an invasive body search. Her requests for a lawyer and medical treatment were denied. The supervisor told her she would be held indefinitely.

When she told him that she is an American citizen, he replied: "The Fourth Amendment doesn't apply here. We can hold you for as long as we want to."

She was released after four hours.

Journalist Seth Harp wrote a similarly disturbing story about what happened when he was singled out for a "secondary screening" at the Austin Airport in Texas. CBP agents pried him for information about what he was writing, his sources, his reporting as a war correspondent, and his discussions with his editors.

"The border has become a rights-free zone for Americans who have to travel," Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) said in a statement given to Boland at the time. "The founders never could have imagined that the government would be able to sift through your entire digital life, from pictures to emails and even where you've been, just because you decide to take a vacation or travel for work."

Let's hope that Tuesday's order fixes that -- though it might take a Supreme Court ruling to put an end to it for good.

[Nov 13, 2019] Confirmed - Obama Is Zbigniew Brzezinski Puppet by Webster Tarpley

Nov 13, 2019 | rense.com

Any lingering doubts about Obama's status as an abject puppet of Zbigniew Brzezinski and the Rockefeller Trilateral Commission ended this morning when the withered mummy of imperialism himself appeared on MSNBC's Morning Joe* to campaign for Obama, urged on by his own moronic daughter, Mika Brzezinski, an Obama groupie and sycophant.

Zbigniew, a low-level Polish aristocrat whose life has been devoted to hatred for Russia, lauded Obama for his 2002 speech opposing the Iraq war, saying that he himself was the source of Obama's arguments back then - thus confirming Obama's long-term status as his puppet, which probably began in 1981-1983, when Obama was a student at Columbia University, and Zbig was directing the anti-Russian institute.

The aging revanchist showed all the misogynism of his szachta origins with a scurrilous attack on Sen. Clinton as a mere housewife, a Mamie Eisenhower running against charismatic a JFK played by Zbig's own Manchurian candidate, and as a woman whose foreign policy experience was worth as much as that of Zbig's own travel agent.

Zbig, who was kept in the closet for many months during the Carter administration because of his hideous Dr. Strangelove persona, portrayed Obama as a peace candidate who wanted to end the Iraq war and usher in peace in the Middle East. Zbig is an infamous Cold War hawk who has managed to re-invent himself in the eyes of some dupes by opposing the Iraq adventure, mainly because it is bad for imperialism.

Zbig did not mention that the reason he wants to downplay certain aspects of US aggression in the Middle East is to free up resources for use in the much bigger and more dangerous adventures which the Trilateral Commission is now directing.

Zbig is the mastermind of the Kosovo secession under KLA terrorist auspices, a gambit against Serbia and Russia to prepare a coming Operation Barbarossa II against Moscow. With the help of his son Mark Brzezinski, another top foreign policy controller of Obama, Zbig is also behind the new Euromissiles crisis involving US ABM installations in Poland. Zbig is the enforcer for the new CIA policy of killing Pakistanis (as "terrorists") without consulting the government of that country, a nuclear power twice as big as Iran.

Most dangerous of all, Zbig is the obvious mastermind of the massive destabilization of China now ongoing, starting with the CIA/MI-6 Tibet insurrection, which has placed the US on a collision course with China, a superpower with 1.4 billion people and thermonuclear weapons which can strike US cities, a far cry from the helpless and defenseless targets preferred by the neocons. It is an open secret that Zbig intends to attempt a color revolution or CIA people power coup in China under the cover of the Beijing Olympics later this year. He may also make the Taiwan crisis explode. The dangers of these lunatic policies are infinitely worse than anything that could ever come out of the Middle East.

Senator Jay Rockefeller and Trilateral/BIlderberger boss Joseph Nye are also actively campaigning for Obama. Nye is the theoretician of "soft power," a new form of imperialist aggression based on economic warfare, subversion, deception, and people power coups. They want Obama to mobilize soft power to give a face lift to US imnperialism.

Brzezinski's goal is confrontation with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the main world center for resistance to US-UK global domination.

Anti-war activists are still fixated on Iran, but not Brzezinski is not - his target is China, TWENTY times bigger than Iran, with ICBMs ready to launch, followed by Russia, the world's biggest nuclear power. Such confused activists need to focus on stopping the next war - the final global showdown with Pakistan, China, and Russia. That means rejecting Brzezinski's puppet candidate Obama.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21134540/vp/23726367#23726367

[Nov 13, 2019] Zbigniew Brzezinski Death of an anti-Russian terrorist

Notable quotes:
"... The Polish born Brzezinski put the historic blood-feud of his mother country ahead of the interests of the United States. He openly opposed Nixon and Ford's policy of detente and orchestrated the use American power to arm and fund all those who sought to undermine the Soviet Union. ..."
"... This became most apparent when he decided to use US might to fund, arm and train the Arab Mujahideen in Afghanistan. Among the fighters Brzezinski's policy helped to arm was Osama bin-Laden, the founder of the Salafist terrorist group al-Qaeda. The group was later blamed for orchestrating and executing the September 11 terrorist atrocities in the United States. ..."
"... Brzezinski was happy to ally with blood soaked jihadists in order to topple the secular, modern government of Afghanistan, for the simple reason that the government was a Soviet ally. ..."
"... Brzezinski's jihadists took over the country in the 1990s and famously executed and then mutilated the corpse of Afghanistan's pro-Soviet President Dr. Mohammad Najibullah in 1996. Many blame the Brzezinski authored policies in Afghanistan for unleashing the plague of jihadist terrorism throughout the wider world. ..."
"... Brzezinski's time in the White House was limited to the single term of Jimmy Carter, but many of his policies lived long after his formal period in power. ..."
May 27, 2017 | theduran.com

by Adam May 27, 2017 11.9k Views

Richard Nixon had more foreign policy achievements that just about any modern American President. These achievements however, have generally been overshadowed by Nixon's scandal plagued White House.

Among his most important achievements was engaging in detente with the Soviet Union. Nixon's de-escalation of tensions with Moscow penultimately led to the signing of the Helsinki Accords in 1975, wherein America and its allies and also non-aligned states of Europe agreed to respect the borders and sovereignty of existing states, including that of the Soviet Union and her allies. The Helsinki Accords affirmed a renunciation of violence as a means of settling disputes and forced signatories to respect the right of self-determination among peoples.

This was a rare moment when the US admitted that the Cold War could not be won and that engagement and peaceful dialogue was preferable to threats against the Soviet superpower.

READ MORE: The importance of the Helsinki Accords: The last time the West respected Russia

In 1976, Jimmy Carter was elected the President of the United States after Nixon's former Vice-President Gerald Ford, failed to win an America hungry for change on the domestic front.

While Jimmy Carter is often remembered as a man of peace, his Presidency was anything but peaceful. The reason for this was the power behind the throne, Carter's National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski.

The Polish born Brzezinski put the historic blood-feud of his mother country ahead of the interests of the United States. He openly opposed Nixon and Ford's policy of detente and orchestrated the use American power to arm and fund all those who sought to undermine the Soviet Union.

This became most apparent when he decided to use US might to fund, arm and train the Arab Mujahideen in Afghanistan. Among the fighters Brzezinski's policy helped to arm was Osama bin-Laden, the founder of the Salafist terrorist group al-Qaeda. The group was later blamed for orchestrating and executing the September 11 terrorist atrocities in the United States.

Brzezinski was happy to ally with blood soaked jihadists in order to topple the secular, modern government of Afghanistan, for the simple reason that the government was a Soviet ally.

Brzezinski's jihadists took over the country in the 1990s and famously executed and then mutilated the corpse of Afghanistan's pro-Soviet President Dr. Mohammad Najibullah in 1996. Many blame the Brzezinski authored policies in Afghanistan for unleashing the plague of jihadist terrorism throughout the wider world.

Brzezinski's time in the White House was limited to the single term of Jimmy Carter, but many of his policies lived long after his formal period in power.

Throughout the rest of his life, Brzezinski continued to vocally advocate for policies designed to cripple Russia, including the expansion of NATO into eastern Europe.

He was a strong supporter of the 2014 coup against the legitimate Ukrainian government and more recently said that the Russian Federation would break up. Furthermore, he said that the US must help those wanting to break it up, irrespective of who they are. He continued to advocate sanctions against Russia until his dying day, in spite of the fact that the sanctions ended up hurting his native Poland more than the Russian Federation he sought to destroy.

Brzezinski was a deeply violent and hateful man. He was also dishonest, he told the last Shah of Iran that the US would give him America's full backing, knowing well that the White House was divided on the issue.

He was a man who brought ancient hatreds, hatreds which long pre-dated the existence of the United States, into the heart of American policy making.

At the age of 89, Brzezinski is dead. Even if he lived another hundred years, he would never see his dream, the death of Russia. Russia remains alive and well and in this sense, perhaps he died knowing that his entire reason for being was a failure.

[Nov 13, 2019] Let's invade Mexico!, by Fred Reed

Nov 13, 2019 | www.unz.com

If AMLO were to invite the Americans into Mexico, he would be lynched. Few Americans are aware of how much the United States is hated in Latin America, and for that matter in most of the world. They don't know of the long series of military interventions, brutal dictators imposed and supported, and economic rapine. Somoza, Pinochet, the Mexican-American War, detachment of Panama from Colombia, bombardment of Veracruz, Patton's incursion–the list could go on for pages. The Mexican public would look upon American troops not as saviors but as invaders. Which they would be.

The incursion would not defeat the cartels, for several reasons that trump would do well to ponder. To begin with, America starts its wars by overestimating its own powers, underestimating the enemy, and misunderstanding the kind of war on which it is embarking. The is exactly what Trump seems to be doing.

He probably thinks of Mexicans as just gardeners and rapists and we have all these beautiful advanced weapons and beautiful drones and things with blinking lights. A pack of rapists armed with garden trowels couldn't possibly be difficult to defeat by the US. I mean, get serious: Dope dealers against the Marines? A cakewalk.

You know, like Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. That sort of cakewalk. Let's think what an expedition against the narcos would entail, what it would face.

To begin with, Mexico is a huge country of 127 million souls with the narcos spread unevenly across it. You can't police a nation that size with a small force, or even with a large force. A (preposterous) million soldiers would be well under one percent of the population. Success would be impossible even if that population helped you. Which it wouldn't.

[Nov 13, 2019] Understanding What Sidney Powell is Doing to Kill the Case Against Michael Flynn by Larry C Johnson

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Peter Strzok was interviewed on 19 July 2017 by the FBI and, according to his affidavit, pretended that he was asked on the 24th of January 2017 to interview General Flynn. He implied this was a last minute request. But as noted in the preceding paragraph, which is based on an interview of Strzok's mistress, Lisa Page, a meeting took place the day before to orchestrate the ambush of General Flynn. ..."
"... What is truly remarkable is that Peter Strzok stated the following, which exonerates Flynn of the charges in the indictment cited above: Strzok and Pientka both had the impression at the time that Flynn was not lying or did not think he was lying. Flynn struck Strzok as "bright, but not profoundly sophisticated." ..."
"... In fact, as noted by Sidney Powell, "the FBI and DOJ wrote an internal memo dated January 30, 2017, exonerating Mr. Flynn of acting as an "agent of Russia;" and, they all knew there was no Logan Act violation." ..."
"... The real problem for the Government's fraudulent case against Flynn are the 302s. There should only be one 302. Not at least four versions. The FBI protocol is to enter the 302 into the FBI Sentinel system within five days of the interview. In other words, the original 302 should have been put on the record on the 29th of January. But that original 302 is MISSING. The prosecutors claim they cannot find it. ..."
"... But the prosecutors finally did provide the defense, after repeated requests, multiple copies of 302s. They dated as follows--10 February 2017, 11 February 2017. 14 February 2017 and 15 February 2017. WTF??? This alone is prima facie evidence that something crooked was afoot. ..."
"... The final 302--dated 15 February 2017--painted General Flynn in the worst possible light. The "facts" of this 302 are not supported by the notes taken by Agents Strzok and Pientka. The conclusion is simple--the FBI fabricated a case against General Flynn. We now wait to see if Judge Sullivan will acknowledge this crooked conduct and exonerate the good General. Justice demands it. ..."
"... Poor George Popadopoulos, also "bright, but not profoundly sophisticated.", also had lawyers who rolled over to the FBI. If you read George's book, "Deep State Target: How I Got Caught in the Crosshairs of the Plot to Bring Down President Trump", the methods used on Flynn sound familiar. ..."
"... If the evidence provided by the defence in the Flynn case is even only a partial example of the capabilities and proclivities of the FBI, then how many other poor schmucks have been convicted and jailed unjustly at the hands of this organisation? ..."
"... The answer, given the size of the organisation must be : "thousands". The remedy is obvious and compelling if you want to remain something like a first world democracy. ..."
"... So instead of Flynn burning the agency down, they did just the opposite and got to him first. Just like Sen Schumer warned Trump: don't take on the IC, because they have six ways against Sunday to take you down. ..."
"... Maybe Flynn' s alleged post-inauguration audit plans is what triggered Brennan to get Obama to secretly keep his eyes on Flynn - maybe that was the second tier secret access they wanted, not necessarily Trump himself? ..."
"... Survival in DC is existential - my own in-house observation during the Watergate years. ..."
"... However, IMO the far more telling issue of the depths of IC's Coup effort. Are the exploits of Halper, Mifsud, MI6-CIA link. Which began back in 2015. This gives the impression, Flynn was being targeted for career destruction. Solely as retaliation for his departure from the Obama Administration, coupled with Flynn's open opposition to policies of Obama-Brennan (Iran-Syria-Libya). This took place way before he agreed to the NSA post with President Trump. ..."
"... Why did FLynn not have the Secret Service Detail arrest Sztrok and company on the spot for violating US security CFRs by knowing such conversations took place and knowing the contents thereof with out appropriate security clearances?? ..."
"... Many things about Spygate have puzzled me. The response by Trump after becoming POTUS to all the machinations by Brennan, Clapper, Comey, Rosenstein, et al has been baffling. It is like he does not understand the powers of his office. And after he learned about the covert action action against his campaign and him, to then staff his administration with folks who were in cahoots with the putschists is frankly bizarre. ..."
"... ........ "CrowdStrike, the cyber-security company that is involved in all this over and over again, is a an American company founded by a Ukrainian, Dmitri Alperovitch, who is extremely anti-Russia and who delights in implicating Russia in the DNC hacking event that probably did not happen......" ..."
Nov 09, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Sidney Powell, General Michael Flynn's magnificent lawyer, is in the process of destroying the bogus case that Robert Mueller and his gang of legal thugs tried to sneak past appropriate judicial review. To help you understand what she is doing we must first go back and review the indictment of Flynn and then look at what Ms. Powell, aka Honey Badger, has forced the prosecutors to admit.

Here are the nuts and bolts of the indictment

On or about January 24, 2017, defendant MICHAEL T. FLYNN did willfully and knowingly make materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements and representations . . . to agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation that:

(i) On or about December 29, 2016, FLYNN did not ask the Government of Russia's Ambassador to the United States ("Russian Ambassador") to refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions that the United States had imposed against Russia that same day; and FLYNN did not recall the Russian Ambassador subsequently telling him that Russia had chosen to moderate its response to those sanctions as a result of his request.

(ii) On or about December 22, 2016, FLYNN did not ask the Russian Ambassador to delay the vote on or defeat a pending United Nations Security Council resolution; and that the Russian Ambassador subsequently never described_to FLYNN Russia's response to his request.

Let me make a couple of observations before we dig into the notes and the 302 that FBI Agents Strzok and Pientka wrote up during and following their interview of Michael Flynn on January 24, 2017. First, Michael Flynn did nothing wrong or inappropriate in speaking to Russia's Ambassador Kislyak. He was doing his job as an incoming National Security Advisor to President Trump. Second, not "recalling" what Ambassador Kislyak said (or did not say) on 22 December is not lying. Third, even if Flynn did ask the Russian Ambassador on the 29th of December to "refrain from escalating the situation" in response to the U.S. sanctions imposed by Barack Hussein Obama, there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, that is wise counsel intended to defuse a situation.

Now, here is where the FBI, especially Agents Strzok and Pientka, are in so much trouble. The day prior to the "interview" of General Flynn the FBI plotters met to discuss strategy. According to Sidney Powell:

January 23, the day before the interview, the upper echelon of the FBI met to orchestrate it all. Deputy Director McCabe, General Counsel James Baker, , Lisa Page, Strzok, David Bowdich, Trish Anderson, and Jen Boone strategized to talk with Mr. Flynn in such a way as to keep from alerting him from understanding that he was being interviewed in a criminal investigation of which he was the target. (Ex.12). Knowing they had no basis for an investigation,6 they deliberately decided not to notify DOJ for fear DOJ officials would follow protocol and notify White House Counsel.

Peter Strzok was interviewed on 19 July 2017 by the FBI and, according to his affidavit, pretended that he was asked on the 24th of January 2017 to interview General Flynn. He implied this was a last minute request. But as noted in the preceding paragraph, which is based on an interview of Strzok's mistress, Lisa Page, a meeting took place the day before to orchestrate the ambush of General Flynn.

What is truly remarkable is that Peter Strzok stated the following, which exonerates Flynn of the charges in the indictment cited above: Strzok and Pientka both had the impression at the time that Flynn was not lying or did not think he was lying. Flynn struck Strzok as "bright, but not profoundly sophisticated."

The fact that the FBI Agents Strzok and Pientka did not to show General Flynn the transcript of his calls to refresh his recollection, nor did they confront him directly if he did not remember, exposes this plot as a contrived scenario to entrap Michael Flynn rather than a legitimate, legally founded investigation.

In fact, as noted by Sidney Powell, "the FBI and DOJ wrote an internal memo dated January 30, 2017, exonerating Mr. Flynn of acting as an "agent of Russia;" and, they all knew there was no Logan Act violation."

But the malfeasance and misconduct of the FBI continued with the manipulation of the 302. " A FD-302 form is used by FBI agents to "report or summarize the interviews that they conduct"[3][4] and contains information from the notes taken during the interview by the non-primary agent."

The notes taken by Agents Strzok and Pientka during their interview of Michael Flynn are damning for the FBI. These notes are Exhibits 9 and 10 in the sur sureply filed by Sidney Powell on 1 November 2019. (I wrote recently on the fact that the FBI/DOJ mislabeled the notes from this interview--see here). Neither Strzok nor Pientka recorded any observation that Flynn lied about his contacts with Kislyak. Neither wrote down anything supporting the indictment by the Mueller crowd that "Flynn lied." To the contrary, Strzok swore under oath that he did not believe Flynn was lying.

The real problem for the Government's fraudulent case against Flynn are the 302s. There should only be one 302. Not at least four versions. The FBI protocol is to enter the 302 into the FBI Sentinel system within five days of the interview. In other words, the original 302 should have been put on the record on the 29th of January. But that original 302 is MISSING. The prosecutors claim they cannot find it.

But the prosecutors finally did provide the defense, after repeated requests, multiple copies of 302s. They dated as follows--10 February 2017, 11 February 2017. 14 February 2017 and 15 February 2017. WTF??? This alone is prima facie evidence that something crooked was afoot.

The final 302--dated 15 February 2017--painted General Flynn in the worst possible light. The "facts" of this 302 are not supported by the notes taken by Agents Strzok and Pientka. The conclusion is simple--the FBI fabricated a case against General Flynn. We now wait to see if Judge Sullivan will acknowledge this crooked conduct and exonerate the good General. Justice demands it.

These are not my facts. They are the facts based on documents submitted on the record to Judge Sullivan. I find it shocking that no journalist has had the energy or interest to cover this. Just one more reminder of the putrid state of journalism and investigative reporting. The charges levied against General Flynn by the Mueller prosecutors are without foundation. That is the stark conclusion facing any honest reader of the documents/exhibits uncovered by the Honey Badger. This kind of conduct by the FBI is just one more proof to support Colonel Lang's wise observation that this institution, along with the CIA, should be burned to the ground and new institutions erected in their stead that are committed to upholding the Constitution and preserving the rights of the individual.


Flavius , 09 November 2019 at 09:26 AM

General Flynn was the National Security Advisor to the President. Among his duties he would be expected to talk with foreign officials, including Russians, perhaps especially Russians. My question is what was the predicating evidence that gave rise to opening a criminal case with Flynn as the subject at all. What was the substantive violation; and why was there a need to convene a meeting of high level Bureau official to discuss an ambush interview. What was there to talk about in this meeting? My suspicion is that they expected, or hoped, at the outset to leverage Flynn against Trump which makes the scheme worse, much worse
akaPatience -> Flavius ... , 09 November 2019 at 02:33 PM
Re: predicate - IIRC, this is where the work of the FBI/CIA "ratfucker" Stefan Halper was instrumental, having propagated the bogus claim that scholar Svetlana Lokhova was a Russian agent with whom Gen. Flynn was having a sexual relationship.
Factotum said in reply to akaPatience ... , 09 November 2019 at 06:27 PM
Dennis Prager has a taped interview with Svetlana Lokhova linked on Red State.
Flavius said in reply to akaPatience ... , 10 November 2019 at 11:29 AM
There was a simpler time when even the least accomplished FBI Agent would have known enough to ask Mr Halper for the circumstantial details as to how he acquired the news that Flynn had any relationship at all with Lokhova, let alone a sexual relationship, who told him, how did he know, why was he telling him, when, etc. The same questions should have been resolved with respect to Lokhova before entertaining a conclusion that she was a Russian Agent of some sort. Finally, even if the allegation against Flynn had been true, which had not been established, and the allegation against Lokhova had been true, which as far as I know had not been established, the Agents should have laid those cards before Flynn from the outset as the reason he was being interviewed. If during the course of the interview he became suspect of having done something illegal, he should have been told what it was and given all his rights, including the right to an attorney. If the Agents suspected he was lying in matters of such significant import that he would be charged for lying, they should have been given a specific warning that lying was a prosecutable offense. That would have been playing it down the middle. Since none of this appears to have been done, the question is why not. The leading suspicion is that the carefully considered intent was to take down Flynn by any means necessary to advance another purpose.
Hindsight Observer -> Flavius ... , 10 November 2019 at 11:18 PM
There are two separate issues: The Russian-Flynn Spying connection was established in London back in 2015. IMO using Halper as an echo-chamber for Brennan's collusion fabrications. LTG Flynn at that time was being set-up, for a retaliatory career strike(TS Clearance issues, I submit).

The Flynn Perjury case was made in Jan 17 in DC, by the Secret Society, Comey, McCabe, Yates, Strozk and the unwitting, SA Joe Pientka (hopefully). This trap was drafted by Comey, specifically to take advantage of the newly elected President's inexperienced Cabinet, the WH in-chaos. Chaos reportedly generated by a well timed Leak to the media. Which suggested that LTG Flynn had Lied to VP Pence.

This FBI leak, now had the WH in a tail spin. Given the collusion beliefs at that time, had VP Pence admitted that acting NSA Flynn, did in fact speak with the Russian Kislyak re: Sanctions. The media would've screamed, the call demonstrated Russian Collusion.

Since VP Pence stated, he did not know that NSA Flynn had discussed the Sanctions with Kislyak. The media created the image that Flynn had lied to the VP...

This was the "Pretext" which Defense Council Powell referred to. This is the opportune moment, at which Comey sprang and later bragged about. Stating publicly that he took advantage of a inexperienced Trump oval office in turmoil. Claiming he decided "Screw IT" I'll send two agents in to question Flynn.
Without going through FBI-WH protocols. Because Comey knew that protocols would alert the entire WH Staff. Making the FBI's hopes for a Perjury Trap against NSA Flynn, impossible.

Accordingly, AAG Yates and McCabe then both set the stage, with calls to WH Counsel McGahn. Where they threatened charges against Flynn under the nonexistent "1799" Logan Act. As well as suggesting that Flynn was now vulnerable to Extortion by Russian agents. Since the Russians knew he had lied to the VP.

As Powell points out, by 24JAN17, the date of the Flynn interview. The entire world, knew Flynn had Lied. Making the extortion threat rather bogus. In fact reports stated, at that time even WHC McGahn had asked either Yates or McCabe (don't recall which). Why would the FBI give a damn, what the NSA had told the VP? However the Bureau persisted and they won out. McGahn is reported to have told Flynn, that he should sit down with these two FBI agents...

Once Flynn sat down and gave a statement. FWIW, I think Andy McCabe was going to find a Flynn misstatement or create one. Sufficient to justify the 1001 charge. It appears as though McCabe took the later option and simply Created one.

Flavius said in reply to Hindsight Observer... , 11 November 2019 at 11:04 AM
Excellent summation.

My question is does some combination of incompetence and bubblethink naivete explain how at the outset they could have gone all in on the Brennan/Halper information or did they just cynically exploit the opportunity that had been manufactured in order to take it to the next level -Trump. Taking it to the next level appears to be what drove the Papadopolis case where similar procedural abuses occurred.

Don Schmeling , 09 November 2019 at 10:08 AM
Poor George Popadopoulos, also "bright, but not profoundly sophisticated.", also had lawyers who rolled over to the FBI. If you read George's book, "Deep State Target: How I Got Caught in the Crosshairs of the Plot to Bring Down President Trump", the methods used on Flynn sound familiar.

Since George only served two weeks, I wonder if it would be worth while for him to tackle the FBI again?

PS When the FBI says you are not "sophisticated", does that mean that they view you as easy to trick?

Thank you Mr. Johnson for your work.

Factotum , 09 November 2019 at 12:58 PM
Papadopolis signed "confession" equally odd: string of disconnected facts topped off with what appears almost to be an added "conclusion" allegedly based on these irrelevant string of factual statements that damn him into eternity as well.

Was the conclusionary" confession" added later, or was it shoved in front of him to sign as a unwitting last minute alteration to a previously agreed set of facts is pror statements he had already agreed were true? Just me, but when I read this "confession some time ago, it simply did not pass the smell test.

The signed "confession: basically appeared to be accusing Papadopolus and by extension the Trump campaign of violating the Logan Act - violating Obama's exclusive right to conduct foreign policy.

(A SCHIFF PARAPHRAse)
Yes I was in Russia
Yes, I ate pork chops for dinner
Yes. I endeavored to meet with Russian individuals
Etc - benign
Etc - benign
Confession - al of the above are true
Kicker: Final Statement I INTENTIONALLY MET WITH TOP LEVEL RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT AGENTS TO DISCUSS US FOREIGN POLICY

jjc , 09 November 2019 at 02:05 PM
Papadopoulos' "lies" rest on subjective interpretation. For instance, one of the "lies" consist of a referral to Mifsud as "a nobody". A second "lie" is based on when he officially joined the Trump campaign: George P says it was when he first went to Washington and attended a campaign meeting, while the indictment says no it was when he participated in the phone call which invited him on board (a difference of a couple of weeks). It is very very thin gruel.
walrus , 09 November 2019 at 05:14 PM
I wonder if SST is missing the bigger picture. If the evidence provided by the defence in the Flynn case is even only a partial example of the capabilities and proclivities of the FBI, then how many other poor schmucks have been convicted and jailed unjustly at the hands of this organisation?

The answer, given the size of the organisation must be : "thousands". The remedy is obvious and compelling if you want to remain something like a first world democracy.

Hindsight Observer -> walrus ... , 09 November 2019 at 07:28 PM
How many others have there been? The genesis of the USA v Flynn, was a CIA-FBI hybrid. An international Co-Intel operation, aimed at targeting Donald Trump. As such "the Case" was initiated from the top down, under the secrecy of a T/S Counter-Intelligence operation.

These are not the normal beginnings of a Criminal matter. Which originates with a filed criminal Complaint, from the ground-up.

In short all of the checks and balances our federal statutes mandate. Steps where AUSA's, Bureau ASAC's and District Judges must review and approve. Even before convening a GJ. Were intentionally overridden or perjured by a select society of the highest officials inside DoJ. As such there were no higher authorities nor any of the Higher Loyalty for Jim Comey to seek his resolution from.

That is not the normal investigative process. This was a deliberate criminal act to target an innocent man (actually several innocent men). As such IMO, the associated political pressure, all of which was self-inflicted. Was the force which brought about the criminality on the part of Comey, McCabe, et al.

So, FWIW, you don't see those levels of personal involvement in criminal investigations. The classic, where the murder victim's brother is the town Sheriff. Hence you don't see cases of innocent people being dragged off to the Dungeons. Certainly not intentionally and not in the thousands, anyway.

Factotum said in reply to Hindsight Observer... , 09 November 2019 at 08:28 PM
On another blog, a commenter claimed Flynn was going to program audit the entire IC - money spent and results obtained.

So instead of Flynn burning the agency down, they did just the opposite and got to him first. Just like Sen Schumer warned Trump: don't take on the IC, because they have six ways against Sunday to take you down.

Maybe Flynn' s alleged post-inauguration audit plans is what triggered Brennan to get Obama to secretly keep his eyes on Flynn - maybe that was the second tier secret access they wanted, not necessarily Trump himself?

Survival in DC is existential - my own in-house observation during the Watergate years.

Hindsight Observer -> Factotum... , 10 November 2019 at 12:51 AM
The reports I've read tell of a long and sorted history between LTG Flynn, John Brennan, DNI Clapper and Obama. Some of the stories did remind me of the SST suggestion to, "Burn it all down". The General also supported this idea that DoD, should be the lead agency in the IC and CA. Since must of their modern day activity, does tend to be kinetic...

So LTG Flynn has made enemies in the Obama administration, CIA and DNI.

However, IMO the far more telling issue of the depths of IC's Coup effort. Are the exploits of Halper, Mifsud, MI6-CIA link. Which began back in 2015. This gives the impression, Flynn was being targeted for career destruction. Solely as retaliation for his departure from the Obama Administration, coupled with Flynn's open opposition to policies of Obama-Brennan (Iran-Syria-Libya). This took place way before he agreed to the NSA post with President Trump.

Then there's also LTG Flynn's direct rebuttal of DDFBI Andy McCabe. Seems McCabe was involved in a Bureau OPR dust-up over sexual harassment allegations. The female SA worked CT and was an acquaintance of Gen Flynn's. Flynn then made a public statement of support for the Agent. Which was reported to have angered Andy. Sydney Powell, suggests that McCabe was overhead to have said words to the effect or, First we F--- Flynn, then we F--- Trump. During one of his 7th floor, Secret Society meetings.

Again all of this happened, before General Flynn was Candidate Trump's NSA Designee. So the Six ways to Sunday, warning does resonate re: LTG Flynn as well.

Fred -> walrus ... , 09 November 2019 at 07:32 PM
Walrus,

Lots of them (not all or most politicians), which has been a generations long complaint of African Americans.

turcopolier , 09 November 2019 at 05:27 PM
walrus

I have said repeatedly that I saw both the FBI and DoJ prosecutors railroad defendants. That is why I stopped consulting for the courts.

Dr. George W Oprisko , 09 November 2019 at 05:51 PM
In my experience in the US armed forces.... having a top secret crypto clearance...

And later.... as a federal investigator...

I distinctly remember that conversations between the White house, particularly the president and his national security chief are "top secret -- eyes only for the president"

So.....

Why did FLynn not have the Secret Service Detail arrest Sztrok and company on the spot for violating US security CFRs by knowing such conversations took place and knowing the contents thereof with out appropriate security clearances??

And......

Why does'nt Trump have the AG charge them?

INDY

blue peacock said in reply to Dr. George W Oprisko ... , 09 November 2019 at 08:19 PM
"Why did FLynn not have the Secret Service Detail arrest Sztrok and company on the spot for violating US security CFRs.."

Many things about Spygate have puzzled me. The response by Trump after becoming POTUS to all the machinations by Brennan, Clapper, Comey, Rosenstein, et al has been baffling. It is like he does not understand the powers of his office. And after he learned about the covert action action against his campaign and him, to then staff his administration with folks who were in cahoots with the putschists is frankly bizarre.

Does anyone have any explanation for the actions or inactions of Trump & Flynn?

joekowalski98 -> blue peacock... , 10 November 2019 at 11:31 AM
"Does anyone have any explanation for the actions or inactions of Trump & Flynn?"

I have no comment relative to Flynn, but, in regards to Trump, IMO, Trump is stupid.

First, a little background. I did vote for Trump. I did have an hatred for national politics ever since the Cheney "presidency". In that period, I was a dissident with a very minor voice. But, I did study, as best as I could, the Bush (Cheney) and the Obama presidency. It was reasonably clear that president's. didn't count. IMO the real power lay with: a handful of Senate leaders, the CIA, the bureaucracy, and the powerful families that controlled the major multi-national corporations, such as, Exxon Mobile. The preceding constituted a powerful oligarchy that controlled the U.S. A dictatorship of sorts.

Trump had two major objectives for his presidency: MAGA and "drain the swamp". I concurred with both objectives. After six months of the Trump presidency, and after observing his choice of appointments and his actions, I concluded that he was a high school baseball player trying to compete with the major leagues. He didn't know what he was doing (and, still doesn't).

At that time, I concluded that if Trump really wanted to install MAGA and "drain the swamp" he should have concluded way before putting his hat in the ring, that the only way to accomplish his objective was to foster a coup after becoming president. Prior to his presidency, he would had to select a team which would be his appointees and develop a plan. After becoming president, he would have to ignore Congress and put his people in place including in the DOD. The team would stay in control regardless of Congress' views.

Of course, this is a dictatorship, but is this any less obnoxious to our current oligarchs dictatorship.

Does anyone have a better solution?

Larry Johnson -> joekowalski98 ... , 10 November 2019 at 12:40 PM
You're not wrong in criticizing Trump's personnel choices and inaction. When he entered office he was warned about the SES/SIS holdovers and the need to get his own people in place. He ignored that advice and is suffering the consequences. Trump played a character on TV of being a shrewd, tough judge of talent and ability. In reality, he is a bit of a goofball.

That said, his basic policy positions are solid with respect to putting America first, enforcing immigration laws, and disengaging from the foreign adventurism that has defined US foreign policy for the last 75 years.

My hope is that he now finally recognizes the threat.

SAC Brat said in reply to Larry Johnson ... , 10 November 2019 at 07:34 PM
I prefer thinking of Donald Trump as a World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Famer as it fits the context of what we are seeing more precise. Staged drama, personality pitted against personality, all a great spectacle.

If it makes the denizens of DC fall on their fainting couches with the image all the better.

Isn't Donald Trump suffering the same problem Jimmy Carter had that as a DC outsider he isn't able hire talent and the establishment has made it clear that a position in the Trump administration is a career killer?

Factotum said in reply to joekowalski98 ... , 10 November 2019 at 01:16 PM
Democrat's politics of personal destruction made it virtually impossible for Trump to hire or appoint the requisite people for the task you described. RINO's wouldn't touch him and Democrats were hell bent for revenge at any costs.

Amazing he did as well as he has done so far - considering his election was so toxic to any possible insiders who could have offered the necessary experience to warn him where the third rails were located.

Give him another four years and full control of GOP House and Senate back - this country needs his energy and resoluteness to finally get the real work done. Patriots at every level need to apply for appointed positions.

BTW: I was a rabid no-Trumper up to election night. Then Trump became my President. I have not looked back.

blue peacock said in reply to Factotum... , 10 November 2019 at 03:45 PM
Draining the Swamp can't be accomplished by hiring within the beltway or hiring any long-term Democrat or Republican operative including members of Congress.

Trump should have recognized when he learned that his transition team was being spied on that he had to hire people who believed in his agenda and had no ties to the Swamp.

By hiring folks like Haley, Pompeo, Bolton, Coats, Rosenstein, Wray, etc and not cleaning house by firing entire swathes of the bureaucracy and then not using the powers of his office to declassify but instead passing the buck on to Rosenstein, Sessions and Barr and only tweeting witch hunt he has enabled the Swamp to run circles around him.

IMO, he is where he is because of his inability to put together a coherent team that believes in his agenda and is willing to fight the Swamp with everything thy've got.

cali said in reply to joekowalski98 ... , 11 November 2019 at 07:42 AM
@joekovalski98: Pres. Trump came into office being very familiar with the intelligence operation against him.
Enter Admiral (ret) Mike Rogers who travelled secretly without approval by Clapper to brief the president of the spy operation.

Trump immediately move his administration to NJ.

Rogers and Flynn go back many years as Rogers was a protégé of Flynn. They both extensively informed president Trump.

"Drain the swamp" is en-route carried out partially by our military and Flynn's former DIA.

The stage was set and president Trump kept the left distracted via twitter while the operation is underway between our military, white hats and their allies abroad.

Mifsud was arrested by the Italian intelligence agents 3 days ago and brought back to Rome.

Trump is a long way from stupid - he has so far managed via twitter and his orthodox ways for the deep state to unmask themselves. Hiring enemies at times is a way to confuse those that try to destroy you.

"The Art of War" by Sun Tzu is Trump's methods.

Hindsight Observer -> cali... , 11 November 2019 at 10:30 AM
Mifsud's arrest could be key to unraveling or should I say, the Unmasking of. Rather large amounts of fraudulent intelligence that was laundered through the FISA Warrant Application process.

The AG reportedly now has Mifsud's Cellphones (2), which coupled with Mifsud's interview statements, if not his direct cooperation. Should reveal the CIA and/or SA Strozk, were responsible for providing Mifsud with the false Intelligence. Which he then fed into their Warrant Apps, through the person of George Papadopoulos.

Which in turn, could establish that Mifsud was never the alleged Russian Agent linked to Putin. But rather a western intelligence asset, linked to Brennan. Thus destroying the obvious Defensive strategy of Brennan, Comey and McCabe. Specifically the vaunted, "Hey who knew the intelligence was bad? I was just doing my JOB!

Certainly hope the reports are accurate...

Hindsight Observer -> Dr. George W Oprisko ... , 09 November 2019 at 08:54 PM
I believe it was because the FBI was intentionally lying about their authority to monitor the Flynn-Kysliak conversation. Claiming they were not monitoring the WH, rather they were monitoring the Russian Ambassador and LTG Flynn was merely, Caught-up in that conversation. Which at the time, was a good-enough-story. But recent disclosures seem to prove the 2 Agents along with Comey, McCabe as well as AAG Sally Yates. All knew at the time of their "Pretext" was establishing a Perjury Trap for the new NSA.
Factotum , 09 November 2019 at 06:25 PM
What set Brennan's hair on fire that instigated Brennan's secret memo to Obama who in turn created and authorized this multi-nation, IC secret surveillance and entrapment operation?

When will we learn why Samantha Powers demanded hundreds of FISA unmasking requests during the final hours of the Obama administration, after the election but before before the inauguration of Donald J Trump as the 45th President of the United States of America.

Why have Joseph Mifsud and Crowdstrike, yet again, disappeared from media interest.

fanto said in reply to Factotum... , 09 November 2019 at 10:05 PM
Why oh why, certain persons disappear from media interest? Why for example, did Ghislaine Maxwell disappear from media? Is she not involved in lawsuits? Do courts not know where she is now? The all-knowing Wikipedia English - does not know (as of today, I checked). The answer to all these troubling questions is in the comments to the Colonels piece on John Hannah. Am I becoming paranoid perhaps.?
Factotum said in reply to fanto... , 10 November 2019 at 12:42 AM
If the media continues endlessly about the Ukraine phone call, the quid pro quo yet fails to mention Crowdstrike "favor" in the same article, something is fishy. The phone call story did not drop out of sight; just a very salient detail. In fact the substance of the phone call is the story- and what Democrats are calling grounds for impeachment. Yet NO mention of the Crowdstrike favor. I find this odd. Don't you?
jd hawkins said in reply to fanto... , 10 November 2019 at 02:31 AM
Not paranoia if it's true!
Hindsight Observer , 09 November 2019 at 08:44 PM
Under the caption, "Nobody does it better" this explanation from Defense Counsel Powell's 04NOV19 Filing, pg 3 para 2

"The government has known since prior to January 24, 2017, that it intended to target Mr. Flynn for federal prosecution. That is why the entire investigation" of him was created at least as early as summer 2016 and pursued despite the absence of a legitimate basis. That is why Peter Strzok texted Lisa Page on January 10, 2017: "Sitting with Bill watching CNN. A TON more out. .

We're discussing whether, now that this is out, we can use it as a pretext to go interview some people." 3 The word "pretext" is key. Thinking he was communicating secretly only with his paramour before their illicit relationship and extreme bias were revealed to the world, Strzok let the cat out of the bag as to what the FBI was up to. Try as he might, Mr. Van Grack cannot stuff that cat back into that bag.4

Former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe as much as admitted the FBI's intent to set up Mr. Flynn on a criminal false statement charge from the get-go. On Dec. 19, 2017, McCabe told the House Intelligence Committee in sworn testimony: "[T]he conundrum that we faced on their return from the interview is that although [the agents] didn't detect deception in the statements that he made in the interview . . . the statements were inconsistent with our understanding of the conversation that he had actually had with the ambassador."

McCabe proceeded to admit to the Committee that "the two people who interviewed [Flynn] didn't think he was lying, [which] was not [a] great beginning of a false statement case." Ex. 1.
_____________
What's the saying? "Not much ambiguity there?"

Factotum , 10 November 2019 at 01:46 AM
Finally, on Nov 9, 2029 American Thinker in an article about Nancy Pelosi attempts at damage control, someone in the media actually mentions Crowdstrike and the alleged " DNChacking"

........ "CrowdStrike, the cyber-security company that is involved in all this over and over again, is a an American company founded by a Ukrainian, Dmitri Alperovitch, who is extremely anti-Russia and who delights in implicating Russia in the DNC hacking event that probably did not happen......"

Read more: https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2019/11/is_pelosi_finally_sick_of_the_terrible_damage_schiff_is_doing_to_her_party.html#ixzz64r2Sctrw
Follow us: @AmericanThinker on Twitter | AmericanThinker on Facebook

[Nov 13, 2019] Finally an Unvarnished History of the Iraq Invasion

Nov 13, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

We Americans are less obvious, if also less subtle: we quickly transform our common story into uncommon glory -- of a Continental Army standing unbowed before well-drilled Redcoats, of a war against slavery that, within a generation, became a War for Southern Independence, or in extolling the sacrifice of 58,000 Americans in a divisive intervention that became, less than a half a decade later, a "noble cause." Not surprisingly, the truth is far more interesting than any myth. The Continental Army at Valley Forge was not only ill-clothed, underpaid, and desertion-riddled, its finest day had come not against British regulars but mercenary Hessians; the War for Southern Independence was waged to eliminate a racial blight that, when the war began, had already seen its best (or, rather, worst), days, while the "noble cause" of Vietnam featured a military that , by 1971, was "in a state approaching collapse, with individual units avoiding or having refused combat, murdering their officers, drug-ridden, and dispirited where not near-mutinous."

The substitution of myth for fact, however, has its uses -- as one of our greatest soldiers, General George Patton, certainly knew. While Patton was an indifferent student (he flunked mathematics at West Point), he was an avid reader with a prodigious memory and a finely tuned sense of history. Which makes his speech to the Third Army on June 5 of 1944 (as celebrated in Hollywood's epic 1970 paean), all the more remarkable, as it extols a history we wish we had -- but don't: "Men, this stuff that some sources sling around about America wanting out of this war, not wanting to fight, is a crock of bullshit," Patton announced. "Americans love to fight, traditionally. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle."

But Patton was just getting started. "Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser," he went on to say. "Americans despise cowards. Americans play to win all the time. I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why Americans have never lost nor will ever lose a war; for the idea of losing is hateful to America."

Of course, very little of this was actually true -- even in 1944, two decades before Vietnam. All Americans love the sting and clash of battle? Not really. In January of 1781, in the midst of the American Revolution, 1500 soldiers of the Pennsylvania and New Jersey lines of the Continental Army mutinied, murdered their officers, and threatened to march on Philadelphia.

When the mutiny spread, Washington had the mutineers rounded up, arrested, and their ringleaders shot by a firing squad made up of their fellow soldiers . On July 10 of 1863, one week after the Battle of Gettysburg, the New York draft riots protesting conscription set fire to 50 buildings, lynched 11 black bystanders, and left 120 civilians dead. The insurrection (as it was called by city officials), was finally quelled by the New York State Militia. And in late 1944, while commanding in Europe, Dwight Eisenhower was so angered by the reports of teeming throngs of American deserters raping and looting their way through France that he considered "lining them up and mowing them down."

Americans have never lost a war? It doesn't take a trained historian to point out that the American military botched the War of 1812 (the White House was burned and Washington occupied), performed poorly (and genocidally) in the Indian Wars of the late 19th century (in which one of its most famous units, the 7th Cavalry, was erased from existence), and mishandled the brutal 1899 Philippine Insurrection -- during which Mark Twain described American soldiers as "uniformed assassins." Patton was no dummy and might have recited all of this himself. But his speech made for good copy (and, as it turned out, great cinema) and undoubtedly boosted morale, particularly for those who, within a short time, would be facing off against the best light infantry in the history of the world.

But while historical myths have their place in creating a national story, France, China, and Russia have, in turn (and over time), chosen truth over triumph -- exhuming the greatness of Napoleon, Mao, and Lenin, while burying forever the policies they followed . This is true also for the United States. For while we Americans readily adopt the regalia of our past, we expect that our institutions will not follow suit; that in the midst of failure, our policymakers will discard myths and choose reality.

This is what happened, famously, on March 25, 1968 when President Lyndon Johnson met with a group he called "the wise men" -- a wizened crew of 14 Washington policymakers to help him decide what to do about the worsening situation in Vietnam. Included in the group was former secretary of state Dean Acheson, former White House counsel Clark Clifford, former ambassador to South Vietnam Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., and former JCS chairman General Omar Bradley.

These officials had traditionally supported Johnson's Vietnam policies but now, in the wake of the disastrous Tet Offensive, they had second thoughts. Stunned by the ferocity of the Vietnamese attack, only two of the 14 (Maxwell Taylor and Abe Fortas) recommended that Johnson "stay the course." The shift was symbolized by Omar Bradley, a military icon. Victory? "Maybe we ought to lower our sights," he told Johnson.

Of course, while the March 1968 meeting of the wise men was crucial to America's adventure in Vietnam (and Lyndon Johnson's political future), it did little to dampen the controversy surrounding the war -- which has been refought, since, in the pages of the war's histories. Indeed, it seems axiomatic that what cannot be won on a battlefield is often alchemized in later accounts.

These bloodless campaigns, fought with pen rather than sword, turn defeats into victories, burnish reputations, assess blame, but also blight understanding and blemish history. This is particularly true when it comes to America's most controversial conflicts. In 1869, Confederate Major General Dabney Herndon Maury founded the Southern Historical Society. Its papers, later collected in 52 volumes, rewrote much of Civil War history, a tendentious rendering whose goal was to argue the justness of the Lost Cause. Many of the society's papers remain troubling, rehabilitating the image of the most famous and otherwise failed rebel leaders, while laying the blame for the Confederate loss at the feet of southerners who, in later years, conceded the Union victory. The papers also remain controversial because their most important claims (that Lee lost at Gettysburg because his orders were disobeyed, that soldier-for-soldier, the southern armies were simply better fighters than their northern counterparts) resulted from barely veiled pro-southern and racially tinged political agendas. You'd have thought the South had won the war.

The same holds true for Vietnam. In that war's aftermath, while much of America was trying to forget the conflict, a small group of respected historians continued to pick at its scab, leaving a blood trail of if-onlys in their wake. The most prominent of these historians was Lewis "Bob" Sorley, a respected former officer and celebrated biographer (of Creighton Abrams and William Westmoreland, among others), whose book on Vietnam, A Better War , has been the subject of controversy since its publication in 1999.

In A Better War , Sorley argued that the U.S. might have won in Vietnam, if only that nation's top commander in the conflict had discarded his costly and morale-sapping search-and-destroy strategy in favor of maintaining the security of South Vietnam's population, substituted clear-and-hold tactics for massive sweep operations, improved the training and equipping of South Vietnam's military, decreased the destruction of U.S. firepower -- and supported the South Vietnamese, instead of abandoning them.

The conclusions ignited a bonfire of criticism, particularly from some of the Army's more respected thinkers. Writing in the pages of The National Interest in 2012, retired Colonel Gian Gentile took on Sorley in a pointed critique that proposed that America should have never been in Vietnam in the first place.

"In war, political and societal will are calculations of strategy, and strategists in Vietnam should have discerned early on that the war was simply unwinnable based on what the American people were willing to pay," Gentile wrote . "Once the war started and it became clear that to prevail meant staying for an unacceptable amount of time, American strategy should have moved to withdraw much earlier than it did. Ending wars fought under botched strategy and policy can be every bit as damaging as the wars themselves."

Put simply, Sorley argues that the Vietnam War could have been won, if only the U.S. had the will to prevail, while Gentile responds that because the American people did not have the will to prevail, the war should have never been fought.

The spat over the Civil War and Vietnam doesn't necessarily mean that history repeats itself, but it does get rewritten -- and rethought. The same is now true for the war in Iraq. The Army War College's weighty two-volume study of the 2003 Iraq conflict ( The U.S. Army in the Iraq War ), has sparked a divisive mini-controversy among the uniformed services, whose senior officers regularly debate its major conclusions (as I noted in The American Conservative , online, back in February ): that U.S. commanders didn't understand the country they invaded, made assumptions about an enemy that proved to be wrong, didn't have enough soldiers to win the fight, who bungled the military's detention policies, and who failed in their mission to train and equip the Iraqi armed forces.

But any praise for these conclusions has been muted by the study's other (Sorley-like) judgment: that, as in Vietnam -- where the villains were the antiwar movement and the Congress, the villains in Iraq are George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the former blamed for too quickly getting us in, the latter for too quickly getting us out.

Into this affray has now jumped a much shorter (at 292 pages), offering, written by a team of nine experts and researchers at the Rand Corporation. The U.S. Army and the Battle for Baghdad , gives us what the Army War College didn't -- an unvarnished and precise accounting of what went wrong and why, and without the tendentious political overtones of the tome-like AWC study. This shouldn't come as a surprise. Among the study's authors are two of the Army's leading thinkers: retired Colonels David E. Johnson and Gian Gentile, the latter the outspoken Sorley critic known in the military for his often-scathing ability to say what he means.

Johnson, on the other hand, is known for his counter-intuitive and often uncomfortable question of given premises, which has made him a valued interlocutor in the upper echelons of the Army. The likely result of the study (much talked about in the military prior to its release earlier this year), is that it has had a far greater impact than its 1200-plus page predecessor. The U.S. Army and the Battle for Baghdad is not a page-turner, unless of course you're an Army officer, but it lays out in precise detail the eight lessons the military can, and should learn, from Operation Iraqi Freedom. But most readers will find the study's understated third chapter, on the U.S. occupation of Iraq, among the most compelling written on the war.

At the center of this presentation is the unshifting, unalterable truth of the war -- -that the dysfunction obvious at the upper levels of the U.S. military following the fall of Baghdad mirrored a deeper civilian-military chasm in Washington. The result of the dysfunction was that the initial Battle for Baghdad was simply a prelude to a continuing battle for Baghdad, that the war, once ended, simply continued.

The study's authors issue this crisp judgment, which is starkly at odds with the AWC study:

"While much of the blame for the shortcomings of postwar planning rightly falls on senior rungs of the Bush administration, the truth of the matter is that there is more than enough blame to go around, up and down the chains of command in military and civilian planning." Military officers speak candidly of the problem: "I don't think that any of us either could have or did anticipate the total collapse of this regime," Lt. General William Wallace told the authors, "and the psychological impact it had on the entire nation."

In military history, this is "the Henry Wentz problem." Henry Wentz was born in York County in Pennsylvania in 1827, but moved with his family to nearby Gettysburg when he was nine. He spent his most formative years on his family farm, which was just south of the town and off the Emmitsburg Road.

As a young adult Henry went to Martinsburg (then in Virginia), married a local girl and became a carriage maker. When the Civil War came he joined the Confederate Army, serving as an ordnance sergeant in Taylor's Virginia Battery. On July 2, 1863, Wentz found himself manning his rebel guns in his family's front yard, at Gettysburg, as a part of Longstreet's bloody assault on the Union Army's III Corps. Lee had attacked with Longstreet that day to unhinge the Union line, planning to take the high ground around the Wentz farm at a peach orchard, which Lee thought was a dominating position.The orchard, owned by the Sherfy family (and hence referred to as the Sherfy Peach Orchard in battle histories) seemed to rise out of the ground and command the fields beyond. The problem was that Sherfy's orchard didn't dominate anything. It was not on a rise, it did not control the land beyond. The orchard's height, if you stand on it, is an optical illusion. A short discussion with Henry Wentz might have shown this, if only Lee had known that Wentz was there.

He didn't.

For military officers commanding thousands or hundreds of thousands of young men and women, for military experts whose job it is to study these operations -- -and not just for hobbyists or aficionados -- the Henry Wentz problem is a tolling bell, a heart stopping wake-you-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night realization that not knowing , particularly when lives are at stake, is an unforgivable blunder. Reading about Gettysburg many years later, generations of Civil War historians, reclining by their firesides, want to scream at Lee: "What do you mean you didn't know ?" And that is the value of The U.S. Army and the Battle of Baghdad -- -and the effect of William Wallace's seemingly mundane, if stunning, observation. The U.S. military did not anticipate that the drive for Baghdad would be difficult, did not anticipate that the Iraq Army would transform itself into an insurgency, did not anticipate "the total collapse of the regime" -- and so did not anticipate the tragedy that followed. To which we too want to scream: what do you mean you didn't anticipate? It was your job to anticipate."

Mark Perry is a contributing editor at The American Conservative and the author of The Pentagon's Wars. He tweets @markperrydc .


Taras77 3 days ago

Good article!

It is long past time that the senior military leadership with Iraq invasion (not to ignore the Afghan debacle) and since be held accountable for multitude of blunders and poor performance overall.

The fawning adulation from the press serves no good purpose and simply perpetuates the waste and fraud that gives us more blunders and weapons systems and "strategies" that do not and could not work to specs and plans.

But as the article states, there is plenty of blame to go around, I am referring to the "political Leadership" of bush, obama, and now trump, and of course, congress. Leadership may be too kind a term for what passes for leadership.

leisureguy Taras77 2 days ago
we all had to "support the troops" - if you held people accountable, you were an unpatriotic soldier non-supporter
E.J. Smith leisureguy a day ago
And still have to. Just ask Danny Sjursen.
EliteCommInc. Taras77 2 days ago
Excuse me.

no issues holding the military mistakes to account. But these choices were politically made and the political leadership should not be permitted to scapegoat the military for the leaderships choices to engage in regime change which included purging military dissenters.

IanDakar EliteCommInc. a day ago
Full agreement here. In fact, it's rather silly to strike at the military leaders, people trained in war, for supporting war. It's like complaining about a scientist who decides to solve every crisis with attaching it to the Internet.

The generals look at ways to fight a war. It's the political leaders that determine if war is the right idea. That's why it's the elected leaders, not the military, that hold the keys. All of the manipulations of the DoD end once we have a Congress and White House that wants it to end.

Honestly I respect the idea of going after the past leaderships that sent us here, but really I'd be content with just finding a leadership that stops the train now and leave the old guard to their retirements. That's going to be difficult as it is without us turning on a revenge campaign that might turn ugly.

kirthigdon 2 days ago
It's a relatively minor point in the article, but I would agree with those who claim that man-for-man the Confederates were better soldiers than the Yankees. They held out for 4 years against the US, whose forces were numerically superior and far better equipped and supplied, while managing to inflict more military casualties on their foes than they suffered. In the same way, I'd also agree with the many historians and WWII veterans who claim that the Germans were man-for-man better soldiers than any of their enemies. Both the American Civil War and WWII were essentially wars of attrition. Losing such a war is no military disgrace but it also doesn't mean that the losing side had a noble cause. In most wars, there are no good guys.

Kirt Higdon

leisureguy kirthigdon 2 days ago
in what way were the confederate soldiers better "man for man"?

US soldiers got slaughtered wholesale throughout the war - yet they had the spirit to keep coming. They got slaughtered wholesale because they used tactics developed for the previous generation of small arms. The tactic of marching at the enemy packed together.

As James McPherson describes in "Battle Cry of Freedom" they got slaughtered because they 1) had to fight on offense and 2) they were using tactics designed for the previous generation of small arms. They used tactics designed for weak-firing in accurate muskets rather than the current generation of rifles - accurate and deadly from long ranges.

They used the tactic of massing men together and marching at the enemy. This worked for muskets. For rifles loaded with minie balls, it made them sitting ducks when they marched towards dug in Confederates.

This article's author, Mr. Perry, mentions the slaughter of the Confederate soldiers at the peach orchard. A slaughter that resulted from the Confederates having to walk across a long rise of land before they could engage with the enemy. The slaughter that was said to have begun the defeat the Confederates. An awful slaughter.

The US soldiers didn't have just one peach orchard, they had many. They had "cold harbor", they had "the bloody angle", they had "Marye's heights". Dug in confederates armed with rifles mangled US soldiers horribly. Mangled them as they marched, out in the open, well within rifle range, towards dug in and hidden Confederates.

Yet the Union soldiers had the spirit to keep on coming. It's like "Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid". As Perry points out, post Civil War Southern supporting writers romanticized the poor, starving, southern infantryman. He was handsome, stoic, and a fighter. But it was the northern guys who kept on coming. Kept on coming despite seeing so many of their friends torn to pieces.
Northern soldiers who had the stuff to get the job done.

kirthigdon leisureguy 2 days ago
So the more numerous side that has the spirit to keep coming despite enormous casualties and because of bad tactics are by definition better soldiers than the less numerous side which using good tactics has the spirit to keep fighting until they finally run out of effective fighters? By this standard the more numerous are always better soldiers as long as they win in the end, which they usually will in a war of attrition. By this standard, the Russians were far better soldiers than the Germans in WWII. Hint - the term man-for-man indicates I am measuring quality rather than just quantity and quality in soldiers includes tactical proficiency, not just bravery.

Kirt Higdon

EliteCommInc. kirthigdon 2 days ago
It was poor leadership decisions that prolonged the war, not bad soldiering.
E.J. Smith EliteCommInc. a day ago
Gen. McLellan at Antietam immediately comes to mind.
Kent 2 days ago
War is an obsolete idea. 1000 years ago, the only way to increase your wealth was to take over someone else's land and enthrall the local population to farm it for you. 200 years ago it was necessary to capture a population in order to force them to only purchase your manufactured goods, so your capitalists didn't have to compete with those of other countries.

In a information/service economy, war and control over other populations serve no purpose. The DOD, like all grand bureaucracies, survives only through the corruption of Congress.

It is time to disband the military. Get rid of the Navy, but leave the Coast Guard. Then turn the Coast Guard over to the States. Disband the Army and Marine Corps. Let the State's maintain their National Guards if they want. Disband the Air Force. The federal government should just maintain a nuclear deterrent force and set up a coastal missile defense that can destroy any Navy attempting to sail to attack us.

Have the federal government manufacture everything it needs itself instead of handing over tax payer dollars which are then used to corrupt Congress. It's time.

Kawi 2 days ago
The US Army and the Battle for Baghdad can be downloaded for free from the RAND website.

Thank you to the author of this well-written essay for brining this study to our attention.

leisureguy 2 days ago
Wow!

I look forward to further articles on the military's culture of not knowing. I've spent my whole adult life around Army personnel. (mostly retired). Going off to do things half-cocked is a point of pride with them. It's a macho trait that they love about themselves. Being willing to take action even though they haven't spent much time assessing the forces in their way.- being willing to wade into unknown danger.

Pondering things seriously is weakness - in their view.

further, at least one of these unlikely seeming new proponents of traditional masculinity - Jordan Peters - celebrates this macho trait. The macho trait of taking action without considering all knowable facts.

Alan Vanneman 2 days ago
"the War for Southern Independence was waged to eliminate a racial blight that, when the war began, had already seen its best (or, rather, worst)"

The comforting notion that slavery was destined to "fade away" was frequently indulged in during the 250 plus years that it lasted in the U.S., but it never did. As for the Wentz anecdote, if Lee had talked with Wentz, the outcome of the war would not have changed. There is an interesting "sabermetric" study of generals you can find online that gives a particularly interesting picture of Lee. He was one of the most aggressive generals in history, fighting more battles than anyone except Napoleon. But he was also--wait for it--BELOW AVERAGE. (Please don't spill your mint julip.) Grant, on the other hand, was one of the 10 best ever.

D. B. Cooper Alan Vanneman 2 days ago
207 comments, 364 votes = troll
kirthigdon Alan Vanneman 2 days ago
Slavery was on the way out and in another generation was gone throughout the western world, including the African colonies, and surviving only in Arabia. Only in the US and Haiti was slavery ended by wars and horrific bloodshed. In all other countries, including the vast slave empire of Brazil, slavery was abolished with minimal to no casualties. A bit of patience on the part of the abolitionists and unionists would have led to a somewhat later but peaceful end of slavery in the southern US. The union of all the states may not have been preserved, but in my estimation that would have been a good thing, if achieved peacefully.

Kirt Higdon

Sid Finster Alan Vanneman a day ago
Can you provide a link? This sounds interesting.

And that is an honest question, BTW.

EliteCommInc. 2 days ago
I think we should start out right in keeping with your agenda.

"of a war against slavery that . . ."

It was not a war against slavery, and to think so is part of a very deep misread of events. It freed slaves, it was the cause for the war ---

But the North had one primary goal: keep the union together, freeing slaves was a by product, not an end.

Chuckles a day ago
The military planners knew what was needed to pacify Iraq in the invasion and occupation. 750,000 troops and 25B+ dollars. Darth Cheney knew the US public wouldn't accept that, so they went in on the cheap, ignored the vast stores of conventional weapons, and Viceroy Bremmer back-stabbed the Iraqi army, thus creating the insurgency. Why? Because Planned Chaos is the most profitable, and taking Iraq oil off the market greatly enriched our "Saudi friends" and lots of other producers in the region. Inflation-adjusted oil prices more than doubled from 2003 to 2007.
E. T. Bass a day ago
As of early 2009, the surge had worked, were holding territory on turf Islamic savages considered their own and were killing hoards of jihadi scum who were flocking there, pretty much at will, who were being induced to do so at the behest of Bin Laden. Iraq was part of a long term strategic regional strategy (kill them on their own turf) which was working quite well as far as it got. 4000 dead US soldiers is a travesty under any circumstances, but considering what we had accomplished it pales in comparison with Vietnam. Keep in mind we stayed in Germany and Japan for decades after WWII to ensure our efforts were not wasted.

Iraq was not a debacle until 0bama refused to negotiate an updated SOFA, effectively surrendered (against military and other expert advice) and rendered every single US military death to have been in vain.

roberto a day ago
Great article, Mark Perry
dougdiggler a day ago
This website looks like a dying newspaper from the flyover states. Autoplay ads are like kryptonite to people who are web-literate

[Nov 13, 2019] Former Soviet Leader Mikhail Gorbachev Reveals Who Was Responsible for Country's Collapse

Nov 13, 2019 | sputniknews.com

I understand some worries he had over the existing system, but goddamn Gorbachev is an intellectual midget!

But maybe he's a sign of Soviet imbecilization. Maybe the USSR's degeneration was indeed inevitable.

I just weep for the world's socialists, who had to pay for the end of bipolarity.

Posted by: vk | Nov 10 2019 19:38 utc | 20

[Nov 13, 2019] CIA emerged as a Political Party

Notable quotes:
"... this impeachment isn't directed at Trump at all, it's about undermining the rising left-wing opposition in the Democratic party. They are plausibly on the verge of seizing the party agenda away from the neo-liberal consensus of the Clinton-Obama decades -- with issues like universal public health-care and equitable taxes. They've even found ways to fund campaigns without bowing to the corporate gods. ..."
"... Political parties are nothing more than gangs. To me, the Dems are like the Gambinos and the Repoops are like the Genovese. And they hate it when someone from outside their domain comes and disrupt their racket, when things are going smooth. ..."
"... To me Trump is like the mobster Joe Gallo, killed at Umberto's clam house in NYC. Gallo was a big shot, talked loud and fast, and wanted to start his own racket. And the other crime families would not let him do that. So they whacked him. The same thing both Dems and Repoops are trying to do with Trump. And yes Repoops don't like Trump, as in the latest from Drudge, that the Repoops are split when it comes to impeachment. ..."
"... Apropòs the articles about the 'deep state' meddling in US domestic politics, here's an oldie but a goodie from the World Socialist Web Site: The CIA Democrats . ..."
"... "The Mueller investigation has thus ultimately ended up prosecuting people for telling the same pack of lies that Mueller himself was pushing. The Clinton media, including CNN, the Washington Post and New York Times, are baffled by this. They follow the Stone trial assiduously from delight in seeing a long term Trump hanger-on brought down, and in the hope something will come out about Wikileaks or Russia. Their reporting, as that of the BBC, has been deliberately vague on why Stone is being charged, contriving to leave their audience with the impression that Stone's trial proves Trump connections to Wikileaks and Russia, when in fact it proves the precise opposite. A fact you will never learn from the mainstream media. Which is why I am doing this at 2am on a very cold Edinburgh night, for the small but vital audience which is interested in the truth." ..."
"... Of course, it stretches back to both parties, but that's what it is about - not high crimes and misdemeanors, but who lost the Ukraine - plus S, L, Y, and above all I & A!!! Gosh, we might get the entire alphabet included; ahoy all boats! ..."
"... Let me briefly sketch out an alternative narrative that more accurately captures our present predicament. Since the end of World War II, successive administrations have sought to devise a formula for assuring American consumers access to Persian Gulf oil while also satisfying pressing domestic political interests. Over a period of decades, that effort succeeded chiefly in giving birth to new problems. Out of these multiplying difficulties came the 9/11 attacks and their immediate sequel, a "war on terrorism" meant to settle matters once and for all. ..."
"... To state the matter bluntly, 9/11 was an expression of chickens coming home to roost, a massive strategic failure that the ensuing military campaigns beginning in 2001 and continuing to the present moment have affirmed. Given the dimensions of that failure, the likelihood of resuscitating X's illusory Pax is essentially zero. ..."
"... The very fact Bloomberg had to enter the Democratic Party presidential race is the definite proof Biden's corruption and involvement on the destruction of Ukraine is so overwhelming and difficult to hide that it will eventually be impossible to cover it with the NYT and WaPo power alone should he be chosen as the nominee. ..."
Nov 10, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Bemildred , Nov 10 2019 15:41 utc | 1

I am amazed how the Impeachment Circus and the mainstream media continue to ignore the facts of this story:

Joe Biden has been a favorite target for Trump-allied lawmakers. Many have adopted Trump's unsubstantiated assertion that Biden pushed for the ouster of a Ukrainian prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, because he was investigating Burisma.

Other people get it:

The CIA is emerging as a domestic political party.
...
Brennan put a friendly finger on my chest. "The CIA is not involved in domestic politics," he said. "Period. That's on the record."

This he asserted confidently, at an event where he had just spoken about about influence campaigns on swing voters and implied that Hillary Clinton might be right in calling U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard a Russian asset. Even seasoned analysts, it seems, have their blind spots.

Motivation to impeach Trump is about control of Democratic Party - Rick Salutin, The Star

What shifted [House Speaker Nancy Pelosi] now? I'd say the answer is: this impeachment isn't directed at Trump at all, it's about undermining the rising left-wing opposition in the Democratic party. They are plausibly on the verge of seizing the party agenda away from the neo-liberal consensus of the Clinton-Obama decades -- with issues like universal public health-care and equitable taxes. They've even found ways to fund campaigns without bowing to the corporate gods.
I agree with Mr. Salutin, the impeachment is not about impeachment, although if impeachment results, I'm sure they will take it. And I agree it's about protecting the current Democratic Part "elites", both from scandal (Joe Biden, Clinton) and from the challenge on the left. A risky and desperate move .

I tend to think it was Trump going after the Ukraine cesspit that precipitated the impeachment, but other motives seem relevant. I have thought since Obama went all in with Russiagate that the current Dem leadership does not feel it can afford to relinquish control.


Walter , Nov 10 2019 15:54 utc | 2

@ "ince Obama went all in with Russiagate that the current Dem leadership does not feel it can afford to relinquish control."

How about that...geewhiz, one does speculate as to what crimes they fear might become known and public?

Everybody Knows...Brother Leonard Cohen... this they fear.

It's a mighty force. To the mat.

Jose Garcia , Nov 10 2019 16:59 utc | 4
Political parties are nothing more than gangs. To me, the Dems are like the Gambinos and the Repoops are like the Genovese. And they hate it when someone from outside their domain comes and disrupt their racket, when things are going smooth.

To me Trump is like the mobster Joe Gallo, killed at Umberto's clam house in NYC. Gallo was a big shot, talked loud and fast, and wanted to start his own racket. And the other crime families would not let him do that. So they whacked him. The same thing both Dems and Repoops are trying to do with Trump. And yes Repoops don't like Trump, as in the latest from Drudge, that the Repoops are split when it comes to impeachment.

pnyx , Nov 10 2019 17:58 utc | 10
Biden / Ukraine: Others begin to get it: 'Further scratches become visible on the picture of the Bidens in the Ukraine affair' (original in German: 'Am Bild der Bidens in der Ukraine-Affäre werden weitere Kratzer sichtbar' nzz 9.11.19, nzz.ch/international/ukraine-affaere-rolle-der-biden-familie-undurchsichtig-ld.1520759)
Seamus Padraig , Nov 10 2019 18:23 utc | 12
Apropòs the articles about the 'deep state' meddling in US domestic politics, here's an oldie but a goodie from the World Socialist Web Site: The CIA Democrats .
karlof1 , Nov 10 2019 18:24 utc | 13
Craig Murray has an exclusive interview with Randy Credico he prefaces with these remarks:

"The Mueller investigation has thus ultimately ended up prosecuting people for telling the same pack of lies that Mueller himself was pushing. The Clinton media, including CNN, the Washington Post and New York Times, are baffled by this. They follow the Stone trial assiduously from delight in seeing a long term Trump hanger-on brought down, and in the hope something will come out about Wikileaks or Russia. Their reporting, as that of the BBC, has been deliberately vague on why Stone is being charged, contriving to leave their audience with the impression that Stone's trial proves Trump connections to Wikileaks and Russia, when in fact it proves the precise opposite. A fact you will never learn from the mainstream media. Which is why I am doing this at 2am on a very cold Edinburgh night, for the small but vital audience which is interested in the truth."

That would include MoA barflies since we crave Truth. Murray has a bit more to say prior to the excerpt I provide, which I suggest be read, too.

juliania , Nov 10 2019 19:13 utc | 18
What a feast of links! I've only just started, with b's Daniel Lazare piece at Stretegic Culture.org - well done!

" ...This is what impeachment is about, not high crimes and misdemeanors, but who lost the Ukraine – plus Syria, Libya, Yemen, and other countries that the Obama administration succeeded in destroying – and why Trump should pay the supreme penalty for suggesting that Democrats are in any way to blame..."

Of course, it stretches back to both parties, but that's what it is about - not high crimes and misdemeanors, but who lost the Ukraine - plus S, L, Y, and above all I & A!!! Gosh, we might get the entire alphabet included; ahoy all boats!

chop stick , Nov 10 2019 19:17 utc | 19
Impeachment is about controlling where the attention is focused. When things get to close to home Pelosi says look over here at the orange head, look over there at the border but whatever you do, do not look over https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g1KfU5ifhqE ">here.
b , Nov 11 2019 14:20 utc | 114
@pnyx - Thanks for linking the NZZ piece

"Biden / Ukraine: Others begin to get it: 'Further scratches become visible on the picture of the Bidens in the Ukraine affair' (original in German: 'Am Bild der Bidens in der Ukraine-Affäre werden weitere Kratzer sichtbar' nzz 9.11.19, nzz.ch/international/ukraine-affaere-rolle-der-biden-familie-undurchsichtig-ld.1520759)"

Funny it is mostly a recap of my findings of Biden in Ukraine. The piece links to William Bowles ( https://williambowles.info/2019/10/08/when-ukraines-prosecutor-came-after-his-sons-sponsor-joe-biden-sprang-into-action/) and attributes that the findings to him.

But it is not Bowles but a copy my piece here ( https://www.moonofalabama.org/2019/10/biden-timeline.html).

So the Neue Züricher Zeitung, the most prestige Swiss outlet, is practically quoting MoA.

I am honored.

Bemildred , Nov 11 2019 14:35 utc | 115
Andrew J. Bacevich weighs in on US foreign policy:
Let me briefly sketch out an alternative narrative that more accurately captures our present predicament. Since the end of World War II, successive administrations have sought to devise a formula for assuring American consumers access to Persian Gulf oil while also satisfying pressing domestic political interests. Over a period of decades, that effort succeeded chiefly in giving birth to new problems. Out of these multiplying difficulties came the 9/11 attacks and their immediate sequel, a "war on terrorism" meant to settle matters once and for all.

To state the matter bluntly, 9/11 was an expression of chickens coming home to roost, a massive strategic failure that the ensuing military campaigns beginning in 2001 and continuing to the present moment have affirmed. Given the dimensions of that failure, the likelihood of resuscitating X's illusory Pax is essentially zero.

There is no going back to an imagined Golden Age of American statecraft in the Middle East. The imperative is to go forward, which requires acknowledging how wrongheaded U.S. policy in region has been ever since FDR had his famous tete-a-tete with King Ibn Saud and Harry Truman rushed to recognize the newborn State of Israel.t

So succinct.

The Blob: Still Chasing After Pax Americana

vk , Nov 11 2019 14:41 utc | 116
@ Posted by: b | Nov 11 2019 14:20 utc | 114

The very fact Bloomberg had to enter the Democratic Party presidential race is the definite proof Biden's corruption and involvement on the destruction of Ukraine is so overwhelming and difficult to hide that it will eventually be impossible to cover it with the NYT and WaPo power alone should he be chosen as the nominee.

[Nov 13, 2019] You forget a main characteristic of fascists, that is that they aspire to wipe out their political adversaries from the face of Earth, as the case in Bolivia is so flagrantry illustrating

Nov 13, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Sasha , Nov 11 2019 23:34 utc | 163

@Posted by: William Gruff | Nov 11 2019 21:30 utc | 152

But, with that explanation, it is like you are whithewashing fascism as a merely opposing political view, which is precisley the position and pretension of the Trumpers, when it is not. Fascism is incompatible with democracy and human rights...as the recent ( just overnight the coup...) declarations by The Donald on the events in Bolivia come to confirm...

You forget a main characteristic of fascists, that is that they aspire ( and when the circumstances allow it, always try...) to wipe out their political adversaries from the face of Earth, as the case in Bolivia is so flagrantry illustrating. Along with their political adversaries, who are always those who position themselves in the side or as representives of the people, they always try to wipe out also all those subgroups of human beings they consider utermenschen ...In this cathegory they will include many, slavs, latinos, jews, gypsies, black people...

Then, once in power, they will use terror to keep the citizenry ( who otherwise will rebel once the real "program" of the nazis unveiled ) in control...


Sasha , Nov 11 2019 23:53 utc | 164

That the US system is as a whole fascist falls plainly in the faces of all its deluded and anestesized citizens when you see today that neither Pelosi, nor Schumaker, nor Clinton, nor Biden have said a word agsint what happened yesterday in Bolivia or against the words of the POTUS who "allegedly" they try to overthrow...a representation described by Trump himself, in the heights of stone face, as coup d´etat...
William Gruff , Nov 12 2019 0:08 utc | 165
Sasha @163

I stated that fascism has no ideology. It cannot be a "political view" .

The fascists in Rwanda are Black. The fascists in Israel are Jewish. The fascists in Ukraine are Slavs. The fascists in Colombia are Latinos.

Fascism isn't about one ethnicity or another. Ethnic prejudice is just one (of many) handle that the capitalists elites use to get some parts of society to attack other parts. The people who fall under that control by the capitalist elites are fascists.

[Nov 12, 2019] Understanding What Sidney Powell is Doing to Kill the Case Against Michael Flynn by Larry C Johnson - Sic Semper Tyrannis

Nov 12, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Understanding What Sidney Powell is Doing to Kill the Case Against Michael Flynn by Larry C Johnson Larry Johnson-5x7

Sidney Powell, General Michael Flynn's magnificent lawyer, is in the process of destroying the bogus case that Robert Mueller and his gang of legal thugs tried to sneak past appropriate judicial review. To help you understand what she is doing we must first go back and review the indictment of Flynn and then look at what Ms. Powell, aka Honey Badger, has forced the prosecutors to admit.

Here are the nuts and bolts of the indictment

On or about January 24, 2017, defendant MICHAEL T. FLYNN did willfully and knowingly make materially false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements and representations . . . to agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation that:

(i) On or about December 29, 2016, FLYNN did not ask the Government of Russia's Ambassador to the United States ("Russian Ambassador") to refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions that the United States had imposed against Russia that same day; and FLYNN did not recall the Russian Ambassador subsequently telling him that Russia had chosen to moderate its response to those sanctions as a result of his request.

(ii) On or about December 22, 2016, FLYNN did not ask the Russian Ambassador to delay the vote on or defeat a pending United Nations Security Council resolution; and that the Russian Ambassador subsequently never described_to FLYNN Russia's response to his request.

Let me make a couple of observations before we dig into the notes and the 302 that FBI Agents Strzok and Pientka wrote up during and following their interview of Michael Flynn on January 24, 2017. First, Michael Flynn did nothing wrong or inappropriate in speaking to Russia's Ambassador Kislyak. He was doing his job as an incoming National Security Advisor to President Trump. Second, not "recalling" what Ambassador Kislyak said (or did not say) on 22 December is not lying. Third, even if Flynn did ask the Russian Ambassador on the 29th of December to "refrain from escalating the situation" in response to the U.S. sanctions imposed by Barack Hussein Obama, there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, that is wise counsel intended to defuse a situation.

Now, here is where the FBI, especially Agents Strzok and Pientka, are in so much trouble. The day prior to the "interview" of General Flynn the FBI plotters met to discuss strategy. According to Sidney Powell:

January 23, the day before the interview, the upper echelon of the FBI met to orchestrate it all. Deputy Director McCabe, General Counsel James Baker, , Lisa Page, Strzok, David Bowdich, Trish Anderson, and Jen Boone strategized to talk with Mr. Flynn in such a way as to keep from alerting him from understanding that he was being interviewed in a criminal investigation of which he was the target. (Ex.12). Knowing they had no basis for an investigation,6 they deliberately decided not to notify DOJ for fear DOJ officials would follow protocol and notify White House Counsel.

Peter Strzok was interviewed on 19 July 2017 by the FBI and, according to his affidavit, pretended that he was asked on the 24th of January 2017 to interview General Flynn. He implied this was a last minute request. But as noted in the preceding paragraph, which is based on an interview of Strzok's mistress, Lisa Page, a meeting took place the day before to orchestrate the ambush of General Flynn.

What is truly remarkable is that Peter Strzok stated the following, which exonerates Flynn of the charges in the indictment cited above:

Strzok and Pientka both had the impression at the time that Flynn was not lying or did not think he was lying. Flynn struck Strzok as "bright, but not profoundly sophisticated."

The fact that the FBI Agents Strzok and Pientka did not to show General Flynn the transcript of his calls to refresh his recollection, nor did they confront him directly if he did not remember, exposes this plot as a contrived scenario to entrap Michael Flynn rather than a legitimate, legally founded investigation.

In fact, as noted by Sidney Powell, "the FBI and DOJ wrote an internal memo dated January 30, 2017, exonerating Mr. Flynn of acting as an "agent of Russia;" and, they all knew there was no Logan Act violation."

But the malfeasance and misconduct of the FBI continued with the manipulation of the 302. " A FD-302 form is used by FBI agents to "report or summarize the interviews that they conduct"[3][4] and contains information from the notes taken during the interview by the non-primary agent."

The notes taken by Agents Strzok and Pientka during their interview of Michael Flynn are damning for the FBI. These notes are Exhibits 9 and 10 in the sur sureply filed by Sidney Powell on 1 November 2019. (I wrote recently on the fact that the FBI/DOJ mislabeled the notes from this interview--see here). Neither Strzok nor Pientka recorded any observation that Flynn lied about his contacts with Kislyak. Neither wrote down anything supporting the indictment by the Mueller crowd that "Flynn lied." To the contrary, Strzok swore under oath that he did not believe Flynn was lying.

The real problem for the Government's fraudulent case against Flynn are the 302s. There should only be one 302. Not at least four versions. The FBI protocol is to enter the 302 into the FBI Sentinel system within five days of the interview. In other words, the original 302 should have been put on the record on the 29th of January. But that original 302 is MISSING. The prosecutors claim they cannot find it.

But the prosecutors finally did provide the defense, after repeated requests, multiple copies of 302s. They dated as follows--10 February 2017, 11 February 2017. 14 February 2017 and 15 February 2017. WTF??? This alone is prima facie evidence that something crooked was afoot.

The final 302--dated 15 February 2017--painted General Flynn in the worst possible light. The "facts" of this 302 are not supported by the notes taken by Agents Strzok and Pientka. The conclusion is simple--the FBI fabricated a case against General Flynn. We now wait to see if Judge Sullivan will acknowledge this crooked conduct and exonerate the good General. Justice demands it.

These are not my facts. They are the facts based on documents submitted on the record to Judge Sullivan. I find it shocking that no journalist has had the energy or interest to cover this. Just one more reminder of the putrid state of journalism and investigative reporting. The charges levied against General Flynn by the Mueller prosecutors are without foundation. That is the stark conclusion facing any honest reader of the documents/exhibits uncovered by the Honey Badger. This kind of conduct by the FBI is just one more proof to support Colonel Lang's wise observation that this institution, along with the CIA, should be burned to the ground and new institutions erected in their stead that are committed to upholding the Constitution and preserving the rights of the individual.

Posted at 08:41 AM in Larry Johnson , Russiagate | Permalink

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Flavius , 09 November 2019 at 09:26 AM

General Flynn was the National Security Advisor to the President. Among his duties he would be expected to talk with foreign officials, including Russians, perhaps especially Russians. My question is what was the predicating evidence that gave rise to opening a criminal case with Flynn as the subject at all. What was the substantive violation; and why was there a need to convene a meeting of high level Bureau official to discuss an ambush interview. What was there to talk about in this meeting? My suspicion is that they expected, or hoped, at the outset to leverage Flynn against Trump which makes the scheme worse, much worse
akaPatience -> Flavius ... , 09 November 2019 at 02:33 PM
Re: predicate - IIRC, this is where the work of the FBI/CIA "ratfucker" Stefan Halper was instrumental, having propagated the bogus claim that scholar Svetlana Lokhova was a Russian agent with whom Gen. Flynn was having a sexual relationship.
Factotum said in reply to akaPatience ... , 09 November 2019 at 06:27 PM
Dennis Prager has a taped interview with Svetlana Lokhova linked on Red State.
Flavius said in reply to akaPatience ... , 10 November 2019 at 11:29 AM
There was a simpler time when even the least accomplished FBI Agent would have known enough to ask Mr Halper for the circumstantial details as to how he acquired the news that Flynn had any relationship at all with Lokhova, let alone a sexual relationship, who told him, how did he know, why was he telling him, when, etc. The same questions should have been resolved with respect to Lokhova before entertaining a conclusion that she was a Russian Agent of some sort. Finally, even if the allegation against Flynn had been true, which had not been established, and the allegation against Lokhova had been true, which as far as I know had not been established, the Agents should have laid those cards before Flynn from the outset as the reason he was being interviewed. If during the course of the interview he became suspect of having done something illegal, he should have been told what it was and given all his rights, including the right to an attorney. If the Agents suspected he was lying in matters of such significant import that he would be charged for lying, they should have been given a specific warning that lying was a prosecutable offense. That would have been playing it down the middle. Since none of this appears to have been done, the question is why not. The leading suspicion is that the carefully considered intent was to take down Flynn by any means necessary to advance another purpose.
Hindsight Observer -> Flavius ... , 10 November 2019 at 11:18 PM
There are two separate issues: The Russian-Flynn Spying connection was established in London back in 2015. IMO using Halper as an echo-chamber for Brennan's collusion fabrications. LTG Flynn at that time was being set-up, for a retaliatory career strike(TS Clearance issues, I submit).

The Flynn Perjury case was made in Jan 17 in DC, by the Secret Society, Comey, McCabe, Yates, Strozk and the unwitting, SA Joe Pientka (hopefully). This trap was drafted by Comey, specifically to take advantage of the newly elected President's inexperienced Cabinet, the WH in-chaos. Chaos reportedly generated by a well timed Leak to the media. Which suggested that LTG Flynn had Lied to VP Pence.
This FBI leak, now had the WH in a tail spin. Given the collusion beliefs at that time, had VP Pence admitted that acting NSA Flynn, did in fact speak with the Russian Kislyak re: Sanctions. The media would've screamed, the call demonstrated Russian Collusion.

Since VP Pence stated, he did not know that NSA Flynn had discussed the Sanctions with Kislyak. The media created the image that Flynn had lied to the VP...

This was the "Pretext" which Defense Council Powell referred to. This is the opportune moment, at which Comey sprang and later bragged about. Stating publicly that he took advantage of a inexperienced Trump oval office in turmoil. Claiming he decided "Screw IT" I'll send two agents in to question Flynn.
Without going through FBI-WH protocols. Because Comey knew that protocols would alert the entire WH Staff. Making the FBI's hopes for a Perjury Trap against NSA Flynn, impossible.

Accordingly, AAG Yates and McCabe then both set the stage, with calls to WH Counsel McGahn. Where they threatened charges against Flynn under the nonexistent "1799" Logan Act. As well as suggesting that Flynn was now vulnerable to Extortion by Russian agents. Since the Russians knew he had lied to the VP.

As Powell points out, by 24JAN17, the date of the Flynn interview. The entire world, knew Flynn had Lied. Making the extortion threat rather bogus. In fact reports stated, at that time even WHC McGahn had asked either Yates or McCabe (don't recall which). Why would the FBI give a damn, what the NSA had told the VP? However the Bureau persisted and they won out. McGahn is reported to have told Flynn, that he should sit down with these two FBI agents...

Once Flynn sat down and gave a statement. FWIW, I think Andy McCabe was going to find a Flynn misstatement or create one. Sufficient to justify the 1001 charge. It appears as though McCabe took the later option and simply Created one.

Flavius said in reply to Hindsight Observer... , 11 November 2019 at 11:04 AM
Excellent summation.
My question is does some combination of incompetence and bubblethink naivete explain how at the outset they could have gone all in on the Brennan/Halper information or did they just cynically exploit the opportunity that had been manufactured in order to take it to the next level -Trump. Taking it to the next level appears to be what drove the Papadopolis case where similar procedural abuses occurred.
Don Schmeling , 09 November 2019 at 10:08 AM
Poor George Popadopoulos, also "bright, but not profoundly sophisticated.", also had lawyers who rolled over to the FBI.

If you read George's book, "Deep State Target: How I Got Caught in the Crosshairs of the Plot to Bring Down President Trump", the methods used on Flynn sound familiar.

Since George only served two weeks, I wonder if it would be worth while for him to tackle the FBI again?

PS When the FBI says you are not "sophisticated", does that mean that they view you as easy to trick?

Thank you Mr. Johnson for your work.

Factotum , 09 November 2019 at 12:58 PM
Papadopolis signed "confession" equally odd: string of disconnected facts topped off with what appears almost to be an added "conclusion" allegedly based on these irrelevant string of factual statements that damn him into eternity as well.

Was the conclusionary" confession" added later, or was it shoved in front of him to sign as a unwitting last minute alteration to a previously agreed set of facts is pror statements he had already agreed were true? Just me, but when I read this "confession some time ago, it simply did not pass the smell test.

The signed "confession: basically appeared to be accusing Papadopolus and by extension the Trump campaign of violating the Logan Act - violating Obama's exclusive right to conduct foreign policy.

(A SCHIFF PARAPHRAse)
Yes I was in Russia
Yes, I ate pork chops for dinner
Yes. I endeavored to meet with Russian individuals
Etc - benign
Etc - benign
Confession - al of the above are true
Kicker: Final Statement I INTENTIONALLY MET WITH TOP LEVEL RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT AGENTS TO DISCUSS US FOREIGN POLICY

jjc , 09 November 2019 at 02:05 PM
Papadopoulos' "lies" rest on subjective interpretation. For instance, one of the "lies" consist of a referral to Mifsud as "a nobody". A second "lie" is based on when he officially joined the Trump campaign: George P says it was when he first went to Washington and attended a campaign meeting, while the indictment says no it was when he participated in the phone call which invited him on board (a difference of a couple of weeks). It is very very thin gruel.
walrus , 09 November 2019 at 05:14 PM
I wonder if SST is missing the bigger picture.

If the evidence provided by the defence in the Flynn case is even only a partial example of the capabilities and proclivities of the FBI, then how many other poor schmucks have been convicted and jailed unjustly at the hands of this organisation?

The answer, given the size of the organisation must be : "thousands". The remedy is obvious and compelling if you want to remain something like a first world democracy.

Hindsight Observer -> walrus ... , 09 November 2019 at 07:28 PM
How many others have there been? The genesis of the USA v Flynn, was a CIA-FBI hybrid. An international Co-Intel operation, aimed at targeting Donald Trump. As such "the Case" was initiated from the top down, under the secrecy of a T/S Counter-Intelligence operation.

These are not the normal beginnings of a Criminal matter. Which originates with a filed criminal Complaint, from the ground-up.

In short all of the checks and balances our federal statutes mandate. Steps where AUSA's, Bureau ASAC's and District Judges must review and approve. Even before convening a GJ. Were intentionally overridden or perjured by a select society of the highest officials inside DoJ. As such there were no higher authorities nor any of the Higher Loyalty for Jim Comey to seek his resolution from.

That is not the normal investigative process. This was a deliberate criminal act to target an innocent man (actually several innocent men). As such IMO, the associated political pressure, all of which was self-inflicted. Was the force which brought about the criminality on the part of Comey, McCabe, et al.

So, FWIW, you don't see those levels of personal involvement in criminal investigations. The classic, where the murder victim's brother is the town Sheriff. Hence you don't see cases of innocent people being dragged off to the Dungeons. Certainly not intentionally and not in the thousands, anyway.

Factotum said in reply to Hindsight Observer... , 09 November 2019 at 08:28 PM
On another blog, a commenter claimed Flynn was going to program audit the entire IC - money spent and results obtained.

So instead of Flynn burning the agency down, they did just the opposite and got to him first. Just like Sen Schumer warned Trump: don't take on the IC, because they have six ways against Sunday to take you down.

Maybe Flynn' s alleged post-inauguration audit plans is what triggered Brennan to get Obama to secretly keep his eyes on Flynn - maybe that was the second tier secret access they wanted, not necessarily Trump himself?

Survival in DC is existential - my own in-house observation during the Watergate years.

Hindsight Observer -> Factotum... , 10 November 2019 at 12:51 AM
The reports I've read tell of a long and sorted history between LTG Flynn, John Brennan, DNI Clapper and Obama. Some of the stories did remind me of the SST suggestion to, "Burn it all down". The General also supported this idea that DoD, should be the lead agency in the IC and CA. Since must of their modern day activity, does tend to be kinetic...

So LTG Flynn has made enemies in the Obama administration, CIA and DNI.

However, IMO the far more telling issue of the depths of IC's Coup effort. Are the exploits of Halper, Mifsud, MI6-CIA link. Which began back in 2015. This gives the impression, Flynn was being targeted for career destruction. Solely as retaliation for his departure from the Obama Administration, coupled with Flynn's open opposition to policies of Obama-Brennan (Iran-Syria-Libya). This took place way before he agreed to the NSA post with President Trump.

Then there's also LTG Flynn's direct rebuttal of DDFBI Andy McCabe. Seems McCabe was involved in a Bureau OPR dust-up over sexual harassment allegations. The female SA worked CT and was an acquaintance of Gen Flynn's. Flynn then made a public statement of support for the Agent. Which was reported to have angered Andy. Sydney Powell, suggests that McCabe was overhead to have said words to the effect or, First we F--- Flynn, then we F--- Trump. During one of his 7th floor, Secret Society meetings.

Again all of this happened, before General Flynn was Candidate Trump's NSA Designee. So the Six ways to Sunday, warning does resonate re: LTG Flynn as well.

Fred -> walrus ... , 09 November 2019 at 07:32 PM
Walrus,

Lots of them (not all or most politicians), which has been a generations long complaint of African Americans.

turcopolier , 09 November 2019 at 05:27 PM
walrus

I have said repeatedly that I saw both the FBI and DoJ prosecutors railroad defendants. That is why I stopped consulting for the courts.

Dr. George W Oprisko , 09 November 2019 at 05:51 PM
In my experience in the US armed forces.... having a top secret crypto clearance...

And later.... as a federal investigator...

I distinctly remember that conversations between the White house, particularly the president and his national security chief are "top secret -- eyes only for the president"

So.....

Why did FLynn not have the Secret Service Detail arrest Sztrok and company on the spot for violating US security CFRs by knowing such conversations took place and knowing the contents thereof with out appropriate security clearances??

And......

Why does'nt Trump have the AG charge them?

INDY

blue peacock said in reply to Dr. George W Oprisko ... , 09 November 2019 at 08:19 PM
"Why did FLynn not have the Secret Service Detail arrest Sztrok and company on the spot for violating US security CFRs.."

Many things about Spygate have puzzled me. The response by Trump after becoming POTUS to all the machinations by Brennan, Clapper, Comey, Rosenstein, et al has been baffling. It is like he does not understand the powers of his office. And after he learned about the covert action action against his campaign and him, to then staff his administration with folks who were in cahoots with the putschists is frankly bizarre.

Does anyone have any explanation for the actions or inactions of Trump & Flynn?

joekowalski98 -> blue peacock... , 10 November 2019 at 11:31 AM
"Does anyone have any explanation for the actions or inactions of Trump & Flynn?"

I have no comment relative to Flynn, but, in regards to Trump, IMO, Trump is stupid.

First, a little background. I did vote for Trump. I did have an hatred for national politics ever since the Cheney "presidency". In that period, I was a dissident with a very minor voice. But, I did study, as best as I could, the Bush (Cheney) and the Obama presidency. It was reasonably clear that president's. didn't count. IMO the real power lay with: a handful of Senate leaders, the CIA, the bureaucracy, and the powerful families that controlled the major multi-national corporations, such as, Exxon Mobile. The preceding constituted a powerful oligarchy that controlled the U.S. A dictatorship of sorts.

Trump had two major objectives for his presidency: MAGA and "drain the swamp". I concurred with both objectives. After six months of the Trump presidency, and after observing his choice of appointments and his actions, I concluded that he was a high school baseball player trying to compete with the major leagues. He didn't know what he was doing (and, still doesn't).

At that time, I concluded that if Trump really wanted to install MAGA and "drain the swamp" he should have concluded way before putting his hat in the ring, that the only way to accomplish his objective was to foster a coup after becoming president. Prior to his presidency, he would had to select a team which would be his appointees and develop a plan. After becoming president, he would have to ignore Congress and put his people in place including in the DOD. The team would stay in control regardless of Congress' views.

Of course, this is a dictatorship, but is this any less obnoxious to our current oligarchs dictatorship.

Does anyone have a better solution?

Larry Johnson -> joekowalski98 ... , 10 November 2019 at 12:40 PM
You're not wrong in criticizing Trump's personnel choices and inaction. When he entered office he was warned about the SES/SIS holdovers and the need to get his own people in place. He ignored that advice and is suffering the consequences. Trump played a character on TV of being a shrewd, tough judge of talent and ability. In reality, he is a bit of a goofball.

That said, his basic policy positions are solid with respect to putting America first, enforcing immigration laws, and disengaging from the foreign adventurism that has defined US foreign policy for the last 75 years.

My hope is that he now finally recognizes the threat.

SAC Brat said in reply to Larry Johnson ... , 10 November 2019 at 07:34 PM
I prefer thinking of Donald Trump as a World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Famer as it fits the context of what we are seeing more precise. Staged drama, personality pitted against personality, all a great spectacle.

If it makes the denizens of DC fall on their fainting couches with the image all the better.

Isn't Donald Trump suffering the same problem Jimmy Carter had that as a DC outsider he isn't able hire talent and the establishment has made it clear that a position in the Trump administration is a career killer?

Factotum said in reply to joekowalski98 ... , 10 November 2019 at 01:16 PM
Democrat's politics of personal destruction made it virtually impossible for Trump to hire or appoint the requisite people for the task you described. RINO's wouldn't touch him and Democrats were hell bent for revenge at any costs.

Amazing he did as well as he has done so far - considering his election was so toxic to any possible insiders who could have offered the necessary experience to warn him where the third rails were located.

Give him another four years and full control of GOP House and Senate back - this country needs his energy and resoluteness to finally get the real work done. Patriots at every level need to apply for appointed positions.

BTW: I was a rabid no-Trumper up to election night. Then Trump became my President. I have not looked back.

blue peacock said in reply to Factotum... , 10 November 2019 at 03:45 PM
Draining the Swamp can't be accomplished by hiring within the beltway or hiring any long-term Democrat or Republican operative including members of Congress.

Trump should have recognized when he learned that his transition team was being spied on that he had to hire people who believed in his agenda and had no ties to the Swamp.

By hiring folks like Haley, Pompeo, Bolton, Coats, Rosenstein, Wray, etc and not cleaning house by firing entire swathes of the bureaucracy and then not using the powers of his office to declassify but instead passing the buck on to Rosenstein, Sessions and Barr and only tweeting witch hunt he has enabled the Swamp to run circles around him.

IMO, he is where he is because of his inability to put together a coherent team that believes in his agenda and is willing to fight the Swamp with everything thy've got.

cali said in reply to joekowalski98 ... , 11 November 2019 at 07:42 AM
@joekovalski98: Pres. Trump came into office being very familiar with the intelligence operation against him.
Enter Admiral (ret) Mike Rogers who travelled secretly without approval by Clapper to brief the president of the spy operation.

Trump immediately move his administration to NJ.

Rogers and Flynn go back many years as Rogers was a protégé of Flynn. They both extensively informed president Trump.

"Drain the swamp" is en-route carried out partially by our military and Flynn's former DIA.

The stage was set and president Trump kept the left distracted via twitter while the operation is underway between our military, white hats and their allies abroad.

Mifsud was arrested by the Italian intelligence agents 3 days ago and brought back to Rome.

Trump is a long way from stupid - he has so far managed via twitter and his orthodox ways for the deep state to unmask themselves. Hiring enemies at times is a way to confuse those that try to destroy you.

"The Art of War" by Sun Tzu is Trump's methods.

Hindsight Observer -> cali... , 11 November 2019 at 10:30 AM
Mifsud's arrest could be key to unraveling or should I say, the Unmasking of. Rather large amounts of fraudulent intelligence that was laundered through the FISA Warrant Application process.

The AG reportedly now has Mifsud's Cellphones (2), which coupled with Mifsud's interview statements, if not his direct cooperation. Should reveal the CIA and/or SA Strozk, were responsible for providing Mifsud with the false Intelligence. Which he then fed into their Warrant Apps, through the person of George Papadopoulos.

Which in turn, could establish that Mifsud was never the alleged Russian Agent linked to Putin. But rather a western intelligence asset, linked to Brennan. Thus destroying the obvious Defensive strategy of Brennan, Comey and McCabe. Specifically the vaunted, "Hey who knew the intelligence was bad? I was just doing my JOB!

Certainly hope the reports are accurate...

Hindsight Observer -> Dr. George W Oprisko ... , 09 November 2019 at 08:54 PM
I believe it was because the FBI was intentionally lying about their authority to monitor the Flynn-Kysliak conversation. Claiming they were not monitoring the WH, rather they were monitoring the Russian Ambassador and LTG Flynn was merely, Caught-up in that conversation. Which at the time, was a good-enough-story. But recent disclosures seem to prove the 2 Agents along with Comey, McCabe as well as AAG Sally Yates. All knew at the time of their "Pretext" was establishing a Perjury Trap for the new NSA.
Factotum , 09 November 2019 at 06:25 PM
What set Brennan's hair on fire that instigated Brennan's secret memo to Obama who in turn created and authorized this multi-nation, IC secret surveillance and entrapment operation?

When will we learn why Samantha Powers demanded hundreds of FISA unmasking requests during the final hours of the Obama administration, after the election but before before the inauguration of Donald J Trump as the 45th President of the United States of America.

Why have Joseph Mifsud and Crowdstrike, yet again, disappeared from media interest.

fanto said in reply to Factotum... , 09 November 2019 at 10:05 PM
Why oh why, certain persons disappear from media interest? Why for example, did Ghislaine Maxwell disappear from media? Is she not involved in lawsuits? Do courts not know where she is now? The all-knowing Wikipedia English - does not know (as of today, I checked). The answer to all these troubling questions is in the comments to the Colonels piece on John Hannah. Am I becoming paranoid perhaps.?
Factotum said in reply to fanto... , 10 November 2019 at 12:42 AM
If the media continues endlessly about the Ukraine phone call, the quid pro quo yet fails to mention Crowdstrike "favor" in the same article, something is fishy. The phone call story did not drop out of sight; just a very salient detail. In fact the substance of the phone call is the story- and what Democrats are calling grounds for impeachment. Yet NO mention of the Crowdstrike favor. I find this odd. Don't you?
jd hawkins said in reply to fanto... , 10 November 2019 at 02:31 AM
Not paranoia if it's true!
Hindsight Observer , 09 November 2019 at 08:44 PM
Under the caption, "Nobody does it better" this explanation from Defense Counsel Powell's 04NOV19 Filing, pg 3 para 2

"The government has known since prior to January 24, 2017, that it intended to target Mr. Flynn for federal prosecution. That is why the entire investigation" of him was created at least as early as summer 2016 and pursued despite the absence of a legitimate basis. That is why Peter Strzok texted Lisa Page on January 10, 2017: "Sitting with Bill watching CNN. A TON more out. .
. We're discussing whether, now that this is out, we can use it as a pretext to go interview some people." 3 The word "pretext" is key. Thinking he was communicating secretly only with his paramour before their illicit relationship and extreme bias were revealed to the world, Strzok let the cat out of the bag as to what the FBI was up to. Try as he might, Mr. Van Grack cannot stuff that cat back into that bag.4

Former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe as much as admitted the FBI's intent to set up Mr. Flynn on a criminal false statement charge from the get-go. On Dec. 19, 2017, McCabe told the House Intelligence Committee in sworn testimony: "[T]he conundrum that we faced on their return from the interview is that although [the agents] didn't detect deception in the statements that he made in the interview . . . the statements were inconsistent with our understanding of the conversation that he had actually had with the ambassador."

McCabe proceeded to admit to the Committee that "the two people who interviewed [Flynn] didn't think he was lying, [which] was not [a] great beginning of a false statement case." Ex. 1.
_____________
What's the saying? "Not much ambiguity there?"

Factotum , 10 November 2019 at 01:46 AM
Finally, on Nov 9, 2029 American Thinker in an article about Nancy Pelosi attempts at damage control, someone in the media actually mentions Crowdstrike and the alleged " DNChacking"

........ "CrowdStrike, the cyber-security company that is involved in all this over and over again, is a an American company founded by a Ukrainian, Dmitri Alperovitch, who is extremely anti-Russia and who delights in implicating Russia in the DNC hacking event that probably did not happen......"

Read more: https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2019/11/is_pelosi_finally_sick_of_the_terrible_damage_schiff_is_doing_to_her_party.html#ixzz64r2Sctrw
Follow us: @AmericanThinker on Twitter | AmericanThinker on Facebook

[Nov 11, 2019] The truth is that for the Clintonite-Bushite elite almost all Americans are 'deplorable'.

Notable quotes:
"... The truth is that for the Clintonite-Bushite elite almost all Americans are 'deplorable'. What is fun for them is to play geopolitics – the elite version of corporate travel perks – just look at how shocked they are that Trump is not playing along. ..."
Nov 11, 2019 | www.unz.com

Beckow , says: November 9, 2019 at 12:47 pm GMT

Recent class history of US is quite simple: the elite class first tried to shift the burden of supporting the lower classes on the middle class with taxation. But as the lower class became demographically distinct, partially via mass immigration, the elites decided to ally with the ' underpriviledged ' via identity posturing and squeeze no longer needed middle class out of existence.

What's left are government employees, a few corporate sinecures, NGO parasitic sector, and old people. The rest will be melded into a few mutually antagonistic tribal groups providing ever cheaper service labor. With an occasional lottery winner to showcase mobility. Actually very similar to what happened in Latin America in the past few centuries.

The truth is that for the Clintonite-Bushite elite almost all Americans are 'deplorable'. What is fun for them is to play geopolitics – the elite version of corporate travel perks – just look at how shocked they are that Trump is not playing along.

alexander , says: November 9, 2019 at 11:38 am GMT
BUILDING OUT vs. BLOWING UP

China 2000-2020 vs. USA 2000-2020

Unlike the USA (under Neocon stewardship) China has not squandered twenty trillion dollars of its national solvency bombing countries which never attacked it post 9-11.

China's leaders (unlike our own) never LIED its people into launching obscenely expensive, illegal wars of aggression across the middle east. (WMD's, Mushroom clouds, Yellow Cake, etc.)

China has used its wealth and resources to build up its infrastructure, build out its capital markets, and turbo charge its high tech sectors. As a consequence, it has lifted nearly half a billion people out of poverty. There has been an explosion in the growth of the "middle class" in China. Hundreds of millions of Chinese are now living comfortable "upwardly mobile" lives.

The USA, on the other hand, having been defrauded by its "ruling elites" into launching and fighting endless illegal wars, is now 23 trillion dollars in catastrophic debt.
NOT ONE PENNY of this heinous "overspending" has been dedicated to building up OUR infrastructure, or BUILDING OUT our middle class.

It has all gone into BLOWING UP countries which never (even) attacked us on 9-11.

As a consequence , the USA is fast becoming a failed nation, a nation where all its wealth is being siphoned into the hands of its one percent "war pilfer-teers".

It is so sad to have grown up in such an amazing country , with such immense resources and possibilities, and having to bear witness to it going down the tubes.

To watch all our sovereign wealth being vaporized by our "lie us into endless illegal war" ruling elites is truly heartbreaking.

It is as shameful as it is tragic.

SafeNow , says: November 9, 2019 at 6:01 pm GMT
That's fascinating about the declining "middle class" usage. A "soft synonym" that has gone in the opposite direction, I think, is "the community."
LoutishAngloQuebecker , says: November 9, 2019 at 6:31 pm GMT
The white middle class is the only group that might effectively resist Globohomo's designs on total power.

Blacks? Too dumb. Will be disposed of once Globohomo is finished the job.
Hispanics? Used to corrupt one party systems. Give them cerveza and Netflix and they're good.
East Asians? Perfectly fine with living like bug people.
South Asians? Cowardly; will go with the flow.

The middle class is almost completely unique to white people.

Racial aliens cannot wrap their minds around being middle class. They think I'm crazy for appreciating my 2009 Honda Accord. They literally cannot understand why somebody would want to live a frugal and mundane life. They are desperate to be like Drake but most end up broke. It will be very easy for GloboHomo to control a bucket of poor brown slop.

Svevlad , says: November 9, 2019 at 6:32 pm GMT
Ah yes, apparatchiks. The worst kind of person
Counterinsurgency , says: November 9, 2019 at 7:36 pm GMT
@Achmed E. Newman

There IS a black middle class, but a big chunk of that works for governments of all shapes and sizes.

Strictly speaking, there is no more "middle class" in the sense of the classical economists: a person with just enough capital to live off the income if he works the capital himself or herself. By this definition professionals (lawyers, dentists, physicians, small store owners, even spinsters [1] and hand loom operators in a sense) were middle class. Upper class had enough property to turn it over to managers, lower class had little or no property and worked for others (servants and farm workers, for example). Paupers didn't earn enough income per year to feed themselves and didn't live all that long, usually.

What we have is "middle income" people, almost all of whom work as an employee of some organization -- people who would be considered "lower class" by the classical economists because they don't have freedom of action and make no independent decisions about how the capital of their organizations is spent. Today they are considered "intelligentsia", educated government workers, or, by analogy, educated corporate workers. IMHO, intelligentsia is a suicide job, and is responsible for the depressed fertility rate, but that's just me.

Back in the AD 1800s and pre-AD 1930 there were many black middle class people. usually concentrating on selling to black clientele. Now there are effectively none outside of criminal activities, usually petty criminal. And so it goes.

Of course, back then there were many white middle class people also, usually concentrating on selling to white clientele. Now there are effectively none, except in some rural areas. And so it goes.

Counterinsurgency

1] Cottagers who made their living spinning wool skeins into wool threads.

Mark G. , says: November 9, 2019 at 8:20 pm GMT
@unit472 A lot of the middle class are Democrats but not particularly liberal. Many of them vote Democrat only when they personally benefit. For example, my parents were suburban public school teachers. They voted for Democrats at the state level because the Democrats supported better pay and benefits for teachers but voted for Republicans like Goldwater and Reagan at the national level because Republicans would keep their federal taxes lower. They had no political philosophy. It was all about what left them financially better off. My parents also got on well with their suburban neighbors. Suburbanites generally like their local school system and its teachers and the suburban school systems are usually careful not to engage in teaching anything controversial. A lot of the government employed white middle class would be like my parents. Except in situations where specific Republicans talk about major cuts to their pay and pensions they are perfectly willing to consider voting Republican. They are generally social moderates, like the status quo, are fairly traditionalist and don't want any radical changes. Since the Democrats seem be trending in a radical direction, this would put off a lot of them. Trump would be more appealing as the status quo candidate. When running the last time, he carefully avoided talking about any major cuts in government spending and he's governed that way too. At the same time, his talk of cutting immigration, his lack of enthusiasm for nonwhite affirmative action, and his more traditional views on social issues is appealing to the white middle class.
anon [201] • Disclaimer , says: November 9, 2019 at 8:33 pm GMT
Wealth held by the top 1% is now close to equal or greater than wealth held by the entire middle class.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-11-09/one-percenters-close-to-surpassing-wealth-of-u-s-middle-class

Something similar was seen in the 1890's, the "gilded age". This is one reason why Warren's "wealth tax" has traction among likely voters.

WorkingClass , says: November 9, 2019 at 11:55 pm GMT
The term middle class is used in the U.S. to mean middle income. It has nothing to do with class. Why not just say what you mean? Most of the middle class that we say is disappearing is really that rarest of phenomenons. A prosperous working class. The prosperous American working class is no longer prosperous due to the Neoliberal agenda. Free trade, open borders and the financialization of everything.

Americans know nothing of class dynamics. Not even the so called socialists. They don't even see the economy. All they see is people with infinite need and government with infinite wealth. In their world all of Central America can come to the U.S. and the government (if it only wants to) can give them all homes, health care and education.

Lets stop saying class when we mean income. Not using the word class would be better than abusing it.

Anyway. Yes. Middle Class denotes white people. The coalition of the fringes is neither working, middle nor ruling class. They are black or brown. They are perverts or feminists. If the workers among them identified as working class they would find common ground with the Deplorables. We can't have that now can we.

Rosie , says: November 10, 2019 at 2:21 am GMT
@Audacious Epigone

Are we to the point where we've collectively resigned ourselves to the death of the middle class?

In the neoliberal worldview, the middle class is illegitimate, existing only as a consequence of artificial trade and immigration barriers. Anytime Americans are spied out making a good living, there is a "shortage" that must be addressed with more visas. Or else there is an "inefficiency" where other countries could provide said service or produce said product for less because they have a "comparative advantage."

Rosie , says: November 10, 2019 at 2:25 am GMT
@WorkingClass

Anyway. Yes. Middle Class denotes white people. The coalition of the fringes is neither working, middle nor ruling class. They are black or brown. They are perverts or feminists. If the workers among them identified as working class they would find common ground with the Deplorables. We can't have that now can we.

I don't know about that anymore. Increasingly, "middle class" means Asian, with Whiteness being associated with the lower middle class (or perhaps "working class"). Sometimes the media uses the term " noncollege Whites," which I think is actually very apt. They are the ones who identify with Whiteness the most.

[Nov 11, 2019] Fascist ideology is malleable. It morphs to be whatever it needs to be at the moment. So the what is the one common aspect that fascism always possesses? Answer: In the class war between labor and capital, fascists always back capital and oppose labor.

Nov 11, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

jayc , Nov 11 2019 21:10 utc | 151

William Gruff , Nov 11 2019 21:30 utc | 152

NemesisCalling @127: "I see that you never question the implication of what calling one a fascist really means"

What is fascism? It usually has a religious component, be it Protestant, Catholic, Hindu, Shinto, and yes, Muslim, Buddhist and even Jewish.

OK, so defining fascism by religion isn't going to get you anywhere as it runs the gamut.

There are certainly white fascists, but there are also Black fascists, Japanese fascists, Indian fascists, Chinese fascists, Latino fascists... I guess ethnicity won't get you anywhere with explaining what fascism is either.

Nationalism? No, there are fascists of pretty much every nationality, so that hardly gets us anywhere closer to understanding what it is.

A fetish for crisp uniforms? No, fascists are just as likely to wear filthy rancid goat scented rags.

Fascist ideology is malleable. It morphs to be whatever it needs to be at the moment. So the what is the one common aspect that fascism always possesses? Answer: In the class war between labor and capital, fascists always back capital and oppose labor.

When it comes down to a street fight big business doesn't have the numbers to counter labor from within their own class, and the capitalist elites don't want to get their hands dirty anyway. As a consequence they must recruit goons and societal support for those goons from the small business class, the sub-working-class, and from the working class itself to defeat the working class. To accomplish this recruiting the capitalist elites use their control over mass media to make appeals to every prejudice that exists in society to turn those influenced by those prejudices against the working class. Every form of tribalism is exploited, and since the precise characteristics of the major tribalist divisions in society differ from region to region, and even neighborhood to neighborhood, the composition of the fascist forces recruited to attack the working class tends to vary from place to place.

If fascism is so variable in all of its characteristics, how then can anyone say who is and who isn't a fascist?

The answer to that is actually fairly easy. When the class war breaks out into the open, as is the case in Bolivia right now, the people who are not lords of capital but still throw their lot in with capital are fascists.

In other words, in North America and Europe, fascism is far more prevalent than most people are willing to face.

Doesn't it make you feel better to know that fascism is just the proper name for anti-socialist?

[Nov 09, 2019] Let's invade Mexico! by Fred Reed

Nov 09, 2019 | www.unz.com

If AMLO were to invite the Americans into Mexico, he would be lynched. Few Americans are aware of how much the United States is hated in Latin America, and for that matter in most of the world. They don't know of the long series of military interventions, brutal dictators imposed and supported, and economic rapine. Somoza, Pinochet, the Mexican-American War, detachment of Panama from Colombia, bombardment of Veracruz, Patton's incursion–the list could go on for pages. The Mexican public would look upon American troops not as saviors but as invaders. Which they would be.

The incursion would not defeat the cartels, for several reasons that trump would do well to ponder. To begin with, America starts its wars by overestimating its own powers, underestimating the enemy, and misunderstanding the kind of war on which it is embarking. The is exactly what Trump seems to be doing.

He probably thinks of Mexicans as just gardeners and rapists and we have all these beautiful advanced weapons and beautiful drones and things with blinking lights. A pack of rapists armed with garden trowels couldn't possibly be difficult to defeat by the US. I mean, get serious: Dope dealers against the Marines? A cakewalk.

You know, like Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. That sort of cakewalk. Let's think what an expedition against the narcos would entail, what it would face.

To begin with, Mexico is a huge country of 127 million souls with the narcos spread unevenly across it. You can't police a nation that size with a small force, or even with a large force. A (preposterous) million soldiers would be well under one percent of the population. Success would be impossible even if that population helped you. Which it wouldn't.

Other problems exist. Many, many of them.

Let's consider terrain. Terrain is what militaries fight in. Start with the Sierra Madre, which I suspect Trump doesn't know from Madre Teresa. This is the brutally inhospitable mountain range in the northwest of Mexico, from which a great many of the narcos come.(Sinaloa is next door.) Forestation is dense, slopes steep, communication only by narrow trails that the natives know as well as you know how to find your bathroom. Nobody else knows them. American infantry would be helpless here. The Narcos would be found only when they chose to be found, which would not be at opportune moments.

The Sierra Madre Occidental, home of many of the drug traffickers. I have walked in these mountains, or tried to. It is impossible for infantry, worse for armor, and airplanes can't see through the trees.

The Tarahumara Indians live in the Sierra Madre. They frequent the trails, sometimes in groups, and carry things not identifiable from the air. In frustration American forces would do what they always do: start bombing, or launching Hellfires from drones, at what they think are, or think may be, or hope might be, narcos. Frequently they would kill innocents having nothing to do with drugs. This wouldn't bother the military, certainly not remote drone operators in Colorado or somewhere. They get paid anyway. The Indians who just had their families turned into science projects couldn't do anything about it.

Well, nothing but join the narcos, who might call this a "force multiplier."

Some other northern Mexican terrain. The Duarte Bridge between Sinaloa and Durango. A company commander, looking at it, would would have PTSD in advance, just to get a start on things.

Of the rest of Mexico, much consists of jungle, presenting the same problems as the Sierra Madre, and of cities and villages. Here we encounter the problem that has proved disastrous for US forces in war after war: there is no way to tell who is a narco and who isn't.

In cities and towns, narcos are indistinguishable from the general population. How–precisely how, I want to know–would American troops, kitted out in body armor and goggles and looking like idiots, fight the narcos in villages with which they were unfamiliar? The narcos, well armed, would pick off GIs from windows, whereupon the Americans would respond by firing at random, calling in air strikes, and otherwise killing locals. These would now hate Americans. The narcos know this. They would use it.

Culiacan, Sinaloa, Chapo's home city. It has a high concentration of narcos. Suppose that you are an infantry officer, sent to "fight the cartels." You have, say, twenty troops with you, all with hi-tech equipment and things dangling. How do you propose to fight the cartels here? Which of the people in the photo, if any, are narcos? You could ask them. That would work.

Don't expect help from the locals. Most would much rather see you killed than the narcos. And if they collaborated they and their families would be killed. This would discourage them. Bright ideas?

Now a point that Schwarzehairdye in the White House has likely not grasped. The narcos are Mexicans. So is the population. You know, brown, speak Spanish, that kind of thing. The invaders would not be Mexicans. This matters. Villagers usually do not hate the narcos. These provide jobs, buy their marijuana crops, often do Robin Hood things to help the locals. Pablo Escobar did this, Al Capone, Chapo Guzman. There is a whole genre of popular music, narcocorridos, celebrating the doings of the drug trade. (Corridos Prohibidos , by Los Tigres del Norte, for example). Amazon has the CD.

Which means that they would side with the narcos instead of the already-hated soldiers, putos gringos cabrones, que se chinguen sus putas madres.

Further, much of Mexico doesn't much like its government.

And of course the narcos will have the option of fading into the population and waiting for the gringos to go home. This means that the invasion would become an occupation. The invading forces would thus need bases, which would become permanent. Bases where? All over the country, which is where the narcos are?

Getting the American military into one's country is much easier than getting it out. The world knows this. Mexicans assuredly do. They know that America has wrecked country after country in the Mideast, always to do something good about democracy and human rights. They know that America is squeezing Venezuela to get control of its oil, squeezing Iran for the same reason, attacked Iraq for the same reason, has troops in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait for the same reason, and has just confiscated Syria's oil . Mexico has oil. So when Trump wants to send the military to "help" fight drugs, what do you suppose the Mexicans suspect?

Another point: Roughly a million American expats live happily in Mexico. These would be hostages, and they–we–are soft targets. The drones kill five narcos, and the narcos kill five expats. Or ten, or fifty. What does Washington do now?

Finally, consider what happens when you bomb a country, make life dangerous, kill its children, destroy the economy and impoverish its people? Answer: They go somewhere else. With Mexico being made unlivable, Mexicans would have two choices of somewhere else, Guatemala and .See whether you can fill in the blank. Maybe four or five million of them.

Nuff said. May God protect Mexico from Yanquis who would do it good, from advisers, and then adviser creep, and then occupation, and then from badly led militaries who have no idea where they are.

[Nov 09, 2019] Finally an Unvarnished History of the Iraq Invasion -

Nov 09, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

We Americans are less obvious, if also less subtle: we quickly transform our common story into uncommon glory -- of a Continental Army standing unbowed before well-drilled Redcoats, of a war against slavery that, within a generation, became a War for Southern Independence, or in extolling the sacrifice of 58,000 Americans in a divisive intervention that became, less than a half a decade later, a "noble cause." Not surprisingly, the truth is far more interesting than any myth. The Continental Army at Valley Forge was not only ill-clothed, underpaid, and desertion-riddled, its finest day had come not against British regulars but mercenary Hessians; the War for Southern Independence was waged to eliminate a racial blight that, when the war began, had already seen its best (or, rather, worst), days, while the "noble cause" of Vietnam featured a military that , by 1971, was "in a state approaching collapse, with individual units avoiding or having refused combat, murdering their officers, drug-ridden, and dispirited where not near-mutinous."

The substitution of myth for fact, however, has its uses -- as one of our greatest soldiers, General George Patton, certainly knew. While Patton was an indifferent student (he flunked mathematics at West Point), he was an avid reader with a prodigious memory and a finely tuned sense of history. Which makes his speech to the Third Army on June 5 of 1944 (as celebrated in Hollywood's epic 1970 paean), all the more remarkable, as it extols a history we wish we had -- but don't: "Men, this stuff that some sources sling around about America wanting out of this war, not wanting to fight, is a crock of bullshit," Patton announced. "Americans love to fight, traditionally. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle."

But Patton was just getting started. "Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser," he went on to say. "Americans despise cowards. Americans play to win all the time. I wouldn't give a hoot in hell for a man who lost and laughed. That's why Americans have never lost nor will ever lose a war; for the idea of losing is hateful to America."

Of course, very little of this was actually true -- even in 1944, two decades before Vietnam. All Americans love the sting and clash of battle? Not really. In January of 1781, in the midst of the American Revolution, 1500 soldiers of the Pennsylvania and New Jersey lines of the Continental Army mutinied, murdered their officers, and threatened to march on Philadelphia.

When the mutiny spread, Washington had the mutineers rounded up, arrested, and their ringleaders shot by a firing squad made up of their fellow soldiers . On July 10 of 1863, one week after the Battle of Gettysburg, the New York draft riots protesting conscription set fire to 50 buildings, lynched 11 black bystanders, and left 120 civilians dead. The insurrection (as it was called by city officials), was finally quelled by the New York State Militia. And in late 1944, while commanding in Europe, Dwight Eisenhower was so angered by the reports of teeming throngs of American deserters raping and looting their way through France that he considered "lining them up and mowing them down."

Americans have never lost a war? It doesn't take a trained historian to point out that the American military botched the War of 1812 (the White House was burned and Washington occupied), performed poorly (and genocidally) in the Indian Wars of the late 19th century (in which one of its most famous units, the 7th Cavalry, was erased from existence), and mishandled the brutal 1899 Philippine Insurrection -- during which Mark Twain described American soldiers as "uniformed assassins." Patton was no dummy and might have recited all of this himself. But his speech made for good copy (and, as it turned out, great cinema) and undoubtedly boosted morale, particularly for those who, within a short time, would be facing off against the best light infantry in the history of the world.

But while historical myths have their place in creating a national story, France, China, and Russia have, in turn (and over time), chosen truth over triumph -- exhuming the greatness of Napoleon, Mao, and Lenin, while burying forever the policies they followed . This is true also for the United States. For while we Americans readily adopt the regalia of our past, we expect that our institutions will not follow suit; that in the midst of failure, our policymakers will discard myths and choose reality.

This is what happened, famously, on March 25, 1968 when President Lyndon Johnson met with a group he called "the wise men" -- a wizened crew of 14 Washington policymakers to help him decide what to do about the worsening situation in Vietnam. Included in the group was former secretary of state Dean Acheson, former White House counsel Clark Clifford, former ambassador to South Vietnam Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., and former JCS chairman General Omar Bradley.

These officials had traditionally supported Johnson's Vietnam policies but now, in the wake of the disastrous Tet Offensive, they had second thoughts. Stunned by the ferocity of the Vietnamese attack, only two of the 14 (Maxwell Taylor and Abe Fortas) recommended that Johnson "stay the course." The shift was symbolized by Omar Bradley, a military icon. Victory? "Maybe we ought to lower our sights," he told Johnson.

Of course, while the March 1968 meeting of the wise men was crucial to America's adventure in Vietnam (and Lyndon Johnson's political future), it did little to dampen the controversy surrounding the war -- which has been refought, since, in the pages of the war's histories. Indeed, it seems axiomatic that what cannot be won on a battlefield is often alchemized in later accounts.

These bloodless campaigns, fought with pen rather than sword, turn defeats into victories, burnish reputations, assess blame, but also blight understanding and blemish history. This is particularly true when it comes to America's most controversial conflicts. In 1869, Confederate Major General Dabney Herndon Maury founded the Southern Historical Society. Its papers, later collected in 52 volumes, rewrote much of Civil War history, a tendentious rendering whose goal was to argue the justness of the Lost Cause. Many of the society's papers remain troubling, rehabilitating the image of the most famous and otherwise failed rebel leaders, while laying the blame for the Confederate loss at the feet of southerners who, in later years, conceded the Union victory. The papers also remain controversial because their most important claims (that Lee lost at Gettysburg because his orders were disobeyed, that soldier-for-soldier, the southern armies were simply better fighters than their northern counterparts) resulted from barely veiled pro-southern and racially tinged political agendas. You'd have thought the South had won the war.

The same holds true for Vietnam. In that war's aftermath, while much of America was trying to forget the conflict, a small group of respected historians continued to pick at its scab, leaving a blood trail of if-onlys in their wake. The most prominent of these historians was Lewis "Bob" Sorley, a respected former officer and celebrated biographer (of Creighton Abrams and William Westmoreland, among others), whose book on Vietnam, A Better War , has been the subject of controversy since its publication in 1999.

In A Better War , Sorley argued that the U.S. might have won in Vietnam, if only that nation's top commander in the conflict had discarded his costly and morale-sapping search-and-destroy strategy in favor of maintaining the security of South Vietnam's population, substituted clear-and-hold tactics for massive sweep operations, improved the training and equipping of South Vietnam's military, decreased the destruction of U.S. firepower -- and supported the South Vietnamese, instead of abandoning them.

The conclusions ignited a bonfire of criticism, particularly from some of the Army's more respected thinkers. Writing in the pages of The National Interest in 2012, retired Colonel Gian Gentile took on Sorley in a pointed critique that proposed that America should have never been in Vietnam in the first place.

"In war, political and societal will are calculations of strategy, and strategists in Vietnam should have discerned early on that the war was simply unwinnable based on what the American people were willing to pay," Gentile wrote . "Once the war started and it became clear that to prevail meant staying for an unacceptable amount of time, American strategy should have moved to withdraw much earlier than it did. Ending wars fought under botched strategy and policy can be every bit as damaging as the wars themselves."

Put simply, Sorley argues that the Vietnam War could have been won, if only the U.S. had the will to prevail, while Gentile responds that because the American people did not have the will to prevail, the war should have never been fought.

The spat over the Civil War and Vietnam doesn't necessarily mean that history repeats itself, but it does get rewritten -- and rethought. The same is now true for the war in Iraq. The Army War College's weighty two-volume study of the 2003 Iraq conflict ( The U.S. Army in the Iraq War ), has sparked a divisive mini-controversy among the uniformed services, whose senior officers regularly debate its major conclusions (as I noted in The American Conservative , online, back in February ): that U.S. commanders didn't understand the country they invaded, made assumptions about an enemy that proved to be wrong, didn't have enough soldiers to win the fight, who bungled the military's detention policies, and who failed in their mission to train and equip the Iraqi armed forces.

But any praise for these conclusions has been muted by the study's other (Sorley-like) judgment: that, as in Vietnam -- where the villains were the antiwar movement and the Congress, the villains in Iraq are George W. Bush and Barack Obama, the former blamed for too quickly getting us in, the latter for too quickly getting us out.

Into this affray has now jumped a much shorter (at 292 pages), offering, written by a team of nine experts and researchers at the Rand Corporation. The U.S. Army and the Battle for Baghdad , gives us what the Army War College didn't -- an unvarnished and precise accounting of what went wrong and why, and without the tendentious political overtones of the tome-like AWC study. This shouldn't come as a surprise. Among the study's authors are two of the Army's leading thinkers: retired Colonels David E. Johnson and Gian Gentile, the latter the outspoken Sorley critic known in the military for his often-scathing ability to say what he means.

Johnson, on the other hand, is known for his counter-intuitive and often uncomfortable question of given premises, which has made him a valued interlocutor in the upper echelons of the Army. The likely result of the study (much talked about in the military prior to its release earlier this year), is that it has had a far greater impact than its 1200-plus page predecessor. The U.S. Army and the Battle for Baghdad is not a page-turner, unless of course you're an Army officer, but it lays out in precise detail the eight lessons the military can, and should learn, from Operation Iraqi Freedom. But most readers will find the study's understated third chapter, on the U.S. occupation of Iraq, among the most compelling written on the war.

At the center of this presentation is the unshifting, unalterable truth of the war -- -that the dysfunction obvious at the upper levels of the U.S. military following the fall of Baghdad mirrored a deeper civilian-military chasm in Washington. The result of the dysfunction was that the initial Battle for Baghdad was simply a prelude to a continuing battle for Baghdad, that the war, once ended, simply continued.

The study's authors issue this crisp judgment, which is starkly at odds with the AWC study:

"While much of the blame for the shortcomings of postwar planning rightly falls on senior rungs of the Bush administration, the truth of the matter is that there is more than enough blame to go around, up and down the chains of command in military and civilian planning." Military officers speak candidly of the problem: "I don't think that any of us either could have or did anticipate the total collapse of this regime," Lt. General William Wallace told the authors, "and the psychological impact it had on the entire nation."

In military history, this is "the Henry Wentz problem." Henry Wentz was born in York County in Pennsylvania in 1827, but moved with his family to nearby Gettysburg when he was nine. He spent his most formative years on his family farm, which was just south of the town and off the Emmitsburg Road.

As a young adult Henry went to Martinsburg (then in Virginia), married a local girl and became a carriage maker. When the Civil War came he joined the Confederate Army, serving as an ordnance sergeant in Taylor's Virginia Battery. On July 2, 1863, Wentz found himself manning his rebel guns in his family's front yard, at Gettysburg, as a part of Longstreet's bloody assault on the Union Army's III Corps. Lee had attacked with Longstreet that day to unhinge the Union line, planning to take the high ground around the Wentz farm at a peach orchard, which Lee thought was a dominating position.The orchard, owned by the Sherfy family (and hence referred to as the Sherfy Peach Orchard in battle histories) seemed to rise out of the ground and command the fields beyond. The problem was that Sherfy's orchard didn't dominate anything. It was not on a rise, it did not control the land beyond. The orchard's height, if you stand on it, is an optical illusion. A short discussion with Henry Wentz might have shown this, if only Lee had known that Wentz was there.

He didn't.

For military officers commanding thousands or hundreds of thousands of young men and women, for military experts whose job it is to study these operations -- -and not just for hobbyists or aficionados -- the Henry Wentz problem is a tolling bell, a heart stopping wake-you-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night realization that not knowing , particularly when lives are at stake, is an unforgivable blunder. Reading about Gettysburg many years later, generations of Civil War historians, reclining by their firesides, want to scream at Lee: "What do you mean you didn't know ?" And that is the value of The U.S. Army and the Battle of Baghdad -- -and the effect of William Wallace's seemingly mundane, if stunning, observation. The U.S. military did not anticipate that the drive for Baghdad would be difficult, did not anticipate that the Iraq Army would transform itself into an insurgency, did not anticipate "the total collapse of the regime" -- and so did not anticipate the tragedy that followed. To which we too want to scream: what do you mean you didn't anticipate? It was your job to anticipate."

Mark Perry is a contributing editor at The American Conservative and the author of The Pentagon's Wars. He tweets @markperrydc .


Taras77 3 days ago

Good article!

It is long past time that the senior military leadership with Iraq invasion (not to ignore the Afghan debacle) and since be held accountable for multitude of blunders and poor performance overall.

The fawning adulation from the press serves no good purpose and simply perpetuates the waste and fraud that gives us more blunders and weapons systems and "strategies" that do not and could not work to specs and plans.

But as the article states, there is plenty of blame to go around, I am referring to the "political Leadership" of bush, obama, and now trump, and of course, congress. Leadership may be too kind a term for what passes for leadership.

leisureguy Taras77 2 days ago
we all had to "support the troops" - if you held people accountable, you were an unpatriotic soldier non-supporter
E.J. Smith leisureguy a day ago
And still have to. Just ask Danny Sjursen.
EliteCommInc. Taras77 2 days ago
Excuse me.

no issues holding the military mistakes to account. But these choices were politically made and the political leadership should not be permitted to scapegoat the military for the leaderships choices to engage in regime change which included purging military dissenters.

IanDakar EliteCommInc. a day ago
Full agreement here. In fact, it's rather silly to strike at the military leaders, people trained in war, for supporting war. It's like complaining about a scientist who decides to solve every crisis with attaching it to the Internet.

The generals look at ways to fight a war. It's the political leaders that determine if war is the right idea. That's why it's the elected leaders, not the military, that hold the keys. All of the manipulations of the DoD end once we have a Congress and White House that wants it to end.

Honestly I respect the idea of going after the past leaderships that sent us here, but really I'd be content with just finding a leadership that stops the train now and leave the old guard to their retirements. That's going to be difficult as it is without us turning on a revenge campaign that might turn ugly.

kirthigdon 2 days ago
It's a relatively minor point in the article, but I would agree with those who claim that man-for-man the Confederates were better soldiers than the Yankees. They held out for 4 years against the US, whose forces were numerically superior and far better equipped and supplied, while managing to inflict more military casualties on their foes than they suffered. In the same way, I'd also agree with the many historians and WWII veterans who claim that the Germans were man-for-man better soldiers than any of their enemies. Both the American Civil War and WWII were essentially wars of attrition. Losing such a war is no military disgrace but it also doesn't mean that the losing side had a noble cause. In most wars, there are no good guys.

Kirt Higdon

leisureguy kirthigdon 2 days ago
in what way were the confederate soldiers better "man for man"?

US soldiers got slaughtered wholesale throughout the war - yet they had the spirit to keep coming. They got slaughtered wholesale because they used tactics developed for the previous generation of small arms. The tactic of marching at the enemy packed together.

As James McPherson describes in "Battle Cry of Freedom" they got slaughtered because they 1) had to fight on offense and 2) they were using tactics designed for the previous generation of small arms. They used tactics designed for weak-firing in accurate muskets rather than the current generation of rifles - accurate and deadly from long ranges.

They used the tactic of massing men together and marching at the enemy. This worked for muskets. For rifles loaded with minie balls, it made them sitting ducks when they marched towards dug in Confederates.

This article's author, Mr. Perry, mentions the slaughter of the Confederate soldiers at the peach orchard. A slaughter that resulted from the Confederates having to walk across a long rise of land before they could engage with the enemy. The slaughter that was said to have begun the defeat the Confederates. An awful slaughter.

The US soldiers didn't have just one peach orchard, they had many. They had "cold harbor", they had "the bloody angle", they had "Marye's heights". Dug in confederates armed with rifles mangled US soldiers horribly. Mangled them as they marched, out in the open, well within rifle range, towards dug in and hidden Confederates.

Yet the Union soldiers had the spirit to keep on coming. It's like "Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid". As Perry points out, post Civil War Southern supporting writers romanticized the poor, starving, southern infantryman. He was handsome, stoic, and a fighter. But it was the northern guys who kept on coming. Kept on coming despite seeing so many of their friends torn to pieces.
Northern soldiers who had the stuff to get the job done.

kirthigdon leisureguy 2 days ago
So the more numerous side that has the spirit to keep coming despite enormous casualties and because of bad tactics are by definition better soldiers than the less numerous side which using good tactics has the spirit to keep fighting until they finally run out of effective fighters? By this standard the more numerous are always better soldiers as long as they win in the end, which they usually will in a war of attrition. By this standard, the Russians were far better soldiers than the Germans in WWII. Hint - the term man-for-man indicates I am measuring quality rather than just quantity and quality in soldiers includes tactical proficiency, not just bravery.

Kirt Higdon

EliteCommInc. kirthigdon 2 days ago
It was poor leadership decisions that prolonged the war, not bad soldiering.
E.J. Smith EliteCommInc. a day ago
Gen. McLellan at Antietam immediately comes to mind.
Kent 2 days ago
War is an obsolete idea. 1000 years ago, the only way to increase your wealth was to take over someone else's land and enthrall the local population to farm it for you. 200 years ago it was necessary to capture a population in order to force them to only purchase your manufactured goods, so your capitalists didn't have to compete with those of other countries.

In a information/service economy, war and control over other populations serve no purpose. The DOD, like all grand bureaucracies, survives only through the corruption of Congress.

It is time to disband the military. Get rid of the Navy, but leave the Coast Guard. Then turn the Coast Guard over to the States. Disband the Army and Marine Corps. Let the State's maintain their National Guards if they want. Disband the Air Force. The federal government should just maintain a nuclear deterrent force and set up a coastal missile defense that can destroy any Navy attempting to sail to attack us.

Have the federal government manufacture everything it needs itself instead of handing over tax payer dollars which are then used to corrupt Congress. It's time.

Kawi 2 days ago
The US Army and the Battle for Baghdad can be downloaded for free from the RAND website.

Thank you to the author of this well-written essay for brining this study to our attention.

leisureguy 2 days ago
Wow!

I look forward to further articles on the military's culture of not knowing. I've spent my whole adult life around Army personnel. (mostly retired). Going off to do things half-cocked is a point of pride with them. It's a macho trait that they love about themselves. Being willing to take action even though they haven't spent much time assessing the forces in their way.- being willing to wade into unknown danger.

Pondering things seriously is weakness - in their view.

further, at least one of these unlikely seeming new proponents of traditional masculinity - Jordan Peters - celebrates this macho trait. The macho trait of taking action without considering all knowable facts.

Alan Vanneman 2 days ago
"the War for Southern Independence was waged to eliminate a racial blight that, when the war began, had already seen its best (or, rather, worst)"

The comforting notion that slavery was destined to "fade away" was frequently indulged in during the 250 plus years that it lasted in the U.S., but it never did. As for the Wentz anecdote, if Lee had talked with Wentz, the outcome of the war would not have changed. There is an interesting "sabermetric" study of generals you can find online that gives a particularly interesting picture of Lee. He was one of the most aggressive generals in history, fighting more battles than anyone except Napoleon. But he was also--wait for it--BELOW AVERAGE. (Please don't spill your mint julip.) Grant, on the other hand, was one of the 10 best ever.

D. B. Cooper Alan Vanneman 2 days ago
207 comments, 364 votes = troll
kirthigdon Alan Vanneman 2 days ago
Slavery was on the way out and in another generation was gone throughout the western world, including the African colonies, and surviving only in Arabia. Only in the US and Haiti was slavery ended by wars and horrific bloodshed. In all other countries, including the vast slave empire of Brazil, slavery was abolished with minimal to no casualties. A bit of patience on the part of the abolitionists and unionists would have led to a somewhat later but peaceful end of slavery in the southern US. The union of all the states may not have been preserved, but in my estimation that would have been a good thing, if achieved peacefully.

Kirt Higdon

Sid Finster Alan Vanneman a day ago
Can you provide a link? This sounds interesting.

And that is an honest question, BTW.

EliteCommInc. 2 days ago
I think we should start out right in keeping with your agenda.

"of a war against slavery that . . ."

It was not a war against slavery, and to think so is part of a very deep misread of events. It freed slaves, it was the cause for the war ---

But the North had one primary goal: keep the union together, freeing slaves was a by product, not an end.

Chuckles a day ago
The military planners knew what was needed to pacify Iraq in the invasion and occupation. 750,000 troops and 25B+ dollars. Darth Cheney knew the US public wouldn't accept that, so they went in on the cheap, ignored the vast stores of conventional weapons, and Viceroy Bremmer back-stabbed the Iraqi army, thus creating the insurgency. Why? Because Planned Chaos is the most profitable, and taking Iraq oil off the market greatly enriched our "Saudi friends" and lots of other producers in the region. Inflation-adjusted oil prices more than doubled from 2003 to 2007.
E. T. Bass a day ago
As of early 2009, the surge had worked, were holding territory on turf Islamic savages considered their own and were killing hoards of jihadi scum who were flocking there, pretty much at will, who were being induced to do so at the behest of Bin Laden. Iraq was part of a long term strategic regional strategy (kill them on their own turf) which was working quite well as far as it got. 4000 dead US soldiers is a travesty under any circumstances, but considering what we had accomplished it pales in comparison with Vietnam. Keep in mind we stayed in Germany and Japan for decades after WWII to ensure our efforts were not wasted.

Iraq was not a debacle until 0bama refused to negotiate an updated SOFA, effectively surrendered (against military and other expert advice) and rendered every single US military death to have been in vain.

roberto a day ago
Great article, Mark Perry
dougdiggler a day ago
This website looks like a dying newspaper from the flyover states. Autoplay ads are like kryptonite to people who are web-literate

[Nov 09, 2019] The problem with re-unifying the country is the nationalists are quite hostile to what it sees as unUkrainian elements, namely Russian speakers

Nov 09, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

Lee A. Arnold 11.09.19 at 2:33 am

stephen t johnson #77: "Whatever military assistance Russia gives the rebels is about making sure they don't go too the left in fighting the fascists and making sure there are no embarrassing wave of Russian-speaking refugees from Ukrainian fascism."

Putin is really afraid of leftism among Russian Ukrainians, and the "embarrassment" of an exodus into Russia? Your whole paragraph stirs propagandistic bits of excuse-mongering into an illogical mash. Look, Ukraine is a long complicated discussion but a simple overview is that most of the country wants to ally with the EU and the eastern portion wants to ally with Russia. Yes, there is a lot of corruption. Yes, Euromaidan (pro-EU) was probably 1/3 far right. Yes, there are fascist parties. But the majority of the people want democracy and not fascism. Instead these poor people got Zelensky being extorted by yet another thug.

(Vindman is correct, this is another disaster by Trump with longterm consequences for US foreign policy. While the US Republicans have also gone thug, saying it's no big deal.)

If the Steinmeier formula holds and there are free elections in Donbass and the majority votes for kicking out Putin, do you think Putin going to withdraw his Russian Army regulars? Accompanying the annexation of Crimea was Putin's long letter to the international community justifying his action because there were "nationalists, neo-Nazis, Russophobes, and anti-Semites" who are committing "pogroms and terror". This now appears to be mostly fiction (perhaps enhanced by Putin's agent provocateurs).

Indeed according to Haaretz the Jews in Ukraine including Crimea wrote Putin a letter to tell him to "get lost". https://www.haaretz.com/.premium-the-jews-who-said-no-to-putin-1.5333547

Lee A. Arnold 11.09.19 at 2:33 am 80

stephen t johnson #77: "Whatever military assistance Russia gives the rebels is about making sure they don't go too the left in fighting the fascists and making sure there are no embarrassing wave of Russian-speaking refugees from Ukrainian fascism."

Putin is really afraid of leftism among Russian Ukrainians, and the "embarrassment" of an exodus into Russia? Your whole paragraph stirs propagandistic bits of excuse-mongering into an illogical mash. Look, Ukraine is a long complicated discussion but a simple overview is that most of the country wants to ally with the EU and the eastern portion wants to ally with Russia.

Yes, there is a lot of corruption. Yes, Euromaidan (pro-EU) was probably 1/3 far right. Yes, there are fascist parties. But the majority of the people want democracy and not fascism.

Instead these poor people got Zelensky being extorted by yet another thug. (Vindman is correct, this is another disaster by Trump with long term consequences for US foreign policy.

While the US Republicans have also gone thug, saying it's no big deal.) If the Steinmeier formula holds and there are free elections in Donbass and the majority votes for kicking out Putin, do you think Putin going to withdraw his Russian Army regulars? Accompanying the annexation of Crimea was Putin's long letter to the international community justifying his action because there were "nationalists, neo-Nazis, Russophobes, and anti-Semites" who are committing "pogroms and terror".

This now appears to be mostly fiction (perhaps enhanced by Putin's agent provocateurs). Indeed according to Haaretz the Jews in Ukraine including Crimea wrote Putin a letter to tell him to "get lost". https://www.haaretz.com/.premium-the-jews-who-said-no-to-putin-1.5333547

steven t johnson 11.09.19 at 4:44 pm 81 ( 81 )

Lee Arnold@80 "Putin is really afraid of leftism among Russian Ukrainians, and the "embarrassment" of an exodus into Russia? "

Yes, Putin does not want wholesale expropriation of oligarchs, as he does not stand for that in Russia (selective prosecution sufficient to appear to be a defender of the people and serve as a stick -- accompanied by carrots -- to negotiate oligarch support. Also, Putin doesn't even want to pay pensions, he certainly doesn't want the embarrassment of refugees neglected, or worse, costing.

This point rests on the premise Putin isn't a right-winger, which is absurd.

"If the Steinmeier formula holds and there are free elections in Donbass and the majority votes for kicking out Putin, do you think Putin going to withdraw his Russian Army regulars?" https://www.rferl.org/a/what-is-the-steinmeier-formula-and-did-zelenskiy-just-capitulate-to-moscow-/30195593.html This source may not be right-wing enough for your tastes, of course. But for the rest of us, it suggests that an if centered on the Steinmeier formula is disingenuous in itself.

It's not even clear that Zelensky hasn't rejected the Steinmeier formula! The problem with re-unifying the country is the fascist regime is quite hostile to what it sees as unUkrainian elements, namely Russian speakers. National purity are favorite fascist principles but none of the rest of us are required to accept them. Your belief that an election supervised by the fascist regime is free and fair is wrong, no matter what you imply. And frankly, the notion the OSCE is surely neutral is dubious too.

There was never any reliable evidence of any significant numbers of regulars moving into Donetsk and Lugansk, because no, media reports are not reliable when addressing official enemies. It is almost certain there are advisors and mercenaries, copying the US model, but they are not what is generally meant by an invasion. They have not stakes out a separate territory as the US territory did in Syria. There are military reasons for setting up a perimeter, for mission security if nothing else. In short, there is in fact quite simple reasons for thinking, yes, Putin would stop spending money on Donetsk and Lugansk, and save on weapons and withdraw his advisers.

Further, the casualties in the Russian Army's officer corps by the way would end up being known to the Russian Army, and eventually everyone else concerned. But they're not. Equally, the large numbers of regulars alleged would have been in the recent prisoner exchange, but they weren't. Some of those as I recall had been arrested merely for subversion, not taken prisoner of war. Casualties of course are not the only costs to Putin, there also being the money and weapons. The thing is of course, these are all excellent reasons for Putin to withdraw. You are tacitly presuming the conclusion, that Putin is a crazed warmonger unable even to calculate self-interest. Substituting scorn for analysis is not becoming.

"Yes, there are fascist parties." This is entirely misleading. There are fascist armed formations incorporated into the Ukrainian army, financed privately.

The notion that Kyiv is just democracy is a nice example of the overlap between what fancies itself to be liberalism-not-neo, or even left-liberalism and shamelessly overt neoliberalism. Zelensky is privatizing Ukrainian land. https://www.rferl.org/a/what-is-the-steinmeier-formula-and-did-zelenskiy-just-capitulate-to-moscow-/30195593.html

I can't actually read the article as it's paywalled but it's conservative enough to carry weight here.

There's the bit about Haaretz, which is like the anti-socialists ginning up anti-semitism smears against Corbyn. I say the stylized swastika on the stage with the PM of Ukraine shows us more than an old letter. I have no idea how you can say the people murdered when a building was set on fire and democratic mob drove people back in, don't somehow count as "pogroms and terror."

But you missed a trick in pointing out "Jewish" opposition to "Putin." (The people in Donestsk and Lugansk are no one? Except maybe pre-corpses?) Ihor Kolomoyskiy, the primary funder/founder of the Azov battalion, definitely wants no part of "Putin."

Most of this discussion is rarely about the left, but here arises a major marker distinguishing the left, which is anti-fascism. You're pro-fascist.

nastywoman@79 was so stung the comment was actually intelligible. Unfortunately, asserting something which isn't nonsense -- unlike nastywoman's usual incoherence -- without a shred of argument is naked hostility, not an argument. The gored ox bellows loud!

[Nov 09, 2019] In Ukraine victory, top U.N. court rejects Moscow's bid to block case by Stephanie van den Berg

Nationalist troops atrocities might be exposed in the process.
Nov 09, 2019 | uk.reuters.com
FILE PHOTO: Judges at the UN's highest court are seen during a hearing in a case launched by Ukraine which alleges Moscow is funding pro-Russian separatist groups in Ukraine, in The Hague, Netherlands June 3, 2019. REUTERS/Eva Plevier

Reading a summary of the ruling, Presiding Judge Abdulqawi Yusuf said conditions had been met for the case to be heard in full, with the 16-judge panel rejecting Russian objections by a large majority.

The International Court of Justice found that on the basis of anti-terrorism and anti-discrimination treaties signed by both countries it has jurisdiction to hear the case over Russia's alleged support for separatists in Crimea and eastern Ukraine.

At a hearing in June, Moscow had asked judges to dismiss the suit, saying Kiev was using it as pretext for a ruling on the legality of Russia's 2014 annexation of Crimea.

Addressing that point, Yusuf said Ukraine had not asked the court to rule "on the status of Crimea or on violations of the rules of international law" other than those contained in the United Nations anti-discrimination and anti-terrorism treaties.

Kiev says Russia's support for separatist forces violated a U.N. convention banning the funding of terrorist groups.

[Nov 09, 2019] Israel's Last War by Gilad Atzmon

Notable quotes:
"... Until now, Iran has restrained itself despite constant aggression from Israel, but this could easily change. "The result could be a counterstrike by Iran, using cruise missiles that penetrate Israel's air defenses and smash into targets like the Kiryah, Tel Aviv's equivalent of the Pentagon. Israel would retaliate massively against Hezbollah's headquarters in Beirut as well as dozens of its emplacements along the Lebanese border. And then, after a day of large-scale exchanges, the real war would begin " ..."
Nov 06, 2019 | www.unz.com

Last War Gilad Atzmon November 6, 2019 1,100 Words 59 Comments Reply Listen ॥ ■ ► RSS

In my 2011 book, The Wandering Who , I elaborated on the possible disastrous scenario in which Israel is the nucleus of a global escalation over Iran's emerging nuclear capabilities. I concluded that Israel's PRE Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PRE-TSS) would be central to such a development. "The Jewish state and the Jewish discourse in general are completely foreign to the notion of temporality. Israel is blinded to the consequences of its actions, it only thinks of its actions in terms of short-term pragmatism. Instead of temporality, Israel thinks in terms of an extended present."

In 2011 Israel was still confident in its military might, certain that with the help of America or at least its support, it could deliver a mortal military blow to Iran. But this confidence has diminished, replaced by an existential anxiety that might well be warranted. For the last few months, Israeli military analysts have had to come to terms with Iran's spectacular strategic and technological abilities. The recent attack on a Saudi oil facility delivered a clear message to the world, and in particular to Israel, that Iran is far ahead of Israel and the West. The sanctions were counter effective: Iran independently developed its own technology.

Former Israeli ambassador to the US, and prolific historian, Michael Oren, repeated my 2011 predictions this week in the Atlantic and described a horrific scenario for the next, and likely last, Israeli conflict.

Oren understands that a minor Israeli miscalculation could lead to total war, one in which missiles and drones of all types would rain down on Israel, overwhelm its defences and leave Israeli cities, its economy and its security in ruins.

Oren gives a detailed account of how a conflict between Israel and Iran could rapidly descend into a massive "conflagration" that would devastate Israel as well as its neighbours.

In Israel, the term "The War Between the Wars ," refers to the targeted covert inter-war campaign waged by the Jewish State with the purpose of postponing, while still preparing for, the next confrontation, presumably with Iran. In the last few years Israel has carried out hundreds of 'war between the wars' strikes against Iran-linked targets in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. Oren speculates that a single miscalculation could easily lead to retaliation by Iran. "Israel is girding for the worst and acting on the assumption that fighting could break out at any time. And it's not hard to imagine how it might arrive. The conflagration, like so many in the Middle East, could be ignited by a single spark."

Until now, Iran has restrained itself despite constant aggression from Israel, but this could easily change. "The result could be a counterstrike by Iran, using cruise missiles that penetrate Israel's air defenses and smash into targets like the Kiryah, Tel Aviv's equivalent of the Pentagon. Israel would retaliate massively against Hezbollah's headquarters in Beirut as well as dozens of its emplacements along the Lebanese border. And then, after a day of large-scale exchanges, the real war would begin "

Oren predicts that rockets would "rain on Israel" at a rate as high as 4,000 a day. The Iron Dome system would be overwhelmed by the vast simultaneous attacks against civilian and military targets throughout the country. And, as if this weren't devastating enough, Israel is totally unprepared to deal with precision-guided missiles that can accurately hit targets all across Israel from 1000 miles away.

Ben Gurion International Airport would be shut down and air traffic over Israel closed. The same could happen to Israel's ports. Israelis that would seek refuge in far away lands would have to swim to safety .

In this scenario, Palestinians and Lebanese militias might join the conflagration and attack Jewish border communities on the ground while long-range missiles from Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Iran land. Before long, Israel's economy would cease to function, electrical grids severed and damaged factories and refineries would spew toxic chemicals into the air.

In the Shoah scenario Oren describes, "Millions of Israelis would huddle in bomb shelters. Hundreds of thousands would be evacuated from the border areas as terrorists attempt to infiltrate them. Restaurants and hotels would empty, along with the offices of the high-tech companies of the start-up nation. The hospitals, many of them resorting to underground facilities, would quickly be overwhelmed, even before the skies darken with the toxic fumes of blazing chemical factories and oil refineries."

Oren predicts that Israel's harsh response to attack, including a violent put down of likely West Bank and Gaza protests, would result in large scale civilian casualties and draw charges of war crimes.

As Oren states, he did not invent this prediction, it is one of the similar scenarios anticipated by Israeli military and government officials.

If such events occur, the US will be vital to the survival of the Jewish State by providing munitions, diplomatic, political, and legal support, and after the war, in negotiating truces, withdrawals, prisoner exchanges and presumably 'peace agreements.' However, the US under the Trump administration is somewhat unpredictable, especially in light of the current impeachment proceedings against Trump.

In 1973 the US helped save Israel by providing its military with the necessary munitions. Will the US do so again? Do the Americans have the weapons capability to counter Iran's ballistics, precision missiles and drones? More crucially, what kind of support could America provide that would lift the spirits of humiliated and exhausted Israelis after they emerge from underground shelters having enduring four weeks without electricity or food and see their cities completely shattered?

This leads us to the essential issue. Zionism vowed to emancipate the Jews from their destiny by liberating the Jews from themselves. It vowed to bring an end to Jewish self-destruction by creating a Jewish safe haven. How is it that just seven decades after the founding of the Jewish state, the people who have suffered throughout their history have once again managed to create the potential for their own disaster?

ORDER IT NOW

In The Wandering Who I provide a possible answer: "Grasping the notion of temporality is the ability to accept that the past is shaped and revised in the light of a search for meaning. History, and historical thinking, are the capacity to rethink the past and the future." Accordingly, revisionism is the true essence of historical thinking. It turns the past into a moral message, it turns the moral into an ethical act. Sadly this is exactly where the Jewish State is severely lacking. Despite the Zionist promise to introduce introspection, morality and universal thinking to the emerging Hebrew culture, the Jewish State has failed to break away from the Jewish past because it doesn't really grasp the notion of the 'past' as a dynamic elastic ethical substance.


A123 , says: November 8, 2019 at 2:07 pm GMT

Everyone understands that a minor Iranian miscalculation could lead to total war. One in which nuclear bombs would rain down on Iran leaving its cities, economy, and security in ruins.

The sociopath, Ayatollah Khameni is detached from reality and may be willing to take such risks. However, there is no reason to believe that The Iranian military or civilian population will embrace certain suicide. It is quite likely that the IRGC would decide that it is time for another revolution and end the theocracy, rather than die following the dubious commands of a deranged Ayatollah.
____

The whole theory about a prolonged conflict falls apart once accurate facts are applied to the situation. Iranian al'Hezbollah has large numbers of Katyusha pattern rockets, but very few precision weapons. And to provide human shields for these weapons, almost all of them are in a limited number of urban centers.

The facts are clear, even if Gilad chooses to ignore them in favor of his personal fantasies. Iranian al'Hezbollah would lose badly in a total forces engagement. The nuclear incineration of their rear echelons would leave forward forces totally defenseless against overwhelming Israeli air superiority.

-- Would there be Israeli civilian casulities? Certainly.
-- Would Lebanon become uninhabitable? Yes.
-- Would Ayatollah Khameni perish when Israeli nukes Tehran? Absolutely.
______

There is no possible scenario where Iran "wins" if they launch a substantial first strike. And, the Iranian military understands this as fact.

Fran Taubman , says: November 8, 2019 at 2:34 pm GMT
@A123 It is really fun when Gilad gets off Epstein and rape stuff and ventures into wars and Israeli security. The generals have kept Gilad up to date on the latest and the greatest.
He is so out to lunch in his desire to see Israel panic and loose the next war facing horrible casualties because it makes his point about how the Jews are doomed unless they cease being Jews.

He really believes that he can solve the problem and change our destiny if we all read "Wondering
Who"

In The Wandering Who I provide a possible answer: "Grasping the notion of temporality is the ability to accept that the past is shaped and revised in the light of a search for meaning. History, and historical thinking, are the capacity to rethink the past and the future." Accordingly, revisionism is the true essence of historical thinking. It turns the past into a moral message, it turns the moral into an ethical act. Sadly this is exactly where the Jewish State is severely lacking. Despite the Zionist promise to introduce introspection, morality and universal thinking to the emerging Hebrew culture, the Jewish State has failed to break away from the Jewish past because it doesn't really grasp the notion of the 'past' as a dynamic elastic ethical substance.

I wonder what it is like to wish death and destruction on a people and a country to prove your point and call yourself an unemotional Athenian.

No Jews in the headline another slow thread.

Gilad Atzmon , says: November 8, 2019 at 2:51 pm GMT
@A123 As you may have noticed, in the Israeli apocalyptic scenarios the Jewish state doesn't put into play the Samson option.. it is slightly less genocidal than yourself .. you may want to ask yourself why
Rev. Spooner , says: November 8, 2019 at 4:05 pm GMT
Israel is making a terrible mistake. The oft touted "Sampson Option" is a bogus option as Bibi, Benny Gatz and/or any other Israeli leader knows it will be suicide if they use this option. Because even if they emerge from the bunkers days later after using nuclear bombs against Iran, Syria, Lebanon and other European capitals ( Samson option targets Europe ) they will be greeted with hostility and will have no sanctuary.

Three times in world history the Jews were rescued by the Persians.
Believe it or not.

Miro23 , says: November 8, 2019 at 4:52 pm GMT

However, the US under the Trump administration is somewhat unpredictable, especially in light of the current impeachment proceedings against Trump.

Not at all unpredictable with regards to Israel. Trump and Congress would use the last cent of US taxpayer's money and the last drop of Anglo blood to save the place. Trump is Israel's US Viceroy and Congress is its Colonial Parliament.

Israel's real nightmare starts when US nationalists toss out the colonialists, and Israel has to find a way live on its own resources.

Sulu , says: November 8, 2019 at 5:07 pm GMT
I have to think that considering the failure of military intelligence agencies in the past that no one has any real idea how close Iran is to getting the bomb. But even if they get numbers of them and have a means to deliver them on target it simply would mean that Iran and Israel are in a standoff. I can understand how Israel would not want Iran to have the bomb but in reality how much difference would it make? It would only be relevant if the two countries had already blundered into war and things were entering a final disastrous stage. Then it would simply mean both countries would be destroyed instead of just one.
Also, not being a military man am I naive in thinking Iran might be able to buy nuclear weapons on the black market? From North Korea, perhaps? I have got to suspect Israel will be faced with two options. Either fight Iran sooner, before they get nukes. Or they will simply have to accept that Iran is going to be a nuclear power. It's pretty obvious that Israel has been trying to get America to fight their war for them. But Trump has been reluctant to do so. No wonder the Jews are chomping at the bit to find some way to get rid of him. 2020 should prove to be an interesting year.
Tom Verso , says: November 8, 2019 at 5:45 pm GMT
This analysis leaves out two very significant historic military facts:

1) The 2006 Israeli invasion of Lebanon aka the "33 Day War" where in:

"Hezbollah inflicted more Israeli casualties per Arab fighter in 2006 than did any of Israel's state opponents in the 1956, 1967, 1973, or 1982 Arab-Israeli interstate wars, and is generally acknowledge that Israel flat out lost that war and de facto sued for a cease fire.

(see: "U.S. Department of Defense. The 2006 Lebanon Campaign and the Future of Warfare: Implications for Army and Defense Policy." Kindle Edition.)

2) The Syrian army is currently the only army in the world that has multi-front, contiguous multi-year 'combined arms' (i.e. army, armor, artillery and air force) combat experience .

Further, the leader of Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah in a recent interview pointed out that Hezbollah fighting along side of the Syrian Army these past five years, now has experience in offensive warfare. In 2006 they fought strictly defensively.

In short, if an Israeli war comes again, given the experience of the Syrian and Hezbollah armies and Syria acquiring state of the art air defense system (S 300, etc), Iranian missiles may very well be the least of Israel's worries.

Indeed, before Iran launches missiles, Hezbollah and Syria may move to take back Shebaa Farms and Golan Heights.

To my mind: Israel and American militaries are "paper Tigers". Israel has never fought a combined arms war for a sustained period of time against an equally matched military. And the US not since Korea. Their victories have always been overwhelming an inferior force.

Gilad Atzmon , says: November 8, 2019 at 6:10 pm GMT
@AaronB For me the fact that the Jewish state indulges itself in apocalyptic and genocidal fantasies is really a glimpse into to tribal mind.. as far as I can tell this pre traumatic stress points at severe form of projection .. Israeli politicians and commentators attribute their own symptoms to their neighbours ..
Colin Wright , says: November 8, 2019 at 6:55 pm GMT
@Rev. Spooner ' Three times in world history the Jews were rescued by the Persians.
Believe it or not.'

The Persians more or less created 'the Jews.' At any rate, a religion recognizable as Judaism first appeared in the wake of the Persian conquests.

However, when did the Persians 'rescue' the Jews?

They allowed the creation of an autonomous Jewish state in Palestine when they overran that place around the beginning of the seventh century AD -- but that only lasted for about twenty years anyway.

So what are the three times?

Tom Verso , says: November 8, 2019 at 7:43 pm GMT
@A123 If I may: I don't know for sure what G Atzmon meant by the Samson Option; but, I have come across this express before and I took it to mean that Israel will go to nuclear war even if means the destruction of the Jewish State. That is, like Samson who destroyed his enemies by killing himself; Israel nuec's Iran and Iran nuce's Israel (kills enemies and itself).

This should not be taken lightly. While it would be totally irrational for most states to take the Samson Option, it is to my mind a plausible option for Israel. For even if the Jewish State is destroyed, the Jewish Nation i.e. the Jewish people around the world will survive and continue on as they have these thousands of years. But, they will be free of what they perceive as their arch enemy i.e. Iran and other Moslems. They survived the metaphoric Holocaust and they will survive a literal one. The Jewish State may be destroyed but not the Jewish People.

Altai_3 , says: November 8, 2019 at 9:35 pm GMT
This is something not enough people comment on. Israel's military is not a mini US military, it has serious problems and takes losses and casualties in contexts that would be shocking for another Western country that spends as much per capita for it's military.

This is why Israel having nuclear weapons irks me so much, the more it can't rely on it's conventional military, the more they'll lean into their nuclear deterrent, increasing the probability of it's use. (Not dissimilar to the situation with Pakistan vis-a-vis India, though in that case, India has nukes too)

Adrian , says: November 8, 2019 at 10:06 pm GMT
@Tom Verso The Samson Option
The Samson Option.jpg
Author Seymour Hersh
Country United States
Language English
Genre Non-fiction
Publisher Random House
Publication date
1991
Media type Print (Hardback)
Pages 362 pp
ISBN 0-394-57006-5
OCLC 24609770
Dewey Decimal
355.8/25119/095694 20
LC Class UA853.I8 H47 1991
The Samson Option: Israel's Nuclear Arsenal and American Foreign Policy is a 1991 book by Seymour Hersh. It details the history of Israel's nuclear weapons program and its effects on Israel-American relations. The "Samson Option" of the book's title refers to the nuclear strategy whereby Israel would launch a massive nuclear retaliatory strike if the state itself was being overrun, just as the Biblical figure Samson is said to have pushed apart the pillars of a Philistine temple, bringing down the roof and killing himself and thousands of Philistines who had gathered to see him humiliated.

According to The New York Times, Hersh relied on Ari Ben-Menashe, a former Israeli government employee who says he worked for Israeli intelligence, for much of his information on the state of the Israeli nuclear program. However, Hersh confirmed all of this information with at least one other source.[1] Hersh did not travel to Israel to conduct interviews for the book, believing that he might have been subject to the Israeli Military Censor. Nevertheless, he did interview Israelis in the United States and Europe during his three years of research.[1]

Colin Wright , says: November 8, 2019 at 10:31 pm GMT
@Fran Taubman ' If you study it, can be pretty scary. It is not just Israel. Also who wants another North Korea blackmail game?'

You mean something like the Samson option?

Anyway, the whole discussion is silly. No nation -- and that included Imperial Japan in 1945, when the chips were down -- chooses self-immolation. They always give way. Iran isn't a threat to Israel because Iran's not going to commit national suicide, and 'the Samson Option' is bullshit as well, because six million Jews aren't going to commit national suicide either.

Zionists such as yourself only choose to think otherwise about Iran -- in spite of the absence of any historical evidence at all -- because it justifies your own pathological aggression towards a nation that is (a) a thousand miles away, and (b) poses no serious threat to Israel whatsoever.

Try not attacking literally everyone you can think of. That might help. I mean, fuck -- Israel is the only state in modern history that has attacked literally every single one of her neighbors, and several more besides. Since 1948, she's attacked Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Tunisia, and even the United States. What's up?

Art , says: November 8, 2019 at 10:41 pm GMT

Despite the Zionist promise to introduce introspection, morality and universal thinking to the emerging Hebrew culture, the Jewish State has failed to break away from the Jewish past because it doesn't really grasp the notion of the 'past' as a dynamic elastic ethical substance.

The Jews are always long-term losers because they teach their children that they have always been and will forever be victims of humanity. Jew children are traumatized at an immature young age – they are mentally damaged by the thought that humanity wants to kill them and do them harm. This notion is inculcated deep in the Jew child's psyche. These poor children can never escape what has been implanted. (For three thousand years, generation after generation, Jew culture has been abusing their children with dreadful thoughts.)

Nine out of ten adult Jews are triggered into thoughts of doom by any criticism of Israel – their reactions are visceral, and a pure reflex coming out of their brainstem.

Jews cannot be introspective because of what elder Jews have implanted in them in their youth. Their rational emotional systems have been short-circuited.

I have seen intelligent Jews on this forum flirt with empathy for Palestinians – only to fall back into mindless reflexive support of whatever Israel does.

Art , says: November 8, 2019 at 11:14 pm GMT
@Art

Jews Are Feeling Guilty: They Should Be. Their Influence Has Been Cancerous to America
Gilad Atzmon Wed, Nov 6, 2019

It has become an institutional Jewish habit to examine how much Jews are hated by their host nations and how fearful Jews are of their neighbours. Jewish press outlets reported yesterday that "9 out of 10 US Jews worry about anti-Semitism."

. . .

As Haartez writer Ari Shavit wrote back in 2003: "The war in Iraq was conceived by 25 neoconservative intellectuals, most of them Jewish " Maybe some Jews now understand that the Zionist shift from a 'promised land' to the Neocon 'promised planet' doesn't reflect well on the Jews as a group.

https://russia-insider.com/en/politics/jews-are-feeling-guilty-they-should-be-their-influence-has-been-cancerous-america/ri27813

Miro23 , says: November 8, 2019 at 11:40 pm GMT
@AaronB

Any separation of one group from another is a tribe. Any identity whatsoever is a tribe – because identity sets you apart. The moment you define yourself you are tribal, because definitions distinguish one thing from another.

The issue is that some people are not particularly tribal (i.e. Westerners) and they are open to multiculturalism – i.e. proposition nations. However, proposition nations are very much non-tribalist places and need non-tribalism to survive.

If tribalists talk multiculturalism and proposition nations (i.e. use deception) while practicing tribalism, they quickly overwhelm these societies – which is where the US is today with regards to Jewish tribalists.

What does a Jewish tribalist elite do next? And what does a (subjected) majority do next?

renfro , says: November 9, 2019 at 12:49 am GMT

Michael Oren, repeated my 2011 predictions this week in the Atlantic and described a horrific scenario for the next, and likely last, Israeli conflict.

The purpose of Oren's Atlantic article was to create alarm in the DC political corridors .."warning' that if the US doesnt 'soon help Israel' with its Iran enemy there will be chaos and dead bodies galore .
Its propaganda but 'true' propaganda 'if' Israel were to attack Iran on their own but they wont .they aren't capable of it alone.
They are running this same propaganda articles/warnings in Europe, saying Europe needs to 'do something' about Iran Now!
Its basically a blackmail and scare ploy because they don't think Trump will do it for them .and of course if Israel starts a war it will be because Trump/US deserted them like he/we did the Kurds and they were 'forced' to try and defend the world against Iran 'all alone' and Israel isn't to blame for the mess lol.

What Israel will do is try to start a war on Hezbollah 'first, as Hezbollah would be their most immediate and dangerous threat , severely crippling Israel right at the onset of any war with Iran.
They will claim that Iran directed attacks on Israel and so the US should step in because its an attack by Iran.

If we had anyone in DC that wasn't bought off by Jewish 'benjamin's ' they would be laughing their asses off at this typical Jewish tactic.

Ash Williams , says: November 9, 2019 at 2:10 am GMT
@A123

Everyone understands that a minor Iranian miscalculation could lead to total war. One in which nuclear bombs would rain down on Iran leaving its cities, economy, and security in ruins.

The sociopath, Ayatollah Khameni is detached from reality and may be willing to take such risks. However, there is no reason to believe that The Iranian military or civilian population will embrace certain suicide. It is quite likely that the IRGC would decide that it is time for another revolution and end the theocracy, rather than die following the dubious commands of a deranged Ayatollah.

Kristol, you're drunk. Turn off the computer and go to bed, you shmuck.

renfro , says: November 9, 2019 at 4:49 am GMT
@Colin Wright

She has us all to herself

That was the goal.
Remember the Zios in Rumsfeld's pentagon stressing how the US must dump 'old Europe"?
Even a non genius like me could figure that out .old Europe might be too much of a 'restraining ' influence on the US.
The Jews hate Europe anyway ..just like they hate Russia.

Some interesting things popped up this week .Vindman , main testifier against Trump on Ukraine is a Ukraine Jew, Solderman,Trump's main man on Ukraine is a Jew, also has now testified against Trump, their attorney is also a Jew ..they all have issued statements about how the plucky "little Ukraine is fighting against Russia for the US and world" and needs our aid and so on. Exactly the same wording and bullshit spin the Jews use about Israel "fighting Iran to protect the US and world interest".
Plain to me the Uber Jews are trying to set up the Ukraine as a Israel satellite and weight on Russia's flank.

I read Vindman's testimony to congress ..something is very off about the guy. he sounded numerous times like he lost his script. He's, in his own words, a fanatical supporter of Ukraine . I don't like Trump but I think the Ukraine deal to impeach him is a set up ..and its not coming mainly from the CIA ,its coming from the Nat Sec Council that Vindman works for.

https://apps.npr.org/documents/document.html?id=6543468-Alexander-Vindman-Testimony

ziogolem , says: November 9, 2019 at 5:28 am GMT
The Andinia Plan (and others like it) gives Israel almost a "reset" button, making the Samson Option a disturbing possibility.

"Holiday camps" with hundreds of thousands of empty houses, a military landing strip, a submarine base
https://www.globalresearch.ca/does-israel-have-a-patagonia-project-in-argentina/5624434

A Palestinian sees for herself what these Israeli tourists are about
http://www.kawther.info/K20040416A.html
http://www.kawther.info/wpr/2009/01/30/israeli-war-criminals-in-patagonia

It seems that the Argentinian elite are reliant on Israeli (and US) armed support
https://steemit.com/informationwar/@renny-krieger/the-military-invasion-of-argentina-english-version

It is terrifying to think that in the event Israel be run by psychopaths, they might sacrifice another "6 million", while securing themselves a new Zion.

On the other hand, a peaceful transfer of the occupation of Palestine to Patagonia (and elsewhere), without the trigger of war, would be a possible path to peace in the Middle East (not so ideal for Patagonia though).

What would it take for either outcome to pass? I fear the former is far more likely than the latter.

Not Raul , says: November 9, 2019 at 5:31 am GMT
@Altai_3 I agree.

Israel is much more likely to be the next country to use atomic weapons than Iran.

They reached their limit in the 2006 Lebanon War with just over a hundred fatalities.

It's hard to imagine the Israelis losing even half as many as they did in 1973 (somewhat less than 3000) before pushing the button.

anon [113] Disclaimer , says: November 9, 2019 at 5:35 am GMT
@renfro

I don't like Trump but I think the Ukraine deal to impeach him is a set up ..and its not coming mainly from the CIA ,its coming from the Nat Sec Council .

Have you heard of –
Growing Indicators of Brennan's CIA Trump Task Force
by Larry C Johnson
https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2019/11/growing-indicators-of-brennans-cia-trump-task-force-by-larry-c-johnson.html

They were out to get him a year before he was elected;

[Nov 09, 2019] UN says 12,800 13,000 killed since April 2014. That's not enough. So Congress bought a pile of Javelin AT munitions

Nov 09, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

shinola , November 8, 2019 at 3:26 pm

From the Medium article "John Bolton's Old Rivals Say Trump Should Be Very, Very Worried"

"I don't think dirt-digging would offend Bolton. What would offend Bolton is interrupting military supplies to a country in a deadly battle with Russia. Doing something that for whatever reason appeases Putin," Thielmann said."

The country referred to is Ukraine. I guess I've missed all the msm articles detailing all those deadly clashes between Russian & Ukrainian military units along with casualty figures and all that. I suppose I need to pay closer attention (or something).

Misty Flip , November 8, 2019 at 5:46 pm

UN says 12,800–13,000 killed since April 2014. So Congress bought a pile of Javelin AT munitions, the ones with a top attack flight profile that will place a high explosive shape-charge of molten copper through tops of young Russian tank commanders' heads, who are sons of Putin's base, if there was a mechanized push further into Ukraine. [The political tolerance window for which is narrowing.]

Our benevolent leader said, "Hold-on. You gotta first get your FBI to clear my campaign and come up with some trumped-up charges against my political opponent. My FBI won't do it." Congressional impoundment, solicitation of a bribe for personal gain, and abuse of power. In any case, Ukraine's getting a smaller pile of missiles until next year, so, gross incompetent moves, both domestic and abroad.

Darthbobber , November 8, 2019 at 8:43 pm

You recall that the Obama administration opposed giving Ukraine any lethal assistance?

Congress has just come up with an excellent method of giving the Russians a lot of free Javelins if there were a serious fight. Which there continues to be no sign of.

Darthbobber , November 8, 2019 at 8:38 pm

The great bulk of (pro-government) Ukrainian casualties occurred in the course of ill-advised and poorly conducted offensives against the breakaway republics. When it only defends, the Ukrainian side doesn't suffer casualties. Because nobody attacks it.

[Nov 09, 2019] Post-Cold War Triumphalism and Kennan's Warning by Daniel Larison

Nov 09, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Andrew Bacevich describes how the U.S. learned all the wrong lessons from the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War:

You won't hear it from any of the candidates vying to succeed Trump, but we are still haunted by our false conception of the Cold War. On the stump, politicians get away with reciting comforting clichés about the imperative of American global leadership. Yet the time for believing such malarkey is long gone.

An essential first step toward recoupling national security policy and reason is to see the Cold War for what it was: not a "long, twilight struggle" ending in victory, but a vast and costly tragedy that inflicted needless suffering, brought humankind absurdly close to extinction, and from which U.S. policymakers have drawn all the wrong lessons.

The anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall offers an occasion not for celebration but for somber and long overdue reflection.

One of the wrong lessons that U.S. policymakers drew from the events of 1989-1991 was that the U.S. was chiefly responsible for ending and "winning" the Cold War, which inevitably overestimated our government's capabilities and effectiveness in affecting the political fortunes of other parts of the world. The far more critical and important role of the peoples of central and eastern Europe and the Soviet Union itself in overthrowing the system that had oppressed them was pushed into the background as much as possible. The U.S. took credit for their success and policymakers frequently attributed the outcome to the policies of the late Cold War rather than to the deficiencies and failings of the other system. After waging stalemated and failed wars in the name of anticommunism, U.S. policymakers wanted to be able to claim that they had "won" something, and so they declared victory for something that they hadn't caused.

The period that followed the dissolution of the USSR was one of triumphalism, expansion, and overreach. The U.S. not only congratulated itself for achieving something that was accomplished by others, but it also assumed that it could achieve similar results in other parts of the world. If NATO had been a great success as a defensive alliance, the "thinking" went, why shouldn't it continue and expand to include many more countries? If the U.S. was supposedly able to bring down the Soviet Union, why shouldn't it do the same to authoritarian regimes elsewhere? Absent the check on ambition and hubris that a superpower rival provided, the U.S. was free to run amok and do whatever it liked without regard for the consequences. That triumphalism sowed the seeds for many of the more significant post-Cold War failures that we have witnessed since then. Even today, that same overconfidence encourages U.S. policymakers to flirt with the idea of engaging in another Cold War-style rivalry with a more formidable state in China.

George Kennan presciently warned against the triumphalism that he saw around him as early as 1992. At that time, he was responding directly to the claims from Republicans that Reagan and his policies had "won" the Cold War:

The suggestion that any American administration had the power to influence decisively the course of a tremendous domestic-political upheaval in another great country on another side of the globe is intrinsically silly and childish. No great country has that sort of influence on the internal developments of any other one.

Kennan went on to say that the militarization of U.S. foreign policy during the Cold War was a boon to Soviet hard-liners and in that way helped prolong it:

The extreme militarization of American discussion and policy, as promoted by hard-line circles over the ensuing 25 years, consistently strengthened comparable hard-liners in the Soviet Union.

The more America's political leaders were seen in Moscow as committed to an ultimate military rather than political resolution of Soviet-American tensions, the greater was the tendency in Moscow to tighten the controls by both party and police, and the greater the braking effect on all liberalizing tendencies in the regime. Thus the general effect of cold war extremism was to delay rather than hasten the great change that overtook the Soviet Union at the end of the 1980's.

Whenever hawks talk about "winning" the Cold War, they invariably mean that it was the militarized policies they favored that carried the day, but Kennan reminded us that this was not so. In fact, a militarized foreign policy perpetuated the struggle by providing Soviet hard-liners with a plausible foreign threat that they could use to justify their own policies and to clamp down on internal dissent. We have seen the same thing repeated several times in the last thirty years on a smaller scale with other governments. The most aggressive and confrontational policies unwittingly aid authoritarian regimes by giving them an external enemy that they can use to deflect attention from their own failings and as a pretext for the consolidation of power at home.

Kennan was already telling us shortly after the Cold War ended that no one had "won" it:

Nobody -- no country, no party, no person -- "won" the cold war. It was a long and costly political rivalry, fueled on both sides by unreal and exaggerated estimates of the intentions and strength of the other party [bold mine-DL]. It greatly overstrained the economic resources of both countries, leaving both, by the end of the 1980's, confronted with heavy financial, social and, in the case of the Russians, political problems that neither had anticipated and for which neither was fully prepared.

We can all be grateful that the Cold War ended, but we shouldn't delude ourselves with talk of victory. Not only is it inaccurate, but it encourages the worst kinds of overreach and arrogance that has led to several serious foreign policy failures in the decades that have followed. Kennan warned us almost thirty years ago not to go down this path of triumphalism, and as so often happened Americans ignored Kennan's wisdom.

Kennan concluded with the same idea that Bacevich stated at the end of his op-ed:

That the conflict should now be formally ended is a fit occasion for satisfaction but also for sober re-examination of the part we took in its origin and long continuation. It is not a fit occasion for pretending that the end of it was a great triumph for anyone, and particularly not one for which any American political party could properly claim principal credit.

American policymakers are not known for sober re-examination and acknowledgment of error, but these are exactly the things that are needed if we are to stop making the same blunders and learning the wrong lessons from the past. Kennan and Bacevich's advice is just as timely and important today as it was twenty-seven years ago. Perhaps this time we should pay attention and listen to it.

[Nov 08, 2019] Pompeo attempt in projection

Nov 08, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

james , Nov 8 2019 20:51 utc | 31

who said this today in an official gov't press release?

"Today, Russia – led by a former KGB officer stationed in Dresden ‒ invades its neighbors and slays political opponents. It suppresses the independence of the Orthodox Church in Ukraine. Russian authorities, even as we speak, use police raids and torture against Crimean Tatars and Ukrainians who are working in opposition to Russian aggression. In Chechnya, anyone considered "undesirable" by the authorities simply disappears.

In China – in China, the Chinese Communist Party is shaping a new vision of authoritarianism, one that the world has not seen for an awfully long time. The Chinese Communist Party uses tactics and methods to suppress its own people that would be horrifyingly familiar to former East Germans. The People's Liberation Army encroaches on the sovereignty of its Chinese neighbors, and the Chinese Communist Party denies travel privileges to critics – even German lawmakers – who condemn its abysmal human rights record. The CCP harasses the families of Chinese Muslims in Xinjiang, who simply sought refuge abroad. We – all of us, everyone in this room – has a duty. We must recognize that free nations are in a competition of values with those unfree nations."

[Nov 07, 2019] Powell discusses Flynn's case, claims FBI tampered with interview notes - YouTube

Strzok and Lisa Page has known that this was an ambush
Nov 07, 2019 | www.youtube.com

Elizabeth Colson , 1 week ago

No surprise there. The Democrats need to be held accountable for their disgusting behavior.

[Nov 06, 2019] More Evidence that The Comey FBI was a Malevolent Clown Show by Larry C Johnson

Notable quotes:
"... If Flynn actually had lied to Strzok and Pientka that fact would have been reflected in the notes and the original 302. But that did not happen. A normal routine would be to write up the 302 and put it into final within five days. That did not happen. The original 302 still has not been produced. However, Ms. Powell has presented exhibits showing that there were other versions of the 302 generated and that substantive, unsupportable changes were made. The "final" 302 essentially made the case that Flynn lied. ..."
"... But Sidney Powell has produced documentary evidence showing that Strzok stated he did not believe that Flynn lied. And there was more FBI misconduct. General Flynn, for example, was not advised of the need to have a lawyer present nor was he shown the transcript of the call that was illegally recorded by the NSA. At no point was he given a chance to correct the record. It was a total setup and designed to paint Flynn as a liar and a collaborator with the Russians. This is malevolently diabolical conduct by law enforcement officers. ..."
Nov 06, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

I believe in repentance and redemption. But the FBI remains an unrepentant, vile sinner. Yesterday, Tuesday, the FBI and the Department of Justice made a stunning admission in the Michael Flynn case--they mislabeled evidence. DOJ sheepishly admitted that the notes of the interview of Michael Flynn taken by Agent Pientka actually belonged to Agent Strzok and that the notes attributed to Strzok actually belonged to Pientka. Holy Guacamole, Batman. It is still not clear that the FBI is freely confessing its sin and is committed to turning its bureaucratic life around.

There is no good news in this for the government's case. At a minimum it exposes the FBI as incompetent clowns. At worse, it may be evidence of a deliberate effort to deceive the defense and the judge. It has been exposed because of the insistent demands of the principled Sidney Powell, a relentless Honey Badger. That woman will not quit in demanding that General Flynn be treated fairly. She knows right from wrong. Cannot say the same for the FBI. The Bureau is a disgrace.

Now that we know that the FBI mislabeled the notes taken by the FBI agents during their interview of General Flynn, it would appear the entire case is in jeopardy. The foundation of the charge that Flynn lied about his conversation with the Russian Ambassador is predicated on the notes the FBI agents took and then turned into a 302 report. I asked one of my retired FBI buddies (he served as a Special Agent in Charge of a large US city) if the agents were required to date and sign their notes. He replied: No, we did not sign and date notes. They were placed in a 1-A (evidence) Envelope which had our name and the date collected along with the file number and, I believe, the case title. The 1-As were kept as part of the original case file. They were not entered into evidence like other things we collected.

Those notes should have been placed in an "evidence" envelope with the appropriate name and date on the envelope. How could so-called professionals screw up something this basic?

There was something more nefarious afoot. Let's put this into the broader context. If Flynn actually had lied to Strzok and Pientka that fact would have been reflected in the notes and the original 302. But that did not happen. A normal routine would be to write up the 302 and put it into final within five days. That did not happen. The original 302 still has not been produced. However, Ms. Powell has presented exhibits showing that there were other versions of the 302 generated and that substantive, unsupportable changes were made. The "final" 302 essentially made the case that Flynn lied.

But Sidney Powell has produced documentary evidence showing that Strzok stated he did not believe that Flynn lied. And there was more FBI misconduct. General Flynn, for example, was not advised of the need to have a lawyer present nor was he shown the transcript of the call that was illegally recorded by the NSA. At no point was he given a chance to correct the record. It was a total setup and designed to paint Flynn as a liar and a collaborator with the Russians. This is malevolently diabolical conduct by law enforcement officers.

Honey Badger Powell's terrific lawyering and insistence on getting her hands on the evidence the US Government is withholding has now backed the Mueller team into a corner. Sidney Powell has exposed staggering misconduct and malfeasance. Michael Flynn will be exonerated. The only real question is whether or not the prosecutors will be held in contempt and tried.


Jack , 06 November 2019 at 11:55 AM

Larry

Why doesn't the FBI, just record an interview? It's not that video cameras and tape recorders are a new invention. Is the objective to manipulate using written interpretations of conversations?

Mr Zarate , 06 November 2019 at 12:16 PM
I'm worried there won't be any popcorn left by the time we get to the end of this sorry saga. It would be nice to think that success by Sidney Powell might be the start of the finale in this duplicitous story but I doubt it. The world is upside down and to many this is now a matter of belief not evidence, something that has been largely caused be an entirely partisan mainstream media (interested only in improving its revenue stream) and what can only be described as a totally gullible section of the voting public.
Upstate NY'er , 06 November 2019 at 01:14 PM
One thing, Flynn has one hell of a lawsuit against his prior lawyers - a well known swamp law firm. Egregious malpractice if not outright conspiring with the prosecutors.

LA Sox Fan -> Jack... , 06 November 2019 at 06:16 PM

FBI interviews are not recorded because if they were, then the interview subject could not be falsely charged with the felony of lying to a federal investigator.
Coleen Rowley -> Jack... , 06 November 2019 at 10:32 PM
I need to write about the long history of the FBI honoring J. Edgar Hoover's policy, even countering former Director Louis Freeh, after a meeting in mid 1990's with a federal judge who had same suggestion, ORDERED the FBI to begin tape recording confessions and even after many states like Minnesota, began to find their own constitutions required tape-recording (at least of custodial confessions). After Freeh ordered the FBI to begin tape-recording, a number of SACs argued the advantages for prosecutorial purposes of sticking with the old policy of allowing Agents to write up, from memory and notes, what subjects and witnesses said. The SACs made the point that juries would always tend to believe agents over the word of defendants. So Freeh backed down. Flynn's attorney ought to request these memos documenting how FBI policy was deliberately kept antiquated because it was advantageous.
artemesia said in reply to Upstate NY'er... , 06 November 2019 at 06:12 PM
Perhaps Larry Johnson knows -- Does Michael Flynn have some form of redress agains the government, some established protocol for compensation for the misery and expense he's been put through? Or are lawsuits against former lawyers his only option to try to recoup legal expenses?

Strozk's caree/life is over. An interesting meditation: is he an evil man, or did he get caught up in something larger than he could handle? (He thought he had what it took to swim with the sharks, but he was just a barnacle. Or steelhead trout.)

The "unidentified" supposed whistleblower, Eric Ciaramella, is young - early 30s. Age of consent, for sure, but very young, the "age of youthful ambition," a different category from Strozk, the age of damn well should have known better. I would judge Eric -- whom I suspect was at very least put up to carrying out dirty deeds for Biden and careerism -- less harshly than Strozk.

Factotum , 06 November 2019 at 02:58 PM
How did Sidney Powell become involved in this long, on-going case? She can't ethically "solicit" the business, but someone must have put Flynn in touch with her -- at what point. What made Flynn seek legal advice elsewhere.

Flynn seemed so passive about facing these drummed up charges earlier in the case - what exactly was he trying to protect his son about that allegedly caused this legal passivity about his own case.

Love watching this unfold and the lessons in " big government" that come with it. But Flynn having to live out a modern day Greek tragedy is a very high price to pay for our civics lesson.

Factotum said in reply to Factotum... , 06 November 2019 at 07:46 PM
Asked and answered: Powell tussled dramatically in the past with Andrew Weissman over his role in the government's prosecution of Enron steam roller cases. She finally got court vindication for her clients 9 years later.

Why does Andrew Weissman's name keep popping up just about everywhere now, when one is looking in pari delitci (including our now famous Pierre Delecto)?

Brent , 06 November 2019 at 03:04 PM
From what I have read, I gather that the FBI in the Mueller / Comey era has made extensive use of "perjury traps". They then threaten charges to get someone to "flip" on someone bigger, in this case Trump. Flynn wouldn't flip even when they threatened to go after Flynn's son. So they decided to "F" him, as stated by Andrew McCabe.

The FBI has been thoroughly disgraced, and Wray is incapable of cleaning it up. He just wants to keep the dirt under the rug. It is too late for that, it is all coming out. US citizens deserve to know how dirty our FBI and CIA are - they are criminal organizations.

Andrei Martyanov (aka SmoothieX12) , 06 November 2019 at 04:07 PM
Is it just me (wink, wink) but I find it completely coincidental that both Strzok (100%) and Pientka (likely) are of Polish origins. Could it be my Russian paranoia. Nah, I am being unreasonable--those people never had a bad feeling towards Trump's attempts to boost Russian-American relations with Michael Flynn spearheading this effort. Jokes aside, however, I can only imagine how SVR and GRU are enjoying the spectacle. I can only imagine how many "free" promotions and awards can be attach to this thing as a free ride.

[Nov 06, 2019] Lisa Page, Special Counsel to Deputy Director McCabe, resigned; she edited Mr. Flynn's 302 and was part of a small, high-level group that strategically planned his ambush

Notable quotes:
"... "Page didn't recall whether she took part in editing the FD-302," the filing stated. Included was a discussion between Lisa Page and her paramour Peter Strzok talking about editing Flynn's 302 report. Strzok to Page: "I made your edits" Also discussion of misleading leadership re: picking up 302. Upon seeing her texts, Page "believes she must have seen it at some point " ..."
Nov 06, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Teamtc321 , 3 hours ago link

Another shoe is about to drop. Gen. Flynn was entrapped by the Obama Bin Biden clan.

General Flynn Attorney Sidney Powell: "We Will Seek to Move to Dismiss for Egregious Government Conduct"

Attorney Sidney Powell joined Lou Dobbs on Tuesday night to discuss the latest updates on US Government's court case against General Michael Flynn.

The Justice Department on Friday responded to Flynn's lawyer Sidney Powell's motion to compel production of Brady Material and to hold prosecutors in contempt.

https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2019/11/general-flynn-attorney-sidney-powell-we-will-seek-to-move-to-dismiss-for-egregious-government-conduct-video/

Sidney Powell filed a motion a couple weeks ago revealing that General Flynn was indeed set up by the FBI with an ambush, damaging leaks and altered 302 reports.

Powell revealed that former FBI lawyer Lisa Page EDITED General Mike Flynn's 302 report, then lied to the DOJ about the edits.

A 302 summary report consists of contemporaneous notes taken by an FBI agent when interviewing a subject.

"Lisa Page, Special Counsel to Deputy Director McCabe, resigned; she edited Mr. Flynn's 302 and was part of a small, high-level group that strategically planned his ambush." the filing said.

"Page didn't recall whether she took part in editing the FD-302," the filing stated. Included was a discussion between Lisa Page and her paramour Peter Strzok talking about editing Flynn's 302 report. Strzok to Page: "I made your edits" Also discussion of misleading leadership re: picking up 302. Upon seeing her texts, Page "believes she must have seen it at some point "

[Nov 06, 2019] Manufacturing Fear and Loathing, Maximizing Corporate Profits! A Review of Matt Taibbi's Hate Inc. Why Today's Media Makes Us

Notable quotes:
"... "Manufacturing Consent," Taibbi writes, "explains that the debate you're watching is choreographed. The range of argument has been artificially narrowed long before you get to hear it" (p. 11). ..."
"... Americans were held captive by the boob tube affords us not only a useful historical image but also suggests the possibility of their having been able to view the television as an antagonist, and therefore of their having been able, at least some of them, to rebel against its dictates. Three decades later, on the other hand, the television has been replaced by iPhones and portable tablets, the workings of which are so precisely intertwined with even the most intimate minute-to-minute aspects of our lives that our relationship to them could hardly ever become antagonistic. ..."
"... The massive political revolution was, going all the way back to 1989, the collapse of the Berlin Wall, and then of the Soviet Union itself -- and thus of the usefulness of anti-communism as a kind of coercive secular religion (pp. 14-15). ..."
"... our corporate media have devised -- at least for the time being -- highly-profitable marketing processes that manufacture fake dissent in order to smother real dissent (p. 21). ..."
"... And the smothering of real dissent is close enough to public consentto get the goddam job done: The Herman/Chomsky model is, after all these years, still valid. ..."
"... For Maddow, he notes, is "a depressingly exact mirror of Hannity . The two characters do exactly the same work. They make their money using exactly the same commercial formula. And though they emphasize different political ideas, the effect they have on audiences is much the same" (pp. 259-260). ..."
Nov 06, 2019 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Matt Taibbi's Hate Inc . is the most insightful and revelatory book about American politics to appear since the publication of Thomas Frank's Listen, Liberal almost four full years ago, near the beginning of the last presidential election cycle.

While Frank's topic was the abysmal failure of the Democratic Party to be democratic and Taibbi's is the abysmal failure of our mainstream news corporations to report news, the prominent villains in both books are drawn from the same, or at least overlapping, elite social circles: from, that is, our virulently anti-populist liberal class, from our intellectually mediocre creative class, from our bubble-dwelling thinking class. In fact, I would strongly recommend that the reader spend some time with Frank's What's the Matter with Kansas? (2004) and Listen, Liberal! (2016) as he or she takes up Taibbi's book.

And to really do the book the justice it deserves, I would even more vehemently recommend that the reader immerse him- or herself in Taibbi's favorite book and vade-mecum , Manufacturing Consent (which I found to be a grueling experience: a relentless cataloging of the official lies that hide the brutality of American foreign policy) and, in order to properly appreciate the brilliance of Taibbi's chapter 7, "How the Media Stole from Pro Wrestling," visit some locale in Flyover Country and see some pro wrestling in person (which I found to be unexpectedly uplifting -- more on this soon enough).

Taibbi tells us that he had originally intended for Hate, Inc . to be an updating of Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky's Manufacturing Consent (1988), which he first read thirty years ago, when he was nineteen. "It blew my mind," Taibbi writes. "[It] taught me that some level of deception was baked into almost everything I'd ever been taught about modern American life .

Once the authors in the first chapter laid out their famed propaganda model [italics mine], they cut through the deceptions of the American state like a buzz saw" (p. 10). For what seemed to be vigorous democratic debate, Taibbi realized, was instead a soul-crushing simulation of debate. The choices voters were given were distinctions without valid differences, and just as hyped, just as trivial, as the choices between a Whopper and a Big Mac, between Froot Loops and Frosted Mini-Wheats, between Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi, between Marlboro Lites and Camel Filters. It was all profit-making poisonous junk.

"Manufacturing Consent," Taibbi writes, "explains that the debate you're watching is choreographed. The range of argument has been artificially narrowed long before you get to hear it" (p. 11). And there's an indisputable logic at work here, because the reality of hideous American war crimes is and always has been, from the point of view of the big media corporations, a "narrative-ruining" buzz-kill. "The uglier truth [brought to light in Manufacturing Consent ], that we committed genocide of a fairly massive scale across Indochina -- ultimately killing at least a million innocent civilians by air in three countries -- is pre-excluded from the history of the period" (p. 13).

So what has changed in the last thirty years? A lot! As a starting point let's consider the very useful metaphor found in the title of another great media book of 1988: Mark Crispin Miller's Boxed In: The Culture of TV . To say that Americans were held captive by the boob tube affords us not only a useful historical image but also suggests the possibility of their having been able to view the television as an antagonist, and therefore of their having been able, at least some of them, to rebel against its dictates. Three decades later, on the other hand, the television has been replaced by iPhones and portable tablets, the workings of which are so precisely intertwined with even the most intimate minute-to-minute aspects of our lives that our relationship to them could hardly ever become antagonistic.

Taibbi summarizes the history of these three decades in terms of three "massive revolutions" in the media plus one actual massive political revolution, all of which, we should note, he discussed with his hero Chomsky (who is now ninety! -- Edward Herman passed away in 2017) even as he wrote his book. And so: the media revolutions which Taibbi describes were, first, the coming of FoxNews along with Rush Limbaugh-style talk radio; second, the coming of CNN, i.e., the Cable News Network, along with twenty-four hour infinite-loop news cycles; third, the coming of the Internet along with the mighty social media giants Facebook and Twitter.

The massive political revolution was, going all the way back to 1989, the collapse of the Berlin Wall, and then of the Soviet Union itself -- and thus of the usefulness of anti-communism as a kind of coercive secular religion (pp. 14-15).

For all that, however, the most salient difference between the news media of 1989 and the news media of 2019 is the disappearance of the single type of calm and decorous and slightly boring cis-het white anchorman (who somehow successfully appealed to a nationwide audience) and his replacement by a seemingly wide variety of demographically-engineered news personæ who all rage and scream combatively in each other's direction. "In the old days," Taibbi writes, "the news was a mix of this toothless trivia and cheery dispatches from the frontlines of Pax Americana . The news [was] once designed to be consumed by the whole house . But once we started to be organized into demographic silos [italics mine], the networks found another way to seduce these audiences: they sold intramural conflict" (p. 18).

And in this new media environment of constant conflict, how, Taibbi wondered, could public consent , which would seem to be at the opposite end of the spectrum from conflict, still be manufactured ?? "That wasn't easy for me to see in my first decades in the business," Taibbi writes. "For a long time, I thought it was a flaw in the Chomsky/Herman model" (p. 19).

But what Taibbi was at length able to understand, and what he is now able to describe for us with both wit and controlled outrage, is that our corporate media have devised -- at least for the time being -- highly-profitable marketing processes that manufacture fake dissent in order to smother real dissent (p. 21).

And the smothering of real dissent is close enough to public consentto get the goddam job done: The Herman/Chomsky model is, after all these years, still valid.

Or pretty much so. Taibbi is more historically precise. Because of the tweaking of the Herman/Chomsky propaganda model necessitated by the disappearance of the USSR in 1991 ("The Russians escaped while we weren't watching them, / As Russians do ," Jackson Browne presciently prophesied on MTV way back in 1983), one might now want to speak of a Propaganda Model 2.0. For, as Taibbi notes, " the biggest change to Chomsky's model is the discovery of a far superior 'common enemy' in modern media: each other. So long as we remain a bitterly-divided two-party state, we'll never want for TV villains" (pp. 207-208).

To rub his great insight right into our uncomprehending faces, Taibbi has almost sadistically chosen to have dark, shadowy images of a yelling Sean Hannity (in lurid FoxNews Red!) and a screaming Rachel Maddow (in glaring MSNBC Blue!) juxtaposed on the cover of his book. For Maddow, he notes, is "a depressingly exact mirror of Hannity . The two characters do exactly the same work. They make their money using exactly the same commercial formula. And though they emphasize different political ideas, the effect they have on audiences is much the same" (pp. 259-260).

And that effect is hate. Impotent hate. For while Rachel's fan demographic is all wrapped up in hating Far-Right Fascists Like Sean, and while Sean's is all wrapped up in despising Libtard Lunatics Like Rachel, the bipartisan consensus in Washington for ever-increasing military budgets, for everlasting wars, for ever-expanding surveillance, for ever-growing bailouts of and tax breaks for and and handouts to the most powerful corporations goes forever unchallenged.

Oh my. And it only gets worse and worse, because the media, in order to make sure that their various siloed demographics stay superglued to their Internet devices, must keep ratcheting up levels of hate: the Fascists Like Sean and the Libtards Like Rachel must be continually presented as more and more deranged, and ultimately as demonic. "There is us and them," Taibbi writes, "and they are Hitler" (p. 64). A vile reductio ad absurdum has come into play: "If all Trump supporters are Hitler, and all liberals are also Hitler," Taibbi writes, " [t]he America vs. America show is now Hitler vs. Hitler! Think of the ratings! " The reader begins to grasp Taibbi's argument that our mainstream corporate media are as bad as -- are worse than -- pro wrestling. It's an ineluctable downward spiral.

Taibbi continues: "The problem is, there's no natural floor to this behavior. Just as cable TV will eventually become seven hundred separate twenty-four-hour porn channels, news and commentary will eventually escalate to boxing-style, expletive-laden, pre-fight tirades, and the open incitement to violence [italics mine]. If the other side is literally Hitler, [w]hat began as America vs. America will eventually move to Traitor vs. Traitor , and the show does not work if those contestants are not eventually offended to the point of wanting to kill one another" (pp. 65-69).

As I read this book, I often wondered about how difficult it was emotionally for Taibbi to write it. I'm just really glad to see that the guy didn't commit suicide along the way. He does describe the "self-loathing" he experienced as he realized his own complicity in the marketing processes which he exposes (p. 2). He also apologizes to the reader for his not being able to follow through on his original aim of writing a continuation of Herman and Chomsky's classic: "[W]hen I sat down to write what I'd hoped would be something with the intellectual gravitas of Manufacturing Consent ," Taibbi confesses, "I found decades of more mundane frustrations pouring out onto the page, obliterating a clinical examination" (p. 2).

I, however, am profoundly grateful to Taibbi for all of his brilliantly observed anecdotes. The subject matter is nauseating enough even in Taibbi's sparkling and darkly tragicomic prose. A more academic treatment of the subject would likely be too depressing to read. So let me conclude with an anecdote of my own -- and an oddly uplifting one at that -- about reading Taibbi's chapter 7, "How the News Media Stole from Pro Wrestling."

On the same day I read this chapter I saw that, on the bulletin board in my gym, a poster had appeared, as if by magic, promoting an upcoming Primal Conflict (!) professional wrestling event. I studied the photos of the wrestlers on the poster carefully, and, as an astute reader of Taibbi, I prided myself on being able to identify which of them seemed be playing the roles of heels , and which of them the roles of babyfaces .

For Taibbi explains that one of the fundamental dynamics of wrestling involves the invention of crowd-pleasing narratives out of the many permutations and combinations of pitting heels against faces . Donald Trump, a natural heel , brings the goofy dynamics of pro wrestling to American politics with real-life professional expertise. (Taibbi points out that in 2007 Trump actually performed before a huge cheering crowd in a Wrestlemania event billed as the "battle of the billionaires." Watch it on YouTube! https://youtu.be/5NsrwH9I9vE -- unbelievable!!)

The mainstream corporate media, on the other hand, their eyes fixed on ever bigger and bigger profits, have drifted into the metaphorical pro wrestling ring in ignorance, and so, when they face off against Trump, they often end up in the role of inept prudish pearl-clutching faces .

Taibbi condemns the mainstream media's failure to understand such a massively popular form of American entertainment as "malpractice" (p. 125), so I felt more than obligated to buy a ticket and see the advertised event in person. To properly educate myself, that is.

... ... ...


Steve Ruis , November 5, 2019 at 8:13 am

I have stopped watching broadcast "news" other than occasional sessions of NPR in the car. I get most of my news from sources such as this and from overseas sources (The Guardian, Reuters, etc.). I used to subscribe to newspapers but have given them up in disgust, even though I was looking forward to leisurely enjoying a morning paper after I retired.

I was brought up in the positive 1950's and, boy, did this turn out poorly.

Dao Gen , November 5, 2019 at 8:59 am

Matt Taibbi is an American treasure, and I love his writing very much, but we also need to ask, Why hasn't another Chomsky (or another Hudson), an analyst with a truly deep and wide-ranging, synthetic mind, appeared on the left to take apart our contemporary media and show us its inner workings? Have all the truly great minds gone to work for Wall Street? I don't have an answer, but to me the pro wrestling metaphor, while intriguing, misses something about the Fourth Estate in America, if it indeed still exists. And that is, except for radio, there is a distinct imbalance between the two sides of the MSM lineup. On the corporate liberal side of the national MSM team you have five wrestlers, but on the conservative/reactionary side you have only the Fox entry. Because of this imbalance, the corruption, laziness, self-indulgence, and generally declining interest in journalistic standards seems greater among the corporate liberal media team, including the NYT and WaPo, than the Fox team.

I'm not a fan of either Maddow (in her current incarnation) or Hannity, but Hannity, perhaps because he thinks he's like David, often hustles to refute the discourse of the corporate liberal Goliath team. Hannity obviously does more research on some topics than Maddow, and, perhaps because he began in radio, he puts more emphasis on semi-rationally structured rants than Maddow, who depends more on primal emotion, body language, and Hollywood-esque fear-inducing atmospherics.

I'd wager that in a single five-minute segment there will often be twice as many rational distinctions made in a Hannity rant than in a Maddow performance. In addition, for the last three years Hannity has simply been demonstrably right about the fake Russiagate propaganda blitz while Maddow has been as demonstrably wrong from the very beginning as propaganda industry trend-setter Adam Schiff. So for at least these last three years, the Maddow-Hannity primal match has been a somewhat misleading metaphor. The Blob and the security state have been decisively supporting (and directing?) the corporate liberal global interventionist media, at least regarding Russia and the permanent war establishment, and because the imbalance between the interventionist and the non-interventionist MSM, Russia and Ukraine are being used as a wedge to steadily break down the firewalls between the Dem party, the intel community, and the interventionist MSM. If we had real public debates with both sides at approximately equal strength as we did during the Vietnam War, then even pro wrestling-type matches would be superior to what we have now, which is truthy truth and thoughtsy thought coming to us from the military industrial complex and monopolistic holding companies. If fascism is defined as the fusion of the state and corporations, then the greatest threat of fascism in America may well be coming from the apparent gradual fusion of the corporate liberal MSM, the Dem party elite, and the intel community. Instead of an MSM wrestling match, we may soon be faced with a Japanese-style 'hitori-zumo' match in which a sumo wrestler wrestles with only himself. Once these sumo wrestlers were believed to be wrestling with invisible spirits, but those days are gone . http://kikuko-nagoya.com/html/hitori-zumo.htm

coboarts , November 5, 2019 at 9:59 am

"If we had real public debates" and if they were even debates where issues entered into contest were addressed point by point with evidence

Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg , November 5, 2019 at 10:03 am

Today's Noam Chomksy? Chomsky was part of the machine who broke ranks with it. His MIT research was generously funded by the Military Industrial Complex. Thankfully, enough of his latent humanity and Trotskyite upbringing shone through so he exposed what he was part of. So I guess today that's Chris Hedges, though he's a preacher at heart and not a semiotician.

neighbor7 , November 5, 2019 at 10:04 am

Thank you, Dao Gen. An excellent analysis, and your final image is usefully haunting.

a different chris , November 5, 2019 at 12:11 pm

> In addition, for the last three years Hannity has simply been demonstrably right about the fake Russiagate propaganda blitz while Maddow has been as demonstrably wrong

Eh. Read whats-his-name's (Frankfurter?) book On Bullshit . You are giving Hannity credit for something he doesn't really care about.

jrs , November 5, 2019 at 12:21 pm

I don't believe the media environment as a whole leans corporate Dem/neoliberal.

T.V. maybe, but radio is much more right wing than left (yes there is NPR and Pacifica, the latter with probably only a scattering of listerners but ) and it's still out there and a big influence, radio hasn't gone away. So doesn't the right wing tilt of radio kind of balance out television? (not necessarily in a good way but). And then there is the internet and I have no idea what the overall lean of that is (I mean I prefer left wing sites, but that's purely my own bubble and actually there are much fewer left analysis out there than I'd like)

Self Affine , November 5, 2019 at 9:05 am

Also,

Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism

by Sheldon S. Wolin

Critical deep analysis of not just the media but the whole American political enterprise and
the nature of our "democracy".

DJG , November 5, 2019 at 9:20 am

The whole review is good, but this extract should be quoted extensively:

While Frank's topic was the abysmal failure of the Democratic Party to be democratic and Taibbi's is the abysmal failure of our mainstream news corporations to report news, the prominent villains in both books are drawn from the same, or at least overlapping, elite social circles: from, that is, our virulently anti-populist liberal class, from our intellectually mediocre creative class, from our bubble-dwelling thinking class.

In short, stagnation and self-dealing at the top. What could possibly go wrong?

Yves Smith Post author , November 5, 2019 at 11:51 am

Are you serious? Maddow called Trump a traitor and accused him of betrayal in Russiagate, and was caught out when that fell apart. This was pointed out all over the MSM .

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/03/27/rachel-maddows-deep-delusion-226266

https://www.salon.com/2018/07/17/rachel-maddow-hits-the-panic-button-after-trump-putin-summit-this-is-the-worst-case-scenario/

Carolinian , November 5, 2019 at 9:52 am

This is great stuff. Thanks.

One quibble: the author says

Three decades later, on the other hand, the television has been replaced by iPhones and portable tablets

and then goes on to spend most of the article talking about television. I'd say television is still the main propaganda instrument even if many webheads like yours truly ignore it (I've never seen Hannity's show or Maddow's–just hear the rumors). Arguably even newspapers like the NYT have been dumbed down because the reporters long to be on TV and join the shouting. And it's surely no coincidence that our president himself is a TV (and WWE) star. Mass media have always been feeders of hysteria but television gave them faces and voices. Watching TV is also a far more passive experience than surfing the web. They are selling us "narratives," bedtime stories, and we like sleepy children merely listen.

Jerri-Lynn Scofield , November 5, 2019 at 9:54 am

This rave review has inspired me to add this to my to-read non-fiction queue. Currently reading William Dalrymple's The Anarchy, on the rise of the East India Company. Next up: Matt Stoller's Goliath. And then I'll get to Taibbi. Probably worth digging up my original copy of Manufacturing Consent as well, which I read many moons ago; time for a re-read.

Susan the Other , November 5, 2019 at 12:32 pm

almost every page of mine is dog-eared and marked along the edge with exclamation points

urblintz , November 5, 2019 at 1:41 pm

May I suggest Stephen Cohen's "War with Russia?" if it's not already on your list? In focusing on the danger emerging from the new cold war, seeded by the Democrats, propagated by corporate media (which he thinks is more dangerous than the first), Cohen clarifies the importance of diplomacy especially with one's nuclear rivals.

Imagine that

shinola , November 5, 2019 at 9:56 am

Support your local book store!

Off The Street , November 5, 2019 at 9:57 am

Us rubes knew decades ago about pro wrestling. There was a regional circuit and the hero in one town would become the villain in another town. The ones to be surprised were like John Stossel, who got a perforated eardrum from a slap upside the head for his efforts at in-your-face journalism with a wrestler who just wouldn't play along with his grandstanding. Somewhere, kids cheered and life went on.

The Historian , November 5, 2019 at 10:01 am

Ah, Ancient Athens, here we come – running back to repeat your mistakes! Our MSM media has decided that when we are not at our neighbor's throats, we should be at each other's throats!

teacup , November 5, 2019 at 10:11 am

I was watching old clips of the 'Fred Friendly Seminars' on YouTube. IMHO any channel that produced a format such as this would be a ratings bonanza. Imagine a round table with various media figures (corporate) left, (corporate) right, and independent being refereed by a host-moderator discussing topics in 'Hate, Inc.'. In wrestling it's called a Battle Royale. The Fourth Estate in a cage match!

@ape , November 5, 2019 at 10:12 am

And the smothering of real dissent is close enough to public consentto get the goddam job done: The Herman/Chomsky model is, after all these years, still valid.

This is important, if people don't want to be naive about what democracy buys. Democracy in the end is a ritual system to determine which members of an elite would win a war without actually having to hold the war. Like how court functions to replace personal revenge by determining (often) who would win in a fight if there were one, and the feudal system replaced the genocidal wars of the axial age with the gentler warfare of the middle ages which were often ritual wars of the elite that avoided the full risk of the earlier wars.

That, I think, is important -- under a democracy, the winner should be normally the winner of the avoided violent conflict to be sustainable. Thus, it's enough to get most people to consent to the solution, using the traditional meaning of consent being "won't put up a fight to avoid it". If the choices on the table are reduced enough, you can get by with most people simply dropping out of the questions.

Qui tacet consentire videtur, ubi loqui debuit ac potuit

It shouldn't be a surprise that we've moved to "faking dissent" -- it's the natural evolution of a system where a lot of the effective power is in the hands of tech, and not just as in the early 20th century, how many workers you have and how many soldiers you can raise.

If you don't like it, change the technology we use to fight one another. We went from tribes to lords when we switch from sticks to advanced forged weapons, and we went from feudalism to democracy when we had factories dropping guns that any 15 year old could use (oversimplifying a bit). Now that the stuff requires expertise, you'd expect a corresponding shift in how we ritualize our conflict avoidance, and thus the organization of how we control communication and how we organize our rituals of power.

Aka, it's the scientists and the engineers who end up determining how everything is organized, and people never seem to bother with that argument, which is especially surprising that even hard-core Marxists waste their time on short-term politics rather than the tech we're building.

I'd be curious whether Taibbi thought about the issue of the nature of the technology and whether there are technological options on the horizon which drive the conflict in other directions. If we had only kept the laws on copyright and patent weaker, so that the implementation of communicative infrastructure would have stayed decentralized

Susan the Other , November 5, 2019 at 12:41 pm

Tabby's "manufacturing fake consent" was really the whole punchline – the joke's on us. Hunter S. Thompson, another of Taibbi's heroes, is, along with Chomsky, speaking to us through MT. Our media is distracting us from social coherence. Another thing it is doing (just my opinion) is it is overwhelming us to the point of disgust. Nobody likes it. And we protect ourselves by tuning it out. Turning it off. Once the screaming lunatics marginalize themselves by making the whole narrative hysterical, we just act like it's another family fight and we're gonna go do something else. When everyone is screaming, no one is screaming.

Jerry B , November 5, 2019 at 10:26 am

I have tried to read Hate Inc. and Taibbi's Griftopia but one of my main issues with Taibbi's writing is his lack of notes, references, or bibliography, etc. in his books. In skimming Hate Inc. it seems like a book I would enjoy reading, however my personal value system is that any book without footnotes, endnotes, citations, or at minimum a bibliography is just an opinion or a story. At least Thomas Frank's Listen Liberal has a section for End Notes/References at the end of the book. Again just my personal values.

Sbbbd , November 5, 2019 at 10:45 am

Another classic in the genre of manufactured consent through media from the age of radio and Adolf Hitler:

"The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception", in the book Dialectic of Enlightenment (1947), Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer.

Joe Well , November 5, 2019 at 11:04 am

I am from Greater Boston, far, far from flyover country (which I imagine begins in Yonkers NY), but I sure grew up with pro wrestling as part of the schoolyard discourse. I certainly knew it was as much of a family affair as Disney on Ice and have trouble believing he thought otherwise though I will not impugn his honesty. I am very grateful to the author for taking the time to write this, but is it possible for a male who grew up in the US to be as deeply embedded in the MSNBC demo as he claims to be?

Seriously, how is it possible for a male raised in the US to not at least have some working familiarity with pro wrestling? My family along with my community was very close to the national median income–do higher income boys really not learn about WWF and WWE?

Seriously, rich kids, what was childhood like? I know you had music lessons and sports camps, what else? Was it really that different?

Carolinian , November 5, 2019 at 11:59 am

And it's not just the US. See the British WWE movie: Fighting With My Family.

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

Yves Smith Post author , November 5, 2019 at 12:03 pm

Sorry, my blue collar, lifetime union member brother says your view is horseshit. All the knows about WWE and WWF is that they are big-budget fakery and that's why they are of no interest.

amfortas the hippie , November 5, 2019 at 1:38 pm

aye. in my blue to white collar( and back to blue to no collar) upbringing, wrestling was never a thing. it was for the morons who couldn't read. seen as patently absurd by just about everyone i knew. and this in klanridden east texas exurbia
wife's mexican extended familia oth luche libre is a big thing that all and sundry talked about at thanksgiving. less so these days possibly due to the hyperindiviualisation of media intake mentioned
(and,btw, in my little world , horseshit is a good thing)

BlueStater , November 5, 2019 at 11:11 am

Even allowing for my lefty-liberal bias, I do not see how it is possible to equate Fox Noise and MSNBC, or Hannity and Maddow, as "both-sides" extremists. Fox violates basic professional canons of fairness and equity on a daily basis. MSNBC occasionally does, but is quick to correct errors of fact. Hannity is a thuggish outer-borough New York schmuck without much education or knowledge of the world. Maddow is an Oxford Ph.D. and Rhodes Scholar. It is one of the evil successes of the right-wing news cauldron to have successfully equated these two figures and organizations.

Yves Smith Post author , November 5, 2019 at 12:05 pm

Huh? MSNBC regularly makes errors of omission and commission with respect to Sanders. They are still pushing the Russiagate narrative. That's a massive, two-year, virtually all the time error they have refused to recant.

The blind spots of people on the soi-disant left are truly astonishing.

semiconscious , November 5, 2019 at 1:08 pm

'Hannity is a thuggish outer-borough New York schmuck without much education or knowledge of the world. Maddow is an Oxford Ph.D. and Rhodes Scholar '

oh, well, then – end of conversation! i mean, god knows, it'd be a cold day in hell before a rhodes scholar, or even someone married to one, would ever lead us astray down the rosy neoliberal path to hell, while, at the same time, under the spell of trump derangement syndrome, actually attempt to revive the mccarthy era, eh?

Summer , November 5, 2019 at 12:11 pm

Actual drugs are being used to hinder debate as well as emotional drugs like hate.
They can't trust agency to be removed by words and images alone – the stakes are too high.
Now all of you go take a feel good pill and stop complaining!

McWatt , November 5, 2019 at 1:02 pm

I would like to know if Matt is doing any book signings any where around the states for this new title?

David , November 5, 2019 at 1:15 pm

I've been impressed with Taibbi's work, what I've read of it, but ironically this very article contains a quote from him which exemplifies the problem: his casual assertion that the US committed "genocide" in Indochina. Even the most fervent critics of US policy didn't say this at the time, for the very good reason that there was no evidence that the US tried to destroy a racial, religious, ethnic or nationalist group (the full definition is a lot more complex and demanding than that). He clearly means that the US was responsible for lots of deaths, which is incontestable. But the process of endless escalation of rhetoric, which this book seems to be partly about, means that everything now has to be described in the most extreme, absurd or apocalyptic tones, and at the top of your voice, otherwise nobody takes any notice. So any self-respecting war now has to be qualified as "genocide" or nobody will take any notice.

[Nov 06, 2019] It is a story of ripping the US taxpayer and the Ukrainian customer off for the benefit of a few corruptioners, American and Ukrainian

Nov 06, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Teamtc321 , 3 hours ago link

Obama Bin Biden and the crooked clan need to get back in the game somehow so they can rip off another 3 billion in US tax payer loans. What were they up to 44 Billion in fraudulent loans to Ukraine?

Interesting how they want to Impeach Trump over Ukraine, don't you think?

https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/plundering-ukraine-corrupt-american-democrats

Oleg, you followed Biden story from its very inception. Biden is not the only Dem politician involved in the Ukrainian corruption schemes, is he?

Indeed, John Kerry, the Secretary of State in Obama's administration, was his partner-in-crime. But Joe Biden was number one. During the Obama presidency, Biden was the US proconsul for Ukraine, and he was involved in many corruption schemes. He authorised transfer of three billion dollars of the US taxpayers' money to the post-coup government of the Ukraine; the money was stolen, and Biden took a big share of the spoils.

It is a story of ripping the US taxpayer and the Ukrainian customer off for the benefit of a few corruptioners, American and Ukrainian. And it is a story of Kiev regime and its dependence on the US and IMF. The Ukraine has a few midsize deposits of natural gas, sufficient for domestic household consumption. The cost of its production was quite low; and the Ukrainians got used to pay pennies for their gas. Actually, it was so cheap to produce that the Ukraine could provide all its households with free gas for heating and cooking, just like Libya did. Despite low consumer price, the gas companies (like Burisma) had very high profits and very little expenditure.

After the 2014 coup, IMF demanded to raise the price of gas for the domestic consumer to European levels, and the new president Petro Poroshenko obliged them. The prices went sky-high. The Ukrainians were forced to pay many times more for their cooking and heating; and huge profits went to coffers of the gas companies. Instead of raising taxes or lowering prices, President Poroshenko demanded the gas companies to pay him or subsidise his projects. He said that he arranged the price hike; it means he should be considered a partner.

Burisma Gas company had to pay extortion money to the president Poroshenko. Eventually its founder and owner Mr Nicolai Zlochevsky decided to invite some important Westerners into the company's board of directors hoping it would moderate Poroshenko's appetites. He had brought in Biden's son Hunter, John Kerry, Polish ex-President Kwasniewski; but it didn't help him.

Poroshenko became furious that the fattened calf may escape him, and asked the Attorney General Shokin to investigate Burisma trusting some irregularities would emerge. AG Shokin immediately discovered that Burisma had paid these 'stars' between 50 and 150 thousand dollar per month each just for being on the list of directors. This is illegal by the Ukrainian tax code; it can't be recognised as legitimate expenditure.

At that time Biden the father entered the fray. He called Poroshenko and gave him six hours to close the case against his son. Otherwise, one billion dollars of the US taxpayers' funds won't pass to the Ukrainian corruptioners. Zlochevsky, the Burisma owner, paid Biden well for this conversation: he received between three and ten million dollars, according to different sources.

AG Shokin said he can't close the case within six hours; Poroshenko sacked him and installed Mr Lutsenko in his stead. Lutsenko was willing to dismiss the case of Burisma, but he also could not do it in a day, or even in a week. Biden, as we know, could not keep his trap shut: by talking about the pressure he put on Poroshenko, he incriminated himself. Meanwhile Mr Shokin gave evidence that Biden put pressure on Poroshenko to fire him, and now it was confirmed. The evidence was given to the US lawyers in connection with another case, Firtash case.

[Nov 06, 2019] Something about Trump coherence

Nov 05, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Barba_Papa 21 hours ago

The US openly occupies parts of Syria, boasts of taking it resources and supported the attempts of the Kurds to set up their own little state, until the Turks blew a hissy fit. And yet it has the gall to call out what Russia does in the Ukraine as a breach of international law.

[Nov 05, 2019] Where Will Ukraine Go from Here

Notable quotes:
"... As for the rest of Ukraine, even though they lost something, they get something valuable in return: it's called neutral status between east and west. A subdued, federalized Ukraine led by Zelensky, in many ways, makes Ukraine "Finlandized." That is good for the Ukrainian people. It means they retain their independence, but peacefully accept that Russia controls their foreign policy. That position benefited Finland between 1945 and 1991. Finland is now a peaceful and prosperous country, and it is no longer living under influence of Russia or the Soviets. If "Finlandization" led to happiness for the Finns, it can do the same for Ukraine. ..."
"... Finland did not fight against Swedish language and peacefully uses it, while it is "legacy of Swedish occupation" and less than 10% of Finnish people can speak it. Ukrainian Nazis are deprived of wisdom, they are fighting with Russian language and own people. So, if you haven't brain, nothing will help you. ..."
"... after Maidan, Nuland directly stated that the United States spent 5 billion on "building democracy in Ukraine." The United States invested 5 billion in a coup, but is Poland to blame? why? if Poland had really done that, then western Ukraine would have become part of Poland immediately after the Maidan, but this did not happen. After the Maidan, Biden was photographed in a pride chair, but not the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland;) ..."
Nov 05, 2019 | nationalinterest.org

Sean.McGivens19 days ago ,

When Russia is led by truly capable leaders, it can beat any foreign power in war or geostrategic conflict. Today Russia is led by a great man who is starting to look more and more like another Suvorov.

And everyone knows who Suvorov was.

Just read today's headlines concerning Syria. Russia ordered Turkey to stand down its offensive. Russian troops are now functioning as peacekeepers in-between the Turkish and Syrian armies. The Kurds have signed allied themselves with Russia and Assad.

What a huge and great victory for Russia.

Gary Sellars Sean.McGivens19 days ago ,

..while Americans of all stripes scratch their heads wondering what went wrong, and then check CNN and their FB feeds in a hopeless bid to understand what's going down. Just.... hilarious....

Sean.McGivens Gary Sellars19 days ago • edited ,

What disturbs me the most is that Americans are being misled into believing that they "lost" something in Syria. In reality, America "lost" nothing in Syria. That's because the US was never established in Syria to begin with. America has long been established in Syria's neighbors, Israel, SA, Turkey, and to a lesser degree Iraq. But not Syria.

Basically, America got involved in Syria for aggressive, illegitimate, and unnecessary reasons. We were there to further the over-ambitious geopolitical ambitions of our ME allies. That's why America launched a minor invasion of eastern Syria, and armed and funded rebels, jihadis to try to violently overthrow Assad. And when that didn't work, the US POTUS justifiably pulled out US troops and stopped supporting the rebels.

So, America didn't ever have anything to gain or to lose in Syria. Nothing at all.

Meanwhile, all the hawkish American newspapers -- which includes much of MSM -- are now complaining that Trump allowed Russia to "take" Syria, and to "humiliate" and "drive out" America from that country. What hogwash! What propaganda and lies!

Russia has been in Syria for nearly 50 years. That means Russia's the chief ally of Syria, and as such, is a guarantor peace and stability in the country. Also, Russia definitely has something to lose in Syria if Assad gets overthrown. So, in the end, Russia wasn't trying to "take over Syria," as lying US media suggests. Russia was just protecting itself, protecting Assad, and trying to impose peace on the region.

Check out Newsweek's totally dishonest story on this is subject. The article was published today. It's a shame so many naive Americans believe these lies about America's alleged "role" in Syria.

SergioMeira Sean.McGivens17 days ago ,

Sir, we got involved in Syria because of Assad, who is a monster to his own people. If you're talking about Butinterests in terms of money, no -- we don't have any. But in terms of principles, yes, we were justified in entering that area of the country.

And we made a difference. Or else the Russians wouldn't be rushing in to take the place we left. We were getting a lot out of very little engagement.

Russia has never been a guarantee for peace and stability anywhere; it has always been a guarantee of more support for Russia. Whenever necessary, instabillity was sown, and inconvenient parties, whether or not former allies, were abandoned.

Plus, there is the nagging issue of the Kurds having helped us in the fight against ISIS. Letting this out of the picture is as dishonest as you try to make parts of the MSM be.

But hey -- have your own opinions. Write a book about them while you're at it.

FromRussiaWithLove SergioMeira11 days ago ,
Sir, we got involved in Syria because of Assad, who is a monster to his own people. If you're talking about Butinterests in terms of money, no -- we don't have any. But in terms of principles, yes, we were justified in entering that area of the country.

sorry what???

In fact, Assad is the legitimate, democratically elected president of Syria. have you decided in the USA that you have the right to decide who is bad and who is good?
The United States has worked hard to overthrow legitimate power in Syria. for 7 years of NATO's joint operation in Syria, ISIS captured 70% of the territory of this country. Of course, with the active support of the United States, it supplied weapons to everyone who was ready to fight against the Syrian army. but the "evil" Russia came and ruined everything. for 5 years of military operations in Syria, ISIS were defeated and switched to guerrilla warfare. solved the problem between the Kurds, Turks and Syrians. US plans have completely collapsed. or not?

Congress is currently making a decision to bring tanks into Syria to protect oil fields from terrorists. Really??? it looks like American democracy is black and actually called oil! all these hundreds of thousands of murdered women and children in Syria just so that the United States could continue to steal oil from Syria!

"the greatest power in the world" turns out to be an ordinary thief! do not you disgust?

Sean.McGivens SergioMeira17 days ago • edited ,

Sir, we got involved in Syria because of Assad, who is a monster to his own people.

Define what you mean by "monster to his own people." And explain to me why 30% of Syrians -- a huge chunk of whole -- have always been solidly behind Assad.

If you're talking about the Assad regime's barrel bombing, yes, that's monstrous. But Assad didn't start doing that until the civil war was fulling raging. That war, mind you, didn't broaden and deepen until America stepped in to fund and arm Assad's enemies.

Had America had stayed out of Syria and allowed Assad to stamp out the initial protests and acts of rebellion, then there would have been no civil war. Therefore, America's involved escalated Syria's civil disorder all the way up to the level of a full fledged war, causing hundreds of thousands of deaths.

I really don't understand how American Triumphalists and messianic spreaders of American democracy can justify what they did in Syria. Essentially, America consciously took a chance in Syria, choosing to support the rebels on the off chance that they might topple Assad. America knew that the price of failure in this reckless gambit would be the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Syrians.

Why did America do this? America's action in Syria were driven by the desire to turn the country into a strategic asset. America chose to pursue this goal on behalf of its regional allies (all Syrian enemies), Israel, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey. That's all. Never mind "principles." We're talking geopolitical ambitions here. Blind ambitions.

It's a mysterious to me as to why you blame the war on Russia. After all, Russia's been in Syria for nearly 50 years. During that time, Syria was stable, and experienced no civil war. But as soon as America began meddling in Syria, war broke out. Russia worked with Assad to try to stomp out that war. America worked with the rebels to expand it.

I cannot fathom the views of people like you.

Vladdy20 days ago ,

Ukraine power captured it's country in own trap. They can't stop civil war in Donbass because then they will need to explain somehow why they killed Donbass people (Ukraine Nazis power hate Donbassians, but at the same time pretends to call them their own citizens) for so many years. Admit truth means acknowledge own crimes. So, the only way they have is continuing lying about "liberation" (means genociding) of Donbass.

Sean.McGivens Vladdy17 days ago ,

But rest assured: Ukraine is beaten and the Ukrainians know it. They can feel it. That's why they elected Zelensky, who may be a sensible guy.

Implementation of the peace plan in Donbass will turn the region into a virtually independent part of Ukraine. Russia will be able to influence Ukrainian politics through its connections in Donbass. That means Russia will have gained exactly what it fought for: veto power over Ukraine's attempts to join the EU and NATO.

As for the rest of Ukraine, even though they lost something, they get something valuable in return: it's called neutral status between east and west. A subdued, federalized Ukraine led by Zelensky, in many ways, makes Ukraine "Finlandized." That is good for the Ukrainian people. It means they retain their independence, but peacefully accept that Russia controls their foreign policy. That position benefited Finland between 1945 and 1991. Finland is now a peaceful and prosperous country, and it is no longer living under influence of Russia or the Soviets. If "Finlandization" led to happiness for the Finns, it can do the same for Ukraine.

Vladdy Sean.McGivens7 days ago ,

Finland did not fight against Swedish language and peacefully uses it, while it is "legacy of Swedish occupation" and less than 10% of Finnish people can speak it. Ukrainian Nazis are deprived of wisdom, they are fighting with Russian language and own people. So, if you haven't brain, nothing will help you.

FromRussiaWithLove Sean.McGivens11 days ago ,
But rest assured: Ukraine is beaten and the Ukrainians know it. They can feel it. That's why they elected Zelensky, who may be a sensible guy.

your optimism is due to ignorance of the peculiarities of Ukrainian political life;) Let's start with a short introduction to Ukrainian political life. Who is Zelensky? this is a representative of the oligarch Kolomoisky. exactly the same oligarch as Parashenko has ruled Ukraine for the past 5 years. For 5 years, Parashenko has robbed banks and enterprises of other oligarchs in Ukraine, now Kolomoisky will do the same through his representative Zelensky.

Now about the peace process in the Donbas ... The armed coup in 2014 was carried out by the forces of Ukrainian Nazis and over the past 5 years, the Ukrainian Nazis have firmly established themselves in the Verkhovna Rada and, most importantly, in the army and law enforcement agencies. these structures are controlled by Avakov, not Zelensky. Zelensky cannot withdraw troops, and even more so "Ukrainian volunteers" from punitive battalions Aidar, Azov, etc. Zelensky does not control these formations and has no leverage over them. all he can do is put forward an additional requirement of 7 days without shelling. Naturally, the shelling is not embellished and no one withdraws the troops. Even if Zelensky really wanted to end the war, there simply isn't any opportunity for this. all that he can do is populism and tell that he will return Crimea :))))

adammska20 days ago ,

Mr Gvosdev sounds like one of those Eastern European svidomites . They combine this unwavering faith in the power of Washington on top of a deep, irrational hostility to Russia.

How is "collapse of Russian economy" going to happen exactly? Judging by the casual manner in which Gvosdev talks about it, I think he imagines president Biden flipping some switch in his cabinet, and the economy of vast country shutting down in an instant.

How does a Western economic war on Russia can help its proxies seize power? It didn't work like this in Iran or Venezuela, it's even less likely to happen in Russia. If anything the opposite is likely to happen: pro-Western 5th column in Russia will be eradicated.

You know that the Ukraine is doomed when your "optimistic scenario" requires Russia to drop dead essentially.

Sean.McGivens SergioMeira17 days ago ,

Russia's economy is functioning very close to autarky. That means Russia could survive expulsion from SWIFT.

As for for your reference to China, your point is anything but clear. China is forming a strategic alliance with Russia pointed directly at the US. If you don't realize this, you haven't been reading the news. It would behoove you to know that China and the US have long been drifting in the direction of a conflict for supremacy in Pan-Pacific affairs. The US has lots of weapons systems set up in South Korea, Taiwan, and Japan. Beijing is determined to make the US withdraw those military assets from China's borders. China is also wary of the US's messianic impulse to spread democracy anywhere it can. China blames America for the Hong Kong disturbances, which Beijing thinks of as America's latest attempt at a "color revolution."

Meanwhile, Russia poses no such threat to China. If anything, Russia makes an ideal junior ally for China in the latter's growing tendency to constantly subvert the US as the world's superpower. So, I am confused as to what kind of threat you think China poses to Russia?

Perhaps you believe that China wants to take Siberia from Russia. Do you really believe China has the ability to do so? If that's what you're thinking, you are willfully blind to the fact that Russia remains a nuclear weapons superpower. If war broke out between China and Russia (which is very unlikely), which country would do more damage to the other? Think about it: Russia is a massive open land mass that is not densely populated, and it is full of nuclear missile launch sites. China is a population dense nation consisting of far less territory than Russia. Who would suffer more in an exchange of nuclear missiles? I think the answer is clear. For this reason, Beijing is not thinking about war with Russia, or making Russia "collapse," as you say.

How much have you read about Russia, anyway?

Сергей Ерохин20 days ago ,

Wow, I can write comments here. I am russian, so I can tell the Mordor's version. The article is generally objective, but the author was cunning in a few points

1) The principal reason why Yanukovich refused to sign the agreement with Europe was the duty free zone with Russia. Russians sad: ok, You will sign the agreement with Europe, but we have high customs duties with europeneans, so we will break our free trade zone agreement. Russia was the biggest export market for Ukraine and ukranians understood that they will lose a lot of money. But Maidan decided differently.

2) Today the Russian primary strategy for Ukraine is do nothing and wait, we have no any influence in this country. We understand that Europe and USA will not feed this country a lot of time. Internal contradictions will ruin this country before our intervention

3) But we support new government of Zelensky because he has an opportunity to implement Minsk agreements (may be). It will be enough to close this deal and move on

FromRussiaWithLove Сергей Ерохин11 days ago ,

greetings to you a colleague from Mordor :)))

But we support new goverment of Zelensky because he has an oportunity to implement Minsk aggreements (may be). It will be enough to close this deal and move on

I do not agree with this. how Zelensky can end the war when the security forces and the army are controlled by Avakov and the punitive battalions do not even know who controls?
the support of any government in Ukraine is due to the fact that our countries still have a fairly large turnover. while we trade with ukraine will cooperate ..

Sean.McGivens21 days ago ,

But now Poland and other Central European states were similarly interested in changing their position -- from being Euro-Atlantic frontline states to shifting that line further east

I believe that this is a big reason why Maidan occured. It is also a big reason for the war in Ukraine today. The Poles have had a hand in this issue from the very beginning. Poland is literally an aggressor state at this point, stoking trouble in Ukraine.

America's greatest sin in all of this has been to allow itself to be influenced by Poland and the Baltic states. Just like America allowed itself to be led by the nose by its "allies" in the Syrian War. We're talking about two conflicts that have very little to do with America's best interests, and which could result in disaster (nuclear exchange with Russia) if something goes wrong.

It's absolutely nuts for anyone to think that nuclear equipped Russia would allow Poland and America to have their way in Ukraine, which is virtually Russia's front porch. By supporting our Polish "ally," the US has come close to creating a Cuban Missile Crisis in reverse. In 1963 the Russians provoked America. Since 2014, America has been provoking Russia. It could get much worse.

FromRussiaWithLove Sean.McGivens11 days ago ,
I believe that this is a big reason why Maidan occured. It is also a big reason for the war in Ukraine today. The Poles have had a hand in this issue from the very beginning. Poland is literally an aggressor state at this point, stoking trouble in Ukraine.

but after Maidan, Nuland directly stated that the United States spent 5 billion on "building democracy in Ukraine." The United States invested 5 billion in a coup, but is Poland to blame? why? if Poland had really done that, then western Ukraine would have become part of Poland immediately after the Maidan, but this did not happen. After the Maidan, Biden was photographed in a pride chair, but not the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland;)

Gary Sellars Sean.McGivens21 days ago ,

"In 1963 the Russians provoked America."

Actually the Soviets were mainly responding to secret US basing of missiles in Turkey.

Sean.McGivens Gary Sellars21 days ago ,

Okay, I can see where you're coming from. But still, the Russians were readying to station missiles in Cuba, just miles from America's borders. That means the Russians must have known -- or should have known -- that they were risking war with the US. That's my point.

Now America's doing the same thing as the USSR did in 1963. America is setting the stage to establish bases, radars, and missiles in Ukraine. That's what preparing Ukraine for NATO membership is all about. Therefore, America must know -- or should know -- that it is risking war with Russia. In a major way.

Gary Sellars Sean.McGivens20 days ago • edited ,

Agree with the thrust of your agrument. The US knows it is stoking conflict with their actions (ie Donbass), but since they are not directly in the firing line (barring major escalations) they simply don't care. They want to discomfort and undermine Russia, drive a wedge between Russia and Germany/France, and force the Eurotrash into compliance with US diktat as a demonstration of US power over its minions.

Re the Cuban Missile Crisis, on the balance it wasn't really a climb-down by the Soviets, but it is usually interpreted that way, especially as anti-Krushchev factions in the USSR were succesful in portraying it that way as part of their palace coup. The US remoived its misiles from Turkey, promised not to update them with new ones, and undertook not to repeat any more "Bay of Pigs" attempts at overthrowing Castro by force of arms. All the Soviets needed to do was halt their mobilisation and similarly agree not to base missiles. On the balance, the Soviets played brinkmanship well and won real concessions in exchange for very little. Krushchevs problem was really that he marketted the ploy very poorly and was able to be portrayed as a loser by his political enemies, and Westeners have happily repeated the narratives ever since.

Vladdy Sean.McGivens21 days ago ,

And what? US placed their missiles in every corner of the Globe, including Soviet/Russian borders. Why USSR can't place it's missiles in Cuba?
BTW, what Gary Powers did in his U-2 in the sky above Ekaterinburg 01.05.1960? https://en.wikipedia.org/wi...

Sean.McGivens Vladdy20 days ago ,

My point is that each power is expected to respect the other's buffer zones. That's how the powers have gotten along historically. If and when one side disrespects the other's buffer zone, major trouble is right around the corner.

Generally, in these confrontations between the nuclear superpowers, the side with the less to lose is the first to back down. That side is always the one that has overreached. In 1963 it was the Soviets who overreached. It's looking increasingly clear that since 2014, it's the US that's overreached.

The US will find a graceful way to end the Ukraine-NATO expansion issue, something amounting to a face-saving American retreat from the region. Putin will likely make it easy for America to pull out without loss of prestige.

Vladdy Sean.McGivens20 days ago • edited ,

In general, you are right, but in 60's it was not Soviets, who overreached. It was US planes intervened in Soviet airspace, not vice versa. It was US, who firstly placed missiles in Turkey in 1961, not USSR in Cuba in 1963.

Allalin22 days ago ,

Ukraine is not going anywhere, because of 115 Mrd. outstanding Debt. Ukraine lost 85% of their Industrial Base in the last 5 Years. Most of them working for Russian Companies. Those Companies get Advanced Payments from Russia till 2014 worth about 10 Mrd. for Material and Salaries. That Money is not coming again. Russian Companies replace 90% of all Ukraine deliveries during the last 5 Years - more modern and especially with far better time frames. Ukraine has a minor Cash Reserve of 7 Billion USD.

Emidio Borg22 days ago • edited ,

Whatever happens to Ukraine we can be sure of one thing, through our contributions via the World Bank, the IMF and Obama's loan guarantees, the one million dollars a day paid by U.S taxpayers directly into the pockets of Ukrainian Oligarchs will continue in perpetuity.

I doubt Putin is in any hurry to relieve us of that 'honor' the man is a master of playing the U.S for a sucker.

Sean.McGivens Emidio Borg22 days ago • edited ,

You are correct on most counts. However, I think that Putin wants the US to scale down its Ukraine involvement ASAP. That's because Russia's nightmare is NATO expansion into Ukraine. Therefore, the sooner the US backs away, the less likely Russia will have to fight a future war in order to keep NATO off of its front yard. Nobody, including Putin, wants war.

Ivo22 days ago ,

Ukraine needs internal stability, this means peace treaty with rebels and some kind of minimal agreement with Russia. Country needs to buy time, it is too much to expect to fight war, to do reforms and fight corruption and to develop all at the same time.

NATO expansion to East proved to be big destabilizing factor for Ukraine, its geopolitical situation is difficult. It will always need to balance and make concessions between Eastern and Western interests.

New president looks very promising, hopefully he will be able to bring country back to stability and push it more toward faster economical development and national reconciliation.

J Urie Ivo21 days ago • edited ,

You make some good points regarding stability within the country. The amount now spent on fighting the war in Donbas will not go down as Ukraine will need to continue to rebuild their military to include new fighters and new ships for the navy however the killing will stop. Any agreement made with Putin should be made with eyes wide open as Russia has no honor so agreements are worthless only a potent enough military will guarantee Ukraine's peace.

Peace at any cost is not acceptable and any plan that allows complete autonomy should be a no go, it would be better to just build a wall along the existing line and rid the country of a fifth columnist element. If the plan allows for local elections, local use of Russian, local police forces not military but police that is acceptable. These elections must allow for all residents who resided in the area prior to the war to vote and for all Ukrainian political parties to participate.

Zelenskiy has made corruption a key to his election and it is imperative that he takes some bold action(s) soon to set the tone. I am a little concerned that he has selected some less than pure individuals to be part of his presidential team, apparently he hasn't picked up on how bad the optics are by having a lawyer that worked for Kolomosky as your chief of staff?
Cracking down on the oligarchs would allow Ukraine to have a standard of living like Poland within a very few years and many of the Ukrainians that now work in Poland could come home an make as much money.

The presidential vote proved that at least 73% of Ukrainians agreed that a new beginning was needed hence Zelnskiy being elected. The reason IMHO that "national reconciliation" hasn't been achieved is the continued Russian interference/influence in Ukraine. It hasn't been long enough for Ukraine as an independent nation to come to terms with the past history. This part of the world has seen millions killed over the past 100+ years, the country hasn't come to grips with that there is still finger pointing and until that is dealt with the reconciliation will be difficult.

The desire to join NATO is all on Russia and it's continuous interference in Ukraine. In all reality NATO is a long way off as Ukraine needs to do a lot to bring the country up to NATO standards including in the corruption realm.

Sean.McGivens J Urie21 days ago ,

This part of the world has seen millions killed over the past 100+ years

Ukraine has been used an invasion route by Western aggressors who want to conquer Russia. That's resulted in Russia suffering millions killed in the 20th century, and hundreds of thousands more killed in earlier wars.

You keep failing to see matters from Russia's perspective. You only think about Ukraine's most selfish national interests. You've got to understand that any security arrangement in that part of the world will have to be a shared security plan. It will have to consider and respect Russia's concerns. NATO is not the answer here. Militarization of a Ukraine led by far-right wing nationalists is not the answer either.

Ukraine's only path to peace and security is to accept the status of Finlandization.

Sean.McGivens J Urie21 days ago ,

If the plan allows for local elections, local use of Russian, local police forces not military but police that is acceptable.

It's too late for that. Remember, the Ukrainian ATO invaded Donbass and killed many thousands of innocent local people. For this reason, Donbass will never allow the Ukrainian military onto its soil.

J Urie Sean.McGivens21 days ago ,

Did you read what I said? A police force yes a military force no.

Sean.McGivens J Urie21 days ago ,

Yes, I read what you said. That's why I highlighted "military" in my quote. You are saying that Donbass Russians are expected to allow themselves to be occupied by the Ukrainian military, as if they are conquered, humiliated people. I am saying that Russia and Donbass will never let that happen.

Let's not overlook that it appears very much like the war is ending now, with Ukraine submitting to the terms set by Donbass and Russia. That means Zelensky will have to drink his poison soup and allow the Donbass militia to have exclusive and unrestricted military rights within Donbass, and along the region's borders. That's unavoidable.

J Urie Sean.McGivens21 days ago ,

Even if you go by Minsk II which plainly does not allow for a Separatist Military there is zero chance that Ukraine will agree to anything resembling a "military". This territory will be under Ukrainian sovereignty and the border will be under Ukrainian sovereignty. The autonomy will be for language, education, elections of local councils, cultural endeavors etc...

It is the thugs in charge who are supported by the Kremlin are the ones that envision some quasi country within Ukraine. If you were to go out into the villages the average person wants the war to end and life to go back to as close to what it was before this all started. The thugs in charge know that their power and authority will go away if truly free and fair elections are to be held without Russian and mercenary gun toting thugs walking the streets. They are the ones that are worried as their world will come to an end if real peace comes to past.

Sean.McGivens J Urie20 days ago ,

If you were to go out into the villages the average person wants the war to end and life to go back to as close to what it was before this all started. The thugs in charge know that their power and authority will go away if truly free and fair elections are to be held...

You are in denial of the facts. Respected international polling agencies have taken polls inside the rebel held portion of Donbass. The results confirm that the people there want nothing to do with the Ukrainian government, and that they identify themselves as an extension of Russia.

The only open question among the Donbass people is whether they want to be annexed by Russia (many do), or whether they want to remain in Ukraine as a completely autonomous region, running all of their own affairs (many like this idea too).

But under no circumstances do the Donbass people want the Ukrainian army to enter their territory, establish bases or outposts, and then garrison the border with Russia. Why would the Donbass people have fought for five hard, victorious years only to accept this ignominious outcome? It makes no sense. Donbass and Russia won. Ukraine lost. The winners will not let the losers take military control of their homeland. No possible way.

From the way your posts read, it's obvious you are way, way oversold on anti-Russian propaganda.

J Urie Sean.McGivens20 days ago ,

Who says that the Ukrainian Army is going to go into this area of Donbas? Th border will be secured by Ukrainian Border personnel as it is on every other part of the border. Ukraine is currently decentralizing services and responsibility in the rest of the country withheld control coming from Kyiv. A modified version of that for occupied Donbas to include local elections, language, education and local law enforcement is what they should expect. In exchange Kyiv promises to rebuild destroyed infrastructure and provide economic assistance to the area.
If that isn't good enough then as I said build a wall and cut them lose and let Putin take on the burden which he doesn't want. Money coming form Russia to rebuild will be a long time in coming and what they have now is pretty much what they can expect for the future. Of course the educate and most of the young have left the area an only the poor pensioners who had no where to go are left.

Sean.McGivens J Urie20 days ago ,

Even if you go by Minsk II which plainly does not allow for a Separatist Military there is zero chance that Ukraine will agree to anything resembling a "military"

You're living in a dream world if you think this. The reality is that Ukraine has lost the war. Zelensky wouldn't dare to implement Minsk II unless he were leading a defeated nation, a nation that was throwing in the towel. We're talking about a complete capitulation. That's what Minsk II means.

I am certain that Zelensky fully expects that once Minsk II is implemented, Ukraine will be somehow be maneuvered into accepting that the Donbass military is in charge of Donbass and the abutting section of the Russian-Ukraine frontier.

Most likely, after Donbass holds internationally ratified elections per Minsk II, the newly elected officials will claim that they are officially part of Ukraine's government. From there, they will claim that the Donbass rebel militia, therefore, is officially an extension of Ukraine's national army. Then, finally, the Donbass leaders and Russia will say that "returning control of the border to Ukraine" means, in reality, putting the border under the control of the Donbass militia.

Possibly the Donbass militia will wear Ukrainian army uniforms, just for show. But believe me: there's no way the victors in this war are going to settle for surrendering military control of their territory to a despised, alien military force (i.e., the Ukrainian army).

There's no possible way that Putin, Russia, or the Donbass rebels would have pushed the Minsk II Accords on Ukraine unless it one of the treaty's unstated implications is that the Ukrainian military is ejected from the region permanently. That's what Russia and Donbass fought to achieve. It's unthinkable that they would settle for anything less.

I'm certain that Zelensky and everyone else understands this.

J Urie Sean.McGivens20 days ago ,

It will not happen Minsk II will not be implemented. Th eUkrainian foreign minister already stated what will be the approach in the Normandy talks an edit isn't Minsk II.

Gary Sellars J Urie20 days ago • edited ,

"The thugs in charge know that their power and authority will go away if truly free and fair elections are to be held without Russian and mercenary gun toting thugs walking the streets."

What nonsense. You really think that voters in Donetsk & Lugansk would to reward Kiev authorities with their support in light of the atrocities the "volunteer" battalions have dished out to civilians over the last 5 years???

You can cry about "thugs" or "mercenaries" all you like (in a futile attempt to de-legitimise the views of the seperatists) but your bias is clear when you whitewash the crimes of Banderites and Neo-Nazis. Or maybe you would prefer to adopt the US MSM ploy and simply pretend that these factions don't exist, or that no warcrimes have been committed?

Sean.McGivens Gary Sellars20 days ago ,

You really think that voters in Donetsk & Lugansk would to reward Kiev authorities...

You make a valid point. I'd add also that the rebel controlled areas are the parts of Donetsk and Lugansk where the ethnic Russian demographic majorities are heaviest. That means there's virtually zero chance that any elections held in that zone will favor Kiev.

Sean.McGivens J Urie21 days ago ,

...as Ukraine will need to continue to rebuild their military to include new fighters and new ships for the navy...

Impossible. That's because there aren't enough Ukrainians who feel nationalistic enough to be willing to lay down their lives in war for Ukraine. The reason for this problem is that a huge minority of Ukrainians are ethnic Russians and pro-Russian Ukrainians who won't fight Russia. Many other Ukrainian people are ambivalent about national identity, and will not honor their military obligations.

In some ways, Ukraine's military problem today is akin to that suffered by the Austro-Hungarian Empire in WW1. The Austro-Hungarian state was multi-national, and much of its population did not share the political and national values of the rulers in Vienna and Budapest.

Multi-national countries always have trouble fielding political reliable militaries. Even the Soviet Union, a superpower, had a bottom one-third of military recruits (most from Cental Asia) that simply weren't politically reliable.

Ukraine's military future looks very grim. Only if Kiev grants independence to the non-Ukrainian regions will the country finally have a population of people who share the same national and political values. That will have to precede Ukraine building any kind of competent army.

Sean.McGivens J Urie21 days ago ,

The presidential vote proved that at least 73% of Ukrainians agreed that a new beginning was needed hence Zelnskiy being elected.

That Ukrainian majority is exhausted and demoralized by the Donbass War. They want peace at any cost, even if that means granting virtual independence to Donbass. Even if that means allowing Russia to use Donbass as an agent through which it can influence Ukraine's domestic political situation. That's the "new beginning" that Ukrainians have in mind.

There's no way Zelensky can be in power while simultaneously continuing the Donbass War. Ukrainians elected him to get the country out of that agony.

J Urie Sean.McGivens21 days ago ,

My wife is Ukrainian and they will not accept Russia running things through a Fifth column in Donbas. They might as well just wall it off and be done with it makes zero sense to allow your rendition.

[Nov 05, 2019] The Empire, Trump and Intra-Ruling Class Conflict Dissident Voice

Notable quotes:
"... On the other hand, as Targ explains, are the Trumpian, "America First" nationalist capitalists. This faction of the ruling class, while also supporting global dominance and a permanent war economy (military-related spending will consume 48 percent of the 2020 federal budget) favors trade restrictions, economic nationalism, building walls and anti-immigrant policies. Although Trump is inconsistent, bumbling and sometimes contradictory, he's departed from the neocon's agenda by making overtures to North Korea and Russia, voicing doubts about NATO as an expensive relic from the past that is being dangerously misused outside of Europe, not being afraid to speak bluntly to EU allies, frequently mentioning ending our "endless, ridiculous and costly wars," asserting that the U.S. is badly overextended and saying "The job of our military is not to police the world." ..."
"... This is a high stakes intra-ruling class struggle and neither side cares a fig about what's best for the American people or those beyond our borders. At this point it's impossible to know how it will play out but grasping the underlying dynamics explains much about current U.S. domestic and foreign policy. This understanding may, in turn, point toward how opponents of America's oligarchic elites can most expeditiously use their time and energy. ..."
"... Foremost is the fact that Trump's intra-elite enemies despise him not for being a neo-fascistic demagogue, a despicable human being devoid of a conscience, or for the brouhaha over Ukraine. Their animus is rooted in the conviction that Trump has been a foot dragging imperialist, an equivocal caretaker of empire, unreliable pull-the-trigger Commander-in-chief (e.g.Iran) and transparent truth-teller about the real motives behind U.S. foreign policy. These are his unforgivable sins and if he's impeached or denied the Oval Office by some other means, they will be real reasons. ..."
"... One of Trump's most traitorous acts is that he's been consistent, at least rhetorically, in being opposed to U.S. troops being killed in "endless wars." One need not agree with his reasons to find merit in this worthy objective. His motives probably include Nativism, racism, foreign investment stability, the wars causing more refugees to come here, his massive ego, appeals to his voting base, or simply because he believes both he and the "real America" would be better off. For him, the latter two are synonymous. ..."
"... For this treachery, those arrayed against Trump include at least, the Pentagon-CIA-armaments lobby, MSM editors like those at CNN, The New York Times ..."
"... The Washington Post ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
Nov 05, 2019 | dissidentvoice.org

Over the past few months President Trump has unilaterally by Tweet and telephone begun to dismantle the U.S. military's involvement in the Middle East. The irony is amazing, because in a general overarching narrative sense, this is what the marginalized antiwar movement has been trying to do for decades. 1

Prof. Harry Targ, in his important piece "United States foreign policy: yesterday, today, and tomorrow," (MR online, October 23, 2919), reminds us of the factional dispute among U.S. foreign policy elites over how to maintain the U.S. empire. On the one hand are the neoliberal global capitalists who favor military intervention, covert operations, regime change, strengthening NATO, thrusting China into the enemy vacuum and re-igniting the Cold War with Russia. All of this is concealed behind lofty rhetoric about humanitarianism, protecting human rights, promoting democracy, fighting terrorism and American exceptionalism. Their mantra is Madeleine Albright's description of the United States as the world's "one indispensable nation."

On the other hand, as Targ explains, are the Trumpian, "America First" nationalist capitalists. This faction of the ruling class, while also supporting global dominance and a permanent war economy (military-related spending will consume 48 percent of the 2020 federal budget) favors trade restrictions, economic nationalism, building walls and anti-immigrant policies. Although Trump is inconsistent, bumbling and sometimes contradictory, he's departed from the neocon's agenda by making overtures to North Korea and Russia, voicing doubts about NATO as an expensive relic from the past that is being dangerously misused outside of Europe, not being afraid to speak bluntly to EU allies, frequently mentioning ending our "endless, ridiculous and costly wars," asserting that the U.S. is badly overextended and saying "The job of our military is not to police the world."

I would add that Trump is also an "American exceptionalist" but ascribes a very different provincial meaning to the term, something closer to a crabbed provincialism, an insular "Shining City on a Hill," surrounded by a moat.

This is a high stakes intra-ruling class struggle and neither side cares a fig about what's best for the American people or those beyond our borders. At this point it's impossible to know how it will play out but grasping the underlying dynamics explains much about current U.S. domestic and foreign policy. This understanding may, in turn, point toward how opponents of America's oligarchic elites can most expeditiously use their time and energy.

Foremost is the fact that Trump's intra-elite enemies despise him not for being a neo-fascistic demagogue, a despicable human being devoid of a conscience, or for the brouhaha over Ukraine. Their animus is rooted in the conviction that Trump has been a foot dragging imperialist, an equivocal caretaker of empire, unreliable pull-the-trigger Commander-in-chief (e.g.Iran) and transparent truth-teller about the real motives behind U.S. foreign policy. These are his unforgivable sins and if he's impeached or denied the Oval Office by some other means, they will be real reasons.

One of Trump's most traitorous acts is that he's been consistent, at least rhetorically, in being opposed to U.S. troops being killed in "endless wars." One need not agree with his reasons to find merit in this worthy objective. His motives probably include Nativism, racism, foreign investment stability, the wars causing more refugees to come here, his massive ego, appeals to his voting base, or simply because he believes both he and the "real America" would be better off. For him, the latter two are synonymous.

For this treachery, those arrayed against Trump include at least, the Pentagon-CIA-armaments lobby, MSM editors like those at CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post , NSA, Zionist neocons, the DNC, establishment Democrats, some hawkish Republican senators, many lifestyle liberals still harboring a sentimental faith in American goodness and even EU and NATO elites who've benefited from being faithful lackeys to Washington's global imperialism.

In a recent interview, Major Danny Sjursen, retired army officer and West Point instructor with tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, notes that "The last bipartisan issue in American politics today is warfare, forever warfare." In terms of the military, that means " even the hint of getting out of the establishment interventionist status quo is terrifying to these generals, terrifying to these former intelligence officers from the Obama administration who seem to live on MSNBC now." Sjursen adds that many of these generals (like Mattis) have already found lucrative work with the military industrial complex. 2

In response to Trump's announcement about removing some U.S. troops from the region, we find an op-ed in The New York Times by Admiral William McRaven where he states that Trump "should be out of office sooner than later. It's time for a new person in the Oval Office, Republican, Democrat or Independent. The fate of the nation depends on it." The unmistakeable whiff of support for a soft coup is chilling. If Trump can't be contained, he must be deposed one way or another.

And this is all entirely consistent with the fact that the national security state was totally caught off guard by Trump's victory in 2016. For them, Trump was a loose cannon, erratic and ultra-confrontational, someone they couldn't control. Their favored candidate was the ever reliable, Wall Street-friendly, war-mongering Hillary Clinton or even Jeb Bush. Today, barring a totally chastised Trump, the favorites include a fading Biden, Pence, a reprise of Clinton or someone in her mold but without the baggage.

For Trump's establishment enemies, another closely related failing is his habit of blurting out inconvenient truths. I'm not the first person to say that Trump is the most honest president in my lifetime. Yes, he lies most of the time but as left analyst Paul Street puts it, "Trump is too clumsily and childishly brazen in laying bare the moral nothingness and selfishness of the real material-historical bourgeois society that lives beneath the veils of 'Western civilization' and 'American democracy.'" 3

All his predecessors took pains or were coached to conceal their imperialist actions behind declarations of humanitarian interventionism but Trump has pulled the curtains back to reveal the ugly truths about U.S. foreign policy. As such, the carefully calibrated propaganda fed to the public in endless reiterations over a lifetime is jeopardized whenever Trump utters a transparent truth. This is intolerable.

Here are a few examples culled from speeches, interviews and press reports:

As noted earlier, the endgame is not in sight. Trump seems without a clear strategy for moving forward and from all reports he can't depend on his current coterie of White House advisors to produce one. Further, he may lack the necessary political in-fight skills or tenacity to see it through. When some of his Republican "allies" savaged his announcement to withdraw troops from Syria, he backtracked and made some, at least cosmetic concessions. However, the fact that Trump's position remains popular with his voter base and especially with veterans of these wars will give pause to Republicans. If some finally join the Democrats in voting for impeachment over Ukraine-gate they may minimize re-election risks by hiding their real motives behind pious claims -- as will most Democrats -- about "protecting the constitution and the rule of law".

Now, lest I be misunderstood, nothing I've written here should be construed as support for Donald Trump or that I believe he's antiwar. Trump is aberration only in that his brand of Western imperialism means that the victims remain foreigners while U.S. soldiers remain out of harm's way. He knows that boots on the ground can quickly descend into bodies in the ground and unlike his opponents, coffins returning to Dover Air Base are not worth risking his personal ambitions. This is clearly something to build upon. We don't know if Trump views drones, cyber warfare and proxies as substitutes but his intra-elite opponents remain extremely dubious. In any event, that's another dimension to expose and challenge.

Finally, we know the ruling class in a capitalist democracy -- an oxymoron -- expends enormous time and resources to obtain a faux "consent of the governed" through misinformation conveyed via massive, lifelong ideological indoctrination. For them, citizen's policing themselves is more efficient than coercion and precludes raising questions that might delegitimize the system. Obviously force and fear are hardly unknown -- witness the mass incarceration and police murder of black citizens -- but one only has to look around to see how successful this method of control has been.

Nevertheless, as social historian Margaret Jacoby wisely reminds us, "No institution is safe if people simply stop believing the assumptions that justify its existence." 4 Put another way, the system simply can't accommodate certain "dangerous ideas."

Today, we see promising political fissures developing, especially within the rising generation, and it's our responsibility to help deepen and widen these openings through whatever means at our disposal.

[Nov 04, 2019] The Taliban wiped out poppy production in 2000. Americans retored it

Nov 04, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Stephanie , 03 November 2019 at 09:57 AM

Gosh, the Taliban wiped out poppy production in 2000. The Twin Towers were destroyed in 2001. Bush (son of CIA Bush) invaded Afghanistan to... well, to do what? To defeat the Taliban? Why? To restore poppy production? To find bin Laden? Didn't really do that. After all he was in Pakistan. And what has happened to poppy farming since we invaded? Booming. For 17 years. Those farming families are doing really well under the protection of U.S. troops. Just like the oil families in Syria that are protected by U.S. troops. Now, Trump seems to be throwing a spanner in all this. Of course, "We came, we saw, he died [giggle, giggle]" Clinton would have never committed Trump's crimes. Trump's just a loose cannon.

Angleton, quoting Jesus, said "In my Father's house are many mansions."

I guess we know which mansion Brennan inhabits.


May 20, 2001
The first American narcotics experts to go to Afghanistan under Taliban rule have concluded that the movement's ban on opium-poppy cultivation appears to have wiped out the world's largest crop in less than a year, officials said today.

The American findings confirm earlier reports from the United Nations drug control program that Afghanistan, which supplied about three-quarters of the world's opium and most of the heroin reaching Europe, had ended poppy planting in one season.

But the eradication of poppies has come at a terrible cost to farming families, [A TERRIBLE COST TO FARMING FAMILIES, OH, THOSE POOR FARMING FAMILIES]and experts say it will not be known until the fall planting season begins whether the Taliban can continue to enforce it.

''It appears that the ban has taken effect,'' said Steven Casteel, assistant administrator for intelligence at the Drug Enforcement Administration in Washington.

The findings came in part from a Pakistan-based agent of the administration who was one of the two Americans on the team just returned from eight days in the poppy-growing areas of Afghanistan.

Tue 11 Sep 2001: 9/11

Tue 25 Sep 2001:
In a dramatic and little-noticed reversal of policy, the Taliban have told farmers in Afghanistan that they are free to start planting poppy seeds again if the Americans decide to launch a military attack.
Drug enforcement agencies last night confirmed that they expect to see a massive resumption of opium cultivation inside Afghanistan, previously the world's biggest supplier of heroin, in the next few weeks.

The Taliban virtually eradicated Afghanistan's opium crop last season after an edict by Mullah Mohammad Omar, the Taliban leader.

In July last year he said that growing opium was "un-Islamic" and warned that anyone caught planting seeds would be severely punished.

Taliban soldiers enforced the ruling two summers ago and made thousands of villagers across Afghanistan plough up their fields. Earlier this year UN observers agreed that Afghanistan's opium crop had been completely wiped out.

[Nov 03, 2019] US House of Representatives votes to back impeachment inquiry by Patrick Martin Some interesting points from Trotskyites site Some interesting points from Trotskyites site

Notable quotes:
"... The main difference is that the right of the president to have his own attorneys attend and participate at sessions of the Judiciary Committee is conditional on Trump dropping his order that executive branch officials refuse to testify before the various House probes or supply documents to them. ..."
"... Already, on Thursday, the Intelligence Committee took hours of testimony from Bolton's top deputy for Russia and Eastern Europe, Timothy Morrison. Morrison was brought on the National Security Council by Bolton with main responsibility for White House policy on weapons of mass destruction. He spearheaded the drive by the Trump administration to withdraw from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, which both he and Bolton vehemently opposed, in order to give the US military the green light to develop nuclear missiles that could target China from US bases like Guam, other US-controlled islands, and ships in the Pacific and Indian Oceans. ..."
"... There are other indications that Bolton is playing a key role behind the scenes in the gathering storm over impeachment. Two Democratic senators have sent a letter to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer seeking details on the Trump administration's decision not to restore Ukrainian access to the "generalized system of preferences" (GSP), a program that benefits developing countries. The letter follows a Washington Post report October 24 that Bolton had warned Lighthizer not to seek restoration of benefits to Ukraine because Trump would not approve it, as part of his effort to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate the Bidens. Given the content of the article, the most likely source for the leak is Bolton or one of his top aides. ..."
"... General Joseph F. Dunford, who retired only a month ago as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, issued a statement to CNN Wednesday defending Colonel Vindman against attacks from Fox News and other ultra-right media, calling him "a professional, competent, patriotic, and loyal officer" who "has made an extraordinary contribution to the security of our nation in both peacetime and combat." ..."
"... Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan defended the former ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, and agreed that she was the victim of a smear campaign by Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who helped engineer her recall from her post in Kiev because she was an obstacle to the effort to dig up dirt on the Bidens. ..."
"... Washington Post ..."
"... Boot focuses on two decisions that have most provoked the CIA-Pentagon-State Department axis of evil: holding up aid to Ukraine, thus undermining military operations against pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine, and Trump's partial pullout of US forces in Syria. ..."
"... Boot is, of course, a fervent supporter of impeachment, because he sees that as a step towards reversing course on foreign policy and adopting a more aggressive and militaristic US role in the Middle East. His ranting only underscores the reality of the political conflict in Washington. ..."
Nov 01, 2019 | www.wsws.org

By a near party-line vote of 232-196, the US House of Representatives voted Thursday for a resolution laying out the procedures for the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump that was begun September 24. The resolution sets the stage for the holding of public, televised hearings and the likely drawing up of articles of impeachment in the course of the next month.

Only two Democrats out of 233 in the House voted against the resolution, Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey and Colin Peterson of Minnesota. Only one member elected as a Republican, Justin Amash of Michigan, voted for the resolution. He left the Republican Party in July because of his support for impeachment, and he now sits as an independent.

The sharp divisions over the resolution were reflected in the hour-long debate, in which Republican defenders of Trump denounced the impeachment inquiry with hysterical anticommunist rhetoric, calling it "Soviet-style" and a "show trial." Democrats wrapped themselves in the American flag -- or displayed it on a large placard as they spoke, in the case of Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- and denounced Trump for endangering US "national security."

The procedure laid down in the eight-page resolution, drafted Wednesday by the House Rules Committee, gives an outsized role to the House Intelligence Committee, which is to begin public hearings sometime in November at which many of the witnesses who have testified behind closed doors will be asked to do so again in front of television cameras.

The Intelligence Committee, along with four other committees conducting investigations into various aspects of President Trump's personal, business and official conduct, will report its findings to the Judiciary Committee, which would actually draw up any articles of impeachment, vote on them, and send them to the full House for final action.

The overall procedures, including provisions for extended questioning of witnesses by representatives of both the majority and minority parties, conform generally to similar measures adopted during the impeachment hearings against President Richard Nixon in 1974 and President Bill Clinton in 1998.

The main difference is that the right of the president to have his own attorneys attend and participate at sessions of the Judiciary Committee is conditional on Trump dropping his order that executive branch officials refuse to testify before the various House probes or supply documents to them.

In the event of continued presidential stonewalling of the House committees, the resolution provides that the chair of the Judiciary Committee "shall have the discretion to impose appropriate remedies, including by denying specific requests by the president or his counsel under these procedures to call or question witnesses."

In other words, if Trump continues to block testimony and evidence, his attorneys will not be allowed to cross-examine those witnesses who do appear despite the full-throated opposition of the White House. Given that many officials and former officials of the Trump administration have agreed to testify under subpoena, this could become a significant issue.

The special role of the House Intelligence Committee underscores the reactionary nature of the Democrats' impeachment drive. Trump is being targeted, not for his real crimes as president, attacking immigrants, undermining democratic rights, and asserting quasi-dictatorial powers, but for his foreign policy actions that are opposed by a substantial section of the US military-intelligence apparatus.

The witnesses testifying before the closed-door sessions of the Intelligence Committee are not immigrant mothers, cruelly and in some cases permanently separated from their children, or the victims of Trump-inspired fascist gunmen like the El Paso mass shooter. Instead, they are an array of State Department and military officials at odds with Trump's efforts to browbeat the government of Ukraine into supplying him with political dirt against former vice president Joe Biden, viewed by Trump as a likely opponent in the 2020 election.

Particularly significant in that context is the announcement that the Intelligence Committee has set a November 7 date for the testimony of John Bolton, Trump's former national security advisor. It is not clear whether Bolton will testify, but the potential alignment of the Democrats and one of the most notorious war criminals in the American government is a clear demonstration of the reactionary motives of the Democrats, who are acting as front men for rabid warmongers in the national-security state.

Already, on Thursday, the Intelligence Committee took hours of testimony from Bolton's top deputy for Russia and Eastern Europe, Timothy Morrison. Morrison was brought on the National Security Council by Bolton with main responsibility for White House policy on weapons of mass destruction. He spearheaded the drive by the Trump administration to withdraw from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) treaty, which both he and Bolton vehemently opposed, in order to give the US military the green light to develop nuclear missiles that could target China from US bases like Guam, other US-controlled islands, and ships in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Morrison is the highest-ranking Trump aide to provide evidence to the Intelligence Committee, and he announced his impending departure from the White House on Wednesday night, hours before he was sworn in as a witness. According to leaks to the press from the closed-door hearing, Morrison largely confirmed the testimony of other witnesses, particularly Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, that there was a direct quid pro quo involved in US policy towards Ukraine: Trump demanded a public investigation into the Democratic Party and the Bidens, in return for military aid and a visit by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to the White House.

There are other indications that Bolton is playing a key role behind the scenes in the gathering storm over impeachment. Two Democratic senators have sent a letter to US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer seeking details on the Trump administration's decision not to restore Ukrainian access to the "generalized system of preferences" (GSP), a program that benefits developing countries. The letter follows a Washington Post report October 24 that Bolton had warned Lighthizer not to seek restoration of benefits to Ukraine because Trump would not approve it, as part of his effort to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate the Bidens. Given the content of the article, the most likely source for the leak is Bolton or one of his top aides.

There were further indications of support for the impeachment drive -- or at least for the national-security officials who have come forward to testify against Trump -- from the top levels of the military and diplomatic establishment. General Joseph F. Dunford, who retired only a month ago as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, issued a statement to CNN Wednesday defending Colonel Vindman against attacks from Fox News and other ultra-right media, calling him "a professional, competent, patriotic, and loyal officer" who "has made an extraordinary contribution to the security of our nation in both peacetime and combat."

And in testimony Wednesday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which is expected to confirm his nomination to be US Ambassador to Russia, Deputy Secretary of State John Sullivan defended the former ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, and agreed that she was the victim of a smear campaign by Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who helped engineer her recall from her post in Kiev because she was an obstacle to the effort to dig up dirt on the Bidens.

Asked whether it was "ever appropriate for the president to use his office to solicit investigations into his domestic political opponents," Sullivan replied, "I don't think that would be in accord with our values." Given Trump's frequent declarations that his telephone conversation with Zelensky, in which he made just such a request, was "perfect," Sullivan's statement is extraordinary. It suggests an unprecedented degree of open revolt against Trump within the national-security establishment.

The real motives of the impeachment drive were spelled out with particular frenzy in a column by neoconservative Max Boot, who, like Bolton, has been an all-out supporter of US military aggression in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and throughout the world. Writing in the Washington Post , under the headline, "More Trump gifts to Russia," he declares, "Trump is bringing the United States to its knees and making Russia great again."

Boot focuses on two decisions that have most provoked the CIA-Pentagon-State Department axis of evil: holding up aid to Ukraine, thus undermining military operations against pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine, and Trump's partial pullout of US forces in Syria.

He writes: "Russian soldiers are entering U.S. bases and taking up the joint patrolling duties with the Turkish army that U.S. troops had been performing until recently. The fate of Syria was settled not in Washington but in Sochi -- Putin's favorite Black Sea resort. Trump has given Russia what it has sought for decades: a leading role in the Middle East. This is the biggest geopolitical shift in the region since 1972 when Egypt's Anwar Sadat expelled Soviet advisers and aligned with Washington."

Boot is, of course, a fervent supporter of impeachment, because he sees that as a step towards reversing course on foreign policy and adopting a more aggressive and militaristic US role in the Middle East. His ranting only underscores the reality of the political conflict in Washington.

... ... ...

[Nov 03, 2019] No true war is bad

Nov 03, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

by John Quiggin on October 13, 2019 On Facebook, my frined Timothy Scriven pointed to an opinion piece by classics professor Ian Morris headlined In the long run, wars make us safer and richer It's pushing a book with the clickbaity title War! What is it Good For? Conflict and the Progress of Civilization from Primates to Robots .". Timothy correctly guessed that I wouldn't like it.

Based on the headline, I was expecting a claim along the lines "wars stimulate technological progress" which I refuted (to my own satisfaction at any rate) in Economics in Two Lessons" . But the argument is much stranger than this. The claim is that war, despite its brutality created big states, like the Roman empire, which then delivered peace and prosperity.

For the classical world at 100 CE or so, the era on which Morris is an expert, that argument seemed pretty convincing. As the famous Life of Brian sketch suggests, Roman rule delivered a lot of benefits to its conquered provinces.

The next 1900 years or so present a bit of a problem, though. There have been countless wars in that time, and no trend towards bigger states. On the contrary two or three dozen states (depending on how you count them) now occupy the territory of the former Roman Empire.

You could cut the number down a bit by treating the European Union as a new empire, but then you have an even bigger problem. The EU was not formed through war, but through a determination to avoid it. Whatever you think about the EU in other respects, this goal has been achieved.

Morris avoids the problem by a "no true Scotsman" argument. He admits in passing that the 1000 years of war following the high point of Rome had the effect of breaking down larger, safer societies into smaller, more dangerous ones, but returns with relief to the era of true wars, in which big states always win. That story works, roughly, until 1914, when the empires he admires destroyed themselves, killing millions in the process.

After that, the argument descends into Pinker-style nonsense. While repeating the usual stats about the decline in violent deaths, Morris mentions in passing that a nuclear war could cause billions of deaths. He doesn't consider the obvious anthropic fallacy problem – if such a war had happened, there would not be any op-eds in the Washington Post discussing the implications for life expectancy.

I haven't read the book, and don't intend to. If someone can't present a 700 word summary of their argument without looking silly, they shouldn't write opinion pieces. But, for what its worth, FB friends who have read it agree that it's not very good.


William Meyer 10.13.19 at 12:31 pm (no link)

I have not read the book in question, so I don't know if the author made this point: "Since violence or implicit violence is how we overcome essentially all collective action problems as humans, war probably does belong in the human toolkit." Obviously it would be better if we could find more and better alternatives to war, and remove the obvious glitches in the alternatives (e.g., representative democracy, single-party states, etc.) we have tried in the past. So I find it odd as I get old that so little energy/research/academic effort is devoted by the human race to finding better means of collective decision making. Clearly our current abilities in this field are completely inadequate. I ponder if this is because we are incapable of doing better by some inherent flaw in our makeup or if it is because, as in some many areas of life, the wicked work tirelessly to maintain the systems that enrich and empower them. I suspect I'll never find out.
Omega Centauri 10.13.19 at 4:33 pm (no link)
There might be a case to be made for empire building conquest advancing human society. I think it was primarily by forcing the mixing of cultures which otherwise would have been relatively isolated from each other. Also empires tended to create safe internal trade routes, the Silk Road was made possible by the Mongol empire.

At least the authors of books about such empires like to state that over a timespan of centuries that empire creation was a net positive.

Orange Watch 10.13.19 at 7:07 pm (no link)
Tim Worstall and Dipper's suggestion that the EU is borne of war is mostly just a failure to take Morris's claim on its unsophisticated face and instead assume it contains subtle complexity that is obviously missing if you read the article itself:

This happened because about 10,000 years ago, the winners of wars began incorporating the losers into larger societies. The victors found that the only way to make these larger societies work was by developing stronger governments; and one of the first things these governments had to do, if they wanted to stay in power, was suppress violence among their subjects.

For the EU to have been a result of war in the sense that Morris means, it would have to have been forcibly formed in 1945 by the US/UK/Russia forcibly incorporating Europe into it. When Morris states "wars make us stronger and richer" he very simply means wars of conquest are long-term net positives. He doesn't mean something subtle about nations banding together to forestall further war; he bluntly means conquerors gluing together their conquests into empires and then liberally applying boot leather to necks.

Mark Brady 10.13.19 at 7:56 pm (no link)
John Quiggin is, of course, well aware of this quotation, but some of you may not.

"Though some of them would disdain to say that there are net benefits in small acts of destruction, they see almost endless benefits in enormous acts of destruction. They tell us how much better off economically we all are in war than in peace. They see "miracles of production" which it requires a war to achieve. And they see a postwar world made certainly prosperous by an enormous "accumulated" or "backed up" demand. In Europe they joyously count the houses, the whole cities that have been leveled to the ground and that "will have to be replaced." In America they count the houses that could not be built during the war, the nylon stockings that could not be supplied, the worn-out automobiles and tires, the obsolescent radios and refrigerators. They bring together formidable totals.

"It is merely our old friend, the broken-window fallacy, in new clothing, and grown fat beyond recognition. This time it is supported by a whole bundle of related fallacies. It confuses need with demand."

Henry Hazlitt, Economics in One Lesson, Chapter 3, "The Blessings of Destruction."

Alex SL 10.13.19 at 8:37 pm (no link)
On one side, AFAIK the last few centuries of war in Europe have indeed seen a reduction of the number of states. Yes, the trend was partly reversed since 1914, but never to the degree of splintering that existed in the middle ages.

On the other side, even the widely accepted cases of supposedly 'beneficial' empires such as the Romans bringing the Pax Romana and the Mongols allowing far-reaching trade and travel need to be seen against the devastation they caused to make their victories possible. The Romans, for example, committed genocide in Gaul and Carthage, and they enslaved millions.

Best case argument in my eyes is that a very successful war is beneficial because it stops continuous smaller wars, which is still not exactly the same as a general "war is beneficial". Why not just create institutional arrangements that avoid wars between small nations in the first place?

fran6 10.13.19 at 9:26 pm (no link)
Here's another personality who's also unfazed by the evils of war (although, she does wish more folks were "kind" to each other):

https://www.youtube.com/embed/EsWSh8kPMfg?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent

Barry 10.13.19 at 10:40 pm ( 18 )
Tim Worstall: "The EU came into existence in 1992, neatly coinciding with the Yugoslav unpleasantnesses."

You might want to look at the time between then and WWII.

You also might want to check the membership in the EU in 1992, and see which state(s) were not in it (hint – Yugoslavia).

John Quiggin 10.13.19 at 11:36 pm ( 19 )
Stephen @11 Say what? Are you suggesting that the Soviet bloc was part of the EU? As both your comment and Tim Worstall's unwittingly illustrate, the fact that the EU has been entirely peaceful since its creation (by contrast with non-EU Europe) is not because Europeans suddenly became pacifists.
Salazar 10.14.19 at 12:39 am ( 20 )
Sorry if I have a hard time getting Morris' argument, but: towards the end, be seems to be saying the world requires a "Globocop" like the US to ensure its prosperity. But how does that relate to his wider point about the benefits of war? Does Morris believe the hegemon owes it to itself, and to the rest of the world, to wage permanent war?
Tabasco 10.14.19 at 1:23 am ( 21 )
"the EU has been entirely peaceful since its creation"

Spain and Portugal are still arguing the 200+ year border dispute over Olivenza/Olivença, but it hasn't reached Kashmir levels (yet).

Ed 10.14.19 at 2:34 am ( 22 )
Morris sold out. This was evident in his book comparing the progress of China and Europe, though that book made excellent points in between the fluff and is well worth reading. But he is well versed enough in Chinese history to be aware of the ultimate example of armies conquering and bringing peace to a large area, which happens repeatedly in Chinese history.

Actually, Chinese history itself shows that the opposite argument has more support, that instead of war being valuable because one powerful country will conquer a large area and bring peace to it, its valuable because competition between states who are worried about other states getting a jump on them turns out to be valuable to progress. Large continental empires, including the Roman one as well, tended to stagnate in terms of culture and technology and become correct.

MFB 10.15.19 at 7:18 am (no link)
Well, the opinion-piece was published on Jeff Bezos' blog. Oligarchs are naturally in favour of centralised power and therefore of empires (so long as they are at the apex thereof, which they usually are). The best way to build an empire is through war.

Of course, the author has to say "despite Hitler, Stalin and Mao", for ideological reasons. Actually, Hitler built his empire largely through the threat of war rather than through war itself; once he had actually started the war, he antagonised three more powerful empires than his own and his empire was then crushed. As for Stalin, he actually did various double-back-somersaults to avoid getting into wars, and the "empire" which he built in Eastern Europe as a result of winning a war he didn't want did not sustain itself. And of course Mao didn't start any wars at all -- his name just had to be thrown in for reactionary reasons.

It is true that the Spanish, Portuguese, French and British empires were built upon war. But where are they now? The United States fought a lot of wars against its indigenous people, but frankly it would still have been a global superpower if it had simply sidestepped most of them, at least from about 1865 onward.

An interesting question: can it be that a professor of Classics doesn't actually have to understand the concept of evidence-based argument in any case, because everything has already been said on the subject and all you have to do is cherry-pick other people's statements? Because that seems to be how that silly article reads.

And yes, the whole thing reeks of the better angels propaganda. Let's not forget, by the way, that various members of the EU -- Britain, France, Italy et al -- have launched brutally murderous wars elsewhere, and the fact that they don't fight among themselves doesn't make them peaceful or moral entities.

Neville Morley 10.15.19 at 9:47 am (no link)
@TheSophist #25: that was mentioned as a joke rather than self-publicity, but if you're really interested: The Roman Empire: roots of imperialism (Pluto Press, 2020). Obviously books about the Roman Empire are ten a penny; my main claim for this one, besides its being less apologetic and/or gung-ho than most, is that I try to integrate the historical reality with its reception, i.e. how people have subsequently deployed Rome as an example or model.
Bill Benzon 10.15.19 at 12:44 pm (no link)
Maybe the Roman Empire delivered on peace, but prosperity is a bit more complicated. Some years ago David Hays wrote a book on the history of technology. One of the things he did was make a back-of-the-envelope estimate of material welfare at different levels of development. He concluded that, while civilization has always been a good deal for the elite, it's been rather iffy for peasants and workers. It's only during the Industrial Evolution that the standard of living at the lower end of society rose above that of hunter-gatherers. So, the prosperity delivered by the Roman Empire went mostly to the elite, not the peasantry.

I've excerpted the relevant section of Hays's book .

steven t johnson 10.16.19 at 8:06 pm (no link)
Peter Erwin@43 wanted the Nazis to roll right up to the eastern border of Poland, etc. etc. So did Hitler. And although I'm quite reluctant to read minds, especially dead one, I will nevertheless guarantee the move into the Baltics was seen as a blow to his plans, even if accepted for temporary advantage. You must always see who hates Stalin for beating Hitler, and those rare few who object to his real crimes.

And, Erwin thinks Chinese troops being in Korea with permission is an aggression, while US troops closing on Chinese borders is not. The US still isn't out of Korea, but China is, but he can't figure out who the aggressor is.

Really, Peter Erwin really says it all. The maddest ant-Communist propaganda is now official.

MFB 10.17.19 at 9:02 am (no link)
I don't want to unnecessarily dump on Peter Erwin, because I don't believe in kicking disadvantaged children, but if he reads the original post he will notice that it was talking about international wars, not civil wars. I'll admit the invasion of Finland (and of the Baltic states and Poland) but those were fairly obviously ways of strengthening the USSR's position in order to discourage a German invasion, and all took place within the boundaries of the former Russian Empire which Stalin undoubtedly saw as the default position.

As to Mao, he didn't start the Korean war (as Erwin unwillingly admits) and all the other wars except for the invasion of Vietnam were civil wars since they entailed moving into Chinese-controlled territory which had broken away during the main civil war. I'll admit that Vietnam was a problem, but then, since Mao had been dead for some time by then, it's would be hard for Erwin to blame him except for the fact that Erwin clearly lives on Planet Bizarro.

Z 10.17.19 at 9:05 am (no link)
@John Quiggin The claim is that war, despite its brutality created big states, like the Roman empire, which then delivered peace and prosperity

I don't think this is an intellectually generous summary of the arguments, as presented in the article.

The author himself summarizes it as "war made states, and states made peace", and if it is indeed true that the author often speaks of "larger, more organized societies" there is a strong implication that for a society to be "large" in the sense discussed in the article, it is not really necessary that it be territorially very wide (the most clear cut indication of that is that the author refers to the European states of the 1600s as "big, settled states" while they all were geographically tiny at the time). So the point of the author, if interpreted with intellectual honesty, seems to me to be twofold: 1) that war has been a crucial factor in the formation of complex, organized states and societies and 2) that these complex, organized states and societies brought with them so many positive things that the wars required to form them were worth it.

The second point is pure Pinker. I consider it logically meaningless, myself (it ultimately relies on the concept that History proceeds like an individual who is choosing a pair of shoes) and morally repugnant (it is not hard to see who will be pleased to have a rhetorical tool that can justify any atrocity by the long term gains it will provide humanity – indeed, it is instructive in that respect to read SS internal papers on when and why children should be executed with their parents, and how to select people for that task: contrary to what could be guessed, the manual recommends the soldiers who appear to have a strong sense of empathy and morality, with the idea that they will those who will most strongly endorse the "by doing this abominable act, we are sacrificing ourselves on behalf of future generations" thesis).

The first point, however, appears to me to be broadly correct descriptively. Extracting an interesting thesis out of it requires much more work than is indicated by the article, however (I consider Ertman's Birth of the Levianthan an example of that kind of extra work done successfully).

Z 10.17.19 at 9:30 am ( 52 )
@John Quiggin Lots of people predicted, along the lines of your post, that with the external threat of the USSR gone, and the US pulling back, the old warlike Europe would reassert itself.

I think what we may call the "wide military context thesis" runs rather like this: because of the experience of WWII and the Cold War, modern industrial states have amassed enormous military power while at the same time knowing that they can experience total destruction if they enter into a military conflict with a state of comparable military might. As a consequence, peace dominates between them. So France is not at war with the United Kingdom or Germany, certainly in part because they are all (for now) members of the EU but also in part for the same reason Japan is not at war with South Korea and Russia not at war with China.

Personally, I think it would be absurd to claim that the EU has played no role in the pacification of Western Europe in the second half of the twentieth century, but I think it would be equally absurd to deny the role of other factors that plainly play a major role in the equally remarkable pacification of other regional areas in the absence of an economical and political unification process (rise in prosperity, rise in education, aging populations, increased military power ).

otpup 10.19.19 at 10:51 pm ( 68 )
@7, Omega
Not really wanting to get into the "do empires benefit civilization by promoting trade" argument, but having just read Lost Enlightenment, nothing in that lengthy tome suggests the Silk Road city states gain any special advantage from the Mongol invasion. In fact, quite the opposite. After the Mongols (in part for reasons preceeding the conquest), Central Asia never regained its pre-eminence (it had actually not just been a facilitator of trade but also a center of manufacture, culture, scientific progress). Maybe the trade routes hobbled along as trade routes but the civilization that was both built by and facilitated trade did not rebound. Most empires seem to get that there is wealth to be had from involvement in trade, they don't always know how to keep the gold goose alive.
LFC 10.20.19 at 9:10 pm (no link)
"War made states and states made peace" is a riff on Charles Tilly's line "war made the state and the state made war."

[Nov 03, 2019] How Controlling Syria s Oil Serves Washington s Strategic Objectives by Nauman Sadiq

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... Washington's basic purpose in deploying the US forces in oil and natural gas fields of Deir al-Zor governorate is to deny the valuable source of income to its other main rival in the region, Damascus. ..."
Nov 02, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Nauman Sadiq,

Before the evacuation of 1,000 American troops from northern Syria to western Iraq, the Pentagon had 2,000 US forces in Syria. After the drawdown of US troops at Erdogan's insistence in order for Ankara to mount a ground offensive in northern Syria, the US has still deployed 1,000 troops, mainly in oil-rich eastern Deir al-Zor province and at al-Tanf military base.

Al-Tanf military base is strategically located in southeastern Syria on the border between Syria, Iraq and Jordan, and it straddles on a critically important Damascus-Baghdad highway, which serves as a lifeline for Damascus. Washington has illegally occupied 55-kilometer area around al-Tanf since 2016, and several hundred US Marines have trained several Syrian militant groups there.

It's worth noting that rather than fighting the Islamic State, the purpose of continued presence of the US forces at al-Tanf military base is to address Israel's concerns regarding the expansion of Iran's influence in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

Regarding the oil- and natural gas-rich Deir al-Zor governorate, it's worth pointing out that Syria used to produce modest quantities of oil for domestic needs before the war – roughly 400,000 barrels per day, which isn't much compared to tens of millions barrels daily oil production in the Gulf states.

Although Donald Trump crowed in a characteristic blunt manner in a tweet after the withdrawal of 1,000 American troops from northern Syria that Washington had deployed forces in eastern Syria where there was oil, the purpose of exercising control over Syria's oil is neither to smuggle oil out of Syria nor to deny the valuable source of revenue to the Islamic State.

There is no denying the fact that the remnants of the Islamic State militants are still found in Syria and Iraq but its emirate has been completely dismantled in the region and its leadership is on the run. So much so that the fugitive caliph of the terrorist organization was killed in the bastion of a rival jihadist outfit, al-Nusra Front in Idlib, hundreds of kilometers away from the Islamic State strongholds in eastern Syria.

Much like the "scorched earth" battle strategy of medieval warlords – as in the case of the Islamic State which early in the year burned crops of local farmers while retreating from its former strongholds in eastern Syria – Washington's basic purpose in deploying the US forces in oil and natural gas fields of Deir al-Zor governorate is to deny the valuable source of income to its other main rival in the region, Damascus.

After the devastation caused by eight years of proxy war, the Syrian government is in dire need of tens of billions dollars international assistance to rebuild the country. Not only is Washington hampering efforts to provide international aid to the hapless country, it is in fact squatting over Syria's own resources with the help of its only ally in the region, the Kurds.

Although Donald Trump claimed credit for expropriating Syria's oil wealth, it bears mentioning that "scorched earth" policy is not a business strategy, it is the institutional logic of the deep state. President Trump is known to be a businessman and at least ostensibly follows a non-interventionist ideology; being a novice in the craft of international diplomacy, however, he has time and again been misled by the Pentagon and Washington's national security establishment.

Regarding Washington's interest in propping up the Gulf's autocrats and fighting their wars in regional conflicts, it bears mentioning that in April 2016, the Saudi foreign minister threatened that the Saudi kingdom would sell up to $750 billion in treasury securities and other assets if the US Congress passed a bill that would allow Americans to sue the Saudi government in the United States courts for its role in the September 11, 2001 terror attack – though the bill was eventually passed, Saudi authorities have not been held accountable; even though 15 out of 19 9/11 hijackers were Saudi nationals.

Moreover, $750 billion is only the Saudi investment in the United States, if we add its investment in Western Europe and the investments of UAE, Kuwait and Qatar in the Western economies, the sum total would amount to trillions of dollars of Gulf's investments in North America and Western Europe.

Furthermore, in order to bring home the significance of the Persian Gulf's oil in the energy-starved industrialized world, here are a few stats from the OPEC data: Saudi Arabia has the world's largest proven crude oil reserves of 265 billion barrels and its daily oil production exceeds 10 million barrels; Iran and Iraq, each, has 150 billion barrels reserves and has the capacity to produce 5 million barrels per day, each; while UAE and Kuwait, each, has 100 billion barrels reserves and produces 3 million barrels per day, each; thus, all the littoral states of the Persian Gulf, together, hold 788 billion barrels, more than half of world's 1477 billion barrels of proven oil reserves.

No wonder then, 36,000 United States troops have currently been deployed in their numerous military bases and aircraft carriers in the oil-rich Persian Gulf in accordance with the Carter Doctrine of 1980, which states: "Let our position be absolutely clear: an attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force."

Additionally, regarding the Western defense production industry's sales of arms to the Gulf Arab States, a report authored by William Hartung of the US-based Center for International Policy found that the Obama administration had offered Saudi Arabia more than $115 billion in weapons, military equipment and training during its eight-year tenure.

Similarly, the top items in Trump's agenda for his maiden visit to Saudi Arabia in May 2017 were: firstly, he threw his weight behind the idea of the Saudi-led "Arab NATO" to counter Iran's influence in the region; and secondly, he announced an unprecedented arms package for Saudi Arabia. The package included between $98 billion and $128 billion in arms sales.

Therefore, keeping the economic dependence of the Western countries on the Gulf Arab States in mind, during the times of global recession when most of manufacturing has been outsourced to China, it is not surprising that when the late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia decided to provide training and arms to the Islamic jihadists in the border regions of Turkey and Jordan against the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, the Obama administration was left with no other choice but to toe the destructive policy of its regional Middle Eastern allies, despite the sectarian nature of the proxy war and its attendant consequences of breeding a new generation of Islamic jihadists who would become a long-term security risk not only to the Middle East but to the Western countries, as well.

Similarly, when King Abdullah's successor King Salman decided, on the whim of the Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, to invade Yemen in March 2015, once again the Obama administration had to yield to the dictates of Saudi Arabia and UAE by fully coordinating the Gulf-led military campaign in Yemen not only by providing intelligence, planning and logistical support but also by selling billions of dollars' worth of arms and ammunition to the Gulf Arab States during the conflict.

In this reciprocal relationship, the US provides security to the ruling families of the Gulf Arab states by providing weapons and troops; and in return, the Gulf's petro-sheikhs contribute substantial investments to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars to the Western economies.

Regarding the Pax Americana which is the reality of the contemporary neocolonial order, according to a January 2017 infographic by the New York Times, 210,000 US military personnel were stationed all over the world, including 79,000 in Europe, 45,000 in Japan, 28,500 in South Korea and 36,000 in the Middle East.

Although Donald Trump keeps complaining that NATO must share the cost of deployment of US troops, particularly in Europe where 47,000 American troops are stationed in Germany since the end of the Second World War, 15,000 in Italy and 8,000 in the United Kingdom, fact of the matter is that the cost is already shared between Washington and host countries.

Roughly, European countries pay one-third of the cost for maintaining US military bases in Europe whereas Washington chips in the remaining two-third. In the Far Eastern countries, 75% of the cost for the deployment of American troops is shared by Japan and the remaining 25% by Washington, and in South Korea, 40% cost is shared by the host country and the US contributes the remaining 60%.

Whereas the oil-rich Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) – Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait and Qatar – pay two-third of the cost for maintaining 36,000 US troops in the Persian Gulf where more than half of world's proven oil reserves are located and Washington contributes the remaining one-third.

* * *

Nauman Sadiq is an Islamabad-based attorney, columnist and geopolitical analyst focused on the politics of Af-Pak and Middle East regions, neocolonialism and petro-imperialism.


ipsprez , 8 minutes ago link

I am always amazed (and amused) at how much smarter "journalists" are than POTUS. If ONLY Mr. Trump would read more and listen to those who OBVIOUSLY are sooo much smarter!!!! Maybe then he wouldn't be cowed and bullied by Erdogan, Xi, Jung-on, Trudeau (OK so maybe that one was too far fetched) to name a few. Please note the sarcasm. Do I really need to go in to the success after success Mr. Trump's foreign policy has enjoyed? Come on Man.

OLD-Pipe , 19 minutes ago link

What a load of BOLOCKS...The ONLY, I mean The Real and True Reason for American Armored presence is one thing,,,,,,,Ready for IT ? ? ? To Steal as much OIL as Possible, AND convert the Booty into Currency, Diamonds or some other intrinsically valuable commodity, Millions of Dollars at a Time......17 Years of Shadows and Ghost Trucks and Tankers Loading and Off-Loading the Black Gold...this is what its all about......M-O-N-E-Y....... Say It With Me.... Mon-nee, Money Money Mo_on_ne_e_ey, ......

Blue Steel 309 , 5 minutes ago link

This is about Israel, not oil.

ombon , 58 minutes ago link

From the sale of US oil in Syria receive 30 million. dollars per month. Image losses are immeasurably greater. The United States put the United States as a robbery bandit. This is American democracy. The longer the troops are in Syria, the more countries will switch to settlements in national currencies.

Pandelis , 28 minutes ago link

yeah well these are mafia guys...

uhland62 , 50 minutes ago link

"Our interests", "strategic interests" is always about money, just a euphemism so it doesn't look as greedy as it is. Another euphemism is "security' ,meaning war preparations.

BobEore , 1 hour ago link

...The military power of the USA put directly in the service of "the original TM" PIRATE STATE. U are the man Norm! But wait... now things get a little hazy... in the classic... 'alt0media fake storyline' fashion!

"President Trump is known to be a businessman and at least ostensibly follows a non-interventionist ideology; being a novice in the craft of international diplomacy, however, he has time and again been misled by the Pentagon and Washington's national security establishment."

Awww! Poor "DUmb as Rocks Donnie" done been fooled agin!

...In the USA... the military men are stirring at last... having been made all too aware that their putative 'boss' has been operating on behalf of foreign powers ever since being [s]elected, that the State Dept of the once Great Republic has been in active cahoots with the jihadis ...

and that those who were sent over there to fight against the headchoppers discovered that the only straight shooters in the whole mess turned out to be the Kurds who AGENT FRIMpf THREW UNDER THE BUS ON INSTRUCTIONS FROM JIHADI HQ!

... ... ...

[Nov 02, 2019] The WTO is being dismantled by Trumpian nonfeasance in pursuit of the deliberate rejection of the very idea of international institutions standing above the national statw, in pursuit of the old fashioned imperialism

That's what "national neoliberalism" is about.
Nov 02, 2019 | crookedtimber.org

steven t johnson 11.01.19 at 3:27 pm 64

Last, these OT comments are not truly OT. The WTO is being dismantled by Trumpian nonfeasance in pursuit of the deliberate rejection of the very idea of international institutions (of imperialism, as I see it, but others don't,) standing above the national state, immunizing the market against the mistakes of democracy, providing the essential support to make a world market.

The OP says in the title this is arrogance, presumably as violating economic science. But all these seeming side issues are about political economy in the end. Trump wants to pretend the US has been exploited by the old system, and pose as a nationalist. I think he just wants to rationalize US empire, cutting costs, increasing ROI, etc.

I think Trump is getting support, primarily from the rich; also from middle strata, the kind of people who put FOX TV on in the waiting rooms of their businesses; AKA from lower strata led by Christianity to favor any oppressive government that will provide them support for their efforts to police society; also lower strata ethnic groups who have slowly been turning inwards to each other as they see a future dog-eat-dog country where the breeds of dogs have to stick together, or perish.

In short, what the OP sees as arrogant dismissal of science I see as desperation masked with bravado.

[Nov 02, 2019] Assad Calls Trump Best US President Ever For Transparency Of Real US Motives

Nov 02, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Arguably some of the most significant events since the eight-year long war's start have played out in Syria with rapid pace over just the last month alone, including Turkey's military incursion in the north, the US pullback from the border and into Syria's oil fields, the Kurdish-led SDF&# deal making with Damascus, and the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. All of this is why a televised interview with Presiden39;st Bashar Assad was highly anticipated at the end of this week.

Assad's commentary on the latest White House policy to "secure the oil" in Syria, for which US troops have already been redeployed to some of the largest oil fields in the Deir Ezzor region, was the biggest pressing question. The Syrian president's response was unexpected and is now driving headlines, given what he said directly about Trump, calling him the "best American president" ever – because he's the "most transparent."

"When it comes to Trump you may ask me a question and I'll give you an answer which might seem strange. I tell you he's the best American president," Assad said, according to a translation provided by NBC.

"Why? Not because his policies are good, but because he is the most transparent president," Assad continued.

"All American presidents commit crimes and end up taking the Nobel Prize and appear as a defender of human rights and the 'unique' and 'brilliant' American or Western principles. But all they are is a group of criminals who only represent the interests of the American lobbies of large corporations in weapons, oil and others," he added.

"Trump speaks with the transparency to say 'We want the oil'." Assad's unique approach to an 'enemy' head of state which has just ordered the seizure of Syrian national resources also comes after in prior years the US president called Assad "our enemy" and an "animal."

Trump tweeted in April 2018 after a new chemical attack allegation had surfaced: "If President Obama had crossed his stated Red Line In The Sand, the Syrian disaster would have ended long ago! Animal Assad would have been history!"

A number of mainstream outlets commenting on Assad's interview falsely presented it as "praise" of Trump or that Assad thinks "highly" of him; however, it appears the Syrian leader was merely presenting Trump's policy statements from a 'realist' perspective , contrasting them from the misleading 'humanitarian' motives typical of Washington's rhetoric about itself.

That is, Damascus sees US actions in the Middle East as motivated fundamentally by naked imperial ambition, a constant prior theme of Assad's speeches , across administrations, whether US leadership dresses it up as 'democracy promotion' or in humanitarian terms characteristic of liberal interventionism. As Assad described, Trump seems to skip dressing up his rhetoric in moralistic idealism altogether, content to just unapologetically admit the ugly reality of US foreign policy.


indaknow , 4 minutes ago link

Most President's thought you had to plot coups. Regime changes, color revolutions. Long convoluted wars with many deaths and collateral damage.

Trump says **** that. We're just taking the oil. Brilliant

Chupacabra-322 , 18 minutes ago link

To fund their Black Ops to destabilize Sovereign Countries & rape, murder, pillage & steal their natural resources. And, install their Puppet leaders.

Wash, rinse & repeat.

ExPat2018 , 22 minutes ago link

I see Americans keep calling Assad and Putin a ''dictator'' Hey, jackasses, they were ELECTED in elections far less corrupt than what you have in the USSA

Guentzburgh , 54 minutes ago link

Transparently Assad is a moron, the oil belongs to the kurds snake.

beemasters , 52 minutes ago link

Not anymore... Russian Military Releases Satellite Images Confirming US Smuggling of Syrian Oil
https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/201910261077154752-russian-military-releases-satellite-images-confirming-us-smuggling-of-syrian-oil/

yerfej , 1 hour ago link

Securing oil from those you don't want to have it is different than "stealing" the oil. Face it the oil means nothing to any large western economy.

Dzerzhhinsky , 33 minutes ago link

Face it the oil means nothing to any large western economy.

The one thing all capitalists have in common is they all want more money, it's never enough.

You commies will never understand the deep in your gut need to take every penny from every child.

Fiscal Reality , 1 hour ago link

Pelosi, Schiff, Cankels, Schumer, The MSM all sriek in unison "TRUMP IS ASSAD'S PAWN. IMPEACH HIM!!!"

beemasters , 1 hour ago link

the "best American president" ever – because he's the "most transparent."

Very much so. When he says something, it's definitely the opposite that he would be doing. You can't get more transparent than that.

NorwegianPawn , 1 hour ago link

Assad is a very eloquent speaker. Witty, sharp and always calm when speaking with decadent press. Of course the MSM understood what he DID mean, but they cannot help themselves, but parse anything to try hurting Trump.

Just don't believe a word the media says.

Son of Captain Nemo , 1 hour ago link

Mr. Assad's got that pitch correctly...

As a matter of fact he used "real motives" when he should have used the words "maniacal" and "desperate"...

Case in point... https://southfront.org/western-europe-archdiocese-officially-reunited-with-russian-orthodox-church/

If true. It means the Vatican (the oldest most important money there is) like Saudi Arabia and the UAE sure do seem to care about stuff like purchasing power in their "portfolios" and a "store of value"?...

I see lots of EU participants taking their money to Moscow as well with that Arctic bonanza that says "come hither" if you want your money to be worth something!!!

To Hell In A Handbasket , 1 hour ago link

It's always been about oil. Spreading Freedumb, Dumbocracy and Western values, is PR spiel. The reality is, the West are scammers, plunderers and outright thieves. Forget the billions Shell Oil, is holding for the Biafran people/region in Nigeria, which it won't give to either the Bianfran states in the east, nor the Nigerian government, dating back to the secessionist state of Biafra/Nigerian civil war 1967-70. The west are nothing more than gang-bangers, but on the world stage.

If people think its just oil we steal, then you are mad. What the UK did in reneging on 1500 Chieftain tanks and armoured personnel vehicles, with Iran which they paid for up-front and fucked Iran over in the UK courts over interest payments over 40 years. Are stories that simply do not make the news.

Yet the department for trade and industry is scratching its head, wondering why their are so few takers for a post-Brexit trade deal with the UK, where the honest UK courts have the final say? lol

truthseeker47 , 1 hour ago link

Too bad it is political suicide for an American president to try to establish communication with Assad. He seems like a pretty practical guy and who knows, it might be possible to work out a peaceful settlement with him.

TheLastMan , 1 hour ago link

economic warfare on the syrian civlian population through illegal confiscation of vital civilian economic assets, and as conducted in venezeula, is called ________________

Meximus , 1 hour ago link

That is not a compliment for Trompas .

Assad is saying where before the UKK was a masked thief, with Trompas and his egotism alias exceptionalism, has not bothered withthe mask. He is still a murderer and thief.

Obi-jonKenobi , 2 hours ago link

Now Assad has some idea why Trump is so popular with his base, they love him for not being politically correct, for "telling it like it is". He's like the wolf looking at the sheep and telling them he's going to eat them and the sheep cheering because he's not being a wolf in sheep's clothing.

Unfortunately in the case of Trump's sheeple, they don't even have a clue they're going to be eaten, the Trumptards all think he's going to eat someone else like the "deep state" or the "dumbocrats". Meanwhile he's chewing away at their health care, their export markets, piling up record deficits, handing the tax gold to the rich and corporations while they get the shaft, taking away program after program that aided students, the poor, and the elderly, appointing lobbyists to dismantle or corrupt departments they used to lobby against, and in general destroying the international good will that it's taken decades to build.

It would be funny if it wasn't so sad.

[Nov 02, 2019] Time to Extricate From Ukraine by Doug Bandow

Notable quotes:
"... In excess of 13,000 people, mostly Ukrainians, are known to have died in this war, and some two million have been forced from their homes. The economy of eastern Ukraine has collapsed. Ukraine has suffered through painful economic dislocation and political division. Meanwhile, several hundred Russians are believed to have been killed fighting in the Donbass. Western sanctions have damaged Russia's weak economy. And although the majority of Crimeans probably wanted to join Russia, opposition activists and journalists have been abducted, brutalized, and/or imprisoned. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church has been closed and Tartars have been persecuted. ..."
"... Even though the overall idea of ending the sponsoring of the conflict by Washington is plausible there are a number of shortcomings in the article to put it mildly. I realize though that the author has to make Washington look innocent and Russia look bad to escape the danger of being stigmatized as a pro-Russian traitor. ..."
"... I understand why you want to thread the needle. After the invasions, having to add more failure or at the very least recognition of dysfunction to our foreign policy choices and consequences is a bitter pill. But as you note had the US and the EU seriously had the desire to add the Ukraine into the western European sphere of influence, they could have offered a better deal on oil - they didn't. ..."
"... I think we have got to stop accusing the then existing government of corruption. As your own article states, the history of unstable governance with accompanying "corruption" seems a staple and nonunique. ..."
"... And as is the case in developing countries, what we call corruption is a cultural staple of how business and affairs are conducted. Whatever the issues, the Ukrainian public was not overly beset by the results so as to spontaneously riot. ..."
"... How the civil unrest spun out of control the second time in ten years, can be linked directly to US and EU involvement. ..."
Oct 17, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Capt. Matthew McCoy, commander of Company A, 1st Battalion, 179th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team during international weapons training near Yavoriv, Ukraine, in 2017. (Photo by Sgt. Anthony Jones, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team)/U.S. Army

Recently Ukraine has been thrown into the spotlight as Democrats gear up to impeach President Donald Trump. More important, though, is its role in damaging America's relations with Russia, which has resulted in a mini-Cold War that the U.S. needs to end.

Ukraine is in a bad neighborhood. During the 17th century, the country was divided between Poland and Russia, and eventually ended up as part of the Russian Empire. Kiev then enjoyed only the briefest of liberations after the 1917 Russian Revolution, before being reabsorbed by the Soviet Union. It later suffered from a devastating famine as Moscow confiscated food and collectivized agriculture. Ukraine was ravaged during Germany's World War II invasion, and guerrilla resistance to renewed Soviet control continued for years afterwards.

In 1991, the collapse of the U.S.S.R. gave Ukraine another, more enduring chance for independence. However, the new nation's development was fraught: GDP dropped by 60 percent and corruption burgeoned. Ukraine suffered under a succession of corrupt, self-serving, and ineffective leaders, as the U.S., Europe, and Russia battled for influence.

In 2014, Washington and European governments backed a street putsch against the elected, though highly corrupt, pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych. The Putin government responded by annexing Crimea and backing separatist forces in Eastern Ukraine's Donbass region. Washington and Brussels imposed economic sanctions on Russia and provided military aid to Kiev.

The West versus Russia quickly became a "frozen" conflict. Moscow reincorporated Crimea into Russia, from which it had been detached in 1954 as part of internal Soviet politics. In the Donbass, more than a score of ceasefires came and went. Both Ukraine and Russia failed to fulfill the 2016 Minsk agreements, which sought to end the conflict.

In excess of 13,000 people, mostly Ukrainians, are known to have died in this war, and some two million have been forced from their homes. The economy of eastern Ukraine has collapsed. Ukraine has suffered through painful economic dislocation and political division. Meanwhile, several hundred Russians are believed to have been killed fighting in the Donbass. Western sanctions have damaged Russia's weak economy. And although the majority of Crimeans probably wanted to join Russia, opposition activists and journalists have been abducted, brutalized, and/or imprisoned. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church has been closed and Tartars have been persecuted.

The most important geopolitical impact has been to poison Russia's relations with the West. Moscow's aggressions against Ukraine cannot be justified, but the U.S. and Europe did much to create the underlying suspicion and hostility. Recently declassified documents reveal the degree to which Western officials misled Moscow about their intention to expand NATO. Allied support for adding Georgia and Ukraine, which would have greatly expanded Russian vulnerability, generated a particularly strong reaction in Moscow. The dismemberment of Serbia with no consideration of Russia's interests was another irritant, along with Western support for "color revolutions" elsewhere, including in Tbilisi. The ouster of Yanukovych finally triggered Putin's brutal response.

Washington and Brussels apparently did not view their policies as threatening to Russia. However, had Moscow ousted an elected Mexican president friendly to America, while inviting the new government to join the Warsaw Pact, and worked with a coalition of Central American states to divert Mexican trade from the U.S., officials in Washington would not have been pleased. They certainly wouldn't have been overly concerned about juridical niceties in responding.

This explains (though does not justify) Russia's hostile response. Subsequent allied policies then turned the breach in relations into a gulf. The U.S. and European Union imposed a series of economic sanctions. Moreover, Washington edged closer to military confrontation with its provision of security assistance to Kiev. Moscow responded by challenging America from Syria to Venezuela.

It also began moving towards China. The two nations' differences are many and their relationship is unstable. However, as long as their antagonism towards Washington exceeds their discomfort with each other, they will cooperate to block what they see as America's pursuit of global hegemony.

Why is the U.S. entangled in the Ukrainian imbroglio? During the Cold War, Ukraine was one of the fabled "captive nations," backed by vigorous advocacy from Ukrainian Americans. After the Soviet Union collapsed, they joined other groups lobbying on behalf of ethnic brethren to speed NATO's expansion eastward. Security policy turned into a matter of ethnic solidarity, to be pursued irrespective of cost and risk.

To more traditional hawks who are always seeking an enemy, the issue is less pro-Ukraine than anti-Russia. Mitt Romney, the Republican Party's 2012 presidential nominee, improbably attacked Russia as America's most dangerous adversary. Hence the GOP's counterproductive determination to bring Kiev into NATO. Originally Washington saw the transatlantic alliance as a means to confront the Soviet menace; now it views the pact as a form of charity.

After the Soviet collapse, the U.S. pushed NATO eastward into nations that neither mattered strategically nor could be easily protected, most notably in the Balkans and Baltics. Even worse were Georgia and Ukraine, security black holes that would bring with them ongoing conflicts with Russia, possibly triggering a larger war between NATO and Moscow.

Ukraine never had been a matter of U.S. security. For most of America's history, the territory was controlled by either the Russian Empire or the Soviet Union. Washington's Cold War sympathies represented fraternal concerns, not security essentials. Today, without Kiev's aid, the U.S. and Europe would still have overwhelming conventional forces to be brought into any conflict with Moscow. However, adding Ukraine to NATO would increase the risk of a confrontation with a nuclear armed power. Russia's limitations when it comes to its conventional military would make a resort to nuclear weapons more likely in any conflict.

Nevertheless, George W. Bush's aggressively neoconservative administration won backing for Georgian and Ukrainian membership in NATO and considered intervening militarily in the Russo-Georgian war. However, European nations that feared conflict with Moscow blocked plans for NATO expansion, which went into cold storage. Although alliance officials still officially backed membership for Ukraine, it remains unattainable so long as conflict burns hot with Russia.

In the meantime, Washington has treated Ukraine as a de facto military ally, offering economic and security assistance. The U.S. has provided $1.5 billion for Ukrainian training and weapons, including anti-tank Javelin missiles. Explained Obama administration defense secretary Ashton Carter: "Ukraine would never be where it is without that support from the United States."

Equally important, the perception of U.S. backing made the Kiev government, headed by President Petro Poroshenko, less willing to pursue a diplomatic settlement with Russia. Thus did Ukraine, no less than Russia, almost immediately violate the internationally backed Minsk accord.

Kiev's role as a political football highlights the need for Washington to pursue an enduring political settlement with Russia. European governments are growing restless; France has taken the lead in seeking better relations with Moscow. Germany is unhappy with U.S. attempts to block the planned Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline. In Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelensky has campaigned to end the conflict.

Negotiators for Russia, Ukraine, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe recently met in Minsk to revive the agreement previously reached in the Belarus capital. They set an election schedule in the contested east, to be followed by passage of Ukrainian legislation to grant the region greater autonomy and separatists legal immunity. Despite strong opposition from nationalists, passage is likely since Zelensky's party holds a solid legislative majority.

Many challenges remain, but the West could aid this process by respecting Russian security concerns. The U.S. and its allies should formally foreclose Ukraine's membership in the transatlantic alliance and end lethal military aid. After receiving those assurances, Moscow would be expected to resolve the Donbass conflict, presumably along the lines of Minsk: Ukraine protects local autonomy while Russia exits the fight. Sanctions against Russia would be lifted. Ukrainians would be left to choose their economic orientation, since the country would likely be split between east and west for some time to come. The West would accept Russia's control of Crimea while refusing to formally recognize the conquest -- absent a genuinely independent referendum with independent monitors.

Such a compromise would be controversial. Washington's permanent war lobby would object. Hyper-nationalistic Ukrainians would double down on calling Zelensky a traitor. Eastern Europeans would complain about appeasing Russia. However, such a compromise would certainly be better than endless conflict.

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


cka2nd • 12 hours ago

I credit Mr. Bandow for his largely fair and accurate description of the events in Ukraine of five years ago, and for his ultimate policy proposal for the US to extricate itself from its close involvement in the area. However, I'm a little confused by what exactly the author means by "Moscow's aggressions against Ukraine" and "Putin's brutal response" (aside from the treatment of dissidents and journalists as he specifically mentioned) to the Maidan Revolution.

Was it aggressive and brutal for Russia to support separatists in the Donbass who were facing the prospect of legal discrimination and violence by a criminal, neo-fascist government in Kiev, not to mention de-industrialization, the gutting of the agriculture sector and the forced economic migration of an enormous number of its young workers (assuming that Ukraine's economic deal with the EU followed the script of every other Easter European's country's deal with the EU)? If Yanukovych had fled to the Donbass and proclaimed himself still the freely elected (though certainly corrupt) President of the nation, Russia's support for the region would have even had a shiny brass legal fig leaf, wouldn't it?

As for the supposed "conquest" of Crimea, that's a rather strong word to use considering that all of two members of the Ukrainian military were killed, and 60-80 of them detained, while 15,000 defected to Russia. Compared to the violence in Kiev and Odessa, what happened in Crimea almost qualifies as a bloodless coup. But then Mr. Bandow shies away from using the word "hegemony" to describe the foreign policy of the United States, figuratively putting the word in the mouths of those bad men (which they are) in Moscow and Beijing. It's a pity that Mr. Bandow felt the need to make linguistic concessions to the foreign policy establishment in what was otherwise a useful and balanced piece.

minsredmash • 9 hours ago
Even though the overall idea of ending the sponsoring of the conflict by Washington is plausible there are a number of shortcomings in the article to put it mildly. I realize though that the author has to make Washington look innocent and Russia look bad to escape the danger of being stigmatized as a pro-Russian traitor.
EliteCommInc. • 8 hours ago
I understand why you want to thread the needle. After the invasions, having to add more failure or at the very least recognition of dysfunction to our foreign policy choices and consequences is a bitter pill. But as you note had the US and the EU seriously had the desire to add the Ukraine into the western European sphere of influence, they could have offered a better deal on oil - they didn't.

I think we have got to stop accusing the then existing government of corruption. As your own article states, the history of unstable governance with accompanying "corruption" seems a staple and nonunique.

And as is the case in developing countries, what we call corruption is a cultural staple of how business and affairs are conducted. Whatever the issues, the Ukrainian public was not overly beset by the results so as to spontaneously riot.

How the civil unrest spun out of control the second time in ten years, can be linked directly to US and EU involvement.

https://washingtonsblog.com...

https://thewashingtonstanda...

It is a deeply held belief that democracy is a system that by definition a generally acceptable path forward. That belief is false as democracy is still comprised of human beings. And democracy in their hands is no "cure all". It can be a turbulent and jerky bureaucratic maze process that pleases no one and works over time.

The US didn't accomplish it without violence until after more than 130 years, when the native populations were finally subdued. And as for a system that embodied equal treatment to similar circumstance -- we are still at it. But a violent revolution every ten years certainly isn't the most effective road to take.
-----------------

Why we insistent on restarting the cold war is unclear to me save that it served to create a kind of strategic global clarity Though what that means would troublesome because Russia's ole would now be as a developing democratic state as opposed to a communist monolith. And that means unfettered from her satellites and empowered by more capital markets her role as adversary would be more adroit. As time after time, Ores Putin has appeared the premier diplomat for peace and stability in situations in which the US was engaged or encouraging violence.(the Ukraine). I certainly don't think that our relations with Russia or China are a to be kumbaya love fests, there is still global competition and there's no reason to pretend it would be without tensions. But seriously, as a democratic/capital market player -- there really was no way to contain Russia.
----------------------

Given what we experienced during 2007 --- corruption comes in a mryiad of guises.

timoth3y • 7 hours ago • edited
The Ukraine situation is complex to be certain, but ending military aid and letting Russia clean up seems like a bad idea.

This week we saw Russian forces occupy US bases abandoned when Trump ordered our troops to withdraw from the Turkish border. And now the author is arguing we should do something similar in the Ukraine.

When did Russian appeasement become so important to conservative foreign policy?

kouroi timoth3y • 3 hours ago
Mate, Russians were in Syria at the invitation of the Syrian government. US troops are there illegally (no Congress mandate, no international mandate, no invitation). US is an occupying, destabilizing, terrorist protecting force in Syria and Americans should look beyond their self esteem before commenting on this "shameful" retreat. US does not have the right to put its troops wherever it fancies.

This win or loose mentality will be the death of you. Who do you think is threatening the US, when it has the biggest moats protecting its shores? The only thing that is happening is that the hegemonic role, that of controlling everyone's economy for its own elites benefit is being denied.

This is what you are complaining mate, the the rich Americans cannot get richer? Do you think they will share with you, or that, like the good English boys of the past, you will not be able to land a job with East India Co. and despoil the natives for a while?

Doug Wallis • 6 hours ago
If the US were smart then they would lead some sort of negotiation where eastern Europe and Ukraine and Russia were allowed only mutually agreed defensive weapons systems. A demilitarization of say 200 miles on each side of the Russia border. The strategy should be to encourage trade between Eastern Europe and Russia where Russia has influence but is not threatening. It may be slow to build that trust but the real question is whether the US and Europe and NATO want peace with Russia or whether they are using fear of Russia to keep eastern Europe united with the US and Europe. This may be the case but the future will have China as a greater threat than Russia (China will even be a threat to Russia). Any shift in Russian relations will take decades of building trust on both sides.
tweets21 • 6 hours ago
Good article and excellent history of facts. If I recall during the last Bush administration W hosted a Putin and his then spouse, at a visit at his ranch. Putin informed W," the Ukraine belongs to Russia. end of sentence.
Disqus10021 • 5 hours ago
The author forgot the critical role of Sevastopol in the Crimea. It is Russia's only warm water port and there was no way that it was going to allow this area to become a NATO naval base. Secretary of State Clinton and her sidekick for Ukraine, Victoria Nuland should have known this before they started supporting the overthrow of the pro-Russia government in Kiev.

If you look at a historical atlas, you won't find an independent country called Ukraine before 1991. When my parents were born, near what is now called Lviv, the area was called Galicia and Lemberg was its provincial capital. A gold medal issued in 1916 in honor of Franz Josef's 85th birthday noted that he was the Kaiser of Austria, Hungary, Galicia and Lodomeria.

When the old Soviet Union agreed to allow East and West Germany to reunify, it was with the understanding that NATO would not extend membership to former Soviet block countries and that there would be no NATO bases in these areas either. NATO and the US broke their oral commitment to Russia a few years later.

The US should get out of the business of trying to spread democracy in third world countries and interfering in the affairs of foreign governments. We can't afford to be the policeman of the world. We don't even have the ability to make many of our own central cities safe for Americans. Think Baltimore, St. Louis, New Orleans and Detroit, all four of which appear on Wikipedia's list of the 50 murder capitals of the world (per thousand population).

kouroi Disqus10021 • 3 hours ago
It is not for the sake of spreading democracy mate, but to control those economies for the benefit of US economic elite.
Sid Finster • 4 hours ago
"This explains (though does not justify) Russia's hostile response."

For the love of Pete, will TAC quit with offering limited concessions to the neocon position in an attempt to appear "serious" and "reasonable".

The United States formented an armed coup in Ukraine spearheaded by Nazis.

[Nov 01, 2019] About Trump Wanting Iraq's Oil Fields by John Kiriakou

Notable quotes:
"... Consortium News' ..."
"... If you enjoyed this original article, please consider ..."
"... making a donation ..."
"... to Consortium News so we can bring you more stories like this one. ..."
"... Consider Israel's 1967 war for the Golan Heights, WWI partitions of Germany, Spanish American war, What am I missing? ..."
"... "Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons, or to the State, or to other public authorities, or to social or cooperative organizations, is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations." ..."
"... Clearly, the UN is the arbiter of war crimes but they only ever find small, weak offenders guilty. ..."
"... The powerful countries like the US, Britain and Europe are not even investigated for war crimes let alone prosecuted. War crimes are only war crimes if there is someone there to police, prosecute and punish the offenders. There is no such authority, so reference to war crimes is just self gratification and meaningless. The US doesn't even pretend to adhere to international law. ..."
"... You can't be President of the US without engaging in war crimes. They all serve the military industrial complex. At least Trump does some things right instead of 100% for the elite and their NWO. ..."
"... I agree he's stupid, generally. But it seems pretty rational for any US President to expect he (or she) will never face any consequences for the horrific crimes they commit. ..."
"... The trouble is, angry spittle, that the US will get away with this pillage, as it has done in the past. The only difference between this "prez" and the ones before him is his *boasting* openly, publicly about America's war crimes. ..."
"... The issue of "securing oil" makes a lot if sense in this perspective. Syria is not as utterly miserable as planned, but quite miserable indeed, and delaying her access to her own oil will keep it that way. ..."
Oct 29, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

October 29, 2019 • 40 Comments

What the president advocated was one of the most telling statements of his presidency. It amounted to an admission that he is perfectly willing to commit a war crime.

By John Kiriakou
Special to Consortium News

P resident Donald Trump on Sunday held a highly unusual press conference to announce the successful special forces operation the night before that resulted in the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. When Trump read his prepared statement and did not walk away from the podium, my first thought was, "Oh, boy. How much classified information is he going to release now?" My own informed opinion is that he released a lot, talking about who did the raid, how they did it, where they launched from, what other countries were involved, and the fact that special forces elements remained on-scene for two hours to collect documentary intelligence. Often, those kinds of details leak out in the days and weeks after a raid like this. But they never, ever come from the president himself.

Trump also gloated inappropriately that Baghdadi "ran whimpering, crying, and screaming all the way" before detonating a suicide vest, killing himself and three of his children. The whimpering, crying, and screaming part probably wasn't true. After all, the raid was in the middle of the night and Baghdadi had fled into a tunnel to try to escape the onslaught. It would have been impossible to know if he was crying down there. Trump added about Baghdadi, "He died like a dog. He died like a coward. The world is now a much safer place."

>>Please Donate to Consortium News' Fall Fund Drive<<

Very few people in the Middle East keep dogs as pets. This was an insult just for the sake of insult. Don't get me wrong -- I'm glad Baghdadi is dead. He was a coldblooded murderer, child killer, and terrorist, and the world is a better place without him in it. But the insults were unnecessary.

President Donald Trump announcing the U.S. killing of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. (Twitter)

All of that is irrelevant to the story, though. The most interesting part of the president's press conference was his segue into a non sequitur about Iraq. Mid way through the press conference a reporter asked Trump about what "brilliant" people helped in his decision-making process for the operation. Trump's response was one of the most telling statements of his presidency. Indeed, it was an admission that he is perfectly willing to commit a war crime, an impeachable offense, as part of his personal ideology. Here's the exchange :

Reporter: "You -- you mentioned that you had met some -- gotten to know some brilliant people along this process who -- who had helped provide information and -- and -- and advice along the way. Is there anyone in particular or would you like to give anyone credit for getting to this point today?"

Trump: "Well, I -- I would but if I mention one, I have to mention so many. I spoke to Senator Richard Burr this morning and as you know, he's very involved with intelligence and the committee. [Note: Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) is the chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.] And he's a great gentleman. I spoke with Lindsey Graham just a little while -- in fact, Lindsey Graham is right over here, and he's been very much involved in this subject and he's -- he's a very strong hawk, but I think Lindsey agrees with what we're doing now. And again, there are plenty of other countries that can help them patrol. I don't want to leave 1,000 or 2,000 or 3,000 soldiers on the border. But where Lindsey and I totally agree is the oil.

"The oil is, you know, so valuable. For many reasons. It fueled ISIS, number one. Number two, it helps the Kurds, because it's basically been taken away from the Kurds. They were able to live with that oil. And number three, it can help us, because we should be able to take some also. And what I intend to do, perhaps, is make a deal with an ExxonMobil or one of our great companies to go in there and do it properly. Right now it's not big. It's big oil underground but it's not big oil up top. Much of the machinery has been shot and dead. It's been through wars. But -- and -- and spread out the wealth. But no, we're protecting the oil, we're securing the oil. Now that doesn't mean we don't make a deal at some point.

"But I don't want to be -- they're -- they're fighting for 1,000 years, they're fighting for centuries. I want to bring our soldiers back home, but I do want to secure the oil. If you read about the history of Donald Trump, I was a civilian. I had absolutely nothing to do with going into Iraq and I was totally against it. But I always used to say that if they're going to go in -- nobody cared that much but it got written about -- if they're going to go in -- I'm sure you've heard the statement because I made it more than any human being alive. If they're going into Iraq, keep the oil. They never did. They never did. I know Lindsey Graham had a bill where basically we would have been paid back for all of the billions of dollars we've spent."

Pillaging

What Donald Trump is advocating here, in his very Donald Trump kind of way, is "pillaging." He is advocating taking Iraq's oil by force, ostensibly as payment for our "liberation" of that country. This is clearly and definitively a war crime .

International law has long protected property against pillage during armed conflict. The Lieber Code, a military law from the U.S. civil war, said, "All pillage or sacking, even after taking place by force, are prohibited under penalty of death, or such other severe punishment as may seem adequate for the gravity of the offense." In The Hague Regulations of 1907, two provisions stipulate clearly that "the pillage of a town or place, even when taken by assault, is prohibited," and that "pillage is formally forbidden." The Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court have both formally reaffirmed that pillaging a country of its natural resources is illegal and is considered to be a war crime. It's as simple as that.

It matters not one whit if Lindsey Graham has a bill to take Iraq's oil. It doesn't matter if Trump thinks we should take the oil as reimbursement for U.S. aggression against that country. What matters here is the rule of law, and the law is clear. It's bad enough that the U.S. military is in Syria illegally. (There are only three ways to send troops to a foreign country legally: If the troops are invited by the country; if the country attacks the United States; or with the permission of the United Nations Security Council.) Let's not add more international crimes to the ones we've already committed.

John Kiriakou is a former CIA counterterrorism officer and a former senior investigator with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. John became the sixth whistleblower indicted by the Obama administration under the Espionage Act -- a law designed to punish spies. He served 23 months in prison as a result of his attempts to oppose the Bush administration's torture program.

If you enjoyed this original article, please consider making a donation to Consortium News so we can bring you more stories like this one.


Vincent Castigliola , October 30, 2019 at 14:03

We have no right undertaking any military action in Syria or taking or deciding how Syria's oil should be used. I also respect John K; however, I question his characterization of taking control of Syrian territory or resources as "pillage".

I would distinguish the literal definition and also ask him to cite a single instance in which the victor in a war didn't take property fro the loser.

Consider Israel's 1967 war for the Golan Heights, WWI partitions of Germany, Spanish American war, What am I missing?

Paul Merrell , October 30, 2019 at 18:59

@ "What am I missing?"

You're missing that the law changed over time and that Israel's pillage of Palestine is an ongoing legal issue.

1949 4th Geneva Convention, Article 33: "Pillage is prohibited."

Article 53:

"Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons, or to the State, or to other public authorities, or to social or cooperative organizations, is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations."

GMCasey , October 31, 2019 at 11:37

Vincent, I think you missed the pillage of America when the Supreme Court ruled that corporations are people too.

Guillermo Fregozo , October 31, 2019 at 11:53

This has been a "pillage" act from day one The US Congress, never declared a war on Syria.

GMCasey , October 31, 2019 at 11:57

Vincent, you forgot how America took down the free nation of Hawaii and its queen. Then there's the Whiskey Rebellion when America was forming that was pretty depressing too as it let the citizens know that freedom was missing from certain classes. The sadness of America's continual influence in South America was begun so long ago, and remember, the land on which Guantanamo is situated does belong to Cuba -- -and then of course, Taft and the Philippines -- -- – actually, it seems since the beginning of America's time this nation has not seriously committed to making ,"a more perfect union," for its citizens and the world -- -- –maybe the Climate Crisis will rein us in.

robert e williamson jr , October 30, 2019 at 13:00

RE: my earlier comment!

The US Government has been a thief ever since those who created it started stealing the North American Continent from the indigenous people who lived here. Never mind the genocide the white man prosecuted against those people.

We been stealing oil from the middle east ever since the 1950's. Now that the problems created world wide by the super wealthy elitists, SWETS, greed are coming back to haunt us has the deep state decided we need to be governed by a dictator or is the dictator the excuse for the security state to take over the government because a dictator got elected potus?

Vera Gottlieb , October 30, 2019 at 12:56

All one needs to do is study up close a world map, locate all the countries rich in natural resources and bingo know where the US will meddle next, bring "democracy and human rights", instigate civil unrest and then intervene. All in a nutshell: stealing.

robert e williamson jr , October 30, 2019 at 12:43

Anyone, the only republicans talking for the last two years, who supports the proposition that the "Orange Apocalypse " could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and get away with it needs to be in the dock also. . The one thing the security state, deep state, intelligence community and congress have all trumpeted, pardon the pun, is the U.S. does not support dictators. Right.

Er, that is dictators anywhere the U.S. security state, deep state, intelligence community and congress doesn't want them.

The CIA history does support that last statement BTW.

CIA has stellar record of interfering in elections and overthrowing legitimately elected rulers the globe over. Successful endeavors CIA calls them I believe.

The CIA went against the conventions of democracy by supporting dictators as soon as the agency was created. See the Dulles Bros. and the United Fruit Company saga. The U.S. foreign policy has been schizophrenic ever since.

Rob , October 30, 2019 at 12:36

Hey, maybe the pillaging of natural resources acquired by military conquest can be added to the list of impeachment charges against Trump. That list could stretch across an ocean, if the Dems include all of Trump's impeachable offenses. Ukrainegate is possibly the least serious of all.

Michael McNulty , October 30, 2019 at 11:53

If Al Capone was alive today he wouldn't go into organised crime and bribe officials, he'd go into Wall Street and own them.

Dale , October 30, 2019 at 10:18

Excellent article, John. I will never forget the oil guys gathering in my Bahrain office with their maps of Iraq's oil fields. I don't think they have yet made their millions, but I have no doubt they expect they will.

Peter , October 30, 2019 at 09:55

"International law has long protected property against pillage during armed conflict. The Lieber Code, a military law from the U.S. civil war, said, "All pillage or sacking, even after taking place by force, are prohibited under penalty of death, or such other severe punishment as may seem adequate for the gravity of the offense." "

As if that was anything new. The USA| pilfered tens of thousands of patents after WW2 fom Germany – from private companies. The confiscation of German foreign accounts, like in WW1 the removing of machinery and the dismantling of Factories etc. etc. The USA is no diffrnet in this aspect than what the Nazis did in the areas they occupied. See: spiegel.de/spiegel/print/d-29194050.html

Michael McNulty , October 30, 2019 at 12:04

Regarding patent theft, I read the two places the Nazis headed for when invading a country were the Central Bank and the Patent Office. It turns out the pulse engine they used on the V1 Doodlebug was a design stolen from the Patent Office in Paris. The design was granted a patent around the end of WWI but it had not been in production because nobody had a practical use for it. Until the Germans did.

Keith , October 30, 2019 at 09:40

When it is said that "we take the oil," what is meant is that our oligarchs are taking the oil. "We" are not taking the oil, they are. I wonder if, when the time comes that the means of production are seized in an uprising in this country if those leading such uprising will be considered war criminals.

Nathan Mulcahy , October 30, 2019 at 08:02

There is nothing surprising or unusual about Trump saying that he is willing to commit war crimes. His immediate predecessors (Obama, Bush and Clinton) have all committed war crimes and all are celebrated widely as great statesmen (one of them recently even as a "peace expert"). It is just that, unlike his predecessors, Trump does not care about the false facade.

What is stunning is not Trump's bluntness, but the utter disregard for (international) law by both political "parties" (I'd rather call them two brands of the same Mafia organization), our so called "media" (I'd rather call them propaganda arms of the said Mafia organization), but also of the "intellectuals" of the land, and of course the vast, vast majority of its citizens. (Of course I exclude the readers of this website, and of similar news media from my condemnation).

john wilson , October 30, 2019 at 07:02

If plundering the oil was America's only war crime we would think that wasn't so bad. The war crimes committed by the West are so huge that much of them are never reported. Clearly, the UN is the arbiter of war crimes but they only ever find small, weak offenders guilty.

The powerful countries like the US, Britain and Europe are not even investigated for war crimes let alone prosecuted. War crimes are only war crimes if there is someone there to police, prosecute and punish the offenders. There is no such authority, so reference to war crimes is just self gratification and meaningless. The US doesn't even pretend to adhere to international law.

Paul Merrell , October 30, 2019 at 19:35

@ "The war crimes committed by the West are so huge that much of them are never reported."

I disagree. I think generally they are reported but are not identified as the war crimes that they are. E.g., the wars of aggression against Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Sudan, etc.

Dao Gen , October 30, 2019 at 02:53

It's unlikely that Trump is sending US troops back into Syria for economic or for long-term reasons. Oil is just a smokescreen. Probably there are several real reasons:
1. Lindsey Graham is chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, so Graham would oversee a possible Senate trial if the foolish Dems choose to impeach. Right after Trump's recent pullout, the neocon Graham was furious and said he would support impeachment. Trump needs to mollify Graham and other neocon Repubs for a while for the sake of his own survival.
2. The DINO lib-neocon Dem leadership, attacked Trump ferociously from the right. And the Repub leadership in the House all voted with the Dems to censure Trump for his very helpful pullout. With impeachment likely, Trump can't ignore this situation.
3. The MSM are overwhelmingly neocon about foreign affairs, and they have put out many stories romanticizing the Kurds, who have actually done a fair amount of ethnic cleansing against Christians, Sunnis, and various tribal groups, so millions of Americans have been brainwashed into thinking Trump actually "betrayed" the poor Kurds, whereas it was the pro-PKK leadership of the Kurds who betrayed ordinary Kurds by not reconciling with Syria long ago. After all, Trump announced last December that he was soon going to withdraw from Syria. If the PKK-affiliated leaders had been realistic, there would have been no Turkish invasion. But the MSM hide this situation, thus putting great pressure on Trump.
4. France and Israel and much of the US security state want to continue to use the Kurds as tools to balkanize Syria, attack the Syrian government, and block Iran. They are fighting back hard against Trump.

Ultimately Trump's reasons for staying in Syria are basically kabuki to pacify the neocons and strengthen his domestic political position. Of course this does not justify his war crimes. However, US forces are unlikely to stay for a long time in Syria for several reasons, and when Trump sees a good opening, surely he will try to make another realistic withdrawal after the impeachment farce has passed. Probably Putin will come up with some kind of diplomatic solution that will allow the US to save face while withdrawing. The conditions which will limit US oil banditry in Syria are:
1. After impeachment has passed and after the Syrian government liberates Idlib province, it will send its military to eastern Syria, and the small US force will be obliged to leave. Neither Trump nor the Syrians want a war to break out over second-rate oil fields, so diplomacy will win out.
2. The Kurds normally look down on Arabs and discriminate against them, so there is no way the Arab tribes now running the Deir Ezzour oil field will allow the Kurds to come in and take it away from them. Likewise, further to the northeast the Kurds have been pushed out of several oil fields which they grabbed after Isis forced the Syrian government to leave the area.
3. Trump's base doesn't at all like this plan to send US troops back into Syria. If Trump wants to be reelected, he'll be forced to withdraw by late spring of 2020. By then Trump's base will be more important to him than the DC neocons.

This Great Oil Rustling Expedition is actually the last hurrah for the US in Syria. The US has definitely lost in Syria, but the neocons are just too stupid, stubborn, narcissistic, and immature to be able to come out and directly say, "We lost. Let's move on." Instead they have to grandstand and pretend they are winning until the very last moment. How many more people will have to die because of the vanity of the neocons and the weakness of Trump? Let us pray there will not be many.

Dale , October 30, 2019 at 10:15

Can you supply corroboration for your allegations against the Kurds? I went looking and found an old Telegraph article, which identified a small part of Syria where Kurdish operations had driven Syrians toward ISIL.

But I also found this:
See: medium.com/@makreyi/have-the-syrian-kurds-committed-ethnic-cleansing-8af3c33abf6c :

"YPG has had its share of faults. Crimes have been committed in regions under their control. Some members of Syrian Democratic Force (SDF) -- a multi-national force made up of Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen and other minorities -- have committed violations against civilians. And those few perpetrators were reprimanded by SDF and YPG. However, by no means have the Kurds committed ethnic cleansing and forced displacement against any ethnic or religious group. Despite their faults, the Kurds have considerably done a phenomenon job in protecting the civilians of all backgrounds."

Have you got more?

Thanks!

Steven , October 29, 2019 at 22:35

Trump's no more guilty of war crimes than every President since I've been alive, for 69 years. And even Presidents before then. You can't be President of the US without engaging in war crimes. They all serve the military industrial complex. At least Trump does some things right instead of 100% for the elite and their NWO.

dfnslblty , October 30, 2019 at 09:45

¿What?
potus does few things correctly, and economically those things benefit the elite.

Peter , October 29, 2019 at 21:09

Historically, who benefits by emboldening the the fly overs? In show business, entertainers always starts out by telling their audience how great they are. Essentially, lodging their tongues up the audience's bum. Trump's got his tongue so far up the fly over's bums, well, it's just embarrassing really. This is the recipe for popularity. Trump tells American's just what they want to hear. Exceptionalism on steroids.

angry spittle , October 29, 2019 at 20:46

The stupid idiot announces to the world he is about to commit a war crime. That on top of his bone headed admissions of several other crimes. The guy is so stupid he probably thinks Cheerios are donut seeds.

Cambo mambo , October 30, 2019 at 01:14

I agree he's stupid, generally. But it seems pretty rational for any US President to expect he (or she) will never face any consequences for the horrific crimes they commit.

Are you actually suggesting Trump would ever face justice if he sent ExxonMobil to take over Syria or Iraqi oil wells, by force? Bush did much, much worse. Obama committed horrible war crimes. Why would Trump face consequence when they didn't? Believing he would is what's "stupid", imo.

AnneR , October 30, 2019 at 08:34

The trouble is, angry spittle, that the US will get away with this pillage, as it has done in the past. The only difference between this "prez" and the ones before him is his *boasting* openly, publicly about America's war crimes.

Of course, the Strumpet is clueless about such things as the Geneva Convention. Mind you, even being aware of it doesn't mean that the US president and admin and Pentagon etc will in fact abide by any of the international laws regarding war. The past 70 years have made that absolutely clear. And so far as I recall the US has refused to agree to any possibility of its politicos, military, secret agency folks being tried for war crimes by any international body. So the whole political, MIC, corporate-capitalist-imperialist set up here feels completely free to destroy, steal, lay claim to, give away, kill, torture – as it pleases anywhere it wants, when and how it wants.

Piotr Berman , October 30, 2019 at 10:28

The stupidity of Trump may be exaggerated. Keep in mind that he is a businessman who had his key property bankrupted and survived pretty well. Superficially, bankruptcy is a symptom of stupidity, but the trick is to make OTHER people to loose money and yet continue in spite of common wisdom of lost trust etc.

Exhibit one is "insane" endeavor to bring Iran to its knees by unilaterally breaking a multilateral agreement and imposing sanctions that would be utterly unenforceable because no serious country would cooperate. Initially that was my thinking, all leaders of major allied countries were against and promised measures to resist. And "heroically" petitioned to Washington to be allowed to do so. Washington gave a limited time reprieve and otherwise refused. So that make them sad, although quickly they focused on other troubles. Trump proved that Amercan ability to get away with any s t imaginable was greatly underestimated.

Thus Trump's citizenry can rejoice that America proved better than before that it has unique power to make selected other countries very misreable. Wimps like Obama were dabbling in that too, but now the lives of Venezuela and Iran are worse than before. Not that allies and lap dog countries do well, but not as miserable. And leaders from Equador to Lithuania can be glad that following America is a wise choice, the alternative is worse, even if they are periodically humiliated.

The issue of "securing oil" makes a lot if sense in this perspective. Syria is not as utterly miserable as planned, but quite miserable indeed, and delaying her access to her own oil will keep it that way.

To summarise, "admitting to crimes" is not stupid if you can get away with it. But it is evil.

JustAMaverick , October 29, 2019 at 20:14

From here on out the rule of law will have very little meaning if any at all internationally or otherwise. We can't vote our way out and the corporate fascists and the military industrial machine have assumed virtually total control of everything. They will not give that power back, nor will they give up one cent of their ill gotten gains without a fight .a fight they have been preparing for, for almost forty years.

America is truly a Kleptocracy with all the goals and lack of ethics or morals that word implies. We have let them sow an enormous amount of greed, hate and ignorance while they lobotomized the citizenry with endless programming and propaganda, and that crop is soon to be reaped. It will be bad. Really bad Worse, nobody even addresses the real issues let alone unites to defend themselves.

To my eyes the daylight is almost gone and all I can see in the future is as Orwell put it: "A boot kicking you in the face forever."

David Hungerford , October 29, 2019 at 19:21

The problem traces back to the conquest of Iraq. The article implicitly assumes the existence of a sovereign entity named "Iraq." That is wrong. There is no such entity. There was one up until 2003. Then U.S. imperialism invaded and destroyed it. Iraq's oil was taken by force right there.

What resulted is an occupation political project in place of the former Iraqi state. Then the plan went wrong. Iran seized control of the project entity through elections. The first and second "Iraqi prime ministers" under the conquest represented an Iranian clerical organization called the Islamic Dawa.

Now, the occupation political entity was granted exclusive control of Iraq's oil revenues under the terms of the conquest. The U.S. imperialists figured they would remain in control of the entity, but Iran gained control.

Trump doesn't want to take Iraq's oil away not from Iraq. He wants to take it away from Iran.

Jimmy Gates , October 29, 2019 at 18:58

Valid call. Include, in the prosecution, all previous executives who are\ were complicit in these crimes. We all know the Presidents etc, but Congress members should be indicted and IC members as well.

Nick , October 30, 2019 at 10:25

Don't forget 'journalists'! Bill Kristol and Judith Miller should be in the dock as well!

lizzie dw , October 29, 2019 at 18:44

I agree totally with this author. Taking Syria's oil is Not A Good Thing. It is blatant thievery to take something from a sovereign country "because you can", then try to justify it by some lame statement. What additionally bothers me is that this attitude has been present in the USA through many administrations. Look at the Ukraine since 2014. Many long time politicians were involved with getting money from Ukraine – for no reason other than they were American and in charge. Look at Afghanistan and the poppy fields our soldiers are guarding for the CIA. Thieves, all of them. Look at Clinton and the Central American drugs through Mina. We can look at the Turks looting areas of Syria of whole factories(!) while they were occupying the northeast. What about WWII? Politicians took whatever was not nailed down from Germany. Stealing the art. Look at Britain only now returning some artifacts they took out of countries they were administrating decades ago. I am sickened by all of them and I sure am disgusted with President Trump.

rodney lowery , October 29, 2019 at 18:39

My circle of friends thought Trump's speech and actions were refreshing and perfect to reduce these terrorist leaders publicly to nothing. You libs just can't get it. Trump is not going to give respect and dignity to murderers. We take their life and dress them down publicly, and take away any prestige they may have had towards other terrorists. And since when do democrats and libs care about war crimes? why don't you go apologize for us.

ML , October 30, 2019 at 09:01

Your lack of respect for decency, decorum, the rule of international law, statesmanship, diplomacy, etc etc, is simply breathtaking. Many of us here were appalled by Obama's war crimes too, rodney. And most of us here are not "libs" but free and critically thinking human beings, well apart from your Team Red/Team Blue baloney dichotomous way of seeing the U.S.A.'s role in the world. Now, who doesn't "get it?" Why, I'd say that would be you!

Jerry Alatalo , October 30, 2019 at 12:16

rodney lowery,

With all due respect, sir Since there are a good number of Americans who've swallowed the obvious psychological warfare "Operation Baghdadi" operation hook, line and sinker, featuring a President of the United States effectively sharing with the American boys and girls a scary bedtime story, – and drenched with a very poor actor's "tells" or giveaways – the more accurate term might be "My circle jerk of friends ". We would strongly suggest sobering up – before Phase 2 of this extremely dangerous fairy tale commences.

Peace.

Joe , October 29, 2019 at 18:35

Lot of folks were bit premature giving Trump some credit for pulling troops out of Syria. The MIC waved a dollar sign in front of Trump and showed his true colors once again.

Noah Way , October 29, 2019 at 18:18

Just a continuation of oBOMBa's war crimes .The deep state / shadow government is in control.

Nick , October 30, 2019 at 10:35

Which were a continuation of Bush's war crimes, which were a continuation of Clinton's which were a continuation of Bush's which were a continuation of Reagan's which were a continuation of Carter's

[Nov 01, 2019] For these business interests, illegal immigration, rigged currencies, and the 'unnecessary war' against Russia are the biggest issues of the presidential campaign.... This business crowd is distinctly anti-war

Nov 01, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , Oct 31 2019 1:16 utc | 45

32&35 Cont'd--

Just prior to the R-Party Nominating Convention at Cleveland in July 2016, Pepe wrote :

"Some powerful, well-connected business interests supporting Trump from New York to the Midwest have outlined their reasons to me, off the record. The fact that their reasons run completely opposite to the Beltway consensus speaks volumes."

Yes, I remember this article quite well as should other barflies. As I wrote at the time, those Pepe cited had their own perverted twist on history and thus incorrect reasons as to the why of America's decline as this paragraph details:

"Why Russia? ' Because Russia does not rig their currency against us to destroy our industries, and is therefore a natural ally rather then Germany and Japan, who still rig their currencies against the United States and have destroyed much of our industrial power .'" [Italics Original]

The bolded text above is what the businessmen were wrong about, and in a big way. But Trump's isn't the first time policy was based on misconceptions and incorrect history. Pepe provides further citations that I'll omit here, although they are important, and just provide his summation followed by one a bit too important to omit here:

"For these business interests, illegal immigration, rigged currencies, and the 'unnecessary war' against Russia are the biggest issues of the presidential campaign....

"This business crowd is distinctly anti-war: ' When Mr. Trump talks about war having to have rational profit and loss expectation, he is sounding as a logical businessman .' They also stress that, ' the war against Russia is also destroying our oil industry as the US ordered the Gulf States to dump their shut-in oil production capacity on the oil market to bankrupt Russia .'" [Bolded text my emphasis]

But 3 years later, oil price has yet to really recover to the point where Frackers can make a profit and their Ponzi Scheme seems about to go bust, which is why we're seeing something that looks like a shift in Trump's initial plan regarding Syria. And there's still more that can be gleaned from the article that goes against what was then current policy and its direction. I think it's now fairly easy to see the reasoning behind Trump's UNGA tirade aimed at the Globalists while contradicting himself about patriots as he's fighting against one of the most noted--and demonized--of the planet's patriots--Bashar Hafez al-Assad.

[Oct 31, 2019] The Militarization Of Everything

Notable quotes:
"... But militarism is more than thuggish dictators, predatory weaponry, and steely-eyed troops. There are softer forms of it that are no less significant than the "hard" ones. In fact, in a self-avowed democracy like the United States, such softer forms are often more effective because they seem so much less insidious, so much less dangerous. ..."
"... But who can object to celebrating " hometown heroes " in uniform, as happens regularly at sports events of every sort in twenty-first-century America? Or polite and smiling military recruiters in schools ? Or gung-ho war movies like the latest version of Midway , timed for Veterans Day weekend 2019 and marking America's 1942 naval victory over Japan, when we were not only the good guys but the underdogs? ..."
"... Roughly two-thirds of the federal government's discretionary budget for 2020 will, unbelievably enough, be devoted to the Pentagon and related military functions, with each year's "defense" budget coming ever closer to a trillion dollars ..."
"... The U.S. military remains the most trusted institution in our society, so say 74% of Americans surveyed in a Gallup poll. ..."
"... A state of permanent war is considered America's new normal. ..."
"... America's generals continue to be treated, without the slightest irony, as "the adults in the room." ..."
"... The media routinely embraces retired U.S. military officers and uses them as talking heads to explain and promote military action to the American people. ..."
"... America's foreign aid is increasingly military aid. ..."
"... In that context, consider the militarization of the weaponry in those very hands, from .50 caliber sniper rifles to various military-style assault rifles. ..."
"... Paradoxically, even as Americans slaughter each other and themselves in large numbers via mass shootings and suicides (nearly 40,000 gun deaths in 2017 alone), they largely ignore Washington's overseas wars and the continued bombing of numerous countries. ..."
"... 9. Even as Americans "support our troops" and celebrate them as "heroes," the military itself has taken on a new " warrior ethos " that would once -- in the age of a draft army -- have been contrary to this country's citizen-soldier tradition , especially as articulated and exhibited by the "greatest generation" during World War II. ..."
"... Democracy shouldn't be about celebrating overlords in uniform. A now-widely accepted belief is that America is more divided, more partisan than ever, approaching perhaps a new civil war , as echoed in the rhetoric of our current president. Small wonder that inflammatory rhetoric is thriving and the list of this country's enemies lengthening when Americans themselves have so softly yet fervently embraced militarism. ..."
Oct 31, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

The Militarization Of Everything by Tyler Durden Wed, 10/30/2019 - 23:10 0 SHARES

Authored by William Astore via TomDispatch.com,

Killing Me Softly with Militarism - The Decay of Democracy in America

When Americans think of militarism , they may imagine jackbooted soldiers goose-stepping through the streets as flag-waving crowds exult ; or, like our president , they may think of enormous parades featuring troops and missiles and tanks, with warplanes soaring overhead. Or nationalist dictators wearing military uniforms encrusted with medals, ribbons, and badges like so many barnacles on a sinking ship of state. (Was Donald Trump only joking recently when he said he'd like to award himself a Medal of Honor?) And what they may also think is: that's not us. That's not America. After all, Lady Liberty used to welcome newcomers with a torch, not an AR-15 . We don't wall ourselves in while bombing others in distant parts of the world, right?

But militarism is more than thuggish dictators, predatory weaponry, and steely-eyed troops. There are softer forms of it that are no less significant than the "hard" ones. In fact, in a self-avowed democracy like the United States, such softer forms are often more effective because they seem so much less insidious, so much less dangerous. Even in the heartland of Trump's famed base, most Americans continue to reject nakedly bellicose displays like phalanxes of tanks rolling down Pennsylvania Avenue.

But who can object to celebrating " hometown heroes " in uniform, as happens regularly at sports events of every sort in twenty-first-century America? Or polite and smiling military recruiters in schools ? Or gung-ho war movies like the latest version of Midway , timed for Veterans Day weekend 2019 and marking America's 1942 naval victory over Japan, when we were not only the good guys but the underdogs?

What do I mean by softer forms of militarism? I'm a football fan, so one recent Sunday afternoon found me watching an NFL game on CBS. People deplore violence in such games, and rightly so, given the number of injuries among the players, notably concussions that debilitate lives. But what about violent commercials during the game? In that one afternoon, I noted repetitive commercials for SEAL Team , SWAT , and FBI , all CBS shows from this quietly militarized American moment of ours. In other words, I was exposed to lots of guns, explosions, fisticuffs, and the like, but more than anything I was given glimpses of hard men (and a woman or two) in uniform who have the very answers we need and, like the Pentagon-supplied police in Ferguson, Missouri, in 2014, are armed to the teeth. ("Models with guns," my wife calls them.)

Got a situation in Nowhere-stan? Send in the Navy SEALs. Got a murderer on the loose? Send in the SWAT team. With their superior weaponry and can-do spirit, Special Forces of every sort are sure to win the day (except, of course, when they don't, as in America's current series of never-ending wars in distant lands).

And it hardly ends with those three shows. Consider, for example, this century's update of Magnum P.I. , a CBS show featuring a kickass private investigator. In the original Magnum P.I. that I watched as a teenager, Tom Selleck played the character with an easy charm. Magnum's military background in Vietnam was acknowledged but not hyped. Unsurprisingly, today's Magnum is proudly billed as an ex-Navy SEAL.

Cop and military shows are nothing new on American TV, but never have I seen so many of them, new and old, and so well-armed. On CBS alone you can add to the mix Hawaii Five-O (yet more models with guns updated and up-armed from my youthful years), the three NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) shows, and Blue Bloods (ironically starring a more grizzled and less charming Tom Selleck) -- and who knows what I haven't noticed? While today's cop/military shows feature far more diversity with respect to gender, ethnicity, and race compared to hoary classics like Dragnet , they also feature far more gunplay and other forms of bloody violence.

Look, as a veteran, I have nothing against realistic shows on the military. Coming from a family of first responders -- I count four firefighters and two police officers in my immediate family -- I loved shows like Adam-12 and Emergency! in my youth. What I'm against is the strange militarization of everything, including, for instance, the idea, distinctly of our moment, that first responders need their very own version of the American flag to mark their service. Perhaps you've seen those thin blue line flags, sometimes augmented with a red line for firefighters. As a military veteran, my gut tells me that there should only be one American flag and it should be good enough for all Americans. Think of the proliferation of flags as another soft type of up-armoring (this time of patriotism).

Speaking of which, whatever happened to Dragnet 's Sergeant Joe Friday, on the beat, serving his fellow citizens, and pursuing law enforcement as a calling? He didn't need a thin blue line battle flag. And in the rare times when he wielded a gun, it was .38 Special. Today's version of Joe looks a lot more like G.I. Joe, decked out in body armor and carrying an assault rifle as he exits a tank-like vehicle, maybe even a surplus MRAP from America's failed imperial wars.

Militarism in the USA

Besides TV shows, movies, and commercials, there are many signs of the increasing embrace of militarized values and attitudes in this country. The result: the acceptance of a military in places where it shouldn't be , one that's over-celebrated, over-hyped , and given far too much money and cultural authority, while becoming virtually immune to serious criticism.

Let me offer just nine signs of this that would have been so much less conceivable when I was a young boy watching reruns of Dragnet :

1. Roughly two-thirds of the federal government's discretionary budget for 2020 will, unbelievably enough, be devoted to the Pentagon and related military functions, with each year's "defense" budget coming ever closer to a trillion dollars . Such colossal sums are rarely debated in Congress; indeed, they enjoy wide bipartisan support.

2. The U.S. military remains the most trusted institution in our society, so say 74% of Americans surveyed in a Gallup poll. No other institution even comes close, certainly not the presidency (37%) or Congress (which recently rose to a monumental 25% on an impeachment high). Yet that same military has produced disasters or quagmires in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, and elsewhere. Various "surges" have repeatedly failed. The Pentagon itself can't even pass an audit . Why so much trust?

3. A state of permanent war is considered America's new normal. Wars are now automatically treated as multi-generational with little concern for how permawar might degrade our democracy. Anti-war protesters are rare enough to be lone voices crying in the wilderness.

4. America's generals continue to be treated, without the slightest irony, as "the adults in the room." Sages like former Secretary of Defense James Mattis ( cited glowingly in the recent debate among 12 Democratic presidential hopefuls) will save America from unskilled and tempestuous politicians like one Donald J. Trump. In the 2016 presidential race, it seemed that neither candidate could run without being endorsed by a screaming general ( Michael Flynn for Trump; John Allen for Clinton).

5. The media routinely embraces retired U.S. military officers and uses them as talking heads to explain and promote military action to the American people. Simultaneously, when the military goes to war, civilian journalists are "embedded" within those forces and so are dependent on them in every way. The result tends to be a cheerleading media that supports the military in the name of patriotism -- as well as higher ratings and corporate profits.

6. America's foreign aid is increasingly military aid. Consider, for instance, the current controversy over the aid to Ukraine that President Trump blocked before his infamous phone call, which was, of course, partially about weaponry . This should serve to remind us that the United States has become the world's foremost merchant of death, selling far more weapons globally than any other country. Again, there is no real debate here about the morality of profiting from such massive sales, whether abroad ($55.4 billion in arms sales for this fiscal year alone, says the Defense Security Cooperation Agency) or at home (a staggering 150 million new guns produced in the USA since 1986, the vast majority remaining in American hands).

7. In that context, consider the militarization of the weaponry in those very hands, from .50 caliber sniper rifles to various military-style assault rifles. Roughly 15 million AR-15s are currently owned by ordinary Americans. We're talking about a gun designed for battlefield-style rapid shooting and maximum damage against humans. In the 1970s, when I was a teenager, the hunters in my family had bolt-action rifles for deer hunting, shotguns for birds, and pistols for home defense and plinking. No one had a military-style assault rifle because no one needed one or even wanted one. Now, worried suburbanites buy them, thinking they're getting their " man card " back by toting such a weapon of mass destruction.

8. Paradoxically, even as Americans slaughter each other and themselves in large numbers via mass shootings and suicides (nearly 40,000 gun deaths in 2017 alone), they largely ignore Washington's overseas wars and the continued bombing of numerous countries. But ignorance is not bliss. By tacitly giving the military a blank check, issued in the name of securing the homeland, Americans embrace that military, however loosely, and its misuse of violence across significant parts of the planet. Should it be any surprise that a country that kills so wantonly overseas over such a prolonged period would also experience mass shootings and other forms of violence at home?

9. Even as Americans "support our troops" and celebrate them as "heroes," the military itself has taken on a new " warrior ethos " that would once -- in the age of a draft army -- have been contrary to this country's citizen-soldier tradition , especially as articulated and exhibited by the "greatest generation" during World War II.

What these nine items add up to is a paradigm shift as well as a change in the zeitgeist. The U.S. military is no longer a tool that a democracy funds and uses reluctantly. It's become an alleged force for good, a virtuous entity, a band of brothers (and sisters), America's foremost missionaries overseas and most lovable and admired heroes at home. This embrace of the military is precisely what I would call soft militarism. Jackbooted troops may not be marching in our streets, but they increasingly seem to be marching unopposed through -- and occupying -- our minds.

The Decay of Democracy

As Americans embrace the military, less violent policy options are downplayed or disregarded. Consider the State Department, America's diplomatic corps, now a tiny , increasingly defunded branch of the Pentagon led by Mike Pompeo (celebrated by Donald Trump as a tremendous leader because he did well at West Point). Consider President Trump as well, who's been labeled an isolationist, and his stunning inability to truly withdraw troops or end wars. In Syria, U.S. troops were recently redeployed, not withdrawn, not from the region anyway, even as more troops are being sent to Saudi Arabia. In Afghanistan, Trump sent a few thousand more troops in 2017, his own modest version of a mini-surge and they're still there, even as peace negotiations with the Taliban have been abandoned. That decision, in turn, led to a new surge (a " near record high ") in U.S. bombing in that country in September, naturally in the name of advancing peace. The result: yet higher levels of civilian deaths .

How did the U.S. increasingly come to reject diplomacy and democracy for militarism and proto-autocracy? Partly, I think, because of the absence of a military draft. Precisely because military service is voluntary, it can be valorized. It can be elevated as a calling that's uniquely heroic and sacrificial. Even though most troops are drawn from the working class and volunteer for diverse reasons, their motivations and their imperfections can be ignored as politicians praise them to the rooftops. Related to this is the Rambo-like cult of the warrior and warrior ethos , now celebrated as something desirable in America. Such an ethos fits seamlessly with America's generational wars. Unlike conflicted draftees, warriors exist solely to wage war. They are less likely to have the questioning attitude of the citizen-soldier.

Don't get me wrong: reviving the draft isn't the solution; reviving democracy is. We need the active involvement of informed citizens, especially resistance to endless wars and budget-busting spending on American weapons of mass destruction. The true cost of our previously soft (now possibly hardening) militarism isn't seen only in this country's quickening march toward a militarized authoritarianism. It can also be measured in the dead and wounded from our wars, including the dead, wounded , and displaced in distant lands. It can be seen as well in the rise of increasingly well-armed, self-avowed nationalists domestically who promise solutions via walls and weapons and "good guys" with guns. ("Shoot them in the legs," Trump is alleged to have said about immigrants crossing America's southern border illegally.)

Democracy shouldn't be about celebrating overlords in uniform. A now-widely accepted belief is that America is more divided, more partisan than ever, approaching perhaps a new civil war , as echoed in the rhetoric of our current president. Small wonder that inflammatory rhetoric is thriving and the list of this country's enemies lengthening when Americans themselves have so softly yet fervently embraced militarism.

With apologies to the great Roberta Flack , America is killing itself softly with war songs.

hoytmonger , 12 minutes ago link

"Police who deployed explosives and armored vehicles to flush out a man –who'd stolen two belts and a shirt from a Greenwood Village Walmart– from the house of Leo and Alfonsia Lech, are not required to compensate the couple for destroying their home, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Tuesday."

https://www.rt.com/usa/472224-police-explode-house-zero-compensation/

charlie_don't_surf , 3 minutes ago link

Those police destroyed a house worth well over 200K since it's in metro Denver...and all to apprehend a punk that shoplifted less than $100 of merchandise...something terribly wrong, all the govt units, local on up are high on the arrogance of power with impunity.

[Oct 30, 2019] Here Are the Giuliani-Ukraine Notes Few Have Seen RealClearInvestigations

Oct 30, 2019 | www.realclearinvestigations.com

In addition to the fired Shokin's claim that President Poroshenko warned him not to investigate Burisma because it was not in the Bidens' interest, the notes say, the prosecutor also said he "was warned to stop" by the then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey R. Pyatt .

The State Department declined to explain this assertion about Pyatt, who was ambassador to Ukraine from 2013 to 2016 and now is Ambassador to Greece. The Biden presidential campaign did not respond to a request for comment.

Recounting Shokin's version of events, the notes say he "was called into Mr. Poroshenko's office and told that the investigation into Burisma and the Managing Director where Hunter Biden is on the board, has caused Joe Biden to hold up one billion dollars in U.S. aid to Ukraine." Poroshenko later told Shokin that "he had to be fired as the aid to the Ukraine was being withheld by Joe Biden," the Giuliani interview notes say.

Trump has claimed that Vice President Biden pressured the Ukrainian government to fire Shokin because he was investigating his son's employer.

"I heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down and that's really unfair," the president said, referring to Shokin in his July 25 phone call with Ukraine's president, Volodymyr Zelensky. That call triggered the current impeachment crisis after a CIA whistleblower alleged that Trump had pressured the Ukrainian leader to investigate Biden in return for military aid.

A Politico investigation in 2017 found that officials in Poroshenko's government helped Hillary Clinton allies research damaging information on Trump and his advisers, notably Paul Manafort, who before joining the Trump campaign was a political consultant for ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych.

Poroshenko's administration insisted at the time that Ukraine stayed neutral in the race.

[Oct 30, 2019] How Long Can the Israeli Goliath Last

Oct 30, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Following a short artillery and air engagement with Syria over raids by exiled Palestinian guerillas, Egypt mobilized against her nemesis in 1967. President Nasser sent six divisions to the Sinai, removed the UN peacekeeping force, and closed the Straits of Tiran south of Israel. Israel struck first, fearing annihilation.

As Israeli historian Martin Van Creveld states in The Transformation of War , "for six glorious days war was Israel and Israel was war." The result was a smashing victory for the Israelis , who lost around 800 soldiers, as opposed to 20,000 for Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. The Sinai peninsula, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights were added to Israel's territory.

Compare this short war with another conflict that played out in 2006. For 34 days, Israel battled Hezbollah in southern Lebanon in response to the Shia terrorist group's killing and capturing of several Israeli soldiers in cross-border raids. Israel launched a massive air and artillery campaign, followed by a ground invasion in late July. When the ceasefire was signed on August 14, both sides claimed victory, but as John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt noted in The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy , "it was clear to most independent experts" that "Hezbollah had come out ahead in the fight." The IDF chief of staff resigned, and an Israeli government investigation rebuked the planning and handling of the campaign, stating that the military had "pursued goals that were not clear and could not be achieved."

Worse still, the air, artillery, and naval campaign killed an estimated 1,183 Lebanese (a third of them children) and devastated the country's infrastructure. These actions drew strong condemnation from Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch for causing "destruction on a catastrophic scale." During the last three days of the war, the IDF fired over one million cluster bombs into southern Lebanon, "saturating the area." The leader of an IDF rocket unit called these actions "insane and monstrous."

War can still be won by being nasty and short, as shown in the first Gulf War, but time is not on the side of the powerful. Escalation by a powerful state against a poorly equipped adversary almost always works to the advantage of the weaker side. Van Creveld compares this situation to an adult who "administers a prolonged, violent beating to a child in a public place." Observers will sympathize with the child and intervene, regardless of its prior behavior.

With the Palestinians, the position of weakness is even more extreme. Israel dominates the lives of 3.8 million Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, controlling air, land, and sea access, in a situation that's been compared to "living in a cage" by Swedish foreign minister Jan Eliasson. Despite numerous American attempts to secure Palestinian statehood and resolve the conflict, the present situation seems worse than ever.

The Trump administration, on the other hand, has made it clear that Israel will be supported through thick and thin. And the world has slowly but surely begun to take notice. The BDS movement (Boycott, Divest, Sanction), initially confined to college campuses and Palestine, spilled into the national news when Democratic lawmakers Ilhan Omar and Rashida Talib spearheaded a movement opposing bills aimed at criminalizing support of BDS. Some Republicans, namely Senator Rand Paul, have opposed those bills, too, on free speech grounds.

Recently, after the congresswomen were denied entry to Israel because of their support of BDS, liberal Jewish journalist Peter Beinart defended their stance. Speaking on a CNN panel , he openly sympathized with the plight of the Palestinians, claiming their treatment by Israel constitutes an "indefensible denial of basic human rights." Fellow panelists attempted to tie support for Palestine to terrorism, a common tactic. But terrorism in that part of the world is nothing new. Israel's defenders tend to forget or are ignorant of the fact that beginning in 1937, the militant Zionist group Irgun was responsible for placing bombs in buses and large crowds. One of its leaders during Israel's war for independence, future prime minister Menachem Begin, was referred to by Prime Minister Levi Eshkol simply as "the terrorist."

Modern Israel is no longer a weak state in danger of annihilation. The IDF is highly motivated, trained, and funded. Emboldened by the financial and moral backing of the United States and powerful lobbying groups, its treatment of Palestinians and other enemies has become steadily more severe.

With recent elections still contested , it remains to be seen whether these policies will continue. But militarily, Israel's position is not tenable. You can win at the tactical level and rack up a higher body count, but still lose the war. As frequent TAC contributor and military historian William S. Lind notes, "in the 3,000 years that the story of David and Goliath has been told, how many listeners have identified with Goliath?"

Jeff Groom is a former Marine officer. He is the author of American Cobra Pilot: A Marine Remembers a Dog and Pony Show (2018). Follow him on Twitter @BigsbyGroom .

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Zsuzsi Kruska 10 hours ago

Israel will last as long as Wash. extorts money from our wages and supports it. Without the US taxpayer, Israel wouldn't exist, both from its beginning to right now.
Sid Finster 10 hours ago
Hell, take away American support and watch all official sympathy for Israel everywhere evaporate.
ThaomasH 10 hours ago
I think the lack of sympathy for Israel is not that it s the "Goliath" of this story but that it is allowing settlers to live in the Occupied Territories.
hooly 9 hours ago
So TAC is standing with the Palestinians now I see. Will it stand with those other Davids, the intersectional allies of the BDS crowd too? namely Black Lives Matter, illegal Latino migrants, the LGBTQ+ community, and other assorted SJW types?
Jeff Z 7 hours ago
We are now in the end times; when it comes to Israel, all is in the hands of the Lord. As the nations of the earth seek to attack and destroy Israel, they fall into ruin: look at the entire Muslim world; look at what's happening to Europe. Most of all, look at the astonishing rise and continued power of Donald Trump, the man who recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Pick your side and accept your fate accordingly.
Kent 7 hours ago

"Escalation by a powerful state against a poorly equipped adversary almost always works to the advantage of the weaker side."

I don't always buy this. For me this only works if the powerful state is in the wrong. And sadly, in this situation, Israel is deeply in the wrong.

But what does happen is over time, the weak becomes slowly stronger. Because they are always studying their enemies. They are learning their tactics and how to defeat them. This may take decades, but eventually the weak become the strong.

This is why it is always best to quickly offer a hand of friendship to a vanquished enemy. If you don't, you'll eventually trade places.

[Oct 29, 2019] Asia Times China's financial threat to the 2020 US election Article

Oct 29, 2019 | www.asiatimes.com
Henry • 4 days ago ,

The author seems to be writing an interesting fiction, reminds one of a Hollywood movie about a Russian oligarch at the behest of a senior Russian government official, attempting to engineer wall street crash.

Taking out a newspaper advertisement with proper representation to state one's case can't be compared with the US funded National Endowment for Democracy's funding of Hong Kong's increasingly violent rioting.

tinhatter Henry • 4 days ago ,

Is the NED something like the China's interference in the NBA ?

Henry tinhatter • 4 days ago ,

This is like apple and orange, not comparable. China did not interfere in NBA's affairs, just reacting to her citizens uproar against the infamous now deleted tweet. Thus many Chinese Chinese sponsors pulled out. This is no different to sponsors pulling out of US athletes endorsements from time to time when there are scandals.
Whereas NED is US intelligence cover for interference in targeted countries like Ukraine, Venezuela, Iran and many Islamic countries around the world, to advance US political agenda.

tinhatter daggo77 • 4 days ago ,

And in breaking news. 39 Britons have been found dead in a container trying to be smuggled fromt eh failed UK state to the successful state run by the CCP.
Did I get that the right-way round ?

Mustafa • 4 days ago ,

Who is this guy? Does he think this is CNN?

Is he smoking a heretofore unheard of narcotic?

Let me set the stage.

This is a paper or news site about asia. It is written in English? What does this tell you? The audience ostensibly consists of westerners (or educated people from asia or elsewhere) who want to read an alternative to the drivel and rubbish that's propagated in copious quantities by the scat factories of the west and their zionist-oligarch dominated news conglomerates...

Who is interfering in elections? Does china name some loser guaido as president of venezuela or support terrorists in syria? Is china sanctioning (with financial warfare)the whole world including their own allies? You must have no modicum of shame to come up with this absolute smorgasbord of rancid festering bollocks that you think is befitting of "reporting." You are bettet off taking a sabbatical and never coming back... i would tell you all of this to your face with the utmost respect that i could muster before i vomited...

Presidents come and go... the empire, deep state bureaucrats, and their slavish dual-state minions such as yourself will march on no matter what until your rotten seed perpetuate the corruption and degeneracy passed down through your genes. That xyz is president makes zero difference in deterring the momentum of evil that lurks within the diseased sociopaths such as yourself.

You are an unmitigated disgrace to true journalism and do a grave disservice to this site's reputation.

pooi-hoong chan Mustafa • 4 days ago ,

Bill Gertz is not a journalist. He is a bullshitter. He constantly spews out lies, fake news, propaganda and BS against China.

M Henri Day pooi-hoong chan • 2 days ago ,

"Bill Gertz is not a journalist. He is a bullshitter." Alas, pooi-hong chan, these two professions are in many cases equivalent....

Henri

AsianInvestor Mustafa • 4 days ago • edited ,

CIA uses fake identities for the propaganda articles. If a nation is building close ties with China, automatically an author with a name from that nation appears. They also have groups posting propaganda under a single fake name. There are only a few genuine Asian CIA hacks making a living off the CIA.

USA is heading for multiple recessions possibly a depression unless they change their current anti China policies.

Bianca AsianInvestor • 4 days ago ,

In fact, in military, fake identities for information warfare are assigned to one person, so that it multiplies the effect. To keep track of these "personas" per each real person, and their postings -- a "persona" data bases are needed to keep track of their activities. And unfortunately , there are always some technicians who are more then happy to talk about it.

Deuxieme Bianca • 4 days ago ,

Yes. just google Operation Earnest Voice. It's a project by Pentagon that let one person control several of these "personas"

Mustafa AsianInvestor • 4 days ago ,

It would not surprise me if he worked for the CIA... this organization is, by its mission, embedded into all public spheres...

What is worrisome is that the cia has no accountability to anyone. It is one great example of deep state operator. Also, cia is heavily infiltrated by mossad. In other words, cia is a parallel drug traffickers organization that dabbles in news, democracy promotion, torture, coups, blackmail, assasibation, rendition...

It is accountable to no one ... their actions are conducted in secrecy and cannot be scrutinized... the president can't control them... these organizations are a manifest example of why this article is a huge fallacy dressed up in cured excrement.

Huashen • 4 days ago • edited ,

These people are outrageously shameless in their assertion that they can openly interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, like the recent bills passed by the US House of Representatives in support of the Blackshirts of HK, but they would not brook any interference from China in their election, not that it's true at all.
This is a good example of how the US apply its Orwellian ideology of "American Exceptionalism" - "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others" - George Orwell's "Animal Farm."

Lee Sky • 4 days ago ,

Another guy cashing in on the evil China fad, pathetic. It is the US who conducts financial warfare by imposing illegal sanctions and restrictions on other countries using the dominance of the dollar in international trade.

Bianca • 4 days ago ,

If it is so easy to have a country's financial system snd stock markets manipulated -- how do know that our own financial sharks are not already manipulating market to enrich them selves , while making it appear that everything is fine? Or that they are not crashing markets in order to profit?
There is something not right about a country with financial and market systems living off the fumes of news cycle?

Look at how many times West attacked Russian financial systems
and markets, blocking whole companies and financial institutions -- yet nothing crashed. Currency lost some value helping exports, while those earning in dollars simply had more money to spend domestically. And by placing sanctions kn European food products -- they shot up to the first place globally in wheat production.

I am wondering if the difference is Russia's large currency and gold reserves. As opposed US economy that sits atop a large debt bubble? Than anything can spook it.

Deuxieme • 4 days ago • edited ,

Bill Gertz is running out of stuff to bad mouth China. He is eager to make some money now that he's been fired by Washington Free Beacon for having some shady deals with the Chinese billionaire fugitive Guo who is the subject covered in his reporting.
Maybe Gertz can tell us who China wants to be elected by staging these financial influence campaign? Gertz is sounding utterly ridiculous now.

Bapa aku • 4 days ago ,

american are losers, foreign influence here and there, well thanks to your own foreign policies bombing here and there and regime change everywhere, you sow what you get. if you don't want foreign influence. just build a great wall and extend it to these. not only no 5G, ditch all comunications including mail

Bobserver • 4 days ago • edited ,

This is a nonsense article. Lots of hypotheticals with no proof presented of China's intention or cases of actually trying to influence any American election.

This is more how Western countries behave with their Machivellian modus operandi overthrowing governments in Eastern Europe, Latin America, etc. This author and American officials are merely voicing what the USA is already capable of doing rather than what China has in place.

In fact there is a debate among Chinese officials and think tanks that they might want Trump to have a second term because as the USA p@sses off many countries including those allied with the USA that might help China down the line.

Bianca • 4 days ago ,

Wait a minute -- Russia wants Trump to be reelected, and China wants him to lose?

With US creating legislation for the whole world -- our sanctions whose enforcement is imposed in others -- means that other people must have the right to elect the president? How can the world accept such financial burden on others with no right to vote.

Remember America next time you vote for sanctions, tariffs etc. -- no taxation without representation. Global presidents must be elected globally!

MD6888 • 4 days ago ,

Bill Gertz is a Washington-based national security journalist and author of Deceiving the Sky: Inside Communist China's Drive for Global Supremacy

007's imaginary script writer. LOL!

Alex • 4 days ago ,

There's no need for the Chinese to rely on 'covert' operation to influence the election's outcome. For instance, if China just cancels the buying of the agricultural goods from the US that it has dealt with Trump in what is being called the partial deal from the trade war, it would be already enough to influence in the election. Lol!

[Oct 29, 2019] Chile: The poster boy of neoliberalism who fell from grace

Notable quotes:
"... The brother of the current Chilean president, scions of one of the richest families in Chile, became famous for introducing, as Minister of Labor and Social Security under Pinochet, a funded system of pensions where employees make compulsory contributions from their wages into one of several pension funds, and after retirement receive pensions based on investment performance of such funds. Old-age pensions thus became a part of roulette capitalism. But In the process, the pension funds, charging often exorbitant fees, and their managers became rich. ..."
"... José Piñera had tried to "sell" this model to Yeltsin's Russia and to George Bush's United States, but, despite the strong (and quite understandable) support of the financial communities in both countries, he failed. Nowadays, most Chilean pensioners receive $200-$300 per month in a country whose price level (according to International Comparison Project, a worldwide UN- and World Bank-led project to compare price levels around the world) is about 80% of that of the United States. ..."
"... the combined wealth of Chilean billionaires' (there were twelve of them) was equal to 25% of Chilean GDP. The next Latin American countries with highest wealth concentrations are Mexico and Peru where the wealth share of billionaires is about half (13 percent of GDP) of Chile's. But even better: Chile is the country where billionaires' share, in terms of GDP, is the highest in the world (if we exclude countries like Lebanon and Cyprus) where many foreign billionaires simply "park" their wealth for tax reasons. The wealth of Chile's billionaires, compared to their country's GDP, exceeds even that of Russians. [Graph] ..."
"... Such extraordinary inequality of wealth and income, combined with full marketization of many social services (water, electricity etc.), and pensions that depend on the vagaries of the stock market has long been "hidden" from foreign observers by Chile's success in raising its GDP per capita. ..."
"... if there Is no social justice and minimum of social cohesion, the effects of growth will dissolve in grief, demonstrations, and yes, in the shooting of people. ..."
Oct 29, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

anne

, October 26, 2019 at 01:42 PM
https://glineq.blogspot.com/2019/10/chile-poster-boy-of-neoliberalism-who.html

October 26, 2019

Chile: The poster boy of neoliberalism who fell from grace

It is not common for an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development county to shoot and kill 16 people in two days of socially motivated riots. (Perhaps only Turkey, in its unending wars against the Kurdish guerrilla, comes close to that level of violence.) This is however what Chilean government, the poster child of neoliberalism and transition to democracy, did last week in the beginning of protests that do not show the signs of subsiding despite cosmetic reforms proposed by President Sebastian Piñera.

The fall from grace of Chile is symptomatic of worldwide trends that reveal the damages causes by neoliberal policies over the past thirty years, from privatizations in Eastern Europe and Russia to the global financial crisis to the Euro-related austerity. Chile was held, not the least thanks to favorable press that it enjoyed, as a exemplar of success. Harsh policies introduced after the overthrow of Salvador Allende in 1973, and the murderous spree that ensued afterwards, have been softened by the transition to democracy but their essential features were preserved. Chile indeed had a remarkably good record of growth, and while in the 1960-70s it was in the middle of the Latin American league by GDP per capita, it is now the richest Latin American country. It was of course helped too by high prices for its main export commodity, copper, but the success in growth is incontestable. Chile was "rewarded" by the membership in the OECD, a club of the rich nations, the first South American country to accede to it.

Where the country failed is in its social policies which somewhat bizarrely were considered by many to have been successful too. In the 1980s-90s, the World Bank hailed Chilean "flexible" labor policies which consisted of breaking up the unions and imposing a model of branch-level negotiations between employers and workers rather than allowing an overall umbrella union organization to negotiate for all workers. It was even more bizarrely used by the World Bank as a model of transparency and good governance, something that the transition countries in Eastern Europe should have presumably copied from Chile. The brother of the current Chilean president, scions of one of the richest families in Chile, became famous for introducing, as Minister of Labor and Social Security under Pinochet, a funded system of pensions where employees make compulsory contributions from their wages into one of several pension funds, and after retirement receive pensions based on investment performance of such funds. Old-age pensions thus became a part of roulette capitalism. But In the process, the pension funds, charging often exorbitant fees, and their managers became rich.

José Piñera had tried to "sell" this model to Yeltsin's Russia and to George Bush's United States, but, despite the strong (and quite understandable) support of the financial communities in both countries, he failed. Nowadays, most Chilean pensioners receive $200-$300 per month in a country whose price level (according to International Comparison Project, a worldwide UN- and World Bank-led project to compare price levels around the world) is about 80% of that of the United States.

While Chile leads Latin America in GDP per capita, it also leads it terms of inequality. In 2015, its level of income inequality was higher than in any other Latin American country except for Colombia and Honduras. It exceeded even Brazil's proverbially high inequality. The bottom 5% of the Chilean population have an income level that is about the same as that of the bottom 5% in Mongolia. The top 2% enjoy the income level equivalent to that of the top 2% in Germany. Dortmund and poor suburbs of Ulan Bataar were thus brought together.

Chilean income distribution is extremely unequal. But even more so is its wealth distribution. There, Chile is an outlier even compared to the rest of Latin America. According to the Forbes' 2014 data on world billionaires, the combined wealth of Chilean billionaires' (there were twelve of them) was equal to 25% of Chilean GDP. The next Latin American countries with highest wealth concentrations are Mexico and Peru where the wealth share of billionaires is about half (13 percent of GDP) of Chile's. But even better: Chile is the country where billionaires' share, in terms of GDP, is the highest in the world (if we exclude countries like Lebanon and Cyprus) where many foreign billionaires simply "park" their wealth for tax reasons. The wealth of Chile's billionaires, compared to their country's GDP, exceeds even that of Russians.
[Graph]

Such extraordinary inequality of wealth and income, combined with full marketization of many social services (water, electricity etc.), and pensions that depend on the vagaries of the stock market has long been "hidden" from foreign observers by Chile's success in raising its GDP per capita.

But the recent protests show that the latter is not enough. Growth is indispensable for economic success and reduction in poverty. But it is not enough: if there Is no social justice and minimum of social cohesion, the effects of growth will dissolve in grief, demonstrations, and yes, in the shooting of people.

-- Branko Milanovic

[Oct 29, 2019] Russian Defense Minister Publishes Evidence Of US Oil Smuggling From Syria by Saker

Images removed...
Oct 29, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

10/29/2019

Via The Saker blog,

Translated by Leo, bold and italics added for emphasis.

Source: https://ria.ru/20191026/1560247607.html

MOSCOW, October 26, 2019 – RIA Novosti – The Russian Ministry of Defense has published satellite intelligence images , showing American oil smuggling from Syria.

Image 1: Situation in the Syrian Arab Republic as of October 26, 2019.

According to the ministry, the photos confirm that "Syrian oil, both before and after the routing defeat of the Islamic State terrorists in land beyond the Euphrates river , under the reliable protection by US military servicemen, oil was actively being extracted and then the fuel trucks were massively being sent for processing outside of Syria."

Image 2: Daman oil gathering station, Syria, Deir ez-Zor province, 42 km east of Deir ez-Zor, August 23, 2019.

Here, in a picture of the Daman oil gathering station (42 kilometers east of the Deir-ez-Zor province), taken on August 23, a large amount of trucks were spotted. "There were 90 automotive vehicles, including 23 fuel trucks," the caption to the image said.

In addition, on September 5, there were 25 vehicles in the Al-Hasakah province, including 22 fuel trucks. Three days later, on September 8, in the vicinity of Der Ez-Zor, 36 more vehicles were recorded (32 of them were fuel trucks). On the same day, 41 vehicles, including 34 fuel trucks, were in the Mayadin onshore area.

Image 3: Gathering of vehicles in Syria, Al-Hasakah province, 8 km west of Al-Shaddadi, September 5, 2019.

As the official representative of the Defense Ministry Igor Konashenkov noted, the Americans are extracting oil in Syria with the help of equipment, bypassing their own sanctions.

Igor Konashenkov:

"Under the protection of American military servicemen and employees of American PMCs, fuel trucks from the oil fields of Eastern Syria are smuggling to other states. In the event of any attack on such a caravan, special operations forces and US military aircraft are immediately called in to protect it," he said.

According to Konashenkov, the US-controlled company Sadcab , established under the so-called Autonomous Administration of Eastern Syria , is engaged in the export of oil, and the income of smuggling goes to the personal accounts of US PMCs and special forces.

The Major General added that as of right now, a barrel of smuggled Syrian oil is valued at $38, therefore the monthly revenue of US governmental agencies exceeds $30 million.

Image 4: Gathering of vehicles in Syria, Deir ez-Zor province, 10 km east of Mayadin, September 8, 2019.

"For such a continuous financial flow, free from control and taxes of the American government, the leadership of the Pentagon and Langley will be ready to guard and defend oil fields in Syria from the mythical 'hidden IS cells' endlessly," he said.

According to Konashenkov, Washington, by holding oil fields in eastern Syria, is engaged in international state banditry.

Image 5: Gathering of vehicles in Syria, Deir ez-Zor province, 14 km east of Mayadin, September 8, 2019.

The reason for this activity, he believes, "lies far from the ideals of freedom proclaimed by Washington and their slogans on the fight against terrorism."

Igor Konashenkov:

"Neither in international law, nor in American legislation itself – there is not and cannot be a single legal task for the American troops to protect and defend the hydrocarbon deposits of Syria from Syria itself and its own people, " the representative of the Defense Ministry concluded.

A day earlier, the Pentagon's head, Mark Esper declared that the United States is studying the situation in the Deir ez-Zor region and intends to strengthen its positions there in the near future "to ensure the safety of oil fields."


Sirdirkfan , 5 minutes ago link

The Ruskies are mad - Trump is stopping them from taking the oil, it belongs to the Kurds for their revenue and if US wants to help them have it so what....US is staying to secure those oilfields against ISIS taking it again!

If everyone listened to the President when he talks there wouldn't be any spin that anyone could get away with.

Arising , 7 minutes ago link

Trump's The Art of the Steal - New chapter just added

Fish Gone Bad , 15 minutes ago link

War is used to take resources from people who can not protect it adequately.

punjabiraj , 15 minutes ago link

The oil is on Kurdish land. This part of Syria is just a small sector of Kurdish territory that has been stolen from them by dividing it between four "countries", each of which has oil. This is why the territory was stolen and why the Kurds have become the world's best fighters.

Putin brokered a deal to stop Turkey wiping the Kurds by having their fighting force assimilate with the Syrian military and required Russian observers access to ensure the Turks keep their word and not invade to wipe all the Kurd civilians in order to also take their Syrian oil.

So the corrupt US generals get caught in the act. Their senators and reps on the payroll are going to need some more of that fairy tale PR for POTUS to read to us at bedtime.

If we are to believe that this is to protect the oil fields then the oil revenue should be going to Syria, even though the Kurds are on the land. Follow the money to find the truth because there is no one you can trust on this stage.

Bernard_2011 , 15 minutes ago link

America is not stealing Syria's oil, they are "protecting it".

haruspicio , 22 minutes ago link

MSM are simply not covering this story. Or the other story about the supposed gas attack at Douma where evidence was adulterated and/or ignored completely under US pressure.

Expect the same from MH17.

WTF is going on with our leaders and corporate MSM....can no one in a leadership position distinguish between lies and the truth? Or fantasy and reality? Where are the 'journalists' who will stand up and tell the truth in MSM? They no longer exist.

Chain Man , 25 minutes ago link

18 wheel fuel trucks around here hold 10K gal. 50 truck loads 500K of un processed oil if it's true? I though they just got there. but no telling who might steal under those conditions.

Bernard_2011 , 25 minutes ago link

If the caliphate is 100% eliminated as Trump likes to say, then what does Trump need to "protect" the oil fields from?

It's like he's just parroting whatever BS the deep state is telling him to say.

NiggaPleeze , 24 minutes ago link

The Orange Satan is the Deep State. Or, a product of it.

Orange Satan is protecting the oil from Syrians. It rightly belongs to the Globalists, not the local peasants!

Roger Casement , 27 minutes ago link

That was August. this is now. The Russians must have really wanted that oil to finance their occupation. Trump is preventing ISIS from using the oil as their piggy bank.

You're welcome.

jjames , 26 minutes ago link

no, trump is trying to starve the syrian people.

OliverAnd , 25 minutes ago link

The irony of course is that from the same oil fields the Turks were doing the exact same in cooperation with ISIS and now the US is doing it alone.

NiggaPleeze , 23 minutes ago link

Russians really want Syria to have their own soil. But the Globalist Orange Satan is stealing it to finance his Globalist Evil Empire.

After all, nothing spells Globalism like a Global Empire.

OliverAnd , 29 minutes ago